A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers county government and regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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Updated: Added links to slideshows of WRTC Celebration and WRTC History; and PDF of handout distributed at the event. Emily Mikes shook a lot of hands and got a lot of hugs on Wednesday. With nearly 30 years as a registered nurse at the Willmar Regional Treatment Center and, more recently, at the new community behavioral health hospital in Cold Spring, Mikes has worked with many people.
WILLMAR -- Ever since it was authorized by the Minnesota Legislature in 1907, the facility that most people know as the Willmar Regional Treatment Center has been changing. From its start as the Willmar Hospital Farm for Inebriates in 1912 with just 37 patients, to its growth to a peak population of 1,483 in the 1950s, to the present day when most of the campus is now a private technology business, the buildings, staff, patients and purpose of the facility have been constantly evolving. The campus of today would be unrecognizable to the first men and women who worked on the farm while underg
A 26-page history of the Willmar Regional Treatment Center has been written and will be distributed during a Department of Human Services celebration Wednesday. The event will take place from 2 - 4 p.m. in the former rehab building on the campus. The following are excerpts taken from the document. The past: - April 22, 1907, the Minnesota Legislature passed an act authorizing establishment of a State Hospital Farm for Inebriates.
Ever since it was authorized by the Minnesota Legislature in 1907, the facility that most people today know as the Willmar Regional Treatment Center, has been chang-ing. Built on an open farm field north of town, the Willmar Hospital Farm for Inebriates opened in 1912 with just 37 patients. Their treatment included working on the self-sustaining farm where oats, barley, corn, timothy, vegetables and livestock where raised.
WILLMAR -- A new information Web site that was lunched this week will make it easier for commuters and visitors to reach their destinations in Minnesota by using alternative forms of transportation. Whether it's rural bus systems in western Minnesota or the light-rail line in Minneapolis, information for all the choices in the state is now available in one online location. Called "Arrive Minnesota," the umbrella program "brings everyone together," said Aaron Gaul, program coordinator.
ATWATER -- About 200 children were evacuated Wednesday from the elementary school in Atwater after a natural gas line was accidentally severed during a construction project in an alley near the school. The students were taken to a nearby church and then bused home early. A dozen homes in a two- to three-block area were also targeted for evacuation. Most residents were not at home. Of the four residents who answered the door, three went to friends' or relatives' homes, according to Atwater Police Chief Reed Schmidt.
WILLMAR -- A decision by the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission to pull out of a joint powers agreement for the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging has forced the three remaining regional development commissions to reorganize as a new joint powers organization. Those three remaining regional development commissions -- including the Mid-Minnesota Development Commission based in Willmar -- also must reapply to the state to become the service provider to the 27 southwestern counties currently served by the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging.
WILLMAR -- Members of the House Transportation Finance Committee were told repeatedly Monday night in Willmar to pass a transportation bill with a gas tax increase. The committee, which is made up primarily of metro legislators, listened to testimony for more than two hours about the need for additional transportation funding in rural regions, like Kandiyohi County. Nearly all who testified expressed disappointment that the transportation bill was vetoed by Gov.
WILLMAR -- Expect to see neighborhood trees draped in white, flowing strands of Charmin any day now. At least two area school districts, Willmar and New London-Spicer, are celebrating homecoming festivities this week, and students from both districts have a long tradition of targeting classmates' yards with toilet paper. For the students who complete their mission, the result can be a satisfying coup of juniors against seniors. But for the students who get stopped in their tracks by authorities, the toilet paper that's confiscated can be a welcome gift. Willmar Police Capt.
Minnesota townships have been given a two-year reprieve from a state election mandate that many small townships couldn't afford to meet and were at risk of violating. During the special legislative session this week that dealt with flood relief for southeastern, lawmakers also approved a bill to give townships until 2010 to meet a requirement to use electronic equipment designed for voters with disabilities for their March election of officers. If the bill hadn't been approved it would've cost $1.6 million for townships to hold their elections this March, said Kent Sulem, general counsel for