Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
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LAC QUI PARLE VALLEY — Teachers might be asking the wrong question when trying to help their struggling students. Instead of asking "what is wrong with the student," the appropriate question might be "what has happened to the student?" That's a message from Melissa Hoffman Bodin, an adviser with the DREAM Technical Academy in Willmar and formerly with the MACCRAY Schools. She has learned the answer to the second question. All too often, the students who struggle to learn are the victims of toxic stress.
GRANITE FALLS — A Yellow Medicine County farm couple is appealing a finding that a private ditch on their farm meets the criteria of being a public waterway and will require a 50-foot vegetative buffer. Daryl and Ramona Kuehn of rural Echo urged the Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioners to maintain the county's authority to enforce the state's new buffer law. They cited their situation as an example of why maintaining local control is important to protecting local landowner rights.
RAYMOND — Residents in the MACCRAY School District took a look last week at the proposed project for a single-campus system when the school board hosted the first of three planned public meetings.
RENVILLE — Avian influenza struck the Rembrandt Enterprises barns in Renville in May 2015, forcing the company to depopulate 2 million birds from the egg-laying operation. It began restocking its barns on the eastern edge of Renville in February 2016. As it approaches the one-year anniversary of the restocking effort, the economic shadow left by the avian influenza outbreak of 2015 is still felt. Production has not returned to full capacity. The barns are holding birds, but not the 2 million they once held.
GRANITE FALLS — Two area legislators said the new session is off to a "fast and furious start,'' and so were the issues on Friday as they hosted the first of a round of town hall meetings in Granite Falls. Transportation funding, buffer legislation, bonding for Pioneer Television and the fate of the Appleton prison were among the issues tackled by State Senator Gary Dahms, R-Redwood Falls, and Representative Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent.
LAC QUI PARLE VALLEY — Coming late to class, disrupting a class, or picking on a fellow student are the kinds of behaviors that will earn students in the Benson Schools a visit with Dean of Students Mike Knutson, and a good chance of serving an in-school suspension or other punishment. Now there's an alternative, and it doesn't involve punishment. The Benson Schools have introduced a restorative justice class — an elective class any student may take — and a program in which a student offender meets with a circle of peers.
MONTEVIDEO — Kevin Wald is asking the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners and Montevideo City Council to conduct an open review into a confidential settlement worth $2.4 million with a former hospital surgeon. "This is an open-disclosure, trust issue of the citizens' $2 million settlement money paid out," Wald told the Chippewa County Board on Tuesday afternoon. He brought a set of demands to the commissioners, and later Tuesday evening to City Council members, asking for public disclosure.
MONTEVIDEO — Chris Johnson began working on this country's opioid epidemic long before it became front page news, all because of what he saw as a medical doctor in Minnesota. "Despair," he said of its toll on the addicted and their families. He addressed a room full of health care providers Wednesday evening at the Chippewa County - Montevideo Hospital.
CLARA CITY — Supporters of a bond issue in the MACCRAY School District say the district can improve the educational opportunities it provides students and, in the long run, its economic viability by building a new elementary school and auditorium as part of a single, unified campus. More than two dozen district residents, most of them parents of school-aged children, have joined to promote a "yes" vote on a $38.8 million bond in the Feb. 7 referendum.
CLARA CITY — An informal group uring a "no" vote on the bond issue in front of MACCRAY voters next month says students in the MACCRAY Elementary Schools are getting great educations in a small community setting where they feel safe, their parents are engaged, and their teachers give them the individual attention they need.