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Drug court is the best in the state

Drug Court in Becker and Clay counties is a successful one.

Tuesday morning, those operating the drug court presented the Becker County Board of Commissioners with an update on the court, which has been in existence since 2007.

While the court has the capacity for 30 participants, there are 21 now, and five more going through the screening process to be admitted. That 21 breaks down to nine men and 12 women in the program now.

Since its inception in 2007, 59 people have graduated from the program, 21 people have been terminated and one has passed away during the process due to other health issues. Of the 59 graduates, 10 have re-attended the program.

“This is the best success rate of specialty courts in Minnesota,” Don Kautzmann said, adding that the ratio is usually 50 percent of reoffenders.

Kautzmann, who worked with former judge Lisa Borgen on the program she began, continues to work with the Drug Court and Judge Michelle Lawson.

Of those 10 re-offenders, only one was from Becker County and the other nine from Clay County.

The Becker County Board has always supported the Drug Court with $10,000 a year and was asked to continue that support.

Also at the Becker County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday:

• After being granted $2.6 million in the 2014 state bonding bill, the Becker County Transfer Station is getting a temporary fix until the new facility can be built.

On Tuesday, the board approved a temporary storage facility since the landfill will start hauling waste to the Perham incinerator in July but the new Becker County facility won’t be up and running until next year. Once the new facility is built, the temporary one can be used for other purposes on the site, not going to waste.

The bid for $42,500 for the temporary facility was granted to AAA Construction.

• The board approved spending up to $7,000 for tram improvements at Dunton Locks between Lake Sallie and Muskrat Lake.

Last month, lake residents expressed concern over whether the county would close the tram, even for one season.The board agreed to keep the tram open, making it workable this summer and then planning for an overhaul for the near future rather than just patching it each summer.

Board Chair John Okeson said that the tram needs to be promoted more, getting more people to purchase passes to use the tram and support its operation.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.