Updates on: Tree Planting, Gun Permits, Justice Board, Homelessness, COVID, Waste to Energy, and the Water Tower

Corn Tower
Corn Tower

13,600 Trees and 2,592 Live Plants

The annual sale sponsored by the Olmsted County Soil and Water Conservation District sold 13,600 trees to 248 customers this year.  Also, this is the first year that SWCD sold live plants and seeds; 2,592 live plants indigenous to Minnesota were sold and 65,340 square feet of seed mixes were sold.  Customers could choose from the live plants for rain gardens, shady tolerant woodlands, pollinators, and monarch favorites.  Because of the success of the plant and seed sale, SWCD will plan on doing this again next spring.  Watch for announcements and get your order in next spring.

Application for Gun Permits Increase

In Olmsted County the permits for Conceal and Carry have increased from 266 to 714 (This is for the time period of the first quarter of 2020 compared to the first quarter of 2021).  Most of these requests are requests for new permits but also include renewals.  Please know that the Sheriff’s Office is responsible to perform background check on every person who applies for new or renewal permit; it takes about 30 minutes to run a background check.  There are 4,000 permits that need to be checked each year.

Juvenile Justice Board

The State Juvenile Justice Board will take up the issue of Children of Incarcerated Parents.  Olmsted County started to study this topic several years ago as part of the effort to end generational poverty and help families off of general assistance roles.  I have supported Commissioner Sheila Kiscaden in her efforts on State and Local committees to resolve the detrimental effects to children whose parent is incarcerated.  I will support the effort to have Olmsted County receive a grant and to be a pilot project for this program.

Staffing for Homeless Effort May Increase

The need for staffing increases in the Housing area has been caused by several factors:  Covid related issues, Federal and State focus on homelessness and housing, increased accounting regulations, the loss of the non-profit organization that managed the emergency housing and warming center during the COVID pandemic.  I will consider the staffing increase requests when they come before the Housing Board.

Climate Smart Municipalities

I have participated with an international work group that is sharing information on climate change, local energy sustainability, and resiliency planning.  The participating group was made up of commissioners from around Minnesota, State legislators, and government officials and professors living in Germany.  The sessions are in cooperation with the University of Minnesota and Steinfurt County, Germany.  Olmsted County can learn much from sharing information from other communities and how they have prepared for the future their sustainability actions.

COVID and 102 Deaths

The 102nd Death due to Covid has been reported in Olmsted County.  All deaths are tragic for families that have lost loved ones.  Because of the fast actions of the Public Health Department, the cooperation of general public, and the expertise of the medical facilities, the deaths due to covid related complications were less than in other areas of the country.

Please know the best way to stamp out Covid is to get a vaccination.

Waste to Energy

Olmsted County regards household waste and garbage as a valuable resource.  From the waste the county creates steam to power the heating, ventilating, and cooling systems in many building and we produce electricity which is supplied to county building.  This energy helps to keep property taxes low and is good for the environment.  Because of the Karst Geology of our county, we must be very careful to limit the waste we bury in landfills so that no toxic substances escape into the ground water.  A new report on waste to energy facilities has been been published:  “The Scientific Truth about Waste-to-Energy” by a CCNY professor and chemical engineer, Dr. Marco J. Castaldi and provided a comprehensive assessment of waste-to-energy as it relates to environmental sustainability and public health.

Here is a link to the report:  https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/waste-to-energy-plays-key-role-in-reduction-of–greenhouse-gases-and-complements-recycling-efforts-study-finds-301298197.html

Olmsted County has strict controls on emissions from the waste-to-energy facility and exceeds the emission limits set by the state of Minnesota.  In addition, landfill needs have been greatly reduced which has saved the county a great deal of money over the years in which the waste-to-energy facility has been in operation.

Olmsted County Corn Tower

The Olmsted County Corn Tower is being preserved and repainted.  A curtain has been raised around the Corn Tower to allow the painters to work with minimal wind and dust.  I do not have a completion date yet.

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