Mille Lacs County will also move toward becoming a more breastfeeding friendly workplace, according to an agreement the board approved June 18 with the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership that will allow SHIP coordinator Alisha Fussy to allocate time and funds to reach this goal.

“Providing accommodations for nursing mothers is the law both at the state and federal level,” Fussy stated in an email.

She added, “Becoming a recognized breastfeeding friendly workplace helps bring in and retain employees.”

A workplace that’s accommodating to mothers can reduce their risk of breast and ovarian cancer, Type 2 diabetes, postpartum depression as well as reduce the risks of ear, skin, respiratory and stomach infections, SIDS, obesity, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, asthma and leukemia for nursing children, Fussy said.

The Minnesota Department of Health reports that employers who provide lactation support can see a 3:1 return on investment, Fussy told commissioners.

In total, $13 billion in direct health care costs could be saved annually if 90 percent of women were able to breastfeed for at least six months, Fussy added.

“Giving mothers the support needed to return to work comfortably in a space they feel safe and encouraged to continue nursing and pumping is a very important step that an employer can take to ensure employee retention and ROI (return on investment) for their agency,” she said. “This, along with the health benefits for both mom and baby, is a win-win for all parties.”

Fussy will oversee the allocation of SHIP time and funds to the Princeton farmers market to purchase an EBT machine, as well —an agreement also approved by the board during the meeting.

Access to healthy foods is one of the barriers faced by those who struggle with food security issues, according to Fussy.

“Accepting SNAP/EBT at farmers markets is important because it allows all community members to take part in the farmers market experience. It also supports local farmers and increases access to healthy affordable foods for all,” Fussy said.

The board also approved a payment of $22,749 to Nolan, Thompson & Leighton, PLC for legal services relating to the federal lawsuit filed by the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe against Mille Lacs County regarding policing rights on the Ojibwe reservation.

A payment of $4,968 to the same law firm was approved for legal services related to legislative attempts by the county to amend Minn. Stat. 626.93, which covers the law enforcement authority of tribal police officers under Minnesota state law.

At the end of the June 18 meeting, the board approved a closed-door session to discuss a grievance by Local 49 against the county. A Local 49 representative did not respond to comment before publication.

Oman said the board will take action on the grievance agenda item during the board’s regularly scheduled meeting July 2.

In other actions, the board:

• Approved new infant mental health agreement, which includes a grant of $15,825.

• Approved a termination letter for the contract between the county and Medical Transportation Management to provide social service rides. Rides will now be provided by Tri-Cap Transportation.

• Awarded a $80,057 contract for pavement markings on roads to AAA Striping Service Co.

• Approved a cooperative construction agreement with Mille Lacs County and Onamia Township for improvements on 340th Street. Onamia received state funding for the project.

• Approved a bid by Helmin Construction Inc. for $229,640 for the construction project in Onamia Township to improve 340th Street.

• Approved the closure of CSAH 1 from MNTH 23 to the south corporate boundary from 8 a.m. July 4 to 1 p.m. July 5 for a parade and other city activities.

• Awarded SML Appraisals a contract for $49,500 to appraise the acquisition of parcels of land along CSAH 14 for a grading project. SML Appraisals bid $1,100 a parcel for 45 parcels; Johanneck Appraisals also put in a bid for $1,500 a parcel.

• Approved a request by Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office to scrap a 1999 Crown Victoria vehicle that is no longer usable or safe.

• Listened to an annual presentation by the Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services regarding the services they have provided.

• Approved a contract for $250 annually with Morrison County to use their website to transfer child support income maintenance case files.

• Approved a resolution to not need an environmental impact statement for a project on the Rum River Campground because the environmental assessment worksheet did not demonstrate the potential for significant environmental effects.

• Approved the sale of six fleet vehicles that have been replaced by new vehicles through a sealed bid process.

• Authorized County Administrator Pat Oman to sign a resolution related to Managed Care Organizations.

• Authorized a $180 per diem and $146 mileage payment to Commissioner Roger Tellinghuisen and a $90 per diem and $201.84 mileage payment to Commissioner David Oslin. The year-to-date totals for per diem payments for the board are $1,755 and $2,424 for mileage payments.

Mark Wasson is an APG of East Central Minnesota freelance contributing reporter who covers municipal and county government.

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