A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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WILLMAR -- Bids were approved today and construction will begin this spring on new buildings to house the Kandiyohi County rescue squad and human society. Both structures will be built in Willmar. Competition for the projects was good and bids were well under the estimates. The rescue squad building was estimated at $1,568,796. The low bid from Ram Building Inc. of Winsted was $1,130,800. The humane society building was estimated to cost $575,611. The low bid from TDS Construc-tion of Waconia was $515,400. The Kandiyohi County Commissioners approved the bids at their meeting today.
NEW LONDON -- Ellsworth Hatlestad will be ending his 56-year career today as the Lake Andrew Township clerk. Since 1952, when he was a 26-year-old farmer, Hat-lestad has been recording the official activities of the township. Now 82, he will perform that duty one last time during the annual meeting tonight, documenting the votes for everything from the road and bridge budget to the gopher bou-nty. Hatlestad will also record the votes for his successor. Residents from the rural northern Kandiyohi County are expected to elect his replacement tonight. Sharon Oleson, a 15-year resident of the
WILLMAR -- Calling her job the "Rodney Dangerfield of constitutional offices," state Auditor Rebecca Otto said she doesn't "make the rules" but makes sure that the rules are followed when taxpayer money is being spent. Otto spoke briefly Tuesday in Willmar during a stop at the annual Kandiyohi County Township Association meeting. Otto said she's been trying to be proactive to help prevent government entities from making errors. Her office is focused on helping people "do things right," said Otto. Besides giving the auditor's Web site an update, Otto also sends out electronic bulletins ever
When Dr. Stephen Olsen closes his 30-year career as a solo-practice family physician this spring, the doors of the Atwater clinic will also close. Olsen, 60, is retiring. The small but cheery clinic where Olsen has worked for his entire career will close May 1. For the first time since the town's 1,000 residents can remember, Atwater will not have a physician to tend to the town's sick children, parents and especially the elderly that make up a majority of Olsen's patients. "You do feel a little bit of guilt that way," said Olsen, a tall lanky man with an easy smile and gentle demeanor.
Teri Schulte couldn't be happier to have a home. "It would've been a very cold winter in my car," said Schulte, a soft-spoken woman. The 35-year-old had slept on friends' couches, stayed at the Shelter House in Willmar and lived for a time in her car with her four cats. "Imagine me and four cats and a litter box in a car," said Schulte, who had been "chronically homeless" for nearly five years. "It was rough," said Schulte. "It was demeaning." The day before Thanksgiving she moved into a furnished apartment in Willmar, thanks to the Supportive Housing program.
WILLMAR -- Many area townships cancelled annual meetings and election of supervisors and officers Tuesday because of inclement weather. Irving Township, in northern Kandiyohi County, conducted its meeting, with 25 voters in attendance. According to information provided by the township, Russell Schmidt was re-elected supervisor and Howard Powers was re-elected treasurer.
BLOMKEST - It was a cold night in Blomkest as residents experienced a power outage that lasted for about seven hours. The outage happened Tuesday night and Wednesday morning as sub-zero temperatures and howling winds pounded the state in a late-March snow storm. "It was cold in the house," said Mary Gauerke, of the long night without heat. Gauerke and her husband, the Rev. Ken Gauerke, live in the parsonage of the Blomkest Baptist Church. The power flickered a number of times and then shut down for good at 10:15 p.m., she said. It was 50 degrees in the house at 1 a.m.
WILLMAR -- A new county ordinance that incorporates state rules for septic systems was approved Monday by the Kandiyohi County Planning Commission. The ordinance for individual subsurface sewage treatment systems goes into effect April 1. It includes most of the old ordinance and new state rules counties were required to adopt. The state approved the new Minnesota Pollution Control Agency rules in 2008. Counties have until February 2010 to adopt and implement the state rules.
Icy roads are making driving difficult and a forecast of heavy snow is resulting in schools closing today in west central Minnesota. Some schools, like Montevideo and Benson, did not attempt to have school today because of icy roads. Other districts, like Willmar and New London-Spicer sent students home early because of heavy snow. Dan Effertz from the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, said Willmar will get 3-5 inches of snow by mid-afternoon.