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 -- Attending a high school prom can be an expensive project. A dress, shoes and accessories add up fast. Hair and nails add another layer of expenses. For some girls and their families, the cost of it all can be completely out of reach. That's where The Bella Project comes in. The project is seeking donated prom dresses and accessories that can be loaned to girls attending Willmar's May 4 prom. The dresses will be loaned to girls for a $10 dry-cleaning fee or in exchange for another dress. The Bella Project is the brain child of a group of staff members at Willmar Senior High.
WILLMAR -- A new Farm Bill with an overhauled dairy program could be in place by early summer, U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson said Friday. However, some issues could disrupt that timeline, including an impending election and disagreements over funding for food stamp programs. During a visit to Tribune offices Friday afternoon, Peterson said he was optimistic about getting a new Farm Bill in place later this year. He has been working on a revamped dairy program that would get rid of price supports and the Milk Income Loss Contract program.
WILLMAR -- Congress has until May 15 to work out a plan to keep regional mail processing centers and rural post offices open. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., said Thursday afternoon that he and other senators are working to prevent the negative impact on families and businesses that could result from the closings. The idea of closing processing centers and post offices came up last fall, the fallout of financial problems at the U.S. Postal Service.
WILLMAR -- Census data indicates that the Willmar School District has a growing population that is well-educated and growing older. During the Willmar School Board's workshop meeting Monday, Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard went over a demographic report built on census data and other government databases. The board also discussed elementary shuttle bus service, a high school principal search and improved job descriptions in the district.
WILLMAR -- Duininck Inc. has donated $10,000 to help purchase Apple iPads for juniors and seniors at Willmar Senior High. Teachers throughout the district have been working to integrate the new technology of tablet computers into their classrooms. All of the school buildings have portable iPad carts, which bring a classroom set of iPads wherever they are needed in the school. Teachers and administrators have proposed taking the next step through providing an iPad for each junior and senior next fall.
WILLMAR -- People who work with real estate in west central Minnesota say the market in the Willmar area may be ready to rebound. In fact, some believe they started to see the signs of it last year.
WILLMAR -- U.S. Rep.
WILLMAR -- Willmar's school meals are being featured today and tomorrow on the Facebook page "School Meals That Rock." The page features a link to Willmar's latest meal program newsletter and the profile photo this afternoon is of a lunch served in a Willmar school. The photos to be featured will also show the greens grown at the school's greenhouse on the MinnWest Technology Campus.
WILLMAR -- Jennie-O Turkey Store has announced that it will provide up to $50,000 in matching funds for contributions to the Willmar School District's effort to provide iPads to all juniors and seniors next fall. Jennie-O's pledge is to match all donations made by Sept. 1 this year, up to a total of $50,000. Jennie-O contributed more than $85,000 to the Willmar Schools in 2011. "We place a high value on education, and we want to show our support for the Willmar school system," Glenn Leitch, Jennie-O Turkey Store president said in a news release Wednesday.
WILLMAR -- New legislative maps have put two incumbent state House members and two incumbent state senators in the same districts in west central Minnesota. Legislative and congressional district boundaries are redrawn every decade, based on new census figures. The special redistricting panel appointed by the Supreme Court released the new legislative and congressional maps on Tuesday. All of the legislative districts in the area have new boundaries and new numbers. The new boundaries will be used by candidates in the 2012 elections and for the next 10 years. Rep.