Zapped food is cheapest at jailThe county is leaning toward “Mean Gene” Okerlund. The one-time wrestling announcer now owns Fuzion Food Group, which provides frozen entrees heated in a convection oven for convenience stores. Now, the county jail may use the system.
The county is leaning toward “Mean Gene” Okerlund. The one-time wrestling announcer now owns Fuzion Food Group, which provides frozen entrees heated in a convection oven for convenience stores. Now, the county jail may use the system.
The goal for the sheriff’s office and the county board is to lower the cost of meals. Sheriff Carey Johnson came up with the Fuzion idea earlier this year. The board sought out meal providers in the area, but none of them could offer meals for what Fuzion would cost a year, about $58,000. Current meals from Sunrise Home cost $96,000.
But the cost for Fuzion ovens would be a big hit off the bat, $40,000, and staff would be used to prepare meals in the jail kitchen.
Superior Shores said it could produce two meals a day for $76,000 – which doesn’t include transportation.
Commissioner Rick Gout-ermont said the county had used other restaurants in the past to but they back out when faced with the pressure of providing meals seven days a week all year long.
Next for the board is finding out if the Fuzion system fits into the nutrition requirements enforced by the Minnesota Department of Corrections.
Meals would come frozen from a vendor and would have simple directions for cooking in the ovens. County Coordinator Matt Huddleston said you can just press a button on the oven corresponding with what ever item you are cooking.
Even though the county may hire two cooks for the job, commissioners want jailors to be familiar with the operation, just in case they have to prepare a meal.
“This is like falling off a log,” said Commissioner Paul Bergman about the ease of using the Fuzion ovens. He said he doesn’t plan on voting on Fuzion because a friend of his is a representative for the company.
If Fuzion jacks up the price on food, they can still purchase food through other suppliers and use the Fuzion ovens.
“It’s going to be small, but I think they have the ability to do it,” Huddleston said about space at the kitchen in the jail.
Lake County may not get a chance to present its plan to the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council to purchase 4,720 acres of timber lands from Roy Marlow, a landowner it is in litigation with. Lake County is 34th on a list of 44 projects to be pitched to the council. It’s expected the council will only hear the first 30.
Money for the purchase would come from the state’s Outdoor Heritage Fund. The Heritage Council would purchase the land with funds raised from a pool of cash created by the .375 percent state sales tax increase state voters approved for the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.
The proposal from the county, known as the Lake County Forest Habitat and Access Protection Project, is an effort to keep intact its 155,000 acre forest while creating more public recreational projects in Lake County.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is also looking for a conservation easement on 30,000 acres of Marlow’s land so it could be used by the public. The 4,720 acres the county wants is included in that.
Out of Boundary Waters
The county is working out a land exchange deal to acquire 3,618 acres about 10 miles northwest of Silver Bay. The county would give up 2,854 acres in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to the Superior National Forest. If the deal were to go through, the county would no longer have land in the Boundary Waters.