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Osakis Voices: Please follow evaluation process

Well, the Todd County Board of Appeal and Equalization met on June 17 at 6 p.m., with 13 residents on the agenda and others in attendance. Many complained that it is hard for them to attend their local Appeal and Equalization meetings because they are usually in the morning or early afternoon on a work day.

I believe we could set them up in the evening, but then we would have to pay county staff overtime. The board dropped a few evaluations and left some the same. So remember next year when you receive the blue tax evaluations, please follow the process. Please go to the city/township meeting first, then the county meeting. It is not perfect, but it is your right.

In other county news, the financial committee is working hard on the 2020 budget. District 5 has a lot of road construction going on this summer. Starting in July, County Roads 37 (Gordon, Leslie) mill and overlay, 47 (West Union) mill and overlay and CSAH 35 (Round Prairie, Birchdale — this will be the last gravel CSAH road to be tarred in Todd County), new asphalt and gravel on County 93 (Gordon, Little Sauk).

The park board approved an observation deck in Zone 4 at Battle Point Park, which is the highest elevation at the park — about 30 plus feet above the lake. You will be able to sit and look out at beautiful Lake Osakis. News from Sauk River Watershed meeting in June was the managers passed a $1.9 million new building.

My wife and I were in the Osakis Parade June 23. A big thank you to Vicki Hinrichs and the Osakis Lions Club for their hard work putting this on. Also, thank you to my brother, Al, and his wife, Betty, for the use of that bright yellow 1973 Plymouth CUDA. Then right after the parade, my church, First Presbyterian, held its annual pie and ice cream social, which was very well attended. I want to thank everyone that came and enjoyed sloppy joes, hot dogs, chips, watermelon and of course, pie and ice cream. I'd also like to thank Osakis Family Foods. It it is a blessing to have them in our community because they are so willing to always order anything we need for any event we have at church.

Our next parade is the West Union Fourth of July parade. This is a great parade to attend. Also, please come to Osakis for the fantastic fireworks that evening, which has been provided by the Osakis Fire Department for many years.

I was notified that I have to renew my driver's license; you now have a few options to choose from — 1. Standard driver's license or ID card. 2. Enhanced driver's license or ID card (ED/EID) 3. Real ID-compliant driver's license or ID card. All I can say is, please go to mndriveinfo.org. This site will tell you what documentation you will need for which license/ID.

There are times when I attend meetings that I will make the statement that I'm taking off my commissioner hat and attending as a taxpayer/resident. One example was at the May Sauk River Watershed meeting when it came time for public comment. My family has had a lake lot on Osakis for over 60 years and we recently had a well drilled. Both neighbors' wells were around 82 feet deep, all within 30 feet from the lake. Ours came back with a high level of arsenic. The state level is 10.0 ug/L and ours was 25.74, which is concerning. A few years ago, Todd County did well checking and found some wells in the southern part of the county to have arsenic. And remember, all wells are registered with the Minnesota Department of Health.

We are working with the well driller to lower the arsenic level. Then it comes out that some of the bottled water that is sold by Target and Walmart has arsenic in it. So if you are not sure what your well water analysis is, have it checked.

Having lived by Lake Osakis all of my life, one of my fondest memories in the late 1960s, early 70s was Barefoot Louie's at the end of the lake. It was there that I learned how to roller skate. A lot of basketball games were also played there. Guys came from Clarissa, Long Prairie, Grey Eagle, Sauk Centre and Osakis. Bands also played there. It was a fun place. Unfortunately, it burned down. It was owned by Louie Triebenbach and family and yes, he was barefoot a lot, even in cold weather. After the fire, the land was sold and Chet's was built.

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Osakis Voices is a rotating column written by community leaders who share their thoughts in their field of expertise.