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 -- Rice Memorial Hospital has increased the precautions to be taken by people visiting loved ones in the hospital, to prevent exposure to the flu. Visitors must wash or sanitize their hands and put on masks before entering patient rooms. Those wanting to visit someone in the Pediatric or Maternity departments must stop at a nurses' desk before visiting. The restrictions went into effect Tuesday afternoon. Read more about this development in the Wednesday edition of the West Central Tribune.
Many area superintendents hope that their school enrollment figures are stabilizing after a decade or more of sharp decline. However, the enrollment outlook for districts in west central Minnesota appears to be a mixed bag. Many school districts have incoming kindergarten classes that are smaller than the senior classes about to graduate, and they expect to see that trend continue for a while. Only a few districts have larger incoming classes and more students in their elementary grades. Districts are split when it comes to spring to fall enrollment fluctuations.
WILLMAR -- Three days off from school later this week may help slow down the spread of flu-like illnesses in schools, Willmar Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard said Monday. Kjergaard presented a pandemic flu plan to the Willmar School Board at its Monday meeting. Kjerga-ard said children in the district have been absent with flu-like illnesses. However, there's no way to know how many of them actually have the H1N1 novel influenza, because clinics do not test for the virus in most cases. H1N1, commonly called swine flu, has spread worldwide since being identified in Mexico last spring. Last
SVEA -- A 13-year-old boy was shot in a hunting accident shortly before noon Saturday in Fahlun Township. The boy was airlifted from the scene and taken to North Memorial Hospital. No information about his condition was available Sunday evening. Authorities did not release his name. The incident occurred near the intersection of Kandiyohi County Road 3 and County Road 4 in Fahlun Township, according to a release from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's office.
Hey, football fans, we've got some big rivalry games coming up with Wisconsin teams. What are your predictions? Will the Gophers be able to reclaim Paul Bunyan's axe? Will Favre and the Vikings beat the Packers? You can let us know what you think at www.facebook.com/westcentraltribune or twitter.com/wctrib. You can e-mail comments to reporter Linda Vanderwerf at firstname.lastname@example.org
A counselor at Ridgewater College in Willmar has used his personal interest in budgeting to help students. It isn't in Matt Gustafson's job description, but he offers his budgeting advice to students trying to figure out how to stretch their financial aid checks to cover expenses. Gustafson, 30, is in his fourth year at Ridgewater. He said he's always been careful with his money, but his serious budgeting started when he finished graduate school and started working at Ridgewater. "I created a spreadsheet for myself," he said.
WILLMAR -- The food service staff at Willmar Senior High doesn't seem to have trouble getting fruits and vegetables into teenagers. Head cook Bonnie Nordmeyer said students have numerous opportunities to eat fruits and vegetables at the school.
Weather forecasts for west central Minnesota predict patchy frost tonight in Stearns, Kandiyohi, Meeker, Pope and Swift counties. The lows in those counties are predicted to be in the mid-30s, but some areas could see frost after midnight, according to National Weather Service forecasts. In areas south of those counties, low temperatures around 40 are expected tonight. Highs Wednesday are expected to be in the mid-60s, and lows will be in the 40s.
RAYMOND -- It was a little scary to go into business last April, considering the condition of the economy at the time, said Jessica Heida. But Heida, who just turned 29, took the plunge with Heida's Corner Café in Raymond. She joined at least a half dozen other businesses in the community owned by people 30 or younger. The newest member of the club is S&D Repair, owned by Brian Sietsema, 29, and John-Adam Day, 30. Their business opened along Highway 23 about a month ago. Some of the businesses have already been around for a while already.
Highly-motivated students and a warm greeting from the staff have made visiting Chinese teacher Bai Jinguo feel welcome in his first month at Willmar Senior High. Bai clasped his hands and bowed slightly to greet the Willmar School Board on Monday in a traditional Chinese greeting. Bai told the board about his background and talked about his first impressions of Willmar during a work shop meeting.