David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
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WILLMAR -- Appreciation for diversity and local business investment, and lack of green space and misperception about safety were recurrent themes raised by participants attending a series of four downtown improvement meetings Wednesday and Thursday sponsored by the city of Willmar and Willmar Design Center. City and Design Center representatives met with more than a dozen African community members, and then met with a handful of Latino business and community people Wednesday night.
WILLMAR -- Jill Bengtson says the arrangement under which she was appointed executive director of the Willmar Housing and Redevelopment Authority and the Kandiyohi County Housing and Redevelopment Authority is working well. The two HRAs have been sharing the same office area at the County Health and Human Services Building since 2003.
Approximating 60 citizens offered comments Tuesday night on downtown Willmar's greatest assets, what needs improvement and what changes are needed to current improvement plans. The comments will be distilled by a steering committee of city and Willmar Design Center representatives as they revise downtown improvement goals developed by the Design Center during the past six years.
WILLMAR -- No one from the public appeared to talk about their city taxes during the Willmar City Council's state-required Truth-in-Taxation hearing Monday night. During the hearing, the council received an overview from Finance Director Steve Okins of Mayor Frank Yanish's proposed 2012 budget. The council later adopted a recommendation from the Finance Committee to approve the budget of $31,706,422, up from the 2011 budget of $25,694,742. Okins said the 2012 budget is considerably more than the five-year average of $24,405,625 for budgets from 2008 through 2012.
WILLMAR -- When Roy Stiff incorporated his KandiComp digital services company in 2004, he immediately wanted to move downtown. He got his chance about a year ago when he bought and remodeled the former Kandi Cupboard Food Co-op building and moved earlier this year from Trott Avenue and Seventh Street Southwest to the new location at 412 Litchfield Ave. S.W. While the downtown may at that time have been a declining retail hub, Stiff said it's still is a very strong business hub.
WILLMAR -- Willmar Police Chief David Wyffels has commended five individuals for rescuing a Willmar man who probably would have died from injuries suffered last week when he was pinned and lay bleeding under an all-terrain vehicle. In letters to the individuals, Wyffels said the actions of Michele Ward, Janet Gunderson, Cheryl Baumgartner, Andrew Kodet and Tony Halls in lifting the heavy ATV off 35-year-old Jed Watje in the driveway of his home last week literally saved Watje's life. "I believe that you displayed civic qualities that you are to be commended for,'' Wyffels wrote. The acciden
WILLMAR -- Willmar Fire Chief Marv Calvin said there are no suspects in the Nov. 3 fire that damaged one unit of the vacant Highway 12 Motel on U.S. Highway 12 East in Willmar.
WILLMAR -- Discussion will continue this week on whether or not a solar project is economically feasible for the Willmar Municipal Utilities. A report from Christianson and Associates of Willmar, which was hired as an independent en-tity to analyze expenses and returns and calculate whether or not the project is economically viable, is expected to be available Thursday when a three-member planning committee and utility officials meet to continue the discussion. Jon Folkedahl, director of electric production, told the Municipal Utilities Commission on Monday that the planning committee will d
WILLMAR -- Mayor Frank Yanish said he intends to help downsize city government.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council's Finance Committee will be looking for money next week in the mayor's proposed 2012 budget for the $23,200 contract for the airport's fixed-base operator. Funding was inadvertently omitted from the proposed budget. However, city officials say the contract with Maximum Cruise Aviation to provide certain airport services is important and that funding will probably be taken from another budget area. Maximum Cruise has a number of airport duties, according to City Administrator Charlene Stevens.