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Importance of school to be presented

■ National Day of Prayer meeting place may change due to inclement weather

In case of inclement weather, the 2014 National Day of Prayer meeting place will be moved to the Salvation Army Chapel on Front Street in Brainerd Thursday instead of at the Veterans Memorial in between the Brainerd Post Office and the old Courthouse on Laurel Street. Use the north door at the Salvation Army. The day of prayer will be from noon until 12:45 p.m.

The theme for this year’s National Day of Prayer will be “One Voice, United in Prayer.”

■ Grant received to advance dementia-friendly community

Lakes Area Memory Awareness Advocates received a grant through ACT on Alzheimer’s to help make Brainerd/Baxter a more dementia-friendly community.

Brainerd/Baxter is one of 12 new action communities working to prepare Minnesota for the growing number of people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates there are 88,000 Minnesotans age 65 and older with the disease and many thousands more with other dementias.

ACT on Alzheimer’s is a volunteer-driven, statewide collaboration preparing Minnesota for the personal, social and budgetary impacts of Alzheimer’s. Working with communities striving to become dementia-friendly is one of ACT’s key strategies.

“The new communities build on the exciting work being done by the seven pilot action communities,” said Olivia Mastry, executive lead for ACT on Alzheimer’s, in a news release. “The goal is to provide community support for those with dementia and their caregivers, allowing people to live in their communities for as long as possible.”

Grassroot efforts to create dementia-friendly communities now are border-to-border in Minnesota, with community leaders and organizations coming together to work in geographical communities and communities of shared interests. Some areas of focus in the new communities will include inter-generational outreach, engaging new Minnesotans through immigrant populations and furthering the work with faith communities.

“We look forward to starting the ACT on Alzheimer’s process in Brainerd/Baxter” said Corrina Brown, project leader of the Brainerd/Baxter action team, in a news release. “Supporting our community members with Alzheimer’s and other dementias and their caregivers will do tremendous good for the community as a whole.”

Brainerd/Baxter was part of the initial round of grant recipients. The next application round will close June 3, followed by up to 10 grants awarded.

“As the population of Minnesota ages, it’s becoming increasingly important to build support systems for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s,” Mastry said. “Some of the most exciting innovations will emerge from this community work. Creating dementia-friendly communities means that caregivers are supported and people with dementia are able to live in the community and stay out of institutional care longer. That helps everyone: Families and taxpayers who pay for institutional care, employers who have workers trying to balance all the demands of caregiving, and the individuals themselves.”

Brainerd/Baxter joins the seven pilot communities of Cambridge, Forest Lake, St. Louis Park, St. Paul, Walker, Willmar and the Twin Cities Jewish Community. In addition to Brainerd/Baxter, the new action communities are in Bemidji, Brainerd/Baxter, Detroit Lakes, Edina, Harmony, International Falls, Marshall, Northfield, Roseville and St. Paul’s northeast neighborhoods, in addition to CLUES (reaching Latino populations) and the Minnesota Council of Churches.

Brainerd/Baxter grant is funded through Blue Plus, an HMO affiliate of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, the Medica Foundation and Greater Twin Cities United Way.

More than 60 organizations are partners in ACT on Alzheimer’s, dedicated to preparing Minnesota for the future and to creating supportive communities for persons and families touched by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. More information is available at

■ Importance of school to be presented

BAXTER — Executive Director of Parents for Public Schools Mary Cecconi will talk about the importance of public schools in a healthy democracy and how to keep them strong and effective at 7 p.m. on May 6 at Prairie Bay in Baxter.

The presentation by Cecconi will be presented at the Brainerd Lakes League of Women Voters annual meeting.

Cecconi has knowledge in school funding, education policy and the legislative process in Minnesota. For a decade she has provided the public a greater understanding of the complexities involved in educating 100 percent of our student population. With a masters in education and years of educational and political experience she brings authenticity to this subject, LWV reported.

Involved with education in the classroom, administration, as an elected official and in policy work, Cecconi has been an outspoken advocate for children and the public schools that serve them for more than 35 years. Her work has earned her much praise and multiple awards. The most recent honor was her selection as the first woman to receive the Minnesota Association of School Administrators’ Distinguished Service Award.

Those interested in attending the dinner at 5:30 p.m. at Prairie Bay should contact Beth Passi at or 825-0397.

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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