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 — Ask retailers what families are shopping for before school starts, and the first answer is the same: Jeans. Following close behind denim would be boots. The season that traditionally gives retailers a boost going into the fall is in full swing and likely to last another couple weeks. The National Retail Federation has estimated that back-to-school shopping will increase about 5 percent over last year, with parents spending an average of $670 per child, including clothes, shoes, school supplies and electronics.
Teachers and staff from Kennedy Elementary School in Willmar walk into Bihi Restaurant in downtown Willmar Monday morning. The staff members walked downtown after a staff meeting to visit ethnic businesses. Food businesses provided free samples of their cooking. The visit was organized by the school's cultural liaisons to help improve awareness of different cultures. “Some staff have never been downtown,” said Anis Iman, one of the liaisons. He and Loida Espinoza said it was good for the businesses to have the exposure, too, and many of the owners have children in Willmar's schools.
WILLMAR — Rain last week slowed down some of the final landscaping, but Ridgewater College’s $14 million remodeling project will be ready for students when classes start on Monday. The fall semester opens on Monday with enrollment down a bit but students registering right up to the last minute, college President Douglas Allen said Friday afternoon. Final enrollment figures will be calculated in 30 days, he said. Ridgewater’s official enrollment for 2013 was about 3,000 full-year-equivalent students on the Willmar and Hutchinson campuses, according to the Minnesota State Colleges and Univers
WILLMAR — With less than two weeks to go until teachers go back to work, Willmar Public Schools are struggling to fill nearly a dozen teaching openings. At the Willmar School Board meeting Monday, Director of Human Resources Liz Fischer said many school districts are finding it difficult to fill staff openings. “It’s not unique to our district,” she said. Board members asked why things are so different from a few years ago, when schools had many applicants for each job opening. Fischer and Director of Teaching and Learning Cheryl Nash said districts and other businesses around the state ar
WILLMAR — A total of seven candidates have filed to run for three seats on the Willmar School Board. Jared Anez and incumbent board member Laura Warne filed before the filing period closed at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Five other candidates had filed before Tuesday: Jay Lawton, incumbent board member Linda Mathiasen, Kelly O’Farrell, Patrick Ousley and Don Thorpe. Incumbent Nathan Streed did not file for re-election. Three four-year terms on the board are up for election this year. The board has a total of seven members. Candidates have until 5 p.m.
WILLMAR — The Willmar School District will be conducting an in-depth survey of its residents this fall. The survey will be the next step in preparing to ask voters to approve a building project that will touch most of the buildings in the district. The Willmar School Board had a special meeting to discuss facilities Monday afternoon. Board members asked Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard to move ahead with a telephone survey conducted by a consultant who has done similar work for other school districts, including Alexandria. The results of the survey will help the board make final decisions be
WILLMAR — Five people have filed so far for the Willmar School Board, and filing closes at 5 p.m. today. The candidates for the three four-year terms which begin in January are Jay Lawton, Linda Mathiasen, Kelly O’Farrell, Patrick Ousley and Don Thorpe. Mathiasen was the only incumbent to have filed as of Monday afternoon. The terms of Nathan Streed and Laura Warne will also expire at the end of the year. Interested candidates may fill out an application and pay a $2 filing fee at the Willmar Public Schools District Office at 611 Fifth St. S.W., Willmar. The general election is Nov.
WILLMAR — Final figures won’t be tallied for a few days, but organizers of the 2014 Kandiyohi County Fair feel they had a great fair this year. The fair closed Saturday night at the fairgrounds in northern Willmar. Some rain Saturday was the only bad weather during the four-day event, which has enjoyed a string of several years with favorable weather, fair board president Darrell Fostervold said Sunday afternoon. Attendance figures are likely to show that the fair, while it may not have set a record, had very good attendance. Food vendors reported having record sales, and many attractions
WILLMAR — Mike McFadden is confident that he will be the winner in the Republican U.S. Senate primary Tuesday. McFadden, who was endorsed by the state party last spring, said he sees the primary as another step in his campaign to unseat incumbent Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. McFadden was in Willmar Thursday morning to tour the MinnWest Technology Campus, part of his effort to visit all 87 Minnesota counties during his campaign. After the tour, McFadden talked about the economy and how he’d like to address what he sees as a sluggish recovery from the recession.
WILLMAR — Martin Munoz of Pennock used to work nights at Jennie-O Turkey Store, and he was working at turkey farms when he went to Employment Plus in Willmar looking for other opportunities. Wednesday, he was at his first day on the job at RELCO of Willmar after completing a specialized welding training program at Ridgewater College. He liked it a lot so far, he said. Munoz is one of eight new employees trained at Ridgewater. Others include Tyler Kotlowski of Granite Falls and Dominick Staab of Willmar.