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
- 4 years 1 month
As a small boy in Somalia, Nadir witnessed his aunt being murdered while she was praying. His family moved to Willmar 10 years ago, and he loves it here. Where he came from, many police were corrupt, he said. Here, the police and people in the community are friendly and helpful.
WILLMAR — The lack of a teacher contract settlement and diversity were prominent topics Tuesday evening for candidates for the Willmar School Board. Four of the six candidates for the board participated in a candidate forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Willmar. It was part of a series of candidate forums leading up to the Nov. 8 election. The last forum will feature candidates for Kandiyohi County Board on Oct. 25.
WILLMAR — A 6-year-old Willmar child died Thursday evening after being struck by a falling television. According to a news release from Willmar Police Chief Jim Felt, officers were dispatched to a home in the 800 block of Fourth Street Southeast at 7 p.m. Thursday. They were sent to the address because the 911 caller was hysterical and unable to provide specific information over the phone.
WILLMAR — An increase in the Willmar Public Schools' general fund balance is at least partially due to unresolved teacher contract negotiations. In an audit report to the Willmar School Board this week, auditor Paul Harvego said changes in the special education funding formula and the lack of a contract settlement contributed to an undesignated fund balance of nearly $7.5 million, about 15 percent of annual expenditures. Harvego is an auditor with Conway, Deuth & Schmiesing accountants of Willmar. "Everything looks good," Harvego said.
WILLMAR — An addition at Willmar Senior High is expected to cost about $600,000 less than originally estimated. The Willmar School Board approved contracts for the addition at its meeting Monday. The original estimate for the gymnastics room, fitness room and two-court wood floor gymnasium was $7.5 million. The contracts awarded Monday, including some add-ons, was $6.9 million, a difference of $613,000.
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 board is scheduled to receive the district's annual audit and to award contracts for an addition at Willmar Senior High School. The notes attached to the audit by school district administration indicate that the district's enrollment increased in the 2015-16 fiscal year, which ended June 30. Enrollment increased 70 students from one year to the next.
WILLMAR — Willmar's first Blessing Box is already a busy place, just a few days after it was placed along Willmar Avenue. The Blessing Box, at the corner of Willmar Avenue and Sixth Street Southeast, functions as a miniature food shelf. The wooden box with doors contains a variety of non-perishable food items and other basic necessities. Think of it as a little free library with food instead of books. People in the community are welcome to stop by the box and take what they need or to leave food donations for others.
WILLMAR — President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 102 people Thursday, including a man from Willmar. Nathan Robert Engel, 37, has been in prison in Iowa. His sentence was reduced by more than 10 years. According to a 2008 Drug Enforcement Agency news release, Engel was sentenced to 21 years and 10 months in prison in August 2008 after pleading guilty to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine in western Iowa. He was ordered to serve 10 years on supervised release after he was released from prison.
WILLMAR—A bomb threat to Willmar's schools posted on Facebook Monday morning was investigated and found to not be a credible threat to the school district. The Willmar Police Department investigated the post immediately, Superintendent Jeff Holm said in a message sent to parents and staff members Monday afternoon. The Police Department's school resource officers identified the person as a 17-year-old girl who lives in Willmar and were in contact with her, Police Chief Jim Felt said Monday afternoon.
WILLMAR — To her classmates, Anisa Abdulahi deserved to be elected Willmar Senior High's homecoming queen because she's so nice, and everybody likes her. The other members of her royal court recognize she's the first Somali-American homecoming queen, but they pay more attention to the type of person she is. Anisa was crowned Monday evening, along with homecoming king Grant Duininck. They were elected by the entire student body after seniors chose the candidates.