Thursday, April 17, 2014
   
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Crookston Fire Update

Evacuation of Crookston was ordered due to an aggressive wildfire threatening the area, which reportedly originated in South Dakota from an unknown cause.   According to fire reports, the fire was "in the houses west edge of Crookston".  The Carver road, which had been an access for firefighters, is no longer a viable access due to the fire.  According to fire chief Terry Engles, as of about 4:30 pm there was zero containment of the fire.  As of 5:30, the fire chief has advised that no houses have been lost as of this time, and the fire was at Hwy 20, but had not yet crossed highway 20.   Law enforcement has restricted traffic from west of Valentine to west of Crookston.  This fire is moving due south east due to the high winds, so persons downwind of the fire are being advised to have an evacuation plan in place.

The Valentine fire chief has advised that the fire department would be in need of supplies at some time in the future, and there are several cancellations due to this fire, including the Valentine Health and Fitness classes for Wednesday night, bowling for wednesday night, the youth group at Our Savior Lutheran church, and services at the First Baptist Church.

People with displaced horses can bring them to the Cherry County Fairgrounds, fire evacuee dogs will be accepted at Butler's Vet Clinic, The United Methodist Church in Valentine north of the high school advised that displaced persons can stay there; the Assembly of God also has 6 bedrooms available (call 402-376-6262), and the Wacky West Campgrounds is available for people to park their livestock and/or living quarters trailers.

As of the posting of this story, about  30 fire departments have been assisting in fighting this fire, including Wood Lake, Hyannis, Thedford, Brownlee, Merriman, Cody, Kilgore, Ainsworth, and Valentine.

 

Fire Chief Orders Evacuation of Crookston

Valentine Fire Chief has ordered the evacuation of Crookston due to the aggressive fire northwest of Crookston.  Persons downwind of the fire are advised to prepare themselves for the possibility of additional evacuations.

 

Tribal Transportation

Officials from South Dakota's nine Native American tribes will gather with state and federal leaders on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss transportation safety on reservations.
The 3rd annual Tribal Transportation Safety Summit will bring together tribal officials to discuss effective crash reporting, road safety audits, highway safety plans and traffic-safety programs. The two-day program will also feature information about resources available to tribes from state, federal and nonprofit agencies and groups.
The event's opening session will focus on the tribes' best practices for transportation safety. Sen. Tim Johnson is also slated to address summit participants.
The summit will be held in Todd County.

   

Fire South of Valentine Oct. 13th

 

The Valentine Volunteer Fire Department was called out to a wildfire about 1:30 on Saturday afternoon south of Valentine in the Schlagle Creek area south of the Niobrara River. According to Fire chief Terry Engles, as of Sunday evening it had burned about 150 acres of steep canyon area and some grassland. Fire crews from several departments responded when Valentine called for mutual aid. Departments responding included; Cody, Kilgore, Thedford, Wood Lake, Purdum, Halsey, Dunning and Fort Niobrara. Numerous ranchers also responded with fire fighting rigs. It is believed that lightning from a passing light shower may have sparked the blaze which burned about 150 acres. It started as a grass fire southwest of the canyon area with strong winds helping to spread the fire into the canyon area.

 

Regular City Council Meeting

The Valentine City Council met Thursday night for a regular monthly meeting at the Valentine Public Library meeting room. One of the first items on the agenda was discussion on a request by Bob Bennett to vacate 8th Street between Haley and Government Streets. It would take a city ordinance to vacate the old street that has not been open to public use for numerous years. There was discussion that if the street were to be vacated, it should have to be purchased by the adjacent landowners. No action was taken at this time.

Ray Mills was present to request approval of a pawn license for Winifred Mills which was approved. The Pawn Shop would be opened at 411 North Main Street.

The council approved a proclamation designating October as Head Start Awareness month.

The issue of an airport advisory board was discussed and a resolution to create and appoint the board was approved. No appointments were made at this time.

The council discussed establishing a reserve fund to save money for a new or remodeled city hall facility. A suggestion was made to put $100,000 each year in a restricted use fund to be used for a future building or remodel project. The money would have to come from the sales tax income designated for infrastructure. A resolution will be drafted to set up the fund.

Refinancing of the water and landfill loans was discussed. Money in the water department reserve fund will be used to pay off the water loan, and money from the electric fund will be borrowed to pay off the landfill loan. The electric fund will be repaid with 2% interest.

An ordinance to revise the municipal code providing for revised electric rates was approved. NPPD will be increasing electric rates to the city by over 4% beginning in January. City manager Shane Siewart suggested a 4.8% increase to cover the cost of the increase and to allow for future expenses. The increase would mean roughly a $5 increase per one hundred dollars of electric use.

The final item on the agenda was a grant for storm sewer improvements in the south part of Valentine which suffers from flooding during heavy rains. The grant would cover 75% of the cost of the 4 million dollar project. The council voted to apply for the grant.

   

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