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The owner of the former Cats Meow Dogs Bark Animal Welfare Society was fined $741 and half the public health nuisance charges against her were dropped last week. Jen Kamish, Newport, Minn., agreed to pay a fine of $148.20 for each of five charges. The other five citations were dismissed by Pierce County Circuit Judge Robert Wing. Kamish took over the shelter, located on Hwy. 65 just outside River Falls, in early 2006 after the Humane Society of Pierce-St.
Twenty-seven acres of mostly wooded land along the Rush River in the Town of Martell will soon be public land. John and Mary Heisler are donating 24 acres of woods to Pierce County, and the county has negotiated the purchase of 3.5 acres of mostly open land to improve access to the donated land. The $14,000 to buy the access land from the Heislers will come from the County Park Development Fund. The county's park committee is working on a plan for the property, but the preliminary proposal is to create trails to the Rush River and develop a small parking lot. Access will be off Hwy. 63.
For years, Pierce County has not been able to keep up with the needs of its disabled residents and frail elderly. Now it's asking the state to contract with a private organization to provide long-term care services in this region. The county board voted last week to not join in the creation of a regional managed-care organization.
The Pierce County Sheriff's Department is proposing raising the fees it charges for paper service and reallocating the fees it collects for foreclosure procedures. "All we did is we upped our fees to match everybody around us," said Sheriff Nancy Hove. She said the department has been collecting about $35,000 a year to serve legal notices on people involved in civil or divorce proceedings.
Critics questioned whether Pierce County needs two year-round workers --- each costing the county about $60,000 a year --- to manage what amounts to a one-park program. But last week the finance and personnel committee voted to refill the fulltime assistant park supervisor position. Park Superintendent Scott Schoepp said that, along with managing 752-acre Nugget Lake County Park, he supervises the county's snowmobile trails, a recently-acquired county forest and now the county shooting range. The parks department has a 2007 budget of $237,000 and anticipates collecting about $77,000 in fees
A failure to communicate cost Pierce County a $13,000 penalty when a certificate of deposit was cashed in early to cover end-of-year bills, according to some sources. But the man who was county treasurer at the time disagrees. In the end, he said, an investment experiment he initially questioned made money for the county despite the penalty. "We were headed for pretty thin ice, so I had to break a CD," said former treasurer Lee Skog Friday.
Pierce County spends about $80,000 a year on economic development efforts, but a study committee doubts the county is getting value for its dollar. "The group came to the conclusion that the effort is sort of scatter-shot and defused more than it should be," said Supervisor Jim Camery, Town of Clifton, who chaired the ad hoc committee formed about nine months ago. Camery said the committee believes economic development efforts would be more effective if there was a more "tightly defined function." He suggested the county "put the eggs in one basket." The report's harshest criticisms were ai
When the defense attorney called it "a sad, sad day," it was a pretty fair guess everyone in the courtroom agreed --- especially the former River Falls alderman, past chamber of commerce president and accountant who had just pleaded guilty to felony theft. Pierce County Judge Robert Wing, who gave Harvey Sternat authority to supervise financial affairs for an ailing elderly widow two years earlier, said the accountant let down both the court and Millicent Christiansen. A trial set to begin Feb.
In a stipulation filed last week, attorneys for Pierce County and Trumpeter Development agreed to defer further court action while the parties pursue mediation. The sides agreed they would "use their best efforts to conduct and complete mediation by June 30, 2007." A telephone status conference is set for July 9 with Trempealeau County Judge John Damon. Trumpeter is asking for over $4 million in damages in the case involving a 700-acre residential development near Prescott. The Pierce County Land Management Committee approved certified survey maps for 84 lots.
While the words used initially Monday night were "moratorium" and "freeze," in the end the Pierce County Finance and Personnel Committee voted to take a less drastic course and implement a procedure to evaluate vacant jobs before hiring again. The county currently has about a dozen jobs open. Some are part-time clerical positions.