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WILLMAR -- Are you ready to become a loser? The Kandiyohi County Area Family YMCA is participating in a statewide "Biggest Loser Minnesota Challenge" to encourage people to visit the gym, adopt healthful eating habits and lose weight. Registration to join the competition is open through Sunday. The challenge starts Monday and runs through April 15. Dean Madsen, health and wellness director at the Y, is seeing a good response. "There's quite a bit of interest," he said.
WILLMAR -- Saying that zoning policies should support and not hamstring local farmers, the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission will ask the Kandiyohi County Board to revise its ordinance on allowing multi-unit housing on farm sites. "There is a need," said Kim Larson, a dairy farmer and member of the EDC's agribusiness and renewable energy committee. The EDC's action is at the instigation of the ag committee, which has been studying the issue for the past two years. The proposal from the committee: Establish a conditional use permit process for farm operator
WILLMAR -- Regardless of the politics surrounding Minnesota's expansion of the Medicaid program, hospitals in Minnesota mostly welcome the move. The measure, which outgoing Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty opposed, was one of the first signed by Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, as he took office last week.
WILLMAR -- From corn cobs to sugar beet pulp, researchers and entrepreneurs are studying how to turn biomass into a feasible -- and cost-effective -- source of renewable energy. But it's a complicated journey, full of challenges both technical and economic, experts told a local audience Tuesday. "We're moving much more slowly than I would have anticipated," said Denny Timmerman, project director at the Minnesota Agricultural Utilization Research Institute. The key, however, is to keep moving forward, he said. "We need to lay the groundwork. ... I think we can get there.
WILLMAR -- Sometimes the patient is just looking for a quick word of reassurance.
WILLMAR -- Snowy, icy roads contributed to more than 30 crashes in Kandiyohi County as several inches of new snow piled up Wednesday night and Thursday morning. No injuries were reported, but local law enforcement officials are urging motorists to be careful on the slick roads and in intersections blocked with snow. "People have got to reduce speed.
WILLMAR -- Snowy, icy roads contributed to more than 30 crashes in Kandiyohi County as several inches of new snow piled up Wednesday night and this morning. No injuries were reported, but local law enforcement officials are urging motorists to be careful on the slick roads and in intersections blocked with snow. In two separate incidents today, vehicles were damaged by snow plows working to clear snow in private parking lots.
WILLMAR -- Rice Memorial Hospital's board of directors voted in favor Wednesday of investing $4.7 million in a clinical information system that will electronically integrate the majority of patient clinical and billing information. The city-owned hospital's vendor of choice: Epic, a private company from Madison, Wis., that specializes in health care software. The selection was the recommendation of a Rice Hospital ste-ering committee whose members spent months researching and evaluating all the options. The process was "very thorough," said Mike Schramm, chief executive of Rice Hospital.
LAKE LILLIAN -- In what used to be the choir loft at Grace Lutheran Church, intimate tables for four are clustered under the rafters of the sloping ceiling. Church pews have been replaced with an eclectic mix of antique tables and chairs. And the sanctuary is now occupied by a 110-year-old wooden bar discovered at an auction in Stewart. Owners John and Patty Nefstead have spent more than three years transforming the former church into an event center they hope will become a favorite gathering place for weddings, showers, anniversaries, reunions and other special occasions.
WILLMAR -- Health officials are launching a last-minute push this week for influenza vaccinations. If you haven't already had a flu shot, now is the time, say local health providers. "Anything we can do to reduce our likelihood of influenza is something we should all do," said Stacey Zondervan, director of patient services at Family Practice Medical Center. This week a coalition of organizations that includes the Minnesota Department of Health is hosting the annual "Ban the Bug" campaign, reminding the public to get a flu shot if they haven't already done so. The U.S.