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County Board to get update on critical access dental clinic

Board members of the proposed Mississippi Headwaters Area Dental Health Center will update Beltrami County commissioners on the project Tuesday. Leading the presentation is Mary Marchel, newly named director of the Beltrami County Health and Huma...

Board members of the proposed Mississippi Headwaters Area Dental Health Center will update Beltrami County commissioners on the project Tuesday.

Leading the presentation is Mary Marchel, newly named director of the Beltrami County Health and Human Services Department, which has a role in the new clinic.

The presentation is slated for 3 p.m. as part of the County Board's work session, at the County Administration Building, 701 Minnesota Avenue.

A local board has been working for more than two years to establish a dental clinic for low-income people in Beltrami County, who must now travel to Park Rapids and further for another such dental clinic.

Known as a critical access dental clinic, state and federal reimbursements are available for indigent care, as well as state subsidized care. The County Health and Human Services Department also sees a local clinic as an access point for screening children for other health problems, saving the county money in future more urgent emergency care.

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The Mississippi Headwaters Area Dental Health Center now has a director in Jeanne Edevold to move the project forward, and a site -- the former Womack Eye Center across from North Country Regional Hospital. The eye center, now owned by MeritCare, is moving down the road to a new building constructed next to MeritCare's urgent care center.

The center's board wants to update commissioners "regarding the exciting progress to date and extend appreciation and gratitude for the county's contribution to date," according to a memo to commissioners.

The update will include a briefing on the site, staffing plans, ongoing challenges, fundraising success, and the target date for opening, which is early fall.

Commissioners at their work session will also meet with Sheriff Phil Hodapp who will present information on an initiative to improve the safety of residents through proactive patrols on county roads.

"Beltrami County is 13th out of the top 15 deadliest counties for traffic fatalities for the last reporting period ending in December 2006," Hodapp says in a memo. "We experienced a total of 621 crashes with 173 of those resulting in injuries to our citizens."

During the same period, the department's clearance rate for solving crimes was 49 percent, he said.

Proactive patrols were instituted in 2007 because of the crime rate, Hodapp said, and fatality rate and incident of injurious crashes in the county. He will talk about the initiative and present a northwest Minnesota traffic deaths brochure.

Also at the work session, commissioners will review the work of the Headwaters Regional Development Commission in establishing a non-motorized loop route around Lake Bemidji.

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Also, Bob Goede of the Minnesota counties Insurance Trust will present Beltrami County's annual insurance report.

Most of the County Board's regular meeting at 5 p.m. is closed to the public. The meeting opens with routine matters and a consent agenda, and closes with routine commissioner and legislative lobbying reports.

But the only item on the regular agenda -- which is closed to the public -- is a performance evaluation of County Administrator Tony Murphy.

The board's consent agenda includes county bills and warrant payment listing, approval of the sale and disposal of assets that include three vehicles and a confiscated baseball card collection, approval of a 3.2 percent beer and wine/Sunday licenses for several businesses, and approving an application to the Department of Natural Resources for a capital improvement project involving a warming shed for the Northland Trail near Blackduck

Commissioners will be asked to establish a Pay Pal account for use in selling surplus equipment through on-line auction services and on-line purchase of county goods. Also, a resolution will be asked to cancel a contract with Crown "D" Enterprises for a lot in Blackduck for violation of contract provisions with a total default of $2,591.21.

Also on the consent agenda is authority to fill a full-time support enforcement aide position for Health and Human Services, to pay nursing service bills, receive routine human services reports and licenses and to pay human services bills.

Commissioners will be asked to approve a final contract voucher for County Road 19 work, extend County Highway Engineer Jim Worcester's appointment from May 7 to Oct. 8, approval to hire an interim county surveyor after the retirement of George Coulombe, approve bids for work on Pass Road Northeast, approval of a safety project for County Roads 20 and 21, and approve participation for Worcester, Assistant Engineer Tyler Koos and Commissioner Jack Frost in the annual Transportation Alliance Fly-In to Washington, D.C., in June.

Murphy will also ask permission to travel to Washington, D.C., for meetings with members of the Minnesota Congressional Delegation on legislative issues. The April 23 meetings would also include County Attorney Tim Faver and Commissioner Joe Vene.

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