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County to seek speed study for West Oxford Street, Crailsheim Drive

WORTHINGTON -- After hearing concerns from local law enforcement, school administration and residents near Worthington Middle School about speeding motorists on West Oxford Street and Crailsheim Drive, Nobles County Public Works Director Stephen ...

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A crosswalk near Worthington Middle School is seen looking eastward on West Oxford Street. (Tim Middagh / Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON - After hearing concerns from local law enforcement, school administration and residents near Worthington Middle School about speeding motorists on West Oxford Street and Crailsheim Drive, Nobles County Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder requested Tuesday that county commissioners authorize a speed study on the two roads.

The request comes six years after Schnieder last conducted a speed study in the area where Nobles County State Aid Highway 35 turns into Oxford Street. The posted 40-mile-per-hour speed limit along both Crailsheim Drive and West Oxford Street includes interactive signs alerting motorists to their speed.

The 2011 study found there wasn’t a need to decrease speed in the area of the middle school, but Schnieder said he continues to hear concerns. Last week, Worthington’s Traffic and Safety Committee passed a motion requesting a consultant be hired to do a school zone speed study.

Schnieder said the county can set up a reduced speed zone near the middle school that is in effect only when children are present.

“Speed zones aren’t a save-all, catch-all,” he said, adding that in combination with enforcement, the zones are more effective. Crossing guards may also be considered.

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Commissioner Donald Linssen, who lives near the middle school, said law enforcement visibility helps to slow motorists, but “there are people rolling through there at a pretty good speed.”

Schnieder said he personally views the area as safe.

“It’s wide open. There aren’t trees blocking people’s vision,” he said. “But, I’m one person - it’s my opinion. Perhaps it’s best to get a second opinion - have someone else look at it.”

State statute requires an engineering study be conducted. The results of that study must show a lower speed limit is warranted before the county can change the posted speed limit.

Schnieder estimated the speed study will cost between $3,000 and $5,000. Commissioners voted to authorize the study.

“I’d hate to turn a deaf ear to law enforcement and not do anything,” said Commissioner Bob Demuth Jr.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a recommendation to install lighting at two rural intersections to improve visibility. The intersections selected for lighting include CSAH 35 and Nobles County 13 north of Rushmore and CSAH 35 and 28 east of Adrian.
  • Approved numerous updates to the county’s personnel policy. Initially, Commissioner Justin Ahlers requested tabling the policy changes so that they could be discussed further in a work session. A motion to that effect failed on a 4-1 vote after some discussion.

“One of the things we have to keep in perspective, these are policies that have been redone by our labor attorney that says they have to be brought up to today’s standards,” said Linssen. “This is her recommendation on where we need to be at. We’re to be represented by this attorney and to cover the legalities of what has to be done.”

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  • Recognized Community Services employees who provide financial reporting for their fifth consecutive year of recognition by the Minnesota Department of Human Services for perfect reporting. Staff recognized included fiscal supervisor Stephani Diekmann, account technicians Lori Winters and Lisa Palaschack and collections officer Thelma Yager.
  • Received an annual update from A.C.E. Coordinator Joanne Bartosh. There were 468 volunteers registered with A.C.E. in Nobles County in 2016, recording more than 48,500 hours of volunteer work.

As part of the update, Kim Schwich, southwest Minnesota field representative for the Salvation Army, was on hand to present A.C.E. volunteer Wally Scholten with a plaque recognizing his 30 years of leadership to the red kettle campaign. In the last decade, the kettles have raised nearly $127,300 in Nobles County - money used for crisis situations locally.

  • Approved final payment of $21,501.92 to Doom & Cuypers Construction, Marshall, for repairs to the Ninth Street entrance to the Nobles County Government Center.
  • Authorized Administrator Tom Johnson to sign an agreement with Falls Architecture Studio to design the addition to the Adrian Public Works truck garage at a cost of $42,000. In addition, Johnson was authorized to develop and sign agreements with Engineering Design Initiative to plan an estimate for the renovation of the former county jail into a data center for a fee of $5,500; and with EAPC of Sioux Falls, S.D., to provide architectural services to determine the cost of demolition and remodeling of the space, also for a fee of $5,500.
  • Discussed the addition of cubicles on the second floor of the Nobles County Government Center for needed work space for the auditor-treasurer, assessor and recorder offices. Commissioner Matt Widboom requested space needs be reevaluated before walls are taken down.

“We have a lot of space that isn’t used now and space where people are sitting on top of each other,” Widboom said, adding that he’d be willing to be a part of the discussions regarding space.
Commissioners did approve the changes on the third floor, including the addition of cubicles in the administration office.

  • Approved a professional services agreement with Amie Ascheman of Runchey, Louwagie and Wellman, PLLP, Marshall, to provide court-appointed representation to parents in child protection cases. Ascheman will take over a contract the county previously had with Steven Forrest.
  • Authorized county staff to survey and complete GPS mapping of the Worthington Cemetery to help out the cemetery board. The city of Worthington is also volunteering its time to trim trees on the cemetery property.
  • Presented the March Excellence in Performance Award to Katie Klosterbuer, 4-H Program Coordinator.
  • Recognized Ryan Kruger, investigator, for 15 years of service to the Nobles County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Approved a request from Sheriff Kent Wilkening for a deputy’s medical leave of absence through July 31.
  • Set a public hearing for 10:30 a.m. May 2 to discuss appointments to the county’s Park Board. The county has struggled to find individuals willing to serve on the board from each of the five commissioner districts, which is required by ordinance.
  • Voted to continue a public hearing on a petition from Jesse Drost for an outlet on consolidated Judicial Ditch 1 to 10:30 a.m. June 6.
  • Accepted an application from Marv Zylstra, Worthington, to serve on the Nobles County Planning Advisory Commission.

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Kim Schwich (left), southwest Minnesota field representative for the Salvation Army, and Joanne Bartosh, A.C.E. Coordinator for Nobles County (left) present A.C.E. volunteer Wally Scholten with a plaque recognizing his 30 years of leadership to the red kettle campaign. (Julie Buntjer / Daily Globe)

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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