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WILLMAR -- Last week's bad weather did more than close schools and interfere with travel. It also disrupted the Red Cross's efforts to collect blood for use in the region's hospitals. There's still enough blood for patients who need it, but donors are being urged to give at the earliest available chance so the supply can be replenished, said Red Cross spokeswoman Jill Applegate. "O-negative blood has dropped to emergency levels. We are at less than a one-day supply," she said. January is traditionally "a tough month" for local blood drives, Applegate said.
WILLMAR -- After a piece of a sizing cuff was accidentally left inside a patient during major surgery at Rice Memorial Hospital last year, a hospital team gathered to analyze how it happened and how to prevent similar incidents in the future. The hospital has since adopted a different system of accounting for the equipment that's used during large surgical cases such as this one. "It did result in us making some changes in the way we were doing things," said Maureen Ideker, associate administrator of care management and chief nursing officer at Rice. The incident was among 301 "never" event
WILLMAR -- Can Kandiyohi County support three community-owned grocery stores whose focus is on fresh, locally grown food? A market and feasibility study being undertaken by a local initiative will attempt to come up with enough data to help answer this question. The joint operations board of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission voted Thursday to allocate up to $12,000 to underwrite the cost of the study, which is being carried out by the G2G Research Inc.
WILLMAR -- Sure, many people think it's expensive to outfit a youngster to play hockey. But it doesn't have to be that way, says Jeff Melby. "I could put someone into hockey equipment for under a hundred dollars, including skates," he said. Melby and his wife, Kina, are the new owners of Play It Again Sports, picking up where Doug Quick, who owned the local franchise for the past 17 years, left off. New or used, buy, sell or trade, Play It Again Sports is one of the region's key resources for helping equip athletes to pursue their chosen sport. "We really want to reach out to the communit
WILLMAR -- There's still time to get vaccinated against seasonal flu and the H1N1 novel influenza virus, and there's still vaccine available. This double message is being urged by state and local health officials on the eve of the Minnesota Department of Health's annual "Ban the Bug" campaign, which runs next week. Although local influenza activity has waned dramatically, the state Health Department is warning that a third wave of the H1N1 virus is possible. Minnesota also is moving into the time of year when seasonal flu is most likely to occur. "No one can predict.
WILLMAR -- The two dogs at a rural Kandiyohi County home had access to shelter and appeared to be healthy, but their drinking water had frozen in the subzero temperatures gripping the region. The call on Saturday to local law enforcement authorities, asking them to check on the dogs' welfare, was one of several in recent days.
If there were an iconic symbol for the Decade of the Aughts, what would it be -- a wind turbine? Or maybe a BlackBerry, a military uniform or an unemployment check. Ten years ago we were talking about Y2K. We'd never heard of YouTube or WiFi. Local food was anything you didn't buy out of town. Terrorism and a crashing economy were threats that stayed mostly in the back of our minds. Fast-forward to the end of 2009 and an entirely new landscape. More than anything, the first decade of the 21st century was a time of change and uncertainty. On the morning of Sept.
WILLMAR -- By the time winter is over, local emergency medical workers figure they'll have treated at least a few cases of hypothermia, broken bones from falling on ice, chest pains triggered by shoveling snow, and even a few snowblower-related injuries. Be careful out there, because this time of year can be risky, say local health officials. "Take care of yourself. It's knowing to bundle up, to wear your gloves wear your hat.
WILLMAR -- Music shimmers forth as Donna Jo Kopitzke gently plucks the strings of her Reverie Harp. The sounds linger, then slowly fade. Rice Hospice recently began using the soothing notes of the harp to help comfort terminally ill patients and their families on the journey toward death. "It's comforting. It's easy. It's accessible to almost everyone," said Kopitzke, who is the music coordinator for Rice Hospice. The harps, one for each of the eight hospice offices in Appleton, Benson, Dawson, Granite Falls, Montevideo, Ortonville and Paynesville, arrived in July.
NEW LONDON -- The New London-Spicer School District is stepping up its efforts to combat what some observers describe as a climate that condones and facilitates underage alcohol use. School officials say it's an issue they intend to take seriously. "It's something that we need to deal with for our students, for our community. ...