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WILLMAR — A man who had to be carried out of the woods by six officers in July 2017 following an altercation with a couple in Willmar was sentenced to a stayed jail sentence and five years of supervised probation. Allen Charles Sheppard, 42, of Minneapolis, pleaded guilty to one felony count of threats of violence in July. Seven other counts — second-degree assault, fourth-degree assault, fifth-degree assault, obstruct the legal process, first-degree damage to property, fourth-degree damage to property and disorderly conduct — were dismissed.
WILLMAR — Minnesota is a major player in both domestic and international trade. For businesses, producers, manufacturers and consumers, the recent trade disputes with many of the United States' trading partners have caused questions and concerns to arise. "There have been a lot of questions about what all this means," said Ken Warner, president of the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.
WILLMAR — When Willmar Public Schools opened Lakeland Elementary School in December 2017, the district approached the Willmar Police Department about bringing in a school resource officer, who would spend time throughout the week at each of the three elementary schools, the department was happy to do it.
ST. PAUL — Two regional judges are among the three recommended candidates the Commission on Judicial Selection has made to Gov. Mark Dayton to fill an upcoming vacancy in the Seventh Congressional District on the Minnesota Court of Appeals. Current Judge Michael L. Kirk is retiring. The three candidates are Judge Jennifer Kurud Fischer, Judge Michelle Lawson and Judge Randall Slieter. Following an interview process, the appointment will be made in the next few weeks.
WILLMAR — The staff at Co-op Credit Union in Willmar celebrated the start of their new building project with the official groundbreaking ceremony on Monday. The 4,500-square-foot branch office for the credit union will be located at the corner of Fifth Street and 19th Avenue Southeast, near Aldi and Walmart. Construction could take between 6 to 8 months, with completion estimated in spring 2019, a news release announcing the groundbreaking said.
WILLMAR — It has been a good couple of years for new development in Willmar. From 2016 through 2017, there was approximately $103 million worth of new residential, institutional and commercial construction projects approved by the city. "It is a good number, especially compared to five or six years ago when it was $30 million," said Aaron Backman, executive director of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission.
WILLMAR — The preliminary tax levy for the city of Willmar was set at its maximum amount of $5,250,000 Monday night by the Willmar City Council. This is approximately 5 percent higher than the 2017 levy. The council can still decide to reduce the levy amount prior to the final approval in December, but the levy cannot go any higher than the amount approved Monday night. "I'm glad we have a chance to lower this," Councilor Ron Christianson said, who wants the city to use more of its reserves in the 2019 budget.
WILLMAR — As Election Day draws nearer, the Invest in Willmar committee is starting to unveil its marketing campaign for the proposed local option sales tax, which if approved by city voters would raise $30 million for six community projects. "The worst thing that could happen is someone showing up on Nov. 6 and not knowing what the initiative is," said Matt Dawson, co-founder of Invest in Willmar. Invest in Willmar is a community-led drive to get a 0.5 percent local option sales tax approved and added to Willmar's overall sales tax rate, bringing it to 7.875 percent.
WILLMAR — It may have an unusual name, but since its founding in the mid-1960s, pickleball has become a very serious sport, with more than 2.5 million players and 15,000 courts nationwide, according to the USA Pickleball Association. "When you learn to play pickleball, it is almost an addiction," said Randy Hall of Willmar, the Minnesota District Ambassador for the association.
WILLMAR — Co-op Credit Union is hoping to have its new home completed by spring 2019, as space is getting tight at its current location inside Willmar's Cub Foods. The Willmar Planning Commission approved the plan review for the new project in June and construction equipment is now at the site located at the corner of Fifth Street and 19th Avenue Southeast. Construction is slated to begin soon, with completion planned in early 2019.