West Central Tribune Minute: Five candidates make their pitch for election to Willmar School Board

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Here’s a look at the top headlines from around west central Minnesota for Oct. 23, 2022.

League of Women Voters school board forum 001.jpg
Willmar Public Schools school board candidates participate in a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Willmar Area at Willmar Municipal Utilities on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2022.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — A looming budget deficit and achievement gaps highlighted the discussion in a recent forum for candidates to the Willmar School Board.

The forum was part of a series of forums sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Willmar Area. Videos of the forums may be viewed on the group’s Facebook page and at the WRAC TV website


Five candidates are running for three four-year board positions in Willmar Public Schools. They include Mary Amon, Steve Biesterfeld, Randy Frederickson, Jay Lawton and Laura Weatherby. Amon, Frederickson and Lawton are incumbents.

The general election is Nov. 8, but early absentee voting has been open since September. Voters are allowed to register at the polls.

Full story here.

J-turn no longer in consideration for Minnesota Highways 23 and 9 safety improvement project in New London

Draft concept for a Highway 23 interchange
MnDOT is also looking at constructing a possible interchange at the intersection.
Contributed / Minnesota Department of Transportation

NEW LONDON — The Minnesota Department of Transportation, after weeks of re-evaluation, has announced it will no longer construct a J-turn at the intersection of Minnesota Highways 23 and 9 near New London. Instead, the department is evaluating whether to build an interchange or roundabout.

The change in plans comes after MnDOT reopened the planning stage for the safety improvements project following public concerns and pushback on the J-turn idea.

MnDOT looked into a J-turn, traffic signals, roundabout and interchange as potential projects. The re-evaluation process included meeting with the public both in person and online, and holding meetings with various stakeholders such as fire departments, ambulance services, law enforcement, schools and trucking.

Full story here.


Wheels are turning for big improvements to Appleton Area OHV Park

The Appleton Area OHV Park offers opportunities for all four classes of Off Highway Vehicles.
The Appleton Area OHV Park offers opportunities for all four classes of Off Highway Vehicles.

APPLETON — There are more than 320,000 Off Highway Vehicles registered in Minnesota, but in the southern third of the state there is only one destination where all four classes of OHVs are welcome.

The reasons for making the trip to that destination are growing in a big way, thanks to an American Rescue Plan grant of more than $1.03 million awarded to the Appleton Area Off Highway Vehicle Park this year.

The park is one of two county parks in Swift County and, as noted, one of the only parks in southern Minnesota devoted mainly to OHV users. The 348-acre park offers 20 miles of trail in a former gravel pit with a small lake and is located near the City of Appleton where camping and other amenities are available.

Full story here.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "West Central Tribune staff report." Often, the "West Central Tribune staff report" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.

The West Central Tribune newsroom can be reached via email: or phone 320-235-1150.
What To Read Next
Chippewa County Sheriff Derek Olson said two people were arrested after the Sheriff's Office assisted with executing a search warrant at a home in Clara City.
Amanda Lynn Todd, 37, of Willmar, was sentenced to 180 days in Kandiyohi County Jail with 90 days to be served immediately after her hearing in court Jan. 26.
COVID-19 cases and deaths increased more slowly in the most recent Minnesota Health Department update. An average of 600 people test positive — and six die — each day in Minnesota.
Willmar businessman and philanthropist Bob Dols, who died Feb. 2, worked for decades to complete a four-lane Highway 23 from Willmar to Interstate 94. That project is nearing completion.