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Recent fires illustrate value of mutual-aid agreements

Fire crews from Stewartville, Hayfield and Rochester work to extinguish a field fire that briefly threatened homes in High Forest Monday afternoon. Strong winds pushed a fire that started near a residence west of High Forest.

STEWARTVILLE — Monday, the Stewartville Fire Department spent 4 1/2 hours taking down a fire in nearby High Forest Township with the help of firefighters from Hayfield and Grand Meadow, assistant chief Vance Swisher reported to the Stewartville City Council at its meeting Tuesday.

Swisher said to provide coverage for Stewartville during the fire, the Rochester Fire Department was called in to staff the station and field calls.

On the other side of town, a fire broke out near Olmsted County Road 19, and the Chatfield Fire Department doused that, Swisher said. The mutual aid agreements have been invaluable at times like this, he said.

In other business:

• The council approved a contract with the state Department of Employment and Economic Development for a business development public infrastructure grant for $350,000.


The grant, which requires a 50 percent match from the city, will pay some of the construction costs of the street and infrastructure in Schumann Business Park.

The work is to help prepare the industrial park for a new packaging distribution center, which is rumored to be for FedEx although that hasn't been officially announced. Closing on the property is scheduled for May 1, and construction is scheduled to begin shortly after that.

• Deputy Zak Breitenbach told the council a program to collect unused or expired medication will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 28 at the fire hall.

He said this is a joint effort between the sheriff’s office and the Drug Enforcement Agency. The event is free, "no questions asked," and people can take old medicines to the fire hall to have them disposed of properly. He said a similar event in October collected 377,080 pounds of prescription drugs at more than 5,300 sites nationwide.

Coming up

• Business expansion and revitalization expo sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Authority, 5:30 p.m. today, Willow Creek Golf Course, open to the public.

• VFW scrap metal drive, 7 a.m. to noon Saturday.

• Swimming lessons sign-up at city hall, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 18 and May 3.


• Citywide garage sale, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 11, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., May 12; scavenger day is May 13.

• Citywide cleanup, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 19; and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. May 23

•  Community garden plots are available at city hall until May 15.

• The City Council meets again at 7 p.m. April 24.

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