The city of Brainerd and its fire department aren't the only ones who will feel the loss of Fire Chief Kevin Mahle. The entire area will feel that loss.
I've known Chief Mahle since he came to Brainerd in 1999. At the first meeting of the Cuyuna Fire Chiefs Association he attended, I knew he was going to be more aggressive and progressive than chiefs I've known in Brainerd in the past. My association with Brainerd fire chiefs goes back to the days of Ray Shortridge, 30 years ago.
Chief Mahle not only wanted the Brainerd Fire Department to be on the cutting edge in the fire service, but he also wanted the same for every department he came in contact with, small or large. He has helped every fire department in the Cuyuna Range Firefighters Association. Just because the city of Brainerd and its fire department are the largest in our area, he never made any of us feel we were any less important to the fire service and the goals we are trying to attain. We all have the same issues and problems to overcome. They are only relative to the size of the department and this he understood. This is also the reason there was never a feeling of, "me big, you little",that ever came from Chief Mahle.
Those of us in leadership rolls in the fire service have a difficult enough job to do, without the internal struggles that creep into our fire stations and the differences that can grow between neighboring departments. We all strive for the same end result, life safety and property preservation. And this can only be done as a team.
I for one will deeply miss Chief Mahle's leadership, knowledge, honesty and integrity. So will many others!
Chief Keith Farnam
Pine River Fire Depart-ment
Cuyuna Range Fire Chiefs Association
Critical of Koering
After a recent vote in the state Senate, it would be wise to ask Sen. Koering who he is working for. As the elected senator from the Brainerd lakes area, one would think it is his job to represent the best interests of the Brainerd lakes area.
But on Thursday, Sen. Koering voted against $1.5 million in development funds for his district. Not only did his vote help kill funding for bridges on the Paul Bunyan State Trail, he also voted to kill a memorial to honor our state's World War II veterans.
Sen. Koering was elected to work for the people of northern Minnesota, not to play partisan political games. If this vote is any indication, that's a notion he has apparently forgotten.
Sen. Steve Murphy
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