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WILLMAR -- Rice Memorial Hospital weathered some daunting challenges over the past five years: declining inpatient volume, shrinking reimbursement and a national recession. But the city-owned hospital emerged from 2011 in the best operational health it's had in years, from financial performance to cash flow and productivity. A status report was shared Monday with the hospital board's finance committee. Taken together, it gives the board a realistic view of how Rice is doing, said Mike Schramm, chief executive. "How are we doing operationally? How strong are we? What have the trends been?
WILLMAR -- The West Central Renewable Ammonia Development LLC has been awarded a major state grant -- for $450,000 -- to help take a proposed biomass-into-anhydrous-ammonia project to the next stage. The grant award was announced Thursday by the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission.
Local fire officials hope the donation of pet oxygen masks could someday help save the life of a dog or cat rescued from a fire. With any luck, the masks will never have to be used. But in case they're ever needed, "it's nice to know we've got them," said Marv Calvin, Willmar fire chief.
WILLMAR -- The West Central Renewable Ammonia Development LLC has been awarded a $450,000 state grant to help take the project into its next phase. The grant award was announced today by the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission.
WILLMAR -- Bobbie Bauman thinks the two small dogs were abandoned somewhere on First Street Northeast, near KWLM Radio on Foot Lake at the edge of town. Employees at the radio station spotted them Feb. 10 and called the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter. "We went over there," said Bauman, director of operations for the shelter. "Both were out there running around in the cold.
Members of the West Central Singers -- based in Willmar -- are packing their bags today for a trip to New York City, where they'll be singing with a mass choir in a concert Monday at Carnegie Hall. Are they excited about it? "I think excitement is an understatement," laughed Jackie Cunningham, a soprano and longtime member of the regional chorus.
From power-generating wind turbines to the manufacture of animal vaccines, west central Minnesota is turning into a hotbed of innovation in renewable energy and the biosciences.
WILLMAR -- Got an old unpaid bill at Rice Memorial Hospital? The hospital recently began offering "amnesty" in the form of a 25 percent discount to patients who pay off the entire balance for care they received Jan. 31 or earlier. It's the first time Rice has done so, and hospital officials hope patients take advantage of the amnesty to settle older bills. "We're hoping the program works," said Jackie Hinderks, director of revenue and reimbursement.
WILLMAR -- A proposal to renovate the skilled nursing wings at the Rice Care Center calls for a "household" concept that creates groups of resident rooms with shared living and dining areas. There would be more private rooms.