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Business Notes Oct. 21

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Local business receives award from the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Chuck and Karen Knierim, owners of Wildrose Farm and the Renaissance Shop: Ethereal Threads, were given the Craft Award “Visual Image” for the 2012 season. This award is given in recognition of improvements made to a shop structure, enhancing the look of its neighborhood, and the spirit of the Renaissance experience.

This year, the Knierim’s eight year at the festival, they bought the building next door for a planned expansion. As an interim solution to a proposed large building to occupy both spaces, they removed the weathered parts of the “new” structure, leaving the timber frame. Karen Knierim sewed a tent to cover the 15-foot-tall frame and painted on it, their new logo (a woman in a flowing dress, sword, and Ethereal Threads flag).

Hautala leads marketing

session at conference

Aaron Hautala of RedHouseMedia recently spoke at the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) annual conference in Duluth.

The Minnesota NAHRO serves the state’s housing and community development needs by promoting strong, viable communities, particularly to those with low and moderate incomes. Hautala discussed the benefits of branding organizations and programs in order to effectively communicate and reach targeted audiences.

Hautala, owner of RedHouseMedia, a Brainerd-based advertising agency, has 16 years of marketing experience and frequently speaks at conferences for varying industries, including telecommunications, tourism and governmental agencies throughout Minnesota.

“So many of us don’t realize the power behind effective and consistent communication for services of even governmental and non-profit agencies,” said Jennifer Bergman, executive director of the Brainerd Housing Redevelopment Authority and president of the Minnesota NAHRO board. “Making ourselves and our programs known to the people who need us is a priority for HRAs around the state.”

Nearly 200 representatives from Minnesota’s housing and community development agencies attended the two-day conference held at the historic Greysolon Plaza last month in downtown Duluth.

CLC prepares for accreditation visit

Central Lakes College, Brainerd and Staples, is seeking renewal of accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a division of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Since 1972, accreditation visits by review teams have resulted in sustained accreditation that ensures student access to education that transfers credits to baccalaureate institutions. It is seen as a stamp of approval with regard to grants, loans, and valued certification from employers.

Accredited schools offer instruction from faculty who meet qualifications and set consistent and high standards for students, as well as policies supporting student rights.

A team of trained consultant evaluators from HLC will be on the CLC campuses Oct. 29-31 as the concluding phase of a process last completed in 2002.

CenterPoint Energy recognized by BBB

CenterPoint Energy was recently recognized at the International Torch Awards in Washington D.C. by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) as a 100-year accredited business in Minnesota, adding the company to the BBB Centennial Honor Roll.

The BBB Centennial Honor Roll recognizes public companies that are 100 or more years old that support the mission of BBB to foster marketplace trust, either as a National Partner and/or Accredited Business during BBB’s first century.

“This is one of the most prestigious groups of companies ever recognized by any organization – companies that have been our partners in advancing marketplace trust and that helped us get to this point in our history,” said Carrie Hurt, Council of Better Business Bureaus’ president and CEO in a news release.

The BBB Centennial Honor Roll was created to celebrate the BBB’s milestone birthday by honoring fellow centurions – large public companies that are at least 100 years old and that have supported BBB for much of those 10 decades.

Essentia Health clinics recognized

for quality laboratory services

Essentia Health St. Joseph’s-Brainerd and Baxter Clinics’ laboratories have met all criteria for Laboratory Accreditation by COLA, a national healthcare accreditation organization. Completing COLA’s accreditation program means your clinical laboratory is in compliance with clinical laboratory improvement amendments, or CLIA, and is recognized by the Joint Commission.

Accreditation is given only to laboratories that apply rigid standards of quality in day-to-day operations, demonstrate continued accuracy in the performance of proficiency testing, and pass a rigorous on-site laboratory survey. Essentia Health St. Joseph’s-Brainerd Clinic laboratory has earned COLA accreditation as a result of their long-term commitment to providing quality laboratory services to their patients. Essentia Health St. Joseph’s- Baxter Clinic Laboratory also participated in a recent accreditation survey by COLA. The Baxter lab received accreditation with an excellent overall score of 99 percent. This was the Baxter Clinic laboratory’s first survey since opening in February of 2012.

“The accreditation is a ‘seal of approval’ that patients can rely on,” said Jani Wiebolt, President of Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center, in a news release. “It demonstrates the quality of our services and our commitment to patient care.”

Laboratory services at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center and clinics can support you with fast, accurate results that will help your physician diagnose and treat your condition — or better yet, confirm a clean bill of health. Our laboratory professionals perform comprehensive testing in the following specialties: chemistry, hematology, immunology, microbiology, pathology (histology and cytology), serology and transfusion medicine.

Cousino wins top U.S. Bank company award

Matthew Cousino, branch manager who works at U.S. Bank’s office at Brainerd, won U.S. Bank’s Annual Pinnacle Award, the company’s highest employee achievement honor.

Cousino was among a select number of top performing employees nationwide to win U.S. Bank’s award for outstanding achievement and superior performance and was recently recognized at a company dinner. Richard Davis, chairman, president and chief executive officer of U.S. Bancorp, the parent company of U.S. Bank, said, “Matthew deserves tremendous congratulations for this achievement as he does an outstanding job to make sure our customer’s expectations are not only met, but exceeded.”

This is Cousino’s third pinnacle award. He is a graduate of University of Minnesota Duluth and volunteers in the community with Brainerd Lakes Chamber Ambassador and Brainerd Hockey Association Coach.

Cousino, Baxter, has worked at U.S. Bank for the past seven years.

SBDC consultants achieve international trade certification

Jillene Bolejack and Peter Nelson, consultants with the North Central Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Central Lakes College recently earned Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) certification from the National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators (NASBITE).

To achieve this certification prospects must have at least two years of international trade experience or higher education and pass a rigorous exam covering areas such as global business management, global marketing, supply chain management, and trade finance.

Small business owners who are considering international trade options can work with Bolejack or Nelson to develop an exporting business plan, gain access to expertise and information needed to successfully begin or expand their exporting program

Bolejack serves east central Minnesota and Nelson works in the Brainerd lakes area. Services are provided at no cost to the business owner through the SBDC program.

NASBITE International is a professional organization for the global business community. Members include global business educators and trainers at academic institutions; trade specialists at every level and global business practitioners. The mission is to advance global business practice, education and training.

SBDC is a grant-funded program at Central Lakes College which provides professional business counseling to business owners and prospective business owners in 11 counties of central Minnesota.

The center consultants focus on business planning, marketing, start-up assistance, cash flow management and financing. The center is funded through grants and donations from commercial lending and economic development organizations.

For more information on the services available through the SBDC, contact Julie Platta at 855-8140 or


CLC to host ‘Going Into Business For Yourself’

Central Lakes College scheduled a “Going Into Business For Yourself” session from 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Business and Industry Center in Brainerd (Door 6).

This session covers all areas of business start-up, helpful advice on how to get your dream off the ground and stay profitable, including financing a new venture. Follow-up counseling is available to qualified individuals from the Small Business Development Center’s team of consultants at no charge to the individual.

Tuition is $49 per person plus $29 for each additional business partner. Instructor is Jay Bock.

Feadline to register is Nov. 1.

For more information call 800-933-0346 ext. 8140 or 855-8140 or email To register online go to

Paulson to present ‘Practical Travel

Planning’ Oct. 29

The Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL) at Central Lakes College (CLC) on Monday, Oct. 29 will host travel agent Erik Paulson for a 90-minute program entitled “Practical Travel Planning.”

The program starts at 7 p.m. in E 203 of the Business and Industry Center at CLC, Brainerd.

Topics will include helpful and safe Internet sites, insurance, vital papers, credit card and travel check usage, currency exchange abroad, tours versus independent travel, sensible packing, cell phone usage and many other bits of advice for the would-be traveler.

Admission is free to members of the CLL, and $6 for non-members. For more information contact Bev Berg at 855-8118.

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.

Business notes may be found in the Dispatch’s Business/Money section on Sundays and in Business/Money Extra on Mondays.

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