PEOPLE & PLACES – July 2019

Can Do Canines founder Peters receives Lasallian Service Award from St. Mary’s During the annual Reunion Weekend, St. Mary’s University […]

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Can Do Canines founder Peters receives Lasallian Service Award from St. Mary’s

During the annual Reunion Weekend, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota honors outstanding alumni who have made outstanding achievements in their professional careers, who best exemplify the Lasallian charism St. Mary’s was founded upon, and who have generously contributed time and talent to the goals and objectives of their alma mater.

Can Do Canines founder and leader Alan M. Peters ’74 received the 2019 Lasallian Service Award for his work with Can Do Canines. He was honored during a reception and ceremony June 22 on the Winona campus.

Peters founded Can Do Canines 30 years ago and is the current executive director. Under his leadership, the organization has grown from an interesting idea to an industry-leading organization with 35 staff and a 25,000 square foot training facility. Can Do Canines has placed more than 650 fully-trained assistance dogs into the community, all at no cost to their clients with disabilities.

Can Do Canines has received awards from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, the Minnesota State Council on Disability, the Minnesota Corrections Association, The Arc of Minnesota, and the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans. Peters was personally given the Minneapolis Award for his contribution to the community.

Three of the Lasallian core principles are: respect for all persons, concern for the poor and social justice; and inclusive community. In his work, Peters abides by these principles. Can Do Canines is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities by creating mutually beneficial partnerships with specially trained dogs. The work of Peters’ organization brings freedom, independence, and peace of mind to people with disabilities—free of charge.

Can Do Canines is located in New Hope. For more information, visit


Spring sports champs crowned

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) has crowned its 2019 spring sports champions, in track and field, adapted softball and bowling.

At the state track field meet at Hamline University, in Class A girls’ competition, Maple River’s Lilly Stiernagle defended her 100-meter and 200-meter wheelchair dash titles and set new Class 1A state records in the process. Amy Sullivan of LeSueur-Henderson finished second. The two also finished one-two in the wheelchair shotput.

In Class A boys’ competition, Luke Johnston, Medford won the discus throw with a Class 1A record. Aidan Gravelle of Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial-Nicollet placed second, and Danny Lilya, Moose Lake/Willow River was third. Ben Bode, St Peter, Peyton Gunnarson,

Lewiston-Altura and Riley Steinbach, St. Clair/Immanuel Lutheran, rounded out the field.

Gunnarson won the 100-meter wheelchair dash, with Gravelle in second place and James Hagen, River Valley, third. Gravelle won the 200-meter wheelchair dash, with Gunnarson in second and Hagen in third. Gravelle and Gunnarson also finished one-two in the 1600 meter wheelchair run.

In the Class AA 800 meter wheelchair run, Macario Palomares, Buffalo, finished first and Blake Eaton, Duluth Denfeld placed second. Eaton and Palomares finished one-two in the 100-meter wheelchair dash. Ben Mathiowetz, New Ulm, returned to defend his wheelchair discus title.

Two new state champions emerged at the end of the adapted softball state tournament held at Chanhassen High School. Dakota United captured the PI Division for the first time in four seasons and fourth time overall with an 8-7 victory over Rochester in the championship game.

In the CI Division, Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville captured a softball title for first time in the history of the co-op, with a stunning come-from-behind 15-13 victory. The Blazing Cats were down 11-0 before they scored 13 runs in three innings to force additional play.

Athletes with physical disabilities play in the PI Division, and athletes with cognitive disabilities play in CI competition.

In the PI division, Dakota United defeated Minneapolis South and Osseo en route to the title game. 2018 champion Robbinsdale/Hopkins/Mound-Westonka finished in third place, besting Osseo 7-3.

Anoka-Hennepin took home the consolation title with a 10-0 win over St. Paul Humboldt. The other team in the tournament was Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville/New Prague.

The PI all-tournament team is Moustache Mouhoumed, Humboldt; Cole Andrzcyak, Anoka-Hennepin; Sam Roles and Vincent Lu, Robbinsdale/ Hopkins/Mound Westonka; Hayden Audette and Johnny Perez, Osseo; Cooper Chelstrom, Samuel Gerten and Blake Jackson, Dakota United and Blake Hillman, Matthew Horsman and Dayne Bailey, Rochester.

Gerten, a freshman, delivered a bases-loaded single with no outs in the bottom of the seventh inning in the Hawks’ 8-7 victory over Rochester in the title game.

CI champs Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville topped New Prague and Chaska/Chanhassen/Prior Lake/Shakopee to get to the title game. Chaska/Chanhassen/Prior Lake/Shakopee took home third place with a 5-4 win over Osseo. Dakota United wore the consolation crown, with a 17-16 win over defending champions St. Cloud Area. White Bear Lake Area was the eighth team in the tournament.

The CI all-tournament team is Jordan Williams, St. Cloud Area; Nolan Sherman, Dakota United; Jesse Cardoso-Ramirez and Rio McGrew, Osseo; Nathan Casteneda and Tyler Johnson, Chaska/Chanhassen/Prior Lake/Shakopee; Miller Hertaus, Abigail Schrick and Natalya Rawley, Burnsville/ Farmington/Lakeville, and Jack Swedahl, Katie Sexton
and Tyler Tinucci, South Washington County.

The state bowling tournament was held at Bowlero in Brooklyn Park, with more than 400 competitors. Team, individual and doubles champions were crowed in the PI, CI and ASD divisions. This marked the 20-year anniversary of adapted bowling.

ZED, a co-op of Hayfield, Blooming Prairie and Kasson-Mantorville, won the team crown in the ASD Division, for athletes with autism. Mankato East won the CI Division title, with North St. Paul taking home the PI Division crown. ZED won the ASD team championship with a 10-pin victory over Mankato East.

ZED compiled a score of 1,625 behind seventh grader Braden Klauer, eighth grader Alex Saunders and seniors David Lomker and Justice Barnes. Mankato East was second, followed by North Branch.

North St. Paul, which featured a lineup with a bowler in each of the top four grades, won the PI Division team title with a combined score of 1,594. That was 37 pins better than runner-up, Wayzata/Minnetonka.

The Polars’ victorious lineup was compiled of freshman Kojo Dadie, sophomore Kathleen Hubert, junior Max LeMay and senior Debie Morales-Campos. Minneapolis South was third.

In the CI Division, it was a three-way battle of Mankato East teams as all three finished in the top three. The group of freshmen Julio Esquival, Wren Eccles, Hunter Carlsgaard and sophomore Konnor Wojcik won with a combined score of 1,653 pins.

Many new champions were crowned, with a youth movement in some classes. In girls’ individual competition, Mahtomedi seventh grader Kari Commander captured the PI gold medal, topping another seventh grader, Aaliyah Novack from Simley of Inver Grove Heights. Houston eighth-grader Mackenzie Zibrowski placed third. In the CI Division, Mankato East seventh grader Cordelia Emery topped Mahtomedi Molly Thompson. Cambridge-Isanti senior Desi Miller was third. In the ASD Division, Princeton freshman Victoria Greenway rolled to the gold medal, topping Alexandria Area seventh grader Lizzie Floden.

Monticello senior Ciara Aydt was third. In the boys’ individual PI Division, Simley junior Thomas Juneau won the individual medal, besting St. Paul Highland Park sophomore Nicholas Silvester was runner-up at 466. East Grand Forks sophomore Cole Pulkrabek placed third. The CI boys’ champion is Anoka-Hennepin eighth-grader Nicholas Bauch. Austin’s Damian Songkam, a freshman, placed second. Moorhead seventh-grader Kaiden Oye was third.

In the ASD Division, East Grand Forks eighth-grader Evan Meulebroek and St. Paul Como Park freshman Walter White tied for first place. St. Paul Highland Park sophomore Bryan Flynn was third.

The ASD doubles title was won by Como Park sophomore Ethan Johnson and senior Victoria Jefferson. Monticello seniors Lucas Rowen and Ciara Aydt placed second. Highland Park’s Flynn and senior Fwjchim Vang were third at 897.

In Pin doubles, Juneau and Simley teammate Dallas Filek, a junior, rolled to the top spot. Simley senior Emily Rettinger and sophomore Brianna Richter were second. Simley completed the sweep of two three finishes when freshman Michelle Aguirre and Novak were third with a score of 919.

In the CI Division, Minneapolis North seniors DaShantae Curry and Cashmo’Naey Coleman captured the championship. Moorhead eighth-grader Ted Pasche and Nicholas Knight, a sophomore, placed second. Anoka-Hennepin junior Ken Bureau and senior Brennan Phetdara were third.


UCare announces behavioral sciences leader

UCare, an independent, nonprofit health plan, has appointed Jennifer J. Garber as associate vice president of behavioral health services. Garber will lead this newly invigorated department in attainment of UCare’s behavioral health strategic goals for all Medicare, Medicaid and individual and family plan members. She will drive the organization’s vision to be a leader in ensuring behavioral health equity – especially for members of special needs plans.

Garber brings more than 29 years of behavioral clinical experience including 17 years of management experience within health plan behavioral programs. Most recently she was director of clinical operations and community initiatives and government programs at Optum Health Behavioral Health Solutions with oversight of the Medica Behavioral Health Care Advocacy Center. Garber is a results-oriented leader with years of experience collaborating with behavioral providers and advocating for members. She also has significant experience working within federal and state regulatory environments.

“Jennifer is an outstanding addition to our leadership team,” said UCare Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Julia Joseph-Di Caprio. “Her extensive experience in the field and genuine care for people who live with mental illness and/or substance use disorder are an asset to UCare and our members. She understands community needs to address gaps in mental health care and knows how to enact changes organization-wide.”

Garber joined UCare in June. She holds degrees from the University of Iowa and Grace Theological Seminary.

She is licensed as an independent clinical social worker and lives in St. Louis Park.

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