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WILLMAR -- For the fourth year in a row, the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission is holding the line on the property tax levy it's requesting in 2012. The EDC's governing board ap-proved a budget Thursday that in-cludes a tax levy of $455,000 and proposed expenditu-res of $508,508. The tax levy, the main source of revenue for the Economic Development Commission to operate its programs, has been flat since 2009. The agency has tried to remain austere through a time of national recession and concerns about government spending. Although all the signs indicate
WILLMAR -- There was a happy ending for a litter of eight puppies who were apparently abandoned on a gravel road north of New London during last week's record heat wave. Seven of the eight have been adopted, said Bobbie Bauman, operations director for the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter. "We're down to one," she said Tuesday. She anticipated the final puppy to be placed in a home soon. Neighbors discovered the dogs July 19 in a wildlife area along 227th Avenue north of New London.
WILLMAR -- Hundreds of candles will light the night for the American Cancer Society's 18th annual Kandiyohi County Relay for Life tonight at the Willmar Middle School. The relay starts at 6 p.m. today and doesn't end until 6 a.m. Saturday. More than 300 volunteers will be camped on the school grounds all night, raising both money and awareness for cancer. The Relay for Life is a time to be happy for those who have survived cancer and to remember those whose lives were claimed by the disease, said Shawn Madsen, chairman of the event. "Obviously we're celebrating," he said.
When neighbors told Randy and Tc Peterson Tuesday afternoon about a litter of puppies seen on a gravel road north of New London, the Petersons promptly went on a rescue mission.
WILLMAR -- Workers were still completing many of the final details late last week at the new Therapy Suites at Rice Care Center, but the end was in sight. This week the Rice Care Center will show off the brand-new $2 million facility during a series of open houses, winding up with an open house and tours for the community from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The town of Madison was thronged Sunday for its 125th an-niversary celebration and all-school reunion. The hot, muggy weather didn't stop people from having a good time, said Maynard Meyer, head of the Madison Chamber of Commerce and general manager of KLQP Radio. "We had a few thousand people in town for the celebration," he said. But it wasn't until afterward that Madison learn-ed of the weather distinction it earned Sunday: The town was reportedly the only place in the western hemisphere, besides the Amazon rain forest, to re-cord a dew point in the 80s that day. How did Madison do it?
WILLMAR -- The workforce at Rice Memorial Hospital is leaner than ever -- and increasingly experienced and highly trained. Through streamlining and efficiencies, the number of employees at the city-owned hospital and its entities, which include the Rice Care Center and Rice Rehabilitation Center, continues to be pared down. Last year Rice had 856 workers on the payroll; just three years earlier there were 969. The average age of employees has inched up to just under 46.
WILLMAR -- If you do the math, sisters Colleen Barber, Cheryl Plathe and Marian Bloom have collectively donated nearly 300 pints of blood over the past four decades. The sisters notched up another three units Monday at the American Red Cross Bloodmobile -- enough to earn Barber, 59, and Plathe, 57, their 12-gallon pins.
KERKHOVEN -- Sixties-era music wafts from outdoor speakers at Sophie's Ice Cream Station, where another busy summer day is about to begin. Within minutes, the first customer of the day shows up to buy a late-morning ice cream cone. "Great idea!" he exclaims to the owners, Ted and Kari Jo Almen, as he walks back to his truck. The little ice cream parlor has hit a sweet spot in Kerkhoven. When the Almens decided to renovate an old-fashioned gas station for their teenaged daughters to sell ice cream, they weren't entirely sure what to expect.
WILLMAR -- A state government shutdown could swiftly become damaging for the at-risk youths who participate in the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development's youth job programs, say those who work with the programs. It's not just young people who will be out of work during the shutdown, said Rita Borchert, youth program manager for Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Service. Businesses who partner with the state to provide jobs through the work experience program also will lose these employees for the duration of a shutdown, she said. "I think it's going to be astonishin