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Business Briefs

WILLMAR -- Brice Bakker has started Bakker Mechanical of Prinsburg, specializing in geothermal, in addition to complete heating and cooling for residential and commercial systems. The business is located at 310 Cedar Ave. in Prinsburg.

Bakker is a native of Prinsburg and graduated from Central Minnesota Christian School. He worked in HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), including starting a previous HVAC business and worked in the electrical field for the last 10 years.

MONTEVIDEO -- James Diederich has joined the sales team at Parkview Ford of Montevideo. He has three years of car sales experience and has a degree from Ridgewater College. He lives in Murdock with his fiance and 5-year-old son.

ORTONVILLE -- Little Rock Wind LLC, along with its managing partner, National Wind LLC of Minneapolis, announce the acquisition of assets from community-owned wind project, Big Stone Wind.

Assets acquired include development capital, land rights and an 80-meter meteorological tower and historical wind data, and various development assets.

Little Rock Wind is a community wind energy company formed by National Wind and nine local landowners and business people.

The company expects to use these assets in the development of its 150-megawatt community wind project in Big Stone County.

"We want to develop a wind project for Big Stone County in which the community is a principal benefactor,'' says Brent Olson, board member of both Big Stone Wind and Little Rock Wind's project companies.

"This transaction will assure the community wind development efforts we initiated will continue forward under Little Rock Wind's community model. Because Little Rock Wind's community development philosophy is aligned with Big Stone Wind's, we are excited to now be working together to help landowners harvest the wind, and bring this needed income into our local economy,'' said Olson.

WILLMAR -- Joe VanderArk has joined Roger Punt, a career Farm Bureau Insurance agent for over 24 years in Willmar. VanderArk has received training in home, auto, life and commercial insurance. VanderArk and his wife, Melanie, were born and live in Willmar and have a 6-month-old girl.

Paul White, FIC, of Litchfield, a financial consultant with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, has earned membership in the prestigious 2009 Million Dollar Round Table, an international, independent association of leading life insurance and financial services professionals. White qualified for this honor based on his sales excellence, outstanding client service, ethical conduct and professional knowledge. White is associated with Thrivent Financial's Central Minnesota Regional Office. He has qualified for the award membership seven times.

Dr. Christie Russell-Villnow of Willmar recently served as a clinical examiner in Memphis, Tenn., for the National Board of Examiners in Optometry's Clinical Skills Examination. This practical examination requires candidates for licensure to examine a patient at each of four stations in performing 19 clinical skills. Russell-Villnow has been an optometrist for five years and has a primary care optometry practice, Russell Eyecare & Associates in Willmar.