News

A year full of play and pride: Willmar’s Destination Playground exceeds goals

July 22, 2018

A year full of play and pride: Willmar’s Destination Playground exceeds goals
WILLMAR—It has been just over a year since the Willmar Destination Playground at Robbins Island Regional Park opened to the cheers of delight from adults and children alike. It is as popular today as it was on its grand opening weekend, with people coming from near and far to spend a few hours at the fully accessible, 19,000-square-foot playground. “The use is probably more than I anticipated,” Gary Mazner, Willmar Public Works superintendent said. “You see bus loads out there

New London artist to showcase work in New York City gallery

July 21, 2018

NEW LONDON—In fulfilling her dream of displaying her work in a New York City art exhibit, New Londonite Marjorie Nilssen will give the Big Apple a taste of the Lakes Area arts community this summer as she heads to Manhattan with her latest series of abstract paintings. On August 2, Nilssen is scheduled to present her one-day “pop-up” show at the Rogue Space gallery in the city’s Chelsea District—a miniature Mecca for established and upcoming artists alike. As both a professor of art at

Cattlemen at heart: Creativity gives next generation of farmers a boost

July 21, 2018

Cattlemen at  heart: Creativity gives next generation of farmers a boost
WILLMAR—When he looks at the herd of 100 Angus cows and their frisky spring calves grazing in a pasture of belly-high grass, Cullen Fischer still can’t believe his lifelong dream of raising cattle is coming true. “It’s kind of a pinch-me thing,” said the 31-year-old from Lake Lillian about his good fortune of taking over ownership of the well-established cow-calf operation from a retired farmer he met just a few years ago—a man who will continue to be his mentor. “I

New Ridgewater president ready to take on a new challenge

July 18, 2018

New Ridgewater president ready to take on a new challenge
WILLMAR—Craig Johnson feels his blue collar, first-generation college student background will inform his work as the new president at Ridgewater College. Johnson, 62, joined the college July 1. He came from the University Center in Sioux Falls, where he was director. Johnson said his first few weeks have involved finding his way around the school’s campuses in Willmar and Hutchinson. He admitted he still gets lost occasionally on the larger Willmar campus. He’s met people at both campuses

Willmar voters to decide sales tax in November

July 17, 2018

Willmar voters to decide sales tax in November
WILLMAR—The voters of Willmar will now have the opportunity to approve or reject a local option sales tax which could raise $30 million for a host of projects across the city. At Monday’s meeting, the Willmar City Council approved a resolution to place the question on the Nov. 6 ballot. “We are a regional center and this really speaks to what we want for our future,” Councilor Audrey Nelsen said. The council vote was 7 to 0, with Councilor Ron Christianson abstaining. He said

Willmar Wye agreement nears finish line

July 16, 2018

Willmar Wye agreement nears finish line
WILLMAR—The master agreement among the Willmar Wye project partners is nearing completion and MnDOT has sent the three shortlisted design and build firms requests for proposal to lead the multi-million dollar project through its years-long construction schedule. Paul Rasmussen, project manager for the Minnesota Department of Transportation District 8, said it is just the final details being worked out in the master agreement, which is actually several agreements rolled into one massive document. “We

Highway 23 Coalition seeks broader focus

July 13, 2018

Highway 23 Coalition seeks broader focus
WILLMAR—Even though funding has been secured to complete the final two legs of the Highway 23 four-lane between Willmar and Interstate 94, the coalition of regional businesses and government entities that fought to obtain that funding has no intention of going away. On the contrary, organizers say it’s hoped the 91-member coalition will expand to include community members as far north as Duluth and as far south as Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “Yes, we were able to get funding for the

Home on the Minnesota prairie: Yaks thrive on the pastures of the Hot Disch Farm

July 3, 2018

Home on the Minnesota prairie: Yaks thrive on the pastures of the Hot Disch Farm
RAYMOND—If you’re craving a fresh yak steak and can’t make the trip to the Everest Steak House Restaurant in Kathmandu, Nepal, take a short ride over to Raymond. That’s where you’ll find the Hot Disch Farm, home to Shawn and Craig Dischinger and their assistants, sons Jack, age 5, and Peter, age 3. They’ll happily sell you ground yak, or yak roasts, steaks, brats and sticks. Their yaks thrive on the lush grasses of the Minnesota prairie, where the harshest of winter

New city hall a question of priority; 4 possible sites being considered

June 13, 2018

New city hall a question of priority; 4 possible sites being considered
WILLMAR — The Willmar City Council continued to discuss a new city hall during the work session on Monday, though there was no consensus on how or when the project will move forward. However, the discussion will be picked up again during next Monday’s meeting, when the council will decide whether to hold a town hall on the issue later this month. “We need to make sure we do this right,” Councilor Audrey Nelsen said. There were multiple opinions about the project, from how fast

Council supports new workforce housing project in Willmar

June 5, 2018

Council supports new workforce housing project in Willmar
WILLMAR—A resolution of support from the Willmar City Council will be added to the tax credit application being submitted to the state by the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership. The group hopes to construct a 72-unit multi-family housing project on the north side of Willmar, near the MinnWest Technology Campus. The council passed the resolution at Monday’s council meeting, after hearing a presentation on the project during the work session. The resolution passed 5 to 1, with Councilor