David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
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WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council's Finance Committee has approved the $28,350 budget for exterior upgrades to the old Willmar airport terminal.
WILLMAR -- Willmar Municipal Utilities is looking at buying six diesel generators when the lease on the generators expires in September 2012. The utility has been leasing the units from Ziegler Cat of Minneapolis for $39,600 a month, but the utility has the option of buying the generators for $200,000, General Manager Bruce Gomm told the Municipal Utilities Commission on Monday. The utility has three diesel generators connected to a substation on the east side and three connected to a substation on the west side.
WILLMAR -- Nancy Stredde and Paula Stredde have announced that as of Friday they will close First Step Inc. daycare center at the former Lafayette Elementary School. The Streddes' lender, Wells Fargo, foreclosed a year ago on the mortgage they took out to buy the building at 1112 Lake Ave. N.W. in Willmar. The Stredde sisters have been in business since 1990. They purchased the business in 2001 and turned it into a nonprofit. They previously rented space at 420 Minnesota Ave. S.W. in Willmar until the owners asked them to move.
The Lakeland Hotel building in downtown Willmar has been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. The Lakeland was among 12 buildings from around the state that were nominated last week by the Minnesota Historical Society State Review Board at its meeting in St. Paul. The nomination now goes to the keeper of the National Register for a final decision, which is expected sometime in February. An official with the Minnesota Historical Society says the National Register is the federal government's official list of historic properties worthy of preservation.
WILLMAR -- Hundreds of Muslims in Willmar joined millions of Muslims around the world to celebrate the holiday of Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice). The holiday began Sunday morning and will last for three days. On the first morning of Eid al-Adha, Muslims attend morning prayers at their local mosques, or in this case, in the Willmar Middle School gym. People gathered between 8 and 9 a.m. Prayers began at 9 a.m.
LITCHFIELD -- In January 1971, Litchfield grocer Bruce Cottington faced stiff competition from a new store in town. He needed a gimmick to stimulate sales, so he decided to promote eating peanut butter and drinking milk. The gimmick eventually led to a 40-year sister city exchange program between Litchfield in the North's dairy land and Hartford, Ala., in the heart of Southern cotton and peanut country.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council's Labor Relations Committee continues to negotiate two-year contracts with city employee labor groups for 2011 and 2012.
WILLMAR -- Users of the Eagle Lake Sanitary Sewer District would see a reduction in their sewer rates for 2011 and 2012 under an agreement recently negotiated by sewer district and Willmar city officials. Officials negotiated the reductions after the sewer district disagreed with 2011 and 2012 rates established by the city and charged to the district for treating the district's wastewater. The reductions will be considered by the City Council on Nov.
WILLMAR -- Willmar Municipal Utilities continues working toward greater use of renewable energy, and a successful solar energy project could contribute to that. General Manager Bruce Gomm told Municipal Utilities this week that Willmar as an independent mu-nicipal is not required to meet the state's renewable energy standard but likely will have to "and we should work towards the goal.'' The standard increases incrementally each year: it's 12 percent by 2012 and will jump to 15 to 17 percent when Willmar's power supply contract with Great River Energy expires in 2015. Minnesota's renewable
WILLMAR -- Officials of Willmar Municipal Utilities are studying a potential solar energy project. General Manager Bruce Gomm estimates the cost at $1.6 million. The panels would be located at the wind turbine site just north of Willmar Senior High School and are initially projected to produce 600 kilowatts -- 0.6 of a megawatt -- of energy.