Public Security bids are under budget; Underdahl says Covid situation ‘better’; Author Wilson to speak at Northfield Public Library

A statement released by Rice County last week said bids accepted by the County Board of Commissioners for new public Safety Center arrived at a lower price than expected.

When approved last May, the complex was expected to cost around $50 million. Bids accepted by the board at its meeting last week totaled $39.2 million. However, two sections of the project did not receive a bid and will have to be re-bid. The press release indicates that the estimated costs of these sections have been integrated into the overall budget.

Rice County Attorney John Fossum said his office is responsible for drafting the contracts for the construction companies that won the bids, and the county will work closely with the project manager to maintain the project within budget.

“We have work to do on the contract side. We will work with the Construction Manager, going forward, to ensure that contracts with all successful bidders help us stay within the budget that has been established. Hopefully all contracts will proceed appropriately from here.

Also on Tuesday, the council approved a special HVAC system designed to remove viruses from the air, while refusing other design adjustments, including replacing brick with stone on the exterior, adding of electrochromic glass windows on the south side of the building and the addition of some ornamental fence.

The Public Safety Center, which will house the county jail and the Rice County Sheriff’s Department, became necessary after the state Department of Corrections rated the current jail as no longer acceptable, due to a serious lack of space for programming and entertainment. The new facility, the statement said, will include much larger recreation space as well as areas where inmates can take distance learning courses to earn a high school diploma or further their education. Religious services and counseling, chemical addiction and mental health counseling, A.A. meetings, and the prison library will also be in this space.

The foundation stone for the new public safety center is expected to be laid this fall.

Jeff Johnson’s full conversation with Rice County District Attorney John Fossum can be heard here

Underdahl says pandemic is waning, but not ending

Steve Underdahl, President and CEO of NH+C

As the summer months are in full swing, Covid-19 cases are starting to drop again. Rice County reported just 22 new positive cases last week, and similarly statewide there were just over 2,000 new cases.

Northfield Hospital + Clinics President and CEO Steve Underdahl said the hospital is seeing far fewer Covid cases than just weeks ago. Last week, he said, there had been “one or two” patients in hospital with Covid, but as of Thursday there were none. More importantly, he said people hospitalized with Covid were there for reasons other than Covid-19.

“The general feeling that things are better than they were,” he said, “is correct.”

He cautioned, however, that while the pandemic has slowed, it is not over and we all have a social responsibility to protect our friends, our neighbors and ourselves.

“Get vaccinated,” he said. “Get boosted when it’s time. Vaccine effectiveness tends to decrease over time, so people should get a booster shot when recommended.

He added that it was also important for people to stay home if they were feeling unwell.

Meanwhile, the FDA is expected to clear vaccines for children under five by the end of the week. Underdahl said NH+C has gone to great lengths to offer as much information as possible about vaccines and their effects on children — and everyone else. Dr Ben Flannery, pediatrician at NH+C, has produced a series of short videos answering a variety of questions for parents ranging from why and when a child should be vaccinated to what side effects might look like.

Underdahl paused before saying the pandemic is nearly over, but he said now is the time to take stock and recognize those who have helped our society the most during an extremely difficult time.

“You know, as this pandemic continues, but hopefully it starts to wind down a bit, I just want to acknowledge our healthcare workers. I sincerely believe that these individuals and their colleagues around the world are truly the standard bearers of this generation for public service. We all owe them a debt of gratitude.

For more information on Covid-19 and Covid vaccinesvisit

Jeff Johnson’s full conversation with Northfield Hospital + Clinics President and CEO Steve Underdahl can be heard here

Dakota author to discuss The seed keeper

And the Northfield Public Library invites the community to an author talk with Diane Wilson tomorrow, 6-7 p.m.

Diane Wilson

Wilson is an Mdewakanton writer, speaker and heritage educator, who has published two award-winning books, a mid-level biography and several essays. His latest novel, The seed keeper, was released in March of last year. The book centers on four generations of Native American women and their historical and cultural connections to seeds, and more broadly the role food has played in racism and the government’s use of food to try to control people. marginalized. The book also explores questions about genetically modified seeds and their effects on agriculture, as well as deeper environmental issues.

It won the 2022 Minnesota Book Award and received high praise across the country.

Wilson’s non-fiction book, Beloved Child: A Dakota Way of Life, received the 2012 Barbara Sudler Award from History Colorado. His work has been featured in numerous publications, including the anthology A good time for the truth.

Wilson will sell and sign books after giving his talk. Space is limited for this event, so library organizers are asking those wishing to attend register at

Rich Larson is KYMN’s News Director. Contact him at [email protected]

Lola R. McClure