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WILLMAR — A Willmar man has been charged with misdemeanor fifth-degree assault and gross misdemeanor obstructing the legal process after having to be stunned twice by Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputies on following an incident Nov. 30 between him and another individual. Sean Timothy O'Grady, 53, a physician at Rice Memorial Hospital, was also charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct. His first court appearance was Dec. 3 and he was released with conditions, which include not having any contact with the alleged victim. His next court date is Dec. 12.
WILLMAR — In the three decades Willmar Planning and Development Services director Bruce Peterson has worked for the city, he has gained knowledge and experience in economic development and real estate and in putting together development deals for commercial and industrial projects. "I have taken it upon myself to learn a little bit about a lot of things. I think I have brought value to the table because of that," Peterson said. The Willmar City Council is now tasked with finding Peterson's replacement as his retirement looms: His last day will be Jan. 31.
PAYNESVILLE — According to multiple media reports, Shopko has announced the closing of 39 stores in 14 states, including the Shopko Hometown in Paynesville. The only other Minnesota store on the closing list is located in Mahnomen. Liquidation sales at the closing stores will begin on Friday with stores closing by the end of February, reports said. The company has confirmed the closing in several media reports, saying the decision was based off of profitability, sales trends and growth potential. Each of the stores employs approximately 10 to 25 employees.
WILLMAR — Willmar Municipal Utilities must re-evaluate its plans for an upgrade to the Northeast Water Treatment Plant following some sticker shock. The project, which was estimated to cost about $8.5 million, now looks it could cost around $14 million. "We have taken a step back," said Joel Braegelman, water and heating supervisor. Braegelman and General Manager John Harren gave the Municipal Utilities Commission an update on the water treatment plant at the Nov. 26 meeting.
WILLMAR — The need for high-quality, affordable child care in Kandiyohi County is an issue gaining a lot of attention. According to a potential need analysis from First Children's Finance, there is a shortage of at least 776 child care slots across the county.
WILLMAR — The Willmar City Council unanimously approved the 2019 tax levy and budget Monday. The vote followed the annual truth-in-taxation hearing during the City Council meeting. There was no public comment during the hearing. The tax levy was set at $5.25 million, a $275,755 increase over the 2018 figure, about a 5 percent increase on the dollar amount.
WILLMAR — The hits keep coming for the Kandi Mall as another longtime tenant is going out of business. The Sears Hometown store, owned by Joel Garza, is closing. According to the store's Facebook page, the liquidation sale started on Nov. 30 and will go through Jan. 12.
WILLMAR – The Sears Hometown location in the Kandi Mall is closing. Signs at the store, as well as on the store’s website are announcing the store liquidation sale. When Sears Holdings, the owner of Sears Department stores and Kmart, filed for bankruptcy in October, it seemed the Hometown stores, which are independently owned, would not be impacted. Sears Hometown and Outlets became its own company several years ago, seperating from Sears Holdings.
WILLMAR — The Willmar City Council will meet in a work session and regular meeting on Monday. The work session will start at 5 p.m., with the regular meeting following at 7 p.m., both in the boardroom at the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building, 2200 23rd St. N.E. in Willmar. On the agenda for the work session are a Carris Health update, proposed budget adjustments for 2019 and updates on the Baker Field dugout project and wastewater treatment plant.
WILLMAR — A 24-year-old man who was sentenced last month in the sexual abuse of a 5-year-old boy is now facing three felony charges of sexually abusing two other boys when they were between the ages of 5 and 7. Alexander Rudy Gamez, who is currently in the Kandiyohi County Jail, was charged last week with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. His first court appearance was Nov. 21.