Pierz approves service agreement with Minnesota Power

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor

Minnesota Power, which sells wholesale electricity to the city of Pierz for resale to its residents, will now maintain the city’s electrical services.

Crow Wing Power served the city by maintaining its power lines and poles for 16 years. With the retirement of Jerry VanKeuren, the company decided to discontinue its service.

“He was always ‘Johnny-on-the-spot,’” Mayor Toby Egan said of VanKeuren.

“Even though he doesn’t live in the city of Pierz, he is truly a Pierz guy,” said Council Member Don Bujalski.

Public Works Supervisor Bob Otremba clarified comments that were quoted in a story about Minnesota Power offering quicker response, were in relation to the city’s consideration of using Brainerd Public Works.

“It kind of implied slightly that Crow Wing didn’t have a good response time, which wasn’t the case at all,” said Otremba.

Council Member Mike Menden, publicly thanked Crow Wing Power for the years of service in the city.

“I think they did an excellent job,” said Menden. “Jerry VanKeuren was basically our liaison person between the city and the power company. When he retired a couple of years ago, he still stayed on just basically for the city of Pierz and I think he did a great, excellent job.”

The service agreement will go into effect Jan. 1, 2015. However, during the meeting two weeks before, the Council noted Minnesota Power would work over the summer months to install GPS systems on the electrical poles, should the agreement be approved.

Pierz City Council Briefs


In other business Monday, the Pierz City Council:

•Approved an electrical rebate of $750.75 for Chris Hoheisel’s auto shop for installing energy-efficient lighting. The city works with Energy Insight Inc., a business that processes and tracks rebates;

•Approved liquor licenses for Patrick’s Bar and Grill; Brickyard Bar and Banquet Hall; Pierz Ballroom and Lanes; B & T Bootleggers Inc.; Lloyd’s Discount Liquor Inc.; Pierz Golf Course; a one-day license for St. Joseph’s Church and a temporary on-sale license for Pierz Legion Ball Park;

•Approved chip sealing on Fourth Avenue South, and Oak and Kapsner Streets at a cost of $19,455 by Aztech of St. Joseph and injection patchwork on Cassie Street, First Avenue Southwest and Centennial Drive by Commercial Asphalt Repair at a cost of $3,060;

•Approved hiring Fred Underhill at $9 an hour for part-time seasonal work in the public works department;

•Approved a donation of use of the shelter at Pierz Park for a “Bark/Walk for Michelle” benefit for Michelle Litke, set for Sunday, June 29. Litke was diagnosed with cancer is currently undergoing treatment;

•Approved the signing of a proclamation making June Pierz Lions Club Month in the city, in honor of the Club’s 50th anniversary. The Club will hold a celebration Wednesday, June 18, at Pierz Park, starting at 6 p.m.;

•Approved a $2,000 donation to go toward fireworks during the city’s Oktoberfest celebration in August. The Lions Club raises the other $3,000 needed for the fireworks. The donation is in addition to the $2,000 the city usually gives. The fireworks are planned in celebration of the Lions Club’s 50th anniversary and the 30th anniversary of Oktoberfest.

The Pierz City Council next meets Monday, June 9, at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.