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 -- A 56-year-old Eagle Lake man was electrocuted Sunday evening while working on his boat lift at his home in the 3900 block of North Eagle Road. According to a release from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Department, Brian Van Engen was moving his boat lift when it came into contact with an extension cord that had been rubbed bare. The cord had been used to supply power to the electric boat lift. Van Engen went under the water, and a neighbor unplugged the extension cord and pulled him from the water. CPR was started while authorities were called.
WILLMAR -- There's a chance of thunderstorms today, though severe weather is not expected in the Willmar area, where the Sonshine Christian music festival is running through Saturday night. This afternoon is expected to be mostly cloudy with a high near 80, and there's a 20 percent chance of showers, according to information from the National Weather Service. Thunderstorms will also be possible late Friday afternoon through Saturday evening.
WILLMAR -- It seems that the week of the Sonshine Christian music festival in Willmar often brings excessive heat, thunderstorms or both. Holding true to form, 2012 Sonshine week will have some heat and maybe some storms. The Willmar area isn't expected to see an extreme heat wave like that of a week ago. Highs Thursday are expected to be around 90 with mostly sunny skies, according to the National Weather Service. High temperatures for the rest of the week will be in the 80s, with predicted highs of 84 on Friday and 88 on Saturday.
WILLMAR -- The city of Cosmos is seeking state bonding assistance to help replace its public library, which burned down in February 2011. The library was destroyed by fire along with a collection of about 9,000 items, including historic references. Cosmos applied for $600,000 from a pool of $47.5 million in state bonding funds.
WILLMAR -- Fireworks are a traditional part of the Fourth of July for many people, but safety officials urge people to remember that fireworks can be dangerous in the wrong hands, and some are illegal. Some attention to basic safety precautions can prevent problems and increase enjoyment for families that choose to purchase real fireworks. Fireworks that fly or explode are illegal in Minnesota, but things like sparklers are allowed. "We just recommend having a pail of water nearby, so they can make sure they are completely out," said Willmar Deputy Fire Chief Howard Carlson. Carlson also r
WILLMAR -- Architects are hard at work on the design of a $13.8 million construction and remodeling project at Ridgewater College in Willmar. Their efforts are putting the college on track to start work on the project in early spring 2013, college President Doug Allen said in a telephone interview Wednesday. The architects are meeting with small groups of staff members on campus to make sure the plan will fit the college's needs, Allen said.
WILLMAR -- Soraya Hudson of Willmar was miserable when she was in ninth grade. She was called names every day at school and wasn't doing well in her classes. She was getting into trouble. If she had stayed on that path, she said recently, she probably would not have graduated on time this spring. She did graduate, after finding an alternative to a bricks-and-mortar high school and finishing her last three and a half years of high school online. When she looks back, she said, she can see that she got into trouble by trying to act tough to ward off the bullying.
WILLMAR -- Teams of elementary teachers have been meeting this month and will continue working through July to help develop improvement plans for Willmar's two elementary schools. This isn't how they normally would spend their summers, a group of them admitted at a Thursday meeting, but they believe their work this summer will benefit students in the fall. "There's not a doubt in my mind that these teachers are passionate about kids," said Cheryl Nash, the district's director of teaching and learning.
WASHINGTON -- Both of Minnesota's Democratic senators voted for the Farm Bill, which had bipartisan support. Both had helped write the bill as members of the Agriculture Committee. The U.S. House has just taken up its version of the bill and is expected to vote on it later this summer. The bill includes a Sen.
WILLMAR -- Kandiyohi County ranks 78th among the state's 87 counties in its level of child poverty. Nearly a quarter of the county's children are living in poverty, almost twice as many as 10 years earlier, according to this year's Kids Count study conducted by the Minnesota office of the Children's Defense Fund. The Kids County annual report uses census data and other public information to track the status of children.