Ashley White is the community content coordinator for the West Central Tribune. Follow her on Twitter @Ashley_WCT.
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WILLMAR -- In many ways, Ron Adams' newest painting, a 7½-foot-by-12-foot depiction of a small-town parade scene, serves as a fitting tribute not only to the local area, but to his own life as well. While describing his latest project -- which took nearly a year and a half to complete -- he mentions all the people in his life who are featured in the painting: his brother, a few of his good friends, his dog Jimi, his two daughters Ema and Jamie, and his late wife, Linda -- the true inspiration behind the painting.
After weeks of debates, campaign mailers and new polls being released practically every day, Election Day is finally here. I'm incredibly excited, because it will be the first time I've worked in a newsroom for a general election.
WILLMAR -- Forget Republican or Democrat. At the Vinje Lutheran Church lutefisk and meatball supper, held every year on Election Day, people align themselves with two different but equally polarizing parties: butter or cream sauce. "The only thing political about our lutefisk supper is the strong divide between people who top their lutefisk with butter or cream sauce," said the Rev. Jeff Engholm, pastor at Vinje Lutheran Church. "People could debate about that subject for hours." Vinje has been hosting a lutefisk and meatball supper every year on Election Day for 95 years.
[ View the story "BBE students remember their teacher, coach" on Storify ]
[ View the story "Past, present students mourn loss of BBE teacher, coach" on Storify ]
WILLMAR -- It's usually a good sign when an event outgrows its venue.
GROVE CITY -- On Friday morning, 48 Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City fourth-graders braved the cold and a few raindrops to harvest vegetables from the school district's garden. In addition to lessons in math and science, the group of fourth-graders also took away lessons in healthy eating and living. "Hopefully they understand why we're doing this, for the health and nutritional aspect," said Tami Bennett-Tait, data instructional coach and continuing improvement specialist for the ACGC School District.
WILLMAR -- The 85-year-old pipe organ at Bethel Lutheran Church in downtown Willmar recently underwent a major renovation - its first in 60 years. "They kept what worked, and then really rebuilt what needed to be rebuilt," said Michael Schaner, director of music ministries at Bethel Church. "There have been some small changes made to the organ over the years, but it really needed this upgrade." The console of the organ - the part with the controls, keyboards and pedals - was completely rebuilt in the recent upgrade, which was done by former Bethel member Charles Hendrickson of St.
WILLMAR -- Gas prices nearly rose to the dreaded $4 mark last week, and were still $3.949 a gallon Sunday at most stations in the Willmar area. Gail Weinholzer, public affairs director for AAA of Minnesota and Iowa, said gas prices have increased in recent weeks because of Hurricane Isaac, which hit the Gulf Coast before Labor Day and closed the ports, refineries and oil rigs down there for about a week. Because roughly 25 percent of all fuel consumed in the United States comes from the Gulf Coast, those closures were significant enough to drive up gas prices, Weinholzer said. "When you kee
WILLMAR -- As Cora Jones tells the story of her two sets of great-grandparents who survived the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, she pauses to acknowledge just how lucky she is to tell their stories today. "My family is blessed to even be alive today," says Jones, who lives on the Santee Sioux reservation in northeast Nebraska. "When you look at everything that was put against us, in reality, we shouldn't even be here to talk about it." Her great-grandfather Mazaadidi -- which means "Walks on Iron" -- was No. 39 on President Lincoln's list of Dakota Indians to be hanged on Dec. 26, 1862.