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Rural MN CEP office in Morris to close Dec.31

By Kayla Kloos

Sun Tribune

Human Services Director Joanie Murphy told Stevens County Commissioners Tuesday that the Morris office of the Rural MN Consolidated Employment Program will close Dec. 31.

The Rural MN CEP office will move to Alexandria. Murphy is working with the program office to keep one employee on staff in the county two days a week to handle clients, as well as to be an employment resource for the county.

Details have not been settled, she said.

In other county business:

• Hugh Reimers of the Veteran Service Office discussed the potential VA Outpatient Clinic in Alexandria.

The clinic would be run through the St.Cloud Hospital and would cater to those needing outpatient services, such as physicals or lab work. The project has to be approved by a numer of VA boards and Congress, Reimers said.

He encouraged the board to remind the area's Congressional representatives of the local need for the clinic. If Congress approves, the clinic could open as early as 2009. The VA clinic would be a separate building from the other Alexandria clinics.

• Stevens County is looking at the possibility of sending solid waste to the Pope/Douglas County Incinerator rather than the landfill in Kandyohi County. Currenly, Stevens County is paying $42.66 per ton to dump, which adds up to more than $220,000 per year. Making the switch to an incinerator would increase the bill to over $390,000 per year, but the county has had a preference towards incineration because it creates energy. Environmental Services Director Bill Kleindl will meet with the board on Sept. 4, along with a representative from Kandyohi County to discuss the issue.

• The County Board agreed to participate in a Dispatch Consolidation Study with Pope County. The study will evaluate the counties' current dispatch systems, as well as the potential outcomes of consolidating with Pope County.

• Lakes County Coop and Blue Cross Blue Shield announced that insurance premiums for the county will increase by 20 percent in 2008.