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 — It could be early next year before Willmar School District voters get a chance to pass judgment on a facilities improvement plan. The Willmar School Board met Monday to continue its study of how to best meet the district’s facility needs for the next decade. Board members said during the meeting that they won’t be seeking a vote on the plan in the November election. The board is developing a plan to add a fifth-grade wing to Willmar Middle School and to add new science classrooms for grades 6-8 there. The lunch room would also be expanded.
Kristen Egge can tell in September whether her students were engaged in academic activities during their summer break. “Kids need to read and write and do a little bit of math every day,” said Egge, a fifth-grade teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School in Willmar. The Willmar Public Library can help kids stay on track with its animal-themed summer program called “Paws to Read.” Children’s librarian Kathy Torkelson described a number of special events that will revolve around animals and books. The U.S.
WILLMAR — State Sen. Torrey Westrom said he believes he sees a mess in Washington, and he wants to help clean it up as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. After 18 years in the Minnesota Legislature, Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, has embarked on a campaign to defeat incumbent Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson in the November election. Peterson, ranking member of the House Committee on Agriculture, was first elected to Congress in 1990. Westrom, 41, was first elected to the Legislature at the age of 23.
WILLMAR — The Kandiyohi County Area Family YMCA is celebrating the grand opening of its expansion this week with a ribbon cutting Wednesday morning. Executive Director Theresa Wittenberg said the staff is excited to introduce the community to its expanded facility. After a ribbon cutting at 8 a.m.
WILLMAR — As in years past, a large majority of Willmar’s graduating seniors intend to continue their educations at 2- or 4-year colleges. In all, 86 percent of the students graduating from Willmar Senior High this weekend plan to attend a post-secondary educational institution. More than a third of the class will stay close to home by attending Ridgewater College in the fall. Students filled out a questionnaire about their post-graduation plans in May.
WILLMAR — Jose Noe Carreno will graduate this week with high honors from Willmar Senior High School. While that’s no small accomplishment for any teenager, Carreno’s path to graduation has had its share of twists and turns. He’s grown from a frightened boy watching immigration agents shackle his mother to an 18-year-old high school student who has kept his grades up while working nearly full-time.
WILLMAR — Erik Ozornia, 25, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two felony charges connected to domestic abuse incidents in January and March. Ozornia is currently in custody at the Minnesota Correctional Facility at St. Cloud. He pleaded guilty to a felony charge of terroristic threats in connection with a January domestic abuse incident in Willmar.
WILLMAR — An interpreting business in Willmar has expanded its services to include cultural competency training. Members of the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce participated in cultural training last week from the owners of West Central Interpreting Services. Over two hours, Zack Mahboub and Sahra Gure, husband and wife, explained some of the challenges faced by Willmar’s growing east African population.
WILLMAR — Twenty-five students graduated Friday afternoon from the Willmar Area Learning Center. That’s the highest graduate total in several years. Eighteen of 25 graduates attended the ceremony. Faculty members said several of the graduates were unable to attend, including some who are already working or in college.
WILLMAR — Location, diversity and sports are some of the top reasons students leave or enter Willmar Public Schools through open enrollment. At the end of February, the district had 347 students who had left for other districts and 205 students who come from other districts. Minnesota statute allows public school students to apply via the open enrollment process to attend school outside of the school district where they live.