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WILLMAR -- Under a new alignment plan, the boards of the Rice Health Foundation and Rice Memorial Hospital will work more closely together to identify, support and fund some of the key needs of the hospital. The plan was unanimously endorsed Wednesday by the board of directors of the city-owned hospital. It was the next step in a process that began last year with integrating the nonprofit foundation, which was previously a separate entity, with Rice Hospital.
WILLMAR -- Melvin's on the Lake, a popular dining and entertainment landmark in Spicer, has been sold to Zorbaz Inc. Owners Dave and Mary Baker will operate Melvin's for one final summer this year before turning it over to Zorbaz on Oct. 1. The Bakers made the ann-ouncement Monday. "This will be our ninth season when we finish this summer," Dave Baker said. "It's been a privilege and an honor to run such an important entity." Zorbaz owns and operates nine restaurants in northern Minnesota.
WILLMAR -- Rice Memorial Hospital fared slightly better than the financial break-even point last year, its best performance since 2007. The gains weren't large.
WILLMAR -- By mid-morning Wednesday, the word was spreading in Madison that a new county-by-county ranking lists Lac qui Parle County as the healthiest in Minnesota. "That's good news," enthused Maynard Meyer, executive director of the Madison Chamber of Commerce and general manager of KLQP Radio. The rankings, for all 50 states in the U.S., were issued Wednesday by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. They offer a snapshot of people's health based on where they live, work and go to school.
WILLMAR -- A Willmar man was fined more than $1,200 and placed on probation Wednesday after being convicted in two separate cases, one drug-related and the other involving terroristic threats against a former girlfriend and a high-speed car chase. Petrolino Molina, 27, could have faced jail or prison time. But Kandiyohi County District Court Judge Kathryn Smith agreed to stay execution of a one-year prison sentence on the terroristic threat charge for five years.
WILLMAR -- More nonprofit agencies are seeking funding this year from the United Way of West Central Minnesota, and the dollar amount of funding re-quests has grown significantly. A community review panel meets Thursday to begin considering the funding requests from 59 agencies. Area nonprofits continue to see an increase in the number of people they serve, said Renee Nolting, executive director of the United Way of West Central Minnesota. "More agencies are needing funding," she said.
WILLMAR -- Cardiology and nephrology will be two of the focus areas as Rice Memorial Hospital seeks to strengthen and expand some of its services this year. Recruitment of more physicians also is a goal, along with a lengthy to-do list that includes quality of care, patient satisfaction, financial performance and staff development. The board of directors for the city-owned hospital endorsed the hospital's work plan for 2011 this past week, setting in motion the second year of a five-year strategic plan to further develop Rice's position as a regional hospital. "Our administrative team has s
WILLMAR -- New contracts were finalized Wednesday with four of Rice Memorial Hospital's five employee bargaining units. All four contracts contain similar terms: minimal pay increases but no change in health insurance benefits or paid time off. Each of the new labor agreements is for three years -- 2011, 2012 and 2013. The contracts were all ratified earlier by union members. Contract talks have been tense at some U.S. hospitals this past year.
WILLMAR -- The handwritten notes were short but heartfelt. "I thank you from the bottom of my heart" for receiving help from the Rice trust fund to pay a hospital bill, one person wrote.
WILLMAR -- A proposal is moving forward to turn the ag specialist position at the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission from part time into full time. The EDC's joint operations board voted Thursday to recommend to the governing board that the ag position be expanded to full time. With the number of agricultural and renewable energy initiatives un- der way, the move is warranted, bo-ard members said. "I think it's too important to not fund it," said Bev Dougherty. The EDC ag specialist works closely with the agricultural and renewable energy committee on a va