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8:43 AM Mon, Dec. 17th

Fire board lifts burn ban, learns three will run for two seats

GOLDEN VALLEY - Recent rains have brought enough moisture to the Golden Valley area to merit lifting the burn restriction that has been in place all summer.

Golden Valley Fire Department Chief Harold Nystedt made the announcement at the Aug. 9 board meeting.

"We lifted the burn ban today," he said. "We've had enough rain recently that we don't feel it needs to be in effect."

Anyone wanting a burn permit should contact the fire station at 565-3479.

The chief said the department responded to 167 calls in July, including 101 EMS calls, two hazard calls, eight "good intent" calls, eight false alarms and one severe weather call that involved high winds that blew the roof off of a building. The rest were various service calls.

He also said the department has received a $20,000 grant that will be used for new extrication equipment. The old equipment had come to the department used and needs to be replaced.

In other business, the board of directors:

• Extended an agreement for one more year that allows volunteers to live outside the district, as long as they are able to respond within 30 minutes of an emergency alert. Nystedt said about half of the volunteers fall into that category. Changing things now would mean losing 50 percent of the volunteer force, he said.

• Learned the chief has received a complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission by former office Administrator Lovelle Barnett. The board did not discuss the report and took no action.

• Discussed the possibility of building a new 24-by-32-foot meeting room to accommodate the public.

• Learned personnel have attended haz/mat training and fire safety school, and that the district's academy for new firefighters is at mid-term. The class will have GPS and helicopter training later this month.

• Heard one captain and one engineer will travel to South Dakota to inspect the new engine being readied for the department.

• Agreed on attorney Debra Herbert's advice not to consider a resolution to re-instate former Administrative Assistant Trish Ford to her old job, or to place her on paid administrative leave.

• Decided not to pursue an investigation into a complaint by Ford concerning her resignation resulting from what she called "hostile" working conditions under the chief. The district's attorney advised the board that the issue did not merit an investigation. Neither Ford nor the attorney or board Chairman Marc Glawson were at the meeting. Board member Brad Armey cast the only vote against dropping the investigation.

• Asked Barnett to submit a written request for a list of personnel who donated money to buy a farewell gift for former Division Chief Neal Bellew.

• Tabled discussion and possible action concerning rules of conduct for board meetings, bylaws, a light duty policy and a public comment policy. Armey will head the committee to compile the necessary information.

• Had a brief discussion about establishing the district's own dispatch center, and decided to take no action. The district now pays about $12,000 a year to contract dispatch through Lake Havasu City. Cost of establishing a local center would run from $360,000 to $400,000, according to interim Chairman Steve Galner.

• Agreed to call local jewelers for prices of a retirement ring for Brian Harms. The matter was tabled in December, pending information from Glawson, who has missed the last three board meetings.

• Learned common protocol for board members is that those who miss three regularly scheduled meetings automatically lose their seat on the board. However, the board has not adopted such a policy, and Glawson has missed only two regular meetings. The third was a special meeting. The board earlier this summer asked Glawson to resign, but did not take any action concerning the proposal, and Glawson remains chairman.

• Discussed the two board positions coming up for election in November. Terms are ending for Glawson and Lucky Anderson. Anderson turned in a petition of candidacy by the Aug. 9 deadline. Two others, Neal Bellew and Marc Frederick, also will vie for the seats. Glawson did not return a petition and will not run for re-election.