David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
- Member for
- 2 years 4 months
WILLMAR -- The Federal Aviation Administration and the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office are insisting the city of Willmar perform a more detailed analysis of reusing the old airport terminal, which in March was declared eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The FAA and the state want the city to analyze a minimum of three reuse options: warehouse or storage purpose; manufacturing; or a use that would require extensive rehabilitation. The City Council previously declared the terminal unsafe and uninhabitable and said the building should be torn down.
WILLMAR -- Willmar Mayor Frank Yanish said he has canceled the appearance of Jerene Mortenson, Ph.D., as speaker for the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast. Yanish said Tuesday he has confirmed three alternate speakers for the breakfast, which is scheduled for 6:15 to 8 a.m. May 12 at the Willmar Conference Center.
WILLMAR -- It may soon be more convenient to pay for licenses, permits and assessments from the city of Willmar. Clerk-Treasurer Kevin Halliday has recommended that the city offer citizens the option of paying for the three items with debit cards or credit cards. Halliday said city staff and departments have been receiving requests to allow payments by debit or credit cards. The Willmar City Council's Finance Committee discussed and approved the recommendation Monday.
The Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission may need to consider increasing electric rates because power supply costs and transmission costs continue to rise. The last time city electric rates were increased was in 2009. The possibility of a rate in-crease was discussed Monday when the commission received a disappointing first-quarter fina-ncial summary for the period from January through March. Electric division revenue during the period was up 0.86 percent from $5,622,132 in 2010 to $5,670,604 in 2011, but expenses jumped 14.36 percent from $4,682,766 last year to $5,355,305 in 2011.
WILLMAR -- Ken and Cathy Balderston of rural Olivia are seeking customers in the city of Willmar who are interested in buying produce from their community-sponsored agriculture garden, also known as a CSA. Under the CSA program, customers pay a fee and receive fresh produce delivered to their door. The CSA is a new venture for the Balderstons who are entering their 14th year of selling produce. They sell at farmers markets in Redwood Falls, Olivia and Willmar. "We started with three coolers and a card table,'' Cathy Balderston said.
WILLMAR -- Staff from the city's Planning and Development Services Department will be driving through the neighborhoods during the next few weeks looking for properties in violation of exterior maintenance and storage regulations. "Every couple of years we've tried to do a complete sweep of the community just to restore neighborhoods to a basic standard of livability and attractiveness,'' says Bruce Peterson, department director. The city planner and two building inspectors will drive through the neighborhoods.
SPICER -- The state fire marshal's office is investigating the cause of an early Tuesday morning fire that destroyed the Michael and Deb Kueppers home on the west side of Nest Lake. Spicer Fire Chief Mike Holme said Deb Kueppers called at 1:31 a.m. and said the laundry room clothes dryer was on fire. She, her husband and son, George, left the house and were not hurt. Holme said the fire spread to the ceiling of the laundry room. Firefighters were on the scene until 4:30 a.m. But Holme said the fire flared up and firefighters were called again at 6:50 a.m.
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.