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Letter: Park Rapids has its act together

I just attended a political convention in Park Rapids the end of April. The city was a great host. There were no problems and the convention was a success.

Paul Utke brings this convention to Park Rapids every two years by putting together a proposal and selling it to the 8th Congressional District GOP Executive Board. The 8th CD covers 18 counties and runs from the Canadian border to the north metro. There are a lot of places to have conventions—both large and small. The 250 people who attend this convention look forward to Park Rapids because it is the best convention site of any used. This was the convention’s third time in Park Rapids.

The 8th CD GOP board found Utke to be a hard-working solid convention host and asked him to serve on its executive board. Paul Utke is now running for the Minnesota Senate and few doubt that he will serve Park Rapids and the district with extraordinary energy, competence and integrity.

The hotels of Park Rapids were reasonably priced and plentiful; I got a room on the floor I wanted and the facility was efficient and professionally staffed. There is a remarkable authentic Mexican restaurant downtown that has become a convention tradition for a group of us. Service, food, seating and ambiance are all excellent and worth telling others about.

The Chamber had tote bags full of coupon books, maps and brochures from area businesses available in the hotels and at the convention. As a special touch, a representative from the Chamber stopped by and was given an opportunity to welcome the delegates and invite us to stay an extra night; many did.

The kitchen staff at Century School had their legendary food ready exactly on time. It’s a bit unusual to have delegates actually looking forward to convention food.

My car failed to start the morning of the convention, so I got a ride to the convention and left the car at my hotel. That set off a chain of events that allowed me to see the extraordinary work and organization involved in putting on a convention. Paul Utke had agreed to drive me back to my hotel and see if we could get my car started. After the convention, as I waited for Paul, I was able to watch a meticulously organized team moving tables, chairs and sound equipment. Trailer loads of chairs were returned to another school. Tables were returned to their rental company. Paul and his team completed in an hour as I marveled at the hard work and organization. When the work was done, Paul drove me to my car and got it started—a final detail to a well-organized day.

Park Rapids has its act together. It has competent, caring and hard-working people in the hospitality sector. It has a strong Chamber. It also has Paul Utke—a unique resource and perhaps the next state senator.

Terry Stone, International Falls

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