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Ever wanted to give government a piece of your mind?

Hikers on Crow Wing County trails could have a new reason to break out their smartphones.

A Quick Response code, or a QR code, is that square barcode now prevalent on everything from Tupperware catalogs to television programs. By using a smartphone, the QR code may be scanned and immediately link the person behind the phone with more information — videos, catalogs, websites, menus and so on.

Administrator Tim Houle said there are multiple areas the county could put the QR codes to use such as road construction projects and ski trails. For the county, the codes could link trail users, for example, to a five-question survey.

Houle said it’s a new technology that he thinks has an application to allow the county to collect feedback at very little additional cost to see if the county is meeting the needs of the people it is there to serve.

For trail users or people affected by road construction projects, it creates an option to give county government a piece of their mind when the impulse for feedback is fresh.

In terms of positive feedback, Houle said the county is getting good response to an administrative decision to waive a fee for shoreline alterations for ice ridges. The county decided to waive that fee this year after many residents were negatively affected by ice ridges this year based on the unusual weather.

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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