Weather Forecast


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

Biz Buzz - Aug. 19

Local business experts discuss startups, small businesses

Starting a business or operating a startup can be a real adventure and present a wide range of challenges, but it also can be rewarding and profitable for those who have a plan and understand the dynamics of running a small business.

Entrepreneurs, small business owners and anyone considering starting a business may listen to a group of business experts as they share their perspectives and offer advice during a free panel discussion titled: “The Uphill/Downhill Adventures of Starting/Operating a New Business,” scheduled for 5-7 p.m. Aug. 21 at Prairie Bay Restaurant in Baxter.

Sponsored by the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation (BLAEDC), organizers say the event promises to be a lively and informative discussion by a panel of business experts who have countless stories and insights about what it takes to start a business, the challenges and hurdles one can expect along the way, do’s and don’ts about small business ownership, and how to increase the chance for success.

Dave Johnson, retired president of Anderson Brothers Construction Company in Brainerd, will moderate the discussion.

Panelists are:

➤ Elise Hernandez — owner and founder of Ideal Systems Solutions, a national technology company with offices in Minnesota and New Mexico.

➤ Bill Kotrba — retired manufacturing executive in the paper packing industry.

➤ Tom Haglin — president of LINDAR Corp., a national leader in the plastic thermoforming industry.

➤ Dave Miller — retired executive with expertise in economic and business development and a former instructor who taught entrepreneurial courses.

The event will include presentations from each panelist, a 30-minute question-answer session and then networking at 6:30 p.m.

“Entrepreneurial businesses are a major key to the growth of our local economy and creating jobs,” aid BLAEDC Executive Director Sheila Haverkamp said in a news release. “Of the 27 million U.S. businesses, all but 17,000 are small businesses with less than 500 employees, so it’s critical to our economic future to promote and assist the entrepreneurial spirit locally.”

The event is the first in a series of panel discussions, meetings and group discussions that BLAEDC will be promoting through its new Executive Initiative, which features more than 30 retired or relocated business executives who are volunteering their time to help BLAEDC grow business and create jobs.

Light refreshments and a cash bar will be available, and there is no charge to attend. RSVP is requested to Erika at

For more information, contact BLAEDC at 828-0096.

New program offers to prepare students for jobs

Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Progam, Inc, Central Lakes College, Brainerd Adult Basic Education and Area Businesses are working together to implement the Minnesota Adult Career Pathway in Manufacturing.

The Minnesota Adult Career Pathway in Manufacturing offers individuals multiple opportunities to explore manufacturing careers and to academically prepare to become employed. Students will be provided the foundational education in basic computer and writing/math skills then continue into the integrated computer fundamentals and introduction to manufacturing/math skills classes. These classes are the foundation of many manufacturing program requirements.

Students will gain confidence in the college process, procedures and technology requirements, and may have a job shadowing opportunity at a manufacturing facility. A college orientation will be completed by each participant that includes technology requirements, financing your education and college policies and procedures to ensure understanding of college expectations.

The overall goal of the offering is to increase awareness and develop skills for entry into careers in the manufacturing employment sector. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the Occupations in Demand for Economic Development Region 5 (EDR 5) forecasts that during the next two years, there will be a need for more than 346 new manufacturing related jobs that pay $26,349 - $39,655 annually.

Funding was provided through the DEED.

This is a free offering and class size is limited. For more information, contact the WorkForce Center at 828-2450.

MDA announces $1 million in funding for state’s livestock farmers

Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson recently announced $1 million in grant funding is being made available to livestock producers in the state for on-farm improvements.

The Livestock Investment Grant Program was first funded by the Minnesota legislature in 2008. Since then, 89 grant recipients have invested an estimated $31 million in improvements to their operations.

Frederickson says the new round of grants will allow eligible livestock producers to support their industry and help them stay competitive.

“The Livestock Investment Grant Program helps encourage long-term development in Minnesota’s $7 billion livestock sector,” said Frederickson. “These grants have enabled livestock farmers to pay for new buildings or make renovations. In some cases, the recipients used the grants for modernizations and improvements that would help expedite the farm transition process to their sons or daughters.”

Qualifying producers would be reimbursed 10 percent of the first $500,000 of investment, with a minimum investment of $4,000. Qualifying expenditures include the purchase, construction, or improvement of buildings or facilities for the production of livestock, and the purchase of fencing, as well as feeding and waste management equipment. Producers who suffered a loss due to a natural disaster or unintended consequence may also apply. The grant will not pay for livestock or land purchases or for the cost of debt refinancing.

Minnesota livestock producers who applied for but did not receive a grant in past years will need to reapply to be considered for the 2012 program.

The deadline to apply for the grant program is Jan. 14, 2013. More information on the Minnesota Livestock Investment Program may be found on the MDA website at

Crow Wing SWCD to offer shoreline habitat workshops to contractors and landowners

The Crow Wing Soil and Water District (SWCD) will be receiving $30,000 from the Fish and Wildlife Division of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to implement four workshops to educate landscapers and landowners about lakescaping and shoreline buffer methods.

Crow Wing SWCD will partner with University of Minnesota Extension, and Thirty Lakes Watershed District.

“Landscapers are the target audience for these Shoreline Habitat Workshops,” said Melissa Barrick, SWCD district manager, in a news release. “Their clientele, lakeshore owners, are a growing demographic in central Minnesota. These workshops will build a qualified workforce of contractors to meet the citizen demand for lake friendly practices.”

Each workshop will instruct participants on the importance of shoreline habitat, lakescaping and natural buffer techniques, and current local shoreline ordinances requirements. The specific content of the workshops will be adapted to meet local needs based on input from local contractors.

Workshop participants will have the opportunity to assist with site preparation, site review, and project installation. The workshops will be hosted in Crow Wing County in growing season 2013 and 2014.

For more information on this project, contact Barrick by phone 218-828-6197 or email or visit

PC’s For People donating computers in the Brainerd lakes area

PC’s For People has more than 20 refurbished computers ready for qualified recipients.

The computers are intended for low-income families or school-aged children who do not have a computer and need one to produce correspondence, submit school assignments and conduct research, access the Internet and submit job applications if they are unemployed.

Since the spring of 2010, the Brainerd Lakes Area PC’s for People affiliate has been quietly providing computers to area residence with an emphasis on families with school-aged children.

The Brainerd Lakes Area PC’s for People Affiliate resulted from a partnership of 19 organizations. In the spring of 2010, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that the Blandin Foundation and 19 coalition partners received a $4.7 million grant award on behalf of rural Minnesota communities. The Parent PCs for People organization was one of those 19 partners.

From this partnership, Region Five Development organized a number of institutions both, public, private and nonprofit to develop the Brainerd Lakes Area PC’s for People Affiliate.

PC’s for People is a Microsoft Registered Refurbisher. For general information on PC’s for People, go online to:

The mission of the Brainerd Lakes Area PC’s for People Affiliate is to create new opportunities by providing personal computers and education to people who have limited experience with technology due to social, physical and/or economic circumstances.

Who qualifies?

To receive a computer from PCs for People a potential recipient must be below the 150 percent poverty level or be currently enrolled in a government assistance program. To receive an application, contact Dan Noss at

Recipients receive:

■ Windows XP Professional.

■ 1 GHz+ CPU, 512 MB+ RAM.

■ Network card (High-speed Internet ready).

■ CD ROM drive.

■ Mouse, Keyboard, 17-inch monitor, power cords.

For more information, call Noss, Brainerd Lakes Area PC’s for People project supervisor, 320-232-9412.

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