Menahga council supports youth program

The city will pay $1,526 this year to support the Wadena County Community Concern for Youth program.

The Menahga city council accepted a resolution Tuesday to sponsor the Wadena County Community Concern for Youth (CCY) program.

The city will pay $1,526 in 2020 to support at-risk youth. Menahga School, which had the largest student population in Wadena County in 2018 with 1,025 students, contributed $3,341.

Dan Huebsch from Community Corrections for Todd and Wadena counties told council members the program has been helping at-risk youth since 1975.

Referrals mainly come from schools and mental health organizations.

“It’s my job to keep the youth out of the criminal justice system,” he said.


Last year he had 67 new referrals in Wadena county. The program runs all year. Youth help with community clean ups, completing 206 hours of community service and 339 volunteer hours. The CCY garden kept 21 students busy and provided more than 1,200 pounds of donated food.

Students also do activities such as hiking, biking and kayaking during the summer.

Huebsch said his emphasis is prevention and education on topics such as vaping, bullying and internet safety. “We reached almost 1,300 students county-wide last year with information,” he said. Mentorships have the goal of keeping students out of trouble.

He said he meets with at-risk students on a weekly basis. Students referred may have a citation or be someone who is “falling through the cracks.”

Incentives for students who improve their behavior include donated tickets to major sporting events, Huebsch said. Students may be in the program for a few months or for years, depending on their need.

Intakes for the program are done with a parent or guardian. “I try to be that bridge between home and school,” he said.

Mayor Joanie Limatta said she thinks investing in the program is a good idea. “I’m all for nipping any trouble in the bud,” she said. “All it takes is a little bit of the positive.”

In other action the council:


  • Heard about the reconstruction of State Aid Highway 17 between Fern Ave. and Ironwood Ave. Work is planned for the summer of 2020 to enhance the safety of the road by flattening the curves. Compensation to the city for the 23,522 square feet permanent easement at five cents per square foot will be $1,176. The county will be responsible for seeding, mulching and sodding the area following reconstruction.

  • Heard from Green Pine Acres Administrator Laura Ahlf that construction is expected to be completed in mid-March. Ahlf said occupancy at the facility for January was 83 percent.

  • Discussed options for workplace facilitation and committee meeting posting with new city attorney Ryan Fullerton of Pemberton Law Firm. “We have two attorneys who can provide seminars to keep people up to date on topics,” he said. Fullerton advised posting all meetings, including committee meetings. “My advice is just to post everything,” he said. The council discussed posting a committee meeting schedule at city hall.

  • Authorized paying up to $5,000 for a new ice machine, including a filtration system and installation, for the municipal liquor store to replace the old one that is no longer working. The facility has been using bagged ice as a temporary solution.

  • Discussed ideas for improvements for the municipal liquor store, including a new sign that could be used to promote city events. The liquor store committee plans to meet at city hall at 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 17.

  • Heard from public works director Ronald Ylienimi that a used plow truck has been purchased. Some hydrants are running to prevent freeze ups in the south part of the city. Steaming had to be done in one area with a frozen line. A new pump was installed at a lift station after the bearings on the 1995 pump overheated.

  • Heard from claims adjuster Melissa Reinhardt with the League of Minnesota Cities that they paying for repairs to the city pump house in the amount of $6,342. Plans are to jack the pump house up about 18 inches as part of the repairs so there will be enough height to get a snow plow in the area surrounding it. Insulation will also be included in the rebuild this spring. The council approved getting the work done for up to $7,000.

  • Heard from police chief Adam Gunderson that the police department had 138 calls for service in the month of January. He said the police committee discussed hiring a part-time officer. Only two people applied, so the committee decided to reopen the position.

  • Discussed developing a simplified fire department contract.

  • Heard from city administrator Curt Krelau Jr. that $2,100 in computer equipment was purchased.

  • Heard the city was awarded a $10,000 grant to help with the veterans’ cemetery.

  • Approved sponsoring a sign through the Menahga Civic and Commerce Association promoting the municipal liquor store at the disc golf course in the Menahga city park at a cost of $250.

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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