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WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council has agreed to seek a new full-time fire chief and fire marshal -- but not without some debate over whether other options ought to be explored for filling the position. The council's vote Monday night clears the way for the application process to begin. The position opened up this summer when Marv Calvin, who has been the city's fire chief and fire marshal for the past 12 years, resigned to take a new position as a liaison for the Minnesota St-ate Colleges and Universities Fire Consortium. Calvin's last day is Thursday. Council members debated in the Labo
WILLMAR -- Rice Memorial Hospital will aim for at least a 2 percent annual profit margin for the next five years and will continue to build up its debt capacity to take on new projects. These two goals are contained in a five-year financial plan that received an endorsement Friday from the finance committee of the hospital board of directors. The committee will recommend approval of the plan to the full board, which meets Aug.
WILLMAR -- Hans Dahl has many memories of the 29 years he spent as administrator of Rice Memorial Hospital. There were the infamous "hall beds" that housed patients in the hallways during the high-occupancy times of the 1960s and 1970s.
WILLMAR -- Starched white nurses' caps, a stethoscope and even an old-fashioned enamel bedpan are among the artifacts collected for Rice Memorial Hospital's 75th anniversary party this week. Organizers are portraying the hospital, past and present, in a unique living history display as part of the celebration. "What we wanted to do is give the community a sense of where Rice has been and where we are today," said Sherri Klaers, staff education coordinator and one of the coordinators of the history exhibit. The exhibit, which will be spread throughout the board room, classrooms and the Lakel
Unemployment in Kandiyohi County has fallen to the lowest level since the recession. But lurking within the county's workforce and demographic statistics is a time bomb waiting to go off. The largest concentration of workers is among the middle-aged and older who are nearing retirement.
WILLMAR -- Reflecting intensive countywide efforts to reduce sudden cardiac deaths, Kandiyohi County is applying for designation as a Heart-Safe County. The application received formal support this week from the County Board of Commissioners. The Heart-Safe designation recognizes communities that promote CPR education and the availability of automated external defibrillators for rapidly responding to sudden cardiac arrest.
Maybe it's the early start to the warm season this year, or the hot summer that's driving everyone to seek relief at lakes and swimming pools. Whatever the reason, Minnesota is seeing a dismaying spike this summer in drowning deaths. There's no trend that seems to stand out. The drownings this year have claimed the lives of both children and older adults. They've happened in lakes and pools.
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Highway Department wanted to start work this summer on the reconstruction of a busy rural highway on the east side of Eagle Lake. But there's been a snag. The necessary clearance that will allow part of County State-Aid Highway 9 to be rerouted through a wildlife area hasn't yet arrived from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Until the clearance is received, the county can't even seek road construction bids, let alone start construction.
WILLMAR -- When Rice Memorial Hospital conducted a hospital-wide survey late in 2010 on the organization's patient safety culture, one of the things learned was that information about errors in patient care wasn't being fully captured. Compared to other hospitals of similar size, "our staff tended to report fewer safety events," said Wendy Ulferts, chief nursing officer. Over the past year, Rice has been taking steps to change this and to increase the hospital's ability to collect and act on patient-safety data. It's one of several areas being addressed in Rice's ongoing efforts to provide