Erica Dischino is the photographer for the West Central Tribune. Hailing from northern New Jersey, she graduated from Ithaca College in central New York with a bachelors in Journalism and Photography. Follow her on Instagram.
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WILLMAR — Hamdi Kosar was 12 years old when she left everything she knew and came to the United States to find a better life. She and her family boarded a bus in the middle of the night, said goodbye to their friends, and dreamed of the new life they were going to have. Kosar, 20, was born at the Dagahaley Refugee Camp, one of four refugee camps based in Dadaab, Kenya, housing Somali refugees who escaped their home country's political and economic instability. She has never set foot in Somalia, but the country has shaped her life in many ways.
WILLMAR — Students and staff member of Ridgewater College, as well as local community members, attended the annual Ridgewater College Community Health Fair Thursday at the Willmar campus. The fair offered educational resources on health care and provided attendees the opportunity to network with health care professionals. More than 30 exhibits provided information on both traditional and nontraditional medicine, as well as various therapies and nutrition.
WILLMAR — For inmates Elijah Gomez and Martin Bravo, picking up recycling from homes in the Willmar area is more than just volunteer work — it gives them a purpose. "It reminds me of what I'm working towards — what life is like outside of jail," Gomez said.
WILLMAR — More than 30 Willmar area families boarded two buses Friday morning to visit the Crayola Experience at the Mall of America. The hands-on, interactive setting at Crayola that encourages play, exploration and learning about art also offered an opportunity for family relationship-building, according to information provided by LaRae Mikkelson, a parent educator in the Early Childhood Family Programs through Willmar Community Education & Recreation.
WILLMAR - Roosevelt, Kennedy and Lakeland Elementary schools in Willmar held Dr. Seuss-themed days during the week leading up to National Read Across America day on Friday, which both encourages students to read and celebrates the Dr. Seuss' birthday. Themes of the week included "Crazy Sock Day," "Green Eggs and Ham Day," and "Thing One and things Two Day."
WILLMAR — The West Central Week Zero Competition, hosted by the West Central Alliance Hub, a group of five area FIRST Robotics teams, took place Saturday at Willmar Senior High School. The first-ever robotics competition held at the high school was a scrimmage for teams from around the region to practice operating their robots. After the competition, teams have just a few days left to complete their robots before the competition season begins. Throughout the competition, robots were tasked with such things as moving boxes around the game area to earn points.
WILLMAR — Community members stopped by First Presbyterian Church to eat some hot soup and fresh bread Friday at the sixth annual Souper Bowl in Willmar. All proceeds from the admission tickets and ceramic bowls, which were made by Willmar Senior High students, sold at the event went to Habitat for Humanity of West Central Minnesota. Thirteen vendors donated food or drinks.
WILLMAR — Valentine's Day is one of the busiest times of year for Lora Miller, a florist at Stacy's Nursery in Willmar. This year, Miller, who has been working at the nursery for around 15 years, said she plans to put a modern twist on traditional floral arrangements for the day of love. Miller said she tells buyers to try new things, especially for Valentine's Day. "A lot of clients will play it safe and stick to what they know," she said. "It can be fun to experiment with colors and types of flower."