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 -- Jennie-O Turkey Store has announced that it will provide up to $50,000 in matching funds for contributions to the Willmar School District's effort to provide iPads to all juniors and seniors next fall. Jennie-O's pledge is to match all donations made by Sept. 1 this year, up to a total of $50,000. Jennie-O contributed more than $85,000 to the Willmar Schools in 2011. "We place a high value on education, and we want to show our support for the Willmar school system," Glenn Leitch, Jennie-O Turkey Store president said in a news release Wednesday.
WILLMAR -- New legislative maps have put two incumbent state House members and two incumbent state senators in the same districts in west central Minnesota. Legislative and congressional district boundaries are redrawn every decade, based on new census figures. The special redistricting panel appointed by the Supreme Court released the new legislative and congressional maps on Tuesday. All of the legislative districts in the area have new boundaries and new numbers. The new boundaries will be used by candidates in the 2012 elections and for the next 10 years. Rep.
WILLMAR -- Nichole DeLuna of Willmar can't tell anyone how the show ended, but she can say that she won about $9,000 in prizes when she was chosen as a contestant on "The Price is Right" game show. The show featuring DeLuna will be aired at 10 a.m. Thursday on Twin Cities television station WCCO. DeLuna traveled to California in January as part of a group of 15 adult relatives. They were able to get guaranteed tickets to "The Price is Right," hosted by Drew Carey, because of the size of their group.
ATWATER -- Teacher Katie Ruter sat on a stool in front of her class, listening while the third-graders took turns reading aloud from a story about a man who collected rocks. They had just finished learning new vocabulary words and discussed the difference between biographies and autobiographies. They talked about what it means to be unique and what it might mean when someone told the man that he had "rocks in your head." Ruter said her students at Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City's North Elementary School in Atwater work hard at their reading, but some struggle with it.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Department of Commerce took action this week against 49 debt collection agencies nationwide that are owned and operated by NCO Financial Systems Inc. According to a news release from the department, an investigation revealed that the company allegedly employed known felons. In a consent order signed Thursday, Commissioner Mike Rothman ordered NCO Financial Systems Inc.
WILLMAR -- For more than a decade the West Central Integration Collaborative has worked to keep kids in school and to increase understanding between cultures. When the Willmar School Board approved its annual budget on Monday, though, director Idalia "Charly" Leuze told them, "This may be the last time we have to ask you to approve a budget." The total budget is about $595,000 in Willmar. Two state task forces are studying integration collaboratives across the state, and legislative leaders have said they would like to see the funding used in other ways.
WASHINGTON - Sen. Al Franken has issued a video to explain how the recent mortgage fraud settlement will affect Minnesotans. The settlement is between 49 of the states and five of the largest mortgage banks in the country. "When I first wrote to the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development about some banks' deceptive mortgage practices that had come to light, none of us knew just how widespread or devastating they were, " Franken said in a news release Wednesday.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board approved a contract with its special education paraprofessionals bargaining unit Monday. Negotiations are continuing other bargaining units, including teachers. Human Resources Director Liz Fischer told the board that negotiations went well with the group, which has 110 members.
ST. PAUL -- Gov.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board has given its approval to a plan to raise money to put an Apple iPad tablet computer into the hands of each junior and senior at Willmar Senior High this fall. On Monday, the board approved the creation of the Willmar Technology and Education Fund, a continuing fund of the Willmar Area Community Foundation. The business community has formed a committee to begin working on a fundraising drive to bring $350,000 to the fund. Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard said the district would match donations up to a total of $350,000, giving the district a possible total