November 1, 2012 | volume 117, Issue No. 44

Gov. Dayton recognizes county transportation work

A Certificate of Recognition from Governor Mark Dayton was presented to Carlton County Highway Engineer Wayne Olson and the Carlton County Transportation Department for their use of tire shreds for light-weight fill on County Road 19 in Split Rock Township by Monte Niemi, owner of First State Tire, a used tire recycling firm from the Twin Cities.

The county board met in adjourned session at the Transportation Building on October 22 at 4 p.m. with all members present and Chairman Ted Pihlman presiding.

Carlton County has used tire shreds for light-weight fill in several of the county road projects in current years to stabilize the roadbeds where extreme wet weather and especially spring breakup conditions interfere with the free flow of local traffic. "We are happy to be recognized for our use of tire shreds in our road maintenance program," commented Wayne Olson, "and are proud that this has come to the attention of the Governor. It provides another tool for making our county road system safe for the public to use."

"County Road 19 has been particularly troublesome," continued Olson. "We have received lots of complaints about that stretch of road - especially in the spring of 2011. The road remained closed as impassable due to frost boils. The mailman had to circle the area adding 20 miles to his route. We are pleased with the new corner and the road upgrade."

Monte Niemi, owner of First State Tire, has been in the tire recycling business for 25 years and has local connections. His grandparents were the Ed Niemi family of Kettle River and his father, Jesse Niemi, was a dam tender for the Northwest Paper and Potlatch Companies. His great-grandfather was a victim of the 1918 Fire and was never found.

"I am pleased to have even the Governor recognize my work in used tire recycling," Niemi commented. "It has been a long struggle to get state approval for tire shred installation in roadbeds. Tire dumps were a major problem just 20 years ago and a positive use for them was needed. You have to be cost-effective to handle disposal of the literally millions of used tires that are created each year and what to do with them."

"There were lots of hoops to jump through," Niemi continued. "Shredding tires and installing them in roadbeds had to be tested and approved by many state agencies. It has not been easy and also very costly. To have my product used in the local area and to be recognized has given me a lot of satisfaction."

Work continues on flood damage to local infrastructure. Money is now available from the Minnesota Legislature. Engineer Olson requested authority from the Board and it was granted to accelerate the contracting of bridge repairs and other needed road work without lengthy bidding and advertising guidelines. This action is in response to the continuing flood emergency declaration.

A used vehicle was purchased from Cloquet Ford for $13,856 for the assessor's office. This comes after county board action the previous meeting that no more than $15,000 would be spent for a replacement vehicle and Assessor Marci Moreland could look for competitively priced vehicles outside the county.

The county board approved health insurance coverage for the family of Mitch Lingren through March 2012. Lingren was killed in a traffic accident outside of Cromwell on Hwy. 210 while on county business.

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