Loda ends beaver hunt at property owner's request

LODA — During the past six months, Loda Village Board member Jon Boone has been hunting and trapping beavers in Spring Creek on the village’s far-west edge, where the animals have built dams that are believed to be causing the town’s storm-water drainage system to become backed up.

Boone thought he had permission to be on the private property along the creek.

Then came last week’s village board meeting, when Robin Ecker, the owner of the property, claimed that neither Boone, nor any other person, had permission to be on the property to take down beaver dams or for any other reason.

Ecker said she did not know that anyone was on her property until she was told of a recent story in the Ford County Record about Loda’s beaver problem. The story was accompanied by a photograph taken by Editor Will Brumleve showing Boone by the dam.

“I have not given permission for anyone to be on the property,” said an emphatic Ecker. “My vet actually told me (that Boone and Brumleve) were out there. There was an article in the paper saying that I gave permission. That was news to me. I am happy that no one was injured at any time.”

Boone insisted that he was given permission.

“I thought I did have permission,” Boone told Ecker. “I was told by someone that (I had permission) as long as we did not damage the property and only took the path that runs along Interstate 57. If you don’t want me there, I completely understand. I will not go back.”

According to the minutes of the Dec. 9, 2015, board meeting, President Carol Arseneau said at the time that she had talked with Ecker and had received permission to be on the property.

“President Arseneau talked to Robin Ecker, who owns the property where those big signs are, and she has given permission to go onto her property where the dams are,” the meeting’s minutes said. “She only asks that if (the village does) take any equipment down there we stay on the path that runs by 57 so not to make any big ruts.”

Ecker, however, was adament that Arseneau never obtained her permission.

Arseneau did not make any comments during last week’s meeting in response to Ecker’s claim. Arseneau also did not immediately return messages seeking comment after the meeting.

Boone indicated after the meeting that he thinks the village ought to be able to solve its beaver issue via Ecker’s property, given that the problem affects the village’s infrastructure.

“My feeling is that the dam needs to be destroyed for the good of the village, because it is blocking the water and could cause some severe problems,” said Boone. “I don’t care if I do it or someone else, but it has to be done. We have an easement to go anywhere in the city limits when there is a problem with water.”

Other business
In the other business at last week’s meeting:

— Resident J.R. Ptacek asked for a straw poll regarding whether the board favors the dissolution of the Loda Sanitary District. Board members indicated they wanted for Loda to stay part of the district, which also includes the nearby community of Bayles Lake. Ptacek said the current feelings of the board represent a complete turnaround from an original vote taken months ago.  Ptacek offered his own thoughts: “I think that people think that we have some protection by being in the district. I don’t believe that is true. We would be better off to be on our own. I am extremely disappointed by the results of the straw poll. I think that the future will show that vote just cost the village of Loda that $40,000.” Dale Strough, the village attorney, said he agreed with Ptacek’s assertion that if the district were to be dissolved, the judge presiding over the dissolution would be obligated to give the district’s remaining $40,000 in funds on hand to the village, rather than splitting the funds between Loda and Bayles Lake.

— Ptacek, an employee of ERH Enterprises Inc., the company contracted to maintain Loda’s water system, passed out containers to be used to collect water samples to various people at the meeting. The containers were to be returned on Thursday morning.
— The board decided to postpone a decision on whether to fund the replacement of a water meter for a local business. The board initially wanted to pay for the meter’s approximately $1,500 cost. However, the board delayed making a decision when resident Richard Coffey advised board members that he — not the village — was required to buy his own water meter a few years ago.

— Arseneau was given permission to raise the budgeted amount for gravel to be used in upcoming road repairs, from $14,000 to $19,000. The gravel will be purchased from and shipped by CC Farms & Trucking and Rose Farms & Excavating. Road work is slated to start soon, beginning with the roads in worst shape. Oiling and chipping will be done on Adams and Jackson streets all the way to Oak Street. The north/south streets of Poplar and Locust will see repairs, as well. Poplar Street will be oiled and chipped from Jefferson to Washington streets, while Locust Street will be oiled and chipped from Jefferson Street to beyond Virginia Street.

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