A recap of the city's emergency services, and more.

Although I shared some of this information on the radio the other day, it’s worthy of repeating just how busy our police, fire department and ambulance service actually are. Repetition serves to point out just how much we appreciate the services these fine folks provide our community.

Our busy police department responded to 202 calls during the month of October and 2,057 calls during the first 10 months of this year. During October, they made 14 arrests, stopped 43 vehicles, and responded to seven animal complaints, along with a number of other disturbances. We often see an officer on patrol around town, but possibly don’t realize all that they are actually doing.

Our ambulance service has responded to 360 calls during this year’s 10 month period, for an average of 36 per month. With an average of over one call per day, these EMTs have a significant presence in our community.

Our fire department has responded to 45 calls during this 10 month period or an average of over four calls per month.

These statistics do not include the significant amount of training these good folks put in to provide these important services.

These services are provided by dedicated, hard working and well-trained men and women from our community who are out there serving us at two in the morning and in all kinds of weather. For all they do, we owe them our gratitude.

When the municipal liquor store was closed, a fairly large portion of the City Office building opened up. At a recent meeting, the City Council was presented with a plan for renovation of that space to move the Police Station and PUC office into the building.

The present police station is old and outdated, not very visible or accessible, totally lacking in ventilation, offers very poor storage for evidence and has other age related deficiencies. Because the jail no longer meets minimum standards, anyone needing to be incarcerated goes to New Ulm.

The architectural firm, Oleson and Hobbie, put the renovation cost at just over $500,000. It would include an office for the PUC and garages for the police cars. The changes would allow the Food Shelf to move to first floor in the Power Plant and the Ambulance Service would take over the present PUC office in that building.

When the Orchid Inn closed, there was a lot of speculation about what might happen to that facility. Two different interested parties have come forward with proposals to take the building down and use the land for building lots. Another party, led by Elia Bruggeman representing a nonprofit corporation called AGlobal Education, would offer to use the building as a dormitory and educational facility. There will a joint meeting of the City Council and the EDA, open to the public, at the Event Center on Wednesday, Jan. 24 from noon to 2 p.m., to learn more about this proposal and possibly make a decision about the future of it.