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Preston board rejects firm's plan to store explosives

The Blair Press-Taylor of Blair, Wisconsin

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The Town of Preston board Monday rejected a proposal by a Missouri company to store up to 6,000 pounds of explosives in the township.

The explosives would be used in the sand mining industry.

The company, Explosive Contractors, was seeking a letter from the township to the Trempealeau County's Environment and Land Use Committee in support of the project.

The proposal was to store explosives on a site on Chenoweth Lane on property owned by James Engelien, within a mile southwest of Blair.

Anders Helquist, attorney for the company said the proposed site "meets and exceeds standards set by the state and federal government.

Todd Braden, director of operations for the company, said the setbacks at the site would allow them to store up to 100,000 pounds of explosives, but they were only seeking permission for up to 6,000 pounds.

"We don't need to store (more)," he told board members. "That gives us plenty of growth potential."

Braden said they looked at a lot of sites. "It just really fit the bill well," he said.

He said it was not an option to store the explosives on the Hi-Crush sand mine site.

Board members asked about the type of truck to be used, the road (gravel), and also heard from one of the neighbors to the site.

Board member Charlotte Everson made the motion to "decline" the request for storing explosives in the Town of Preston.

Helquist requested the board simply take no position on the matter, but Everson declined to change the motion.

The motion carried.

In other action at Monday's meeting, the town board:

Learned that the township will receive $480,000 for environmental projects for compensation due to environmental impacts of the Badger-Coulee power line. Chairman Darrel Nelson reported, however, the township may not actually receive the money until 2017 or 2018, when the construction portion comes to Trempealeau County.

Once the power line comes into service, the township will receive $57,000 per year.

Everson questioned the logic of the payments.

What do the (affected) landowners get? Devalued land," she said.

Discussed but took no action on financing for the new fire truck. The board is still looking into options. It has until late October to make its payment on the truck, on the truck's delivery.

Discussed Clean-Up Day which has been set for Sept. 26.

Received a report from Everson on the fire department committee, which will, discuss the fire department agreement between the township and the City of Blair, currently the two municipalities evenly split the cost of new trucks and other equipment.

She noted a June 1984 fire department constitution which established the committee. The committee will be made up of two firefighters, and one representative each from the city and township.

Everson suggested the township may want to have an attorney update the constitution and agreement.

Received a report on the closure of the South River Road by the CN Railroad for work on the crossing.

Discussed the creation of a township website. Everson reported there is a state-operated hosting service, which would cost $65 per month.

"I'd like to check into that a little more," she said. She said it is a secured site, which is not open to changes by the public.

Discussed possible changes to the township's meeting policies. She suggested that if someone wants action from the town board, the policy would require the person or company to submit six copies of the proposal in writing, in advance of the meeting so the board members could review it before they meet.

Otherwise, proposals presented at meetings would not be considered for approval until the following regular meeting.

She also recommended the township determine which sand mines have road agreements with the townships and cities, and determine if there are township roads being used for industrial use.

Discussed the use of the township hall and loader, which is used for placing barricades and other work.

"We're two small communities trying to work together, (on the festival)" Nelson said.

Mary Oldendorf, one of four Cheese Festival representatives at the meeting, said the festival needs the cooperation of the township for the festival.

Some concerns were raised about why this item was on the agenda.

Everson noted that this is a new town board.

"It's about understanding what our responsibilities are for the (festival)," she said. "What do you need from us? What do we provide."

They also discussed insurance coverage for the use of the endloader for the festival. Both the township and the festival have liability insurance.

There was also a question about the storage of cheesecurds for the FFA Alumni in the township's freezers.

The Cheese Festival gives $100 to the township annually for the use of its building, equipment and for electrical use.

Approved the sale of the 1980 fire truck, for $854.54 to Larry Jorgenson. he was the only bidder. The Blair City Council had approved the sale, pending a decision by the town board.

The board is expected tp next meet on Sept. 14.

Copyright 2015 The Blair Press-Taylor, Blair, Wisconsin. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: August 13, 2015

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