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 District was insulated from the impact of last year's budget cuts through a one-time infusion of more than $900,000 in federal money. However, most of that money is now gone. The district spent $737,000 this year to hire classroom teachers to keep a lid on class sizes.
Isaac Koenen had never touched an iPad before. When his teacher Kathy Stalnaker put hers on the table in front of him, Isaac was silent for a moment, and his fingers stretched toward the screen. The MACCRAY High School freshman said, "That's amazing." He never lifted his eyes from the iPad. Tyler Miller, also a freshman, slid over to have a look.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board has OK'd a contract with board member Linda Mathiasen to do public communications work for the district. The board approved the contract unanimously Monday, with Mathiasen abstaining. The approval came after a woman representing a local conservative group objected to the arrangement. The board's contract with Mathiasen hires her as an independent contractor to produce a public information flier for the operating levy election planned for this fall.
WILLMAR -- Two ethnic groups will celebrate significant dates in their history with festivals in the area this weekend. Syttende Mai recognizes Norway's May 17 declaration of independence and the triumph of constitutional government. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The fifth annual Cinco de Mayo celebration will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday on the grounds of Willmar Middle School on Willmar Avenue.
WILLMAR -- Squad cars in Willmar and Kandiyohi County will soon have a new life-saving device on board, thanks to a donation to Ridgewater College. County Sheriff Dan Hartog said the Minnesota-made ResQPod should be particularly helpful for his deputies, who are often the first at the scene of a medical emergency and miles away from the nearest medical assistance. "This is another important tool," along with the automated external defibrillators and oxygen they already carry, he said. The ResQPod is a small, clear plastic cylindrical device placed on a mask to help a patient breathe during
WILLMAR -- After more than five years of legal action, the Willmar School District has settled for $327,500 in a dispute with contractors over shoddy work during construction of Willmar Senior High School. The Willmar School Board voted Monday to accept the settlement with four contractors who worked on the construction of the school, which opened in 1994. "This will put some money in the bank," Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard said. The money from the settlement will go into the district's capital outlay budget when it is received.
WILLMAR -- Employment is expected to increase in Minnesota this year, and that should contribute to a healthier economy, a Federal Reserve economist said Friday. Toby Madden, a regional economist at the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis, spoke at the annual meeting of the Willmar Area Development Corporation at the Oaks at Eagle Creek. "It's good to see the economy expanding right here in Willmar," Madden said after a few minutes of give-and-take with audience members.
WILLMAR -- Two fingers against her lips and the other hand in the air, first-grader Allison Rohloff walked quietly down the hall with her class on the way to the Kennedy Elementary School cafeteria for lunch, Several other students made the same motion. When Principal Scott Hisken stopped Allison to praise her, he asked what made her walk that way. "I made that choice by myself," she said. Allison and the others exemplified the "Above the Line All the Time" character and behavior education program in Willmar's elementary schools. Expectations for the program are clear.
WILLMAR -- About midnight Sunday, the Tribune asked its followers on Facebook for comments on the death of Osama bin Laden. Seventeen people clicked the "Like" button on the initial link posted on the page. It told the story of the raid on bin Laden's compound in an affluent town not from the Pakistani capital Islamabad. Written comments varied. Lisa Carter Raddatz had mixed feelings at midnight Sunday: "Happy but yet worry about when the other shoe will drop.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar Public Library will soon add to its collection of materials for families living with special needs children or in need of information about disabilities. The lending library from The Resource Center Program at West Central Industries will be merging into the library's collection. The move will expand the reach of the lending library and give the library added resources. "Both the library and The Resource Center Program think it makes sense to try to get information to people where they are and when they need it," said Jamin Johnson, the director of The Resource Center