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 -- Fuzzy pink jackets, a three-foot stuffed alligator and shoes that squeak are just a few of the unusual items to be found at Gracie Margaret's Children's Boutique at the Kandi Mall. The boutique opened last week, just in time for holiday shopping. "That was our goal, with Black Friday around the corner," owner Kelly Tauber of Olivia said. The name Gracie Margaret's is a combination of her daughters' middle names. The shop is located in Willmar's Kandi Mall next door to the Regis Salon. The shop offers quality children's clothing for infants through size 6.
WILLMAR -- Two Willmar churches are offering free community meals to help people who can't put a Thanksgiving dinner on the table or who would otherwise be alone on the holiday. The Mahanaim Asemblea de Dios Espana will serve a meal from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at Kennedy Elementary School. Redeemer Lutheran Church will offer a Thanksgiving dinner with homemade pie from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the church on Thanksgiving Day. It's the sixth year the church has provided the meal, said the Rev.
PAYNESVILLE -- A community meeting to discuss a school facilities project will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Paynesville Area Center. The meeting has been organized by community members who have questions about the process used to develop the project. The Paynesville School Board has proposed an extensive remodeling of its heating and ventilation systems, including the installation of new boilers and switching the old steam heat system over to hot water heat. The project is expected to cost about $16.5 million.
WILLMAR -- Housing and transportation appear to be among the largest obstacles for settling in Willmar for two dozen Burmese refugees who moved here in recent months. The refugees came to Willmar to work for Jennie-O Turkey Store. Nine of the refugees met with community representatives in Willmar this week to talk about challenges they face and the community services that might be available to them. Emerge, a non-profit community development organization based in Minneapolis, is working with Jennie-O through Emerge's Refugee Employment Services program. Emerge has worked with a number of m
Update 2:30 p.m.
WILLMAR -- Hiring a new president is one of the most important jobs for the regents of the University of Minnesota. Hiring a football coach isn't technically the regents' job, Regent Dean Johnson of Willmar said this week, but a healthy football program can have a far-reaching impact on a major university. University President Bob Bruininks plans to retire in June 2011. Johnson talked about the progress toward finding a successor this week before leaving for a three-day regents meeting in the Twin Cities.
WILLMAR -- The two juniors from Worthington High School stood on the stage of the theater at Kennedy Elementary School and described the effect the Nobles County Integration Collaborative has had on their lives. They have gone on college visits, gotten help with homework and learned leadership skills, said Ananaya Alwal. Both girls said they were from large, single-parent families. "We feel that without the collaborative, we wouldn't be as motivated," said Apoman Abella. The staff members of Nobles County Integration Collaborative "are there all the time," Alwal said.
Several area school districts had seats filled by write-in votes in the Nov. 2 election, because the number of open seats on their boards outnumbered the candidates who filed for office.
WILLMAR -- A week after voters turned down a request for an operating levy, the Willmar Schools officials have left no doubt that there will be another vote in November 2011. At Monday's School Board meeting, Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard said he has already met with Education Matters, the citizens' group that supported the previous levy. Because the $498.49 levy will expire after this year, the district will be asking voters to at least renew the levy next year.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board will meet at 4:30 p.m. Monday in the board room on the first floor of the Willmar Education and Arts Center, 611 Fifth St. S.W. The board is scheduled to discuss the audit of fiscal year 2010. They will meet with representatives of from Conway, Deuth and Schmiesing of Willmar, which conducted the audit. The audit indicates that the district's general fund balance was about $4.8 million, about 12 percent of annual expenditures.