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CROW WING COUNTY BOARD: Detox unit to open in January

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news Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Crow Wing County commissioners heard Tuesday the detox facility is expected to reopen here in January, later than the Oct. 1 date discussed earlier. 

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Beth Wilms, Community Services director, said the number of people taken to detox is down and the transportation to other facilities is working smoothly at present.

Board Chairman Paul Thiede said if the numbers are down does that mean the county is in a position of creating the need for the detox facility by having one here?

The police blotter has included cases where individuals who may have gone to detox in the past were placed with extended family members instead. Commissioner Rachel Reabe Nystrom noted one instance where a young man who may have gone to detox was picked up instead after effort went into finding a willing neighbor’s mother.

Nystrom said she shares Thiede’s frustrations but is comfortable there is a need here and has been one for decades. Nystrom was concerned about the date change. 

Nystrom questioned if the Oct. 1 wasn’t part of the request for proposals. Wilms said that date was hoped for but the state shutdown put things behind for licensing and the hope is to have the detox facility open before January. 

Sheriff Todd Dahl noted Jan. 1 was always the date he talked about and the state shutdown was not anticipated. Once the detox center is in place, the numbers will increase, Dahl said. 

“It is very much needed,” Dahl said. 

Wilms said the provider would like to utilize the next few months to make sure there is a good, accountable program in place. 

Thiede said he was frustrated by not being able to use the vacant jail pod to take care of two problems at once because of the Department of Corrections requirements. 

In other business, the board: 

Heard from Administrator Tim Houle that the Legislature’s elimination of the 2012 Market Value Homestead Credit is a big change. Overall $261 million less in state aid will be paid. 

“I’m nervous about his because it’s a big shift,” Houle said. The county is putting together a list on the top taxpayers affected. 

Accepted a $2,232,287 payout from South Country Health Alliance, the county-based purchasing option the county is no longer part of. Thiede said he would have gone on to pursue a larger payout but the other two counties, Cass and Freeborn, already accepted offers. 

Tabled a request to support a Conservation Partners Legacy grant application in cooperation with the National Wild Turkey Federation, asking if the first time partnering with a specific group would open the gates to more and questioning how much the grant is for and who will pay the 10 percent match. Mark Liedl, land services director, said he was open to talking to other groups and considering applications on a case-by-case basis to see if they fit the county’s goal for forest management, wildlife habitat and recreation. 

Heard from Chris Pence, land services supervisor, the county processed its first conversation design — at Smith Lake — since the new ordinance was adopted.

At the county fair, Pence said as part of the water plan the county provided water testing for nitrates for 140 samples and found very low numbers with trace amounts. This was the first time the county did the testing. Equipment was loaned for the effort and the Department of Agriculture contacted the county’s water specialist about an available grant for water testing. Nitrates pose a health risk for pregnant women and babies. 

On Aug. 12 and Aug. 15, the county environmental services office in the Land Services building on Laurel Street will offer testing for residents who may leave a water sample. 

Laureen Borden, auditor-treasurer, reported results of surveys taken at the fair, such as 103 voting in favor of photo identification to vote and 32 against. 

Public health reported the area for women who were breast feeding at the fair was well received with eight women there at one time and they are talking with the fair board about making a permanent option. 

Nystrom reported meetings with Delta regarding the air service at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport. Nystrom said Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., were involved but Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn., didn’t attend or send a representative. Nystrom added Delta can’t pull out of the airport here until there is air service by another provider and there is misinformation the airport is closing. 

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