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Rural Medical injured by Lafayette Fair Board
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DARLINGTON – Chair Jack Wiegel called the Lafayette County Fair Committee meeting to order Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. in the Floral Hall at the Lafayette County Fairgrounds.
    In the public comment portion of the meeting an issue was brought by Darlington Rural Medical regarding who the Lafayette County Fair board selected for emergency medical coverage.
    For background information the following is from the April 22 meeting minutes: ‘Olson asked the committee their wishes on EMT service during the week of the fair. She told the board she has received multiple donations to have Paramount Ambulance Service for the 2017 fair. After much discussion, it was decided due to the current circumstances with the county board chairman’s disorderly conduct ticket still pending, they would hire Paramount Ambulance Service of Dubuque, Iowa to service the 2017 Lafayette County Fair. A motion by Heimann and second Spensley to proceed with this Paramount contract was made. Motion unanimously carried.’
    Bridget Schuchart, Rural Medical Director, said, “I was disappointed in the process and the selection of the EMS for the Fair. I’d like to put water under the bridge and rekindle. I don’t understand what the chairman’s disorderly conduct charge has anything to do with Rural Medical. We didn’t have any part in that. For that to be part of the decision is upsetting to us.”
    J. Wiegel responded, “That wasn’t the only thing.” Schuchart said, “For that to be a factor…” Jack Sauer, Lafayette County Board chairman and Fair board member said, “I think you need to look back at the August Fair Board meeting when your spokesman (Jason King) spoke under public comment and basically threatened this committee and I think you need to look at the actions that happened after that.” Sauer continued, “He is a member of your board, correct?” Schuchart answered, “He is a member of our service. But just because he’s on our service, it doesn’t mean he would be at the fair.” Sauer said, “To give you advice, I would tell you to take a year and get more discretionary of who your people are and come back and talk to us next year.” Schuchart responded, “With the amount of calls we have a year, we don’t have the volunteer base to be turning qualified people away.”
    Sauer said, “Like I said in the August meeting, 98% of your people are very good and just a couple percent that are bringing you down. That has not changed.”
    Cindy Corley, Darlington City Council member and Rural Medical Board President, said, “The consensus I got out of the August meeting was the Fair Board was going to work together on this. I question how the EMS is funded for the fair? And does the County Board get to see this in the Fair’s budget? I feel the county and taxpayers deserve an ambulance that serves this district. I would like to work resolving issues between the Fair Board and Rural Medical. And you’re contracting with an outside agency, who’s purpose is to do inter facility transfers only. If MedFlight was needed to be called at the fair they do not have the protocol set up with Memorial Hospital.”
    Answer: Sauer said, “I talked to Chuck (Herbst) in January and asked if all the politics are done. I don’t think they are and he understood.” Jolante Olsen, Fair Secretary, said, “Anonymous people put money in my blue box to pay for Paramount to come to the fair.” Sauer added, “Plus we have others who will be willing to donate, it will be taxpayers dollars, but not out of the county budget.” He continued, “My answer for MedFlight is, if someone gets hurt they will be transported to the hospital and the hospital will know the protocol for MedFlight.”
    Corley asked, “What is it going to take to resolve this issue going forward, I find it hard to believe that taxpayers of Rural Medical will find this situation acceptable.” Sauer responded, “$16,000 of county money goes to Rural Medical and to other ambulance services in the county, we’re not spending taxpayers dollars other than donations, to get another ambulance service down here and I believe that’s our prerogative in light of some things that have happened and this isn’t the first time, we’ve had political issues for years and I’m not going to get into them all tonight, I could write a book on them.”
    Corley asked, “How much is Paramount getting paid to be at the fair?” Olson answered, “$300 every time they come.” Sauer then asked, “And how much did we pay Rural Medical when they came?” Olson, “We donated $150 per event to Rural Medical.” J. Wiegel wrapped things up by saying, “I think the decision has been made for this year, we can certainly talk next year about it,”
    On another subject the Republican Journal asked the board if they had discussed the Lafayette County Livestock tentative plans for a new fairgrounds. J. Wiegel responded, “That is so far away from happening.” Sauer added, “The question got brought up at the meeting the Livestock held regarding this – what would the county do with the old fairgrounds – I guess we would have to see a new one being built before we would make any decisions.” J. Wiegel added, “I don’t think any one on the board is opposed to it, if it should happen.”
    Summer help was discussed, interviews were held Saturday, May 20. Hours – the first couple weeks will be seven hours a day, four days a week and then when the fair gets closer they will work eight hours. Two will be hired and preferably three.
    A pickup truck was purchased and already in service, for use at the fairgrounds. The truck was purchased for $3,000 according to Olson.
    A decision was made to have the rain alternate location at the county shop (instead of the school) for the Madison County band performing Wednesday night of the fair (this item was not on the agenda).
    It was decided to sell the lift “for what it’s worth” (this item was not on the agenda).
    In other business: possible tractor pull in August, no action as the person was not present; Antique Days was on the agenda and they were not present, no action; vouchers were paid.
    Feb. 14, 2017 Fair Board meeting: Approved advertising proposals; Approved keeping the gate, grandstand and other charges the same; Fairest of the Fair program will start up again in 2017; Approved contract for the Lafayette County Tractor Pullers for Thursday and Saturday 2017 fair contract.