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County looking into yellow ribbon designation

Fri, Mar 28th, 2014
Posted in All Government

At the county board’s March 25 meeting Veterans Service Officer Jason Marquardt explained that he and Social Services Manager Neva Beier have discussed starting the process to be designated as a Yellow Ribbon County.

There is a several month long process to achieve the designation, which begins with the formation of a steering committee. The board voted to explore the option. Chairman Chuck Amunrud, a veteran, will serve on the steering committee. If the effort goes forward, 12 to 15 people will serve on the committee representing public safety, human services, social services, veterans, education, and so on. The steering committee sets goals and applies for the designation. The state has to approve the application before the county can be recognized in the Yellow Ribbon Program.

A Yellow Ribbon County is about helping veterans and their families. Marquardt says it now goes beyond deployment to make sure veterans and their families have the services they need. For example, veterans and family members will get assistance in finding sustainable employment.

Community Services Director Beth Wilms said Marquardt had sent out over 200 post cards to veterans to invite them to a program about estate planning, funeral planning and other end of life issues. She related that she had received several phone calls from people expressing their appreciation for the program and his outreach.

Wilms also noted the billboard on the north end of Fountain, Minn. along Highway 52 which is part of the outreach efforts for veterans.

A Minnesota House bill (HF2557) sponsored by Rep. Jerry Newton (DFL-Coon Rapids) was discussed. The bill sets a priority system for admission to veterans homes. It also would mandate VSOs to “make them [veterans] aware of MNsure, long-term care, and dental insurance.” Commissioner Duane Bakke expressed his opposition to the legislation as did Marquardt, who said VSOs were against the legislation. Amunrud suggested that the ranking could break up families as spouses of veterans were ranked lower on the priority system for admission to a veterans home.

Minnesota Safety

Council Award

The Minnesota Safety Council has selected Fillmore County to receive the Outstanding Achievement Award in Occupational Safety. Approval was given for Building Maintenance Supervisor Terry Schultz and Kristina Kohn in her capacity as Safety Officer to attend the Minnesota Safety and Health Conference in May to accept the award for the county.

CSAH 1 in Spring Valley

There will be an informational meeting open to the public at the Spring Valley Community Center on April 3 at 6:30 p.m. Temporary and permanent right of way needs for the reconstruction of CSAH 1 is the subject of the meeting.

County Engineer Ron Gregg presented the bids for road work in Spring Valley and recommended Griffin Construction Co., Inc., the low bidder at $656.977.31. The board approved the low bid contingent on acceptance by the City of Spring Valley.

A resolution was adopted setting land values for permanent and temporary easements along county roads. Permanent easements will be paid at a rate of 130 percent of the county’s assessed value per acre. Temporary easements will be paid at the rate of 200 percent of the countywide average rental rate.

Other business in brief

•Feedlot Officer Mike Frauenkron reviewed annual reports to be sent to the state documenting the work completed in 2013. The county met all performance requirements in 2013. A letter from the MPCA noted the county performed well in both the number of feedlots visited and technical assistance. Seventy-three of the county’s 836 feedlots had been inspected or 11.5 percent.

•The county will receive a Highway Safety Improvement Program grant ($50,000 of federal dollars) to place chevron alignment signs to warn of curves and bends along the county roads throughout the county.

•By consensus the board agreed to participate in regular regional (AMC District lX counties) commissioner meetings to develop collaborative efforts.

•There was only one bid received for the Bond Counsel for the Greenleafton sewer project. The submitted bid from Mary Ippel at Briggs and Morgan for $3,500 was approved.

•Two retirements from the Highway Department, Roger Sanford (11 years) and Robert Engen (30 years) were accepted.

•A request to retire from Charlotte Zeyer (8 years) Office Support Specialist, Sr., Social Services was accepted.

•A request to retire from Karen Regelman (6 years), home health aide was accepted. Her position will not be filled at this time as Public Health feels they can handle the current load.

•One Office Support Specialist position in the Recorder’s Office will be eliminated as the work load can be managed by the current staff at this time.

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