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'Chili bill' on its way to governor's desk

Competition in the non-restaurant division of next fall’s Crosslake Chili Cook-off may be a little stiffer this fall as the result of legislative action this week.

Participation among Crosslake’s amateur chili chefs dropped off sharply in 2012 and 2013, Cindy Myogeto, Crosslake area director at the Crosslake office of the Brainerd Lakes Chamber, said. She estimated that entries were down 50 percent in 2012 and 2013, after the cook-off complied with Minnesota Department of Health restrictions that required the chili to be fully prepared at the business site where it was being served to consumers.

This week elements of bills introduced by Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, and Rep. Joe Radinovich, DFL-Crosby, were attached to a Farmer’s Market bill that’s been approved by both the Minnesota House and Senate and is expected to be sent to Gov. Mark Dayton for his signature.

The eased restrictions allow community-based nonprofit groups to serve chili and soup prepared off the premises if the public is informed of that fact.

“It was just too taxing for the (participating) businesses to prepare from start to finish at the (distribution) locations,” Myogeto said.

The chamber official said she was ecstatic at the success of the legislative effort and appreciative of the efforts of Ruud an Radinovich to resolve the problem.

“It is absolutely going to solve the problem,” she said. “It’s actually better than we asked for.”

Both Ruud and Radinovich expected the bill to be signed by the governor.

It’s really good language,” Ruud said. “It helps all the communities.”

MIKE O’ROURKE may be reached at 855-5860 or Follow on Twitter at

Mike O'Rourke
Mike O'Rourke began his career at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. He was named city editor in 1981 and associate editor in 1999. He covers politics and writes features and editorials.
(218) 855-5860