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Dowson to chair Cass board

 WALKER – Commissioner Jim Dowson, Walker, will chair the Cass County Board in 2011. Commissioner Jeff Peterson, Hackensack, will be vice chair.

Before the board's first meeting this year on Tuesday, Judge David Harrington swore into office re-elected incumbents Dowson, Commissioner Bob Kangas, Recorder Katie Norby and County Attorney Christopher Strandlie. The judge also swore in newly elected Sheriff Tom Burch and Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk, East Gull Lake.

 The board set the first regular meeting of each month for the first Tuesday, beginning at 9 a.m. at the courthouse in Walker. The second meeting January through April and October through December will be at 9 a.m. the third Tuesday at the land department building in Backus.

 The second meeting of May through September will be held at locations throughout the county, usually at 6 p.m. The board expects to decide exact times and locations at the Jan. 18 meeting.

 The board approved among items on the consent agenda a request from Burch to grant him a leave of absence from his previous appointment as chief deputy. State law permits any appointed county official to seek an unpaid leave of absence in the event they are elected to an elective office.

 This action would permit Burch to return to the sheriff's office as a deputy should he fail in any future election to win the race for sheriff before he should choose to retire.

 The Walker Pilot Independent will continue as Cass County's official newspaper in 2011. Their total bid price was lower than bids received from Lake Country Echo & Pine River Journal or Pine Cone Press Citizen of Longville. Cass Lake Times had the lowest bid and won the contract for second publication rights for the second financial statement.

The Pilot Independent's total cost was higher than Cass Lake Times, but, because the Times has lower total circulation, their per-copy price was higher than the Pilot Independent's.