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All five YM county seats will be on ballot

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GRANITE FALLS -- All five of the Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioner seats will be up for election in November.

A likely need for redistricting will put two of the offices on the ballot, the commissioners learned this week. The recent death of a commissioner and the completion of two terms bring the other seats up for election.

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County Administrator Ryan Krosch said unless cities in the county add voting precincts, which is unlikely, population changes will make redistricting necessary for districts 5 and 4. The districts are currently represented by Louis Sherlin and Ron Antony.

The death of County Commissioner Richard "Dick" Wambeke at age 71 on Feb. 7 creates a vacancy in the District 2 seat representing the city of Granite Falls. State statute requires that the seat be filled by a special election, and that the election be held during the general election in November, Krosch said.

State statute does not allow the county to appoint a commissioner to the remainder of Wambeke's term, according to Krosch. The seat will remain vacant until after the election.

The terms for the commissioners representing districts 1 and 3, Greg Renneke and Gary Johnson respectively, are to expire and those seats will also be on the November ballot.

In other business at their meeting on Tuesday, the commissioners agreed that the county would provide in-kind services to address road flooding on a township road serving Bootlegger's Supper club outside of Granite Falls. The county's offer of services is contingent on Stony Run Township, the city of Granite Falls and Bootlegger's also contributing toward the project.

When floodwaters in the Minnesota River follow a secondary channel on the west side of Granite Falls, the township road is flooded at two sites -- and access to the supper club blocked.

The estimated $24,000 proposal to alleviate the problem calls for installing a larger culvert. The larger culvert would handle flows like those experienced last year, but not those of a 1997-level flood, according to Krosch.

The township will vote on whether to contribute funding toward the project at its annual meeting in March. The Granite Falls City Council must also act on the proposal. The township road is an extension of 11th Avenue in Granite Falls.

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Tom Cherveny
Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
(320) 214-4335
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