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Leech Lake Wellness Court honored by U of M

CASS LAKE—Leech Lake's Wellness Court was honored Wednesday by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota as part of its annual Local Government Innovation Awards.

The multijurisdictional court, started in 2006 by the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and Cass County, combines treatment, sobriety testing and court monitoring to target and help people charged with a DWI. A similar program—the one that was honored Wednesday— was started in 2007 in a collaboration between Leech Lake and Itasca County. The second court treats those charged with drug crimes.

The Local Government Innovation Awards honor projects in five categories: cities, counties, schools, townships and Native Nations. The Native Nations category was added this year, and focuses on collaborations between tribes and local governments.

The Redwood Area School District and Lower Sioux Indian Community's partnership, which aims to improve education outcomes for Native students, was chosen as the overall category winner this year.

The Wellness Court, along with other award winners, will be recognized at a ceremony and reception at 5 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Humphrey School in Minneapolis.