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AUSTIN EDITION - Townships look forward to 'fair' chance to tout their benefits

By Tim Ruzek

truzek@postbulletin.com

Townships are the foundation of the nation's democracy, according to a Mower County Fair Board member.

"You have to let people know about that," board member Don Konken told a meeting of officials from the county's 20 townships Thursday in Elkton.

They'll have their chance during this year's county fair, because the board is setting aside the 8 p.m. slot for its Fair Square stage for people to inform others about their township.

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Konken said the board would like each township to share information about itself for about five to 10 minutes on the stage during one of the fair's nights.

Konken and Scott Felten, a fellow board member, also asked townships for financial support to help maintain the fair's quality.

The fair had its operating budget slashed nearly in half by the county board last December, causing fair board members to consider implementing a gate fee for the first time in nearly two decades.

However, this year's fair, which will run Aug. 10-15, will remain free, Felten said. The fair board has reworked its budget, has cut expenses and is looking for other sources of sponsorship to help handle the lost revenue, he said.

If the 20 Mower County townships feel strongly enough that it's important to maintain the fair's quality, financial support would be appreciated, Felten said. The fair will be free this year, but it's not guaranteed to stay that way for 2005.

"A lot can happen between now and next year," Felten said.

The fair board members also mentioned that John Mueller, a lieutenant with the Austin Police Department, was appointed by the board earlier this month to replace the late Loren Hanson as one of its directors. Hanson, a member of the board for 25 years, died in November at age 60.

Mueller will fulfill the rest of his term, which will expire in November.

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