Solar energy farm approved by Yellow Medicine County Board

GRANITE FALLS — The Yellow Medicine County Board approved an application for a conditional use permit for a solar energy farm by Novel Energy Solutions at its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

Novel, a company based in St. Paul, requested permission to construct a one megawatt solar garden on 13 acres in Wood Lake Township.

The agreement provides for dismantling and removing all solar panels, posts, beams, and electrical equipment in the event that use of the facility is discontinued.

In other business, the board approved a resolution to apply for regional park status for Timm Park outside of Wood Lake with the Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails Commission (GMRPTC).

If the application is approved, it would enable Yellow Medicine County to apply for funding for park improvements.

The GMRPTC was established in 2013 to “provide recommendations to the Legislature for grants funded by the Legacy Parks and Trails Fund to counties and cities outside the seven-county metropolitan area,” according to the commission’s website.

Yellow Medicine County Sheriff Bill Flaten briefed the commissioners on the recurring problem with prisoners in county custody who have been found incompetent to stand trial.

According to Flaten, if a mental health professional has determined a prisoner in custody was not competent to stand trial at the time the crime was committed the county attorney and defense attorney begin the process of civil commitment.

After a civil commitment, state law requires the prisoner be taken to a mental institution within 48 hours.

The problem is, Flaten said, that it seldom if ever happens within the time frame because there aren’t enough beds at the state mental hospitals.

There are currently two prisoners in county custody who have been adjudged incompetent to stand trial who have been held for more than the required period because of lack of beds. And while the county jail does have a nurse and a doctor who comes once a week Flaten said they are not equipped for the care needed.

“The state needs to take the lead,” Flaten said. “We need more capacity.”

The board also welcomed two new county personnel. Brenda Schmitz began work as part-time administrative secretary for the Child Support unit of Family Services.

Brooklyn Nelson, a social work major at Southwest Minnesota State University will be interning with Family Services through the end of April.


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