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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SPICER -- Dorie Duininck looked out the door leading to her deck Tuesday afternoon and called out to her husband Todd, "Look at the clouds." As they watched the clouds turning and churning in the sky, she grabbed her cell phone and started taking pictures with its camera. Duininck's images caught the formation of a funnel cloud as it dropped from the clouds on its way to Spicer. She took the photos from the deck of their home on the south side of Elkhorn Lake. "Not only the clouds were turning; it was the rain and everything," she said.
SPICER -- Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog said a tornado was sighted on the ground at 4:42 p.m. Tuesday southwest of Spicer. Spotters reported that it traveled on the ground northeast for seven to eight miles, part of that over Green Lake. It was last reported on County Road 4 near the fishing pier just before 5 p.m. Kandiyohi County Emergency Management issued a statement Tuesday evening saying that no storm-related injuries had been reported. Hartog said there was a lot of tree and roof damage.
WILLMAR -- A teacher from Harbin, China, will be working at Willmar Senior High for the coming school year. A grant from the U.S. State Department will pay for Bai Jinguo's year in Willmar. The school district learned of the grant at the end of the last school year and recently learned more about the teacher who will be coming to Willmar. Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard told the Willmar School Board about Bai at its Monday meeting. Bai will work with Willmar's Chinese teacher Todd Lynum in the district's growing Mandarin Chinese program.
WILLMAR -- Washington Learning Center will be listed for sale at an asking price of $550,000. The Willmar School Board adopted a resolution closing the building and approved a real estate listing agreement with Fenstra Real Estate. The board conducted a brief public hearing Monday afternoon on the closing of Washington and Lincoln Elementary School. No one from the public asked to address the issue, and the hearing was opened and closed within a few minutes. In the regular School Board meeting that followed, the board adopted separate resolutions closing the buildings.
Wednesday morning, the moving crew at Roosevelt Elementary School faced a cafeteria packed wall to wall and six feet deep with moving boxes. By mid afternoon, they had delivered more than three-quarters of the boxes and other equipment to classrooms throughout the building.
RENVILLE -- The Renville County West School Board has adopted a budget that reflects less state aid because of fewer students. The district's overall budget projects revenue and expenditures of about $6.5 million. Revenue falls about $4,000 short of expenditures in the budget. However, the general fund, which pays for day-to-day operating expenses, is balanced at $6.06 million in revenue and expenditures.
Minnesota students as a whole scored about the same on reading and math tests in 2009 as they did in 2008. But that won't be good enough to keep more than half the state's school districts from being labeled as underperforming under the federal No Child Left Behind education law. The Department of Education published results Wednesday for seven grades worth of testing in reading and math.
WILLMAR -- The manikins in Ridgewater College's SimLab L1 are ready to bleed, vomit or give birth, all on command. The three life-size manikins -- a man, a pregnant woman and a baby -- are the stars of the college's mobile simulation training lab, which was unveiled Thursday afternoon on the Willmar campus. The lab will be available to provide on-site training to health care providers throughout the area. It includes an emergency room and a control room/debriefing room. Equipment in the lab is state-of-the-art, including the manikins. There's the baby Hal, who can cry, grunt and turn blue.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board has approved a set of new policies governing the district's new elementary attendance areas. The policies include a process for asking to transfer from one school to another.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board has approved a $41 million operating budget for the 2009-10 school year. The board voted unanimously Monday to approve the budget. It reflects $2.7 million in budget cuts the board approved in the spring, including staff cuts and fee increases. The budget also reflects changes in revenue sources. A bit less money is coming from state government.