Annual responders, police, library reports fill Elkhart Lake Village Board’s agenda

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – The Village Board heard annual reports from the Police Department, the First Responders and the library at their meeting Tuesday.

The board met at the fire hall instead of at the Grashorn Municipal Building as a consequence of water damage at the municipal building.

“We had water damage in our records room, so our records are in our meeting room,” until the records room can be repaired, Village President Alan Rudnick said.

A pipe apparently froze and flooded the records room, he explained. The village has filed an insurance claim, which was approved, and has hired a contractor to reconstruct the room.

“Hopefully they’ll be done in the next two weeks. Until then, we basically told everybody who uses the meeting room to find another place to meet,” Rudnick told the board.

Library Director Betty McCartney utilized the fire station’s video equipment to present her report to the board.

While circulation was down slightly in 2013 from 2012, McCartney noted that 2012 was the library’s best year for circulation in more than 10 years and the 2013 numbers were still higher than in previous years.

“Our young adult and juvenile circulation has continued to grow. Our library programs have been growing and are doing a good job of bringing people in. Our summer reading program numbers have gone up. We like to see that,” she told the board.

The library continues to increase its electronic and digital collections and usage, Mc- Cartney added.

This year, she said, the library will be upgrading its Internet service to 10 megs and will utilize a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant to digitalize its local history collection.

Police Chief Michael Meeusen gave his first annual report to the board after succeeding former Chief Randy Boeldt in January 2013.

Meeusen said that the department had a 14 percent increase in calls for service in 2013, up to 1,436 calls. Criminal offenses were up from 30 to 56, he added.

“Like every community, we’re starting to see more substantial drugs moving in,” Meeusen told the board. He noted that the department dealt with their first heroin overdose in the village the previous weekend, as heroin abuse becomes more prevalent throughout the county and state.

“This summer will be the real test,” as far as heroin’s impact in Elkhart Lake, Meeusen added.

Two of the department’s officers – Scott Niemi and Sean Pringle – received life saving awards for their role in a successful CPR treatment in the village last summer.

First Responder Secretary Cassandra Schuh also highlighted the successful CPR incident in her report to the board. “It was the second save with CPR in the unit’s history,” she explained.

The police officers were able to remove the victim from his vehicle when First Responders were unable to, making it possible for the First Responders to apply CPR successfully.

Schuh said the First Responders answered 140 calls in 2013. Of those, 69 were in the village, 66 in the town of Rhine and five mutual aid calls.

“We continue to place public access defibrillators and teach CPR classes in the village. If anyone is interested in either of these they should contact one of the First Responders,” Schuh added.

The First Responders took advantage of the space in the fire station to demonstrate the portable shelter tent they recently purchased for use at emergency scenes as needed.

Rudnick noted that the First Responders have been included in the village and town Joint Emergency Response Committee,which also oversees the fire department and emergency response.

The committee is aiming for a table top emergency response exercise involving all emergency groups scheduled for April 24.

The board approved new uniforms for the Police Department. Trustee Steve Kapellen said Meeusen reported difficulty in obtaining light blue shirts like those the department currently wears. As a result, the new uniforms will be a dark Navy blue.

Kapellen added that the new uniforms will be less expensive than the previous ones.

Trustees approved a contract with Dixon Engineering, for up to $19,700, to oversee the repainting of the village water tower.

“We looked at different options for painting the water tower and are also looking to do an inspection of the inside of the water tower,” Trustee Michael Wolf explained.

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