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Cass Lake mayor brings race issues to Park Rapids council

Alleged racial discrimination issues were raised at the Park Rapids council table this week.

Cass Lake Mayor Wayne LaDuke addressed the council Tuesday about two incidents that allegedly happened in town.

The first involved a business that reportedly told tribal students it was out of a product they requested.

A few minutes later, the students saw other customers outside of the business with the same product that they wanted to order.

LaDuke said the second incident happened this year at a school sporting event. A concession stand employee refused to serve a group of Cass Lake students.

"We do not serve Indians," the employee allegedly told the students.

LaDuke said he wasn't looking for action from the council, but needed to bring it up since it was repeated.

"I'm not going to sit here and judge the community of Park Rapids," he said. "I appreciate whatever the council can do to resolve this issue."

Councilman Pat Mikesh suggested contacting the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber for more training opportunities to educate local business employees.

It's good to highlight the issue even though it's unfortunate that it happened, councilman Dave W. Konshok agreed.

In other action, the council:

-Appointed Paul Utke to fill Mike Strodtman's vacated position on the council.

The council received two letters of intent, one from Utke and the second from Nels Peterson.

Utke's term will expire Dec. 31, 2010.

-Supported Hafner's Greenhouse Highway 34 beautification project.

Hafner's will use light poles to hang 100 flower baskets.

Darin Hafner said that Highway 34 is a big stretch of town that currently has no color, which is why he wanted to get this project going.

Businesses on the highway will likely support the project financially and the city is not obligated to pay for the work or plants, he said.

-Approved a survey to be completed by the city's engineers of the well house and the deep well project site. The survey is needed due to utility connections.

-Was presented with financial statements from the Hubbard County Regional Economic Development Commission.

The HCREDC is requesting a $40,000 increase in 2010, up from $30,000.

Last month, the council asked for the detailed financial statements. After studying them, members will discuss the issue at a future meeting.

-Learned Konshok will be deployed to Afghanistan next summer for a six- to eight-month period with the Air Force.