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Nobles County to seek new K-9 for sheriff's office

WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday authorized Sheriff Kent Wilkening to begin the process for replacing the county's K-9, Chase. The eight-year-old dog has had some medical issues with two surgeries this year. The next dog will come from Fort Dodge, Iowa, and will cost, with training of the handler, approximately $15,400.

Wilkening told commissioners the deputy has already been in contact with some local service agencies seeking donations to cover the cost. So far, $1,000 has been received.

"We will try to cover the cost as much through donations as we can," Wilkening said.

In other action Tuesday, the board:

* Approved a joint powers agreement with the Southwest Minnesota Regional Public Safety Board, pending a review by Nobles County Attorney Kathleen Kusz. Counties included in the joint powers are Nobles, Murray, Pipestone, Lyon, Redwood and Yellow Medicine, in addition to the cities of Worthington and Marshall. The agreement is based on the sharing of a logging system between the entities, with one system housed in Murray County and another in Lyon County, as they have already purchased the equipment. The cost to each county for the system is approximately $9,000, with ongoing annual costs for licensure and maintenance at $4,000 per entity.

* Approved conditional use permits for Clayton Schilling, Seth Darling, Steve Elias, Brake Farms and Brad and Ryan Lonneman which will result in the expansion of existing swine, beef and dairy feeding operations near Ellsworth, Adrian, Wilmont and Worthington.

* Was updated on the progress being made toward developing a centralized sewer district for the residents of Reading. Nobles County Environmental Services Director Wayne Smith said efforts now are on obtaining funding and hiring an engineer. A public meeting will be planned in August to provide more information on the project.

* Received an annual update on the work of the RSVP program, and learned that a Senior Day is planned this year at the Nobles County Fair. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 9, and will be for those ages 50 and older. It was also announced that RSVP is looking for more volunteers.

* Discussed staffing needs on the second floor of the Nobles County Government Center, including the assessor's, recorder's and auditor-treasurer's offices. Commissioners David Benson and Bob Demuth Jr. recently met with department heads in those offices to discuss staff sharing and needs.

"There is a need for an additional staff person in the assessor's office," said interim Nobles County Administrator Vijay Sethi. "We also talked about this position supporting the needs of the other departments."

Sethi said the assessor and human resources administrator are working together on creating a classification for a new employee, and that request is hoped to be ready for commissioner approval at Aug. 7 meeting.

* Approved a change order to the energy efficiency projects being implemented in the Nobles County Government Center, which will save the county approximately $25,000. Steve Johnson, of Vetter Johnson, said the existing chimney proved to be in good condition and would not need to be repaired. He also provided an update on additional work. Three projects will be bid on July 30, including interior and exterior lighting work at the Prairie Justice Center and tuck-pointing and replacement of more than 50 wood casing windows with triple pane, fixed windows in the Government Center. Work will start in mid-August and continue through approximately mid-October.

* Awarded the bid for carpeting on the second floor of the Nobles County Government Center to Hillers Flooring America, Rochester, at a total of $24,697.

* Approved the third quarter appropriation to RSVP at $7,589.25.

* Approved an access and license agreement with Minnesota West Community and Technical College for excavation of dirt for the regional storm water retention pond on the campus. Dirt work is slated to begin in late August.

* Approved numerous contracts and agreements between Nobles County Community Services and agencies providing group residential housing and hospitalization services for persons placed on 72-hour holds.

* Approved a $22,000 public health emergency preparedness grant.

* Appointed Susan Hansberger to the Nobles County Library Board.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

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

(507) 376-7330