A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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ATWATER -- About five months after his longtime, trusted, laid-back, know-how-to-get-the-job-done K-9 partner, Max, died, Atwater Police Chief Reed Schmidt is getting used to the one-year-old energy of a happy dog that is just so darn excited to go to work he could just spin in circles and lick your face clean. "He gets so excited about doing this," said Schmidt of his new partner, a yellow Labrador retriever named Dakota, who now sits in the back seat of Schmidt's squad car as another member of the small town's police force.
While doing their day jobs, Danny Shonerd and Sean Shonerd wield brooms and brushes to clean the school hallways in the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District. During evening and weekend hours, however, the father and son team have been using fine-tipped brushes, brilliant acrylic paints and a hefty dose of imagination to brighten up an otherwise long, drab hallway in one of those school buildings. For the last eight months the Shonerds have been carefully creating a 9- by 40-foot mystical masterpiece on the block wall hallway that leads ACGC North Elementary students to the lunchroom. "
WILLMAR -- Through communication and common goals that put the welfare of children first, Kandiyohi County's Family Services Department has cultivated good relationships with partner agencies that have led to positive outcomes when it comes to out-of-home placements. Providing programs that can prevent children from needing to be placed in foster care or detention facilities is the first step in managing placements, said Jay Kieft, Kandiyohi County Family Services director. During a report Tuesday to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners, Kieft said intervention programs, like the Chil
WILLMAR -- Confusion about warning sirens is one of the lessons gleaned from the July 11 tornado that touched down near Willmar. Sirens in Kandiyohi County are timed to stop running after three minutes once they are activated. But the July 11 tornado lasted about 15 minutes as it made an eight-mile trek across the county. That meant sirens had to be activated five separate times, said Don Ericson, emergency management director, during a report Tuesday to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners. Every time the sirens began wailing again, said Ericson, people called 911 asking why the si
WILLMAR -- Five months ago, when Anne Biesenbach's car "blew up" and she couldn't afford to fix a car that "wasn't worth fixing," she knew it was going to be a challenge to get from her home in Danube to her job in Olivia. It's a job she needs to support herself and her 2½-year-old son, Chase. Thankfully, her grandmother stepped in to make the two roundtrips a day since April. Starting today , however, Biesenbach will drive herself to work in a green 1996 Pontiac Bonneville.
WILLMAR -- The process of setting budget markers and project priorities for the next five years for Kandiyohi County's roads and bridges began Tuesday. The County Board of Commissioners got a look at a proposed plan that identifies roads slated for major reconstruction, bridges that need to be replaced and miles of road to be resurfaced. A public hearing on the plan will be held in September or October. The estimated project costs in the plan range from a high of $8.7 million in 2012 to a low of $6.6 million in 2013.
WILLMAR -- A section of road around Green Lake could become a one-way street. A public hearing on the proposal will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 25, tentatively to be held at the Dethlef Center in Spicer. If approved, a nearly mile-long section of County Road 144, also known as Skyline Drive, would be turned into a one-way road, with traffic going from south to north.
Under a warm sun and mild breeze that rustled overhead trees and corn in the nearby field, Erin Reps stood in the cemetery at First Lutheran Church of Norway Lake on July 29 as her mother, Kathy Reps, was buried. Kathy had cancer.
WILLMAR -- Minnesota's tenth, and final, 16-bed Community Behavioral Health Hospital was officially opened Friday in Willmar to high praises from county, city and state officials. "It's a big deal for us," said Cal Ludeman, Commissioner of Minnesota Human Services, one of many who spoke during the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Willmar hospital. Ludeman said the "capstone day" wasn't exciting just because a new, attractive building was completed, but because it was a "celebration of a lot of work by a lot of great people" who were committed to deinstitutionalizing adults with mental illness.
SPICER -- Kids can have a hard time connecting with nature in today's digital world. That sterile separation can create apathy toward nature and little concern for protecting the environment. Not knowing how to enjoy nature can also, according to some child experts, result in greater child obesity and lower grades in school. A workshop to be held Tuesday at the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center is designed to teach educators, parents, day-care providers or anyone involved with young children, how to help kids connect with the outdoors. Studies have shown that kids who spend more