Weather Forecast


St. James Hotel up for award

The St. James Hotel was recently nominated for Historic Hotels of America’s Best Small Historic Inn/Hotel award.

Nominations are based on hotels’ preserved historical significances, amenities and customer service. They were received from historic hotels, historic preservation supporters and HHA leadership.

“It’s very gratifying to see that all of the efforts and resources put forward by our staff are being recognized,” St. James general manager Michael McKay said. “It means a great deal for all who work hard to make the hotel what it is.”

This is the first time the St. James has been nominated for the award.

The winners will be announced at the Historic Hotels of America annual awards ceremony and gala Nov. 21 at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee.

• Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation announced last month that Renewing the Countryside, Zumbro Falls, received the $100,000 One Big Thing grant for 2013.

The group will implement the Growing the Local Foods Economy project throughout southern Minnesota, which will bring leaders together to develop and implement a strategy to increase awareness of and support local food and develop ways to provide resources to local foods businesses ready to expand, according to SMIF.

“Renewing the Countryside will help us expand the work we’ve been doing in local foods and assist entrepreneurs navigate the resources available,” SMIF president and CEO Tim Penny said.

• South Country Health Alliance has chosen Dr. Mark Dietz as its new medical director. Dietz will work with current medical director Dr. Patrick Irvine on strategies for health care and contracting.

“I was impressed immediately with Dr. Dietz’s energy and excitement regarding the opportunities that may be out there for an organization such as ours,” SCHA CEO Leota Lind said. “I believe he will provide leadership for South Country to improve the health outcomes of our members through collaborative partnerships with our local providers and communities.”

Dietz was formerly the chief medical officer at New River Medical Center in Monticello, Minn.

“I want to see how we can improve the interface between the provider and the payer,” Dietz said. “As we go forward, that’s going to be more and more critical.”

• A new physician has joined the staff at Mayo Clinic Health System in Ellsworth. Carrie Kern, D.O., will offer prenatal care to patients there and follow them through delivery at the hospital in Red Wing.

“I’m very excited to see patients in Ellsworth,” Kern said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to help patients in this great community.”

Kern was born and raised in Red Wing. She received her undergraduate degree at St. Olaf College and went to medical school at Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

• Scott Safe of Vasa-Spring Garden Mutual Insurance Co. in Cannon Falls and Karla Bauer, who manages Kenyon, Holden, Warsaw Mutual Fire Insurance Co. in Wanamingo, received the Professional Farm Mutual Manager designation during the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies convention.

“Farm mutual managers face a wide array of challenges in their day-to-day work,” NAMIC president and CEO Charles Chamness said. “Professional Farm Mutual Manager designees have gone above and beyond, dedicating significant time and effort to better serve their policyholders, their companies and their communities.”

To become a professional manager, participants must be active in the management of a farm mutual company with at least five years of property experience, attend a NAMIC educational event and complete courses.

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

(651) 459-4629