By Terry Bailey

Due to Monday, May 27, being Memorial Day, the Mitchell County Commissioners conducted their weekly meeting on Tuesday, May 28. Commissioners Jim Marshall and Tom Claussen and County Clerk Heather Weston were present for the meeting. Commissioner Mike Cooper was absent.
Amanda Johnson, representing the Mitchell County Soil Conservation District, was present to review the activities of the District and to submit the District budget request for 2025. The Commissioners noted that the Soil Conservation program has it roots in President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and has proven to be a successful long-term program.
The topic of controlled burning was a big one for the District in 2024. The District offered a workshop on controlled burning and guidelines for the development of a Prescribed Burning Association. It is hoped that if a local association is developed control of burning could be managed by a local group rather than being dictated by a state organization.
Johnson said they plan to make an appearance at the Kids Café and talk about the importance of pollinators. It is hoped that by teaching the "little people" about the importance of pollinators and other natural activities a greater long-range impact can be accomplished.
Johnson said because the Federal programs get bigger and bigger they hope to create an impact by conducting numerous smaller local programs.
Missy McGinnis, EMS Director, was present and asked for a 15-minute executive session. No decisions were made as a result of that closed session.
Brian Streit, Courthouse Maintenance Supervisor, was present to talk about repairs to the cardboard baler at the Recycling Center. It has developed a leak in the hydraulic cylinder and oil is leaking onto the cardboard as it is being compressed. Streit said the company that buys the compressed cardboard is quite picky about oil and other foreign matter on the cardboard. They are quick to refuse damaged cardboard and to not continue to do business with the county.
Streit had located a repair kit for the leaking cylinder at a cost of $455. The big problem is how to take the cylinder out of the baler to have the new seals installed. Streit said, "It is a difficult and slow process to remove the cylinder from the baler. It is simply a slow tedious process."
Once the cylinder is removed it can be taken to a vendor in Hutchinson for repair. Streit said Carrico might be able to work on it but with the wheat harvest coming soon, they may not have time to work on it.
Mike Rezkella, the new executive director of Pawnee Mental Health, was present to introduced himself and to present the organization's budget request for 2025. Rezelka replaced the long-stand director of Pawnee Mental Health, Robyn Cole. Rezkella is a native of upstate Massachusetts and had been familiarizing himself with North Central Kansas. He jokingly said he was gaining status as a Kansan having just received his Kansas driver's license. He talked of the many services offered to the people of Mitchell County and his hopes that people from our area will look to Pawnee Mental Health as a source for assistance when needed.


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