A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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NEW LONDON — A wing of the GlenOaks long-term care campus in New London will be transformed into a specialized memory care unit. The secure facility will provide suites for 11 residents with various types of dementia and other types of memory issues. Construction — which includes removing a few walls and adding some doors to an existing wing — is expected to begin in early June and will be completed in time for a July 1 opening, said James Ingersoll, administrator and CEO of Grace Living Community of GlenOaks.
WILLMAR — With 4,500 miles of track and a long history that stretches back 150 years, Minnesota is a state that's rich in railroads. It's currently ranked eighth in the state in the number of rail miles. While impressive, it's about half of what it used to be during the glory years prior to World War II, said John Apitz, a lobbyist with the Minnesota Regional Railroads Association, who was in Willmar on Friday to talk about the industry's safety record and impact on the economy. The event was sponsored by the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.
RAYMOND — A home in rural Raymond was destroyed in a fire Wednesday. No one was home at the time of the blaze and there were no injuries. The fire was reported at 3:27 p.m. Wednesday at 14809 45th Ave. S.W., about four miles north of Raymond. The residence, which was a mobile home on a farm site, was "totally engulfed" in fire by the time crews arrived with "flames coming out the windows," said Raymond Fire Chief Kraig Kienitz. The name of the homeowner was not known.
WILLMAR — Scott Aaron Schoenberg, 25, of Willmar, pleaded guilty Wednesday to an amended felony charge of terroristic threats in connection with a case last fall when he ran his ex-girlfriend off the road. Four other charges were dismissed. According to a criminal complaint, Schoenberg's former girlfriend was in the process of moving from her current residence to a new residence with help from friends. She and others were just about to leave Sept. 6 in a Jeep when Schoenberg drove by and then called her using threatening language.
SPICER — Calling it more of a resort than a hotel, managers say the Hampton Inn Spicer Green Lake is on the construction homestretch and will open in mid-May — right before the rush of the tourist season. "We have to hit the ground running," said Dave Feist, from TPI Hospitality, of Willmar. "When we open that door, it's summer. We have to be ready, and we're going to be."
NEW LONDON — Josh Proehl's high school summer science project of searching for a natural probiotic by examining the good bacteria in turkey guts will be part of the world's largest international pre-college science competition next month in California. The junior at New London-Spicer High School will compete against 1,800 students from 75 countries May 14-19 at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles. Being selected to compete in the international science fair is "an honor," he said.
WILLMAR — It turns out the state's buffer law — part of which takes effect this fall — does not necessarily mean that vegetation must be planted between farm fields and drainage ditches or public waters. There are alternative options to comply with the law. Last week, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources released information on a "six-pack" of options landowners could use instead of a 16½-foot buffer alongside public drainage ditches and the 50-foot buffer alongside public waters.
NEW LONDON — Bids to install synthetic turf at the New London-Spicer football field were unanimously approved Monday, along with bids to install a new track that circles the field and a new road for buses that will link the elementary and middle schools. The total $1.6 million bid package for the three projects was within the $1.8 million estimate. The wildcard could be soil corrections, with the possibility that the $161,023 bid for adjusting the soil on the road base and football field could be exceeded. The low bidder was Duininck Inc. of Prinsburg.
WILLMAR — The surprising optimism of farmers in spite of bleak revenues and the powerful punch agriculture has on the local economy were two key points revealed by an in-depth survey of Kandiyohi County ag producers. A report on the survey, which was commissioned by the Ag and Renewable Energy Committee of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, was presented last week at two public forums.
WILLMAR — Standing in bare feet across the street, a Willmar man watched as firefighters worked to smother smoke that was pouring out of his family's mobile home Thursday afternoon. The young man, who goes only by the name Kanyaw, said that just a few minutes earlier he and his cousin returned home from work to find a hose from a water heater leaking hot water. When they tried to fix the leak, he said flames erupted and they feared the water heater would explode. "Suddenly there was just a fire," he said. "We were very scared and ran out right away."