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WILLMAR -- As inpatient volume at Rice Memorial Hospital continues to decline and an operating deficit persists, hospital officials have redoubled their efforts to find ways to improve the financial situation. "We are looking at anything and everything to get things turned around," Mike Schramm, the city-owned hospital's chief executive, told the board of directors at a meeting Wednesday evening. "We have to think outside the box and be creative, knowing that things have changed significantly in how we take care of patients," Schramm said. As of the end of June, Rice had amassed a $1.1 mill
WILLMAR -- The buildings are ready, the pipeline has been installed, the tanks and ditches are in place. The next stage in completing Willmar's new multimillion-dollar wastewater treatment plant involves one of the more arcane steps in the process: colonizing the new facility with the millions of microbes that digest and break down municipal waste. Rhonda Rae, program manager with the Willmar office of Donahue and Associates, the engineering consultants for the wastewater treatment plant, outlined for the Willmar City Council on Monday night how this will take place. Starting in early Augus
WILLMAR -- Counties in west-central Minnesota didn't see their economies skyrocket during the boom times that preceded the recession, but neither did the bottom fall out when the economy turned sour. A new analysis by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development shows that while the recession resulted in job losses all across the state, rural counties on average were hit somewhat less hard. Kandiyohi, Swift and Yellow Medicine counties lost less than 3 percent of their total employment.
WILLMAR -- Members of the Willmar City Council are voicing reservations about a recommendation by the Willmar Charter Commission to remove the Municipal Utilities Commission from direct oversight by the city council. The revision is just one among numerous changes proposed to the city charter, the document that creates the framework for how the city of Willmar is governed. It was the issue that triggered the most discussion, however, when charter commission members presented a draft of their recommendations Monday night to the city council. Agreement by the council will be crucial when it c
WILLMAR -- The bare feet of summer don't always mix well with barbed wire or rusty nails. That's why local health officials say it's a good idea to have a tetanus vaccination that's up to date. "If you can't remember when the last one was, it's probably time for you to get it," said Stacey Zondervan, director of patient services at Family Practice Medical Center. Clostridium tetani spores live in soil, dust and manure, where they persist for months or even years.
WILLMAR -- Despite all the transportation, nutrition, respite and other services in the region to serve the aging population, Lynn Buckley still sees elderly individuals who fall through the cracks. These are services that can "help the seniors remain independent in a very economical and cost-efficient way," said Buckley, coordinator of the Caring Connections program at Redwood Area Hospital in Redwood Falls.
WILLMAR -- Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway has pulled out of the application process for federal stimulus money to help build a railroad bypass on the west edge of Willmar. In a letter sent Tuesday to city officials, the railroad said that after a further review of the application guidelines, it saw "no possibility" that BNSF would be able to obtain a planning grant for the proposed multimillion-dollar project. Local officials said Wednesday they're disappointed with the turn of events. "The greatest disappointment is the loss of what we thought were the benefits," said Steve Renquist,
WILLMAR -- Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway has pulled out of the application process for federal stimulus money to help build a railroad bypass on the west edge of Willmar. In a letter notifying local officials Tuesday of its decision, BNSF said that after reviewing the application guidelines, the railroad saw "no possibility" of being able to obtain a planning grant for the proposed project. Local economic development officials said today they're disappointed with the turn of events. "The greatest disappointment is the loss of what we thought were the benefits," said Steve Renquist, e
WILLMAR -- Shhh! Teens only, please. Comfy armchairs, a colorful rug, tables by the window and shelves laden with young-adult books mark a new venture by the Willmar Public Library -- a space set aside just for teens. By giving adolescents a place of their own, library officials hope to encourage this sometimes-overlooked age group to feel at home in the library and foster a long-lasting love of reading and libraries. "We're a place where they can come and they're welcome," said Chris Beyerl, head librarian.
Two-thirds of the way through the Spicer Fourth of July parade route last weekend, Bobbie Bauman and the rest of the dog handlers from the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter had reason to be glad they were accompanied by a flatbed trailer. "We were able to jump on because the dogs were getting warm," Bauman said. Although the mercury has yet to reach the triple-digit zone, the peak of summer has arrived -- and so has the need to stay cool.