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BUSINESS NOTES - June 25

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news Brainerd, 56401

Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

CAREER

Riverwood CFO achieves health care finance certification

AITKIN — Holly Torres, chief financial officer at Riverwood Healthcare Center, recently passed the requirements by the Healthcare Financial Management Association to become a Certified Healthcare Financial Professional. 

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Torres is one of 24 HFMA members in Minnesota (from a membership of 615 in the state) and one of 2,500 HFMA members nationwide, to become a Certified Healthcare Financial Professional.

Bank promotes Loosbrock, hires Jameson-Tennant

BAXTER — Tony Loosbrock was recently promoted to assistant vice president of business banking and Pat Jameson-Tennant was hired as the compliance officer at Deerwood Bank in Baxter.

Loosbrock has worked as a business banker at Deerwood Bank since 2004. In addition to managing commercial relationships, he oversees merchant card services and remote deposit products.

Loosbrock is also known as the voice of Deerwood Bank radio characters “Tony the Magnificent” and “Antonio, The Most Fascinating Person in the World.” 

Pat Jameson-Tennant of St. Cloud joined Deerwood Bank in April. As the compliance officer, she works with all Deerwood Bank branches to make sure loans and product lines follow the regulated federal banking laws.

Jameson-Tennant has 30 years of experience as a certified public accountant. She works primarily with Deerwood Bank’s branch managers on lending, deposits and developing new product lines.

Top Workplaces list released by StarTribune

Marco Inc., with offices in Brainerd, was named one of the Top 100 Workplaces in Minnesota based on an employee-based survey project by the Star Tribune. 

Produced by the same team that compiles the 20-year-old Star Tribune 100 report of the best-performing public companies in Minnesota, Top Workplaces recognizes the most progressive companies in Minnesota based on employee opinions about company leadership, communication, career opportunities, workplace environment, managerial skills, pay and benefits. The analysis included responses from more than 60,500 employees at Minnesota public, private and nonprofit organizations. 

Jeff Gau, Marco CEO, said client satisfaction is a direct result of employee satisfaction. Marco was recognized as one of the Star Tribune’s Top Workplaces for the second consecutive year.

Marco was ranked ninth out of 35 on the medium size company list. Bremer Bank, ranked No/ 4 on the large-sized employer list, and viewed their people as their No. 1 asset, striving to offer top benefits, resources and opportunities for their employees, the StarTribune reported.  

Keller Williams Realty ranked No. 1 among large companies for a second consecutive year. 

Edina Realty Home Services was also selected a StarTribune Top Workplace in Minnesota. More than 86 percent of employees from Edina Realty Home Services completed the survey; Edina Realty Home Services includes Edina Realty, Edina Realty Title and Edina Realty Mortgage.

Lakewood Health System Awards Scholarships

STAPLES — Each year, Lakewood Health System gives scholarship awards to area high school students who will be pursuing careers in healthcare. The 2011 Lakewood Health System and Lakewood Clinic $1,000 scholarship recipients include: Paige Borst, Bertha-Hewitt; Emily Doss, Pillager; Stephanie Kent, Browerville; Autumn Murray, Staples Motley; Hallie Olsen, Staples Motley; Abby Smith, Staples Motley; Logan Swendsrud, Staples Motley. 

WORKSHOPS

Workshop series aimed at logging contractors, woodland owners

Supercharge Your Woods: How to do “partial timber harvests” right is part of a workshop series for Minnesota logging contractors and family woodland owners.

The workshop will address financial and ecological benefits of “intermediate stand treatments.”

It’s a simple law of Nature: In order to survive, trees have to grow at least a little bit each year. Unfortunately, when conditions get crowded, trees can’t pick up roots and move around to find more breathing room. Just like the plants in your garden, trees that don’t have enough growing space, won’t grow well.

The result of this crowding is weak trees that become vulnerable to everything from ice storms to insect outbreaks. Stand productivity (and therefore, ‘value’) is reduced. Eventually, this can lead to permanent stagnant growth.

A series of workshops across northern Minnesota this summer and fall have been designed to help logging contractors and family woodland owners understand how to avoid this situation.

Workshops will be offered as follows, with most of each day spent outside: July 7, Bob and Ingrid Sonnenberg Tree Farm, New York Mills; Aug. 25, Aitkin area; Oct. 6, Brimson.

There is no cost to attend; however, each workshop is limited to 25 participants. The workshops are being planned cooperatively by the Minnesota Forest Resources Partnership, Minnesota Logger Education Program, University of Minnesota Extension, UPM-Blandin Paper, Potlatch Corporation, National Association of Conservation Districts, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The workshops are funded by a grant from the Weyerhaeuser Family Foundation. 

More information on dates, details, and registration is available at http://z.umn.edu/Supercharge.  

Partnership trains students

A first-ever partnership in the Central Lakes College Machine Technology program has concluded its trial run. 

Tim Walker, a process engineer at Pequot Tool and Manufacturing Inc., has worked in tool and die making, die design, machine design, machine programming, process engineering, and corporate geometric design and tolerancing consultation and training during his 30-year career. 

Walker presented four sessions to students in the CLC Machine Technology class at Staples. His four days offered the students information in four areas: Fundamentals of Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing; Datum Reference Frame Applications; Orientation, Profile, and Position Tolerances; and Coaxial Controls and Various Calculations. 

“This is the first time we’ve provided this type of training,” said instructor Ronn Redemske. “It is a real important facet and quite a generous contribution of knowledge made available to us by Pequot Tool.”

AWARDS

Hunt presented with Service to Mankind Award

The Sunrise Sertoma Club presented Jim Hunt with the  Service to Mankind award recently.  

This award is presented annually and is based on volunteer community service provided by a non-Sertoman to the community, state, or nation. 

Hunt was presented this award based on his community involvement as a Kinship Partner volunteer, member and current president of the Brainerd School Board, a volunteer for the Brainerd School District as a moderator for informational forums on public access television and serves as a reading volunteer in elementary schools.  

Hunt has also served as past president of the Brainerd Sports Boosters and currently serves as a board member. He is a trustee at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church and volunteer for Lakes Area Interfaith Caregivers. He has previously served as a member of the Brainerd Jaycees, Crisis Line, and president of Brainerd Sunrise Sertoma.

Second Harvest Heartland announces 2011 hunger heroes 

Second Harvest Heartland, the Upper Midwest’s largest hunger relief organization, announced the recipients of its second annual Hunger Hero award, an award created to honor and recognize organizational partners who make a compassionate and transformational impact on those who are hungry in the Heartland.

Last year, one in 10 Minnesotans was at risk of not having enough to eat, and hungry Minnesotans missed 125 million meals. Six of Second Harvest Heartland’s charitable partners, demonstrated extraordinary leadership in meeting the unprecedented demand for food. 

Bremer Bank was recognized in the Awareness category. Bremer Bank is a premier program partner with a far-reaching voice in community affairs, Second Harvest reported. 

“The organization has generated outstanding visibility and made a deep impression with its multi-media Take Action Against Hunger campaign that leverages employee support and as lead sponsor of the Food and Funds program,” Second Harvest reported. 

Supervalu was recognized for an ability in the delivery of high-volume, nutritious charitable pounds to hometown neighbors, touching more than 1,000 hunger relief programs and innumerable lives with its generosity in 2010.

Target was recognized for volunteers who donate  hundreds of thousands of hours. In 2010, the retailer packed boxes and directly assisted struggling families as front-line partners in solving child hunger, launching Target Meals for Minds in 2010, an innovative school food-pantry program is designed to help combat child hunger and support K-12 education.

Walmart was recognized in the green category as a critical partner in the success of the Food Rescue program by donating a refrigerated truck and filling it with fresh meats, dairy and deli products, produce, and baked goods.

Lakewood Health gains Environmental Excellence Award

STAPLES — Lakewood Health System received a Best Practice designation for Environmental Excellence from SterilMed Inc., a Minnesota-based healthcare cost containment company and leading reprocessor of single-use medical devices. 

Among other facilities throughout the country, LHS was recognized as a top performer for reducing medical waste sent to landfills, therefore lessening the environmental impact.  

In a joint effort by the Surgery, Hospital Nursing, Materials and Housekeeping departments, LHS saved more than $35,000 and diverted an estimated 1,200 pounds of waste in 2010. 

Staff includes: Melanie Bestland, materials management director; Connie Wells, Emergency Room manager and Cindy Denning, hospital director of nursing.

Charter gets Netflix ranking

Netflix Inc. has for the second consecutive time ranked Charter the best-performing Internet Service Provider.

The rankings are based on monitoring by Netflix of each ISP from October 2010 through May 2011, indicating Charter provided the highest-quality streaming of all ISP networks during the months measured, consistently outperforming all other ISPs, including AT&T, Verizon, Qwest and others.

DONATION 

Thrivent Financial distributes $36.9 million

Since July 2010, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans has distributed $36.9 million to Lutheran congregations and organizations through its Thrivent Choice Dollars program. 

Nearly 18,000 Lutheran congregations and organizations have benefited from this funding. Through Choice Dollars eligible Thrivent Financial members recommend where to distribute a portion of Thrivent Financial’s charitable funds among their favorite Lutheran congregations and organizations. 

Choice Dollars funds distributed in program year 2010 and the first four months of 2011 included $25.3 million to congregations (69 percent of total); $3.2 million to Lutheran elementary schools (9 percent); $2.1 million to other Lutheran organizations (6 percent); $1.5 million to social ministry organizations (4 percent); and $1.4 million to camps/outdoor ministries (4 percent). Other Lutheran organizations receiving funding included colleges/universities ($1.1 million), preschools ($797,860), high schools ($743,872), seminaries ($549,061), and campus ministries ($189,736). 

OFF THE WIRE

IRS increases gas mileage deduction in midyear

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Internal Revenue Service is increasing the tax deduction motorists can take for using private vehicles for business, a rare midyear move sparked by high gas prices.

Starting July 1, motorists who use their personal vehicles for business will be able to deduct 55  1/2 cents a mile from their taxable income, the agency announced Thursday. That’s an increase of 4  1/2 cents from the first six months of the year.

The rate is also used as a benchmark by the federal government and many businesses to reimburse their employees for mileage. Workers who receive the reimbursement don’t have to report it as income, as long as the payments don’t exceed the IRS benchmark.

High gas prices have hit consumers, slowed the economic recovery and put increased political pressure on President Barack Obama. On Thursday, the Obama administration said it will release 30 million barrels of oil from the country’s emergency reserve as part of an international response to lost oil supplies caused by turmoil in the Middle East and Libya.

The average gas price is about $3.61 a gallon, up from $2.74 a year ago, according to AAA.

“This year’s increased gas prices are having a major impact on individual Americans. The IRS is adjusting the standard mileage rates to better reflect the recent increase in gas prices,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “We are taking this step so the reimbursement rate will be fair to taxpayers.”

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