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, June 19, 2009

TRIBUTE TO TINA

It is a sad day in Nicollet County because we are all grieving for our former Environmental Services Director, Tina Rosenstein. We lost her yesterday to ALS. We lost her to this world, but she lives on in our county, state, and our hearts. She left a huge part of herself with everyone she touched. Her understanding, perception, knowledge, mentoring, influence, and outlook on life is not lost, it will live on in everyone who knew her.

Tina was unique. She often talked about being a California Hippie and finding her niche in life dealing with manure, air quality, water protection, and other environmental concerns. When she came to Nicollet County she did not know much about agriculture. One of the examples she shared was that she asked a farmer what a “farrow” was. She learned quickly, Oh –did she learn quickly. She was extremely bright. She taught classes at MSU dealing with planning and zoning and was often called on to share with her peers policies and procedures that were working well for Nicollet County. This is no secret. The policies and procedures worked well because of Tina and her method of training staff to deal with citizens. She was extremely good at dealing with people. One of our county officials made the statement, “Tina has the ability to tell people, ‘to go to (you know where), and they will thank her for it’”. This is not meant to imply that she ever said such a thing. On the contrary, Tina was always mannerly and respectful in dealing with Nicollet County citizens. People loved her for that.

Anna Lee Garlitz, staff person in environment area for AMC said that this love affair when far beyond Nicollet County. “The legislators love her,” she said in 2007. In the 1990’s, Tina served on the committee set up to prepare a Generic Environmental Impact Statement on livestock agriculture for the state legislature. As a result of that exposure, she became a “go to person” in regard to zoning and livestock. Over the years, she was frequently asked to testify at various committees of the legislature and present at economic development and agriculture conferences and meetings. She knew her stuff.

In regard to permits and applications, absolute neutrality by staff is a necessity. The job of the county staff is only to administer the ordinances that have been adopted. They do their best to help the applicants accomplish what they want and stay within those ordinance rules. When I was a new commissioner, Tina explained the importance of neutrality. “Even if the applicant is Adolph Hitler, if the request meets the standards of our ordinance, it must be approved,” she said. She taught me lots of other things too –like the value of Merlot Wine and Dark Chocolate.

She cared about people and was a very giving person. The day my daughter took her first driver’s test and failed – she came back to the courthouse where I was waiting and broke down. Tina happened to pass by and we all talked. Tina shared with my daughter about taking the driver’s test in L.A. and quickly the tears disappeared. That is just the way she was. I am sure she is drying tears and making people feel better now in Heaven. But I wonder if God is making her go outside the buildings so she can roll her own and light up.end

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