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 staff members are getting ready to move furniture and equipment into classrooms remodeled for its agriculture and veterinary technology programs. The updated area will be ready when fall semester classes begin The classrooms in Building C are the first parts of a $14 million improvement project to be finished. The rest of the project will continue into 2014. The Legislature approved funding for the project in the 2012 bonding bill. A first, smaller phase of the project was funded and completed several years ago.
WILLMAR - Willmar Public Schools are looking for paraprofessionals to work with elementary children in the coming school year, which begins Sept. 3. And the roofing system on the Willmar Senior High building is again causing headaches, judging from discussions at Monday's Willmar School Board meeting. About 15 positions are currently available for the part-time school year jobs. People who are hired would spend about four hours a day working with students learning reading and math.
WILLMAR — The Willmar School Board will meet at 4:30 p.m. Monday in the boardroom on the first floor of the Willmar Education and Arts Center, 611 Fifth St. S.W. The agenda includes resolutions to adjust salaries for non-certified and certified substitute employees and for a group of other employees. A discussion of problems with a reroofing project at Willmar Senior High is on the agenda, along with a report on restructuring the district's special education program.
WILLMAR -- Willmar Senior High officials are revamping some of their procedures for distributing iPads to students. They hope to avoid the long lines that greeted parents and students Monday evening at the first "boot camp" orientation session. High school parents should be receiving emails soon explaining changes that are being made to try to streamline the process, said Jason Hulstein, director of instructional technology.
WILLMAR - The Willmar School District may have to adjust the way it schedules some of its teachers under a state arbitration ruling filed this week. The district could file an appeal in court. Otherwise, the arbitration ruling will stand. Three elementary reading teachers filed a grievance over the way they were scheduled to test and monitor student progress in the district's Response to Intervention program in the 2012-13 school year.
WILLMAR - At least 80 bicycles have been donated to the Wheels4Kids program since a dozen repaired bikes were stolen the first week in July. The program uses donations and volunteers to repair old bikes and give them to needy children and teens. A grant from Willmar Kiwanis funds the program, and bike repairs are done by volunteer Jim Bode. The program has given away about 40 bikes so far this summer, and another dozen were ready to go when the theft was discovered a few weeks ago at the warming house at Lincoln Park in southeast Willmar.
WILLMAR - A plastic 35mm film canister with an Alka Seltzer tablet and a bit of water inside makes a dandy little rocket. But if you make it more elaborate, will it fly higher? About 50 fourth- and fifth-graders from Willmar's elementary schools learned to make the simple chemical rockets Tuesday afternoon at the second annual Mind Challenge Camp at MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar.
PAYNESVILLE — Linda Westvig and Barb LeClaire of the Paynesville Dairy Queen are aiming for the top this year. Last year, the seasonal drive-in raised more than $13,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network, second place among all the Dairy Queens in the state and the top fundraiser among the seasonal restaurants. That wasn’t enough for them. This year they want to beat all the year-round restaurants, too. In Minnesota, the money raised by the network goes to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St.
WILLMAR - A three-year project to improve the playground at Willmar's Roosevelt Elementary School is done. Workers were putting the finishing touches on the playground Wednesday afternoon. Parent-Teacher-Student Association president Stephanie Swenson said the project includes about $31,000 in new playground equipment. Roosevelt used to be a school for grades 4-6. When it made the transition to a K-5 school a few years ago, "we needed some more equipment geared toward younger kids," Swenson said.
WILLMAR - Starting in January, Kandiyohi County residents will pay an additional $10 tax to the county when they renew their vehicle registration. The Kandiyohi County Board approved the $10 wheelage tax Tuesday. The board decided to have the state collect the tax when residents buy new license tabs. The fee does not apply to some vehicles, like motorcycles, recreational vehicles, trailers, collector vehicles and tax-exempt vehicles.