A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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WILLMAR -- Kandiyohi County employees -- from the top administrator to clerical workers -- will be taking one day off without pay this year to compensate for Gov. Tim Pawlenty's unallotment of funds. The one-day work furlough will save the county $79,000 this year. Next year, workers will take two days off without pay, for savings of about $158,000.
LAKE LILLIAN -- When the timber bridge on Kandiyohi County Road 2 east of Lake Lillian was removed this spring to make way for a new culvert, crews discovered that the pilings were all rotten. Because the nearly 50-year-old bridge was also too narrow to leave in place once the 3½-mile stretch of county road underwent a necessary upgrade this year, it was classified as a structurally deficient bridge. "It needed replacing," said Gary Danielson, Kandiyohi County public works director. Without federal stimulus funding, the bridge may not have been replaced for another one to three years.
BENSON -- Swift County will take over ownership of a wayside rest that's currently owned by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The commissioners voted last week to purchase the Pomme De Terre Wayside Rest for $1 from the state. The site includes a restroom and about nine acres of land that's mowed for hay.
WILLMAR -- Service contracts approved by the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners indicate a gap in mental health services still exists. Mary Kjolsing, director of the Rice Hospital mental health unit, said a shortage of psychiatrists has meant a reduction in care in places like the county jail and the prison in Appleton. Commissioner Richard Larson said jails have turned into "holding areas" for people with mental illness. Jay Kieft, director of Kandiyohi County Family Services, said it's a "disgrace" when psychiatric episodes are "de-escalated in the back seat of a squad car." Kjolsin
OLIVIA -- Having a show horse for a hobby can be expensive, especially in the current economy when some owners have had to part with their blue-ribbon animals and reduce expensive trips to out-of-state competitions. But a loss for some can be a gain for others. "One good thing out of the deal is that I got a young saddle seat horse at a very reasonable price," said Tia Ziesmer, of Olivia. Ziesmer was putting another horse, Fames Lady Shasta Bee, through its paces Thursday in the indoor arena at Equine Connections in preparation for this weekend's Arabian horse community show in Willmar. "F
WILLMAR -- A $239,250 state matching grant will be used to upgrade a two-mile section of a gravel road in St.
WILLMAR -- Kandiyohi County will save $1 million over the next several years by refinancing two existing bonds. The savings were much higher than expected and came on the heels of additional news that the county's bond rating had jumped three rungs on the ladder to an AA rating. "This is really lots of fun," said Carolyn Drude, a financial consultant with Ehlers. The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners awarded bids Tuesday to refinance a $4 million bond issued in 1998 for the Health and Human Services Building. An interest rate of 2.13 by Robert W. Baird & Co.
WILLMAR -- Lessons learned in the 2008 twister that hit Willmar helped county emergency management personnel handle the tornado that skipped in and over Spicer last week. "I hate to say this, but we have some experience with the tornado last year," Don Ericson, Kandiyohi County Emergency Management Director told the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. Ericson gave the commissioners an update on the storm at their meeting. The tornado was classified as an EF-1 tornado with winds of 100 to 109 mph, he said. It was about 250 feet wide and traveled about 6½ miles east and north
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi Area Transit system will be celebrating its 10th anniversary Thursday afternoon at the Becker Street Market. Representatives from KAT will be at their new bus stop, the Becker Street Station, from 3-5 p.m. Thursday to promote KAT, answer questions and serve refreshments.
WILLMAR -- Kandiyohi County will save $1 million over the next several years by refinancing two existing bonds. The savings were much higher than expected and came on the heels of news that the county's bond rating had jumped three rungs on the ladder to a double "A". "This is really lots of fun," said Carolyn Drude, a financial consultant with Ehlers. The Kandiyohi County Commissioners awarded bids today to refinance a $4 million bond issued in 1998 for the Health and Human Services Building. An interest rate of 2.13 by Robert W. Baird & Co. of Milwaukee, Wis.