BACKUS — Cass County department heads reported Friday at the county's annual planning meeting on trends this year and issues they see coming in 2016. County commissioners and citizen budget committee members asked questions.
PINE RIVER - Rising Cass County inmate population has forced the county to begin holding inmates in a fourth county. Sheriff Tom Burch informed the county board Tuesday he began boarding inmates in Mille Lacs County in May. That jail is 150 miles from the Cass County seat in Walker, Administrator Robert Yochum noted. --- During the first six months this year, Cass County averaged 79 inmates per day, with a peak hitting 89 one day. ---
PINE RIVER — Miles Kuschel, Ansel Town Board chair, updated Cass County commissioners during a county board meeting Tuesday in that township about all terrain and off highway vehicle use in the Foothills State Forest recreation area there. Off road use is significant, Kuschel said. Historically, Minnesota DNR designated Spider Lake in Foothills State Forest as the state's first ATV and OHV trail system. It drew more use than the land could sustain at the time. Camping areas were trashed. Trails were destroyed by rutting and washouts.
PINE RIVER — First-term Commissioner Scott Bruns told his fellow commissioners Tuesday he felt the county's delegation to Washington, D.C., to lobby for federal highway funds was well worth the time. This was his first such trip and the eighth for county engineer David Enblom.
WALKER — State Sen. Tom Saxhaug and Reps. Tom Anzelc and John Persell gave Cass County commissioners their views of the recent legislative session Tuesday. While Minnesota residents and legislators entered this year's session expecting it to be a transportation year, Anzelc said, "we failed" due to a failure to reach a bipartisan agreement. "The end of the session was very messy," he said summing up the frenzy before final votes. Saxhaug did see a plus to the fact the legislative leadership, Sen. Tom Bakk and Rep.
WALKER — Construction has finally picked up this year in Cass County after a slow recovery from the recession. Environmental Services Department (ESD) Director John Ringle reported to the county board Tuesday ESD issued 194 land use permits for new buildings and private sewer systems the first quarter of 2015, compared with 141 in 2014 and 136 in 2013. Environmental Services Department revenue to operate the department from those permits rose from $21,117.47 in 2014 to $38,323.40 in 2015. The department also saw a jump in variances issued from four in 2014 to 19 in 2015. Conditiona
WALKER — Dave Bubser of the Rainforest Alliance presented a plaque to Cass County Tuesday during the county board meeting to recognize the county for 15 years of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. Cass commissioners approved engaging Rainforest Alliance to begin a new audit process this year to renew the county's certification as managing its forest in a sustainable manner. Rainforest Alliance audits practices not only of forest management, but also of agricultural land management and of manufacturing.
WALKER — No members of the public appeared to comment Tuesday before Cass County commissioners adopted their five-year capital improvement plan. The county has been setting aside fund balances at the end of each year toward capital projects costing at least $50,000 and projected to have a useful life of at least 10 years.
PINE RIVER - Sheriff Tom Burch obtained Cass County Board approval Tuesday to accept a $9,106.06 donation from the Lakes Area Dive Team to purchase a motor for the new dive team boat being built for their use this spring. The specially designed boat was funded by donations from the Nielsen Foundation, Hubbard and Beltrami Counties and with a federal boating supplement grant, Burch said, adding no Cass levy dollars were spent on it. Cass will own the boat and motor. The dive team has about 25 members, two of whom are certified instructors, Burch said.
PINE RIVER - Cass County will conduct a test over five years on a portion of County State Aid Highway 1 to determine whether chip sealing pavement helps preserve asphalt surfaces. The 6-mile CSAH 1 segment was paved this week. One mile will be chip sealed after one year and another mile each of the following five years. One mile will not be treated. The Minnesota Department of Transportation will pay $10,000 each year, with the county paying $15,000 for each chip-seal treatment. Chip sealing involves spreading oil, then a layer of gravel over the paved surface.