Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Kringstad elected new Tower mayor

Jodi Summit
Posted 11/7/18

TOWER— Voters here opted for change in city government, installing two relative newcomers to three open positions on the city council, including the mayor.

Orlyn Kringstad, who moved to Tower …

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Kringstad elected new Tower mayor

Posted

TOWER— Voters here opted for change in city government, installing two relative newcomers to three open positions on the city council, including the mayor.

Orlyn Kringstad, who moved to Tower in 2015 with his wife Marit, won convincingly, garnering 112 votes, or just under 47 percent, in a three-way contest. Ambulance director and fire chief Steve Altenburg finished a distant second, with 67 votes, while former real estate broker Jeff Hill garnered 55 votes.

Kringstad has been the lead developer on the city’s planned town home development on the Tower harbor, but he has since divested himself financially from the project to avoid any possible conflicts of interest in his new role as mayor. While Kringstad has extensive experience in the corporate and non-profit world, this was his first quest for political office and he brought considerable energy to the task.

“I visited every neighborhood and knocked on at least 80 percent of the doors in Tower,” he said. “I had a lot of good conversations. I feel energized by the many comments I heard, and candid conversations I had.” Kringstad said he intends to continue getting to know the residents and business owners in town.

“It is clear that people want change and want development to begin again,” he said. “This will definitely be a priority.”

In addition to his former involvement with the town home project, Kringstad and his wife opened Nordic Home North, a gift shop, on Tower’s Main Street, and manage the Marjo Motel, which they helped reopen more than a year ago. Kringstad was also closely involved in the transfer of ownership of the Standing Bear Marina to Your Boat Club, which is in the process of a significant upgrade to the long derelict facility.

Kringstad will be replacing current mayor Josh Carlson, who opted not to seek re-election.

Abrahamson, Beldo win

council seats

Former mayor Steve Abrahamson jumped back into the political fray after a four-year hiatus from city government, and proved the top vote-getter for two open council seats, with 155 votes among a four-way race. A fifth candidate did appear on the ballot, but she had withdrawn from the race early on after failing to establish residency in time to qualify for the job.

Rachel Beldo, a nurse practitioner with Scenic Rivers Health Services claimed the second seat, edging out Mary Shedd, 101-99. Beldo had moved to Tower just this past summer but had made a positive impression at a recent candidates forum, which likely helped her cause.

Michael Larsen, the final qualified candidate, had 42 votes. Abrahamson and Beldo will replace current council members Lance Dougherty and Brad Matich, neither of whom was seeking re-election.

“I’m happy to be back serving the town,” said Abrahamson, “and working with the new council. We will be moving forward.”

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