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Cass board partners with tribe, Cass Lake

WALKER -- Cass County Board voted Tuesday to form a partnership with Leech Lake Reservation and the city of Cass Lake to seek federal Environmental Protection Agency money to do a Countywide Brownfields Assessment.

WALKER - Cass County Board voted Tuesday to form a partnership with Leech Lake Reservation and the city of Cass Lake to seek federal Environmental Protection Agency money to do a Countywide Brownfields Assessment.

Levi Brown, Leech Lake land and environmental director, explained to the board that Superfund sites are those where pollution is caused by a known responsible party, while a Brownfields is usually a smaller site where the responsible polluter is unknown.

He said Leech Lake Band has been trying to apply for a Brownfields assessment grant, but has not been successful, because the federal government prefers applicants who work in partnership with other agencies.

That is the reason, the band seeks to work with the county and city, he said.

If a grant is approved, it would be used to try to locate any polluted area in any part of Cass County or the reservation that is on public land, Brown said. Once those sites are known, then the county and band could apply for clean-up grants, he explained.

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Brown said he will be able to file the grant application by this Friday's deadline.

Cass County Administrator Robert Yochum reported Leech Lake Reservation has indicated its support for the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) position on tribal and state child welfare agreements. With the band supporting, the county now also will support the AMC position.

Leech Lake Reservation will provide a written proposal for the county board to consider for offering support for school funding to replace the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School.

The commissioners indicated Tuesday they support the need for the school replacement, but would prefer to see funds shifted from somewhere else rather than adding new taxes to pay for it.

Brown said federal school construction money generally has been channeled more toward reservation in western U.S. states rather than the Midwest.

The county board approved installing information highway signs written in English and in Ojibwe on the Leech Lake Reservation.

The request first came to the county for three signs directing people to a new community center on the reservation, County Engineer David Enblom said. St. Louis and Carlton Counties offer such signs in their counties, he added.

Other signs that might qualify could be those identifying lakes and rivers by name, Enblom said.

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When the reservation road authority requests such signs, they would order the signs through the county highway department. County employees will install them, then bill Leech Lake Reservation for the sign and installation cost, Enblom said.

Cass County will amend its agreement to serve as fiscal agent for a trail from Bena to the Old Housing Area along Highway 2 if Leech Lake Reservation is successful in obtaining another grant to extend that trail to the Big Fish Restaurant.

Related Topics: CASS LAKELEECH LAKE
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