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West Central Tribune Minute: Bethesda seeks to rebuild corps of volunteers

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Here’s a look at the top headlines from around west central Minnesota for Sept. 18, 2022.

Bethesda volunteers 002.jpg
Bethesda recreation assistant Jeri Mathison interacts with Joan Harriet Hillenbrand during a Back to School Social on Friday, September 9, 2022.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — Bethesda is opening more and more to the community after more than two years of pandemic restrictions.

And with more openness to the public has come the need to rebuild its corps of volunteers throughout the system of senior care facilities.

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Mary Hanson, a recently retired teacher and new volunteer coordinator, said volunteers can help in many ways. Some even helped during the pandemic by decorating trees and keeping the grounds beautiful, because the public couldn’t come in.

Full story here.

Willmar Middle School expansion may still happen, but not now

Drawing of proposed addition to Willmar Middle School
This drawing shows the proposed addition to Willmar Middle School, looking northeast from Willmar Avenue. The school's current entrance is at far left.
Willmar Public Schools

WILLMAR — A proposed addition to Willmar Middle School is on hold for now, but the idea most likely isn’t dead.

The Willmar School Board voted to reject bids on the project at its Monday meeting. The project has hit numerous roadblocks since early 2020.

The board needed to reject the bids since the project has been delayed.

The addition was planned as a joint project of Willmar Public Schools and the Southwest West Central Service Cooperative. It would have included a new gym and a small alternative learning center for the district. SWWC planned to build an Educational Learning Center for high-need special education students.

The cooperative’s part of the project would have served Level 4 special education students who find traditional school settings difficult to navigate.

Full story here.

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New conservation officers to fill vacant Montevideo, Madison posts

Eighteen graduates completed 16 weeks of training on Sept. 13 at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Academy to launch careers as conservation officers. (Front row, left to right) Assistant Commissioner Bob Meier, Commissioner Sarah Strommen, Choua Khang, Cassie Rice, Violet Ohnstad, Ryan Christenson, Dustin Roemeling, Andrew Ladzinski, Benjamin Ulrich, Matthew Paavola, Mason Bulthuis, Col. Rodmen Smith (Back row, left to right) Brett Fox, Trent Anderson, Jesse Drown, Felicia Znajda, Coby Fontes, Anthony Hams, Hudson Ledeen, Adam Stennett, Dallas Cornell.
Eighteen graduates completed 16 weeks of training on Sept. 13 at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Academy to launch careers as conservation officers. (Front row, left to right) Assistant Commissioner Bob Meier, Commissioner Sarah Strommen, Choua Khang, Cassie Rice, Violet Ohnstad, Ryan Christenson, Dustin Roemeling, Andrew Ladzinski, Benjamin Ulrich, Matthew Paavola, Mason Bulthuis, Col. Rodmen Smith (Back row, left to right) Brett Fox, Trent Anderson, Jesse Drown, Felicia Znajda, Coby Fontes, Anthony Hams, Hudson Ledeen, Adam Stennett, Dallas Cornell.
Photo MnDNR

Two vacant conservation officer bureaus in the Upper Minnesota River Valley area will again be staffed.

Conservation Officers Mason Bulthuis and Violet Ohnstad are among 18 who graduated Tuesday from the 21st Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Academy, according to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Bulthuis will serve the Madison bureau, succeeding Stephen Westby who had begun his career there after graduating from the Academy in 2020. Westby subsequently moved to the Little Falls bureau.

Ohnstad will serve the Montevideo bureau. It has been vacant since the death of Conservation Officer Ed Picht in 2018. Picht had served the Upper Minnesota River Valley area for 11 years.

Full story here.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "West Central Tribune staff report." Often, the "West Central Tribune staff report" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.

The West Central Tribune newsroom can be reached via email:
news@wctrib.com or phone 320-235-1150.
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