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 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.
WILLMAR - Ridgewater College has announced the closure of its computer art and publishing program. The program will close at the end of this school year, and second-year students will be able to graduate in the spring. The school is helping first-year students explore their options for next year. The program is a victim of budget cuts and low enrollment. The school will lose one full-time faculty member as a result of the closing. Read more about the closing in Thursday's West Central Tribune.
Lindsey Harms, an eighth-grader at Willmar Middle School, summed up the new lunch-time treat for many of the students: "It looks weird but it tastes good." The whole grain and vegetable blend was popular with many students during the eighth-grade lunch hour as chef Mike Holleman helped serve it in the cafeteria. It rounded out a lunch of chicken nuggets, green beans and peaches.
WILLMAR -- Two weeks at NASA's Ames Research Center left an indelible impression on four Willmar science teachers, and their students are reaping the benefits of their work this year. The four teachers -- Rob Flegel, Margaret Schmitz, John Kuznik and Ben Panchyshyn -- were among three dozen teachers across the country chosen to participate in a two-week paid internship/workshop at a NASA research facility. The four went to Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar business community could be a partner in helping the Willmar School District put iPad2 tablet computers in the hands of high school students next year. Members of the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce met with school officials this week at Willmar Senior High to learn more about how the tablets can be used and to talk about the school's needs. High school teachers Lyle Hovland and Tyler Gehrking spent about an hour demonstrating the ways they have found to use applications in their classrooms.