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Jail inmates to get GED opportunity

DETROIT LAKES -- In an ongoing effort to reduce the number of repeat offenders among residents of the Becker County Jail, the County Sheriff's Department has entered into an agreement with Lakes Learning of Detroit Lakes to offer adult basic education and GED opportunities for adult inmates.

The agreement was approved Tuesday by the Becker County Board of Commissioners.

During a break in the board's morning session, Sheriff Tim Gordon said this program was just one more aspect of "trying to reduce recidivism from every angle possible -- education, treatment, housing, mental health counseling, whatever it takes.

The $900 that Lakes Learning is asking to provide the service in 2008 will be paid for from canteen funds -- for the time being, Gordon noted.

"Nancy Nelson (human services director) and I are working on getting a grant to fund that cost," he continued.

If the grant funding is approved, the canteen fund will be reimbursed for the expense, Gordon added.

In other business Tuesday, the board:

-- Accepted a bid from Haataja Construction in the amount of $53,890, for the construction of a white goods processing center adjacent to the Becker County Solid Waste Transfer Station.

-- Approved the purchase of a new bus for Becker County Transit from North Central Bus Sales for $55,000, with 80 percent of the funding to come from state and federal grant money. The county is expected to pay the remaining 20 percent, or $11,048. The bus will replace one of the county's older vehicles.

-- Heard a report from Becker County Economic Development Authority Economic Development Director Guy Fisher and EDA Housing Director Jon Thomsen on the county's economic development and housing activities in 2007.

In their presentation, Fisher and Thomsen noted that for every $10 the EDA received in funding from Becker County taxpayers last year, the EDA brought back over $130 in federal and state tax dollars to the county.

-- Approved the addition of 11 deficient bridges in the county to the list of high priority bridge replacement projects targeted for construction in the years 2008-2012. The total estimated cost to the county for completion of all the projects is $2.2 million; five of the projects are proposed for construction in 2008.

During the afternoon, commissioners met with county department heads for a 2008 goal-setting session. Five critical issues were identified and discussed as priorities: solid waste, protection of natural resources, development of infrastructure, growth control and child protection/development.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454