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 — The Willmar Senior High School's theater has a new look and will soon have a new name. The Brau Performing Arts Center will be dedicated Monday before the school's Fall Showcase Concert. A dinner sponsored by Music Matters begins at 6 p.m. in the high school cafeteria. The dedication will be at 6:15 p.m. in the cafeteria. There will be a ribbon cutting and open house in the theater before the concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Big Red Gym.
WILLMAR — A Raymond man was sentenced to nine years in prison and 100 years on supervised release for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old and setting his home on fire. Kyle Clarence Rhoda, 48, of Raymond, pleaded guilty a month ago in Kandiyohi County District Court to second-degree criminal sexual conduct and first-degree arson.
WILLMAR — Enrollment in Willmar Public Schools increased in the first month of the school year. Last Friday, the student count was 4,319 students in all programs. At the end of the first week of school, enrollment was 4,235. Business and Finance Director Pam Harrington talked about enrollment at the Willmar School Board meeting Monday. She said in the past, enrollment has often held steady in the first month of school, followed by an increase in the fifth week.
WILLMAR — Willmar musician Terrance Raymond Shaw, 72, pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony charge of criminal sexual conduct for inappropriately touching a nursing home resident with dementia. Shaw, who frequently performed at area care facilities in recent years, faced two felony counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim who was mentally incapacitated or physically helpless and a similar fifth-degree gross misdemeanor charge in a separate incident.
WILLMAR — Property taxes for Willmar Public Schools are expected to decrease a bit in 2018. The Willmar School Board approved the preliminary 2018 levy at a special board meeting Monday. The school levy is one portion of property owners' final tax bills, which include county and city/township levies. The preliminary levy of $8.1 million is about 7.6 percent less than the 2017 levy, a decrease of $668,000. The levy will be part of the $54 million general fund revenue and $64 million overall revenue projected for the 2017-18 school year.
WILLMAR — A Willmar businessman is one of four people in Minnesota to receive the 2017 Virginia McKnight Binger Unsung Hero Award. Abdirizak "Zack" Mahboub, 57, of Willmar, a native of Somalia, was named for the honor by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and the McKnight Foundation. Mahboub and his wife Sahra Gure own and operate West Central Interpreting Services and New Minnesotan Realty.
WILLMAR — The Willmar School Board will set its preliminary 2018 property tax levy at a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. Monday at the Willmar Education and Arts Center. The board is required to adopt a preliminary levy before the end of September by state law. Much of the levy is determined by the Minnesota Department of Education. Voter-approved levies are also included.
WILLMAR — The public is invited to attend community listening sessions Wednesday to offer ideas about the search for a new college president. The Willmar sessions will begin at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in Room A240 in the Student Services building. In Hutchinson, the meeting will be at 11:10 a.m. in the Room 270 auditorium. A national search for the new president will get underway shortly. Minnesota State Interim Chancellor Devinder Malhotra will host the listening sessions
WILLMAR — Ridgewater College and Willmar health care providers are working with a Twin Cities nonprofit to train Latino certified nursing assistants. Ridgewater, Rice Memorial Hospital and Bethesda Health & Housing have developed a partnership with Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio to provide training and jobs in health care. The 35-year-old Twin Cities-based organization offers services for Latinos. Its outreach to Ridgewater's Willmar campus is part of an effort to develop a greater presence in rural Minnesota.
WILLMAR — Above all, parents sending their children to the Iftiin Youth Program in Willmar want them to have guidance in completing their homework. Encouragement in speaking English might be a close second. The program started a year ago as the dream of Fardowsa Ibrahim and her husband, Abdullahi Afrah. The plan was to have an after-school program that offered homework help and other activities for young people.