Business Notes Feb. 15

CAREER Richardson named Dispatch associate editor Renee Richardson, senior reporter at the Brainerd Dispatch, was recently named associate editor. Richardson gained the promotion following the retirement of Mike O'Rourke, longtime associate edito...


Richardson named Dispatch associate editor

Renee Richardson, senior reporter at the Brainerd Dispatch, was recently named associate editor.

Richardson gained the promotion following the retirement of Mike O'Rourke, longtime associate editor at the Dispatch.

Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management.


She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate's degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University (SCSU) summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. At the Dispatch, Richardson has covered government affairs, business, features stores, as well as breaking news. She will continue as business editor.

She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.



Rowlette earns recognition from Minnesota Housing Finance Agency

BAXTER - Jaime Rowlette, Mortgage Lender at RiverWood Bank in Baxter, was recently recognized by the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency as one of Minnesota's Top Producing Home Loan Officers.

Rowlette earned a "Gold Award" in recognition of the exemplary work he performed offering Minnesota Housing programs during the second half of 2014. Starting Jan. 1, 2010, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency began tracking all first-mortgage loans originated by individual loan officers as part of a program designed to recognize individual loan officer production. Originally from Bemidji, Rowlette has lived in the Brainerd area for the past seven years. He joined RiverWood Bank in 2011.




Johnson named clinical manager

CROSBY - Nurse Lacy Johnson of Brainerd has been named clinical manager for senior housing at Heartwood Senior Living Community in Crosby.

She will help coordinate all functions of the department to ensure the efficient use of resources while delivering quality patient care. In her new role, Johnson will also be responsible for evaluating and improving the quality and effectiveness of nursing practices. She will perform duties such as patient care, assuring nursing practice compliance with state and federal mandates, and enforcing the organization's policies, procedures and standards.

Johnson, who has been a nurse at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center (CRMC) since 2010, also served as a registered nursing assistant at Heartwood while attending college. She earned her Licensed Practical Nursing degree at Central Lakes College where she was the recipient of the Academic Honors Award for making the Dean's List and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society.

Heartwood, a partnership between CRMC and Presbyterian Homes & Services, opened in 2008. Heartwood serves 150 seniors in 98 senior living, assisted living, and memory care apartment homes. Residents receive access into both CRMC and its Care Center.




Riley joins BLAEDC board, replaces Larson

Janelle Riley was recently appointed to the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation's (BLAEDC) board of directors, replacing longtime director Kevin Larson.

Riley, co-owner and president of Syvantis Technologies, will serve a three-year term that ends in December 2017. Syvantis is a technology services company in Fairview Office Park, an award-winning low-impact development in Baxter. She is also a Certified Public Accountant and very active in the community as a member of a number of other boards.

"I am honored to have the opportunity to serve on the BLAEDC board," Riley said in a news release. "The BLAEDC organization provides invaluable economic development resources to the community. The Brainerd lakes area would not look the same without BLAEDC."

Riley assumes a seat on the board that was vacated by Larson, who is now a BLAEDC Director Emeritus. Larson, CEO and general manager of Consolidated Telecommunications Co., served on the board from 2003-2014, including a two-year term as board president.

"It has been a very rewarding experience to serve on the BLAEDC Board over the years," Larson said of working with community leaders in the area who are giving of their time and energy to improve the business environment and create jobs.

"We're excited to have Janelle join our board because of her business leadership qualities and her knowledge of the technology industry," BLAEDC Executive Director Sheila Haverkamp said. "We think she'll be a tremendous asset to our organization. On the other hand, we're sorry to lose Kevin, who brought valuable insight about the technology and communications industry to the table. We appreciate the strong leadership he displayed as board president during a very difficult economic time in the Brainerd lakes area. We wish him all the best."

Established in 1985, BLAEDC is a community-driven, nonprofit organization created to preserve and enhance the area's economic base by expanding business, building community and growing jobs in Crow Wing County.




Lund joins Essentia Health - St. Joseph's Medical Center emergency team

Dr. Paul Lund joined the Emergency Medicine Department at Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd.

Lund has worked part-time in the emergency room at St. Joseph's for the past three years. "I have really enjoyed working with this group, so it was very easy to make the decision to accept a full-time position here," Lund said in a news release.

St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd is a Level III Trauma Center, providing emergency medical services 24 hours a day, seven days a week through urgent care, emergency rooms and trauma surgery. The life-saving team cares for more than 26,000 patients per year through any situation, from minor injuries or illnesses to life-threatening conditions requiring immediate surgery and intervention.

Lund earned a medical degree at the Mayo Medical School in Rochester. He completed a residency in emergency medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wis., and is certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties in emergency medicine.

"I began working in hospital emergency departments when I was in ninth grade and have never really considered any other specialty," Lund said. "I have always enjoyed the vast variety of medical problems we have to be prepared to deal with, and I like the unpredictability of never knowing what's coming through our doors next."


Dr. Paul


Comfort Keepers franchise ranks No. 1

Comfort Keepers of Brainerd/Little Falls announced Entrepreneur Magazine has ranked the Comfort Keepers' franchise as No. 1 within the senior care category for the third year in a row in its annual Franchise 500 rankings.

Overall, Comfort Keepers placed 57 among the top 500 franchises.

Jay Vasek, owner of Comfort Keepers of Brainerd/Little Falls, said the recognition is something his office, as well as the 700 plus locations around the world, can be proud of. Entrepreneur's 36th annual Franchise 500 ranking reveals the impact of the newest trends and the industries poised for growth. All companies, regardless of size, are judged by the same criteria: objective, quantifiable measures of the franchise operation. The most important factors include financial strength and stability, growth rate, and size of the system. According to Entrepreneur, the Franchise 500 shows that many of the most competitive companies are those that go after a specific demographic. Among the top growing demographic categories nationally is senior care.

Nelson joins Essentia Health Pillager Clinic

Nurse Practitioner Kassandra Jo Nelson, who specializes in family medicine, joined the Essentia Health Pillager Clinic in caring for patients.


Born and raised in Pillager, Nelson, whose maiden name is Sullivan, said she always felt being in a rural clinic was where she was meant to be. Her mom is also a nurse.

"This is my way to give back to a community that my family calls home," she said in a news release.

Nelson said she enjoys the variety of family medicine and puts a priority on prevention as she cares for their healthcare needs. She has a special interest in women's health issues.

Nelson's educational background includes a bachelor's degree in nursing from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, and a master's degree from the University of North Dakota. She started caring for patients in 2007, working as a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center and most recently in the clinic setting at both the Pine River Clinic and at Urgent Care in Baxter. She also has worked in public health for Crow Wing County.

Kassandra Jo


AmericInn gains Adrian Award

An AmericInn campaign to recognize guests serving others has received a silver Adrian Award from the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI). AmericInn - the largest mid-scale hotel brand in the upper Midwest - launched the Random Acts of Vacation promotion to find the country's most deserving recipients to win free nights at any of the brand's 200 locations in 24 states.

The campaign was designed to build brand awareness and goodwill while also supporting the communities where AmericInns are located. A strong interactive component engaged people in the nomination process and also publicized the great acts of service winners are doing. The contest drew more than 3,000 online nominations from 49 states.

"It's great to have our team recognized for designing and implementing this very successful campaign," said Paul Kirwin, AmericInn president and CEO. "It's been a privilege to reward everyday folks for some of the wonderful ways that they've gone out of their way to help others."

Random Acts of Vacation was selected from more than 1,200 HSMAI entries from around the world. Top executives from throughout the industry judged the entries.

"We are continually amazed by the creativity of the Adrian Award submissions," said Fran Brasseux, HSMAI executive vice president. "We're excited to honor AmericInn and all of this year's winners."

Winners in Random Acts of Vacation included the operator of a church-sponsored coffee house for teens, foster parents, a veteran's spouse, a surrogate mom and many more.

The 2014 Adrian Awards will be presented at a New York gala on Feb. 23. The HSMAI Adrian Awards honor creative brilliance and best practices in hospitality, travel and tourism-related marketing. In its 58th year.

HealthSource of Baxter to exchange health screenings for cardiovascular research donations

BAXTER - HealthSource Chiropractic, Progressive Rehab and Wellness is providing complimentary community health screenings in exchange for a $10 donation to the American Heart Association.

Donations will be accepted at the office located at 7656 Design Road Suite 100 Baxter until Feb. 28, but contributors are encouraged to call and set up an appointment. For more information, facts, or figures about cardiovascular health go to .

Russell Herder campaign earns sixth major honor

"Ask About Aspirin," a multimedia initiative created by Russell Herder, was awarded Judges Choice in the premier CardioVascular Advertising Awards by Marketing Healthcare Today magazine.

This was the campaign's sixth major honor for creative and strategic success. Russell Herder was founded in Brainerd 30 years ago.

The public service program, which encourages men and women of highest risk for heart attack or stroke to consider low dose aspirin as a preventative measure, was developed for the University of Minnesota's Lillehei Heart Institute. The visually striking campaign included a website, social media, advertising, in-clinic posters, brochures and text-message self-assessments. Strategically, it was also highly measurable, tracking critical metrics to a far greater degree than similar programs.

The University of Minnesota recently announced that the "Ask about Aspirin" initiative will expand statewide this spring. The effort is supported in part by funding from the National Institutes of Health, as well as collaboration with Target and participating local health systems.

CliftonLarsonAllen announces interns for tax season

CliftonLarsonAllen, a national public accounting and consulting firm, has new interns for the current tax season in the Brainerd office.

Interns are: Tashana Bergren, student from North Dakota State University; Kyle Bergs, student from University of Minnesota Duluth; Kristina O'Brien, student from Bemidji State University; Logan Stall, student from University of Minnesota Duluth; Kathryn Wadsten, student from Bemidji State University.











Dalgarno joins Essentia Health Hackensack Clinic

Physician Assistant Jennifer Dalgarno joined the family medicine team at the Essentia Health-Hackensack Clinic in Hackensack.

Dalgarno has been caring for patients at Essentia Health clinics for the past 12 years, most recently in Pillager. "I've always enjoyed living and working in smaller communities," she said in a news release.

Dalgarno earned a bachelor's degree in physician assistant studies from the University of South Dakota in Vermilion, S.D. She is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants.

As part of the family medicine team, Dalgarno will care for children and adults.

She said she enjoys working with patients of all ages. "I enjoy partnering with them to work toward goals that will optimize their health," Dalgarno said.

Dalgarno will be providing care primarily at the Hackensack Clinic and spending one day a week at the Brainerd Clinic, located at 200 South Sixth Street.




Essentia Health awards $45,000 grant to St. Scholastica

A $45,000 grant from Essentia Health will help The College of St. Scholastica to invest in high-tech equipment for its new physician assistant program.

The funds will help with the purchase of two SonoSite ultrasound machines, which are used in anatomy instruction and clinical diagnosis.

"Access to multimedia resources such as these machines has revolutionized anatomy instruction and patient care," said Dr. Kim Kruger, chair of the physician assistant program, in a news release. She and Janet Rosen, associate vice president of College Advancement, led efforts to secure the grant. "They will benefit all of St. Scholastica's health care students and ultimately improve the quality of care they provide for their patients."

The College of St. Scholastica is nationally recognized for quality. Rankings by U.S. News & World Report and Money magazine classify it as one of the Midwest's top regional universities. Learn more at

Crow Wing Power distributes Operation Round-Up donations

The Crow Wing Power Community Trust Board donated $43,100 to local community programs during their first quarter meeting held in January. Operation Round-Up funds were distributed to the following projects: $500 to First Lutheran Church Quilters, Little Falls; $500 to Smile Again Ministries, Crosslake; $500 to RSVP - Emily Quilters; $1,000 to Priceless for Purpose, Pequot Lakes; $1,500 to Kinship of Morrison County, Little Falls; $26,600 to twelve area food shelves; $1,000 to Confidence Learning Center, Brainerd; $1,000 to Camp Knutson, Crosslake; $2,000 to Lakes Area Restorative Justice Project, Brainerd; $2,000 for criminal justice training, Brainerd; $500 to Brainerd Lakes Area Early Childhood Coalition; $2,500 to University of St. Thomas, Center for Nonprofit Management; $1,000 to Little Falls Area Ministerial Assoc./Youth Network; $500 to Fun Books for Kids, Pequot Lakes; and $2,000 to Private Cooperative Member Crisis Medical Support.

Operation Round-Up is funded by participating members of Crow Wing Power who allow the cooperative to round up their electric bills to the nearest whole dollar. The additional change is pooled and distributed quarterly. Since the program's inception in late 1996, Round-Up has donated more than $2,715,000 to community projects and programs in Cass, Crow Wing and Morrison counties.

The next quarterly meeting is scheduled for April 30, 2015. Grant forms can be obtained by calling Crow Wing Power at 829-2827 or 800-648-9401 or at . The deadline for grant applications is April 10.


Dine and Discover session explores healthy gardening

PIERZ - Faith in Action, a division of Horizon Health Inc., along with F & M State bank announce its upcoming Dine and Discover luncheon entitled, "A Guide to Healthy Gardening." Master Gardener Joann Weaver will guide participants on what to plant, how to care for it and if it's good to eat.

The event is 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 25 at Horizon Health's Community Room in Pierz. Blood pressure screenings will be before and after the session, compliments of Horizon Health Homecare. A free-will donation will be accepted for this seminar and lunch, but registration is required. For more information, call Penny at Horizon Health at 320-468-6451 or 800-224-6451 before Feb. 23 to register.

Little Falls chamber to host annual meeting Feb. 26

LITTLE FALLS - The Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce invites all chamber and community members to its 126th annual meeting, Feb. 26, at the Falls Ballroom. The chamber will bestow the 2014 Small and Large Businesses of the Year as well as the Volunteer of the Year awards.

The featured entertainment for this event is Roger Radley, stand-up comedian, described as the very funny guy next door with down-to-earth humor and clever comedy. Drawing upon the values and experiences of a farm boy growing up in Wisconsin, Radley likes to think of himself as the "Funniest Former Farmer" in the United States.

The chamber will be congratulating the 2014 Chair of the Chamber Board Lori Kush, Kush State Farm, on a successful year and welcome 2015 Chair of the Chamber Board, Jim Birchem, St. Otto's Care Center and Elder Care Minnesota. Outgoing board members to be honored during this event will be Bridget Britz, Horizon Health, Tom West, Morrison County Record and Julie Zupko, Bieganek Insurance Agency and Randall State Insurance.

"The annual meeting provides the opportunity to celebrate the successes of the chamber over the past year," said Debora K. Boelz, president/CEO of the chamber, in a news release.

Cost is $30 per person with advance reservation required. Confirm reservations by mailing payment to: The Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, 200 First St. NW, Little Falls MN 56345 or by visiting the website at . Reservation deadline is Friday.

EcoWater Systems to host Friday Morning Coffee

LITTLE FALLS - The Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce invites all chamber members,

employees and guests to the Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce from 7:30-9 a.m. Friday at 200 First St. NW for Friday Morning Coffee.

Announcements are at 8 a.m. Sponsoring this month is EcoWater Systems.

Lakewood to host free palliative care webinar event

STAPLES - The palliative care team at Lakewood Health System will be hosting a webinar presentation called 'From Touchy to Touching: Talking About the Dying Process' at 2 p.m. Feb. 24 in Classroom B on the lower level of Lakewood's main campus, 49725 County 83, Staples.

The presentation is put on by the Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care and it will look at the physical, psychosocial and mysterious aspects and impacts of how talking about dying affects how patients and families respond to the process.

Tani Bahti, registered nurse, from Pathways Education & Consultation in End of Life Care, LLC will present on:

• How honoring the body's wisdom will promote comfort.

• How to better evaluate causes of lack of appetite and appropriate interventions.

• Physical and emotional impact of changes in eating and drinking.

• Issues of communication, closure, and healing at the end of life.

• Mysteries such as the timing of death.

• How visions can be lessons for the living.

A group discussion led by Dr. Julie Benson, medical director of hospice and palliative care at Lakewood, and other palliative care team members, will take place following the webinar presentation.

This event is free of charge, and RSVPs are encouraged. For more information, or to RSVP, call Kimberly at 218-894-8598.

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.

More business notes may be part of the Business Extra section in Monday's edition.

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