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WILLMAR -- The workforce at Rice Memorial Hospital is leaner than ever -- and increasingly experienced and highly trained. Through streamlining and efficiencies, the number of employees at the city-owned hospital and its entities, which include the Rice Care Center and Rice Rehabilitation Center, continues to be pared down. Last year Rice had 856 workers on the payroll; just three years earlier there were 969. The average age of employees has inched up to just under 46.
WILLMAR -- If you do the math, sisters Colleen Barber, Cheryl Plathe and Marian Bloom have collectively donated nearly 300 pints of blood over the past four decades. The sisters notched up another three units Monday at the American Red Cross Bloodmobile -- enough to earn Barber, 59, and Plathe, 57, their 12-gallon pins.
KERKHOVEN -- Sixties-era music wafts from outdoor speakers at Sophie's Ice Cream Station, where another busy summer day is about to begin. Within minutes, the first customer of the day shows up to buy a late-morning ice cream cone. "Great idea!" he exclaims to the owners, Ted and Kari Jo Almen, as he walks back to his truck. The little ice cream parlor has hit a sweet spot in Kerkhoven. When the Almens decided to renovate an old-fashioned gas station for their teenaged daughters to sell ice cream, they weren't entirely sure what to expect.
WILLMAR -- A state government shutdown could swiftly become damaging for the at-risk youths who participate in the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development's youth job programs, say those who work with the programs. It's not just young people who will be out of work during the shutdown, said Rita Borchert, youth program manager for Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Service. Businesses who partner with the state to provide jobs through the work experience program also will lose these employees for the duration of a shutdown, she said. "I think it's going to be astonishin
WILLMAR -- In what's being described as a matchmaking event for animal science innovators and investors, the MinnWest Technology Foundation is hosting its first-ever animal science venture forum in September. Organizers want to bring a select group of people together and see what happens when ideas are swapped, connections are made and new partnerships developed. Just maybe, it could lead to the establishment of a new, cutting-edge company specializing in the animal sciences, says Joanna Schrupp, project assistant at the technology campus. "You never know what's going to happen when convers
WILLMAR -- A construction contract was awarded Tuesday for the kitchen at the Willmar Middle School to receive a makeover. The $216,500 project will be finished by the time school starts in fall. Members of the Willmar School Board held a special meeting Tuesday to approve the contract with Carlson Construction of Willmar, which was the lowest of three bidders for the project. Over the next couple of months, the kitchen will be reconfigured to create more space for the staff and a more efficient serving line for students. In the 40-plus years since the middle school was built, the kitchen
WILLMAR -- Life Link III medical helicopters are likely to become a more familiar sight in the skies over Willmar in upcoming months. The medical transportation service is basing a helicopter and crew at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar on a six-month trial basis, starting this week.
WILLMAR -- In the past couple of years, the stack of applications from young people wanting a job at the Willmar Dairy Queen has been thicker than owner Fred Anderson has ever seen. "That means there's a lot of kids looking for work," said Anderson. Youths are being edged out of the job market in record numbers in Minnesota. Workers between the ages of 16 and 19 have the highest unemployment rate of any demographic.
WILLMAR -- A parking ramp is once again a possibility for downtown Willmar. The joint operations board of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission was approached Thursday about sharing the cost to conduct a feasibility study for a downtown parking ramp. Two consulting firms have already been chosen as finalists to conduct the study, said Adam Arvidson, a consultant for the Willmar Design Center who is working with the nonprofit urban design center on the project. The study carries an estimated $30,000 price tag.
Randy Ryan had 18 open houses last weekend for homes listed for sale. The schedule was so busy that Ryan, a Realtor with RE/MAX Preferred Realty, had to recruit extra help.