Land beneath of proposed bakery came one step closer to becoming part of Beulah last week when the city’s planning and zoning board voted to recommend its inclusion in city limits. During a regularly-scheduled public hearing the board voted unanimously to annex land belonging to Mark and Bonnie Nies into city limits, as well as rezoning it to a C2 (commercial) designation. The board’s recommendation to annex and rezone will next come up at a city council meeting. Next up on the board’s agenda was a retention pond design for the Latter Day Saints Church in Country Club Estates. City Coordinator Russ Duppong said the pond was needed to regulate any excess runoff that would occur due to additions to the church.
A consumer event focused on repurposed items will be coming to the area for the first time very soon. A “Trashy Affaire” will be held Saturday, May 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Beulah Civic Center, and it’s a one-of-a-kind event where the vendors are showing off their skills at turning items that may have once been called junk into art. Marie Johnson and Lynne Wolf are two of the people involved in the practice of finding new uses for old items and are hoping the event will be a resounding success.
Growth and growing pains were two topics heard this past week that had the Beulah City Council looking forward. Economic Development Director John Phillips updated the council on some long-standing projects that were progressing in the city, as well as some new ones. “The motel project that’s proposed for Beulah has equity in place,” he said. “For all practical purposes the president of the company is comfortable with local equity that was raised and the equity available for the project. The next step is he will be calling the individual investors in the project.”
A public hearing ended with a road agreement when the Mercer County Commission heard comments on proposed improvements to a county road south of Beulah. Coyote Creek Mining Company President Jim Melchior was on hand to discuss the current construction and maintenance agreement for County Road 25. The road is a gravel route south of Beulah that would lead from Highway 49 to the company’s mining location. Landowners from that area were on hand to offer their perspectives on the idea. The largest concerned seemed to revolve around exactly when the road would be paved. Melchior opened the discussion by stating his company had been working with State’s Attorney Jessica Binder on language concerning maintenance.
Petitions have been filed in all the elections set for this year, and there will be plenty of names to choose from throughout the county when the June 3 election hits. At the county level, Auditor Shana Brost, Recorder Brenda Cook, Treasurer Darbie Berger, Sheriff Dean Danzeisen and State’s Attorney Jessica Binder are all running unopposed. County Commissioners Frank Bitterman, Gary Murray and Wayne Entze have all filed their petitions for re-election. Wes Gunsch and Kirby Entze have also formally declared their intention to run for the open seats. In Beulah, Mayor Darrell Bjerke and Councilors Brant Keller, Kathy Kelsch and Al Kok are running unopposed. Travis Frey and Ben Lenzen are running for the seats that will be left open when Councilors Bob Schutt and Larry Hruby finish out their terms.
Few residents turned out for the last of six town hall meetings held recently for the purpose of explaining in detail the hows and whys of a proposed expansion to the Mercer County Courthouse and Detention Center. Commissioners and county department heads were on hand in Beulah Monday night with Architect Scott Fettig, of Klein-McCarthy Architects to offer their perspectives to anyone who had questions on the $9.8 million project. Commission Chairman Gary Murray said that when the courthouse was built in 1963, there were about 2,000 fewer people in the county. The increase in population and the changing needs of the courthouse precipitated the expansion of the facility, he said. State’s Attorney Jessica Binder stated that the increase in cases coming into the facility was a good reason to begin looking into expansion. “When I came into office we had 300 adult criminal cases filed,” she said. “Last year there were 359, which is a new case every day. Last year we saw more than double the amount of felony controlled substance cases than the year before. That means more inmates and more court appearances.”
Two more men have been charged in a recent Golden Valley incident that left two others wounded. Benjamin Schultz and Bryson Snell are each facing one class C felony for their suspected involvement in a possible home intrusion that left both Brett Knudson and homeowner Jeff Gegelman with gunshot wounds.
The process in moving toward the expansion of the Mercer County Courthouse and Detention Center took a step forward last week during the regular county commission meeting. The county had previously applied for and been granted a loan from the Energy Impact Office for the amount of $7 million. That funding would be paid off from future coal severance and conversion taxes, with the remaining estimated $2.8 million coming out of county savings. According to County Auditor Shana Brost, the loan was approved at the land board meeting. Brost said her discussion with a representative from the board found that the county didn’t have to get voter approval for the loan, since a coal loan wasn’t considered debt for the county based on current statute.