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Hubbard County board steps away from scrutinizing 2 a.m. closing time for bars

Hubbard County's Board of Commissioners backed off scrutinizing a 2 a.m. closing time for bars when they learned there are rowdier spots in the city that close earlier.

Zhateau Zorbaz near Dorset had voiced some concerns when commissioner Dick Devine mentioned last board meeting it seemed counterproductive to conduct stay sober campaigns on the highways while allowing bars to remain open later.

Sheriff Cory Aukes debunked that notion.

"It's not an issue," he said of calls to Zorbaz, the only establishment in the county open until 2 a.m. "We get calls out there, yes. We get calls to the Eagles Club, yes."

The Eagles Club in Park Rapids gets regular weekend calls. It closes at 1 a.m.

Aukes said from a law enforcement perspective the later closing time hasn't been an issue.

The commission backed off.

"I don't want to mess somebody's business up," commissioner Kathy Grell noted.

In other action, the board:

n Authorized land commissioner Mark Lohmeier to advertise for bids to help the county update its Forest Resource Management Plan.

Grell questioned the necessity of the 10-year plan to manage the county's forests, especially when Lohmeier said it cost $49,200 a decade ago. This will be the county's third update of the plan.

Grell questioned why the study couldn't be done in-house.

Lohmeier explained it takes sophisticated GIS surveys and technical expertise the county does not have on staff. Having an outside firm look at the county's logging possibilities opens up the process to the public more. The county has the eventual decision on whether to adopt the plan, Lohmeier said.

"It's a relatively well-accepted process," Devine said. The board voted to unanimously move forward soliciting requests for proposals.

n Authorized engineer Dave Olsonawski to seek bids for both calcium chloride and magnesium chloride to see which substance might save the county money in de-icing the roads. Both are salts that melt snow accumulations on highways.

Olsonawski said magnesium chloride actually "draws more moisture out of the air" and is what the townships use on roadways.

The additional cost to spread it because it takes a longer time to apply, could be recouped in a lower overall cost, he theorized.

n Asked the Explorer program to hold off purchasing a used 1999 Suburban from the Nevis School District for $1,200 until liability issues are ironed out. The squad has money in its coffers to buy the vehicle outright.

The program, led by Dep. Jeff Stacey, uses high school scouts aiming at law enforcement careers. The group travels to competitions and assists in numerous civic events such as the Community Fishing Derby and rodeo.

Right now the group is taking Stacey's squad car and a parent is driving the remainder of the troop, administrative assistant Linda Eischens said,

Worried about liability, the board directed Aukes to take a second look at whether purchasing or using a motor pool vehicle would be safer and less prone to liability concerns.

n Adopted resolution of the county's Hazard Mitigation Plan and eventual certification of Emergency Management Director Brian Halbasch.

The plan was required to access FEMA funds for emergency purposes. It has been posted on the county's website for public comment for several months.

n Accepted a low quote from Badoura Nursery for 2012 seedling planting of Norway pines.

The eventual cost will be $36,387, at $117 per thousand seedlings.