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County to launch Operation Green Light in support of local veterans

Albert Lea Tribune - 10/4/2022

Oct. 4—Ahead of the upcoming Veterans Day holiday, the Freeborn County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday passed a resolution to participate in a new program to recognize veterans in the county.

As part of Operation Green Light, a national collaborative initiative of the National Association of Counties to support military veterans, Freeborn County will illuminate all county buildings green Nov. 7 through Nov. 13.

Residents and businesses are encouraged to participate in the initiative by changing one light bulb in their house or business to a green bulb — whether that be an exterior light that neighbors and

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passersby see, or an interior light that sparks a conversation with friends, according to a press release.

In addition to showing support to military veterans, the initiative hopes to raise awareness about the challenges faced by veterans and the resources that are available at the county, state and federal levels to assist them and their families.

"By shining a green light, Freeborn County government and residents will let veterans know that they are seen and appreciated," said Jeff Dahlen, Freeborn County veterans services officer.

While the event is focused around the week of Veterans Day, participants are encouraged to continue shining the light year-round. Residents can share their participation on social media using the hashtag #OperationGreenLight.

Dahlen encouraged people to check local stores for the bulbs. People can visit and for more information and for resources available to veterans.

In other action, the board:

—Accepted the resignation of three detention deputies, Tamra Paulson, Jay Moller and McKenzie Zuniga/Kosmoski. The board voted to fill the positions.

Human Resources Director Candace Pesch said some of the new things the county is doing to address all of the openings include airing radio ads, conducting open interviews Oct. 10 and 17 and having someone speak at Riverland Community College.

—Declared the existence and sale of surplus county property, including the following equipment:

— 1984 International semi-tractor

— 2013 Ford Explorer XLT

— 2014 Ford F-150 4X4 Supercab

— 2014 Ford F-150 4X4 Supercab

— 2015 GMC Sierra Z71 4X4 Double Cab

— 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan

— 2001 Towmaster T40T trailer

— 2007 Load-Max Trailer

— Insulated garage door and opener from the county's Oakland shop

— Pallet racking

— Floor-mounted grinder.

Freeborn County Engineer Phil Wacholz said the vehicles will be sold on

—Voted to replace a 2013 New Holland tractor in the Highway Department. It will be replaced with a 2022 John Deere that will be used in various highway maintenance operations, including mowing, snow removal and roller compaction of roads.

The total price after trade is about $155,400.

Wacholz said though the expense is budgeted for 2023, the department wanted to move ahead with the purchase because of supply chain issues.

Payment arrangements have been made to allow payment after Jan. 1.

—Approved service agreements with Lutheran Social Services and Unique Abilities to provide semi-independent living services for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Human Resources Director Suzi Nerison said the service is mandated per state statute.

The county is approving the new agreements after being recently notified that the company it had been working with was no longer going to be able to provide the service because of staffing concerns.

She said the county receives money from the state to pay for the service.

—Committed $130,000 in excess balance funds for driveway and drainage improvements at the Environmental Services building.

—Approved three resolutions for new home tax abatements in the city of Albert Lea. The new homes are being built at 1960 Wilby Road, 1812 Hale Drive and 2022 Schroader in Albert Lea.

The abatement is through December 2026.

—Set the Truth In Taxation meeting for 6 p.m.Dec. 8.


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