A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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WILLMAR -- Within minutes after a funnel cloud touched down Friday evening south of Willmar, Kandiyohi County's emergency response team was setting up a command post in the parking lot of the Assembly of God church and coordinating efforts between multiple agencies. "It was very well-organized," said Kandiyohi County Administrator Larry Kleindl. "I can't say enough about how well people worked together." Kleindl credits regular training of personnel and monthly meetings between city and county agencies for the smooth response. "We prepare for this," Kleindl said.
WILLMAR -- Recovery efforts were in full force over the weekend after a Friday evening twister ripped through two businesses on the southeast edge of Willmar and plowed down three rural homes and several turkey barns. Mild weather Saturday and Sunday helped the cleanup go well, but strong winds blew grit, field dirt and sawdust into eyes and faces to provide just one more reminder of the tornado that seemed to pop out of nowhere on Friday. Hundreds of volunteers helped tornado victims take down trees, clean up debris, and cope with the Saturday morning reality of the devastation caused by th
WILLMAR -- The National Weather Service has determined that the tornado that hit the Willmar area Friday evening was a low-end, EF-3 tornado. Anytime a tornado is rated as a three, it is classified as a "major" tornado, said Todd Krause, a meteorologist with the service. An EF-3 rating has winds in the 136-165 range. A "low-end" rating means winds were most likely in the 136-150 mph range, said Krause. With a scale of zero to five, Krause said Minnesota usually only gets one or two tornados a year in the EF-3 category.
6 p.m. Saturday update
5:30 p.m. Saturday update
WILLMAR -- At the end of a dead-end gravel road off of Kandiyohi County Road 19, three little girls, including a 1-year-old named Gracie, huddled together in the basement of a simple one-story home with four comforting adults and two dogs. As Whitney Peters, 10, was screaming and "bawling," her friend Kylie Halvorson, 12, said she was trying to "think happy thoughts." It was difficult to do as glass shattered and walls collapsed around them Friday evening when a tornado ripped through the rural area about two miles east of Willmar. On the other side of the road, Ken and Joyce Randt were in
A benefit omelet breakfast for Rae Ann Bartz will be served from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on July 20 at the American Legion in Willmar. An auction will be held at 1:30 p.m. Donations may also be sent to Rae Ann Bartz Benefit, Bremer Bank, 500 Willmar Ave. SE, Willmar, MN, 56201. To contribute to the auction call Karla Ohden at 320-894-6748.
As a right-handed woman, it's a bit awkward for Rae Ann Bartz to slip a halter over the head of a sleek bay Arabian named Starman with her left hand.
WILLMAR -- The state's gas tax increase is not generating the kind of revenue expected to advance state road projects. A tight economy and $4 gas is prompting people to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles, reduce miles driven and purchase less gas. The result is a flat to low growth rate of revenue, according to officials from the Minnesota Department of Transportation who were in Willmar Thursday to discuss the proposed 20-year state transportation plan. "There's very little extra money," said Peggy Reichert, MnDOT director of statewide planning. It's estimated MnDOT will receive $2.6 billio
MADISON -- Calling himself a "very moderate Republican" who was a "big fan" of DFL Gov. Rudy Perpich, Mike Bredeck has filed for election for the House 20A seat. The position will be open because Rep. Aaron Peterson, DFL-Appleton, has said he does not plant to file for re-election. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock, has also filed for the seat. This will be the second time around for Bredeck, who ran against Peterson two years ago. Bredeck said he's dusted the "cobwebs" off his campaign signs and has begun campaigning in the western Minnesota district. "I'm hitting the road already.