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WILLMAR -- Rice Memorial Hospital will focus this coming year on strengthening its operations and putting the city-owned hospital in a better position for growth and new strategic initiatives. Hospital officials plan to accomplish this by controlling expenses and solidifying the balance sheet. "We've got to be in a position to make those strategic investments down the road, nearly all of which take capital," said Mike Schramm, the chief executive at Rice. The goals were laid out Wednesday as part of a $100 million budget for next year.
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission is launching a formal search this month for a lobbyist who can represent the agency in St.
WILLMAR -- Fifteen to 17 jobs in the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway switching yard in Willmar are being eliminated as part of an overall reduction in BNSF's switching operations. Employees were notified this week that they are being furloughed. BNSF hopes to eventually call them back to work, said Steve Forsberg, general director of public affairs for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. "We just don't know when that's going to be," he said. The downturn in the economy has resulted in a significant drop in rail traffic volume this year. Through the third quarter, volume is down 27
WILLMAR - Fifteen to 17 jobs in the Burlington Northern Santa Fe switching yard in Willmar are being eliminated as part of an overall reduction in BNSF's switching operations. Employees were notified this week that they are being furloughed. BNSF hopes to eventually call them back to work, said Steve Forsberg, general director of public affairs for Burlington Northern Santa Fe. "We just don't know when that's going to be," he said. The downturn in the economy has resulted in a significant drop in rail traffic volume this year.
WILLMAR -- Unemployment and uncertainty about the economy have slowed the housing market in Kandiyohi County this past year. But homes are continuing to be bought and sold, especially houses in the mid- to lower price ranges. The region appears to have avoided the worst of the housing bust being seen in the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs, local real estate agents say. "Locally we haven't seen a significant change, mainly because our local economy continues to be fairly stable," said Bruce Vogel of Lakes Area Realty. Over the past 12 months, "we kind of just remained stable.
Brenda Wiese was still new to Rice Memorial Hospital's Grief Center in Willmar when a high school-aged boy came in to talk to her about the recent death of a classmate. Wiese hadn't dealt with many adolescent males and wasn't sure how the session would go. Would she say the right things? Would it be helpful? Apparently she passed the test, because the youth told two of his friends about the visit.
By the time the Rice Health Foundation's annual holiday festival next weekend is over and done with, more than 100 volunteers will have been involved in everything from handing out programs to enlisting corporate sponsors. This year's festival will be held Nov. 13 and 14 at the Willmar Conference Center and Holiday Inn. It is the Rice Health Foundation's main fund-raising effort of the year.
WILLMAR -- Rice Memorial Hospital officials are optimistic the city-owned hospital is managing to successfully adapt to fewer patient admissions, a mood that's reflected in the budget developed for 2010. Members of the hospital board's finance committee had their first look Friday at a proposed budget for next year of just under $100 million. It's based on a projected daily census of 40 inpatients, the lowest level of inpatient volume in officials' memory. But in spite of the shrinking census, the hospital budget is projecting a $1 million margin next year, or the equivalent of a 1 percent
Rick Moldenhauer brought an entire show-and-tell Thursday to a seminar on energy drinks: 16-ounce beverage cans, highly concentrated "energy shots," and even caffeinated versions of breath mints, candy bars and beer. By themselves, these pro-ducts aren't inherently bad, Moldenhauer told his audience. But when they're consumed in large quantities or mixed with other substances such as alcohol, "there are repercussions," he said.
WILLMAR -- They come in cans with aggressive-looking labels and names like Rockstar, Monster Energy and Cocaine. Kids like them, but they -- and their parents -- may not realize the effects of consuming energy drinks supercharged with caffeine. Authorities have become concerned enough to start including information about energy drinks in the DARE curriculum taught to Willmar grade-school students, says Julie Asmus of the Willmar Police Department. "The issue is about the amount of caffeine and what it does to your body," she said. She's especially alarmed at the young ages at which some ki