A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers county government and regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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New Orleans French Quarter jazz isn't the first thing one would expect in Brooten. The town of about 650 people -- most with Scandinavian or German heritage -- is in the heart of the Bonanza Valley farm fields. Just barely in Stearns County, Brooten hangs on the edges of Pope and Kandiyohi counties. Grain trucks rumble through town during the week and residents go to church on Sunday. But John O's -- a new dinner restaurant and lounge that opened this month in Brooten -- has jazzed up this small farming town.
GROVE CITY -- An audit report of the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District shows that budget cuts implemented this year are helping the district inch its way out of statutory operating debt. The report, which was presented Monday, showed the general fund ended the 2005-06 school year with a negative balance of $340,397.
WILLMAR -- People who use the Willmar Taxi service to go to work during evening hours when Kandiyohi Area Transit buses are parked for the day, may get a subsidy from KAT. John Groothuis, KAT transit director, said the partnership could be beneficial to Willmar Taxi, KAT and the riders who need transportation. The preliminary proposal was discussed Tuesday with the KAT operations board. Groothuis said Willmar Taxi, owned by Care Transportation Inc. of St. Cloud, is struggling financially.
ATWATER -- A city-owned building that had housed the Atwater library and senior dining center was sold Wednesday for $10,500. The Atwater City Council had three bids for the building on Atlantic Avenue, which was vacated by the city earlier this year because of structural problems.
WILLMAR -- A grant that could generate up to $45,000 to educate local teens and young adults on the dangers of driving while intoxicated is being sought by the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Department. The Kandiyohi County Commissioners approved the grant application on Tuesday. If approved, the money would be used to create a new safe community coalition. The coalition would team up with Ridgewater College, area school districts, emergency squads and the county highway engineer to prevent accidents, Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog said.
WILLMAR -- A four-county program that has successfully helped at-risk families stay together, or become reunited following separation because of foster care placement, had its funding drastically cut for 2007. The federally-funded grant will be $16,000 next year.
WILLMAR -- Willmar businessman Wilt Croonquist, who had served as Kandiyohi County's first full-time economic development director, died Saturday morning at his home of cancer. He was 69. Born and raised in Kandiyohi County, Croonquist lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, for many years while working for Firestone tires as the manager for the western states, according to Kandiyohi County Commissioner Richard Falk, who said he was Croonquist's "oldest friend." Croonquist came back to Minnesota and opened his own business, Kandi Tires.
WILLMAR -- Wearing jeans and sitting in the Willmar office building where he and his brother base their land development and home building business, Joe Gimse is relaxed and quick with a smile as he talks about the Nov.
WILLMAR -- Dean Johnson doesn't sit still much. The DFL senator from Willmar runs at least two miles every day, depending on how many church dinners he's attended, which keeps him looking much younger than his 59 years. The running doesn't stop after the morning jog, however. On any given day Johnson rattles off a long list of meetings, open houses, gatherings with service groups, community organizations and church dinners where he's eaten "meatballs and good pieces of pie" that are on the daily calendar. It's all part of the campaign itinerary, but given Johnson's social nature, he would
WILLMAR -- Questions about the water quality of area lakes and residential development that's occurring around those lakes were addressed Thursday night by the candidates running for the Kandiyohi County District 5 commissioner seat. Harlan Madsen, who has served on the County Board for 12 years, is being challenged by Andrew Lindquist to represent the district, which includes the towns of Atwater, Blomkest, Kandiyohi, Lake Lillian, Prinsburg, Raymond and 11 townships in the southern half of Kandiyohi County. Madsen, 57, is a dairy farmer from Lake Lillian.