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Akeley will offer SAFE Parks Program again this year

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BY JEAN RUZICKA

The SAFE Parks Program will once again offer children in the Akeley and Nevis areas a “safe, educational and fun place for children to go during the summer months.”

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Brandi Vredenburg approached the Akeley Council this week for a donation, $500 granted, for the program based on the waterfront at the Akeley park. Kids age 8 up to 17 years, and ages 7 and under with supervision, are welcome to come for a day of arts and crafts and games and fun.

This year, Vrendenburg hopes to acquire knitting and crocheting needles and yarn to teach kids a new skill.

When it rains, kids and supervisors head to the Akeley Regional Community Center for a day of indoor fun.

The program will be offered from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday from mid-June through mid-August, “depending on the budget.”

Now working through a food program, lunch will be served Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Attendance ranges from 10 to 25 a day, Vredenburg said.

“It gives the kids something to do,” she said. Unsupervised time, especially for younger children, can have negative effects. Kids are more likely to commit crimes, be victims of crime or experiment with drugs or alcohol.

“It’s a wonderful program,” Headwaters Intervention Center director Chris Swenson agrees. “Brandi does a great job with the kids.”

Park Rapids, she said, currently has no director for the SAFE Parks program.

While the Akeley program is funded through the Headwaters Intervention Program, donations are welcome.

Art materials and sporting equipment, including yard games, are needed with monetary donations welcome. Sunscreen for kids is always in short supply, Vredenburg said.

For information on making a donation, contact Vredenburg at 652-2919.

In other action, the council:

n Reported liquor store earnings of $13,324 through February, liquor store manager Lacey Hitchcock attributing it to “snow” and snowmobilers. The muni reported net earnings of $5,379 in January.

The net earnings are substantially higher than what’s been seen in recent years for the same period.

n Approved a fire contract amount of $12,585 for the remaining nine months of the year. This does not include additional $4,000 for equipment or First Response costs. Total contract amount is reported to be $16,906.

Brian Hitchcock, who found a miscalculation in the city’s amount last year, asked that he be reinstated on the fire board, replacing Trygve Karl.

Council members approved.

n Reported a roof leak at the city hall due to ice build-up that caused damage in the storage room. An insurance claims adjustor is coming to survey the damage, clerk-treasurer Sebrina Hegg told the council.

n Approved adding the campground to a coupon book the Chamber has put together to be distributed in conjunction with the Governor’s Fishing Opener in Park Rapids in mid-May. The book will be given out free; 1,000 have been printed.

n Took no action on funding requests from the Headwaters Center for Lifelong Learning, UCAN and the Akeley Community Library due to lack of representation by the parties.

n Tabled a request to purchase file cabinets for the city hall, Hitchcock noting that it’s not in the budget.

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