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WILLMAR - First came the sleet and freezing rain, then came the snow. Travel came to a standstill across the region Sunday as a large winter storm dumped several inches of wintry precipitation over much of Minnesota. The heaviest snow fell in a large swath across the central part of the state, where many towns got half a foot or more of new snow. “Tough shape” is how a dispatcher at the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office described road conditions Sunday .
WILLMAR — Kids filled the waiting room Friday afternoon at the Rice Regional Dental Clinic. A steady parade of young patients kept 28 volunteers busy with dental exams and sealant treatments. It was the third year in a row that the regional dental clinic participated in Give Kids a Smile, an annual American Dental Association event that brings free care to underserved children. The 80 children who came for free exams Friday might otherwise have gone without dental care, said Renee Johnson, the clinic’s dental hygiene instructor.
WILLMAR — Minnesota saw little change last year in the overall number of adverse events reported by hospitals and surgery centers. But there was a rise in deaths and serious injuries, most of them related to falls. The annual report is being released today by the Minnesota Department of Health. It includes 14 patient deaths and 89 serious injuries due to “never” events. In 2011 there were five deaths and 84 serious injuries.
WILLMAR — A Willmar doctor was disciplined by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice this month for performing two eyelid surgeries, both on the same patient, that went awry. Dr. Martin Janning was ordered to complete a pre-approved course in oculoplastic surgery within the next nine months. He also is required to observe a minimum of five entropion surgeries by a pre-approved physician and write a report on what he has learned and how it will be implemented in his practice.
WILLMAR — Dr. Drew Hoffman analyzes the risk vs. the benefit of medical imaging almost every day: Should he order an X-ray or CT scan for the patient with abdominal pain? Should the child with a seemingly mild concussion receive a CT scan of the head? The right answer isn’t always obvious, says Hoffman, a family practice doctor and medical director at Family Practice Medical Center of Willmar. “It’s never as clear-cut as you would like. That is what we call the art of medicine,” he said.
WILLMAR — Renovation and expansion will get under way soon at Rice Home Medical’s retail store in Willmar, following the approval of construction bids Wednesday by the Rice Memorial Hospital Board of Directors. The project is part of a new strategic plan to diversify Rice Home Medical services and make them more responsive to consumer needs. “We’re moving into new service lines and more cash business,” said Bill Fenske, Rice Hospital chief financial officer. “That’s the main driver of it.”
WILLMAR — As enrollment climbs, the Willmar School District may soon need to evaluate its facility needs, Supt. Jerry Kjergaard said this week. The number of kindergarten and elementary-age children is growing beyond projections, creating increasing challenges with classroom and school space, he told members of the Willmar School Board on Monday. “We need to talk about it at some point in the fairly near future,” he said.
WILLMAR — A Willmar school principal who was reprimanded last fall for allegedly trying to influence the school district’s hiring process on behalf of his wife has been denied a request to have the reprimand removed from his file. Willmar School Board members voted 6-1 Monday to deny the grievance filed by Mark Miley, principal of the Willmar Middle School. The board’s action clears the way for Miley to seek arbitration, or for the two sides to negotiate a settlement.
WILLMAR — With influenza laying siege to much of the United States, local doctors are fielding dozens of requests from sick patients for antiviral drugs. The medication might not be right for everyone, though. Vulnerable high-risk patients are the ones who benefit the most from antiviral medication and are the best candidates to receive it, said Dr. Ken Flowe, chief medical officer at Rice Memorial Hospital and a physician in Rice’s emergency room. “Those people need early, aggressive therapy,” he said. “A healthy, normal, middle-aged adult doesn’t necessarily benefit.”
WILLMAR — The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission is starting over in its search for a new agriculture and renewable energy specialist — but this time the position will be advertised as full time instead of part time. Agency officials said they hope a full-time position will attract a strong slate of candidates. Members of the Economic Development Commission’s operating board were updated Thursday on the lack of progress in hiring someone. The position has been vacant since summer, when the former staff person resigned.