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 School District will not appeal an arbitration decision from last month. A state arbitrator ruled that the monitoring of reading progress by students is a teaching duty under the district's contract with the Education Minnesota educators' union. Three elementary teachers, Cheryl Duininck, Marsha Little and Ellin Wentzell, had filed a grievance over the way they were scheduled. The School Board denied the grievance in February, and the Education Minnesota union filed for arbitration on behalf of the teachers.
WILLMAR — A Thursday morning court hearing scheduled for Robert Warwick, 17, of Willmar was delayed at the request of Warwick's attorney. Warwick is one of three teens charged in the strangulation and stabbing death of his grandmother, Lila Warwick, 79. He is charged with second-degree murder with intent-not premeditated and liability for crimes of another. The new date for the probable cause hearing is Sept. 9 at 11 a.m. A hearing to discuss whether he will be tried in adult court will also be delayed. It had been scheduled for Aug. 30.
WILLMAR -- Paul Alton Hanson, 50, of Willmar has pleaded guilty to three felony charges of theft by swindle for stealing more than $60,000 from Tripolis Lutheran Church of rural Kandiyohi. Hanson entered the guilty pleas Wednesday morning in Kandiyohi County District Court. District Judge Donald Spilseth ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set Hanson's sentencing for Sept. 24.
WILLMAR — Ridgewater College staff members are getting ready to move furniture and equipment into classrooms remodeled for its agriculture and veterinary technology programs. The updated area will be ready when fall semester classes begin The classrooms in Building C are the first parts of a $14 million improvement project to be finished. The rest of the project will continue into 2014. The Legislature approved funding for the project in the 2012 bonding bill. A first, smaller phase of the project was funded and completed several years ago.
WILLMAR - Willmar Public Schools are looking for paraprofessionals to work with elementary children in the coming school year, which begins Sept. 3. And the roofing system on the Willmar Senior High building is again causing headaches, judging from discussions at Monday's Willmar School Board meeting. About 15 positions are currently available for the part-time school year jobs. People who are hired would spend about four hours a day working with students learning reading and math.
WILLMAR — The Willmar School Board will meet at 4:30 p.m. Monday in the boardroom on the first floor of the Willmar Education and Arts Center, 611 Fifth St. S.W. The agenda includes resolutions to adjust salaries for non-certified and certified substitute employees and for a group of other employees. A discussion of problems with a reroofing project at Willmar Senior High is on the agenda, along with a report on restructuring the district's special education program.
WILLMAR -- Willmar Senior High officials are revamping some of their procedures for distributing iPads to students. They hope to avoid the long lines that greeted parents and students Monday evening at the first "boot camp" orientation session. High school parents should be receiving emails soon explaining changes that are being made to try to streamline the process, said Jason Hulstein, director of instructional technology.
WILLMAR - The Willmar School District may have to adjust the way it schedules some of its teachers under a state arbitration ruling filed this week. The district could file an appeal in court. Otherwise, the arbitration ruling will stand. Three elementary reading teachers filed a grievance over the way they were scheduled to test and monitor student progress in the district's Response to Intervention program in the 2012-13 school year.
WILLMAR - At least 80 bicycles have been donated to the Wheels4Kids program since a dozen repaired bikes were stolen the first week in July. The program uses donations and volunteers to repair old bikes and give them to needy children and teens. A grant from Willmar Kiwanis funds the program, and bike repairs are done by volunteer Jim Bode. The program has given away about 40 bikes so far this summer, and another dozen were ready to go when the theft was discovered a few weeks ago at the warming house at Lincoln Park in southeast Willmar.
WILLMAR - A plastic 35mm film canister with an Alka Seltzer tablet and a bit of water inside makes a dandy little rocket. But if you make it more elaborate, will it fly higher? About 50 fourth- and fifth-graders from Willmar's elementary schools learned to make the simple chemical rockets Tuesday afternoon at the second annual Mind Challenge Camp at MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar.