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2 running for Osage Fire Protection District board

2 running for Osage Fire Protection District board

March 24th, 2019 by Jeff Haldiman in Local News

Two candidates are running for an open seat on the Osage Fire Protection District Board of Directors.

The person elected by voters in the April 2 municipal election will serve a six-year term.

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The district serves the communities of Wardsville, Taos, Schubert, Osage Bluff and Osage City with fire stations in Wardsville, Taos and Osage Bend.

The board oversees the budget for the district and makes sure they follow state regulations. The fire chief reports to the board.

Donald Wolken is seeking re-election after serving on the board for the last nine years.

"It's a good organization, and we're running pretty smooth right now," Wolken said. "I just want to see that it continues that way."

Kevin Wieberg, who currently works as Moniteau County 911 director and Emergency Management director, is running for the board for the first time.

"I moved back to Wardsville a year ago with my family, but I actually started working as a volunteer firefighter with the Osage district in 2003," Wieberg said. "Five years later, I moved and went to work with the Cole County Fire Protection District."

Wolken said, during his time on the board, the directors have worked to improve equipment for firefighters.

"We're getting a new tanker and brush truck, and both will be housed at our station in Osage Bend," Wolken said.

Wieberg said he has always had an interest in an oversight position at a fire district.

"I do know the Osage district, as far as population, is growing, especially the Wardsville area, and I want to see that the district keeps up the service we are currently providing," Wieberg said.

Wolken said the district currently has 20-25 firefighters and is always looking for more to join.

"We're starting a junior firefighter program to try and get some more interest, and I think we already do a great job of training people, so I don't think we need to change a whole lot there," Wolken said.

If elected, Wieberg said, he sees one of his biggest jobs as educating the community on how they can be involved with the fire district.

"A lot of people don't understand how a volunteer department works, and I think sometimes they take for granted the services the district provides," Wieberg said. "I want to see the district planning for the future so we don't have to play catch-up to the population growth we've seen. I want to make decisions that will benefit the district for years to come."