WALKER—While the city of Walker supports Cass County's current plan to stay in the city's downtown for the foreseeable future, the city would like to see some development take place at Ah-Gwah-Ching soon. The county bought a major portion of the former state nursing home property for $1 from the state with the understanding it would be used for government services and health care. At that time, Essential Health was considering a critical care hospital for the site.
WALKER—Cass County commissioners Tuesday approved a 10-year contract with K.R. Drenth Trucking Inc. to operate the county's garbage and recycling disposal program. The county has always owned its primary transfer station buildings north of Pine River with a contract operator to operate the program. KRD has been the most recent operator. It accepts garbage, recyclables and hazardous waste weekdays and Saturday mornings.
WALKER—Six people who use Plantain Trail Northwest in Pine Lake Township to access their property Tuesday asked the county board to order their town board to improve the road. Pine Lake Town Board has refused to accept Plantain Trail as a town road. Cass County commissioners voted not to get involved in the issue, because it has not been determined by a court that the township has an obligation to do so. The county believes at this point it does not have authority to act on the issue.
WALKER—The Cass County Board voted Tuesday to permit the Minnesota Department of Transportation to use County Highway 40 as part of a detour during resurfacing on Highway 371 from Hackensack to Backus this summer. County Engineer Darrick Anderson said he expects MnDOT's payment to the county for added wear and tear on County Highway 40 during its use as a detour route to be under $12,000.
WALKER—"Our STS (Sentence to Service) is thriving," Chief Deputy Erick Hoglund told the Cass County Board Tuesday, also noting several neighboring county STS programs have declined and closed. The program is designed to enable low-risk offenders to work on a deputy-supervised crew to work off fines or in place of jail time. Deputy Chad Emery, who supervises the crew, reported 73 male offenders joined the crew in 2017, with 71 completing the program. They worked off $2,300 worth of fines and in place of 171.1 days of jail time.
WALKER—Many a Cass County voter thought their mailed ballot was junk mail and threw it in the garbage. They thought they did not get a ballot, so ended up at the courthouse in Walker election night to vote in person. This was one factor leading to Cass County being one of the last to report election results to the state in 2016. Sharon Anderson, the county's newly appointed elections administrator, told the county board Tuesday she will begin public education outreach this year to prevent a repeat.
WALKER—Cass County Board adopted changes Tuesday to the countywide land use ordinance covering the process for obtaining land reclassification. Under changes the county began this summer, applicants now file their application with Environmental Services Department. When the application is complete, ESD refers it to the county board, which may require additional information and may refer the application for the planning commission to consider.
WALKER—The Cass County Board Tuesday set a public hearing for 9 a.m. Feb. 6 at the courthouse in Walker for the highway department's Americans with Disabilities Act Transition Plan. The plan identifies 71 sites on county roads, largely in municipalities, where curbs impede accessibility for persons using a wheelchair and where access would be difficult for entering county buildings. Cass County Highway Department conducted a survey of county buildings and highways last June to identify sites where improvements need to be made.
WALKER—Cass County Board adopted a county buffer ordinance Tuesday to meet the newer state laws requiring a vegetative buffer between cultivated farm fields and waterways. For this county, it definitely is not the issue it has been for some southern Minnesota farmers. Not only did no one come to Cass's public hearing on the new ordinance, but also Environmental Services Director John Ringle said he does not believe anyone in the county has failed to comply with the ordinance before it was adopted. In other county business:
WALKER—Cass County commissioners elected Commissioner Bob Kangas as 2018 chair and Commissioner Scott Bruns as vice-chair Tuesday. They adopted the same rules of business for conducting county board meetings as they used in 2017. Those rules call for meeting 9 a.m. the first Tuesday each month at the courthouse in Walker and third Tuesday—January through April and October through December—at the land department building in Backus.