Weather Forecast


Law enforcement project progresses

At Tuesday's regular board meeting, Douglas County commissioners were kept busy.

Not only did they listen to and approve agenda items from Auditor/Treasurer Tom Reddick, Public Works Director Dave Robley, Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolbersen and Land and Resource Management Director Dave Rush, but they received annual reports from the Sauk River Watershed District and Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust, among other items.

During the approximately three-hour long meeting, they listened to presentations from Chuck Nettestad with the United Communities Advocating Non-violence (U-CAN) committee; Holly Kovarik, administrator for the Sauk River Watershed District; Bill Anderson and Jeff Lind from Douglas Area Trails Association; and Bruce Underdahl from Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust.

They also received an update from County Coordinator Bill Schalow and Public Health Director Sandy Tubbs on the Douglas County joint public health administration agreement with Stevens, Traverse and Grant (STG) counties.

In addition, Chris Karpan, Douglas County attorney, updated the commissioners on what is going on with the agreement between the county and city of Alexandria in regard to the joint law enforcement center.

The commissioners approved an amendment to the memorandum of understanding between the two entities for the joint center.

The amended part of the memorandum basically states that the city of Alexandria will be the lead agency for the joint law enforcement center and will be responsible for administrating and maintaining all financial records and the payment of invoices for the project.

In addition, Douglas County, along with the city of Alexandria, approved a contract with ORB Management for construction management services; and that costs will be shared equally.

Previously, both the county and city entities awarded a contract for architectural services for the joint center to Ringdahl Architects and awarded a contract to Widseth Smith Nolting to furnish civil engineering services for the design and construction of required site drainage improvements for the project.

Although the project is far from being completed, Karpan told the commissioners they would still have time to back out down the road, but that by approving the amendment, "This is money you won't get back. This is the start."

The amendment was approved by a 4-1 vote. Jerry Johnson voted against it.

Domestic violence


Chuck Nettestad, along with several other members of the U-CAN committee, presented the county commissioners with a resolution on primary prevention of domestic violence.

This is the first resolution of its kind to be presented to a county board in the state of Minnesota.

One of the goals of the resolution is to have the county, "be committed to stopping domestic violence and ensuring a healthy environment for all people in which they can grow and develop free from social and environmental influences that increase domestic violence," as stated in the resolution.

Chuck Derry, who is a co-founder of the Minnesota Men's Action Network: Alliance to Prevent Sexual and Domestic Violence, and who works with the U-CAN committee, talked with the newspaper after the meeting, stating that this resolution will probably become a model for other counties around the state.

He noted that there are similar resolutions in Ramsey and Olmstead counties, but that this is the first of its kind to be adopted by a county board.

Derry said the Alexandria area has a strong history of fighting domestic violence and that it has been a pleasure working with the U-CAN committee.

"This resolution goes to show that this area is not going to tolerate domestic violence," he said.

According to statistics from Someplace Safe and Wings Family Supportive Services, there were 307 adult domestic violence victims and 402 child domestic violence victims, along with many family members and friends of victims of domestic violence who were served in Douglas County in 2008, as stated in the resolution.

Watch next week's Echo Press for more news from the Douglas County commissioners.