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WILLMAR—Greater Minnesota Family Services is keenly feeling the pinch: many mental health workforce needs and not enough workers. In one community, the agency has been advertising for a therapist for two years. In all that time, "we have gotten no applications," said George Dubie, executive director. "That says so much to me."
WILLMAR—Kandiyohi County will likely issue bonds to cover its matching share of a state grant being sought to improve broadband services in unserved and underserved rural areas of the county. In partnership with Consolidated Telephone Co. of Brainerd, the county is eyeing a $10 million broadband expansion that will serve residents in the northern part of the county. If the application to Minnesota's border-to-border broadband technology grant program is successful, construction will start next year.
WILLMAR—Northern Kandiyohi County has been selected as the preferred area for a broadband expansion project that will be submitted next month for possible state grant funding. The proposed target area was unveiled Tuesday to the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners. Deciding on a service area is one of the key steps as the county and Consolidated Telephone Co. of Brainerd, the county's private-sector partner, ready themselves to apply for a share of $35 million through the state's border-to-border broadband grant program. Applications are due Oct. 3.
WILLMAR—The Kandiyohi County Drug-Free Communities Coalition was among nearly 700 programs across the U.S. to be awarded federal funding to prevent underage substance abuse. The Kandiyohi County coalition received $125,000 for the upcoming fiscal year to support its work of involving and engaging the community in preventing the misuse of prescription drugs, marijuana, tobacco and alcohol by youths. The local initiatives use evidence-based practices in prevention. Grant awards were announced this past week by the White House Drug Policy Office.
WILLMAR—The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing Tuesday on a property tax abatement requested by the Kandi Mall. The hearing is the first item on the agenda for the regular commissioners' meeting, starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the board room of the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building, 2200 23rd St. N.E. The new owners of the mall requested the tax abatement to help them finance the rehabilitation of the former Kmart space, on the south end of the mall.
Citing frustrations with declining market share and health professional recruitment by Affiliated Community Medical Centers, Granite Falls Municipal Hospital has announced plans to establish its own provider-based clinic. Doing so will put Granite Falls in a better position to keep health care services local, reduce the cost of care and attract qualified health care professionals, hospital leaders said in a statement issued Wednesday.
WILLMAR—Plans were officially unveiled Wednesday for an $11 million new home for the Willmar Surgery Center. The new facility, a joint venture between Affiliated Community Medical Centers and Rice Memorial Hospital, will replace the existing surgery center on the south end of the ACMC campus. The project will take about one year to complete. The new surgery center will be ready to start taking patients in late 2017.
Support groups Memory Cafe WILLMAR—The Forget-Me-Knot Memory Cafe will meet from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday in the upstairs community room at the Willmar Public Library. The group offers a place for individuals with early dementia and their caregivers to socialize, receive support and get connected with local resources. For more information, call 320-235-8573. Bloodmobile The American Red Cross conducts blood drives in the west central area. To give blood you must be at least 17 years old, weigh 110 pounds or more and be in good health.
WILLMAR—When local clinics and other health providers roll out their influenza vaccine this fall, there will be a gap in the lineup. FluMist, the spray version of the flu vaccine, has been pulled amid new research indicating that it's losing its effectiveness. Armed with this new data, an advisory panel to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended in June against using it during the upcoming flu season. Local health providers say they are following this advice.
WILLMAR—Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputies were out in force last weekend, making sure boaters observed no-wake restrictions. No-wake zones were ordered last week after heavy rains raised the water level on local lakes. The no-wake rule applies to all lakes in Kandiyohi County and to each entire lake. Sheriff Dan Hartog said three deputies were patrolling the water this past Sunday and issued about 100 warnings to boaters who were going too fast. The main concern is to protect shorelines from high-water wave damage, Hartog said Tuesday.