A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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WILLMAR – The swimming beach at Robbins Island Park in Willmar is closed until further notice because of high fecal counts. According to a press release from the Willmar Public Works Department, employees are conducting tests and maintenance of the water and beach area. Once the water is safe to re-enter, the city will send out another public notification.
GROVE CITY — As the new superintendent of the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District, Nels Onstad said there isn't much to change here. Praising the district's strong financial standing, academic achievements and position as a "well-respected district," Onstad said his job is "not necessarily to change things at ACGC but to continue to grow the positive success stories at ACGC." Onstad began his new job as superintendent July 1, following the retirement of longtime Superintendent Sherri Broderius.
FAIRFAX – A Renville County man was killed Friday after being trapped under a riding lawn mower. The victim was identified as Dennis M. Blumhoefer, 67, of rural Fairfax. According to the Renville County Sheriff’s Office, Blumhoefer was cutting grass near a road ditch on a farm site about three miles north of Fairfax. At some point he became trapped underneath the mower and wasn’t able to free himself.
WILLMAR — A growing market for industrial hemp as food, fiber and nutraceuticals is gaining ground in west central Minnesota and could find a place in Kandiyohi County. There's at least one field of hemp planted this year in Chippewa County and a food-grade processing facility is being established in Olivia. Yes. It is legal. And, no, industrial hemp is not intoxicating.
PAUL – Emily Annexstad, of St. Peter, was crowned the 64th Princess Kay of the Milky Way Wednesday night at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Kandiyohi County Dairy Princess, Jessaca Zuidema, of Blomkest, was in the top three and was selected as a runner-up along with Margaret Socha, representing Wright County.
WILLMAR — Donations are being requested to help rebuild a men's drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Willmar that was damaged Monday after being struck by lightning. The two-story home on Kandiyohi Avenue Southwest is currently uninhabitable, and the seven male residents who had been participating in the residential program have found alternative housing. It's hoped that repairs can be made at the James House to allow the 12-step, Christian-based program to resume and the residents to return, said Director Nate Juhl.
HECTOR – A pedestrian was killed early Tuesday morning in Renville County after being struck by a semi. According to the State Patrol, Kara Diane Dirtseller, 29, of Sisseton, South Dakota, was walking in the eastbound lane of U.S. Highway 12 east of Hector at around 2 a.m. when she was struck by a semi that was also traveling east on Highway 212. The driver of the semi, Randy Lee Roush, 54, of New Auburn, was not injured.
WILLMAR — A Willmar halfway home for men caught fire Monday after being struck by lightning. All the residents and staff at the James House, 1423 Kandiyohi Ave. S.W. in Willmar, safely escaped the two-story building without injuries but they were relocated to temporary shelters while structural and electrical damage is assessed. The fire was reported around noon Monday, shortly after a brief rain shower passed through Willmar that delivered a bolt of lightning.
The Willmar Fire Department is at the scene of a house fire at 1423 S.W. Kandiyohi Avenue. The home was reportedly struck by lightning about noon today. Watch wctrib.com for updates
NEW LONDON — The New London Music Festival was held Saturday at Neer Park in New London. The event, billed as a family friendly day of eclectic live music, also included activities for kids. The outdoor music festival drew a large crowd, entertained by blues and jazz music by several different groups, including headliner Charlie Parr.