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WILLMAR -- The face of Ryan Ruhl, flanked by two members of the Little Crow Ski Team, smiles out from the Community Marketing Coalition's latest print ad. The ad shares a few details about Ruhl: native of the Willmar area, member of the award-winning Little Crow water ski team, youth instructor in water skiing. He likes the area's friendly people and its absence of traffic jams.
WILLMAR -- Five local banks are hoping for community participation as they host an American Red Cross blood drive Friday in Willmar. "The banks have never done this before. This is new. We're rolling up our sleeves together here for a collaborative effort," said Deb Van Buren of North American State Bank. The blood drive will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rice Memorial Hospital. The goal is 65 units. Volunteer donors can make an appointment by calling the Red Cross toll-free number at 1-800-GIVE-LIFE.
WILLMAR -- When they're finished with their cancer treatment, the last thing many patients want is to go back to the place where they were treated. But not too long ago, Barb Hoeft encountered a former radiation therapy patient who returned to the hospital so he could see the progress of the construction on the new Willmar Cancer Center. "He was excited for this whole experience, and he was done with his treatment," said Hoeft, director of the Willmar Cancer Center. Anticipation is starting to build for the opening of the cancer center early next year.
WILLMAR -- It might still be several weeks before a vaccine for the H1N1 novel influenza virus arrives in Minnesota. But local health providers are urging people to take early steps to protect themselves by getting vaccinated now against regular seasonal flu. "That's a line of defense," said Jo DeBruycker, manager of the Health Learning Center at Affiliated Community Medical Centers.
WILLMAR -- Job seekers in west-central Minnesota outnumber job openings 8-to-1, a new analysis has found. The statistics were released Tuesday by the Jobs Now Coalition on the heels of the state's latest job vacancy survey. Kevin Ristau of the Jobs Now Coalition doesn't see these numbers improving any time soon. "For serious recovery here, we're not talking months, we're talking years," he said. The coalition developed its analysis using the most recent employment data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Coalition has received a major boost in the form of a five-year federal grant. Over the next five years, the organization will receive $125,000 a year -- a total of $625,000 -- to carry out prevention activities and initiatives that target youths. "It's great.
WILLMAR -- One of Rice Memorial Hospital's key executive positions, that of the chief medical officer, has been filled with the selection this month of Dr. Mark Matthias. The announcement was made Wednesday to the board of directors of the city-owned hospital. Matthias, who's currently the chief medical officer at the Mankato Clinic, has accepted a contract and will arrive at Rice around Jan. 1, said Mike Schramm, Rice Hospital's chief executive. "We're very pleased to have that happen," he said.
WILLMAR -- The timing isn't the best. Three members of Rice Memorial Hospital's seven-member board of directors are facing term limits and will be off the board on Dec. 31 -- unless the Willmar city charter can be changed to allow hospital board appointees to serve longer. The hospital board is asking the Charter Commission to speed up its decision.
WILLMAR -- Bethesda Health and Housing officially broke ground Friday for an innovative new senior wellness center at its Pleasant View home. The $6 million project, the first of its kind in the region, includes a warm-water indoor swimming pool and new space for physical, cardiac and occupational therapy programs.
WILLMAR -- The tires are wearing out. There's a dent in one of the passenger doors from a mishap on icy roads this past winter. The latest woe to befall the Humane Society of Kandiyohi County's aging van?