County to fund 'Fix-It' events

Staff Writer
Ken Francis
Residents of Sherburne County will get be able to have small items repaired at a new “Fix-It” Clinic event at Lions Park Center in Elk River.
Last week, the county board approved a $5,204 SCORE Grant to the City of Elk River to cover start-up and advertising costs and purchase supplies for the clinic.
The idea behind SCORE money is to promote recycling and reduce the amount of items being landfilled.
Environmental Specialist John Exner said with items being repaired, fewer would find their way into landfills.
“We would restore items so we’re not throwing them away,” he told the county commissioners.
The city originally submitted a proposal for $3,207 to purchase a list of start-up materials such as glue, tape, wire cutters, light bulbs, battery testers, clamps, fuses, drill, power strips, a scale, plus advertising for one Fix-It event.
The city also requested funding for a laptop computer to keep weights of items and take electronic notes during the event. They also proposed purchasing snacks and beverages for volunteers. 
The solid waste advisory committee recommended a grant of $3,000 for materials and advertising, but not for a laptop or food.
Solid Waste Administrator Dave Lucas said after the advisory committee meeting, he, Exner and staff decided to expand the program and increase funding.
They recommended allocating an additional $2,204 to hold two more events and place a total of 18 advertisements in all three county newspapers.
“We realized for this to be truly successful, we need to have it more than one time,” Lucas said. “We think it would be in the county’s best interest.”
The proposed clinics would allow residents from anywhere in the county to bring in broken items, such as small appliances, personal electronics, clothing, furniture and other gadgets to  a location where a knowledgeable volunteer would assist the resident in repairing the item. Items will be weighed and recorded so a record of landfill abatement can be kept.
For items that can’t be fixed, information will be provided about proper disposal to prevent any hazardous materials from being landfilled.
Commissioner Rachel Leonard asked who would be doing the repairs.
Exner said the city indicated they have volunteers from the Elk River Senior Center who have expressed interest.
“Also, at our advisory committee meeting, one of our members suggested getting in touch with the high school robotics teams,” he said. “There’s a lot of talented kids out there who are into fixing more of the small gadgets, like personal computers, i Phones and iPads -  things like that.”
So far, no date has been set for any of the clinics. Exner said all three are proposed to be held in Elk River on Saturdays over the next year.
Exner said all advertisements would also include a request for volunteers.
 “If people are handy and enjoy tinkering with stuff, they’d be welcome to participate,” he said.
Commissioner Ewald Petersen, a member of the advisory committee, said they all agreed three clinics would be better than one.
“The committee was pretty forward with the idea that advertizing for one event would be counterproductive,” he said. “The hope is that other communities might decide to try to do the same thing.”
Other Business
In other action the board:
* Accepted a $30 donation from Marilyn LaPointe of Zimmerman for the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office K-9 fund;
* Approved an Emergency Management Performance Grant of $44,631 to be used for planning, conferences and Emergency Operation Center supplies and personnel services;
* Approved a contract with Westlaw to provide legal research for the Sherburne County Attorney’s Office;
* Approved the closure of the Elk River Landfill’s composting facility;
* Approved a gambling premises permit for Monticello Lions Club at KJ’s Refuge in Orrock. Twp.


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