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I live in Laketown Township, am a small business owner and will be voting for a new commissioner in District 5.

Both candidates, John Fahey and Mark Willems, claim they are currently small business owners. I was curious what they do, so I did some research and called each candidate.

I called Mr. Fahey and learned the name of their business is Barn Quilt Tours, LLC. When researching, I found that according to the Minnesota Secretary of State, a public site, John P. and Janet Fahey, filed articles and incorporation papers on Sept. 5, 2013 and the business is in “Active and in Good Standing." This status means that a business can legally perform activities, collect revenues, and must pay taxes in the state.

According to their business website, groups can take a tour and learn about the history of Carver County, barns and farms displaying the quilts, and the story behind the quilt patterns. I asked if they were doing any business this year, and their reply was, 'Unfortunately, the numerous tours that were scheduled, were cancelled due to COVID-19 and the social distancing requirement.'

However, Janet stated she continues to promote the business and agri-tourism through community events, book signings, farmers markets and winery events.

I called Mr. Willems and inquired about his business and learned the name was Fresh Start Farms LLC. According to the Secretary of State, this business filed articles and incorporation papers on March 20, 2016.

Currently the Secretary of State lists this LLC as “Inactive since 2017” and states an “Administrative Termination” was issued on March 15, 2018. According to Mr. Willems’ business Facebook site, Fresh Start Farms is a locally growing chemical and pesticide-free produce farm.

According to his campaign literature he has been a small business owner for over 30 years, first in construction, and now as an all-natural vegetable farmer. In some of Mr. Willems’ written communication, he has stated, “The last four years, I have owned and operated Fresh Start Farm, an all-natural vegetable farm."

During my conversation, I asked him the size of his farm and he replied, “I live on 30 acres, but I only use 1 acre to grow my produce.” Following that, I asked Mr. Willems if I wanted to buy his all-natural produce, where could I do so? He replied that I could come out to his farm and purchase some.

My question, as a small business owner myself and voter, is whether Mr. Willems is being transparent in his business ownership and operation.

As a resident of District 5, I found this disturbing and concerning. Election Day is approaching, please do your own due diligence and educate yourself on who you want to represent us as your next county commissioner for District 5.

Bill Van Arsdale


Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.


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