5/7/2017 9:49:00 AM High wind warnings added to alert system this summer
MONICA LUNDQUIST Cass County Correspondent
WALKER-Cass County will join neighboring counties and Leech Lake Reservation this summer in warning people about high wind events as well as approaching tornadoes.
The county board Tuesday approved an amendment to the county policy on when emergency sirens will sound. Those will activate for pending tornadoes and for winds 70 miles per hour or stronger.
Emergency Management Director Tim Norton told the board winds exceeding 70 miles per hour can topple large healthy trees.
Cities, townships and Leech Lake Band own the emergency warning sirens in Cass County. The National Weather Service and sheriff's office activate them.
In response to Commissioner Bob Kangas's question about how more parts of the county can obtain a new siren, Norton said he can help a township get funding toward buying sirens.
A siren can be heard from 1.5 to 2 miles away, Norton said, so a township would have to buy several to cover the whole township.
The commissioners designated May 21 to 27 as EMS Week to recognize assistance emergency medical services provide.
They approved an agreement with Minnesota Department of Transportation, which will enable MnDOT to administer federal funds being spent on reconstructing County State Aid Highway 77 and constructing the associated bike trail through Lake Shore.
They appointed Darrick Anderson to a full four-year term as county engineer. He initially was hired in the fall for a six-month probation period, which ends May 21. Normally county engineers are appointed under state law calling for four-year terms beginning in May.
Anderson obtained board approval to purchase a second track loader and trailer for $75,387.28. He plans to assign the existing loader to southern Cass and the new one to northern Cass.
Cheryal Lee Hills, Region 5 executive director, updated the county board on regional planning, grant and loan projects and other assistance provided to member counties and their local governments.
Region 5 covers Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena Counties.
The region connects businesses with gap loans in the $35,000 to $100,000 range, micro-loans in the $1,000 to $50,000 range and can connect businesses with state business loans for women, minorities, low-income people, veterans and persons with disabilities.
They have a funding source for low interest loans to help people update their private sewer system or well. They offer joint county transportation planning, communications development (including expanding broadband) and offer local governments planning, data collection and grant or loan application writing assistance.
Mike Paulus, Cass County Economic Development Director, informed the commissioners 21 jobs were created at 13 businesses in Pillager, Pine River, Walker, Longville and Backus between Oct. 1, 2016, and April 19. Capital invested in these businesses was $973,000.
He currently is working with 14 more businesses, which have the potential to add 90 more jobs and to invest $9 million.
EDC made a direct loan to Butts and Buns BBQ to expand their mobile business, which is based in the Mark's Market parking lot at Hackensack. Small business EDC clinics are being offered in area townships.
The county commissioners approved a change in Health, Human and Veterans Services table of organization to eliminate a public health nurse position and replace that with a registered nurse position.
They wrote off $26,541 in debts owed to social services and $287.72 owed to public health by people who were deceased, had filed bankruptcy or for accounts exceeding the statute of limitations.
They approved Sheriff Tom Burch's grant application to National Joint Powers Alliance to seek $150,000 to match $100,000 in county money to buy a Lenco armored vehicle in 2018. It would be available for use in all Region 5 counties and on Leech Lake Reservation to de-escalate deadly force situations, while keeping responders and the public protected.
They also supported a Morrison County grant application for National Joint Powers funding for trauma-informed training on the impact adverse childhood experiences have on adult health and social problems.
Cass will apply for a U.S. Forest Service and Polaris grant to remove and replace additional culverts under the Soo Line Trail in Cass County and to realign a portion of the Old Grade Trail in Kego and Pine Lake Townships.
The commissioners approved transferring a right of way easement from Christopher and Elizabeth Flier to Sara Ellegood and Greg Bramhall upon payment of a $500 transfer fee.
They authorized the sheriff to accept a $500 donation for Lakes Area Dive Team from Fairview Township.
Second publication rights after Brainerd Dispatch.