Voters in two area townships will make decisions

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 2/23/99.

Voters going to the polls in Eden Lake Township and Lake Henry Township will have choices to make on Tuesday, March 9.
To help inform the voters about each candidate, the Paynesville Press talked to the individual candidates about the upcoming election.

Eden Lake Township
In Eden Lake Township, four candidates filed for the three-year term of supervisor. Incumbent Joseph Gruenes filed for another term. Also filing were Dottie Kimbler, Conrad Blomker, and Scott Vettleson.

Scott Vettleson
Vettleson, a math teacher at the Litchfield High School, lives in Eden Lake Township and owns a farm near Fosston which he rents out.

“I filed because I had an interest in being part of the local government,” Vettleson said. “There is a growing concern about the relationship between farmer and nonfarmer. Both parties need to be sensitive to each other,” he added.

Vettleson announced this week in the Eden Valley Journal that he has withdrawn from the race and is throwing his support to Blomker.

“Too many candidates divide the votes in too many directions,” Vettleson said.

Joseph Gruenes
Incumbent Gruenes, a farmer in Eden Lake Township, has served on the township board 18 years. He said he is running again because he enjoys working with people.

Gruenes said one of the big issues the township board will be working on this year is zoning. Work on an ordinance was started in 1990 but nothing was ever enforced. “The township needs zoning to control land use,” he said.

Gruenes farms north of Eden Valley and raise crops, beef, dairy heifers, and swine.

Dottie Kimbler
Dottie Kimbler said she filed because land usage and the environment is a big concern to her. “Townships are losing land to housing and I’m concerned how this will affect the environment and our natural resources in the future,” she said.

Kimbler added that many people are building too close to the lakes and waterways. “We need to preserve our lakes for future generations,” she said.

“Protection of the land through zoning is important. Township residents need to provide input to their township boards to protect the land from piece meal housing developments,” Kimbler added.

“A little piece here and there, especially on lakes, can create bigger problems. The community members need to talk to each other.” she said. “Last year we had a zoning issue concerning a large hog facility being built in the township. The issue is still there; however, people need to work together or we’ll lose our precious farming community.”

Kimbler has been coming to Rice Lake since 1964. In 1979, they purchased their lake place and in 1995, they retired and now live at the lake full time. Kimbler is a retired banker. Robert served 21 years as a volunteer fireman with the Bloomington Fire Department.

Kimbler is a member of the Rice Lake Association, and has been active in the Rice-Koronis Restoration project. She has dealt with the Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, watershed districts, and sportsmen’s clubs.

“We purchased out home in Eden Lake Township because of the people. It is a wonderful area,” she added.

Conrad Blomker
Conrad Blomker, is a retired truck driver, living in Eden Lake Township. “I decided to run, because in my estimation the people in the township are not geting enough input to the township board,” he said.

Blomker stressed the roads in the township need better planning. “I’ve driven truck over the road all my life and at one time worked road construction. The roads in the township need upgrading, they are not safe. The roads need some gravel and the corners need to be made safer with better visibility,” he added.

When asked about other issues in the township, Blomker said he wasn’t familiar enough with them to voice an opinion.

Blomker has always lived near Rice Lake. “The property has been in the family over 50 years,” Blomker said. Blomker was born and raised in the Eden Valley area and he moved back to the area in 1975. They live at the former Sandy Beach Resort.

Lake Henry Township,
Two candidates for the the supervisor position in Lake Henry Township are, Celestine Fischbach and Joe Pelzer.

Celestine Fischbach
Fischbach is running for his third term on the board. He has served six years, five of those years as chairman of the township board.

“There are a lot of important issues facing the township board,” Fischbach said. “For many years roads used to be the number one issue, now it is zoning, fire protection, and feedlots. The township is in the process of writing their own zoning and feedlot ordinance.”

“Twenty percent of our budget goes to the fire department for fire protection. We recently formed a new advisory board to help with the budget. Serving on the board are two members from the city of Lake Henry, as well as Lake Henry, Zion, and Spring Hill townships. We need to look ahead to the future. Our last fire truck cost $92,000,” Fischbach added.

Another issue, Fischbach said, is whether or not the township should join the Paynesville Area Hospital District. Information meetings have been held to inform township residents about the district. A petition is being passed around to put the issue on the March 9 ballot.

Fischbach said the township voted on joining the board seven years ago.

Fischbach stressed the importance of people getting out and voting. “People should take an interest in what is happening in their community,” he added. He would love to see 60 to 100 people turn out for the election.

Joe Pelzer
Joe Pelzer, Lake Henry, is running for the Lake Henry Township Board because he feels the northern end of the township isn’t getting its fair share.

Pelzer said, “I want to do something for the community. I feel we have the best roads around and we need to keep them maintained.”

“Nobody seems to be keeping an eye on what is happening in other parts of the township,” Pelzer said.

Pelzer, a mechanic, says he has the time to dedicate to the township board.

When asked about various issues in the township, Pelzer said the hospital board is probably the biggest issue at present.

“Should we join, yes,” Pelzer said. “The hospital has been open since 1955 and has been running in the black. Many people are worried about their taxes going up if the township joins the hospital district. Since the board started, they haven’t taxed anybody yet and they don’t plan on taxing the entities that are part of the district,” Pelzer added.

“Board members came to inform area residents about the district, they weren’t here to push us to join the district,” he said. “If we don’t belong, someday there won’t be a hospital for us to go to when we are sick, it will probably be purchased by some bigger hospital.”

Pelzer stressed that by joining the district, Lake Henry Township will have the same vote as the other entities on the board, everyone is equal, no matter the size of their community.

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