NEWS-June 20
News Director: Bev Alquist Call with news at 320-235-2900 or email

News Archive


On November 16th, the University of Minnesota Marching Band is coming to Willmar in concert. It’s a Saturday night and more information will be forthcoming. Dean Johnson, Regent for the University, says it’s his understanding they’ll arrive in the afternoon, provide a workshop for the high school bands, have dinner and perform a concert at the senior high school. There are 325 members in the marching band. They do this once a year. Last year they were in Rochester and this year its Willmar. Johnson says it’s one of the most outstanding bands in America and the public will be fully enriched and graced by their presence. Tickets will be available earlier in the fall in that regard.

Norwood Teague, Gopher’s Director of Athletics, says the hiring of Richard Patino moved a lot quicker than he thought it would, and Patino was on his list the entire time. He says once they started going through the process he knew without a doubt Patino was the guy for the job. Teague talked about his job, describing it as diverse and as a job that deals with a lot of hiring, personnel, fundraising, a lot of speaking, managing, leading and fundraising. Fundraising is hard, he says, but they’ve got some good things in place right now and its going to be a big part of their future. They have a lot of facility projects that will be coming up in the next year or two so they’re kind of determining that right now, he said.

The results are in on tests Morris Area students took during the school year and they are nearly phenomenal, says Elementary Principal Ken Gagner. In addition to federally-required, once-a-year Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, students at the Morris Area Schools take NWEA tests three times a year, to closely track their progress. Last year, says Gagner, students did not meet the average standard in math, reading, or language. This year, nearly every class met or exceeded the average standard. Administrators are still waiting for the results of MCA tests. The MCA tests administered in the high school grades determine graduation eligibility.

A local aid program has had an influx of funds. Elbow Lake-based West Central Minnesota Communities Action runs the Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota (FAIM) program. Coordinator Heather Thormunson (thor-mund-son) says this is a matched-savings program that can be applied to a new business, higher education, or a down payment on a house for a first-time homebuyer. The program recently received a $100,000 grant from Bremer Bank, creating several openings for additional enrollees. Residents of Stevens, Pope, Traverse, Grant, Douglas, Swift, and Big Stone County are eligible. Contact the community action agency for more details.

The rains held off for the 26th Annual Pioneerland Band Festival Friday night in Benson.  The Grand Champion band was The Patriots of  St. Anthony Falls. Placing first in Triple-A was Bemidji and second place was given to Maple Grove.
In Class double-A, Alexandria placed first followed by Fergus Falls, and Hutchinson. In Class A, KMS took first place, second was New York Mills, with Bertha-Hewitt third. The Patriots took the special award for percussion, Alexandria was presented the Color Honor, and the People's Choice award was given to KMS.

Wednesday the Renville County Sheriff’s Office was called to a crash on Renville County Road 4 about six miles southwest of Danube. Deputies found an unoccupied vehicle, but later located the driver and passenger. The driver was 19 year old Jack Greenslit of rural Franklin. His passenger was 19 year old Elliot Schwab of Morton. Both received minor injuries. According to the sheriff’s office, Greenslit was traveling west on County Road 4 when the vehicle left the roadway and overturned. The vehicle was a total loss. The crash remains under investigation.

78 year old Roy Hansen of Walnut Grove suffered non life threatening injuries yesterday (Wednesday) after rear-ending a parked pickup on Highway 14 east of Walnut Grove in Redwood County. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, the pickup was unoccupied at the time. Assisting at the scene was the Redwood County Sheriff’s Office.

Senator Al Franken’s staff will be meeting with local veterans and veterans advocates this morning (Thursday) at ten at the Health and Human Services Building in Willmar. Franken wants input on the expanding veterans benefits claims ‘backlog’ that is forcing hundreds of thousands of returning veterans to put their lives on hold for many months while their claims are being processed. Also this month, Senator Franken plans to re-introduce legislation to increase access to health care benefits for veterans in rural areas.

The Heartland Girls Ranch in Benson is sponsoring a play Sunday night at seven at the First Evangelical Free Church in Benson. The play focuses on human trafficking. A freewill offering will be taken. Titled ‘Rendezvous,’ the performance is by Cardboard Productions Theatre Company of Minneapolis.

The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners discussed collaboration and cooperation regarding joint governmental services when it met this week. Collaboration is a two way street and requires good communication and that all stakeholders be at the table, says Commissioner Harlan Madsen. Madsen says they have different statues that govern some of their agencies, as well as different technologies. A lot of it is moving toward being able to have compatible technologies, he says, pointing to the maintenance and upgrading taking place in the downtown county office building to allow for newer technologies, integration, creating space and good working arrangements. He says the board is committed to moving ahead and continuing to move ahead. The administration, administrators of the various communities within Kandiyohi County, mayors, councilpersons are meeting on a regular basis now to look at and to start building relationships and understanding, and just understanding as far as the knowledge of what each of the areas needs are and how we can share resources for the public good, Madsen said.

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