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Nevis' Uff Da Days volunteers have generous spirit of giving

Barb Sergot, left, and Vivian McDunn, both of Nevis, staffed one of Uff Da Days' most popular booths last year. They sold Scandinavian tchotchkes, T-shirts, flags and other memorabilia. Strangely enough, there were no festival attendees wearing the Viking helmets - until the beer garden was well underway. (Enterprise photo)

Ole and Lena jokes are seemingly endless in creativity and imagination.

And the generosity of Nevis' Uff Da Days committee appears endless as well.

The Nevis-based organization hosts a weekend-long family event each summer feting Scandinavian heritage. The 8th annual Ole and Lena celebration is slated for Aug. 26-27.

Proceeds are donated to a variety of charitable concerns, which last year earned the organization a local Touchstone Energy Award. Approximately $6,000 has been donated since the event's inception.

This week, Russ Hensel arrived at the Nevis Council meeting to propose the organization's donation of a flagpole at the city's Lakeview Cemetery, pending space availability.

The committee is proposing a 9- by 6-foot planter box, three feet in height that would hold a 25-foot lighted flagpole.

The committee will supply flags, an estimated three per year. The city would be responsible for electricity costs.

The council expressed appreciation for the donation and agreed to accept, pending a viewing to determine location.

The nonprofit Uff Da Days group, which is not affiliated with the C&C, has donated money on international, national and local levels since its formation.

Members used proceeds to create a memorial fund for a co-founder of the event, Gloria Van Nyhuis. She and Mary Perry were the event's instigators. Perry recently stepped down as the event's "CEO."

Nevis parks, First Responders, the C&C, Hubbard County Food Shelf and Headwaters Animal Shelter have been beneficiaries.

Last year, for example, the committee donated to Haiti Relief efforts, Babe Ruth baseball, Headwaters Intervention Center, the Pam Lindow Scholarship "308 Club," the Suncoast Bird Sanctuary from Avery's Walk for Wildlife and Nevis supplies.

The gifts in 2010 totaled $2,305.

And this was earned while entertaining summer guests with humor, food and music, as well as dinners hosted during the year.

New members are welcome. Nevis residency is optional; a sense of humor is mandatory.

Currently, the organization is 13 members strong with an 11-member board.

The committee meets at 5 p.m. the first Thursday of the month at the city hall.

In other action, the council:

n Learned a country-folk-rock-bluegrass jam will be held in conjunction with Muskie Days, July 22-23.

Brian Skinness of Terrapin Station told the council plans call for live music to begin 4 p.m. Friday and again Saturday afternoon until closing.

He said 10 bands have confirmed to date with two stages planned, a tent and the Muskie Pavilion. He estimates admission will be less than $10, with wristbands possibly sold.

n Approved hiring Lisa Kamrowski as liquor store manager at an annual salary of $32,500.

Kamrowksi has lived in Nevis three years, working at the liquor store on a part-time basis.

Kamrowski reported several promotions in February and March, including a hotdish cook-off tonight and a benefit for Brian and Sara Halik Feb. 26. The Haliks lost their home to fire earlier this month.

A Mardi Gras Cajun Fest will be held March 5, a corned beef and cabbage dinner benefiting the Hubbard County Food Shelf will be March 17 and a meatloaf cook-off is on the docket March 19.

n Reported liquor store income of negative $356 in January.

n Learned the Nevis Fire Department received a $29,000 grant for state certification of firefighters.

Certification is needed to qualify for grants, chief Kerry Swenson explained. Training will be done in-house, which is expected to begin in September and completed by April 2012.

He reported Lake George has expressed an interest in purchasing the old Jaws of Life. Swenson recommended the cost be $400.

n Tabled action on purchasing a "no lifeguard on duty" sign for Halvorson Park.

n Set a board of appeal and equalization meeting for 8:30 a.m. Friday, April 22 in the administration building.

n Granted a $200 donation to the Headwaters Animal Shelter, noting the shelter houses the city's stray animals.

n Denied a request for a donation to Kinship of the Park Rapids Area, noting this should be addressed at a budget meeting.

Mayor Paul Schroeder urged caution in making donations of this nature. "Once we do it, it continues. It's a good program buy we're trying to watch our dollars."

n Approved a request from Arvig Communication Systems to remove the Muskie Park phone booths.

n Will add Terry Greenawalt, deputy clerk, to the signature card at Northwoods Bank.