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WILLMAR — The agriculture and renewable energy specialist position with the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission is being expanded to include countywide business development. The recommendation to broaden the scope of the position came this past month from the EDC’s joint powers board, whose members said they saw a need for someone on the staff to do more business outreach. The position “will still have a heavy emphasis on ag,” Steve Renquist, executive director of the Economic Development Commission, told the joint operating board on Thursday. But the job de
WILLMAR — Questions raised at a recent Willmar City Council meeting have prompted a review by the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission of its reserve fund. Members of the EDC operations board took a closer look Thursday at the organization’s $735,000 in reserves and how the money is designated. The scrutiny “has been most helpful,” said Steve Renquist, executive director of the Economic Development Commission.
WILLMAR — You can still find canes, hospital beds and mobility scooters at the newly rebranded Rice Home Medical. But you can also find fashionable diabetic shoes, self-pampering items such as hand massagers, and a women’s boutique featuring swimwear, activewear and lingerie. The Willmar store recently completed a major renovation project that does away with the institutional image of the home medical equipment business, replacing it with an inviting, retail-oriented vibe. “This is truly a store now, from one end to the other,” said Carol Laumer, business development director of Rice Home M
WILLMAR — Children in Kandiyohi County or Renville County have a higher likelihood than other Minnesota children of living in poverty. At the other end of the age spectrum, the two counties both have larger aging populations than the state average, and a shrinking number of younger people to take care of the old. They face challenges as well in addressing common public health concerns such as obesity, teen pregnancy and motor vehicle deaths. Over the next several months, local health officials will be collecting input on how to prioritize key public health issues and developing community-ba
WILLMAR — When Val Swanson took a class in mental health first aid, the lesson that hit home the most was hearing it called the CPR of mental health. “That made an impact on me — that we should be treating this like all first aid,” said Swanson, who coordinates the chemical dependency counseling certificate program at Ridgewater College. Local trainers have offered the course since 2010 to help raise the public’s knowledge about how to recognize and respond to mental health situations, especially before there’s a crisis. “It’s really about education and trying to decrease some of the stigma
WILLMAR — Dawn Marcus had to yell to be heard over the thumping bass soundtrack that filled the gym Friday afternoon at the Kandiyohi County Area Family YMCA. “Here we go — 30 seconds!
WILLMAR — When a 70-year-old man went into cardiac arrest in the Rice Memorial Hospital emergency room parking lot this past September, Jessica Garcia, her husband, Jesus, and brother-in-law, Eric Garcia, took action. Jesus and Eric removed him from his car, where he was slumped over into the passenger seat.
WILLMAR — Rice Memorial Hospital has proposed a tightly constrained budget for 2014 that aims for a conservative 2 percent margin and projects little or no change in revenue and expenses. Look for the hospital to continue focusing on its cost structure next year, Bill Fenske, chief financial officer, told the hospital board finance committee this week. A 2 percent return on hospital operations is “a stretch from where we’re at,” he said.
WILLMAR — The executive director of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission came to the organization’s defense this week, issuing a formal response to allegations by a board member that the EDC is falling short. “It was a situation that I felt could not go unaddressed,” Steve Renquist said Thursday. At a meeting Thursday of the Economic Development Commission Joint Operations Board, Renquist handed out a six-page memo that responds, point by point, to allegations put forth last week by board member Robert Enos that the EDC is failing to deliver on economic de
WILLMAR — A pair of forums, one for the public and one for area nonprofits and their staff, will be held next week on the impact of the Affordable Care Act and the new MNsure health insurance exchange. The two forums, hosted by Heartland Community Action Agency, are part of a broader outreach effort to help the uninsured enroll in health care coverage. Both events will take place at the Evangelical Free Church of Willmar. The forum for the community is on Tuesday and consists of two presentations, one at 5:30 p.m.