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County hires new highway engineer

Krysten Foster was hired last week as the highway engineer for Lake County. She's been learning the ropes at the headquarters on Highway 2 in Two Harbors. Photo by LaReesa Sandretsky.

Four months after Al Goodman retired, the county has finally named his successor. The Lake County Board of Commissioners approved the hire of Krysten Foster as the county highway engineer at last week's meeting.

Foster grew up in Mountain Iron and attended Itasca Community College for two years before attending the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and earning her bachelor's degree in civil engineering. She took a job at the Minnesota Department of Transportation while completing her master's degree in business administration. She worked at MnDOT for seven years before taking the highway engineer job in Lake County.

"I'm happy to be back in northern Minnesota," Foster said Tuesday. "I remember being a little girl and coming up to Two Harbors so I'm very happy to be here."

Foster, who will be the head of the department and responsible for the oversight of 23 staff, said she has specialized experience with accessibility and ensuring compliance to the Americans with Disabilities Act. She said she's looking forward to working with neighboring counties and her new coworkers to take care of 375 miles of county roads.

"I'm excited to work with the great team here. Lake County has a very strong legacy of engineers with a lot of tenure. It's known as a great place to work," she said.

The board approved a change to the penalty fee schedule for the Lake County Environmental Health licensure fees.

Restaurants, bars, hotels, pools and youth camps are all covered under the licensure process and year-round businesses must pay their fees by Jan. 31 or face a penalty. Seasonal establishments have until May 16 to remit payment.

Public Health Supervisor Michelle Backes-Fogelberg explained that establishments had been charged double, even if they missed the deadline by one day. The new proposal would allow for more flexibility-- a 25 percent penalty for payments made up to five days late, and a 50 percent penalty if the payment is between six and 15 days late. The doubled rate would apply if businesses paid the fee after more than 15 days.

"I like what you're doing here," said Commissioner Rick Goutermont. "I can support this. I think this is more reasonable."

The measure passed, with Backes-Fogelberg reminding the board that there would be a five percent increase in the licensure fee this year, which the board approved in 2011.

LaReesa Sandretsky
LaReesa Sandretsky is a Two Harbors High School graduate and Duluth native who began working at the News-Chronicle in 2012 as a reporter. She took over as editor in 2014. She covers County Board, including the Lake County broadband project.
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