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Nobles County to join regional H.E.A.T. tactical team

WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County will be the newest team member to join the regional H.E.A.T. tactical team. During its board meeting Tuesday, commissioners approved participation in a joint powers agreement to join the team, which is comprised of 17...

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WORTHINGTON - Nobles County will be the newest team member to join the regional H.E.A.T. tactical team.

During its board meeting Tuesday, commissioners approved participation in a joint powers agreement to join the team, which is comprised of 17 Minnesota and 10 Iowa member agencies, including both police and sheriff’s departments. Cottonwood, Jackson, Murray, Pipestone and Rock counties are all members of the joint powers.

“I looked at this quite a few years ago and I did have some concerns about not having anyone on the team,” said Sheriff Kent Wilkening, noting there are 25 members on the H.E.A.T. team, and members are determined through an application process. He said there is a current opening, which makes it possible for a Nobles County deputy to apply for a spot.

Regardless of the county having someone on the H.E.A.T. team, the agency will respond to situations when needed, Wilkening said.

“That is a huge benefit,” he added. “Everyone around is a member of this. They’re happy with the team and happy with the service they’re getting.

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“Their board gave 100 percent approval to allow us to join.”

The county’s cost to join the team is $2,100 per year, based on its population.

Wilkening said while the county has the helmets and the weapons, the H.E.A.T. team has all of the tactical gear and military-style armored personnel carriers - one located in Jackson and the other in Pipestone.

In other action, the board:

  • Accepted with reluctance the retirement resignation of Nobles County Attorney Kathleen Kusz, effective Sept. 30. Kusz was thanked for her years of service to the county. She said she hopes to discuss a succession plan for her position with commissioners in the near future.
  • Awarded a bid to Loosbrock Digging Service Inc., Lismore, to complete a rural street lighting project for the county at a cost of $361,598.41. Loosbrock was the lone bidder on the project, which includes the installation of lighting at 14 intersections.

The state will pay $256,779.89 for the project, with county state aid funding to cover the remainder of the cost. The project is anticipated to be completed this fall.

  • Accepted a low bid of $29,971 from Redstone Tech Inc. and Heppner Consulting Inc. to replace the county’s server used for financial and tax systems. The existing server is about 10 years old.
  • Authorized a request for proposals begin to replace the security system in the Prairie Justice Center. The current system is quite old, and it is difficult to find replacement parts.
  • Received a request from Plum Creek Library System Director Jim Trojanowski to increase county funding of the regional library service from $2,500 to $3,250 in 2020. The request comes after the state failed to increase funding for regional libraries.

“We were budgeting at a minus last year,” Commissioner Gene Metz said. “It’s budgeted so tight, there’s no room for hiccups. It’s another case of the state not covering, and you just can’t cut the budget any tighter than it is.”
The request was taken under advisement as commissioners begin the 2020 budget process this summer.

  • Approved conditional use permits upon the recommendation of the Nobles County Planning Commission, including for Leroy and Susan Tweet, Kenneth, for continued operation of an existing gravel pit, aggregate crushing and stockpile site in the northwest quarter of Section 6, Lismore Township; for the Nobles County Landfill, Worthington, to construct a new scale room, scale and office shop at its site in Section 4, Dewald Township; and for K-Line Properties LLC, doing business as Chandler Feed Company, to add loading bins to an existing elevator and construct an 88- by 24-foot scale on its property at Leota.
  • Approved an application for five-year tax abatement through the Nobles Home Initiative for Matt and Darcy Ulbrich, Reading, to construct a new single-family home at 27256 198th St., Reading. The Ulbrichs plan to demolish their existing home and build a new home on the site.
  • Presented the May Excellence in Performance award to Ryan Como, Jail Program Coordinator, and Michelle Ebbers, Public Health Nurse, for combining efforts to provide “It’s That Easy” parenting classes to jail inmates. Como was also recognized for 15 years of service at the Nobles County Jail.
  • Authorized an application by the Nobles County Historical Society to be submitted for a legacy grant to fund a new heating, cooling and ventilation system for the Armory Business Center.
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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