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 -- When school starts on Sept. 7, Willmar students will be riding big yellow buses that have gone "green" under the hood. Fifteen of Willmar Bus Service's diesel school buses were retrofitted with filters and catalyst mufflers that will reduce their emissions by 50 percent. "We felt it was the right thing to do," said owner Ken Inselmann.
ATWATER -- A 64-year-old Atwater man was arrested Friday morning after allegedly threatening to shoot and kill the people he lived with in a house on the east side of Diamond Lake. The Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office Tactical Team responded to a 7: 40 a.m. 911 call about the alleged threats at a house in the 6600 block of 159th Street Northeast. No one was injured in the incident. The man is currently in the Kandiyohi County Jail awaiting formal charges.
Write-in candidates may be filling a number of area school board seats next year. A number of school districts in the area have more open school board seats than they have candidates. Ballots for the Nov. 2 general election are set, now that filing has closed for school district and city offices. In races without enough candidates to fill all seats, write-in votes will determine who wins the open seats. The Montevideo School Board has three seats open, but only two candidates filed.
WILLMAR -- Some major road projects are on the schedule for Kandiyohi County in the next year. The County Board heard a description of the upcoming projects Tuesday from County Public Works Director Gary Danielson. Danielson provided a five-year plan for the county's roads. Among the major projects for 2011 is a $1.6 million resurfacing project on County Road 7 from state Highway 7 to Raymond.
WILLMAR -- Brian F. Bollig of Willmar, Dan Croonquist of Kandiyohi and Nathan R. Streed of Willmar filed to run for Willmar School Board on Tuesday, the last day for filing. They will be joined by five other candidates in running for three open seats on the board. The general election is Nov. 2. Other candidates are Bill Fenske of Willmar, Jill J.H.
WILLMAR -- Filing will close today for local elections across the state, in preparation for the Nov. 2 general election. For the Willmar School Board, Shawn Mueske of Willmar and Jill J.H. Gould of Willmar are the most recent to file. A total of five candidates have filed so far for three openings on the board. Other candidates are Bill Fenske of Willmar, Linda Mathiasen of Willmar and Don Thorpe of rural Willmar. Incumbents Brad Schmidt, Mike Carlson and Dion Warne said earlier that they would not seek re-election.
WILLMAR -- U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson said he flew to Washington early this week thinking he would vote against a $26 billion emergency jobs bill. "I don't think we should be spending new money," he said during a visit Friday to Willmar. Peterson did vote for the bill to provide funding for Medicaid and to save public sector jobs. In the end, he was won over by a plan to pay for it through cuts in future funding for food stamps and by closing tax loopholes.
Minnesota's public schools and their students seem to have held steady this year in the state's assessment of how well the schools are teaching reading and math. Statewide, the number of schools that are listed as making adequate yearly progress was about the same, but students' scores improved. AYP is a measurement of annual performance on state-wide assessment tests ad-ministered each spring.
Harlan Madsen and John Cunningham will appear on the general election ballot for the Kandiyohi County Board seat from District 5. With all precincts reporting in Tuesday's primary, Mad-sen, the incumbent, led John Cunningham, 613 to 335, a margin of 59 percent to 32 percent. Ron Sammons had 97 votes, or 9 percent. Madsen and Cunningham will go on to the general election for the seat representing the southern portion of the county.
WILLMAR -- Watch for YouTube videos of Willmar School Board members soon. Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard asked board members at their meeting Monday to sit down in front of a camera and explain why they voted to support the district's operating levy referendum. Kjergaard said the videos will be posted on YouTube, with links on the district's Web site.