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 -- Ramla Jama was sad on Wednesday, because she'd had to turn in her iPad that morning. The Willmar Senior High School senior said she didn't know what to do. "I'm so addicted to it," she said, smiling. "I can't imagine writing on paper again." A year ago, Jama and some of her classmates weren't all that thrilled with the idea of iPads. Adults in the community were raising money and were excited about the prospect of 1-to-1 Apple iPad tablet computers for juniors and seniors.
WILLMAR -- A Cyrus man has been charged with 12 felony counts of criminal sexual conduct for repeatedly having sex with a female relative between 1999 and 2011. Eugene Otto Zumhofe, 62, made his first appearance Tuesday morning in Kandiyohi County District Court. He faces six felony counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and six felony counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
WILLMAR -- For area school officials, there's a lot to like in the E-12 education bill signed by Gov. Mark Dayton earlier this week. The bill includes a number of changes for the state's public schools -- increases in general education aid, funding for all-day kindergarten, changes in state testing, operating levy adjustments and continued funding for integration collaboratives. Schools will receive more funding for gifted/talented programs, and the special education funding formula is being revamped.
WILLMAR -- When seven students received their high school diplomas from the Willmar Area Learning Center Friday, the cheers and tears in the audience weren't just coming from friends and families. Their teachers were cheering just as loud, and some of them turned on the waterworks, too. The graduation ceremonies for the Willmar School District's alternative high school are usually more informal because of the small size, but some things are the same.
ST. PAUL -- The deadline to apply for help from the low-income Energy Assistance Program is May 31. According to a release from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, grant funds are still available to help pay heating bills for low-income Minnesotans -- especially seniors, people with disabilities and families with children. "While spring has finally arrived, many Minnesotans may still be struggling to pay large energy bills that built up over the extended winter," said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman in the release.
WILLMAR -- Robbie Warwick has learned something important in the Service Learning class at the Willmar Area Learning Center -- "Sticking through it even if you don't like what you're doing."
ST. PAUL — The deadline to apply for help from the low-income Energy Assistance Program is May 31. According to a release from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, grant funds are still available to help pay heating bills for low-income Minnesotans — especially seniors, people with disabilities and families with children. The average energy assistance grant is $500 per household. Low-income households that qualify are served on a first-come, first-served basis.
WILLMAR -- A facility study in the Willmar Public Schools will begin in early September and last through the fall. The Willmar School Board this week discussed scheduling for the study. The district conducted a similar study about six years ago, but the situation has changed since then. Enrollment at that time was declining, and it has been increasing this school year. The bonds used to pay for the Willmar Senior High in the 1990s will be paid off in another year.
WILLMAR -- Elementary students in Willmar will begin their learning 15 minutes earlier in the next school year. The School Board voted Monday afternoon to start school at 8:15 a.m. in the district's elementary schools, beginning in September. That will add 15 minutes to each school day. Students will be expected to be in their seats, "ready to learn" at 8:15, said Cheryl Nash, the district's director of teaching and learning.
By Linda Vanderwerf email@example.com WILLMAR -- U.S. Sen. Al Franken hopes to see bipartisan support for the new Farm Bill the Senate Agriculture Committee will be working on in the coming week. The Minnesota Democrat wrote an energy section for the bill, which includes the Rural Energy for America Program. Franken was in Willmar on Saturday during a visit to the state. The program offers grants and loan guarantees for renewable energy projects in rural America.