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County board room to get audio-visual upgrade that will help public access meeting broadcasts

WILLMAR -- The audio-visual equipment in the Kandiyohi County board room will get an upgrade that will make it easier for the public to watch broadcasts of meetings and enhance the community's and employees' opportunities for accessing webinars.

WILLMAR -- The audio-visual equipment in the Kandiyohi County board room will get an upgrade that will make it easier for the public to watch broadcasts of meetings and enhance the community's and employees' opportunities for accessing webinars.

At their meeting Tuesday the commissioners approved a proposal by New Life Communications of Willmar to replace the video and audio system in the board room, on the second floor of the Health and Human Services building.

The project is expected to cost $60,291.

The county also received a quote from a Richfield company for about $88,000.

The current equipment is 17 years old - ancient in technology years.

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Replacement parts are no longer made for the equipment and the county has had to search eBay to find parts to fix the cameras and recording equipment, said County Administrator Larry Kleindl.

Commissioner Harlan Madsen said communities, like his home country in East Lake Lillian Township, don't have access to the Willmar local access channel and having access to broadcasts of county board meetings through the internet will enhance public access to public information.

Kleindl said when the county first started broadcasting their meetings he wondered if anyone would be interested in watching them, but has been surprised by the number of people who say they do watch.

Madsen said he hopes efforts will be revamped up to use the new equipment for video conferencing, which will allow employees and community groups to access webinars and other online training.

The commissioners recognized Sheila Ellingboe, who is retiring after working for 33 years in the family services department.

Ellingboe had been serving as the financial supervisor for the department.

She was praised for the "moral fortitude," work ethic and for leading the department through numerous changes.

Health and Human Services Director Ann Stehn said Ellingboe's job didn't put her in the public eye, but she has "touched the lives of many thousands of people" because she was able to understand the complex funding streams that has helped the department accomplish its mission.

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Carol Tollefson has been hired to take her place.

In other action:

*The commissioners heard a report from Stehn about outcomes and measurements for family service programs the state is drafting for counties to meet.

*Tim Falkum was appointed to another four year term as assessor.

*The commissioners agreed to clean up two private properties and bill the homeowners for the expense. The action was taken after the property owners violated the county's nuisance ordinance and failed to meet abatement deadlines.

One of the parcels is located in the Peaceful Hills development by New London, where photos showed a yard full of debris. The county cleaned up the same property last year after the property owner failed to comply with clean-up orders.

The second parcel includes rental property west of Spicer near George Lake.

Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at clange@wctrib.com or 320-894-9750
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