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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.
WILLMAR—Participants are being sought for a community group tasked with bringing new voices and ideas to help provide everyone in Willmar with opportunities to be healthy. The Community Table is part of Moving Health Forward, a long-term local project with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota to reduce persistent inequities in health, especially for people of color. The initiative is one of the first of its kind in the state and could eventually be replicated in other cities.
WILLMAR—Kandiyohi County Commissioners are expected to formally express their support next week for an application for a broadband development grant. A resolution in support of the application, which is being written and submitted by Consolidated Telephone Co. of Brainerd, is on the agenda for the upcoming meeting of the County Board at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building.
WILLMAR—To the fanfare of the KMS marching band and a procession of classic cars, residents of Bethesda Heritage Center said goodbye Tuesday morning to the old facility and hello to their new home at Bethesda Grand.
Support groups Suicide survivors SPICER — Heartbeat, a support group for those who have lost a loved one through suicide, will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13, at Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Church in Spicer.
WILLMAR—Kandiyohi County will likely issue bonds to cover its matching share of a state grant being sought to improve broadband services in unserved and underserved rural areas of the county. In partnership with Consolidated Telephone Co. of Brainerd, the county is eyeing a $10 million broadband expansion that will serve residents in the northern part of the county. If the application to Minnesota's border-to-border broadband technology grant program is successful, construction will start next year.
WILLMAR—Greater Minnesota Family Services is keenly feeling the pinch: many mental health workforce needs and not enough workers. In one community, the agency has been advertising for a therapist for two years. In all that time, "we have gotten no applications," said George Dubie, executive director. "That says so much to me."
WILLMAR—Northern Kandiyohi County has been selected as the preferred area for a broadband expansion project that will be submitted next month for possible state grant funding. The proposed target area was unveiled Tuesday to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners. Deciding on a service area is one of the key steps as the county and Consolidated Telephone Co. of Brainerd, the county's private-sector partner, ready themselves to apply for a share of $35 million through the state's border-to-border broadband grant program. Applications are due Oct. 3.
WILLMAR—The Kandiyohi County Drug-Free Communities Coalition was among nearly 700 programs across the U.S. to be awarded federal funding to prevent underage substance abuse. The Kandiyohi County coalition received $125,000 for the upcoming fiscal year to support its work of involving and engaging the community in preventing the misuse of prescription drugs, marijuana, tobacco and alcohol by youths. The local initiatives use evidence-based practices in prevention. Grant awards were announced this past week by the White House Drug Policy Office.