David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
- Member for
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The Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission has delayed voting on a proposed overall rate increase of 16 percent in city water rates. Water rates were last increased in 2007 by an overall 8.5 percent.
KANDIYOHI -- Kandiyohi Mayor Craig Aurand says he's proud of the city's new wastewater pipeline and pumping system and is pleased that most of the cost was covered by federal stimulus funds. "We were probably 60 percent of the way in our engineering design and they said if we can get a shovel in the ground by Aug. 1, you can have it. We scrambled and we got it done.
WILLMAR -- Ward 2 City Council member Ron Christianson says he wants to be where the decisions affecting his block, his ward and his city are made. "I'm here to serve the people and to be a spokesman for them,'' Christianson said. "I'm the kind of guy that's not afraid to ask the questions. People know me by that. If they're happy with me serving, I'll probably get voted in.'' Christianson, who first ran in 1994 and is completing his 16th year on the council, is being challenged by Andrew Bjur. They are running in the Nov.
WILLMAR -- As a Willmar City Council member from Ward 2, Andrew Bjur believes he can do a lot of good for the city and says he'll be a champion for all citizens. "I feel like I can get things done. I know (city) staff really well. I've worked with them and we've accomplished things in the past,'' says Bjur, who is running against incumbent council member Ron Christianson in the Nov. 2 general election. Bjur feels he has a good chance of unseating Christianson, who is in his 16th year on the council.
WILLMAR -- Candidates for mayor and City Council in the Nov. 2 general election responded to questions about budgets, land use, immigration enforcement and improving downtown during a debate Tuesday sponsored by the Willmar League of Women Voters and broadcast over KWLM and televised on WRAC-8. J.P. Cola, KWLM news director, asked questions submitted by some of the two dozen people watching the event in the council chambers at the Municipal Utilities Building and from questions sent by e-mail or called in over the phone. Two candidates participated in the mayoral debate.
WILLMAR -- The cost of Willmar's new wastewater conveyance and treatment facility is expected to be $3 million under budget, according to an official with facility consultant Donohue and Associates. "We expect to be in the range of $3.1 million under budget,'' said Ken Sedmak, Donohue senior project manager.
GRANITE FALLS -- If you have acne, eczema, rosacea or other skin problems, certified herbalist Candace Hall may have a solution for you. Hall uses herbs -- some grown in her own garden -- and other organic and natural ingredients to make a line of healing skin care products called Natures Garden Therapies. Hall's website says her products are inspired by nature "for pure, luxurious living.'' The site says many products in stores today are filled with synthetic ingredients that disrupt the natural functions of the body. Her products, however, "work in harmony with your body by using ingredie
The facility has new and redundant systems to meet new water quality effluent limits for removal of phosphorus and ammonia. Higher quality effluent is released into Hawk Creek within the Minnesota River Basin.
Folks who said they almost gagged from the odor of Willmar's old wastewater treatment plant can breathe easier now that the old plant is shut down and the new treatment facility located about five miles west of the city is operating. Not only is the site -- in the midst of corn fields -- far from the former residential and commercial location, the smell is different. "Earthy'' is how consultants and city staff who worked on the $86.2 million facility and conveyance project describe the smell.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council will consider revising the tobacco-free policy that prohibits tobacco use in city parks during youth activities. The council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in the chambers at the Municipal Utilities Building. The revision would expand the policy and "not allow the use of tobacco products on or in city-owned parks and buildings, except within the confines of a vehicle in a designated parking area.'' The revision was proposed by the Community Education and Recreation Joint Powers Board and was referred to the council's Public Works/Safety Committee.