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Business Notes Feb. 3


■ LAHRA names board of directors

The Lakes Area Human Resources Association announced its 2013 Board of Directors.

The directors are: President Christina Landree, branch operations manager at Pro Staff; Past President Kristi Westbrock, director of human resources and operations at Consolidated Telecommunications Co. (CTC); President-Elect Dawn Evans, owner at D & D Exteriors; Secretary Jenna Monse, customer sales and service representative at CTC; Treasurer Kim Erickson, practice manager at Lakeland Veterinary Hospital; Membership Director Val Fiksdal, workforce management consultant at ADP; Program Director Jenny Castle, human resources manager at Atomic Learning;

Marketing Director Cheryl Goettig, owner/president at HRCheryl.

■ Lakewood to participate in learning collaborative with Stratis Health

STAPLES — Lakewood Health System, Staples, joined the Stratis Health Acting Together to Achieve Excellence campaign (ATTAX).

Lakewood will participate in this campaign designed to ensure nursing home residents receive the highest quality of care. Lakewood reported ATTAX campaign will instill quality and performance improvement practices aimed at attacking and eliminating healthcare acquired conditions and improving resident satisfaction in Minnesota nursing homes. Supporting the development of strategies for overall quality will be at the heart of this work, as well as specific emphasis and resources on improving dementia care and preventing pressure ulcers, falls and urinary tract infections, Lakewood reported. Successes and best practices from the group will be shared with the Minnesota nursing home community during the next few years.

Dan Donahue, vice president of Senior Services at Lakewood Health System, said working with Stratis Health on past initiatives has proven a positive experience.

“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has made transformational quality improvement a priority across the country, and this is such exciting work that we are able to continue as the quality improvement organization with nursing homes in Minnesota,” said Dr. Jane Pederson, director, medical affairs, Stratis Health, in a news release.

This work is supported by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and is being led by Stratis Health, Minnesota’s Medicare Quality Improvement Organization.

■ Psychiatrist Neifert joins Lakewood

STAPLES — Dr. Peter Neifert, psychiatrist, joined Lakewood Health System’s on-staff specialists.

Originally from Parker, Colo., Neifert received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Colorado College, graduated from Mayo Medical School and completed his residency at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

Neifert comes from a family of doctors and teachers. His mother and sister are both physicians, and his grandmother, sister and wife are all teachers.

Neifert will see patients 16 years and older for consultations and follow-up care in Staples.

■ Fitch affirms AA rating for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans

Fitch Ratings affirmed Thrivent Financial for Lutherans AA (Very Strong) rating, the third-highest of Fitch’s 19 categories and given the organization a stable outlook.

Fitch cited Thrivent Financial’s strong capitalization, high quality investment portfolio, consistent profitability and favorable market position within the Lutheran market as part of the basis for the affirmation. The stable outlook was driven by the organization’s strong capital base and the expectation of Thrivent Financial’s solid operating performance, supported by conservative investment and product offerings. These ratings reflect Thrivent Financials’ overall financial strength and claims-paying ability, but do not apply to the investment performance of investment products.

Knudsen joins St.

Joseph’s Foundation board

Valorie Knudsen joined Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Foundation Board of Directors.

Miranda Anderson, St. Joseph’s Foundation director said Knudsen’s experience working with corporate finance and philanthropy in the community will be an asset.

Knudsen is the chief financial officer of Cote Family Companies Inc, a $30 million privately owned hospitality, real estate development and sales, golf course operations and property management company with headquarters in Nisswa.

Lois Hansen, St. Joseph’s Foundation Board chairwoman, said the foundation looks for candidates with good business background and community engagement. St. Joseph’s Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center and Clinics. The mission is to raise and grant funds to promote the health and well-being in the patient community. For more information, contact Anderson at 828-7564 or email

■ Royal Tire acquires Midstates Retreading & Wholesale and Northwestern Tire

Officials at Royal Tire Inc., a leader in providing tire and related services to commercial and retail customers, announced it acquired Midstates Retreading & Wholesale, a family owned and operated Bandag Franchise, and Northwestern Tire, a commercial service location.

Located in Rochester, Minn., the purchase of Midstates and Northwestern Tire is expected to enhance Royal Tire’s commercial service and retreading outreach in southeastern Minnesota, southwestern Wisconsin, northeastern Iowa, and further support continued growth across the Upper Midwest.

“This strategic acquisition will give Royal Tire the ability to reach into markets we could not get to before and is consistent with our long term growth strategy,” said Royal Tire President Mick Pickens, in a news release.

During the past 64 years, Royal Tire has grown its commercial and retail locations. This acquisition will bring Royal Tire’s total store count to 26. Royal Tire is headquartered in St. Cloud.


■ Divas Through the Decades to perform in Little Falls

LITTLE FALLS — The Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce invites all chamber and community members to its 124th annual meeting Feb. 28 at the Falls Ballroom.

The featured entertainment for this event is Divas Through the Decades, a musical tribute.

Divas Through the Decades is a musical tribute to some of the most influential female vocalists in American pop music, featuring songs from the 40s, through today’s current hits. The show features music made famous by various divas, including Tina Turner, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Gloria Estefan, Madonna, Beyonce, Shania Twain, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood.

Tickets are $30 per person, which includes a meal. RSVP is requested by noon Feb. 22 by calling the chamber at 320-632-5155 or via the chamber’s website at


■ CLC to offer Nursing Assistant course at Pine River

PINE RIVER — Central Lakes College (CLC) is offering a nursing assistant course noon to 6:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesday from March 18 through May 8 at Whispering Pines Good Samaritan Village, Pine River. Kristine Jandl will be the instructor for the three-credit college class for up to 20 students.

The nursing assistant course introduces concepts of basic human needs, health/illness continuum and basic nursing skills. Skills are demonstrated and practiced in a supervised laboratory setting. This course allows for practical application of skills in a nursing care setting and meets government requirements for placement on the state registry.

Students must complete with a grade of “C” or better to pass and attendance is mandatory. No more than four hours may be missed.

Contact the CLC Admissions Office for more information 855-8037 or askclc@c

■ 2013 Farm to Cafeteria Workshops

Regional Farm to Cafeteria workshops are planned to strengthen relationships between growers and institutional buyers.

Eight regional Farm to Cafeteria workshops will be taking place across Minnesota between February and April. The workshops are designed to meet the needs of the region and cultivate strong partnerships between growers and institutional buyers.

Farmers, growers, schools, and other institutional food service professionals; Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) coordinators and community partners are among those who may be interested in attending. Cost is $20, which includes a meal.

Continuing education units will be available for food service professionals. In the area, a workshop is planned from 1-8 p.m. April 3 at Central Lakes College in Staples, 1830 Airport Road. Deadline to register March 24.

For more information, contact Molly Zins at

■ Certified food manager training set at CLC

A Certified Food Manager course is planned Feb. 19, 21, and 26 in the Business and Industry Center at Central Lakes College, Brainerd.

Certification is required in most Minnesota food establishments. The class meets 5 to 9 p.m. with instructor Colette Pohlkamp. Participants are trained and tested through the ServSafe Serving Safe Food Certification course. They will learn about potentially hazardous foods and safe food handling practices, the HACCP system of food safety, setting up standards and completion upon passing the required exam.

The course fee is $170. Registration deadline is Feb. 12.

For more information, call 855-8142 or 800-933-0346, ext. 8142. Online registration: and click on courses or email

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