Weather Forecast


Medication collection program a success

WALKER – Jamie Richter, Cass public health director, informed the county board Tuesday the “Take it to the Box” program to collect unneeded medications from the public has been very successful since it started Nov. 1.

The county has a collection box at the law enforcement center in Walker and has offered collections when Sheriff Tom Burch meets with the public at announced sites throughout the county.

So far, 24.72 pounds of medications have been collected. Richter said it is estimated there are 37,075 excess prescription pill bottles sitting in Cass County homes that have either gone beyond expiration dates or were over-prescribed for patients.

Sheriff Burch said he is in the process of working with Lake Shore Police Department to open a collection site at their law enforcement center. Any collection site must be at a secure location, he said.

Cass County spent $11,603,122 on health, human and veterans services programs in 2011 and recorded $13,269,557 in receipts to that fund. Expenditures were 85.22 percent of the amount the budget anticipated and 97.56 percent of expected revenues.

The county paid $2,480,500 for child out of home placements in 2011. Of that, $2,243,500 came from county tax dollars. This is down from the 2010 total expenses of $2,596,400 and county tax dollar share of $2,354,400.

In 2011, the county spent $101,127 for emergency shelters for children placed outside their own home, $460,412 for foster homes, $706,065 for group homes, $673,286 for correctional facilities and $85,015 for miscellaneous services to children in out of home placement.

Child Support Collections Supervisor Linda Nye reported her division collected $2,815,526.63 in child support payments in 2011 from non-custodial parents to be paid for custodial parents to care for their children.

The department collects and distributes these payments for children in divorced families or where the father is known in families that never involved a marriage. The program covers all families whether or not either parent receives support benefits.

The 2011 collections were up 4 percent from 2010. Some of the support collected in 2011 came from a parent’s unemployment benefits. Because some of these people have been unemployed for more than two years, Nye said, they may cease to have an income from which support can be paid in 2012.

Health, Human and Veterans Services Director Reno Wells obtained board approval Tuesday to have a pay grade ranking determined for a new senior office support specialist position. That person would coordinate clerical position work within the department. Wells said he expects not to add personnel, but to elevate one of the existing office support employees to the new position. That person would continue to do office support work as well as supervise, he said.

The board also authorized him to obtain grade rankings for several other nursing and home health aide positions as a part of a reorganization within the nursing services division. These changes also would provide for a team leader to oversee three sections of public health services.

No reassignments or new hiring would be done for those positions without further board action after the grade rankings are known.