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Neurologist helps meet local demand

Neurologist Karen Truitt, D.O., recently joined Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing.

Truitt earned her doctor of osteopathy degree at the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. Most recently she practiced neurology in Cambridge, Minn.

She provides general neurology services and has a special interest in epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and conducting electromyography and electroencephalogram testing.

“I really enjoy treating patients of all ages with neurological diseases,” Truitt said. “It’s rewarding to manage difficult, complex issues. I have a special interest in working with elderly patients and helping improve quality of life.”

With Truitt on staff, Mayo Clinic now offers neurology services four days a week, the medical center said.

“The demand for neurology services in the area has been growing,” said Dr. Jack Alexander, chief medical officer at Mayo Clinic Health System in Cannon Falls, Lake City and Red Wing. “Our patients often needed to travel to Rochester or elsewhere to be evaluated or receive care for complex neurologic conditions. We’re happy we can now meet patient needs right in our community.”

•Maxine Patterson was recognized at the Minnesota Nurses Association annual conference as Nurse Educator of the Year. The award honors those involved in nursing education who demonstrate expertise in teaching and are recognized as role models of “sustained, consistent, high-quality teaching,” according to the association.

Patterson, a Lake City resident, was nominated by Nancee Wozney and Karen Fettig, nursing faculty at Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical. Patterson works at Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing, one of the college’s partner clinical sites.

“She consistently goes above and beyond for our students,” said Wozney, dean of Nursing and Allied Health. “She will stay late if she needs to and include them on every activity. She is a perfect mentor for our students. She does all of this to form the nurses of the future and she does an awesome job.”

•Xcel Energy won the Edison Electric Institute’s Emergency Recovery Award earlier this month for power restoration efforts after severe weather in the Midwest in June.

The EEI presents the award annually to member companies. The winners are chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process.

More than 610,000 Xcel Energy customers in Minnesota and western Wisconsin lost power during a three-day period of severe storms in late June. The ongoing winds, heavy rain and lightning created difficult and dangerous conditions for workers trying to restore power in the days following the storms, EEI said.

Still, Xcel restored power to 96 percent of affected customers within three days after the final storm.

“Xcel Energy’s outstanding restoration efforts exemplify the industry’s commitment to serving its customers,” EEI President Tom Kuhn said. “We commend the crews who braved dangerous conditions in the wake of these severe storms, as they diligently worked to safely and quickly restore service.”

“The devastating June storms gave us the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to the customers and communities we serve,” Xcel Energy Chairman, President and CEO Ben Fowke said. “Our employees are the best in the business. They worked around the clock and restored power to all affected customers within about six days, an impressive feat. We are also grateful for the support of surrounding utilities that helped us perform under these extreme conditions.

•Xcel Energy submitted a plan to state regulators earlier this month to add up to 150 megawatts of large-scale solar resources in its upper Midwest service territory by the end of 2016.

Xcel Energy is proposing that a significant portion of Minnesota’s solar standard be met through large-scale projects, which it said are “more efficient and less expensive than rooftop solar and smaller distributed systems.”

Lawmakers approved a plan last year that requires investor-owned utilities to get 1.5 percent of retail electricity sales from solar energy by 2020. Xcel said it estimates it will need about 300 megawatts of solar capacity to meet that standard.

Xcel said it plans to propose a second round of large-scale solar acquisitions in 2017 or 2018 to meet the standard.

“We are excited to develop solar resources that provide customer value and offer new customer choices,” said Dave Sparby, president and CEO of Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company. “We plan to leverage the economies of large-scale systems to keep the cost as low as possible for customers.”

•Dicke Farms Angus of Goodhue is a new member of the American Angus Association, the largest beef breed association in the world. The organization keeps detailed information on more than 17 million registered Angus.

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.

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