A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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As a circle of pre-schoolers tried to twist their chubby fingers in the complicated fashion required when singing the "Itsy-Bisty Spider" song, their tongues and brains were also undergoing a challenging twist. They were trying to sing the song in Norwegian. "Very good," cooed Jamie Moe, an early education teacher to her young charges, who really didn't seem to care what language they were singing as long as they were having fun. Ever since the Norwegian-style "barnehage" pre-school opened Sept. 8 in Sunburg, the children have been hearing and speaking Norwegian.
WILLMAR -- Kandiyohi County Commissioner Richard Larson and his challenger for the District 2 seat, William Graves, responded to questions about budget cuts, gravel pits and county buildings during an hour-long debate Tuesday in Willmar. There was little disagreement between the two candidates on the issues and Graves commended Larson for being an "honorable opponent" who has done a "phenomenal" job serving on the County Board. But Graves said he's heard repeated comments from constituents that it's "time for a change" and that he'd bring a "new set of eyes" and a "new set of ears" to the bo
WILLMAR -- A proposed 9,590-head dairy operation near Pennock easily won a preliminary nod of approval Monday by the Kandiyohi County Planning Commission. "I'm really excited," said Nate Hultgren, one of the directors of Meadow Star Dairy Limited Liability Partnership, following the unanimous vote by the Planning Commission. Pending the outcome Oct.
WILLMAR -- A new grant will give respite care to children with mental health issues and their families who may need a break from the stress of carrying for their children. The two-year, $30,000 grant will target Kandiyohi County youth, ages 10 to 15, who receive mental health services through the county, yet fall through the cracks when it comes to respite care. The program will also help families, who may not qualify for traditional crisis respite care because their child doesn't need intensive mental health services but still strain under the challenges of coping with a child with mental i
SPICER -- A shallow 140-acre lake in the southwest part of Kandiyohi County will be drained dry this fall so invasive species of rough fish can be killed off. Olson Lake, located in Edwards Township, will then be restored to it current water level so vegetation can grow to create a good habitat for waterfowl. Following a public hearing Tuesday, the Kandiyohi County Commissioners agreed to allow the water to be discharged into Ditch 31. The temporary draw-down of the water will eliminate bullheads and fathead minnows, allow vegetation to grow, decrease phosphorous, improve the overall water
WILLMAR -- Kandiyohi County had already processed application requests for about 600 absentee ballots by Friday afternoon. "That seems high to me," said Auditor Sam Modderman, who will continue to accept applications until 5 p.m. the night before Election Day. Most of the absentee ballots already sent out went to military personnel or others living overseas. Others were sent to college students living away from home. County residents unable to cast ballots also received absentee ballots.
WILLMAR -- First-time voters, people who have recently moved or those who have changed their name have until Oct. 14 to register in time to be on the voter roster at their precinct polls. Minnesota voters can always register on Election Day, but with large crowds and long lines predicted, early registration is encouraged. "It really does make it a lot easier and simpler for everybody," said Kandiyohi County Auditor Sam Modderman.
ATWATER -- The non-compliance of 70 percent of the individual septic systems on Diamond Lake has residents searching for long-term solutions. With the help of grants, consultants and thousands of hours of volunteer time, the results of a year-long study have identified three viable options: managed individual sewage treatment systems, multiple cluster systems or connecting to the Green Lake Sanitary Sewer and Water District.
ATWATER -- A $90,000 matching grant that would help fund renovations at the historic Hotel Atwater was given preliminary approval Thursday by the Minnesota Historical Society. Final approval could come at the end of the month. Atwater City Councilmen Shane Hagstrom and Mark Olson were at the State Capitol on Thursday to testify before the grant review committee. Hagstrom said he was given about three minutes to speak about the project, which the Historical Society staff had recommended for approval. The committee was "very impressed with the building," he said.
WILLMAR -- There's something about Minnesota that makes Bengt Erik Lofgren feel comfortable. It could be because 35 percent of Minnesotans have a Swedish heritage that Lofgren senses a "feeling of friendship" and the basis for "trust" that the Swedish businessman said is necessary for an international business relationship between Sweden and the United States. Minnesota "is more li-ke Sweden" than any other state. Lofgren and a half-dozen business entrepreneurs from Sweden who are involved with renewable energy were in Willmar on Thursday to tour the MinnWest Technology Campus and participa