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WILLMAR -- It's 2:30 on the dot and students at the Willmar Middle School are streaming out the doors. On the north side of the building, where the school buses are queued up, kids who live close enough to walk are headed across the street and toward home -- only there are no crosswalks, and one of the sidewalks stops several feet short of the intersection. At the school's south entrance, a long procession of cars, SUVs and minivans idles in line as parents wait to pick up their kids. Willmar Police Officer Tony LaPatka, surveying the scene, calls it "15 minutes of mayhem." "Nobody likes t
LITCHFIELD -- Darrin Anderson was 3 years old when he was accidentally mauled by a bear on his family's game farm in rural Starbuck. Although he lost part of his right arm, he was in sports all through high school. As an adult, he coaches, golfs and plays the guitar. "I never let it stop me from doing anything," says Anderson, 32, of Litchfield. It's a story he often shares to illustrate the persistence and resilience he says he'll bring to the Minnesota Legislature if he wins next week's election in District 18B. Anderson, a Democrat, is challenging Rep.
GROVE CITY -- It was a long, arduous process to create and fund the new Greenleaf Recreational Area in Meeker County, but Rep. Dean Urdahl doesn't see himself as a quitter. "I battled and battled to get that," the Grove City Republican says. "That's what you've got to do if you think something is important. You've got to keep fighting for it." Urdahl says he'll continue this tenacity in St. Paul if he wins re-election to the Minnesota House in District 18B.
WILLMAR -- Bids totaling $1.3 million were awarded Thursday for construction of a new addition at the Rice Care Center to house the skilled nursing facility's short-term rehabilitation program. At a special meeting, Rice Memorial Hospital board members voted to accept all the bids, except for mechanical and electrical work, which is being submitted for another round of bidding. These two portions of the project are expected to account for another $1 million or so. The hospital board also voted to approve the construction budget of $2.9 million.
WILLMAR -- As he knocks on doors and hosts meetings across District 13, Larry Rice hears the same refrain: The voters have had it with partisan politics. "They're sick and tired of people fighting. They just want someone to get the job done," he said. Rice, the DFL candidate for state Senate in District 13, is challenging the current senator, Joe Gimse, who is seeking his second term. A lifelong Willmar resident, Rice is new to politics. What he hopes to bring to St.
WILLMAR -- Government in the state of Minnesota should focus on its core mission and stick to zero-based, line-item budgeting -- an approach Sen.
WILLMAR - Clustered in a bay lit by tall southeast-facing windows, the tables and chairs in the mini-café at the new Bethesda Wellness Center are waiting to become a favorite gathering spot for the community's older adults. It's the hope of leaders at Bethesda Health and Housing that the café will be one of many things that draw seniors to the wellness center and help enhance their emotional, social and physical health. The new wellness center officially opens Nov.
WILLMAR -- Two recent influenza-related deaths in Minnesota have prompted a reminder from local health care providers to get your flu shot if you haven't already done so. "Protection lasts for a long time, so you don't have to wait anymore.
State health officials are bracing for what they say could be a difficult year for the elderly in coping with influenza. Health officials said today that a woman in her 80s from southeastern Minnesota died last week from complications due to influenza. The Minnesota Department of Health Public Health Laboratory confirmed that she had the A/H3 strain of influenza virus, a strain which has caused sporadic outbreaks in long-term care facilities in Minnesota and other states over the summer and early fall.
WILLMAR -- In spite of a plea to reconsider, Rice Memorial Hospital officials are holding firm to their decision last month to close the hospital's School of Radiologic Technology when the last students graduate in July 2012. The program, which trains students to administer X-rays and CT scans to patients, has been "a very good program," said Mike Schramm, chief executive of Rice Hospital. But it's no longer feasible for the city-owned hospital to continue funding it, he said. The school, which gets 50 to 100 applicants each year, stopped accepting new applications in September. Financial