Page 1

IMPACT

2016

Kandiyohi County’s strengths in industry, technology, agriculture, health care, education, the arts and more have an impact that reaches far and wide.


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Welcome to

IMPACT

2016

TABLE OF CONTENTS BUSINESS, INDUSTRY & TECHNOLOGY

16 HEALTH CARE 26 AGRICULTURE 38 EDUCATION

K

andiyohi County is an amazing place to live, work and play. Not only is it breathtakingly beautiful with its many lakes, streams, serene countryside and quaint towns, but it is home to many innovative, cutting-edge businesses, industries and services. Within the county’s 862 square miles one can find organizations that are leaders in the areas of manufacturing, health care, education, arts and agriculture. The local unemployment rate is consistently below the national average, our health care system is on the cutting edge and has a regional draw, and our focus on arts, entertainment, shopping and food/ drink establishments are a draw for visitors and residents alike. This publication tells you about some of the important sectors that are a driving force in our Lakes Area economy and way of life here in Kandiyohi County. Individually, these entities are strong, but together, they create an “impact” that affects lives far beyond Kandiyohi County. PAGE 4 IMPACT

6

46 51

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT FOOD & SHOPPING TOURISM

56

LIVING IN KANDIYOHI COUNTY

70

STAFF WRITERS / PHOTOGRAPHY CAROLYN LANGE

SHELBY LINDRUD

LINDA VANDERWERF

BRIAN EDWARDS

ANNE POLTA

GRETCHEN BROWN

TOM CHERVENY

BRIANA SANCHEZ

DAN BURDETT

SHARON BOMSTAD

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS AARON BACKMAN

WES NELSON

SAM BOWEN

JANET OLNEY

JEFF HOLM

JENNIFER MENDOZA

PAUL CARLSON

BETH FISCHER

MICHAEL SCHRAMM

LINDA HARRIS

MICHELLE HAEFNER

KEN WARNER

A PUBLICATION OF WEST CENTRAL TRIBUNE 2208 W. TROTT AVE, WILLMAR MN | WWW.WCTRIB.COM

OCTOBER 2016 PUBLISHER: STEVE AMMERMANN

MAGAZINE EDITOR: SHARON BOMSTAD

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AD DIRECTOR: KEVIN SMITH


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BUSINESS, INDUSTRY & TECHNOLOGY

DRIVING FORCE BEHIND A ROBUST COMMUNITY ith deep roots in production agriculture, Kandiyohi County’s vibrant business and industry sectors reflect a solid history built on hard work and ingenuity, and an ever-expanding path of new growth fueled by abundant natural resources, an educated workforce and a spirit of entrepreneurship. There are about 1,384 businesses in the county that employ nearly 23,400 people. The big-hitters include health care and social assistance (5,600 employees), manufacturing (3,400 employees) and retail

PAGE 6 IMPACT

trade (3,000 employees) that are located in the regional center of Willmar and in the county’s thriving small towns. With a new airport located nearby, the Willmar Industrial Park’s Fourth Addition now has 180 acres of land that’s been certified as “shovel ready” by the state of Minnesota, which makes it ripe for new industries to move in. Also, a nearly $50 million multi-partner railroad project in the works that includes bringing a rail spur into the industrial park would give new businesses a rare opportunity

to have direct rail access. The country’s largest, privately held technology park, MinnWest Technology Campus, is located in Willmar. The campus attracts high-level professionals and unique businesses with a focus on biotechnology, engineering, genetics and agricultural industries. The campus is administered by Life-Science Innovations, which employs more than 650 people in agriculture, engineering, life science, genetics and biotech fields. Businesses on the campus include Nova-


Tech Engineering -- a global leader in robotics and agriculture equipment that has more than 130 clients on six continents -- and Epitopix, which specializes in groundbreaking vaccination technology focused on improving animal health and human food safety. A wide scope of technical and general educational opportunities at Ridgewater College helps create a positive workforce in the county. Ridgewater’s highly respected customized training and continuing education classes can fine-tune education offerings to meet specific needs of businesses. While treasuring its natural resources

that make the county a popular tourist destination, the area has also embraced innovative renewable energy enterprises, including wind turbines and solar farms, that not only preserve the environment but add new jobs and economic security to the county. Each community in the county has active business and development groups that make it easy for businesses to find a home. The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, along with the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, takes a county-wide approach to marketing the area to new businesses and helping existing ones grow.

Financial incentives like tax abatements, tax increment financing, revolving loans and entrepreneur guarantee loans can help reduce financial roadblocks for business growth. The EDC also helps entrepreneurs develop business plans to help ensure future success. A combination of highly productive farmland in the southern half of the county and lakes, hills and outdoor recreational opportunities in the northern half -- along with a busy Willmar city-center and charming rural communities -- makes Kandiyohi County an attractive location for business and industry to succeed and for business owners and employees to live.

IMPACT PAGE 7


Q&A

AARON BACKMAN

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, KANDIYOHI COUNTY AND CITY OF WILLMAR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION

Q What

five concepts best describe Kandiyohi County’s business and industry environment?

A Agriculturally-focused,

regional hub, tourism draw, medical cluster and innovative entrepreneurs.

Q What are the best assets Kandiyohi County has to offer business and industry? A The

MinnWest Technology Campus promotes the advancement of agribusiness, bioscience and technology in Kandiyohi County. The campus currently has 33 businesses including Nova-Tech Engineering -- a global leader in robotics and equipment that supports the agriculture technology industry; Epitopix -- which specializes in groundbreaking vaccination technology and is a leader in improving animal health and human food safety; and Procore -- which provides construction management software for medium to large construction companies. A 180-acre site in the Fourth Addition of the Willmar Industrial Park was certified this year PAGE 8 IMPACT

as a “Shovel-Ready Certified Site” that assures prospective developers the property is ready for development. As a regional hub, retail is the third largest industry in Kandiyohi County with more than 200 business establishments providing nearly 3,000 jobs. Gross retail sales in the county top $800 million per year. With over 450,000 square feet of retail space, the Kandi Mall in Willmar is the largest retail facility in the county and in the surrounding region. Ridgewater College, a two-year community and technical college, is key in providing a skilled workforce with more than 100 educational programs and Customized Training & Continuing Education courses.

Q What are the top economic powerhouse industries in Kandiyohi County and what do they bring to our community?

A Agriculture -- Kandiyohi County is the fifth

largest turkey producing county in the U.S. and home to the world’s largest turkey breeding and hatching company, Willmar Poultry Company. Jennie-O Turkey Store, owned by Hormel Foods, is the world’s largest turkey

processor with 1,650 employees in Willmar. Meadow Star Dairy opened in 2015 with the 8,500-head dairy farm producing 500,000 pounds of milk every day. The $60 million farm doubled the number of dairy cows in the county. Medical -- Rice Memorial Hospital is a toptier medical facility that employs about 1,000 people in Willmar. The Level 3 Trauma Center is the largest community-owned hospital in Minnesota, serves 14 counties and has 100 inpatient beds. Affiliated Community Medical Centers employs about 900 people locally and is a regional leader in west central and southwest minnesota’s health care delivery with its 11-clinic network that serves six local hospitals and about 100,000 patients. Bethesda is a health care facility that provides a full continuum of care. Technology -- Life-Science Innovations employs over 650 people in agriculture, engineering, life science, genetics and biotech fields. Life-Science Innovations is a founding partner for MinnWest Technology Campus, the country’s largest privately held technology park. CONTINUED ON PAGE 10


Q&A

SAM BOWEN

DEAN OF CUSTOMIZED TRAINING AND CONTINUING EDUCATION AT RIDGEWATER COLLEGE IN WILLMAR

Q When

and why was the customized A Customized Training and Continuing training program initiated at Ridgewater Education classes are typically short-term, College? non-credit courses. We utilize instructors A The program was established as the adult from within the college as well as industry education division of Willmar Technical professionals who are experts in the field to College in the 1970s to provide short- ensure that training is in line with industry term classes to adult learners. Early on, we standard and trends. Our classes utilize handsfocused mainly on firefighter and Emergency on instruction as much as possible to enhance Management Services training services and the learning experience and provide greater have since grown into a comprehensive retention of skills learned. Most of the training workforce development services operation programs we create and deliver are developed providing both continuing education services specifically to address the unique workforce to industry professionals requiring licensure or development needs of a business, or they are relicensure, as well as customized workforce offered to meet professional licensure and/or training programs specifically designed to continuing education requirements. Therefore, it is very common that employers cover the meet the needs of regional businesses. Today we deliver over 60,000 hours to cost of training on behalf of their employees. more than 7,500 individuals annually in fire, Q How has the program responded to the EMS/healthcare, agriculture, manufacturing needs of local businesses? and industry, leadership and professional A There are hundreds of possible examples, development and industrial safety. but one recent program is a partnership with Q How are the classes structured, taught Jennie-O Turkey Store. They are frequently and paid for? in need of maintenance people to work

on the machines and systems used in their processing plants. To address the need for skilled candidates, they asked if we could help them build and deliver a training program that would give existing employees the basic skills needed for the job. In response, we developed a 12-week employee training program focused exclusively on skills the employer needed. This is a great example of a partnership that helps the business fill jobs, while also positioning employees in the workforce to move into positions that offer greater earning potential.

Q What

have been the most unique requests from businesses the program has addressed?

A The most unique request in recent history

came about three years ago from a group of counties in the region who were in need of additional agricultural drainage ditch viewers. Counties hire individuals to examine their ditch systems in order to re-determine what landowners benefit from the drainage ditches and to what extent, enabling them to levy CONTINUED ON PAGE 10 IMPACT PAGE 9


Q&A

Q What

AARON BACKMAN

are the goals for expanding the county’s role as a regional hub?

A We

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8

and collaborates with Ridgewater College on workforce initiatives, and a manufacturing video and tour is planned for this year. Funding also continues to be a challenge, especially for fast-growing, small businesses and entrepreneurs in the county. The EDC helped facilitate creation of an Angel Investment Fund that is expected to be active this fall.

have a long-range goal of expanding a robust high-speed broadband network utilizing fiber to attain broadband access to every home, farm and business in rural Kandiyohi County. Stakeholders are working to implement the Willmar railroad wye, a $48 million project on the west side of Willmar for train traffic to bypass the downtown and Q Explain the opportunities and challenges to install a rail spur to the Willmar Industrial of balancing growth of business/industry Park by 2020. Completing the state Highway and residents’ quality of life. 23 four-lane corridor between St. Cloud and Willmar is a priority, including the two gaps north of New London.

Q What are the major barriers to growing

business and industry in the county and how can they be overcome?

A Finding

enough workers is an ongoing challenge for many businesses, who are encouraged to work with the Willmar Workforce Center. The EDC helps sponsor several job fairs

Q&A

SAM BOWEN

Q What are the opportunities for growth in

the program in the next five to 10 years?

expect to see growth in almost every industry sector over the next decade due to factors such as regulatory changes, retirements and technological advancements. One specific opportunity we are excited to develop programming for is the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Ridgewater PAGE 10 IMPACT

County supports economic growth and development that leads to capital investment, added tax base and job creation. That said, the county needs to protect its natural resources and preserve its draw as a destination for tourism and recreation with its 260 lakes, parks and golf courses in the area. Part of being successful in development is communicating goals and action steps and seeking input from various stakeholders. This means conducting regular visits with local manufacturing businesses, retail and service industries, workforce and education representatives and government officials to identify needs and offer assistance. Encouraging diverse opinions is frequently part of the development process.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9

assessments for improvements. The counties wanted a larger pool of individuals to choose from in order to do this work, but there was a need to give new potential viewers some basic knowledge regarding drainage systems. We took up the challenge and worked with experienced experts in the field to develop a 30-hour introduction to ditch viewing course that has provided training to more than 20 new potential ditch viewers.

A We

A Kandiyohi

instructors have been trained to become licensed commercial UAV pilots who will be able to deliver educational programs enabling businesses or organizations to leverage UAV technology within industries such as law enforcement, agriculture, fire service and emergency medical services.

Q What challenges does the program face in the next five to 10 years?

A Our biggest challenge is -- and will continue

to be -- finding great instructors. We rely heavily on industry experts who have the knowledge, time and ability to teach our students on a very part-time as-needed basis. We cast our nets wide to find these individuals and have been very successful, but it can be challenging. Our goal is to be able to provide quality training services to all industries, so it is imperative that we have programs and instructors ready to go at a moment’s notice.


FAST FACTS:

BUSINESS, INDUSTRY & TECHNOLOGY in Kandiyohi County

TOTAL EMPLOYERS: 1,384

TOP 10 EMPLOYERS: 1. JENNIE-O TURKEY STORE 1,650

MOST COMMON INDUSTRY SECTORS? HEALTH CARE & SOCIAL ASSISTANCE: 5,584 EMPLOYEES

2. RICE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL 998 3. ACMC 900 4. WILLMAR PUBLIC SCHOOLS 812 5. LIFE SCIENCE INNOVATIONS 664 6. BETHESDA 420 7. CASH WISE FOODS 341 8. RIDGEWATER COLLEGE 315 9. KANDIYOHI COUNTY 300 10. AGFORTE 252

LABOR FORCE: 24,226 UNEMPLOYMENT RATE: 3.6% EMPLOYED: 23,378

SOURCE: THE U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS, THE FEDERAL RESERVE ECONOMIC DATA, THE KANDIYOHI COUNTY AND CITY OF WILLMAR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION

MANUFACTURING: 3,359 EMPLOYEES RETAIL TRADE: 2,969 EMPLOYEES IN THE LAST 3 YEARS, WHEN AND WHAT WAS THE LOWEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATE? 2.7% IN MAY 2015 IN THE LAST 3 YEARS, WHEN AND WHAT WAS THE HIGHEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATE? 6.6% IN JANUARY 2013 Employees Residence? About 7,800 live outside Kandiyohi County and commute in, and about 7,200 live inside the county and leave to work elsewhere Citizenship: About 96 percent of the population of Kandiyohi County are U.S. citizens. The national average is 93 percent The U.S. Census Bureau (2014) indicates the most common country of origin for people born outside of the U.S. that live in Kandiyohi County: Guatemala, Somalia, Mexico. IMPACT PAGE 11


FAST FACTS:

KANDIYOHI COUNTY

POPULATION ESTIMATE (2015): 42,522 POPULATION PERCENT CHANGE FROM APRIL 2010 TO JULY 2015: 0.7% 50.1% MALE, 49.9% FEMALE

MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME: $52,043 11. 5% LIVE IN POVERTY

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE AS OF AUG. 3, 2016: 3.6%

24% UNDER THE AGE OF 18 17.7% OVER THE AGE OF 65 82.8% WHITE 12.1% HISPANIC OR LATINO

88.6% HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE OR HIGHER 21.9% BACHELOR’S DEGREE OR HIGHER

4% AFRICAN AMERICAN 0.7% ASIAN 0.4% NATIVE AMERICAN

19,663 HOUSING UNITS 74.2% OWNER OCCUPIED

16,885 HOUSEHOLDS 11. 2% SPEAK ANOTHER LANGUAGE BESIDES ENGLISH AT HOME

MEDIAN VALUE OF OWNER OCCUPIED: $162,000 MEDIAN GROSS RENT: $664

STATISTICS PROVIDED BY THE UNITED STATES CENSUS BUREAU AND FEDERAL RESERVE ECONOMIC RESEARCH PAGE 12 IMPACT


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I

EDUCATION

GROWING IN OPPORTUNITIES

n the next two years, the two school districts in Kandiyohi County will be spending more than $70 million to upgrade and expand their facilities. The Willmar School District is in the midst of a $52 million building program that includes a new elementary school, expansions at its middle and high schools and many maintenance and remodeling projects throughout the district. Most of the work is expected to be finished by fall 2017. The New London-Spicer School

PAGE 16 IMPACT

District will be building a performing arts center and a two-court gymnasium at the district’s middle school/high school. A new cafeteria, two classrooms and other improvements are planned at Prairie Woods Elementary School. Contracts were recently awarded, and work is expected to take place over the next two years. Willmar and New London-Spicer are the two school districts which are located entirely within Kandiyohi County, but the boundaries of other

school districts cross into the county. The two school districts sit next to each other, but they are quite different. Willmar is roughly three times the size of NLS and has a more diverse student body. Three-fifths of Willmar’s students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals. About a quarter of NLS students qualify for the free or reduced-price meals. Children from Kandiyohi County also attend school in the KerkhovenMurdock-Sunburg, Belgrade-Brooten-


Elrosa, Paynesville, Atwater-CosmosGrove City, BOLD, Renville County West and MACCRAY school districts, and a couple of those districts actually have elementary buildings in Kandiyohi County. Students from a variety of districts attend Community Christian School in Willmar, Central Minnesota Christian School in Prinsburg and the DREAM Technical Academy charter school in Willmar, as well. Other education: A consortium of area school districts offers Adult Basic Education courses in the area. The largest program is in Willmar, where

newcomers to the country can be found learning English or studying for their citizenship. Students also study for their GED diplomas or learn basic computer skills. Post-secondary education: Ridgewater College, with campuses in Willmar and Hutchinson, is a twoyear community and technical college that serves many people in the county. The college offers a wide variety of programs. Students can learn a trade in less than two years or complete the first two years toward a bachelor’s degree at Ridgewater.

Willmar Senior High School

In the next two years, the two school districts in Kandiyohi County will be spending more than $70 million to upgrade and expand their facilities.

IMPACT PAGE 17


Q&A “Our work to modernize and improve facilities will move our district ahead in meeting students’ needs.”

JEFF HOLM

SUPERINTENDENT, WILLMAR PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Q About $50 million in construction projects

are currently underway in the district. How will Willmar Public Schools benefit from the new elementary school and other projects?

A Our work to modernize and improve facilities

will move our district ahead in meeting students’ needs. We currently have two very large elementary school buildings. The challenges of educating nearly 2,000 students in two buildings include scheduling, space and traffic issues. It is also challenging for school staff to get to know their students well when there is such a large enrollment. However, our class sizes have remained reasonable, and our staff work very hard to make sure they make connections with our students. The science additions at Willmar Middle School will help us to update learning spaces for science instruction. The spaces currently PAGE 18 IMPACT

in use were designed when the building was originally planned, and with the evolving nature of providing engaging and appropriate science instruction, we believe that the facility improvements will pay off. While our staff can do an excellent job no matter the setting, we know that the freshly designed space will enhance the experiences of our students. Our project at Willmar Senior High School will assist us in meeting the needs of numerous extra-curricular programs. We know it’s important for students to have opportunities to participate in activities, and having additional gym space will allow students to access these programs without needing to go to another building. The project will allow us to move gymnastics from Kennedy Elementary to the high school, which will also be beneficial to the Kennedy students. Finally, we plan to undertake some remodeling

and deferred maintenance projects with the referendum funds. This will help us to address needs of buildings, which were designed and built several years ago. We look to make changes that will support current -- and future -- thoughts about how teaching and learning occur.

Q What

sorts of challenges or strengths come to the district because of its diverse student body?

A Having

a diverse student population is a strength for our district. We feel that all of our students get the opportunity to learn to interact appropriately with people from backgrounds different from their own. This can help to prepare them for life after their formal education is complete. Students will undoubtedly encounter people of diverse


backgrounds and cultures in their future endeavors, because the population of Minnesota, as well as much of the rest of the nation, is increasingly diverse. Challenges we face with our diverse population are similar to challenges we face with all students, which relate to how do we meet a student at their current academic level and stretch them to ensure they have been exposed to the appropriate learning standards and processes to help them meet their needs as future citizens.

are called upon to make wise decisions with the finite resources we have available, which includes our time as well as fiscal resources. All public school districts face challenges related to how to best meet the unique needs of students, with limited resources. All public school districts have also been subject to increased scrutiny and calls for accountability.

Q What would you see as your district’s greatest strength? A Schools

are only as good as the people in them. We have dedicated staff who care Q What are some challenges the district is about students. Our teachers work to focus on facing in the coming school year? student learning, and the other staff recognize A Our district faces challenges related to how their important contributions to making sure we prioritize our use of resources to best students experience high-level learning, by accomplish our mission, which is, “Preparing providing the environment in which students all students for a successful tomorrow.” We thrive.

Through our strategic planning process, we have involved teaching staff and other staff members to help us identify the key initiatives to continuously improve our school system. We also are working to refine our implementation of Professional Learning Communities, which allow teachers to collaboratively identify what students should learn, and how we will know whether or not they have learned. The strategic planning and the PLC approaches are based on the idea that any organization is only likely to be successful when it supports the learning and growth of the people who work there. We believe that our staff has the talents and abilities to help us meet all students’ needs, so we will support their ongoing improvement of those skills. IMPACT PAGE 19


Q&A

PAUL CARLSON SUPERINTENDENT, NEW LONDON-SPICER SCHOOLS

Q The

School Board and teachers recently approved a plan to tie teacher compensation to student performance. How could this Q Comp proposal affect the district?

A The purpose of the Q Comp program is to

recruit and retain highly qualified teachers, encourage teachers to undertake challenging assignments, support teachers’ roles in improving students’ educational achievement and provide incentives to encourage teachers to improve their knowledge and instructional skills. Student learning is expected to improve by implementing the five components under Q Comp -- career ladder/advancement options; job-embedded professional development; teacher evaluation; performance pay; and an alternative salary schedule. The New LondonSpicer plan describes teacher leader roles that PAGE 20 IMPACT

licensed staff members may assume while continuing to teach students. Additional compensation will be provided for these responsibilities. These roles focus on facilitating site-based professional development to help other staff improve instructional skills. Staff development activities will provide for job-embedded learning opportunities such as professional learning communities to improve instructional skills and learning. The PLCs are aligned with student needs and led during the school day by trained teacher leaders. Teacher evaluation will be used to improve and support qualified teachers and effective teaching practices and to improve student learning and success. Evaluations will be based on a three-year professional review cycle for each teacher that includes an individual growth and development plan, a peer review process and at least one evaluation performed by a trained evaluator. School districts in

Minnesota receive up to $260 per student ($169 per student in state aid and $91 per student in board-approved levy) for the program. For New London-Spicer the plan would allow for additional revenue of $169 per student in state aid plus $61 per student in board-approved local tax levy.

Q How

will the $20 million in building improvements underway in New LondonSpicer benefit the district?

A On all three of our sites you will soon see the beginnings of our facility transformations. The entire plan will take place over the next two school years. With any construction comes disruption, but we remain excited about what lies on the other side, knowing that our facilities will better meet the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s learners. The building improvements will include construction of a 650-seat performing arts center addition, a


two-court gymnasium, a cafeteria and two new classrooms along with interior remodeling at the Middle School/High School and Prairie Woods Elementary. The theater will enhance our drama, speech, band and choir programs, and it will be a beautiful venue for community performances and other events. The new cafeteria and performance area and two additional classrooms at the Prairie Woods Elementary School are designed to meet learning requirements for students. Additional space will be used for student performances and flexible learning, to create increased opportunities and access to enrichment and remediation. This space will also be used for additional space to enhance and grow our gifted and talented programs and opportunities while increasing program efficiencies in special education services the district provides.

The additional gym space would be a welcome addition to address our facility needs. Gymnastics will now have a designated space at the school. The additional gym space will also be used by community groups and would be a wonderful tournament complex to bring people into our communities. The new gym space will also be available for physical education classes during the school day. The building project also includes security upgrades. The office areas in all of our buildings will be set up to monitor entrances. New entrances at the Prairie Woods Elementary and Middle School will allow for entrance directly into office space rather than into a corridor before entering the office for check-in procedures.

Q In the past school year, New LondonSpicer had 261 students open enroll into the district from other schools in the area.

What types of challenges or opportunities come with that many additional students?

A In

Minnesota, students and their families have a wide range of meaningful school options. Approximately 30 percent of Minnesota’s K-12 public school students access some form of school choice, including open enrollment, charter schools, magnet schools, online learning or state-approved alternative programs. This can be challenging for public schools. The last school year 261 students open enrolled into the New LondonSpicer School District, while there were 121 students who open enrolled out of the district. A net gain in open enrolled students translates to increased funding for the district. With additional funding schools can maintain programs and opportunities for students and can also maintain optimal class sizes in the range of 19-23 students at the primary grade levels. IMPACT PAGE 21


FAST FACTS:

EDUCATION in Kandiyohi County Student to Teacher

WILLMAR SCHOOL DISTRICT

NEW LONDON-SPICER SCHOOL DISTRICT

ATWATER-COSMOS-GROVE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT

STUDENTS: 4,114 LICENSED TEACHERS: 280

STUDENTS: 1,433 LICENSED TEACHERS: 84

STUDENTS: 784 LICENSED TEACHERS: 60

KERKHOVEN-MURDOCKSUNBURG SCHOOL DISTRICT

BELGRADE-BROOTENELROSA SCHOOL DISTRICT

BOLD SCHOOL DISTRICT

STUDENTS: 661 LICENSED TEACHERS: 48

STUDENTS: 628 LICENSED TEACHERS: 42

STUDENTS: 695 LICENSED TEACHERS: 47

RENVILLE COUNTY WEST SCHOOL DISTRICT

MACCRAY SCHOOL DISTRICT

RIDGEWATER COLLEGE

STUDENTS: 515 LICENSED TEACHERS: 40

STUDENTS: 648 LICENSED TEACHERS: 48

PAGE 22 IMPACT

TOTAL NUMBER OF STUDENTS SERVED: 5,185 IN HUTCHINSON AND WILLMAR OFFERS MORE THAN 100 PROGRAMS

JOB PLACEMENT RATE IS 96%


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A

HEALTH CARE

A VIBRANT, THRIVING INDUSTRY

sk people to name some of the top industries in Kandiyohi County and agriculture or manufacturing might be the first to come to mind. But one of the real powerhouses of the local economy lies in another direction: health care. Health-related services account for one in every four to five jobs in Kandiyohi County, making the industry one of the county’s largest. Moreover, this job category is among those growing the fastest. The health care industry in Kandiyohi

PAGE 26 IMPACT

County includes all of the assets that most immediately come to mind. The county is home to Rice Memorial Hospital, a regional referral center in Willmar that offers services ranging from 24-hour emergency care to obstetrics, cancer treatment and inpatient mental health. The county has two medical clinics and numerous dental, eye care and other specialty practices. As county residents age, they can choose independent living and assisted living options. Three long-term care facilities --

two nursing homes in Willmar and one in New London -- provide care for those who need skilled nursing services. With a history of mental health care and services for those with disabilities, Kandiyohi County is a regional center for inpatient and outpatient mental health services and programs that enable individuals with disabilities to live to their fullest potential. The array of services makes Kandiyohi County a regional center for health care and health-related services. Attracting and retaining qualified


professionals remains one of the most significant challenges for the county’s health care industry. Leaders say it’s also important to remain financially viable while keeping pace with rapid changes. The past several months have seen robust investments in local health services designed to improve care and offer a better experience for patients. Last fall Rice Memorial Hospital completed an expansion and renovation of its inpatient mental health unit and this year opened the doors at a brand-new $5 million outpatient

rehabilitation center. The hospital also introduced robotic-assisted surgery this past year for selected procedures. Bethesda Health and Housing is completing the construction of a multimillion-dollar integrated campus that promises to enhance services and daily life for aging adults. Projects in the near future include a new same-day surgery center, a joint venture by Rice Memorial Hospital and Affiliated Community Medical Centers under their Willmar Medical Services umbrella.

Health-related services account for one in every four to five jobs in Kandiyohi County.

IMPACT PAGE 27


Q&A

MICHAEL SCHRAMM CEO, RICE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL

Q If you could name the top two or three Q What are Rice Hospital’s key priorities in Q Name

assets of Rice Memorial Hospital, what meeting community needs? would they be? A With the ever-changing landscape in the A The top assets at Rice consist of the people health care industry, Rice’s priority is planning for our future and positioning our organization that are a part of our organization and the to meet the health needs of west central communities we serve. Our board of directors, Minnesota for many years to come. This will our high-quality medical staff and all of our mean working to engage our community to staff and volunteers truly are here to provide improve the health of our population as well for our patients and families that depend on as being here when patients need their health Rice for their health care needs. care provider.

PAGE 28 IMPACT

one innovation or initiative that Rice Hospital is especially proud of.

A We

started our “ReYou” wellness program three years ago and our staff have done some really creative things in our community. This is an example of one of many things that Rice does to benefit our community and in this case, something we are doing to help engage our community and improve the overall health of our local population.


Q&A

MICHELLE HAEFNER CEO/PRESIDENT, BETHESDA HEALTH AND HOUSING

Q What is the mission of Bethesda Health

purposeful, active lives. Many of our services are intended to help and Housing? support older adults to live in their own homes A As a nonprofit, independent, faith-based for as long as possible. If and when the need for organization, we are committed to enriching additional services are required, Bethesda offers the lives of those we serve. a wide array of services that accommodate the preferences and expectations of our current Q What approach is Bethesda using to help and future generations. meet community needs?

A Bethesda

is committed to offering a full continuum of care which provides people the choice of where, when and how they would like to receive services. A full continuum provides the greatest level of independence, flexibility and security. Bethesda’s full continuum campus includes independent living, assisted living, home care, adult day care, wellness center, memory care, short-term/transitional care, skilled long-term care and therapy services. Our goal is to help older adults obtain their goals, which is to maintain as much independence as possible and to live

Q Name

one innovation or initiative that Bethesda is especially proud of.

A Our

$21 million campus redevelopment provides the latest innovations in senior care. Our new campus and care model focuses on wellness programming, active lifestyles and community relationships with a neighborhood design. Phase two will include a town center at the hub of the new campus including a chapel, cafĂŠ, salon, educational areas and a general store. The design intent is to bring community amenities, destinations and purpose to our Bethesda campus -- places to go, people to

see, things to do. By keeping seniors active, healthy and engaged we help them live life to its fullest.

Q What are the most important things that

Bethesda contributes to community quality of life?

A Bethesda

has served this community for 120 years and we will continue to serve the community into the future. Bethesda continually seeks ways to enhance our scope, service and mission so that we always offer a wide array of services in the Willmar area. We value the opportunity to provide the latest trends in senior care locally so that our seniors can receive the very best care and services right here in their own community. Senior health care, housing and services are vital to the community, especially now as we experience a surging senior population. Our No. 1 asset is our team of over 420 full- and part-time employees. IMPACT PAGE 29


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FAST FACTS:

HEALTH CARE in Kandiyohi County

TOTAL EMPLOYMENT IN THE HEALTH OCCUPATIONS IN REGION 6E: 48,890 THE REGION INCLUDES KANDIYOHI, MCLEOD, MEEKER AND RENVILLE COUNTIES; FIGURES ARE FOR THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2016.

HEALTH-RELATED OCCUPATIONS WITH THE MOST JOB OPENINGS: REGISTERED NURSES, HOME HEALTH AIDES & NURSING ASSISTANTS.

APPROXIMATELY 800 NEWBORNS ARE DELIVERED AT RICE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL IN WILLMAR EACH YEAR. The Rice Regional Dental Clinic, operated in partnership between Rice Memorial Hospital and the University of Minnesota, offers rural clinical rotations for dentistry, dental hygiene and dental therapy students to gain hands-on experience, while also providing affordable dental care for patients. The partnership was the first hospital-based dental training site in the United States.

WITH 12 SITES IN EIGHT WEST CENTRAL MINNESOTA COMMUNITIES, AFFILIATED COMMUNITY MEDICAL CENTERS IS ONE OF THE LARGEST PRIVATELY OWNED MEDICAL GROUPS IN RURAL MINNESOTA. PAGE 32 IMPACT


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“We sometimes forget just how important it is.’’

A

AGRICULTURE WHERE INNOVATION BEGINS

griculture in Kandiyohi County is a lot like the next big industry no one knows about. Oh sure, it’s been around for a very long time, and everybody knows that the county is a state and national leader in turkey production. Yet it’s fair to say many people do not fully understand the full impact of agriculture on the county’s economy, or just how dynamic this ever-changing segment of the county’s economy actually is. “It’s one of those things,’’ said Wes Nelson, the county’s executive director of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm

PAGE 38 IMPACT

Service Agency for the past 34 years. “We sometimes forget just how important it is.’’ To know, consider what the Minnesota Department of Agriculture reports. Sales of agricultural products in Kandiyohi County totaled $495 million in 2012, ranking the county eighth overall in the state. Livestock accounts for almost one-half of the total sales. And yes, turkeys are responsible for much of the livestock sales, with more than 2 million birds raised here annually. Yet the county also is the third-largest producer of pork in central Minnesota. The county is also home to a burgeoning dairy industry, with milk production growing

by leaps and bounds on the western side of the county and into neighboring Swift County. “Quite a change is taking place in that area,’’ said Nelson of the dairy industry growth. Speaking of change: The late Earl B. Olson, founder of today’s Jennie-O Turkey Store in the 1940s, made Kandiyohi County a leader in value-added agriculture by growing and diversifying the turkey industry. Once primarily a Thanksgiving staple, turkey is now a regular part of the diet thanks to a diverse array of products produced by the company. While we know the county produces a lot of turkeys, what many don’t appreciate is all


of the jobs and related economic activity that goes along with it. Jennie-O Turkey Store has approximately 1,800 employees in Kandiyohi County at its corporate offices, Willmar Avenue and Benson Avenue processing plants, Atwater Feed Mill and area farms, reports Pat Solheid, a vice president with the company. The company purchases more that 30 million bushels of corn and 350,000 tons of soybeans annually from local growers, she pointed out. “Our business in local communities has a significant impact on their agriculture economy and we are pleased to support these local suppliers,’’ she stated in an email to the Tribune. Kandiyohi is actually a “corn-deficit” county in that livestock producers, and processors such as nearby ethanol plants in Atwater and

Benson, need more corn than can be raised on the county’s farmland base. There are 1,310 farms with 415,090 acres of land in production in the county, according to the 2012 U.S. Census. Corn, soybeans and sugar beets are the primary crops. The county also has a robust edible bean industry, and the acreage devoted to alfalfa to support the dairy industry is sizeable. And while we may capture our image of agriculture by the productive fields we see, the larger story of agriculture in Kandiyohi County is its innovation. Jennie-O Turkey Store and Willmar Poultry, producer of turkey poults for the nation, were pioneers in creating jobs based on the county’s agricultural base. So, too, are many of the other agricultural industries based here. Prinsco Inc., with

offices in Willmar and a manufacturing plant in Prinsburg, is one of the nation’s leaders in farm drainage management systems. Today, the MinnWest Technology Campus campus in Willmar is also home to a range of companies that are technology leaders in agriculture, including Life-Science Innovations, Epitopix and Nova-Tech. Knowing the importance of this innovation, the county’s Economic Development Agency recently set up its own Angel Investment Fund to help provide more capital to cuttingedge companies looking to develop here. All of this speaks to why agriculture is really the next big industry that no one knows about in the county. The one constant is the change and innovation that helps make the agriculture sector the big driver for the county’s economy.

IMPACT PAGE 39


Q&A WES NELSON

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, USDA FARM SERVICE AGENCY IN KANDIYOHI COUNTY

Q Kandiyohi

County is one of the top 10 agricultural counties in the state. What are the main products produced by farmers in the county?

A According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture,

Kandiyohi County ranked No. 8 in the state in total value of agricultural products sold in 2012, and No. 7 in value of livestock, poultry and their products. The 2012 Census also indicates that Kandiyohi County was No. 9 in the state for sugar beet production, and No. 15 in corn produced for grain. In terms of livestock, Kandiyohi ranked No. 1 in the state in turkey production, No. 3 in poultry and eggs, and No. 6 in sheep and lambs.

Q How important is the livestock industry

to our county?

A According

to the latest Census of Agriculture, Kandiyohi County’s market value of all agricultural products sold totaled $495.4 million in 2012. However, $211.2 million or 43 percent of the total sales resulted from livestock sales, much of which is attributed to the significance of the turkey industry in Kandiyohi County. But one must not forget that Kandiyohi County’s turkey industry provides far more in economic benefits than just from the sale of agricultural products. The turkey industry provides hundreds of jobs and a number of spin-off industries, many of which are located here in Willmar and Kandiyohi County.

variety of soil types, many of which are suitable for crop production. But we also have, within the county, areas where soil types and topography are best suited for grazing by livestock. Again, we have to thank Earl B. Olson for launching his turkey industry here in Kandiyohi County. Turkeys have created a large demand for corn and soybeans. But Bushmills Ethanol has also added a tremendous new demand for corn. Because of the demand created by both the turkey industry and Bushmills, Kandiyohi County is considered a corn-deficit county — meaning corn is brought in from neighboring counties to meet our demand for corn. Another reason why I believe Kandiyohi County is recognized as an agricultural leader is the diversity of our agriculture — corn, soybeans, sugar beets, turkeys, dairy, cattle, hogs, etc.

Q Technology and innovation are very important to agriculture. Are there any examples that come to your mind as to how innovation and technology are changing agriculture in the county? A The

obvious one is our advances in GPS/ GIS technology, which has greatly increased our ability to produce, but also become more efficient in our use of seed, fertilizer and chemicals. The advances in seed genetics have allowed farmers to grow crops with phenomenal yield potential, which also means being able to better tolerate weather-related stressors, such as heat and drought. Advances in animal science and genetics, which have resulted in increased weight gains, higher Q What are the resources that have made it levels of reproduction, significantly higher milk possible for the county to be an agricultural production, and let’s not forget better quality leader in the state? meat and animal products. Overall advances A The first thing that comes to mind is our in technology have also improved the PAGE 40 IMPACT

effectiveness and efficiency in so many areas of agriculture — farm machinery, livestock feeding equipment, irrigation, livestock ventilation, robotic milking machines, etc.

Q Looking forward, what changes do you see coming for agriculture in the county? Will we see a continued improvement in yields and livestock production or will our focus turn more to finding new value-added opportunities, or can we expect both? A There’s

no doubt that biotechnology will continue to increase our ability to produce larger and better crops, and with less susceptibility to the whims of Mother Nature. I suspect we’ll also see greater improvements in the livestock sector as well. Somewhat surprising is that despite the major changes taking place in terms of the structure of the local dairy industry, it appears the dairy industry will continue to be a valuable component to Kandiyohi County’s agriculture in the future, thanks to the advent of the mega-sized (Meadow Star) dairy operations in the area. Those new operations are more than replacing the amount the milk that is no longer being produced by the smaller dairy operations that are now rapidly disappearing. The mega-sized dairy operations are also creating a new demand for corn and alfalfa in their immediate areas, much to the delight to the local farmers. There will always be, and should continue to be, a focus on finding and developing new uses for agricultural products. Some may succeed, but others will fail. It’s a difficult challenge to find a value-added opportunity that will be economically viable long-term and benefit a wide segment of the agricultural sector.


FAST FACTS:

AGRICULTURE in Kandiyohi County

RANKS NUMBER 1 IN MINNESOTA AND NUMBER 4 IN THE NATION IN TURKEY PRODUCTION, RAISING OVER 2.1 MILLION BIRDS ANNUALLY, ACCORDING TO MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

RANKS NUMBER 4 AMONG MINNESOTA COUNTIES IN TOTAL CASH FARM RECEIPTS, $237.8 MILLION IN 2002, ACCORDING TO US CENSUS

RANKS NUMBER 7 IN MINNESOTA IN TOTAL LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION, ACCORDING TO MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

RANKS 10 IN MINNESOTA IN TOTAL AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION, ACCORDING TO MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

HAS 1,286 FARMS, ACCORDING TO 2002 CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE 407,905 ACRES IN PRODUCTION,

ACCORDING TO 2002 CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE

28,625,000 BUSHELS CORN PRODUCED IN 2015,

ACCORDING TO UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

107,000 BUSHELS SOYBEAN PRODUCED IN 2015,

ACCORDING TO UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

325,000 TONS OF SUGAR BEETS PRODUCED IN 2014,

ACCORDING TO UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE IMPACT PAGE 41


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n 2012, Americans for the Arts published Arts & Economic Prosperity IV, the most comprehensive study of its kind and designed to illustrate the impact of arts on communities across the nation. When looking at Minnesota, what researchers discovered at that time was arts and culture are “a significant industry.” In the southwest Minnesota region alone, the arts generate $7.3 million in total economic activity each year, $4.6 million in household income and supporting 208 fulltime jobs. The southwest Minnesota region is

PAGE 46 IMPACT

defined as the following counties: Big Stone, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Swift and Yellow Medicine. These counties fall under the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council, one of 11 nonprofits statewide committed to promoting and encouraging the development of the arts. Janet Olney is a Willmar-area visual artist who has built a near-three-decade career as a basketmaker. She is also director of the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council for Kandiyohi County. It’s her job and that of

the 17 other directors from the counties that comprise southwest Minnesota to secure funding for the regional arts scene through Minnesota’s Legacy fund and the McKnight Foundation, among others. Olney has also been heavily involved in the Willmar Area Arts Council, an advocate for the arts in Kandiyohi County boasting approximately 200 paying members. Besides providing rotating exhibits in the Willmar Education and Arts Center, administering the Arts in the Schools project for Willmar Public Schools and hosting themed, invitational exhibits in The Barn Theatre’s mezzanine


In the southwest Minnesota region alone, the arts generate $7.3 million in total economic activity each year. gallery that run in conjunction with the current production, the arts council is the force behind three events that continue to thrive: Studio Hop, Celebrate Art! Celebrate Coffee! and the Small Works Silent Auction. These efforts are well-received, and beneficiaries of state funding the local area gets for art programs. In Kandiyohi County alone, which comprises 15 percent of the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council, 20 percent of all annual grant money for the arts is made available to local programs and artists, Olney said. The Willmar, New London and Spicer areas,

especially, boast very active arts communities, both through community theater and a number of visual artist programs and events throughout the year. In addition, there are a number of musical groups -- large and small -- that provide a variety of entertainment at various venues across the county. They include -- but are not limited to -- the Prairie Winds Concert Band, Willmar Area Symphonic Orchestra, West Central Concert Series, West Central Connection barbershop chorus, Prairie Arts Chorale, West Central Singers, as well as a number of small group performers.

And let’s not forget the numerous community celebrations and festivals hosted across the county also. The Arts & Economic Prosperity IV study revealed that a total of 117,937 people attended arts events in southwest Minnesota in 2012, with residents of this area spending an average of $19.77 at each event and nonresidents spending $31.05. But the reach goes beyond mere funding. The study also revealed 1,395 volunteers donated a total of 42,024 hours to southwest Minnesota’s 70 participating nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their events.

IMPACT PAGE 47


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Q&A

JANET OLNEY

PRESIDENT, SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA ARTS COUNCIL

Q What do you think makes this area such a

arts community. Marshall has an active arts draw for the arts and those who are part of community. And I would say we’re certainly offering as much as those communities. that community?

A That’s

an interesting question. I think at a greater level, it is definitely the culture of Minnesota as a whole and how supportive of the arts the state is. A phenomenal amount of money has been funneled into the arts statewide. So, economically, it is possible to work as an artist in Minnesota, whereas in other states it isn’t. Or at least it’s not as easy. As for the region, if we take New London as an example, it’s such a quaint and pretty town, and I think those areas draw people in. That town probably began with just two or three artists and grew from there.

Q Where do you think the Willmar area stands compared to contemporaries statewide in terms of attracting people to the arts? A In

thinking of comparable cities, I would say we’re right in line with where we need to be. Hutchinson, they have an active arts community. Worthington, they have an active PAGE 50 IMPACT

we have an unusually large pool of really fine artists in the area. And a lot of them are natives who never left. That gives you a strong base.

Q Within in this region, there are a lot of Q Obviously, with success come challenges.

small towns. And so many seem to have an arts base. Let’s take communities like Lake Lillian (in Kandiyohi County) or Milan as two examples. Both are tiny, with established or growing arts scenes. How do these communities keep their programs vital?

A With Milan, the folk arts school (Milan Village

A lot of regional arts-themed events have been built from infancy to tradition. What have been the biggest challenges?

A I think our main challenge is staying fresh.

We’ve got the Studio Hop. We’ve got Celebrate Art! Celebrate Coffee! … and we do them well. But we need to come up with new things. We did a community canvas project last year that was very well-received and we need to do these things again. It’s easy to just say ‘we’ve got all these things we do’ and not reach out and do more. So I think the biggest challenge is to stay fresh and vital.

Arts School) really is Milan. It’s really their identity. When you think Milan, you think arts. And that’s a product of having a vision. Beyond that, look at Lake Lillian. The paper just had a big story on their latest (stage) production. Obviously, to a degree, some of it is the Legacy money through the state. But I think some of it comes from one community making arts Q What are goals for the future? What available and other communities taking note would you like to build upon? and wanting to do the same. A I would like to see us be able to reach out to a more diverse audience. It’s a real challenge, Q To what do you most attribute the but it’s something we’re working toward. I success of arts in this region? think if we can keep coming up with good A I think a lot of it comes down to the fact ideas, we can reach more people.


S

FOOD & SHOPPING

NO MATTER YOUR TASTE OR STYLE, KANDIYOHI COUNTY CAN SATISFY IT

weet or savory. New or repurposed. Breakfast or dinner. Decor or clothes. Whether you are a fashionista, a foodie or someone who loves to add some major pizzazz to your interior spaces, the stores and restaurants of Kandiyohi County will probably be exactly what you are looking for. There are at least 66 different food establishments in Kandiyohi County, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They range from fast food and coffee shops

to buffets and locally owned establishments specializing in different cultural fare. Two breweries and a winery can also be frequented in Kandiyohi County. If cooking is more your style, there are plenty of places to pick up ingredients. From major grocery stores, independently owned specialty stores, bakeries, meat markets and farmers markets, aspiring chefs will be able to find a wide range of foodstuffs to create delicious meals. On the shopping side there is no lack of

places to visit. In Willmar you have the major national brand stores and the Kandi Mall, along with locally owned businesses, while in New London and Spicer shoppers will find a diverse selection of stores and boutiques. There is something for everyone, from great style to unique home decor ideas. Antique aficionados will love getting lost in the antique stores and shoppers will enjoy discovering a treasure trove of unique items at shops which take CONTINUED ON PAGE 52

IMPACT PAGE 51


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 51

something old and turn it into something new. There are a number of stores providing men, women and children the opportunity to find their style with national brands, unique labels and special finds at thrift stores. And in Raymond there is an award-winning Harley Davidson dealership, family owned and operated since 1972. Kandiyohi County also has a very ethnically diverse food and shopping culture. One can

PAGE 52 IMPACT

buy groceries at a Karen food market, try the specialities of east Africa, immerse oneself in the flavors of Latin America while purchasing unique items at many immigrant-owned and operated businesses. Assisting in growing Kandiyohi County’s many diverse businesses is the Willmar Area Multicultural Business Center. It provides support to those hoping to start their own businesses and achieve their American dream. The center provides technical

assistance, a micro loan program and has helped launch several businesses. Those businesses provide not only jobs, but continue to grow Kandiyohi County’s food and shopping offerings. Jennifer Mendoza, Willmar Area Multicultural Business Center chair, shares just how important a diverse population of restaurants and stores are to Kandiyohi County and the people that live, work and play within its borders.


Q&A

JENNIFER MENDOZA

CHAIR, WILLMAR AREA MULTICULTURAL BUSINESS CENTER

Q What

is the Willmar Area Multicultural successful. Business Center? Q What can a culturally diverse business A It is a nonprofit organization that works community bring to Willmar’s downtown? to promote new and culturally diverse businesses in the Willmar area of the west A We believe that culturally diverse businesses central Minnesota region through business are keeping Willmar’s downtown alive. If you development, training, technical assistance go to Willmar’s downtown on a weekend or evening, you will see individuals eating at one and capital support. of the many businesses. You will also see many Q How does the WAMBC help entrepreneurs people shopping for their upcoming needs. get their new business started? A WAMBC helps an entrepreneur through the Q How does a diverse downtown bring in entire business-starting process. This usually more people? starts with a business plan. Other services WAMBC assist with include getting the business name registered, making sure all parties have the certifications needed, like the food safety certification, permits, etc. WAMBC staff also helps entrepreneurs to get the classes they need by providing and offering classes, such as QuickBooks training, to keep track of business financial expenses, payroll, etc. We also assist entrepreneurs with a floor plan (if necessary), connecting them to other resources such as local food delivery services and vendors. WAMBC will continue to offer services once the business has started to ensure they are

A Everyone has certain things they shop for

and looking into different options to get your needs met can be a good idea. For instance, where would you go if you were looking for a piñata for your child’s birthday party? Will you shop at a large department store that offers marginal quality? Or will you shop at a Latino establishment whose piñata will take a beating before dispensing the delightful treats it hides.

Q Why should residents and visitors shop

and eat at these stores and restaurants?

A We

think people should be patrons at a diverse array of stores and restaurants, simply

because if you have never tried anything new, how do you really know what you like? And with that, if you don’t choose to put yourself in situations where you will meet diverse people, then when or where will it happen?

Q Why is it important for Willmar to foster a culturally diverse business community?

A Willmar has been a very diverse community

for a number of years and is only getting more diverse. We believe that if Willmar wants to continue to grow, it should foster culturally diverse businesses as a way to keep locals shopping local.

Q What is special about a culturally diverse

store or restaurant and the business’ owners?

AA

culturally diverse store or business may give you a cultural experience by purchasing unique items such as spices, meats, cooking utensils, etc., that otherwise, one would not try on our own. Personal interaction in itself is a great way to learn about things that are unknown, and it reinforces that most people are good and want to move forward in life by providing for themselves, their families and their communities. IMPACT PAGE 53


FAST FACTS:

FOOD & SHOPPING

in Kandiyohi County 202 MINORITY-OWNED BUSINESSES IN 2012

1,464 WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES IN 2012

220 RETAIL/RESTAURANT BUSINESS ESTABLISHMENTS

APPROXIMATELY 3,000 RETAIL JOBS IN KANDIYOHI COUNTY $770 MILLION IN GROSS RETAIL SALES - KANDIYOHI

$46 MILLION BROUGHT INTO KANDIYOHI COUNTY THROUGH RETAIL ECONOMY

2 BREWERIES 540 FIRST-LINE SUPERVISORS OF RETAIL SALES WORKER JOBS $16.31 PER HOUR MEDIAN WAGE

66 FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS IN KANDIYOHI COUNTY IN 2015 1,375 EMPLOYEES $18 MILLION IN WAGES BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS

PAGE 54 IMPACT

COUNTY AND CITY OF WILLMAR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION, UNITED STATES CENSUS BUREAU

&

1 WINERY

1,490 CASHIERS $9.11 PER HOUR MEDIAN WAGE 1,330 RETAIL SALESPERSONS $10.61 PER HOUR MEDIAN WAGE STATISTICS FOR SOUTHWEST CENTRAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT REGION, INCLUDING KANDIYOHI COUNTY MINNESOTA EMPLOYMENT AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT


TOURISM

LAKES, LANDSCAPES DRAW PEOPLE TO KANDIYOHI COUNTY

K

andiyohi County has a number of attractions that are sure to impress people of all ages and types. Like the rest of the state, the county has numerous beautiful lakes and a vast array of landscapes. A trip to the area could include a stop at the state park, fishing on the lake or a relaxing stay at one of the many resorts in the area. Traveling into the area, visitors will be treated to the distinct landscapes of western Minnesota that consist solely of prairie ecosystem. Nevertheless, the nearly 900 square miles offer a large variety of cities and land that are sure to please all types of

PAGE 57 IMPACT

adventurers. With more than 70 recreational lakes in the area, the fishing and boating inclined will find themselves with a plethora of options. Vacationers of the two-wheeled variety will find themselves nearly inundated with the amount of biking trails in the area. One highlight, the Glacial Lakes State Trail, is a 22mile county gem. A scenic ride through many of the area’s top tourist lakes will provide riders with plenty of opportunities to see the rolling topography that was shaped for thousands of years by glaciers of Minnesota’s long ago past.

In the end, no matter what type of person decides to vacation in the area, there will be a number of attractions, lakes, wildlife and scenery to provide an entertaining and adventurous journey. All one needs to do is simply look for one of the great campgrounds, resorts or bed and breakfasts to get started.

It’s an adventurous journey


IMPACT PAGE 58


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Q&A BETH FISCHER

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WILLMAR LAKES AREA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU

Q What are some of the big attractions that

bring tourists to Kandiyohi County?

A We have a variety of great attractions that

bring tourists into our area. Some of the most popular include Sibley State Park, Green Lake, Little Crow Ski Team, Dorothy Olson Aquatic Center, Willmar Stingers, Glacial Lakes State Trail, the Glacial Ridge Winery and our two breweries. We also have a variety of different festivals and events that attract a number of visitors each year.

Q Are there special things in the county that can’t be found in other areas? A We

are incredibly fortunate to have our county park system which features six beautiful parks. Each has their own unique amenities and five feature family friendly campgrounds that attract visitors making the area their vacation destination. The parks offer opportunities for camping, swimming, boating and fishing among many other activities. Mr. B Chocolates is also very unique and special. Their chocolates are handmade with only the freshest ingredients from around the world. Minnesota dairy cream, Europeanstyle butter, Marzipan from Germany, wild strawberries and cherries from Italy, vanilla beans from Madagascar, flavorings and cocoa butter from Switzerland, cocoa powder from Holland and candied flower petals from France. Visitors from all over make sure they stop at Mr. B Chocolates. Sibley State Park is truly a jewel within the Minnesota State Park system and we are lucky to have it in our own backyard. It is one of the

top 12 most-visited state parks in Minnesota. In the summer, visitors enjoy hiking to Mount Tom, swimming, fishing, boating, canoeing and kayaking. In the winter, visitors can also snowmobile, cross-country ski, snowshoe or hike on the trails at Sibley State Park. The park offers campgrounds, a modern group center, horseback camps, picnic area and interpretive programs year-around.

and visitors to our area. Rockin’ Robbins and the development of a destination playground are both great improvements for the park. This park is also the perfect four-season destination. My hope would be that rentals will be available for canoes, kayaks, paddleboard, bikes, crosscountry skis, snowshoes and much more in the near future at Robbins Island. As we continue to get additional rental locations for recreational equipment, we will increase our marketing of Q Are there any issues/obstacles for tourism these outdoor activities. in the county at the moment? What is being Q How does tourism benefit the residents done to address these issues? of the county? A Connectivity of our trail systems is one of the biggest obstacles for tourism in the county. We A Tourism supports the economic vitality of have a variety of great trails, but they are not our county by generating jobs, bringing in completely connected to each other. This is new spending and associated tax revenues both true in our communities and throughout and supports our community’s “quality of the county. The Convention & Visitors Bureau life.” The most recent data show that annually, has a bike committee that is working with $88,229,427 in gross sales take place in the communities of Willmar, Spicer and New Kandiyohi County in the leisure and hospitality London on improvements to their bike system industry, generating $5,462,315 in sales tax via both trails and designated bike road routes. and employing 1,637 individuals. Traveler We are also working with Kandiyohi County spending impacts your typical tourism-related on the development of the county’s bike and businesses such as lodging, attractions, restaurants and gas stations, but it also indirectly pedestrian plan. These initiatives will help supports jobs in many other industries, as improve the trail system for both tourists and well, including retail, transportation, financial residents in our area. services, construction and printing. The many and amenities that bring visitors Q What are some of the future developments attractions here are all the reasons why this is such a or plans for tourism in Kandiyohi County? great place to live, work and play. We are so A One change that will have a big impact on fortunate to have the lakes, trails and all the tourism in our county is the redevelopment area amenities so accessible. To learn more of Robbins Island in Willmar. This recreational about all the area has to offer or what events park serves as a regional destination for a are taking place in our area, visit our website at variety of outdoors activities for both residents www.willmarlakesarea.com. IMPACT PAGE 59


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Visit our website for more information www.cctbus.org Olivia Litchfield Willmar 320-523-3589 320-693-7794 320-214-7433


FAST FACTS:

TOURISM in Kandiyohi County

6 COUNTY PARKS: BIG KANDIYOHI LAKE COUNTY PARK WEST BIG KANDIYOHI LAKE COUNTY PARK EAST DIAMOND LAKE COUNTY PARK GAMES LAKE COUNTY PARK GREEN LAKE COUNTY PARK SAULSBURY BEACH COUNTY PARK ON GREEN LAKE

1 STATE PARK: SIBLEY STATE PARK NEAR NEW LONDON

46 HISTORICAL SITES IN KANDIYOHI COUNTY 4 MUSEUMS IN THE WILLMAR LAKES AREA

PAGE 62 IMPACT


78 RECREATIONAL LAKES: 263 BODIES OF WATER 1 ACRE OR MORE, INCLUDING MORE THAN 100 UNNAMED LAKES ACCORDING TO LAKEPLACE.COM

10 LARGEST LAKES IN KANDIYOHI COUNTY: GREEN LAKE: 5,560 ACRES BIG KANDIYOHI LAKE: 2,682 NORWAY LAKE: 2,327 ACRES MUD LAKE: 2,270 ACRES WAKANDA: 1,754 ACRES DIAMOND LAKE: 1,606 ACRES LONG LAKE: 1,567 ACRES LAKE LILLIAN: 1,151 ACRES LAKE ELIZABETH: 1,023 ACRES NEST LAKE: 1,007 ACRES SOURCE: WWW.LAKEPLACE.COM

IMPACT PAGE 63


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KANDIYOHI COUNTY: A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE

andiyohi County is a place for people in all walks of life. Where you can live in a city home with a small-town feel, a quiet country lot, a lake home or all of the above. You can change your mind often, or not at all. An average Kandiyohi County single-family home rings in at $161,800. Living somewhere with this kind of variety can be affordable for the new buyer, the retiree, or anyone in between. That’s why more than 73 percent of residents here own their own home. It also makes building your dream home possible, whether it’s lakeside or a hobby

PAGE 70 IMPACT

LIVING

farm. If you can dream it, you can likely build it here. Kandiyohi County is the hub of west central Minnesota, drawing workers, visitors and shoppers from six surrounding counties. The county is still within an arm’s reach of the Twin Cities. A day or weekend trip out of town is easy. But you don’t have to leave here to shop, work or have fun. The county boasts 360 lakes, five golf courses, a YMCA and a dozen gyms, plus acres of parks and trails, including the 22mile Glacial Lakes State Trail. That means walking, running and

rollerblading through miles of beautiful trails in the summer, and skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. If you’re into shopping, Willmar’s Kandi Mall offers 52 stores like JCPenney, Maurices and Bath and Body Works. Or, you can buy local, with tons of unique shops and boutiques in each town. It’s a growing, thriving place to live. That’s why the real estate market is strong and growing stronger, according to Linda Harris, president of the West Central Association of Realtors.


IMPACT PAGE 71


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Q&A

LINDA HARRIS

PRESIDENT, WEST CENTRAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS

Q What makes Kandiyohi County the ideal

place to live?

A The

lakes and trails in Kandiyohi County are some of our local natural gems that not only bring tourists to the area, but are a huge part of many local resident’s daily activities. Kandiyohi County has a great health care community. Along with the MinnWest Technology Campus, which continues to bring in new opportunities, our growing Industrial Park also makes Kandiyohi County a more sought-after area to work and live in. There are more businesses coming into the area. We have several beautiful golf courses, strong schools, a technical college campus that is growing, several amateur sporting teams, including the Stingers and Warhawks, are finding a home here and The Barn Theatre and the New London Little Theatre bring great entertainment to our county, all of which are enhancing the area, bringing new residents to each community and growing the county. We are seeing strong community support for the regional park being proposed for Robbins Island which will be a nice family location just like the Dorothy Olson Aquatic Park in Willmar currently is. I like that when the local

communities see a need, they step up and do strong and is currently seeing homeowners what they can to help. Who wouldn’t want to get 94 percent of their list price and closing work and live in a community like that? after only 119 days on the market. Closed residential properties are up 13 percent Q What makes living in this area unique or in Kandiyohi County compared to a 4 percent distinct from other areas? increase statewide. A The opening of several area occasional What does this mean for Kandiyohi County shops, wineries and breweries are definitely residents? The sellers are pricing homes to sell enhancing the local communities and bringing and buyers are seeing the value and, in return, both new residents and visitors to the area. are closing quicker than last year at this time. Not only do we have a very diverse ethnic Kandiyohi County is fortunate in that it did not community, we have a community that values see the drastic down market the metro areas families and encourages new business to did in previous years, and 2016 is showing a come to the area. Where else in Minnesota can strong market for single-family homes. you go and spend time on the beach playing We would like to see more houses on the and fishing, take in an entertaining water ski market, as our inventory was down slightly show, do some wine and beer tasting, watch a from last year, but that is starting to slowly baseball game, check out a community festival increase as the year progresses. or concert, spend some time with your family Kandiyohi County is also showing an increase at a park or biking a local bike trail, do a little in sold residential lots this year, as reported in shopping at a unique shop or farmers market the West Central Association of Realtors MLS and not drive more than 30 minutes going system, which is great for area builders and the from one event to the next? local real estate industry as a whole. We are also seeing families moving back to Q What is the current state of the real estate where they grew up, a place where housing market in Kandiyohi County? is affordable and the pride in the local A Kandiyohi County’s real estate market is communities is evident. IMPACT PAGE 73


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LET US TAKE Janis Hoogeveen

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janishhomes@gmail.com May I help you with your next move? In a real estate relationship, as in any relationship, communication is key. When you hire me to list your home or find you a new home, you can be sure that I will treat you with consideration and keep you informed throughout the process. I will use my 30 plus years of experience in buying and selling homes to effectively market your home to produce results, or to find that home that is right for you.

Justin Paffrath Real Estate Specialist

JoAnne Marquardt

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Jan Sanow

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justin@pafre.com

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jansanow@gmail.com

Nancy Swanson

Shelly Holmquist

Real Estate Specialist

As your neighborhood real estate specialist, Jan is fully committed to delivering to you, her superior service and putting all your real estate needs first. She offers the kind of service that will earn your trust, respect and future business. Jan has been servicing the seven county area in West Central Minnesota since 2002, specializing in the Willmar and Montevideo areas and their surrounding communities. For all your real estate needs let Jan, your neighborhood real estate specialist, help you the Weichert way.

Real Estate Sales Specialist/Broker Sales Manager

320.905.1776

320.212.9073

nancy4realtor@gmail.com

shellyholmquist@gmail.com

Nancy is new to the Real Estate world but NOT to customer service! She has been involved in the service industry for over 35 years. Dedication, sincerity, and a commitment to satisfaction is what you can expect from her. Nancy wants to ensure your buying/selling experience is a positive one. Nancy and her family are lifelong residents of Kandiyohi County and have vested interest in the growth of our community. Let her help you build your future, and realize your dreams. Ready, Set, Sold!

You probably know how important it is to find the right real estate agent when you are focusing on a financial investment as substantial and as personal as your home. What you should know about me is that, as a Weichert® Sales Associate, I believe wholeheartedly in the unique, personal nature of real estate. You will see that revealed in how I follow through on what I promise, as I carefully guide you through the many steps and decisions along the way.

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How do you LIVE UNITED?

United Way of West Central Minnesota


FAST FACTS:

LIVING in Kandiyohi County AVERAGE PRICE FOR A SINGLEFAMILY HOME: $161,800 KANDIYOHI COUNTY RESIDENTS: APPROXIMATELY 42,500 PERCENT WHO OWN A HOME: 73%

PAGE 78 IMPACT


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STYLE - FIT - FUNCTION

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Q&A

KEN WARNER

PRESIDENT, WILLMAR LAKES AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Q How

does the Chamber help with the is the glue that keeps it all together. If the business community in Kandiyohi County? business community is healthy, we all benefit in so many ways. Some are very evident, while A The Chamber’s mission is to advocate some are not. and promote for the area-wide business community. We do this through our four core Q What does a diverse and active business values of community promotion, advocacy, community bring to Kandiyohi County? referrals and economic development. Our service territory is to represent Kandiyohi A It benefits our local units of government by County and we are proud to represent 575 paying more than their fair share in property members from all 11 communities, striving to taxes which helps maintain the quality of life meet their many diverse interests of businesses, we all enjoy. A diverse business community gives us choices and the abilities for them to small and large. earn our support and, in return, they create Q How important is the business community the tax base and jobs that help our community to the overall economic and social health of continue to grow and prosper. the Willmar area? A As a regional center, the Willmar Lakes Area Q How are business owners keeping their businesses successful in the Willmar area? business community is the engine that makes the community thrive and prosper. Whether A Business owners are successful by staying it be by employing thousands of people, to abreast of current and future trends, listening supporting the community through the taxes to customer needs and wants, and by providing they pay and the many, many community good value and customer service. Business causes they support, the business community owners know if the community is healthy and PAGE 80 IMPACT

vibrant, at the end of the day, they will benefit too. We are lucky to live in a place where a majority of the business owners are our friends, neighbors and employers. They truly do have the best interest of the community in mind.

Q What

is special or unique about the business communities in Kandiyohi County?

A Their

willingness to work together to get things done. There are many examples I could give you about businesses cooperating with their competition (I call it coopetition) to make many things happen in our community from economic development, community service projects, volunteerism, financial support, etc. We have many businesses that are locally owned and grown so there is a real sense of community pride on a very large scale because they started here, they live here and they want to continue to see the community grow through their legacies of leaving an even better Kandiyohi County for us all to enjoy now and well into the future.


360 degrees of high tech cozy Spacious suites. Large windows. Natural light. Comfortable daybed. Private bath. Whirlpool tub. The Suite Beginnings birthing suites at Rice Memorial Hospital offer all the amenities of home, with one important added benefit... peace of mind. Our caring staff and expert physicians provide round-the-clock care coverage in Obstetrics, Pediatrics, and Family Medicine to make sure you and your baby have a safe and healthy delivery. To schedule a tour or learn more about Suite Beginnings, visit our web site at RiceHospital.com.

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Your health matters to us At Rice Memorial Hospital, we take our role as a regional healthcare leader very seriously. That’s why we put your health first in every single decision we make. Every project, every improvement, every time. Meeting the healthcare needs of our community – both now and in the future – means being involved at the bedside, listening to concerns, and responding effectively to promote long term health. We are your neighbors, friends, and family... proudly offering the best medical care in the region, 24/7. To learn more about Rice Memorial Hospital, including our current career opportunities, visit us online at RiceHospital.com.

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Impact Magazine  

A look at living and working in Kandiyohi County

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