By Bethany Helwig
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Moose Lake tentatively hires new police chief


Pending a background check and appropriate evaluations, a contract for Darren Juntunen to take the position as Moose Lake Police Chief was formally approved at the regular meeting of the council on May 13.

The council had approved offering the position to Juntunen during a special meeting in April. As long as he clears the evaluations, Juntunen’s tentative start date is June 1. Mike McNulty will continue in his capacity as Interim Police Chief until Juntunen officially starts.

At the meeting, the council was ready to start reopening certain city services pending on the governor’s address later that evening. Since then, Interim City Administrator Katie Bloom posted that select city services have reopened. The DMV reopened to the public on May 18, hours 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., with new restrictions: the number of customers inside the office will be limited to 2-3 at a time, they are asked to maintain social distancing and stay behind a tape line, staff will be open for limited phone calls, and the dropbox will remain available for use but curbside will not.

In addition, the library will continue to offer curbside service Monday – Friday, 1–4 p.m.; the interior will remain closed for the time being. You can place orders with the library by calling (218) 485-4424.

The city campground will open May 22 to seasonal campers only. However, the bathrooms and showers will remain closed. Recreational camping is not allowed at this time.

The Municipal Liquor Store reopened its off-sale side as of May 18 with a limit of 5 customers at a time inside.

The recycling shed in Moose Lake has also reopened with its regular hours as of May 15. Please note that staff cannot assist residents and only staff are allowed inside the office portion.

The Chamber of Commerce announced that the Fourth of July celebrations for Moose Lake have officially been canceled; Agate Days had already been canceled earlier in April.

A Moose Lake resident asked about the power outages in the city that lasted for an extended period of time. Mayor Shaw stated a transformer was being replaced and during the cut over, they had some failures and certain parts needed to be replaced. Also, on at least one of the generators, there was a leak on the injectors.

Public Works Superintendent Phil Entner reported there was a water main break behind the location of the former Moose Lake Motel. “By far the worst water break of my career,” said Entner. Through considerable effort, the break was fixed.

Street sweeping and pothole filling has been completed, but Superintendent Entner asks that if there were spots missed to please contact the public works department.

The Chamber of Commerce has created a special COVID-19 local business fund and asked the city to donate $500 out of the city’s gambling fund toward the cause. A motion to approve the donation was passed. The Chamber said they’ve received a number of donations but more are still needed to assist local businesses impacted during the current crisis.

Interim Police Chief Mike McNulty reported that after the governor announced opening up outdoor recreation, there was a big upswing of ATVs in the area for which the police department had a number of calls.

The next regular meeting of the city council is June 10 at 4 p.m.


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