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Grant of $105K approved for Eagle Lake, Minn., trail

By Carolyn Lange

WILLMAR — A $105,000 state grant has been approved to build a 1.3-mile bike trail near Eagle Lake, just north of Willmar.

Kandiyohi County will provide a $35,000 matching grant.

County Public Works Director Gary Danielson told the Kandiyohi Co-unty Board of Commissioners on Tuesday the grant is funded by the state Dep-artment of Natural Re-sources.

Plans for the trail include a 10-foot wide bituminous trail that begins at the northeast corner of Eagle Lake at County Roads 9 and 93.

The trail will skirt the eastern side of Eagle Lake along County Road 9 and connect to the existing parking lot for the Glacial Lakes State Trail south of the lake.

The plans also include a jaunt on County Road 26 that will also link it to the Glacial Lakes State Trail.

The trail bed on County Road 26 has already been prepared. The bed preparation on County Road 9 will take place during road construction this year.

The commissioners unanimously approved the grant agreement.

Also Tuesday, the commissioners heard updates on several law enforcement and community corrections programs, including efforts by the Sheriff’s Office to use social media to communicate with the public.

Sheriff Dan Hartog demonstrated the department’s Facebook page that includes safety tips and requests for the public’s assistance in tracking down suspects involved with a rash of daytime burglaries in the region. The department is also planning to start a Twitter account as another effort to communicate with the public.

“It’s a way for us to use the technology out there and get the information out there to public,” said Hartog. “It’s an excellent tool.”

Staff from the community service and sentence to service programs also discussed the long list of projects on which clients worked in 2012 as a means to pay back fines or shorten jail time.

A decline in prisoners over the last three years has resulted in fewer adult and juvenile participants and fewer hours of available labor, but the commissioners praised the programs, staff and clients for their work on projects that save the taxpayers money.

“You save the county a lot of money by providing this work,” said Commissioner Jim Butterfield.

Chairman Harlan Madsen said the sentence-to-service labor was directly responsible for helping the county’s recycling program grow. Clients help collect curbside recycling in Willmar and from recycling sheds in rural communities.

Other projects including mowing grass and shoveling snow at places like the recycling center, food shelf and historical society. They also help at the county fairgrounds and Prairie Pothole event and tend a large garden that generated $2,625 pounds of produce that was donated to the Willmar Area Food Shelf.

County Administrator Larry Kleindl praised the staff and leadership with the programs. Even though they are short-staffed, he said they “always find a way” to get the jobs done.

In other action:

- The commissioners approved spending about $99,000 on new office and computer furniture for the dispatch center than includes mechanical desks that allow workers to stand or sit during a shift. The money will come from a $667,000 fund generated from the telephone tax on 911 calls. Those funds can only be used for dispatch centers.

- At the recommendation of Sheriff Hartog, the commissioners approved spending about $63,000 to fund a new intercom system in the jail using profits from items such as snacks that sold to prisoners.

- The commissioners approved a resolution asking the state to increase fees that counties receive for processing driver’s license applications. The state has passed on more of those duties to counties, yet the $5 fee has not increased for eight years, said Deb Mickle, Kandiyohi County Deputy Registrar. The state association of registrars is asking the fee to be increased by $3. Kandiyohi County joins other county boards in approving the resolution seeking higher reimbursement fees.

- County Board Chairman Harlan Madsen read a letter he wrote to the city of Raymond congratulating them on the 125th anniversary of their town.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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