Longtime community advocate presented with award

Published 3:19 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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The Freeborn County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday presented the Rose Olmsted Advocacy Award to a longtime advocate for people in the community without a voice.

Linda Lares recently retired from SEMCAC after more than 40 years in public service and was known for her work advocating for minorities and the less fortunate.

County Administrator Ryan Rasmusson said Lares embodies what the award represents and has been a role model in the community, aiding those who needed financial and physical assistance.

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Lares, after receiving the award, said the work she was able to accomplish was made possible through many who were in attendance in the audience and through partnerships and collaborations in the community.

She said in her retirement she plans to continue these efforts and described the area as a “wonderful, strong community.”

Third District Commissioner John Forman said many good things have come about in Freeborn County because of Lares, and 5th District Commissioner Nicole Eckstrom said Lares was the reason she became a mentor.

The award, which is given out annually, was set up in 2015 to honor Olmsted’s 38 years of service provided on a county, state and national level for victims of child abuse, sexual assault, crime, domestic violence and their loved ones. She also worked on behalf of individuals and communities looking for ways in which to find resiliency after natural and human made disasters.

In other action, the board:

• Approved a conditional use permit for Klemmensen Grain & Custom Farming to construct private use grain storage and support buildings in Newry Township.

• Approved a new solid waste haulers permit to Helping Hands Junk Removal.

• Approved 2024 tobacco licenses for Hollandale Three-in-One Bar, ExpressWay in Alden, Geneva Bar & Grill in Geneva, Freeborn County Co-Op Oil in Alden, Woah-n-Go Speedway in Manchester Township and Clarks Grove Market in Clarks Grove.

• Accepted a grant of $7,500 from USPCA K-9 Reunite for the Sheriff’s Office K-9 program.

• Appointed Commissioner Dawn Kaasa to the Opioid Advisory Committee.

• Approved filling a vacant social worker/case manager position.

• Approved an independent contractor agreement with former Auditor-Treasurer Pat Martinson. Martinson will consult periodically with Interim Auditor-Treasurer Kelly Martinson and will be paid at the same rate she was receiving prior to her retirement.

• Approved an interagency cooperative agreement with the Minnesota Department of Human Services for reimbursement for certain child support services. Under the agreement, the County Attorney’s Office will receive $7,725 for 2024 and $7,950 for 2025, and the Sheriff’s Office will receive $6,785 for 2024 and $6,985 for 2025.