I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.
Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf
- Member for
- 5 years 6 months
COSMOS – Children with special needs sometimes don’t do well in traditional school settings. That’s when places like the Cosmos Learning Center step in. It’s a public school classified as a federal Setting IV facility, which works with students with serious behavioral issues. The former elementary school in Cosmos will soon get a facelift, thanks to $5 million in state bonding money from the 2018 Legislature.
OLIVIA – An Olivia man has received a 60-month prison sentence on a felony charge of possessing a firearm after being convicted of a violent crime. Ricardo Mario Rodriguez, 29, of Olivia, had pleaded guilty to that charge in May. Two other charges, first-degree assault against a peace officer and second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, were dismissed at sentencing.
MONTEVIDEO – A Granite Falls man has been accused of raping a teenage girl in early 2017. Gabriel Joseph Ross, 30, is charged with four felonies of first-degree, second-degree, third-degree and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. He made his initial court appearance last week in Chippewa County District Court. His next court date is July 17. The young woman reported the alleged assault to Granite Falls police in April this year, and Ross was charged in May.
WILLMAR — Willmar Public Schools' Community Education Department Is not planning any reductions in programs after the department splits from city of Willmar recreation programs. Superintendent Jeff Holm gave a report Monday to the Willmar School Board. The former Willmar Community Education and Recreation Department was a combination of city and school district programs for nearly 20 years, operating under one director.
WILLMAR — Two people from Willmar are facing felony charges of false imprisonment with intentional restraint for allegedly keeping a juvenile in their apartment for at least two days against his will. Jose Agapito Sanchez, 21, and Ashley Connie Marie Valadez, 25, made their initial court appearances Wednesday in Kandiyohi County District Court.
WILLMAR — When state Rep. Dave Baker met with the Willmar School Board Monday, at least part of the discussion was about things that didn't happen. In the Minnesota House of Representatives where Baker, R-Willmar, serves, the plan was to send Gov. Mark Dayton four separate spending bills, he said, but the Senate fought to send one combined bill. "We went along with that; it was a big risk, and it backfired." Dayton vetoed the spending bill, a combination of ideas he liked and disliked.
WILLMAR — Grants, higher enrollment and federal programs all helped improve the financial picture a bit for Willmar Public Schools in the past year. The School Board approved the revised 2017-18 budget Monday. Business and Finance Director Pam Harrington explained the changes in revenue and expenditures since the original budget went into effect nearly a year ago.
WILLMAR – Two adults and a child were injured in a two-vehicle crash Sunday morning on Highway 71 north of Willmar. A 2017 GMC Acadia was traveling north on Highway 71, and a 1997 Ford Escort was traveling south. The GMC attempted to turn onto 48th Avenue Northeast and collided with the Ford, according to a report from the Minnesota State Patrol. The driver of the GMC was Arthur James Snyder, 90, of Willmar. He was uninjured.
LITCHFIELD – A South Dakota man died of his injuries Saturday evening after a motorcycle accident on Highway 22 north of Litchfield. Leslie Lemke, 57, of Watertown, South Dakota, was traveling south on Highway 22 when his motorcycle went off the road to the right, according to a report from the Minnesota State Patrol. In the ditch, the motorcycle hit a driveway approach, and Lemke was thrown off.
WILLMAR — The Willmar School Board will meet at 4:30 p.m. Monday in the boardroom on the first floor of the Willmar Education and Arts Center. The board provides two opportunities for members of the public to speak at the meeting. People may address issues related to the agenda at the beginning of the meeting and non-agenda issues at the end of the meeting. State Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar, is scheduled to give the board an update on the recently adjourned 2018 legislative session.