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Naturalist says goodbye

By Staff | May 19, 2017

Naturalist Gunnar Johnson addressed the Emmet County Board of Supervisors to request a reallocation of $6,615 in local option sales tax funds to finish the rubber ground cover for the new playgrounds at Tuttle Lake and Wolden campgrounds. The amount was left over from the disability pier project, which has been tabled at this time, and from savings on the playground equipment, which the conservation employees will install instead of paying for installation fees. The supervisors approved the reallocation. Additional funds to finish the playground will come in part from Emmet County Nature Center foundation funds.

Johnson said the foundation banquet raised $20,000.

“People ask us what we spend money on, since the nature center is paid off. This is one of those things,” Johnson said.

The reallocation request was one of Johnson’s last act as county naturalist. Johnson’s last day is May 24. Johnson began as Emmet County naturalist at the beginning of the summer season, 2015. Johnson is relocating to his home area of central Iowa, where he will be going into taxidermy. Johnson said the incoming naturalist, Ashley Reed, is a new Iowa State University graduate from Marion, Iowa, who has a great background and a lot of enthusiasm.

Johnson said of his two years in Emmet County, “I’ve sure enjoyed it.”

In other business, county engineer Walter Davis-Oeth presented utility permits for Ringtel Communications for Sections 6&7 of Denmark Township, and Telecom/Century Link in Center Township, Sections 2&11. Both were approved.

Davis-Oeth also addressed the weed spraying budget. In light of the supervisors’ request for Don Reefer to spray in front of residences, the question arose of whether to stay within the $65,000 budget already set, completing the additional labor for weed spraying and possibly not getting all of the brush control completed, or to raise the budget. The supervisors advised the budget would remain the same, acknowledging the possible affect on brush control this year.

The supervisors also set a public hearing date for a new construction permit application for Howard West of Howard Hoggs, LLC , located in the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section 32 in Center Township. The hearing is May 30 at 9:30 a.m.

The next meeting of the Emmet County Board of Supervisors is May 23 at 9 a.m. in the board room of the Emmet County Courthouse.