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Crow Wing County: Board appoints Houge chair

Commissioner Doug Houge

Commissioner Doug Houge will serve as chair of the Crow Wing County Board in 2016.

Houge was named chair at the Tuesday, Jan. 5, county board meeting, the first of the year. The role is typically rotated among commissioners annually.

Houge was first elected to the county board in 2007 in a special election to replace Commissioner John "Jinx" Ferrari, who died in office. Houge was re-elected to the board in 2008 and 2012. He represents District 5, which encompasses the northwestern and west-central parts of the county. This includes the cities of Crosby, Cuyuna, Deerwood, Emily, Fifty Lakes, Ironton, Manhattan Beach, Riverton and Trommald.

Commissioner Paul Thiede, who represents District 2, was elected to serve as vice chairman.

Following the election of Houge to chairman, he went on the preside over his first meeting since serving as chairman in 2012.

The board passed resolutions typical of its first meeting of the year, including setting per diem rates, outlining the proper closure of meetings and establishing committee assignments. No changes were made to any of these. The Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce Regional Business Council appointments were removed from the committee list because the group no longer meets, according to County Administrator Tim Houle.

The board also accepted the combined bid from the Brainerd Dispatch, the Echo Journal and the Crosby-Ironton Courier for publishing legal notices, awarding secondary publication to the NewsHopper.

State law mandates the county board to designate publications for legal notices at the first meeting of the year. The resolution accepting the Brainerd Dispatch's bid, which was the recommendation of county staff, passed unanimously without discussion from commissioners.

The board also approved appointing Tamra Laska, human resource director, as a voting delegate for the Association of Minnesota Counties. Houle said this appointment is usually rotated among senior management. Community Services Director Kara Terry was appointed alternate.

Chelsey Perkins

Chelsey Perkins grew up in Crosslake and is a graduate of Pequot Lakes High School. She earned her bachelor's degree in professional journalism at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Perkins interned at the Lake Country Echo and the Rochester and Austin Post-Bulletins, and also worked for the student-run Minnesota Daily newspaper as a copy editor and columnist during college. She went on to intern at Utne Reader magazine, where she was later hired as the research editor. Before becoming the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch, Perkins worked as the county government beat reporter at the Dispatch and a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal.

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