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 -- James Dykema said he doesn't consider himself an artist when he's making his handcrafted wooden furniture. But there's little doubt that he looks at wood with an artist's eye when he's deciding how to use a board from an old barn or a limb from a tree. "The wood tells you what you're going to do with it," he said. "I do whatever the wood wants." Dykema and his wife Lynn opened Three Fingers Sawmill and Rustic Furniture in February.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School District will begin the new year with a major change in its School Board. Three new board members will replace outgoing members who each had nine years of board experience. Dan Croonquist, Linda Mathiasen and Nathan Streed were chosen from a seven-candidate field in the Nov. 2 election and will take office on Jan. 10. They will succeed Mike Carlson, Brad Schmidt and Dion Warne, who all are retiring from the board. A week ago, the new board members spent a day at the district offices, meeting with administrators and principals from across the district.
WILLMAR -- It seems that few people can resist half-price wrapping paper or Christmas ornaments at 75 percent off. Post-Christmas shopping took off in Willmar Sunday. At Target, the holiday decorations and merchandise had been moved into one area of the store, which was packed with people getting started on supplies for next year. Tami and Bob Thein of Spicer went to Target for some basic items, not for post-holiday sales, but they found their way to the seasonal section where Tami Thein was putting "wrapping and boxes and bags and tape" into a cart. She said she had used up everything she
When the announcement came Monday morning that school would be closing early because of snow, cheers echoed from classrooms all over Willmar Senior High. But there were no cheers from Faraah Mire, 17.
Start with 12 plastic cups. Use stacks of three, six and three cups to make and dismantle a series of pyramids until you are left again with the original stacks, the 3-6-3 combination. Sound simple? Try doing it in 14 seconds. The Speed Stackers Club of Roosevelt Elementary School in Willmar would be happy to demonstrate how it's done. At this week's club meeting, advisers Larry Hastad and Kim Rosendahl had the Roosevelt gym ready for the group. It's a colorful sport. Tables were set up with decorative mats with built-in timers.
WILLMAR -- Deedra Lyn Hargrave, 42, of Morris was sentenced Wednesday to seven years and nine months in prison for selling drugs. Judge Donald Spilseth gave Hargrave credit for 11 days already served in jail and ordered her to use her prison earnings to pay a fine and court fees totaling $1,590. Hargrave pleaded guilty to a second-de-gree drug sale charge in November.
WILLMAR -- Volunteers are still needed for the YMCA's New Year's Eve Family Celebration. This will be the third year the YMCA is hosting the event. The event runs from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 31. Admission is $2 per person or $5 per family. Organizer Troy Pederson said he still needs volunteers from 6 to 8:15 p.m. to help run carnival games during the celebration. The games are geared to children up to grade 4, and volunteers don't need any special skills. "Most of them are pretty easy games, so anybody can run them," he said.
WILLMAR -- A University of St. Thomas student who died in a house fire Saturday was the son of Willmar natives and the grandson of two Willmar couples. Michael Adam Larson, 20, died in the fire after alerting others in the house in St. Paul. His roommates were able to jump from second-floor windows to safety. Larson was the son of Tom and Julia Larson and Denise (Westerman) and Doug Schow, all of Woodbury.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board has approved a 2011 school property tax levy of $6.9 million, an increase of 1.4 percent over the property tax levy paid this year. The board voted at its meeting Monday night to approve the levy.
WILLMAR -- The goal of A Minnesota Without Poverty is to eliminate poverty in the state by 2020. It's a tall order, because Minnesota's poverty level has been rising in recent years.