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Bridge work to begin soon in Nobles County

WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday awarded a contract to Midwest Contractor, LLC, of Marshall, to complete the two bridge replacement projects -- one on Nobles County State Aid Highway 1 south of Brewster, and the other on CSAH 14, west of Brewster. The county has prioritized the CSAH 14 bridge to be replaced first, with the CSAH 1 bridge to wait until spring, if they aren't able to complete the replacement before the end of the 2011 construction season.

Nobles County Public Works Director Stephen Schneider said the Minnesota Department of Transportation has $422,222.50 in bonding money available for the two bridge replacement projects. This is $95,997.50 more than what was originally approved for the projects. The total project cost is $1,047,410.70.

Schneider said it will take some time for the precast concrete structures to be manufactured, and he estimated work will begin on CSAH 14 by late August or early September. He said the project should be done by Nov. 15, but that it may be a gravel surface during the winter.

As for the one-lane bridge on CSAH 1, Schneider said, "because of the state shutdown, we may not be able to get that in this fall."

In other action, the board:

* Selected a painting from a collection done by local artist Bobbie Alsgaard-Lien to hang in one of the county's buildings. Lien painted an image from each of Nobles County's parks with a Minnesota Legacy Grant she received. During a showing of the works this summer, attendees chose their favorite of the paintings to be hung at the Nobles County Government Center. On Tuesday, Commissioners were asked to choose a second painting from the collection. The painting for the Government Center features Hawkeye Park, while the one selected by commissioners -- to be hung in the Nobles County War Memorial Building -- features a scene from Maka Oicu County Park.

* Approved the third quarter appropriation of $7,239 for RSVP.

* Approved a request from Sheriff Kent Wilkening to hire a full-time temporary jailor to replace a jailor that has been activated to military deployment for up to one year.

* Accepted the low bid of $1.41 per lineal foot ($42,300 total) from Jerke and Sons Construction Co., Sioux Falls, S.D., to clean out County Ditch 5 in Summit Lake Township. There will be an additional cost of $5,000 to $8,000 for reseeding the ditch once the work is complete.

* Approved a local bridge replacement program grant agreement between Nobles County and the State of Minnesota for each bridge project to receive the bonding money for replacement. The agreement states the county retains ownership of the roadway and structure for 37.5 years, and that the bonding money is limited to the actual amount used for the projects.

* Learned that Nobles County will face about $310,000 in cuts in market value credits and program aid to human services as a result of the state's budget decisions in the special legislative session.

* Voted to discontinue a child support contract with Pipestone County because of a reduction in caseload. Human Services Director Nicole Names told the board her department could manage the caseload with existing FTEs (full-time equivalent employees).

* Approved an adjustment in licensing fees for non-licensed childcare providers. An annual fee of $25 had been collected, and in an effort to cut down on bookkeeping, it was requested to collect a biennial fee of $50.

* Received an update on adult mental health holds and commitments. In 2010, the Family Services Agency recorded 66 holds, of which 22 individuals were committed for treatment of mental health issues. Those commitments cost the county approximately $114,000 last year. So far this year, there have been 28 holds, of which 14 were committed for a total county cost of $5,136. Names said the agency is working more diligently to get clients on Medical Assistance as soon as possible.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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