Business Notes- June 19

WORKSHOPS Living with Diabetes Refresher Classes offered Back to Basics: Seven Keys to Successful Diabetes Management will be offered with the latest information and review of the tried and true basics of illness management from 9:30-11:30 a.m. J...




Living with Diabetes 

Refresher Classes offered


Back to Basics: Seven Keys to Successful Diabetes Management will be offered with the latest information and review of the tried and true basics of illness management from 9:30-11:30 a.m. June 30 at Essentia Health St. Joseph’s Medical Center in the Thabes meeting room in the lower level of hospital. 

Back to Basics: Insulin Use in Real Life is planned from 1-3 p.m. June 30 at the medical center to help understand blood sugar numbers and how the right insulin regimen and devices can make management easier.

Instructors for both classes are Diabetes Resource Program staff Danette Holznagel, registered nurse and certified diabetes educator, and Michelle Pelkey, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator. 

Advance Registration is required. For more information, contact Essentia Health St. Joseph’s Medical Center registration desk at (218) 828-7654 and press 3. Cost for the class will be billed to insurance. Medicare covers two hours of diabetes education per year. People with Medicare are eligible to attend if they have not attended any diabetes education in 2011. Other insurance coverage varies.



Home Stretch homebuyer education 

workshop planned in Brainerd


Central Minnesota Housing Partnership is providing Home Stretch, a homebuyer education workshop, in Brainerd from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 21 at Central Lakes College. 

Registration is required and participants will receive a completion certificate at the end of the day. 

In one day, participants will learn about qualifying for a mortgage, financing a home, budget and credit issues, real estate, the closing process, basic home maintenance and affordable mortgage products that may be available to first-time homebuyers.

CMHP, a nonprofit organization providing affordable housing services to the central region of Minnesota, coordinates the Home Stretch workshop. Community lenders, real estate agents and other housing professionals volunteer their time to bring first-time homebuyers the most important and current information about the home buying process.

Some affordable mortgage products, first-time homebuyer products and government loans may require a buyer to receive a Home Stretch certificate.     

“Home Stretch and pre-purchase counseling are the best “first-steps” in the home buying process,” said Hemmesch. “Buying a home is usually the largest investment an individual or family will make in their lifetime. The more educated a person is on the homebuying process, the better decisions they will make about this large investment.” 

There is a $25 fee per household to participate in Home Stretch and registration is required. To register for the Brainerd Home Stretch workshop in July, contact Central Minnesota Housing Partnership at (320) 259-0393.





Deerwood Technologies 

event benefits youth center 

The Deerwood Technologies Electronics Recycling Drive Benefit May 14 benefited the Cuyuna Range Youth Center Programs.  

Youth Center and Deerwood Technologies volunteers collected 3,427 pounds of computers, displays, TV’s, printers and associated electronic equipment.  

Jim Mayne, Deerwood Technologies CEO, recently presented Dick Gunter, youth center director, with the proceeds from the drive - a check for $775.





Brainerd firefighters 

attend training

The Brainerd Fire Department participated in the 136th Minnesota State Fire Department Association Conference in Detroit Lakes June 2-5 where 350 firefighters from across the state were in attendance. 

Brainerd Fire Department staff participating were: Fire Chief Kevin Stunek, Battalion Chief Bob Anderson, Captains Daryl Rubbelke, Randy Martin and Joe Rubado and firefighters Barry Sell and Jake McLellan.  

Firefighters attended numerous training classes, including highway safety management, chemical suicides, top 10 fireground mistakes, bomb making materials awareness, arson awareness and technical rescue awareness. Knowledge from the event will be used in training sessions to serve the Brainerd Fire District. 



Paxton, Mau attend Small 

Business Summit in Washington

Lisa Paxton, Brainerd Lakes Chamber chief executive officer, and Steve Mau, Brainerd Lakes Chamber incoming board chairman and owner of Brainerd General Rental, recently attended the U.S. Chamber of Commerce America’s Small Business Summit in Washington.

More than 650 business and chamber leaders throughout the U.S. participated in this three-day conference. Paxton and Mau participated in the summit as part of the Voice of Minnesota Business delegation.

Paxton and Mau heard from national speakers on a variety of topics from health care to the economy, networked with business representatives and met with Minnesota congressional leaders.

Speakers included Dana Perino, former White House press secretary to President George W. Bush; Steven Boal, CEO of; Martin Regalia, senior vice president and chief economist with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Andy Card, former chief of staff for President George W. Bush; and retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

 Paxton and Mau also met with U.S. Reps. Chip Cravaack, Michele Bachmann, John Kline and Erik Paulsen, as well as U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.



GuidePoint pharmacist 

named finalist for national award

Mike Schwartzwald, pharmacist and owner of GuidePoint Pharmacy in Brainerd, was named one of three finalists out of 350 nominees for the 2011 Next-Generation Pharmacist Entrepreneur of the Year award by Parata Systems and Pharmacy Times magazine.

Schwartzwald owns GuidePoint pharmacies in Brainerd, Rochester, Redwood Falls, Worthington and Winthrop, as well as Arrowhead Pharmacy in Grand Marais.

The Entrepreneur of the Year award salutes pharmacy professionals who define the industry’s future and demonstrate distinctive entrepreneurial spirit and passion, making an indelible mark on the reputation of the industry. The winner will be announced Aug. 29 in Boston.

Schwartzwald serves as a mentor for the University of Minnesota’s College of Pharmacy students, working with them for months at a time, providing a glimpse of what life as a pharmacist will be like. 

He is also known for offering support where it’s needed, even helping a recently closed pharmacy get started again.

“I want to ensure independent pharmacy remains viable,” he said. “I’m trying to help small town pharmacies remain an important part of their local health care team.”

Between all of Schwartzwald’s pharmacies, around 70 people are employed throughout Minnesota.


Tjaden earns 

CPCU designation

Travis Tjaden, Breezy Point, was awarded the professional insurance designation Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter by the American Institute for CPCU. 

The American Institute for CPCU is an independent, nonprofit educational organization that confers the CPCU designation on persons who complete eight rigorous courses and national examinations and meet its ethics and experience requirements. 

Tjaden began working for North Star Mutual Insurance of Cottonwood in March of 2002 and has the position of field representative for the Property/Casualty Claims Department.


Interns join Essentia Health 

St. Joseph’s Medical Center

Essentia Health St. Joseph’s Medical Center announced Jana Widmer, pharmacy intern, and Emily Wyman, registered nurse intern in diabetes education, joined the staff.

Widmer, originally from Sterling, Ohio, completed four years of the six-year doctor of pharmacy program at Ohio Northern University and is licensed for both Ohio and Minnesota. She has interned at Rite Aid Pharmacy for two years.

Wyman brings a unique perspective to her internship as she has been a diabetic for 15 years, which is what sparked her interest in the diabetes education field. Wyman will have one year remaining in the RN program at Concordia College in Moorhead and has previously worked as a certified nursing assistant. Wyman is a 2008 Brainerd High School graduate.

In 2008, I competed in the Miss Brainerd Lakes Pageant and spoke to various organizations, schools, and groups about her experience with diabetes.


Rafferty gains 


Patrick J. Rafferty of Lake Shore was appointed chief operating officer of Vista Prairie Communities and its related management company, Vista Prairie Management.

Rafferty brings more than 20 years of nursing center administration experience to Vista Prairie Communities. Befpre joining VPC, Rafferty was employed by Coventry Healthcare/Workers Compensation Services where he worked as a field case manager/job placement specialist.

Rafferty served as the executive director/CEO of Cass Country Economic Development Corp. from 2000-2001. Since 2009, he has been a member of the Governmental and Educational Assistance Corp. Board, doing business as Vista Prairie Communities, a nonprofit housing corporation.


Johnson becomes a 

volunteer photographer

LITTLE FALLS - Christina Johnson of Christina Johnson Photography in Little Falls recently teamed up with Minnesota Heart Gallery by donating to take photos of children who live in foster homes and are awaiting adoptive families.  

The mission of the Minnesota Heart Gallery is to help children and teens living in foster care find permanent and committed families, and to raise community awareness of our shared responsibility to each of these youth. 

Once the photos are taken, they will be put on the Minnesota Heart Gallery website for potential adoptive families to see.  


LSS Financial Counseling gains

healthy workplace award

LSS Financial Counseling, a nonprofit community-based financial counseling, was awarded the 2011 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in the nonprofit category to the LSS Financial Counseling Service by the Minnesota Psychological Association.

Each year, the association honors organizations that meet all five of the following criteria: employee involvement, employee growth and development, employee recognition, work-life balance, and health and safety. 

LSS Financial Counseling Service, with offices in Brainerd, helps 20,000 households each year. Services include free budget counseling, debt management programs, foreclosure prevention services, bankruptcy counseling, financial education and reverse mortgage counseling for seniors.  


Certified nurse midwife 

joins Lakewood Health System 

STAPLES - Nicolle Uban, certified nurse midwife, has joined Lakewood Health System’s Women’s Health Team.

Uban will provide pregnancy, childbirth, gynecologic and reproductive care, along with general health and wellness care for women of all ages.

In addition to her certification as a nurse midwife, Uban is also a registered nurse and doctoral candidate in the department of nursing at the University of Minnesota. She has more than 10 years of labor and delivery experience and is a trained childbirth educator and Doula (childbirth coach). 

Uban is currently seeing patients at Lakewood’s Clinic in Staples. She will also see patients in Lakewood’s Pillager and Browerville clinics starting in late July.



Brunkhorst gains 

certification first

Widseth Smith Nolting’s Juergen Brunkhorst, professional land surveyor, became the first certified hydrographic surveyor in Minnesota. 

Using high-tech equipment such as GPS and echo sounding systems, hydrographic surveyors map a variety of water bodies and determine the topography of the bottom, depth of the water, shoreline and other characteristics. 

Hydrographer certification is an official designation of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping/The Hydrographic Society of America. To earn this national certification, Brunkhorst passed an examination and demonstrated to the ACSM/THSOA Certification Board that he met the experience requirement of working 60 months in hydrography, of which 24 months were in technical charge and 24 in the field. 

Brunkhorst joined WSN in 2002 with experience on projects on the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, and inland rivers and canals in Germany. His experience with WSN includes several levee construction and restoration projects in Alexandria for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Brunkhorst received a degree in surveying engineering and a degree in hydrographic surveying from Fachhochschule Hamburg, Germany.


Finch Reappointed to 

National Credit Union position

BAXTER - Pam Finch, chief financial officer of Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union, was recently reappointed for a second year to the accounting subcommittee of the Credit Union National Association. 

Finch will act as liaison to CUNA’s CFO Council and help advise the national organization’s Governmental Affairs Committee on accounting proposals and initiatives to pursue on behalf of credit unions nationwide. Since May 2005, Finch has served on the Executive Committee of CUNA’s CFO Council; she served as the chair from May 2009 to May 2011.

Finch was one of six individuals in the Minnesota credit union movement to be appointed to national positions on CUNA committees and boards. Finch has more than 20 years experience in accounting, including 14 years with MMFCU. 



Sumner joins Keller 

Williams Realty Brainerd Lakes

BAXTER - Keller Williams Realty Brainerd Lakes announced Timothy Sumner of Little Falls is joining its team of real estate professionals.  

Sumner has been in the industry 11 years. He started his real estate business in Little Falls in 2004 with an emphasis on managing the properties of rental owners. His previous work history is in the pastoral service and he and his wife Ruth started a church in their living room, which to this day provides free household goods to those in need. Sumner will be working out of the newly opened Little Falls office, 118 Broadway Ave. W. in Little Falls.


Brainerd officials attend 

National Main Street conference

Amber Haapajoki-Hahn, Brainerd Main Street director with the Brainerd Lakes Chamber, and Mark Ostgarden, Brainerd city planner, recently participated in the National Main Street annual conference in Des Moines, Iowa.

Together with 1,300 community leaders representing 47 states, Haapajoki-Hahn and Ostgarden learned from national experts about downtown revitalization efforts. The Main Street program takes a comprehensive approach to revitalizing historic business districts. This year’s topics included using the Main Street Four-Point Approach of Design, Promotion, Economic Restructuring, and Organization. 

Other topics looked at how to help develop businesses, perform a market analysis, develop promotion programming strategies, diversify funding sources for nonprofit organizations, and many more specific sessions regarding historic preservation. Participants left Des Moines with a greater understanding of how they can apply the Main Street approach to further revitalize their districts.

Minnesota Main Street, a program of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, is recognized by the National Trust Main Street Center as the official statewide coordinating program in Minnesota. Minnesota Main Street provided the Brainerd Main Street program with the resources to attend this training in order to be successful in its Brainerd revitalization efforts.


Horizon Health announces 

scholarship recipients 

Horizon Health Inc.’s board announced six area graduating seniors each received a $250 scholarship to continue their education to pursue careers in health services, social work or long term care.

Scholarships were awarded to: Emma Koskiniemi from Staples/Motley School who is attending Concordia College in Moorhead; Holly Hansen from Little Falls who is attending Bemidji State University; Samantha Herold from Pierz who is attending University of Minnesota – Minneapolis; Emily Harren from Upsala who is attending Minnesota State University – Moorhead; Holly Pelzer from Swanville who is attending North Dakota State University and Samantha Gertken from Royalton who is attending St. Cloud Technical College.


Edina Realty celebrates 

volunteer service

Edina Realty located in Edina designated June 14 as the day to celebrate the 14th annual Community Service Day throughout the Edina Real Estate area including Minnesota, Western Wisconsin, and North Dakota. 

The theme for this annual volunteer day is “Community Begins at Home” and is complimentary to the grant awards the Edina Realty Foundation makes to area non-profits throughout the year.

The Brainerd/Baxter Edina Realty agents volunteered at the Brainerd Senior Nutrition Center serving Meals on Wheels to lakes area senior citizens.


 CLC’s Streed presents 

cost-saving tips at MnSCU event

Scott Streed, director of technology services at Central Lakes College, presented a break-out session at the annual Information Technology Conference of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities held at Cragun’s Conference Center.

Streed’s topic was “Putting Open Source to Work.” He demonstrated applications of the collaborative software available at no cost through Internet access.

For the past decade, numerous web-based software programs have become available as cost-saving, efficient improvements to organizations such as Central Lakes College.

Michael Amick, dean of academic and technology services, said CLC was a leader in MnSCU for using open source applications thanks to Streed’s initiative and other campuses were interested in the information, especially during these budget times.

Attending portions of the conference along with Streed and Amick were CLC colleagues Floyd Ashburn, Sue Bowman, Chris Bremmer, Justin DeZurik, Kenn Dols, JJ Larson, Mick Miller, Connie Moroni, and Pamela Nelson.


Erickson Joins 

Lakewood Health System

STAPLES - Jennifer Erickson joined Lakewood Health System as community outreach coordinator for psychiatric services, which includes Lakewood Reflections, a program offering both inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services to seniors from throughout the state. 

Erickson will serve as an educational resource for community members and as a contact for health care providers. She has more than 10 years of experience working with children, adolescents, and adults with developmental disabilities and mental illness in a variety of settings including inpatient, outpatient and community-based.

Erickson has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a bachelor’s degree in social work from St. Cloud State University and a master of social work from Augsburg College. She is a licensed graduate social worker and a member of the National Association of Social Workers, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologists, and is an Affiliate of the American Psychological Association. 



Appointments to state

tourism council announced

Gov. Mark Dayton recently announced several appointments to the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council, an advisory board to Explore Minnesota Tourism, the state’s tourism promotion office.  

Area appointments to the Explore Minnesota Tourism Council, and the tourism sectors they represent, include: Mark Ronnei, Pequot Lakes Resorts general manager and director of development, Grand View Lodge; Lisa Paxton, Brainerd Central Region, chief executive officer, Brainerd Lakes Chamber.

The 28-member council includes representatives of various facets of the tourism industry, an $11 billion business in the state. sExplore Minnesota Tourism markets Minnesota as a travel destination, provides Minnesota travel information to the public, and works closely with tourism businesses and organizations on a variety of tourism promotions and initiatives.


Kemerlings join 

Keller Williams Realty 

BAXTER - Keller Williams Realty Brainerd Lakes announced Mark and Sandi Kemerling joined its team of real estate professionals. 

Mark and Sandi Kemerling got their start in the real estate business after retiring from their family dental practice in Santa Cruz, Calif. Sandi has also received a certificate in staging and redesign and will incorporate those skills in her real estate business. The Kemerlings have been vacationing in the Brainerd lakes area for more than 30 years with a goal to move here permanently and moved here last year. 

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