Isanti County tweaks look of districts

Greg Hunt

A couple main changes to the 2012 Isanti County district layout were presented at the April 4 County Board meeting to correct population changes after data from the 2010 census was received.

As per requirements, the board will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18 for comment on the redistricting plan before final approval is granted. The board’s regular meeting will begin at 6 p.m. that evening and break for the hearing.

Compared to the current districts, the main shift will be Athens Township moving into District 4 with the city of Isanti, and Bradford Township sliding into District 3. Also, the city of Cambridge made a minor adjustment to its Precinct 2 border which reflects in a small layout change to District 5.

Commissioner George Larson presented the only redistricting plan– named “Plan 9”– at the April 4 meeting, with the goal to have the districts have populations within a 10 percent range of the ideal median figure of 7,563 (and by keeping townships whole without the need to split any into precincts).

The relining of the county commissioner districts was not devised to protect nor defeat an incumbent. Districts 2, 3 and 4 will hold county commissioner elections this November (District 1 and 5 elections were held in 2010).

Safe Cab presentation

A number of organizations made annual report presentations at the April 4 meeting, including the Isanti County Safe Cab group. Organizer Pete Brown of Cambridge Cab said Safe Cabs trips were up 43 percent in 2011 and the program is nearing 3,800 rides total since its inception in an effort to keep the roads more clear of drunk drivers.

Funding for the program comes from donations from Isanti County and the IC Sportsman’s Club, McDonald Distributing of Rush City and the participating bars. Those help keep costs down to $5-6 for each passenger.

“We’re pretty proud of the our program,” said Safe Cab Member Judge Jim Dehn. He added that the Isanti County group is working with Sherburne, Wright and Ottertail counties to get Safe Cab programs started.

Cook County, which also began its Safe Cab program, saw its DWI totals drop to 38 in 2010, compared to 101 in 2006.

In other action, the board:

• Approved a ‘No Parking Zone” on the curvy stretch of Co. Rd. 5 round the south shore of Lake Francis. Too many anglers were parking there, causing a safety issue.

• Accepted a $9,000 donation from Arctic Plunge director Herb Knutson which will go toward the purchase of a Polaris Ranger 6×6 and trailer for the Safety & Rescue group, replacing aging equipment.

• Accepted a grant fund request procured by Mari Bostrom to cover nearly two years of subscription to the multi-functional Reverse 911 system through provider Code Red.

Next meeting: Wednesday, April 18, 6 p.m. Redistricting Public Hearing at 7 p.m.