Nature Center Foundation, ECCB plan banquet

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The Emmet County Nature Center Foundation and Emmet County Conservation Board made plans for the March 19 Nature Center Banquet at their Thursday, Feb. 3 meeting.
The banquet has not been held since 2019, yet another victim of COVID when the March 21, 2020, banquet was canceled days after the COVID lockdown and again in 2021 when the Foundation held an online auction in lieu of the banquet.
The doors will open to this year’s banquet at the Estherville Elks Lodge at 5:30 with dinner at 6. An auction and games will again be part of the night’s entertainment.
In other business before the Foundation, Conservation Board Director Eric Anderson noted numerous activities in the new building, including archery, 4-H programs and Estherville Lincoln Central recreation. Anderson said one archery tournament had been held at the building with another scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 5. Anderson noted no issues with the NASP archery program and that two archers so far have qualified for state competition. Anderson said ELC students have also participated in archery and that other programs are planned for spring.
Between the Foundation and Conservation Board meetings, Emmet County Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff Quastad said the supervisors reduced the Conservation Board’s tax askings by $54,055. The board had requested an additional $60,000 over the current year to help pay for two vehicles and raises.
Quastad noted a tight 2022-23 budget, and that the supervisors could budget $10,000 toward vehicle replacement, but not $60,000. He said the supervisors had also lowered the Conservation Board salary raises to 3 percent, the same as the rest of county salaried employees. The supervisors approved $225,945 in tax askings for the Conservation Board, a $5,945 increase from last year.
In the Conservation Board meeting that followed, Anderson said there will be a seasonal opening at $14 an hour. The position will start April 1 and go to the end of October. The Board also discussed Peterson Point.
Without the full amount of additional tax askings, the Board decided not to act on a state bid for vehicle replacement.
Anderson said Project AWARE will clean up the Des Moines River west fork in July, starting at Petersburg, Minn., and going through Emmet County. He said the group had requested either a reduced rate or donated camping spaces at Wolden Campground. The Board approved donating the camping space.
Anderson said Estherville Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lexie Ruter had requested placement of an I-Paddle locker at the north trailhead of the water trail. The Board approved the request. Another locker will be placed at the Fourth Street bridge. The lockers will include kayaks, paddles and life jackets.
Anderson said Naturalist Ashley Reed had held Headstart, 4-H, archery and library programs. He said the Nature Center would be open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12 for the Emmet County Driftbusters.

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