The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

October 31, 2012

Incumbent Piepho challenged by Wood in County Board race



n The transfer of the Nichols Office Center to VINE

n The collaboration on governing the detox center in New Ulm. Commissioner Will Purvis sits on the group’s board.

n The environmentally friendly emphasis of the Justice Center

n The county’s response to the H1N1 virus, also called swine flu, outbreak in 2009.

Wood is pursuing a master’s degree in aging studies from Minnesota State University and is interested in how the county can help ease the transition to an older population.

Wood also has something of a checkered past.

In 2010, she shot and wounded her neighbor’s dog during an ongoing property dispute. She was not convicted of a crime, but a civil case she declined to discuss continues to work its way through the courts.

When Wood is knocking on doors and the issue comes up, she said she tries to talk about what led to her decision.

At the time, she was running for election on the Mankato Township Board, which she lost about 70 percent to 30 percent.

Piepho, a state representative from 1979 to 1986 seeking his second County Board term, mostly talks about dollars and cents.

For example, he praises the Nichols project not for its collaboration with VINE but for the demolition money it saved — a rough estimate of $600,000.

The other highlights of his term include:

n A budget reduction of 10 percent over the past three years. Some of this was due to the one-time spending on the Justice Center.

n Relaxing zoning rules for rural businesses.

n Saving money by avoiding removal of the Rapidan Dam.

n Adding onto the Ponderosa Landfill.

He said voters don’t have many big county issues on their minds lately.

“When it’s working, most people don’t have questions,” he said of county government.

One visible change has been the county’s embrace of roundabouts.

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