Husfeldt to serve as interim director in Henning

By Chad Koenen


Jane Cook resigned her position as co-ambulance director for the Henning Ambulance Service. While she will still help with the department she said she no longer had the time available to dedicate to be the co-director for a department that has already responded to 218 calls this year. 

During its regularly scheduled meeting last week, Cook made a recommendation of Brandon Morely as the new co-director of the ambulance service. He would have served alongside Helen Husfeldt who also serves as co-director of the Henning Ambulance Service. 

Cook said Morley has 12 years of experience as an EMT and has also done EMS work in the past. He has been a member of the Henning Ambulance Service for one year, has advanced EMT training and is planning to be a paramedic. He was also recommended for the position by the ambulance committee.

Following Cook’s recommendation, council members Tammy Fosse and Jim Haberer questioned how the rest of the ambulance service felt about the recommendation.

Haberer also asked if TCHC had input on Cook’s recommendation as the new ambulance director.

Cook said when the committee met Dr, Dylan Folkstead did not voice opposition to her recommendation. She went on to say some of the people who expressed an interest in serving as a director later said now wasn’t the right time for them to take over the position. 

Cook’s co-director voiced support for Morley.

“I think right now he is just the best fit,” said Helen Husfeldt, who currently serves as co-director. 

Riley Lueders and Tawni Kyllonen said the recommendation for a new ambulance director should be a crew decision and be put up to a vote for the crew.

Chelsea Waskosky said having a crew vote would be an option, but has not been done in the past. 

“I think a crew decision wouldn’t be a bad idea. Let people vote on it. It’s never been done before as far as I understand. Bob (Reinbold) was doing it when I started 7 1/2 years ago and he picked who succeeded,” she said. “So maybe it is time for a change. Again I am not opposed to listening to (the crew).”

She said she also wasn’t aware of a medical director picking a person to be named as an ambulance director. 

Henning Mayor Darren Wiese said in the past it was the ambulance committee that brings the recommendation for a director to the council. The committee, as well as Cook, agreed to recommend Morley.

Even though some of the crew members may not know Morley as he has just been on the ambulance service for one year, Cook spoke highly of Morley. 

“I understand where some of the people would be hesitant because they don’t know him as well as I do. I am not saying I know him that well, but I probably spent the most time in the office with him when he is on call, he is in the office because he lives outside of town,” said Cook. 

Lueders said she was also interested in being a director and has served on the crew for the past two years. 

Fosse said she would like to see more discussion from both the medical director, as well as the ambulance crew, before approving a replacement for Cook.

Husfeldt said she would be willing to assume Cook’s duties until a permanent replacement can be appointed. 

In other news

• Heard from Mike Helle about a desire from Casey Bunkowski to raise money to add a scoreboard and dugouts at the softball fields. The council gave permission to raise money for the softball field improvements, but no plan regarding the project was approved. 

• Approved a request from Carl and Debra Linderkamp to detach from the city limits. The family owns property on Airport Road and do not receive city utilities. 

• Discussed temporarily increasing deputy clerk Joseph Miller’s pay for the additional work he took on in the absence of a full-time clerk/treasurer. The council discussed an increase in wage until a new clerk/treasurer was hired, but did not approve the request after hearing concerns raised by Willow Creek Executive Director Lisa Augustus who said she also requested a pay raise but has not received one until a rate study was completed. She questioned the reason why Miller would be approved for a temporary increase, but not herself. 

• Approved selling a city-owned vacant lot north of Dennis and Cynthia Sales home for a cost of $2,500. The Sales said the property has been determined to be unbuildable and would like to space for additional green space. The city will split the closing costs associated with selling the property to the Sales family.

• Heard from Henning School Superintendent Melissa Sparks about the potential to purchase the Hollow and tennis courts from the city. The area would be used for a new playground and outdoor space for the school should a building levy be approved in the fall by voters. Sparks requested the city sell the tennis courts and the Hollow area for $1 should the building levy be approved in the fall. Utility Supervisor Ted Strand asked about potential drainage issues with the Hollow and tennis court area, as well as if the city would need more space should the wastewater plant need to be expanded in the future. The city said it will speak with its engineer to look at any potential concerns with selling or giving up that property to the school in the future. 

• Heard from Schliemann about the CSAH 67 utility and street improvements and main wastewater lift station improvements. The council had 60 days to award the bid, which ended July 13. The city held off on awarding the bid to see if it would receive PFA funding. The city received an 80 percent grant for the project but did not receive the grant fund due to a lacking of funding at the state level.

• Discussed the water treatment facility which is over 20 years old. City engineer Bob Schliemann said most facilities like Henning’s have about a 20 year useful life so work may be needed in the future at the facility. He said the city can complete a preliminary facility plan to identify what updates may be needed at the water treatment facility in the future. The cost of the preliminary facility plan would be $24,900.

• Heard an update on the city’s electrical project. Utility Supervisor Ted Strand said Legacy  could complete the second and third phases of the electrical project as soon as this fall. As part of the project the city will take down all of the overhead poles that are no longer needed, put the electrical wires underground and trim trees in the city. The preliminary cost to complete all of the phase two and phase three project would be $50,000-100,000.

• Approved approximately $23,000 to repair a failing well in the City of Henning. Strand said well four is not producing the amount of water it should be producing and is in need of immediate repair. Should the city not repair the well in time it could be too late to repair and would need to be replaced. 

• Accepted a donation from Lloyd Amundson for playground equipment and improvements at Amundson Park, as well as a donation from and Espeland Foundation to install a sidewalk from the existing sidewalk to the bathroom and the picnic shelter in the city park. 

• Approved correcting the property lines for the senior citizens center and listing the building with a real estate agent. Wiese said the estimate he received for the building was $80,000.

• Heard the City of Henning received $52,000 from its insurance company to replace the roof at Countryview Apartments. The city received a bid for $52,000 to replace the roof with a 30 year shingle.