A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers county government and regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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LITCHFIELD -- As chief custodian at the Meeker County Courthouse, Larry Jones knows what to do when a winter storm hits. He grabs a flannel blanket and pillow from a storage room and spends the night on the floor in the courthouse. On Thursday, after many employees headed home early to beat the winter weather, Jones fixed an elevator, painted walls until 9:30 p.m. and then slept on the floor for about four hours before getting up at 5 a.m.
WILLMAR -- Jay Kieft will not miss a beat as he ends his job today as executive director with Heartland Community Action Agency and begins his new job Thursday as director of Kandiyohi County Family Services. "I'm excited about this new position," said Kieft during a brief interview Tuesday on his cell phone as he was going from one appointment to the next. With suicide prevention activities scheduled, Kieft has a full day of work planned today on behalf of Heartland, a nonprofit agency that addresses poverty and serves low-income families in four area counties.
GROVE CITY -- A malfunctioning component on a furnace boiler at the elementary school in Cosmos caused fuel oil to escape and enter the town's sanitary sewer system. The incident happened in January. Tom Fordyce, buildings and grounds supervisor for the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District, gave an update on the situation to the school board on Monday. He said it's estimated that 110 gallons of a mixture of fuel oil and water went into the sump pump. He said it's unknown exactly how much entered the municipal sanitary sewer system.
GROVE CITY -- An independent study could examine whether the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District should continue to operate schools in each of the district's three communities. The School Board discussed, but took no formal action on Monday, to hire the Center for Engaged Leadership from Minnesota State University Mankato to provide data on the school facilities for "comprehensive curriculum planning and space utilization." The Center may also provide a "top to bottom" review of the district's financial and management operations. Getting a set of new "eyes" looking at the district, wh
GROVE CITY -- A room full of fathers got the message Thursday that reading to their children can definitely be a guy thing. That message wasn't new to most of the 70 men, who sat cross-legged on the gym floor as children clambered into their laps during a group reading of the book "What Dads Can't Do," but it was a good message to hear while sitting next to a bunch of other guys. Getting men together to hear about the value of reading to their children is part of the plan of the Fathers Reading Every Day, or FRED, program that was held at Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City High School. Sponsored by
WILLMAR -- Area counties are under the gun to complete a regional mutual aid agreement or risk losing federal Homeland Security funding. On Tuesday the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners approved a four-page mutual aid agreement that the county hopes will be acceptable to 17 other regional counties. The plan would provide a legal format for sharing employees, volunteers, equipment and other resources during a widespread disaster -- such as pandemic flu. A committee worked on the Kandiyohi County agreement for 1½ years, said Kandiyohi County Emergency Management Director Don Ericson.
WILLMAR -- Kandiyohi County may pick up the slack in state and federal funding in order to help more teens stay healthy and out of permanent foster care. For about $5,000 the county could help about 24 youth that would otherwise fall through the cracks created by stiffer state restrictions. The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners learned about the situation Tuesday when members met as the Family Services Committee.
WILLMAR -- A "first-of-its-kind" report about the health and well-being of fathers and families in Minnesota could be the first step in creating policies and programs that could help men become better fathers. The ultimate result would be healthier children. The report, which was prepared through a collaborative effort between the Minnesota Fathers and Families Network and St.
GROVE CITY -- Voters in the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District voted down a school operating levy by a 110-vote margin on Tuesday. The unofficial vote was 1,053 to 943. Voters in Cosmos and Grove City approved the levy by a 62-vote margin. Voters in Atwater, however, voted against the levy by a 101-vote margin. "Frustrated" was how Superintendet Pamela Kyllingstad summed up her feelings about the election results. This was the third time in three years, and the second time in three months, that a levy referendum had been held in the district.
ST. PAUL -- A Spicer man was reappointed this week by Gov. Tim Pawlenty to serve on the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee. Antonio Tejeda, an attorney with the Willmar law firm of Anderson, Larson, Hanson and Saunders, will serve a four-year term on the committee, which provides advice and recommendations to the governor and the State Legislature on issues, trends and practices of the state's juvenile justice system.