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SMSU Ranked 26th Nationally for Best Early Childhood Education Program

Marshall, Minn. — Southwest Minnesota State University is ranked 26th in the nation for Best Early Childhood Education Program for 2020 by

Fifty schools were ranked across the country, and SMSU is the only Minnesota institution to make the list.

When ranking these schools, took into account such factors as tuition, percentage of students who receive financial aid, graduation rate, placement services, career services, and what classes the university accepts as transfer credits for high school students.’s ranking emphasize accessibility, affordability and quality of education, which the ranking firm considers the most important attributes. also mentioned the fact that the program is delivered to students in two ways: online and on campus. It also cited the fact that SMSU allows teacher candidates the chance to enhance their educational experience by becoming student representatives for the Teacher Education Advisory Committee, or by joining the Education Minnesota Aspiring Educators.

Early Childhood teacher candidates also have the opportunity to apply for numerous scholarships that are for Education students only.

“We are excited to receive this recognition,” said Dr. Sonya Vierstraete, Professor of Education and Department Chair. “Our goal for our Early Childhood Education program —  as well as all of our teacher education programs — is to provide teacher candidates with multiple opportunities to apply theory from their courses in their field experiences. We have lab placements throughout the program that allow practical application and fully prepare our teachers to go out and be ready to positively impact the field of education and most importantly, learners,” she said.

To learn more about SMSU’s Early Childhood Education program, contact Dr. Michelle Beach: or Dr. Sonya Vierstraete: or call: 507-537-7254.

Rent - Mortgage and other Housing Assistance Available

MARSHALL, MN, AUGUST 24, 2020 — United Community Action Partnership (UCAP) has been awarded $1.6 million to help families who are struggling to meet their housing related payments through the MN COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP).

“CHAP funds can be used for rent, mortgage, utilities, mobile home lot rent, and mobile home payments,” said Angela Larson, UCAP’s Family Services Director. “We encourage anyone who is behind on their housing related payments to apply as income eligibility guidelines for this program are higher than they have been in the past,” added Larson.

UCAP is one of the local administrators working with families who reside in Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, and Rock Counties.

“CHAP funds need to be spent by December 30, 2020,” said Larson, “so our staff are ready to help assist households in need.”

For more information about CHAP and to learn about other resources, please call your local UCAP office at 507-727-1401.

An on-line application is available at If families in UCAP’s service area use the on-line application, please scroll to Southwest Minnesota and click on the United 

Community Action Partnership line. If needed, UCAP staff can help families walk through the process.

United Community Action Partnership is a non-profit organization that strives to help low and moderate income families improve their lives and move out of poverty.

Meeting Notice


The American Legion Auxiliary will meet on SEPTEMBER 8th @ 9:30 at the Grain Exchange.  Look forward to seeing you!

Naps (Second Harvest)

Nutrition Assistance Program for Seniors (NAPS), sponsored by Second Harvest Heartland distribution will be held at the office of A.C.E. of Southwest Minnesota – Murray County at 2989 Maple Rd., Slayton MN.   Distribution will take place on Thursday, September 10th, from 1:30 – 2:30 pm.  In Fulda distribution is Monday, September 21st, from 1:15-1:45 pm at the Fulda Food Shelf at 305 S Lafayette Ave.  Remember if you cannot be there please, have your proxy pick your items up for you. For more information call Joyce at 507-836-8705.

Get the Dirt

Kathy Schwartz, Murray County Master Gardener

Now is the time to plant and plan for next season. Evaluate your perennial garden. Do you need more color bloom in June, July or August.

Consider ways to improve your landscape. Plant spruce, pine or fir trees or plant ornamental grasses and other tall perennials that will stand up during the snow season. Red twig and yellow twig dogwood add color to your view. Both are easy to grow.

Labor Day marks the beginning of increased lawn care activity. Cooler temperatures and regular rainfall makes this a good time to start a new lawn or repair an existing one.

Information provided by the University of Minnesota Extension Service.

Good News 

By: John Stenen 

I had just finished preaching a funeral when an elderly woman approached me and said, “Pastor John, my husband John is one hundred years old and he does not know Jesus as his Savior and Lord. I believe you could get the gospel through to him. He believes the church is full of hypocrites and wants nothing to do with it. Life has been very difficult with him these many years.” My wife and I drove to their town some distance away; she and John’s wife were praying in the kitchen as I went in to speak with John. He was truly hardened against the gospel. “The church is full of hypocrites,” he kept arguing. This went on for about a half an hour; I then said to him in a bit louder voice, “That’s true sir, there are many hypocrites in the church;   however, Jesus opens His arms to receive you unto Himself and bless you with everlasting life because He loves you dearly, and here you sit, refusing Him and choosing rather to go to hell and spend eternity with all these hypocrites you so despise.” Suddenly he began to weep. He cried for some time. I believe the Holy Spirit was showing him how foolish he had been these many years. When he stopped crying he said to me that he was now ready to receive Jesus Christ into his heart. He did so and was ‘born-again’ (John 3:3). That afternoon, John became a child of God, (John 1:12). John went on to live for two more years and his wife told me that he was so in love with Jesus that he always wanted her to read the Bible to him or play it on the cassette player. She said that those last two years were such a blessing to live with him. He also threw away his chewing tobacco which he had used since he was a young man. What is your excuse for refusing Jesus Christ?   God bless.