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2010-02-18 Minutes PDF Print

SE MN Radio Advisory Committee

Meeting Minutes

Thursday, February 18, 2010

1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Rochester Public Utilities

4000 East River Road N.E.

Rochester, MN


1)  Meeting was called to order by Chair Darnell at 13:03 Hours.


In Attendance:

Jim Trihey/Dodge County                                            Barb Brewington/Rice/Steele County

Daryl Jensen/Fillmore County                                     Jean Westberg/Rice/Steele County

Mark Harig/Freeborn County                                       Blaine Hentz/Wabasha County

Dean Albers/Goodhue County                                      Brenda Wodele/Wabasha County EM

Nate Timm/Goodhue County                                       Paul Bostrack/City of Winona

Scott Yeiter/Houston County                                       Dave Brand/Winona County                                       

Mark May/Mower County                                           Michael Peterson/Winona County                                           

Mark Darnell/Olmsted County (Chair)                                     Tom Hannon/DECN SRB                                           

Judy Indrelie/Olmsted County                                                             Tim Lee/MNDOT

Richard Cook/Rice County                                          Steve Borchardt/State of MN DECN                           

                                                                                    Jeff Nelson/PSC Alliance                   


2)  Guest Welcome and Introduction


3)  Approval of Agenda

Additions to Agenda:  Under #5, add Nancy Braatus.

Deletions from Agenda:  Delete 5I – Dodge County; move to next meeting.

Motion by Yeiter/Hentz to approve today’s revised agenda.  Motion carried unanimously.


4)  Approval of Minutes for the December 17, 2009 Meeting:

Motion by Hentz/Jensen to approve the December 17, 2009 minutes as written.   Motion carried unanimously.


5)  Open Issues

a)  Goodhue County Progress Update

Should be “live” on ARMER by the end of March.  Frontenac Site: launching construction contracts to get work done for structural reinforcement.


b)  Freeborn County Progress Update

Detailed design review has been completed.  Equipment has been ordered and shipped.  Vendor says it will take a couple of weeks to do the install.  They don’t have to do any tower builds.  Goal is to go live by the end of August or early September.


c)  Rice County Progress Update

Currently working on fleet maps and will be submitting their Participation Plan at the March RAC & RRB meetings.  PSC Alliance has been hired to bring Rice County, Steele County and the Joint Dispatch Center onto the ARMER System.  Dispatch planning to go live in June of 2010 with Motorola 7550.  Rice County is planning to go “live” in early 2011.



d)  Wabasha County Progress Update

The console is hard installed and they would like to get their Participation Plan approved at the next RRB meeting.


e)  Winona County Progress Update

Mark is putting the Participation Plan together and they would like to get it approved at the next RRB meeting.


f)  Houston County Progress Update

Meeting with cities and townships, no one has any objections.  They are working on their Participation Plan.


g)  Fillmore County Progress Update

They are putting out the RFP for a vendor to work on the Participation Plan.


h)  Steele County Progress Update

Currently working on fleet maps and will be submitting their Participation Plan at the March RAC & RRB meetings.  PSC Alliance has been hired to bring Rice County, Steele County and the Joint Dispatch Center onto the ARMER System.  Dispatch planning to go live in June of 2010 with Motorola 7550.  Steele County is planning to go “live” in early 2012.


i)  Dodge County Progress Update  

They are working on their Participation Plan.  The draft is done; it’s in the internal review stage now.  They will be back in March with their Plan.


j)  Operations & Technical Committee Update

Dodge County ID request was approved.  Isanti ID’s were reviewed


k)  Grant Update – Judy Indrelie

Indrelie provided a packet of grant information for members.

  • Single White Sheet:  Emergency Management controls this grant. May be getting an extension, possibly to 6/30/2010.   Indrelie will let us know.
  • Blue Sheet/Packet:  Reminder that this is for subscriber equipment.  Handed out the reimbursement instructions.  This grant ENDS IN SEPTEMBER OF 2010.
  • Green Sheet/Packet:  Homeland Security Grant; NO MATCHING FUNDS; being administered by Homeland Security.
  • The RRB controls all other grants.

Borchardt stated that the RRB needs to look at divvying these up or using regionally.

  • White Packet:  2009 IEGCP Grant; SE Region will receive $32,805 dollars in equipment.  Don’t know the start date yet, but thinks it’s starting now.  If you have levied for it, you can’t go back now and take it out of your budget and use grant funds – it is called supplanting and that’s illegal.
  • PSIC/M&A:  Ends in December, $24,600 operates RRB ($18,000).  Planning category rather than M&A match dollars will go to general fund.
  • 2010 Grant Applications:

            Radio Equipment - $600,000 / $50,000 for each County put in for; no matching dollars.

            Tech Training – Logical that each County should have their own radio technician.

            Looking at purchasing an analyzer for each County so techs can keep the radios running.  Analyzers run


            Tech Training - $28,000 for on-line training for 2 techs/County.


Indrelie reminded members to submit their RRB reimbursement request forms quarterly, which is coming up next month.



l)  Interoperability Update / TIC Plan Update – Steve Borchardt

Borchardt commended Indrelie on her excellent grant report. 

South Central has Alpha Wireless doing all of their Participation Plans.  SC RRB is crafting resolution to the State requesting that the State dictate format for Regional Talk Group plans.   Right now State Interop Committee recommends each Region follow either Central Region open pool model or previous model which specified had come out of metro that SE had been modeled on.  Variety of things going on across south as regions looked at the models and did what they wanted to.  Problems with Counties having several Regional Talk Groups on their radios. 

Motion by Bartsch/Brewington to recommend to the RRB that they pass a resolution requesting that the State mandate standardized format for Regional Talk Group Plans.  Motion carried unanimously.

Lee felt that this should be looked at at higher level.  Need representation from each RAC there when discussed.  Much confusion.  Whole idea of RAC’s controlling their own radio system usage in their area is good idea, but at certain level it is a Statewide system and at certain level have to have consistency across State. 

Brewington added that Rice County officers will have to have 3 Regional Talk Groups in their radios; also felt recommendation should come from higher up.


  • State Interoperability Conference – Tom Hannon

04/28/10-04/30/10 in St. Cloud.  Program to be finalized within next 2 weeks.  Registration fee $125;

$50 if sponsored by local RRB with remainder grant subsidized.  Workshops on 04/28 - 2 and 4 hour

sessions in advanced technical topics.  People attending from all over Midwest and Canada.  Vendors with booths and demos.  Break-out sessions planned.  Conference will provide something for all levels.  Asking that RAC’s across State recommend to their RRB’s to send as many people as possible.  Indrelie

stated that there is $47,000 in grants to be used for this purpose.

Motion by Yeiter/Jensen to recommend to the RRB that they sponsor an RRB member and alternate, a RAC member and/or alternate from each County, Chair and Vice-Chair of Owners Operators Committee, radio techs, etc. to attend Statewide Interoperability Conference in St. Cloud April 28-30.   Motion carried unanimously.


  • TIC Plan – Harry Algyer

SE TIC Plan will be sent to Chair electronically in next 10 days; advised all to review and proof this copy.  Algyer asked who SE Region CSAM designee is who will update TIC Plan and CSAM entries.  Should recommend to RRB how this will be accomplished.  Not a fulltime job to keep it updated.  CSAM training 04/14/10 put on by State.  Yeiter commented that the process is not complicated and that a data entry person could do it.

Part of Algyer’s contractual obligations is option to provide interop educational training.  Up to users and the RAC to decide.  Time will be tight to fit it in, but could do outside scope of his contract.  Grant expires March 31.  Algyer asked that RAC consider a table top training session.

Algyer asked to be added to the Owners Operators e-mail list.

Motion by Brewington/Yeiter to recommend to the RRB to allocate funds to submit an RFP for updating CSAM.   Motion was carried unanimously.


m) State Update – Tim Lee

Dodge Center site tower is up, microwave is in, radios are there and will be on air shortly.  Kenyon site getting some reports back, no problems yet.  Frontenac site moving along.  Met regarding LaCrescent site; structural and groundwork came back okay; definitely moving into that site.  Will start working on a couple of sites in Fillmore soon.

State RRB has approved plan change for ARMER interop.  System level on ARMER side were always going to put limited amount on system level to do some of the patching with VHF systems for those migrating to the system.  Original plan didn’t have much in it so made a change to the plan.  DPS had Federal Engineering do a study, MNDOT made recommendation.  Interop Plan consists of two areas:  some of equipment provided on ARMER side, some should be looked at from local side.  On system side will provide mobile level coverage across State on MNSEF to start with.  Starting on it now; licensing both wideband and narrow band.   Wherever MNSEF stations are put in, will also put VHF control stations.

Also talked about fixed patches of local mains of those on VHF, UHF; those who haven’t moved to ARMER yet can patch their main to a Talk Group on the system; if County will give permission will put up a control station and patch it to create a Talk Group in the system for your County.  Can be requested at sites within your County so is available and on the air.  You would give permission to those you want to have this Talk Group in their 800 radio.  For example, if you give permission to State Patrol, they will have access to your main through the patch.  After you have moved to ARMER, the patch will be removed.

Fixed patch in system for local area; VHF channel would be patched to a Talk Group at system level; wouldn’t request that it come up on an RF site, but it would exist in the system.  

At local level, control stations will be put in PSAP’s.  System patches at local level.  Most plans are keeping fire, mutual aid or MNSEF at local level. 

Lee advised when go to ARMER want to have some of control stations as part of backup.  


n)  HSEM Update – Kevin Torgerson

Torgerson introduced Mark Marcy, MN Homeland Security.  Marcy noted that there were no HS updates.  Brewington asked if there will be more EM grant funds available that we are not aware of.  He reported that more money is coming directly to DECN.  Indrelie said that DECN has $5M to be used for interoperability in 2010. 


o)  Radio Users Group Update – Mike Peterson

Meetings have been moved to the third Thursday of the month for those who would like to attend this meeting as well as the Owners Operators and RAC meetings.  Meetings are held at the Olmsted County EOC at Airport at 6:30 p.m.  They are currently revising their by-laws to coincide with JPB agreement.


p)  Owners & Operators Group Update – Barb Brewington

Talked about policies put together by Users Group that have been approved by the RRB, but were given to them to review.  Issue of Regional Talk Groups; need to have more conversation on this.  Discussed ATAC’s and SE PTAC’s and how will be used in Dispatch.  Peterson brought up the by-laws and advised them to take a closer look at their bylaws and make sure that they conform with the RRB; was put on their agenda for next meeting.

Question was asked who the holder is of all of the bylaws and documents.  Darnell stated that each RRB member has a binder with this information in it that is updated regularly.  Includes minutes, JPA, etc.  Hannon said that Olmsted County is administrative agent; they maintain archive copies of documents that the RRB determines are necessary to keep.  Participation Plans, etc. create a storage issue.  In some areas, Counties where studies, etc. have been done are designated to retain these documents, but Olmsted County is responsible for maintaining meeting notices, meeting minutes, budgets, any types of data pertaining to administration.  Darnell added that these documents are distributed to RRB to put in their binders at each meeting.


q)  Nancy Braatus

SE MN is on the edge of technology with Fiber Optics.   Braatus would like to see SE MN served in the fiber optics department sooner than other areas.  It comes down to economics, Fiber Optics will bring business to the area which will improve economics.

There were 2,200 applications for the first application process. Applicants were made up of schools, libraries, hospitals.   $16M in Federal Grants is available.  Round two of applications is just starting and the monies are specific to Public Safety and Community/Technical Colleges.

Meeting with government entities to see if they have a need for Fiber Optics.

Braatus introduced John Griffin who is working on the project.


John Griffin:

Cellular telephone companies don’t have a business case for Fiber Optics.  This is an opportunity to bring Fiber Optics to rural areas where there has only been DSL capability through an individual’s residential telephone.

We will be meeting with OET and Scott Wiggins to see if there is an opportunity for development on the State side.  Griffin stated that he realized that this is completely outside of the ARMER project, but that there may be other opportunities on the State side to apply for the grant funding.   He said that they are “vetting” five approaches for applying for the grant and they are just checking to see what else is out there that might be able to work with this funding.


6)  New Business

RRB Update – Mark Darnell

There was no quorum present at last meeting.

Indrelie, Tom Kaase, Rick Freshwater and Borchardt will be representing SE MN at the interoperability forum in Mobile, AL from 02/24/10-02/26/10.

Insurance has been acquired; final approval will be requested at the March meeting.

Board agreed that Rick Freshwater should be named System Administrator with Dave Thompson as his backup for Participation Plans.  Advised that Counties should be naming these individuals for this position as they complete their plans.

Participation Plans are being scheduled for approval by the RAC on March 18 and the RRB on March 22.



7)  Adjournment

Motion by Yeiter/Jensen to adjourn the meeting.  Motion carried unanimously.   Meeting adjourned at 14:48 Hours.


Next Meeting Dates

Next RRB meeting scheduled for Monday, March 22, 2010 at 1:00 at Rochester Public Utilities.

Next RAC meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 1:00 at Rochester Public Utilities.




Minutes Respectfully Submitted by Jean Westberg

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