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home : government : county May 24, 2016

4/2/2013 12:13:00 PM
Dodge County moves employees out of basement; learns about Gettysburg reenactment

By Gretta Becay

After Emergency Services Director Matt Maas reported that radon gas levels were not dropping in the morning when heating and venting units kicked on to warm the county courthouse, the Dodge County Commissioners unanimously decided at their meeting March 26, 2013, to move the employees from the rooms that have the highest radon readings out of their offices and into the employee break room in the annex. The commissioners' conference room will become the employees' break room. The Environmental Protection Agency considers radon gas readings over four picocuries dangerous in residences. There are no standards established for commercial buildings, commissioner Rodney Peterson said, but board members are making this recommendation for the safety of employees.

After consulting with Joshua Miller, research/building scientist at the state Department of Health, Maas recommended the following strategy for dealing with the gas.

First, he will finish taking the continuous reading measurements in the affected rooms. These readings can change in the summer when the ground heats up so the measurements need to be taken now.

Secondly, the county will hire a state-approved vendor to pressure field extension diagnostics. The contractor will drill holes through the floor, measure the airflow needed to move air from underneath different parts of the floor.

Data from a so-called 'radon sniffer' also helps the contractor determine where the radon gas is coming from and help decide what type of mitigation will be needed. This process will cost about $12,000.

Sandy Gochnauer and Don Smith from the organization Friends of Wasioja, gave the commissioners copies of the preliminary schedule for the Civil War battle reenactments this year in Wasioja.

The group plans reenactments of the Battle of Mill Springs, the Battle of Antietam (Bloody Lane) and a nighttime skirmish June 15. The Gettysburg reenactment is scheduled for June 16, which happens to be Fathers Day this year.

Gochnauer and Smith said they have many units already signed up for the event. They said all activities would be held on the north side of County Road 16 on property owned by John and Rita Carroll, who so generously donate the use of their land for the event.

The complete schedule is on the group's website,

In other business, the commissioners watched a presentation of the county's new global information system/mapping site with Pictometry which is accessible through the county's website at

Sarah Schrader from Goodhue County and Windy Iverson and Mike Stupka from Dodge County told the commissioners the site is very user-friendly and seems to have already eliminated a lot of phone calls from people that can now get needed information directly from the website.

In other business the commissioners approved:

• A donation of baby items from Cody Phillips for the public health department.

• The master partnership agreement with the state Department of Transportation governing the work the county highway department and MnDOT do together or for each other.

• The purchase of a snow blower attachment by the sheriff's department for the county skid loader to be used to clear snow from the impound lot. Sheriff Jim Jensen explained that the highway department would not charge the sheriff's department to plow snow if the sheriff's department bought this attachment. The cost of the blower is about $5,700. Over time, not having to pay the snow plowing fees would pay for this purchase, said Jensen.

- The purchase of a 48-foot walking-floor trailer to transport waste to Olmsted County and recyclables to Inver Grove Heights. The trailer costs about $67,000, reported Mark Gamm and Terrance Selthun from Environmental Services.

- The replacement of Kyle Scov, who has served on the county Environmental Regulations Board of Adjustments for the septic program, with Ken Olson from Milton Township because Skov has moved outside of the county.

- The cooperative agreement with the Third Judicial District for Drug Court case management services. The District reimburses the county $36,000 for expenses.

The commissioners next regular meeting is at 9:30 a.m. April 9 at the courthouse.

Claremont Service

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