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 -- Forty percent of Minnesota families that would be eligible for food support have not applied for it. Seventy percent of those eligible for energy assistance aren't receiving it. One-fifth of eligible families aren't claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or Working Family Credit on their taxes. The Children's Defense Fund has developed the Bridge to Benefits website, available in a number of states to help people determine if they are eligible for a variety of public assistance programs. The website is www.
M'Angelo Harris wants to be an elementary teacher. He's confident he'll make it, and the TRiO program at Ridgewater College will have played a role. Harris, 26, of Minneapolis, said TRiO has helped him in many ways as a first-generation college student. TRiO has been on campus for five years and will be around for another five years, thanks to a federal grant received this fall. $237,602 will be provided per year through the grant to help low-income, first-generation or disabled students.
WILLMAR -- Voters in the Willmar School District will decide Tuesday whether to approve an operating levy of $400 per pupil for the next 10 years. In the operating levy vote Tuesday, the district proposes revoking a levy of $498.49 per pupil unit and replacing it with an $898.49 levy. If the new levy is approved, school property taxes would increase about $10 a month for each $100,000 in property value on residential and business property in the district. The current levy raises about $2.4 million a year, while the proposed levy would raise about $4.2 million a year.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Area Multicultural Market has received a $234,422 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help small businesses and entrepreneurs create jobs. WAMM is an economic development corporation serving the Willmar area. Program Director Roberto Valdez said in a telephone interview Thursday that the grant is a major award for WAMM. It will help the organization develop new programs and expand its existing ones. About $66,000 of the federal funding is earmarked for capital investment.
WILLMAR -- Ridgewater College students had a chance Thursday in the school's cafeteria to question candidates for office. Most of the people running for local legislative seats were there, along with some city, county and congressional candidates. Several third-party candidates for statewide office attended, too. The Ridgewater Student Senate conducted a voter registration effort earlier this fall. The two-hour Campaign Rally Day event was a continuation of the effort to encourage students to vote. The candidates varied in their approaches.
WILLMAR -- Stacey Roberts has resigned after 10 years as executive director of the United Way of West Central Minnesota. Her last day will be Nov.
WILLMAR -- Candidates for the Willmar School Board agreed on several issues Tuesday during a candidate forum, but they came down 6-to-1 on the district's proposed operating levy. Along with choosing three new board members on Tuesday, the district's voters will be asked to revoke an existing $498.49 per pupil levy and replace it with an $898.49 levy that would last for the next decade . The additional $400 per pupil unit would be used to try to restore some programs that have been cut in recent years and to try to reduce class sizes. Some of it would also be used to shore up the district's
WILLMAR -- The economic well-being of children in Kandiyohi County appears to be a mixed bag. The number of children living in poverty is higher than the state average, at 13.8 percent. More babies are born to teenage mothers in Kandiyohi County -- 21.9 per 1,000 births, compared to 13.5 per 1,000 births statewide. But the county has fewer low birth weight babies and fewer mothers receiving inadequate prenatal care. The county also has more children, nearly 20 percent, whose families receive government food support, formerly called food stamps. Representatives from the Children's Defense
WILLMAR -- Teachers in Willmar's schools have found a number of ways to use information from the standardized tests their students take each year. Teachers and administrators from Willmar's four school buildings spoke at a Willmar School Board workshop session Monday afternoon. The meeting was recorded and will be shown on public access cable channel 19 this week. The district administers tests from the Northwest Evaluation Association to students beginning in second grade.
WILLMAR -- Seven candidates are competing for three open seats on the Willmar School Board. The board has three open seats because the incumbents who had held the seats for the past nine years all decided not to see re-election. The candidates in the Nov. 2 election are Dan Croonquist, Bill Fenske, Jill Gould, Linda Mathiasen, Shawn Mueske, Nathan Streed and Don Thorpe. Mueske is a former School Board member who was defeated for re-election two years ago.