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LITCHFIELD -- The peas are ripening at Prairie Drifter Farm and ready for Joan and Nick Olson to pluck off the vine and offer to visitors. The taste is fresh, crisp and sweet. Under the July sun, vegetables are bursting forth on the 33-acre organic farm south of Litchfield. The Olsons point to each row: Over here is kale, with broccoli and cabbage beyond. Over there is garlic, whose scapes were harvested in late June for the Community-Supported Agriculture boxes the couple delivers to their shareholders each week during the growing season.
WILLMAR - Deseret Health Group, the owner of the Willmar Care Center, announced Wednesday it will close the facility on Aug. 31. The skilled care facility, licensed for 52 beds, is located at 500 Russell Street N.W. It is one of four long-term care centers in Willmar. Deseret’s announcement said the closure was a difficult decision that “came after much thought and consideration.”
WILLMAR - Life Link III is moving its regional helicopter base from Hutchinson to the Willmar Municipal Airport, effective today. The move will place the helicopter base closer to a greater population of patients served by Life Link III. Health officials called it "a great move" for the region. "Having the Life Link III base in Willmar means improved response times, and faster transport for patients requiring critical or trauma care," said Mike Schramm, chief executive of Rice Memorial Hospital.
WILLMAR -- The list of local barriers to quality, affordable fresh food filled up almost half a whiteboard Thursday morning. High cost, especially for households on a fixed income. Lack of knowledge in how to prepare fresh fruits and vegetables. A reliance on convenience over nutrition. But the list of possible solutions was equally long, and organizers of a Minnesota Food Charter meeting Thursday in Willmar hope it can be the beginning of creating a sustainable food system for the region.
WILLMAR -- A new website providing resources and information on Parkinson's disease is part of a recently launched initiative to make Willmar a Parkinson's-friendly community for people with the disease and their families. The effort is funded by an Otto Bremer Foundation grant to the National Parkinson Foundation of Minnesota. Willmar is among three communities, along with Alexandria and Fargo-Moorhead, to receive one of the grants.
WILLMAR -- Final steps are being taken to incorporate anesthesiology and sleep lab services into the Willmar Medical Services joint venture between Rice Memorial Hospital and Affiliated Community Medical Centers. Board members of the city-owned hospital voted unanimously last week to authorize hospital administrators to execute the documents for sealing the deal. The ACMC board is scheduled to vote Wednesday. Once it is approved, the expansion of the joint venture will take effect July 1. Each party is contributing $1.4 million in equity to the agreement.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council was prepared at its meeting Monday night to set a hearing on adding a new category to the city code allowing for taproom liquor licenses. But council members temporarily put a cork in the proposal instead, sending it back to the committee level for clarification. At issue is whether licensed taprooms also can sell growlers, or half-gallon jugs of brew to go, in addition to the beer sold for consumption on the premises.
WILLMAR - It’s official: Affiliated Community Medical Centers is now certified by the Minnesota Department of Health as a health care home. The multispecialty regional health network announced the news Tuesday. The certification applies to all of ACMC’s clinic locations: Benson, Granite Falls, Hancock, Litchfield, Marshall, New London-Spicer, Redwood Falls and Willmar.
WILLMAR -- Ingrid Anderson learned in medical school about carotid bruit, the noise made by turbulent blood flow when the main artery in the neck is narrowed from cardiovascular disease. But she had never encountered the real thing until last month. "It was 'Oh, my! I heard it,'" said Anderson, a third-year medical student at the University of Minnesota.
WILLMAR - Bows and arrows would be classified as dangerous weapons under a proposed revision of the city's weapons ordinance. Details are still being worked out. At a minimum, however, the revision would place some restrictions on the use of bows and arrows within the city limits. There currently are no restrictions, said Willmar Police Chief Dave Wyffels, who proposed the tighter regulation recently to city officials. "I feel that there are some public safety issues," he said.