A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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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.
WILLMAR -- Maintenance on Kandiyohi County roads will be trimmed this year to reduce expenses. During a road and bridge meeting Thursday, the Kandiyohi County Commissioners approved $260,000 in cost-saving measures proposed by Public Works Director Gary Danielson. They shifted an additional $134,000 in maintenance cuts to the construction budget. "We asked how we can cut back without hurting the public," Danielson said.
WILLMAR -- Maintenance on Kandiyohi County roads will be trimmed this year to help reduce expenses. During a road and bridge meeting Thursday, the Kandiyohi County Commissioners approved $260,000 in cost-saving measures proposed by Public Works Director Gary Danielson. They shifted an additional $134,000 in maintenance cuts to the construction budget. "We asked how we can cut back without hurting the public," said Danielson.
WILLMAR -- Minnesota counties are not taking kindly to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's proposal to create 15 regional family service agencies to replace individual county departments. Kandiyohi County Family Services Director Jay Kieft on Tuesday summed up the basic response: "No.