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home : cass county news : cass county news
May 27, 2018

4/21/2018 11:08:00 AM
4-H coordinator honored with award for courage and innovation
Cass County Correspondent

BACKUS-Associate Dean of Extension and Minnesota 4-H Director Dorothy McCargo Freeman recognized Cass County Extension 4-H Program Coordinator Nic Podoll with an award for courage and innovation.

Podoll expanded the county's 4-H participation by 61 percent in the last year, adding 120 new youth to 4-H programs in Cass by adding after-school 4-H programs. The state goal is a 10 percent annual increase.

There currently are 177 Cass children involved in 4-H. Podoll told the county board Tuesday he sees additional ways to continue expanding participation by turning some after-school programs into new clubs and encouraging older 4-H participants to become future leaders.

In other action:

Dr. Elizabeth Kujava informed the county board Tuesday the goals set for Cass County's pretrial inmate release program were set too high for a newly established program with unique social and economic needs.

Cass is one of five counties opting to try a local pilot program instead of using a state program for evaluating which inmates to release while waiting for the courts to process their cases.

Probation Director Jim Schneider said it probably will take five to six years to see whether there is a real benefit from this. Cass has been in its pilot program for two years under a state grant. The grant was renewed for this year and next year.

Offenders have been evaluated for potential risk to reoffend by classing them as low, moderate or high risk. Kujava said it probably was unrealistic to expect to evaluate everyone arrested within 24 hours of their arrest or to reduce risk factors for all of them.

High-risk offenders would be kept in jail while awaiting trial, while most low-risk and some moderate-risk offenders would be offered release.

Some would be given options to seek services for mental health, chemical dependency, education, transportation, housing or other services.

There have been fewer Cass inmates booked into jail each of the last two years since the program began, but it is unknown whether this program was the deciding factor for that decline, Kujava stated.

There were 684 bail studies during the two-year period.

The average age of those in the program was 33 years old, with the youngest age 18 and oldest age 67. There were 61.8 percent American Indian, 34.7 percent white and 3.2 percent other. Nearly 90 percent of them live more than 20 miles from the courthouse.

There were 71.9 percent men and 28.1 percent women. Four percent were veterans and 76 percent overall had a high school diploma or equivalent.

The goal of the program is to reduce risk factors and have participants become positive role models in their community, according to Kujava's report.

A delegation from Hackensack was successful in obtaining $25,000 from the county toward an estimated $50,000 cost to replace the seawall and fishing pier at the city park. They already raised over $20,000 toward the project. The existing pier is 22 years old.

Hackensack Kids Fishing Contest, on Tuesdays through the summer for the 22 years, draws about 1,000 children to the Hackensack pier each summer, according to Bill Kennedy, who has spearheaded the contest since his father, who started it, died.

Lori Vrolson, Central Minnesota Council on Aging, updated the commissioners on how the Federal Older Americans Act money is spent here.

That council received $188,957 for Cass in 2017 and will receive $195,170 for the county in 2018 from the Older Americans Act, she said. There is no personal income limit to use these services.

Each of 14 counties also has contributed a small share toward these services. Cass' share has been $3,040 annually since 2005.

In Cass 29 percent of the population is age 65 or older, compared with 17 percent statewide.

The 2017 money was spent under a contract with Faith in Action to provide rides to medical services and for groceries, to install ramps and bathroom grab bars and to offer homemaking services.

There also was a contract with Lutheran Social Services to provide congregate and home delivered meals, to consult on home care services and give respite care. Senior Linkage Line gave seniors and their families consultation on what services are available for seniors. They also referred people to legal services.

County Engineer Darrick Anderson obtained board approval Tuesday to award a road gravel-pile making contract to Swenson Aggregate and Construction for $351,109.50, the lower of two bids received.

Also approved was a contract with Traffic Marking Service for paved road lane striping of $63,302.93. Theirs was the lower of two bids.

Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane reported Cass will receive $367,060.70 from the Chippewa National Forest 25 percent fund. These are proceeds from timber sold from the federal forest.

Of that, $183,530.35 goes to the county highway department, with the balance distributed to Walker-Hackensack-Akeley, Cass Lake-Bena, Northland Remer-Longville and Deer River school districts.

Norikane also obtained board approval to make the county's policy on refunds of overpayments to the county uniform. Any future overpayment less than $10 will not be refunded.

It has been costing the county as much in labor and supplies as the refund when amounts less than that have been made in the past, she estimated. In 2017, 11 refunds were paid amounting to a total of $72.20, she said.

The non-refund policy will apply to recordings, environmental services permits and fees and auditor-treasurer licenses, fees and tax collections (property, mortgage and deed tax).

Central Services Director Tim Richardson obtained board approval to hire Lundberg Plumbing and Heating for $10,695 to add a temperature valve to add enough hot water to the cold at three eye-washing stations in the courthouse and one each at the highway garages in Walker and Pillager to bring water temperature up to the mid-70-degrees level.

Richardson said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the county for having only cold water at its eye-wash stations until now.

The county board approved extending a contract with private attorney Franz Vancura through 2018 to serve as the county's hearing officer on reports of dangerous dogs. His fee is $150 per hour, plus mileage and expenses, when approved by the county administrator.

The commissioners referred to the planning commission a request from Michael and Mary Sams to reclassify from Agricultural to Rural Residential 20 property they own in Poplar Township.

Cass sold 5,639 cords of timber from county-managed land March 29 for $177,197. All six tracts offered were sold. Loggers paid $40.44 per cord for aspen and $33.27 per cord for red oak.

Holmvig Excavating won the contract to grade the Old Grade forest access trail for up to $3,178. Sawyer Timber won contracts with three low bids totaling $2,750 to grade the Bungo/Moose Lake, Deerfield and Moose Lake trails.

The commissioners approved selling two tax-forfeited lots in the city of Bena to that city for $4,998 appraised value and associated fees.

Wilson Township donated $500 to the Lakes Area Dive Team. Salem Lutheran Church in Longville donated $200 to the veterans transportation program.

Second publication rights after Brainerd Dispatch.

Bill Hansen Realty

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