A lasting Christmas gift for Perham

“Magnificent” is what I have to say about the new Christmas gift to the City of Perham.

Thank you to all who came out to the unveiling, or, should I, say unwrapping of our gift – it was a terrific day. The beautiful mural located on the east wall of the Photo Magic building is really something, created by a terrific artist, Cindee Lundin, and assisted by her very talented sister, Chenoa Pickrain.

If you have not seen the mural yet, you have to take the time to get out of your vehicle and take a close look. The details are amazing and the hidden treasures make for a fun time. Better yet, take someone with you and talk about what you see. “Ooh” and “ahh” over this – take your time, you will love it.

Thank you to all who donated money, time and labor, and especially to Dennis Happel, for the great idea and bringing it all together. This treasure will be with us forever.

Enjoy the holidays and your loved ones, and please remember why we celebrate this special holiday we call Christmas. If you are traveling, please be safe. I want everyone to return to this great city, which has so much to offer.

Has everyone had their flu shot? The flu is going around, so be prepared.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Continuing to explore ways to save on street projects

Happy Halloween, everyone. Keep a watchful eye open on Friday evening as the trick-or-treaters will be out and about.

Good luck to the Lady Jacket volleyball team as they travel to Lake Park to take on the Frazee Lady Hornets tonight in the south subsection championship. Congratulations to the boys and girls cross country teams on their Section Championships, and I wish you the best at state.

Work continues on the site of the new public works building, and bids will be opened soon on the building itself. Plans for 2015 street reconstruction are being explored. Third Avenue S.E. is already on the plan, and we are looking to add some more.

The cost of these projects are rising. We’re exploring ways to keep costs down, and coupling some projects together may be a way to save money. These street repairs need to be done as some of the infrastructure was placed in the early 1960s.

The new Victory Estates development has received approval on the preliminary plot but the final plot is still being put together.

You may have noticed that the number of trains is increasing, and that will continue – hopefully we don’t encounter too many delays. The oil on these trains can be made safe with a process called stabilization, but the oil companies don’t want to spend the money. Right now they condition the oil, which does not take explosive gasses out. If a pipeline is built they will have to stabilize the oil in order for it to enter the pipeline. I will continue to keep watch on this.

We are looking into an ordinance allowing chickens in the city limits. More to follow.

The political campaign is coming to an end and we get to vote next Tuesday. I, for one, will be glad that it is over so that the lies about the candidates cease. It seems to get worse every year. Please exercise your right to vote and be sure to know who you are voting for.

Go Yellowjackets!

With school starting, stay safe on the roads

Summer sure has flown by. The school year is upon us, and I want to remind everyone that it will be very busy around the schools, so please drive carefully and keep an eye out for pedestrians.

For all of you who ride bike, please take note that the rules of the road are the same for you as for a car. This means you are to stop at stop signs and red lights and obey all traffic laws at all hours of the day. You do not have the same rights as a pedestrian.

I almost ran over two people early one morning on my way to the PACC; I had a green light and they had a red, but ran through it. Luckily, I saw them and was able to stop. We all need to share the road and obey the laws.

The city has been kept clean for the most part this summer, but there are some exceptions we’ve been dealing with.

The mess that occurs around the recycling area is very upsetting. There is no reason for garbage floating around in that area. The cardboard is to go inside the bins. If it doesn’t fit, break it down so it does. I was over there the other day and I broke some cardboard down and put it inside. Styrofoam is not to be placed on the ground or inside; this is to go in your garbage. This area is not a dumping ground.

It is the time of year where we are going over the budget, and we will do our best to keep it as low as we can.

Until next time.

May is Museums Month – join in the fun!

The weather will get better, I promise. And let’s not forget that it could always be worse: let’s think and pray for all of those in the south who have been destroyed by tornadoes and inclement weather.

May is Museums Month in Minnesota, and as mayor I have declared that Perham will participate and honor the museums not only here in Perham, but everywhere.

This year, something new will be taking place here in Perham, in conjunction with the museums. A photo and essay contest will be launched. The theme will be, “My Hero.” Your hero can be anyone or anything, so not necessarily a person. This could become an annual event during the month of May in conjunction with honoring museums.

Watch for more details or contact Darla Ellingson at the ITOW museum. This should be fun. Please join in.

Enjoy life, everyone.

Keep checking your water temperature

As it remains cold, I want to remind everyone to keep checking their water temperature in their homes. If it drops below 40 degrees, some action may be required.

If you live in Perham, call City Hall and ask what to do. We will give you a break on your sewer charge in Perham, but you have to call City Hall and let them know that you are going to let your water run.

A pencil-width stream is what is being suggested, but that can be vague. Take a 1-cup measuring cup and see how long it takes to fill it. It should take 45 seconds. Leave one faucet running at that amount – just one faucet in the home should be sufficient.

As it begins to warm up, continue to monitor your water. It is going to take a long time for the ground to warm up and the frost to get out of the ground.

On another topic, some people think they have the right to go through an area that is being blocked off by emergency vehicles that have their emergency lights on – not so.

The fire department was recently called to a report of a transformer on fire on a pole. The area was blocked off while waiting for the electrical company to arrive. This is done for safety reasons and nobody is to go in this area until it is found to be safe.

Well, someone decided that they needed to go through this area, and went around at least two emergency vehicles (I was in one of them) and then yelled some very unfriendly comments out the window toward us emergency responders.

This is very upsetting. Did they really think we were there just for fun, when it was very windy and very cold? I would have rather remained at the banquet that I was attending.

Please have respect for all emergency responders and people in uniform – you never know when you may need some help.

By the way, the license number was reported. I haven’t heard if the vehicle was found. This kind of action is not taken lightly.

Think spring!

Pray for warmer weather!

The cold continues to linger in the area. Not a lot of good comes from being cold for long periods of time. Some cities are experiencing water line freeze-ups. One thing that we can do is run our tap water until it gets real cold and then take the temperature of the water.

If it is 40 degrees or lower, call City Hall at 346-4455 on what to do. It’s better to be safe than sorry. You will probably need to run your water with a stream the size of a pencil until it warms up, but call and someone will give you advice. The frost is going down deeper as the cold lingers.

Those of you who are burning wood, please check your chimney and make sure that it is clear of any buildup. Chimneys create some buildup when temperatures warm up and you can cut back and don’t burn as much wood.

Pray for warmer weather, everyone!

‘Forever proud’ of Perham firefighters

Hi everyone. Enjoying the beautiful winter?

“Ha ha,” you all say.

I don’t really like it either, but when it’s 100 degrees this summer, we will probably be complaining then, too.

As the mayor of this great city, I am very proud of our firefighters and the great job and courage that they have all displayed during this cold weather. Battling an all-night fire at the potato warehouse and a trailer house fire during this cold period is not easy. All of you continue to hold your heads up high and are ready for whatever you are confronted with.

I am also grateful to be a member of this great team, and will forever be proud. I want to thank all of the area firefighters for all of your help during these and all events that we work on together. Mutual aid works great, and we all seem to work together very well. One reason that mutual aid works so great, in my mind, is the leadership that each and every fire department has.

There is snow in the forecast in the near future, and I want to remind everyone of the ‘No Parking’ ordinance in the city of Perham. Whenever it snows two or more inches, there is to be no parking on any city streets until they are cleared of the snow. Snow removal normally takes place in the early morning hours.

Parking tickets will be issued and excuses such as, “It wasn’t snowing when I went to bed,” will not work. The best thing you can do is not park on the street at night during the winter.

I want to thank those who decide to get a ride home from a bar if they have had too much to drink. But, have someone park your vehicle behind the bar or off the street somehow, or a ticket will be issued. We have to be able to get the streets cleared.

Think spring!

What would you pay for a Quiet Zone?

Anybody want the train horns to stop blowing when they go through Perham? The subject is still on the table and being discussed.

Some proposals were presented at the Committee of the Whole meeting last Wednesday. It can be very costly in the amount of dollars it will take, or it can be less expensive but at the cost of closing a crossing (that crossing possibly being 2nd Ave. NW).

The most expensive way, and the safest, will cost in the neighborhood of $2.5 million, with a $21,000-a-year maintenance fee. Close that 2nd Ave. crossing, which is our most dangerous crossing, according to the railroad, and the cost drops to an estimated $200,000 – quite a difference.

The railroad wants to close 25 percent of its crossings nationwide, and we have a high number of crossings for the size of our city. Though there is not talk of it at this time, I have a feeling that in the future, the railroad may pick crossings themselves and close them, with cities receiving nothing in return.

I am keeping an open mind on this subject and am open to all options. In the end, it will have to be paid for by the taxpayers, or another option would be fundraising, which was brought up to me by a group that would love to quiet the trains.

We have lived with trains for a long time and have gotten used to them, but there are more trains every day, and the decibel level of the horns has risen. The horns are annoying, and I would love to quiet them as we have been discussing this for three years now. But at what price?

I would appreciate any comments. Email me at tmeehl@cityofperham.com.

Thank you and stay safe everyone.

Hey kids, ever wonder what it would be like to be ‘Mayor for a Day?’

The League of Minnesota Cities is holding a ‘Mayor for a Day’ essay contest. Mayors across the state, including me, are charged with spreading the word about it.

Organized as a part of the League’s centennial year celebrations, the contest challenges kids ages 7-12 to think about what they would do if they were in charge of their city for a day.

The winning essayist will win $100 and have his or her essay published in “Minnesota Cities” magazine. Entries must be handwritten and submitted by November 1. For more information, visit www.lmc.org/mayorforaday, or call 651-215-4035.

Next Wednesday, Oct. 9 will be International Walk to School Day. Perham schools and this newspaper will be putting out more information about the local walk.

Construction continues on 3rd Ave. S.W. and also the parking lot behind the Post Office all the way down to Photo Magic. October 25 is the target completion date for these projects. In the meantime, the parking situation may result in some of us having to walk a little further than we may like. Please have patience.

The October Perham City Council meeting will be held on the 14th, as this is the second Monday of the month.

Construction on the wastewater ponds is in the final phase. Everything will be online by the end of the month.

The fall harvest is in full swing, which brings out slower-moving farm machinery. We all have to pay attention to ensure that this busy, enjoyable time of year will be accident-free and a great success.

Have a great week, everyone.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July

The next city council meeting will be Monday, July 8 at 5:15 p.m. in the council chambers.

Your concerns can be heard at the beginning of the meeting; please keep it short and to the point. Any action on your concern may not take place immediately but will be looked into.

Please be careful on this 4th of July weekend if you are handling fireworks. One small grass fire has already been reported here in Perham.

Work continues on the wastewater ponds. Be patient with us as this will be ongoing all summer. At times the smell can be very frustrating, but negative comments on social media and to people from outside the area really do not do anybody any good. Six million dollars is being spent on improvements but it is going to take the rest of the summer and into the fall to complete.

Did you know that we have another walking/bike path in town? The path goes out along County 34 and turns left down toward the hospital and winds around the hospital campus and on down 9th Street S.W.

Wildflowers will be planted this fall, making it even more beautiful in a few years as they become established. It is in the very early stages, but plans are being looked into for a trail that would extend from Perham all the way to Pelican Rapids. Stay tuned.

Have a great 4th of July.