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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LITCHFIELD -- The smoke from burning sage hung in the air as Dakota drummers and singers faced to the west to sing the Four Direction Song. The Rev. Alan Kitto told the more than 300 people at Ness Church that they didn't need to stand and turn with the singers, as many of them were sitting in chairs. But as the Native American singers began to sing, the crowd began to stand. It started with a few people here and there. Then more stood, and more still.
WILLMAR -- Willmar School Board member Wayne Lenzmeier announced Monday that he will resign from the board at the end of August. That would leave Willmar Public Schools with five board members instead of the usual seven. Lenzmeier made his announcement after the School Board meeting on Monday. He said he and his wife have sold their home and are scheduled to close on the sale on Aug. 31. Eric Roberts resigned from the board in June after he sold his home and moved outside the district.
WILLMAR --Malachy Kinney seemed to think it was an odd question. "Of course" he was enjoying orchestra camp, he said as he headed off to prepare for a recital. "I love orchestra." Kinney, 11, a sixth-grader in Willmar, and the other music students were busy on Thursday preparing for today's final concert. The one-week Summer Orchestra Camp will conclude with an 11:30 a.m. concert today in the auditorium at the Willmar Education and Arts Center.
Update: With all precincts reporting, Mary Sawatzky won the District 17B primary for the DFL race with 1994 votes to 1031 votes for Jessica Rohloff.
Update:With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Lyle Koenen has received 2,763 votes and Larry Rice 2,215 votes in the DFL primary in State Senate 17.
WILLMAR -- When Willmar school officials embarked on a plan to revitalize their elementary schools, they said they needed the entire community. At Monday's School Board meeting, they talked about part-time job openings for people who want to help kids reach their full potential. "We need help," Liz Fischer said at the meeting.
WILLMAR -- Tuesday's primary in Minnesota will be the first with the state's new redistricting plan, so there's bound to be a little confusion. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie hopes to avoid some of it by helping people to get information about their polling places. Ritchie was in Willmar earlier this week to spread the word about the primary. "Lots of people will be voting at new places and probably don't know that," he said.
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Board has decided to hire Engan Associates architects of Willmar to study the organization and use of the county's office building in downtown Willmar. The county will pay Engan $10,000 to do a study of electrical systems, air flow and ergonomics in the building, County Administrator Larry Kleindl told the board at its meeting Tuesday. The study is to be finished before the board's workshop retreat this fall. Springsted Inc., the county's financial adviser, has been studying the county's organizational structure.
WILLMAR -- Like many students, Nate Mittag didn't think the talk of iPads for Willmar Senior High students would become a reality. So he and other students were pretty happy to find themselves holding their Apple tablet computers Monday in the high school theater at the first iPad Boot Camp. Nate, a senior, was there with his parents, Doug and Shannon Mittag of Willmar. "It's going to be interesting to see how they fit into school," he said. Doug Mittag added that the devices would even things out at the school.
WILLMAR -- Delbert Huber pleaded guilty Friday morning to second-degree intentional murder in the Oct. 8, 2011, death of Timothy Larson at Larson's family farm in rural Belgrade. Huber, 82, of rural Paynesville, admitted in Kandiyohi County District Court in Willmar that he pointed a loaded rifle at Larson, 43, and pulled the trigger after a confrontation at the farm site. Hours later, Huber called 9-1-1 to report the shooting. Huber's son, Timothy Huber, 45, is awaiting trial on a first-degree murder indictment regarding the same incident.