WALKER—Cass County land use permits for new construction and private sewer systems are down slightly this year from 2017. The county issued 580 land use permits the first half of 2018, compared with 587 in 2017. The planning commission approved 38 variances this year through June, compared with 49 in 2017. The commission approved 13 conditional use permits the first half of this year, compared with 12 in 2017. Shoreland alterations dropped to 69 in 2018 from 147 in 2017.
WALKER—Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk cast the lone dissenting vote Tuesday, Aug. 7, as the Cass County Board voted to deny a petition for a cartway Mark Dorholt sought to gain access to property he owns in unorganized township. The county board serves as town board for unorganized areas. Gaalswyk said he preferred to table the issue to learn more about possible options for the board. Commissioner Dick Downham was absent from the meeting. Dorholt first petitioned for the cartway about three years ago.
WALKER—Cass County commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday, Aug. 7, to proclaim the county a Purple Heart county. This proclamation is to "honor the service and sacrifice of our nation's men and women in uniform wounded or killed by the enemy while serving to protect the freedoms enjoyed by all Americans." Chuck Jones, Minnesota Order of the Purple Heart chairman and a Purple Heart recipient, brought the first few signs to the board Tuesday, which Cass County plans to mount on all county road signs at its borders.
WALKER—Cass County Board may consider submitting an opinion on the proposal of whether the Army Corps of Engineers should continue licensing the city of East Gull Lake to keep its road over the Gull Dam. Generally, the board does not take a stand on issues that do not directly involve county property or interests. Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk reported to the board on a recent public hearing to receive input on that 110-year-old road license to East Gull Lake.
Cass County commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday night, July 17, at the regular meeting in Pine River Township Hall to seek a new Minnesota Department of Transportation study for speed limits on County State Aid Highway 77. The city of Lake Shore requested a speed study through that city. The county resolution, however, covers from about 780 feet east of the west junction of CSAH 77 with Miller Lane to the east Cass/Crow Wing line. A cooperative study will be asked for the Crow Wing County portion of the road as well.
WALKER — A lot of young people grow up vacationing beside northern Minnesota's lakes. Some would like to find a way to have a career as adults in the lake country, but not many actually do. Paul Fairbanks did. And now he is getting ready to retire July 31 after a 30-year career with Cass County. He grew up in Minot, N.D., and his family vacationed at resorts near Walker, Longville and Nisswa.
PINE RIVER—It has taken three years to complete the first half of Cass County's portion of the Minnesota Geological Survey and likely will take another three years to finish the second half, according to Robert Tipping, University of Minnesota. He outlined progress so far on the project designed to bring together data on soils and distance to bedrock, plus an analysis of groundwater. The university was in charge of completing the soils half of the project. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will complete the water half, he explained.
PINE RIVER—Despite the fact the number of veterans living in the county declined as older vets died, expenditures per veteran escalated significantly, Jeff Woodford, veterans services officer, reported Tuesday, July 17, to the Cass County Board. Cass vets received $30,762,000 in federal benefits in 2017, compared with $18,408,000 in 2008. There were 2,961 veterans living in the county in 2017, compared with 3,474 in 2008. The average annual expenditure per veteran nearly doubled from $5,299 in 2008 to $10,389 in 2017.
PINE RIVER—Cass County sold 211.33 acres of tax-forfeited land at a June 26 auction for $294,473, Land Commissioner Kirk Titus reported to the county board Tuesday, July 17. Fourteen of the 26 land parcels offered at the auction sold, he said. In addition, the county sold another eight parcels over the counter from the land office in Backus since the first of this year, netting another $166,750.
PINE RIVER — Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane reported Cass is in the final review for the Minnesota State Auditor's audit of Cass County 2017 records. As a result of that audit, the county has changed the bank overseeing its investments to one the state recommended as providing less risk in the way investments are purchased and allocated to the county.