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 -- There's a trend growing in Minnesota that could help reduce crime and help get drug and alcohol addicts the treatment they need without going in and out of jail. Sometimes called "problem-solving courts," the more common name is drug court. It's a trend that's "bubbling up through the ground" said Kay Pedretti, director of the Court Service Division with the Minnesota Supreme Court. Even though Minnesota "came into the game a little late," there is a growing momentum to establish drug courts here, said Chris Ruhl, manager with the State Court Administrator's office.
WILLMAR -- Burning one pound of household garbage in a backyard barrel can emit as much dioxin as burning one ton of garbage in a municipal incinerator, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The cancer-causing toxic substance can be harmful for those who breathe the smoke. Dioxin also builds up in the grass, soil and food chain causing health problems, especially for children, pregnant women and the elderly. That's why the MPCA is trying to get counties on board with a program to reduce the number of burn barrels in the state and, ideally, eliminate them by 2010. Mark Rust,
WILLMAR -- A 16-bed adult acute psychiatric hospital will be built in Willmar. The state Department of Human Services has confirmed that the community behavioral health hospital will be built here and not elsewhere in the 18-county region of west central Minnesota. "It looks like it's going to happen," said Larry Kleindl, Kandiyohi County Family Services Director. "I think it's exciting." Under the current proposal, the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission would build the hospital.
WILLMAR -- About 150 county commissioners from around Minnesota will be in Willmar today and Friday to discuss state policy issues that affect how counties deliver programs and services. The Association of Minnesota Counties, a statewide organization that provides assistance to counties, is holding its annual policy committee meetings in Willmar for the first time. The meetings will be held at the Holiday Inn and Willmar Conference Center. The association has four major policy committees. Two of those committees are chaired by area county commissioners.
WILLMAR -- A few minor mechanical glitches were reported Tuesday as Kandiyohi County gave the new optical scan vote counters and voter-assistive machines their first workout. Despite a few harried calls from several rural election judges when the machines didn't turn on or work quite right, the equipment appeared to have worked well. "They're working great," said Cathy Pederson, chief deputy auditor, on Tuesday morning.
WILLMAR -- Longtime Kandiyohi County Commissioner Harlan Madsen and political newcomer Andrew Lindquist will be battling for the District 5 seat on the Kandiyohi County Board in November. Madsen, Lindquist and Paul Hoffer were in a three-way race in Tuesday's primary. Madsen was the clear favorite, receiving 929 votes. It was a squeaker between the other two candidates with Lindquist edging out Hoffer by 11 votes. Lindquist received 329 votes and Hoffer had 318.
WILLMAR -- When area church-goers left worship Sunday, some found political literature on the windshields of their vehicles. Some pastors said the action was inappropriate and did not have their blessing. The Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, which conducted the literature drop at an undisclosed number of churches throughout Senate District 13, said they were performing a public service before today's primary election. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life officials said the group may also pursue harassment charges against a Willmar man who allegedly followed the group and removed some
The Swan Lake Hunting Club has decided not to pursue its lawsuit against Kandiyohi County regarding a residential housing development on Swan Lake, located south of Kandiyohi. The group of a half-dozen men agreed in August to drop the case. A hearing in District Court had been scheduled for next week. Kandiyohi County Attorney Boyd Beccue said the lawsuit was dismissed "with prejudice," which means it can't be brought before the court again. Larry Peart, a member of the club, said the group decided that spending $5,000 to $10,000 on attorney fees -- with the likelihood there would be no ch
WILLMAR -- A five-year pilot program designed to improve the complicated legal procedure for child protection cases has experienced "successes and struggles" in Kandiyohi County. The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners heard an update on the program at its meeting Tuesday. Kathy Buer, family services supervisor, said Kandiyohi County is one of 13 Minnesota counties selected for the program, which was implemented in 2002. Known as the Children's Justice Initiative, the program is a collaboration be-tween the Minnesota Su-preme Court and Department of Human Services.
WILLMAR -- Kandiyohi County Commissioner Harlan Madsen of Lake Lillian is back in the hospital after experiencing medical complications following prostate surgery last month. He could be released this weekend. Madsen, 57, had been diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this summer and had his prostate removed Aug. 21 at Rice Memorial Hospital. He was released later that week and was home recovering when he experienced pain in his legs and lungs, according to Madsen's wife, Julie. He was admitted to the hospital again Aug.