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County works to hire new county agent

By Staff | Apr 6, 2012

Judge Jay McClintock visited with the Pierce County Commission on Tuesday, April 3 about the state judicial planning committee’s proposal to look at changes in districts for the judicial community. What the committee has looked at so far would take Pierce County out of the NW District. Presently, six judges cover 11 counties. The redistricting would move one judge out of this district.

After some discussion, the commissioners voted to send a letter of support for the districts to remain the same.

Mike Hanson, district director, NDSU Extension Service, was next on the agenda. Under an agreement with NDSU, the extension program pays 50% of a county agent’s salary as well as all benefits and the county pays the other 50% of the salary. The commissioners told Hanson that it is their intention to fill the county agent position. Hanson asked to have two commissioners on a selection committee along with five others to choose a new county agent. The commissioners volunteered Mike Christenson, and Joe Bohl as the two commissioners. They added Jim Tiegen, Michele Lind, Kris Blessum, Steve Dockter and Diane Fritel. Diane Fritel would need to agree to the appointment. The others had already agreed to serve.

The process of choosing a county agent to fill the position vacated by the retirement of Karlyle Erickson on March 30, is expected to take a good part of the summer. The county hopes to have the position filled by August 1. The commission approved the partnership with NDSU to hire and pay half the salary of a new county agent.

Darrell Mitzel, Esmond Fire Department and Doug Wolfe , Alexanter Township, requested more 9-1-1 signage out in their area. The signs could be costly but the two men said they are necessary. They will find out exactly how many signs are needed and get information back to the county auditor who will then find out the cost.

During the meeting a public hearing was held on whether or not to put a Verizon phone tower in Rosedale Township, section 29. A representative of the tower company, Rae Ann Kelsh, attended the hearing to answer any questions that might be raised. The tower would provide better reception than is currently in that area. Engineers work to maximize the coverage area, according to Kelsh. The newer tower cells are constructed to fold into themselves to cause less damage if they would go down. Although no one from the public was in attendance, Kelsh answered a question that has been previously raised by the public. Since ham radios, radios and televisions use a different frequency, there is no interference to these with the tower.

The commission approved the construction of a Verizon tower in Rosedale Township, section 29. The landowner’s permission has been granted. The tower should be up and functioning this summer. Construction of the tower will follow state and federal guidelines.

Several bids were opened for machine hire for the county. Rita Dokken, Dokken Construction, Inc. Towner, Pete Ritterman, Ritterman Trucking, LLC, York, and Steve Jacobson, B&J Excavating, inc., Rugby, were all in attendance for the bids opening. The county accepted all bids.

Michele Lind has been hired as a seasonal employee to keep the 4-H program going through their busy season in the absence of the county agent.

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