David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
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WILLMAR -- The United Way of West Central Minnesota hopes to close a $300,000 gap in its efforts to raise $950,000 during its annual campaign, which ends June 30 next year. "December is kind of a big month for us because of the holidays and giving and thinking about all the needs that are out there,'' said Gina Lieser, resource development director of the United Way of West Central Minnesota, which is headquartered in Willmar. "But also it's a time for people to think about their tax deductions and contributions.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council voted Monday night to reject an offer from Templo Mahanaim Assemblea de Dios of Willmar to donate the piece of land occupied by Mahanaim's condemned church building as a gift to the city. The offer covered only the 75-foot-by-150-foot parcel occupied by the church building at 707 Litchfield Ave. S.W. and did not cover an adjacent similar-sized parcel owned by the church and used as a parking lot.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council on Monday night will consider an offer from Templo Mahanaim Assemblea de Dios of Willmar to give the piece of land occupied by Mahanaim's con-demned church building as a gift to the city. In a Nov. 19 letter, Mahanaim Pastor Hector Pinochet said he was authorized to put the gift offer in writing. Until a previous oral offer was made in writing, the city had said it would not halt the legal process to demolish the rundown church building at 707 Litchfield Ave.
WILLMAR -- The Finance Committee is continuing to discuss a City Council member's suggestion to charge property owners a fee if they receive service from the fire department. The committee met Monday with two local insurance agents who said most property hazard insurance policies provide coverage for fire department service fees if the policyholder suffers a loss. Bill Leindecker with Farm Bureau Insurance said $1,000 in coverage is built into the premium to cover fire department service fees. "If we're billed, we pay it,'' he said.
WILLMAR -- Representatives of Willmar's Green Mill Restaurant are asking the City Council to delay civil penalties for serving alcohol to a minor in violation of the restaurant's city liquor license. The council's Fi-nance Committee voted Monday ev-ening to recommend the council de-lay the civil penalties until the court decides an appeal by the Green Mill server of a criminal charge for serving alcohol to a minor.
WILLMAR -- Four Willmar Municipal Utilities power plant technicians have begun training in the operation and maintenance of the utilities' two new wind turbines. "Since we own it and operate it, we should also know how to work on them,'' said Wes Hompe, staff electrical engineer for the utilities, who also participated in the training.
WILLMAR -- Peter Molenaar hoped his son, Lester V. Molenaar, would become a good farmer. Although the younger Molenaar farmed for 19 years, his real interest was in business and inventions. "He always had an ambition to be in manufacturing,'' says Lester's son Steve, of Willmar. "His father got him started in farming, but he felt he never was a very good farmer, and he was inventing things back on the farm.'' Lester Molenaar, who started a toy manufacturing and specialty advertising business in Willmar in the 60s, died Nov. 15 at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar after an extended illness.
WILLMAR -- A member of the Storm Water Task Force is pleased the proposed 2010 city budget includes money to study recommendations for solving storm water flooding problems. "I think it's great,'' said task force member Joe Ridler. He was referring to a vote Monday by the City Council's Finance Committee to recommend the council increase the proposed 2010 property tax levy by $100,000 to update the 1998 draft watershed management report by Barr Engineering of Minneapolis. "The city's information is nine or 10 years old.
WILLMAR -- Next year will be a "down'' budgetary year for the Willmar Municipal Utilities, if the preliminary 2010 budget is any indication. The Utilities Commission received the preliminary 2010 budget on Monday and will act on the budget at the next meeting Dec.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council has extended the deadline for the owner of the downtown John's Supper Club to have plans prepared for repairing the fire-damaged building. The previous council deadline ended Monday. The council approved a motion by Steve Ahmann to extend the deadline by 45 days for Paul Kidrowski to complete architectural and structural drawings and to obtain building permits. Ahmann and three other council members had been told at the council's Community Development Committee meeting on Nov.