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Veteran anglers to host state leaders for Governor’s Fishing Opener

Jason Durham

PARK RAPIDS, Minn. -- A pair of accomplished anglers from the Park Rapids area ­– Jason Durham and Dennis Mackedanz – will host Gov. Mark Dayton and Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, respectively, for the 2013 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener on May 11.

Durham, a Park Rapids Enterprise outdoors columnist, is an area “lifer,” guiding visitors to the area since he was 15. With 22 years of experience as a fishing guide, he not only shares his favorite fishing holes, but also touts the area.

He has authored two fishing books, writes numerous articles for outdoor publications and shares his fishing techniques through seminars and guest spots on TV fishing shows.

Beyond being a die-hard fisherman, Durham is passionate about his other career – teaching Nevis kindergarten students.

With a master’s degree in educational leadership, he is completing his 13th year of teaching young students. As a fishing guide and a kindergarten teacher, patience and flexibility come naturally to Durham.

He is married with three boys, with whom he shares his love of fishing. He played a key role in Park Rapids being named host for the Governor’s Fishing Opener.

Mackedanz has been a fishing enthusiast since he was 8. Born and raised in Paynesville, he grew up fishing with his grandfathers.

Mackedanz attended college in Alexandria, earning a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement, subsequently accepting a position as a deputy sheriff in Yellow Medicine County, where he honed his love of fishing.

In 2000, Mackedanz became a paramedic for North Memorial Health Care in the Brainerd area, enthralled with area fishing opportunities. He participated in fishing tournaments with friends, placing well each year.

Mackedanz currently serves as manager of the Park Rapids division of North Memorial Ambulance – residing in an area that offers five lakes within minutes of his home, feeding his passion for fishing.

Mackedanz is chair for the 2013 Governor’s Fishing Opener, guiding the Park Rapids planning committee team to host a successful “catch a memory” in Park Rapids this year.

The Governor’s Fishing Opener has been a treasured tradition in Minnesota since 1948. Fishing is a key component of one of the largest sectors of the state’s economy, tourism.

The opener is also a kick-off celebration for the statewide summer tourism season. Travel and tourism generate $11.9 billion annually in leisure and hospitality gross sales in Minnesota.

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