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SPICER -- The city of Spicer will see a 21 percent loss of its local government aid as a result of the state budget unallotment, announced Tuesday by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. How this cutback will affect the city was the main topic of discussion for the Spicer City Council at a meeting Tuesday evening. For now, the impact is not likely to be major. Overall, local government aid amounts to about 14 percent of the city's tax levy, said Leslie Valiant, city administrator. "It's not a huge factor to us," she said. The city also has been bracing itself since last fall for tough financial times.
WILLMAR -- Before any of the surgery teams at Rice Memorial Hospital or the Willmar Surgery Center make the first incision, there's a final stop as they go down the checklist: Correct patient. Correct procedure.
WILLMAR -- Willmar city officials contend a forthcoming estimate of the city's population falls short by at least 700 people. The newest set of figures from the Minnesota State Demographical Center won't be publicly released until July. But city officials have already seen the estimate and they're disputing it. "We are challenging it," said Bruce Peterson, the city's community development director. City officials believe Willmar's population stands at approximately 19,600.
WILLMAR -- Financial assistance might become one of the bargaining chips as the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission continues its push to obtain a veterans' nursing home and mental health facility for Willmar. The possibility was put forward Thursday as the EDC's operations board contemplated how to stay in the running for the project. "I think we need this discussion to go a little further so we know what we're putting on the table," said Duane Hultgren, chairman of the operations board. During the past legislative session, the veterans' home proposal came
WILLMAR -- Rice Memorial Hospital's new chief executive has been spending his first 10 days on the job meeting people and getting to know the faces and the issues at the city-owned hospital. Michael Schramm had his first official meeting Wednesday with the hospital board of directors. "I'm very glad to be here," he told the board. During the short meeting, which lasted less than 90 minutes, he reviewed state budget issues with the board, heard a presentation on the hospital's 2008 environmental safety report, and described for board members what he's been doing since arriving in the executi
WILLMAR -- The number of H1N1 novel influenza cases confirmed in Minnesota has jumped to 124. Thirteen of these cases were reported in southwestern Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. "Clearly there has been activity.
WILLMAR -- The weather was damp and the construction site muddy, but enthusiasm was high Monday morning as the Humane Society of Kandiyohi County officially broke ground for a new animal shelter serving Kandiyohi and Meeker counties.
WILLMAR -- When the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. issued its first-quarter report last month on bank performance, some of the news was concerning. The number of banks in distress is on the rise, and some analysts predict that a handful of community banks in Minnesota might fail by the end of 2009. Despite tough times in the banking industry, however, the majority of the state's community banks -- including those in this region -- are faring relatively well. "We've tightened our underwriting standards when it comes to loans.
WILLMAR -- The H1N1 novel influenza virus is almost certainly circulating in the region, but surveillance indicates that it's neither widespread nor severe. As of Friday morning, 56 cases of the novel virus had been confirmed by Minnesota's public health laboratory since the outbreak began in late April. Seven of them were in the southwestern region of the state, a 16-county area that includes Kandiyohi, Chippewa, Renville, Swift and Yellow Medicine counties.
WILLMAR -- A staff committee at Rice Memorial Hospital was working on a project to improve the interaction among patients, nurses and physicians. But when the project was presented to the hospital's patient advisory committee, the committee members had a few suggestions and perspectives of their own. "Did we get a lot of advice on that -- and things we would not have thought of," said Maureen Ideker, chief nursing officer at Rice. As a result, the project is being modified to incorporate some of the advisory committee's feedback, she said. The patient advisory committee is brand new -- in