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