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Unemployment in Kandiyohi County has fallen to the lowest level since the recession. But lurking within the county's workforce and demographic statistics is a time bomb waiting to go off. The largest concentration of workers is among the middle-aged and older who are nearing retirement.
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County Highway Department wanted to start work this summer on the reconstruction of a busy rural highway on the east side of Eagle Lake. But there's been a snag. The necessary clearance that will allow part of County State-Aid Highway 9 to be rerouted through a wildlife area hasn't yet arrived from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Until the clearance is received, the county can't even seek road construction bids, let alone start construction.
WILLMAR -- When Rice Memorial Hospital conducted a hospital-wide survey late in 2010 on the organization's patient safety culture, one of the things learned was that information about errors in patient care wasn't being fully captured. Compared to other hospitals of similar size, "our staff tended to report fewer safety events," said Wendy Ulferts, chief nursing officer. Over the past year, Rice has been taking steps to change this and to increase the hospital's ability to collect and act on patient-safety data. It's one of several areas being addressed in Rice's ongoing efforts to provide
WILLMAR -- For the fourth year in a row, the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission has opted for no change in its property tax levy. Board members voted this week to leave the levy for the 2013 budget at the same level it has been for the past three years -- $455,000. The EDC continues to take an austere approach to spending, said Steve Renquist, executive director of the Economic Development Commission. But the agency will probably use most or all of its $508,500 budget this year, and is contemplating a spending increase next year, he said. About $53,000 of
WILLMAR -- From fast-food restaurants to gas stations to grocery stores, local businesses are stocking up for the Sonshine music festival. "You plan for everything," said Corissa Jones, store manager of the Willmar McDonald's restaurant. Starting Wednesday, the city's population will double with the 20,000 Christian music fans expected to attend this year's outdoor festival on the grounds of the Willmar Civic Center. Although big-name bands such as Switchfoot and Third Day are the main draw, hundreds of festival-goers also will be hitting the town for food, fuel and other essentials. The l
WILLMAR -- What you don't see in the water could make you sick. Health officials issued a well-timed reminder this past week urging swimmers to practice basic hygiene to avoid swapping waterborne germs. It's a risk that many people may not be aware of, said Trisha Robinson, a Minnesota Department of Health epidemiologist specializing in waterborne diseases. Swimmers may not get sick until days later, she said.
When it comes to health, loneliness seems to matter, suggests a new study that found a connection between feeling lonely and shorter lifespans. The study appeared in June in the Archives of Internal Medicine and focused on a specific population: adults over the age of 60. As study participants were tracked over six years, those who self-reported feelings of loneliness were more likely to experience "functional decline" -- i.e.
Minnesota's first human case this year of West Nile virus has been confirmed, the state Health Department said today. The case involved a man from St. Louis County who developed West Nile encephalitis and meningitis in late May after traveling to south central Minnesota. He was hospitalized and is recovering, state health officials said. West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes.
WILLMAR -- By midafternoon Monday, the heat index in Willmar had soared to 100 degrees and Rob Baumgarn, Willmar Community Education and Recreation coordinator, was keeping a close watch on the thermometer. Any hotter, and he and his staff would have to start talking about whether to cancel community rec activities for the day. "We constantly are checking the heat index," Baumgarn said. "If it reaches 100 to 105, that's where we start contemplating about what we should do." A heat wave has had the region simmering since the weekend.