Councilors Kristy Barnett and Judy Hanson were sworn at the Jan. 4 Maple Grove City Council meeting. Both were reelected to the council during in November.

Each member of the council gave comments on the “State of the City” at the beginning of the meeting.

Also during the meeting, the council was introduced to the newest firefighters and fire prevention specialist/fire inspector. The new fire department members were also sworn in.

SWEARING IN OF NEW FIREFIGHTERS

Maple Grove Fire Chief Tim Bush introduced the newest members of the Maple Grove Fire Department to the council.

First, Chief Bush introduced full-time fire prevention specialist and fire inspector Jeremy Berger.

“The city of Maple Grove takes great pride in our inspection process for commercial structures and business in the city,” he said. “Historically, we are one of the few cities that routinely does annual fire inspections.”

Berger has six years of experience from the city of St. Paul where he was a fire safety officer and 10 years with the New Brighton Fire Department as a paid-on-call firefighter.

Bush also introduced the new paid-on-call firefighters. He said there a long process to become one of these firefighters. “We take residents who live here, who want to be firefighters, and we hire them as apprentices,” he said. “They go through a fire academy that runs from January to early June. When they complete the fire academy, they get their firefighter badge and they become a probationary firefighter. Our firefighters have an 18-month probation.”

Six firefighters have completed that probationary period.

Jeff Claseman is an IT manager. He and his wife have two children. He has lived in Maple Grove for 14 years.

Jason Grenz is an engineer. He and his wife moved to the city in 2016.

Jay Lamsal is a project lead. He and his wife have three children. He moved to the city from Nepal 17 years ago.

Chris Somero is a product manager. He and his wife have four children. They have lived in Maple Grove for 14 years.

Vic Strecher is a firefighter with the St. Paul Park Refinery Fire Department. He has lived in Maple Grove the past three years.

Tomas Stubbe is a stay-at-home father of two children. He, his wife and children have lived in Maple Grove since 2014.

“We are fortunate that we have residents who want to become firefighters,” Bush added.

Each of the new firefighters were sworn in by Mayor Mark Steffenson and received their helmets from the chief.

STATE OF THE CITY

During “State of the City” remarks, Steffenson expressed gratitude to the residents of Maple Grove. “This has been a difficult year,” he said. “2020 has been a year like no other in our city. And we’ve faced a number of different challenges that have arisen throughout the year.”

He said city staff have done an excellent job of addressing issues as they arrived. He added that numerous new businesses have opened or are soon to open in the city.

Steffenson said he is looking forward to 2021. “I think that we will have a really good year here in the city,” he said.

Councilor Karen Jaeger said the city is moving on with new developments in 2021. “City taxes have stayed low,” she added.

Councilor Phil Leith thanked the residents and city staff. He said he is looking forward to 2021 and the expansion of the North Metro Gun Range and the renovation of Gleason Fields.

Councilor Judy Hanson is looking forward to renovations at the community center.

Councilor Kristy Barnett said over the past year she saw people in the city supporting each other. “It really came through in several ways,” she said. First, she mentioned in June when the students held a rally at the Town Green after the death of George Floyd. She also mentioned that the city proclaimed a day in August as Overdose Awareness Day after she met a grieving woman who lost her son to an overdose.

“In a year, where there were so many struggles for so many people, our city still supported each other and still stayed strong,” she said. “I believe that shows a lot about who we are and who our community is.”

OTHER

In other action, the council:

APPROVED the hiring of Robert Johnson and Alex Maleski to the position of police officer effective Feb. 1, subject to a 12-month probationary period.

AUTHORIZED staff to begin the recruitment process for the vacant position of record management technician in the Police Department, which was accepted effective Jan. 1.

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