A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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WILLMAR -- Every year, the offices that process driver's licenses, vehicle tabs, title transfers and boat licenses send about $1 billion to the state in the form of fee-generated revenue. Yet those offices -- some run as a private enterprise -- are struggling to operate in the black. With a new round of cuts to city and county governments, which also operate many licensing offices, there's concern some offices may close.
GROVE CITY -- A set of guidelines for dealing with the H1N1 influenza will be used this year in the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District. The school board reviewed the guidelines at its meeting Monday. Because the information regarding the influenza is "so fluid it changes from day to day and week to week," Superintendent Sherri Broderius said the booklet will be used as a guideline and not a policy. By using information from the Minnesota Department of Health, Broderius said she developed the handbook for school faculty to use when identifying, reporting and responding to a potential
LITCHFIELD -- Jonathan Yanney was a good student and baseball player who was well-liked by his teachers and classmates. "He was a happy-go-lucky kid that everybody liked," said Don Forrest, superintendent of schools in Norwood, Mo., where Yanney attended school for three years. "He was a real outgoing boy," he said. "And he was one that everyone got along with." Because very few new students attend the small K-12 grade school that has a total of about 450 students, Yanney was quickly noticed, said Forrest.
WILLMAR -- After two days of sifting through the proposed 2010 budget, the Kandiyohi County Commissioners were satisfied with the end result and the process that was taken to get there. "This was the most unique, but most positive, process to go through," Commissioner Harlan Madsen said Friday afternoon. The challenge was heightened because the county will lose $688,000 in state aid through unallotment. The commissioners gave an informal nod of approval to a $56.5 million budget, which is $3.7 million less than last year. They're expected to take action on Sept.
WILLMAR -- Kandiyohi County Administrator Larry Kleindl gave department heads a directive early this year to prioritize programs and find ways to cut costs and trim budgets for next year. That thorough combing of expenditures and revenues was evident when the Kandiyohi County Commissioners got a line-by-line look at the proposed 2010 budget and levy during a special budget meeting on Thursday. The preliminary $56.5 million budget is $3.7 million less than last year and the proposed levy increase is 1.7 percent. "I've never seen a budget like this before," said long-time auditor Sam Modderma
WILLMAR -- It doesn't matter if it's a Wednesday or a Saturday, but on any hot, sunny summer day there can be 15, 150 or 250 boats anchored in a small area off the shore of Green Lake. Along with the congregation of boats, rafts and people wading and swimming in waist-deep water, come loud music, laughing, talking and some beer drinking. It's a lot of fun for those in the flotilla who are partying in the water. But some homeowners, who have a large group of strangers whooping it up at the end of their dock, feel trapped, abused and unable to use the lake they pay a lot of money to live on.
WILLMAR -- Minnesota's 10 new acute mental health hospitals, including the one in Willmar, have been operating at about half capacity for the last year and a half. With 16 beds in each hospital, that means nearly 80 of the 160 beds are not being used. That, combined with the state's budget shortfall and an expected cut of $12 million to $15 million coming to adult mental health care, changes are expected in how those hospitals are operated. If it was just a matter of money, several of the Community Behavioral Health Hospitals would be closed, saving about $4 million per facility, said Kevin
WILLMAR -- A proposed amendment to Kandiyohi County's nuisance ordinance would give law enforcement a tool to respond to unwanted homecoming pranks. The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to conduct a public hearing on the amendment at 10 a.m. Sept.
WILLMAR -- A proposed amendment to Kandiyohi County's nuisance ordinance would give law enforcement a tool to respond to unwanted homecoming pranks. The Kandiyohi County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to hold a public hearing on the amendment at 10 a.m. on Sept. 1. If approved, it would be put in place just prior to the homecoming season this fall. Violators could be charged with a petty misdemeanor of trespassing for the purpose of littering, which carries a fine of up to $300. "We don't want to ruin everybody's homecoming fun," said County Attorney Boyd Beccue.
WILLMAR -- When a woman who's fighting chemical dependency sits in a counseling session with a group of men, the mind games and the horrors of their addictions can creep in and make recovery difficult. Experiences of being intimidated or sexually abused by men, or experiences of competing for and winning a man's attention in order to boost self-esteem or to get someone to buy them drinks or drugs, can become mingled with the therapy session. But if those same women are in a room without men, the tenor of the talk changes dramatically, said Jeanine Porter, a licensed alcohol and drug counselo