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WILLMAR -- Counties in west-central Minnesota didn't see their economies skyrocket during the boom times that preceded the recession, but neither did the bottom fall out when the economy turned sour. A new analysis by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development shows that while the recession resulted in job losses all across the state, rural counties on average were hit somewhat less hard. Kandiyohi, Swift and Yellow Medicine counties lost less than 3 percent of their total employment.
WILLMAR -- The bare feet of summer don't always mix well with barbed wire or rusty nails. That's why local health officials say it's a good idea to have a tetanus vaccination that's up to date. "If you can't remember when the last one was, it's probably time for you to get it," said Stacey Zondervan, director of patient services at Family Practice Medical Center. Clostridium tetani spores live in soil, dust and manure, where they persist for months or even years.
WILLMAR -- Despite all the transportation, nutrition, respite and other services in the region to serve the aging population, Lynn Buckley still sees elderly individuals who fall through the cracks. These are services that can "help the seniors remain independent in a very economical and cost-efficient way," said Buckley, coordinator of the Caring Connections program at Redwood Area Hospital in Redwood Falls.
WILLMAR -- Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway has pulled out of the application process for federal stimulus money to help build a railroad bypass on the west edge of Willmar. In a letter sent Tuesday to city officials, the railroad said that after a further review of the application guidelines, it saw "no possibility" that BNSF would be able to obtain a planning grant for the proposed multimillion-dollar project. Local officials said Wednesday they're disappointed with the turn of events. "The greatest disappointment is the loss of what we thought were the benefits," said Steve Renquist,
WILLMAR -- Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway has pulled out of the application process for federal stimulus money to help build a railroad bypass on the west edge of Willmar. In a letter notifying local officials Tuesday of its decision, BNSF said that after reviewing the application guidelines, the railroad saw "no possibility" of being able to obtain a planning grant for the proposed project. Local economic development officials said today they're disappointed with the turn of events. "The greatest disappointment is the loss of what we thought were the benefits," said Steve Renquist, e
WILLMAR -- Shhh! Teens only, please. Comfy armchairs, a colorful rug, tables by the window and shelves laden with young-adult books mark a new venture by the Willmar Public Library -- a space set aside just for teens. By giving adolescents a place of their own, library officials hope to encourage this sometimes-overlooked age group to feel at home in the library and foster a long-lasting love of reading and libraries. "We're a place where they can come and they're welcome," said Chris Beyerl, head librarian.
Two-thirds of the way through the Spicer Fourth of July parade route last weekend, Bobbie Bauman and the rest of the dog handlers from the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter had reason to be glad they were accompanied by a flatbed trailer. "We were able to jump on because the dogs were getting warm," Bauman said. Although the mercury has yet to reach the triple-digit zone, the peak of summer has arrived -- and so has the need to stay cool.
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission has earmarked $50,000 to support a proposed railroad bypass on the west edge of Willmar. Members of the EDC's joint operations board voted Thursday to set aside undesignated funds for the potential project. The city of Willmar will be asked as well to contribute $50,000 toward the next phase of the project. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway hasn't yet made a final commitment to the massive project, wh-ich is estimated to cost anywhere from $33 million to $58 million. If the proposed bypass project go
Even the littlest patients need attention to their emotional health. A new initiative at Affiliated Community Medical Centers is incorporating social and emotional screening during the standard 18-month well-child checkup to assess how these youngsters are faring emotionally. By screening more children more consistently, it's hoped that worrisome issues can be identified sooner so that families can be referred to resources that would best help them. "It's an underaddressed area," said Dr. Joe Vogel, a pediatrician at ACMC in Willmar and lead physician for the project.
Involvement by parents will be a key element in helping to make a new children's social and emotional screening process as effective as possible. The screening, which was introduced this summer on a pilot basis in ACMC's pediatrics department in Willmar, is being offered to all children who come in for their 18-month wellness visit. The project was launched as part of a two-year grant to the PACT 4 collaborative to help build the regional capacity for addressing ch-ildren's mental health. The screening is one component of the grant; providing training for child care providers is another. F