BACKUS-Cass County has joined a regional effort the city of Bemidji is spearheading to reduce human trafficking in the area.

NorthStar Human Trafficking Elimination Project will join five county sheriff departments, five city police departments and three tribal police departments to work together on an undercover project to stop human trafficking.

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Participating counties are Beltrami, Cass, Hubbard, Clearwater and Mahnomen. Cities include Bemidji, Bagley, Blackduck and Clearbrook. Leech Lake, Red Lake and White Earth are the tribal members.

The project aims to protect children and adult victims from sexual exploitation and reduce the demand for such activity in northwestern Minnesota.

Kevin Lee gave the Cass County Board a report Tuesday on Longville Ambulance Service's activities in 2015.

The service billed 213 patients in 2015, down from 254 in 2014. Revenues ran $67,193 below budget expectations as a result. Expenses were $15,092 less than budgeted.

Lee said through February this year calls for service are higher than expected.

About 60 people each chose to go to Brainerd or Crosby hospitals in 2015, followed by 31 who chose Bemidji, 14 who chose Cass Lake, seven who chose Deer River and three who went to Park Rapids. Longville service provided air care transport for 12 patients in 2015.

Candidates for the Minnesota House of Representatives Sandy Layman (District 5A) and Matt Bliss (District 5B) introduced themselves to the Cass County Board Tuesday. Both said they support the Second Amendment, when Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk asked them.

Their districts cover portions of north and north-central Cass County.

Layman, Cohasset, grew up in Brooklyn Center and has been a Grand Rapids area resident for 39 years. She and her husband, Bill, have two sons and one grandson.

She has worked for the chamber of commerce, economic development initiatives and was an Iron Range Resources commissioner. She supports mining and logging and the rural way of life, she said. She plans to advocate for individual initiative, personal responsibility, free markets, smaller government and local control in education.

Bliss grew up on a farm and owns a resort in Pennington in Beltrami County. He is a U.S. Navy veteran. His goal is to put Minnesota at the top of the list for areas to start a business.

As an outdoorsman who lives to hunt and fish, he also is a conservationist who strives for a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, while keeping regulations to a minimum that recognizes the diversity in the state.

The board invited them to attend the county's annual planning meeting in June to hear the department head reports on how the state can help county government more effectively serve taxpayers.

Cass commissioners accepted on behalf of the county historical society a Minnesota Historical Society $28,122 grant to install improved lighting at the county museum in Walker.

The county owns the building. The county historical society operates the museum. The board also approved an agreement that outlines that relationship.

Tim Richardson, central services director, reported he recently learned the county has earned purchasing credits worth about $3,000 by buying through the National Joint Powers Alliance.

The board authorized him to use $2,000 of those credits to purchase a Surface Pro, which is a tablet-type device which operates like a desktop computer, and to use future credits as he sees appropriate.

Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Anderson reported the county earned $156,207.07 interest on investments through February this year, up from the $132,336.97 earned in 2015.

U.S. Forest Service will burn some areas of county administered land when they burn forest service land in the Boy River area east of Leech Lake this spring. The land is in Boy Lake, Boy River, Gould and Rogers Townships.