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 -- Squad cars in Willmar and Kandiyohi County will soon have a new life-saving device on board, thanks to a donation to Ridgewater College. County Sheriff Dan Hartog said the Minnesota-made ResQPod should be particularly helpful for his deputies, who are often the first at the scene of a medical emergency and miles away from the nearest medical assistance. "This is another important tool," along with the automated external defibrillators and oxygen they already carry, he said. The ResQPod is a small, clear plastic cylindrical device placed on a mask to help a patient breathe during
WILLMAR -- After more than five years of legal action, the Willmar School District has settled for $327,500 in a dispute with contractors over shoddy work during construction of Willmar Senior High School. The Willmar School Board voted Monday to accept the settlement with four contractors who worked on the construction of the school, which opened in 1994. "This will put some money in the bank," Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard said. The money from the settlement will go into the district's capital outlay budget when it is received.
WILLMAR -- Employment is expected to increase in Minnesota this year, and that should contribute to a healthier economy, a Federal Reserve economist said Friday. Toby Madden, a regional economist at the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis, spoke at the annual meeting of the Willmar Area Development Corporation at the Oaks at Eagle Creek. "It's good to see the economy expanding right here in Willmar," Madden said after a few minutes of give-and-take with audience members.
WILLMAR -- Two fingers against her lips and the other hand in the air, first-grader Allison Rohloff walked quietly down the hall with her class on the way to the Kennedy Elementary School cafeteria for lunch, Several other students made the same motion. When Principal Scott Hisken stopped Allison to praise her, he asked what made her walk that way. "I made that choice by myself," she said. Allison and the others exemplified the "Above the Line All the Time" character and behavior education program in Willmar's elementary schools. Expectations for the program are clear.
WILLMAR -- About midnight Sunday, the Tribune asked its followers on Facebook for comments on the death of Osama bin Laden. Seventeen people clicked the "Like" button on the initial link posted on the page. It told the story of the raid on bin Laden's compound in an affluent town not from the Pakistani capital Islamabad. Written comments varied. Lisa Carter Raddatz had mixed feelings at midnight Sunday: "Happy but yet worry about when the other shoe will drop.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Public Library will soon add to its collection of materials for families living with special needs children or in need of information about disabilities. The lending library from The Resource Center Program at West Central Industries will be merging into the library's collection. The move will expand the reach of the lending library and give the library added resources. "Both the library and The Resource Center Program think it makes sense to try to get information to people where they are and when they need it," said Jamin Johnson, the director of The Resource Center
There's something special about the 20 students honored Wed-nesday at the Willmar Middle School's Break-fast of Champions. The students were recognized for making a positive difference at the school. The descriptions from their teachers and school staff painted a picture of students who are polite and friendly, who always come to class with a smile. They willingly help their teachers and classmates.
WILLMAR -- A new state law will result in more extensive training for school staff working with special education students. The goal of the law is to more closely monitor the use of emergency restrictive procedures, like physical holds or seclusion, for special education students. Parents would also be notified of the use of restrictive procedures. While the goal is a laudable one, its training and reporting re-quirements place a new unfunded ma-ndate on Minnesota's public schools. The law goes into effect Aug. 1.
A group of local investors is four years into a planning process that could eventually place 18 wind turbines in Arctander Township south of Sunburg. It could still be a couple years until the remaining details are wrapped up so Whirlwind Energy can erect the turbines planned for northwestern Kandiyohi County. Whirlwind Energy grew out of a subcommittee of the Willmar/Kandiyohi County Economic Development Commission. After some research on alternative energy, members wanted to explore the business opportunities in that area.
After three years of CHAOS Club, the ninth-grade members are sorry to see it end. "I'll be part of a bake sale to keep this going," said Max Packa, a freshman at Willmar Senior High. CHAOS, short for Crazy Humans Attempting Outrageous Stuff, is a weekly after-school program supported by the University of Minnesota Extension Service. It helps students see real world applications for what they learn in science classes. Unfortunately for Max and the other ninth-graders, they probably will have to move on to other interests next year.