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 -- Two men made their first appearances in Kandiyohi County District Court on felony charges connected to a series of thefts at the Little Crow Country Club of New London. Joseph Clayton Schaeffer, 38, of Spicer, is accused of four felonies -- third-degree burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and fifth-degree drug possession.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board will meet at 6 p.m.
You can see her as you walk from the Ridgewater College bookstore toward the nearby art gallery -- a sculpture of a round, hugely pregnant woman sitting in a round chair in the corner, her face "beaming" with the help of a desk lamp. The sculpture, named "Enceinte," French for pregnant, is one of the first signs that something interesting is just around the corner in the college's Fine Arts Building.
WILLMAR -- Budget cuts have become a yearly exercise for Minnesota school districts, as they deal with falling enrollment and limits on their funding. But a state budget deficit which has increased more than $1 billion in five months could lead to severe reductions in school budgets statewide. The deficit projections were revealed on Wednesday. Schools al-ready face a delay in receiving their funding because of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's unallotment last summer.
WILLMAR -- In a split ruling, the Minnesota Court of Appeals says that a special education teacher from Willmar did not violate maltreatment rules when she took a child to a time-out room rather than to the bathroom. The child wet her pants in the time-out room. A three-judge panel said that the Minnesota Department of Education did not adequately explain its finding that teacher Lisa Van Der Heiden had committed maltreatment by not taking the child to the restroom. The original complaint about Van Der Heiden's actions grew from a spring 2004 incident in which she chose to address a behavio
The Willmar Area Learning Center offers a safe and smaller place to go to school, one of its students told the Willmar School Board. "I can get more of a connection with teachers," a student identified as Ana said, and she feels safe there. "If there's a fight, they take care of it," she added. The board heard a progress report about the district's alternative programs last week during its monthly work session.
A long time ago, there were people who were pilgrims, and the Indians helped them. That was Abby Clancy's take on the first Thanksgiving. The 6-year-old recounted that story Wednesday while she and the other kindergarteners at the former Lincoln Elementary School enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast.
WILLMAR -- A new state law regarding restraints on special education students could increase the cost of staff training for school districts in 2011. Special Education coordinator Susan Smith gave a report on the district's programs Monday at the Willmar School Board's monthly work session. The district has 513 students who receive special education services and another 51 special education students who attend school in other districts for a variety of reasons.
SPICER -- The House of Jacobs had one of its busiest days of the year on Monday, shipping boxes filled with lefse so they arrive in time for Thanksgiving. Now they will move into a higher gear for the next month, preparing and shipping the Scandinavian holiday treat all over the country before Christmas. The House of Jacobs retail store in Willmar may have closed in August 2008, but the company is still operating and busy as ever when it's time for lefse. Owner Dennis Jacobs has continued to make and sell his popular product via the Internet from his Spicer location and at two local busines
WILLMAR -- The students were so intent on designing and painting their Chinese opera masks that they hardly took notice of the strangers in their classroom. That just impressed the visitors from the University of Minnesota's Co-nfucius Institute even more. Director Joan Brzezinski and Assistant Director Yu Wang visited Willmar Senior High to observe and evaluate the school's Chinese language classes. "We love for them to visit," said Senior High Principal Rob Anderson.