A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers county government and regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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When it comes to getting information about what's happening with human services programs and the jobs held by longtime local employees at the Willmar Regional Treatment Center, one has to go to St. Paul. Local employees and administrators are not allowed to talk to the media on state time. For the story on the utilities transition and the story on job cuts and transfers, no one at the Willmar Regional Treatment Center was allowed to answer questions about current and future programs and jobs on the campus.
There are 330 state employees, or the equivalent of 281 full-time employees, currently on the Willmar Regional Treatment Center campus, according to Mike Tessneer, chief executive officer for Minnesota State Operated Services. As part of the transition to a new type of services for people with disabilities, the adult mental health program is being moved from the campus and into a variety of small community-based settings. That means the 114 employees in that program on the Willmar Regional Treatment Center campus will be looking for work elsewhere.
WILLMAR -- A dog kennel that would operate as a boarding, breeding and training facility was given preliminary approval Monday by the Kandiyohi County Planning Commission. Andrew and Jennifer Krupa are proposing to operate the seven-day-a-week kennel at their home in Roseville Township. There will be no other employees. About a dozen neighbors were at the meeting with concerns about the number of dogs, noise from barking animals and traffic from dog buyers. Under the plan approved Monday, the Krupas will be allowed to have a maximum of 24 dogs, including five breeding females.
WILLMAR -- The threat of a worldwide outbreak of avian influenza has national and international leaders on alert, but Minnesota agriculture officials said the work of conducting surveillance, identification, notification, investigation and eradication of the disease will be the responsibility of local poultry producers and state agriculture and health officials. Avian influenza, sometimes called bird flu, was the primary topic Friday at a day-long livestock conference in Willmar. Plans to respond to the potential arrival of the deadly flu that has killed an estimated 200 million birds and at
WILLMAR -- The health and wealth of animal agriculture will be featured at an all-day conference Friday in Willmar. Hot button topics like avian influenza, bovine tuberculosis and zoning issues for expanding livestock operations will be addressed by a variety of state and local experts, said event organizer Kim Larson of Willmar. Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Sen. Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, Rep. Alan Juhnke, DFL- Willmar, and Rep.
WILLMAR - The television cameras are ready to roll in the Kandiyohi County boardroom on Tuesday. It will be the first time the Kandiyohi County Commissioners will have their meetings recorded for later broadcast on WRAC-8, the local cable access channel. The Commissioners decided last month to launch the experiment of televising the meetings. The decision didn't come without concern on the part of staff and the Commissioners about how the cameras would change the atmosphere of the meetings, the board discussion and the affect on the public who appear before the board. County Administrator
WILLMAR -- The Swan Lake Hunting Club is asking the Kandiyohi County Board of Adjustment to reconsider a denial of the club's appeal for a residential development on Swan Lake. The board rejected the club's first appeal on March 13 without a hearing.
WILLMAR -- Rural public transportation systems are concerned they may be getting the shaft under a future funding scenario. In the grab to get potential new state dollars under a proposed constitutional amendment, the Twin Cities metro transit systems are trying to secure 98 percent of the funding that would be dedicated for public transportation.
GROVE CITY -- The resale of a 1997 construction bond will mean a lower interest rate and savings to taxpayers in the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District. On Monday the ACGC School Board approved refinancing the remaining $7.7 million building bond at an interest rate of 4.173 percent, which will result in savings of $284,263 over the nine-year life of the bond. "This will help our taxpayers a little bit," said ACGC Superintendent Pamela Kyllingstad. Even though the bonds won't be sold until November, the district locked in the 4.1 percent interest rate with Northland Securities Inc.
WILLMAR -- During every week of every single year there are 10,000 pieces of paper filed in the Kandiyohi County Family Services Department. Each piece of paper that comes from a social worker or financial aid supervisor goes through a process of being dated, notched with a paper punch and put in the proper file, which may already be bulging with previously filed pieces of paper. The file is then put in its proper place among thousands of other files in one of the many file cabinets tucked in nearly every corner of the department floor or on the massive electronically moving shelves that tak