A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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BENSON -- Kentt Habben is hoping his new line of mini trucks is a big seller in Swift County. But first he's trying to get an ordinance passed to allow the vehicles to be driven on local roads. At Habben's request, the Benson City Council approved an ordinance two weeks ago to allow the small, Japanese-made trucks to be driven on Benson city streets, starting Jan. 1. The Swift County Board of Commissioners is expected to take action on a similar ordinance later this month. Because mini trucks don't meet federal vehicle safety standards, they are not approved for road travel here.
NEW LONDON -- New London was the apparent low bidder over the city of Spicer for a contract to provide customer billing for the Green Lake Sanitary Sewer and Water District. Spicer has done the billing for about nine years. This year, when the project was put out for bids, the city of New London also put in a proposal.
ATWATER -- Hopes are being renewed that the Atwater clinic could be re-opened. During a report Wednesday, the Atwater City Council was informed that discussions are underway with Family Practice Medical Center in Willmar to staff the small town clinic. Negotiations between Atwater and Family Practice have been positive, City Clerk Goldie Smith said. "The potential is still there." The clinic had been operated by Affiliated Community Medical Centers of Willmar until this spring when the clinic's sole doctor, Stephen Olsen, retired.
BENSON -- Swift County is continuing to move forward with plans to join the state's 800 MHz emergency radio system. At their meeting this week, the county commissioners heard a 1½-hour presentation about the Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response system, which is also known as ARMER. Individuals from the St.
LITCHFIELD -- Meeker County Commissioners approved an abatement agreement Tuesday that will give a local dairy processor up to $190,000 in tax rebates over a 20-year period. The city of Litchfield has taken similar action. The Litchfield School District is not participating in the abatement. The abatement will be a "small part" of a major expansion project planned by the First District Association, said County Administrator Paul Virnig. The first phase of the expansion is estimated at about $19 million and will help double the capacity of the facility to process milk.
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Commissioners are hesitant to use federal recovery zone bonds as an economic development tool for themselves, but they agreed Tuesday to extend the offer to municipalities in the county. The county has access to $522,000 in bonding authority for public infrastructure and $783,000 in bonding authority to assist private industry.
WILLMAR -- There are some elderly or disabled residents who live so far off the beaten path in rural Kandiyohi County that volunteer drivers with the local meals-on-wheels program are unable to drive there. As a result, some of those vulnerable adults have gone without meals for days at a time. "They are a small niche population, but they are a needy population," said Jay Kieft, family services director, during the county board meeting Tuesday. Those individuals, who are on the county's Medicaid waiver program, will now be receiving two weeks worth of frozen meals delivered from Iowa to the
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to correct the victim's hometown to Kandiyohi.
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Commissioners will discuss whether to apply for a federal stimulus program at their meeting Tuesday, which beings at 10 a.m.
KANDIYOHI -- When the Kandiyohi Fire Department needs to fuel up its fleet of trucks, the firefighters have to drive four miles to Willmar. If the small town's public works department workers need gas for lawnmowers or other equipment, they have to drive to Willmar to fill up a gas can. "It's a hardship on the city. We have to run to Willmar to get gas," said City Clerk Sue Kidrowski. "We're only four miles. But that four miles is four miles." The scenario is repeated for residents needing a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread.