Dec 27, 2010

State award nominee

Stacy O’Connell, a Central Lakes College student, has been nominated for one of three $1,000 Minnesota Trio Association scholarships. The scholarships are the Ronald McKinley, the Bruce Vento Memorial, and the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Memorial. She was selected for the competition from 180 CLC Trio participants. Trio is a U.S. Department of Education federally-funded student support services program. O’Connell is an honors graduate from CLC 14 years ago, when she earned an Associate in Applied Science degree in accounting. The Crosby native, now a single parent living in Brainerd, worked for 13 years in accounting. She returned to CLC when her youngest child was diagnosed with a learning disability requiring Stacy to educate herself about the extra support she would need. She is in her second year and planning on graduating this May with her Associate in Science degree in Young Child Education. She intends to transfer to St. Cloud State University and work toward a Bachelor of Science degree. Stacy has earned academic honors during her second time as a CLC student, and despite raising her family, working part-time for the college, and participating in organizations such as Women of Today, she currently owns a 3.23 grade-point average.

Steel donated

The welding program at Central Lakes College in Brainerd has received steel valued at more than $20,000 from two area businesses, Clow Stamping of Merrifield and Graphic Packaging of Crosby. “We couldn’t operate without these contributions,” said Russ Jenkins, CLC welding instructor. Jenkins reported the donations that were received during the fall semester. The latest donations include $14,300 in steel from Clow Stamping directed by Steve Bible and $6,600 worth of stainless steel from Graphic Packaging with the help of Al Subiech. Students benefitting include those in regular welding classes, as well as students in the marine and small engine program and the evening courses offered through the Business and Industry Center.

Dec 21, 2010

Faculty workshop day

The first day of Central Lakes College vacation between semesters was not a vacation day at all for CLC instructors. They participated in a workshop for members of the Central Lakes Consortia. Dan Smith, a specialist in career and technical programs and assessment with the Minnesota Department of Education, was one of the first speakers of the Dec. 20 Duty Day on the Brainerd campus. He provided an overview of technical skill attainment and programs of study for about 60 CLC technical education faculty and 20 high school teachers and administrators. Ginny Karbowski, JoAnn Simser, and Yvonne Shafer from the Office of the Chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, along with Sue Boehland and Mike Delaney, were other scheduled presenters. Topics included the discipline meeting process, technical skill attainment and the Higher Learning Commission, and the Perkins grant - high school liaisons. For liberal arts and sciences faculty the day included assessment review and planning with Larry Kellerman, a faculty meeting with Dean Kelly McCalla, and breakout sessions on writing course outlines, D2L, and departmental websites. The spring semester starts Jan. 5 for faculty as two more duty days are scheduled by administration and one is designated as self-assigned before classes resume Jan. 10, 2011.

Dec 20, 2010

Basketball results

The Central Lakes College men's basketball team polished off a couple more opponents last weekend, defeating two Minnesota College Athletic Conference foes in the CLC Winter Classic to improve to 15-0. This is the first time a Raider men's team has won its first 15 games without a loss. The Raiders defeated Rainny River, 99-69, on Sat., Dec. 18 after demloishing Fond du Lac, 100-61, on Fri., Dec. 17. Marcus Ayala led all scorers with 22 points in the Sat. game, while Anthony Kelly came off the bench to score 18. The Raiders have scored more than 90 points in 10 games. They next travel to Fergus Falls Jan. 5 to play Minnesota State Community and Technical College. The CLC women dropped both games in the Classic, losing to Minnesota West Friday, 77-58, and Itasca Saturday, 65-60. After trailing the Vikings at the half, 36-25, CLC outscored them 35-29 in the last half but came up short due to poor shooting (32 percent). Against Itasca CLC's Stephanie Neugebauer (pictured) scored 18 points and Katie Hochsprung 16. Neugeubauer scored 21 vs. the 10-2 Bluejays and their standout, Sam Lynn (28 points). CLC is 7-7.

Dec 17, 2010

Club donates

The Central Lakes College Accounting Club capped a semester-long drive by delivering donated goods to two non-profit agencies serving those in need – New Pathways Family Day Center and Women’s Center of Mid-Minnesota, both in Brainerd. The 27-member organization on the Brainerd campus includes first- and second-year accounting students who are committed to the CLC mission: We build futures. During the fall term, members organized a drive to solicit donated goods, apparel, and gift certificates for products at area businesses. Donation boxes across campus identified the purpose of the club’s project to assist the less fortunate. On Dec. 17, several students loaded 12 boxes of supplies and delivered the gifts to the New Pathways transitional shelter for homeless families with children and the women’s center for victims of domestic violence. The gifts included diapers, new and clean used clothing, toys, games, dolls, stuffed animals, infant car seats, gift wrap, and a number of $5 gift certificates. Instructor Elizabeth Ahrens, club adviser, and colleague Jackie Okrai of the Accounting faculty are proud of their students.

Christmas tree decorating contest

The 2010 Central Lakes College Holiday Tree Decorating Contest was open to all student clubs, organizations, and programs. Entries were judged by faculty and staff, with pizza party prizes awarded for 1. Most Creative, 2. Unique, and 3. Technologically Advanced. The contest was sponsored by CLC Student Life.

Brainerd Campus: Most Creative - Natural Resources; Unique - AD Nursing; Technologically Advanced - Welding;
Brainerd Judges: Charles Black Lance, Megan Olson, and Susan Roering.
Staples Campus: Most Creative - Right Brain Graphics; Unique - Photo; Technologically Advanced - Robotics.
Staples Judges: Kay Mueller, Deb Mertens, and Diane Brietling.

Staples campus winners

Creative - Right Brain Graphics Club (middle)
Unique - Photo Club (bottom)
Technologically Advanced - Robotics (top)

Dec 16, 2010

Surprise for his 60th

Rick Otteson, longtime Central Lakes College Buildings and Grounds supervsior, was treated to a surprise 60th birthday celebration over the lunch hour Thursday, Dec. 16 on the Brainerd campus. He was called to a routine meeting, but a few minutes into the session he was met in the college administrative conference room by about two dozen colleagues singing "Happy Birthday" and holding "Rick on a Stick" in front of their own faces. They brought a cake, several gifts, and a Rick-O-Meter designed to measure the degree of facial color brought on by the festivities recognizing his 60th birthday (which is actually Friday, Dec. 17). The orchestrators were Clyde Oliver and JJ Larson, assisted by other partners in crime such as Mike Vogt, instructor in the Photographic Imaging program at Staples, who made the Rick Otteson photo appear for the sticks. Now this turned out to be a nice meeting, didn't it Rick?

Children's party a success

The Central Lakes College Student Senate-sponsored Christmas Party held for the children of single parents at CLC was a huge success, staged in the Multi-purpose Room at the Brainerd campus to allow for more room than the original site, the Fireside Lounge, where it had been held three previous Decembers. More than 100 children attended along with their CLC student parents. The Senate, through its effort aided by the CLC staff, was able to provide each child with a gift. Student Senate Elves did an amazing job of keeping the children entertained. Special thanks to Toy Ross-McRae, the Staples Student Senate Vice President, for organizing the majority of the event. Michael Marotta, a student in the Communication Art and Design program at Staples and treasurer of that campus student senate, did the honors as Santa Claus.

Ex-university prof to teach new class

A former University of Minnesota horticulturist will teach the new Fruits and Vegetables course offered at Central Lakes College in Brainerd when the spring term begins Jan. 10. Mervin Eisel has written numerous reference guides for growers of woody plants, garden perennials and other horticultural topics. The associate professor emeritus has taught course for the university through its St. Paul campus and also at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. He officially retired in 1992. The three-credit CLC class is focused on helping individuals learn to grow quality produce for a family, and Eisel said he will touch on the nutritional value of various vegetables. For details about HORT 1300 - Fruits & Vegetables, the evening class schedule once each week, e-mail or call the college Admissions office (218) 855-8037 (toll-free 800-933-0346, ext. 8037). New students can learn more about how CLC builds futures at
For complete news release:

Dec 15, 2010

Book nominated

"Conversations with Jon Hassler," the book written by retired Central Lakes College instructor Joseph Plut of Crosby, has been nominated for the 23rd annual Minnesota Book Awards. It will be judged in the General Non-Fiction category on Jan. 31, 2011, when judges will meet to select five finalists. Winners will be announced at the Minnesota Book Awards gala on Sat., April 16, 2011 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, St. Paul Riverfront. Announcement of finalists will be posted online at on Jan. 31, according to Anne Nelson, Minnesota Book Awards coordinator. Joe, who taught at CLC for more than three decades, is known as "the mad hugger" and was a close friend of another CLC English instructor, the late Jon Hassler, who became one of Minnesota's most-loved authors after launching his career as a novelist while teaching in Brainerd. Jon died in 2008. He and Joe collaborated for discussions on nine novels that became the foundation for Joe's book, which serves as an insightful study guide for those reading Jon's novels. Upon release of "Conversations" Joe held a book-signing in the Jon Hassler Library at CLC and has accommodated more than a dozen other requests around the state. There have been several printings in response to book store sales.

Instructor films for TV series

Mark Ambroz, Central Lakes College videography production instructor, looks forward to the Jan. 2, 2011 debut of "Dirt Knights" on the VERSUS TV network. He was busy last summer shooting the racing action and other aspects for the series, which premieres at 5 p.m. central time on the first Sunday of 2011. "It is a reality show devoted to the dirt track modified racing series, a one-hour show," Mark said, noting he was one of the main camera operators on the shoot. The series airs every Sunday through April. describes the show as celebrating "the full throttle life of six dirt track racers competing for the USMTS National Championship." USMTS stands for United Stated Modified Touring Series. For more information, Mark can be reached at the Staples campus, (218) 894-5171 or

Raider men crush St. Cloud

The Central Lakes College men's basketball team crushed St. Cloud Technical and Community College, 114-55, Tues., Dec. 14 in St. Cloud. The win was CLC's 13th straight without a loss. The fourth-ranked NJCAA Division III Raiders led, 68-21, at the half. Marcus Ayala sizzled from beyond the arc, making four of the team's 14 three-pointers and finishing with 16 points. Maurice Hernandez had 16, Nash Faulk 12, John Hicks 11, Kendall Brown and Kwamaine Johnson 10 each for double-figure scoring. Thirteen Raiders had points. Stephen Haywood had nine rebounds. Hicks had six assists. CLC made 44 of 79 shots (56 percent). The Raiders play Fon Du Lac Fri., Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. in the Winter Classic at CLC.

Dec 14, 2010

Mary Sam honored

Mary Sam, Director of Diversity and Student Affairs at Central Lakes College, is a 2010 recipient of the Minnesota League of Human Rights Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions concerning human rights issues. Described as a “seasoned activist,” Mary received the award Dec. 3 from the Minnesota League of Human Rights Commissions at the Minnesota Department of Human Rights Conference at the Crowne Plaza in St. Paul. This is the second such statewide honor for Mary. She was the recipient of the 1997 League of Human Rights Commissions Award for her distinguished service at Armstrong High School in Plymouth. The league may present the award to an individual or organization for outstanding effort to protect or enhance human rights in the state. Among previous winners is the Mille Lacs Area Human Rights Commission (2005), the first regional human rights commission to include an American Indian Reservation. Sam helped form that organization. “This is a great honor and acknowledges Mary’s many contributions in helping to make Minnesota and this area a better place in which to live and work,” said Dr. Larry Lundblad, president of Central Lakes College, Brainerd and Staples.
For complete news release:

Economic impact of CLC

How do Brainerd Lakes Area and the state of Minnesota benefit from the presence of Central Lakes College? A recent comprehensive study by Economic Modeling Specialists Inc., Moscow, Idaho, offers data of the significant role CLC plays for not only graduates but taxpayers who benefit from a larger economy and lower social costs. The study reports that the Brainerd Lakes Area receives approximately $27.1 million in net added income each year due to CLC operations and spending of non-local students. The accumulated credits achieved by former CLC students over the past 30 years translate to $91.7 million in added regional income each year due to higher earnings of students and increased output of businesses. CLC students expand the state’s economic base through their higher incomes, while the businesses that employ them also become more productive through the students’ added skills. These benefits, together with the associated ripple effects, contribute an estimated $16.5 million in taxable income to the Minnesota economy each year. CLC affects the local economy in three ways: 1. Through its local purchases, including wages paid to faculty and staff; 2. Through the spending of students who come from outside the region; 3. Through the increase in the skill base of the local workforce. The college creates income through the earnings of its faculty and staff, as well as through its own operating and capital expenditures. Students from outside the region spend money for room and board, transportation, entertainment, and other miscellaneous personal expenses. “These expenditures create jobs and incomes for local businesses,” said Dr. Suresh Tiwari, vice president of academic and student affairs.
For the complete news release:

Dec 13, 2010

Engineering physics: For high achievers

Dan Macy, who attended Central Lakes College in 1997-98, returned to the Brainerd campus recently for a chance to work with first-semester engineering physics students. Macy has a master’s degree and has industry experience from studies at Cal Poly and the University of Michigan. He was surprised to find the CLC students engaged in problem solving at a level beyond that one might expect from the community and technical college. “They’re doing what some graduate programs would do,” said the Brainerd High School graduate who had taken several college classes while finishing at BHS. The rigorous CLC studies examine real problem solving and active learning as the process toward prospective careers. Instructor John Saber, who earned a doctorate in his subject, purposefully implements the critical thinking philosophy. “This is a style change from lecturing to use of thinking skills and team solutions,” said Saber, in his third year on the CLC faculty. Students take calculus concurrently, so the knowledge immediately blends to optimize relevance of the subject matter.

For complete news release:

CLC hosts vocational partners

Central Lakes College on Dec. 9 hosted about two dozen area school district officials, mostly instructors but also counselors and administrators, for a gathering aimed at sustaining a strong partnership and continuity in vocational education. High schools with career education programs are able to ensure seamless transfer to college-level learning at CLC through agreements known as "tech prep." Among the programs represented by both high schools and the college in Brainerd and Staples are natural resources, horticulture, marine and small engine, healthcare, child development, welding, photographic imaging, communication art and design, videography, machining, business management, and more. Betsy Picciano, CLC secondary relations coordinator, coordinated the meeting, which was held after a dinner in the Brainerd campus cafeteria.

Basketball update

Sat., Dec. 11

CLC men win 12th straight
GRAND RAPIDS - The No. 4 nationally ranked Central Lakes College Raiders made it 12 straight with Saturday's 100-67 victory over Itasca.Marcus Ayala shot 5-of-6 from 3-point to finish with 25 points for the Raiders. John Hicks broke out for a season-high 14 points followed by Anthoney Kelly's 11 and Nash Faulk's 10. Maurice Hernandez secured 10 boards for the Raiders, who shot 51 percent from the field.

Shooting dooms Raider women
The CLC women's basketball team shot poorly from the field (39 percent) and the free throw line (48 percent) and lost 73-70 to Itasca, a team they had earlier defeated this season. Stephanie Neugebauer scored 16 points and had 10 rebounds, Katie Hoschsprung had 14 points, Brittany Gravelle 12, Nikki Pearson 10. The team takes a 7-6 record into this weekend's Winter Classic at CLC Friday and Saturday.

Fri., Dec. 10

Raider men escape Northland
THIEF RIVER FALLS - Marcus Ayala impressed with 21 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and four steals as the Raider men's basketball team held on for an 87-82 double overtime win against the Northland Pioneers. Nash Faulk added 19 points. CLC hit on five of six free throws in the final period. Maurice Hernandez had 12 rebounds and 10 points, Kendall Brown 12 and 11 and Nick Grewe 10 and 5.

CLC women lose at Northland
The CLC women's basketball team lost Fri., Dec. 10 at Northland, 52-43. It was the fifth loss in 12 starts for the Raiders.

Dec 10, 2010

Honors program

High-achieving students at Central Lakes College, completing the first semester of a new Honors Associate in Arts program, are enjoying their academic journey. The students in this ground-breaking group range in age from a home-schooled 15 to a mature 46. Their common goal: A transfer degree for established academics, status that says they qualify for intellectual engagement at their next institution of choice. The 12 students have participated for one semester in Honors Composition taught by Matthew Fort and Honors Theatre Experience taught by Dennis Lamberson. Both are three-credit courses, part of a 16-credit honors core toward the 60-credit AA degree. Margaret Tiede of Brainerd, 15, is one of the critical thinkers to benefit from small-class size, optimal instructor contact, and problem-solving studies centered on investigation and analysis. “I have very special memories of all the things we’ve been through together,” she said, noting her last institutional schooling was as a kindergartener. English class has been the most rewarding. “I’ve never had the opportunity to really talk about books with people” Tiede said. “Our discussions are all over the map, from ethics to challenges with drafting to an author’s particular voice and style, and everyone contributes something. That’s the class that excites me for next semester.” Tim Lee, 30, of Wadena said his 100-mile roundtrip drives to CLC for the honors experience pleasantly surprised him. “Things are different in Honors.” He was prepared for “the depth of the material and faster pace, but there’s something more personal about the experience.”

Sen.-Elect Carlson visits

Senator-Elect John Carlson (R-Bemidji) was met at the door by Central Lakes College President Dr. Larry Lundblad on Fri., Dec. 10, when the new legislator visited the Brainerd campus for a tour and to discuss higher education with President Lundblad. Carlson has said his special legislative concerns are to "redesign government services, jobs and economy, and education reform." The first-term member of the Minnesota Senate from District 4 is an insurance salesman who owns and operates the John Carlson Agency, Inc., 1403 Bemidji Ave. N, Bemidji. He earned his BS at Bemidji State University. His legislative office is located at 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Capitol Building, St. Paul., Mn. 55155-1606.

Dec 9, 2010

Caroling, seasonal energy at CLC

The Central Lakes College Chamber Singers strolled the Brainerd campus during the lunch hour Thurs., Dec. 9, wishing happy holidays and spreading musical cheer through season carols. The group passed through the Cube and into the Administrative Suite, where staff enjoying a festive potluck lunch delighted in the vocal expression delivered by students under the direction of Brenda Handel-Johnson. The CLC campuses are adorned with festive greenery and colorful holiday floral arrangements, thanks to the students in the Horticulture program. Student clubs and organizations are enjoying the tree decorating competition. A special tree contains envelopes with children's gift needs waiting the "adoption" of willing college benefactors. On Dec. 15, the annual single-parent children's holiday event will be hosted by the student senate in the Fireside Lounge, with a special appearance from St. Nicholas himself. Games, crafts, food, and gifts are part of the late-afternoon party. The fall term's final exams Dec. 14-17 wrap up the semester, with the school vacation for students at CLC until Jan. 10, 2011 when the spring term starts.

Raiders No. 4 in national poll

Central Lakes College (10-0) has moved up one spot from last week in the National Junior College Athletic Association men's basketball poll for Division III schools in the U.S. The Raiders are fourth in the Dec. 7 national ranking -- one place below Southern Division rival Rochester from the Minnesota College Athletic Conference. The Yellowjackets are 8-0. Davidson County Community College (12-0) from North Carolina is No. 1 followed by Joliet Junior College (9-1) of Illinois. In the pre-season poll CLC was ranked fifth. CLC hosts Rochester in a 3 p.m. game on Sat., Jan. 8 and plays at RCTC Wed., Feb. 2 in an 8 p.m. contest.

Steele Family Christmas

The Steele Family Christmas comes to Central Lakes College Friday, Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m. for a concert of holiday gospel and soul in the renovated Chalberg Theatre on the Brainerd campus. The event is part of the Cultural Arts Series and co-sponsored by Minnesota Public Radio. MPR members receive a discount (not available for online ticket purchases). This annual show has enriched audiences in the Twin Cities for 25 years. This multi-talented, nationally-recognized family has also been well-received i previous concerts at CLC. Visit to watch their videos. Premium seating: $25 Any seat in the center section as well as the first two seats on the aisle of the left and right section. Side seating: $20 The remaining seats in the left and right sections along the auditorium wall. There are no obstacles to view the stage from any section. CLC students: $10 Not available online. Contact the Box Office at (218)855-8199. Family package (call box office): Two adults and two children for $70.

'Christmas Carol'

Opening Dec. 10 at Central Lakes College is Adventures 'N Theatre's musical production of Charles Dickens' seasonal tale "A Christmas Carol." It will be staged in the Dryden Theatre on the Brainerd campus. The young people's acting troupe ANT includes a cast of 25 young people ranging in age from 7 to 16, including Kirsten Schroer, Annika Mau, Gracie O'Brien, Madison Yeager, Tim Whiteman, Mandy Johnson, Matthew O'Reilly, Andrew Smith, Emma Ferrie, Ellie Desmond, Eddie Binda, Kryston Wiseley, Madeline Hinrichs, Laura Wadsten, Erika Martin, Rachel Cleveland, Alexis Schroer, Theodore Wadsten Elise Anderson, Tia Nicoski, Olivia Oberfeld, Lauryn Simonson, Kasey Knight and Kate Toriseua. A trio of CLC theater students play the adult roles. Playing the cantankerous Scrooge is Justin Jordan, with Lizzy Buscher and Ralph Knowlton playing the 11 remaining older roles. Tickets are available for the 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11 performance and the 2 p.m. Dec. 12 show. All other performances are sold out. The 2 p.m. Sunday performances are ASL interpreted. All tickets are $5.50 and may be purchased with a credit card by phone at 855-8199 or online at

Dec 8, 2010

Women win third straight

The Central Lakes College women's basketball team defeated Hibbing Tues., Dec. 7, 66-55, for their third straight win, No. 7 in 10 games this season. Scoring: Stephanie Neugebauer 15, Katie Hochsprung 14, Nikki Pearson 13, Carlee Davich 10, Kelsey Wheeler, Brittany Gravelle, and Elizabeth Mattson 4 each, Betsy Helmeke 2. CLC led at the half, 34-22. Hochsprung had 9 rebounds, Neugebauer 8 plus 5 steals. The Raiders shot 26 percent but made 29 of 41 free throws (71 percent). Next: at Northland (Thief River Falls), Fri., Dec. 10, 6 p.m.

Dec 6, 2010

Valley of the Sun Bowl Dec. 4, 2010

Photos by Ryan Kennedy

Tuba Christmas Dec. 11

Merry Tuba Christmas 2010, a brass ensemble holiday tradition, is Saturday, Dec 11 in Westgate Mall, Brainerd/Baxter. Rehearsals for all volunteer musicians will start in the Central Lakes College music rehearsal hall on the Brainerd campus of CLC at 10 a.m. The performance for holiday shoppers starts at 1:30 p.m. in the mall. Low Brass players (tuba, euphonium, and trombone) are invited participate, according to Director Steve Anderson of the CLC Music Department. “This is the 19th seasonal celebration,” Anderson said. “We held the first one in December of 1991 with five players.” The event has grown over the years to include as many as 22 musicians who gather from a 75-mile radius of the performance area. “All low brass musicians from high school on up are invited to participate,” he said. Sheet music, stands and chairs are provided to players. Refreshments will be served after the rehearsal. For information contact Anderson at: 218-855-8215 or

Basketball - vs. Vermilion Dec. 3

Faulk leads 10-0 Raiders

The fifth-ranked Central Lakes College men's basketball team improved to 10-0 behind 35 points by Howard Lake sophomore Nash Faulk on Sat., Dec. 4 in Brainerd. CLC defeate the Mesabi Range Norse, 83-74. Maurice Hernandez finished with 16 points, and Kendall Brown totaled 12. The Raiders shot 38 percent coming off a strong performance against Vermilion on Friday. On Saturday the visitors from Virginia came with energy and made life difficult. "They got beat up by us last time, losing by 70 (105-35)," said CLC Coach Jim Russell. "They got up for us this time. This was a wake-up for us. Our teamwork was still there. Mesabi just made some shots." He noted a 16-0 advantage for the visitors in points off the bench. The Norse outscored the Raiders, 27-3, from non-starters. Fri., Dec. 3 the Raiders overwhelmed the Vermilion Ironmen, 93-69. CLC limited the once-beaten team from Ely to 40 percent shooting. CLC shot 55 percent and converted 21 turnovers into 23 points. Scoring leaders: Marcus Ayala (16), Nash Faulk (15), Kwamaine Johnson (12), Maurice Hernandez (10). The bench produced 34 points, led by Anthony Kelly's team-high 18, and six each from John Hicks and Milton Moore.