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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Extending the state sales tax to non-essential personal services and to digital downloads is the latest proposal to hold off deeper cuts in state aid to rural cities. The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities wants to use the tax to provide about $60 million in annual revenue. The advocacy group for rural cities also wants the Legislature to prevent Gov. Tim Pawlenty from making more unallotments to Local Government Aid this year. Coalition Executive Director Tim Flaherty said LGA for cities makes up 2.9 percent of the state budget.
Extending the state sales tax to non-essential personal services and to digital downloads is the latest proposal to hold off even deeper cuts in state aid to rural cities. The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities wants to use the tax to provide about $60 million in annual revenue. The advocacy group for rural cities also wants the Legislature to prevent more unallotments to Local Government Aid this year. Coalition Executive Director Tim Flaherty said LGA for cities makes up 2.9 percent of the state budget.
The kindergarteners at Roosevelt Elementary celebrated their 100th day in school this week. That day also marked the 34th day in their new classrooms. The Roosevelt kindergarten classes started in the fall at the former Lincoln Elementary School while the new Roosevelt kindergarten wing was finished. Roosevelt will celebrate the opening of the new kindergarten wing with a public open house and a Dad's Belgian Waffles feed from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.
WILLMAR -- Ridgewater College could face state aid losses of several million dollars in the coming years, as the state and the nation come to grips with the aftermath of the recession. Ridgewater College, along with the other schools in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, needs to begin planning now to address potential revenue shortfalls in 2011 and beyond, MnSCU Vice Chancellor Laura King said Tuesday. King, the system's chief financial officer, was in Willmar to present the Excellence in Financial Management 2009 award to the Ridgewater financial staff.
WILLMAR -- More than a dozen teaching jobs could be saved for next year if the Willmar School Board adopts the budget reduction list discussed Monday. At the board's work session meeting Monday, Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard presented a list of items to be removed from the $2.5 million worth of cuts initially proposed. The board is now aiming for a budget reduction of $1.7 million from the general fund and using $255,000 from reserve funds to cut a total of about $2 million in expenses from the general fund budget for the 2010-11 school year. A final decision on the budget cuts is expected
PAYNESVILLE -- The women at the Sweetwater Cotton Shoppe in Paynesville and thousands of other entrepreneurs around the country are hoping The 3/50 Project will help customers remember to support their local businesses. Co-owners Mickey and April Zimmer, a mother-daughter team, have done well in their 6-year-old quilting and sewing business, but they've seen other businesses come and go. So has Karlene Gray, owner of Bloom, a flower and coffee shop in Paynesville.
PAYNESVILLE -- The Sweetwater Cotton Shoppe of Paynesville will be one of 10 quilting shops from the United States and Canada featured in the Spring 2010 issue of Quilt Sampler magazine. The magazine is published by Better Homes and Gardens. It is published twice a year and features 10 shops in each issue. Co-owners Mickey and April Zimmer, plan to have a celebration of the magazine issue at their shop on May 15. The mother-daughter team said they were still a little stunned to be included in the magazine. "We're still not sure it's real," Mickey Zimmer said.
WILLMAR -- Ben and Bella will be making their television debut in Willmar next week. Ben, a young bear, and Bella, a friendly hippo, are the stars of a new read-along series, "Ben and Bella Read Along," produced for Willmar Regional Access Channels. The series is the brainchild of WRAC coordinator Rudy Vigil and Jodi Wambeke, Early Childhood Education coordinator for Willmar Community Education and Recreation. They adapted information from the Discover English with Ben and Bella materials from Encyclopedia Britannica. Britannica officials have been so pleased with the results that they hav
WILLMAR -- Willmar School Board members said Thursday that they would like to be able to develop a long-term budget plan, but it's very difficult when funding levels change from year to year. Board Chairman Brad Schmidt and board member Dion Warne, a former chairman, spoke about school budgets at the Community Connection series at Kennedy Elementary School. About 30 people from the community attended. The series will feature four more noon-hour presentations about community issues in March, April and May.
SPICER -- Dr. Karen Nelson of Spicer has announced her candidacy as a Republican for the Seventh District seat in the U.S. Congress. The seat is currently held by Democrat Rep. Collin Peterson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. Three other Republican candidates are running: Melva Larson of Bagley, Glen Menze of Starbuck and Lee Byberg of Willmar. Nelson is a psychiatrist who served eight years on the New London-Spicer School Board and also served as board chair.