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 -- A majority of adults in the United States probably know that Barack Obama is the president, and Joe Biden is the vice president. But how many people know the number of amendments there are in the U.S. Constitution? Can they name their U.S. representative or senators? How much do they know about the Supreme Court? For legal residents of the United States who wish to become citizens, the answers to those questions are critical. Prospective citizens must learn the answers to 100 questions about the country's history and government.
It's frustrating for parents to watch their children struggle in school and not know how to help them.
WILLMAR -- There has been no spike in swimming-related illnesses in the Willmar area, and the Dorothy Olson Aquatic Center will continue to operate as usual, city officials said today. Steve Brisendine, director of Willmar Community Education and Recreation, said he had spoken to a representative of the local medical community today.
WILLMAR -- The Dorothy Olson Aquatic Center in Willmar will open at noon today as scheduled. The pool has not been closed, but rumors of closure are circulating in the community and on Facebook. "We have no knowledge that there is anything wrong with our pool," Steve Brisendine, director of Community Education and Recreation, said this morning. Brisendine said he has received questions about the rumors and will provide updates for the community as he learns more.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board will likely do its business for the rest of the year with just six members. The board Monday accepted the resignation of board member Eric Roberts Monday afternoon. Roberts is leaving the board be-cause he sold his house and has moved outside school district boundaries, according to his letter of resignation.
WILLMAR -- A 56-year-old Eagle Lake man was electrocuted Sunday evening while working on his boat lift at his home in the 3900 block of North Eagle Road. According to a release from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Department, Brian Van Engen was moving his boat lift when it came into contact with an extension cord that had been rubbed bare. The cord had been used to supply power to the electric boat lift. Van Engen went under the water, and a neighbor unplugged the extension cord and pulled him from the water. CPR was started while authorities were called.
WILLMAR -- There's a chance of thunderstorms today, though severe weather is not expected in the Willmar area, where the Sonshine Christian music festival is running through Saturday night. This afternoon is expected to be mostly cloudy with a high near 80, and there's a 20 percent chance of showers, according to information from the National Weather Service. Thunderstorms will also be possible late Friday afternoon through Saturday evening.
WILLMAR -- It seems that the week of the Sonshine Christian music festival in Willmar often brings excessive heat, thunderstorms or both. Holding true to form, 2012 Sonshine week will have some heat and maybe some storms. The Willmar area isn't expected to see an extreme heat wave like that of a week ago. Highs Thursday are expected to be around 90 with mostly sunny skies, according to the National Weather Service. High temperatures for the rest of the week will be in the 80s, with predicted highs of 84 on Friday and 88 on Saturday.
WILLMAR -- The city of Cosmos is seeking state bonding assistance to help replace its public library, which burned down in February 2011. The library was destroyed by fire along with a collection of about 9,000 items, including historic references. Cosmos applied for $600,000 from a pool of $47.5 million in state bonding funds.
WILLMAR -- Fireworks are a traditional part of the Fourth of July for many people, but safety officials urge people to remember that fireworks can be dangerous in the wrong hands, and some are illegal. Some attention to basic safety precautions can prevent problems and increase enjoyment for families that choose to purchase real fireworks. Fireworks that fly or explode are illegal in Minnesota, but things like sparklers are allowed. "We just recommend having a pail of water nearby, so they can make sure they are completely out," said Willmar Deputy Fire Chief Howard Carlson. Carlson also r