A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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WILLMAR -- At the end of a dead-end gravel road off of Kandiyohi County Road 19, three little girls, including a 1-year-old named Gracie, huddled together in the basement of a simple one-story home with four comforting adults and two dogs. As Whitney Peters, 10, was screaming and "bawling," her friend Kylie Halvorson, 12, said she was trying to "think happy thoughts." It was difficult to do as glass shattered and walls collapsed around them Friday evening when a tornado ripped through the rural area about two miles east of Willmar. On the other side of the road, Ken and Joyce Randt were in
WILLMAR -- The state's gas tax increase is not generating the kind of revenue expected to advance state road projects. A tight economy and $4 gas is prompting people to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles, reduce miles driven and purchase less gas. The result is a flat to low growth rate of revenue, according to officials from the Minnesota Department of Transportation who were in Willmar Thursday to discuss the proposed 20-year state transportation plan. "There's very little extra money," said Peggy Reichert, MnDOT director of statewide planning. It's estimated MnDOT will receive $2.6 billio
MADISON -- Calling himself a "very moderate Republican" who was a "big fan" of DFL Gov. Rudy Perpich, Mike Bredeck has filed for election for the House 20A seat. The position will be open because Rep. Aaron Peterson, DFL-Appleton, has said he does not plant to file for re-election. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock, has also filed for the seat. This will be the second time around for Bredeck, who ran against Peterson two years ago. Bredeck said he's dusted the "cobwebs" off his campaign signs and has begun campaigning in the western Minnesota district. "I'm hitting the road already.
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners got a look Tuesday at public works projects that have been completed this year, those that are under way and those that need to be done in the future. Meeting as the road and bridge committee, the commissioners toured the northern half of the county, where several resurfacing projects of county roads were completed this spring. A roller-coaster ride on the Tri-County road brought home the need for a new box culvert and extended shoulders at the bottom of a very steep hill.
WILLMAR -- A conditional use permit was approved Monday for an expansion of an existing swine operation in an A-1 agriculture zone in Holland Township. The Kandiyohi County Planning Commission unanimously approved the permit for Jerome Taatjes for construction of a 72-foot-by-160-foot total confinement farrowing barn and a 156-foot-by-162-foot total confinement gestation barn.
WILLMAR -- Bill Graves of Willmar has filed to run for the District 2 seat on the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners. That seat is currently held by Commissioner Richard Larson, who has filed for re-election. Graves, 45, is a businessman who owns the Willmar Dominos pizza store, as well as 52 other Dominos franchises in seven states.
BELGRADE -- Paul Anderson, a Starbuck farmer and Pope County commissioner, was endorsed Wednesday night in Belgrade as the Republican candidate for the House 13A seat. He'll run against DFL'er Bruce Shuck, of rural Sunburg, in the general election in November. The seat is open because of the retirement of Rep. Bud Heidgerken, a Republican from Freeport. While praising all three candidates who sought the Republican endorsement, Heidgerken told the 28 delegates to select a candidate they thought could win the seat.
WILLMAR -- While thousands of people will be crowded around Green Lake on July 4 to watch a spectacular fireworks display in Spicer, alternative, albeit smaller, shows will likely be taking place in more rural locations. It's not uncommon to be in a boat on Norway Lake or Games Lake and be treated to a steady display of starbursts over the tree line. It's also not uncommon for those displays to be illegal. Minnesota has strict laws on the books regarding fireworks. "If it flies in the air and it explodes, it is illegal," said Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog. Individuals who possess or
WILLMAR -- When 10 western Minnesota counties got together in 1998 to create their own single-payer organization to provide public medical programs, Kandiyohi County bowed out of an invitation to join the fledgling group. Now, Kandiyohi County is taking a second look at the joint powers, county-based purchasing organization called PrimeWest Health System. On Tuesday, PrimeWest CEO Jim Przybilla made a presentation to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners about the success of the program, which has now grown to 13 counties.
WILLMAR -- An in-depth study of an accident-prone intersection on Business Highway 71 in Willmar was approved Tuesday by the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners. The Minnesota Department of Transportation has also signed onto the intersection control evaluation study. The Willmar City Council is expected to take action July 21 on the $46,725 contract. Under the agreement, each of the three entities will pay $15,575. All are part owners of the intersection. The county controls County Road 24, which comes from the west.