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July 18, 2019

7/5/2019 1:17:00 PM
Keith Carlson can add Grand Marshal to his resume

This year’s Karl Oskar Days Grand Marshal has been elected mayor of Lindstrom seven times, he also served five four-year terms as a city council member.   For as many times that he has been in the Karl Oskar Days parade it’s kind of surprising he hasn’t been Grand Marshal.

Keith Carlson is now officially retired from public life, choosing not to file for the 2018 general election, but he didn’t quit cold turkey.  He sits on a few Lindstrom civic committees,  plus the city Economic Development Authority. And, the Carlson family has a special fondness for the regional library system so Keith still represents this area as a civilian on the East Central Regional Library Board.   
Looking back on his public service years there were some good, some bad and some were downright ugly.  

Carlson has great satisfaction pointing out that the cities of Lindstrom and Chisago were able to adopt a new, elongated contract maintaining the Lakes Area Police Department.  Terms were expiring and up for renewal a couple years ago and Carlson says he knew the contract needed to be adjusted. Language had to reflect changes in what had been a flat 50-50 cost sharing formula and the contract needed to put in writing how each city was to have a voice in operations.
“If I hadn’t help make that happen, I don’t know if it ever would have,” Carlson commented.  

“To not revise that agreement would have been totally irresponsible.”

The timing was right and the political will just needed a little nudge.

There also was the Lindstrom Lions Park bandshell, another positive achievement, combining town centennial fundraiser proceeds and Lions funds to construct the much-loved community gathering place sitting next to city hall.  The All County Veterans’ Memorial is another Lindstrom landmark that Carlson was proud to be able to help make happen.

Carlson said the one-way pairs Highway 8 configuration may have been the toughest sell of any controversial issue that arose in the course of his administrations. “It went on for a long time that’s for sure,” he remarked.

On the topic of Highway 8 the Dept. of Transportation, there was that special order of the governor, who added umlauts over the O on state highway roadsigns for the word Lindstrom.  It was an artificial “crisis” but it was fun--and major media outlets gave Lindstrom plenty of coverage.

Carlson has already walked many many times in the KO Days parade as mayor, alongside wife Joan, tossing hard candy and shaking hands along the route. He’s actually looking forward to riding and enjoying the scenery this time.

Keith and Joan have a son Stewart, 39, who is a Lutheran pastor in Silver Bay, MN and daughter Anne, 36, is a private practice attorney also working with a non-profit.

The parade is in the heart of Lindstrom, starting at the east end by Wally Carlson & Son BP and heading west and looping back to city hall, on Saturday night, July 13.  Find a spot along the route early if you can, it fills in fast.

The parade is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. approximately


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