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Green Pine Acres charged with neglect after resident injured in fall

A new Minnesota Department of Health report states that Menahga's Green Pine Acres nursing home violated state and federal regulations.

An unannounced visit was made to the facility and the report was released in June. It states that a resident "fell out of her wheelchair, causing a skin tear on her right wrist and a cut to her head requiring stitches across her forehead.

"The resident was supposed to be in a reclining chair, but was left in the hallway in a wheelchair," according to the MDH report.

The investigation concluded that neglect did occur at the facility.

At Monday's Menahga City Council meeting, Mayor Tom Larson asked Administrator Clair Erickson to explain the investigation and give more information on the report.

Erickson told the council that he received the letter dated June 25, 2009 of the incident that occurred Nov. 10, 2008 at the same time council members received it, which was Friday.

The council then directed Erickson to notify the facility's insurance carrier of the investigation.

In other business:

-Police Chief Scott Koennicke presented an ATV ordinance that the police committee has been working on for the past two months.

Councilwoman Maxine Norman said the council must hold a public hearing before voting on the ordinance.

But according to Minnesota statutes, a public hearing is required for zoning ordinances only and the council has authority to publish other ordinances without voters' approval.

Norman said that many concerned citizens have approached her about the issue, which is why a public hearing should be held.

The council set the hearing for 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 10.

-Larson reported that requests for information have been consuming a lot of the clerks' time at city hall.

Most requests include private personnel information that must be blacked out before the documents are handed to the public.

"These requests are inundating these people with work," Larson said.

-Dave Treinen, a business owner of Menahga and a member of the Civic and Commerce, suggested re-routing the Highway 71 detour in order to get traffic through town.

"The economy is tough right now, you take somebody's paycheck for two weeks and it's going to bite you," Treinen said.

The council agreed to contact the construction project managers and suggest routing traffic south on County Road 31 and up to Highway 17.

-Deputy Clerk Susie Larson reported that Wadena County will be reassessing properties on Blueberry Drive and Oak Avenue to make sure their septic systems are compliant.

The county was waiting for the council's decision on the CSAH 21 construction project before inspecting properties.

The septic systems on Blueberry Drive and Oak Avenue would have been upgraded if those two phases had been included in the project, but the council voted last week to eliminate them.

-Norman made a motion directing the Greenwood Connections board to meet in the next two weeks and draft bylaws for the board to follow and send them to the city's attorney before the council could approve them. The motion passed.

-City attorney Jeff Pederson sent a letter notifying the council that committee meetings are not subject to Open Meeting law.

"We want to make sure we are not violating the law," deputy clerk Larson said.

Norman said she doesn't agree and made a motion to open all committee meetings appointed by Mayor Larson this year. The motion died for a lack of a second.

City Administrator Teri Osterman suggested eliminating all committee meetings and instead making department heads responsible for attending council meetings.

"Committee meetings have worked in your city for the past 117 years," Osterman said. "For some reason they haven't worked for the past six months."

She added that when department heads don't attend meetings she's the one who becomes responsible for answering all questions relating to all city committees.

"I get stuck in between everybody," she said. "It's just creating a mess."

The council will try out Osterman's idea and if it doesn't work, each committee will hold its own meeting separately.