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Spirit Lake council almost settled

by Brian Walker
| April 13, 2010 9:00 PM

SPIRIT LAKE - Diane Berg has been appointed to the Spirit Lake City Council by Gov. Butch Otter, marking the second time she has been appointed to the board by a governor.

Spirit Lake Mayor Todd Clary will also recommend tonight to the council that Spirit Lake Elementary first-grade teacher Kim Hill be appointed to the council's fourth seat.

The appointment and pending council decision on Hill come after recent council resignations from Shelley Tschida and Ken Johnson.

Clary said filling the seats will be a relief so the city can move on with business. The appointment of Berg gives the council a quorum so it can vote on the recommendation of Hill.

"It's hard to move forward when you're at a standstill," Clary said. "We can now move forward."

Both appointments will serve on the council until the next city election in November 2011.

Berg was also appointed to the council by former Gov. Phil Batt in 1999 and previously served on the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Berg and her husband, Gary, own Spirit Lake Taxidermy. She also works in the accounting department of Oxarc, a welding and industrial supply firm in Spokane. She was an EMT with Spirit Lake Ambulance for 13 years and trained EMTs. She has lived in Spirit lake for 20 years.

"I'm excited to be on the council again," said Berg, who ran for election in November. "I think the town has a lot going for it. My kids are gone, so now I have more time to devote to it."

Berg said she believes she's a "level-headed" citizen who will support what's right for the city as a whole and not take sides.

"I'm a calming factor more than anything," she said.

Clary said about 10 residents expressed an interest or were mentioned as possible council candidates. Berg was among three submitted to the governor's office for consideration.

He believes her previous experience will be an asset.

"She can come right to the table and go to work," he said.

Hill is also co-owner of HB Steel Buildings in Spirit Lake.

"She's very community-oriented and involved with youth activities," Clary said.

Tschida, who lost to Clary in a runoff election for mayor in December, cited differences with Clary as the reason for her resignation. She was in her third term as a council member and had about a year and a half on her term.

Johnson, who was elected in November, cited economic conditions and Clary's management style as his resignation reasons. He closed his motorcycle shop in Spirit Lake and has moved to Priest River.

Tonight's meeting, which starts at 6, will also include a presentation from Avista on proposed utility increases.

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