The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

April 20, 2013

Blue Earth County strives to let the public know what it does

MANKATO — There’s plenty of competition for counties when it comes to seeking public awareness in April.

April is National County Government Month, but it’s also National Poetry Month, Financial Literacy Month, Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month and many more. But folks at the courthouse are making a game effort to get people to think about Blue Earth County and what it does.

Even the 2- to 3-year-olds at the Blue Earth County Library’s Story Time got a taste of it this week with Capt. Rich Murry of the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office and County Board Chairman Drew Campbell reading to the tots.

Murry, dressed in his uniform and reading law enforcement-themed kiddie books, is a natural attention-getter for the youngsters, said library specialist Jennifer Cassman.

“It’s kind of awe-inspiring, it really is,” Cassman said of the presence of a cop for little ones.

County commissioners, even the chairman, probably don’t carry the same sort of star appeal for pre-schoolers, and Cassman didn't have Campbell read a nonfiction book on county zoning or property assessment records.

Instead Cassman picked out at least one funny work of fiction called  “‘This Is Not My Hat" for Campbell's session that occurred Thursday.

Appropriate, too, since April is also National Humor Month.

The story time readings combine National County Government Month with National Library Week, but the county awareness efforts have been scattered throughout the month.

On April 29, the Blue Earth County Justice Center will be open to public tours, said county communications manager Jessica Beyer. The county jail is off limits for public tours, but visitors will see courtrooms and other parts of the facility.

“Next year we’ll probably be doing the historic courthouse again,” she said.

Beyer also is trying to get the word out about the wide variety of services provided by the county, something that county officials think can get lost by people’s focus on the federal government, the state and cities.

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