Commissioners consider BCHS grant for HVAC upgrade

NEW ULM Brown County commissioners on Tuesday will consider sponsoring the Brown County Historical Society’s application for a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage (Legacy) grant for the Brown County Museum.

The BCHS seeks acceptance of a March 18 heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) study and its recommendations. In addition, BCHS hopes to receive a $170,000 Legacy grant and $40,000 in cash matches for the $210,000 project, according to a letter from BCHS Director Bob Burgess .

The request includes Brown County committing $20,000 towards the local match required for Phase 1 of the Legacy Grant HVAC system project.

Commissioners will also consider:

Planning Commission recommendations including a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to continue to allow a KNUJ Radio transmission tower not to exceed 500 feet in the A-1 Agricultural Protection Zone, Section 18, Home Township.

The 2014 County Health Rankings released March 26, by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Among the state’s 87 counties, Brown County ranked 22nd in health outcomes and 37th in health factors, according to the report.

Health outcomes include the collective years of life lost due to people dying before age 75, the percentage of people who report being in fair or poor health and the rate of low-birth weight infants. Health factors include health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment.

The low number of low-birth weight babies and teen pregnancies are areas where Brown County ranked better than the state average. Brown County also ranked favorably in the number of primary care physicians.

Although Brown County maintained an obesity rate above the state rate of 26 percent, over the past three years, the obesity rate fell from 31 to 29 percent.

“I consider this a success and a result of the hard work by communities making changes in schools, restaurants, grocery stores, lifestyles, SHIP (Statewide Health Improvement Plan, the Heart of New Ulm, Heart of Brown County, and other organizations that promote health like the Springfield Wellness Task Force,” Brown County Public Health Director Karen Moritz wrote.

“An area of concern is the rate of excessive drinking and alcohol-impaired driving deaths in Brown County,” Moritz said. “We report 23 percent of adults engaged in binge or excessive drinking compared a 19 percent state average. The conversation of how to promote moderate alcohol vs. excessive alcohol consumption is ongoing.”

The county board meeting starts at 9 a.m., Tuesday, April 15 in the courthouse commissioners room.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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