The Rice County of Commissioners today approved a handful of grants awarded to various departments in the county.  They also agreed to make the final payment for the new roofs on the Rice County Historical Society Harvest and Heritage Hall buildings.

County Administrator Sara Folsted  told commissioners total Met-Con bid was, "For $84,267.  They've completed the project and submitted the final pay (request) of $41,267 along with the necessary documentation.  We paid part of that back in March  so we're just looking for final approval on that completed project. "

Sheriff Troy Dunn got approval for an annual boat and water safety grant saying the $10,960, "Will go towards the cost of our summer water patrol part timers that we hire. I think most of you have heard we've been very busy on our lakes this year with COVID.  They are busy every weekend doing safety checks.  Doing a lot of assists on the lakes of people broken down, needing assistance.  This (grant dollars) is down a little bit from the past."

Dunn also received unanimous approval for an additional $10,000 from the office of justice programs for the Cannon River Drug and Violent Offender Task Force.  He said the state phoned him and asked if they could use the additional dollars.

"This goes to pay for equipment and officers times on their Cannon River Drug and Violent Offender Task Force.  We've started working proactively again in the task force and we're obviously making a difference again.  It's unfortunate that we have to do this but this is quality of life for our citizens and this group is doing a phenomenal job."

The Rice County Social Services Department has also received a couple of grants.  Director Mark Shaw said a $29,000 grant will be used to replace a van used for meal deliveries during the current pandemic.  "The van that they had been using had about 130,000 miles on it so they were given approval to replace that van and use that at Friendship House.  Much of their activity during this pandemic has been to provide food to individuals that have periods of persistent mental illness."

His department is also receiving $90,000 from the Minnesota Department of Health relating to their work with drug overdoses.

Shaw says, "It is specifically to continue a opioid overdose mapping project.  Currently we have a grant through the Minnesota Department of Human Services that will be coming to an end.  This grant will allow us to continue that work for approximately one more year."

"Just a note with regard to that work, he added,  since it's inception one of the goals has been to increase the  availability of medication assisted treatment in our county.  There is one provider who has already been wavered to see patients.  Health Finders in Faribault."