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By Sterling McGinn

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the monthly meeting of the Newberry Village Council was held via Zoom on Tuesday, July 21 at 6 p.m. All members of the board were present on the call, however, no members of the public participated in this month’s meeting.

During the first part of the meeting, the board went into closed session with legal counsel to discuss mediation preparation for the arbitration with former village manager Jennifer James-Mesloh, who resigned in September 2019. After leaving closed session, the council voted to accept the legal counsel’s advice.

Village attorney Jeff Jocks gave an update on the  FOIA fee appeal submitted by Charles Mesloh. Mesloh is appealing the charge for the FOIA documents he requested from the village. After discussion, the board voted to use the allowable extension for 10 business days for additional research.

In other news, the village Fairbanks generator is in need of repair. While generating power for Consumer’s Energy, the operator noticed an unfamiliar knocking noise within the generator. After shutting the generator off, the operator and superintendent noticed a connecting rod punched through the steel crankshaft casing.

”During the pre-lube, an oil injector became plugged, and was not lubricating one of the connecting rods in the crank shaft,” stated interim village manager Allison Watkins. “This caused the connecting rod to catch and break and punch through the steel casing of the crank shaft.”

Service crews from Fairbanks assessed the damage and removed the damaged parts. The crankshaft and blower will be sent away to the Fairbanks company to be evaluated. Another crew will have to determine if the engine block was also damaged. The incident was submitted to the insurance company.

In other business, the council approved two requests for disbursements of funds for McGahey Construction at a total of $85,950.00, and for the SAW grant program totaling $14,930.39.

Also approved that evening was the payment of the Village bills totaling $131,973.76 and the Water and Light bills of $85,559.22.