A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers county government and regional news with the West Central Tribune.
- Member for
- 1 year 3 months
WILLMAR -- Political slogans supporting House candidate Bonnie Wilhelm in two Barn Theatre play programs and the presence of her campaign literature in the box office have raised questions about the community theater's tax-exempt status. One of the restrictions on tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations is a prohibition from directly or indirectly participating in any political campaign on behalf of a candidate. The incidents apparently occurred without the knowledge of the board of directors, but at least one member of the staff sees no potential violations of Internal Revenue Service rules. I
SPICER -- A project to install a low-pressure sanitary sewer collection system around Lake Florida is progressing well and earning high praise from property owners. Jim Gunter, who lives on the east side of the lake, said there have been "no complaints" from the lake's residents. "It's going very, very well," said Gunter, who is also a member of the Lake Florida Improvement Association. Rather than digging a trench to install the four-inch service lines to the individual lots, a method called "directional boring" is being used to slide the lines under roads without disrupting the surface.
WILLMAR -- Plans to build an enclosed bus shelter near Selvig International Park in downtown Willmar are bogged down in a legal search involving a national communication company and two family trusts. Willmar City Attorney Richard Ronning has been assigned to find the appropriate representatives, including officials from Qwest's Denver office, and ask for their authorization to put the shelter on the boulevard on Becker Avenue and Fourth Street Southwest. Until there's a response, the Kandiyohi Area Transit will hold off designing the bus transfer shelter, which is estimated to cost $75,000.
WILLMAR -- A proposal to put a sanitary sewage collection system around George, Henderson and Nest lakes near Spicer will be discussed this weekend with property owners. The meeting comes on the heels of a decision made last week by the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners to shelve a similar proposal for Diamond Lake near Atwater because of objections from property owners. Meanwhile, construction is under way to install a sewage collection system around Lake Florida west of Spicer.
WILLMAR -- Obtaining the data on urban- and farm-generated water runoff will involve three monitoring stations on farm fields and an automated station on Kandiyohi County Ditch 23. The equipment that will be installed on the ditch later this fall will measure the flow of water every minute around the clock. An automated data logger will control when regular samples are taken to be tested for nitrogen, phosphorus and fecal coliform bacteria.
WILLMAR -- A four-year test that will provide data about water runoff in rural and urban settings is about to get under way in Kandiyohi County. Water generated from farmland near Blomkest and water generated from Willmar streets and parking lots will be collected and tested. The project could answer the question of whether turkey manure or commercial fertilizer is an asset or a liability. Data will also be gathered on Willmar's storm water in County Ditch 23. This is the first time a simultaneous study of urban- and farm-generated water runoff has been undertaken in Kandiyohi County, said
ATWATER -- A trusted tool of the Atwater community for more than 20 years needs a new home. The city has been trying to sell its old fire truck for four months, but hasn't had any takers yet. The pumper is in good shape and works well, according to City Clerk Goldie Smith. It has a 1975 chassis, 1978 model apparatus, pumps 100,000 gallons a minute and has 11,000 miles on it. It's also cheap. The asking price is $5,000. The Atwater City Council got an update on the situation at its meeting Wednesday.
WILLMAR -- Development of a strategic plan that involved some "soul searching" in the Heartland Community Action Agency has brought about changes in how the nonprofit organization is helping eliminate poverty in the region. Jay Kieft, executive director of the four-county organization, gave the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners an update on Heartland's programs during the County Board meeting Tuesday. Kieft said there has been a shift from using the "band-aid approach" of responding to poverty to "high-impact activities" that are better helping low-income families get out of poverty.
WILLMAR -- Establishing a renewable energy corridor that would stretch from Willmar to Fergus Falls may be what's needed to provide the financial incentive for communities to build wind farms or biomass/biofuel facilities. The Kandiyohi County Agribusiness and Renewable Energy Committee heard about the idea at its meeting Wednesday and agreed to get involved with efforts to gain legislative approval for the corridor.
WILLMAR -- A proposal to put a sanitary sewer system around Diamond Lake is being put on the shelf for the time being. That should please a majority of lake association members who apparently don't want the system. But when voting Tuesday to put the project on hold, the Kandiyohi County Commissioners said Diamond Lake residents will need to address the issue of declining lake water quality and find ways to fix the problem. "There is no question Diamond Lake is deteriorating," said Commissioner Richard Falk. Kandiyohi County Public Works Director Gary Danielson said the county "doesn't want