Members of the Crow Wing County Planning Commission/Board of Adjustment Committee will be paid more for their services from now on. The county board agreed at its March 12 meeting to increase the committee members' per diem rates from $75 to $125 per meeting, but kept the per site visit at $75. "I was wondering if it would be possible to ask staff to take a look at possibly increasing the per diem for that particular committee," Commissioner Bill Brekken told Commissioner Rosemary Franzen at the Feb. 26 board meeting.
A proposed crude oil pipeline replacement project may cross just the northwest corner of Crow Wing County, but the controversy around the project extends beyond geographical boundaries. The Enbridge Energy Line 3 pipeline replacement project has been dogged by controversy, with its proponents claiming it will create jobs and opponents saying it's an environmental risk.
Crow Wing County department officials recently painted a picture for the county board about the drug problem in the county and what they are doing about it. The number of county attorney drug cases increased from about 250 in 2015 to 600 in 2017, and the number of sheriff's office drug cases also rose from almost 50 to 200 during that period. "(For) those who seek treatment or who are placed in treatment, meth has surpassed alcohol, which is pretty surprising," said Kara Terry, director of community services.
Crow Wing County officials say they will deal with the county's drug problem with community outreach, increased proactive enforcement measures, collaboration with emergency medical services and more. Sheriff Scott Goddard and Lt. Andy Galles gave a presentation about methamphetamine and other drugs at the Tuesday, March 19, county board committee of the whole meeting. "There's obviously a market for it (meth). There's obviously a lot of people using it," Goddard told the county commissioners.
In a bid for outside funding, the Crow Wing County Board of Commissioners approved the establishment of a bridge priority list proposed at its Tuesday, March 12, meeting. When it comes to such conversation, it should be noted the bridges aren't often what the average resident may consider as an elevated span crossing a river or lake channel. In this case, bridge can be a term synonymous with culvert.
What a winter it's been so far—and perhaps no one knows that better than Crow Wing County Highway Maintenance Supervisor Jory Danielson. "We've done more snow removal this year than we have in the last 10 years," Danielson said. "This is the most snow that I've seen at any one time in the last 10 years." Crow Wing County maintains over 640 miles of roadway and right of way and bridges. County highways and roads, and roads in the First and Second assessment districts, are maintained by the highway department.
All Jon Kolstad wanted from Crow Wing County was a chance to apply for a different county job—and now it seems the Merrifield resident will get his chance after having his day in court. The 54-year-old claims the county violated his rights under the Veterans Preference Act "by failing to engage in a competitive hiring process that included fully qualified veteran candidates for the position of Environmental Services Supervisor."
BAXTER—Crow Wing Energized's mission in part is to make the healthy choice the easy choice, but getting county residents to change their unhealthy behavior is easier said than done. The intent of the collaborative grassroots movement's sixth annual Health and Wellness Summit on Friday, March 1, was to help residents establish healthier habits.
There were six winners in the Crow Wing County website photo contest, which were announced Friday, March 1. Almost 200 photos were submitted during the month-long contest. The goal was to capture the best of what the area has to offer from residents and visitors who are out enjoying Crow Wing County. Winners in the contest will have their pictures featured on the county's updated website in 2019. The focus is to update the website with a fresh look.
Just because someone is out of a job doesn't mean he or she is out of opportunities to work. "We've been working with people in our region who need assistance becoming employed because they were laid off from a job, so they're unemployed," said Sue Hilgart, a Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program manager. "Or they're underemployed, so they have a job but maybe it's part time or isn't enough of a job to meet all their financial needs ... or public assistance recipients."