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Deputy and K-9 partner recognized for outstanding performance

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  BACKUS — Deputy Bill Connor took his K-9 partner, Portos, to the county board meeting Tuesday to show their latest award to the county board.

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 Portos, now 8 years old and recently re-certified, and Connor were recognized with the United States Police Canine Association Region XII outstanding performance quarterly award for crime detection and prevention.

Police officers are not allowed to search a vehicle without the owner’s consent unless a police dog first signals there is reason to search it. Connor and Portos were called to assist officers with a stopped vehicle in Cass Lake Oct. 17, 2010. Portos indicated there was something in the vehicle trunk.

Connor said when they opened the trunk, there were a number of boxes inside the trunk. Portos bit at one carton that was duct-taped shut. When officers opened that box, they found 15 pounds of marijuana inside.

 Sheriff Tom Burch announced the public is invited to bring expired, unused or unwanted prescription drugs to Lake Shore or Cass Lake City Halls between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. April 30. The sheriff’s department will collect and safely dispose of the drugs.

The U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration is sponsoring the collection event.

Burch said he also hopes later this year to set up a permanent collection site at the sheriff’s office in Walker.

 The sheriff’s department has signed a joint powers agreement with the state to join Minnesota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for prevention, education and enforcement.

Cass commissioners voted Tuesday to support the Association of Minnesota Counties legislative platform called Minnesota Accountable Government Innovation and Collaboration or MAGIC.

The main thrust of this proposed state legislation would place counties under the same state rules as cities and townships. Currently, counties can only do what the state specifically legislates that they may do. 

Under MAGIC, counties would be statutorily authorized to take any action not prohibited by state law to provide for the health, safety and general welfare of the public. It would mirror state laws governing city and township actions.

Counties are seeking this change to enable them to expand opportunities to operate their programs more efficiently without having to go back to the Legislature for authorization for each program change.

It would provide a waiver process to enable time-limited (for example two-year) pilot programs through which counties would try to improve outcomes for better services and/or better cost efficiency. At the end of the pre-set time period, the county would report their results to the state.

Cass will receive $77,327 this year as its 10 percent of taxes the state collected from Leech Lake Reservation in 2010. The amount is down from $80,114 the county received in 2010 and $99,079 the county received in 2009. Counties located where there is an Indian casino qualify to receive these funds under a state-tribal agreement.

Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources will provide a $12,600 grant to Cass County this year to assist 21 lake associations with water quality monitoring on their lakes.

The commissioners approved increasing from $155 to $165 per hour the rate the county charges to provide skilled nursing services to homebound people. The county’s rate for home health aide services will rise from $60 to $70 per hour.

 Wilkinson Township donated $250 to the Lakes Area Dive Team.

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