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 -- Each piece of furniture in the remodeled El Tapatio restaurant in Willmar is a vibrant piece of folk art hand crafted in Mexico. After six years at the location on South First Street, co-owner Juan Valencia decided it was time to fix up the place. Valencia and his family closed the restaurant for a month to finish a major remodeling project. "We decided, let's do something really nice for the people," he said. The result was unveiled a few weeks ago with tile floors, fresh paint, a new bar and the new furniture.
WILLMAR -- About 250 Willmar students were brought back to the city early Monday afternoon due to near whiteout conditions in rural areas. Willmar's schools had closed at noon. Bus routes ran as usual in Willmar, but students who live outside the city were kept in town. The Kandiyohi County Sheriff's De-partment ad-vised no travel in the country.
WILLMAR -- School buses carrying Willmar students who live outside town have returned to the city. The Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Department advised no travel in the county, Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard said. Kjergaard said students who live in Willmar were taken home. At 1 p.m., he wasn't sure exactly how many students had been brought back to the schools. Kennedy and Roosevelt elementary students were returned to their school buildings. Students in grades 6-12 are at the Middle School. "There's a little bit more wind and snow than we thought there was going to be," he said.
WILLMAR -- Heartland Community Action Agency and several local partners will host a Community Connect event from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at Bethel Lutheran Church in Willmar. The event is free and open to the public. Chili will be served and free child care will be available in the church nursery.
WILLMAR -- A list of about $2 million in potential budget cuts will be revealed at the Willmar School Board meeting at 4:30 p.m. Monday at the Willmar Education and Arts Center. The budget reductions are the only discussion item on the agenda at the workshop meeting.
WILLMAR -- United FCS has purchased 6.4 acres of land at the south edge of Willmar for a future expansion of its offices. CEO Marc Knisely announced the purchase Friday morning at the United FCS offices in Willmar. "Sharing positive news in this economic environment is good for everyone," he said. The land purchased is northeast of the intersection of U.S.
WILLMAR -- United FCS has purchased 6.4 acres of land for an expansion of its Willmar offices. CEO Marc Knisely announced the purchase Friday morning at the United FCS offices in Willmar. "Sharing positive news in this economic environment is good for everyone," he said. The land purchased is northeast of the intersection of U.S. Highway 71 South and 45th Avenue Southeast/Kandiyohi County Road 19. The land is in Willmar's city limits and is already served by city utilities. Plans for the new facility are not final, but construction could begin later this year, he said.
MADISON -- The Lac qui Parle Valley School District and its teachers have missed a state deadline for settling a new contract. Districts that did not make the Friday deadline will be assessed a fine of $25 per pupil unit, about $25,000 in Lac qui Parle's case, according to Superintendent Brad Madsen. The district and its teachers had been in mediation before the deadline. They had reached a tentative agreement which was not ratified by the teachers, he said. Local union president Lauri Wyum could not be reached Monday. Madsen did not want to reveal the details of the tentative agreement.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School District has a new ways to notify parents if school is closed for the day, starting late or closing early. Starting with the next snowstorm or emergency, a system called Campus Messenger will be used to call all Willmar parents at nearly the same time. Campus Messenger is part of a package of computer software used by the district.
WILLMAR -- The warm welcome Willmar extended to a visiting Chinese teacher has been noticed by the Teachers of Critical Languages Program. "This is a great placement," Eliza Doton said Friday. "The community support just overwhelms us." Doton is a program officer with the American Councils for International Education in Washington, D.C. The organization oversees the Teachers of Critical Languages Program, part of the U.S.