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The Regional Report: Pequot mayoral race remains competitive

LITTLE FALLS

A lightning strike forced the closure of the Great River Regional Library in Little Falls recently, the Morrison County Record reported. Lightning hit the library, or close to it, during a storm Aug. 23, causing damage to the building's electrical system. While smoke set off detectors, the library's collection suffered no damage. After a week of repairs, the library reopened.

MORRISON COUNTY

The memory of the late Duane Johnson, Morrison County commissioner, will live on through new drones at the Morrison County Sheriff's Office, the Morrison County Record reported. The Swanville Lions Club, of which Johnson was a member, raised $15,000 to purchase three drones for the office. The project was inspired by Johnson, who before he died encouraged fellow Lions member Neil Hagstrom to pursue the project. Hagstrom said his inspiration also derived from his own 8-year-old granddaughter, who is autistic. The drones could be used to assist in locating missing children or vulnerable adults.

PEQUOT LAKES

The mayoral race in Pequot Lakes will remain competitive, despite a candidate's attempt to withdraw, the Echo Journal reported. Mayoral candidate James Tayloe said he decided to stay in the race after learning he'd missed the deadline to remove his name from the ballot. Tayloe's change of heart follows the withdrawal of another mayoral candidate, Pete Clement. Tayloe and Cathy Malecha will face off to assume the role of top executive in the November election.

PIERZ

Gap financing for the makers of Smude's Sunflower Oil received approval from the Pierz City Council, the Morrison County Record reported. Owners Tom and Jenni Smude seek expansion of their business, which currently produces oil from about 1,000 acres of sunflowers. While the expansion was nearly fully financed through an investor a bank loan and five investment loans established through Community Development of Morrison County, the Smudes sought $300,000 from the Minnesota Investment Fund to complete their financing. The city of Pierz was required to agree to administer the loan.

With its expansion, the facility would add four oil presses and increase to 5,000 acres of sunflowers.

-- Compiled by Chelsey Perkins, community editor. Perkins may be reached at 218-855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com. Follow her on Twitter @DispatchChelsey or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dispatchchelsey.

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