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Schools shut down across the area Tuesday as the snow fell and blizzard-like winds began to pick up. Area school districts that have canceled classes for the day include: ACGC, BBE, Belview Learning Center, Benson, BOLD, Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart, Central Minnesota Christian School; Cosmos Learning Center, Dawson-Boyd, Dream Technical Academy, Echo Charter School, KMS, Lac Qui Parle Valley, MACCRAY, Minnewaska Area, Montevideo;
WILLMAR — When pathology specimens arrived in the Rice Memorial Hospital laboratory, they were always labeled by hand. But there was a constant risk of errors creeping into the labeling process, said Karen Samuelson, laboratory operations manager. “We knew we needed to do a better job,” she said. Over the past few years the lab began implementing several improvements: bar coding, a distraction-free zone to reduce noise and interruptions while specimens are transferred and labeled, and a one-at-a-time method instead of batching to manage specimens. In 2010, at the beginning of the project,
WILLMAR — After a patient died last year as the result of a fall, Appleton Area Health Services examined the event and all the circumstances surrounding it. The hospital began implementing several changes.
WILLMAR — The good news: After an aggressive start to the season, influenza activity has declined noticeably this past month. The not-so-good news: Plenty of other bugs are continuing to circulate and make people sick. At Affiliated Community Medical Centers, a surveillance site for the Minnesota Department of Health, testing has shown the presence of strep and pertussis, along with a few lingering cases of influenza. “We’re seeing a fair amount of RSV right now. We’re also seeing some norovirus.
WILLMAR — The Willmar Community-Owned Grocery is calling it quits, saying it is unable to raise the startup capital needed to open a store. The board of directors recently voted unanimously to start the process of dissolving the cooperative rather than continue trying to secure funding or revise the project into something smaller. A special meeting is scheduled for April 9 to put the question to a vote by the cooperative’s 668 members. It’s a disappointing ending to efforts that began five years ago to establish a local community-owned grocery.
LAKE LILLIAN — Spurred by the recent closing of the town’s only grocery store, Lake Lillian will host a pair of community talking sessions this coming week on business recruitment and retention. The goal is to look at “the whole big picture” of local business, said Susan Jungclaus, city clerk. Both meetings will be held Monday at the Lake Lillian City Center. The first one is at 3:30 p.m.
WILLMAR — People banded together Tuesday to rescue an injured owl and get it transported to the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota for further care. The bird, a great horned owl, was found by a member of the public who brought it to the South 71 Veterinary Clinic in Willmar. Hawk Creek Animal Shelter was enlisted to help find a volunteer willing to brave icy, snowy roads to transport the owl as far as Cokato, where it would be met by a volunteer from the Raptor Center to bring it the rest of the way to St.
WILLMAR — In an effort to get a better grasp of local broadband services, the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission is launching a survey this month to assess what’s available and where the gaps lie. The first round of the survey will be small in scale and will test the waters for broader data collection as the year progresses. Organizers see it as a step in larger efforts aimed at keeping Kandiyohi County from falling too far behind in broadband services. There’s a need to stay diligent, said Jean Spaulding, assistant director of the Economic Development Comm
WILLMAR — That bottle of apple juice in the grocery store aisle looks nutritious. But reach for a jar of unsweetened applesauce instead and watch the Nutritional Value score zoom up from a 10 to a 99.
WILLMAR — Once a week Shawn Franklin takes her turn as one of the after-hours phone triage nurses for Affiliated Community Medical Centers. She has her cell phone and laptop, and a quiet place at home for fielding calls about rashes, fevers, upset stomachs, chest pain and more. On a slow night there might be only six or seven calls to the triage line. But if it’s a busy night, there could be as many as 30 or 40. “People just have questions,” said Franklin, director of patient services for the regional multispecialty health network. “They need reassurance.