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 Sen. Al Franken speaks at college commencements, he urges graduates to hug their parents, "a lot." Franken stopped in Willmar on Saturday on his way to deliver the commencement address at the University of Minnesota Morris. "I'm going to start off by congratulating the parents, because the parents get ignored sometimes in these things," he said. "As a parent who's watched two of my children graduate from college, I know it's an enormous day for them, too."
WILLMAR -- A couple weeks ago, this group of girls may not have been able to describe what an engineer does. Now, they are bubbling with newfound knowledge, and several are talking about the engineering careers they want. The transformation has come from a trip to the "Wow! That's Engineering" conference at Normandale Community College in Minneapolis. Fourteen fifth-grade girls from Roosevelt Elementary School attended the April 27 conference with Roosevelt science teacher Heidi Van der Hagen.
WILLMAR — It can take a Minnesota third-grader six to seven hours over several days to complete state-required tests in reading and math. High school students could soon be required to pass a difficult math test to earn a high school diploma. School districts don’t see test results until the school year is over, making it difficult for them to address students’ academic needs quickly. These are some ways the current testing system frustrates teachers and administrators in the state’s public schools, but things could be changing. The Legislature may be on the verge of rewriting testing
WILLMAR — Hardly anything in the Willmar Middle School classrooms meets current building codes, and conducting lab experiments can be a challenge. That’s why the school is moving to remodel four of the rooms over the next two summers. The remodeling project is expected to cost $360,000. The project will give seventh- and eighth-graders updated science classrooms. Some improvements will be made to the rooms used by sixth-graders, too.
WILLMAR — Roosevelt Elementary School Principal Nathan Cox has accepted a new job and will be leaving the district this summer. Cox, who has been Roosevelt principal for two years, has accepted a job as principal of Oak Park Elementary School in the Stillwater Area Public Schools. “I’m looking forward to it, but I’ve been part of this community for 15 years, so there’s a lot of mixed emotions,” Cox said Friday.
WILLMAR — Beginning Tuesday, registered nurses from several area hospitals will begin advanced training in forensic evidence collection in cases of sexual assault. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program is a 40-hour certification course on evidence collection and how to be an expert witness in court. The students will be nine nurses from Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar and eight nurses from the Douglas County Hospital, Renville County Hospital and Paynesville Area Health Care System.
WILLMAR — Seeing a cat declawed was a new experience for Danish veterinary nursing students visiting Ridgewater College. “We don’t do that in Denmark,” said Helle Noergaard, one of a group of nine Danes visiting Ridgewater last week and this week.
GROVE CITY — If you’ve ever wondered what that food tastes like at barbecue competitions, The Hog-n-The-Road restaurant can show you. The barbecue restaurant opened a couple weeks ago in Grove City. Co-owner and executive chef Chris DeKoster has won awards for his barbecue, and he serves competition-level meats in his restaurant. Hog-n-The-Road is open Wednesday through Saturday evenings — the bar opens at 4 p.m., the kitchen at 5 p.m. The kitchen will close at 10 p.m., but the bar will be open until last call.
WILLMAR — The Salvation Army Mobile Emergency Disaster Canteen located in Willmar, MN has been deployed today to go to Fargo, N.D., in support of disaster relief efforts in that area. The canteen left Willmar this morning and was to arrive in Fargo later today. The National Weather Service has predicted a 40 percent chance of record flooding in Fargo this spring.
CLARA CITY — Mark Weber has named his cancer Buford, and Buford is one big, nasty fella. But before a liver stuffed with tumors can take his life, Weber is making the most of it.