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 -- James Hill, the new principal at Roosevelt Elementary School in Willmar, was raised by his grandparents and remembers growing up with little money, "on government cheese and powdered milk." Kennedy Elementary Principal Todd Goggleye recalls being a high school senior called to the front of the classroom with two other boys. The teacher pointed at one of the boys and told him he had a chance of making something of himself. Pointing at Goggleye and the other boy, she said, "You're going to be a loser the rest of your life."
WILLMAR — Educators across Minnesota are pleased with the Legislature's move to pay for all day, everyday kindergarten, and they appreciate the overall increase in education funding. But they would like to see more changes in the state's testing program. More than 30 people attended an education roundtable Thursday afternoon in Willmar to meet with Minnesota House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, Rep. Mary Sawatzky, DFL-Willmar, and Rep. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock. They met in the rehearsal hall at the Willmar Education and Arts Center.
WILLMAR — Area 4-H members packed up their animals and exhibits Wednesday morning and left on the trips they won to the Minnesota State Fair. The State Fair trips are awarded to members who win top honors at county fairs. The trips allow 4-H members to compete with others from around the state. The fair opens today and will run through Labor Day. During that time, the fair usually welcomes nearly 1.8 million visitors to its 320-acre grounds.
WILLMAR — School supplies for kids in the Willmar Public Schools will come from across the state this fall. On Monday Tammy Knapper, president of the Willmar chapter of Education Minnesota, dropped off numerous boxes and bags of school supplies donated by union members at their annual summer seminar. The union chooses a school district to receive the seminar donations each year. This year, it's Willmar. Those at the seminar who didn't donate supplies donated money, which Knapper used to buy more supplies in Willmar.
WILLMAR — A Thursday morning court hearing scheduled for Robert Warwick, 17, of Willmar was delayed at the request of Warwick's lawyer. Warwick is one of three teens charged in the strangulation and stabbing death of his grandmother, Lila Warwick, 79. She was murdered in her Willmar home on July 29. Warwick and two other teens were arrested a few days later. He is charged with second-degree murder with intent-not premeditated and liability for crimes of another.
WILLMAR — The Willmar School District will not appeal an arbitration decision from last month. A state arbitrator ruled that the monitoring of reading progress by students is a teaching duty under the district's contract with the Education Minnesota educators' union. Three elementary teachers, Cheryl Duininck, Marsha Little and Ellin Wentzell, had filed a grievance over the way they were scheduled. The School Board denied the grievance in February, and the Education Minnesota union filed for arbitration on behalf of the teachers.
WILLMAR — A Thursday morning court hearing scheduled for Robert Warwick, 17, of Willmar was delayed at the request of Warwick's attorney. Warwick is one of three teens charged in the strangulation and stabbing death of his grandmother, Lila Warwick, 79. He is charged with second-degree murder with intent-not premeditated and liability for crimes of another. The new date for the probable cause hearing is Sept. 9 at 11 a.m. A hearing to discuss whether he will be tried in adult court will also be delayed. It had been scheduled for Aug. 30.
WILLMAR -- Paul Alton Hanson, 50, of Willmar has pleaded guilty to three felony charges of theft by swindle for stealing more than $60,000 from Tripolis Lutheran Church of rural Kandiyohi. Hanson entered the guilty pleas Wednesday morning in Kandiyohi County District Court. District Judge Donald Spilseth ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set Hanson's sentencing for Sept. 24.
WILLMAR — Ridgewater College staff members are getting ready to move furniture and equipment into classrooms remodeled for its agriculture and veterinary technology programs. The updated area will be ready when fall semester classes begin The classrooms in Building C are the first parts of a $14 million improvement project to be finished. The rest of the project will continue into 2014. The Legislature approved funding for the project in the 2012 bonding bill. A first, smaller phase of the project was funded and completed several years ago.
WILLMAR - Willmar Public Schools are looking for paraprofessionals to work with elementary children in the coming school year, which begins Sept. 3. And the roofing system on the Willmar Senior High building is again causing headaches, judging from discussions at Monday's Willmar School Board meeting. About 15 positions are currently available for the part-time school year jobs. People who are hired would spend about four hours a day working with students learning reading and math.