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Baxter City Council: Chapulis joins city, council agrees to meet with Brainerd

BAXTER--Brad Chapulis, Baxter's new city administrator, attended his first city council meeting Tuesday during his second day on the job. "We are excited to have you here and we look forward to working with you," Mayor Darrel Olson said, apologiz...

Brad Chapulis (right), confers with Mark Cross, city council member, after his first Baxter City Council meeting Tuesday. In the background are Steve Barrows (left), Kelly Steele, Darrel Olson and Todd Holman. Renee Richardson/Brainerd Dispatch
Brad Chapulis (right), confers with Mark Cross, city council member, after his first Baxter City Council meeting Tuesday. In the background are Steve Barrows (left), Kelly Steele, Darrel Olson and Todd Holman. Renee Richardson/Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER-Brad Chapulis, Baxter's new city administrator, attended his first city council meeting Tuesday during his second day on the job.

"We are excited to have you here and we look forward to working with you," Mayor Darrel Olson said, apologizing for not starting the meeting off by introducing Chapulis.

Chapulis said the feeling of being excited to begin working together was mutual.

"First and foremost, I am here," Chapulis said. "I'm excited to be here and ready to work with you and city staff to put the city's best interests forward. Day two is almost complete as soon as that gavel hits."

Chapulis said he is busy getting up to speed and identifying which projects are the highest priority and will be seeking input from each council member.

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After the meeting, Chapulis said there is a lot to learn, but he praised the quality of the staff in Baxter.

"It's great to be able to work with a group of individuals that are committed to a cause and that cause is the people of Baxter and I'm excited to be part of that," Chapulis said.

Chapulis previously was community and economic development director for Worthington. He was with the city of Worthington in southwest Minnesota since 1998, starting as planning and economic development manager before moving to the director's position in 2003. Before that, Chapulis was planner for Mason City, Iowa. He has a bachelor's degree in community and regional planning from Iowa State University in Ames.

Chapulis said he's been going through notes about projects left by his predecessor Gordon Heitke who retired in April of 2016 after seven years on the job.

"It's like the first day of school learning the ropes," Chapulis said of starting a new job.

He said he's already purchased a home in the city and his wife and two daughters, age 13 and 10, plan to join him from Worthington after the school year ends in June.

"The full family will be up here shortly after we close on the house at the end of the month," Chapulis said. "They are ready to be part of the community. They've already signed up for community programs for the summer."

Council agrees to meet in joint session with Brainerd

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Additionally, the council agreed to meet in a joint session with the Brainerd City Council. Olson said he was approached by Dave Pritschet, Brainerd council president, to gauge the Baxter council's interest in a joint meeting. Olson said when they looked at what the meeting or agenda could look like possible topics of conversation included options for sharing services. Those possible topics then evolved into more of a meet and greet session in an informal setting, perhaps over a meal, so the council members from neighboring cities could get to know each other.

"I think that would be a great idea anything we can do that would be a joint project would be good," said Mark Cross, council member. "I certainly think any time we can meet with and talk to the adjoining council it would be a good thing."

Council member Todd Holman was also supportive.

"I too am a proponent of good dialogue, good conversation-for sure getting to know who our neighbors are," Holman said, adding he would support this moving forward with mayors and city administrators talking about a possible agenda.

Council member Steve Barrows concurred. "I think that this would be advantageous for both communities to build a dialogue where we have some commonalities and where we can build some relationships."

"I agree," council member Quinn Nystrom said. "I think anytime we can have open discussion with any of our neighbors or any of our partners that is advantageous-advantageous for us, advantageous for them and we are happy to host in Baxter."

Olson said with the amount of people involved it may take time to find a date that will work with everyone's schedule, preferably a weeknight meeting to accommodate with working schedules.

In other business, the council:

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Heard a presentation from Kathryn Sundquist, 2017 National Walk to Cure Arthritis Young Adult honoree. Sundquist, a local honoree, said she was encouraged to apply to be the national honoree. Sundquist's efforts include fundraising and attending events. She said she applied to the national position more as a way to get experience than any anticipation she'd be chosen.

"I ended up getting the title," Sundquist said. "I've just hit my fundraising goal this past weekend of $10,000."

Sundquist invited the council and those present to attend the 2017 Walk to Cure Arthritis Northern Lakes event May 20 at the Northland Arboretum. Registration begins at 9 a.m. with the walk at 10 a.m. Sundquist said people are welcome to bring their dogs and activities are also planned. The Arthritis Foundation's website lists an event goal of $47,000 for walk starting at the arboretum with $30,218 raised to date. Sundquist is the top fundraiser for the event, followed by Tim Larson, Sara Pantzke, Gary Walters and Ben Robertson.

Sundquist is the sole young adult honoree in the nation and reported she is the first one from Minnesota.

"So it is exciting," she said.

Sundquist received a round of applause.

"Thanks for coming and thanks for your work in that area," Olson said.

Approved mobile food vendor All Fried Up for permits to locate at Jack Pine Brewery, Edgewood Drive, and Viking Land Harley Davidson, Highway 210. This is the city's second mobile vending license for 2017. The city reported the applicant plans to sell cheese curds, chicken strips, fried pickles and other fried food. All Fried Up planned to be open at Viking Land Harley Davidson on May 9.

With the permit, All Fried Up would operate an 8-foot by 14-foot food trailer from noon to 8 p.m. with two employees when it is located at Jack Pine Brewery and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. when at Viking Land. The vendor permit is valid throughout this year and allows All Fried Up to be at a single location no more than twice a week. All Fried Up reports it expects its last event will be in October or November.

All Fried Up is owned by Sabrina Stoe of Baxter.

Heard from Bob Nelson, resident, of concerns for high water of White Sand and Red Sand lakes. Nelson said what they thought was a creek on Red Sand Lake turned out to be a Crow Wing County ditch, namely ditch 10, and it has not been maintained and is overgrown. The ditch is supposed to flow into the Gull River.

"Water is not flowing through that channel at all," Nelson said. It needs to be maintained to get the water levels back down, Nelson said, noting Red Sand drains into White Sand and a number of people are having water issues. Nelson sought the city's assistance in pursuing a remedy. After the meeting, Trevor Walter, public works director, said he has never seen the water this high.

Approved sending a letter to the Brainerd Public Utilities regarding downed trees at the property. Council member Mark Cross said a few Eagle Ridge residents brought the matter to him and he thought it was appropriate to remind the public utilities commission to manually remove the downed trees and look at a new round of planting of new trees there according to the existing reforestation plan. Cross said what isn't needed is all the downed timber in case of a dry summer in terms of fire danger.

Adjourned to the 6:30 p.m. May 8 hearing on the 2017 road construction projects for pavement and complete reconstruction for city streets.

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