A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.
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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."
ATWATER — Atwater's history is getting a new look and a new home. After years of planning, searching and working, the Atwater Historical Society is opening the doors to a new museum this weekend at 500 Pleasant Avenue West, in the former Thompson Bakery. The grand opening will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. The volunteers who make up the Atwater Historical Society said they hope the new museum location at the entrance to town on U.S. Highway 12 will generate new excitement about the past.
WILLMAR — About 50 farmers and community leaders from around the region met Thursday in Willmar to talk about issues affecting agriculture and rural communities. "Let your voices be heard," said Gary Wertish, president of the Minnesota Farmers Union, which is conducting 15 listening sessions around the state over a two-week period. Wertish said the listening sessions have the blessing of Gov. Mark Dayton, who is sending at least one commissioner from the agriculture, human services and commerce departments to each of the meetings.
GROVE CITY — Ever since he was 12 years old, Charlie Holmquist has been coming to work at the Holmquist Lumber Company in Grove City that his dad started 75 years ago. On Friday, Holmquist's life will make an abrupt change when the landmark business in this small Meeker County town closes to the public. Current contracts and scheduled projects will continue until completed but Holmquist said the doors to the sprawling brick building will close as he and his wife and business partner Lanette Holmquist transition to retirement.
NEW LONDON — Low bids for two separate financial tools that will fund installation of a new outdoor track and artificial turf for the football field were approved Monday by the New London-Spicer School Board. The board is not expected to take action on the actual construction bids until April 10, but action Monday puts the funding mechanisms in place. A $857,000 lease purchase agreement with Bremer Bank of Willmar was approved with an interest rate of 2.76 percent. It was the most attractive bid of four proposals.
WILLMAR — A newly completed report with data that show the strengths and weaknesses in retail trade in the city of Willmar and Kandiyohi County is being used to develop a vision and strategy for continued economic growth in the community.