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Cass County Board: Grant sought for county's first roundabout

The county board voted Tuesday to seek a Local Road Improvement grant from MnDOT to put the roundabout at the junction of county highways 1 and 44. The intersection currently is a four-way stop, with rumble strips and "Stop Ahead" indicators. Even as enhancements have been added, the intersection has had numerous serious crashes. BrainerdDispatch.com Illustration

BACKUS—Cass County could install its first county road roundabout east of Pine River if the county's grant application to the Minnesota Department of Transportation is successful.

The county board voted Tuesday to seek a Local Road Improvement grant from MnDOT to put the roundabout at the junction of county highways 1 and 44.

The intersection currently is a four-way stop, with rumble strips and "Stop Ahead" indicators. Even as enhancements have been added, the intersection has had numerous serious crashes.

County Engineer Darrick Anderson said a roundabout should slow traffic to a level at which there are only fender benders instead of fatalities.

In other county business:

Cass County Sheriff's Investigator Ryan Fisher obtained county board approval Tuesday to travel to Washington, D.C., the end of this month to give a presentation on a law enforcement officer's view of how joint state and tribal courts work together to make this county's Wellness Court effective.

He will travel at no expense to the county with retired Minnesota Appeals Court Judge John P. Smith and District Court Judge Korey Wahwassuck to Washington.

Judge Smith was a district court judge in Walker and Wahwassuck was a Leech Lake Band tribal court judge at the time Cass and Leech Lake started the court. It was designed to help repeat driving while intoxicated offenders break the cycle of repeat offenses. It was the first tribal-state court joint effort in the nation.

They will speak on the joint court's success and how it works here, so other jurisdictions in the country can learn how to start similar courts elsewhere.

Cass has received a $28,295 Minnesota Department of Public Safety Emergency Management Performance grant to reimburse the county for wage, benefits and other expenses to operate emergency services from the sheriff's department.

Cass County will sell a 2.1-acre tax-forfeited lot about four blocks northeast of city hall to the city of Remer for $7,097.44. Cost includes appraised value, plus fees.

The county board selected the only bidder of three who sought to trench a 13-acre site in Poplar Township in preparation for tree planting. Future Forests Inc. bid $85 per acre for a total cost of $1,105.

Sawyer Timber submitted the lowest of three bids to provide taconite tailings for a trail in Bungo Township, which is being used to access a timber sale. Cost will be $20 per yard.

Sawyer Timber was the lower of two bidders to snowplow the land department building parking lots at Backus for $125 per hour.

Because three acres was removed from a site the county bid to have surveyed in Birch Lake Township, the contractor asked to amend his contract by adding $500 to the cost. The county board approved the additional cost, which will be split 50-50 with an abutting private landowner.

The commissioners approved paying RW Electric $2,265 for wiring to install new Honeywell metering equipment in the courthouse at Walker.

They approved paying Deep Portage Learning Center $2,165.78 for the cost of new smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

They accepted $200 from Sylvan Township for the sentence to serve program after the STS crew worked on a bridge in that township.

While interest income on the county's investments was only at 68 percent of the amount the budget anticipated after 75 percent of the year, Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Anderson informed the county board she expects interest in the fourth quarter to bring the final 2017 total close to the amount the budget anticipated.

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