At this weeks Yellow Medicine County Board meeting the board was visited by State Senator Gary Dhams and Representative Chris Swedzinski. Dhams discussed damaged to the railroad throughout the district, a concern that was brought up by the board. Dhams discussed potential funding options for repairs if FEMA aid isn’t available, “We have a fund that we put together a few years ago … if it doesn’t get to FEMA we have a fund that could help … we could take funds out to assist to some degree, so there is some assistance there, but it’s not like FEMA.” Dhams said.
Dhams discussed legislative session negotiations and complemented Governor Tim Walz on his hard work and negotiation methods, “There was a lot of progress made … sometimes negotiations can be difficult and heated but when Walz would step away he would always come back smiling and ready to get back to work.” Dhams added that he preferred working with Walz compared to former Governor Mark Dayton.
Swedzinski and Dhams discussed seedcorn dealers being transferred from the agriculture to commercial tax group, PrimeWest Health, wind turbine projects and lights, 911 dispatchers needing to know CPR, and County Program Aid.
Roadditch mowing was a topic of focus. Mowing ditches along the roadway is becoming increasingly difficult due to environmental regulations from the State to limit mowing and protect nesting birds and other small wildlife like bees and butterflies. Dhams discussed the permitting process as well as plans for future meetings to try and make the statute more reasonable. Dhams hopes that next year a bill will be proposed with some changes to ease restrictions.
Swedzinski criticized Governor Walz on the ditch issue, “If you ask me the governor has failed on this issue … I think he is bought and paid for by the environmental lobby. If you want to hug trees and you want to hug butterflies he’s your man.” Swedzinski also added that the ditch mowing law isn’t enforced in the Metro area and that he hopes changes are made in the future as well.
Swedzinski and Dhams discussed other issues the agriculture industry faces in rural Minnesota, and concluded their visit by thanking the board for their questions and added that they will continue working closely with the county on various issues. The board thanked Dhams and Swedzinski for their legislative work and added that they hoped to have another discussion soon.
Next the board gave their regular commissioners reports discussing railroad damage, future bridge repairs, a men and women's group home update, a personnel committee meeting, fleet management, the Yellow Medicine County Historical Society, and the Yellow Medicine County Fair this weekend.
The commissioners discussed the former location of the bath house out at Memorial Park, and said that they would be willing to give the property to the City of Granite Falls if they covered all expenses of surveying and any other costs associated with transferring the property. The board will propose the deal to the city and report back at the next meeting.
Zoning Coordinator Jolene Johnson came to the board with a conditional use request for Bryan Mooney to operate a woodworking business in the Rural Preservation Management District, in section 14 of Stony Run Township. After a brief discussion the board approved the request. Property and Public Services Director Janel Timm asked the board for approval of the use of Recorder’s technology funds for phase three of PPS’s imaging and archival of permanent records project. The board approved Timms request.
Family Services Director Rae Ann Keeler-Aus gave a family services update and reviewed out of home placement statistics. Keeler-Aus’s report was followed by a report from Stephany Olson who does chemical use assessments for Family Services. Olson discussed the process of getting referrals, “I can get referrals from anybody as long as they reside in Yellow Medicine County … referrals can come from probation, child protection, schools and so on.”
Olson went over the assessment process, which includes a two hour interview process, and talked about what she does for clients as well as the types of treatment they can recommend for clients. Olson provide information for the client and gives them a summary of the recommendation for treatment so they better understand the situation.
Olson went over statistics including where most referrals come in from and clients top drugs of choice. Meth has remained the number one for most clients drug of choice, while alcohol was the second most popular. The statistics were also broken down by age group and gender. Olson also went over treatment recommendations which consisted of mostly inpatient treatment recommendations. After some more discussion Olson finished her presentation and the board thanked her for her work.
In Other News:
The board reviewed a Chippewa County/Yellow Medicine County HRA presentation and approved the proposed 2020 budget and levy request.
The board discussed Canby Rod & Gun Club and the Canby Community center and went over various planned improvements, repairs, and parking options.
The board approved letters of support for Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water with their new water source and for Woodstock Communications for internet services.