A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers county government and regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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WILLMAR -- Kandiyohi County Park 2 may be put on the selling block unless more campers show up in 2006. Reduced camping fees for the park are being proposed to help increase its summertime population. If approved by the County Board of Commissioners next week, County Park 2 will have the lowest fees of all the county's parks. It's hoped the action will bring back campers who were scared off when fees were increased for 2005. County Commissioner Richard Larson said the county should consider "disposing" of the park if the usage doesn't increase substantially next year.
WILLMAR -- Proposed revisions to Kandiyohi County's zoning and subdivision ordinances would increase the size of the board of adjustment and change how members of the planning commission are appointed. The long list of proposed changes, which were reviewed Monday night, recommend that the board of adjustment be increased from three members to five members, and that the members of the planning commission are appointed from each of the county board districts with staggering terms. The current ordinance doesn't require one Planning Commission member to come from each district.
WILLMAR -- The Bushmills Ethanol plant shows what can happen when government entities cooperate. "The Bushmills project is a wonderful example of what like-minded citizens can do with determination and optimism," said Steve Renquist, executive director of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, When Bushmills Ethanol was looking to build a plant, they were eyeing locations in Kandiyohi and Meeker counties.
ATWATER -- Andy Quinn was one of the first in line to lead the capital campaign to build a $62 million ethanol plant in Kandiyohi County. On Monday morning, he will deliver the first bushel of corn to the Atwater plant. Actually, it will be 950 bushels of corn, which he will bring in a Kenworth grain truck from his Litchfield farm, to weigh and unload in the new ethanol processing facility.
ATWATER -- The owner of the Atwater bowling alley was given a warning Wednesday by the Atwater City Council for selling liquor set-ups to customers on Sundays. The council gave Toby Giese, from McPete's II Sports Bar and Lanes, a written warning for the violation. A second violation would generate a $250 fine, he was told. A third violation would result in Giese's Sunday 3.2 beer license getting revoked. Giese has a license to sell hard liquor six days a week.
Despite a state resolution approved in May that said 2005 would be the year the "Minnesota feedlot war ended," and would be replaced instead with an era of "peace, love, harmony and acceptance of diversity" for Minnesota's livestock farmers, the battle is apparently still raging. Sen.
GROVE CITY -- Administrators in the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District were told Monday to find at least $250,000 to cut from the 2006-07 budget. The direction was given after the school board officially canvassed the results of the Dec. 1 special election that had asked voters to approve an additional operating levy to generate new revenue for the district. The voters defeated the proposed levy on a vote of 1,253 to 802. "The board acknowledged the proposition had failed," said Superintendent Pamela Kyllingstad.
WILLMAR - When an intoxicated person gets taken to detox to sober up, county taxpayers pay the price. From 2001 to 2004, Kandiyohi County paid a total of $607,824 for detox services, or an average of $151,956 a year. That bill will be higher this year, not because more people are using it, but because the daily cost of operating the local detox facility is increasing. The daily, per-person fee Kandiyohi County is paying to Woodland Centers increased $141 in July of this year, raising the fee to $378.
If Erin Gleeson had missed a required art class on her very first day of college, she wouldn't have seen a slide show that included stark photographs of Cambodians who were imprisoned, tortured and killed at the Tuol Sleng prison in Phenom Penh in the 1970s. The photographs are simple head and shoulder mug shots of Cambodian artists and intellectuals who were victims of the cruel Khemur Rouge ruler Pol Pot. The photos depicted just a handful of the estimated 14,000 killed at the prison. The images were seared into Gleeson's mind.
GROVE CITY -- The defeat of an operating levy Thursday will force the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School Board to dig deep into the budget to get out of statutory operating debt. "It means we have to make some serious cuts. Deeper than we care to," said John Cunningham, chairman of the ACGC School Board. "We're back to looking at all the options." Because 88 percent of ACGC's budget is to pay for staff, reductions in the budget will come in the form of reduced staff and student programs, said Cunningham.