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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MAHNOMEN -- U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson was endorsed Saturday at the 7th Congressional District DFL Convention in Mahnomen. More than 160 delegates attended the convention at the Shooting Star event center. Peterson was endorsed on a voice vote majority that was "pretty overwhelming," said newly elected associate chair Ione Yates of Clarissa. Peterson has served in Congress since 1990 and is a former chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. Peterson was nominated by Earl Anderson of Marshall County.
The Benson Bakery may look like a small business, but Toby Johannessen and his staff can bake hundreds of dozens of whole grain rolls in a single day. They had an order like that not too long ago, when the Willmar, New London-Spicer and Montevideo school lunch programs asked for rolls made with locally grown grains. Johannessen said he's only too happy to send his products to schools and encourage a focus on local foods. He sees the interest in local foods among his regular customers, too. "People are putting their economics where their heart is," he said.
WILLMAR -- Sam Nelson said he is still pinching himself to be sure that his Fulbright Scholar award isn't a dream. Nelson, 55, of Spicer, a Ridgewater College history instructor, learned recently that he had been selected to be a Fulbright Scholar and teach for a year in Kazan, Russia. "It's hard not to think about it every day," he said.
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. The board is scheduled to discuss the 2012-13 operating capital budget and projects. The 2013 fiscal year begins on July 1. The budget includes about $1.5 million of projects. That funding is earmarked for capital projects and equipment and cannot be spent for general operating expenses. The capital budget includes $215,000 for iPad leases.
WILLMAR -- The Paynesville bypass on state Highway 23 should be finished sometime this summer. Work will begin this summer, too, on two stretches of U.S. Highway 212 west of Montevideo, part of an ongoing effort to improve Highway 212 to the South Dakota border. These west central Minnesota projects will be part of the Minnesota Department of Transportation's 2012 construction plan, which will cost $1.1 billion and include 316 projects around the state. Commissioner Thomas Sorel said the projects will create thousands of jobs in construction crews and for suppliers and vendors.
WILLMAR -- Sam Nelson, a history instructor at Ridgewater College, has been named a Fulbright Scholar for 2012-13. He will teach at the Kazan Institute of Economics, Ma-nagement and Law in Russia for the entire 2012-13 academic year, according to a news release from the college. Nelson plans to teach American history and government, Hollywood history and oral history, beginning in September. The start date could vary, depending on the needs of the college, according to the release. "It's broadening from a professional perspective, to experience another culture and to be exposed to the stud
WILLMAR -- Sam Nelson, a history instructor at Ridgewater College, has been named a Fulbright Scholar for 2012-13. Nelson will teach at the Kazan Institute of Economics, Management and Law in Russia for the entire 2012-13 academic year. The grant was awarded by the U.S. State Department and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Nelson plans to teach American history and government, Hollywood history and oral history, beginning in September.
WILLMAR -- Business and homes in Willmar and Raymond will benefit over the next two years from a state grant worth nearly $1.1 million. The Willmar City Council approved several resolutions Monday evening to pave the way for the Small Cities Development Project funding. The two-year grant will help downtown businesses make improvements and will also rehab owner-occupied homes and rental homes in southwest Willmar and in Raymond. Sue Johnson, a housing specialist with the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, said the program already has applications for the money. The grant will provide fun
Not many kids in rural Minnesota can say they've been in the same room as a Stradivarius violin, much less heard it played by a person who seems to have been born to hold it. Orchestra students in Willmar got the chance Monday when 17-year-old prodigy violinist Chad Hoopes performed for them on a violin made by Antonio Stradivari in 1713. Hoopes has been visiting schools around Minnesota as the Classical Minnesota Public Radio artist-in-residence with MPR Classical host Steve Staruch.
WILLMAR -- Ridgewater College's $13.9 million proposed remodeling project has been included in all three bonding bills proposed at the Legislature. The Minnesota Senate bonding proposal was made public Wednesday. All three bills provide the full $13.9 million that would pay for the second phase of a remodeling, demolition and expansion effort. The first phase was approved several years ago and has been completed. The money in this year's bonding bill would pay for improvements and expansion of facilities for the college's agriculture and veterinary technician programs.