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WILLMAR — Rice Memorial Hospital administrators are seeking to explain significant health insurance premium increases that many Rice employees will see next year. The issue boiled to the fore at a meeting Tuesday night of the Willmar City Council. The council had planned to discuss a pending affiliation agreement involving the city-owned hospital, Affiliated Community Medical Centers and CentraCare Health. Instead, much of the discussion centered on the sticker shock that hit many employees when open enrollment began last week.
WILLMAR — For much of the negotiation process, it was simply referred to as "Newco," or "new company." Last month Affiliated Community Medical Centers, Rice Memorial Hospital and CentraCare Health unveiled the name chosen for the new nonprofit joint entity they hope to implement Jan. 1: Carris Health. The three organizations turned to their own employees for ideas and suggestions. More than 60 were submitted from the staff of ACMC, Rice Hospital and Willmar Medical Services. A few suggestions even came from CentraCare staff.
WILLMAR — Shareholder agreements began arriving late last week in the mailboxes of the 89 physicians who hold ownership shares in Affiliated Community Medical Centers. It is among the final steps as ACMC Health moves toward integration with Rice Memorial Hospital into a new joint entity, known as Carris Health, that will operate as a nonprofit subsidiary of CentraCare Health.
WILLMAR — With two public hearings completed, the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners is ready to proceed with a vote next week on adopting a local option sales tax to help fund transportation projects. Board members were prepared to take formal action at the end of the second hearing Monday, but agreed to wait another week to allow extra time for the public to weigh in. "I've said many times I want people to express themselves," said Rollie Nissen. "I would just like a little more time to do that."
WILLMAR — To prepare an exhibit on World War I, Jill Wohnoutka pored through the storerooms of the Kandiyohi County Historical Society. She unearthed treasures such as a Red Cross quilt, still in impeccable shape and containing the signatures of local women who supported the cause. Two boxes unexpectedly turned up, filled with artifacts.
WILLMAR - The Kandiyohi County Board heard pro and con from the public at a hearing Thursday evening on a proposed countywide sales tax to fund transportation projects. About half a dozen people showed up to hear about the proposal and see the list of road projects earmarked for funding from sales tax revenue if the local tax is enacted. More importantly, it was an opportunity for them to offer testimony, both for and against, before the County Commissioners make a decision.
Voters in the Benson and MACCRAY school districts voted overwhelmingly in favor Tuesday of renewing their operating levies. In the Benson School District, the levy question passed by 827 to 150, allowing the district to renew a $530 per pupil operating levy that is expiring. By a similar margin, MACCRAY voters approved the renewal of a levy $342.36 per pupil. The vote was 506 in favor and 57 against. Contests at the city level also were decided in Benson and Sacred Heart.
WILLMAR — A pair of drainage permits for the railroad bypass project west of Willmar smoothly cleared the hurdle Tuesday for approval by the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners. The two permits, one requested by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and the other by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, were filed this fall as part of the ongoing preparations for starting construction next year of the multimillion-dollar project west of Willmar. Both were unanimously granted following public hearings Tuesday on each permit.
WILLMAR — A 27-year-old Willmar man was sentenced Monday to three years in prison for his role in a brawl last year at a child's birthday party that sent one of the victims to the hospital with a severe head injury. Stanley Gutierrez pleaded guilty in July in Kandiyohi County District Court to felony third-degree assault in connection with the fight, which happened in September 2016 at a Willmar home where a child's birthday party was being hosted.
WILLMAR — Residents of Kandiyohi County have an upcoming chance to comment on a proposed countywide local option sales tax to fund highway projects. The first of two public hearings on the issue will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday in the multi-purpose room at the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building. A second public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 13, also in the multi-purpose room at the Health and Human Services Building. The hearings are an opportunity for the public to ask questions and raise concerns about the sales tax proposal.