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WILLMAR -- Rice Memorial Hospital's financial health strengthened with another profitable month during March -- the fourth month in a row with a positive margin. After a period of low in-patient volume and fiscal stagnation, hospital officials are beginning to hint at signs of recovery. "I really believe we've turned that corner," Bill Fenske, chief financial officer, said Friday at a meeting of the hospital board's finance committee. The city-owned hospital posted a $617,000 net profit in March -- more than six times what was budgeted. For the year so far, Rice is sitting at a $1.3 millio
WILLMAR -- In its glory days, the Lakeland Hotel was one of Willmar's premier places to stay. Built in 1927, the brick structure occupied the heart of downtown Willmar, on the southwest corner of Fourth Street and Litchfield Avenue. Its 60 rooms were usually full. "That was the place that people got off the train and went to stay," said Bev Dougherty, who has researched the building's past. But the city's era of stately hotels has long since faded. The Grand, the Lincoln, the Benson -- all have been torn down.
WILLMAR -- Changes are being proposed for the Cushman A. Rice Trust grant application process, making it easier for people to seek help paying their bills at Rice Memorial Hospital. The trustees at Bremer Bank, which manages the fund, filed a court petition last month requesting a judge's approval for the revisions. "We did this to streamline the process," Carol Hruby, vice president at Bremer Investment Management and Trust in Marshall, told the Rice Memorial Hospital Board's finance committee on Friday. The proposed changes won't affect who's eligible for a grant.
WILLMAR -- There was a slight commotion as three costumed men strode into the lobby of the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter Wednesday morning. "Hi, I'm Geist," said one of them, shaking hands with a family visiting the Willmar shelter to see the dogs. The trio left an assortment of gifts at the front counter -- cat food, dog food, food and water bowls, a litter pan and some cash. "Keep up the good work," Geist called out as they departed in an unmarked car for their next stop. Who were those masked crusaders? Don't ask for their real names because they aren't telling.
One by one, the list of words on the chalkboard grew as Ibrahima Kaba went around the room, asking the dozen people at a poetry workshop Tuesday night to each contribute a word. Abundant. Lunar. Goat. Yearn. Toupee. Trickery. The assignment: Come up with a three-line poem, using at least two words from the list in each line -- then recite it out loud Express yourselves, he urged the group.
WILLMAR -- In one of the scenes in Chris Bedford's new documentary about sustainable food, residents of the Jackson Hill neighborhood in Muskegon, Mich., reflect on the bounty of an organic community garden they established together. "It was one of the best experiences of my life," a young man says. Bedford was in Willmar on Friday to show the newly released film and help launch a discussion about how communities can create food systems that are local and sustainable. "It's a moment of opportunity," he told the 40-some people who gathered Friday afternoon at Christianson and Associates to s
WILLMAR -- Spurred by a growing number of agribusiness and renewable energy initiatives, the governing board of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission voted unanimously Thursday to make the agency's ag specialist position a full-time one. The move had been recommended last month by the EDC's joint operating board. Cathy Keuseman joined the staff a year ago as the ag and renewable energy specialist, overseeing projects that range from fuel cell development to pursuing Greenstep Cities certification. Her work load has grown beyond the part-time hours for whic
Kandiyohi County has high readiness for boosting local economic and social development with information technology. An assessment carried out on behalf of the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities project ranked Kandiyohi County at the top of a list of 11 participating cities and counties. The county scored well on measures addressing the availability of broadband services and their business and household penetration.
WILLMAR -- The hospital volunteer coordinator was having trouble with her young Somali volunteers. They would fail to show up when it was their turn on the schedule. They didn't call to let her know they weren't coming.
Allen Erickson wore an enormous smile as the small plane landed Monday morning at the Willmar Municipal Airport. "We made it!" he exclaimed from the cockpit to family and friends waiting on the tarmac. "Flew like a bird!" Erickson, 84, exulted as paramedics with the Willmar Ambulance Service carefully helped him over the wing of the little red and white Piper Comanche and onto the ground. Erickson, who has an incurable brain tumor, has been a Rice Hospice patient for more than a year.