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 Paynesville bypass on state Highway 23 should be finished sometime this summer. Work will begin this summer, too, on two stretches of U.S. Highway 212 west of Montevideo, part of an ongoing effort to improve Highway 212 to the South Dakota border. These west central Minnesota projects will be part of the Minnesota Department of Transportation's 2012 construction plan, which will cost $1.1 billion and include 316 projects around the state. Commissioner Thomas Sorel said the projects will create thousands of jobs in construction crews and for suppliers and vendors.
WILLMAR -- Sam Nelson, a history instructor at Ridgewater College, has been named a Fulbright Scholar for 2012-13. He will teach at the Kazan Institute of Economics, Ma-nagement and Law in Russia for the entire 2012-13 academic year, according to a news release from the college. Nelson plans to teach American history and government, Hollywood history and oral history, beginning in September. The start date could vary, depending on the needs of the college, according to the release. "It's broadening from a professional perspective, to experience another culture and to be exposed to the stud
WILLMAR -- Sam Nelson, a history instructor at Ridgewater College, has been named a Fulbright Scholar for 2012-13. Nelson will teach at the Kazan Institute of Economics, Management and Law in Russia for the entire 2012-13 academic year. The grant was awarded by the U.S. State Department and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Nelson plans to teach American history and government, Hollywood history and oral history, beginning in September.
WILLMAR -- Business and homes in Willmar and Raymond will benefit over the next two years from a state grant worth nearly $1.1 million. The Willmar City Council approved several resolutions Monday evening to pave the way for the Small Cities Development Project funding. The two-year grant will help downtown businesses make improvements and will also rehab owner-occupied homes and rental homes in southwest Willmar and in Raymond. Sue Johnson, a housing specialist with the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, said the program already has applications for the money. The grant will provide fun
Not many kids in rural Minnesota can say they've been in the same room as a Stradivarius violin, much less heard it played by a person who seems to have been born to hold it. Orchestra students in Willmar got the chance Monday when 17-year-old prodigy violinist Chad Hoopes performed for them on a violin made by Antonio Stradivari in 1713. Hoopes has been visiting schools around Minnesota as the Classical Minnesota Public Radio artist-in-residence with MPR Classical host Steve Staruch.
WILLMAR -- Ridgewater College's $13.9 million proposed remodeling project has been included in all three bonding bills proposed at the Legislature. The Minnesota Senate bonding proposal was made public Wednesday. All three bills provide the full $13.9 million that would pay for the second phase of a remodeling, demolition and expansion effort. The first phase was approved several years ago and has been completed. The money in this year's bonding bill would pay for improvements and expansion of facilities for the college's agriculture and veterinary technician programs.
LITCHFIELD -- Customers have been crowding into the new Sonora's Mexican bar and restaurant in Litchfield for the past month. "They say they've been waiting for this kind of restaurant," owner Juan Perez said as he sat in a booth after a lunch hour last week. The customers also like that it's a local restaurant, he said. A previous Mexican restaurant at the same U.S.
WILLMAR -- Hannah Bateman makes herself a chef's salad for lunch nearly every day in the Willmar Senior High cafeteria. Often, the salad includes bright, fresh greens from the school district's greenhouse on the MinnWest Technology Campus. "It's pretty nice," Hannah said as she dug into her salad on Monday. Hannah, a 16-year-old junior, said she can tell on sight if the greenhouse produce is being used on the cafeteria's salad bar. "It looks a lot fresher ... it's greener," she said.
WILLMAR -- Enrollment is holding steady for the Willmar School District after more than a decade of steady decline. Business and Finance Director Pam Harrington told the Willmar School Board Monday the computer models the district uses had predicted steady enrollment, and that seems to be happening, with slight fluctuations up and down. Enrollment at the end of January was 4,045 students, eight students more than in December and one more student than in January 2011. For more than a decade, enrollment has declined nearly every year.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board took action Monday to discontinue the equivalent of 50 non-tenured faculty positions, but many of the teachers affected are likely to be rehired next fall. The action is an annual part of the district's budget planning process. More than 50 full-time or part-time non-tenured faculty members will receive a letter from the board saying that the action was taken because of the financial condition of the district. Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard and Human Resources Director Liz Fischer said the district takes this action because the district's needs for the ne