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WILLMAR -- Tempted to pick up that free couch left on the curb by college students departing for the summer? Think again. Bedbugs are here, and one of the main ways they're spread is through the exchange of bug-infested furniture. Up until a couple of years ago, their presence was minimal. Then last year Chris Wenisch, an environmental health specialist with Kandiyohi County Public Health, began hearing complaints about bedbugs. "This year I've been getting a lot more phone calls about them," he said. Bedbugs commonly live near areas where people sleep.
WILLMAR -- The Rice Memorial Hospital board awarded $109,270 in construction bids Thursday, clearing the way to turn part of the rescue squad building into living quarters for on-call ambulance crews. The vote came at a special meeting of the board, which was followed by a closed session for strategic discussion about Rice Care Center, the hospital-owned long-term care facility. Bill Fenske, chief financial officer for Rice Hospital, said the living quarters will provide a place for paramedics and emergency medical technicians to stay while they're on call. It will also give them immediate
Bodies turn and arms unfold in slow, fluid movements as Karen Fischer leads a class at the Willmar Community Center through the disciplined steps of tai chi. "Step to the right. Arms out. Palms out," Fischer intones. "Turn. Leg in. Turn. Leg out." Her students concentrate silently on each of the ritual moves. Fischer isn't training a roomful of aspiring warriors.
At least once a month, staff at the Rice Rehabilitation Center must deliver the bad news to an older driver: You've just failed your simulated driving exam.
WILLMAR -- Local officials see anxiety, uncertainty and confusion surrounding the restructuring of Minnesota's General Assistance Medical Care program. Where should these clients go for medical care? Who's going to pay the bill? "We're fielding phone calls," Mike Schramm, chief executive of Rice Memorial Hospital, said last week. "There are more questions than answers." Rice Hospital has formally opted out of a coordinated care delivery system that's being crafted to oversee medical care for GAMC enrollees.
WILLMAR -- Federal money is soon arriving in Kandiyohi County to help enhance the availability and use of broadband, especially for rural and underserved populations. The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission recently learned the county was chosen as one of 11 demonstration communities to receive funding. The $100,000 "Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities" grant is for two years and is being funneled through the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
When Ryan and Brittany Hebrink joined their first March of Dimes March for Babies in May 2007, it was with a mix of emotions. The couple, who live in Sacred Heart, had just gone through a high-risk pregnancy. Their twin sons were born prematurely on April 9, 2007. Harrison lived for only a short time after birth. Hudson, his surviving twin, was hospitalized for nearly a month in the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester. The Hebrinks brought Hudson home on May 5, had him baptized the next weekend and walked in the March for Babies the weekend after that.
WILLMAR -- Rice Memorial Hospital has adopted a new policy that lays out guidelines for helping local medical groups with physician recruitment. The new policy, which was adopted unanimously Wednesday by the hospital board of directors, is similar to how Rice has offered recruitment help for the past several years. But for the first time, the guidelines are now in writing, said Mike Schramm, chief executive of the city-owned hospital. "What we haven't had in place is a more formal recruitment policy," he said.
WILLMAR -- In the latest edition of Seasons of Minnesota, there's a photo gallery of the Willmar High School music groups and another photo collection of Community Christian School's annual auction and carnival. There's an article about growing tomatoes, a recipe for pineapple pie and a two-page profile of Heritage Bank. It's always gratifying for Sheila Quinn to deliver the latest copy of the magazine into the hands of local readers. "Sometimes people will grab it and open it and start reading it right away," she said.
WILLMAR -- Rock music played Friday night as the auditorium at the MinnWest Technology Campus filled up with local Republicans and friends and supporters of Lee Byberg. Out in the parking lot sat the shiny new bus that will take Byberg's campaign on the road, starting today with stops in Glencoe, Olivia, Redwood Falls and Litchfield. Byberg, who is running on the GOP ticket against longtime Democratic Rep.