After firing longtime Police Chief John Schmidt, the city of Montgomery will be seeking public input on a re-evaluation of police services, Mayor John Grimm said last week. The City Council fired Schmidt, who had been chief for more than 15 years, in a special meeting March 30.

“There were just a number of factors,” Grimm said of the dismissal. “There was an investigation, and we believed it was in the best interest of the community to make a leadership change. All I can say is, it wasn’t a crime or anything, it was a matter of leadership.

“When a person is in charge, certain things are expected,” Grimm added. “And when we feel as a City Council that those leadership responsibilities aren’t being fulfilled, we make the decision to change leadership.”

The city has contracted with the Le Sueur County Sheriff’s Office to supervise the Police Department for three months. The department has three full-time and seven part-time officers serving the city of nearly 3,000 people.



Residents agree: Quality of life in their city is good

Mankato received high marks in the National Citizen Survey released last week. In overall quality of life, 63 percent of respondents rated the city “good,” with 17 percent rating it “excellent.” One in five citizens said Mankato’s quality of life is merely “fair.”

Compared with national benchmarks, Mankato scored well in areas such as safety, traffic flow, fitness opportunities, shopping and employment. In areas of government service, the city’s snow removal, health services, economic development and planning rated higher than similar cities. More than 80 percent rated the city government as “good” or “excellent,” while 91 percent agreed that the schools provide a quality education.

The survey was conducted by the National Research Center Inc. City officials said they’ll use the survey results to identify planning priorities.



Prescribed fires to be set in national forest

Travelers in and around the Superior National Forest in northern Minnesota shouldn’t immediately be alarmed if they smell smoke over the next few weeks.

Trained crews will be setting controlled fires as part of the forest management plan. The purpose of the fires includes reducing fuel buildup to protect against wildfires and improving habitat for native plants and wildlife. They are carefully planned and ignited only under specified conditions. Animals and sensitive plants are taken into consideration along with visitor use, moisture, wind, humidity and weather forecasts.

The planned fires will range from one to 1,000 acres. Maps, descriptions and updates will be available on the Superior National Forest website, as well as on social media.

Pam Louwagie