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 — Alejandro Jesus Guerrero of Waite Park has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon — liability for crimes of another for his role in a violent fight outside a child's birthday party in September 2016. Guerrero, 21, also pleaded guilty in Kandiyohi County District Court to a misdemeanor charge of fifth-degree assault. In a plea agreement, five other felony charges will be dismissed. He is to be sentenced Sept. 29.
KIMBALL — Authorities in Stearns County are asking for the public's help in the search for 17-year-old Sienna Paige Stice, who has been missing since Sunday afternoon. According to a news release from the Stearns County Sheriff's Office, Sienna told her parents she was going for a walk and left her home north of Kimball at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday. She was last seen about 5 p.m. on Powder Ridge Road near Highway 15 and appeared to be walking toward her home, but she did not return home.
WILLMAR — July 21 is the deadline to sign up for a buildout of broadband service to homes and businesses in parts of northwestern Kandiyohi County. About 100 more people need to sign up in the next week and a half, and pay a $25 commitment fee. Those who have already signed up — but not yet paid up — need to submit their $25 commitment fees by July 21, too. It those things don't happen, the project won't happen, county officials said Tuesday.
WILLMAR — Prairie Lakes Youth Programs in Willmar can offer educational programs all summer now. In recent years, the youth detention center had limited programming in summer. The 2017 Minnesota Legislature approved the funding to allow summer school for young people in the youth correctional program. When he met Monday with the Willmar School Board, state Rep. Dave Baker, R-Willmar, thanked school officials for testifying in favor of the legislation. Willmar Public Schools does not operate Prairie Lakes, but the district provides educational services there.
WILLMAR — Judy Tebben has been chosen as the new dean of instruction at Ridgewater College. Tebben joined the college in June and succeeds Mike Boehme, who retired. She will supervise about 20 technical program areas on Ridgewater's Willmar and Hutchinson campuses. She is a longtime educator and was a Ridgewater graduate.
WILLMAR — Two men face felony and misdemeanor charges in connection with the alleged theft of a Pepsi pop machine in April from the front of the Drex Mart General Store in Lake Lillian. Dale Gary Greiner, 51, of Cosmos, and Justin Lamoine Hacker, 36, of Waite Park, each face felony charges of theft and first-degree criminal damage to property, plus misdemeanor theft charges. The investigation involved deputies from three area sheriff's offices and was aided by a search warrant that had allowed placement of a tracking device on Greiner's vehicle.
WILLMAR — Believe it or not, Cheryl Randleman is going to miss working on Black Friday. The general manager of the JCPenney store in Willmar's Kandi Mall retired at the end of June after 42 years with the company. Randleman, 59, of Spicer, started working at her hometown store in Waterloo, Iowa, in 1975 as a high school senior. She worked for the company part-time while in college and entered its management program after graduation.
WILLMAR — A New London man pleaded not guilty Thursday to five felony drug charges in connection with a May search of his home. Jeremy Shane Rudolph, 39, is charged with two counts of first-degree drug possession, two counts of first-degree drug sale and one count of fifth-degree drug possession. Amber Dawn Gandrud, 33, who also lived in the home, is charged with one count each of first-degree drug possession, first-degree drug sale and fifth-degree drug possession. She pleaded not guilty to the charges a week ago.
WILLMAR — A block party for Somali Independence Day is planned from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday on Litchfield Avenue between Fourth and Sixth streets in downtown Willmar. The celebration will continue from 7 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday at Willmar Community Center, 624 Highway 71 N. Entertainment will be provided by Dalmar Yare, a Somali singer from St. Cloud, and Somali teen dancers from Willmar Senior High.
WILLMAR — After new seats have been installed in the auditorium at Willmar Senior High School, it will reopen in the fall as the Brau Performing Arts Center. The Willmar School Board approved the new name at its recent meeting. A grand opening and open house for the school's refurbished auditorium will be held in the fall.