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Wells gets $15K DEED grant

Funds to help cover lost Flame Theatre income

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | Feb 14, 2021

This meme of a bundled up Senator Bernie Sanders sitting patiently waiting for the Flame Theatre in Wells to open up and show movies again went viral recently. It was one of the first ones to be created using the image of Sen. Sanders from the presidential inauguration. After it was posted both on the City of Wells and the Flame Theatre Facebook pages, it was viewed by over 17,000 people around the country. The post was shared 134 times and had 669 likes.

The Wells City Council received some good news at their brief meeting last Monday evening, Feb. 8.

In his city administrator’s report, CJ Holl announced the city had received a $15,000 grant from the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) for the lost revenue at the Wells Flame Theater.

“We were one of the 73 movie theaters across the state to receive this grant,” Holl said. “It is part of the state’s coronavirus relief grants.”

In all, DEED disbursed over $13 million in grants to 15 convention centers and 73 movie theaters in 118 locations. There was $4.8 million to convention centers and $8.54 million to movie theaters. The funds were part of a $216 million economic relief package signed by Governor Tim Walz on Dec. 16, 2020.

The grants to movie theaters ranged from $10,000 to $1.12 million.

In two other items dealing with the Flame Theater, Holl mentioned that a meme of Bernie Sanders sitting in front of the theater in Wells was posted on the city of Wells Facebook page.

“It was one of the first Bernie Sanders memes posted,” Holl said. “And it took off and went viral quickly. It had been shared to 17,000 people the last time I checked and it went all over the country.”

Holl also mentioned that they are considering another “Back By Popular Demand” Popcorn Night, possibly on Feb. 19 or 20.

In other business at the meeting, the Wells City Council:

• Reluctantly accepted the resignation of police officer Ryan Elasky, and authorized police chief Tim Brenegan to advertise for a full time officer to replace Elasky.

The question was raised by the council about hiring part timers to fill full time positions, and Brenegan said they often do that, but this time he was posting the opening.

The council also authorized officer Eric Neubauer to be the acting chief from March 5 to March 17 as Brenegan will be taking time off.

• Held a public hearing concerning the Embacher Subdivision, which is located north of the new Clark’s Crossing.

The Planning and Zoning Commission had reviewed the plan and had recommended approval by the council.

The council voted to approve the subdivision plan, pending a revised description of the property.