A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
- Member for
- 5 years 10 months
WILLMAR — Sharon Johnson of Atwater said she "always" wears a seatbelt. On Friday — as she was going through the Burger King drive-thru on First Street in Willmar — she got a dollar for being buckled up. So did 116 other motorists in Willmar and New London during a a special education campaign called "Buckle up for a Buck." Coordinated by the Kandiyohi County Traffic Education and Safety Team, dollar bills and information about the benefits of wearing seat belts were handed out by local law enforcement and emergency medical service staff.
WILLMAR — With a number of regional highway projects — like U.S. Highway 71 north of Willmar — just finishing up, and funding approved for the state Highway 23 four-lane project between Willmar and St. Cloud, transportation officials say there's much to be thankful for. "But there are ongoing needs," said Margaret Donahoe, executive director of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance, during a meeting Thursday in Willmar that was held to highlight transportation issues with legislators and candidates prior to the Nov. 6 election.
WILLMAR — The opening of Spurs Grill & Bar in downtown Willmar took about three years longer than expected, but the wait has been worth it for owner and operator Esperanza Aydee Lopez. "It's a dream come true," said Lopez. "I'm very excited to bring unique dishes to Willmar." Lopez, 41, has worked in food service most of her life but this is her first venture as a restaurant owner. Located at 313 Fourth St. S.W. in a 1937-era Art Deco building known as Historic 313 that also houses Foxhole Brewhouse, Spurs opened its doors last month in a soft opening.
SPICER — As a New London-Spicer School graduate, Michelle Olson said she wanted to do something to show community support for Brandon Zylstra — another NLS graduate who recently made it to the NFL and his dream job playing with the Minnesota Vikings. Olson, who owns Johnny O'Neil's restaurant and bar in Spicer, ordered 300 purple T-shirts with Zylstra's name and number on the back and a graphic on the front declaring "New London-Spicer Minnesota fan club." "They were gone in one day," Olson said.
ST. PAUL — More than 650 Minnesota National Guard members, including about a dozen from west central Minnesota, are deploying to Kuwait for 10 months. A send-off ceremony for the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division will be held Thursday at the Roy Wilkins Audition in St. Paul. After a month of training at Fort Hood, Texas, the deploying soldiers will be primarily stationed at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, according to a news release from the National Guard.
WILLMAR – Numerous residents in west central Minnesota received threatening phone calls Tuesday from people claiming to be from the IRS. The callers are fake and should be ignored, according to Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog and Stearns County Sheriff Don Gudmundson. The sheriffs issued notices Tuesday afternoon warning residents not to give the callers any personal information.
SPICER — Longtime Willmar attorney, former state legislator and World War II Navy veteran Wallace "Wally" Gustafson died Monday in St. Cloud. The 93-year-old had been the last known surviving officer from the personal staff of Admiral William Halsey, and Gustafson witnessed the Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri. Gustafson's two daughters were with him when he died Monday in St. Cloud. "He was just a remarkable guy," said Ann Gustafson, who practiced law with her father in Willmar and lived next door to him on Green Lake in Spicer. "He was an incredible dad."
WILLMAR — After four months of end-of-business sales the Herberger's store in Willmar will close Wednesday. The closure is part of a nationwide liquidation of Bon-Ton Stores, Inc., which is the parent company to more than 200 retails stores that have been in the process of closing since the announcement was made April 19. The liquidation affected all the Herberger's and Younkers stores in Minnesota. Some of the stores have already closed and others will be closing soon.
WILLMAR – Andrew Ryder, 56, of Willmar, was injured Saturday morning when the vehicle he was driving struck a pole and overturned. The accident was reported shortly after 10 a.m. in the 1500 block of First Street south near the Skylark Mall. According to the Willmar Police Department, Ryder was driving a 2015 Volkswagen eastbound through the Skylark Mall parking lot when the vehicle accelerated and struck a steel and concrete-reinforced pole and sign/structure.
SPICER – Three women were injured in a two-vehicle accident Friday night near Spicer. The accident was reported at 9:53 p.m. at the intersection of Kandiyohi County Roads 27 and 9 in Green Lake Township. According to the Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Officer, a 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe driven by Patricia Rae Hoaglund, 75, of Kandiyohi collided with a 2011 Ford Explorer driven by Brenda Lea Gamradt, 55, of Sauk Centre.