David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
- Member for
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SVEA -- Deb Krueger and Christy Swanson of Svea are friends having fun creating gifts and accessories for the home and garden out of reclaimed and tired furnishings and accents. "I think the idea we kind of have is to reuse, repurpose, upcycle, just the whole reduce, reuse, recycle because it doesn't all have to go to the landfill,'' says Krueger of the small business they started in 2010 called Red Door Treasures. They had two sales in 2010, had a sale earlier this month and will have another sale from 5 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 4 and from 9 a.m. to noon on Nov.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council will consider a zoning change next month that officials say would provide a local solution to a home mortgage challenge. The challenge stems from stricter underwriting standards that are making loans more difficult to obtain for single-family homes located in neighborhoods that are zoned for general business, limited business or multi-family dwellings. The stricter standards are posing a challenge for David and Anita Ostercamp, who are in the process of selling their home located in the 500 block of Sixth Street Southwest, just south of the downtown area.
Paul Kidrowski says he plans to comply with the City Council's Dec. 31 deadline for rehabilitating the fire-damaged former restaurant building he owns in downtown Willmar. The building located at the corner of Third Street and Benson Avenue Southwest had been the site of John's Supper Club until the structure was damaged by fire on May 15, 1991.
WILLMAR -- You have to like what you're doing when you work for the same company for 50 years. Just ask Mary Wickersham. She started working at the Thrifty Drug Store on Fourth Street Southwest in downtown Willmar on Sept. 20, 1961. When the store closed in 1990, she moved to the Skylark Center store and continues at the front counter where she serves customers, many preferring a smaller store to a larger chain store. "You have to like where you're working and what you're doing to stay in one place,'' says Wickersham.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council voted Monday night to accept a donation from Willmar Area Faith at Work of two utility task vehicles, one trailer and $223 in cash for use by emergency service agencies in Willmar and Kandiyohi County.
WILLMAR -- Let's Go Fishing, an organization headquartered in Willmar that provides free fishing and boating activities to senior citizens and youngsters around the state, is asking the Willmar City Council for financial support after state funding was cut. Joe Holm, organization founder and CEO, says nearly 20,000 people in 2011 and more than 70,000 seniors, military veterans and kids have received fishing and boating experiences since Let's Go Fishing was formed 10 years ago.
Dr. William Reid was 24 and a medical student in Philadelphia when he received a box of sea shells from his great aunt's estate. Included was the shell of a Tiger Cowrie, a common herbivore found in the Indo-Pacific Ocean and known for its egg-shaped shell with irregular black, brown, gray and white patterns. Reid was smitten with the beauty of the 200-year-old shell. "I got hooked on that Cowrie,'' said Reid, now 80. "It wasn't just that one, but that was enough. I thought if they've got something like that out there, I've got to find it. I worship beauty. I like Venus de Milo.
WILLMAR -- Long-time City Attorney Rich Ronning has submitted a letter announcing his pending retirement to Mayor Frank Yanish and the Willmar City Council.
WILLMAR -- An attempt to bring all Willmar City Council members into the negotiations process with city employee labor groups failed on a 5-3 vote Monday night. Council member Ron Christianson offered a motion, seconded by Jim Dokken, to have all eight council members -- rather than the four-member Labor Relations Committee -- meet and have a chance to speak during upcoming consideration of contracts with two employee groups. The Labor Relations Committee is scheduled to meet at 4:45 p.m.
WILLMAR -- Michael Zoughbi, a Palestinian, proudly traces his Christian heritage back 1,000 years. He was born and raised in Bethlehem but considers the Holy Land his home. At one time, Christians accounted for more than 45 percent of the population there. Now, the percentage is about 1.7 percent. Zoughbi says Christians are leaving the area to escape bad economic conditions and travel restrictions brought on by decades of Israeli occupation. Zoughbi and his wife, Carmen, are in Willmar this week for speaking engagements and will discuss Middle Eastern Christianity.