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WILLMAR -- If the outlook for pancreatic and liver cancer is to improve, earlier diagnosis needs to be one of the main strategies, say physicians who treat these patients. "That's where we can do some major changes in survival and life expectancy," said Dr. Ahsan Bhatti, a gastroenterologist at Affiliated Community Medical Centers in Willmar. How to manage these two formidable cancers was the focus this week of the annual cancer symposium, hosted by the Willmar Regional Cancer Center. More than 100 people spent a day hearing presentations and touring the exhibit hall.
WILLMAR -- Jennifer King-ery's desk is laden with daunting-looking files and paperwork. One of the files belongs to a former cancer patient who participated in a clinical trial at the Willmar Regional Cancer Center.
WILLMAR -- Charity care provided at Rice Memorial Hospital nearly tripled last year and will continue to rise this year as well, hospital officials said Friday. "It's just a sign of what's going on with the economy," said Bill Fenske, chief financial officer at Rice. According to the city-owned hospital's annual audit for 2009, it provided $915,000 worth of charity care last year -- a significant increase over the year before, when charity care totaled $385,000. Fenske said Friday that charity care likely will exceed $1 million this year.
WILLMAR -- The financial picture at Rice Memorial Hospital is brightening slowly but steadily. According to its official audit, the city-owned hospital earned a net return last year of just under $1 million. Its cash position also has improved significantly. Members of the finance committee of the hospital board of directors reviewed the numbers Friday.
WILLMAR -- It was dark when Dr.
WILLMAR -- Most of the people who attended a forum Tuesday in Willmar on rural health care coverage said they know someone who's struggling to pay medical bills.
A delegation from Willmar joined the tens of thousands who marched in Washington, D.C., Sunday to press for immigration reform. "A very amazing experience" is how Paola Janeth Pena described it three days later. "You could feel the power of all those people together," she said. Waving signs and American flags, the demonstrators urged for lawmakers to tackle an immigration bill -- and to do it soon.
Andrew Wilkowske first encountered the stories and characters of American novelist John Steinbeck when he was a student at Willmar High School. These days, the 1993 Willmar graduate has reason to know Steinbeck especially well. Wilkowske, 34, a classically trained baritone, sang two years ago in the Minnesota Opera's world premiere of "The Grapes of Wrath." This next week he takes to the stage at Carnegie Hall in New York for a concert version Monday night of the modern opera based on Steinbeck's epic novel. Wilkowske has been singing professionally for more than a decade.
WILLMAR -- Board members of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission want to see the same level of funding for the agency in 2011 as it is receiving this year. It's still at least five months before the EDC must come up with a proposed budget and tax levy for next year.
WILLMAR -- With only two weeks to go until its annual community review, the United Way of West Central Minnesota is more than 25 percent short of its fund-raising goal. The regional United Way put out an urgent plea this week for people to dig into their pockets and give, so all United Way agencies can get their full budget allocations for the year. "We're trying very, very hard to keep our level of funding the same to our programs," said Stacey Roberts, executive director of the United Way of West Central Minnesota. "We had a lot of people drop off in giving," she said. It has made for a