County approves wellness grant

NEW ULM – Brown County commissioners unanimously approved a $600 County Wellness Improvement Grant for Allina’s Neighborhood Health Connection Healthy Activity grant program

Funding will be used primarily for yoga classes during employee lunch hour on certain days. Up to $100 will be used to buy yoga mats, stretch bands and CDs. The grant period is from September to February 2015.

Brown County Probation Director Les Schultz said the program could be used in the courthouse, family services building and license bureau if there is interest in it. “The grant benefits the County as a whole with better health,” Schultz said. “Plus we have a part-time county employee who is a certified yoga instructor.”

Brown County Administrator Chuck Enter said the yoga classes are meant to be low-impact with stretching exercises.

Commissioners approved:

A request to purchase 13 Soldiers Rest graves for $8,450 from the City of New Ulm Cemetery.

Brown County budgeted $8,750 to buy 14 graves at $625 each. The cost rose to $650 so the purchase was paired down to 13 graves.

State law allows County Boards to purchase graves to be used exclusively as a Soldiers Rest. The law restricts Soldiers Rest burials to deceased veterans and their spouses without charge. Brown County bought 13 graves on July 16, 2013. There have been 20 graves used since then.

Approved a $35,000 2015 Crime Victim Services Grant Agreement effective from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2015 from the Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety/Office of Justice Programs.

The grant will be applied to the Brown County Probation Department’s Crime Victim Advocate’s wages at 30 hours a week. The balance of the program’s budget is supported with about $5,500 from the United Way and specific court surcharge fees.

A Veterans Memorial renovation update from Brown County Service Officer Greg Peterson.

Construction work began Monday, Aug. 25 to excavate an expansion area. Excavation work was sub-contracted to Portner Trucking and contract work was sub-contracted to Kral Concrete.

Concrete footings for 14 vertical, granite panels were installed and poured the next day. Four of the 14 vertical panels will be installed before winter. More panels will be installed as funding allows.

GEI Consultants proposal to provide quality control testing for the installation of about .54 acre of clay liner, 3/4 acre of final cover and a landfill gas collection trench at the Brown County Sanitary Landfill. The project was estimated to cost $36,954.

The work is required by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to document proper construction of a clay liner at the landfill. A gas collection trench is needed because monitoring location N-4A continues to show rest results with elevated landfill gas readings.

An Aug. 27 memo from Brown County Highway Engineer Wayne Stevens on 2014 FEMA Force Account Work and the 2015 budget.

The memo read that heavy June rainfall required the county highway department to haul many loads of mud and trees on and around CSAH 10 before it could be opened to the public.

The memo added that many more loads of mud and trees need to be removed from the CSAH 10 road ditch and that the county highway engineering office is creating five flood repair project plans and other flood repair sites for FEMA.

“The Highway Department has done nearly $80,000 worth of flood repair with our own forces that may be reimbursable by FEMA,” Stevens wrote. “More work by our own forces will be done this fall. More than $50,000 worth of work may also be reimbursable plus as much as $10,000 in engineering projects should be reimbursed. We will learn more at the (Wednesday) Sept. 3 FEMA kickoff meeting with the Highway Department.”

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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