By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
The newest member of the Great Northern Fair Board is also the youngest.
After searching for a replacement for nine-year fair board veteran Tom Farnham, the Hill County Commission decided on 19-year-old Jacob Lorang of Havre.
Lorang is a business management major at Montana State University-Northern. He is also the summer interim student body president. His new responsibilities on the fair board will be in addition to those he performs as president of the Eagles Club. He graduated from Havre High School in 2002.
Lorang beat out four other applicants for the position during a series of interviews last week. He was appointed to serve the remaining six months of Farnham's term and has a option for an additional three-year term after that.
Lorang said he would like to accomplish one thing while serving on the fair board.
"Change," he said. "Different things every year," with new performers at the night shows and on the free stage.
Lorang also said he thinks the fairgrounds needs to have a savings program to fund major repairs and replacement of its assets.
Right now the county is struggling with how to pay for new bleachers to replace the fairgrounds' grandstand, which was demolished after an inspection determined it was structurally unsound.
The other applicants for the position were Ken Erickson, Moose Denny and Kevann Elletson-Campbell.
"They were all good candidates and would have made assets to the fair board," Hill County Commissioner Doug Kaercher said. "The deciding factor was probably to get the young ideas he had. His ideas were a little fresher than the others."
Lorang said he believes his age is an attribute rather than a detriment.
"I put a new face on the fair board. (My appointment) brings a new perspective," he said. "I've been going to the fair since I was a little kid. The last couple years I've noticed some things I'd like to have a say in."
Farnham, the Eagles Club manager and City Council member, resigned April 15, citing other commitments.
He was the second fair veteran to resign in as many months. After a nine-year stint, Mike Spencer resigned as Hill County Fairgrounds manager in March.
Spencer, a Havre Public Schools teacher, was replaced in April by former Hill County Sheriff Tim Solomon.
Lorang said he talked to Spencer during last year's fair about serving on the board, and has also had several conversations with Farnham.
"From those two I liked what I heard," Lorang said, adding that he has been interested in the position for some time.
Lorang said he is thrilled to serve on the seven-member fair board.
"I'm excited," he said. "They're a good group of people. (They have) a variety of backgrounds."