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Business News Extra - March 24

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■ RedHouseMedia and

Brainerd Public Schools

officials present at conference

“Building a compelling school identity” was the topic of a recent workshop presented by Aaron Hautala, creative director and owner of RedHouseMedia, a Brainerd-based advertising agency, along with Brainerd Public Schools Superintendent Steve Razidlo and school board members Tom Haglin and Ruth Nelson at the recent Minnesota School Boards Association leadership conference in Minneapolis.

Brainerd Public Schools worked with RedHouseMedia last year in creating a new identity.

“School districts throughout Minnesota are feeling the need to tell their story in a new and compelling way, so this was a very relevant topic to discuss,” Razidlo said.

The new identity for Brainerd Public Schools included revamping the district’s logo, the athletics logo and the family of school mascots for all six elementary schools within the district.

“Clear and effective communication is important as it allows everyone to know what a school district is all about,” Hautala said. “In the world of open enrollment, it’s important for families and all community members to understand the achievements of their public schools.”

Mraz joins Nor-Son

Nor-Son announced the addition of Monte Mraz, manager of building services and special projects.

The company reported Mraz is responsible for driving Nor-Son’s commitment to ensure both a positive experience in designing and building a home and creating an environment that is comfortable and sustainable for its clients. Mraz will focus on leading Nor-Son’s building services department and maintaining clients’ investments through developed services and practices.

Mraz has more than 25 years of development and building industry experience.

His background includes 13 years of development and project management for the Cote Family Companies at Grand View Lodge and 12 years of residential and resort development and general contracting experience in both the Metro and Brainerd lakes area.

Mraz has been actively involved with the Mid-Minnesota Builders Association (MMBA), Builders Association Twin Cities (BATC), Builders Association of Minnesota (BAM), and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), including serving on the board for these organizations and as past President for MMBA and BAM.

■ Business lending training offered

Cass County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Executive Director Gail Leverson and Julie Hofius, business development consultant for the EDC, recently attended a training seminar on Small Business Administration (SBA) lending. The seminar was at Central Lakes College in Brainerd, with Minnesota Business Finance Corporation presenting new changes to the SBA 504 program.

The Cass County EDC keeps current on business lending and economic development tools.

Contact the office at 218-947-7522 to arrange a meeting to discuss your business idea and how these tools can be of assistance.

The Cass County EDC is a community nonprofit corporation with the mission to “Improve the business environment of Cass County by encouraging a strong, diverse and sustainable economy and to build better relationships between business, government agencies and local communities.”

■ Pierz Business Professionals

of America competes

at the state conference

PIERZ — Twenty-two Business Professionals of America (BPA) members from Pierz competing at the State BPA Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis March 6-8.

Nine students advanced to the national level placing in one or more events. The National Conference will be in Indianapolis in April 29 through May 3.

Participants included: Beth Oldakowski, Kacy Broschofsky, Noelle Reuck, Paige Jutz, Alex Lucken, Raelin Reuck, Arre Langer, Alysia Przybilla, Lily Guck, Taryn Becker, Adviser Ruth Stuckmayer, Austin Leikvoll, Devin Lashinski, Daniel Tautges, Ethan Lochner, Kalven Schraut, Tanner Gangl, Jacob Lanners, Andy Schmidtbauer, Tyler Millner, Derek Spaulding, Chris Ortman and Kyle Becker.

Students advancing to Nationals in Indianapolis are Lucken, Kyle Becker, Spaulding, Jutz, Austin Liekvoll, Kalven Schraut, Schmidtbauer, Langer and Lashinski.

Kyle Becker was second in fundamentals of web design, sixth in information technology. Derek Spaulding was third in fundamentals of web design. Kyle Becker, Derek Spaulding, Paige Jutz and Andy Schmidtbauer were second in website design team. Austin Leikvoll, Kalven Schraut and Devin Lashinski were second in computer animation team. Austin Leikvoll was third in financial math. Alex Lucken was Ambassador Torch Awards. Arre Langer was fifth in business meeting management.


■ U.S. Bank branches collect

for FoodShare March campaign

Brainerd area residents who want to help provide food for families in need in their community have the opportunity to do so at U.S. Bank branch locations this month.

The 139 U.S. Bank branches in Minnesota are official community collection sites for the 2014 Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign.

During the month of March, people are welcome to visit any U.S. Bank branch in Minnesota to drop off cash, food, baby care items or personal care item donations for their local food shelf.

“The U.S. Bank team in Brainerd is proud to support Minnesota FoodShare and local foodshelves. Donations made at U.S. Bank in Brainerd will be given to support the Salvation Army Food Shelf, which serves people in need in our community,” said Matt Cousino, branch manager at U.S. Bank in Brainerd.

There are more than 300 food shelves in Minnesota. U.S. Bank employees and retail branches raised nearly $62,000 in food and cash donations during the 2013 campaign. This is the 13th year that U.S. Bank is partnering with Minnesota FoodShare for its March campaign.

■ Freedom Valu Centers

donate $54,000 for Little

Red Stocking Campaign

The Midwest convenience store Freedom Valu Center chain, consisting of 67 stores throughout South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, raised $53,968 for Children’s Home Society of Minnesota’s Little Red Stocking Campaign.

The campaign ran Nov. 14, 2013, through Jan. 4, 2014. Customer donors could purchase and personalize $1 or $5 Little Red Stocking saying, “I helped fill the stocking!” to hang in the Freedom store. All proceeds went to Children’s Home.

During four years, Freedom Valu Centers raised $180,000 in support of Children’s Home and its work to give every child security, opportunity and a loving family. “The contributions from Freedom Valu Center support the general operation of Children’s Home which includes our domestic waiting children adoption program for youth living in foster care, domestic infant adoption, international adoption, pregnancy counseling services, and post-adoption services,” said Lynn Varco, director of Development for Children’s Home. “In 2013, 198 children joined their permanent families and 15 families received grants to help complete an adoption.”

The Dispatch welcomes business notes submissions via email to, or fax to 218-829-0211, 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. Additional business news may be in the Business Extra published 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.
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