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County should broaden its search

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opinion Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd Dispatch
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Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

It may often be with the best intentions, but governmental bodies have a habit of handcuffing themselves — limiting their abilities to make the best possible decisions.

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A case in point is the self-imposed constriction the Crow Wing County Board currently operates under in which it appoints a Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Commission member from Oak Lawn Township. Owned jointly by Crow Wing County and the city of Brainerd, the airport is in Oak Lawn Township. There may well have been good reasons to insist on an Oak Lawn Township member during the facility’s growing years but do those reasons stand up today?

The airport commission is at a crucial juncture in 2012. The panel is losing Delta, which has been its major air service provider. It’s entering the busy summer season with an impressive, remodeled airport terminal. And now, the airport commission, which has already had a fair bit of turnover, is preparing to welcome a new commissioner to the fold.

The airport panel deserves the best possible candidate the county can find and limiting the selection pool to just Oak Lawn Township is self-defeating. The county board could certainly show preference to a resident of Oak Lawn Township but it’s time to abandon the practice of limiting the choices to just those residents.

In fact, in a perfect world, we’d like to widen the search even further. Cass County with its many lakes area resorts is one of the bigger beneficiaries of airport service. Doesn’t it make sense that Cass County should have representation and have a contributing stakeholder role in the gateway to the Brainerd lakes area?

— Mike O’Rourke

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889
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