The Akeley City Council heard from both sides at their Aug. 13 meeting about how it might work to alternate the annual law enforcement Night to Unite with Nevis.
The even “was excellent,” Police Chief Jimmy Hansen said. “We had the Nevis Fire Department over here and also deputy Josh Oswald from the Hubbard County Sheriff’s department. I figure 200 to 300 people attended.”
Hansen estimated 10 to 20 percent of the people attending came this year’s Night to Unite came from Nevis.
A member of the Akeley Fire Board said they discussed switching the event between the two towns at a recent meeting.
“All eight members of the fire board agreed it would be a good idea to do that,” he said. “We also brought it to the fire department meeting and all members present agreed to the same thing.”
“Nevis said if the event alternated, they would provide the money on their end on their year and we would take care of it on our year,” Hansen said.
“We talked about it at the fire board because we do mutual aid with Nevis,” council member Bobbie Wosika said, adding that many children from Akeley go to Nevis School.
“There has been no decision made, but it’s good to get input and hear what people are thinking,” Mayor Brian Hitchcock said.
Kristin Fake said, as a representative of the Akeley Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event and carries the insurance for it, they would like to keep the event in Akeley.
“The Chamber went to Jimmy and started the event,” she said. “The Chamber has no interest in moving it at any time. I actually sat on the hill and counted the number of people who came to the event. Just so the town knows, more than 50 percent of the people who attended walked. Over 50 percent of the children who attended were unattended by their parents. If this goes to Nevis, we’re going to take it away from our community. There are a substantial number of people in our community who do not have driver’s licenses that couldn’t get their children to Nevis if they were to move it there. So it’s the Chamber’s position that it stays in Akeley.”
One of the audience members also commented that she would like to keep the Night to Unite in Akeley instead of alternating towns every year because it is a good opportunity to see neighbors you might not get to see otherwise.
“The council hasn’t made any decision on this,” Hitchcock said. “It came up because Nevis wanted to be here for our Night to Unite.”
“The fire chief from Nevis talked to Troy Hegg and that’s how it was brought to the fire board,” Wosika added.
“I didn’t get to go this year, but I know from the past it is a good thing for the community,” council member Billy Krotzer said. “A lot of people do walk and it was started here.”
Krotzer said it wouldn’t be taking anything away from Akeley if Nevis started their own Night to Unite either, since the concept, when the event was first started, was for each town to have their own community event.
The event in Akeley is funded by donations from multiple organizations including the Lions, Eastern Hubbard County Fire District and the City of Akeley.