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Image: Structure fire in Aurora

A home on Poplar Street in Aurora was a total loss due to fire this week.  The home owner was present but not injured.  The family dog, however, was found deceased inside the residence.


Image: Fredenberg Township death update

The name of the Fredenberg Township resident who died while moving a shed has been released.  David Szynszkoski, 35 years old, of Island Lake Dam Road died in the incident.


Image: Fredenberg Township man dies during attempt to move shed

A 35 year old Fredenberg Township man was killed while attempting to move a shed on his property.


St. Louis County will make two gravel pits available to the public to drop off tree debris related to recent storms.


Staff from the County Assessor's Office will visit storm devasted neighborhoods in Duluth and surrounding communities to assess the severity of damage to individual properties.


Image: Sheriff's Office assists with BWCA searches

St. Louis County Rescue Squad volunteers and Sheriff's Deputies have been assisting Lake County in searching for and evacuating campers following Thursday's storm. 


Image: Dedication planned for North Rescue Squad building

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Volunteer Rescue Squad now has dedicated space for training and storage in Virginia. State bonding money matched by St. Louis County was used to renovate the former public works building. A ribbon cutting will be held Monday.


Storm debris can be dropped off free of charge at the intersection of Rice Lake Road and Martin Road. The city of Rice Lake has set up the drop off spot on a vacant lot south of the Sunset Bar. This is for trees and brush only. No construction material or garbage is allowed.


No unnecessary travel is advised due to fallen trees and downed power lines. The widespread power outage means many traffic signals are not working. These intersections should be treated as four-way stops.


Image: Boundary Waters Drug Task Force arrests 26

Investigators from the Boundary Waters Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force have worked multiple cases, resulting in charges being filed against 26 people for narcotics and other offenses. The majority of arrests had to do with possession or sale of methamphetamine.


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Provides users with the ability to search and map county parcel and property information.
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Google Earth Land Explorer

St. Louis County publishes land record data viewable in Google Earth to provide the ability to explore and view county data.
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Department Spotlight

Veterans Service Office

Image: Veterans Service Office St. Louis County is home to 18,340 veterans (based on 2013 records, the most recent year available.) That’s more than nine percent of the population! St. Louis County’s Veterans Service Office works with hundreds of these veterans every year, and we’d like to work with even more. 

Our job is to make sure veterans and their families receive the benefits they earned through their service. The advice I give to all veterans is to give us a call. You may not realize you’re eligible for certain benefits. You may have even been denied in the past, but laws and benefits change, so you may be eligible now. Two years ago, we worked with a Vietnam veteran who has a presumptive cancer, meaning it is presumed link to Agent Orange exposure. He’d previously been denied benefits, but due to our efforts, the Veterans Administration ruled a “Clear and Unmistakable Error” had occurred and awarded the man more than $300,000 in back pay. More recently, we worked with a veteran who has Parkinson’s disease and got him service connected, which means his disease or disability is recognized as being connected to his military service. As a result, this veteran received a retroactive check for $42,000.

A disability linked to military service can come in a variety of forms ranging from chronic knee pain to mental health conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Hearing loss and Tinnitus, a noise or ringing in the ears, are by far the most common disabilities we see. In Vietnam vets, we often see Type 2 Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, prostate cancer and coronary artery disease, all of which are considered service connected. 

Veterans are eligible to receive disability compensation if they are determined to be at least ten percent disabled because of injuries or diseases that incurred in or were Read More...
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Top five salaries
The Federal Funding Accountability Transparency Act (FFATA) requires all agencies that receive federal grants, cooperative agreements, loans, and other forms of Federal financial assistance to report the compensation of its top 5 executives. Minnesota Statutes section 471.701 requires counties and cities with a population of more than 15,000 to annually notify its residents of the positions and base salaries of its three highest-paid employees.

In keeping with the requirements for both, the top earning St. Louis County titles and salaries as of Jan. 1, 2016 are: 

County Administrator:  $170,623 
County Attorney:  $151,611 
Public Health and Human Services Director:  $144,643
Public Works Director:  $137,738
Assistant County Attorney:  $131,893
Workers Comp submission information
Workers’ Compensation Health Care Provider Health Care Claim Submission Information (Note: this is for St. Louis County employees only.)

St. Louis County c/o CorVel Corporation
3001 NE Broadway #645 
Minneapolis, MN  55413
Fax: (866) 450-9388
St. Louis County’s Payor ID: E9080
CorVel Representative: (612) 436-2400
For dates of injury or claim number information, please call:
St. Louis County Safety & Risk Management
Workers’ Compensation
(218) 726-2613

County Blog

Haines Road project wins state award

Feb 7

Written by:
2/7/2014 9:41 AM  RssIcon

As the largest individual road construction project ever completed by St. Louis County Public Works, Haines Road has received a lot of attention. Recently it won the praise of the Minnesota County Engineers Association (MCEA), which named it 2013 project of the year.

It wasn't the project's size that resulted in the award, but rather the creativity and resourcefulness of those working on it. The honor is given to the project that best demonstrates design innovation, noteworthy accomplishments under adverse conditions, community involvement and environmental and historical considerations.

Tuesday, St. Louis County Commissioners recognized the more than two dozen Public Works employees, as well as other key partners who contributed to the successful completion of Haines Road.

In the photo above, employees and commissioners display the large plaque that will be permanently mounted near the underpass on Haines that provides safe crossing for hikers, mountain bikes, snowmobilers and more.

Public Works Director Jim Foldesi, (second from right in the front row of the photo above) provided a look back at the project's history - how plans started in 2005, were quickly modified following the flood, and then continued to be modified as needed as unexpected obstacles - such as a lot more dirt and less rock than expected- were overcome once construction started. You can view the Power Point presentation, which includes numerous before, during and after photos, here.

Foldesi also expressed his thanks to the many partners that made successful completion of this award-winning project possible. Below is the text of his speech:

"It is my distinct pleasure today to announce that St. Louis County’s Haines Road reconstruction project was selected as the Minnesota County Engineer’s Association’s 2013 Project of the Year. 

This award is especially meaningful because it is an award that is selected by our peers and represents the best in project engineering among the projects managed by the 87 counties in the State of Minnesota. It is something that we can truly be proud of. Typically, the project that is selected best demonstrates design innovation, noteworthy accomplishments under adverse conditions, community involvement and environmental and historical considerations.
As you can see by the number of people in the room, it truly does take a team to deliver a project of this size. This team not only consists of people inside our organization here at St. Louis County, but many others as well. In order to properly and publicly recognize and thank these individuals, a number of which are not here today, I would like to give a quick history that recognizes these individuals and their roles. 

This will be followed by a power point presentation of the project and then, most importantly, recognizing the individuals here today. 

Over 12 years ago, we recognized that Haines Road had outlived its useful life. It had a great number of deficiencies, as you will see in a minute.

As normal, we programmed it into our Capitol Improvement Plan and decided to pursue federal funding. We asked Congressman Oberstar, at the time, to see if we could get HPP (High Priority Project) funds designated to the project (the dreaded earmarks). As usual, the Congressman delivered and under SAFETEA-LU in 2005 HPP funds were designated to the Haines Road project. In the end, $4.4 million in HPP funds were designated, almost half of the project. Thank you Congressman Oberstar.  

For a number of reasons, mostly funding, the project was scheduled for the 2013 and 2014 construction seasons as a two year project. But the best laid plans of mice and men fall by the wayside when you add a little water to the mix.

In June of 2012, we saw some of the worst flooding in Minnesota history. We had over 1,150 damage sites around the county to deal with, but the highest profile flood project was Haines Road. It had the highest traffic volumes and greatest inconvenience to the traveling public. 

During this time, the Public Works Department really did shine. We used a very methodical, logical, managed approach to dealing with the flood damage, learning the ins and outs of emergency funding, designing emergency and permanent repairs, deciding if repairs should be done by our maintenance forces or by contract, and prioritizing the repairs. Really going about the business of recovery on $40 million worth of work, all while delivering a larger than normal regular CIP program.

But Haines Road was a different animal than the others. It did not make sense to spend emergency repair and permanent repair flood dollars to temporarily fix what we were planning to rebuild a year later. And so with help from Walter Leu our District One State Aid Engineer, David Scott (FHWA), Rick Kjonaas, Merry Daher, Lynnette Roshel from MNDOT State Aid, we came up with a plan to accelerate the delivery, shrink the construction time frame to one year and apply the FHWA-ER dollars to the reconstruction project. And even though this makes perfect common sense to apply these to the reconstruction project, in our bureaucratic world, it was no easy task. Special thanks to you.

In the design phase this project could not have been delivered without the help and cooperation of a lot of public input and project partners.

Under the accelerated design schedule, we needed help from our engineering consultant partners – LHB Engineers & Architects performed the retaining wall, storm sewer and pond designs and provided assistance during construction on these items. Special thanks to Bill Bennett, Joe Litman and Jon Siiter and their team.

Salo engineering performed the designs for Hermantown’s water and sewer improvements that were incorporated into the project.

Thanks to the DNR for quickly permitting the box culvert replacement and for granting a waiver to the trout restrictions for the Merritt Creek box culvert replacement in September of 2012. This allowed us to reduce the project to one construction season. Special thanks to Inga Foster, our Environmental Project Manager, for coming up with the idea to split this piece out and accelerate it.  From idea to completion in 1.5 months.

Of course, during construction, things never go quite as planned.

I would like to thank Hammarlund Construction and all of their subcontractors for a great partnership during construction. They were able to roll with the punches as we had to make changes on the project. Congratulations on meeting a very demanding completion date.

Special thanks to Kristen Zschomler of the MNDOT Cultural Resources unit and SHPO for expediting the cultural resource reviews in the expanded slope areas.

Thanks to County Administration and this County Board for your support throughout this entire process. Your quick action at key times helped us keep this project on schedule, along with many other flood related projects. The trust you placed in all of us is greatly appreciated.

And thanks to all of you in this room who spent countless hours working on the project. You had to make personal sacrifices in time away from your families and hobbies to make the accelerated delivery possible and it is greatly appreciated. We are heading into year three (and hopefully the final summer) of flood recovery projects.


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Duluth Courthouse
100 N 5th Ave W
Duluth, MN 55802

Government Services Center (GSC)
Government Services Center (GSC)
320 W 2nd St
Duluth, MN 55802

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Virginia, MN 55792

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Hibbing, MN 55746

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Ely, MN 55731

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1st District
Commissioner Frank Jewell
Vice Chair
100 N 5th Ave W - Room 202
Duluth, MN  55802
Term Expires: 1/7/2019 

2nd District
Patrick Boyle
100 N 5th Ave W - Room 202
Duluth, MN 55802
Term Expires:1/3/2017

Chris Dahlberg - County Commissioner 3rd District

3rd District
Commissioner Chris Dahlberg
100 N 5th Ave W - Room 202
Duluth, MN  55802
Term Expires:1/3/2017 

4th District
Commissioner Tom Rukavina
St. Louis County Service Center
320 Miners Drive East
Ely, MN  55731
Term Expires: 1/7/2019

5th District
Commissioner Pete Stauber
100 N 5th Ave W - Room 202
Duluth, MN  55802
Term Expires: 1/3/2017

6th District
Commissioner Keith Nelson
Virginia Courthouse
300 S 5th Ave
Virginia, MN  55792
Term Expires: 1/7/2019 

7th District
Commissioner Steve Raukar
Board Chair
Hibbing Courthouse
1810 12th Ave E
Hibbing, MN  55746
Term Expires: 1/3/2017

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