#3 — 2016 provided new opportunities for leadership

Allan Blanks/MDN Kelli Flermoen is the first woman to be named fire chief of the Minot Fire Department. During the summer, Flermoen collaborated with the American Red Cross to inspect and install smoke detectors in the homes of Minot residents.

Throughout 2016, the city of Minot experienced several transitions. From the reconstruction of Minot International Airport to the steady transformations downtown, a new era of leadership is taking place in the Magic City.

When reviewing the 2016 highlights, the first shift in leadership opened with the gender breaking success of Kelli Flermoen, the first woman to be named fire chief of Minot.

With 20 years of service to the Grand Forks Fire Department, the former battalion chief has made an immediate impact to Minot by adopting the 2015 International Fire and Building Code, which requires newly constructed and remodeled buildings to install an automatic sprinkler system.

In addition to the implementation of automatic sprinkler systems, Flermoen has encouraged collaboration with the American Red Cross and volunteerism from the community in citywide efforts to check and install smoke detectors in Minot homes.

Following the January arrival of Flermoen, was the May installation of Rick Feltner, who was named airport director at Minot International Airport.

After establishing a partnership with the Minot Park District, Feltner is helping Minot International Airport achieve fiscal success by saving an estimated $71,000 in landscaping and post-construction beatification.

According to the city’s Airport Committee, a proposal was made to allocate a small portion of the landscaping savings toward a new security system between the pre-screened and screened portions of the terminal.

Based on the committee’s findings, taxpayers will save an estimated $60,247.

During 2016, road construction brought chaos to patrons and businesses of downtown Minot.

In an effort to brighten the spirit of struggling businesses, Carrisa Botton and Chelsea Gleich founded the Minot Street Art Movement.

On a weekly basis, dozens of volunteers painted neon coated murals on the walls of downtown establishments along with rainbow toned garden pallets.

As downtown gained a much needed facelift, Beth Feldner and Terri Philion reestablished the Miss Minot Pageant.

With over $5,000 raised toward scholarship funds, the beauty pageant was well received by aspiring contestants with Cassandra Stauffer earning the title of Miss Minot.

After the Magic City crowned Miss Minot in June, residents elected new members to the Minot City Council.

Shannon Straight in Ward 1, Shaun Sipma in Ward 3 and Kenton Kossan in Ward 7 are the newest members of Minot’s political scene.

Affiliated with the informal organization called #MakeMinot, Straight and Sipma seek to reform the city council by creating smaller government and helping Minot rebuild from the 2011 flood.

Kossan, a state law enforcement official, plans to address criminal activity in Minot and establish a more transparent government that holds public officials accountable for their actions.

In addition to the trio of Straight, Sipma and Kossan, Stephan Podrygula in Ward 3 and George Withus in Ward 2 rejoined the council .

For Podrygula, his top priorities include better flood protection, improved public safety and encouraging more public participation.

Alongside the new council members are the recent committee chair appointments.

Lisa Olson chairs Airport and Franchise, Rick Hedberg was appointed to Liquor and Gambling, Dean Frantsvog heads Finance, Miranda Schuler chairs Public Works and Mark Jantzer heads Community Development.

Another new face to Minot is Tom Barry, the recently installed city manager.

As the public works director of Meridian, Idaho, Barry won the 2016 Leader of the Year Award from the American Public Works Association.

Some of the platforms on Barry’s agenda include snow removal, budget matters regarding city efforts to implement its disaster relief plan and flood protection.