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 — Willmar's diversity was reflected in the small crowd of people who turned out for a walk to support minority communities. More than 60 people Tuesday afternoon walked up and down First Street South in Willmar, a collection of young, old, male, female, white, Hispanic and African. They left from the Kandi Mall parking lot and walked north before crossing the street and returning. Their signs told the story of why they walked. "No Racism." "Make America Think Again" "America belongs to all of us or none of us"
WILLMAR — A presidential order regarding immigration and travel has left many in Willmar's east African community upset and confused. An executive order signed by President Donald Trump Friday was a steady source of conversation over the weekend, patrons of the Somali Star restaurant in downtown Willmar said Monday. The executive order bars citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Somalia, from entering the country for three months and bans refugee admissions into the country for four months.
WILLMAR — The application period is open for the Kandiyohi County CEO program for the 2017-18 school year. CEO stands for Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities. It's a business-supported program for students in Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, New London-Spicer and Willmar school districts. About 20 students are chosen each year, based on their applications, character references and a written personal narrative.
WILLMAR — Congressman Collin Peterson said Thursday he's not sure how to answer some questions from constituents about President Donald Trump's week-old administration. Peterson, D-Minn., said many people in Minnesota's Seventh Congressional District have questions, though.
WILLMAR — At reading time, about a dozen squirmy 4-year-olds sit on a brightly colored rug listening, more or less, to teacher Meghan Reiman. Reiman read a book, "The Mitten" by Jan Brett, about a boy who loses one of his treasured mittens in the woods. A succession of animals snuggled into his soft, warm mitten to keep warm until they all flew out after a bear sneezed.
WILLMAR — Hobby Lobby opened over the weekend, bringing the well-known craft and home-decor retailer to a store on First Street South in Willmar. The store celebrated its grand opening Monday morning. Manager Steven Stein said last week that the employees were working hard getting the store ready for its opening. Stein is not new to Willmar. He said he lived in Willmar from 2008 to 2010 when he worked for another retailer in the community. "I'm happy to be back in the area," he said in a telephone interview.
WILLMAR — Just a few days after Willmar Middle School opened its new science classrooms, students and teachers seemed to be settling in nicely this week. Mike Dokkebakken had his eighth-grade early science students racing up to a 75-inch Smart TV to answer questions about the other planets in the solar system. Five at a time, the students wrote answers on the screen with their fingertips. The same display showed up on seven 43-inch HD TVs mounted on walls around the room. Students' iPads can also interact with the technology.
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, 611 Fifth St. S.W. The meeting will be a workshop meeting, at which the board will discuss items on the agenda but not take any formal action. The board will discuss school board committees and hear reports on the recent Minnesota School Boards Association conference. A report about a school culture effort is also on the agenda.
WILLMAR — Brickwork is set to begin on the physical education addition at Willmar Senior High School. The skeleton of Willmar Public Schools' new elementary school continues to take shape. This week, the new science rooms at Willmar Middle School will open with the beginning of a new term. All the work is part of the $52.35 million building program approved by the district's voters in May 2015. It includes the new school, two additions and numerous remodeling and maintenance projects.
WILLMAR — U.S. Sen. Al Franken has once again placed Willmar in a national spotlight, this time during his questioning of attorney general-designate Jeff Sessions in a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting this week. Sessions, a Republican senator from Alabama, is President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for attorney general.