David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
- Member for
- 2 years 3 weeks
WILLMAR -- Rice Memorial Hospital officials want Willmar City Council members to understand they must vote unanimously on a charter ordinance amendment that would extend the term limits for Rice Hospital Board members. The importance of the 8-0 vote was stressed by Rice Board President Wayne Larson during the Monday afternoon meeting of the council's Finance Committee and by Rice Chief Executive Mike Schramm during the Public Works/Safety Committee meeting Tuesday afternoon. Larson and Schramm attended the meetings to give council members a chance to ask questions before the council conducts
WILLMAR -- Willmar Municipal Utilities' two new wind turbines are fully operational, but the two-person elevator inside each turbine tower is not. State elevator inspectors recently shut down the elevators because the state does not have standards for the European-designed elevator inside each turbine and Willmar must wait until the state comes up with standards. "Since it's a relatively new design for this area, the state elevator inspectors have had a little bit of a challenge coming up with permit requirements for the units,'' says Bruce Gomm, Willmar Utilities general manager.
WILLMAR -- Construction of about 200 feet of storm sewer pipe and underground utilities continued Tuesday along state Highway 40 in preparation for future extension of Willmar Avenue Southwest into the city industrial park. Willmar Avenue will connect with a new portion of Willmar Avenue built through the old airport between County Road 5 to about Highway 40. The plan calls for Willmar Avenue to be angled northwesterly at 22nd Street, cross the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks, cross Highway 40 and connect to the new street in the industrial park. A new Willmar Avenue railroad c
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Public Works Department, with help from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, has been on the lookout this summer for the emerald ash borer that has killed millions of ash trees in 13 states including Minnesota, and parts of Canada. So far, there's been no sign locally of the pest. The adult is bright, metallic green and measures half an inch long and one-eighth of an inch wide.
WILLMAR -- Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard says the Willmar Public Schools had about 360 students who were absent Friday, but he said that number is less than the number absent earlier in the week and he said there is no major flu outbreak in the school district. An outbreak is defined as either absenteeism of 5 percent of more or the flu-derived absence of three or more children from the same classroom. In an interview Friday afternoon, Kjergaard said he doesn't know if all absent students had the flu or if they were absent for other reasons. "Our attendance was better today than it was ear
WILLMAR -- Motorists will notice a slight change in the traffic pattern at the intersection of 19th Avenue and First Street South in Willmar. The change will allow two through-lanes of eastbound traffic and two through-lanes of westbound traffic to travel through the intersection. The change went into effect Thursday. Up until that time, through-traffic was limited to one eastbound lane and one westbound lane.
WILLMAR -- Cities have used Web sites for a number of years to provide information to residents, but more cities are tapping into the new social media Twitter and Facebook to communicate with citizens. "We've just started seeing the growth from cities using it this past year to 18 months,'' says Stephanie Wallingford, marketing manager for the League of Minnesota Cities. Wallingford discussed the opportunities and challenges of using social media with about 70 elected and appointed officials from more than 30 cities attending a League of Minnesota Cities regional meeting Thursday afternoon a
WILLMAR -- Paul Kidrowski says he will move forward with repairing the fire-damaged John's Supper Club building that he and his wife Trudy own in downtown Willmar. Kidrowski said he would like to have the blessing of the city behind him. "We look forward to working with the city of Willmar and its staff,'' Kidrowski said in an interview Wednesday. The City Council this week gave the Kidrowskis 45 days to provide new structural and architectural drawings rather than order the building at Third Street and Benson Avenue Southwest be demolished, and the city has ordered all drawings be prepared
WILLMAR -- Mayor Les Heitke is wondering: Where's the $15 million in federal money authorized but not appropriated for Willmar's $86 million wastewater treatment project? "When the earmark was in place for the authorization for the wastewater treatment project, we felt that the authorization would eventually lead to an appropriation, although it would be scattered over probably many years and many segments of money, but eventually it would get to that total amount that had been authorized,'' Heitke told congressional lobbyist David Turch during Monday's night City Council meeting. "Now, it s
Early Childhood Initiative, SW Initiative develop kids book about rural firefighters WILLMAR -- More than 4 out of 5 fire departments use on-call and volunteer firefighters rather than full-time career employees and protect half of the population of the United States. A new book, "Firefighters: On call for their community,'' published by the Willmar Early Childhood Initiative and the Southwest Initiative Foundation, colorfully and factually tells the story about a community's on-call firefighters, and provides fire safety information for children and families. The book will be given to fami