County Board to pitch horseshoes with Minnesota health official

The Isanti County Board on July 2 agreed to meet with Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger for some conversation over a game of horseshoes.

Ehlinger has been conducting “Pitch the Commissioner” events in communities around Minnesota to hear about local public health issues and concerns and highlight local public health achievements. An avid fan of horseshoes, he views the game as a fun and easy way for people to be physically active while enjoying conversation.

The “Pitch the Commissioner” event is scheduled from 1-4 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6, beginning in the county board room at the Isanti County Government Center and concluding with horseshoes at Junction Bowl in Isanti.

Coordinating the event on the local end is Isanti County Public Health Director Kathy Minkler.

Workers approved

Board members agreed to add two new eligibility workers in the Family Services’ Income Maintenance Department to do strictly health care, while they may consider hiring two more in 2014.

Family Services Director Penny Messer requested the hires due to the projected increase of new cases from the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

With this health care exchange, noted Messer, it is anticipated that the number of new cases will be 1,114. In Chisago County, the anticipated number of new cases is 302, with five positions approved this month. In Kanabec County, new cases have been have estimated at 616, while 516 and 432 new cases are anticipated in Mille Lacs and Pine counties, respectively.

The anticipated number of new cases does not reflect potential MNCARE cases, though they may go back to counties for program determination.

Messer requested that the two new positions be approved for a hire date of Aug. 1, with 75 percent anticipated from federal financial participation. She also asked for two more eligibility workers in 2014, but the board wants to look at caseloads after the program is implemented before considering those hires.

While there has been question about why the projected case load is so much higher than surrounding counties, the county ultimately concurred that two new eligibility workers are needed to start the process.

In other action, the board:

• Approved the three-year AFSCME employment contract with the assistant county attorneys on staff in the Isanti County Attorney’s Office.

• Approved the second half of payments to the following community organizations: Agricultural Society, $4,500; Central Minnesota Initiative Fund, $2,925; Commission on Aging, $14,400; Historical Society, $7,650; The Refuge, $10,620; Soil and Water Conservation District, $13,500; and East Central Regional Library, $192,740.

• Was formally introduced to the Minnesota Association of County Probation Officers Rookie Probation Agent of the Year, Brad Schroeder.

• Accepted a proposal and agreed to pursue a contract with Golden Shovel Agency to upgrade the county website and make it more user-friendly.

• Directed zoning administrator Tim Anderson to write a letter informing the County Line Bar in Crown that it has 30 days to comply with its certificate of occupancy.

• Accepted the resignation of assistant county attorney Stacy St. George, effective July 26.

• Adopted the 2014 budget work session schedule. The first session is set from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, July 25. Board members will adopt the preliminary 2014 levy and budget on Sept. 4.