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 — The Willmar School Board has started a discussion of changing school start times to start the day later for secondary students, though it could take some time before a final decision is made. The issue was discussed at this week's School Board workshop. Board members asked administrators to research the idea and identify changes that could be needed. High School Principal Paul Schmitz and Middle School Principal Mark Miley presented some preliminary information.
WILLMAR — A Willmar man was placed on probation on two charges stemming from his speeding toward a squad car and refusing to leave his vehicle after an officer pointed a rifle at him. Bret Michael Arndt, 26, entered a Norgaard plea Wednesday in Kandiyohi County District Court to a misdemeanor charge of obstructing the legal process/interfering with a peace officer and a gross misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired. A Norgaard plea is entered when a defendant wishes to plead guilty but is unable to recall facts due to intoxication or amnesia.
WILLMAR — A group of immigrants from east Africa has formed a nonprofit organization to help members of the Willmar community learn more about each other. The Community Integration Center, located at 201 Fifth St. S.W. in downtown Willmar, is open to everyone, seven days a week. The center will act as a welcome center for people who have just moved to Willmar. Its founders hope they can help break down some cultural barriers, too. The services offered there will be free.
WILLMAR — They're called Dreamers because "we have dreams," said Maria Moreno. "When we came to this country, it wasn't our fault we came here," she said, "but we dream of having a good future, a better life; this is our home now." For Moreno, 21, of Willmar, brought to the United States from Honduras at the age of 10, President Barack Obama's executive action creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program changed her life. The term Dreamer comes from a previous proposal law called the DREAM Act.
WILLMAR — A Cosmos man has been granted a stay of imposition on a felony theft charge stemming from the theft of a pop machine from a Lake Lillian store in April. Dale Gary Greiner, 52, was sentenced Monday in Kandiyohi County District Court to five years of supervised probation and ordered to pay a total of $1,090 in fines and court fees. If he completes his five years of probation, the felony conviction could be reduced to a misdemeanor on his record.
WILLMAR — Students at Willmar Senior High School will benefit this year from an intensive workshop attended by one of their teachers over the summer. Family and consumer sciences teacher Christina Kurhajetz was one of 30 teachers from across the nation to attend a week-long workshop on food safety sponsored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA paid for the workshop and the participants' travel and expenses.
WILLMAR — A building update and a discussion of school start times are on the agenda for a Willmar School Board workshop meeting Monday. The board will meet at 4:30 p.m. Monday at Willmar Senior High School in Room 105B. The district is building a new elementary school, scheduled to open in January. Other smaller projects are still planned at other buildings.
WILLMAR — A Willmar man received a stay of imposition of sentence Monday on a felony charge of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle. David Verne Carlson, 58, of Willmar was ordered to serve three years of supervised probation. The sentence was handed down Monday in Kandiyohi County District Court. Under a stay of imposition, if he successfully completes his probation, the felony conviction could be reduced to a misdemeanor-level conviction.
LITCHFIELD — A Grove City man was sentenced Monday to more than 16 years in prison for multiple sexual assaults on a young girl. Christopher Allen Bengtson, 42, was sentenced in Meeker County District Court on felony charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, for which he received 14 years and 4 months, and first-degree criminal sexual conduct by a person in a position of authority, for which he received 16 years and 6 months. Two other criminal sexual conduct charges were dismissed.