A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
- Member for
- 5 years 6 months
NEW LONDON -- A state requirement that's designed to encourage residents to conserve water will create new problems for small towns. "It's going to be a billing nightmare," said Trudie Guptill, New London City Administrator. Towns with a population of 1,000, like New London, have until 2013 to get a plan in place to charge increased rates for more water usage.
BENSON -- The Swift County levy will increase 1.8 percent in 2010. The Commissioners certified the preliminary gross levy at $7,948,417 at their meeting last week. The levy includes $747,207 in program aid, which is $220,000 less than expected because of unallotment. The county is not planning to make any major budget adjustments to make up for the lost state aid but will, instead, carry a $220,000 deficit in the 2010 budget. "We're probably going to live with that," said Auditor Byron Giese.
SUNBURG -- Monson Lake State Park has nearly doubled in size with the purchase this summer of 158 acres of land. What's unusual is that all but 44 acres of the new acquisition is under water. The $395,000 purchase essentially allowed the state to obtain ownership of most of West Sunburg Lake. "We actually own the land under the water," said Paul Otto, manager for Sibley and Monson Lake State parks. Two small bays on the north and south ends of the West Sunburg Lake remain in private hands. The purchase also includes a strip of heavily wooded shoreland with an existing cabin, the remaining
ATWATER -- Diamond Lake residents will get a new sanitary sewer system next year. In a unanimous vote Friday night, the Kandiyohi County Commissioners approved a resolution to expand the Green Lake Sanitary Sewer and Water District to Diamond Lake. The $6 million project includes installation of individual grinder pumps on the 371 properties.
NEW LONDON -- While casually milling around New London's Mill Pond Dam on Thursday afternoon, about a dozen Minnesota senators were told that the structure they were standing on was classified as a "high hazard" dam. Failure of the structure would result in the "loss of life" downstream in the town of about 1,000, said Kent Lokkesmoe, director of the Department of Natural Resources waters division. After getting the senator's attention, Lokkesmoe said funding had already been approved for a project to replace the New London dam next summer. In the same breath, he said more money is needed t
ATWATER -- Passers-by shouldn't be surprised if it looks like there's a major disaster taking place at Bushmills Ethanol on Saturday morning. Fire trucks and nearly 70 volunteer firefighters from all 11 of Kandiyohi County's fire departments will be at the Atwater ethanol plant for a three-hour training session. They'll be preparing for a disaster, but their training could actually help divert one. The fall mutual aid training session is focusing on the special challenges involved with fighting a fire that involves ethanol, said Atwater Fire Chief Gerald Schwart.
KANDIYOHI -- Most of the force main has been laid in the city of Kandiyohi and crews are working their way north this week as part of a $3.3 million project to link the city to the Green Lake Sanitary Sewer and Water District in Spicer. The project includes installing 13 miles of trunk line that will carry wastewater from Kandiyohi to the treatment facility in Spicer.
LITCHFIELD -- The Meeker County levy will increase 6.9 percent next year, but the proposed budget will be decreasing. At their board meeting Tuesday, the Meeker County Board of Commissioners certified a net levy of $11.9 million levy, which is $772,047 more than this year. The proposed budget is $25.4 million, which is about $410,000 less than this year. The budget reductions and levy increases were necessary because of a $350,000 unallotment of program aid and a $90,000 reduction in the block grant to family services.
WILLMAR -- Kandiyohi County's tax levy will increase 1.76 percent next year. Nearly all of the increase -- 1.37 percent -- is to help make up for the unallotment of $668,000 in state funds. County Administrator Larry Kleindl told the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday that the actual increase in operating expenses for 2010 accounts for three-tenths of 1 percent of the net tax levy. "That's pretty darn flat," said Kleindl prior to the commissioners' unanimous approval of the proposed budget and levy. The net levy for 2010 is $25,939,905.
WILLMAR -- When the Prairie Lakes Youth Programs first opened its juvenile detention center in 1991, there was concern that Kandiyohi County would inherit troubled kids when their sentences were completed and they were discharged. But Darin Balken, director of Prairie Lakes, said the programs at the facility have resulted in troubled juveniles becoming successful adults. In a report to the Kandiyohi County commissioners on Tuesday, Balken told the story of a Bemidji youth convicted of assault and kidnapping. After serving three years in Bemidji he was placed at Prairie Lakes in 20007 for a