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 -- As a Christian, Bruce Laabs said it's important to do things that are good for the environment. "It's God's creation and we want to be good stewards of that," said Laabs, from Plato, who is attending the three-day Sonshine Christian music festival that starts today in Willmar. Knowing that he'll be able to recycle his aluminum cans and plastic beverage bottles while at the festival makes him feel good. In the past, Laabs' family has taken their bottles and cans home with them after Sonshine to recycle.
WILLMAR -- A request to rezone a 30-acre parcel of land on East Woodcock Lake near Spicer to allow a residential development was denied Monday by the Kandiyohi County Planning Commission. The commissioners cited the fragile nature of the shallow natural environment lake as one reason for denying the request. Ed Huseby, a member of the Planning Commission, said the situation was the "classical conflict" of property rights and the environment. The land is also not included in Spicer's urban growth boundary, which is another measure used for rezoning land that's dedicated as shoreland resource
WILLMAR -- A litany of complaints about existing turkey barns, and fears about additional ones, were expressed Monday to the Kandiyohi County Planning Commission. Nearly 35 people were at the meeting to object to plans by Jennie-O Turkey Store Inc. to build 10 new turkey barns in four different locations in the northern part of Kandiyohi County. Nearly all of the residents came to the podium to voice their objections -- some made the trip several times during testimony that lasted for more than 2½ hours.
WILLMAR -- Jose Hildalgo Lopez, 42, of Willmar was charged Friday for attempting to kill a 32-year-old woman early Tuesday morning. Lopez was charged with four felony charges: attempted murder in the first degree, assault in the first degree, domestic assault by strangulation and criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. He is being held in the Kandiyohi County Jail on $750,000 bail. The woman was initially taken to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar and later transferred to Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis with stab wounds to the neck and chest.
WILLMAR -- The hot, dry Minnesota summer is expected to get even hotter and drier this weekend, which will put additional stress on lawns, shrubs and trees. Without supplemental water, lawns and trees could experience injury and permanent damage.
WILLMAR -- On that day in 1977 when Wayne Thompson walked into the Kandiyohi County Courthouse to begin his new job as county administrator, he handed in a one-page, undated letter of resignation. It would be 30 years before it was accepted. Thompson, who has led the county through three decades of growth and financial stability, will walk out of the office for the last time Friday. Thompson's resignation, and the transition of duties to new administrator, Larry Kleindl, has been in the works for a year and a half. In his role as the county's highest-ranked unelected official, Thompson has
LITCHFIELD -- With 9 million American kids -- including nearly 80,000 in Minnesota -- currently not covered by medical insurance, more federal and state legislation is needed to keep children healthy, according to children's advocates. In a presentation Thursday in Litchfield, representatives from the Minnesota Children's Defense Fund said some progress was made during the 2007 Minnesota legislative session to make health care more accessible to children. But Carole Specktor, advocacy and legislative affairs director for the nonprofit organization, said the final action fell far short of the
LITCHFIELD -- Since 2000, there's been a 63 percent increase in the number of Minnesota children living in extreme poverty. Living in poverty is one of 10 major factors that are used to measure the well-being of children of kids in the United States.
WILLMAR -- On a 4-1 vote Tuesday, the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners agreed to sell the county's boys and girls group homes. The two homes, which provide residential, out-of-home placement for juveniles with behavioral is-sues, will be sold for $280,000 to the Willmar-based Prairie Lakes Youth Programs. The transition is expected to take place by Nov.
SPICER -- The Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Department brought out its big guns on Tuesday, and then put the deadly weapons in the hands of the Kandiyohi County commissioners, the county auditor, county attorney and county administrator. During a demonstration by the county's tactical response unit at a secluded firing range in an abandoned gravel pit near Spicer, even the press was given a chance to shoot weapons that most only see on TV cop shows. Besides a lineup of automatic rifles, handguns and shotguns, like the Heckler & Koch .45 caliber UMP sub-gun, the department's new mobile dispatch