BACKUS—Cass County commissioners authorized a six-person research team to study on county managed land where and in what type of trees bats roost at sites near Hackensack and Remer. Minnesota DNR, University of Minnesota Duluth, the Natural Resource Research Institute and the U.S. Forest Service will conduct the study. Researchers will net bats, band their wings with transmitters. They then track the bats to roosting trees, mark those trees, then subsequently study the trees to identify similarities. They also will count the number of bats leaving each roost.
BACKUS—It costs Cass County about twice as much to get rid of recyclables as it does its garbage, Environmental Services Director John Ringle told the county board Tuesday as he presented the 2016 solid waste annual report. The county meets or exceeds most years a state requirement that it recycle 35 percent of its solid waste, according to Solid Waste Officer Paul Fairbanks. Overall volume has been stable the last five years, but recycling volume has increased recently, partially because more people are bringing in their old electronics, Ringle said.
BACKUS—Cass County Probation Director Jim Schneider described for the county board Tuesday Minnesota's effort to minimize the number of juveniles ending up in the state's correctional system. Schneider serves as the Minnesota Probation Officers Association representative to a statewide committee the Legislature charged with overseeing juvenile justice programs. Congress passed in 1974 the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.
BACKUS—Land Commissioner Kirk Titus said he expects prices loggers pay the county to cut timber on county owned and managed land will stay higher in 2017. He presented his annual report to the county board Tuesday. Historically, Cass County has sold more aspen tree tracts for cutting than any other tree species. This mainly was because the county had many mature and over mature aspen stands. Now, the county has caught up with the normal rotation for harvesting mature aspens, so has increased sales for red oak as a partial offset to a more normal aspen volume.
BACKUS—Lt. Col. Chad Sackett, Camp Ripley deputy garrison commander, gave his annual report Tuesday to Cass County commissioners on activities at Camp Ripley, which covers 53,000 acres from Pillager to just north of Little Falls. The camp will host its community appreciation day this year from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 17. Anyone can attend. Korean War veterans will be given special honor at a 1 p.m. tribute ceremony this year.
BACKUS—Cass County will not require any additional licenses or deviate from the state-set hours of operation when the new, statewide Sunday off-sale liquor sales take effect July 1. That state law permits off-sale stores to open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Anderson informed the board she has had inquiries recently about how the county enforces its Liquor License ordinance section, which stipulates license holders cannot be delinquent on their taxes.
BACKUS—It definitely is more cost effective to have paved roads rather than gravel roads, David Enblom, retiring county engineer, told the Cass County Board as he presented his final annual report Tuesday. The break-even point for pay-back on the initial cost to pave a road is 15 years, he said. The normal lifespan for pavement is between 25 and 30 years. Cass County had 500.3 miles of regular state aid highways in 2016. Of those 369.37 miles were paved, and 130.93 miles were gravel. The county had 31.5 miles of municipal state aid streets. All of those were paved.
BACKUS—Interim Health, Human and Veterans Services Director Michelle Piprude presented the department's 2016 annual report to the county board Tuesday. Child maltreatment allegations dropped from 2015. Neglect, the highest cause, declined from 450 to 423 cases. Physical abuse fell from 188 to 137 cases. Sexual abuse dropped from 63 to 43 cases. Mental injury dropped from 20 to 11 cases. Medical neglect fell from 17 to 10 cases. There were no cases of threatened injuries.
BACKUS—A quorum of the Cass County Board voted Tuesday to approve a resolution that would designate a cartway along either side of an east-west section line in the unorganized area of the northeast part of the county. The resolution calls for 16 feet for the cartway to come from north of the line and 16 feet to come from south of the line. Commissioners Rob Kangas, Jeff Peterson and Dick Downham, who viewed the site last fall voted to approve. Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk, who has not viewed the site, abstained. Commissioner Scott Bruns did not attend Tuesday's meeting.
WALKER—"I can't imagine having a more rewarding job," David Enblom said, looking back at the last 20 years he has spent as county engineer for Cass County. He was assistant county engineer for Cass 10 years before that. "The county engineer position fit my personality well. .. The county board gave me the opportunity to apply my education in my home area. It gives a person a different perspective when you come to work in your home area," Enblom added.