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Agency details scope of domestic violence

Last year, 550 Douglas County residents received services through Someplace Safe for domestic violence-related issues. Of those 550, 113 were children.

In Minnesota last year, at least 18 women were killed in cases where current or former partners were the suspected or convicted culprits. In addition, at least three friends, family members or bystanders were murdered.

And at least 14 children were left motherless because of domestic violence murders last year in Minnesota.

These are just a few of the staggering statistics provided by Susan Keehn, director of Someplace Safe, in the 2017 Domestic Violence Month Proclamation for October for Douglas County.

Someplace Safe provides advocacy and support for victims of domestic violence in nine counties in western Minnesota, including Douglas.

Keehn, who presented the proclamation to the Douglas County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning at their regular board meeting, asked the board to proclaim October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The board approved the proclamation. Keehn also invited the commissioners to the 11th annual Taking Steps Against Domestic Violence Walk scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 17. The walk starts at 5 p.m. at the Douglas County Courthouse. The guest speaker after the walk is Douglas County resident and domestic violence survivor Gail Kulp.

No public comment on body cams

Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolberson was available during the public comment portion of the board meeting to answer questions about body cameras on law enforcement officers, but no-one spoke up.

Wolbersen told commissioners that he hasn't received any feedback regarding the body cams and that he feels most people are in favor of them.

Jim Stratton, chairman of the Douglas County Board, said that body cameras are a necessity to protect the public and law enforcement officers.

Wolbersen said he couldn't think of a situation when cameras weren't useful.

Commissioner per diems

When the commissioners were going over each of the meetings they attend and which ones were covered by per diem reimbursements, Stratton said he wants the board to take a hard look at the committee meetings they attend and if they are worth it or not.

"We need to start paring back," he said.

Not all meetings the commissioners attend are paid for by a county per diem; some are paid for by the organization/business that is hosting the meeting. And some the commissioners attend without reimbursement.

At the start of the new year, the commissioners are either assigned or delegated to be at certain meetings and over the next few months, the county will look at which meetings they can cut and no longer attend.

In other action

To date, the board has approved funding for the following entities:

• Ag Association — $10,000

• Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission — $47,692

• Osakis Economic Development Commission — $2,139

• Viking Library System — $131,652

• West Central Initiative — $8,000

• Soil and Water Conservation — $258,834

• Lakes Area Humane Society — $8,000

• Historical Society — $9,000

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste Edenloff, a reporter for the Echo Press, has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from May of 1999 to February 2011, and is happy to be back and once again sharing the stories of the people in this community. Besides being a reporter, Celeste is a certified fitness instructor and enjoys teaching bootcamp classes through Snap Fitness. She also enjoys running and has participated in more than 170 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.


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