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County board hears employment assistance report from PIC

WORTHINGTON -- More than half of the Farley's & Sathers Candy Co. employees who lost their job following the closure of the packaging and warehousing facility in Round Lake have found new work thanks to the assistance of the Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council.

The PIC, with an office in Worthington, assists displaced workers in their employment search, in addition to offering other programs. Representatives from the organization gave an annual report to Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday.

Linda Spronk, Workforce Investment Act/Adult and Dislocated Worker program manager, said the PIC worked with 140 employees of the Round Lake facility. Of those, 94 were hired for jobs paying an average of $13.63 per hour. With the impending closure of the corporate offices that remain in Round Lake, Spronk said their agency continues to work with clients there.

"We started working with the company in July or August, and they're still trying to transition," Spronk said, adding that she hasn't been given a date yet when the facility will close completely.

Funding for the PIC's dislocated worker program from the state and federal governments has been cut significantly in recent years, Spronk said, adding that it was 17 to 19 percent this year alone. Much of the funds received for the program are used for training dislocated workers.

Later in Tuesday's meeting, Commissioner board chair Bob Demuth Jr. reported that the Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp. has had "a ton of interest" in the Farley's & Sathers building complex, with at least three companies looking at the vacant warehouse and production facility, as well as the office space.

In other action Tuesday, the board:

- Granted a conditional use permit for Ocheda Dairy, Worthington, to construct an underground pipeline for liquid manure, on recommendation of the county's planning and zoning commission. Approximately one-half mile of underground manure pipeline will be constructed on environmentally sensitive ground, while the remainder of the pipeline will continue to be above ground at this time. Commissioner Matt Widboom asked if an abatement plan was established as part of the conditional use permit. Nobles County Environmental Services Director Wayne Smith said an abatement plan was not discussed. The pipeline involves Sections 12, 13, 14 and 15 of Bigelow Township.

- Granted a conditional use permit for Andy Weiss, Adrian, to construct a 102- by 192-foot total confinement barn with a concrete pit below for 2,400 finishing swine. The barn will be in the northeast quarter of Section 3, Westside Township. Conditions on the permit include that the barn be no less than 1,000 feet west of an existing home, there be a dead animal containment structure, manure be incorporated and the good neighbor policy be adhered to.

- Approved second half appropriations of $13,307 to the Nobles County Historical Society; $3,565.50 to the Nobles County Art Center; and $11,110.50 to the Nobles County Fair Association.

- Approved the refunding of Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water's general obligation water revenue bonds from 2006. The refunding and new bond sale is hoped to save LPRW in interest costs. An agreement with Northland Securities to handle the bond sale was also approved.

- Amended a contract with Cottonwood-Jackson Community Health Services (CHS) to extend administrator services through July 31. A new CHS administrator has been hired in Nobles County and is slated to start June 24.

- Recognized Cindy Frederickson as Nobles County's Excellence in Performance award recipient for May. Frederickson, a public health nurse, was nominated for going above and beyond the normal work day to assist with the Emergency Preparedness team during the April ice storm response.

- Approved the closure of County State Aid Highways 1 and 14 on July 20 for the Brewster Fun Days celebration.

- Reappointed Jerry Lonneman, Rod Spronk and Joseph Weber to four-year terms on the LPRW board.

- Approved an annual agreement with the Department of Natural Resources for maintenance of the county's snowmobile trails. The Frosty Riders maintain the trails in the county.

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