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County commissioner Dick Devine to leave at end of term

In his last year of service, Dick Devine has chaired the Hubbard County board. Monday night he introduced his fellow board members to a Laporte audience. From left they are Devine, Cal Johannsen, Greg Larson, Kathy Grell and Lyle Robinson.

Dick Devine is leaving government service on his own terms.

After winning 11 elections in a row for Park Rapids School Board, then Hubbard County commission, Devine is calling it quits on his Dist. 2 county board position.

"Sixteen years is enough," the chairman of the board said.

Before that he served on the school board 18 years.

"Lasting that long on either one is pretty good, I guess," he laughed.

"Heritage is really the one reason I didn't want to stop," he said of his passion for the county-owned senior living complex and nursing home.

"It's easy to run for one of those offices; it's harder to quit," Devine said. "You get involved in things and hate to walk away from them. I feel that especially for Heritage because I hope everything goes all right. I've been around long enough to know how everything works. Hopefully it'll all work out. I think it's in great shape.

"The one building needs replacing but we've lucked out in that there's funding that can be gotten from the state this year. If they get this last building it'll be perfect," he said of major renovations to the nursing home.

Devine, an avid golfer, said, "I hope next year I get to play some golf without missing all my golf dates because of meetings."

But he admits to mixed feelings about leaving.

"I loved all of it," he said. I enjoyed 95 percent of it but it reaches a point where it's better to let some young people take over and have at it."

By press time Tuesday Matt Dotta, a deputy assessor, and Jason "Bucky" Johnson, an emergency medical technician, had filed for the vacant seat, both seeking their first try at public office.

"I think they're both good guys," he said. "Either one of them, I think, would do a good job. I really don't have any worry about that.

"I just hate to walk away from Heritage because it's kind of a critical time right now, but I'll be here until December."

He and wife Julie own a motor home with very low mileage on it.

"Theoretically we're gonna travel more," he said. "It'll be nice to take it easy for awhile. I've been going to meetings all these years. I can't say I haven't enjoyed it. It was my own doing and I liked what I was doing. I liked the school board and I liked the county. There's good people in Hubbard County. It went well."

And, the retired State Patrol trooper said he wanted to leave on a high note, without being defeated in Bid #12 for office.

"I don't have any bad vibes at all," he said. "I'd just as soon have friends when I leave."

In Dist. 4, another longtime incumbent, Lyle Robinson, is facing a growing number of opponents.

Monday, Dan Stacey of Akeley filed for the seat, joining Ralph Sanquist and Teresa Rick.

Robinson, who was first elected in 1987, also filed.

Filing closed late Tuesday, hours after the Enterprise went to press.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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