Isanti County Board approves less intrusive security measure

Visitors to the Isanti County Government Center soon will be subject to a new, less intrusive security measure.

County commissioners on March 5 agreed to purchase a security scanner, resembling the kind used at major airports, for $18,296 from the Rapiscan company. After the meeting, Isanti County Jail Administrator Dennis Valentyn and Sheriff Bill Guenther demonstrated how it will work.

The existing, walk-through metal detector scanner will remain the same, Guenther said. The new scanner, complete with a monitor, will give security officers an accurate view of the contents of a bag or purse without having to use their hands, he added.

One of the security officers working that day said the measure will help keep her and fellow officers healthier, as physically searching through bags and purses is hardly a germ-free experience, she noted.

The new scanner is anticipated to be installed in a week or two.

Southerland update

In an update on his health, Larry Southerland informed the board that he hasn’t smoked in 42 days, his fluids are running freely and he is trying to build up his strength and energy.

The 2nd District commissioner noted that while radiation is in the plan, surgery and chemotherapy may be avoided.

“My biggest problem is I have no strength in my legs,” he said. “I’m very pleased so far with the results.”

Commissioners found the news optimistic following  Southerland’s announcement last month that he was being treated for lung cancer at Abbott Northwestern Hospitals in Minneapolis. The condition was discovered after he was admitted to Memorial Hospital on Sunday, Feb. 2.

“Hang in there. We’re all pulling for you,” Boardchair Mike Warring said.

Regulating e-cigs

Following an uneventful public hearing, board members approved an ordinance regulating minors from accessing e-cigarettes, just as any other tobacco product, at point of sale.

Public Health Director Kathy Minkler said she’s been working on the issue with colleagues, including the Public Health Law Center, since last September. Until now, she noted, there was nothing in place to regulate minors from buying e-cigarettes, which have not been proven to be a safe alternative to smoking.

On board with the action was Commissioner Susan Morris who said e-cig companies seem to be marketing some of their flavors, from bubble gum to cotton candy, to children. Regulating it at the point of sale will keep it from becoming a gateway to traditional smoking, she added.

In other news, the board:

  • Rescheduled the April 2 County Board meeting to 1 p.m. Thursday, April 3.
  • Approved military veteran Steve Grandgenett, of Cambridge, to assist Veteran Services Officer Jim Rostberg in the Veteran Services office with a variety of tasks including organizing Freedom Fest 2014.
  • Approved the 2014 township road payments totaling $278,892.