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 Willmar School District wants to hear everyone's ideas of how to make its next round of budget cuts. For the second year in a row, the district is using its Web site to seek the views of staff and the public. Estimates at this point indicate that the district may need to cut $1.4 million from its budget for the 2010-11 school year.
WILLMAR -- Ridgewater College of Willmar and Hutchinson has announced the creation of a new scholarship fund for low-income students. The Presidential Incentive Scholarship will be funded by federal economic stimulus dollars.
The nature of the shoppers in Willmar started to change Tuesday. "Today's the first day of the season I've noticed a sense of urgency," said Pam Klein, co-owner of Ken's Casuals in downtown Willmar. Customers were coming into the men's clothing store with an idea of what they want and they seemed to be in more of a hurry, she said. "It's been real steady today, and I suspect we'll see the same thing tomorrow," she added. Last-minute shoppers sometimes have a purpose, she said.
In Chelsea Brown's classroom, the stability balls are already waiting under the tables for her kindergarten students to come to school on Jan. 4. The tabletops, however, were covered with boxes stacked two and three deep on Monday afternoon. Of her 110 boxes, she said, she had about half of them unpacked. Down the hall, Kris Egge was trying to decide what to keep in her classroom and what to pack away. "I have a lot," she said as she looked at the boxes.
WILLMAR -- When Ricardo Rodriguez decided to go into the restaurant business a year ago, he discovered a new world of paperwork and regulations, made all the more difficult by a language barrier. Rodriguez said last week that he probably could have gone through the process of opening and operating Los Primos on his own, but it would have been very difficult. Rodriguez has been operating the restaurant and catering business for a little more than a year on Lakeland Drive Southeast. The Willmar Area Multicultural Market and its coordinator Roberto Valdez Jr.
Drive along Lakeland Drive Northeast and take a glance at the house under construction on Cottonwood Drive in the Trentwood Estates neighborhood. This home is the wave of the future. Ten second-year students in the Ridgewater Carpentry Program are working with local architects and a training grant from the Minnesota Renewable Energy Marketplace to build a highly energy efficient home -- as green as they can make it. "Building homes for our carpentry department isn't anything new," said Mike Boehme, Ridgewater's dean of instruction in the technical programs.
WILLMAR -- Mark Dayton has a simple foundation for his campaign to be Minnesota's next governor -- tax the rich. Dayton, a former U.S. senator who left office at the end of 2006, was in Willmar on Wednesday to talk about his plans for the upcoming campaign. He is one of about a dozen candidates from the DFL Party in the 2010 governor's race.
WILLMAR -- Willmar school administrators will be meeting every week in the coming months to discuss potential budget cuts. It's all part of a process the Willmar School Board started Monday by passing a resolution ordering administrators to make recommendations for reducing the district's budget. Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard offered a range of $1.4 million to $3 million for the reductions. The final amount of cuts will be determin-ed by a number of factors, in-cluding how the state handles its budget deficit problem.
WILLMAR -- Property taxes for the Willmar School District will increase about 2 percent in 2010. The School Board adopted a $6.7 million property tax levy Monday evening.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board will meet at 6 p.m.