A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
- Member for
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BENSON — After getting turned down by their first pick, the Swift County Commissioners made an offer to hire Kelsey Baker as their new county administrator. Negotiations are currently underway on an employment package. If Baker accepts the offer, the commissioners could take final action to hire her at their Feb. 7 meeting. "I'm excited. I think Kelsey will do a good job," said Eric Rudningen, chairman of the Swift County Commissioners.
BENSON — As regulars slide into their favorite booth or straddle a stool at the lunch counter, a waitress carrying a pot of coffee is quick to arrive to dispense a hot brew and take orders for the signature Big Brave special of a burger, fries and malt — appropriately named after the Benson Braves mascot. In the background, shoppers peruse aisles and pharmacists fill a long list of prescriptions, give vaccinations and help customers enroll in Medicare.
WILLMAR — With the current farm bill set to expire in 2018, work is underway to gather ideas about what to include in the next version from people who live with the consequences. On Tuesday nearly 80 people, including farmers, commodity group representatives, elected officials and community leaders offered their ideas to staff members from U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar's office.
BENSON — On a 3-2 vote Tuesday, the Swift County Commissioners agreed to offer the job of county administrator to Larry Timmerman, a senior program evaluator with Ramsey County. The job has been vacant since Mike Pogge-Weaver submitted his resignation in September. The county's consultant will be directed to coordinate a job offer for Timmerman, with a start date to begin as soon as possible. The board interviewed three finalists last week including Timmerman, Kelsey Baker and Bradley Alberts.
BENSON — Construction could begin this summer on a $4.5 million renovation of the historic Swift County Courthouse in Benson to increase security in courtrooms, reconfigure some department offices and update a myriad of maintenance issues that are decades overdue. On a 4-1 vote Tuesday, the Swift County Board of Commissioners agreed to have architects prepare bidding documents for the project.
WILLMAR — Freezing rain followed by a heavy dose of snow and northwest winds that gusted to 35 mph caused travel problems Tuesday in west central Minnesota. Nearly 30 schools in the region sent students home early because of the weather and deteriorating driving conditions. Students in the Willmar, New London-Spicer, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City and Paynesville school districts were sent home after lunch. Students in Brooten-Belgrade-Elrosa, Benson and Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg districts, as well as nearly 20 other districts to the west, closed in the morning.
WILLMAR – A number of schools in west central Minnesota have already closed – or will be closing early today – as weather and driving conditions continue to deteriorate. Students in the Willmar, New London-Spicer, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City and Paynesville school districts will be sending students home after lunch. Students in Brooten-Belgrade-Elrosa, Benson and Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg districts, as well as nearly 20 other districts to the west, closed earlier in the day.
WILLMAR – Freezing rain followed by a heavy dose of snow that could last until noon is causing travel problems for morning commuters in the region. “It’s just very slow going,” said Denny Marty, maintenance supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s District 8 office in Willmar. Marty said crews have been out on state highways since 3 a.m. and they will be out in force until around 9 p.m.
WILLMAR — Buoyed by the belief that legislators were delivered a strong message in the 2016 election that rural voters are tired of being ignored and want swift results to address small-town needs, the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities said its has high expectations for the 2017 legislative session.
WILLMAR — Money to build a new psychiatric hospital for youth in Willmar is included in Gov. Mark Dayton's proposed bonding bill. If approved, the $7.5 million allocation would be used to build a new 16-bed facility in Willmar to replace the one currently in operation on the MinnWest Technology Campus. In the past, Dayton had proposed closing the Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Services program, which is the only one of its kind in the state, and transferring the clients and jobs elsewhere.