David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
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WILLMAR -- An ordinance amendment intended to speed up the process for resolving violations of the housing maintenance and exterior storage code was approved Monday by the Willmar City Council. The code sets maintenance standards for foundations, exterior walls, roofs, doors and windows of structures. Exampl-es of violations in-clude peeling paint, missing sh-ingles, broken windows and doors. Examples of exterior storage violations are unlicensed vehicles, garbage and trash. The amendment was approved 6-0 after the council held a hearing to take comments from the public about the amendment
NEW LONDON -- The biggest thing surrounding suicide is why it happened and seeking to put the pieces back together, a grief specialist told a New London-Spicer audience Sunday night. "In the hundreds of people that I have sat with that have experienced a suicide of a loved one, they have never found the answer,'' said Roxann Storms, grief specialist with the Children's Grief Connection of St. Cloud. "They might get a clearer image, but it's trying to make sense of something that is incomprehensible," she said. " ...
WILLMAR -- Officials hope a proposed amendment to city ordinance will speed up the process for resolving violations of the housing maintenance and exterior storage code. The proposed amendment would change the penalty for first-time violators from a misdemeanor to a petty misdemeanor. The amendment is an attempt to move these minor violations through the court system more efficiently, according to Bruce Peterson, director of city planning and development services. Persons charged with a misdemeanor have the option of requesting a jury trial, which can be expensive and time-consuming.
WILLMAR -- A current city employee is among the candidates for the position of Willmar city administrator. Six candidates were selected Wednesday evening by the Willmar City Council for interviews. They are Steven Okins, finance director for the city of Willmar; Jeffrey O'Neill, administrator for the city of Monticello; James Payne, partner in Precision Organizing and Records Management, Rio Rancho, N.M.; Jeffrey Repp, administrator for the city of Cumberland, Md.; Charlene Stevens, assistant manager of Sedgwick County, Wichita, Kan.; and J.
WILLMAR -- Willmar City Council members have selected six people for the first round of candidate interviews for the position of city administrator. The interviews are slated April 10 and 11. From those interviews, the council will select two finalists for a second interview on May 24. The second round will include community "meet-and-greet'' sessions. Council members made the selections and set the interview dates by consensus during an informal two-hour work session Wednesday evening with Sharon Klumpp, senior vice president of Springsted Inc. of St.
WILLMAR -- Last year, the city hired a local private contractor to provide additional street sweeping services. This year, no money was budgeted for additional sweeping services, the City Council's Public Works/Safety Committee was told this week. Committee member Ron Christianson asked Public Works Director Holly Wilson about the status of Cleaning and Restoration Services of Willmar, which provided the additional sweeping last year. Wilson said the company was hired on a one-year contract. The contractor was hired in hopes of removing finer materials with a vacuum-type street sweeper.
WILLMAR -- The $4.97 million preliminary budget for the western interceptor sewer line has been approved by the Willmar City Council's Finance Committee.
WILLMAR -- Despite tough economic times, the city of Willmar had new construction projects valued at over $22 million in 2010. "Even though that's nowhere near the construction we have seen or would like to see, it still exceeds for communities our size state and national construction averages,'' said Bruce Peterson, director of city planning and development services. "From a construction economy standpoint, we're ahead of the nation but I think that says more about the nation than it does about Willmar,'' Peterson said.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission voted Monday to approve a three-year extended warranty and maintenance contract on the utility's two wind turbines with turbine supplier DeWind Company of Round Rock, Texas. The $9.05 million turbines, located just north of Willmar High School, were commissioned in September 2009. The current two-year warranty and maintenance contract will expire in September of this year. The current warranty covers parts and labor for any unscheduled outage due to failure of parts or unit operations.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Area Food Shelf received 140,381 dollars and pounds of food combined during the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign. The campaign, now in its 29th year, helps emergency food pantries and food shelves feed the needy during the year. The Willmar food shelf did not reach its 2011 goal of 160,000 dollars and pounds but the combined amount received this year exceeded the 2010 goal of 140,000 dollars and pounds. "We knew that 160,000 would be a pretty high number to reach,'' said Christie Kurth, food shelf executive director.