Local group inquires on senior center building

By Chad Koenen


The Henning City Council received some clarity in regards to on-call time within the utility department. 

During its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday night, Henning City Councilwoman Tammy Fosse requested more information about the on-call status for utility workers after three employees recently resigned from the department. 

New utilities supervisor Ted Strand said, as the supervisor, he considers himself on call at all times, even when he is technically not on the clock. He said if there is an emergency, he has been known to come back and assist with the problem, or at the very least be available over the phone. 

The biggest question surrounded the electricity department as the only person currently on staff who is familiar with the system is Jake Williams. He said as of right now he is on call all of the time until Strand gets more familiar with the system. Strand began at the city just last week. When Strand is more comfortable with the system he could take over some of the electricity call time off of Williams’ plate. Until that time Williams must stay within a 30 minute radius of Henning. 

Henning Mayor Darren Wiese said he has reached out to the City of Wadena who has agreed to help should there be an electrical emergency and Williams is out of the area, or needs more assistance. The council requested more information about the cost of the assistance from the City of Wadena should it be needed and what they would all be willing to do in an emergency.

In other news

• Approved the hiring of Daniel Larsen as EMT to the Henning Ambulance Service. 

• Heard that eight EMTs were re-certified for the Henning Ambulance Service. The local ambulance service is currently averaging one call per day.

• Heard an update on Willow Creek Assisted Living. The facility currently has 21 residents, of which 14 are currently on services. 

• Approved giving deputy clerk Joe Miller a month to see if he could get the past due elderly waiver collected for Willow Creek. It was reported at the meeting that he was able to get all of the Medica and Ucare payments caught up, but the city is still owed past due amounts of elderly waiver from Blue Cross Blue Shield. The council said Miller was making good progress, but if he was unable to get the past due amounts caught up in the next month, it would likely turn to a company that was willing to help the city in collecting the elderly waiver. 

• Heard a request from the Henning Area Christian Fellowship group concerning an interest in purchasing the Henning Senior Citizens Center. The group holds church services in the building and would work out an arrangement with the senior citizens group to continue to allow the group to meet in the facility. The city council said it will need to relocate some of the items being stored in the facility and research the process for selling a city-owned piece of property before exploring the option to sell the building.

• Heard a proposal from John Thalmann to become the airport manager on a volunteer basis from May through October. He also offered to mow the airport and provide general upkeep on an hourly basis. The city council said it will look into the proposal and options for mowing and general upkeep at the airport. 

• Heard that the City of Henning will receive $58,445.43 from the Northern Cities Group (NCG) and Missouri River Energy Services. The refund was due to a larger NCG reserve fund than was needed. 

• Discussed getting an appraisal at the city-owned Willow Creek Assisted Living Facility and Countryview Apartment building to see how much each facility was worth today. Several council members said this does not necessarily mean the city is going to sell either facility, it was just meant as a way to gather more information about their worth. 

• Approved a step pay increase for Jake Williams after he completed a journeyman lineman internal compensation certification. 

• Approved $15,000 of ARPA funds to Willow Creek to reimburse employees for lost wages as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic at the facility, as well as purchase an electronic monitoring system for visitors at the facility. The monitoring system will allow people to take their own temperatures and check themselves in without the assistance of an employee at Willow Creek. The funds were received as part of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

• Approved putting the remaining ARPA money towards the purchase of a new police truck. The city had approximately $44,000 in ARPA remaining in the city fund prior to last Monday night. 

• Approved constructing a parking lane/truck staging area on the north side of Highway 108 to a width of 14 feet instead of 10 feet at an estimated cost of $3,500 to the city. The hope was the additional area would assist truck traffic near the elevator when the new highway project is completed in 2024. The city council also requested the city’s engineer continue to request a wider driving lane near the elevator to assist with trucks turning and overall traffic in the area.