Lost children found quickly in Menahga – Park Rapids Enterprise

On Sunday, Feb. 25, the Menahga Police Department responded to a report of two missing children.

“With a quick response from several agencies, the children were located approximately a half mile from their residence, cold, but unharmed,” wrote Menahga Police Chief Amy Lane on the department’s Facebook page.

The Wadena, Becker and Hubbard county sheriff’s offices, Menahga Fire Department, Menahga and Sebeka first responders, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Park Rapids Police Department, Astera Ambulance and community members helped with the search.

Capital outlay plan for fire department

Assistant Fire Chief Jim Day reported to the Menahga City Council on Monday, Feb. 26 that the department is forming a 25-year capital outlay plan. “I don’t think we’ve ever had one, and In today’s world, with the prices of everything – as you’re all finding out – I think it’s going to be wise to sit down and spend some time on it and figure out how we’re going to fund this stuff going forward,” he said.

For example, turnout gear has a 10-year life span. A grant purchased the gear in 2016. Costing $4,000 for head–to-toe- coverage, Day said, “if we don’t get a grant, what are we going to do?”

Air packs, at $10,000 per piece, have a 15-year life span. “We have 20 of them.”

Council member Durwin Tomperi praised the department for being proactive.

Day said the department received 10 radios, six microphones and battery chargers, all donated by McLeod County. “If we were to buy them, they’re $3,500 to $4,000 a piece. We got them for nothing,” he said, adding these are 10 to 12 years old.

Lane asked the council about the possibility of hiring Joe White full time rather than part time, starting April 1. His annual salary would cost the city $45,403.

With $4,000 in her part-time hiring budget, she inquired if he could work more than 40 hours per month.

Netland said his concern was budgetary and how the position will be funded next year.

The S&P Global rating report “constantly pointed to the weak financial condition of the city and limited reserves,” he added. “We don’t have fire power. Where is that money going to come from after this year?”

Olson said the city has budgeted for three officers in the past, but dropped the position in 2024 when they couldn’t find a replacement after White resigned in Oct. 2023.

Netland recommended reviewing the 2025 budget before making a decision.

The council tabled more discussion until the March meeting.

Lane reported the 2016 squad car needs almost $3,000 of repairs, so it’ll be parked. Lane said her repairs budget for the year is $6,000.

“I really can’t see spending half of that on this squad that we just keep dumping money into,” she said, adding that $5,000 to $6,000 was spent on it last year. Expensive equipment will be removed and relocated.

In other business, the council did this:

  • Following a closed session to evaluate Lane, they announced that she has met or exceeded expectations. Retroactive to Feb. 15, she will receive a salary step increase.
  • Heard consultant Betty Thomsen’s proposal to recognize city staff for their 5,10, 15 or 20 years of service with a certificate. 
  • Appointed Tomperi and Netland to a committee to work on Greenwood Connections’ bylaws.
  • Tabled review of the city’s personnel policy until April 22.