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, Minn. — The animal health business Epitopix of Willmar has been sold to Vaxxinova, a Netherlands-based company specializing in the industry. Epitopix is a vaccine research and development company based on the MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar, Minn. It is owned by the Willmar Poultry group of companies. The sale was completed Wednesday, Feb 28, according to a news release from Vaxxinova.
BENSON, Minn. — A Benson man faces 11 felony charges of possessing child pornography in addition to two felony charges related to his alleged attempts to solicit sex with a minor through electronic communications. Bradley Christopher Alsaker, 33, was arraigned Monday in Swift County District Court on the 13 felony charges. His next court appearance will be Dec. 18 in Benson.
WILLMAR, Minn. — A Raymond man was sentenced on Wednesday, Oct. 11, to nine years in prison and 100 years on supervised release for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old and setting his home on fire. Kyle Clarence Rhoda, 48, of Raymond, pleaded guilty a month ago in Kandiyohi County District Court to second-degree criminal sexual conduct and first-degree arson.
WILLMAR, Minn. — Two Willmar Police Department officers are on standard administrative leave after an officer-involved shooting incident Sunday afternoon in northwest Willmar.
WILLMAR — Two men face felony and misdemeanor charges in connection with the alleged theft of a Pepsi pop machine in April from the front of the Drex Mart General Store in Lake Lillian. Dale Gary Greiner, 51, of Cosmos, and Justin Lamoine Hacker, 36, of Waite Park each face felony charges of theft and first-degree criminal damage to property, plus misdemeanor theft charges. The investigation involved deputies from three area sheriff's offices and was aided by a search warrant that had allowed placement of a tracking device on Greiner's vehicle.
WILLMAR, Minn. — Imagine living in a one- or two-room house made of mud bricks. The bricks are a terra cotta color, as is the dust that rises from the dirt path outside your door. Your closest neighbor probably lives only feet away in a community of a half million people, smashed into an area originally intended for 90,000. There's never enough to eat, and, sometimes, the little basic food you have is the currency used to obtain "luxuries" like tea, or underwear. You'd like to have a job but that isn't allowed.
WILLMAR, Minn. — Jeramy John Wharton of Belgrade was sentenced to 12 years in prison Tuesday for raping and impregnating a 14-year-old girl. Wharton, 38, pleaded guilty in March in Kandiyohi County District Court to first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He will be eligible for conditional release after serving 10 years of his sentence. Wharton was given credit for three days already served in jail and ordered to pay $3,090 in court and victim assistance fees from his prison earnings. He will be required to register as a predatory offender.
WILLMAR, Minn. — Ridgewater College President Douglas Allen has told friends and colleagues that he has not been offered a contract renewal and will be leaving the college. In a letter emailed to friends Tuesday afternoon, Allen said he would be leaving the school when his current contract expires at the end of June. Allen has been Ridgewater president for 14 years. Ridgewater is part of Minnesota State, the state's network of four-year and two-year public higher education institutions. Ridgewater has campuses in Willmar and Hutchinson.
WILLMAR, Minn. — Gov. Mark Dayton's proposal to help children and families involves a multi-agency effort to address underlying reasons for the achievement gap in Minnesota's schools. In a conference call with rural Minnesota reporters Wednesday, Dayton and some of his commissioners outlined a plan to address a variety of needs for struggling families. The proposal is part of the governor's budget proposal which will be reviewed and most likely changed by the Legislature before adjournment in May.
WILLMAR – The Facebook post is heartbreaking: Today I lost my daughter to the evils of depression,” Ray Stenglein posted Monday, Dec. 12. Annika Belle Stenglein, 16, daughter of Ray and Kim and a sophomore at Willmar Senior High School, died Monday at her home. She left behind her parents and sister, along with other relatives, and friends and teammates at school.