Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Cost of flood recovery manager questioned

Emergency personnel awarded at board meeting


Julie Peterson

Sue Bengston (left), Moose Lake Ambulance, was awarded EMS Person of the Year. Steve Bridge (center), Cromwell Fire and Ambulance and new president of the Carlton County Emergency Medical Services (EMS), awards Mike Peterson the EMS Lifetime Achievement Award.

A total of $44,000 will have been spent from Carlton County general funds for special projects and long-term flood recovery staff from July 2012 through June 2014 as presented by a "History of Board Actions on Long Term Recovery Funding" letter that was reviewed at a recent Carlton County Board of Commissioners meeting.

Drew Digby, flood recovery manager, has been pressing for additional money to pay for his part-time position and one for Tom Paull through spring.

"The information here for the recovery needs is confusing and the figures do not add up," said Chairman Dick Brenner. "What work remains to be done?"

Digby wrote in the letter that $606,000 had come to Carlton County from the state of Minnesota for flood relief and the county would share in a $500,000 grant to all flood affected counties from the Minnesota Department of Health for behavioral services for flood victims. Ninety percent of his salary through December 2013 was reimbursed by the state of Minnesota pool of monies, he wrote.

Earlier, Commissioner Gary Peterson remarked, "I thought that it was understood many months ago that funding for flood relief staff would come to an end at the start of 2014."

Included in the February 21 letter, a contract for additional case management services was offered to Lutheran Social Services for additional monies from the federal Homeland Security. Lutheran Social Services never applied for those funds.

The county board has had numerous discussions on this issue - the last on December 23, 2013. Only three commissioners were at this board meeting, with Proulx and Olean absent. The issue remained unresolved, leaving a decision for a later date.


At the beginning of the meeting, Steve Bridge, president of Emergency Medical Services, presented Michael Peterson of Cromwell Ambulance and First Responders a Lifetime Achievement Award. Bridge commented, "Mike has spent thousands of hours learning every aspect of Emergency Medical Services. He has been a training officer for 28 years and teaches classes throughout the region. Most importantly, he is a person we can always count on."

Peterson is an owner of Villa Vista and Cardinal Court in Cromwell and is on the Moose Lake City Council.

Mahtowa First Responders and Fire Department were recognized for their good work and nominated by the Carlton Fire and First Responders.

Sue Bengston, Moose Lake community leader and longtime volunteer, was nominated for her work by the Moose Lake Ambulance and First Responders the EMS Person of the Year.

Other business

In other business, Heather Cunningham, Zoning and Solid Waste, reported there had been no reports of abandoned appliances in roadside rights-of-way this last year. In past years, 30 appliances have been dumped alongside the roads. There were 113 zoning complaints this last year with 37 still not resolved.


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