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Linda Vanderwerf

Reporter

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340

She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She spent her first two years of college at the University of Minnesota - Morris.

In her career, she has covered politics, city and county governments, business, public safety, health care and a wide range of feature stories. She currently covers education and health for the West Central Tribune.

Vanderwerf grew up on a farm between Redwood Falls and Morgan in Redwood County and graduated from Redwood Falls High School, now called Redwood Valley High School.

She speaks English.

More than 9,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported in Minnesota in the past week, and the deaths of 36 people were attributed to COVID-19. Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have been near 400 for the past several weeks.
As director of food and nutrition services for Willmar, Montevideo and New London-Spicer schools, Annette Derouin was always on the lookout for a program that could offer a new way to feed kids. She brought locally grown food to school cafeterias, and has been honored by the state and national school nutrition associations.
After multiple appeals, a Willmar woman has been sentenced to supervised probation for sharing an image, without consent, of a woman engaged in a sex act. The case was dismissed, appealed and sent back to the local court twice and ultimately didn't move forward until the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the law was constitutional.
The Willmar School Board will meet Monday to consider the next school year's budget and seeking bids for a proposed expansion of Willmar Middle School. The board meets at 4:30 p.m. at the Willmar Education and Arts Center.
A tip from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children led to a felony charge against a Litchfield man for disseminating sexual images of minors. He has been sentenced to four years supervised probation with numerous conditions.
Confirmed new cases of COVID-19 continue to add up in the south central region of the state. There were 506 new cases and one death in the last week.
Federal pandemic relief funding has helped keep Willmar Public Schools operating for the past couple years, but as the funding recedes, budget cuts could be on the way. Since three-quarters of the district's budget is in employee pay and benefits, it's likely staff cuts could be coming in 2023.
Dr. Mark Eakes, of Granite Falls, now faces a total of seven felony charges of criminal sexual conduct related to pelvic, rectal or breast exams on four patients from 2019 to 2021. He made his first court appearance March 21 on three felony charges against one alleged victim, and the criminal complaint against him has been amended four times since then. He was in court again June 13 to appear on the seven total charges. In an agreement with the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, he is not practicing medicine while the charges are being resolved.
COVID-19 test results reported to the state in the past week surpassed 11,000 new cases. Nearly 50 deaths were reported, too. In west central Minnesota, one death and nearly 560 cases were reported.
Now serving a prison sentence for failing to register as a predatory offender, Luke Frank, of Benson, will serve two more years in the Swift County Jail after he is released from prison 11 months from now at the end of May 2023. He received the consecutive jail sentences for a guilty plea on two charges of inappropriate sexual contact with two children during a time they and their mother lived with him.