David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
- Member for
- 1 year 7 months
WILLMAR -- Willmar Municipal Utilities is investigating the sequence of events and equipment failure at the south substation that caused a two-hour power outage May 18 in Willmar and parts of Kandiyohi County, according to Bruce Gomm, utility general manager. Gomm discussed the outage Monday night with the City Council. The outage was the largest in city history since the utility began keeping detailed records in 1993. The outage occurred while utility employees were performing a planned and budgeted equipment replacement and upgrade at the 40-plus-year-old substation, Gomm said.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council on Monday night approved assessments to help pay the cost of this year's street improvements. Each year, the city reconstructs and overlays a certain number of streets and 75 percent of the costs are assessed against benefited property owners. The total cost of this year's improvements is $2,084,176, of which $1,294,842 will be assessed to property owners. Costs are assessed per lineal foot of property benefited by a project. This year's assessment cost of $55.88 per foot for reconstruction is below the 2009 assessment of $57 per foot.
Swimmers will know at a glance this summer if Willmar's Dorothy Olson Aquatic Center is open or closed. If they see a green flag flying, the pool is open. If they see a red flag flying, the pool is closed. If they see a yellow flag, the pool may close early.
WILLMAR -- Kandi Cupboard, a food cooperative started nearly 30 years ago to sell bulk, unprocessed and organic foods at reasonable cost, will be closing July 30. The decision to close the downtown store was unanimously approved by the board of directors during the co-op's annual meeting this week. The store had been struggling financially for a number of years and had a loss this year, although it was not a huge loss, said store manager Jan Dworshak.
WILLMAR -- Jim Mulder acknowledges he's not a politician. But the Renville native is hoping Minnesota voters will elect him as lieutenant governor and running mate Tom Horner as governor in this fall's general election. Horner, the Independence Party-endorsed candidate for governor, announced on Tuesday his selection of Mulder as his choice for lieutenant governor. "We think we have a great chance this fall,'' Mulder said in an interview Thursday in Willmar. "We think the public is ready to test drive a couple of independent men who have never been elected. We're not politicians.
WILLMAR -- Willmar voters will have a choice of two candidates for the four-year office of mayor in the Nov. 2 general election. They are incumbent Mayor Les Heitke and challenger Frank Yanish. Both candidates filed affidavits of candidacy by Tuesday's 5 p.m. deadline. The last contested mayor's race occurred in 1990 when retired city clerk Richard Hogland defeated Mayor F.J. "Ole'' Reynolds. Council members also serve four-year terms.
WILLMAR -- If you've driven on one of Willmar's main streets recently, your vehicle was likely counted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. MnDOT is required by the federal government to conduct traffic counts every two years on trunk highways, such as U.S. Highway 12, and every four years on state-aid city streets and state-aid county roads. This year is Willmar's year to be counted.
WILLMAR -- Frost boils -- mounds of gravel and broken pavement -- are bubbling up again through Willmar streets. The boils occur when freezing and thawing conditions cause the soil to move and destroy the driving surface. The Public Works Department counted 28 frost boils this year. The sites are marked with flags or cones to warn motorists until the sites are patched. The department has been making repairs since May 20 after hot-mix asphalt plants in the area resumed operations.
WILLMAR -- Frank Yanish has filed for the office of mayor of Willmar in the November general election. Yanish will face incumbent Mayor Les Heitke who has filed for re-election. The term of the office of mayor and city council member is four years. Yanish grew up in Annandale and worked as a sales representative in the food industry for 25 years. For the past 19 years, he and his wife, Lorna, have been owners and operators of Central Tire and Auto of Willmar. Yanish served six years on the Willmar Planning Commission and served three years as commission chairperson.
WILLMAR -- The indirect owner and holding company of En-Tel Communications LLC in Willmar will change to Windstream Corporation, but Willmar residents who receive cable services from En-Tel will see no change in service or rates, Willmar city officials have been told. Iowa Telecommunications Systems, the indirect owner and holding company of En-Tel, has entered into an agreement and merger plan dated Nov. 23, 2009, with Windstream Corporation. Windstream will become the indirect owner and ultimate holding company of En-Tel.