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WILLMAR -- Saying it will help boost youth interest in technical careers, the operating board of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission voted Thursday to help with the startup funding for a student robotics contest. The EDC's $5,000 contribution will support the local introduction of the BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) competition, which combines the hands-on experience of building a robot with sports-like teamwork and judging. Local organizers say it's a way to get young people fired up about science, math and engineering -- and foster c
Three years after the doors closed for good at New London's grocery store, local officials haven't given up hope of bringing another small sup-ermarket to town. Within just the past few weeks, "we've had two different prospects," said Steve Renquist, executive director of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission. "We're optimistic about a package being put together." New London Mayor Bill Gossman confirmed there's a promising deal in the works. "I think something will happen this summer," he said.
WILLMAR -- Amid the research about early childhood learning, one of the figures that jumps out at Renee Nolting is this: By the time children from families with limited resources reach kindergarten age, they've heard 32 million fewer words than children from middle-class households. As little as one book a month can help narrow this gap and increase the likelihood that more kids will be prepared for kindergarten, said Nolting, executive director of the United Way of West Central Minnesota. "It really does start in those early, early years," she said. It's among the reasons the United Way ha
WILLMAR -- Willmar city officials are trying a new tactic this summer with the 2012 street improvement program: They'll test whether concrete holds up better than asphalt at one of the busiest and wettest stretches in town -- the entrances and exits from Walt's Car Wash on Roise Avenue. "I can't guarantee that concrete is going to be the answer to that street," said Holly Wilson, public works director for the city. But it's a chance to evaluate the durability of using concrete, she said.
WILLMAR -- After more than 90 minutes of debate, the Willmar City Council deadlocked Monday night on whether to grant a 15-year tax abatement for the redevelopment of the historic Lakeland Hotel building -- a tie that was finally broken when Mayor Frank Yanish voted in favor of the measure. The 4-3 vote means the developer, the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, will receive the property tax abatement it sought from the city to help subsidize operating costs after the project is completed. Supporters of the project had hoped for unanimous support from the City Council. Rick Goodeman,
WILLMAR -- Pets with ID tags are more likely to be reunited with their owners -- and reunited sooner -- if they're ever lost. It's a message the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter is trying to reinforce with a newly launched project to increase the number of companion animals in Kandiyohi and Meeker counties who have tags. "It makes a difference," said Bobbie Bauman, director of operations for the shelter. With a $3,300 grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter recently acquired an engraver for making pet ID tags. Staff can now provide a
WILLMAR -- When the final rifle volley of the American Legion honor guard fades into silence, it's the sign for Delbert Schueller to raise his trumpet to his lips for the playing of taps. Schueller, 81, has performed this poignant graveside ritual hundreds of times for deceased Willmar-area veterans and their surviving families. And it's meaningful every single time, said Schueller, a 1950s-era veteran of the U.S.
WILLMAR -- With poker chips and handheld instant polling devices, the participants at a forum Wednesday night on health care reform worked their way through a series of questions. What does it mean to be healthy? How can health care costs be reduced?