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 — There’s still time for individuals and small businesses to save a little on their 2012 tax bills. John O. Christianson, managing partner of the Christianson and Associates accounting firm in Willmar, said Wednesday that individuals can do reasonably simple things like making an extra house payment, maximizing retirement contributions, or increasing charitable deductions. Businesses can take advantage of deductions for equipment.
WILLMAR — Minority business owners in Willmar are pleased with the community and its welcoming environment for people starting their own businesses. A new study from the University of Minnesota Extension Service looks at the views of business owners and offers suggestions for making the business owners feel more welcome. Kandiyohi County had a 260 percent increase in black population and a 43 percent increase in Latino population from 2000 to 2010.
WILLMAR — The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill advisory from midnight through noon on Christmas Day due to temperatures and wind chills dipping below zero. West central Minnesota is expected to have its coldest Christmas in years. Temperatures are expected to dip to around 10 below Christmas Eve night, and wind chills are expected between 15 below and 25 below, due to a north-northwest wind of about 8 mph.
WILLMAR — Principal Paul Schmitz said the day was going smoothly at Willmar Senior High on Friday. The school was the focus of rampant rumors this week, partly the result of tensions over the school shooting a week ago in Connecticut and partly because of end-of-the-world predictions connected to the end of the Mayan calendar. The rumors were fueled by social media.
WILLMAR — Unsubstantiated rumors of potential plots against the Willmar School District have been circulating in the community this week. School officials and Willmar police have tracked down the sources of the rumors and have found no credible threats to the school district. The rumors have been fueled by social media and by tension caused by the school shootings last week in Newtown, Conn., Senior High Principal Paul Schmitz said. Parents are posting on Facebook about their intentions to keep their kids home from school because of the rumors.
WILLMAR — Willmar Police and Willmar School District officials have investigated rumors about safety issues in the district’s school buildings this week and have found no credible threats to the schools or the community. Parents have made comments on Facebook about the rumors and have said they may keep their children home from school. In a news release Wednesday, Police Chief David Wyffels said the department had traced the sources of some of the rumors and taken action.
PAYNESVILLE — Paynesville Area Secondary School was evacuated and closed Tuesday because of suspected air quality issues that also affected a choir concert Monday evening. The problem was suspected to be carbon monoxide exposure, but that is no longer thought to be the cause. Students in the separate Paynesville Elementary School remained in school for the full day. After-school activities were cancelled for grades K-12. The secondary school has about 500 students in grades 6-12.
WILLMAR — Principal Nathan Cox gathered with his staff before school started Monday at Roosevelt Elementary School in Willmar. “The unthinkable has happened,” he told them, and they had a conversation about what to say to children who asked about the school shooting that occurred Friday in Newtown, Conn. Twenty first-graders and six staff members were murdered Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. The shooter also apparently killed his mother before going to the school.
WILLMAR — The Willmar Public Schools has posted an open letter to the community on its website this afternoon, addressing concerns about the school shootings in Newtown, Conn. In the letter, Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard extends condolences to the community of Newtown and reassures parents about the planning effort that goes into keeping children and staff members safe in local schools. The letter also provides several links to information about how to talk to children about the tragedy in Newtown.
WILLMAR — Gingerbread houses were the big draw Thursday, as about 500 students and parents attended Family Night at Kennedy Elementary School. Along with the fun of “gluing” graham crackers together with white frosting, the evening served other purposes. The goals of the monthly gatherings are to give parents tips for working on reading and math at home, to provide fun activities for families and to build a sense of community.