David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
- Member for
- 2 years 2 months
WILLMAR -- Major power supplier Great River Energy is showing an interest in extending its power supply contract with Willmar Municipal Utilities beyond the 2015 expiration date. GRE, which supplies over half of the electricity used by Willmar electrical customers, approached Willmar Utility officials earlier this year and asked if Willmar would be interested in buying some of GRE's extra power. Up until that time, Willmar Utility officials had not received any such interest from GRE and had been spending much time gathering information, studying and discussing other power supply proposals.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council delayed action on the proposed 2011 street improvement program this week because the council did not have enough members present to cast 7 affirmative votes as required by the city charter. City Clerk-Treasurer Kevin Halliday said the charter requires 7 affirmative votes to order the improvement and only 6 members were present.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council is sending the facilities plan for the proposed $4.9 million western interceptor sewer line to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for approval. Deadline for submitting the plan is March 4. Officials say MPCA's approval will allow the plan to be placed on a state funding list. The vote to submit the plan was 6-0 with Steve Ahmann, Denis Anderson, Ron Christianson, Doug Reese, Rick Fagerlie and Tim Johnson voting in favor.
WILLMAR -- Studies show that new Americans do not take jobs away from native-born folks, says a Minnesota Chamber of Commerce official. The only exception is native-born folks who don't have a high school diploma. At that level there is some competition. "But the studies overwhelming show that immigrants fill jobs that are key to economic growth,'' says Bill Blazar, the chamber's senior vice president for public affairs and business development. For example, half the cows in Minnesota are milked by immigrants.
WILLMAR -- Willmar police investigated an accidental shooting incident Tuesday afternoon in which a retired Willmar businessman injured his left index finger. Police said Walter Gislason, 75, of Willmar, was handling a .380-caliber handgun owned by Bruce Gomm, 43, of New London. The two men were in the parking lot at Persepolis restaurant in Willmar when the gun discharged, striking Gislason in the finger. Police investigated after being called at 1:18 p.m. Tuesday to the emergency room at Rice Memorial Hospital.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council has lifted its hiring freeze just enough to fill a vacant full-time custodian position. The council voted 4-2 Tuesday night to approve a request from City Administrator Michael Schmit to fill the position that was left vacant by a retirement, returning the number of full-time custodians to three. Schmit repeated the request he made to the council's Labor Relations Committee on Jan. 26 to fill the vacancy because the two custodians were having difficulty completing tasks necessary to maintain the city's 10 buildings.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council is saying no thanks to the Willmar School District's offer of trading Garfield School in exchange for waiving the Roosevelt School street assessments. However, the council is interested in acquiring the green space adjacent to Garfield. The council voted Tuesday night to tell the school district that the city is not in a position to assume ownership of Garfield, but would be interested in the green space on the south half of the property.
WILLMAR -- City Administrator Michael Schmit believes City Council members will have their questions answered next week about the cost and the timing of the proposed western interceptor sewer line. Council members will receive information that could answer their questions during a hearing Tuesday night on the facilities plan for the proposed western interceptor sewer. Rhonda Rae, program manager in the Willmar office of Donohue and Associates of Sheboyan, Wis., will make the presentat-ion. She'll ask the council to approve the plan and re-quest auth-orization to submit the plan to the Minne
WILLMAR -- Numerous factors led to lower than projected production of electricity in the first 12 months of operation for Willmar Municipal Utilities' two wind turbines.
WILLMAR -- The big dome structure that everybody saw from the street is gone and other structures are being dismantled as decommissioning of Willmar's old wastewater treatment plant continues. The $2 million decommissioning project is part of the $86.2 million wastewater treatment facility project. Reiner Contracting Inc. of Hutchinson, which excavated the new plant site west of the city, received the decommissioning contract. Since Nov.