Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Meet and Greet Candidate Forum set for Oct. 24 at the Tower Civic Center


TOWER- The Tower-Soudan Civic Club is sponsoring a Meet and Greet Candidate Forum at the Tower Civic Center on Wednesday, Oct. 24 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. All Tower voters and other interested community members are invited to attend.
As of press time, all three mayoral candidates and three of the four active council candidates have agreed to participate.
The forum will be moderated by Tower resident and Civic Club member Ellie Larmouth, PhD. Larmouth is a retired college professor, who has worked as a teacher and a therapist.
The forum will consist of an introductory section where each candidate will have three minutes to address the forum. That will be followed by a 30-minute question and answer session, where audience members can submit written questions for individual candidates that will be read by the moderator. The final portion of the forum will be a time for individuals to talk one-on-one with candidates.
Coffee an’ will be provided by the Civic Club and Sulu’s.
Mayoral candidates include Steve Altenburg, Jeff Hill, and Orlyn Kringstad. Council candidates Steve Abrahamson, Rachel Beldo, Michael Larsen and Mary Shedd have all said they will attend. Victoria Ranua, who had filed for council, has indicated she is withdrawing from the race.
The election will be held on general election day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, at the Tower Civic Center.

Candidate Statements

Steve Altenburg

In 2006 I began serving the City of Tower as a volunteer, first as a firefighter and then serving on various commissions and committees. I stand firmly behind my record of work and dedication to our community in every position that I have been granted to hold. This includes the successful budgeting, management, and leadership of the Tower Fire department as well as the continued growth and expansion of the Tower Ambulance.
I believe it is the primary responsibility of all elected officials to protect its citizens and the assets of the City by making informed decisions that benefit the greater good. This requires sound investments in growth and infrastructure, new and old. Understanding and addressing the needs of citizens while balancing budgetary constraints is integral to Towers success.
I cannot make any grandiose promises about the future, because if elected I will be only 1 of 5 votes. I can promise that I will not support unfunded debt, and continue working on reducing the old unfunded debt. My efforts will focus on working with the council towards responsible growth, long-term financial stability, and investment in our existing infrastructure.
I appreciate the opportunity and voter consideration to continue to serve the City of Tower, as your Mayor.

Jeff Hill
Hi Folks, My name is Jeff Hill, I am your candidate for Mayor for the Greater City of Tower. I have lived in Tower all my life except for a brief period when I took my business on the road to explore ideas in business incubation, Jeff proudly states.
I was Born in the Soudan Hospital to the late Stanley “Bunker” Hill (Tower’s postmaster for years), and Mary Ann (Chiabotti) Hill, I was raised on the Main Street. I am Graduate of Tower High School  and was confirmed at St. Martin’s Catholic Church in Tower. I hold an Associate’s Degree from Vermilion Community College in Ely.  I reside in Tower and have been a Taxpayer for many years in our nice little town. 
The pages of Tower history are filled with the accomplishments of My family and I am no exception. I was a member of the Main Street business community owning and operating a real estate agency and was a Communications Specialist working with the Local Government agencies. I developed a loyal following and dedicated customer base and I am known by My customers for my fair, honest, and straight forward dealings.
I was instrumental in obtaining over a million dollars in funding for the fire department through grants, charitable gambling, and subsidies from outside governmental funding sources.  Jeff chaired the planning commission for years and the commission wrote the city’s current zoning ordinance while under his direction.
When asked why he is now throwing his hat into the world of Tower politics, Hill responded, That’s a good question? But I have a simple answer, The Citizens of Tower Deserve better.
I designed and Constructed the Tower Airport A&D Building and was the City Real Estate Consultant. I am a Communications Specialist and served as Chairman of Planning and Zoning. Created the Tower Ambulance Equipment Subsidy program along side my life long friend the late Ballard Turnbull (foundation). WE Created the Tower Ambulance Equipment Subsidy program  Project Intercept with ALS service with Life Flight Helicopter for the Area- Setup and managed Charitable Gambling for Tower Fire Dept. former Civil Defense director. CEO Tower Firemen’s Relief Assoc.  Generating Thousands of Dollars for meaningful projects through out our communities. I also served Assistance Ambulance Supervisor, Former Fire Chief- Asst. Chief- and Training Officer with 20 years of service (retired) Pilot Single Engine Aircraft (I have a vision of the big picture) Past Performance will be indicative of future results for your city.  
I want to serve the people of Tower. “I love this Town”  We are facing challenging times, WE are experiencing a time of change in our community just like all communities. I look forward to helping the city take inventory, confirm where we now are and what direction we need to go so we can experience a prosperous future. The citizens, people who live in Tower, need to help determine the direction we go from here. When ELECTED I  will keep open communications with all of Tower’s citizens and promptly respond with “boots on the ground” to your concerns. We are all in this together, and I am Pulling for Ya, Lets Keep our Stick on the Ice.  

Orlyn Kringstad
The role of rural, small town/ local government is to effectively manage civil services and public affairs of the city, provide for common city-wide utilities and related services.  Tower’s engineering and maintenance services does this very well.  
Tower must also have a Vision and Plan to manage growth creating an environment for business expansion, creating jobs and affordable housing, and building infrastructure to ensure long-term success for commerce in the city.  Tower does this less well.
Three years ago, I was invited by Tower City Council (TEDA) to present a plan for development around the Tower Harbor area and Harbor North.  I did so, and my team and our plan (Tower-Vision 2025) were accepted. 
In cooperation with other community leaders we organized a “Vision for Tower” survey, that generated over 350 responses, and held a well-attended city-wide ‘Tower Visioning Forum’ that identified development priorities for the City of Tower.  Building townhome residences around the Tower Harbor was priority one, partly because it was mandated by the city as their 1st priority.  Building the town homes, along initial limited commercial and recreational amenities will begin during the first half of 2019.  
Meanwhile I am pleased that we have initiated new commercial development and lodging that have already brought significant economic development to Tower.  Negotiating the sale of the dilapidated Standing Bear Marina to “Your Boat Club” was the first step in revitalizing the Tower Harbor North area.  Reopening MarJo Motel has also brought significant economic benefit to Tower and has proven that establishing a resort/conference hotel adjacent to the Marina and MarJo Motel is feasible and will bring significant jobs and revenue to the city which will drive further development. 
On January 23 last year we organized a forum for local businesses interested in either expanding or establishing a business in Tower.  Attendees and presenters included IRRRB, APEX-We Get Business group, Entrepreneur Fund, and MN DEED.  Two outcomes are the Lamppa Manufacturing expansion in Tower’s Industrial Park and a second company that is poised to establish business operations there in early 2019.
Tower is the center for commerce for the smaller townships around us.  They rely on Tower for food, banking, entertainment and other services.  We need to look for and develop areas of cooperation and services that address cost-saving economies of scale and provide local job and business opportunities so that we grow and prosper together.
As a collaborative manager, leader and executive, both in business and in the non-profit world, for nearly five decades I expect to use my international management experience to develop Tower, and the local region, into a thriving model for sustainable economic growth, broadening the tax base, stabilizing or lowering taxes, populating Main Street with traffic-stopping shops and services, and upgrading Tower’s residential neighborhoods. 
 I look forward to elaborating on these plans at the candidate forum, October 24 at the Tower Civic Center.