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WILLMAR — Dr. Drew Hoffman analyzes the risk vs. the benefit of medical imaging almost every day: Should he order an X-ray or CT scan for the patient with abdominal pain? Should the child with a seemingly mild concussion receive a CT scan of the head? The right answer isn’t always obvious, says Hoffman, a family practice doctor and medical director at Family Practice Medical Center of Willmar. “It’s never as clear-cut as you would like. That is what we call the art of medicine,” he said.
WILLMAR — Renovation and expansion will get under way soon at Rice Home Medical’s retail store in Willmar, following the approval of construction bids Wednesday by the Rice Memorial Hospital Board of Directors. The project is part of a new strategic plan to diversify Rice Home Medical services and make them more responsive to consumer needs. “We’re moving into new service lines and more cash business,” said Bill Fenske, Rice Hospital chief financial officer. “That’s the main driver of it.”
WILLMAR — As enrollment climbs, the Willmar School District may soon need to evaluate its facility needs, Supt. Jerry Kjergaard said this week. The number of kindergarten and elementary-age children is growing beyond projections, creating increasing challenges with classroom and school space, he told members of the Willmar School Board on Monday. “We need to talk about it at some point in the fairly near future,” he said.
WILLMAR — A Willmar school principal who was reprimanded last fall for allegedly trying to influence the school district’s hiring process on behalf of his wife has been denied a request to have the reprimand removed from his file. Willmar School Board members voted 6-1 Monday to deny the grievance filed by Mark Miley, principal of the Willmar Middle School. The board’s action clears the way for Miley to seek arbitration, or for the two sides to negotiate a settlement.
WILLMAR — With influenza laying siege to much of the United States, local doctors are fielding dozens of requests from sick patients for antiviral drugs. The medication might not be right for everyone, though. Vulnerable high-risk patients are the ones who benefit the most from antiviral medication and are the best candidates to receive it, said Dr. Ken Flowe, chief medical officer at Rice Memorial Hospital and a physician in Rice’s emergency room. “Those people need early, aggressive therapy,” he said. “A healthy, normal, middle-aged adult doesn’t necessarily benefit.”
WILLMAR — The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission is starting over in its search for a new agriculture and renewable energy specialist — but this time the position will be advertised as full time instead of part time. Agency officials said they hope a full-time position will attract a strong slate of candidates. Members of the Economic Development Commission’s operating board were updated Thursday on the lack of progress in hiring someone. The position has been vacant since summer, when the former staff person resigned.
WILLMAR — As the influenza outbreak continues, masks and hand sanitizer are becoming a familiar sight at the entrance to local health facilities. Providers are busy not only caring for sick patients but taking steps as well to attempt to curb the spread of the flu virus in what’s proving to be a severe influenza season. Influenza activity remains high, health officials said Wednesday. “You keep hoping it’s going to level off but it’s not,” said Jo DeBruycker, manager of the Health Learning Center at Affiliated Community Medical Centers.
WILLMAR — A consultants’ report suggests several strategies the Hawk Creek Animal Shelter can implement to increase adoption rates for cats and reduce the amount of time they spend at the shelter. Shelter staff and board members are reviewing the recommendations and will likely adopt “most if not all” of them, said Steve Gardner, president of the board of directors. “It’s simply a matter of taking the next step,” he said.
WILLMAR — When Bev Werder started her own business, Compassionate Care, in 2002, she had just one employee — herself. Now she has 60 full- and part-time staff who provide daily help and companionship to older adults living in their own homes. Five years ago she expanded by opening Compassionate Cottage, a board and care facility with services and all the comforts of home for her aging clients. “It’s what I love to do, and it just evolved from there,” says Werder. “I never envisioned that it would grow like this.”
WILLMAR — The Willmar Area Community Foundation is casting a wide net for grant applications from local nonprofits focusing on older adults, youths, diversity or the arts. Buoyed by a recent $6 million gift, the foundation now has significantly more grant funds to award, said John Lindstrom, chairman of the board. “I just want to encourage area nonprofits to put together an application, let us take a look at it and see where it fits,” he said. “We’re pretty much open to all different kinds of applications.”