Clatsop County commissioners heard presentations on education and wellness at Wednesday’s regular meeting and approved counsel contract proposals.

The board also adopted proposed amendments to a Land and Water Development and Use ordinance allowing storage structures for emergency supplies to be kept in forestland within Clatsop County.

Clatsop Community College President Larry Galizio came before the board and presented an update about the college’s current funding situation and courses such as nursing and welding available for students. He said that state funding for the college has dropped significantly, putting a greater burden on students who are paying higher tuition.

But he said the benefits of higher education for students and the community still outweigh the cost when looking at the long-term picture.

“It’s both a private gain for the individuals who are getting the education and a public good because it lowers social costs,” Galizio said.

Steven Blakesley, interim public health director for the county, presented a map of recreational trails that has been produced to spur greater outdoor exercise. The project was worked on by various local partnerships, including the National Park Service at Lewis and Clark National Historic Park.

Blakesley said that the idea was to produce a product that could be printed out at hotels and businesses around town for visitors. It is also seen as a way to engage in inexpensive exercise for county residents.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Belinda Kruger and Christie Larson were presented with a Katherine Hellberg Distinguished Service Award for their service with the county public health department. Kruger, a nurse practitioner, and Larson, a registered nurse, have spent a combined 66 years with the department.

The board also approved a resolution concerning the reimbursement of legal fees that could arise from Oregon Ethics Commission proceedings. City/County Insurance Service (CIS) covers legal fees associated with claims against commissioners and official county committee members up to $2,500. The board decided it was in the best interest to support those exonerated in the rare occasion of an investigation to assuage any concern of personal hardship by those serving on committees.

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