Dec 28, 2012

Customized Training recognized

Central Lakes College Customized Training has received recognition from the state Department of Public Safety for 10 years of “outstanding service to the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center and Minnesota’s motorcycling community.” Bill Shaffer, administrator of the state Motorcycle Safety Program, said that Customized Training at CLC has “served motorcyclists in your region of the state well” and presented the college program with a recognition award.

Volleyball moment

Jane Peterson, Central Lakes College head volleyball coach, recently had the opportunity to meet three-time U.S. Olympic Beach Volleyball Gold Medalist Kerri Walsh. They met at the NCAA Division I Final Four in Louisville, which was held in conjunction with the hosting of Under Armour High School All-American players for the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

Dec 27, 2012

Staffing news

Grant Director
Marlene Mixa of Grand Rapids has accepted the temporary, full-time post of Director of Strategic Grant Initiatives effective Jan. 2, to be based on the Staples campus of Central Lakes College with oversight of the three-year, $13.1 million federal Regional Advanced Manufacturing Retraining Grant Program that involves CLC and three other higher education institutions. She will work with 30+ faculty and staff, and CFOs on a project that will impact up to 3,900 students and participants. She will oversee a $4.3 million annual budget and the development of intra-agency agreements with partner institutions. Marlene holds a BA in chemistry from Carleton College in Northfield and a PhD in inorganic chemistry from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. She comes to CLC with 23 years of  experience in manufacturing as an engineer for Blandin Paper and in research and product development for paper companies in Maryland, Kentucky and Minnesota. Marlene has been involved in academia throughout her career and has served as a college instructor, a member and chair of various education advisory boards, an academic team coach and a student recruiter and mentor. She leaves a position as H2P Grant Project Manager at Pine Technical College.
Associate Registrar
Wendy Antolak has been named Associate Registrar at CLC to replace the retired Judy Nelson. Officially known as "Office and Administrative Specialist Principal," the post is based on the Brainerd campus in Student Affairs. It is a promotion of one of our senior staffers in Records and Registration. Wendy will manage the Degree Audit Reporting System, direct all preliminary andfinal graduation auditrs, and act as the college's Service Compliance Officer for all varsity athletic programs to determine student athletic eligibility.

'Shop with a Cop'

Sigma Delta Law  Enforcement Club students and advisors at Central Lakes College participated in "Shop with a Cop" to benefit 75 children from our Brainerd/Baxter area. On several pre-holiday weekends a group of CLC Criminal Justice program students joined the Brainerd Police Department, Baxter Police Department and 25 children to share breakfast and take the youngsters shopping. "Even though these children had limited means (each child was given $25 each) to buy presents they thought of their family (mom, dad or sibling) when they were shopping," said Gae Davis, program coordinator. The children ranged from 5-11 years old. The Lakes Area Law Enforcement Association organized the event. "It is great to be in a community of sharing and we appreciate the closeness we have with the area police departments and stores which provided breakfast for the children," Gae said. CLC students also assisted at the St. Mathias Corn Maze for the daycare association and more recently bagged groceries at Super One (shown) to assist in fundraising for club attendanceat the National American Criminal Justice Association conference and competition.

Single-parent party

On Dec. 12, the Central Lakes College Student Senate held its sixth annual CLC Single Parents Christmas Party, and it was once again a great success! Erich Heppner, director of student life, acknowledged the generosity of the Angel Tree Gift Givers who enabled the senate to provide gifts for over 75 children. Erich offered a special "thank you" to the Maintenance Staff, Deb Breneman, Kim Pilgrim, Jody Flynn, Donna Crimmons, Mary Sam, Ronn Redemske, Leon Dahlvang, Christina Vopatek, the Photography Department, the Videography Department, and the 25 Student Senate Elves who helped coordinate the event! "The Meta-5 staff and participants were so moved by the generosity of everyone that made the party a success," said Kimberly Pilgrim, Meta 5 director. She thanked Leann Schoenle and the Food Shelf for providing over 30 families with bags of food. "Many of our families are facing great challenges," Kim said. "This wonderful event allowed them to put their struggles aside for the evening and simply enjoy the delight of the season. We really appreciate the effort that everyone put into making this a fun filled, happy time for them. They were touched!"

Dec 10, 2012

Dental Assisting accreditation

Congratulations to the Central Lakes College Dental Assisting program for a successful Commission of Dental Accreditation 7-year site visit last week. Although the final report from the commission will not be available until July, Rebecca Best, dean of workforce and regional economic development, said the exit interview was extremely positive. "Thanks to LeAnn Schoenle, Julie Morgan, Kateri Mayer, and all other staff and students involved with the pre-work and visit," Rebecca said in announcing the news. "Nice work everyone."

Dec 7, 2012

Judy Nelson Day

Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 is Judy Nelson Day at Central Lakes College. CLC President Dr. Larry Lundblad proclaimed the day in recognition of 43 years of service by Judy, who is retiring. This is her final day of work in the Records and Registration Office on the Brainerd campus. Judy began her career in 1969 at the age of 21. She said she looks forward to more time with two grandchildren and maintaining her regimen of daily walks, including the designated CLC indoor walk path she has faithfully trod with colleagues over her lunch time. "Our students have greatly benefitted from her outstanding work and her devotion to the job and the college," said President Lundblad. "We will all miss her positive attitude and friendly manner."

Dec 6, 2012

CLC message signs

Two digital, electronic signs on Dec. 5 were installed at the east and west approaches to Central Lakes College in Brainerd. The east sign is on the hill on the south side of College Drive near the river. The west sign is on the northeast corner at the intersection of College Drive and Highland Scenic Drive (CR 48). These will provide rotating messages for the public during daylight hours. Signage serves as a gateway to the campus and will incorporate display boards to inform students and the public of campus events and activities. Kenn Dols, marketing and public relations director, said over the next week the technology with which to deliver messages will be connected and a schedule of announcements will be established for weekly rotation.

Dec 3, 2012

Fall celebration

The CLC Heavy Equipment Operation and Maintenance and Diesel & Heavy Equipment Technician programs held the annual Fall Celebration on Nov. 30 at the Staples campus. The noon event included a buffet luncheon in the campus cafeteria. Thirty-three students completing their training. Guest speaker was Greg Huiras of Mathiowetz Construction Co., Leavenworth, Minn., who has supervised projects such as the Highway 10 North-South Overpass in Staples that was completed by a crew including 10 CLC Heavy Equipment graduates. Student speaker was Jonathan Zdenek of Zimmerman (shown). Andrew Gorman of Staples and James Warzecha of St. Cloud received awards for Outstanding Participation and Teamwork. Images:

Nov 30, 2012

Commit to complete

The Phi Theta Kappa honor society at Central Lakes College sponsored a banner signing event outside the Brainerd campus cafeteria for fellow CLC students. Robert Andrys of Pine River on Nov. 27 became the 54th student to sign the "Commit to Complete" (his college education) banner, which will be displayed as a motivational tool the rest of the academic year. More than 250 CLC students signed the banner in two days. Students reported inspiring reasons for committing to college completion, including wanting to provide a better life for their kids, aspiring to reach their career goals, and wanting to be educated so that they can make a difference. Students who complete their associate degree or certificate can expect to earn as much as $8,000 more per year -- about $400,000 more in a lifetime -- than a high school graduate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Nov 29, 2012

Blood drive

The Brainerd campus of Central Lakes College on Wednesday, Nov. 28 hosted the American Red Cross Blood Drive in the gymnasium. A total of 68 blood donors participated. The Student Senate helps coordinate and recruit. Many CLC students and some staff generally take time to contribute to this worthy cause. Among those taking about an hour of their day to donate a pint was Rachel Lindholm Hatfield, 19, of Brainerd. She said the process was virtually painless. Red Cross Phlebotomist Brenda Koyer of Alexandria concurred, and did her best to ease any pain. "I don't like needles, but this isn't bad at all," said Hatfield, a first-time donor. She and husband Tim are earning their Associate in Arts degrees from CLC.

Nov 28, 2012

Teaching Jon Hassler

Central Lakes College English instructors are teaching "Staggerford" by Jon Hassler this year, 32 years after the late novelist left his classroom job on the Brainerd campus to teach at his alma mater, St. John's University, Collegeville. Joe Plut is the foremost expert on his friend, Jon Hassler, having taught entire courses based on Hassler works before retiring from CLC. Joe has followed his  "Conversations with Jon Hassler" to craft the forthcoming insightful book, "My Simon's Night Journal" based on Jon's informative letters to friends while writing the 1979 novel "Simon's Night." On Tuesday, Nov. 27, four years after the naming of CLC's Jon Hassler Library, Joe and 130 friends, faculty, fellow retirees, and students enjoyed a "Night with Jon Hassler." Several donations to the library and the Jon Hassler Scholarship at CLC marked the occasion, as well as readings from Joe's extensive research and the Jon Hassler archives. Special guests included  Gretchen Kresl Hassler and publisher Norton Stillman of Nodin Press, Minneapolis. Larry Kellerman, CLC librarian, introduced Jon Hassler items added to the library, from honorary academic regalia to publications featuring interviews and reviews.

Nov 21, 2012

Food shelf fund-raiser

Kristina Ehnert, Accounting Club adviser, read off the letters and numbers during the Brainerd campus food shelf fund-raiser, Turkey Bingo, today in the cafeteria. The club will sponsor a campus-wide food drive Dec. 10-13, according to co-presidents Curt Carpenter and Anna Hausken. Students brought food shelf donations to the cafeteria in return for Bingo cards and chances to win prizes. Student Senate Vice President Shay Samuelson provided a big boost as he filled two grocery bags with goods for the shelf, and Dental Assisting instructor Leann Schoenle accompaneid several of her students to the event. Leann has been instrumental in updating CLC staff and the greater community about the need and economical ways ( i.e. this week's best coupon deals in town) to provide supplies for our students.

Nov 20, 2012

No bowl game

Central Lakes College will not be sending its football team to the 2012 Valley of the Sun Bowl in Arizona. CLC, which won the Minnesota College Athletic Conference championship Nov. 4, was to have played Glendale Community College on Dec. 1. It would have been the fourth bowl game in as many years for the Raiders. “It appears as though we may have had a relatively small, but still significant eligibility issue with a one or more football players,” said Kelly McCalla, interim vice president of academic affairs. He said the issue has to do with when a student is considered fulltime. “It appears to have been a student misunderstanding” as opposed to willful wrong-doing, McCalla said. “It was a simple mistake, but one with real consequences.”

Nov 19, 2012

Analyzing the Election

The Center for Lifelong Learning at Central Lakes College in Brainerd will host Matt Lindstrom, professor of political science at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict for a Monday, Dec. 3 program, Analyzing the 2012 Elections: Key Variables and Impacts for the Future.” The program will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in Room E 354, a large lecture hall. What happened on November 6 and why?  This presentation examines the causes and consequences of the significant national and state electoral results. Professor Lindstrom will discuss campaign strategies in terms of their effectiveness on November 6 and their implications for the future.

Surprise gift

Steve Wenzel, former area legislator now teaching political science at Central Lakes College, received a surprise gift from Lori Swanson, attorney general of Minnesota, during a recent visit to St. Paul. His gift: An official State of Minnesota coffee mug signed by five former attorneys general, including one who is 93 years old. Swanson said she gave the gift to Wenzel for his "hard work and continued dedication to the State of Minnesota and CLC students." He accompanied CLC international students to the Capitol as part of their effort to better understand American democracy. The students are from India, Pakistan, and Indonesia. CCID Coordinator Megan Heppner said the students visited the Minnesota Museum of History and toured the State Capitol, where they had a one-hour discussion with former Speaker of the House, Steve Sviggum as well as an hour with the Attorney General. Erich Heppner, student life director, accompanied the group.

Nov 15, 2012


Statistics show the surest way for anyone to land a job in their chosen field is to finish college and earn a degree or certificate. That is exactly what students at Central Lakes College are promising to do --  signing a mass pledge to complete their associate degrees or certificates before leaving community college for transfer or to enter the job market. Administrators, faculty and staff have also been asked to sign the pledge, committing themselves to do whatever they can to facilitate completion of student credentials. CLC’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society chapter, Psi Beta, will host “Commit to Completion” on the Brainerd campus from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Nov. 27 and 28.

Nov 14, 2012

Civil War & Women's Movement

The Center for Lifelong Learning at Central Lakes College on Tuesday, Nov. 27 will present “Civil War and Women’s Movement,” a program by John and Karen DeVries. It will be held in E203 of the Brainerd campus Business and Industry Center starting at 4 p.m. John DeVries taught economics and history at CLC from 1974 to 2011, when he retired. He taught social studies and history at New Prague Community Schools and served in the U.S. Army before moving to Brainerd with his family in 1974. Karen DeVries taught secondary English in New Prague and Brainerd. She retired in 2011 after operating a quilt shop, Colorz for Quilts.  She has been an avid quilter since the 1970’s and has always been interested in history of quilts and more recently, Civil War-era quilts and their makers. Admission is free to members of the Center for Lifelong Learning and $6 for non-members. To register and pay online, go to and click on courses. Information is also available by email to or calling (218) 855-8142.

Cultural Thursday: International

Eight international students attending Central Lakes College will present the Dec. 6 Cultural Thursday at noon in Chalberg Theatre on the Brainerd campus. The free, public event will feature students from Pakistan, India, and Indonesia. They will present information about their schools, home life, jobs, urban and rural culture, and take questions near the end of the 50-minute program. It is an opportunity for the community to get acquainted through personal reports by Chiranjeet Shah, Zishan Khan, and Richard Andrews from India; Abdul Qadir, Usman Naeem, and Nasir Hussain from Pakistan; and Beatha Astamarindraputri and Elsa Sasmita from Indonesia.

Merry Tuba Christmas

The Central Lakes College Music Department will present Merry Tuba Christmas at Westgate Mall in Brainerd-Baxter Saturday, Dec. 8 at 1:30 p.m. Low-brass musicians from throughout the area convene for rehearsal that day at 10 a.m. in the CLC Music Room on the Brainerd campus in conjunction with a nation-wide emphasis that assembles players of tuba, euphonium (baritone horn), and trombone to perform free, public holiday music. Conductor-musician Steve Anderson (shown) asks all interested players of low-brass instruments to join the fun and “make merry music” for shoppers and others who enjoy festive tunes. Stands and music are provided, as well as refreshments for the volunteer musicians following rehearsal. For information, contact Steve at (218) 855-8215 or (218) 831-3652 or via email at or

Nov 9, 2012

'Night with Jon Hassler'

Jon Hassler Library at Central Lakes College, Brainerd, will play host to "A Night with Jon Hassler" on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. The event will feature world premiere readings from "My Simon's Night Journal" edited and read by Joseph Plut, author of "Conversations with Jon Hassler." Two of Jon's novels, "Simon's Night" and "Staggerford," written while Jon was an instructor at the college, will be featured in the reading and discussion. There will also be commentary on Hassler memorabilia displayed in the library. A photo portrait will be unveiled, with a reception and refreshments.

Choir concert

Central Lakes College Music Department presents "Songs of Love, Joy and Farewell" Thursday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Chalberg Theatre on the Brainerd campus. Cantare Concert Choir and the CLC Chamber Choir will be singing an eclectic mix of music by composers Irving Berlin, Felix Mendelssohn, Rodgers and Hammerstein and many more. The evening will feature student and faculty collaborations and solo spotlights including local favorites Steve Anderson, Chris Bolstad, and student cellist Talitha Decker. The concert is under the direction of Brenda Handel-Johnson and accompanied by Sarah Gorham. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

Nov 8, 2012

Freedom Wall

"Veterans Day honors and remembers the brave veterans who fought to give us a safe and peaceful place to live in." The Central Lakes College Freedom Wall was unveiled on the Brainerd campus Thursday, Nov. 8 at an early 2012 Veterans Day Celebration coordinated by the CLC Veterans Club and numerous student veterans attending the community and technical college, along with our service organization partners. The Freedom Wall presentation included a slide show of soldiers in action on foreign soil. It is a donation from Little Falls. The CLc Choir provided music, and Student Senators and other colunteers served free root beer floats outside Chalberg Theatre. Kathy Marshik, coordinator of the CLC Veterans Resource Center, assisted with organizing the event. Veterans Day in the United States is Sunday, Nov. 11.

Nov 7, 2012

Nolan wins

Congressman Rick Nolan
Richard "Rick" Nolan, former president of the Central Lakes College Foundation Board of Directors, has won the Eighth District Congressional race, defeating one-term U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack. Nolan, 68, is a Brainerd native and graduate of Brainerd High School. He has been a resident of Crosby. Rick served on the board from 2002-2011 and was the board president from 2008-10. He won with 54.34% of the vote (192,018) to 45.33% (160,182) for the incumbent. His campaign web site describes him thusly: "A former three-term Minnesota DFL Congressman recognized nationwide for his battles on behalf of working families, farmers, small businesses and rural communities. A successful small business owner who created jobs throughout northern Minnesota from the sawmill and pallet factory he owned in Emily. A dedicated community volunteer who raises money for college scholarships through the Central Lakes College Foundation. A true son of the 8th District, who hunts and harvests wild rice in the fall, boils maple syrup in spring and never misses a fishing opener."

Nov 2, 2012

Hall of Fame

Jane Peterson, Central Lakes College head women’s volleyball coach, on Thursday, Nov. 8 will be inducted into the Hall of Fame of the NJCAA Volleyball Coaches Association. She holds the distinction as having coached the most wins among active coaches in the National Junior College Athletic Association. Peterson, who this season surpassed 500 wins, will accept the honor at the national tournament banquet at the Kahler Grand Hotel in Rochester. The Division III championship event is held in Rochester, where three Raider teams coached by Peterson have earned national titles and made nine appearances as the regional champion. Peterson’s volleyball coaching record at CLC is 507-226 through 22 seasons. She reached 500 wins on Oct. 3, a milestone equally as significant as the 2007 award from the American Volleyball Coaches Association: Coach of the Year. For more, go to

Wig to leave CLC

Accepting the offer to be aiport manager, Jeff Wig will be leaving Central Lakes College after 22 years. Jeff has been the college's Dean of Career and Technical Programs and Staples Campus. He recently celebrated the awarding of a $13.1 Dept. of Labor grant to train thousands of workers for manufacturing jobs overthe next three years. CLC is the lead institution in that initiative, and Jeff oversaw the acquisition of that grant. The new job for Jeff is a post he earned above 48 other initial applicants. It's a job associated with flight, one of his passions. He started his career at the airport at age 16. He spent eight years employed at Airmotive Inc. on the grounds of what is now Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport. Pending psychological and background checks and contingent upon salay and benefits negotiation, Jeff is set to start the new job on Jan. 1, 2013.

Nov 1, 2012

VFW donates

Garrison VFW Post 1816 has donated $10,000 to the Veterans Resource Center (VRC) at Central Lakes College, Brainerd and Staples. Kathy Marshik, VRC coordinator, said that members of the VFW have done even more than donate funds. “Karen Miller (left) of the VFW has done amazing work for students from CLC,” Marshik said. She said the secretary-treasurer of the Garrison post arranged to help students with house payments and with vehicle repair costs, “so they would make ends meet.”

American Indian Heritage Month

Melanie Benjamin, chief executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, presented the Cultural Thursday program at Central Lakes College in Brainerd Nov. 1, commemorating National American Indian Heritage Month. The focus of her talk was violence against Indian women and efforts to enable tribal law enforcement to protect those who are abused within reservation jurisidctions. She said Indian country is experiencing epidemic rates of violence against Native American women, actually exceeding rates being reported against women globally. Native women are 2.5 times more likely to be assaulted than any other group of women in the country. The murder rate for Native women is 10 times the national average on some reservations. She cited efforts by area law enforcement agencies to improve safety, pointing out that the majority of crimes against Indian women are committed by non-Indians.She urged passage of a stronger Violence Against Women Act. Information is available at

Oct 31, 2012

Biofuels collaboration

The Ag and Energy Center at Central Lakes College, Staples, continues to draw interest from those pursuing renewable energy solutions for tomorrow while building the green economy of the United States. Recently the Center attracted a visit from R.T. Rybeck, mayor of Minneapolis, representing agencies and organizations and governmental leaders supporting current U.S. energy policies. He surveyed the marginal cropland on which researchers at Staples have begun to produce fuel and livestock feed from oilseed crops. Straight vegetable oil is already powering diesel-using farm equipment at the Center with plans to expand its use as a cleaner, homegrown source. Also, Lakeland Public TV
and the Brainerd Dispatch
have reported success from experiments in partnership with entities such as Anderson Bros. Construction and the Pillager-based Crow Wing Feeders.
CLC images:

Oct 26, 2012


The Central Lakes College Student Senate recently sponsored a leaf clean-up in the Staples and Brainerd communities for those in need. The Student Senate, with help from the Heavy Equipment Club and the Rotaract Club, raked and cleaned a total of 12 yards over a three-day period. This leaf clean-up included 58 student volunteers and produced a total of 251 volunteer hours, said Erich Heppner, director of student life. He gave special thanks to Steve Mau at Brainerd General Rental for donating the use of his leaf blowers for this project. A special thanks is also in order for the Horticulture and Maintenance programs at CLC for letting students use their equipment. A final thank you to Hoffmann Construction for donating the funds for the Heavy Equipment Club to purchase rakes for this project.

College Drive is open

The College Drive Reconstruction Project is essentially completed, making the road that passes the north side of the Brainerd Campus of Central lakes Colege into a four-lane, divided roadway. The project concluded today with a ribbon-cutting and remarks by key partners who have battled weather and other challenges along the way while coordinating this major effort to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety. The crews from Anderson Brothers, Holden Electric, and numerous other subcontractors and public utlities have installed three roundabouts, two traffic signals, drainage, retaining walls, extensive sidewalk and trail improvements on the route that carries more than 15,000 vehicles daily, including a significant number of travelers to and from CLC. The project involved many long days and countless hours of design meetings, public forums, technical staff time, and visonary leadership. The communities of Brainerd and Baxter deserved the mplementation of the important link among residents, businesses, and agencies serving those who live and work in the area.

Oct 25, 2012

Rosenmeier forum

Wondering why we are voting on two Minnesota Constitutional Amendments this year?  Wondering what the process is to amend the state constitution?  Wondering what other states do?  The Gordon Rosenmeier Center for State & Local Government at Central Lakes College in Brainerd is sponsoring an educational forum on “Amending the Minnesota Constitution” from 7 – 9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1 in Chalberg Theatre on the Brainerd campus.

Commissioner presents

Kevin Lindsey, Commissioner of Human Rights for the State of Minnesota, today outlined aspects of two ballot issues ahead for voters Nov. 6. In a program held in Chalberg Theatre on the Brainerd campus, Commissioner Lindsey first provided details of the proposed Constitutional Amendment requiring each voter to present a government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot. He said that, if approved, it would be supreme law of the land with the potential to eliminate absentee voting, same-day registration, and discrminiate against the poor and Minnesotans with disabilities. And it would be costly for each county to put into place. He pointed out that Minnesota research showed that in the last general election there were only 26 to 113 individuals who cast ballots who were found to be ineligible, mostly due to their status as parolees who had been released from prison. They were not impersonators. He also addressed the Marriage Amendment, which would limit the status of marriage to opposite-sex couples by defining marriage as between one man and one woman. The Office of Diversity at CLC hosted the program.

Record gift: $1.145 million

When Jean Marie Porwoll, a 1969 graduate of Brainerd State Junior College, died of cancer in 2010, she left a legacy for female students of her first alma mater: $1.145 million. The Central Lakes College Foundation on Wednesday, Oct. 24 announced receipt of the bequest from Porwoll’s estate – the largest single gift in 75 years of higher education in the region. The news came during the Tree of Giving reception recognizing numerous benefactors of scholarships to CLC students. A medical doctor and for 25 years the director of emergency services for a Massachusetts hospital, Porwoll was a northeast Brainerd native of modest means and high intelligence. “This generous gift will mean more than $35,000 in annual scholarships for the education of women,” said Pam Thomsen, CLC director of resource development and the foundation.
Images from the 10-24-12 Tree of Giving reception:

Oct 23, 2012

Alum's business growing

Central Lakes College alumnus Tom Smude and the family business, Smude Enterprises at Pierz, were the subjects of a Business section profile in the Sept. 10, 2012 Star Tribune newspaper. The firm sells sunflower oil, and Tom also raises black Angus beef, works at a John Deere dealership, and owns a gravel pit and a company that builds steel grain bins. Tom, company president and CEO, has a Sales and Marketing degree as well as Farm Business Management, and over the past 15 years has been adding to acreage and production, all while diversifying. The compnay has 14 employees and Janelle Smude serves as vice president and chief financial officer while she and Tom raise their two children. Smude's Sunflower Oil last year had sales of $250,000. The products are available at Lund's, Byerly's, and Coburn's as well as online. More retail outlets are expected to be offering the award-winning, healthy oil. The Small Business Development Center at CLC has worked with Tom and Janelle to establish and sustain a business plan. This year's sales could approach $450,000. For information, go to

Oct 22, 2012

EZ Enrollment at Mille Lacs

Central Lakes College will hold an EZ Enrollment Day for the Mille Lacs Tribal College on Wednesday, Nov. 14 with check-in from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Mille Lacs Band Government Center. At this special EZ Enrollment the $20 application fee will be waived. A second EZ Enrollment for the Tribal College will be available Wednesday, Dec. 12, also with check-in any time between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Many students spend days applying for a college or university, taking placement tests, and getting help registering for the correct courses to suit their career goals. Central Lakes College EZ Enrollment allows students to complete the process in part of a single day. Everyone attending an EZ Enrollment event will receive personal service from CLC professionals specializing in Admissions, Registration, Financial Aid, and Academic Advising.

HLC evaluators coming

A review team from the Higher Learning Commission, a division of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, will be in Brainerd and Staples Monday to Wednesday. The team is visiting Central Lakes College to evaluate accreditation status. Over the last 40 years such visits to the local college have resulted in sustained accreditation. This is the concluding phase of a process which CLC last completed in 2002. Five consulting evaluators will examine the college’s self-study and assessment procedures, their outcomes, and solicit input from administration, faculty, staff, students, and individuals associated with higher education in the region. Dozens of meetings are scheduled to examine academic leadership and standards, delivery of education, use of technology, access and effectiveness of support services, institutional research, and relations with community, students, school districts, and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. The team will be on the Brainerd campus Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and at Staples Tuesday.

Rotaract chartered

The Central Lakes College Rotaract chapter recently received its charter as a collegiate-level branch of Rotary International. Anna Backberg of Brainerd was inaugurated as the first president of the club. Don Cavalier, district governor of Rotary International, installed the first set of officers and awarded the charter on behalf of the worldwide, service-above-self organization. Officers include President Backberg (shown), Vice President Bob Andrys of Pine River, Secretary Harlan Welsand of Brainerd, Treasurer Abdul Qadir of Pakistan, and Student Senate Liaison Shay Samuelson of Hibbing. Megan Heppner, a TRiO/Student Support Services adviser, is the club adviser. Rebecca Best, dean of workforce, economic and regional development, is the Rotary liaison. Club members this fall will be partnering with Brainerd Rotary to carry out the Reverse Raffle and volunteering at the Haunted Trail at Northland Arboretum. In the spring the club plans a large fundraiser and will be a partner with Brainerd High School Interact for other activities.

Lab assistant

Rachel Anderson of Pequot Lakes has been hired as a lab assistant for the Medical Assistant program at Central Lakes College, Staples campus. Rachel will assist during the academic year to set up and provide for the required lab supplies and equipment as directed by program faculty and help operate simulation technology that ensures a safe environment for skill building. As a lab assistant, she also will assist I recording student progress and ensure professional and ethical behavior. Rachel has been a Certified Medical Assistant at St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Pequot Lakes and Crosslake since 2005. From 2002-2005 she was lead CMA at Healtheast Clinic, Cottage Grove.

Oct 18, 2012

Administrative Assistant reinstated

As new and returning students enroll for the 2013 spring semester at the Brainerd campus of Central Lakes College, they are discovering another career education option: Administrative Assistant. The reinstated program provides a 60-credit Associate in Applied Science degree path, with a 33-credit Administrative Support diploma option for shortened training as a path toward entry-level employment. Included in the curriculum is a Microsoft Office Specialist Certificate that can be earned in just 19 credits through six courses. “Many of the courses within the Administrative Assistant program are Business, Management, Computer Technology, and Marketing courses,” said Dar Houle, an instructor in Computer Information Technology.

Oct 17, 2012

Veterans Farm Field Day

Veterans are invited to a Farm Field Day Saturday, Oct. 20 at Central Lakes College, Staples. The event includes presentations, discussions, a trade show of farming resources, catered lunch, tours, and a draft horse demonstration. Partners in planning the event include farmer veterans Mike Sams (a heavy equipment instructor at CLC) and Seth Connell, the CLC Veterans Resource Center, CLC Ag and Energy Center, the Farm Beginnings Program of the Land Stewardship Project, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Coffee and doughnuts will begin the event at 8:30 a.m., with an address by Sams and Connell at 9 a.m., a Land Stewardship Project program on “Assessing Your Farm Dreams” at 9:30 a.m., a farm resource trade show at 11:30 a.m., with lunch, tours of the Sams farm and draft horse demonstration at 1 p.m., and evaluation wrap-up at 4 p.m.

Tree of Giving Reception

The Central Lakes College Foundation on Wednesday, Oct. 24 will celebrate the generosity of scholarship donors whose gifts are enabling many students to attend the community and technical college in Brainerd and Staples. The Tree of Giving Reception, which starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Cube on the Brainerd campus, will recognize donors of significantly sizable financial gifts -- from $10,000 to more than $1 million. When scholarship funds climb to the $10,000 mark they become endowments, the earned income from which can flow directly to students eligible for scholarships based on a variety of eligibility requirements. The Tree of Giving can be found near the Brainerd campus bookstore, where Silver leaves recognize donations of $10,000 to $49,999, Bronze leaves contain the names of donors contributing $50,000 to $74,999, Gold leaves represent endowments that have reached $75,000 to $149,999, and Stone acknowledges the top level of giving: $150,000 or more. Speakers Oct. 24 will include CLC President Dr. Larry Lundblad, recent graduate Julie Jo Larson (shown), Foundation Board President Brian Kirkpatrick, and Viticulture instructor Dennis Emslie Drummond. The invitation-only event will be catered by Prairie Bay.

Educator of Year nominations

Nominations are open until Nov. 7 for a prestigious statewide college and university teaching award that since 2008 has included faculty from Central Lakes College in Brainerd and Staples. The Minnesota State College and Universities Board of Trustees Educator of the Year Award for Excellence in Teaching is an honor bestowed upon MnSCU faculty to acknowledge and reward exceptional individual professional accomplishment, and to encourage ongoing excellence, in teaching.  This award is intended to recognize superior teaching at our colleges and universities. The award proclaims, on behalf of the entire system, the Board of Trustees’ pride in the dedication and accomplishment of our faculty in providing instruction that prepares Minnesota’s college and university students for their professional, scholarly, and civic lives.

CLC seeks accreditation renewal

Central Lakes College, Brainerd and Staples, is seeking renewal of accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission, a division of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Since 1972, accreditation visits by review teams have resulted in sustained accreditation that ensures student access to education that transfers credits to baccalaureate institutions. It is seen as a stamp of approval with regard to grants, loans, and valued certification from employers. Accredited schools offer instruction from faculty who meet qualifications and set consistent and high standards for students, as well as policies supporting student rights. A team of trained consultant evaluators from HLC will be on the CLC campuses Oct. 29-31 as the concluding phase of a process last completed in 2002.
News release to media 10-15-12

Oct 16, 2012

Writing festival at CLC

Bill Meissner, director of Creative Writing at St. Cloud State University and author of "Spirits in the Grass"( 2008 Midwest Book Award winner), will be the keynote speaker at the Brainerd Writers Alliance Fall Writing Festival on the Brainerd campus of Central Lakes College 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 27. There will be readings, a round table discussion on publishing by local published writers, and a writing workshop from featured speaker award-winning author Bill Meissner. A limited number of scholarships are available for CLC students to attend this event for free. Just fill out and send in the registration form found on the Brainerd Writers Alliance website . The event is co-sponsored by the Center for Lifelong Learning at CLC. In addition to novel writing, Meissner has published four books of poems: "American Compass," Learning to Breathe Underwater," "The Sleepwalker's Son," and "Twin Sons of Different Mirrors."  More than 350 of his poems are published in national and regional magazines and literary journals. His two books of short stories -- "The Road to Cosmos" and Hitting Into The Wind" -- depict the subtlety of relationships and small town life. In the afternoon, Meissner will present “The American Compass Traveling Road Show” featuring a reading from his four poetry books, two short story collections, and his recent novel. Informal presentation with Q & A. Writing prompts and exercises included in the presentation. For registration information go to or call (218) 828-7750. Registration deadline is Oct. 20.

Oct 15, 2012

Operation Community Connect

The Brainerd campus of Central Lakes College on Saturday, Oct. 27 will host its third annual Operation Community Connect from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is billed as an opportunity for people to access resources from area agencies and organizations at one location in one day. Free services will be available. They include haircuts, cell phones with up to 250 minutes, veteran assistance, mental health screening, public health, public assistance, food support, housing options, children-friendly space, and lunch served while supplies last starting at 11 a.m. in the cafeteria. Co-sponsors include CLC, the College of St. Scholastica, and the Crow Wing Conty Coalition to End Poverty, whose members represent area organizations. If you need transportation to attend, please contact Annette at (218) 316-2885 by Oct. 22. For information, call Jennifer Perez at (218) 820-3445. Shown: At the 2011 event hair stylists Pam Wachholz (left) and Deb Schey were among those providing free haircuts. Photo courtesy Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey

MLB chief exec at CLC Nov. 1

Melanie Benjamin, chief executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians, will present the Nov. 1 Cultural Thursday program at noon in Chalberg Theatre on the Brainerd campus of Central Lakes College. The 50-minute program is free and open to the public. This program marks the start of National Native American Indian Month. The program focus will be the Tribal Law and Order Act, which helps address crime in tribal communities and places a strong emphasis on decreasing violence against American Indian and Alaskan Native women. Chief Executive Benjamin will examine the Act and relate the act to issues facing American Indian women in Minnesota and the Mille Lacs Band community.

Pfeffer honored

The District 6 Toasmasters organization, serving Minnesota and Ontaio, has announced that Don Pfeffer is the recipient of its Communication and Leadership Award to be presented Oct. 20 at the 2012 fall conference in Brainerd. Toastmasters chose Don for his work with returning military personnel in many areas including higher education. Don, a veteran, has been active with the Legislature where he helped our Minnesota colleges and universities become more veteran friendly. Don is a faculty member at Central Lakes College. He has served as a counselor and a psychology and general studies instructor. From 2006-11, he served as the Director of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, Higher Education Veterans Program to assist colleges and universities to provide services to veterans, military members and their families to start and complete college. Don served on active duty from 1971 to 1975 with the United States Air Force Security Service, the electronic intelligence command of the U.S. Air Force. For two years he served as an intelligence analyst and for two more years he served as the Goodfellow Air Force Base Drug and Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Program manager. He also served with the Minnesota Air National Guard for 18 years, retiring in 2002. Don received his Bachelor's Degree in Education from St. Cloud State University and his Master's Degree in Psychology from the University of Northern Colorado.

Oct 11, 2012

Day of Celebration

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris on Thursday, Oct. 11 joined Central Lakes College leaders and partners at “A Day of Celebration” to inaugurate the Regional Advanced Manufacturing Retraining (RAMR) program at Wilson Tool, White Bear Lake. The innovative partnership involving CLC and three other Minnesota schools over the next three years aim to prepare workers in Minnesota and Wisconsin for advanced manufacturing careers. A $13.1 million federal grant announced Sept. 19 assigned consortium leadership to Central Lakes College, Brainerd and Staples. CLC’s educational partners are St. Cloud Technical and Community College, St. Cloud; Pine Technical College, Pine City; and the 360 Manufacturing and Applied Engineering Center of Excellence, Bemidji State University, Bemidji. Images:

Oct 10, 2012

Psychological profiling in politics

Aubrey Immelman, associate professor from the Department of Psychology at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict, will present a free, public program on psychological profiling in politics, presidential candidate leadership profiles of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and his work to develop a deterrence program against North Korean nuclear proliferation at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22 at Central Lakes College, Brainerd. Sponsored by the Center for Lifelong Learning at CLC, the presentation will be about 30 minutes in length, followed by at least 15 minutes for questions. It will be held in E354, a lecture hall. His research program since coming to Minnesota more than 20 years ago has focused on the psychology and leadership characteristics of presidential candidates.

Oct 9, 2012

Diversity events

The Office of Diversity and Equity, Student Life, and the Center for Life Long Learning at Central Lakes College have announced three Brainerd campus events for the public: Monday, Oct. 22 -- Mixed Blood Theater Performance: "Theory of Mind," (shown) Chalberg Theatre, 11 a.m.;  Thursday, Oct. 25 -- Commissioner Kevin Lindsey, Minnesota Department of Human Rights, Chalberg Theater, 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.; Thursday, Nov. 1 -- The Honorable Chief Executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Melanie Benjamin,  Chalberg Theater, noon.

Oct 5, 2012

Human Rights programs

Kevin Lindsey, Minnesota Commssioner of Human Rights, will speak at Central Lakes College in Brainerd on Thursday, Oct. 25. In Chalberg Theatre at 10 a.m. he will discuss "hot topics facing Minnesota's human rights -- economics, voting, and amending the state constitution (Voter ID and Marriage amendments)." He will examine Minnesota's changing demographics and implications for jobs, education, and  our state's economic future. At 11 a.m. he will convene a community forum and dialogue regarding the two proposed amendments and the idea that voting is a human rights issue. Before his appointment in February 2011, Commissioner Lindsey was a civil litigation attorney in the Office of the Ramsey County Attorney. He has 20 years of experience in resolving complex legal and public policy questions.

Little Buffalo Creek project

Crow Wing Soil and Water District (SWCD) and the City of Brainerd have released a study on the health of the Little Buffalo Creek. The Natural Resources program at Central Lakes College partnered with the City, Crow Wing County, Land Mosaic Collaborative LLC, and Board of Water Soil and Resources to complete the study. Kent Montgomery, CLC Natural Resources instructor, said: “This partnership was unique because it integrated  our Field Methods and Freshwater class into the project. Students completed initial land use cover and GIS analysis of this watershed.”

Oct 4, 2012

Student Success Day

On Wednesday, Sept. 26, Central Lakes College held its annual Student Success Day for the 2012-13 academic year, with activities aplenty at the campuses in Brainerd and Staples. Thousands of students took advantage of a schedule that gave them workshops for better living, college-years enjoyment, and lifelong success. Dozens of gas cards were awarded as prizes throughout the day from donations made by CLC employees. The keynote speaker was Jermaine Davis. A hypnotist entertained at Staples. A talent show showcased student performers on the Brainerd campus. An array of presentations from speakers with practical knowledge imparted valuable and enriching tips for personal betterment. Student Success Day images:

Oct 3, 2012

Sviggum visits

Steve Sviggum, a former member of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, and an executive assistant to and communications director for the Republican caucus in the Minnesota Senate, was a recent guest of Central Lakes College political science instructor Steve Wenzel. The two share a past as politicians in the Legislature. Sviggum spoke to several of Wenzel's classes on the Brainerd campus. A former Speaker and member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, Sviggum represented District 28B in the southeastern part of the state. Sviggum was first elected to the House in 1978. He served as minority leader from 1993–1999, and became Speaker following the 1998 elections, when the Republicans took control of the House from the Democrats. He began his speakership under unusual circumstances; 1998 also saw the election of Reform Party candidate Jesse Ventura as governor, while the Democrats retained control of the Minnesota Senate. He was the leader of the Republicans in a government divided between three political parties. In the 2006 general election, the Democrats regained control of the House, ending Sviggum's time as Speaker. Though he won re-election to his House seat, he chose not seek a leadership position in the next session. Democrat Margaret Anderson Kelliher succeeded him as Speaker.

Sep 25, 2012

Ex-Congressman to present for CLL

DieticianTeresa Farrell and former Congressman Tim Penny will present programs at Central Lakes College in the next two weeks, sponsored by the Center for Lifelong Learning at CLC. Farrell will speak about “Good Fats/Bad Fats” from 4 to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 2 in Room E203 on the Brainerd campus (Business & Industry Center). The Essentia Health Brainerd Clinic expert will discuss saturated fats, trans fats, polys and mom-unsaturated fats. She will explain the amount of fat one ought to be consuming – or not consuming. Farrell has more than 20 years of experience and is committed to helping individuals, families, and communities achieve health goals. Penny, who represented Minnesota’s First District in the U.S. House from 1982-94, will speak on “Current Election Outcomes” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 9 in Chalberg Theatre. He served in Congress on the Education and Labor, Agriculture, and Veterans’ Affairs committees. He chaired the subcommittee on Veterans’ Education and Training and the Foreign Agriculture and Hunger Subcommittee. Throughout his career, Penny focused on budget issues, especially as chair of the Democratic Budget Group and the “Porkbusters Coalition.” Admission to each program is $6 for non-members but free to members of the Center for Lifelong Learning. For information, call (218) 855-8142 or email