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WILLMAR — Friends of the Humane Society of Kandiyohi and Meeker Countie s will have the chance to show their support for homeless animals at the seventh annual Save Our Tails charity event this weekend. Organizers hope to raise $20,000 or more to help defray operating costs at the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter .
Blowing snow and white-out conditions have forced buses for the Willmar Public Schools to cancel their routes outside the city limits today and bring students back to school. School district officials said high school and middle school students are being brought back to the Willmar Middle School. Buses are returning Roosevelt students to Roosevelt School and Kennedy Elementary students to Kennedy School.
WILLMAR — Influenza activity continues to fall from the peak levels seen last month, but health officials say it’s too soon to breathe a sigh of relief. “It’s not behind us yet,” Jo DeBruycker, manager of the Health Learning Center at Willmar’s Affiliated Community Medical Centers, said this week. The Minnesota Department of Health reported nine deaths from influenza during the week of Feb. 3 to 9. Seventy-two people were hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza last week, the Health Department said Thursday.
WILLMAR — Look for Minnesota hospitals to mount vigorous opposition to legislative efforts that could result in mandated nurse-to-patient ratios. “Bad public policy” was the reaction Wednesday of Michael Schramm, chief executive of Rice Memorial Hospital. “It hasn’t been demonstrated to improve quality. It’s only been demonstrated to drive up costs,” he said. “We believe that those decisions need to be made at the local level.”
WILLMAR — Romance is in the air at Mr. B Chocolates, and it smells like fine European chocolate. Workers at the family-owned shop have been busy for days, making hundreds of hand-crafted Belgian-style chocolates to meet the demand this week for Valentine’s Day. “It’s that special thing you give,” manager Mary Reishus said. The National Retail Federation predicts Americans will spend a collective $18.6 billion this year on flowers, candy, jewelry and other tokens of love for their sweethearts.
WILLMAR — The Cushman A. Rice trust fund gave nearly $70,000 in grants last year to help 254 qualified needy patients pay their bill at Rice Memorial Hospital. The need far exceeds the amount of grant dollars available each year, advisers with Bremer Investment Management and Trust, which oversees the Rice trust fund, told the Rice Hospital finance committee on Friday. The number of people receiving Rice trust grants has more than doubled in the past few years. In 2010, 111 individuals qualified for $45,000 in grants to help pay their hospital bill.
WILLMAR - First came the sleet and freezing rain, then came the snow. Travel came to a standstill across the region Sunday as a large winter storm dumped several inches of wintry precipitation over much of Minnesota. The heaviest snow fell in a large swath across the central part of the state, where many towns got half a foot or more of new snow. “Tough shape” is how a dispatcher at the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office described road conditions Sunday .
WILLMAR — Kids filled the waiting room Friday afternoon at the Rice Regional Dental Clinic. A steady parade of young patients kept 28 volunteers busy with dental exams and sealant treatments. It was the third year in a row that the regional dental clinic participated in Give Kids a Smile, an annual American Dental Association event that brings free care to underserved children. The 80 children who came for free exams Friday might otherwise have gone without dental care, said Renee Johnson, the clinic’s dental hygiene instructor.
WILLMAR — Minnesota saw little change last year in the overall number of adverse events reported by hospitals and surgery centers. But there was a rise in deaths and serious injuries, most of them related to falls. The annual report is being released today by the Minnesota Department of Health. It includes 14 patient deaths and 89 serious injuries due to “never” events. In 2011 there were five deaths and 84 serious injuries.
WILLMAR — A Willmar doctor was disciplined by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice this month for performing two eyelid surgeries, both on the same patient, that went awry. Dr. Martin Janning was ordered to complete a pre-approved course in oculoplastic surgery within the next nine months. He also is required to observe a minimum of five entropion surgeries by a pre-approved physician and write a report on what he has learned and how it will be implemented in his practice.