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Extension approved for East Gull Lake trail

East Gull Lake recevied good news Thursday.

The Cass County Board agreed to designate $70,000 to complete Phases Four and Fve of the trail project that will extend the original trail that goes around the East Gull Lake area to run south toward Sylvan Township and west toward Fairview Township.

Cass County administrator Robert Yochum said $70,000 will be taken out of the county's "Fund 73," which is a trust fund the county set up after selling its state lease lots for $4 million. Yochum said the county can use the interest from the fund on trail projects.

The county already had designated $100,000 for the trail, but the additional $70,000 will help extend the trail. The city of East Gull Lake has designated $10,000 for the trail.

Yochum said the two phases include adding about four miles of trail that will connect with the existing multi-use paved trails. One extension is along County State Aid Highway 77 and the second extension will run southerly along Cass County Road 18. Yochum said the creation of the trail system began in 2006. The trail is a looped system that includes several miles of trails paralleling roads in the area. The East Gull Lake trails include scenic wooded sections and the trails are designed at a gradual slope that wheel chair-bound people also can use.

The county board in September voted to support a Region 5 plan to seek requests for proposal to plan a motorized and non-motorized trail system around Camp Ripley, connect to the Soo Line Trail south of Little Falls, connect to the Paul Bunyan Trail at Brainerd-Baxter and provide a connecting link between Pillager and Baxter.

In other county business, the board appointed Sgt. Erick Hoglund to become chief deputy effective Jan. 4. Hoglund will serve under former chief deputy Tom Burch, who was elected as the county's sheriff for 2011. Hoglund has been with the Cass County Sheriff's Office for 10 years. Prior to being with the county, he served with the Cass Lake Police Department.

The board also agreed to establish a project budget of $4.8 million for public emergency radio equipment, with $3.5 million of it to be under contract with Motorola. Yochum said the county is working on having an emergency radio system using equipment called 800 MHz and VHF pagers that would benefit all the departments of police, fire and first responders in all the cities and townships in the county.

Yochum said the county is purchasing the equipment, but the cities and townships will be responsible for maintaining the system.

Yochum said the goal is to have the system up and running by Jan. 1, 2012.

The board declined to get into the dog ordinance business. Yochum said a county resident had a problem with a dog and contacted the county. Yochum said cities and townships are the entities that are authorized to go into the dog business, not the county.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at or 855-5851.