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 — Peterson Brothers Funeral Home of Willmar is marking 125 years in business this week. An open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday will celebrate the five generations of the Peterson family that have owned and operated the business at 700 Becker Ave.
WILLMAR — The Willmar School District plans to turn to the local business community for help in easing a shortage in substitute teachers. Businesses could help by finding ways to make their employees available to be substitute teachers occasionally. Any person with a four-year degree may apply for a license as a short-term substitute teacher. The district plans to host informational meetings later this summer to provide guidance on applying for a license and getting started as a sub. The license fee is $87.50.
WILLMAR — Kandiyohi County deputies issued about 40 verbal warnings Friday and Saturday for people who were disobeying the no wake advisory on area lakes. But, considering the number of people who use the county’s numerous lakes, that number probably isn’t too bad, Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog said Sunday evening. Hartog said he didn’t have information from the full weekend, yet, but “with the amount of warnings given and the amount of boats that were out there, I think we had pretty good compliance,” he said. Hartog had issued the no wake advisory on Wednesday after heavy rains caus
WILLMAR — On top of flooding concerns in the area, a rash of tornado warnings sprung up in the late afternoon Thursday. Multiple funnel clouds were reported at Maynard, Benson, Clara City, Farwell and Gluek.
HUTCHINSON — Long-time Southwest Initiative Foundation President/CEO Sherry Ristau has announced that she will be resigning from her position later this summer. Ristau is leaving to be the president/CEO of the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, serving communities along the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities area of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa and Rock Island and Moline in Illinois.
WILLMAR — A massive effort by the staff at Willmar Middle School drastically reduced late or missing homework assignments in the past school year. Assistant Principal Beckie Simenson and staff members from the school provided an update on the ICU program for the Willmar School Board recently. The ICU is a database that tracks homework assignments for all students and provides assistance for students who are having trouble finishing their work. The staff started studying the ICU idea a couple years ago, Simenson said, and it went into full effect last fall.
WILLMAR — A dispute over contract language governing the time of part-time teachers has apparently derailed everything else accomplished in contract negotiations between the Willmar School Board and its teachers. Education Minnesota Willmar and the district’s negotiating team have met 20 times and had two mediation sessions.
WILLMAR — The Willmar Public Schools are still financially strong, but recent efforts to improve instruction are affecting its general fund reserves. Projections indicate that the district could see its unassigned fund balance begin to shrink in the next year. The Willmar School Board adopted a budget for the 2014-15 school year at its meeting this week. Business and Finance Director Pam Harrington explained the budget and how recent law changes have affected it. The budget includes projected revenue of $47 million in the general fund and nearly $50 million in expenditures.
WILLMAR — The old saying, “I could beat you with one hand tied behind my back,” took on new meaning Monday morning. The Willmar Stingers players each tucked one arm into their jerseys for a couple innings, and some of them even played blindfolded, but they still won the annual kickball game with Roosevelt Elementary teachers on a score of 7-5. The last-day-of-school tradition began several years ago.
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.