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Hammond residents bring opinions to board meeting

The Village of Hammond board room was full during the April 11 meeting, as residents and business owners had opinions and concerns about a few of the night's agenda items.

One of the major discussion topics centered around Tony Endres' request to sell firearms on the Internet from his home in the Black Duck Point housing development.

Endres said his intent was to selling firearms over the Internet as opposed to having potential customers coming to his house.

"In hopes that we will alleviate some of the concerns from my neighbors," he said.

Endres said he expects to sell only two or three firearms a month, as his intent is to make some extra cash to supplement his current income.

The board raised issues of how inventory would be secured and how the village could monitor Endres' business practices.

Endres said when he sells a gun over the Internet, the firearm would be shipped to another licensed dealer for the transfer, which made the board and village attorney question whether Endres would receive other dealers' guns at his home for transfer.

Attorney Tim Scott said, "Just as you can send a firearm to another federally licensed dealer. As another federally licensed dealer somebody could contact you and say 'Can I send this to you and have the individual come to your place?'"

Endres said although it is not his intent, "I'm not saying that it wouldn't happen because, as a federal licensed firearms dealer, it could come up in the area if someone were to buy a firearm from somebody else and they would ship it and have me do the transfer."

One of Endres' neighbors spoke to the board about his concerns with having a firearms business in his residential neighborhood.

In addition to traffic and safety concerns, the neighbor worried that the firearms business would have a negative impact on property values in the neighborhood. He also questioned whether Endres would have proper insurance for the business and whether Endres' business would affect his own home insurance.

Another neighbor expressed concern about how Endres' business would be regulated, saying that even if Endres intends to sell only a couple firearms a month, how will the village know if his sales spike. He also questioned the security of the firearms, despite the fact that Endres has a home security system.

President Vince Trudell said the board did not intend to make a decision at the meeting.

"I just wanted to get some dialogue to have the board have enough information, to deny it or not, or put lots of restrictions on it," he said.

The board appointed Bibeau to ensure that Endres' business request gets put on the May meeting agenda, when the board will take action.

Resident Josh Bohmbach addressed the board during the public comment time about how current Trustee Tony Bibeau's position would be filled once he took his position as president. Bohmbach asked whether there would be a special election or an appointment.

Attorney Tim Scott told the board that by state statute they have the opportunity to appoint someone to the board or it can be done by election. If it were done by election, the board would have to wait until April 2012.

"The appointment process is fairly simple. Anyone of you can nominate a person or suggest a person, make a motion to appoint the person and the majority of the board has to approve," said Scott.

Bohmbach said it seemed the board would elect a new trustee by appointment and offered his opinion as part of the voting public.

"We have three individuals who ran in this election and did not successfully win a spot as president or trustee. Nick Carstens received approximately 44 percent from the electorate for being a trustee, Vince Trudell received 47 percent from the electorate for president and Eric Arthur received about 40 percent support from the electorate, everybody else in the village received zero percent support from the electorate," he said.

Bohmbach said zero percent of the rest of the village said they wanted to serve.

"My expectation as a member of the voting electorate is that one of those three members who already stepped up and said 'I want to serve,' be selected. So please keep that in mind when you deliberate on choosing that open position," he said.

Don Fowell agreed with Bohmbach, saying he hoped the board would choose one of the three individuals who ran in the recent election to fill the vacant trustee position.

In other news:

• Village Building Inspector Brian Wert was present at the meeting to answer residents' and business owners' questions about commercial projects. Local business owners asked a number of questions about permits, fees and other state requirements.

• Mary Rivard presented spread sheets to the board during the public comment time. She suggested the board hire two part-time employees to fill the open deputy clerk position, instead of one full-time employee.

• The board announced that the village's insurance company denied the claim for a residence that suffered damage due to a water main break. The village was not responsible for the main break. The board approved the insurance claim denial.

• After going into closed session, the board approved the hire of Angie Blodgett as the new deputy clerk. Bibeau abstained from the vote, Trudell and Erin McComb voted nay for fiscal reasons.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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