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Willmar Area Food Shelf to open satellite office in New London

NEW LONDON -- A branch office of the Willmar Area Food Shelf will open Sept. 8 in New London.

The satellite food shelf will be located in the former clinic building in New London, which has been purchased by the Evangelical Covenant Church and is being rented to various entities.

The food shelf will be open two days a week to better serve residents in the northern part of the county.

During an update Wednesday, the New London City Council learned from food shelf director Christie Kurth that about 12 percent of the Willmar Area Food Shelf's 2,800 active files are those of people currently living in the New London area.

City Administrator Trudie Guptill said if so many people from this region "can't afford food, they probably can't afford gas" to drive to Willmar.

Having a branch in New London "may help people who aren't able to get into Willmar," said Guptill.

The food shelf will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and 2 to 6 p.m. Thursdays.

The council on Wednesday discussed ways to address problems with inflow and infiltration of groundwater into the municipal sanitary sewer system. Each year the city spends thousands of dollars to treat groundwater that seeps into leaky or cracked sewer lines.

Currently, 30 to 35 percent of the wastewater that's treated is not actually sewage that's metered, billed and sold, but is clean groundwater. That's costing the city about $35,000.

The city is making progress by repairing lines. In 2001, 58 percent of the wastewater that was pumped and treated was not sold.

The council is considering accelerating a program to televise sewer lines --viewing the lines via camera -- to locate cracks.

In other action, the council agreed to sell the swimming raft, which hasn't been used for several years, and will help generate additional revenue. The city is expected to have a $15,000 surplus this year by making budget cuts and selling equipment, like a dump truck.

The council also drafted a fence ordinance and will hold a public hearing Aug. 19.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750