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County jail looks for food service

FAIRMONT — Martin County Commissioners heard from Chief Deputy Corey Klanderud Tuesday, concerning the county’s jail food service contract with Hy-Vee in Fairmont. Notice was received from Hy-Vee that they will no longer be able to provide that service to the jail, and the county received notice that the service would be terminated by the end of May 2021. Klanderud explained the situation.

“We’ve reached out to numerous other possibilities,” he said. “We’ve been in talks with one, we’ve got nothing truly figured out yet.” Klanderud said that there were some meetings scheduled with potential providers in the near future.

“All the bigger commercial companies that do other facilities all look for a facility with an active kitchen where they can heat food, and we just don’t have those capabilities for them so we just don’t get considered by those companies. We’re hoping Lakeview can help us out, but we’ve got to get something planned by the 31st.”

Klanderud suggested that in the future, a jail food service contract would include a 60-day cancellation notice rather than 30 days to prevent such tight time constraints in the future.

“At least we have an option that we’re working on now, and hopefully we can make that work. We’ll have more news in about a week and a half.”

“If you need any help from somebody else, don’t be afraid to ask,” said Commissioner Elliot Belgard. “We don’t want this to turn into a crisis.”

“We’re just hoping to get something that we can sustain over time,” said Klanderud. “That’s our goal, to come up with a plan that works good for both sides so we can do it, not just for the next month, but for a long time to come.”

In other news, the board heard from County Engineer Kevin Peyman, who addressed the board concerning speed limits on Martin County Highway 26, long known as Old 16. The current speed limit of 55 mph will stay in place, despite a desire to increase the speed limit to 60 mph. Peyman explained why the current speed limit will not change.

“About two years ago we did a resolution with Faribault County looking at the speed limit on Old 16, our 26, going from Fairmont to Blue Earth,” he said. “We got it back from MnDOT (Minnesota Department of Transportation, and basically what they say is that they evaluate the 55 mph to 60 mph.” Peyman noted that the law change to allow rural two-lane roads to go to 60 mph.

“What it says is that it mimics the recent study that MnDOT has done on State Highways, including speed, observed speed, crash history, shoulder width and height, roadside geometry, and roadside hazards. It says that Martin County 26 and Faribault County 16 have similar roadway characteristics with different crash histories.

“Martin County26 had only one possible injury crash and three run off the road crashes, whereas Faribault County 16 had seven run off the road crashes, including five that resulted in overturned roll-overs and I think it was one fatality and two minor injuries on their segment.

“So they said that the Martin County segment would qualify for the 60 mph speed limit, but raising the speed limit on Faribault County 16 without safety countermeasures in place first to address those run off the road crashes would be inappropriate at this time. So based on their evaluation, it’s not consistent to change the speed limit up to the county line and then have it change back.”

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