Diagonal parking change is coming close to a reality

By Robert Williams

Editor

The Vergas city council approved coordinating swimming lessons with the Frazee-Vergas community education department to replace the swimming program formerly run by Nancy Jacobson.

Swimming lessons may be offered free of charge or less than in prior years, pending the approval of grant funds being allocated for such. 

“One of the huge advantages is that there is grant money available and versus $40 per student, it’s going to run in the $10 range,” said Sherri Hanson of the Vergas Park Board Advisory Committee.

Another difference will be a pre-registration system. 

Frazee community ed has hired a formal instructor and an assistant to provide the lessons. 

The move to join the communities for this service was applauded by the mayor saying the partnership is a better fit than going it alone.

The only other expense to have the lessons in Vergas, at the beach, is a Red Cross permit is needed. That expense has typically been paid for by a donation, most recently from the Vergas Lions.

Lessons are  scheduled to be held July 7-22.

Diagonal parking 

change nearing

A change to allow diagonal parking on South 1st Avenue, between West Main Street and East Linden Avenue is close to becoming a reality. 

The change is held up due to current construction in the area and will be implemented when the center stripe of the road can be moved and repainted, according to utility superintendent Mike DuFrane.

Yard waste and feral cats

DuFrane asked the council to update residents about not blowing grass, leaves and yard waste into the street.

“It’s starting to get to be a chain reaction and they’re plugging up the storm drains,” he said.

Worse than clogged drains is the growing problem of loose cats.

“We have a serious problem with feral cats in this town,” DuFrane said.

One utility employee was forced to go through a course of rabies shots after a run-in with one of the free-wheeling felines.

According to mayor Bruhn, cat complaints rank high on the complaints her office fields from residents.

Cats were formerly licensed in the city by owners, but cats are currently excluded from the city ordinance. The council approved reviewing changes to be made to the ordinance and the purchase of tools to help aid the capture of loose cats.

EDA Annual 

Meeting May 24

The Vergas Economic Development Authority (EDA) and Housing Redevelopment Authority (HRA) annual meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 24 at 6 p.m. (5:30 p.m. social) at the Event Center. 

The event will include tours of new buildings, guest speakers on the city’s comprehensive plan and jobs. Spanky’s will provide the bar for the event. 

Hazard mitigation 

plan adopted

The council adopted the Otter Tail County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan. A group of city officials and emergency workers completed a local assessment of hazards during a city exercise in April of 2021. 

High risk conditions were listed as blizzard, ice storm, wind storm, extreme cold, lightning and as a moderate risk tornado based on the past five years and other historical data.

“This ensures that we get assistance as being part of the county,” said mayor Julie Bruhn.

The city also has an emergency plan. The mayor noted that plan will be updated in the near future.

The county plan is in place to document the progress Otter Tail County and local communities have made to mitigate—eliminate or reduce the impact of—each natural hazard. It also identifies further action steps that can be taken to continue the reduction of hazards and their impacts. 

The plan is available at ottertailcountymn.us/content-page/mitigation/

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has made reducing hazards one of its primary goals, and a primary mechanism in achieving this goal is both the hazard mitigation planning process and the subsequent implementation of resulting projects, measures, and policies (FEMA, 2015).

From 1980 to 2020, damages due to natural disasters in the U.S. exceeded $1.875 trillion. 2017 was the costliest year on record with $306 billion in damage.