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WILLMAR — The new interim president of Ridgewater College spent much of Thursday meeting faculty, staff and the community at the college's campuses in Willmar and Hutchinson. Joseph Opatz, a retired Minnesota State administrator, was chosen Wednesday by the college system's Board of Trustees. He was chosen from among three finalists. The college system will be searching for a new Ridgewater president in the fall and expects to have that person on the job for the 2018-19 school year.
WILLMAR — Joseph Opatz, a retired college administrator and former state legislator, will be Ridgewater College's interim president for the next school year. Opatz, 64, was appointed to the post Wednesday morning at the Minnesota State Board of Trustees meeting. He will join the college officially July 1. Current President Doug Allen will be leaving the college when his contract expires June 30. The college system did not renew his contract. Allen has been Ridgewater president since 2003.
WILLMAR — Joe Opatz, a retired Minnesota State college administrator, has been named interim president of Ridgewater College. Opatz was appointed at the May Minnesota State Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday morning. He will succeed President Doug Allen, whose contract will expire at the end of June. The college has planned meet-and-greet gatherings with the interim president for 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Student Center dining room at the Willmar campus and from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the commons area on the Hutchinson Campus.
WILLMAR — An interim president for Ridgewater College is expected to be named this morning by the Minnesota State Board of Trustees. The interim president will take over for President Doug Allen, whose contract will expire at the end of June. The college has planned meet-and-greet gatherings with the interim president for 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Student Center dining room at the Willmar campus and from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the commons area on the Hutchinson Campus.
ATWATER — A Texas man was injured Monday morning when the semi he was driving left the road and rolled onto its side. Willie Lee Williams III, 34, of Garland, Texas, was driving the semi west on Highway 12 west of Atwater when it crossed over to the left and rolled, according to a report from the Minnesota State Patrol. The crash was reported at 7:33 a.m. Monday. Williams was transported to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar with non-life threatening injuries. The Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office assisted at the scene.
WILLMAR — Filing for a vacant seat on the Willmar School Board opens Tuesday. A special election on Aug. 22 will fill a seat left vacant by the unexpected death of board Chairman Jared Anez in March. Filing will be open from May 16 through May 30. Candidates may file at the reception area at the school district's main office in the Willmar Education and Arts Center, 611 Fifth St. S.W. Filing is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays and will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 30.
WATKINS — An Eden Valley man was injured in a two-vehicle crash on Meeker County Road 2 in Forest Prairie Township Sunday evening. According to a news release from the Meeker County Sheriff's Office, a Chevrolet Suburban driven by Mark Eckerly, 57, of Eden Valley, and a skid loader driven by Tyler Dockendorf, 19, of Watkins, collided at an intersection at 9:34 p.m. Sunday. Eckerly was transported to St. Cloud Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Dickendorf was treated at the scene for minor cuts.
WILLMAR — Jeramy John Wharton of Belgrade, formerly of Willmar, was sentenced to 12 years in prison Tuesday for raping and impregnating a 14-year-old girl. Wharton, 38, pleaded guilty in March in Kandiyohi County District Court to first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He will be eligible for conditional release after serving 10 years of his sentence. Wharton was given credit for three days already served in jail and ordered to pay $3,090 in court and victim assistance fees from his prison earnings. He will be required to register as a predatory offender.
OLIVIA — A Willmar man was airlifted after a three-vehicle crash on Highway 71 north of Olivia Monday morning. Dustin Ross Lavoie, 24, of Willmar was airlifted to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale with non-life threatening injuries, according to a report from the Minnesota State Patrol. He was not wearing a seatbelt, according to the report.
WILLMAR — The Willmar Public Schools Foundation will help pay for T-shirts for some at-risk students and will send Kennedy Elementary students to safety patrol training. The foundation board met last week to consider requests and to organize for the coming year. Three new members — Sara Bos, Bob Hogan and Liz VanDerBill — joined the board.