A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers county government and regional news with the West Central Tribune.
- Member for
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SUNBURG -- A meadow where dairy cattle had grazed and a field where corn had been raised is now a sanctuary for waterfowl and part of the plan to improve the water quality in the Shakopee Creek watershed. The restored 42-acre wetland in Norway Lake Township is also the fulfillment of a dairy farmer's dream that, unfortunately, came sooner than expected and as the result of tragedy. On Thursday, family and friends of Brian Olson stood in a blustery rain along state Highway 9 near Sunburg to dedicate the Olson Wetland Restoration. This project was done "because of Brian," said Steve Erickson,
WILLMAR -- A consultant was named Tuesday by the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners to conduct a new environmental review of two gravel pits north of Willmar. The action was taken in response to a lawsuit filed against Kandiyohi County and Duininck Bros. Inc. that went to the Minnesota Supreme Court earlier this year. The lawsuit was filed by a local group called the Citizens Advocating Responsible Development. The group said the County Board failed to consider the cumulative impact of current and future gravel pits in the Eagle Lake area when it determined in 2003 that Duininck Bros.
WILLMAR -- Plans to establish a drug court in Kandiyohi County are proceeding even though the long-term funding is a concern for some. In an update presented Tuesday to the county commissioners, County Attorney Boyd Beccue said that efforts have been underway for the last two years to establish a drug court here in either 2007 or 2008. "We're well down the road on this," he said. Beccue said he strongly supports the "problem-solving court" concept of drug court, but told the commissioners that he and others are concerned about "long-term sustainability" of operating funds.
WILLMAR -- A project to move a section of Kandiyohi County Road 5 through the new Willmar industrial park is being pushed back to 2008. The county had been planning to begin the project next year, but discussions between the city and Jennie-O Turkey Store about expansion plans for the turkey processing company have delayed that timeline. Kandiyohi County Public Works Director Gary Danielson said the city and Jennie-O Turkey Store need more time to work out the details of their part of the plan, which could include moving Willmar Avenue and purchasing land in the industrial park for an expans
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 -- 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 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 -- 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.