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 chance to dance to a live jazz orchestra doesn’t come along all that often. Willmar Music Matters is offering it Saturday night in a fundraiser for the Willmar Public Schools’ music programs. “Jazz in January: A Night of Music” is a dinner, dance and silent auction at the Willmar Conference Center, featuring the 18-piece Mill Pond Jazz Orchestra. High school musicians will perform during dinner and before the orchestra hits the stage.
WILLMAR — Kandiyohi County will be applying for a grant to help combat the spread of aquatic invasive species in and around the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District. The County Board voted Tuesday to move ahead with applying for a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources grant for an $18,500 watercraft inspection and public education program. If the grant is received, the county will sign an agreement with the watershed district to hire employees to work 980 hours over 15 weeks to inspect watercraft leaving lakes in the area.
For people like Rolf Standfuss, this is one of the biggest days in the past few years. It might even be called a Purple Letter Day. (Red just wouldn’t be appropriate.) “I bleed purple,” he said Friday. “I’ve been bleeding purple for a long time.” Standfuss, the senior accountant at United FCS for more than 22 years, was at the first game the Minnesota Vikings ever played in 1961 and has been a fan ever since.
WILLMAR — Dr. Kenneth Flowe has been named the chief medical officer at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. Flowe will also serve as associate administrator for medical staff resources. Flowe will supervise Rice-employed physicians, work directly with all medical staff, oversee and implement quality initiatives and improvements; and serve as a liaison between management and staff. He will also provide direct patient care as an emergency room physician several shifts each month.
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.