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 -- Deedra Lyn Hargrave, 42, of Morris was sentenced Wednesday to seven years and nine months in prison for selling drugs. Judge Donald Spilseth gave Hargrave credit for 11 days already served in jail and ordered her to use her prison earnings to pay a fine and court fees totaling $1,590. Hargrave pleaded guilty to a second-de-gree drug sale charge in November.
WILLMAR -- A University of St. Thomas student who died in a house fire Saturday was the son of Willmar natives and the grandson of two Willmar couples. Michael Adam Larson, 20, died in the fire after alerting others in the house in St. Paul. His roommates were able to jump from second-floor windows to safety. Larson was the son of Tom and Julia Larson and Denise (Westerman) and Doug Schow, all of Woodbury.
WILLMAR -- Volunteers are still needed for the YMCA's New Year's Eve Family Celebration. This will be the third year the YMCA is hosting the event. The event runs from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 31. Admission is $2 per person or $5 per family. Organizer Troy Pederson said he still needs volunteers from 6 to 8:15 p.m. to help run carnival games during the celebration. The games are geared to children up to grade 4, and volunteers don't need any special skills. "Most of them are pretty easy games, so anybody can run them," he said.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board has approved a 2011 school property tax levy of $6.9 million, an increase of 1.4 percent over the property tax levy paid this year. The board voted at its meeting Monday night to approve the levy.
WILLMAR -- The goal of A Minnesota Without Poverty is to eliminate poverty in the state by 2020. It's a tall order, because Minnesota's poverty level has been rising in recent years.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Public Schools Foundation Board approved to help pay for an improved sound system in the gymnasiums at Roosevelt Elementary. Also at its Monday meeting, the board approved more than $4,000 in funding requests for school programs and activity fees. The board agreed to contribute $5,000 toward the Roosevelt sound system. Gym teacher Kim Rosendahl explained the need to board members. The school has four physical education teachers working in three gyms separated by partitions, she said.
The snow and sleet in this week's storm should be over, but the bluster appears to be sticking around. The National Weather Service has predicted high temperatures in the teens today. But the partly sunny day is expected to have a strong enough breeze to push wind chill readings below zero. Snowfall amounts from the storm Monday and Tuesday varied across the region. An inch and a half was reported in Glenwood, according to the Weather Service. Willmar's snowfall was reported at about 5 inches. Readers of the West Central Tribune on Facebook commented on the weather Tuesday.
Group faces long odds as it fights to eliminate poverty WILLMAR -- The goal of A Minnesota Without Poverty is to eliminate poverty in the state by 2020. It's a tall order, because Minnesota's poverty level has been rising in recent years.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School District's efforts to recover the cost of repairing shoddy work on the Willmar Senior High roof should go to arbitration now. The Minnesota Supreme Court has refused to hear the latest appeal from Day Masonry, one of the companies that worked on the original roof of the school, which opened in 1994. Willmar Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard said Monday that the district's attorney told him that this exhausts the legal appeals, clearing the way for arbitration on the roof costs.
WILLMAR -- It's easy to tell when you're getting close to The Nutty Bavarian snack stand in the Kandi Mall. The heavenly aroma of warm cashews, pecans and almonds drifts in all directions from the stand just inside the Big Kmart store. "It's the smell that sells," Neil Hughes said with a smile, the day after he opened his business. It's the company's slogan. Hughes, of Willmar, said the business that he recently opened is the next step in his effort to become free of government assistance. "As long as I can take care of myself, I want to," he said.