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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
It has been a familiar, and unwanted, pattern: Pit bull arrives at animal shelter, pit bull gets adopted, pit bull ends up back at the shelter. The Hawk Creek Animal Shelter is banking on a new approach to help reduce this revolving-door cycle. With more intensive training before pit bulls are adopted, and more support and education for prospective owners, it's hoped the rate of long-term successful adoptions for these dogs will go up, said Glenda Anderson, a board member of the Humane Society of Kandiyohi County. "We are seeing too many recycled pits," she said.
WILLMAR -- Minnesota women are moving forward in pay equality but progress is achingly slow, a new report issued by the Women's Foundation of Minnesota has found. Lee Roper-Batker, the foundation's president and chief executive, thinks the state might actually be moving backward in reducing and preventing violence against women. Women also continue to be underrepresented in corporate leadership and elected offices, and there's a persistent health gap for Minnesota's women of color and for rural women. Although some of the statistics are discouraging, they also represent a chance for local
WILLMAR -- Under the shelter at Miller Park, the conversation was lively Wednesday as the Willmar Area Comprehensive Immigration Reform coalition hosted a community picnic. People loaded up paper plates with pot-luck hot dogs, chips, baked beans and fresh fruit and sat visiting with each other at the picnic tables. The atmosphere was festive but the gathering also had a more serious purpose: to talk about immigration reform and galvanize the 60-some people at the picnic to take action. "Go home. Write a letter. Make phone calls," urged the Rev.
Marilyn Modica is looking forward to the comfort she and her dog will soon be bringing to patients in Rice Hospice. Buddy, a 6-year-old Peke-a-Poo, is a compassionate little dog who has "been really good" for his family, said Modica as she stroked his dark fur. "He's got some qualities in him I've seen that I really feel would benefit others," she said.