A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers county government and regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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BUNDE -- Alvin Kluver was in the kitchen watching television and his wife, Esther, was in the living room reading Sunday night when they thought they heard thunder. But it wasn't a summer storm that struck the couple's farm home. It was a car. Jaime Castillo, 25, of Willmar was driving on 140 Avenue Southeast, also known as Chippewa County Road 1, around 8:20 p.m.
ATWATER -- For the last two week Atwater residents have been painting their town red.
SPICER -- Kandiyohi Power Cooperative employees are settling into their new "energy wise" headquarters after more than 50 years at their location in Willmar. The co-op moved into a new building this spring in the Touchstone Business Centre, located off state Highway 23 near Spicer.
SPICER -- When most businesses involved in a $7.1-million construction project would pull in their resources, Kandiyohi Power Cooperative is continuing to share its good fortunes with a poor community in Zacapa, Guatemala. For more than a decade, the co-op has been helping an electrical co-op in the Philippines by sending it equipment it no longer needs. In 1998 the co-op shipped over a bucket truck. The relationship has helped the small cooperative grow successfully.
WILLMAR -- If Kandiyohi County is going to complete just the minimum maintenance on its roads during the next five years, property taxes will need to increase 8 percent each of those years. The Kandiyohi County Commissioners were told Wednesday during their road and bridge meeting that it'll take about $2 million to resurface about a half-dozen roads each year. Never mind reconstructing roads that are too narrow, don't have shoulders or can't bear the weight of farm and commercial trucks. Most of those roads have been taken off the county's five-year reconstruction plan.
Sitting around a table with friends in the back of the Northern Grounds Coffee House in downtown Willmar, Nathan Walker waited for his turn at the microphone. An experienced performer with Carpenter's Tools International, the dark-haired 21-year-old from Buffalo was eager for a chance to sing his own songs -- with lyrics and music he'd written. Off to one side of the coffeehouse, three 12-year-old girls giggled as they got the cue to begin singing their song. Off to the other side, Charlyn Day settled into a coffeehouse chair with a spiral notebook of the songs she'd written and was prepare
WILLMAR -- Even though there are stories of homes being on the market for months before they're sold, with the selling price below the asking price, the estimated market values and taxable property values of homes in Kandiyohi County are still strong. The healthy market is especially holding true for lakeshore homes, said Kandiyohi County Assessor Tim Falkum. During the annual meeting Monday of the Kandiyohi County Board of Equalization, two residents who have lake homes asked to have their values reduced. The board unanimously denied one request and approved the other on a 3-2 vote. Dean
WILLMAR -- Conditional use permits for three home-based businesses were given preliminary approval Monday by the Kandiyohi County Planning Commission. The family-owned enterprises include an animal trap supply business, an individual who refurbishes antique furniture and a woman who gives piano and voice lessons. Because all three businesses will be located in accessory buildings on their home sites, they are classified as level two home occupation businesses and therefore conditional use permits are required. Permits are not required for level one home occupation businesses, which are typi
LAKE LILLIAN -- The Kandiyohi County Commissioners got wined and dined on Tuesday during a tour of the Olde Country Winery in Lake Lillian. It was actually more dining than wining, but the tour brought to light the value of an agricultural crop that's gaining fever pitch in states like Minnesota and Iowa. Irv and Tina Moen operate the winery in the old Lake Lillian elementary school house. They've planted 1,300 grape plants that will begin producing in the next couple of years.
WILLMAR -- After 30 years of artfully side-stepping the limelight while holding the most powerful unelected post in Kandiyohi County, Wayne Thompson again eluded fanfare on Tuesday when his letter of resignation was officially accepted by the County Board of Commissioners. Anticipating that the event would draw public attention to him, Thompson wasn't at the meeting when his letter of resignation as county administrator was accepted "with high regard and deep regrets" by the commissioners. Instead, Thompson -- an avid angler -- was fishing in Canada.