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 City Council will meet at 7 p.m. today in the chambers at the Municipal Utilities Building, 700 Litchfield Ave. S.W. The council will consider a resolution to sell $1.95 million on general obligation bonds for street improvements. The council will also consider approval of a bid of $1,068,195 from Duininck Inc. of Prinsburg for work on Willmar Avenue Southwest to realign and extend the street from 22nd Street Southwest into the new industrial park.
WILLMAR -- It's no easy task to get 1,200 iPads ready to be handed over to teenagers. With a little more than four weeks until the first iPad "boot camp" at Willmar Senior High, the school district's staff is preparing the Apple tablet computers so every student will have one by the first day of school. Stacks of iPads covered tables in a classroom at the high school last week, while boxes of new tablets waited to be unpacked. Chargers and cases by the hundreds filled boxes.
WILLMAR -- The students crowded around the window for a better view as Dr. Jeffrey Fischer prepared a patient's eye for laser surgery. The students in the Willmar Middle School STEM-A Program were eager to watch the surgery on a video monitor mounted on the wall behind Fischer. They were full of questions and comments for their tour guide, optometric assistant Heidi Smith. Smith explained what Fischer was doing as he scraped the "skin" of the eye before using the laser to change the man's eye to improve his vision.
WILLMAR -- Miny Miley comes from a family of entrepreneurs, but she thought about it for some time before she took the plunge and started her own business. She began Midwest Translation Services Inc. last fall with advice from the Willmar Area Multicultural Business Center in downtown Willmar. "I always had it in the back of my mind to start my own business but never had the guts to do it," she said, "until I met Jeff." Jeff Madsen is a business consultant with the Multicultural Business Center.
WILLMAR -- Willmar Mayor Frank Yanish continues to withhold the names of the eight advisers who helped him draft his alternate plan for reorganizing city government. The West Central Tribune has filed a letter requesting information about the group with Willmar city government. The letter asks the city to cite specific Minnesota statutes that allow the names to be withheld if the city does not release them. Under Minnesota's Data Practices Act, records of state and local government are presumed to be public unless a specific exception exists in the law.
WILLMAR -- Science teachers at Willmar Middle School started packing as soon as school was out, preparing for a planned remodeling of their outdated classrooms. After Monday's Willmar School Board meeting, they'll have to put everything back, because the project is off, at least for this year.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board approved a budget for the 2013-14 school year with projected general fund spending of $47.4 million. The budget covers fiscal year 2014, which begins July 1. Business and Finance Director Pam Harrington spent much of her presentation at Monday's board meeting explaining changes in school finance made by the 2013 Legislature. Some changes will go into effect with fiscal 2014, and many more will go into effect next year.
MADISON -- Two people died Saturday after a boat capsized on Lac qui Parle Lake. An adult female and a juvenile female were pronounced dead at area hospitals on Saturday. An adult male was treated after the incident. The Lac qui Parle Sheriff's Office said Sunday that the names of those involved would not be released until today. The Sheriff's Office received a report of an overturned boat on the lake at about 3 p.m. Saturday, according to a release from the Sheriff's Office. Three people were pulled from the lake near Boyd's Landing.
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, 611 Fifth St. S.W. The board will consider the 2013-14 budget Monday. The fiscal year begins on July 1, and state law requires school districts to approve budgets before the year starts. The budget includes $45,667,460 in general fund revenue and $47,379,232 in general fund expenditures. The general fund covers operating expenses of the district.
WILLMAR — U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson believes a new federal Farm Bill could be approved before Congress’ August recess. In a visit to Willmar on Friday, Peterson said there is more Farm Bill-related activity in the U.S. House of Representatives this year than there was a year ago when the bill was never brought to a vote of the full House. Leaders in the House have told him that they want to get a bill done this year, Peterson said. He is seeing more lobbying activity.