Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at http://healthbeat.areavoices.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.
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WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission adopted guidelines Thursday for handling funding requests from community groups. Board members and economic development officials hope it will help make the process more clear and consistent. "It's good to have it in writing," said Bruce Peterson, development director for the city of Willmar.
For weeks, Phyllis Stageberg and the Rev. Mary Hovland have been quietly writing letters and making phone calls. The two women hope their persistent behind-the-scenes campaigning will be among the forces that help change family law in Minnesota to give fathers equal rights in child custody. "This is really important," said Stageberg.
WILLMAR -- Rice Memorial Hospital weathered some daunting challenges over the past five years: declining inpatient volume, shrinking reimbursement and a national recession. But the city-owned hospital emerged from 2011 in the best operational health it's had in years, from financial performance to cash flow and productivity. A status report was shared Monday with the hospital board's finance committee. Taken together, it gives the board a realistic view of how Rice is doing, said Mike Schramm, chief executive. "How are we doing operationally? How strong are we? What have the trends been?
WILLMAR -- The West Central Renewable Ammonia Development LLC has been awarded a major state grant -- for $450,000 -- to help take a proposed biomass-into-anhydrous-ammonia project to the next stage. The grant award was announced Thursday by the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission.
Local fire officials hope the donation of pet oxygen masks could someday help save the life of a dog or cat rescued from a fire. With any luck, the masks will never have to be used. But in case they're ever needed, "it's nice to know we've got them," said Marv Calvin, Willmar fire chief.
WILLMAR -- The West Central Renewable Ammonia Development LLC has been awarded a $450,000 state grant to help take the project into its next phase. The grant award was announced today by the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission.
WILLMAR -- Bobbie Bauman thinks the two small dogs were abandoned somewhere on First Street Northeast, near KWLM Radio on Foot Lake at the edge of town. Employees at the radio station spotted them Feb. 10 and called the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter. "We went over there," said Bauman, director of operations for the shelter. "Both were out there running around in the cold.
Members of the West Central Singers -- based in Willmar -- are packing their bags today for a trip to New York City, where they'll be singing with a mass choir in a concert Monday at Carnegie Hall. Are they excited about it? "I think excitement is an understatement," laughed Jackie Cunningham, a soprano and longtime member of the regional chorus.
From power-generating wind turbines to the manufacture of animal vaccines, west central Minnesota is turning into a hotbed of innovation in renewable energy and the biosciences.