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 -- Ridgewater College has received a $50,000 grant from HealthForce Minnesota, which focuses on health care innovation. The grant, for fiscal year 2010, is a continuing education/custom training grant to develop a labor and delivery simulation training program for its mobile simulation unit, SimLab L1. The college foundation raised money for the mobile unit, which went into service last summer.
WILLMAR -- Willmar Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard is inviting other superintendents in the area to get together to talk about school finances and the future. Kjergaard said this week he's not sure what will come of the meeting, but he feels it is important to share ideas. No date for the meeting has been set. Willmar is looking at cutting $2 million from its 2010-11 school year budget.
WILLMAR -- The details of the Willmar School District's budget reduction proposal show a long list of programs and fees that could affect every corner of the district in the next school year. The largest change the School Board discussed Monday is a return to half-time kindergarten. The estimated saving is $450,000, mostly because the district will need only half as many kindergarten teachers if it's adopted.
WILLMAR -- If the Willmar School Board adopts the list of cuts distributed at its meeting Monday, the school district will have a much different look next year. The list of about $2.2 million in revenue increases and spending cuts includes popular programs at all levels. The board plans to make cuts totaling $2 million from the district's $40 million general fund budget.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board meeting cancelled because of weather on Jan. 25 will be held at 4:30 p.m. Monday at the Willmar Education and Arts Center, 611 Fifth St. S.W. The board will discuss for the first time a list of potential budget cuts totaling $2 million. The budget reductions are the only discussion item listed on the agenda at the workshop meeting. The board will discuss the cuts at meetings in February before making final decisions in March. School administrators have been working to develop the list for the past two months.
ROCKVILLE -- One person was killed in a two-vehicle collision Friday morning on Highway 23 just east of Rockville. A 2001 Pontiac Grand Am driven by Peggy L. Adamson, 61, of Cold Spring was northbound on Highway 23 shortly before 8 a.m. Friday when a 1998 Honda Accord traveling west on Stearns County Road 47 pulled into the intersection. The Adamson vehicle struck the other vehicle broadside. The driver of the Honda was declared dead at the scene. That person's identity will not be released until Saturday morning, according to the accident report from the Minnesota State Patrol.
WILLMAR -- Dr. Kevin Unger of Willmar will leave early Saturday for a weeklong mission trip to Haiti. Unger, a urologist at Affiliated Community Medical Centers, had planned the trip in September, long before the Jan. 12 earthquake shook the country. "The mission clearly changed wi-th the earthquake," he said in a telephone in-terview. Unger sa-id he's been amazed by the support he's received from Willmar area individuals and businesses. He is a bit uncomfortable with the attention he's gotten, though.
Several area school districts will see their state aid payments delayed in March and April to help maintain cash flow for the state of Minnesota. The districts and the delayed payments are listed below.
WILLMAR -- About 250 Willmar students were brought back to the city early Monday afternoon due to near whiteout conditions in rural areas. Willmar's schools had closed at noon. Bus routes ran as usual in Willmar, but students who live outside the city were kept in town. The Kandiyohi County Sheriff's De-partment ad-vised no travel in the country.
WILLMAR -- Each piece of furniture in the remodeled El Tapatio restaurant in Willmar is a vibrant piece of folk art hand crafted in Mexico. After six years at the location on South First Street, co-owner Juan Valencia decided it was time to fix up the place. Valencia and his family closed the restaurant for a month to finish a major remodeling project. "We decided, let's do something really nice for the people," he said. The result was unveiled a few weeks ago with tile floors, fresh paint, a new bar and the new furniture.