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 has adopted a final list of tenured employees to be laid off, and a much-loved music teacher's name was not on the list. The School Board voted at a special meeting on Monday to reduce the contracts of nine employees by 3 to 20 days and to lay off one full-time foreign language teacher, Christena Svoboda Ojeda. The board also reviewed a revision to the 2009-10 budget, which indicated some positive news for the district's general fund balance. Donations and staff reassignments helped save high school band director Bryan Mara and elementary/middle school or
WILLMAR -- The hanging baskets and the petunias are blooming brightly at the FFA greenhouse in Renville. Geranium blooms are starting to peek out. The greenhouse operated by the Renville County West School District FFA was a popular attraction last week for people who just couldn't wait to get their hands in the dirt. The greenhouse opened for the season on April 19. The greenhouse is staffed by students from the FFA, under the direction of teacher Darrel Refsland. The first year the organization operated the greenhouse in its original location.
WILLMAR -- When that monster under your bed keeps you up all night telling cheesy jokes, the only thing to do is build a robot to chase it away. That's the crazy solution that has catapulted a group of fifth-graders from Kennedy Elementary School to the Destination ImagiNation global competition in May. Destination ImagiNation is a creative problem-solving program open to competitors from kindergarten through college. It operates in all 50 states and more than 40 countries. The Kennedy Rockin' Robots team from Willmar is going to the global competition in Knoxville, Tenn., May 25-30.
WILLMAR -- Hector Pinochet of Willmar was in Santiago, Chile, when an enormous earthquake shook the ground for 3½ minutes in the early morning of Feb. 27. Pinochet, pastor at the Asemblea de Dios Espana in Willmar, saw the devastation all around him and spent the next month working to help people who had lost homes and loved ones.
WILLMAR -- The commercial kitchen available through the Willmar Area Multicultural Market is a dream come true for four women who love to cook. And the kitchen is only a part of the dream that began in the past decade to develop the economic potential of the area's ethnic populations. WAMM celebrated an open house at its offices at 215 Fourth St. S.W.
WILLMAR -- The Minnesota Department of Transportation will conduct a prescribed burn of a wetland along Highway 23 southwest of Spicer today. The burn is scheduled for late morning or early afternoon. Prescribed burning is a procedure used to promote the growth and seed production of native prairie species and to reduce the growth of undesirable species. The wetland is located near the junction of Highway 23 and Kandiyohi County Road 127.
WILLMAR -- One in five teens will receive some sort of inappropriate content online this year. It's parents' job to teach their children how to handle such encounters with strangers on the Internet, Willmar Police Officer Marilee Dorn said Friday. Dorn spoke at the Child Guide Community Connections gathering at Kennedy Elementary School. Summer presents a variety of safety challenges for parents and their children, Dorn said. She talk-ed about physical sa-fety as well as Internet use.
The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that the Willmar School District may make warranty claims in arbitration for shoddy work done on the roof of Willmar Senior High.
PAYNESVILLE -- School bus routes and traffic flow will be concerns during construction of the Minnesota Highway 23 bypass around Paynesville. However, many of the people at a construction open house Tuesday are anxious to see work begin. Construction on Highway 23 is expected to begin April 26 and last through August 2012.
WILLMAR -- The Renville County West School District is working on selling its building in Sacred Heart and has even advertised it on eBay. Superintendent Lance Bagstad provided an update to the School Board Monday. "We've had 2,744 views," he said of the school's eBay posting, and 67 people have put it on their watch lists. Bagstad the district is anxious to sell the building but is also being cautious about its buyers. "I have fielded e-mails from all over the country," he said.