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Akeley council votes to thin conifer patch along Highway 34 for tree health

The Akeley Council agreed to re-solicit bids to thin the conifers that run parallel to Highway 34 for a few blocks in the city.

The city was approached in 2010 regarding the need to thin the trees, according to Brad Witkin of the Department of Natural Resources. An appraisal was conducted, he said of the timber that's owned partly by the city, partly by the DNR.

"We thought it would sell via word of mouth, but we had no luck," Witkin said.

He recommends taking down about a third of the trees, to maintain the health of the remaining conifers.

Akeley resident Jim Moore said Boy Scouts planted the trees in the 1950s. "If they are thinned, trees should be planted as a windbreak," he recommends.

The appraisal remains valid, Witkin told the council. The next step is to request bids from loggers.

Brian Hitchcock made the motion to pursue bids, noting, "This doesn't mean they will sell."

In other action, the council:

n Agreed to make a donation of up to $1,000 to Paul Bunyan Days.

Peg Davies presented a budget of $9,225 for the event to be held June 22-24 this year.

A 2011 financial report shows Eastern Hubbard County Fire District donated $8,500, Lions provided $500 and the turkey federation $100 for the annual event.

The 2011 report presented to the council reflects a beginning balance of $1,595, totaling $10,694 with donations.

Income from events was $2,755 last year. Expenses were $10,922 in 2011.

n Agreed to donate $750 from the Community Fund for National Night Out, to be held Aug. 7 this year. The event, geared to youth, will be co-hosted by the Akeley Chamber, Akeley Lions and police department.

Inflatable rides and a band will entertain kids. LED flashlights will be distributed, food will be served and T-shirts given away.

n Reported a liquor store net income of $905 in April, minus $3,087 year to date.

n Agreed not to use the option of mail balloting, at the recommendation of Pam Heeren, county auditor. The move would cost the city approximately $5,000.