A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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BENSON -- This will be the second election and the first presidential election in which mail-in ballots will be used in a majority of precincts in Swift County. County Auditor Byron Giese said 1,700 voters in 18 precincts will be voting with mail-in ballots for the general election. The county opted not to purchase electronic voting machines two years ago for all of the county's 31 precincts.
County auditors across the region are convinced voter turnout for Tuesday's general election will be huge. The preparations they've undertaken for Election Day have been just as monumental. Between processing requests for absentee ballots, training election judges, boxing up equipment and ballots to go out to precincts and fielding phone calls from people with questions, county auditors have been running a bit ragged. But they say they are ready. "I feel we are prepared. I really do," said Swift County Auditor Byron Giese.
WILLMAR -- An economic downturn that could bring federal and state budget cuts to county programs will be the biggest challenge facing Kandiyohi County in 2009.
WILLMAR -- William Graves said he will bring a "new way to listen" to people, fresh ideas and a "willingness to do the job" if he's elected to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners. The first-time political candidate said he will also bring what many constituents are telling him they want -- change. Graves, a 46-year-old commercial business developer and Dominos Pizza franchise owner, is running against incumbent Richard "Dick" Larson, 77, who is seeking his fourth term in office for District 2. Graves said he is running for office to respond to "a calling to make things better for ev
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners will meet Monday at the Health and Human Services building for its regular business meeting. The board is meeting Monday, instead of Tuesday, because of Election Day. After meeting as the Family Services Committee at 9 a.m. with discussions on adoption services and the Southern Prairie Health Purchasing Alliance, the commissioners will begin their regular business meeting at 10 a.m.
WILLMAR -- Plans are being put in place to start a new bus route to exclusively serve the New London and Spicer communities. John Groothuis, transit director for the Kandiyohi Area Transit, said Tuesday that a $110,000 state grant has been awarded to expand the county system. The new service is expected to start next spring. KAT buses already provide rides in the northern part of the county, but the new bus would be dedicated solely for residents in and around the two communities, Groothuis said.
GROVE CITY -- The Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School Board got the official word Monday that the financially struggling school is out of statutory operating debt. A report on the 2007-08 audit, presented by Steve Wischmann from Kern, DeWenter & Viere during the school board meeting, shows the district's unreserved general fund account is at $28,699. The district is "in the black -- barely," said Roger Rueckert, interim superintendent. Last month the district's business manager said early indications were that the district would be out of debt.
WILLMAR -- Plans are being put in place to start a new bus route to exclusively serve the New London and Spicer communities. John Groothuis, transit director for Kandiyohi Area Transit, said Tuesday that a $110,000 state grant has been awarded to expand the county system. The new service is expected to start next spring. KAT buses already provide rides in the northern part of the county, but the new bus would be dedicated solely for residents in and around the two communities, Groothuis said.
WILLMAR -- A team of mental health practitioners is making on-site house calls to help families with children who are experiencing a mental health crisis. The "youth mobile crisis unit" was started in mid-August by the Woodland Centers.
SUNBURG -- Bruce Shuck knows where the back roads and the churches are in District 13A, which sprawls across Pope, western Stearns and northern Kandiyohi counties. This is the fourth year that Shuck has traveled those roads to shake hands with voters and to attend numerous church dinners in his campaign for a seat in the House of Representatives. Shuck, a DFL'er from rural Sunburg, lost the past three elections but said he's optimistic his name recognition and history with voters will help him win this year. The difference this time around is that Shuck is no longer running against Rep.