Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Counties Mandated to Provide Detox Services

Recently the Nicollet County Board was updated on the Detox services provided by the Brown County Evaluation Center. The county contracts with Brown County Eval and the statistics for last year (2006) show 192 individuals were sent to the center either officially or on a voluntary basis. The clients are sent to the center in three ways: voluntary, law enforcement, or by a physician.

Detox centers around the state have been closing – especially the hospital detox centers. The Brown County Evaluation center is licensed by the Department of Human Services and by the Department of Health. The center contracts with eleven counties to provide services. They have 16 beds and they charge $245 per day to the contract counties and $310 a day to the non-contract counties. This is the lowest priced detox in the state. The center bills the placing county and then that county bills the home county of the client. The center provides transportation from the placing counties to the Brown County site.

Once a client is admitted, the longest they can be held is 72 hours and they try to get them out in 48 hours. The treatment is intense the first 24 hours and vital signs are closely monitored. A chemical use assessment is done and the clients meet with a councilor. However, this is voluntary and clients can refuse. Most of them do cooperate. Referrals are made for further care and this is arranged for them.
Alcohol withdrawal is the most dangerous drug to come off of. The process is life threatening. Withdrawal produces an agitated state and people become anxious and this can lead to heart attacks. Withdrawing from alcohol produces just the opposite of consuming alcohol. Consumption has a sedative effect. The detox center hardly ever sees anyone admitted who is under .20 blood alcohol concentration. At .40 most people die, but they are seeing people being admitted with concentrations this high. People are now drinking mouthwash and sniffing paint. The Brown County Evaluation Center prides itself as being a treatment center not a punitive facility. The detox centers are an important part of the Chemical Dependency Continuum of Care. end

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

News from Environmental Services

At a meeting today with Tina Rosenstein, Director of Environmental Services, the county board received the following update:
  • 156 general premits issued this year (this is two less than last year at this time)
  • 100 separate zoning permits
  • 32 conditional use permits
  • 5 variances

Septic program - 30 septic systems have been installed this calendar year. Seven have been for new homes and 23 were replacements of failed systems. Septic systems come in various forms ie. mounds, at grades, pressure beds, and we even have two privies installed. Note: these are used in areas where there is limited housing like the duck shacks that are near Swan Lake.

Even though citizens have installed 30 systems, our staff member, Norm Kuhlman has done 51 site evaluations (in addition to the above 30.) It is important to find a site for a septic before deciding to build or purchase land for a home. Our bluff areas of the county, while nice for homes with a view, sometimes mean areas where no natural soil is in place. This makes it difficult,if not impossible to place an individual sewage treatment system.

Norm Kuhlman is also a member of a state committee that has been set up to revise the rules regarding septic systems. end


July 15 through 21 has been declared Probation, Parole, and Community Supervision Week. The Nicollet County Board passed a resolution designating this special week in Nicollet County. A little bit of background on probation tells us that probation is an essential part of the criminal justice system. Probation officers are responsible for supervising adult and juvenile offenders in the community. Probation officers promote prevention, intervention, and advocacy while they provide services, support and protection for victims.

Steve Kley of the Nicollet County Probation Department shared with the County Board that county staff is supervising about 800 offenders. There are 700 adults and 119 juvenile offenders in the system at this time. And this does not include the adult felons who are supervised by the Minnesota Department of Corrections. The total number of people in Nicollet County being supervised by someone in the probation business is around 1000 people. Since our population is just under 30,000 people that means one of every thirty people is being supervised. end