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WILLMAR — With open enrollment less than two weeks away for individual health plans through the MNsure exchange, the consumer's best bet is to act early and to avoid leaving any tax credits on the table. Enrollment begins Nov. 1 amid soaring premiums, growing instability in the market and calls by state leaders for change. That makes it more important than ever for consumers to shop diligently and take advantage of any tax credits they may qualify for, said Allison O'Toole, chief executive of MNsure.
WILLMAR — Kandiyohi County Fair board members were looking forward this year to an outstanding fair — good attendance, popular grandstand attractions and plenty to do and see. Then came the deluge of Aug. 11, swamping the fairgrounds and the rest of Willmar with 10.5 inches of rain. It was the first night of the fair. Organizers were forced to close the gates early, sacrificing ticket sales. Livestock shows and entertainment had to be cancelled.
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans have under a week left to pre-register to vote in the Nov. 8 general election. The deadline is Tuesday. Currently 3.2 million Minnesota residents are registered to vote, the largest number the state has seen ahead of election day. An additional 800,000 citizens are eligible to vote but haven't yet registered.
WILLMAR—The Kandiyohi County Public Works Department office in Willmar announced that construction crews will be installing a culvert on County Road 92, one-quarter of a mile west of County Road 5. County Road 92 will be closed in this area beginning Wednesday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.. This project is located approximately two miles northwest of Willmar. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes.
WILLMAR — Under proposed changes in the Kandiyohi County solid waste fee structure, customers will end up paying slightly more for garbage disposal, starting next year. But the tradeoff is long-term — extended life for the county landfill through 2050. The County Board of Commissioners set a public hearing on a series of proposed amendments to the county's solid waste ordinance. The hearing is at 11:15 a.m. Oct. 18 at the Health and Human Services Building.
WILLMAR—Kandiyohi County agreed Tuesday to a 10-year property tax abatement for a proposed hotel and event center project in New London—but not before two citizens spoke in opposition. John Burns of Willmar called the abatement request a "million-dollar giveaway" at the expense of local taxpayers. If the public really understood what was happening, "this room would be packed," Burns said during a public hearing Tuesday on the abatement request by Glacial Ridge Hospitality and Little Crow Country Club.
WILLMAR — In the 50 years that Rice Memorial Hospital has provided hemodialysis to people with advanced kidney disease, one thing has not changed: the bond between patients and staff. Bev Schafer, who ran the program from 1968 until retiring in 2007, said those early years were like being a family. "You became so close to those patients," she said. "We wept with the family when someone died. On the other hand we also had a really good time. We had a lot of parties."
WILLMAR—A hearing on a tax abatement requested by Glacial Ridge Hospitality will be held Tuesday at the meeting of the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners. The board meets at 10 a.m. at the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building. The tax abatement hearing leads the agenda.
WILLMAR — Cellphone in hand, Kandiyohi County Commissioner Roger Imdieke attempted to steer a pedal cart through a row of traffic cones while making a phone call. He got through the twists and turns until a few feet from the end, when he sideswiped one of the cones. Bad news — he'd just hit a pedestrian. Up next was Commissioner Doug Reese, who donned a pair of goggles simulating driver impairment. Midway through the course Reese ran into trouble as he pedaled around a sharp turn and into a cone. He hit two more cones before reaching the end.
Starting Friday, eligible voters can start casting absentee ballots for the Nov. 8 general election—no excuses needed to vote early. This is the first presidential election in which Minnesotans are allowed to vote absentee without a qualifying excuse. The presidential contest will likely dominate the ballot, but voters will decide numerous other contests as well, from congressional and state legislative races to city council, county commissioner and school board races.