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UPDATE: Final Minnesota legislative bills may be passed in middle of the night

Busines News June 17

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WSN names Busch to lead department

Widseth Smith Nolting named Bob Busch, director of its expanding transportation engineering department.

Busch is a former Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) district engineer. As department head, he provides company-wide management of the firm’s transportation projects, coordinating resources across eight offices. Projects vary from state department of transportation work to municipal and county streets and highways. Busch’s experience is particularly valuable when these jurisdictions intersect, WSN reported.

Busch has more than 30 years of experience in the transportation engineering field and recently retired from MnDOT as district engineer for north central Minnesota District 3. Busch was responsible for planning, program management, design, construction, and maintenance of all state highways within a 13-county area servicing 550,000 constituents.

Livingston joins U.S.

Bank’s SBA division

Jane Livingston joined U.S. Bank’s Small Business Administration (SBA) Division as a business development officer serving small businesses primarily in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

She is based at the U.S. Bank SBA Business Center in Edina.

Livingston has more than 19 years of finance, merger and acquisitions experience. She has an Master of Business Administration from John Hopkins University and bachelor’s degree in information systems from San Diego State University. Livingston will provide SBA loans to a wide variety of small businesses throughout Minnesota, as well as western Wisconsin, northern Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

U.S. Bank set a new company record for SBA loan approvals with a total of $630 million for the SBA fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, 2011. The previous U.S. Bank record, set in 2008, was $504 million.

Edward Jones gains satisfaction rating

For the fourth time in as many studies, Edward Jones financial advisers rate the firm “Highest in Employee Advisor Satisfaction among Financial Investment Firms,” according to a newly released study by J.D. Power and Associates.

Eight financial services firms ranked. This is the fourth time J.D. Power has conducted the study since 2007, reported Kevin Peterson, Edward Jones, Baxter.

Managing Partner Jim Weddle said the 25-point score improvement over its previous ranking is a vote of confidence in the firm as a great place to work.

Edward Jones financial advisers gave the highest satisfaction ratings in seven of the nine study factors, which placed the firm 203 points ahead of the industry average and 37 points above its nearest competitor. Edward Jones performs particularly well in firm performance, technology and people factors, according to the study.

Edward Jones financial advisers also ranked the firm highest in firm performance, the highest-weighted factor in the study.

Edward Jones scored 895 in technology 61 points higher than its closest competitor and 24 points higher than previously.

CTC promotes Lowe and Larson

Consolidated Telecommunications Co. (CTC), Brainerd, announced the promotions of Carrie Lowe and Sarah Larson to the CTC Customer Service Team.

Lowe was promoted to supervisor of member service. She has been with CTC since 1991 and was previously the lead plant and provisioning specialist. In her new position at CTC, she will be responsible for supervising the customer service staff while leading the team to successfully accomplishing the goals of the cooperative.

Larson, who has been with CTC since 2002 as a customer service and sales representative, has been promoted to lead customer service and sales representative. In her new role, Larson will focus her skills on overseeing employee cross-training, creating efficiencies in daily processes, handling complex member issues, and ensuring data integrity within the operating system.

“Carrie and Sarah have demonstrated wonderful leadership and have worked hard to earn this promotional opportunity,” said Kristi Westbrock, CTC director of human resources, in a news release.

Tri-County Health Care welcomes family nurse practitioner

WADENA — Bertha Medical Clinic and Tri‐County Health Care announced Staples native Alison Edin, family nurse practitioner, is its newest family nurse practitioner.

An advanced practice registered nurse, Edin specializes in family medicine and will practice at Bertha Medical Clinic. Alison joined the Tri‐County Health Care staff in June.

Judy White, Tri‐County Health Care Clinic administrator, said Edin has a passion for rural health care. Edin received a bachelor of science in nursing from Bethel University, St. Paul. She received a doctor of nursing practice from North Dakota State University, Fargo, N.D. Board certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Edin is an active member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and the Association of Camp Nurses.

Edin comes to Tri‐County Health Care from Fairview Health Services, Rush City Clinic, Rush City, Minn.

Wusson named Minnesota Counselor of the Year

Karen Wussow, a licensed social worker with Crow Wing County, was named the Minnesota Counselor of the Year at the Minnesota Family Investment Program/Diversionary Work Program Conference held recently in Duluth.

Wussow was recognized for making a significant difference in the lives of her clients and for providing exceptional service. The award was also given to Wussow because she has created and supported opportunities that have led to greater economic and family stability.

The award was presented by the Department of Human Services and the Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Wussow has been employed by Crow Wing County for more than 10 years.

Fisk receives Horizon Health scholarship

Horizon Health Inc.’s Board of Directors announced Golden Fisk was selected to receive its annual “All in the Family” Scholarship.

Fisk is a resident care giver for Horizon Health’s Assisted Living – Harmony House of Brainerd. Fisk plans on continuing her education at Central Lakes College in the practical nursing program with an ultimate goal of receiving her degrees as a psychiatric nurse practitioner.

The “All in the Family” Scholarship is only available to Horizon Health staff members and their families. To be eligible, people had to be a current employee or a child of an employee who plans to continue education in health services, social work or long-term care.

Fisk, who lives in Fort Ripley, was chosen for the scholarship based on her scholastic and school achievement, home and community involvement as well as her educational goals.

Horizon Health, is a nonprofit senior housing and health care provider headquartered in Pierz.

Greenhaven Family Dental staff attends clinic

BAXTER — Dentist Clinton Roberts and the staff of Greenhaven Family Dental in Baxter recently attended a two-day clinical mini-residency in dental sleep medicine.

The hands-on course, taught by Jonathan Parker, doctor of dental surgery, an internationally known educator on dental sleep medicine and a pioneer in the field, was designed to teach dentists and their team members essential clinical and administrative concepts related to dental sleep medicine practices.

Roberts and the Greenhaven staff learned about the newest techniques and treatment options in dental sleep medicine and also visited Parker’s Minneapolis dental office to observe their information management systems, practice protocols and patient and insurance company communications.

Greenhaven makes custom fitted dental appliances, similar to a mouth guard, for patients diagnosed with sleep apnea, but are unable to sleep effectively with a CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure machine.

Crosby Eye Clinic adds ophthalmic surgeon to staff

CROSBY — Crosby Eye Clinic hired Dr. Martin O’Malley as its fourth ophthalmic surgeon.

O’Malley completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania and received his medical degree from Albany Medical College in Albany, New York. O’Malley did his surgical internship and residency at Albany Medical Center.

O’Malley is a board certified ophthalmologist whose services will include cataracts and refractive surgery, oculoplastics, retinal injections, glaucoma and diabetes management.

Angland joins WSN’s architecture team

Michael Angland joined Widseth Smith Nolting’s Brainerd/Baxter architecture team.

Angland is registered to practice architecture in Minnesota and is a LEED accredited professional.

As a project architect, Angland is responsible for project management, architectural design, specifications, cost estimates, client development, and contributions to further develop the firm’s architectural practice.

Angland has more than 12 years of experience in the fields of architecture and construction, eight years of which have been performed in the Brainerd area. He has worked on a variety of projects including residential, commercial, and senior living.

Panache salon staff attend class

BAXTER — Team members from Panache Salons and Day Spas, Baxter, attended an Aveda color class.

Participants were cosmetologists Maria Wolfe, Shannon Freiberg, Amber McManigle, Kassie Tusler, Nikki Boggs, Sara Rolfson and Mariah Warwas. Assistant Manager Melynda Dudley also attended.

Nominations sought for FSA committees

The Crow Wing/Cass Farm Service Agency (FSA) office and the Aitkin-Itasca FSA Office are currently accepting nominations for candidates to serve on the local FSA County Committee.

The nomination period closes Aug. 1.

The election this year contains the following local area townships by county. In Crow Wing County, areas are: Fairview, East Gull Lake, Unorganized Territory, Oak Lawn, West Sylvan, East Sylvan, Baxter, Crow Wing, Long Lake, Fort Ripley, St. Mathias and Daggett Brook.

In Cass County areas include: Gail Lake, Timothy, Fifty Lakes, Emily, Little Pine, Walden, Wilson, Jenkins, Ideal, Cross Lake, Fairfield, Ross Lake, Maple, Loon Lake, Sibley, Breezy Point, Pelican, Mission, Perry Lake and Second Assessment District.

In Aitkin County, areas include: Clark, Davidson, Spalding, Salo, Lee, Rice River, Beaver, Jewett, White Pine, Millward North, Millward South, Lakeside, Seavey, Pliny, Idun, Williams and Wagner.

VA announces recruitment effort to hire mental health professionals

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) developed an aggressive national mental health hiring initiative to improve recruitment and hiring, marketing, education and training programs, and retention efforts for mental health professionals.

To speed the national hiring process, the VA developed the Mental Health Hiring Initiative, a multi-faceted, sustained national marketing and outreach campaign that includes targeted recruitment of mental health providers willing to take positions throughout the country, including in rural and highly rural markets, to serve all VA medical Centers and community clinics.

Currently, 226 mental health clinicians and support staff work locally supporting central Minnesota Veterans through the St. Cloud VA Health Care System. Nationwide, the VA has an existing workforce of 20,590 mental health staff that includes nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers.

The team at the St. Cloud VA Medical Center and Community Based Outpatient Clinics in Alexandria, Brainerd, and Montevideo provides a comprehensive continuum of outpatient, residential and inpatient mental health services.

Interested mental health care providers may find additional information about VA careers online at Open positions, including those at the St. Cloud VA, may be viewed online at USA Jobs at

To use VA health care, veterans must apply for enrollment and should contact a county Veteran Service Officer, call the St. Cloud VA at (320) 255-6340, or apply online at Immediate help is available anytime at or by calling the Crisis Line at (800) 273-8255 (push 1) or texting 838255.

Crow Wing Power hosts annual meeting

Crow Wing Power held its 75th member appreciation day and annual meeting recently.

About 2,500 people attended. More than 5,500 members voted in the election for board members. Three incumbents were re-elected including Bob Kangas, Lois Hansen and Ken Miller. A board seat vacated when Bette Mezzenga retired on Jan. 1 was filled by Bryan McCulloch from Fifty Lakes, who won over five other candidates.


CenterPoint home service receives Angie’s List Super Service Award

CenterPoint Energy’s appliance repair and maintenance Home Service Plus business was recently awarded the 2011 Angie’s List Super Service Award for its heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) repair services

Based on customer ratings, CenterPoint Energy earned an overall letter grade of ‘A’ on overall experience, price, quality, responsiveness, punctuality and professionalism.

“Only a fraction of the businesses rated on Angie’s List can claim the sterling customer service record of being a Super Service Award winner because we set a high bar,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks in a news release.

The Super Service Award is the highest honor bestowed annually to about 5 percent of all local service companies on Angie’s List that have received and upheld a superior service rating, CenterPoint reported. Members of Angie’s List rate companies in different categories using report card-style grading, ranging from A through F.

How to submit a business note

The Dispatch welcomes business notes submissions via email to, or online at or by fax to (218) 829-0211, by mail to Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 974, Brainerd, MN 56401 or use the drop-off box in the alley next to the Dispatch building on James Street.

Questions are welcome to Renee Richardson at 855-5852.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889