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Roberts gets on board with Yellowstone Trail

The May meeting of the Village of Roberts Board presented a wide variety of topics ranging from empty lots to trail markers.

During public concerns portion of the meeting, Nate Stork, board member, asked about the empty lots that are overgrown with weeds. Willard Moeri, village president, said that the ordinance states that any lot that has weeds taller than 8 inches needs to be mowed. However, foreclosed lots provide some hurdles.

"You have a lot of paperwork and hoops to jump through when you deal with foreclosures," said John Bond, public works director. "The next thing you know, you're trying to deal with a finance company in Florida that has never heard of Roberts, Wis."

Moeri said that when an overgrown lot is brought to the village's attention, the standard procedure is to let the homeowner know they need to take care of the weeds or the village will and charge it back to them.

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The board approved the business plan of operation for a primary care clinic of the Baldwin Area Medical Center. Roberts Police Chief Dan Burgess was concerned about how they were going to store narcotics, since they were planning on having a pharmacy as well.

"Prescription drugs are a big concern right now; painkillers are the targets," Burgess said.

Stork said that as soon as they find out about security measures, they will contact the police chief.

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Bruce Elliott, a Town of Warren supervisor, made a proposal to the board about the Yellowstone Trail sign program.

He said that as an antique car enthusiast, he stumbled across the historic Yellowstone Trail, a grassroots program that lobbied for good roads back in 1912. The trail traversed the country from Washington to Massachusetts, pointing the way to Yellowstone National Park with yellow signs, black lettering and arrows.

Elliott said that the Yellowstone Trail was marked on Highway 12 and through Roberts. He said it was a true community event to travel the trail.

"They did a fantastic job of getting people through here," Elliott explained. "They'd have auto races up and down the roads, community days and they'd bring their cars out and picnic. I can see opportunities for small business growth, educational opportunities and tourism."

He said that Hammond and Hudson have begun promoting the Yellowstone Trail.

"I'm trying to work with a bunch of people to put a travel brochure to Eau Claire for bicyclists, antique car enthusiasts ... maybe a punch card if you go to five places and you get a free hamburger," Elliott suggested.

The signs would cost $29 a piece. The board agreed to spend $400 toward this promotion.

"This is a way to highlight ourselves without spending a lot of money," Moeri said.

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Bond told the board that the State of Wisconsin is offering to do a cost share for sidewalks in the area of the proposed roundabouts that are planned for County Road TT and Highway 65. Bond said they would do all the dirt work and the sidewalk cost would be split 50/50, which would make Roberts portion about $4,000.

The board approved the cost sharing project.

In other news:

• Moeri said he will speak to the developer of Rolling Meadows about the pile of sand on the north side and down silt fence. Some residents have expressed concern about the mound.

• Bond said that he would like to restart a program with the fourth-graders educating them about "things you should and shouldn't do with their water." The village used to partner with the schools, but have gotten away from it since the curriculum changed. The board approved Bond pursuing the program.

• Bond reported that the GIS mapping has been going well and should be finished by Friday, May 14.

• Chuck Pizzi, park board member, reported that the new playground equipment has been installed. He also said that they would replace the backstop, dugout and outfield fences.

• Katy Kapaun, library board member, reported that the new library should be completed in July.

• The board approved ordinance 2010-3VB - Amendment to Section 34-1 which allows the Roberts Police Department to write citations for things like petty theft rather than having to go through circuit court.

• The board approved the Town of Warren's request for using the north parking lot of Village Park for their July 31 Sesquicentennial celebration.

• The Village of Roberts meets the second Monday of each month at the Village Hall. The public is welcome to attend.