IVANHOE?- The Lincoln County Board authorized the highway department to cooperate with the Hendricks Trails organization and welcomed two new department hires at its meeting on Tuesday.
On the recommendation of Environmental Administrator Robert Olsen, the board authorized the renewal of a contract between the county and Michael Thooft for $200 per month for the months of March and April.
Thooft was hired in January to look in on the recycling drop area in Tyler every morning on his way to his office. Olsen said people sometimes leave garbage on top of recyclables instead of in the dumpsters provided, causing the city of Tyler to charge overage costs.
Since Thooft has been policing the area every weekday, overage costs of $400 to $500 per month have declined to $50 to $60 per month, Olsen said.
In other business, Olsen informed the commissioners that an estimate for improvements to County Ditch 33 had come in at about $230,000. The major improvement would be replacing an 18-inch concrete tile with 30-inch double-walled plastic.
Before the board can move on improvements there will be a public hearing at 9 a.m. on March 26 in the commissioners' chambers.
Hendricks City Administrator Dave Blees, and Hendricks Trails member Nancy Beech presented the board with a plan to extend, connect, and improve walking trails in and around the town, and asked for highway department assistance in surveying and measuring the proposed routes.
Beech explained Hendricks Trails is preparing a grant application to the state Department of Natural Resources and will need specifications and assurances of handicapped accessibility.
The DNR offers grants of up to $100,000 with a 25 percent local match for trail construction and improvement, Beech said.
The board agreed to provide assistance from the highway department as time allows.
County Engineer Lee Amundson introduced the board to two new department hires.
Garrett Petersen was hired as a motor grader operator. Petersen grew up and currently lives in Lake Benton.
James Draper from Fairmont was hired as an engineering technician. Draper currently studies civil engineering and land surveying at Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls, S.D., and expects to graduate in May.
The board also heard from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Area Wildlife Supervisor Bob Meyer and Ben VanGundy, a land protection specialist with Ducks Unlimited. Meyer and VanGundy informed the board Ducks Unlimited had acquired 40 acres of farmland adjacent to DNR land in the Shaokatan Wildlife Area.
VanGundy said the terms of the purchase allows the previous owner to farm the land for the next two years, after which Ducks Unlimited will seed it with wild prairie grasses.