By Nan Royce
HOWARD LAKE Jason Deiter, recently appointed to the Howard Lake City Council, intends to be part of the city’s solutions, not its problems.
Deiter will be sworn in as a member of the city council at its first meeting of the new year, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. He will be serving for the remainder of the late Mike Mitchell’s term.
Deiter is a lifelong resident of the area. He lived in Montrose until the age of 5, and attended Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District from kindergarten through high school graduation.
He joined the Minnesota Army National Guard in 1991, and also began working for SJF Material Handling in Winsted later that year.
He began attending drafting and design classes at Ridgewater Technical College, but discovered he liked working for SJF more than he liked his classes.
He began his career at SJF as a general laborer, working with metal. During the next several years, Deiter worked his way up the company ladder from cutting and grinding, to welding and painting.
He eventually took a year off from SJF to try a different career, but SJF quickly called him back to work as a salesperson. He’s been there ever since.
He has also been a Howard Lake resident for 39 years.
Why he looks familiar
Deiter grew up in a musical household. He was raised listening to his father sing country classics, as well as hearing his brother and sister “crank the hard rock.” He credits his love of music, singing, and playing the guitar to his family.
Following high school, Deiter became more interested in exploring music, too.
Deiter has performed in local cover bands ever since, and also enjoys making music acoustically. Locals may recognize him from his many musical performances at weddings and funerals for nearly 25 years.
Deiter still enjoys immersing himself in music, and performs with the band RIZE; The Delano 6; his duo group, Jason and Shane; and just joined a David Bowie tribute band, The Band That Fell To Earth.
Deiter said he is blessed that his wife, Sheri, and his daughter, Ellie, 15, like to sing. His son, Chase, 13, likes to sing, too, but he is currently more focused on basketball and gaming.
Making Howard Lake even better
Over the past several years, Deiter said he has been thinking about how to shape Howard Lake for the next generation.
When he learned about the city council vacancy, he felt it was time for him to take action.
“Howard Lake is heading in a great direction,” he said, “and the opportunity to help steer, guide, and make informed decisions for this community is exciting.”
Deiter said he feels Howard Lake’s current slate of projects is headed in a positive and unified direction, although he admits there is a learning curve.
He said he is not yet well-versed in the historic city hall renovation project, nor was he aware that the old on-sale portion of the first floor could be rented out for events.
Deiter said he does feel that the historic city hall is “the face of Howard Lake.” He also believes the off-sale is currently cramped, and could use improvement. Deiter said he considers spreading awareness about what is available in Howard Lake is important.
Deiter’s top action issues
Deiter said he wants to push for the revitalization of Lions Beach at Lions Park. He remembers when the beach used to attract families to town. Deiter thinks a beach upgrade project may also incorporate changes, such as monitoring lake conditions, and connecting to the trail system.
Deiter would like to implement safer ways to cross Highway 12 from the south to access the trail, as well as a paved shoulder on County Road 7 from the north.
Deiter also has his eyes on a big picture: how the entire town appears.
He is concerned about the current appearance of Howard Lake’s main corridors, as well as the importance of the continuation and adoption of stricter ordinances for rental properties.
“We need the property owners of the rental units to share the same vision and goals as the city, and that needs to be a consideration when interviewing and screening tenants,” he explained.
Additionally, Deiter sees tremendous potential in the green space where the former middle school stood.
“Many moms and dads with kids in tow are leaving the community to head to other towns with water parks or a pool,” he said.
He said he feels a water park might be best, because it would provide a place for local youth to both work (as lifeguards, etc.) and play.
Finally, he expressed interest in paying tribute to a Howard Lake icon.
“I’d like to review any city council-related goals Mike Mitchell had before passing, and see if I can complete something of his in his honor,” Deiter said.