Grand Forks Public Health Department


Thursday, April 21, 2011

I. Call Meeting to Order

The meeting was called to order at 12:25 p.m. by Don Shields.

Members Present: Keith Berger, Tracy Meagher, John Packett, Jon Green, Tara Dupper, Julie Anderson, Margaret Tweten, and Donald Shields. Others present: Dean Rau (Grand Forks City Engineering), and Keith Westerfield (Public Health).

II. Old Business

A. Review and Approval of Minutes of January 20, 2011, Meeting: A motion was made and seconded to approve the January 2011 minutes as submitted. All approved and the motion passed.

B. Grand Forks “Detox” Community Facility Initiative Update: Don S. gave the latest update.

· The “detox” group has met a few times since the last report. A subgroup is looking into obtaining a cost estimate for remodeling the old county jail. However, a problem was recently discovered with using this facility. If more than five people are kept longer than 24 hours, they would have to be considered in-patients, which could be cost-prohibited.

· An alternative option would be to contract with Douglas Place in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. They recently changed their policy, and now can provide detox services for Grand Forks. The group is checking the cost of referring someone to Douglas Place, and will discuss their findings with the City Council in June.

· Altru Hospital will still be handling the medical detox cases.

C. Grand Forks Alliance for Healthcare Access Update: Keith B. gave an update on the working group meetings on healthcare access.

· The group submitted a request a couple of weeks ago for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Planning Grant. This grant would be used to study the feasibility of a community health center in Grand Forks. Community agencies paid to get the grant written, with help from the United Way who allocated $8,000 to the Valley Community Health Center (VCHC).

· A community health center would be operated similar to VCHC’s Dental Clinic in Grand Forks. It will serve the low income individuals and families in our county.

III. New Business

A. Presentation – Spring Flooding 2011 Update: Dean Rau gave a presentation on flood protection in Grand Forks this spring, and passed around map schematics of the Grand Forks levees and floodwalls (see attachments).

· The Grand Forks City Engineers worked to prepare for flooding in Grand Forks weeks prior to when the Red River was expected to rise.

· Grand Forks has 12 pump stations that are usually activated at different times during the year. With the Red River flooding, all but one of the pump stations are currently activated.

· The railroad bridge has now been reopened. When the flood wall was installed, some of the tracks had to be removed, along with the gravel down to the sealplate.

· The flood walls in Grand Forks are built to an evaluation of 63 feet. The tops of the levees are constructed to a river gauge of 60 feet. This would protect the city from a flood up to 57 feet. The extra three feet are needed in case of high winds or a surge of water. If the river was predicted to crest higher than 57 feet, the levees would have to be raised by adding clay on top. Once the water starts rising, some levees may only be accessible from the west side. Sandbags would have to be used on top of the added clay if the river was later predicted to rise even higher. The flood wall system and levees protect everything from the Merrifield Road, south of Grand Forks, to the English Coulee diversion up north.

· The Sorlie and Point Bridges were closed when floodwaters made the approach to the bridges impassable. The Kennedy Bridge will remain open until the river reaches 54 ½ feet, then Highway 2 would have to be closed. The Minnesota Department of Transportation would decide when to close this bridge because the approach is lower in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. The Thompson Bridge is open and being used, although there is a low spot about a mile west of the bridge. Gravel has been placed there to keep the access road open, and the county is looking into putting a culvert there.

B. Member Update:

· Don S. – In the Legislature, a bill was introduced to return issuing universal vaccines. The state would supply the vaccine to health care providers to give at no-cost to children. The number of children not vaccinated did increase when the universal vaccines were not offered few years ago .

· Julie A. – The issue with the university’s nickname has gone beyond athletics. Some university staff have been unable to present at national conferences for which they are the experts in their fields. There also have been students who have decided not to come to the university because of this issue.

· Tara D. – New American Services (NAS) has received 37 new arrivals so far this year. A new national security procedure has slowed down new arrivals. NSA expects to receive only 80 percent of the 80 new arrivals slated for this year. Compared to the past few years, they usually receive 120 percent more than what is expected. This new security procedure has also impacted their budget.

· Jon G. – There should be a press conference next week concerning an expansion of Altru, so watch for more information.

· Tracy M. – The Red River Valley Community Action Program is going through their funding too fast, so they are imposing a self-cap on all funding for parental assistance. Easter baskets are being given away in the next few days to families having trouble affording them.

· Margaret T. – North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension Service is bringing up meat scientists from Fargo, who will have a Barbeque Bootcamp on July 14, 2011, outside of the Alerus Center. They will demostrate how to cook different kinds of meats, such as lamb, pork, and beef. There will be a fee of $50.00 for couples, and $30.00 for singles. Contact the Extension Service office for further information or to sign-up. This will be Margaret’s last Mayor’s Meeting because she is retiring on July 1, 2011.

· Keith B. – There was a meeting last weekend regarding immigrants that affects agencies and quality issues, such as health care, police, public health, etc. There will be a community program on May 14, 2011, at the Empire Theater. A movie will be previewed to educate the community on how immigrants are welcomed, made part of the community, and make it a better place to live.

IV. Other: None

V. Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned at 1:10 p.m.

VI. Next Meeting: Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 12:00 noon
Altru Hospital (Lower level, Multi-media room) Conference Room
(Lunch will be provided by Altru Health System).

1. Grand Forks Flood Protection Project – Levees Height Diagram, 2009