David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
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WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council this week vetoed a decision by the Municipal Utilities Commission to increase meal allowances for utility employees conducting work-related instate and outstate business. The city charter gives the council veto authority over Utilities Commission actions. But utility General Manager Bruce Gomm says he is concerned that the council is micromanaging by vetoing the increase and Gomm said the council's action was inappropriate. The Utilities Commission voted April 25 to increase the daily meal allowance for employees conducting work-related business from $40
WILLMAR -- Lynn Jeremiason, owner of The Film Drop, has announced he will be closing the store at 912 First St. S. on June 3. Jeremiason and his wife have owned and operated the business for the past 30 years. A closure noticed was posted on the door on Monday. He said economic conditions, the loss of a major contract and changes in the photographic industry led him to the decision to close. "Everybody has been going through industry changes,'' Jeremiason said Tuesday.
WILLMAR -- The New 2 You Thrift Store at 1401 First St. S. in Willmar will remodel and expand into space formerly occupied by NAPA Auto Parts Store, and the NAPA store has moved and has opened for business at its new location at 409 19th Ave. S.W. in Willmar. New 2 You is a nonprofit ministry of Central Minnesota Christian School in Prinsburg.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council's Finance Committee is recommending the council approve a contract with Reiner Contracting Inc. of Hutchinson to remove two obsolete wastewater lift stations. The lift stations, located on 21st Street Southwest and on 24th Avenue Southwest between First Street and Fifth Street, formerly pumped wastewater to the old treatment plant located just east of the Kandi Mall. Wastewater is now being treated at the new plant located 5 miles west of the city and the treatment structures at the old plant are being removed in a processing called decommissioning.
WILLMAR -- Willmar City Council members reached a surprising consensus Wednesday evening when they agreed to discuss an offer of employment with one of six candidates the council interviewed this week to fill the position that will be vacated by the retirement of City Administrator Michael Schmit in July. The council interviewed three candidates Tuesday afternoon and interviewed three candidates Wednesday afternoon and had originally planned to call back two or three finalists for a second round of interviews on May 24 before making a decision. But council members surprised themselves, and t
WILLMAR -- Willmar City Council members began the process Tuesday of interviewing candidates to replace longtime City Administrator Michael Schmit who will retire at the end of July. Schmit has held the position since it was established in 1990 by the council. Six candidates were recommended by search consultant Sharon Klumpp, vice president of Springsted Inc. of St. Paul.
Almost every culture has its own type of clown. That's according to Randy Christensen of Willmar. And, Christensen knows something about clowns: he's been teaching and writing about clowning for years, and has performed in 25 states and four foreign countries -- all over the past 30-plus years. Clowns show themselves in different ways and provide stress relief, he said. "I really think that is my mission.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council has ordered the improvement and reconstruction of 19th Street Northwest, which has been seriously damaged this spring by frost boils. City officials have said that more frost boils are damaging city streets this year. The council directed the engineering department to prepare plans and specifications for reconstruction of 19th Street. The work will be added to the list of 2011 street improvements. The council's order followed a public hearing Monday night.
WILLMAR -- The causes of flooding in the southeast quadrant of Willmar are complex and interconnected, ranging from very flat topography, increased runoff from impervious surfaces and under-sized storm sewers to high groundwater table, tight soils that restrict infiltration of water and few designated storm water detention ponds. However, an engineering consultant said there are a number of approaches that the city can take to eliminate or reduce the city's flooding problem. Steve Klein, vice president and senior civil engineer with Barr Engineering of Minneapolis, said his firm looked at se
WILLMAR -- Local elected officials agree that hiring a replacement for longtime City Administrator Michael Schmit, who will retire at the end of July, is the biggest issue facing the Willmar City Council right now. Council members who met Friday to discuss current challenges and future needs say the city continues to face issues relating to storm water flooding, increasing cost of electricity, revitalizing downtown, economic development, railroad crossing noise, diversity, transportation, privatizing government services, declining revenue and the level of city services. But filling the admin