If any one issue dominated the news in Sherburne County in 2012 it was politics. To go along with the Presidential election, the state went through a redistricting process that happens every 10 years after the latest census. In Sherburne County, that meant the boundaries of just about every commissioner district changed. The county board adopted the new boundaries in May and only Commissioner Ewald Petersen’s Dist. 2 (Big Lake city and township) was unaffected. The other four districts had major population shifts and boundary shifts. And that meant the commissioners in those districts had to run for re-election in November. The result, incumbents Rachel Leonard (Dist. 5), Felix Schmiesing (Dist. 4) and John Riebel (Dist. 3) were all re-elected. But Commissioner Larry Farber (Elk River) lost his re-election bid to former sheriff Bruce Anderson, who will be sworn in during the first meeting in 2013. As for new business, there wasn’t much significant going on. The highways department was busy with road projects, and signed a contract to develop an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plan that will help disabled individuals get around the streets and sidewalks easier in the future. The board also approved the purchase of a new tandem truck for public works for $234,000. It is the first in what will be a long process of replacing the county’s aging fleet of maintenance vehicles. In May, the board gave it approval for the recorder’s department to begin a microfilm scanning project, signing a contract with U.S. Imaging, Inc. for $47,000 to scan old microfilm records from 1957-1979, of which only one copy exists. The process will preserve valuable records and make them available electronically. In June, the board gave its approval to the Little Farm Hands Committee to locate a new building near the History Center in Becker. Little Farm Hands is an agricultural education exhibit that gives kids hands-on experience in the agricultural process, beginning at the farm and ending at the market. It will be the first building on the site of what is expected to be the future county fairgrounds. In June, the county dedicated its Veterans’ Memorial at the entrance to the History Center. It was a project that was conceived back in 2006 and was paid for entirely by donations. The memorial is a dark gray stone monument flanked by three flagpoles, a concrete wall and landscaping. About 50 people, plus local officials attended the ceremony, with guest speaker Gen. Larry Shellito, Commissioner of the Minnesota Dept. of Veterans Affairs and former Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. Also in May, the board extended a moratorium on approving applications for solid waste facilities until language in the ordinance could be ironed out. In August, the board also set a six-month moratorium on issuing conditional use permits (CUPs) for new feedlots or expansions of existing feedlots while a committee reviewed the ordinance. In one of its final meetings, the board learned that 85 properties in Sherburne County had been removed from the FEMA flood zones after a pilot project that revised the floodplain map. County staff and department officials began budget discussions mid-year. Most employees were given a 1.25% increase in Jan. 2013 and another in July, 2013. Elected officials and were voted a two percent pay increase, and in December, the commissioners also voted to increase their salary by two percent. But the county was still able to adopt a levy for 2013 without an increase for the third straight year.