Replacing the roof at the Washington County jail in Stillwater will cost nearly a half-million dollars, according to an engineer's estimate.
The County Board has approved spending as much as $480,000 to replace the 22-year-old original roof, and bids will be solicited in late July or early August. The roof, about 33,000 square feet, is separate from the newer roof on the attached Law Enforcement Center.
Greg Wood, the manager in charge of the county's buildings, told commissioners recently that the project is urgent because the roof had leaked, causing about $100,000 in damage to sensitive Sheriff's Office communications equipment in the nearby 911 center.
Commissioners didn't challenge the cost during their weekly meeting, but Wood said later that the project is more expensive because a crane will be needed to lift materials.
The work involves removing the existing roof and replacing it with layers of insulation, fiberboard and a thick rubber membrane that should last 15 to 20 years, Wood said.
Roof replacement was scheduled for 2015, but "years of exposure to the sun" have hastened the work, Wood said.
Commissioners voted 5-0 to proceed with the work. Wood will return to the County Board with bids.
Board awards roadwork contract
Motorists traveling past Stillwater prison in Bayport can expect to deal with traffic cones and detours later this summer.
The County Board has awarded a $2.5 million contract to North Pine Aggregate, lowest of five bidders, for road improvements in the area of Stagecoach Trail, 56th Street, and Pickett Avenue. The board voted unanimously to hire the Forest Lake company at its June 10 meeting.
The bids received all came under the $3.4 million price tag that county engineers had placed on the project.
The project, which will be completed later this year, will create a new intersection at Hwy. 21 and 56th Street, and add traffic signals on Hwy. 95 (also called St. Croix Trail), near where it meets Pickett Avenue, said Wayne Sandberg, Washington County engineer. It will be funded with $1.7 million from the state Department of Transportation and $815,000 from other state and local sources, Sandberg said.
Financial crimes forum held
Several top law enforcement and court officials from Washington, Dakota and Ramsey counties gathered on June 5 in Maplewood for the Financial Crime Investigation and Prevention Forum. Hosted by the East Metro Crime Prevention Coalition task force, the event was meant to draw attention to what officials say is "the fastest-growing crime we see" — financial crime.
The task force was formed in 2012 by agencies from different jurisdictions.
"Through this effort, we coordinate and focus law enforcement responses around emerging crime trends that are regional in scope while engaging the greater community in dialogue and partnership around community-based solutions," officials said in a news release.
Forum participants included Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, Washington County Sheriff William Hutton, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, Ramsey County Sheriff Matt Bostrom, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom, Dakota County Sheriff Dave Bellows, Ron Yearwood Jr., assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Minneapolis office.
"We came together in partnership, because we realized that's the only effective way to deal with the criminals who have taken this to a level of sophistication using computers, telephones and that to fleece our victims," Orput told reporters after the forum. "And when we team up, we can hold them to account."
Commissioner Kriesel cancer-free
County Commissioner Gary Kriesel, who earlier this year was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, announced at a recent board meeting that he is now cancer-free.
Kriesel, a third-term commissioner who represents Stillwater and other mid-county cities and townships, told his fellow commissioners and audience members at the June 10 meeting that he recently underwent his last chemotherapy treatment. Subsequent tests revealed he was free of the blood cancer. Board Chair Autumn Lehrke and others praised Kriesel's strength in continuing to attend meetings even as his health deteriorated.
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a cancer of the white blood cells (lymphocytes), housed in lymph nodes throughout the body.
County, cities seek election judges
During this year's primary and general elections, about 2,000 paid election judges will be needed to staff polling locations throughout Washington County. Election judges and election judge trainees ensure that the rights of voters are protected. Judges must be at least 18 years old, and trainees must be at least 16 and in good standing at school.
Qualifications include U.S. citizenship, Minnesota residency, no revocation of voting rights, and an ability to read, write and speak English.
Judges will be needed for the Aug. 12 primary election and for the general election, which is Nov. 4. Judges are particularly needed for Forest Lake, Oakdale and Woodbury. For additional information, contact the local city office or Washington County Elections at ElectionJudges@co.washington.mn.us or 651-430-6175.
Coast-to-coast ride attempted in 12 days
Woodbury resident Bob McEnaney is taking part in the 2014 Race Across America, which concludes June 22. The bicycle race began in Oceanside, Calif., and will finish in Annapolis, Md. Cyclists will bike more than 3,000 miles through 12 states and do 170,000 feet of vertical climbing within 12 days.
McEnaney must ride between 250 and 350 miles a day to complete the race, said his son Ryan.
Bob McEnaney is riding on behalf of the Minnesota Military Family Foundation. He founded the "Ride for a Reason" charity in 2012 to raise money for Minneapolis high school student Jack Jablonski, who was paralyzed while playing hockey.
Additional information about the race is available at www.facebook.com/Ride.For.A.Reason.Charities.
Kevin Giles and Libor Jany