St. Louis County Board recognizes employees for storm response

The St. Louis County Board thanked employees for their hard work and dedication in responding to the July 21 wind storm. Front row, L-R: Jim Gottschald, Human Resources Director; Mark Rubin, County Attorney; Jim Foldesi, Public Works Director; Don Dicklich, Auditor; Commissioners Patrick Boyle, Pete Stauber and Frank Jewell. Middle row, L-R: Sarah Miller, public health nurse; Natalie Listemaa, financial worker; Ida Watson-Souther, social worker; Rillis Eklund, public health nurse; Andrea Larson, financial worker; Commissioners Tom Rukavina and Chris Dahlberg. Back row, L-R: Kevin Gray, Administrator; Noah Mittlefehldt, principal appraiser; Commissioner Keith Nelson; Duane Johnson, emergency management coordinator, Sheriff Ross Litman; Aaron Albertson, Volunteer Rescue Squad member; Commissioner Steve Raukar; Rick Slatten, Rescue Squad captain; Emily Warnygora, 911 Supervisor; Carrie Gertsema, Public Health Nurse Supervisor; Heidi Loberg-Kreft, public health nurse; Rebecca Paulson, public health nurse; Maggie Lattery, public health nurse; Ashley Anderson, public health nurse; Kelly Bruels, public health nurse; Margaret Rattai, public health nurse. Submitted
The St. Louis County Board thanked employees for their hard work and dedication in responding to the July 21 wind storm. Front row, L-R: Jim Gottschald, Human Resources Director; Mark Rubin, County Attorney; Jim Foldesi, Public Works Director; Don Dicklich, Auditor; Commissioners Patrick Boyle, Pete Stauber and Frank Jewell. Middle row, L-R: Sarah Miller, public health nurse; Natalie Listemaa, financial worker; Ida Watson-Souther, social worker; Rillis Eklund, public health nurse; Andrea Larson, financial worker; Commissioners Tom Rukavina and Chris Dahlberg. Back row, L-R: Kevin Gray, Administrator; Noah Mittlefehldt, principal appraiser; Commissioner Keith Nelson; Duane Johnson, emergency management coordinator, Sheriff Ross Litman; Aaron Albertson, Volunteer Rescue Squad member; Commissioner Steve Raukar; Rick Slatten, Rescue Squad captain; Emily Warnygora, 911 Supervisor; Carrie Gertsema, Public Health Nurse Supervisor; Heidi Loberg-Kreft, public health nurse; Rebecca Paulson, public health nurse; Maggie Lattery, public health nurse; Ashley Anderson, public health nurse; Kelly Bruels, public health nurse; Margaret Rattai, public health nurse. Submitted

Six weeks after a devastating wind storm knocked down trees and left thousands without electricity in St. Louis County, the County Board recognized the coordinated response involving multiple departments and staff in responding to what some have called “the perfect storm” — widespread power outages in the midst of dangerously high temperatures.

Among those honored:

. The Public Works Department, which worked alongside Minnesota Power to clear trees from roadways as the utility company cleared downed power lines. Public Works also worked with the County Land and Minerals Department to open gravel pits to serve as storm debris drop off sites.

. The Sheriff’s Office – 911 Emergency Communications division, which handled more than 700 calls in a four hour period; and the Volunteer Rescue Squad, whose services ranged from searching by air for potentially injured campers in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, to assisting with traffic control in the Duluth area at the many intersections where stoplights were not working. Additionally, Emergency Management Coordinator Duane Johnson was recognized for his work activating and managing the Emergency Operations Center, ensuring a coordinated response involving the County, Minnesota Power, City of Duluth, City of Rice Lake, and other agencies.

. A team of Public Health nurses who responded to a request from the Duluth Fire Department to go door to door in multiple senior citizen apartments, checking on the well being of elderly residents who were without power.

. A triage team in Public Health and Human Services who assisted approximately 200 households, most involving children, to receive emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to replace food that had spoiled and had to be thrown out.

. Noah Mittlefehldt and the Assessor’s Office for its work visiting storm damaged properties following both the July 5 and 21 storms. Mittlefehldt coordinated teams of appraisers to inspect hard hit properties to determine if they may be eligible for property tax credits or abatements.

Rauker
Rauker
Many county employees suffered storm damage to their own homes and properties, and yet reported to work as scheduled to assist the citizens of St. Louis County.

In praising the staff, County Board Chair Steve Raukar said, “Your work personifies what public service is all about. A lot of people complain about government, but when need arises, it sure is nice to have all of you here.”