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County Board recognizes Bonin for heroism

The deputy sheriff risked his life for a civilian last November

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Jul 25, 2021

The Faribault County Board presented officer Briar Bonin with a certificate at their meeting on July 20, in recognition of his services for Faribault County.

Faribault County Board members, at their meeting on July 20, took time to recognize Sheriff Deputy Briar Bonin for his heroic life-saving efforts as a member of a Multi-County SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) Team and Drug Task Force.

Bonin took action in November of last year to rescue a citizen who had been shot by a sniper while driving through the sniper’s field of fire. The incident occurred in Albert Lea.

Bonin dragged the injured man to safety and applied two tourniquets to the victim to help stem the loss of blood.

Central Services director Lexie Scholten presented Bonin with a certificate and board chairman John Roper thanked Bonin, and all law enforcement personnel, for their service.

Sheriff Mike Gormley, who was at the presentation, then reviewed the school resource officer agreement between Faribault County and the Blue Earth Area School District.

“We gave the district a break on the pricing when we negotiated a deal last year when the district was struggling financially,” Gormley explained. “This is a renewal of that agreement.”

The program has been in place since 2013. Some commissioners questioned whether the agreement should be renegotiated.

“Do you think the school could now pay more?” Young asked.

Gormley did not know but said his office will explore the possibility when they visit with the district next time.

Commissioner Bill Groskreutz pointed out United South Central does not have an officer placed by the county in their school.

It was noted USC had the chance to do an agreement with the county but chose to go on their own and find their own school resource officer.

“I have two grandchildren in school at BEA and they both speak highly of the program,” Young remarked.

The commissioners voted to renew the agreement.

Planning and Zoning administrator Loria Rebuffoni attended the meeting and had three Conditional Use Permits (CUP) to present to the County Board for approval.

The first two permits were to allow a second dwelling to be built on a lot. In each case, nobody had spoken against the permits at the Planning and Zoning meeting and the board voted to approve both permits. One was for Betty Jean Collins and Terri Kidd. The second permit was for Gary Sunken along with Jeramy and Renee Nagel.

The third CUP was for Mitchell Wilson to operate a welding and repair shop located in Verona Township.

Young wondered what kind of work Wilson specialized in?

“I mostly repair ag and farm equipment,” Wilson explained. “I would like to be mobile so I can travel to where the repair is needed, because sometimes it is hard to move the equipment in need of repair.”

The commissioners approved the CUP for Wilson.

Rebuffoni also announced the Faribault County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Monday, Aug. 9, at 7 p.m. in the Conference room of the Faribault County Ag Center in Blue Earth.

“The purpose of the hearing is to gather input on proposed amendments to zoning ordinances,” Rebuffoni explained. “One is to reduce the minimum setback to the ordinary high level mark in Shoreland Ag Districts. The other amendment deals with the requirement for a CUP requirement for two family dwellings on the same site. The Planning Commission may also continue to hear public comment on a potential nuisance/junk ordinance.”

Public Works director Mark Daly was also at the meeting and updated the board members on what he has learned about Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPRR) in regards to who owns the main and side crossings on County Highways.

“In 2018, CPRR advised us CFS owns the sidings in Easton,” Daly explained, “Now, in 2021, CPRR has confirmed they own the sidings in Wells and Easton. It is also very likely they own the sidings in Winnebago.”

The question of who owns the crossings has come into play when work is being done on highways with crossings.

“I have been informed the only way to get CPRR to upgrade a crossing is through a cost-sharing agreement,” Daly stated.

Currently, the track on County State Aid Highway 32 in Wells is scheduled to be replaced this year. Three tracks on CSAH 60, located on Broadway in Wells, are to be replaced in 2022. Two tracks on Main Street in Easton are set to be replaced in 2023.

Daly told the commissioners the deck for the bridge located on CSAH 21 should be poured the week of July 26.

“The bridge on CSAH 109 has been removed and they should start putting in the pilings next week,” Daly said. “The full-depth reclamation on CSAH 1 is complete and work should begin at the end of July on CSAH 16.”

The board also:

• Passed a resolution granting an intoxicating off-sale liquor license to Steve Ricard of the Derby Inn.

• Approved an agreement with the congregation of Elmore United Methodist Church, as a mission project for its parishioners, to clean up property tax forfeited lands in the city of Elmore. The agreement is in effect until Dec. 31, 2021.