A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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Their days typically start around 6 a.m. and can turn from mundane to madness in a matter of minutes. But Kandiyohi County probation officers say the duty they have to provide public safety, and the desire they have to help people change their lives, keeps them on the job. Many of the 20 probation officers in the county have been on the job for 15 to 20 years.
WILLMAR -- For most people who walk out of a third-floor Kandiyohi County courtroom, the next place they go to is the probation office on the second floor. "We never know who'll walk through the door," said Lynn Gatewood, who is one of three in-take probation officers stationed at the courthouse that sees offenders right after they've appeared in court. Those offenders are often scared and confused and may not understand exactly what they need to do. "When they walk out of here, we make sure they know what's expected of them," said Jason Denton.
WILLMAR -- A 260-head expansion of a dairy operation east of Willmar was unanimously approved Monday by the Kandiyohi County Planning Commission. The conditional use permit now goes before the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners. The expansion at the Robert Larson farm involves an increase in the number of animals that will be raised on the farm, but does not include construction of new facilities. The farm will increase the number of animals from 699 head to 960 head. They raise dairy heifers and calves in partial confinement barns and open lots. The project had the support of a neig
SWIFT FALLS -- Carol Skarsten said she was "oblivious" to pending danger Tuesday afternoon while watching TV news about a storm warning for Swift County. But then her husband, Sanford, came tearing in the house and told her to run to the basement. A screaming tornado appeared to be just a couple hundred yards behind the barn, said Sanford Skarsten on Wednesday morning while standing in the debris that was strewn through the family's rural Swift Falls yard. The couple barely made it to the cellar of their 100-year-old house before the swirling winds hit. "The intensity of that thing," said
SWIFT FALLS -- A park was heavily damaged Tuesday in a tornado that plowed through the southern part of Swift County. As many as 200 trees may have been snapped off or uprooted at the county park, located in Swift Falls.
BENSON -- The first reports of a tornado being sighted in Swift County were made at 4:16 p.m. Tuesday when spotters saw a funnel cloud north of Benson that was heading east. The tornado traveled about 7 to 10 miles and was on the ground for about 10 minutes, Bill McGeary, Swift County emergency management director, said. "It was moving at a pretty darn good clip," he said. Two large turkey barns located in Camp Lake Township and owned by Jennie-O Turkey Store were totally destroyed, said McGeary.
SPICER -- Volunteers are being asked to pitch in with clean-up of the Green Lake Diamond at 3 p.m. today in Spicer. The ball park was damaged yesterday in a tornado that ripped through the south part of town. The storm damaged fences, a small press box, the batting cages at the diamond.
SPICER - Local officials said this morning that the storm that hit Spicer yesterday was a tornado. Kandiyohi County Emergency Management Deputy Director Kim Lindahl said spotters confirmed the presence of a tornado at 4:42 p.m. that started west of County Road 9 in the Twin Lakes area. "It was a confirmed tornado," said Lindahl. It was on the ground for about 16 minutes and traveled about eight miles, she said. It's not known strength the tornado was rated at.
Scandinavian roots grow strong and deep and can travel great distances. Even to New Jersey and Texas.
Kandiyohi County has received a two-year grant to implement an initiative to improve the health of residents here.