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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he new Smart Play Spot at the Willmar Public Library wasn't officially open, but it was already drawing little kids like a magnet this week. The Smart Play Spot will have a grand opening celebration beginning at 8 a.m. Monday at the library, 410 Fifth St. S.W. The Minnesota Children's Museum built the Play Spot, which reflects the local area. The Children's Museum used Legacy Grant funding for half the cost, and local funds were raised for the other half.
WILLMAR -- Fifty veterans and their families will pick up turkeys and all the trimmings for a Thanksgiving meal today from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Men's Auxiliary of Willmar. It's a way for the men's auxiliary at Post 1639 to show gratitude to veterans on the holiday. Auxiliary president Glen Lotthammer said the group first came up with the idea of giving away turkeys. "We felt we should do a little bit more directly for vets and for their families," he said. The idea "just kinda took off from there," he said.
WILLMAR -- It's OK for parents to set limits on how much their teenagers use technology. For instance, phones can be turned off at 10 p.m. or kept out of bedrooms.
WILLMAR -- Enrollment in Willmar Public Schools has continued to climb this fall, and that could bring more money to the school district. The district started the school year with 135 students more than it had in June. As of Nov. 2, the district had added another 49 students, for a total of 4,184 students.
WILLMAR -- Bremer Bank will host a chicken nugget-eating contest Wednesday in one of the more unusual United Way fundraisers in the area this fall. The United Way of West Central Minnesota will benefit from the competition at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the bank's lobby.
WILLMAR -- Community Christian School is a "treasure chest" to John Chapin. "Our parents send us their treasures," said Chapin, administrator of the 206-student private school in Willmar. Chapin retired last spring as president of Willmar Electric Service.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board will meet at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in the board room on the first floor of the Willmar Education and Arts Center, 611 Fifth Street S.W. The board usually meets Mondays but moved this meeting to Tuesday because of the Veterans Day holiday. During the meeting, the board will canvass the vote from the Nov. 6 election, making the results official.
WILLMAR -- Many Minnesota colleges will be waiving application fees next week to encourage high school students to apply early in their senior year. Willmar Senior High is a host site for the statewide initiative Minnesota College Application Week that runs Monday through Friday. The effort targets low-income students and those who would be the first generation in their families to attend college.
WILLMAR -- The former Lincoln Elementary School will be open from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Monday for former students and community members who would like to walk through the building again before it is sold. The Willmar School District is selling the building at 511 Julii St. S.E. to the Casa de Misericordia church of Willmar. The sale is expected to close next week. School Board member Mike Reynolds, who attended Lincoln, suggested the open house and said this week that he has heard from people who attended Lincoln over seven decades.
WILLMAR -- Voters have chosen to return Sen. Gary Dahms, R-Redwood Falls, to the Minnesota Senate to represent the new District 16. With 97 percent of the precincts reporting early Wednesday, Dahms was leading DFLer Ted L.