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COPYRIGHT 2015 - RICHARD ODOMS
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“Without Freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom;
and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.”
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One Monday morning in July 2009, I learned that there was a Public Television crew from Hamburg, Germany in town doing some filming for a documentary that they were making about our city. Learning of this, I went and met the TV crew and then spoke with the person who appeared to 'be in charge' who I found at the shelter in Bi-Centennial Park. We had a very interesting conversation about how our 'sister city' in Hamburg compares with their 'sister city' in Minnesota.
My talking with him was so informative and enjoyable, I asked him if I could accompany him if I 'stayed out of his way'. He eagerly agreed and I joined his filming crew at the Hamburg Post Office where they were filming for their documentary. So that I could share this unique experience with Hamburg (Minnesota) residents, I created a Webpage containing the pictures I took and the interview that I conducted.
To visit the Webpage that I designed and to hear my interview that I recorded, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
! also eagerly volunteered for, and became involved with our new community that we had just recently (March 2007) become a member of. As just one example, and for a number of years, we would go to Bi-Centennial Park (as well as along the railroad tracks) the mornings after the previous day's Zummerfest Celebration and pick of beer and pop cans, napkins, Styrofoam cups and every other type of trash and refuse that you can imagine, that had been 'left behind' by those attending Zummerfest.
Speaking of Zummerfest and going back to the days when Diane Mackenthun was a City Council Member, I worked with
her, Brad Droege, Tammy Trebesch and another lady who worked at the bank (whose name 'escapes' me), and others,
who all worked together on the planning of Hamburg's 125th Anniversary Zummerfest Celebration. As part of my efforts, I
actually designed (and circulated) the layout of the 'Schedule of Events' for that three day celebration; an original copy of
that 'Schedule of Events' is framed and proudly hangs on one of the walls of my office. Please "Click' on the 'thumbnail'
image to the right to make the picture larger.
Interestingly enough, I remember attending one of these 'planning meetings' when Brad's fire pager went off (he was Hamburg's Fire Chief then) for a Mutual Aid call to assist the Waconia (and other fire departments) on a 'structure fire'. As it would later turn out, the structure that was burning was where all of the fireworks intended for Hamburg's Zummerfest fireworks display were being stored. Brad's company, Wm. Mueller & Sons, was the company that generously donated the money to purchase those fireworks (about $4,500.00 as I recall) for all Hamburg residents, and everyone else attending our Zummerfest Celebration, to enjoy.
Brad, like me, wants 'the best' for our city and its residents. After the fire was put out and the ashes had quit smoldering, Brad contacted me and told me what had happened. Would there NOT be a fireworks display at our 125th Year Anniversary Celebration ? I 'knew' Brad. I knew the 'drive' that he possesses. Somehow, I just knew, for certain, that Brad would come up with 'a plan'. And he did. His company arranged for, and purchased, AGAIN, fireworks to replace those that 'went up in smoke' (no pun intended), prematurely.
In addition to working with those mentioned above in the planning of Hamburg's 125th Year Anniversary Celebration, I also promoted Hamburg's event on what was then my a 'personal' Website; www.hamburgminnesota.com. (PLEASE CLICK HERE to see the Webpage that I designed for the 2010 Zummerfest Celebration.) My reason for doing so was two-fold. First, there was no 'official' city Website at that time and, second, there was no 'electronic sign' (that now stands in Bi-Centennial Park) to provide an organized means within the city to make immediate, 'mass notification' of information of interest and importance to city residents. Or to provides a means to 'update' them on information they need/want to know.
Forget the rumors, forget the uncertainty, "The SAME information to ALL city residents!" That is, and has always been, the purpose of my Website(s).
My Website, www.hamburgminnesota.com, even back then, was used, albeit 'unofficially', to provide interesting information to Hamburg residents; information that is of importance and of 'value' to them. EXACTLY what my OFFICIAL HAMBURG CITY COUNCIL MEMBER Website, www.hamburgminnesota.com, is doing today, and has been doing since its 'launch' in August 2007; providing important, needed and worthwhile information to the residents of Hamburg.
Once again, forget the rumors, forget the uncertainty, "The SAME information being made available to ALL city residents!" My Website is STILL doing that today !!
Back to the fireworks for the Hamburg's 125th Year Anniversary Celebration: Word spread like 'wildfire' (again; no pun intended) that the fireworks that Brad's company, Wm. Mueller & Sons, had paid for, had been destroyed. Media outlets began contacting Brad, and the city, to get more information. They also went to my Website, www.hamburgminnesota.com, where I provided and maintained continually updated information as to what was taking place. "The SAME information for everyone; etc., etc., etc.,"
KSTP-TV (Channel 5) even sent a satellite truck out and a reporter and broadcast 'live' reports during several of the stations newscasts so that residents of Hamburg (and the entire world) could receive updated information as to what was taking place. When KSTP-TV Channel 5 was in town and doing their 'live' broadcasts on their news programs about the the structure that destroyed the Zummerfest fireworks, I took some pictures. Please "Click' on the 'thumbnail' images below to make the pictures larger.
My next 'involvement' with (and for) Hamburg, was 'spotlighting' (our then) Fire Chief, Brad Droege. Early on, I got to know Brad (and his background), he got to know me (and my background) and I think it's an accurate statement for me to say that we 'bonded'; we both certainly respected each others backgrounds. I realized, really quick, that Brad was a person with a sincere passion for the fire service (of which he was a member), for the Emergency Medical Services (for which he worked), and for the city, in which he lived and served, so faithfully and for soooo many years.
It was a 'no brainer' of how I could 'highlight' Brad and all of the wonderful things that he had done; for his profession, for his city (did you know that Brad secured about $400,000.00 in 'grant money' for the city during his tenure with the Hamburg Fire Department?), for his county and for all of the many people that benefited from him. While it's long been 'rumored' that I seem to have some 'talent' (much to some peoples dismay) in Website design. Brad was about to get his own Website, at NO COST to him, and, of course, at NO COST to city taxpayers; I 'footed the bill' entirely. (And STILL do for my OFFICIAL HAMBURG CITY COUNCIL MEMBER Website as well as all of my other Websites and related Webpages that I maintain.)
My Website about Brad was designed, 'launched' and became very popular and informative; and still is today. The next 'logical step' was to have Brad as my guest on my Internet Show Series, "DELTA ON DEMAND", so that I could make his accomplishments known even more. I packed up my recording equipment, went to Brad's house and spent about an hour talking with him about his dedicated career; about his very interesting life. Once I edited that program, it was added to his Webpage and made available for listening 24/7. Upon his retirement, I modified my Webpage about Brad to reflect him as being 'Former' Fire Chief Brad Droege. That Webpage is available, complete with pictures and my entire interview with Brad, at www.thedeltashow.com/formerfirechiefbraddroege.html.
Continuing on, in about 2009, I met an individual that had installed a Wi-Fi Internet system in Cologne to provide high speed Internet access to Cologne residents and other persons living in areas where DSL was not available via their local telephone company or cable TV service (if it even existed). Years before I was elected to the Hamburg City Council, I met with this individual to discuss the possibility of expanding his Wi-Fi service to Hamburg and the surrounding area so that more homes (not just in Hamburg, but in the surrounding countryside, as well) would be able to have high speed Internet access. He expressed interest in expanding his Wi-Fi Internet service to Hamburg and the surrounding area, so I arranged for us to appear before the Hamburg City Council to receive permission for his company to mount the required antennas on the city's water tower for a set monthly 'rental' fee' that the city would receive.
Ultimately, this company was granted permission to use the Hamburg water tower as an 'access point' and, as a result, alternative high speed Internet service became available to the residents of the City of Hamburg for the first time, and the majority of residents living in areas surrounding Hamburg, in Carver, McLeod and Sibley counties, could now be able to receive high speed Internet service for the very first time !!
Another 'first' for the City of Hamburg; being responsible for our friends and neighbors in the surrounding areas in three counties, being able to received high speed Internet access !!
PLEASE CLICK HERE to see a Webpage that I designed announcing the availability of high speed Internet in Hamburg and the surrounding countryside to those whom it was never before available.
There was also the HAMBURG SERVICE MEMORIAL; yet another city 'project' spearheaded by 'unstoppable' Brad Droege. I vividly recall Brad stopping by the house with some engineering plans that had been drawn up for a service 'memorial' to be built in Bi-Centennial Park honoring our nations Military, Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel. I immediately posted those plans, and Brad's concept, on my Website at www.hamburgminnesota.com. And as the construction progressed, I 'chronicled' its progress on my Website up to, and including completion and dedication.
Just prior to the dedication of the Hamburg Service Memorial, I even took our 'walk behind' lawn mower from home and brought it down to the memorial to cut (and trim) the grass, PERSONALLY (instead of with a 'rider); so that the memorial would 'look perfectly manicured' at its dedication.
And it did !!! (To see one of the Websites about the Hamburg Service Memorial that I constructed and continually kept updated for all the world to see, PLEASE CLICK HERE.)
And ever since then, I pretty much am involved, EVERY year, in getting the memorial 'tucked away and ready for the winter' in the fall and then, in the spring, getting it cleaned up, revitalized and ready for the spring, summer and fall months for everyone, Hamburg resident or not, to enjoy. Many of you have either driven by and 'waved' or even stopped and talked while I was blowing away the leaves, pulling out the plants that didn't survive the winter, watering, fertilizing or cutting the grass. EVERYONE that I talked to expressed their appreciation for the work that was continually being done to 'keep up' the memorial and how nice it looked during the summer.
I was the only City Council Member that was involved in that effort to help beautify our city and help make it more attractive.
Just part of my 'ongoing contribution' to our nice, but small, city.
I also regularly attended City Council meetings because I was truly interested what was 'going on' in the city where I lived. I got to know our former longtime Public Woks employee quite well. He could readily be seen throughout the year cutting grass, flushing hydrants, shoveling and snowblowing snow and doing the multitude of other tasks required of him. I like him and thought that he did a 'good job' for the city but often wondered to myself if he ever got bored doing the same tasks over and over for twenty-some years.
He was always very pleasant and respectful to me; however, he resigned in about August 2013 after providing his services to the city and being on call 24/7 during his twenty-some years, or so, of employment. The former Deputy City Clerk also resigned the following December.
Results of the General Election held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 determined that unopposed Hamburg Mayor Richard Malz was reelected (230 votes) to a two year term as Hamburg's Mayor; I was elected (161 votes; MORE than the combined total of ALL 'write-in' votes) to fill one, of two, vacant four year terms as a City Council member. As I understand the results, former City Council member Larry Mueller received the most 'write-in' votes (29) for the second vacant City Council position and Robert Gregonis received the second most votes (24) for the second City Council seat.
I would become a Hamburg City Council Member on January 1, 2013. I was EXCITED!!
SOME OF THE THINGS THAT I'VE BEEN INVOLVED WITH AND SOME
OF THE THINGS THAT I'VE ACCOMPLISHED SINCE BEING
ELECTED TO THE HAMBURG CITY COUNCIL IN 2013
A 'Chronology' Of My First Thirty-One Months As YOUR Elected City Council Member. Information
Sources Are The City Council Meeting Agendas, City Council Meeting Minutes As Well As
My Personal Recollection and Personal Notes Made and Taken.
When I filed for election to the Hamburg City Council in August 2012, I had the perception the once or twice a month, I, along with the other City Council Members, would meet with the Mayor and City Clerk/Treasurer and discuss the city's current 'status', where we currently 'are' and what our individual, and collective', plans were for making the City of Hamburg a 'better place' to live, learn, work, play and, perhaps, even raise a family.
JANUARY: Because he received the most 'write-in' votes, former City Council member Larry Mueller was given the opportunity, first, by the Hamburg City Council to fill the remaining City Council seat that was now vacant. But Mueller declined. The second vacant City Council seat was then offered, by the Hamburg City Council, to 'write-in runner-up' Robert Gregonis. Gregonis accepted the position.
City Council members have designated 'areas of responsibility' for various functions/departments within the city. Those 'designations' are made at the first City Council meeting of the year. I was City Council member designated to be responsible for 'Streets".
I also learned about the requirement for ALL city officials to be certified in a FEMA Training Course entitled National Incident Management System; (shortened to the acronym NIMS). I received ALL THREE of my NIMS certifications REQUIRED, within only THREE MONTHSof taking my seat on the Hamburg City Council.
JANUARY: At the very first City Council meeting that I attended in my 'newfound career', I openly opposed all increases in both property taxes to residents and all wages to City Council members.
FEBRUARY: I arranged for a representative from Floyd Security to make a presentation to the City Council about installing an alarm system in the Sewage Lift Station in Bi-Centennial Park. (Interestingly enough, I appeared before the Hamburg City Council about 25 or 30 YEARS AGO when I owned DELTA SECURITY SYSTEMS and the city was considering 'alarming' the lift station way back them !!)
At our February meeting, I was able to secure installation of the alarm system for a substantially lower price ($600.00) than normally charged. (By comparison, a somewhat similar alarm system proposed for the Water Treatment Plant by a local company was proposed to cost the city IN EXCESS OF $1,500.00 !!!)
MARCH: I successfully passed the required National Incident Management System (NIMS) courses; (Series 100, 200, 700) required of all city employees.
EXACT DATE UNKNOWN: Detected a natural gas leak at the Water Treatment Plant on a Saturday, notified Xcel Energy and waited at the plant for about two or three hours for their arrival. When their Serviceman finally did arrive, a serious leak was found; so serious, in fact, that the Xcel Energy Serviceman 'red tagged' the gas service line to the emergency standby generator in the building and turned off ALL gas to the building.
For about the NEXT THREE WEEKS as I recall, the City of Hamburg was without ANY form of emergency power for the Water Treatment Plant. In the event of prolonged commercial power outage, once the water tower was drained, the CITY RESIDENTS WOULD HAVE NO WATER and THE FIRE DEPARTMENT WOULD HAVE NO WATER IN ITS FIRE HYDRANTS FOR FIGHTING ANY FIRES THAT MIGHT BREAK OUT !!
Once the defective gas line was replaced, the generator wouldn't start because the battery in the generator was totally 'dead'; and apparently had been 'dead' for some time. I arranged for the procurement of a new battery, bought battery corrosion sealant for the battery posts (with my own money) and had the new battery installed. I also instituted a regular test schedule for the generator to ensure that it would be operational when needed.
MAY: I was the only City Council member to participate in "CITYWIDE CLEAN UP DAY" with the City Clerk/Treasurer.
MAY: I was able to successfully convince the rest of the City Council that signing a Service Agreement with Carver County for it's newly installed fiber optic network was unwise and not in the best interests of the city for a variety of reasons. Specifically, the system had NOT been operational long enough to prove its reliability, Carver County's monthly fee for usage was $75.00/month for Internet access for a download speed of only 20MB yet; was $20.00/month MORE than what the city was already paying for comparable service with Mediacom cable, the initial Carver County contract period of five years with 'automatic annual renewals' wanted by Carver County.
I explained to the other member of the City Council that aligning the city with Carver County simply wasn't a prudent idea, was not realistic because of the constant and fast changing technology we all are experiencing, and not in the best interests of the city.
The City Council voted NOT to sign Carver County's fiber optic agreement.
MAY: Upon approval of the entire City Council, I began to record City Council Meetings to make them available to city residents for listening 24/7 from the other Hamburg Website.
AUGUST: Resignation of Public Works employee Dennis Byerly.
AUGUST: Provided sound system and recorded music at 2013 National Night Out.
SEPTEMBER: I was the only City Council Member to take the (required) daily meter readings at the Water Treatment Plant and the Sewage Lift Station in Bi-Centennial Park during the time that the city didn't have a Public Works employee. (Councilmember Trebesch and Mayor Malz showed up in August or September to learn how to take the readings along with me, but, as far as I know, I was the only City Council Member that ever actually took them until a full time Public Works employee was hired.)
SEPTEMBER: I researched the possibility of implementing a semi-automated Water/Sewer billing system to reduce the amount of time now spent preparing utility bills and increase accuracy of city water meter reading. I attended a meeting about automated water meter reading and billing with the Hamburg City Clerk/Treasurer in Waconia, but nothing was ever done to update the way the City of Hamburg reads its water meters and prepares its utility bills.
SEPTEMBER: I was issued a key to the City Shop by the City Clerk/Treasurer. By having access to the City Shop, I also then has access to all other city keys; keys for both city vehicles and all city buildings; including the Water Treatment Plant and both Sewage Lift Stations. I purposely did NOT request a key to city hall or to the City Clerk/Treasurer's Office.
OCTOBER: Met with representatives from a local company about installing a monitoring system for the Water Treatment Plant so the city would be notified of a malfunction there rather than finding out about it when 'the city runs out of water'.
OCTOBER: Began preparation of the site at the Sewage Lift Station in Bi-Centennial Park for a new, permanent emergency standby generator would be mounted on a poured cement slab. Here are some pictures that I took while the area was being prepared and the slab being poured and 'trowelled out' by our Public Works employee and the EXCELLENT volunteer services of Kyle Trebesch. Please "Click' on the 'thumbnail' images below to make the pictures larger.
Also, by my arranging for installation of the natural gas line in the fall (rather that during the winter), the city SAVED$ 800.00 !!
NOVEMBER: I oversaw the preliminary design and installation of cement pad on which the new emergency standby generator would be mounted. I also continually updated the status of this project on my OFFICIAL HAMBURG CITY COUNCIL MEMBERWebsiteto keep all Hamburg residents informed of what was taking place.
Again, "The SAME information to ALL city residents from a single source!"
NOVEMBER: The Universal Power Supply used in the control panel at the Water Treatment Plant was eight years old. In the event of a power failure, it more than likely would NOT proper supply the power needed by the panel because of the age of the batteries. Manufacturers of Universal Power Supplies recommend the total replacement of the ENTIRE unit every five years. (But, of course, you must understand that they are in the 'business' of selling their product!)
I sought , and received, approval to purchase a new U.P.S. with new batteries from Amazon.com. I ordered an adequately sized U.P.S. and charged it to my personal credit card; knowing that I would be reimbursed by the city.
When the new U.P.S. was received, I noticed that some of the L.E.D. segments did not work. I contacted Amazon.com and they stated that they would send me out a replacement unit. I asked Amazon.com about returning the unit that I had just received that had burned out LED segments; they said it wasn't necessary to return it to them; it was mine to keep.
NOVEMBER 26, 2013 E-mail message to the City Clerk/Treasurer:
In addition to getting a new UPS for the Water Treatment Plant control panel
(http://www.apc.com/products/resource/include/techspec_index.cfm?base_sku=BR1000G) for $129.00, I've also arranged to get a new, SECOND identical unit AT NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE for the computers, server, modems, etc. in your office."
Now; I COULD have kept that unit for myself; (it really belonged to me) because I had already paid for it, and knowing that Amazon was going to send a second, 'replacement' unit to me. Still, I paid for it; it belonged to me.
INSTEAD, I brought this unit (with the partially burned out LED segments, to city hall (where it has been ever since) so that the computers at city hall will receive the benefit of a new Uninterruptible Power Supply, valued at $129.99, at NO CHARGE TO TAXPAYERS !!
DECEMBER: Resignation of Deputy City Clerk Sue Block. Using the recording of the December City Council meeting that I had made, I even constructed the Minutes for the December City Council meeting for the City Clerk/Treasurer to help 'ease his workload' because the city no longer had a Deputy City Clerk.
DECEMBER: I openly opposed increases in property taxes for residents and increase of wages of Mayor and City Council Members.
DECEMBER: I reimbursed the city $81.88 for the cost of the Knit shirt with embroidered city logo as well as the fleece jacket with the embroidered city logo. I also requested that the city NOT purchase any 'business cards' for me; it would be a waste of taxpayer dollars. I printed my own City Council member business cards; at my own expense.
Later, after seeing my professionally designed business cards that I had designed and printed, Council Member Trebesch asked me if I would print some similar City Council business cards for him.
I did so, cheerfully. (And at NO CHARGE to Council Member Trebesch or the city.)
DECEMBER: Arranged for the Chief Fire Officer in Hamburg, Germany to recognize Hamburg Fire Chief Brad Droege for all of his service to the City of Hamburg (Minnesota) as well as our surrounding communities. Here's the e-mail that I received that accompanied the (framed) letter from the Hamburg (Germany) Chief Fire Officer that was presented to Brad:
"Dear Mr. Odoms,
We were very much honored to be part of a huge number of congratulators. Please find attached the letter, that Mr. Maurer – Chief Fire Officer of all fire fighters in Hamburg, Germany – prepared for Brad Droege.
Moreover from Hamburg-Germany to Hamburg-Minnesota our very best wishes and a happy New Year.
Office of Chief Fire Officer
DECEMBER: Returned all of the monies ($988.15) that I received as a Hamburg City Council member during 2013, back to the city to be deposited back into the 'General Fund'.
JANUARY: At the first City Council meeting in 2014, it was unanimously agreed by the entire City Council that, because of my deep involvement, knowledge and expertise in the design, the purchase and installation of the new automatic standby emergency generator at the lift station in Bi-Centennial Park, it would be in the best interests of the city, and I could better serve the city, if my 'city responsibility duties' were shifted from 'Streets' to "Water and Sewer".
That change of 'responsibilities' was approved by the entire City Council.
FEBRUARY: Remember the freeze ups of water service lines in February, March and April in early 2014? ?
I personally met with three city homeowners to assess the problem. And also remember those postcards that you receive in the mail advising you to let your cold water 'trickle' to prevent the water service line to your house from freezing up?
I was the one who came up with that idea, I designed the initial postcards, printed them up, addressed them, 'stamped' them, brought them to the post office and arranged for 'same day' delivery to residents. I also did the same for two more 'mailings' to city residents to keep them updated and all during this particular event, I continuously updated my Official Hamburg City Council MemberWebsite so that ALL residents would receive the SAME information INSTANTLY about the status of the water service line freeze-ups without ever having to leave the comfort of their homes.
It was also my OFFICIAL HAMBURG CITY COUNCIL MEMBER Website, available to the world, that served as an accurate, up-to-the-minute resource as to the status of the frozen water service lines and what the city was doing and advising residents to do. PLEASE CLICK HERE to view the 'Water Service Line Freeze-Up Website' where Hamburg residents could receive IMMEDIATE and UPDATED information to keep them informed about what the city was doing.
One source for "The SAME information to ALL city residents!" My Website is STILL doing that today !!
FEBRUARY: City Hall would have been closed this weekday (I believe the City Clerk/Treasurer was ill) but because of the urgent situation involving the freezing up of residential water service lines, I volunteered to go to city hall and spend the day there to 'handle' any telephone calls from residents. This was a normal work day for me at my 'regular job', but I took the day off (and ;lost' eight hours' pay) so I could be of service to, and available for, Hamburg residents.
FEBRUARY: The neighbors in the adjoining townhouse had their water service line freeze up and were without water service for eight days while the city tried to figure out what to do. While 'digging up the street' (at a cost to taxpayers of anywhere from $-2,500.00 to $-5,000.00 or more) seemed to be the only option, I came up with the idea of allowing our neighbors to 'tap into' our water service by simply drilling a hole through our common wall and 'interconnecting our water service to theirs.
Here's an e-mail from the (contract City Attorney that was forwarded to all City Council members on February 26, 2014 from the Hamburg City Clerk/Treasurer>:
I just talked to Mac (contract city attorney) and we came to the conclusion that the proposal from Mr. Odoms may be the best alternative at this time."
My idea worked flawlessly, our neighbors had BOTH hot and cold running water and my idea SAVED HAMBURG TAXPAYER DOLLARS; anywhere from between $ 2.500.00 to $ 5,000.00 (or more) !!
FEBRUARY: I, and Mayor Malz, met with city resident (Consior) who sustained basement flooding of sewage backup due to excessive rainwater entering the sanitary sewer system; took pictures of the damage and provided them to the city.
FEBRUARY: I was able to personally resolve, in the city's favor, a long overdue, outstanding, past due balance owed to Century Manufacturing in the amount of $ 835.85, that the City Clerk/Treasurer had been unable to resolve; and had been turned over to a collection agency.
MARCH: GENERATOR INSTALLATION DAY !! To see the Webpage that I designed for Hamburg residents documenting the installation of the emergency standby generator at the Sewage Lift Station in Bi-Centennial Park, PLEASE CLICK HERE !!
MARCH: There was an older computer that was collecting dust in a closet at city hall. I suggested to the City Clerk/Treasurer that this computer could be set up in the Public Works employee's office in the basement of the Hamburg Community Hall so that he could access the Internet without having to go to city hall. In addition to getting the computer set up and operational on the Internet, I also established a unique e-mail address for our Public Works Department and its employee.
MARCH: Lift Station generator design and oversight; physical installation of generator, transfer switch and alarm panel.
MARCH: After reviewing the exorbitant telephone bills for the Water Treatment Plant and the Hamburg Community Hall/City Shop, I set out to find a way to dramatically reduce our cost to Century Link for those to facilities.
By reconfiguring the telephone lines and telephone service at both locations, I was able to save Hamburg taxpayers a substantial amount of money each month on 'wired' telephone service at the city's Water Treatment Plant and Community Hall/City Shop.
APRIL: Because of the magnitude of duties and responsibilities that the Public Works employee was involved with and responsible for, I went to Maenad's in Hutchinson and picked up necessary materials that were needed to finish the remaining wiring at the sewage Lift Station project in Bi-Centennial Park.
APRIL: Because of his heavy work load, I assisted Hamburg's Public Works employee by cutting the grass in Bi-Centennial Park and at the Hamburg Service Memorial numerous times during April and May.
APRIL: Designed a means and arranged for installation of a 'hard wired' telephone line at city hall so that if the fiber optic cable serving all of city hall fails, city hall will still have a backup means to contact the 'outside world'.
MAY: The City Council originally was going to 'donate' about $3,300.00 that Councilmember Lund had requested to purchase an inflatable 'bouncy house'. However, after reading numerous news accounts of injuries sustained in 'bouncy houses', I withdrew my support. The Hamburg City Clerk/Treasurer received the following response from the (contract) city attorney after I raised the 'liability issues' that the city would be subjected to:
I had a chance to review Council Member Odom’s email regarding the inflatable jumping house. From a conservative legal standpoint, my advice to the City of Hamburg pretty much echoes the concerns set forth by Mr. Odoms. I have heard some horror stories about how use of these types of inflatables can result in injuries and lawsuits."
The 'bouncy house' idea was 'scrapped'.
JUNE: Spent several days working with Technician from NORTH STAR PUMP getting the new sewage flow meters installed in the sewage lift station at Bi-Centennial Park. Because the Technician was literally being lowered/raised into the pit where all of the city's raw sewage collects, a second person is required to be 'on-site' at all times. Was 'on-site'; all day, for several days, while this project was taking place. I sacrificed some of my schedule 'work days' at my 'regular job' so that I could be available to assist the North Star Pump Technician; thus allowing our Public Works employee to continue doing his normal daily routine and 'duties'.
JUNE: Suggested the possibility of adapting the old diesel powered generator previously used at the Sewage Lift Station, to be able to provide emergency power at the Hamburg Community Hall so that if the entire city, for whatever reason, would lose power for an extended period of time during the winter, city residents would have a temporary, centralized location that they could go that would provide them with heat, telephone, water and toilet facilities until such time as when either power to the city was restored, or they could make arrangements to be picked up by relatives.
JUNE: Designed and coordinated the final installation of wiring at the Sewage Lift Station and the reconnection of the lights on the flagpole in Bi-Centennial Park; letter of appreciation sent to Robb's Electric.
JUNE: Vividly described and reported the serious mold problems and unhealthily working conditions that exist at the Hamburg Community Hall to the rest of the members of the City Council.
JUNE: On June 19, 2014 at 3:12AM, I, along with Hamburg's Public Works employee, were alerted to a 'HIGH EFFLUENT' alarm at the city's sewage lift station at Bi-Centennial Park by Floyd Security; the company that monitors conditions at both the sewage lift station as well as the city's Water Treatment Plant. The city had been receiving heavy rain for a number of hours and eventually, due to 'infiltration' of rainwater into the city's sanitary sewer system coupled (probably) with residential sump pumps discharging into the sanitary sewer, the capacity of the lift station was 'overwhelmed'.
From the time that we were notified until 'things returned to normal' at 6:51PM that evening (about sixteen hours later), I worked 'shoulder-to-shoulder' with Hamburg's Public Works employee (I even missed a day of work because of the flooding) ensuring that city residents would experience 'minimal impact' of the heavy rainfall (3-5"+ inches) received. Ultimately, it was necessary to contact the Pollution Control Agency and tell them of our 'plight' and they gave us permission to pump (much diluted) sewage water from the city's sanitary sewer system into the city's storm water drainage system. In so doing, the city was able to prevent major sewage backup into residents homes; only about three or four homes sustained any damage from sewage backup; it certainly could have been much worse.
Shown below are some of the pictures that I took that day as a result of the flooding that the city experienced. Click on the 'thumbnails' below to increase the size of the pictures you wish to view.
I continually updated my OFFICIAL HAMBURG CITY COUNCIL MEMBER Website to keep Hamburg residents up-to-date' as to what was taking place in the city. In so doing, EVERYBODY in the city got the SAME information !!
SUMMER: There was allot of 'work' that needed to be done at the sewage settling ponds due to extensive 'overgrowth' of weeds, trees, bushes, etc., that hadn't been 'tended to' for several years. I made numerous trips to the city sewage ponds; discussed and complimented the new Public Works employee as to the massive improvement he had made in this very difficult project.
JULY: The "Jacob Street Grinder Station" was totally demolished on July 31st when it was 'crashed into' by a motor vehicle. For about the next week or ten days, an emergency generator was 'on-site' to provide temporary power so that sewage wouldn't 'back up' into residents basements. This generator had to be 'monitored' 24/7 and it was run periodically, by the city's Public Works employee, and myself, during the entire time that the 'grinder station' was being rebuilt. I also used my OFFICIAL HAMBURG CITY COUNCIL MEMBER Website as a means to keep the residents of Hamburg (and anyone else who was interested) about the 'status' of the 'grinder station' repairs. To see just one, of many, Webpages that I designed during this time to keep everyone living in Hamburg informed, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
Even thought I kept the City Clerk/Treasurer and the City Council fully informed as to the 'progress' of the reconstruction' I was the city representative responsible and the 'contact person' who coordinate the entire project with North Star Pump, Xcel Energy and the electrician from Robb's Electric in Carver, who was their 'on-site' electrician.
When the topic of installing 'barrier posts' (at a cost of $2,000.00 as I recall) to protect the lift station from sustaining damage should a similar 'event' occur in the future, the City Council 'deadlocked' on committing to make that enhancement.
The Mayor 'broke' the tie vote by voting AGAINST having the barrier posts installed; his reasoning was that they 'weren't necessary'. It is highly 'noteworthy' that this was the FIRST TIME since taking my seat, that the City Council had not unanimously agreed on an 'issue' and the Mayor had to 'break the tie'.
I personally thought that was very commendable !!
AUGUST: Provided sound system and recorded music at 2014 National Night Out.
AUGUST: Arranged for a second alarm system to monitor the control panel at the Water Treatment Plant. The system proposed by another vendor was over $1.500.00; I was able to have Floyd Security install it for just $400.00 !!
To save taxpayer dollars, I designed, and coordinated the reconfiguring of telephone service at City Hall/Community Center and Water Treatment Plant; met several times with installers from Century Link.
Because of the 'screw up' in the initial order for reconfiguration, I was able to get Century Link to 'waive' any 'early disconnection fees' should the city wish to cancel their service before the expiration of their three year contract.
Because all of the telephone lines at the City Hall/Community Center have been converted over to Carver County's Fiber Optic 'Ring', should that fiber optic 'ring' fail, for any reason, the City Hall/Community Center would have no telephone service whatsoever. I designed, and caused to be installed, a 'hardwire' landline telephone at the City Hall/Community Center so that in the event of a catastrophic telephone failure at City Hall/Community Center, the city would still have contact with the 'outside world'.
I also set up and installed a computer system in the Public Works employee's office and also arranged for Internet service to also be available there.
OCTOBER: Assisted in getting the Hamburg Service Memorial 'cleaned up' for the coming winter by blowing away the leaves, general cleanup, cutting back of plants and arranging for water to be brought to the site by the Hamburg Fire Department to give the plants their 'final watering' for the season.
NOVEMBER: Openly supported a Hamburg family that was opposed to having part of their property in Young America Township annexed by the City of Hamburg.
DECEMBER: Opposed a proposed ten percent (10%) increase in property taxes for residents and increase of wages of Mayor and City Council Members.
APRIL: Assisted in the preparation of the Hamburg Service Memorial for the coming season. That included blowing the leaves away from the plants, removing the debris that had accumulated over the winter months, removing, and replanting nine black- eyed Susan plants and six rose bushes that didn't survive last winter's harshly cold temperatures.
APRIL: Three young boys living in Hamburg (by the Post Office) stopped by the house on a Friday afternoon; they
were looking to 'line people up' for grass cutting this summer. I told them that because our yard was very small and
However, I offered, with their parents approval (of course!!), to design, print up and pay for the mailing of 'postcards'
to city residents 'advertising' their 'service'.
The boys stated they would stop back on the following Monday to pick up the sample 'postcard' that I said I'd design
for them over the weekend. A picture of the sample that I designed appears to the right. Please "Click' on the
'thumbnail' image to the right to make the picture larger.
The sample 'postcards' that I designed for them and offered to pay to have printed and mailed out to Hamburg residents, are still sitting on an end table by our front door waiting to be picked up.
APRIL: Offered to cut the grass on city-owned property again this year to help ease the workload of our lone Public Works employee, until a part time employee could be hired by the city.
MAY: Re-negotiated additional discounts for Measured Service telephone line whose initial discount of about $36.00/month, had expired. I was able to secure an additional monthly discount of about $28.00 taxpayer dollars from the telephone company.
MAY: Re-negotiated additional discounts for Measured Service telephone line whose initial discount of about $36.00/month, had expired. I was able to secure an additional monthly discount of about $28.00 taxpayer dollars from the telephone company.
JUNE: For the first six months of the year, as well as ever since the alarm systems were installed and up until June 16th of this year, in addition to the city's Public Works employee being notified of all alarms, I arranged to also be notified notified 24/7 of ALL alarms at either location and responded accordingly.
JULY: A severe thunderstorm coupled with damaging winds hit Hamburg in the early morning hours of July 18th. (This same severe thunderstorm spawned a tornado south-southwest of Watertown where it cause substantial damage.) As a result of the storm, much of the city was without electricity for a substantial period of time; the Water Treatment Plant and City Hall/Community Center and Fire Department complex were required to operate on emergency power for over twelve hours !!
And, even though it was Saturday, our very reliable and responsible Public Works employee was on the job getting branches and other debris off the streets and out of the park as well as clearing the branches, twigs, etc., that were clogging the catch basins in the city's streets.
I offered to help him with the 'clean up' but he said he had everything 'pretty much under control'.
And he did !
AUGUST: I apologize for being unable to attend the NATIONAL NIGHT OUT event on August 4th, but was unable to do so because of a 'work conflict' with my 'regular' job.
I could continue to describe many of the other, very positive things that I've done for the City of Hamburg and its residents since being elected to the Hamburg City Council in 2012; (like making sure that I stayed 'in town' those times that the citys Public Works employee would be out of town, so that I would be available should any problems arise with the citys Water Treatment Plant or two Lift Stations), but I believe that I've 'made my point'. I further believe it is evident that I have worked very hard during the past thirty-one months, not only for the City of Hamburg, but also for the many fine residents that call Hamburg 'home', as well, to help increase their quality of life.
I'm VERY PROUD of my many accomplishments that I've made within the city since becoming a member of the Hamburg City Council, that have helped to improve the lives and comfort of our city's residents and have helped to make the City of Hamburg a better place to live, learn, work and play !!
The Hamburg City Clerk/Treasurer, Jeremy Gruenhagen, recklessly accused me of "hiding behind my computer" at a previous City Council Meeting. (His publicly making such an inappropriate remark shows, among other things, a 'lack of good judgement' on his part, as well as exhibiting what I believe to be 'insubordination'!)
I'll 'match' my 'track record' of city accomplishments with Gruenhagens anytime. (As of August 13th, 2015, it's been EIGHTEEN MONTHS since installation of the new emergency standby generator for the Sewage Lift Station in Bi-Centennial Park was completed and the city STILLdoesn't have a fence infront of it!!)
A FULL YEAR elapsed before ANYTHING was even BEGUN to address the serious mold issue at the Hamburg Community Hall !! And then, ONLY did the ball 'start rolling' because of what I posted on this Website !!
I'll also match my accomplishments with any other City Council member, and let YOU be 'the judge' of how I've 'done my job' as YOUR elected Hamburg City Council Member since being elected to the Hamburg City Council in the 2012 election.
I'll CONTINUE in my 'energy charged' efforts to do what I can to help improve our fine city and the quality of life that our residents already enjoy.
I'll CONTINUE to welcome comments, e-mails, telephone calls, etc., from ANY Hamburg resident (or from ANYONE who visits my Website) that has a concern that they wish to discuss. My 'contact information' appears below.
And, yes; I'll ALSO CONTINUE to maintain my OFFICIAL HAMBURG CITY COUNCIL MEMBER Website. "The SAME information to ALL city residents from the same source!" NO topic (or person), is 'off limits' !!
As for my Oath of Office, I will continue to fulfill my position to the very best of my ability. If I see ANY type of wrongdoing or misconduct, it is my sworn DUTY & RESPONSIBILITY to report it ! Regardless of who is involved or what position within the city they hold.
So far, I have done that; I reported, in detail, deleterious actions that, by ANY standard, are wholly inappropriate and would NEVER be allowed in the 'private sector'.
I will CONTINUE to 'monitor' what is taking place in our small, but friendly, city and will CONTINUE to report, either internally or externally, those events or actions that I believe to be inappropriate and detrimental to our city and our many fine residents, and I will seek to bring to justice, those Public Officials that violate the public trust that the residents of Hamburg have invested in all of us. SO HELP ME GOD !!
When I was given my Oath of Office by the Hamburg City Clerk/Treasurer, I was sworn to do that when I accepted the responsibility of becoming YOUR Hamburg City Council member. I already have done so, and I shall continue to do so.
The 'purpose' of this entire Website is CLEARLY stated below; it'sMY way to communicate with the residents of Hamburg. I thought that all of the animated 'swinging E-mail sign' graphics and all of my "Got A Question, Comment, Thought, Idea or Suggestion ? Please Send Them To Me !!" statements prominently displayed throughout ALL of my Website and related Webpages, would get the message across that I WANT to hear from visitors to my Website(s);especially Hamburg residents, regarding THIS Website; but, of course, ALL comments from ANYONE about ANY of my Websites, are always enthusiastically welcomed.
Once received, I'll do my best to provide an HONEST, 'common sense' answer or explanation to the question asked of me or the issue raised. But, PLEASE BE ADVISED that because I'm an 'Elected Official' the (contract) city attorney has told the entire City Council that ALL e-mail messages, and the identity of who sent them, to me is 'public information'.
Not sure I'm buyin' that !!! I think it's just another attempt at 'intimidation'.
Once the slab was 'trowelled out', an insulating tarp was used to cover the slab over the winter months.
(SOUND CARD STRONGLY RECOMMENDED WHEN VIEWING THIS WEBSITE !!)
Got A Question, Comment, Thought, Idea or Suggestion ?
E-mail sent to (contract) City Attorney June 16, 2015:
Dear Ms. Dohm:
Pursuant to the discussion held at this evening's Hamburg City Council Meeting, please be advised that at NO time, was it EVER my desire, or intention, to publish, on my Website, www.hamburgminnesota.com, or any of its related Webpages, information, of ANY type, that in ANY way, violates, or MAY violate, in ANY manner, the Data Privacy laws of the State of Minnesota.
Please review my entire Website, and its related Webpages, and advise me as to what information currently contained therein, in your opinion as the Hamburg City Attorney, may violate said Data Privacy laws.
Then, in the spirit of cooperation, I shall undertake efforts to cause that information to be removed from, or modified on, my Website.
My Website, and its related Webpages, will remain as they currently are until Friday, June 19th, to afford you ample opportunity to review them.
On that date, the information published on my Website, and related Webpages, that you advise me, or allege, may violate Minnesota Data Privacy laws, will then be removed from, or modified on, my Website, and related Webpages, so that any alleged Data Practices violations that you believe may currently exist, will be corrected.
Thank you for your anticipated cooperation in this matter.
NOTE: After sending the above e-mail to Hamburg City Attorney Dohm on June 16th, no information was ever received back from her regarding any of the information contained on my Hamburg Council Member Website, or related Webpages, that she felt was, or could possibly be, a violation of Minnesota's Data Privacy laws.
E-mail sent to (contract) City Attorney July 11, 2015:
TO: Kelly Dohm; Melchert, Hubert Sjodin Law Firm
SUBJECT: Private Legal Consultation
Please be advised that your 'classification' of my Websites is erroneous.
Those distinctions are CLEARLY STATED on both Websites.
Pursuant to your suggestion, I sought legal advice on June 24th.
You have already established a precedent by advising me, an elected city official, your belief that certain information posted on my Hamburg City Council Member Website MAY not have been 'public information' and your requesting, as the city attorney, that I remove the information from my Hamburg City Council Member Website.
As you are fully aware, that 'questionable' information was removed, by me, without hesitation. (To reiterate, I have previously advised you that it is NOT my intent to have 'private' information appear on my Website. My 'position' on that has NOT changed!)
In the spirit of cooperation, any similar information under similar circumstances brought to my attention by you in the future, will be dealt with similarly and swiftly.
Pleased be advised that as a result of the legal consultation referred to above, I have heeded the legal advice that the attorney suggested and provided to me, and have reacted appropriately.
In short, I did what the attorney stated I should do.
When I Arrived In Hamburg Around Midnight On Monday Night (August 3rd) On My Way Home From Work, The First Thing I Noticed Was That The Whole East End Of Park Avenue Was TOTALLY DARK !! As I Got Close To The Hamburg Service Memorial (Which Was ALSO Dark), I Noticed A Bunch Of Xcel Energy And Mediacom Trucks With Amber Flashing Lights Just East Of The Bank On The North Side Of The Road.
I Parked My Car And Got Out To See What Was 'Going On'. From What I Was Told By One Of The Xcel Employees On The Scene (But I Haven't 'Verified' It), He Stated That About 6PM Monday Night, A Hay Wagon That Was Being Pulled, 'Broke Away' From Whatever It Was Being Pulled By, And Crashed Into A Power Pole Causing The Whole City To Lose Power. (As I Said, I HAVEN'T Been Able To Verify What I Was Told.)
I Was Further Told That Power To The 'West End' Of The City Was Restored Sometime Later, But That It Was Going 'To Be Awhile' Before Full Power To The Rest Of The City Would Be Totally Restored.
Normally, I would Have Contacted The City's Public Works Employee (Because, After All, My City Council 'Assigned Responsibilities' Are 'Water/Sewer') To Find Out What Was Taking Place. But I Couldn't. Do That.
But Because I Am A Conscientious Person Who Takes His City Council Position And Responsibilities Seriously, I Looked To See That The (New) Emergency Standby Generator At The Lift Station Was Running (It Was) So Residents Wouldn't Have Raw Sewage Backing Up Into Their Basements.
At The Conclusion Of The
Segment You Can
Listen To My
"SALUTE TO HAMBURG"
(Except Sunday Mornings)
RECORDED AFTER OUR CITY'S 125TH YEAR ZUMMERFEST CELEBRATION
DOES ANYBODY (BESIDES ME) THINK THAT IT'S ODD THAT THE AGENDA PACKET FOR TUESDAY'S CITY COUNCIL MEETING WAS, INSTEAD, DELIVERED TO ME BY A
(I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHO SHE WAS) THAT WAS RIDING A PINK BICYCLE ?
TWO MORE'EXTRA' HAMBURG
CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS
HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS
'KICK OFF' AUGUST
August 2015 Began With Two Rare, Saturday Morning 9AM Meetings On August 1st; BOTH About Me And My Website (AGAIN!!); One 'Special' Meeting Followed By Yet Another 'Secret' (a.k.a. 'closed') Meeting That The Public Is Prohibited From Attending So They Won't Know What's Going On Or What's Being Said.
Of Course, Both Meetings Were Attended By The (contract) City Attorney Who (I'm Guessing) Probably Charges The City $200.00-300.00 AN HOUR. Think She Charges 'Time And One Half' For Saturdays ?
At The Conclusion Of Saturday's Meetings, I Asked, On Behalf Of Hamburg Residents, How Much Saturday's Meetings Cost Taxpayers,INCLUDING How Much The (contract) City Attorney Charged The City.
I, as an elected official of this city, was REFUSED that information that I wanted so I could provide it to city residents, instead; I was told that I had to 'file a formal request' for that information !!
Normally, City Council Meeting Agenda Packets Are Dropped Off To City Council Member's Homes By The Hamburg City
Clerk Treasurer, As Shown In This
Hamburg Service Memorial Photo Taken August 10, 2015
By Hamburg City Council Member Richard Odoms
New In-Fisherman Programs Are Available Every Monday hrough Saturday. To Hear Today's
Edition, Please Click On
The Audio Control Below.
HI FOLKS !!
Thanks For Visiting My Very Popular Website !!
TWO WONDERFUL PEOPLE THAT I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED WORKING WITH ......
My responsibilities as a Hamburg City Council Member over the past two and one-half years have brought me into contact with a variety of people. This Website would NOT be complete if I, as a City Official, didn't properly 'recognize' our full time Public Works Employee and our Part Time Deputy City Clerk.
As I recall, our new Part Time Deputy City Clerk began working for the City of Hamburg in about March or April of 2014. I found her then, and still find her now, to be a very pleasant person who I enjoyed talking with about a variety of city 'projects' which I have been involved with in the past.
One 'project' in particular was the understanding and 'straightening out' of one of life's 'major headaches' for everyone (including the city), telephone bills. Because I've personally experienced how complicated and difficult to understand they are, I've gained allot of valuable experience in dealing with telephone companies; both technology-wise as well as how (generally) 'messed up' their billing is and imparted my knowledge and experience, to her.
Among many other important tasks, she's also responsible for ensuring that your city utility bills are prepared, sent out and your payments 'posted'.
The other city employee who is absolutely outstanding is our Public Works Employee who joined the city in the fall of 2014. A former Carver County employee, not only is he a neighbor, he is also a very talented and experienced individual who the city is very fortunate to have 'on board' with us.
I SUPPORT The Emergency Medical & Fire Services ...........
(SPECIFICALLY The Hamburg Fire Department)
During My Two Years As A Hamburg City Council Member, I Have Steadfastly, And Continually, Given The Hamburg Fire Department, And Its Leadership, Past And Present, My TOTAL Allegiance And Sought To Introduce Motions To Approve, And/Or Have Voted In Favor Of, VirtuallyEVERY Request Brought Before The Hamburg City Council By The Hamburg Fire Department.
If you disagree with me about this, please tell me where you think I'm wrong, HERE !!
Further, I Support And Endorse STRICT, AGGRESSIVEENFORCEMENT Of ALL Laws, Ordinances And Statutes, Specifically DWI Laws, Drug And Alcohol Laws, Domestic Abuse Cases And The Holding Of ALL Public City, County, State And Federal Officials, And Employees, FULLY ACCOUNTABLE For The Wise Use And Conservative Spending Of Taxpayers Hard-Earned Tax Dollars, And Ensuring That The Taxpayers Receive Significant Value For Every Taxpayer Dollar Spent. The Money We Spend As Elected Officials Does NOTBelong To Us; It Belongs To Those We Serve !!
If you disagree with me about this, please tell me where you think I'm wrong, HERE !!
I believe ALL Public Officials Must Provide An 'Avenue Of Communication' Which Allows Citizen Input As Well As Free And Easy Access To All Of Us. However, Those Taxpayers Using Said 'Avenue', Are Expected To Do So With The Dignity And Respect Of The Office That Elected Officials Hold. Anything Less Is Unacceptable Behavior.
If you disagree with me about this, please tell me where you think I'm wrong, HERE !!
Lastly, To Those Of You Few, Rare Persons Who Are 'Critical' Of And Who Don't Approve Of This PRIVATELY FUNDED Website And/Or Its Content Designed To Provide Information About Our Fine City To The Surrounding Area As Well As To The Rest Of The World, The 'Solution' Is Very Easy: Simply Don't Visit It Anymore !! It Will Continue To Thrive And Do Very Well Without You, As It Has Done In The Past For So Many Years. To The Many Other Fine Visitors Who Find My Website Interesting And Informative, I Look Forward To Your Return Visits Again Soon. And, THANKS !!
People Living In The Following Countries Have Learned More About Our City of Hamburg, Minnesota 55339 U.S.A.
United Arab Emirates
Every effort is made to ensure that information on this, and my other Websites are accurate, but mistakes and errors can happen. If you see something on this, or any of my other Webpages that's incorrect, PLEASE let me know at hamburgcitycouncilmemberodoms