A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
- Member for
- 4 years 10 months
Victoria Sletta Johnson is happy to be alive and happy to have a roof over her head for Christmas. However, she's not putting up a tree or decorations this year. "Pretty quiet," is how she describes her holiday plans. Sletta Johnson, her upstairs tenants and three little girls who were guests of her tenants survived the July 11 tornado in the lower level of Johnson's house. The entire second floor of the house was ripped open for the world to see. There were "no walls to hide behind," and Johnson took offense to the "gawkers" who drove by her home, only to take pictures and move on.
The plan was to have Ken and Joyce Randt moved into their new residence by Christmas. The one-floor home -- built by their son-in-law -- is mostly done.
Ever since emerging from their basement after the July 11 tornado struck their picturesque hobby farm southwest of Willmar, Tom and Linda Mikelson have been cleaning and rebuilding. For nearly six solid months, the family, church and school volunteers and contracted carpenters have been working non-stop. What was destroyed "in a blink of an eye" has taken countless hours to restore, Linda said. They're still not done, despite Herculean efforts. Tom frequently works until 2 a.m. on repairs.
WILLMAR -- In the corner of Monica and Eric Ericksons' living room, a fresh-cut Christmas tree stands without a single ornament on it, even though Christmas is just days away. The family purchased a few boxes of glass ornaments that daughter, Karlee, 7, opens and gingerly attaches to the prickly pine branches. The family has no idea where their old Christmas tree ornaments are. They could be strewn across acres of a neighbor's soybean field or hanging in cottonwood trees in a farm grove miles away.
WILLMAR -- People who are homeless live in cars, under apartment stairwells and in places not fit for human habitation. And they are homeless in Kandiyohi County. "There is quite a bit of homelessness going on here," according to a woman who has been homeless in Willmar with her school-aged son. "It's going on a lot," she said. The unnamed woman and four other individuals -- two men who have spouses and children, a single man and an adolescent -- tell their stories about being homeless in Kandiyohi County in a short video that's designed to bring the harsh reality of homelessness to a comm
GROVE CITY -- After slugging its way out of statutory operating debt by making deep budget cuts and succeeding in passing a levy referendum after four failed attempts, the last thing the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School Board wanted to hear was more bad financial news. But that's what they got Monday when Rep.
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Commissioners approved a $60 million budget Tuesday that does not include a raise for themselves. The commissioners ag-reed to forfeit their annual salary increase for 2009. "I don't think it's time to give ourselves a raise," said Commissioner Dean Shuck. The county is expecting to take a hit in local government aid as part of the state's budget-reduction efforts.
WILLMAR -- The first -- and only -- transit director of the Kandiyohi Area Transit system has resigned. John Groot-huis, who helped launch KAT in 1999, is leaving to take a job with the Minnesota De-partment of Transportat-ion's Office of Transit in St. Paul. His last day at KAT is Jan. 6. He he will begin his new job Jan. 7. The Joint Powers Board could take action Dec. 29 to hire a replacement for Groothuis. "It's been a good run," said Groothuis, of his time at KAT. "I feel we've done a really good job here.
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Commissioners approved a $60 million budget today that doesn't include a raise for themselves. The commissioners agreed to forfeit their annual cost of living raise for 2009. "I don't think it's time to give ourselves a raise," said Commissioner Dean Shuck. The county is expecting to take a hit in local government aid as part of the state's budget-reduction efforts.
WILLMAR - The first - and only - transit director of the Kandiyohi Area Transit system has resigned. John Groothuis, who helped launch KAT in 1999, has resigned to take a job with the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Office of Transit in St. Paul. His last day at KAT is Jan. 6. He will begin his new job Jan. 7. "It's been a good run," said Groothuis. Since the fledgling system began, the number of riders, buses and routes has steadily grown. In 2005 KAT was named the transit system of the year by MnDOT. The Joint Powers Board could take action Dec.