The International Falls City Council approved appointments to internal and external committees Monday as it organizes for the year.
The council agreed to appoint Councilor Leon Ditsch as chair of the city's Legislative and Land Use Committee, replacing former chair Councilor Joe Krause. In addition, the council appointed Councilor Chelsea Nelson as chair of the city's Human Resources Committee, and added Mayor Harley Droba to replace Krause.
Krause and Droba explained those changes are to allow the workload to be spread across the council.
Other appointments involved appointment of Van Pavleck to the Fire Civil Service Commission; reappointment of Arthur Holt to the Housing and Redevelopment Authority; reappointment of John Dalton, Ashley Kostiuk and Darcy Sullivan to the Library Board of Trustees.
The council also:
- Northeast Minnesota Area Transportation Partnership Board: appointed City Administrator Ken Anderson and Public Works Director Gary Skallman as alternate.
- North Koochiching Area Sanitary District: reappointed Terry Murray and appointed Chrystal Clance.
- Planning Commission: reappointed Joann Dornhecker, Brian Youso, and appointed Tara Besch and Hailey Silvers.
- Police Civil Service Commission: appointed Terry Wood.
- Zoning Board of Appeals: reappointed Michael Klaphake, and appointed Len Peterson.
In other business, the council heard from resident Bobbi Bernath, who voiced concern and frustration in seeing the ambulance and its staff at area grocery stores and restaurants, wondering why the ambulances are being used for such stops.
She said she'd been urged by two councilors to bring the concern to the council table and had not discussed it with Fire Chief Adam Mannausau.
Anderson told the council that ambulance staff are allowed to use the ambulances to get groceries and take-out meals from area restaurants, as well as pick up needed supplies from area businesses when they work long shifts at the Fire Hall.
Mannausau told The Journal Tuesday that there are times when staff are at the hall up to 20 hours, and ambulance staff are allowed to use ambulances to stop for food or groceries on the way back from hospital runs and transfers.
In that way, he said, they are available at all times to immediately respond to a 911 call or other emergencies.
In those instances, he said bags of groceries and carry out bags have been left on counters as the staff respond. Most area businesses, he said, have packed up the left items and taken them to the hall.
"It's reasonable for them to take an ambulance so they are available for 911 calls at all times," Mannausau said.
Also Monday, the council approved a mayoral proclamation declaring January Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Month and Jan. 11 as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, as requested by Nancy Lee, representing International Falls Rotary.
Lee said the proclamation is supported by Rotary districts in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and parts of Ontario. She said the districts will focus on raising awareness, education of youth, reducing risk factors that make young people vulnerable, and stopping the demand.