By Sally Sedgwick
At the June 25 meeting of the Itasca County Board, Auditor/Treasurer Jeff Walker presented the MN Safety Council Governor’s Award for 2018 to Itasca County.
The award looks at three years of injury data compared to national industry statistics, a 100 point safety program evaluation and implementation of a comprehensive safety program. It has been awarded since 1934.
There were 294 employers honored; 170 of which were meritorious achievement winners, including the county. “The award is a direct result of Itasca County employees making a choice to be aware of their surroundings and work safely each and every day,” he said.
Brynden and William Lenius from Bryndlewood Gardens have been selected as the 2019 Itasca County Farm Family of the Year. They will be recognized on Thursday, Aug. 8 at Farmfest and on Friday, August 16 at 11:30 a.m. at the Itasca County Fair, Trailhead Building. The award was presented by Conley Janssen, chair of the Itasca
County Extension Committee. The farm produces fruits, vegetables, plants, cut flowers and eggs.
A quarterly update on activities of the Itasca Economic Development Corporation was given by Tamara Lowney, president, and staff and consultants, who spoke on progress toward the IEDC goal of county awareness of what the organization does, where it is located and resources it has available.
Lowney anticipates award of a federal Economic Development Administration grant of $190,000 partially directed toward hiring of a recovery specialist and said a new IEDC website would be active during the first week in July. J.M. Longyear is expected to aggressively market its site at the former Itasca Eco Industrial Park at the end of July. Sarah Carling of Community and Economic Development Associates spoke on the 11 communities she is visiting, the asset inventory of business properties and a commercial rental study.
In other business, the board:
• Approved commissioner warrants in the amount of $17,873,373.55 of which about $16,860,000 were apportionment payments.
• Approved June warrants from the Health and Human Services Department for $1,405,997.28. In response to a question from Commissioner Burl Ives, HHS Director Eric Villeneuve said that the county was on track for an annual total close to last year.
• Recognized Jackson Purdie who has transferred from Health and Human Services to the Land Department.
• Applied and accepted Minnesota Department of Public Safety Reimbursement of $94,005.38.
• Accepted and will act as fiscal host for Essentia Equipment and Health Supports Grant to Deer River Schools of $8,000
• Accepted three grants totaling $15,750 toward the Wood Kiln Project: $1,000 from Lake Country Power Operation Round Up, $9,750 from Minnesota Department of Agriculture Value Added Award and $5,000 from TransCanada Energy Community Investment.
• Approved a 5-year operating contract for the county transfer station and demolition landfill with Waste Management.
• Approved the crossing agreement with Enbridge Energy and encroachment agreement with TransCanada/Great Lakes Gas for CSAH 93 road construction project.
• Approved a utility easement with Minnesota Energy Resources Corporation across tax forfeit trust land in Sec. 13, T 56 N, R 23 W.
• Approved the 2019 lease agreement with Northern Minnesota Swap meet and Car Show.
• Approved an amendment to the Nashwauk Tower agreement with AT&T to replace equipment with 5G/firstnet compliant equipment.
• Approved and accepted the 2019-2020 Housing Support Agreements for corporate, individual and supplemental services.
• Approved a letter of support for the city of Coleraine application to designate Mount Itasca as a park of regional significance.
• Heard a tobacco compliance educational plan. Commissioner Ives spoke to the need to change the mandatory presentation. Attorney Adam said county ordinance 065 would need to be amended to change the procedure. Commissioner Ben DeNucci pointed out that no changes in the current store training procedures were described. The plan was accepted on a vote of 4-1.
• Adopted a resolution to submit Itasca Medical Care as the county’s choice for a Managed Care Organization for Families and Children and MinnesotaCare.
• Held a closed session to discuss the ERP Iron bankruptcy.