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WILLMAR — More than 300 hardy volunteers raised $72,000 this weekend at the 10th annual Polar Plunge for the Special Olympics. The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office and Willmar Police Department hosted the annual event at Green Lake as part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run program. Proceeds assist Special Olympics athletes and teams in attending competitions, sports training and life skills training throughout Minnesota. There were 360 volunteers who braved the cold Saturday and jumped into the icy waters of Green Lake.
WILLMAR — Strong winds are causing white-out conditions this afternoon, bringing travel to a standstill across western Minnesota. U.S. Highway 71 was closed from Minnesota Highway 19 near Morton to U.S. 212 in Olivia for part of the day but reopened late in the afternoon. The Minnesota Department of Transportation reported hazardous driving conditions across the region, with blowing and drifting snow and poor visibility.
WILLMAR — The joint powers board of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission sought to bring an end Thursday to controversies over the EDC’s reserve fund and allegations of conflicts of interest. “I hope we’re done having to defend the EDC,” Denis Anderson, chairman of the joint powers board, said after a discussion that lasted for more than an hour. The criticism has dogged the Economic Development Commission for at least three months. Critics have charged that the organization maintains an excessive reserve fund while turning to the taxpayers to fund its st
WILLMAR — Minnesota hospitals are making progress in reducing the incidence of serious events that result in patient harm. The Minnesota Department of Health marked the 10th anniversary of the state’s Adverse Health Care Events law by releasing two reports today, one a 10-year evaluation of the impact of the law and the other a list of “never” events reported by Minnesota hospitals and surgery centers in 2013. Hospitals have seen a decline over the past decade in the overall number of reportable adverse events such as wrong-site procedures, severe pressure ulcers, falls and serious medicatio
WILLMAR — Members of a local action team envision a future for Willmar as a dementia-capable community that cares well for its aging adults with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. The Willmar ACT on Alzheimer’s team is one of seven in Minnesota awarded a grant to develop community plans that will help ready the state for an anticipated tidal wave of families coping with Alzheimer’s. Team members say their ultimate goal is for awareness and competence to be embedded in how Willmar responds to Alzheimer’s, from medical and service providers to family caregivers, law enforcement, clergy,
WILLMAR — A workshop scheduled for Thursday on job creation has been canceled due to blizzard-like conditions in the forecast. The workshop, sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, was to be held Thursday morning at the MinnWest Technology Campus. It will be rescheduled for a later date.
WILLMAR — When Michelle Haefner envisions the future of services for aging adults, she sees opportunities to innovate, make use of technology and design programs that respond to what clients and caregivers need and want. “The focus is on the person, the individual, and what does that person need. Our goal is to meet those needs and prepare for the future,” she said. Haefner was recently named the chief executive officer of Bethesda Health and Housing.
WILLMAR — Hoping to settle the controversy once and for all over the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission reserve fund, the EDC brought in its accountant and attorney this week for an in-depth review of the fund and existing statutes that govern reserve amounts. EDC staff and members of the joint operating board spent almost an hour Thursday on the discussion, ultimately taking no action to reallocate or decrease the organization’s reserve fund. Questions have been raised about the size of the fund and they need to be answered, said Steve Renquist, executive d
WILLMAR — Under a newly developed master facility plan, Rice Memorial Hospital will consolidate two of its patient units into rooms that can be adapted to varying levels of care. Construction of a new free-standing rehabilitation center also is on the horizon, along with expansion of the inpatient mental health unit. The proposed projects are contained in a new overall plan presented Wednesday to the hospital board of directors and approved unanimously. They represent a potential $8.4 million investment in streamlining the hospital’s daily operations and positioning it to expand services th
WILLMAR — Hoping to stabilize local orthopedic surgery services, Rice Memorial Hospital and Affiliated Community Medical Centers are developing a plan to provide orthopedic surgery through their Willmar Medical Services joint venture. Although several details are still being worked out, much of the plan has already taken shape and will be finalized in the next few months, Dr.