Commissioner Southerland begins treatment for lung cancer

Larry Southerland announced last week that he is being treated for lung cancer at Abbott Northwestern Hospitals in Minneapolis.

The news explains why the 2nd District commissioner missed the Feb. 5 Isanti County Board meeting. A day later, in a week of testing and preliminary treatments, he sent the board a letter describing his “most recent challenge.”

“When something like this happens, it’s not good, but that’s what the doctors do every day, so we’re going to work together to figure this out,” Southerland’s letter said. “I’ll be back at the board meetings before you know it.”

The condition was discovered after he was admitted to Memorial Hospital on Sunday, Feb. 2.

Southerland, whose career with Isanti County began as a deputy sheriff more than 40 years ago, is in his fourth term on the County Board.

NLX membership payment

After tabling the issue at the Jan. 21 meeting, the board, on a 3-1 vote, agreed to pay its 2014 membership contribution of $6,250 to the Northern Lights Express board.

Commissioner Susan Morris said the board’s questions on the matter were sufficiently answered at the county’s Economic Development Authority meeting. The contribution is a reduction, and it has been budgeted, she said.

Solely voting against was Board Chair Mike Warring. He has questioned why other NLX counties can have representation on the NLX or Minneapolis-Duluth/Superior Passenger Rail Alliance board without paying a contribution.

At the Jan. 21 board meeting, Southerland, who sits on the NLX board as an elected representative, advocated for continuing with the contribution because the money goes to staff time and other needs, he said.

In other action, the board:

• Set an Isanti County Economic Development Authority meeting for 9 a.m. March 25.

• Agreed to revise and update the Isanti County Zoning Ordinance by making its section on sanitary provisions consistent with state rules. No feedback was offered at the public hearing.

• Approved the purchase of a tandem snow plow truck, through state contract, for $198,329.

• Approved a final construction payment of $8,377 for a joint traffic warning sign project with Kanabec County. The total Isanti County cost was $74,665, and the total contract cost was $113,375.

• Set the 2014 County Board of Appeal and Equalization date for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 18.

• Approved appraisals of two properties adjacent to Irving and John Anderson County Park, which encompasses 174 acres. One is the Pagel property, 32.7 acres, and the other is the Keen property, 57.8 acres. Funding for the purchase will come from the parks improvement budget, Parks Director Barry Wendorf said.

• Agreed to fill a full-time correctional officer position, as requested by the sheriff’s office.

• Approved a memorandum of understanding between the Metropolitan Emergency Services Board and Isanti County regarding the maintenance, operation and ownership of certain radio equipment purchased by MESB on behalf of the county.

• Approved a request for special legislation to allow the city of Isanti to acquire non-conservation forfeited river properties for public use as a park. The parcels, located in Rum River Meadows and Villages on the Rum 5th Addition on the east side of the river, were forfeited to the state for nonpayment of taxes; the parcels occupy more than 150 feet bordering the public waterway. It was noted Rep. Brian Johnson will carry the legislation.

• Approved the retirement of Gloria Arrowood, case aide in Family Services, effective March 4.