County delays grandstand decision as crew looks for hazardous materials

Published 9:33 am Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The county will have to wait a little longer to find out if the fairground’s condemned grandstand will come down in a controlled burn.

A hazmat crew was slated to start inspecting the building Wednesday to look for hazardous materials, like asbestos, types of Fluorescent lights, lead paint and more.

The board previously voted to tear down the grandstand, which was deemed structurally unsafe for use. But the board isn’t yet sure how the structure will come down. A controlled burn with the Austin Fire Department is one option, but only if there are no hazardous materials in the structure.

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“We’ve got to find out what we’ve got in there before making any decisions how to proceed,” Public Works Director Mike Hanson said Tuesday.

County OKs hog-buying station

The county board gave a local hog-buying station the green-light Tuesday, but there are still township hurdles.

The board unanimously approved a conditional use permit for Leonard Grant of L&A Pork and his partner Lynch Livestock to open a hog buying station for up to 1,200 head of hogs on Highway 251 near Corning.

Grant’s plans stirred hard feelings with some nearby homeowners, who previously said the buying station would damage their property values and hurt their standard of living. They argued the buying station would bring many more semis through the area and increase traffic, not to mention the smell from the facility.

Despite some concerns, commissioners said they saw no choice but approval.

“I don’t see where we can deny this permit,” Jerry Reinartz said.

Grant had a feedlot permit before seeking a permit for a buying station, which meant the board’s key focus was on the difference between a feedlot and a buying station.

Commissioners said one difference was the 20 added semis on Highway 251 each day. But, County Attorney Kristen Nelsen cautioned the board traffic issues are a concern for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, not the county board.

“That is up to that agency to legislate and to rule on,” she said of the road. “It is just not your issue.”

While the county gave Grant the go-ahead, he has failed to gain approval from Udolpho Township, which requires him to have 10 acres of land. He only has five and hasn’t yet secured additional land.

25 whooping cough cases reported

During an update to the board, Community Health Director Lisa Kocer said about 25 cases of whooping cough have been reported in Mower County.

Health officials feared it would worsen when school started, but Kocer said the number of cases has slowed.

Kocer said whooping cough was worse in Freeborn County, where more than 80 cases were reported over the summer.

According to Minnesota Public Radio, more than 3,700 cases of the bacterial infection have been confirmed in the state — the highest number since the 1940s before there was a vaccine.

The county board also agreed to write a letter supporting Children’s Dental Health Services out of Rochester. The group partners with public health to provide dental services to 60 to 80 children a month.

Without the program, Kocer said the children likely wouldn’t have access to dental services.