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Andrew Wilkowske first encountered the stories and characters of American novelist John Steinbeck when he was a student at Willmar High School. These days, the 1993 Willmar graduate has reason to know Steinbeck especially well. Wilkowske, 34, a classically trained baritone, sang two years ago in the Minnesota Opera's world premiere of "The Grapes of Wrath." This next week he takes to the stage at Carnegie Hall in New York for a concert version Monday night of the modern opera based on Steinbeck's epic novel. Wilkowske has been singing professionally for more than a decade.
WILLMAR -- Board members of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission want to see the same level of funding for the agency in 2011 as it is receiving this year. It's still at least five months before the EDC must come up with a proposed budget and tax levy for next year.
WILLMAR -- With only two weeks to go until its annual community review, the United Way of West Central Minnesota is more than 25 percent short of its fund-raising goal. The regional United Way put out an urgent plea this week for people to dig into their pockets and give, so all United Way agencies can get their full budget allocations for the year. "We're trying very, very hard to keep our level of funding the same to our programs," said Stacey Roberts, executive director of the United Way of West Central Minnesota. "We had a lot of people drop off in giving," she said. It has made for a
WILLMAR -- Rice Memorial Hospital's new strategic plan will begin producing concrete results in the next couple of months with the finalizing of both a growth plan and a facilities plan for the city-owned hospital. "We are working hard on a number of different fronts," said Mike Schramm, chief executive of the hospital. In a report to the board of directors Wednesday night, he reviewed the timeline and the progress that has been accomplished so far with the strategic plan, which was adopted in December. The strategic plan outlines the future direction for Rice Hospital and the services the
WILLMAR -- It started with a simple quest. Stephen and Laura Deleski, owners of West Central Printing, were looking for historic photos of their 1890s-era building in downtown Willmar. They uncovered some vintage postcards depicting many of the grand brick buildings that graced the downtown business district. One thing led to another and Stephen Deleski's interest grew. "We travel a lot, so when we're camping in summer we hit all the antique stores," he said. He began collecting old local photos through auctions and online sales.
WILLMAR -- Give consumers the option of paying their hospital bill online via credit card, and they'll jump at the chance. That was Rice Memorial Hospital's experience after introducing an online credit-card payment option last June.
WILLMAR -- Immigrant stories, as seen through the lens of a movie camera, will be featured in a month-long film festival that opens Monday with a showing of "The Visitor." The free four-week series was organized by the Willmar Area Comprehensive Immigration Reform coalition to help raise community awareness of the issues surrounding immigration. "Why do people immigrate? What are their stories? What happens when they come here? These films help show some of these stories," said the Rev. Naomi Mahler, one of the members of the local coalition. The films will be shown at 6 p.m.
WILLMAR -- Mary Jane Stredde was so busy greeting well-wishers Tuesday afternoon that she hardly had time to sip her coffee. Stredde, 75, shook dozens of hands as friends and coworkers crowded into the community room at Centennial Square to see her receive the district volunteer of the year award from Aging Services of Minnesota. The award is given to volunteers who go above and beyond in donating their time to serving the aging population.
WILLMAR -- Rice Memorial Hospital officials are keeping a close eye on legislative action that could decide the fate of General Assistance Medical Care and those patients who are covered by the program. The Minnesota Senate voted Thursday to override Gov. Tim Pawlenty's veto to restore the publicly funded health care program for low-income single adults.
WILLMAR -- When someone arrives in Rice Memorial Hospital's emergency room with injuries from a highway crash, the whole staff is ready to act swiftly to evaluate, treat and stabilize the patient. The hospital's recent designation as a Level 3 trauma center takes this process up another notch by joining a new statewide trauma system that brings more cohesion to how injured patients are cared for. "It ensures that patients get prompt evaluation and transfer if necessary," said Dr. Scott Abrams, an emergency room physician.