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 city and schools of Willmar are featured players in "Warehoused," a documentary about refugees to premiere around the world Tuesday, which is World Refugee Day. The movie will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Willmar Education and Arts Center auditorium. Admission is free, and the community is invited to attend. The film is 80 minutes long and is expected to end at dusk, when Muslims observing Ramadan will break their daily fast.
WILLMAR — The 2017-18 budget approved this week by the Willmar School Board reflects the many changes coming for the district this year in both increased revenue and expenses. The School Board adopted the 2017-18 budget at its meeting this week.
WILLMAR — So far, projects in the Willmar Public Schools building program are under budget. Voters approved the $52.35 million bond referendum in May 2015. It included a new elementary school and additions at the middle and high schools. Remodeling and maintenance projects were also part of the total. There were some cost overruns on a Middle School science classroom addition, because the school needed to install a new fire suppression system. However, bids on the new school and a Senior High gym addition have been less than estimates.
WILLMAR — Twenty or 30 years from now, children who walk into Lakeland Elementary School in January will point to the school and say, "I was there on the first day." Anticipating the pride decades of students will feel in their school makes the multiple layers of planning required all worth it, according to Willmar Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Holm.
WILLMAR — Three candidates will compete in the Aug. 22 special election to fill a vacancy on the Willmar School Board. Mary Amon, Katherine E. McGill and Monica Villars filed to run before the filing period closed Tuesday afternoon. The person elected Aug. 22 will succeed the late Jared Anez, who died in March. Anez was chairman of the School Board. The person who is elected will serve the remainder of Anez's term through the end of 2018. Until the election, the School Board is operating with six members.
WILLMAR — A Willmar man was sentenced to a year in jail and ordered to register as a predatory offender for having sex with a 14-year-old girl at his home in January. Chase John Hodapp, 26, of Willmar, was sentenced to serve 365 days in the Kandiyohi County Jail on a felony charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He will receive credit for one day already served in jail.
WILLMAR — A Willmar man who gave methamphetamine to an 11-year-old boy was sentenced Friday to jail time and chemical dependency treatment. Travis Richard Summerlet, 29, of Willmar, was charged in October in Kandiyohi County District Court with three felonies for storing meth in the presence of a child, permitting a child to use meth and for fifth-degree drug possession. In a plea agreement, two charges were dismissed, and Summerlet was sentenced for the drug possession charge.
LAKE LILLIAN — The Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office has released the name of the man whose body was found in Big Kandiyohi Lake Friday evening. The man was identified as Kim Stahl, 56, of Blomkest, according to a news release from the Sheriff's Office. Fishermen found Stahl's body floating on Big Kandi shortly after 6 p.m. Friday. Stahl's boat was also found on the lake. Stahl was pulled from the lake, and CPR was started on shore. Stahl was pronounced dead at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar.
LAKE LILLIAN — The body of a 56-year-old man was found in Big Kandiyohi Lake Friday evening. The Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office received a report that fishermen had found a person floating in the lake shortly after 6 p.m. Friday, according to a news release from the Sheriff's Office. The man was pulled into the boat and taken to Big Kandi Lake County Park East, where CPR was started. The man was transported to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar, where he was pronounced dead. The man's identity has not been released.
WILLMAR — Joseph Alan Schleeter, 32, of New London, made his first court appearance Thursday on eight felony charges of violating a domestic abuse no-contact order. Bail was set at $50,000, and his next court date on the charges is July 31. Earlier this month, Schleeter was convicted of two felony domestic assault charges by a jury in Kandiyohi County District Court in connection with a January 2016 domestic assault on a woman at her rural New London home.