Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Spring is Coming

For those of you tired of the long, dreary winter and drawn out cold weather, Baldwin Greenhouse owner James Karlson assures us that spring is indeed coming. And James has the flowers and vegetables already growing to prove it.

Already, said James, there are hundreds of thousands-too many to count-flowers in colorful bloom at Baldwin Greenhouse. He also has vegetables, trees and climbing vines growing.

It's still too early for flowers and other plants to go outside, said James, and gardeners need to wait until there is some warmth in the ground-Mother's Day at least. But there are some annuals as well as some varieties of vegetables that can be planted early.

James said that by this coming weekend he hopes to have the Baldwin Greenhouse retail area in operation-at least in a limited way for those who can't wait for spring's blooms and may be bringing their plants inside each evening.

USH 63 Reconstruction Meeting Held

A meeting was held Monday morning in Baldwin featuring Wisconsin Department of Transportation officials and representatives of the firm that will be doing the work on USH 63.

According to Neil Bakke of Monarch Paving, the tentative start date is May 5. In general, Bakke said, the project will be done in halves, with the east half of the highway undergoing reconstruction first and traffic re-routed to the west half of the highway. The construction will also proceed generally from south to north.

The 63 improvement project will stretch from where 63 north of I-94 goes from four lanes to two lanes to the intersection where USH 12 goes to the west.

The project will include a new stop light at Fern Drive/60th Avenue. On the village's south side, there will be turn lanes and a lane for straight-ahead traffic to travel. In the village's "urban area" (roughly from north of the creek to Hillcrest) there will be two-way left turn lanes installed. Following the project there will be no parking on USH 63 in the village.

A large part of the project, and a factor in the timing of aspects of the construction, will be replacement of the bridge over the Baldwin Creek by a box culvert which will be built in phases.

On either side of the railroad tracks there will be short concrete islands built to direct traffic.

At no time will USH 63 be closed to through traffic, although there may be some delays of several minutes at various times.

Appointments made by Village Board

In addition to annual appointments, the Baldwin Village Board reviewed results of a compliance investigation by the St. Croix Underage Drinking Coalition, presented by Baldwin Police Chief Jim Widiker.

In the latest check, done by an underage person at each establishment licensed to sell alcoholic beverages in the village, six establishments passed and six failed. Failing the check were: Kwik Trip #747 (at I-94); Liquor Haus; Klinker's Korner; Kwik Trip #696; Kum & Go; and Freedom Value Center. Passing the check were: Eggen's Super Market; Nilssen's Super Valu; Bol's Lanes & Lounge; Citgo/Super Truck Stop; Coachman Supper Club; and Lumber Company.

According to the information presented by Widiker, in the September 2007 Compliance check, failing were: Kum & Go; Bol's Lanes; Citgo; and the Coachman. In the April 2007 Check, all the establishments checked in Baldwin passed; however, four establishments weren't checked at that time.

*In other action at the meeting, board members held an extensive discussion with Steve Olson, a pastor and president of non-profit Impact Ministries, Inc. Olson said he intends to rent, initially, four rooms at the Bradshaw Motel (Baldwin Manor) at 640 Main Street and house eight men who have had trouble with the law and substance abuse problems. According to Olson's proposal: "The intent is to provide an environment of restoration and accountability that will counter the effects of drugs and alcohol."

Olson said participants in the program would be referred by St. Croix County Courts and would be required to be sober, employed, attend meetings nightly and become active members of a local church.

Olson noted that the program will be limited to men, and will not accept anyone with a violent or sex offender background.

The concerns of board members dealt mainly with placing tenants in a environment that currently generates many police calls. Olson said participants will have a separate block of rooms with a separate entrance and there will be stringent guidelines for keeping Olson's clients away from others who live there. He said that if the program works out he will require more rooms, leading to "a slow regeneration of the building."

On a voice vote the board passed a motion in support of the program on a five to two margin.

*The Board passed an Arbor Day proclamation. It will be celebrated in Baldwin with planting trees with the assistance of children in the Community Preschool.

*Board of review was set for May 14, at which time the Board will adjourn until Wednesday, July 23.

*The Board passed a motion allowing Fireworks and More to hold a customer appreciation event at which there will be a fireworks demonstration. The event will be held May 17.

*Bids were accepted for the Main Street from 11th Avenue to 13th Avenue reconstruction work. The low bid was by Albrightson Excavating of $211,000, which is under the budgeted amount. A second project for parking lot and curb and gutter at both the Fire Hall and EMS garage was tabled because the bids were over the estimates.

Annual Village Appointments

Village Board Committees: Streets & Municipal Buildings: Trustees Kevin Brathol and Claire Stein; Water & Sewer: Trustees Brathol and Duane Russett; Budget & Finance: Trustees Greg Larson and Willie Zevenbergen; Parks & Recreation: Trustees Larson and Stein; Public Safety & Personnel: Trustees Doug Newton and Russett; United Fire and Rescue: Trustee Russett
(alternate Trustee Brathol); Care Center: Trustee Newton; Hospital Board: Village President Don McGee; Ambulance Committee: Trustees Zevenbergen and Larson (along with EMS Department Chief Craig Nelson and Sandy Reed).

Board of Review: President McGee, Village Administrator Cindy Deringer and Trustees Newton and Larson.

Citizen and Board Appointments: Zoning Board of Appeals: Jon Veenendaal (chair), Don Timmerman, Harold Grotenhuis, Randy Myer and Josh Keeney. Labor Management Committee (To study health insurance issues): Ron Phernetton (union member) and Trustee Newton.

John Traxler was appointed Director of Public Works as well as: Weed Commissioner and Forester.

Planning Commission: President McGee (chair), Jon Eggen, Scott Husby, John Walker, Jamie Klund, Willie Zevenbergen and Nancy Hable.

United Civic Center: Trustee Larson, Jay Monson, Russ Schultz, Dale Fern and Rollie Rieck.

Cemetery Advisory Board: Trustees Larson and Stein and Steve Boldt, Sextant, Bernard Lewis, Assistant Sextant, Mona Vande Berg and Dixie Chermack.

Urban Forestry Board: Public Works Director Traxler, Mike Stoffel, Chris Ruch and Trustee Stein.

Downtown Facade Loan Program/Micro Loan Program Committee: Dale Jensen, Larry Knegendorf, Dale Fern, Dave Mattison, Trustee Zevenbergen.

Police Discipline Committee: Gerry Neeley, Bob Niccum and Steve Boldt.

Library Board: Dave Phernetton, Kathy Meyer, Joni Wernlund, Trudy Klanderman, Joan Heebink and Library Director Rebecca Dixon.

Village Employees: Cynthia Deringer-Administrator/Clerk-Treasurer; Kay Suckow-Deputy Treasurer; Sue Brathol-Deputy Clerk; John Traxler-Director of Public Works; Gary Newton-Waste Water Treatment Operator; Jim Widiker-Chief of Police; Connie Juen-Police Department Administrative Assistant; Alicia Widiker-Police Clerical; Shelly Lansing-Clerk of Court; Steve Boldt-Cemetery Sextant; Craig Nelson-EMS Department Chief; Brandon Whitmer-Office manager/EMS specialist.

Professional services: Auditor-Wipfli Ullrich Bertelson; Attorney-Bakke Norman; Consulting Engineer Ayres Associates-Mike Stoffel; Building Inspector/Zoning Administrator-Brian Wert.

Local Students Compete in National Science Fair

Pictured from left to right in the front row are Kristin Cuta (MNSA Science Teacher), Ali Porter, Minneapolis and Brienna Herold, Spring Valley. In the back row are Sveta Anderson, Forest Lake, Scott Symes, Baldwin, Jessica Oldfather, Savage, and Jared Treichel, Cottage Grove.

Minnesota North Star Academy, a charter school that serves deaf, hard-of-hearing, and deaf/blind high school students, announced that six students competed in the National Science Fair the weekend of March 14th. The fair took place at the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York

Competing in the event were Baldwin resident Scott Symes and Brienna Herold of Spring Valley. Other North Star students participating were Sveta Anderson, Jessica Oldfather, Allison Porter, and Jared Treichel.

Jared Treichel's science fair project, Testing the Magnitic Field and Plasma Interactions," placed third in the High Schgool Individual Competition. Scott Symes and Brienna Herold received an Honorable Mention for their science fair project, "Perceptive vs. Reality."

Minnesota North Star Academy focuses on bilingual education, teaching in both American Sign Language and English.