A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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Dressed in an overcoat and hat drenched in gasoline, "Tom" sits on a pile of newspapers making flowers for his deceased mother, whom he misses dearly and to whom he is talking in a rambling mumble. "I know, mom. I know. I'm coming." There are cigarette lighters beside him. "I'm going home to my mom," Tom tells a police officer who has been called to the scene. "Stop, Tom. Put down the lighter, Tom," said Aaron Berry, from the Hutchinson Police Department, as Tom gets increasingly agitated. "Stop, Tom.
WILLMAR -- Minnesota legislators are asking citizens to stuff the suggestion box with ideas for solving the state's $4.8 billion deficit. Meetings will be conducted around the state this winter and an on-line suggestion box is already up and running for people to submit ideas on ways to save money and improve the state's system for delivering services, said Rep.
WILLMAR -- Minnesota's high unemployment rate has triggered a federal waiver in the food support program that will provide additional benefits for some people. Able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 50 and who have no children will now be able to obtain food support every month for one year. The new provision went into effect Jan. 1. It expires Dec. 31.
WILLMAR -- A unique donation program that gives cars to low-income people has experienced phenomenal growth. Since it was started last year, Heartland Community Action Agency's "Helping people get there" program has collected 29 vehicles to provide low-income families with reliable transportation to work and school. Most of the vehicles have been donated by area residents.
WILLMAR -- A state audit of Kandiyohi County's 2007 finances uncovered some deficiencies in internal control and how some items were reported, but there were no instances of noncompliance with the financial statement. Chuck Knandel, from the state auditor's office, presented a brief overview of the audit Tuesday to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners. The audit is for 2007. A backlog with the state is causing significant delays in when counties receive the information. County Administrator Larry Kleindl said the county has been working with the state to correct any issues.
WILLMAR -- In light of Minnesota's deficit and expected state budget cuts to human services, Kandiyohi County is looking for ways to reduce expenses while still providing essential services. In this "resource-challenged environment," ways to become more efficient and find "other ways to get the same stuff done" are being sought, said Kandiyohi County Family Services Director Jay Kieft on Tuesday during the County Board meeting. His team of department heads has already found potential ways to save money, he said, and everything is being considered for future adjustments. Kieft said it's impo
WILLMAR -- Resolutions were approved Tuesday by the Kandiyohi County Board to initiate the use of eminent domain to obtain right of way from several property owners who live along County Road 41, north of Willmar. The county intends to regrade and resurface a 1.6-mile segment of the road, commonly called the Radio Station Road, as well as a short section of County Road 24 this summer. Settlements were reached quickly with many of the northern-most landowners through negotiations, but there's been no agreement with seven property owners, including the Willmar Community Golf Club Inc. Because
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Commissioners said they want more time to digest options for altering a busy Willmar intersection that's been the site of a higher-than-average number of accidents. At its meeting Tuesday the County Board of Commissioners delayed taking action to proceed with preliminary designs of a construction plan. Because of tight construction schedules, work on the intersection won't be undertaken until 2010, said Kandiyohi County Public Works Director Gary Danielson. Given that timeline, Commissioner Richard Falk said the board members should take a couple weeks to rev
WILLMAR -- Carole and John Kroes carried two hefty boxes of prized antique possessions to the Willmar Holiday Inn on Wednesday, hoping to make some big sales to buyers at the Treasure Hunters Roadshow. But the Prinsburg couple carried nearly everything back home and spent Thursday putting the family treasures back in the cupboard. The $73 they were offered for a toy truck that John Kroes got for Christmas when he was a little boy wasn't enough. "It didn't mean as much to them as it did to us," said Carole Kroes.
ATWATER -- Crews from South Dakota were called in Wednesday night to thaw out Atwater's 100,000-gallon water tower. Following several days of subzero temperatures this week, water in the tower had turned into an ice cube Wednesday, with a small pocket of air in the middle, said City Clerk Goldie Smith. If the problem had gone on much longer, the tower could have been structurally damaged. "Kind of like a pop can in the deep freeze," he said. The freeze-up was discovered Wednesday morning when residents were getting intermittent water pressure.