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Council talks about 'rat house,' liquor store

The "rat house" may soon be a thing of the past in Osakis.

At the Oct. 1 Osakis City Council meeting, Police Chief Chad Gulbranson shared that the vacant home on Eighth Avenue is in the process of being sold, which should soon be followed by its demolition. The house has been overrun with rats and are running around the neighborhood, according to council members.

"I have gotten word that the house has sold. ... We're very close," Gulbranson said. "It's a person not in town, but very close from town."

The closing date on the house will be "hopefully soon," Gulbranson said, adding that the indication is that the buyer will knock the house down.

Another ongoing topic was the Osakis Liquor Store, which "had a very good month," according to store manager Julie Didier. In September, the liquor store had an off-sale loss of $3,812 and an on-sale profit of $3,365. Didier said she bought more product because beer prices were going up so the inventory amount increased $9,510.

The council also discussed the effectiveness of the advertising that the liquor store does. In September, the liquor store spent $1,694 on advertising between off-sale and on-sale, which is higher than the 2018 monthly average of $1,151.

Councilmember Jerry Olson said he was concerned with the advertising's effectiveness, specifically coupons, and Didier agreed to check into the liquor store's advertising strategy.

By a 5-0 decision, the council also approved a resolution opposing the concept of allowing strong beer, spirits and wine to be sold, for off-premise consumption, at any outlet other than the liquor store.

The resolution is in response to state legislation that was discussed last session and is expected to be talked about again in the upcoming session.

Other action

In other action, the council:

• Approved the putting up of a skating rink in the open lot downtown.

• Approved three new members to the Osakis Fire Department — Bob Kallstrom, Cole Johnson and Allan Stoll.

• Approved the buying of lighted garland for Christmas decorations downtown. The garland costs $150 each for 30, totaling $4,500.

• Discussed vandals who have yet to be caught after vandalizing with green spray paint, likely late at night. However, Gulbranson said he is "confident we'll figure out who is responsible."

• Heard a presentation from the organization Toward Zero Deaths, a coalition striving to decrease traffic-related injuries and fatalities in Douglas County through collaborative and preventative partnership efforts of education, engineering, enforcement, and emergency medical and trauma services.

Micah Friez

Micah Friez covers Bemidji State basketball and BSU for the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing. Follow him on Twitter at @micahfriez for Beaver basketball updates.

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