Public Works

Faribault Public Works staffers, pictured from left, Mike O'Rourke, Bob Reichert and Bill Rosenau hold up one of the rotting pieces of wood in the north Woolen Mills dam. New boards replaced the old ones to replenish the water supply by the dam. Other key Public Works employees who helped address the issue were Paul Froman, Tony Pemrick, Matt Schmitz, Tom Judd and Travis Craig. (Michelle Vlasak/

At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Fire Chief Dustin Dienst and Police Chief Andy Bohlen received a call from the Faribault Woolen Mill over concerns with stranded fish its neighboring dam. 

The public safety officials reached out to the Faribault Public Works Department since it involved city-owned infrastructure. The culprit: rotting boards in the north dam. The boards keep the river system from draining to the King Mill Dam. 

Old boards were replaced in what Dienst describes as a very short time period. By 3:30 p.m., the new boards were installed using a metal structure on the county backhoe, something Public Works mechanics also fabricated in a short timeframe. Water was then pumped over the dam to give the stranded fish some fresh water. 

"What these guys did in a matter of hours is amazing, and to do it in one afternoon," Dienst said. 

Echoing Dienst's praise, Bohlen said Public Works staff did a great job.

Onsite to place the new boards in the north dam were Public Works employees Mike O'Rourke, Bob Reichert and Bill Rosenau. 

Rosenau said Paul Froman, Tony Pemrick, Matt Schmitz, Tom Judd and Travis Craig also played a key role in helping to address the issue quickly.

Reach reporter Michelle Vlasak at 507-333-3128 or follow her on Twitter @apgmichelle. ©Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota.  All rights reserved.

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