Installation may be complete by first meeting in September
By Kristen Miller
MEEKER COUNTY, MN Meeker County Board meetings will soon be available to public access channels after commissioners approved the purchase of recording equipment last Tuesday.
The board approved the purchase of necessary audio and video equipment and installation for $19,348 to be purchased from EPA of Rockford.
Auditor Barb Loch, who served on a public access committee along with commissioner Jim Swenson, told the board that there would be four cameras throughout the room that would catch all aspects of the meeting. This would include a wide angle lens to capture those sitting at the board table.
The recorder, which would likely be a volunteer, would then control the cameras inside Loch’s office rather than in the board room.
CDs of the board meetings will be made available upon request for a fee through the county attorney’s office. A disc of each of the meetings will also be provided to Dassel City Hall for airing on public access channel 12.
Loch anticipates the installation will be done in time to record the first meeting in September.
Safety plan for county roads
Meeker County Engineer Ron Mortensen presented a list to the board of the top 10 rural highways and intersections in the county that have been deemed the most hazardous.
The list was in response to data collected in a safety analysis by the Minnesota Department of Transportation with the goal of reducing severe crashes.
Data from 2005 to 2009 showed that 65 percent of the fatalities in Meeker County roads happened to be road departure crashes. More fatal accidents were caused by drivers leaving the roadways than in alcohol or drug-related crashes, 39 percent, according to the data.
The top three areas of concern in the county happened to be near Kingston, Dassel, and Darwin. They are CSAH 27, which is currently under construction, nine miles of CSAH 18 from CSAH 14 to Highway 15, and CSAH 14 from the Meeker County line to the Darwin city limits.
Some of the solutions provided were a 2-foot shoulder and rumble strips for roadways and streetlights or upgrade signs and marking for intersections.
Mortensen explained that most of the rural roads aren’t wide enough to allow a 2-foot shoulder with rumble strips and that adding streetlights and/or painted white stop bars would add to his maintenance budget each year.
As far as funding for the initial projects, there is grant money available to counties, but applications need to be in by Monday, Aug. 22.
The board approved that Mortensen apply for the grant using his own discretion for solving the safety issues as guidelines in the application.
In addition, the board set a public hearing for the seven-year road construction plan for Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 10:30 a.m.
Commissioners accept US Navy artifact
During the meeting, the board passed a resolution accepting a navy artifact from the USS Meeker County that was once a gift to the now decommissioned ship from Meeker County citizens in the 1950s.
In 1955, 50 LST-980 landing ship tanks were named after counties in the US and Meeker County, MN is the only county with that name, according to Everett Reilly, member of the Meeker County Navy Club.
This particular LST-980 had been used in the invasion of Normandy and in Vietnam.
The resolution makes this silver tea set (pictured) available to Meeker County citizens once again as a display in the Meeker County Historical Society’s GAR Hall.
An official ceremony and banquet took place later that night at the Litchfield VFW, where 12 shipmates of the USS Meeker County presented the tea set.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• approved the appointment of Lora Vogelpohl for a five-year term as a sixth member on the Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board. It was noted that Vogelpohl is a resident at Dassel Apartments and was voted in by residents to represent the Section 8/public housing programs.
• approved a liquid propane bid from Jack’s Oil of Eden Valley at $19,130, which was the lowest quote.
• approved installation of bi-directional amplifiers in the courthouse, jail, and hospital as part of the sheriff’s office ARMER project. It was noted that grant funding is available with a 50 percent match. The county’s portion will be $13,698.