Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Pine Island OKs new fire chief, waits on new process

PINE ISLAND — After a month of contention over the process of selecting a new fire chief, the Pine Island City Council approved and swore in Jay Strande to a one-year term during Tuesday night's council meeting.

At the January meeting, the council had refused to swear in Patrick Pike, who was the candidate put forward after an election held among members of the Pine Island Fire Department. Pike had previously served as fire chief in Pine Island.

During the January meeting, Mayor Rod Steele and the council said they would like to find a new process for selecting a fire chief. That new process, said Steele, would include input from the council and perhaps the townships served by the fire department, not just the 20 or so members of the fire department. While that new process has not yet been determined, the council did approve and swear in Strande, who was put forth after a new vote by firefighters.

"They picked Jay," Steele said. "After a couple of failed attempts to get Mr. Pike confirmed, they went back to the drawing board and picked a new candidate."

Strande replaces Jon Eickhoff, who served as chief and remained in the position on a temporary basis until a new chief could be confirmed.


Steele said a new process for selecting a fire chief will be in place by next year when Strande's term runs out.

"We've got it fleshed out," the mayor said. "The city and the surrounding townships will have some input during the selection process of that candidate."

In other business

• The city council passed a new solar energy ordinance that will require anyone installing solar energy systems — either residential or commercial — to get a permit first. Steele said the ordinance is fairly lenient, but will help the city make decisions on building permits near solar installations.

• The council also passed a new social host ordinance. The new law will hold adults liable if they are aware of underage drinking on their property.

"If you're a parent or guardian and you host a party where you're knowledgeable of underage drinking, you can be held liable legally," Steele said. "It isn't right to have a bunch of 16-year-old kids drinking beer in your back yard."

• Finally, the council voted to move the city's annual Cheese Fesitval to Pine Island Trailhead Park. The park will see some growth thanks to the 3.5 acres the city picked up from the 2010 flood.

"We have seven properties that took the FEMA buyout," Steele said. "We're trying to turn that into an asset."


The new parkland will be close to the Cheese Factory, and will become home to the Cheese Festival for at least the next three years. The change in venue will allow Main Street to remain open and avoids the need for downtown detours during the event and while construction is happening at the nearby school building.

What To Read Next
Get Local