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WILLMAR — Implementation of Kandiyohi County's new buffer strip ordinance appears to be off to a good start. The vast majority of landowners are in compliance with the buffer requirement for public waters, said Angelica Hopp, buffer and drainage technician for Kandiyohi County. Hopp, who began the newly created position in January, recently gave the County Board of Commissioners a report on how compliance and enforcement are faring during the first weeks the ordinance has been in effect. "It's been really good," she said.
WILLMAR — The closing this year of the former Fibrominn power plant in Benson is having unexpected consequences for Kandiyohi County. During its 11 years of existence, Fibrominn — which later became Benson Power — turned turkey manure and wood chips into power, which was then sold to Xcel Energy. It provided a ready destination for the wood chips generated by brush disposal at the Kandiyohi County landfill — all the better because the plant paid the county for it.
WILLMAR - As the implementation date for a countywide sales tax draws near, Kandiyohi County officials are putting the final touches on the timetable for how the proceeds will be spent over the next four to five years. The proposed construction schedule, totaling $13 million through 2022, was presented this week to the County Board of Commissioners. It's part of the county's overall plan for highway improvement projects for the next five years. "We're using all four of our revenue systems full throttle," said Mel Odens, Kandiyohi County Public Works director.
WILLMAR — The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners will meet as the road and bridge committee at 9 a.m. Thursday at the county Public Works Department. Agenda items include reports on 2018 construction and maintenance projects and the five-year plan. There also will be updates on the railroad bypass project and jurisdictional realignment projects, along with reports on buffer implementation and drainage. The commissioners are expected to consider a Corridors of Commerce resolution as well.
WILLMAR — A Willmar man is going to prison for convictions on multiple charges stemming from a domestic incident this past November at a Willmar apartment. Yusuf Mohamed Muhumed, 23, was sentenced Thursday in Kandiyohi County District Court on burglary in the first degree, threats of violence, felony domestic assault and violation of a no-contact order.
WILLMAR — Carris Health has entered its third month, and although considerable work still lies ahead for the new local health care entity, the immediate transition has gone smoothly, say leaders of the organization. "There's been a tremendous amount of progress made. To me, that's a testament to our people," said Mike Schramm, Carris Health co-chief executive. Effective Jan. 1, Affiliated Community Medical Centers and Rice Memorial Hospital joined forces to become Carris Health, a nonprofit subsidiary of CentraCare Health.
WILLMAR — Three census tracts in Willmar are in the running for designation as opportunity zones under a new federal program to spark economic development in low-income and urban neighborhoods. The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution Tuesday to forward the list of the three tracts to the governor's office for consideration. The board's action gets the process started, although it may be months before the nationwide program is ready to be implemented.
WILLMAR — Marijuana and methamphetamine continue to account for most of the drug-related arrests in Kandiyohi County. But heroin is starting to show up more often, and fentanyl recently was seized for the first time during an arrest, said agents of the CEE-VI Drug Task Force. "We had not seen fentanyl in our task force area until last year," said agent Robert Braness. Information on numbers and trends was shared in a recent report to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners.
WILLMAR — As part of a long-term effort to protect and manage groundwater in Kandiyohi County, the Minnesota Department of Resources will host a meeting and open house from 9 a.m. to noon March 2 in the community room at the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building. Participants will hear a presentation on groundwater resources within Kandiyohi County, county water use statistics and the DNR water appropriation permit program.
WILLMAR — After a surgical sponge was accidentally left inside a patient this past year, Rice Memorial Hospital took several steps to help avoid having it happen again. The surgery department was counting sponges all along but fine-tuned the process, added a whiteboard to keep better track of packed-in sponges that might not be visible, and added a post-surgery debriefing to review everything once again. Like other times the hospital has analyzed a patient safety incident or a close call, it was a valuable process, said Dr. Ken Flowe, chief medical officer.