Grand Forks Public Health Department

Thursday, April 15, 2010


The meeting was called to order at approximately 12:10 p.m. by Don Shields.

Those Members Present: Don Shields, Bobby Vogel, Keith Berger, Kate Kenna, Pat Berger, Jody Thompson, Mark Lambrecht, Gretchen Graf, Julie Anderson, Peter O’Neill, and John Clayburgh. Others present: Joan Schiele and Doug Hansen (associates of Bobby Vogel), Major Mark Reitter (319 Medical Group, GFAFB), Melissa Marx (UND College of Nursing Practicum Student), Haley Thorson, and Keith Westerfield (both with Public Health).


1. Review and Approval of Minutes of January 21, 2010 Meeting:
Minutes were reviewed and approved with no changes.

2. Grand Forks “Detox” Community Facility Initiative Update: Kate Kenna (Northeast Human Service Center (NEHSC) gave an update.

- The “Detox” group has been meeting for years now, but it seems like whenever they make forward progress, they then go backwards, but they are having forward motion currently. They have a rough draft of a Request for Proposal being looked at by attorneys.

- They have visited Douglas Place, a facility in East Grand Forks that serves Minnesota people, and offers medical, not social detox, but they will help anyone who stops in. Minnesota licenses their facilities differently than North Dakota. If you are licensed to be a provider in Minnesota, you are licensed for all levels of care, with a detox license added on.

- Still working on funding resources, but there is interest from Centre, Inc., the agency that runs the detox center in Fargo.

- The Grand Forks Police Department has about 2,400 alcohol related calls a year, and Altru had six detox cases just last Tuesday. The number seen this year at Fargo’s detox center has doubled.

- Kate’s dream for the Grand Forks detox center is that it would be the first treatment opportunity for people needing it.

3. Grand Forks Tobacco-Free Coalition Ordinance Update: Don S. gave congratulates and a ‘Thank You’ to Haley T. for her hard work to get the smoke-free workplace ordinance through City Council. Haley T. gave an update on the Grand Forks city ordinance and provided a handout (see attachment).

- Since the last time the Mayor’s Cabinet met, the coalition had tremendous effort in town, with a lot of people assisting with the tobacco ordinance.

- Haley T. went over the timeline in the handout. A survey was commissioned by the coalition, and conducted by Social Claims Research Institute at UND. It was an awareness study of second-hand smoke, and the opinion of the smoke-free law. The results were very overwhelming with support. A community forum was held in February to voice opinions or air concerns, and the ordinance was also introduced then, with a draft presented later to the Council. The smoking ordinance passed in April, and will take effect August 15, 2010.

- Bar owners are petitioning to have the amendment put to a vote. They would need to collect, by
May 5, 2010, at least 3805 signatures, but are trying to have 6,000 in case some signatures are thrown out. It is too late to have it on the June elections, so it would require either a special election, which is doubtful since it would cost too much, or wait to have it voted on in the November elections. The amended implementation date is scheduled to start August 15, 2010, but if it goes to a vote, it would be suspended until after it is voted on. NOTE: May 6, 2010 – not enough signatures were collected to force a public vote on the ordinance.

- Any business can build a ‘smoking shelter,’ but it has to meet city code, approved by building inspector, etc.

Mayor’s Health and Human Services Grand Forks Cabinet Minutes
April 15, 2010
Page 2


1. Flooding 2010 Update: Don S. gave a briefing on the 2010 flood, and provided a handout (see attachment).

- Grand Forks went from normal, to flooding and cresting within a seven-day period. The Red River in Grand Forks was at 17 feet on Friday, March 12; hit flood stage at 28 feet on Monday, March 15; then crested just under 46 feet by Saturday, March 20, which was unusual, and it was in the Top Ten major floods of Grand Forks.

- Having an early flood is generally a good thing. Minnesota rivers had already crested while Grand Forks Red River was still frozen, compared to waiting until we have 70 degrees in April and it all melts and comes at once.

- Julie A. commented that the University of North Dakota (UND) College of Nursing was prepared to staff the State Medical Aid Shelter at the Hyslop Sports Center.

- Things moved quickly at the State Health Department. Nine truckloads of equipment for shelters were sent to the Grand Forks Public Safety Center.

- Last week Public Health received a letter from the North Dakota Department of Human Services, Emergency Management in Devils Lake, that they were planning contingency actions associated with Devils Lake, because of the rising waters, which is predicted to go up another two feet this year. They are worried about levee failure because over time, layers of rock and pavement have been added, but the foundation was never rebuilt. What are the chances of catastrophic failure and the levees breaking? The population of Devils Lake is 8,000, and if there is a failure it is predicted it would cause displacement of 1,600 residents. Where would they go, and in which shelters? Scenarios such as these will be discussed.

2. Grand Forks Humane Society Rabies: Don S. touched on a few key items about the rabies episode, and gave a handout (see attachment).

- The Grand Forks “Circle of Friends” Humane Society is a well-run shelter. They had pictures of the dogs, and knew what dogs were handled by which volunteers, and that is so important when there is exposure to rabies.

- Since the Grand Forks Humane Society is a regional shelter, not just Grand Forks County, they agreed to take two stray dogs from Marshall County in Minnesota. This is due to their love of animals.
It was later discovered that the dogs had ran away from a farmstead, but the owner did not have them vaccinated against rabies, which one of the dogs fostered to a family later developed.

- Dr. James Hargreaves, from Altru’s Infectious Disease Control, cleared his schedule and 21 people ended up starting the human rabies vaccine series that cost at least $2,500 per person. All the dogs that were euthanized tested negative for rabies.

3. Public Health Week, April 5-11: Don S. gave an update on the Champion Awards (see attachment).

- Don S. congratulated Jody T., for Grand Forks County Public School Districts being one of the winners of the Public Health Community Champion Awards. Seven school districts in Grand Forks County were a tremendous help to Public Health, by opening up their doors to residents during the H1N1 vaccination clinics.

- Don S. gave the criteria nominees had to meet, and read who the other winners were.

Mayor’s Health and Human Services Grand Forks Cabinet Minutes
April 15, 2010
Page 3

4. Member Update:

Peter O. - There are a lot of folks with mental health problems, and it’s tragic when people fall through the cracks, and can’t find the help that they need, like the person who jumped off the bridge the other day. How can the city publish information to get people the help that they need?

Julie A. – UND is now starting to graduate more students in the Psychiatric Care field, which is fairly new. It was started four years ago with only two to three students, and now has 24 students in the program. The college is adding to its Simulation Family with the new arrival of Noelle and Newborn Hal, a birthing simulator that will help students learn how to take care of women giving birth, and the baby afterwards. A big thing coming up for their college is that they are the lead for a state-wide initiative for the Midwest Educationers Academy, that is back for a second year since they had such a good response last year. In regards to Public Health, students are going state-wide for ‘Take Back the Drugs’ to educate people about turning in unused medications, not putting them down the drain because it affects marine and animal life.

Jody T. – H1N1 clinics were done in Grand Forks secondary schools in January and February, with 350 students through grade six getting immunized. Kudos to Don S. and his staff for making the immunization clinics a “well-oiled machine,” and thanks to Julie A. for her students helping at the clinics. They met yesterday to plan for holding school-based flu clinics again in the fall, and expand it to include elementary schools. Haley T. commented that although the first clinic took two and half hours to set up, by the last clinic it only took 25 minutes. Don S. said that Public Health could not do this without the assistance by nursing students, school district, and the many volunteers.

Pat B. – The United Way just completed an extensive Health and Human Service Needs Assessment, which took four months. They will be using the information for their Strategic Planning, grants, and awards they do in the future. It was in 2004 the last time they did something of this nature, and it was not as extensive. The information can be viewed at their website: HYPERLINK ""


V. ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 1:05 p.m.

VI. NEXT MEETING: Thursday, July 15, 2010
12:00 noon – 1:30 p.m.
(Lunch will be provided by Altru Health System)
Altru Hospital (Lower Level, Multi-Media/Board Room)

- Smoke Free Grand Forks Update handout
- Grand Forks Red River handout
- Grand Forks “Circle of Friends” Humane Society Rabies handout
- National Public Health Week Champion Award