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Business Notes- Aug. 6


Heldt named executive director at women’s center

Tonya Heldt, a 2008 graduate of The College of St. Scholastica, has been named executive director of the Mid Minnesota Women’s Center.

Heldt is an organizational behavior major with a minor in psychology. The night program geared for adults gave Heldt the opportunity to work toward the completion of her degree while continuing to work during the day. 

“If St. Scholastica hadn’t offered programs in Brainerd, I probably would never have finished my college education,” she said in a news release.

One of the factors that influenced her to work at the Women’s Center, she said, was that she had stayed at the women’s shelter 15 years ago when she left a bad relationship and was working to get back on her feet.

Pam Hagedon, St. Scholastica’s Brainerd campus site director, said Heldt was a hard-working, dedicated student who was able to persevere in the program even when dealing with some adverse circumstances. 

Heldt was the recipient of the St. Scholastica ADEP faculty and staff scholarship, which is funded from contributions by St. Scholastica faculty and staff.  She received it based on academic successes and financial need. 

The Women’s Center has been empowering women and children through a variety of programs since 1978. The center’s oldest and largest program is a 24-hour emergency shelter for battered women and their children. In addition to physical safety, the shelter provides personal advocacy, information and referral, support groups, and education for the larger community about violence and its effects. 

Holubar earns sales excellence award

Kerry Holubar, Brainerd Lakes Chamber membership director, recently was honored by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Executives association for earning the 2011 Membership Sales Excellence Award. 

This award is given to the top sales professional among chambers throughout the state of Minnesota.

In the past year, Holubar helped 128 new businesses join the Brainerd Lakes Chamber and met with dozens more throughout the Brainerd lakes area.

Medical Students study at Lakewood Health System

STAPLES — Adrianne Moen, a second-year medical student at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and Tori Bahr, a second-year medical student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, are doing summer internships at Lakewood Health System in Staples. 

They will study and participate in various aspects of the health care field. 

Moen is interested in practicing family medicine in a rural area once she completes her medical degree. Bahr is undecided about what area of medicine she’d like to focus on at this point, but she is interested in (pediatric) hematology-oncology, ophthalmology, neurology, physical medicine and rehab, and intensive-care medicine. 

Moen was able to visit Staples for the Rural Medical Scholars Program and has been working with Dr. Christine Albrecht. Bahr said she chose to do her internship at LHS because of the ability to form long-term relationships with patients and co-workers in a rural health care system.

Moen is originally from the Brainerd area. She received her bachelor’s degree in marketing and chemistry, also at UMD. Bahr is originally from the Baxter area. She studied biology, chemistry, and mathematics at Augsburg College, graduating in 2009.  

Allina hospitals earn top rankings

Allina Hospitals & Clinics has two hospitals with specialty rankings among the nation’s top 50 according to the latest edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals. 

Nationally, Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis received a 37 ranking in cardiology and heart surgery; 30 in neurology and neurosurgery, and 43 in orthopedics.  Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital has local offices in Baxter, Crosby and Aitkin.  Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids received a 49 ranking in diabetes and endocrinology.

The lists are available online at and featured in the August print issue of U.S. News. 

Erickson completes development training

STAPLES — The Region Five Development Commission announced Tad Erickson completed the National Development Councils training series for Economic Development Finance Professional Certification.

The program is a rigorous, four-course training series that explores the skills essential for the successful practice of economic development — business credit and real estate finance analysis techniques, loan packaging procedures, negotiating and problem solving skills and deal structuring techniques. 

Training was paid for in part by a grant from the Initiative Foundation in Little Falls. 

Erickson is the community economic development planner and special projects manager at the Region Five Development Commission in Staples.

‘Super Lawyers’ recognizes former Baxter resident

 Super Laywers magazine selected eight Sieben, Grose, Von Holtum & Carey attorneys, including former Baxter resident Susan Holden, for recognition in 2011. 

Five percent of the lawyers in the state are named to this list each year by Super Lawyers.

Holden specializes in the area of personal injury litigation. Her courtroom proficiency and trial experience earned her certification as a Civil Trial Specialist by the Minnesota State Bar Association, a distinction achieved by less than 1 percent of women lawyers in Minnesota.  

She is also highly active in the community, including service on the board of Achieve Services Inc., a training and habilitation program for adults with developmental disabilities operating in Anoka County, and on the board of Lakeland Public Television which provides public broadcasting in the northern Minnesota area where Holden grew up. 

Funding to support AmeriCorps Promise Fellows

 The University of Minnesota Extension, Crow Wing County 4-H program has received funding to support two AmeriCorps Promise Fellows for its after-school, community learning program.  

The goal of the program is to develop year-round youth programming that fosters academic achievement and engages youth in meaningful leadership, research, and service to address community needs. Using a 4-H club structure, the fellow will help youth to increase their civic engagement activities and experience academic gains and involve community volunteers to expand and sustain the program.

Program topics are determined by the School-Community partnership groups in consultation with the Fellow and youth participants. Programs will focus on citizenship/leadership; science, technology, engineering, and applied math; and/or healthy living topics. Youth community learning programming, volunteer recruitment, and community connection efforts of the Promise Fellows will also address, in part, the long-term goals of the Crow Wing County Youth Wellness Initiative.  

For more information about the program, contact Jeanne Rohr, Crow Wing County 4-H Program Coordinator,, 824-1069. More information, including a position description and application form, is available at: The deadline application is Aug. 15.

Ag and Energy Center honored

STAPLES — The League for Innovation in the Community College has named Central Lakes College as a winner in the 2011 Innovation of the Year competition — specifically the Agriculture and Energy Center at Staples.

Every year the league honors outstanding innovations that have been recognized by member institutions as Innovations of the Year. 

As nominated by President Larry Lundblad of CLC, the Ag and Energy Center was recognized for applied research that continues as an initiative to explore energy crops with economic development consequences for otherwise unproductive, dryland acreage.

The national honor, which is acknowledged at the League for Innovation website, includes a framed certificate for the individual team members involved in the renewable energy crop production effort. They are Robert Schafer, Ron Nelson, Shelly Johnson, DelRay Lecy and Rebecca Best. 

Coulter earns real estate designation

CROSSLAKE — Sue Coulter, an agent of Edina Realty in Crosslake, earned the Harris Real Estate University Certified Luxury Distressed Property Designation, having completed extensive training in negotiating and closing short sales for the higher end market at at time when the recession forces more luxury homes into foreclosure.

Retirees honored at Central Lakes College

Central Lakes College paid tribute to 11 retirees at its annual Recognition Event this spring.

The retirees are Russ Jenkins, 17 years, welding; Terry Fairbanks, 20 years, criminal justice; Shirley Johnson, 20 years, Staples information center; Gerald Goltz, 22 years, Staples maintenance; Lee Todnem, 24 years, farm business management; Marilyn Moses, 26 years, English; Donald Garey, 26 years, communication art and design; James Takala, 28 years, farm business management; Nancy Smith, 31 years, health; Constance Vieths, 36 years, medical secretary.

Several employees were honored for years of service, and Betsy Picciano was acknowledged for being named one of four 2011 Outstanding Educators selected by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees. Connie Vieths, a 36-year instructor at Central Lakes College, is the senior faculty member. She will take a phased retirement beginning in the fall.

Central Lakes College announces hirings

Several new employees have been hired at Central Lakes College, Brainerd and Staples. 

They include: William “Bill” Brekken, Brainerd, part-time customized training representative for the Center for Ageless Learning (senior college) under development at CLC; Susan Bremer, Brainerd, full-time medical secretary instructor; Susan Reid, Golden Valley, full-time chemistry instructor; Wendy Holder, Brainerd, part-time practical nursing instructor; Kristina Ehnert, New York Mills, full-time accounting instructor.

The fall academic semester begins Aug. 22. Faculty report Aug. 17 for mandatory training, and new employees report for orientation Aug. 15.

Pribnow to teach law enforcement at CLC 

Curtis Pribnow of Mankato was hired as a law enforcement instructor in the Central Lakes College Criminal Justice program on the Brainerd campus.

Pribnow, who starts employment with the fall semester classes Aug. 22, has been a part-time adjunct instructor in law enforcement programs at South Central Technical College in Mankato, Hibbing Community College, and Rasmussen College.

He has a master’s degree in community counseling/criminal justice and a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement. He has additional graduate credits in corrections, psychology, and sociology, all from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Employed by the North Mankato Police Department since 2007, Pribnow served as a “use of force” instructor to train reserve members of the department in the area of crisis management and defensive tactics. He was a detective with the Mankato Police Department from 1995-2007. From 1990-95 he was a security officer with Pinkerton Security, Edina.

He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1981 to 1985. Pribnow has conducted training for sexual assault services advocates in Blue Earth County and presented sessions on vicarious victimization, interview and interrogation, police response to crime scenes and domestic and sexual assaults.

Bjerga earns certification from hospital association

 STAPLES — Lakewood Health System board member Judith A. Bjerga completed the Minnesota Hospital Association’s Board Certification Program.

Bjerga’s certification places Lakewood first among Minnesota health care facilities in terms of the number of its board members who are graduates of the MHA Certification Program. 

The MHA program is designed to provide volunteer board members with information and resources to assist them in becoming effective and knowledgeable board members and leaders. It involves education and training in a variety of issues that impact hospital governance including strategic planning, ethics, finance, quality, and patient safety. 

Bjerga joins three other Lakewood board members in having completed the certification process. She has served as a member of the Lakewood Health System District Board for five years and also serves as a member of the Lakewood Foundation Board and Finance Committee.

Bjerga is a retired educator who worked for the Staples-Motley District for 26 years.

Buehl completes EMT training

Doug Buehl has completed training and been certified as an EMT Basic by the National Registry of the Emergency Medical Technicians.    

Acceptance into the National Registry includes the Minnesota State Certification by the Minnesota Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board.

Buehl is employed at Clow Stamping Co. as the risk manager. This certification will allow him to better serve his co-workers and the community where he serves as a First Responder and volunteer firefighter.

Nesseth gains promotion at Deerwood Technologies 

DEERWOOD — Julie Nesseth, part of the team at Deerwood Technologies since 2009, was promoted to purchasing manager at the information technologies business.

Nesseth, a lakes area native, is in charge of Deerwood’s national procurement operations as well as coordinating back office processes. She has more than 20 years of office management, purchasing and customer service experience from previous positions. 

Physician assistant student studies at LHS

STAPLES — Britta Kolodziej, a physician assistant student at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse/Gundersen/Mayo, has chosen to do her summer rotation at Lakewood Health System in Staples. Kolodziej will complete two, four-week rotations in emergency medicine/urgent care and family practice. Kolodziej said she decided to do her rotation at LHS because she grew up going to Lakewood for medical care and wanted to return to her hometown to learn from providers there. 

Once she completes her degree in August, 2011, Kolodziej plans to pursue a career in family practice. Kolodziej is originally from the Staples area. She completed her undergrad degree in biology and Spanish at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. 

Region Five announces two staff additions

STAPLES — The Region Five Development Commission announced the addition of two staff members, Joe Schulte and Melissa Radermacher.

Schulte has been engaged as the  business loan developer and Radermacher will be assisting in the finance office.

Schulte has 27 years of experience as an administrator .His primary task will be business loan development and managing the North Central Economic Development Association loan fund that provides loans to small businesses throughout the region.

Radermacher has more than seven years’ experience in accounting and banking. 

Family Nurse Practitioner student studies at LHS

STAPLES — Kassandra Sullivan, a family nurse practitioner student at the University of North Dakota, is doing her summer clinicals at Lakewood Health System. 

Sullivan said she picked Lakewood for her clinicals because of the learning environment. Once she completes her degree in 2012, Sullivan plans to pursue a career in family practice or dermatology. Sullivan is originally from Pillager. She completed her bachelor’s degree at the College of Saint Scholastica. 

O’Brien completes economic development training

Erika O’Brien, who recently joined the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corp., completed the Basic Economic Development Course, a week-long training through the Center for Economic Development in Duluth.  

Erika assists Sheila Haverkamp and John Gunstad in working to foster the creation of new jobs, attract new industry to the region and assist area businesses with their growth and development needs.

Madden’s on Gull Lake selected as finalist

Madden’s on Gull Lake was recently selected as a finalist for the 2011 Minnesota Family Business Awards by Twin Cities Business Magazine. 

Madden’s  was one of five finalists selected for this honor by standing out in a group of family-owned businesses. The Madden’s team will receive the finalist award Nov. 10 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Minneapolis. 

Cranny of Nor-Son to be featured panelist        

Mike Cranny, project development manager for Nor-Son’s Healthcare Division, will be a featured panelist at the Care Providers of Minnesota 2011 Assisted Living & Senior Housing Summit on Wednesday, Aug. 24  at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites in St.Cloud.  

Cranny has more than 30-years experience working in senior living, health care and long-term care including skilled nursing, assisted living and memory care.  

The Assisted Living & Senior Housing Summit is Care Providers of Minnesota’s largest annual program dedicated to the assisted living and senior housing markets.


Big Fun Tuesdays in Crosslake Aug. 9

CROSSLAKE — The Brainerd Lakes Chamber, with cooperation from the Whitefish Area Lodging Association and the merchants in Crosslake’s Town Square, once again will host Big Fun Tuesdays in Crosslake. 

The event, featuring Paul Bunyan-sized games for children of all ages, begins at 1 p.m. Tuesdays through Aug. 16 in Crosslake. 

For more information, go online to or contact Cindy at (218) 692-4027 or

Fairview Office Park to host Business After Hours

 BAXTER — Join Fairview Office Park businesses as they host a Business After Hours from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday at 13760 Bluestem Court, Suite 150 in Baxter.

The free networking event includes hors d’oeuvres and beverages and prizes.

Advanced registration is recommended at or call 829-2838. 

Dine and Discover event planned at the fair

LITTLE FALLS — Horizon Health Inc.’s Faith in Action along with Home Savings of America takes to the road with their upcoming Dine and Discover – “Live Better, Live Longer” noon to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at the Morrison County Fair Grounds in Little Falls.

Participants will be provided a healthy lunch, sponsored by Health Community Collaborative and hear from speaker, Dr. Allison Zak, who will share information about living better and living longer. 

The Six Grade Essay winners will read their prize winning essays, followed by the crowning of the Outstanding Senior for Morrison County.

Transportation is available with pick-up times at the following places: 11 a.m. in Pierz at the Horizon Health Corporate Office; 11:30 a.m. in Little Falls at the Buckman Building and 11:45 a.m. at the old Walmart parking lot. The cost for transportation is $2 and includes a return trip.

 RSVP is requested by calling Horizon Health at (320) 468-6451 or (800) 224-6451 before Wednesday.


Mille Lacs Band donates more than $51,000

ONAMIA — The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe donated $51,215 in monetary and in-kind contributions to a variety of nonprofit organizations and other charitable causes in June.  Every month, the band contributes to community programs in Minnesota and nationwide.

In June, the Mille Lacs Band donated $1,000 to the Pierz softball program to help fund a new scoreboard for the school’s softball field. Additionally, the band contributed $1,000 to Holy Rosary Church in Hinckley to help cover construction costs for a handicapped bathroom.

The Mille Lacs Band also donated $1,000 to Emerge, a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting disadvantaged individuals with economic opportunities. The nonprofit focuses its community, workforce, and housing development efforts in North Minneapolis.

Other notable contributions include those to the Hinckley Senior Citizen Center, Pine City’s 4-H program, the Virginia Indian Center, Hennepin County’s tornado disaster relief fund, and the Loaves & Fishes program, a nonprofit organization that provides nutritious meals for people who are hungry in the metro area.

Edina Realty collects for food shelf

More than 250 guests attended the Edina Realty Client Appreciation Day at the Baxter office with pig roast buffett and entertainment. 

Guests were asked to bring a food shelf item and more than 86 pounds of food was donated to the Brainerd Area Food Shelf.

Aitkin Lakes Area Rotary Pledges $25,000

AITKIN — The Aitkin Lakes Area Rotary Club recently announced a $25,000 pledge to the Better Together Capital Campaign to improve the delivery of healthcare in the Aitkin County region. 

The gift will count toward the Otto Bremer Foundation’s $300,000 challenge grant to Riverwood Foundation for the project. 

Rotary President and Aitkin County Sheriff Scott Turner said in a news release an “up-to-date facility with the latest healthcare amenities will ensure a bright future for our community by attracting some of the best healthcare and business professionals to our region.”

Riverwood Foundation kicked off the Better Together Campaign at a public groundbreaking reception on May 11. To date, the Foundation has received $1,360,000 in gifts and pledges toward the campaign goal of at least $2.2 million. The project, which is on time to complete by fall 2012, will significantly enhance the delivery of services at Riverwood, including the conversation of semi-private hospital rooms into 25 single patient rooms. 

To see a video and a list of donors to the Campaign, visit the Better Together website at 

Sunrise Sertoma donates to Sharing Bread 

Sunrise Sertoma Board Chairman Rick Cole and President Kevin Wernberg presented Pastor Bob Evans from the Sharing Bread Soup Kitchen with a check for $800. 

The donation presented to the Soup Kitchen was generated from the Sunrise Sertoma Lift-a-Thon, an annual event in March.