Orrock Board hires new engineering firm

Staff Writer
Jennifer Edwards


The Orrock Township Board of Supervisors hired a new engineering firm at their meeting Wednesday, replacing Oliver Surveyors and Engineers with WSB and Associates from St. Cloud.
Mike Nielson of WSB was among four other engineering firms to speak at the meeting Wednesday. WSB employs 230 staff and has offices in St. Cloud and Golden Valley. They do work for a number of cities and municipalities and have worked for Sherburne County and Mn DOT.
”I think we offer the best deal for the buck,” said Nielson. “You are looking for an engineer for 45 miles of roads. That is an $11 million asset and you want to protect it for the community.”
WSB will survey the roads and provide a road maintenance plan to cover 20 years. The plan will enable the supervisors to budget for upcoming road maintenance and improvements and present the information at the annual meeting in March. 
Other engineering firms who presented included Bolton and Menk, Bogart- Pederson and Hakanon Anderson from Anoka.
They also heard from Ross Abel of Oliver and Associates.
“We have been with you guys since 1995,” said Abel. “We have been addressing your concerns about overlays and crack filling. I thought we had performed well.”
Supervisors thanked the presenters and asked Nielson to tour the roads before it snows and provide a plan to present to residents in March. 
Sheriff’s Report
“You had 170 calls for service this month,” said Commander Steve Doran from the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office.
“That is down from 191 calls last month. The drop is due to traffic calls,” he said.
Supervisors asked Doran about dropped cell phone calls in the area in the last month.
“I am sorry but they can’t track that,” he said.
Limited Activity
Supervisors passed a resolution limiting paid committee meetings to one paid committee meeting per month, although committees are permitted to meet as frequently as they wish.
They also voted against five individual resolutions which would have permitted supervisors to perform paid work for the township if they were working for the same as or less than market cost.
Deep Water
The deep well owned by the township in Winter Meadows has yet to be tested because of an obstruction at 47 feet, reported Supervisor Ron Dolly.
“He is having trouble getting a camera down there to see what is causing it,” Dolly said. “They will take care of it and do the testing.”
Supervisor Mike Meier gave an update from the Sherburne County Townships quarterly meeting. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie was the keynote speaker, talking about election changes, Meier said. 
They also heard from Sherriff Joel Brott and Nancy Riddle of the county planning and zoning office, who talked about enforcement procedures for objects left in the right-of-way.
Election Judges
The board approved an absentee ballot resolution. They also approved election judge and absentee ballot training for Kari Silverberg, Jodi Benker, Nancy Kjellberg and Jim Johnson.
Supervisors agreed to a request from Bev Aubol to look into installing a dead end street sign on 249th Avenue, before 190th Street. 
They awarded Erickson the job of patching township roads, a job to be completed by November.
Quotes for a project to be completed by Hard Drives, using milled bituminous to stabilize gravel roads in the township were turned down.
“We need to see more that one quote,” said Supervisor Dolly. “Did you ask Knife River?”
Abel said he had not. The Hard Drives quote for seven segments of gravel road totalled $69,460.
Road Authority
Supervisor Dolly was appointed the public safety road authority in the township. In an emergency, he will be the key contact to co-ordinate safety efforts until an emergency meeting can be convened if necessary.
Supervisor Shane Berg raised questions about ditch mowing in the township. The ditch mowing, performed by Rocky Mountain, is supposed to happen twice each year with mowers cutting a 10- foot swath on the first pass and a 20-foot swath on the second pass.
Supervisor Dolly will discuss the issue when he tours the roads with Rocky Mountain prior to the winter storm season.


MEMBERS OF THE BIG LAKE HIGH SCHOOL CHAMBER CHOIR performed for the school board at the beginning of their last meeting. The Chamber Choir members are selected for their skills from among their peers. They were directed by Mary Ebanks. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

DARLENE LANZ grew up just east of town and has lived in or around Big Lake all her life. She recalls what Christmas was like in Big Lake back then. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

SHERBURNE COUNTY ATTORNEY Kathleen Heaney, taking over as MCAA President. (Submitted photo.)

Cheryl Turck and Corey Mabis of the Sherburne County Probation Dept. (Photo by Ken Francis.)

SANTA AND HIS HELPERS prepared to give out toys to 111 families at the Food Shelf Monday. The toys were all donated by one local merchant. (Photo by Ken Francis.)