Prairie Lakes Welcomes Oncologist to Cancer Center
Prairie Lakes Healthcare System welcomes Vijay Rao, MD, oncologist and hematologist. He joins staff at the Prairie Lakes Cancer Center; including, Bipin Amin, MD, Jeffrey Brindle, MD, and Kristina Rieffenberger, CNP.
Dr. Rao is board certified in medical oncology and hematology. For over 13 years he’s compassionately served patients with cancer and infusion treatment. Dr. Rao completed his internal medicine residency and hematology/oncology fellowship at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, Arkansas. During his free time, Dr. Rao enjoys traveling and spending time with family and friends.
“I am committed to providing compassionate and high quality cancer care to patients in Watertown and the surrounding communities,” said Dr. Rao.
You may schedule an appointment with Dr. Rao by calling the Prairie Lakes Cancer Center at 605-882-6800. A referral is not required to schedule an appointment.
Prairie Lakes Names New Radiology Director
Prairie Lakes Healthcare System (PLHS) named Bryan Beckedahl as the Director of Radiology. His responsibilities include managing radiology services; including, X-Ray, CT Scanning, MRI, Nuclear Medicine, and Ultrasound.
Beckedahl accepted the Director of Radiology position with over 13 years of experience. His previous role with Consulting Radiologists, Ltd gave him familiarity with a variety of organizations, including PLHS.
Beckedahl grew up on the family farm in Sherwood, ND, where his family farmed in Canada and the USA. After high school graduation he received his Radiology Technology degree from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND. He then attended the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba where he earned his Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) and Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS) Ultrasound degrees. While working as a Sonographer, Clinical Coordinator and Lead Clinical Instructor for the Ultrasound Program at the Mayo Clinic, he received his Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT) degree. He has a Master’s Degree in Management and Health and Human Services from St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis.
The outdoors, hunting, fishing, photography and attending his nephew’s sporting events are all activities Beckedahl enjoys in his spare time. A 35 year cancer survivor, he knows healthcare from his experience as a patient and through his expertise as a professional.
"I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as the Director of Radiology at Prairie Lakes Healthcare System”, said Beckedahl. “I know many of the staff at Prairie Lakes through my previous position and look forward to continue working with them in this new role. I was attracted to PLHS due to its positive culture, the professionalism and work ethic of the staff. We have made great progress in offering multiple radiology procedures and biopsies, and are always looking for new ways to offer more services.”
Crestone Development Makes Major Investments in Downtown Watertown
Watertown, SD based Crestone Development, a division of Crestone Companies, is making a major investment in downtown Watertown. Crestone has purchased five downtown properties bookending on
the East and West ends of Kemp Ave.
“This is a major commitment to continue the revitalization and development of downtown and Watertown in general,” said Crestone owner Eric Skott, who has partnered with various investor groups
to purchase the properties. “We believe in downtown Watertown and all of the charm it has to offer! The opportunities downtown is limited only by one’s imagination. We have acquired several of these
properties with a focus to preserve the rich history and architecture of the area.” The five downtown properties are:
Building number one, the “Hanten” is also known as the “Granite Block Building” on the SE corner of Kemp and Broadway. This building used to house Todd Architects and Bratland Law. This property, along with the Mellette are currently being studied to determine the highest and best use for the investor group. Some options are condominiums, apartments, luxury-professional office space or a boutique hotel.
Building number two, “The Mellette” as it’s currently known, is the home of ML Portraits and several other businesses on the NW corner of Kemp and Broadway. This property, along with “The Hanten” are currently being studied to determine the highest and best use for the investor group. Some options are condominiums, apartments, luxury-professional office space or a boutique hotel.
Building number three will be aptly named the “Longworth” after a long-time resident and businessperson whose orthodontics office was housed here for many, many years. This building is currently home to BC Hair Designz Studio on the main level. The second level will house several one-bedroom apartments.
Building number four, 218 East Kemp, is located directly across the street to the South of the planned downtown park. It will house 2000 square feet of commercial space on the main floor and four one-bedroom apartments on the second level.
Building number five, 15 1st Street SW, formerly Zimmel's Furniture, is on the West end of Kemp Avenue and is planned to be the future home of “The Marketplace.” The Marketplace will be the future home to 9,000 square feet of retail space and 62 modern-luxury apartments. The project will involve razing the current structure and building new.
Formed in 2006, Crestone Companies specializes in commercial and residential construction along with real estate development in NE South Dakota. Crestone offers project management, property acquisition and entitlements, design-build, value engineering, construction, and asset management. Known for its integrity and willingness to think outside the box, Crestone has earned a reputation and awards for setting the standards of excellence.
Curt Trego, Community Bank President for First Bank & Trust Watertown, SD, joined the organization in 2020. Curt brought with him over 30 years of experience in the financial sector, including his previous role as a Market President for more than a decade. Prior to his role as Community Bank President, Curt was a Business Banking Manager and Retail Sales Manager in the Watertown market. In his current role, Curt will help grow a diversified bank branch that excels in delivering community banking services.
Curt gives back to the community by being an active member of Kiwanis for the past 32 years, as well as an advisory board member of Providence Solutions of South Dakota. He has served as a past executive board member for the Watertown Development Company, along with serving as the 2019 campaign cabinet and advanced gift co-chair. Curt also served as an advanced gift co-chair for the Boys and Girls Club building capital campaign in 2017. He is a past president of the Lake Area Technical Foundation Board of Directors, also serving the same role in Kiwanis. In addition, Curt acted as a United Way board member and campaign chair, as well as a past board member of the Watertown Baseball Association and the Salvation Army.
An Aberdeen, SD, area native, Curt received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Northern State University in Aberdeen. When he’s not working, Curt enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending time with family. Curt and his wife Shelly reside in Watertown, where they raised three children.
Beginning January 1st, Terri Mielitz of Brookings will replace Cammie Mengwasser as the program director for East-Central Court Appointed Special Advocate in Watertown.
Mengwasser resigned her position and will join East-Central’s board of directors in 2021. She opened the Watertown office in 2021 when East-Central expanded from its Brookings headquarters.
“Cammie has done a tremendous job establishing the program in Watertown and raising awareness of the need in the community and the difficulty of children in foster care,” said Julie Wermers, executive director of East-Central CASA in Brookings. “We are tremendously grateful for the dedication and commitment Cammie has made to our program, her passion for CASA has undoubtedly set the program up for continued success into the future.”
Mielitz is the current volunteer coordinator in the Brookings office. She brings proven experience and plans to build upon Mengwasser’s successes.
EC-CASA volunteer advocates provide a unique opportunity to help change the trajectory of the lives of children in foster care and other at-risk youth.
“Terri knows the benefit of these relationships firsthand, not only as a youth in the foster care system but she and her husband Neal became licensed foster parents and cared for 62 children over a span of 13 years. She turned a personal history of childhood trauma into a voice for victims of abuse, and a desire to make a long-term impact,” said Wermers.
Northeast South Dakota Society for Human Resource Management (NESD SHRM) held their annual meeting on Tuesday, December 15, 2020. Paige Sullivan, NESD 2020 President, presented Gwen Kahre of Premier Bank/Premier Bankcard with the 2020 Human Resource Professional of the Year.
Gwen was nominated by her employer for her outstanding human resource performance for the employees she serves and her volunteer time to the NESD SHRM Chapter.
VisionPoint Relocates Downtown
Visionpoint is the first tenant on the ground floor of the Lofts and specialize in Holistic Wealth Management, Corporate Retirement Plans, along with Business Continuity & Estate Planning. Scott has always taken pride in offering advice based on research, knowledge, trust, and integrity.
Scott's team consists of Senior Financial Consultant Lee Rycraft, Financial Consultant Bailey VanSickle and Client Service Associate Christine Dolney. A Ribbon Cutting welcoming VisionPoint Advisory Group downtown will be announced at a later date. VisionPoint can be found online at www.vpadvisor.com or call 605-878-4111.
Brothers Chris Fieber and Donald Fieber of Goodwin, SD, recently announced they have partnered with Van’s Implement of Hull, IA, to open Fieber Van’s Implement in Watertown, SD.
“We’re excited to bring a full line of equipment at affordable prices to this area,” Chris said. “We will strive every day to bring the best experience to our customers.” Although construction of their showroom is just beginning, Fieber Van’s is already up and running, serving customers with both sales and service from their shop located just west of Wal-Mart in Watertown.
Construction of their new building is projected to be complete by Summer 2021. It will hold their showroom, parts department, and sales department. The current shop will also be receiving a makeover in Spring 2021.
Chris and Donald have a combined 37 years’ experience in the agriculture industry, working at Fieber Dairy in Goodwin, SD. Joining Fieber Van’s Implement is Service Manager and Technician Chad Frensko. Frensko has 27 years’ experience servicing and repairing agricultural equipment and will work on any make or model.
Fieber Van’s Implement will carry equipment manufactured by Deutz-Fahr, Kioti, Manitou, Samasz, Amazone, McHale, Grab Tec, Patz and Edney Distributing. Fieber Van’s Implement is located at 2436 10th Ave SE in Watertown, SD. For more information, call Chris at 605-881-2448 or Donald at 605-881-8220.
Lake Area Technical College of Watertown is deeply honored to receive the news that they are the recipients of significant impact gifts from philanthropist and popular novelist, MacKenzie Scott.
The announcement, made through social media, states that 384 organizations, including Lake Area Technical College, received generous donations to assist in continuing the good work they are already doing. The college will be using the donation to support transformative initiatives that will remove barriers for students and allow them the success everyone deserves.
MacKenzie Scott focused her giving on immediate support to people suffering the economic effects of the pandemic crisis but also seeks out organizations for their leadership’s track record of effective management and significant impact in their fields. Her post also recognizes the important role played by these organizations in continuing to provide vital services during the pandemic. She also notes that these organizations are known for profound encouragement felt each time a person is seen, valued and trusted by another human being. Her team took a data-driven approach to identifying organizations with strong leadership teams who get results, and who have low access to philanthropic capital. Scott identifies organizations with high potential for impact and paves the way with unsolicited and unexpected gifts given with full trust and no strings attached.
Lake Area Technical College President Mike Cartney comments, “It’s humbling to be recognized for our good work and it’s our intent to be exceptional stewards of the gift. There is no doubt, it will impact LATC current and future students, and citizens of South Dakota for a long time to come.”
According to Scott, “These 384 carefully selected teams have dedicated their lives to helping others, working and volunteering and serving real people face-to-face at bedsides and tables, in prisons and courtrooms and classrooms, on streets and hospital wards and hotlines and frontlines of all types and sizes, day after day after day.” Scott continues, “We shared each of our gift decisions with program leaders for the first time over the phone, and welcomed them to spend the funding on whatever they believe best serves their efforts. They were told that the entire commitment would be paid upfront and left unrestricted in order to provide them with maximum flexibility.”
Because Lake Area Technical College is currently in the silent phase of their Capital Campaign and in keeping with the donor’s desires, the amount of the gift will not be released at this time.
Prairie Lakes Healthcare System is pleased to announce Bonnie Cordell is the new Director of Finance. The Director of Finance oversees the Accounting and Accounts Payable functions at PLHS and is responsible for financial analysis, revenue recognition and budget accountability reporting, as well as the preparation of various annual surveys and reports.
Cordell is a graduate from the University of South Dakota where she attained her joint Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting and Master of Professional Accountancy in 2009. She is a Certified Cost Report Specialist and a member of the American Institute of Healthcare Compliance. She has eleven years accounting experience and moves into her new position after being a part of the team at PLHS for three years. Cordell and her husband enjoy spending time with their family and friends and traveling.
“I am grateful to continue my career at Prairie Lakes and to serve my community through this new role,” said Cordell. “Our team is knowledgeable, and I look forward to the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. Healthcare is an ever-evolving industry and I am excited to be part of that evolution at PLHS.”