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 -- When Ricardo Rodriguez decided to go into the restaurant business a year ago, he discovered a new world of paperwork and regulations, made all the more difficult by a language barrier. Rodriguez said last week that he probably could have gone through the process of opening and operating Los Primos on his own, but it would have been very difficult. Rodriguez has been operating the restaurant and catering business for a little more than a year on Lakeland Drive Southeast. The Willmar Area Multicultural Market and its coordinator Roberto Valdez Jr.
Drive along Lakeland Drive Northeast and take a glance at the house under construction on Cottonwood Drive in the Trentwood Estates neighborhood. This home is the wave of the future. Ten second-year students in the Ridgewater Carpentry Program are working with local architects and a training grant from the Minnesota Renewable Energy Marketplace to build a highly energy efficient home -- as green as they can make it. "Building homes for our carpentry department isn't anything new," said Mike Boehme, Ridgewater's dean of instruction in the technical programs.
WILLMAR -- Mark Dayton has a simple foundation for his campaign to be Minnesota's next governor -- tax the rich. Dayton, a former U.S. senator who left office at the end of 2006, was in Willmar on Wednesday to talk about his plans for the upcoming campaign. He is one of about a dozen candidates from the DFL Party in the 2010 governor's race.
WILLMAR -- Willmar school administrators will be meeting every week in the coming months to discuss potential budget cuts. It's all part of a process the Willmar School Board started Monday by passing a resolution ordering administrators to make recommendations for reducing the district's budget. Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard offered a range of $1.4 million to $3 million for the reductions. The final amount of cuts will be determin-ed by a number of factors, in-cluding how the state handles its budget deficit problem.
WILLMAR -- Property taxes for the Willmar School District will increase about 2 percent in 2010. The School Board adopted a $6.7 million property tax levy Monday evening.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board will meet at 6 p.m.
WILLMAR -- Two men made their first appearances in Kandiyohi County District Court on felony charges connected to a series of thefts at the Little Crow Country Club of New London. Joseph Clayton Schaeffer, 38, of Spicer, is accused of four felonies -- third-degree burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and fifth-degree drug possession.
You can see her as you walk from the Ridgewater College bookstore toward the nearby art gallery -- a sculpture of a round, hugely pregnant woman sitting in a round chair in the corner, her face "beaming" with the help of a desk lamp. The sculpture, named "Enceinte," French for pregnant, is one of the first signs that something interesting is just around the corner in the college's Fine Arts Building.
WILLMAR -- Budget cuts have become a yearly exercise for Minnesota school districts, as they deal with falling enrollment and limits on their funding. But a state budget deficit which has increased more than $1 billion in five months could lead to severe reductions in school budgets statewide. The deficit projections were revealed on Wednesday. Schools al-ready face a delay in receiving their funding because of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's unallotment last summer.
WILLMAR -- In a split ruling, the Minnesota Court of Appeals says that a special education teacher from Willmar did not violate maltreatment rules when she took a child to a time-out room rather than to the bathroom. The child wet her pants in the time-out room. A three-judge panel said that the Minnesota Department of Education did not adequately explain its finding that teacher Lisa Van Der Heiden had committed maltreatment by not taking the child to the restroom. The original complaint about Van Der Heiden's actions grew from a spring 2004 incident in which she chose to address a behavio