Workman Township officials

Betty Berg, treasurer; Marvin Holsten, supervisor; James M. Berg, chair (with the award); Marlys Knutson, clerk; and Fred Kamrowski, supervisor.

“We’re kind of proud,” said James M. Berg, chair of Workman Township. His fellow township officers and staff at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis agree he has good reason to feel that way.

Staff at the public nonprofit leadership center showed their appreciation recently by awarding Workman Township their annual Local Government Innovation Award (LGIA). Township officials traveled to Cowles Auditorium in Minneapolis Dec. 8 to receive the award. Workman was one of four townships in the state to be honored with awards.

There are more than 1,800 townships in Minnesota eligible to receive the awards. This is the 10th year that LGIAs have been presented. Workman’s award recognized Workman Township Service Day, held Aug. 14. This was the first year the township held the service day but it won’t be the last. Plans are already underway to hold a similar day next year and offer even more services.

Workman, located west of Big Sandy Lake, is a small rural township with 207 residents in a county with the oldest population in the state, a county with serious economic and transportation challenges for its aging population.

“We felt that a Workman Township Service Day would benefit our township citizens with services that would typically require a 60-mile or longer trip. We made available a daylong event for our citizens as well as citizens in surrounding townships,” Workman officials said in a statement that was reprinted in brochures distributed by the Humphrey school.

The service day provided water analysis at discount rates, signups for septic tank inspections, no-cost home energy audits, outdated drug collection, hearing aid, cell phone and computer battery collection and used hearing aid and eyeglass donations.

Berg said next year, they hope to add coupons for health care-related services like chiropractic and dental care.

Assistance for the service day was provided by Aitkin County Environmental Services, the Aitkin County Soil and Water Conservation District, Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office, Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative, Lake County Power and the Lions Club.

After sharing so many services with area residents, township officials also plan to share the award. The clear engraved award in the shape of the state of Minnesota will be on display at Grand Timber Bank in McGregor in January. In March, the award will be displayed at Fisherman’s Bay on Big Sandy Lake and, in April, it will be displayed at Big Sand Bar on Big Sandy.

About the Humphrey School of Public Affairs

The Humphrey School of Public Affairs cultivates adaptive, transformative leaders. It seeks to create and nurture excellence in public affairs management and leadership through research, teaching, professional development and outreach and to be a vital resource in the community.

The school ranks among the country’s top 10 public policy and planning schools, long noted for equipping students to play key roles in public life at the local, state, national and global levels. It offers six distinct masters degrees, a doctoral degree and five certificate programs. The school’s nonprofit management program ranks second in the country.

The 2016 LGIAs were made possible through the support of the Bush Foundation.

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