I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.
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WILLMAR — Candidates for a seat on the Willmar School Board answered questions about school lunches, cuts in arts and music and about police in schools at a candidate forum Tuesday evening. Mary Amon, a Willmar physician, and Monica Villars, an artist who recently retired from the Willmar School District, answered questions presented by the League of Women Voters of the Willmar Area. The two are seeking a seat on the Willmar School Board in a special election Tuesday. The seat was left vacant by the unexpected death of board Chairman Jared Anez in March.
WILLMAR — Ridgewater College faculty members will host public eclipse viewing events on the Willmar and Hutchinson campuses. Faculty members will have telescopes, binoculars with filters and viewing glasses available for community use from 12:30 to 1: 30 p.m. on each campus. They will be available to answer questions, too. The gatherings will be in the courtyard in front of the science building on the Willmar campus and at the main entrance on the Hutchinson campus.
WILLMAR — Voters in the Willmar School District will choose a new School Board member in an Aug. 22 special election. Three candidates are on the ballot, but only two are still seeking the office — Mary Amon, a Willmar physician, and Monica Villars, an artist and retired teacher. The third candidate, Katherine McGill, withdrew from the race a week ago for personal reasons. Absentee voting has started already. Ballots may be cast at the school district offices at the Willmar Education and Arts Center, 611 Fifth St. S.W., during regular business hours.
WILLMAR — A new policy under consideration by the Willmar School Board could lead to the district refusing to feed secondary students whose parents are not paying into their lunch accounts. Parents' refusal to pay after the account has gone to conciliation court could also result in the district limiting students' access to extracurricular activities and school dances.
WILLMAR — The interior of Lakeland Elementary School is taking shape, as major construction on the building nears completion. Brickwork on the exterior is finished. Metal panels and composite panels will be installed soon, as will many of the large exterior windows on the main entrance, commons area and stairwells. From a distance, large gaps in the exterior might make people question the progress, but the interior's a busy place. Crews are working their way through classrooms finishing and painting walls and mounting white boards.
WILLMAR — A Paynesville woman accused of stealing items from a former boyfriend's home has been sentenced to serve 10 days in the Kandiyohi County Jail. Chelsey Scherie Kalkbrenner, 28, of Paynesville, was granted a stay of adjudication on the felony theft charge to which she had pleaded guilty in June in Kandiyohi County District Court. The stay of adjudication means the court delayed acceptance of her guilty plea. If she serves her sentence, pays restitution and successfully completes five years of probation, her record will not show a felony conviction.
SPICER — A 2-year-old boy was injured Tuesday evening while riding a child's dirt bike near Lake Florida in Lake Andrew Township. According to a news release from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office, authorities were called at about 6:45 p.m. to an area along 10th Street Northeast north of 131st Avenue Northeast, about one mile east of Lake Florida.
WILLMAR — Willmar School Board candidate Katherine McGill has withdrawn from the Aug. 22 special election. McGill said Tuesday that she was withdrawing her candidacy because of family obligations that have come up recently involving caring for an elderly parent. If elected, she said in a telephone interview, she would not have been able to devote the time necessary to serving on the board. McGill added that she wished the best for both her opponents.
WILLMAR — A Raymond man who set his house on fire after being accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl pleaded guilty Monday to felony charges of criminal sexual conduct and arson. Kyle Clarence Rhoda, 48, of Raymond, pleaded guilty in Kandiyohi County District Court to second-degree criminal sexual conduct and first-degree arson. According to a plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend he receive a 12-year prison sentence to be served concurrently on both counts.
WILLMAR — A Willmar man was injured Monday morning in a single vehicle rollover crash north of Willmar. Mark Lewis Borman, 66, of Willmar was transported to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar with non-life threatening injuries, according to a report from the Minnesota State Patrol. Borman's 1984 Cadillac Deville was reportedly traveling north on Highway 71 shortly after 7 a.m. when it went off the left side of the road just south of 37th Avenue Northeast in Dovre Township.