A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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Even though she's been back in the United States nearly three weeks, Susan Semmler hasn't been able to fully relax at her parents' Lake Andrew home in rural New London. "I've had this uneasiness," she said. Semmler is constantly checking the Internet, or e-mails from colleagues, to hear the latest news from Myanmar, which is still trying to recover from a May 2 cyclone that killed thousands of Burmese and wiped out rice fields and entire villages.
WILLMAR -- Just like corn farmers who went out on a limb years ago to invest in ethanol plants, farmers may soon be considering the economic viability of investing in wind farms to create anhydrous ammonia from water. Farmers are "big users" of anhydrous ammonia, the nitrogen-based fertilizer crucial for corn crops, said Bruce Reuss, chairman of the ag and renewable energy committee of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission. Made from expensive natural gas that comes primarily from China, Africa and India, anhydrous ammonia has gone from $250 a ton five year
WILLMAR -- State budget reductions could mean counties will have to pay for some public defenders and state prisoners. The financial shift is part of a "string of squeezes" the state is passing onto counties, said Jay Kieft, director of the Kandiyohi County Family Services Department. Kieft on Tuesday told the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners that the State Board of Public Defense announced that as of July 8 it will no longer provide public defenders to parents involved with child protection cases, or cases when parents' rights are being terminated. The decision was made because budg
WILLMAR -- Kandiyohi County's bond rating has taken a significant jump to a more elite level. The county is now one of 11 in Minnesota that have a Moody's bond rating of A1. Carolyn Drude, a financial consultant with Ehlers & Associates, handed the County Commissioners an oversized plaque Tuesday to congratulate the county on its good financial standing. "We think it's pretty exciting," she said. The A1 rating could help the county get lower interest rates for general obligation bonds. "It's pretty good news for the county," said Commissioner Dennis Peterson. Drude said the county had be
SPICER -- A three-mile stretch of road east of Green Lake is serving as an experimental station for the first-ever national study on intelligent compaction. The data will help shape the future for constructing high-quality, uniform and longer-lasting roads in the United States, and the process should save fuel, time and money. On Monday, Kandiyohi County Road 4 was filled with yellow and orange hard hats and vests as engineers, researchers and program coordinators from the Federal Highway Administration, the Transtec Group based in Texas, the Sakai laboratory in Japan, the Sakai manufacturin
WILLMAR -- Tougher economic times and a national trend of declining property values brought out a record number of people Monday to the Kandiyohi County Board of Appeals and Equalization meeting. Usually the annual meeting takes about a half-hour as the board hears concerns from one or two property ow-ners. This year the session lasted for a solid 2½ hours as 11 property owners challenged their property values and asked the board to reduce them. The board members -- all five of the Kandiyohi County Commissioners -- said they've never had so many contested cases in one year.
Vacationers who usually go "up north" to go camping and fishing are staying closer to home this year because of high gas prices. For local campgrounds that's both good news and bad news. Kandiyohi County parks may host more Twin Cities residents this year because they've decided not to spend gas money to drive farther north. Laura Clark, who manages County Park 5 on Green Lake with her husband, Terry, said they've heard from at least a dozen campers this year who are "trying to stay within 100 miles of their home." The high cost of gas is "their number one reason for trying to find somewhe
SUNBURG -- The retirement of Rep. Bud Heidgerken from District 13A is drawing the attention of nearly a half-dozen Republicans and Democrats who are hoping to be elected to the west central Minnesota House seat. Bruce Shuck, a DFL'er from Sunburg, said he'll make a fourth attempt to win the post this fall.
SUNBURG - Bruce Shuck, a DFLer from Sunburg, said he'll make a fourth attempt to win the House 13A seat this fall. The seat is being vacated by Bud Heidgerken, R-Freeport, who's retiring. Heidgerken defeated Shuck in the last three elections. Shuck will seek the DFL endorsement when District 13 delegates meet June 24 in Belgrade. Dr. Daron Gersch, a family physician with the Albany Area Hospital and Medical Center, said he intends to run as a Republican for the seat.
WILLMAR -- A 3-1 vote Monday by the Kandiyohi County Board of Adjustment to uphold a decision by the county zoning administrator was not well-received by the nearly 50 residents or three of the Kandiyohi County Commissioners who attended the meeting. After nearly an hour of debate, the Board of Adjustment agreed to confirm Gary Geer's decision that a 1981 permit for an asphalt hot-mix plant in New London Township is still valid today. The board's action denies an appeal made by New London Township residents. Dan Kleven, Suzanne Napgezek and Darrell Vick voted to uphold Geer's decision.