News Flash

Board Meeting Recaps

Posted on: May 16, 2019

County Board Briefs — 5-14-19

Medical Examiner Provides Report

The Anoka County Board of Commissioners invited Dr. Quinn Strobel, the chief medical examiner for the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office, to the meeting to give a report about the work her office conducted for the county in 2018.  Strobel noted there were 153 autopsies performed by her office last year for Anoka County, with many of those people dying of natural causes. There were 30 motor vehicle deaths in Anoka County in 2018; of those deaths 10 were known to involve alcohol, and three involved methamphetamine. There were 40 deaths attributed to substance abuse, and 45 deaths were classified as suicides. There was one death classified as a homicide in the county last year. To watch Strobel’s full report, click HERE.

County Pursing Funds to Stabilize Rum River Banks 

Jeff Perry, Anoka County Parks director, told the board that the Parks Department has been working closely with the Anoka Conservation District in conducting an inventory and analysis of all the moderate to severe erosion sites along the Rum River in Anoka County. A total of 80 sites were identified that show moderate to severe erosion. To address this problem, Parks plans to pursue a series of grants through the Legacy program, totaling just over $3 million. The Legacy program was established in 2008 to protect Minnesota’s natural assets. To increase its chances of securing the funding, the board unanimously approved a funding match not to exceed $442,711 over the next 5 years. Ron Schara, who has lived near the Rum River in Anoka County for more than 20 years, attended the meeting to voice his support of the initiative. He noted there are areas along the river he used to walk, and that land has now been completely washed away. To watch this presentation, click HERE.

Several Transportation Projects Approved

The board unanimously approved the following transportation projects:

• A joint powers agreement with the city of Columbus for the reconstruction of West Freeway Drive, from 147th Avenue to the new roundabout at lake Drive.

• A joint powers agreement with the city of Coon Rapids for the replacement of the traffic control system at the intersections of Coon Rapids Boulevard NW and Avocet Street NW and Egret Boulevard NW in Coon Rapids. These new signals are part of a pilot program; they’ll be galvanized silver and not painted, which should reduce maintenance costs.

Commissioner Scott Schulte, chair of the Transportation Committee, also noted that the new improvements along Highway 10 at Fairoak and Thurston avenues in Anoka is now fully funded. He said some of the project will commence in 2021, with the rest of it being completed in the following 2 years. Fairoak and Thurston will both be grade separated, and there will no longer be traffic control at those two intersections. For more information on this project, click HERE.

Rhonda Sivarajah named next Anoka County Administrator 

The board chose Rhonda Sivarajah, current chair of the Anoka County Board of Commissioners, as the next county administrator. She replaces Jerry Soma, who has been county administrator since 2011 and is retiring May 30. Read the full news release HERE.

To watch this discussion, click HERE.

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