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 Willmar man appeared Thursday on multiple charges including the theft of a motor vehicle valued at $30,000 Carlos Lee Rey Garza, 25, made his first court appearance in Kandiyohi County District Court. The court ordered bail set at $50,000 unconditional and $5,000 with conditions that include he have no contact with the alleged victims.
WILLMAR — U.S. Highway 71 north of state Highway 23 will be finished Friday, and the detour will be lifted around 8 p.m., according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The project included resurfacing Highway 71 from the junction of Highway 23 to just north of state Highway 9 in Kandiyohi County. In addition to the resurfacing project, MnDOT constructed left and right turning lanes and a bypass lane on the same stretch of road. Also added was a pedestrian underpass as part of a trail extension from New London to Sibley State Park.
NEW LONDON — New London-Spicer teachers Chad Powers and Roxanne Schmiesing have been honored in the Voya Financial Unsung Heroes Initiative for a plan to teach students first responder skills. The two received a $2,000 grant in the program and will later compete for larger prizes. The Unsung Heroes program recognizes teachers who work to inspire students in their classrooms, according to a Voya news release.
GROVE CITY — Voters in the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District will decide this fall on a $15.5 million bond issue to update buildings in the district. The proposal would make improvements at ACGC's elementary school in Atwater, which houses prekindergarten through fourth grade, and the junior/senior high school in Grove City where grades 5 through 12 are located. "We aren't asking for something brand new," said Superintendent Nels Onstad. "We're asking to update what we have."
WILLMAR — A groundbreaking public/private partnership between local companies and Willmar Public Schools has begun with its first dozen students at Willmar Senior High. The new Manufacturing and Production course this fall will take students who have an interest in areas like welding, drafting, mechanics and construction and give them a hands-on learning experience with five local businesses.
WILLMAR — The Willmar School Board will meet at 4:30 p.m. Monday in the boardroom at the Willmar Education and Arts Center. The board is expected to adopt an updated employee handbook and to discuss the operating levy on the November election ballot and the schedule of work sessions for the school year. The board sets aside two parts of the meeting for public comment. Comments on agenda items are allowed at the beginning of the meeting. Comments not related to the agenda are allowed at the end of the meeting.
DAWSON – A Dawson man was uninjured in a two-vehicle crash Friday that sent a Marietta woman to the Madison Hospital. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, a Dodge Ram driven by Zachary Charles Stoffel, 27, of Dawson, was waiting at a red light at the intersection of Highways 75 and 212 when it was rear-ended by a Chevrolet Impala driven by Tracy Mary Polzine, 21, of Marietta.
OLIVIA — A Sacred Heart man has been charged with four felony counts and one gross misdemeanor count of criminal sexual conduct for allegedly sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in May. Steven Allen Rice, 59, made his first court appearance on the charges Friday in Renville County District Court. His next court date is Sept. 26.
OLIVIA — A Hector man accused of causing serious injuries to a woman and to himself after causing their vehicle to crash has pleaded guilty. Damon Dwight Wiederhoft, 29, of Hector, formerly of Cosmos, pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon in Renville County District Court to one felony charge of criminal vehicular operation with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more. The crash occurred July 30, 2017, on a rural road north of Stewart and southeast of Cosmos. He is to be sentenced Oct. 25. A jury trial had been scheduled to begin Wednesday.
WILLMAR — In his first month in Willmar, Scott Wallner says he's seen many things he likes. Wallner, the new community education director for Willmar Public Schools, has met lots of people and has explored the town's ethnic restaurants with his wife. He was able to visit a Rockin' Robbins concert last month. The district's work this summer to update buildings and the presence of a new elementary school are all pluses for Willmar, he said.