Mitchell Council moves to rename park in honor of Iszabella Morgan
Iszabella "Bella" Morgan played in Northridge Park and, if a City Council proposal is approved, her name will always be associated with it. The council voted to launch an effort to rename the park in honor of Morgan, who was killed in a two-vehic...
Iszabella "Bella" Morgan played in Northridge Park and, if a City Council proposal is approved, her name will always be associated with it.
The council voted to launch an effort to rename the park in honor of Morgan, who was killed in a two-vehicle crash March 24. She was 9, and the fatal crash sparked an outpouring of emotion and support for her family in Mitchell.
Councilman Mel Olson said Monday night that Councilman Ken Tracy came up with the idea, but Tracy, who is running for mayor, wanted to delay announcing it until after the election so it didn't appear he was playing politics.
Olson said he feels it should go to the city Parks, Recreation and Forestry Board first, and getting started Monday could prevent a long delay, since it otherwise might miss the board's June 7 meeting.
"It we wait until after the election we lose a month or six weeks," he said.
If it is approved by the Parks Board and the council, the park, located at the corner of 11th Avenue and Foster Street, could be rededicated Sept. 6, which is Morgan's birthday, Olson said.
That's a Thursday, a school day, he said, and students could attend the ceremony if school officials approve.
Tracy and Olson said they have heard of efforts to rename Duff Street in her honor, since the fatal crash occurred at the intersection of Duff and First Avenue, and of placing a sign there that said "Think."
That's not the right way or place to remember her, Olson said.
Tracy said he feels changing the park's name would show the community wants to pay tribute to Morgan. He said Olson talked him into making the idea public at Monday's meeting.
"I didn't want to have it perceived I was doing anything for political favor," he said. "Having it sent to the Park Board is I think a good idea."
The committee could also develop a formula for how and when the city renames public property, he said.
Olson said he has not spoken with Morgan's family, but said he feels they would accept the honor.
"I understand a memorial of some kind would be welcomed," he said.
"I think this is a great idea," Council President Jeff Smith said.
It can also serve as a way to remind people of the dangers of drinking and driving, Smith said.
The motion passed 7-0, with Councilman Phil Carlson abstaining since his law firm is involved in the case, he said after the meeting.
The driver of the vehicle that reportedly struck the car Morgan was in, Michael Sedlmeier, was driving drunk, speeding and fleeing a police officer, according to court documents.
Sedlmeier was indicted by a grand jury for first-degree manslaughter, drunken driving, aggravated eluding, vehicular homicide, hit-and-run causing death or injury and reckless driving. He remains in the Davison County Jail on $500,000 bond.
In other agenda items, the council:
- Approved the renewal of several malt beverage licenses, except for one tied to Thirsty's, a local bar that has had several incidents of fighting in the past few months, including one case in which a customer was assaulted and seriously injured and two employees were charged.
Public Safety Director Lyndon Overweg said E-Z $ Pub, which has the same ownership as Thirsty's, has also been cited for selling alcohol to a minor. The council chose not to renew that license, but it will not expire until the end of the year.
Thirsty's has a liquor license, but that was not on the agenda Monday night.
"I would like to have them come in and talk about the plan they have to hopefully rectify this," Smith said.
He said all the news reports of fighting and the assault have damaged the city's reputation.
"It's just not the bar itself, it's the city of Mitchell that you hear," Smith said.
Olson said he wasn't sure that one business should "be a hostage" for the problems at an adjoining business. But he said it was fair to find out what plans the business had to fix this problem, and Stiles said the city had a right to ask questions of the bar's owner.
- Adopted Resolution 2989, authorizing the employment of Dennis Maloney, of Aberdeen, as a labor counsel.
Maloney will be paid $125 an hour to assist in negotiations with three city unions and, after the council passed Resolution 2990, will serve on a union negotiating committee with City Attorney Randy Stiles and city Human Resources Director Billie Kelly.
Olson said he feels Maloney will drag talks on to make money.
"I don't think we should hire him," he said. "I think we should do our own negotiation."
Stiles said Maloney is the sole labor counsel in a three-state area and his fee is very fair, even low. He said his services are "very beneficial" to the city. It can prevent the city from making costly errors, Stiles said.
Smith said he feels, based on his business experience, hiring a qualified counsel will save the city money in the long run. The council voted 6-2 to pass both resolutions, with Olson and Tracy voting against both of them.
- Heard a report from the Traffic Commission, which:
Tabled a request from the Public Safety Department for additional signs for one- and two-way streets.
The committee considered adding wrong-way signs at busy intersections and other measures to improve safety but decided to wait until the June 5 vote on converting three one-way streets to two-way. The issue will be discussed at the June 18 commission meeting. Overweg said he will have more complete cost figures at that time, too.
Approved a request from the Public Safety Department to restrict parking on the east side of the 1100 block of North Main Street to extend lane dividers at the intersections of 12th Avenue and Main Street.
Voted to close Sixth Street from North Main Street to Lawler Street for Corn Palace decoration efforts. The closure will be in place from June 5 to about Aug. 10. It is a routine closure.
Approved a request from Mitchell Christian School to extend restricted parking beyond the bus drop-off zone to be a designated child drop-off, pickup zone during school days in the mornings and afternoons. The request was for a 10-minute extension but the commission boosted that to 15 minutes.
Approved a request from Dakota Wesleyan University for its homecoming Blue and White Day parade on Oct. 6 in downtown.
- Set a June 15 date to receive and consider bids for a bike path project.
- Set a June 18 date for a hearing on proposed resolution of necessity for the south 300 feet of South Mentzer for base course, curb and gutter and paving and other miscellaneous items.
- Awarded a bid for the Sanborn Street concrete panels, phase II of project 2012-22, to the low bidder, Big Al's Contracting, of Sioux Falls, which bid $113,366.05.
- Adopted Resolution 2988, declaring numerous hazardous sidewalks.
- Adopted Resolution 2991, the plat of Lot 1 of Hilltop View Addition in the southeast quarter of Section 16, T 104 N, R 60 W of the fifth prime meridian in Davison County.
It is outside the city limits but requires the council's approval. The Davison County Commission has also approved it.
- Adopted Resolutions 2992 and 2993, allowing Palace Transit to receive federal grants for hardware and software.
- Adopted Resolution 2994, filing an application for a federal grant under section 5311 of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act.
- Held the second reading of and approved Ordinance 2403, mandating that final plans for drainage and storm sewers in subdivisions must be submitted to and approved by the public works director.
- Held the second reading of and approved Ordinance 2404, supplemental appropriations of $48,000 for Cadwell Park playground equipment, with $24,000 coming from the Mitchell Men's Softball Association and $24,000 from the Parks Department cash balance; $15,000 each to the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Corn Palace, $5,000 to the Mitchell Area Development Corporation and $2,500 to a regional marketing effort, with those dollars from 2011 sales tax revenue; $10,000 for Lawler Street water utilities from the water fund; and $1,000 for Mitchell Library utility bills from the general fund.
- Held the second reading of and adopted Ordinance 2406, a supplemental appropriation of $5,000 for the Corn Palace renovation project, with the money coming from committed funds in the Corn Palace renovation project fund.
- Hold the first reading of Ordinance 2405, a supplemental appropriation of $33,000 for Sanborn concrete joint repair, with the money coming from the general fund cash balance.
- Approved an agreement with the state Department of Transportation for up to $180,000 to place a historic bridge now located two miles south of Geddes in Charles Mix County on a city bike path in northwest Mitchell.
Public Works Director Tim McGannon said preliminary work is nearing completion. The project is expected to cost about $220,000.
- Approved the application of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of South Dakota for a special event malt beverage and wine license at the Lake Mitchell Day Camp on Sept. 8 for Summer's Last Dance.
- Approved the request of Tri M Tunes for its loud stereo competition at the parking lot in the 800 block of North Lawler on July 28. This will be the second year of the event.
- Approval raffle requests from the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village, with the drawing on Aug. 4, and from Delta Waterfowl, with the drawing set for Feb. 22, 2013.
- Heard from Dan Beukelman, chairman of the chamber City Beautification Committee, said the committee wanted to endorse and show support for Code Enforcement Officer Jeff Lanning, who has received some criticism for his efforts to hold property owners to the city standards.
"We feel Jeff has done a very good job of handling a challenging position," he said. "The fact is, some of these properties will not improve without someone applying the pressure."
- Heard from Mitchell City Band Director Joe Pekas, who said hail totaled a Dakota Wesleyan University van that had been used in the past to store equipment. The band needs an enclosed van in June and July to hold its instruments and equipment, he said.
Pekas, who has directed the band since 1966, asked people with an available van to call him at 996-5467.
Board of Adjustment
Sitting as the Board of Adjustment, council members:
- Set a June 4 date for a hearing on the application of Dennis and Janelle Ven Osdel for a variance for a side yard setback at 1116 E. Fourth Ave.
- Set a June 4 date for a hearing on the application of Louis and James Sebert for a variance to construct an accessory building with a height variance of 25 feet instead of the mandated 17 feet and a size variance of 3,200 square feet instead of the mandated 1,050 square feet, in an area legally described as Sebert Tract 1, a subdivision of Lot A, the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 23, T 103 N, R 60 W of the fifth prime meridian in Davison County.
- Set a June 4 date for a hearing on the application of James and Kim Sebert for a variance for a back yard setback of 10 feet instead of the required 30 feet, legally described as Lot 18, Block 6, Woods First Addition, to the city of Mitchell.
- Set a June 4 date for a hearing on the application of Louis and Carol Sebert for a variance for a back yard setback of 8 feet instead of the standard 30 feet, legally described as Lots 16 and 17, Block 6, Woods First Addition to the city of Mitchell.
- Held a hearing and approved the application of Brad Ciavarella for a conditional use permit to construct apartment housing at 410 W. Second Ave., the old Whittier School. The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval last week.
- Held a hearing on and approved the application of Glen Vilhauer for variances for side yard setback of 1 feet, 6 inches instead of the standard 3 feet to match existing garage, a back yard setback of 3 feet instead of 5 feet from the alley, and an oversized garage of 1,260 square feet instead of the mandated 1,050 square feet at 1105 W. Sixth Ave.
- Held a hearing on and approved the application of Jerry and Pam Thomsen for variances for a roadside setback of 7 feet instead of the standard 35 feet to construct a detached garage, and size requirement of 1,520 square feet instead of the required 1,050 square feet, and a height variance of 18 feet instead of 17 feet, and for a future attached garage a side yard setback of 2 feet instead of 8 feet at 214 N. Harmon Drive.
- Held a hearing on and approved part of the application of Ron and Linda Parks for variances for no side yard setback instead of the required 3 feet and a back yard setback of 12 feet rather than the required 16 feet to construct a detached garage located at 313 Milan Ave.
The Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of the 12-foot setback but not the zero setback last week, calling for a 3-foot setback, and the council agreed.