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WILLMAR -- The Robbins Island swimming beach on Foot Lake remains closed after routine testing last week uncovered a high fecal count. Water conditions at the beach are most likely due to a combination of the local Canada goose population, runoff from recent rainfall and typical late-summer stagnant water, said Steve Brisendine, Willmar Community Education and Recreation director. "We want to try to keep it safe," Brisendine said.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council has agreed to seek a new full-time fire chief and fire marshal -- but not without some debate over whether other options ought to be explored for filling the position. The council's vote Monday night clears the way for the application process to begin. The position opened up this summer when Marv Calvin, who has been the city's fire chief and fire marshal for the past 12 years, resigned to take a new position as a liaison for the Minnesota St-ate Colleges and Universities Fire Consortium. Calvin's last day is Thursday. Council members debated in the Labo
WILLMAR -- Rice Memorial Hospital will aim for at least a 2 percent annual profit margin for the next five years and will continue to build up its debt capacity to take on new projects. These two goals are contained in a five-year financial plan that received an endorsement Friday from the finance committee of the hospital board of directors. The committee will recommend approval of the plan to the full board, which meets Aug.
WILLMAR -- Hans Dahl has many memories of the 29 years he spent as administrator of Rice Memorial Hospital. There were the infamous "hall beds" that housed patients in the hallways during the high-occupancy times of the 1960s and 1970s.
WILLMAR -- Starched white nurses' caps, a stethoscope and even an old-fashioned enamel bedpan are among the artifacts collected for Rice Memorial Hospital's 75th anniversary party this week. Organizers are portraying the hospital, past and present, in a unique living history display as part of the celebration. "What we wanted to do is give the community a sense of where Rice has been and where we are today," said Sherri Klaers, staff education coordinator and one of the coordinators of the history exhibit. The exhibit, which will be spread throughout the board room, classrooms and the Lakel
Maybe it's the early start to the warm season this year, or the hot summer that's driving everyone to seek relief at lakes and swimming pools. Whatever the reason, Minnesota is seeing a dismaying spike this summer in drowning deaths. There's no trend that seems to stand out. The drownings this year have claimed the lives of both children and older adults. They've happened in lakes and pools.
WILLMAR -- Reflecting intensive countywide efforts to reduce sudden cardiac deaths, Kandiyohi County is applying for designation as a Heart-Safe County. The application received formal support this week from the County Board of Commissioners. The Heart-Safe designation recognizes communities that promote CPR education and the availability of automated external defibrillators for rapidly responding to sudden cardiac arrest.
Unemployment in Kandiyohi County has fallen to the lowest level since the recession. But lurking within the county's workforce and demographic statistics is a time bomb waiting to go off. The largest concentration of workers is among the middle-aged and older who are nearing retirement.
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Highway Department wanted to start work this summer on the reconstruction of a busy rural highway on the east side of Eagle Lake. But there's been a snag. The necessary clearance that will allow part of County State-Aid Highway 9 to be rerouted through a wildlife area hasn't yet arrived from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Until the clearance is received, the county can't even seek road construction bids, let alone start construction.