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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One had lizards all over it, and another had puppies. One was decorated with baby animals on a yellow background.
WILLMAR -- With the 2011-12 campaign drive half over, United Way of West Central Minnesota has raised a little more than half its fundraising goal. In a news release this week, United Way said it had received $495,622 so far in pledges and donations. The campaign goal is to raise $923,000 from businesses, individuals and service clubs in the area. The campaign's results so far are similar to last year, Executive Director Renee Nolting said Tuesday afternoon. "We feel good about where we're at, but we've still got work to do," she said.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board has adopted a $7.1 million local property tax levy to be paid in 2012 and fund the district's 2012-13 school year. The levy represents a 3.5 percent increase over school property taxes paid this year. The board adopted the levy after the annual Truth in Taxation hearing Monday evening.
Here it is, nearly the middle of December, and no snow on the ground in west central Minnesota. That's just fine with some people, but for every person who's happy to wait for it, there's someone else, possibly a short person with a sweet, gap-toothed smile, who asks, "What will Santa do without snow?" Not to worry.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board will conduct its annual Truth in Taxation hearing at 6 p.m. Monday in the board room on the first floor of the Willmar Education and Arts Center. The board will also conduct a workshop session beginning at 4 p.m. Monday. The board will meet with teachers and administrators to discuss the elementary math curriculum and how it aligns with state standards. The Truth in Taxation hearing is held to comply with Minnesota law.
WILLMAR -- Ridgewater College's thriving veterinary technician and agriculture programs are among the most popular programs at its Willmar campus. They also have some of the tightest quarters. The classrooms and hallways in that area of the campus are small and crowded. One of the main staircases leading to the area is barely wide enough for two people to meet. Sometimes the ventilation is inadequate. The restrooms are always inadequate.
WILLMAR -- State Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, chairwoman of the Minnesota Senate Higher Education Committee, toured the agriculture and veterinary technician classrooms at Ridgewater College Tuesday morning. Fischbach was in Willmar seeking more information about the $14 million improvement project proposed for the campus there. The project is the second phase of a plan to provide more room for the thriving agriculture and vet tech programs and to remodel some areas to improve efficiency.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Public Schools Foundation will help fund a portion of a new TV monitor system at Willmar Middle School. On Monday, the foundation's board also approved funding for the Child Guide Program and agreed to pay a portion of the activity fees for four high school students who want to participate in winter sports. Board members also discussed the foundation's fundraising efforts.
LITCHFIELD -- It's the smell and the experience that have brought Michele Miller and Matt Foley of Litchfield back to Turck's Tree Farm each Christmas for the past few years. Each year, one of them will spot the right tree right away as they drive through the farm operated by Steve and Joan Turck. Miller and Foley always cut down that first tree they pick to decorate their home, she said. The two were bundled against temperatures hovering around freezing and a brisk wind from the south as they cut down the tree.
WILLMAR -- The computer art and publishing program at Ridgewater College in Willmar will close at the end of this school year. The program is a victim of budget cuts and low enrollment. The closing was announced by the college in a news release Wednesday morning. College President Douglas Allen said the school's state appropriation was cut about 10 percent in the fiscal year that began July 1. That translates into a loss of about $1.5 million. The state's public higher education institutions have seen appropriations decrease in recent years because of state budget deficits.