WALKER - Cass County Probation has seen a significant increase in probation violations this decade compared with the 1990s, according to the probation department's annual report to Cass County judges and the county board.
County probation serves adult gross misdemeanor and misdemeanor probationers, juvenile probationers and parolees ages 10 and older, juvenile diversion and pre-diversion clients, adult and juvenile community service work clients and clients placed on electronic monitoring status.
Probation agents visit clients in their homes, schools and places of employment. All clients are expected to abstain from alcohol and controlled substances. Clients are randomly tested for chemical use.
Cass averaged 300 to 600 electronic monitoring client days per month in 2007, with a peak hit in October. Adult clients served a total of 4,958 electronic monitoring days in 2007, while juveniles served 576 days.
Electronic monitoring clients pay probation department $15 per day for the service, which covers the cost. Were they not on monitoring, the county would otherwise pay at least $46.87 per day to house adults in jail or $136 to $185 per day to house juveniles in a detention center.
Cass probation offers an at-risk alternative program to provide counseling to families and children whose behavior is not stable, who fail to respond to parental authority or whose behavior is impulsive or delinquent. The goal is to prevent out-of-home child placements.
In 2007, probation served 30 juvenile clients under this program, saving a potential cost of $438,056 in out-of-home placement costs at an average of $136 per day for residential treatment programs.
Probation also has a related program to help parents who suspect their children are involved in drug, alcohol or mental health problems. This early intervention program provides crisis services while families are waiting to get into longer term programs.
Probation's diversion program gives first time juvenile offenders ages 10 to 18 an option to make amends for offenses and receive in-home counseling rather than to go to court. It promotes collection of restitution to the victim of the juvenile's crime.
Only 5 percent of diversion program juveniles re-offended in 2007.
The board Tuesday approved an easement across county land in Wilson Township for Minnesota Power's proposed new 115 KV line to connect Pine River substation to the Badoura-Pequot Lakes transmission line.
Jim Atkinson, Minnesota Power, told the board state agencies have approved the route after holding public hearings where most residents expressed an interest in seeking the line run behind rather than in front of houses through that area.
He said the state has approved Minnesota Power's certificate of need. Minnesota Public Utilities Commission will give final approval for the line. State officials decisions preempt any county evaluation of environmental issues on lines carrying more than 100 KV, he said.
Minnesota Power will pay the current standard county easement rate, which includes payment for any timber value, plus 5 percent of land value annually. It also will be required to provide a certificate of survey. The route will run a quarter-mile east of CSAH 1.
Cass County sold 7,919 cords of timber from county lands May 29 for a total value of $213,726.24. Aspen sold for $30.06 per cord, with all other tree species drawing less than that.
The board approved a resolution supporting the Minnesota Department of Transportation's decision to allow a snowmobile and bicycle trail to use Highway 371 corridor right-of-way for a connecting route to Walker.
Cass County Sheriff Randy Fisher obtained board approval Tuesday to apply for a federal grant that would fund 75 percent of wages and benefits for three new officers for three years.
The county match would be allowed under state law without affecting the county's state-imposed levy limits.
With local jail population down, the board approved shifting a corrections officer to the transport officer position and not filling the resulting vacant corrections officer position.
Fisher reported 37 men completed the sentence-to-serve program through June 10 this year, completing an estimated market value of $35,058 worth of work. They also worked off $6,373 in fines.
They averaged about six men on daily crews working 102 days. They completed 200 hours of work for DNR, 1,688 hours for the county, 1,114 hours for cities, 32 for townships and 1,891 for nonprofit agencies.
Cass County plans auction
WALKER - Cass County will host the annual auction of surplus county equipment and vehicles Aug. 23 in Walker.
The county currently is seeking bids from licensed auctioneers to conduct the sale.
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