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Houston County Home
Breaking News and Action Alerts
Houston County Planning Commission
Erickson Mine
Houston County
News and Information from Houston County, MN
 
Meet the Commissioners
CONTACT INFO
DISTRICT
TERM
Judy Storlie
507-895-8994
judy.storlie@co.houston.mn.us
 
District 1: La Crescent (city)
 
2012-2016
Justin Zmyewski
507-450-8297
justin.zmyewski@co.houston.mn.us
 
District 2: Money Creek, Houston, Yucatan, Sheldon, Mound Prairie, Union
 
2010-2014
Steve Schuldt (County Board Chair)
507-724-3639
steve.schuldt@co.houston.mn.us
 
District 3: Caledonia, Mayville
 
2012-2016
Teresa Walter
507-895-2446
teresa.walter@co.houston.mn.us
 
District 4: La Crescent (township), Hokah, Brownsville
 
2010-2014
Dana Kjome
507-498-5676
dana.kjome@co.houston.mn.us
 
District 5: Black Hammer, Spring Grove, Wilmington, Winnebago, Jefferson, Crooked Creek
 
2012-2016
>> view printable list
 
In the News
Planning Commission Tables Mine Renewal
The Houston County Planning Commission got an earful from residents on Wednesday, April 30. More than 30 persons packed into the former courtroom - now the commissioner's room, and arguments were as intense as in any court case over the renewal of a controversial conditional use permit (CUP) for Tracie Erickson of Yucatan Township…
>> watch video
Source: The Spring Grove Herald, Craig Moorhead, May 13, 2014
Reader Applauds Commissioner for Stand on Property Rights, Responsibilities
I applaud neighboring Houston County Commissioner Dana Kjome's words about balancing personal rights with responsibility toward community. (Bluff County Reader, April 14, 2014, page 12)…
Source: Spring Grove Herald, Bonita Underbakke, April 28, 2014
Wanting to Share My Admiration and Hope for Houston County
For what it is worth, I want to share my admiration and hope for Houston County. I have been a public health professional for more than 20 years. I have come to understand that one of the key foundations to individual and community health and quality of life is having influence in and contributing to a living environment reflective of one's values…
Source: Spring Grove Herald, Tracie Sides PhD, April 18, 2014
Frac Sand Ban Could 'Make New Law'
The decision on whether or not to ban frac sand mining in Houston County has been put off until at least next fall.…
Source: Houston County News, Craig Moorhead, April 16, 2014
County Proceeds with Drafting Frac Sand Mining Regulations
A long-awaited opinion on the county’s ability to ban frac sand mining was delivered April 8. In a letter addressed to Environmental Services Director Rick Frank, Houston County’s attorney, Jay Squires, wrote: "Based on my review of the law, and in short, if Houston County adopts an ordinance banning silica sand mining, and it is challenged, the county would be making a new law. In attempting to defend the ordinance, we do know based on existing case law that courts would likely apply a fairly high bar to the ordinance."…
Source: The Caledoina Argus, Emily Bialkowski, April 15, 2014
County Board Still Undecided on Frac Sand Mine Ban
On April 1, the Houston County Board of Commissioners decided to put off making committee assignments for a panel aimed at finding legal language for banning frac sand mining. By consensus, the group agreed to wait another week since they were scheduled to hold a conference call with land-use attorney Jay Squires on April 8…
Source: Houston County News, Craig Moorhead, April 9, 2014
Frac Sand Waffling Called into Question
The Houston County Board continues to struggle with the need to address frac sand issues and is waiting for a meeting with its land use attorney, Jay Squires, to finalize intentions on either drafting a ban or drafting restrictive regulations on the industry.…
Source: The Caledoina Argus, Emily Bialkowski, April 8, 2014
'Ban Committee' Will Study Mining Ordinance
Even as one Houston County committee begins drawing up ordinances to regulate frac sand mining, a second county panel will seek legal language to ban the activity…
Source: The Spring Grove Herald, Craig Moorhead, April 4, 2014
Letter to the Editor: Suprised by Chairman's Vote
I’m really dismayed by the letter from Commissioner Teresa Walter that appeared in several area papers last week…
Source: Houston County News, Bets Reedy, April 2, 2014
Chairman Shares Notes from Annual Townships Meeting
As chairperson of the Houston County Board of Commissioners, I would like to do an update on county matters. First of all, I have much respect and support for township grassroots government and have served for almost 20 years at township levels as clerk and supervisor…
Source: Houston County News, Teresa Walter, April 2, 2014
Keeping Houston County Citizens Informed and Involved
These are the Houston County financial facts. Draw your own conclusion…
Source: Houston County News, Justin Zmyewski, April 2, 2014
County Board Will Run Parallel Frac Sand Committees
The Houston County Board voted March 25 to create a second frac sand study committee. The first frac sand study committee is drafting an ordinance to regulate any industrial-scale mining of sand. This second committee – a recommendation made by Commissioner Justin Zmyewski – will set out with the sole purpose of drafting language for a ban of frac sand mining altogether…
Source: The Caledoina Argus, Emily Bialkowski, April 1, 2014
County Board to Start Recording Meetings
Beginning with the March 18 session, county-produced videos of Houston County commissioner's meetings will be available for online viewing. Information/Technology director Andy Milde set up a small camcorder at last week's meeting, and got permission to do much more in the future…
Source: Houston County News, Craig Moorhead, March 26, 2014
Letter to the Editor: The Quack of Frac
Most of us have heard of Exxon Mobile, a company quite actively involved with oil exploration. Lou Allstadt, the former CEO of Exxon, just recently filed a lawsuit against a frac sand mining corporation near his home…
Source: The Caledoina Argus, Bob & Pat Hill, March 25, 2014
County Board Discusses Possible Train Safety Issues, Frac Sand
"It's not a question of if, it's a question of when," Houston County emergency coordinator Kurt Kuhlers told county commissioners on March 11. Kuhlers was briefing the county board on the dangers of train derailments and oil spills along the county's sole remaining active rail line, which runs along the Mississippi River. He was joined by Mark Marcy of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety…
Source: The Spring Grove Herald, Craig Moorhead, March 19, 2014
Letter to the Editor: Do You Know Houston County Board Meetings are Posted on YouTube?
I watched with great interest the Houston County Board meeting of March 11 (frac sand issue without public comment). Commissioner Storlie, you are absolutely correct, bullying should not be tolerated. But, it appears to me that you and Commissioner Walter are the pots calling the kettle black!…
Source: The Spring Grove Herald, Gretchen Cook, March 19, 2014
Landowners Dissolving Relationship with Frac Sand Company; Ask to Mine Construction Sand
Renewal of a conditional use permit for Tracie and Michelle Erickson, of Yucatan Township – handed in to the Houston County Planning and Zoning Office in November 2012 – has resurfaced and now demands attention from the county. The permit was held up for months due to ties the Ericksons had with Minnesota Sands, an industrial frac sand mining company…
Source: The Caledoina Argus, Emily Bialkowski, March 18, 2014
Commissioners Round up Frac Sand Panel
When it comes to the issue of frac sand mining in Houston County, nothing comes easy. County commissioners began to put together a study group charged with drawing up a new industrial mining ordinance on March 4, but the process did not go smoothly…
Source: The Spring Grove Herald, Craig Moorhead, March 12, 2014
Feathers Ruffled by Frac Sand Committee Recommendation
Selection of members on a frac sand ordinance study committee ruffled feathers during the March 4 Houston County Board meeting…
Source: The Caledoina Argus, Emily Bialkowski, March 11, 2014
County Considers Frac Sand Ban, Seeks Assistance
Houston County commissioners continue to struggle with the issue of frac sand mining. After asking state agencies for help with legal language that would allow the county to ban the practice, Chairperson Teresa Walter reported on their reply last week…
Source: The Spring Grove Herald, Craig Moorhead, February 26, 2014
New Attention Needed on Frac Sand Ordinance, Attorney Says
Under the “unfinished business” portion of the Feb. 11 Houston County Board meeting, Commissioner Teresa Walter updated the board on a conversation she had with the county’s land use attorney, Jay Squires, who advised the county to finalize a frac sand mining ordinance…
Source: The Caledoina Argus, Emily Bialkowski, February 11, 2014
Houston County Extends Moratorium
On Jan. 28, county commissioners voted unanimously to extend their moratorium on frac sand mining. The interim ordinance, which forbids new silica sand mining permits in Houston County, will now run until March 5, 2015, if needed. In addition, the resolution reserves the board's right to further lengthen the moratorium if authorized by state law…
Source: The Spring Grove Herald, Craig Moorhead, February 5, 2014
Planning Commission Discrepancy Gets Quick Fix
Despite the fact that the majority of the Jan. 28 County Board meeting was spent addressing a frac sand mining moratorium extension, a few other agenda items squeaked in for action…
Source: The Caledoina Argus, Emily Bialkowski, February 4, 2014
County Opts for Another Year on Mining Moratorium
Houston County will have another year to evaluate frac sand mining regulations and options after approving a one-year extension on a moratorium Jan. 28. A public hearing was held prior to the decision, which pushes the moratorium out until March 2015…
Source: The Caledoina Argus, Emily Bialkowski, February 4, 2014
KTTC VIDEO: Houston County Considers Permanent Ban on Sand Mining
CALEDONIA, Minn. (KTTC)--The Houston County Board voted this week to extend a moratorium on new sand mining through March, 2015…
Source: KTTC News Rochester, Courtney Sturgeon, January 31, 2014
WKBT VIDEO: Seeking Permanent Ban on Sand Mining
Houston County officials want to keep new frac sand mines out…
Source: WKBT News La Crosse, January 31, 2014
Houston County Could Permanently Ban New Frac Sand Mining
Officials in Houston County in southeastern Minnesota are considering permanently banning new frac sand mining…
Source: MPR News, Elizabeth Dunbar, January 30, 2014
Frac Sand Policy Update: Houston Co Checks Out Banning Frac Sand Mining; Activist Appointed to EQB
Citizen concerns over frac sand mining continue in Southeastern Minnesota. Minnesota Public Radio reports in Houston County could permanently ban new frac sand mining…
Source: Bluestem Prairie, Sally Jo Sorensen, January 30, 2014
New Planning Commissioner Selected by County Board
It was relatively quick work for the Houston County Board Jan. 21 when only a few items were presented for consideration…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, January 28, 2014
Walz Calls for Hearing on Rail Safety
U.S. Rep. Tim Walz is joining the chorus of those concerned about increased traffic of oil tankers on southeast Minnesota railroads…
Source: Houston County News, Lee Newspapers, January 22, 2014
Houston County Board Alerted of Proposed Rail Meeting
A group of Houston County citizens is working to schedule a joint meeting between Minnesota and Wisconsin representatives in light of a railcar explosion in North Dakota last month, and the Houston County Board of Commissioners received an update at its Jan. 14 meeting…
Source: Houston County News, Clay Schuldt, January 22, 2014
Will Frac Sand Ban Be Extended for County?
The Houston County Board will convene a public hearing on a hot topic on Tuesday, Jan. 28. That's when commissioners will let citizens weigh in on a one-year extension to the county's moratorium on frac sand mining…
Source: The Spring Grove Herald, Craig Moorhead, January 14, 2014
County Board Grants Mine Permit
Houston County commissioners took the recommendation of their Planning Commission (PC) on Dec. 3, voting unanimously to grant a five-year conditional use permit (CUP) for a mine expansion in Caledonia Township…
Source: The Spring Grove Herald, December 10, 2013
Public Still Tuned in to County Land Use Issues
Five individuals came forward to speak during the public comment portion of the Nov. 26 Houston County Board Meeting, and although each message had different focus, they all seemed to lead back to land use issues.
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, December 3, 2013
Keeping Houston County Citizens Informed and Involved
On Sept. 30, the Houston County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing to address the issue of whether the county planning and zoning commission members should serve under term limits. The current members of the commission serve three-year terms with no limit on the number of terms. The current members of the planning and zoning commission have served more than 100 years combined…
Source: The Houston County News, Justin Zmyewski, November 6, 2013
Morality Also in Play When it Comes to Fracking
There are certainly a number of angles one can consider when talking about the implications of frac sand mining. When a county decides whether to permit a mine to open within its jurisdiction, it has to consider how frac sand will affect the environment and health of nearby residents. It has to consider what truck traffic in and out of a mine might do to local roads. It must decide if risking a decrease in tourism is worth a company's business…
Source: The Houston County News, Ryan Henry, November 6, 2013
>> watch the video of Dr. Hommen's presentation
Term Limits In, Roverud Building Out
Plan Commission term limits are in while repurposing the Roverud Construction building in Spring Grove is out, the Houston County Board decided Oct. 29…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, Novemberl 5, 2013
Frac Sand Ban 'Not Off the Table'
State administrators have supported the prerogative of Minnesota counties to ban frac sand mining in certain areas, Houston County Commissioners were told on Oct. 22…
Source: The Spring Grove Herald, Craig Moorhead, October 30, 2013
Letter to the Editor: Let’s Get Honest About Frac Sand Mining
After observing the Houston County Study Group for well over 20 hours I can not recall a single time when anyone from our Planning and Zoning Board, county engineer, “industry consultant/spokesperson for sand and gravel industry” has advanced a single argument in favor of restricting or regulating mining or protecting the health and safety of county residents…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Bryan Van Gorp, April 30, 2013
Frac Sand Study Committee Disbanded
The Frac Sand Study Committee was disbanded by the Houston County Board April 19 "to move to the next level in order to keep the process moving forward," as the motion stated…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, April 23, 2013
Township Officers Association Holds Annual Meeting April 4
As the Houston County Board attempts to trim $200,000 from the 2013 budget to offset the need to tap into the general fund, expensive problems keep popping up…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Jan Lee Buxengard, April 16, 2013
Truck Plows Hole in Budget (see Public Comment section)
The Houston County Township Officers Association (HCTOA) held its annual business meeting on April 4 at Good Times in Caledonia. Attendance included township officers from the 17 townships in the county, as well as county commissioners and department heads and representatives from the state association of townships (MAT) and MnDOT…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, March 19, 2013
Music Event Proposals Get Mixed Reactions
When the Houston County Plan Commission met Feb. 28 two variance hearings were held, as well as two conditional use hearings. The renewal of a conditional use permit for mineral extraction was considered, as were multiple zoning permits…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, March 19, 2013
2013 Township Election Results
Township elections and annual meetings were held throughout Houston County March 12. Below are results provided thus far…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, March 14, 2013
Houston County Mining Moratorium Extended
A provision allowing local government statewide to extend or renew frac sand mining moratoriums until 2015 was approved by a State Senate committee Feb. 26 – just in time for Houston County to approve a one-year extension on its moratorium…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski & T.W. Budig, March 12, 2013
Keeping Houston County Residents Informed and Involved
Because I am wired the way that I am and believe the way that I do I cannot be anything but transparent in reporting county business to you. I’ve heard it said many times that "leaders have to say the tough things that others don’t want to say."…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Justin Zmyewski, March 5, 2013
Letter to the Editor: State Frac Sand Effort Needed
Minnesota Senator Matt Schmit is to be commended for sponsoring legislation that can help Minnesota avoid the damage that Wisconsin has already suffered from the frac sand industry. Senator Schmit listened to residents of his district and developed a bill that will lay the groundwork for adequate regulation…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Kelley Stanage, March 5, 2013
Frac Sand Mine Just Two Miles from Houston County
While Houston County has set a public hearing date of March 5 at 9 a.m. to discuss extending the frac sand mining moratorium, neighboring Fillmore County is on the precipice of approving a mine that may send up to 120 trucks through Houston County on any given day…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, February 26, 2013
Economic Development Coordinator Resigns
It was a mixed bag for the Houston County Board Feb. 19, though spending needs seemed to dominate – and dampen – discussion…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, February 26, 2013
Local Officials Ask the State for Help Regulating Frac-Sand Mining
Wary residents of southern Minnesota and mining industry officials painted contrasting pictures Feb. 19 on the use of silica or frac sand found in abundance from Chisago to Houston counties…
Source: The Caledonia Argus via ECM Capitol, T.W. Budig, February 20, 2013
Frac Sand Ordinance Draft in Rough Form
Rough is a fair word to use to describe the frac sand ordinance presented Feb. 12 at a special joint meeting of Houston County Board, the frac sand study committee and the county plan commission…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, February 19, 2013
Golf Carts Not Driven Off the Road Yet
In September 2012 the Houston County Board was asked to consider opening up a quarter-mile portion of County Highway 26 to golf cart traffic. The request was made to specifically allow carts to travel from Money Creek Haven Campground to the town of Money Creek…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, February 12, 2013
County Board Addresses Airport and Human Services Needs
In continuation of discussion that started at the Feb. 5 county board meeting, Commissioner Judy Storlie presented a comparison chart of what commissioners in other counties make. Storlie was advocating for more flexibility in per diem pay after action in January limited such pay to committee assignments…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, February 12, 2013
County Board Addresses Airport and Human Services Needs
In continuation of discussion that started at the Feb. 5 county board meeting, Commissioner Judy Storlie presented a comparison chart of what commissioners in other counties make. Storlie was advocating for more flexibility in per diem pay after action in January limited such pay to committee assignments…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, February 12, 2013
$17.96 Per Hour is Pretty Good
Running for public office is no cakewalk. Not only is there a lot of issues for candidates to get caught up to speed on, but there’s also a new spotlight shed on candidates’ lives, decisions, experiences and perhaps indiscretions. That said, the real hard work begins when you get into office…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, February 12, 2013
Frac Sand: A Comprehensive Look at Our Neighbors
For more than a year, a 30-foot-tall pile of unwanted sand towered over three acres on Claude Riglemon’s property. The price for the sand dropped about the time this stockpile was ready for sale, so the 120,000 tons of sand just waited…
Source: The Caledonia Argus via Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Kate Prengaman, February 5, 2013
County Budget Scrutiny Produces Opportunity
In what could be characterized as a rebuttal to Chuck Schulte’s pressing questions about the Houston County budget, various department heads took turns offering explanations about their budgets during the Jan. 29 county board meeting…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, February 5, 2013
Human Services Divided
There is a persistent divide in the Houston County Human Services Department, according to a consultant the county hired to complete an organizational review of the department…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, January 29, 2013
New Form for Those Wanting to Speak at Board Meetings
If you want to talk during a Houston County Board meeting you’ll need to fill out an agenda request form ahead of time from now on…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, January 22, 2013
Plan Commission Remains Intact
A request from Houston County Commissioner Justin Zmyewski to not re-appoint Terry Rosendahl as a citizen member of the plan commission – and instead fill the slot with another commissioner – fell dead after Environmental Services Director Rick Frank and Zoning Administrator Bob Scanlan asked the board to consider Rosendahl’s experience…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, January 22, 2013
County Chair Wants Resident off Plan Commission
A new year and few new faces greeted the Houston County Board Jan. 8 when they met to cover a variety of yearly housekeeping matters…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, January 15, 2013
Houston County Protectors Hosting Esteemed Speakers
Houston County Protectors will host a public information meeting Jan. 17 at the Four Seasons Community Center in Caledonia concerning the economic impact and health risks associated with frac sand mining…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, January 15, 2013
Letter to the Editor: Inherent Problems Exist with Frac Sand Mining
Is Houston County facing a series of Moral Hazards over industrial frac sand mining? One form of moral hazard exits when a party will take risks because the costs will not be felt by that party, but rather, the potential costs will be borne in part or whole by another party…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Bruce Kuehmichel, January 15, 2013
Letter to the Editor: Frac Sand Mining in Houston County
As commissioner for District #2 I don’t want to hinder any landowners’ freedom, but I do have to protect and preserve the quality of life for all citizens now and for generations to come…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Justin Zmyewski, December 26, 2012
 
Video: Houston County
donate
Houston County MN YouTube Channel
The Houston County Board of Commissioners has begun video recording thier weekly Tuesday morning Board meetings. Videos are posted on YouTube the following Wednesday. Check back weekly to stay up to date on the frac sand issues in our County.
>> view the weekly board agenda
 
Related Videos
Legal Review of Houston County Draft Mining Ordinances by Attorney Jay Squires (2/12/13): The Houston County Board of Commissioners asked that a meeting be setup to review the frac sand ordinances on February 12, 2013. This video captures the first two hours of that meeting.
 
Related Resources
Houston County Website
2013 Board Meeting Schedule
2013 County Board Meeting Minutes
Houston County Board: Contact Info
Houston Co. Zoning Ordinance
Houston Co. Comprehensive Land Use Plan
Houston County Officials: Contact Information and Term Lengths
Township Officers, City Officials, Soil & Water Conservation, CFSA Board, School Board, State & Federal Officials
 
 
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