The Willmar City Council took the productive step Tuesday night in hiring Ike Holland as the next Willmar city administrator. This selection of Holland as the next Willmar city administrator is another positive step by the City Council in 2017. This City Council development followed the troubled recent years that brought Willmar the unpopular buyout of city administrator Charlene Stevens and the short-lived tenure of City Administrator Larry Kruse.
A majority of the MACCRAY School District voters Tuesday rejected a $38.8 million bond referendum which would have created a single-campus facility in Clara City and resulted in the closing of elementary buildings in Maynard and Raymond. It was a close vote, with 1,108 voting no and 1,003 voting yes. MACCRAY District voters had previously turned down a 2014 bond issue for a central campus plan, by a 1,067 to 733 count.
There are protests and rallies of all kinds now - from supporters of President Donald Trump's inauguration to sister protests around the country and the world the next day to church- and student-organized protests locally in the past week against the Muslim travel ban. All Americans and visitors are guaranteed the right to protest within America under the First Amendment's freedom of speech clause.
Gov. Mark Dayton has given legislators and Minnesotans two significant health surprises this week. While delivering his State of the State address before a combined session of the Minnesota Legislature Monday night, Dayton suddenly began slurring his words and then fainted briefly near the end of his 45-minute speech. Within a few minutes, Dayton was smiling before rising to walk out of the chamber with some help.
A United States citizen will take the presidential oath of office Friday resulting in the peaceful transfer of leadership for the 71st time since President George Washington was first sworn into office in 1789. This is a historic fact in this American experiment of government by "we the people." President-elect Donald Trump will be sworn in at Friday's inauguration as the 45th American president. We wish the next president the best during this 58th presidential inauguration in our history.
The construction start of the Kandiyohi County Road 5 bridge is a positive in addressing the highest accident zone in the Minnesota Department of Transportation's District 8. The $3 million bridge project will take a significant step forward next week as the construction crew will complete the setting of beams for the bridge, weather permitting.
A new era for the city of Willmar begins Monday as 2017 brings in a new City Council. This will, hopefully, be the start of a more positive and proactive era on the Willmar City Council and bring a new narrative to our city government.
As our Christmas holiday weekend begins today, families are gathering across west central Minnesota for their annual holiday celebrations and to open presents. Christmas is foremost a time to remember God's gift to the world — the birth of his only son Jesus. We are all blessed. As we share gifts with those closest to us, it is also a good time to give to those in need. A timely gift to worthy charities, such as The Salvation Army, the United Way of Kandiyohi County, the Willmar Area Food Shelf or any other local charity in your community, is helpful.
The Ron Christianson-Steve Ahmann-Tim Johnson-Rick Fagerlie faction has raised its ugly head one last time at a Willmar City Council meeting in 2016. They have no shame as they once again took hypocritical positions and used their collective vote to push through a City Council recommendation for their political bias purposes. They criticized Mayor Marv Calvin for rejecting a potential nominee for alleged political reasons. This is something they have specifically done not once, not twice, not three, not four, but at least five specific times in the past three years.
The time has come for the Willmar School Board and its teachers to find a way to settle their contract negotiations. Negotiations for the 2015-17 two-year contract began April 15, 2015. The last contract expired on June 30, 2015. The two sides have not met in negotiations since September. They have scheduled a session for Dec. 20. Both have agreed to tentative specifics on language issues, but remain significantly apart on salary levels.