Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dr. Price entering 40th year of dental practice in Baldwin

In August, Dr. Raymond Price, DDS, will mark a milestone few dentists reach: he will begin his 40th year of dental practice. He started his practice in Baldwin in August 1969.
Dr. Price graduated in the spring from dental school at the University of Nebraska, and just prior has passed his Wisconsin dental boards. One of his friends in dental school was married to a woman from Eau Claire and wanted to practice there. He interested Dr. Price in Wisconsin and a letter to the Wisconsin Dental Association provided information on communities that were searching for dentists. Among them was Baldwin, which had two dentists—Dr. Spears and Dr. Arnquist—who were both seeking to retire.
Dr. Price visited both dentists and received a warm welcome and an invitation to locate here.
He visited another area community in a neighboring state and received a less than cordial welcome and thus Baldwin it was.
Dr. Price, a Wyoming native, initially had his sight set on an engineering career. But the Vietnam War and the U.S. Army draft board interrupted his education and led to a change of course.
Dr. Price had completed two years of engineering school at the South Dakota School of Mines, but then had to take a year off in 1963 to work and save money to pay for further education. He checked with the draft board and was told he was down on the draft list and once he was back in school after a year off working he would again be eligible for a deferment. But he was surprised that November when he got a letter and was drafted. “There was no way I could avoid it,” he said.
Dr. Price got his physical. But then a twist was added: he was told he was eligible for counter-intelligence. But there was a catch: he had to enlist for three years instead of serving two years if drafted. “I thought initially, ‘I don’t want to be here in the first place and I’m not going to sign up for another year,’” he said. But after mulling the choice over, including the ability to wear civilian clothes and live in civilian housing, he changed his mind.
And that decision was the impetus that eventually led Dr. Price to a dental career which eventually led him to Baldwin.
After an interview and tests, Dr. Price was accepted into counter-intelligence. He went through basic training and counter-intelligence school in Maryland for five months. He was assigned to the 902 Intelligence Corps in Washington, D.C., primarily, he said, because he had completed two years of electrical engineering in college. Dr. Price’s assignment had a world-wide mission and he was located at Maryland for the remainder of his time in the Army except for an assignment of four months.
Dr. Price said that to be in the Intelligence Corps it was necessary to be at least 22 years old and have at least two years of college. “So it was a different group of people—older with more education,” he said. “That allowed me to work with a bunch of professionals and we didn’t have to do the usual military things, except for some security duty at first. It was more of an office job. I lived in an apartment and rode the bus to work.”
The Intelligence Corps “was a fun experience,” said Dr. Price. “The fact is that when it came time to get out, they gave me the re-up speech and I considered extending it to fall before I went back to college, and I thought about it but I didn’t.”
While in the Army, Dr. Price went in for a routine dental exam and the dentist—Captain Brown, Dr. Price remembers—asked what his plans for the future were. He also asked Dr. Price whether he considered being a dentist. Dr. Price said the answer was no and there were several reasons: 1. dental school was expensive; 2. dental school takes a lot of time; and 3. he was putting himself through school and didn’t have the money. Captain Brown said government loans were available for dental school, but still, Dr. Price said he wasn’t interested. But at a second dental exam later, Captain Brown asked the same questions.
“It was put in my mind two times” and Dr. Price went back to Wyoming to work in the engineering division at the Highway Department. He visited a library to learn more about dental school. He picked 10 dental schools and requested a catalogue from each. “As it turned out, the two that were the closest were the University of Nebraska and the University of Minnesota.” However, Minnesota had a large enrollment and Dr. Price was acquainted with another engineer at the Wyoming Highway Department who had a nephew in the pre-dentistry program at Nebraska who had a similar background to Dr. Price and he promoted the University of Nebraska. “So I decided, yes, I’d go to Nebraska. So the question was whether I’d be accepted and I applied and was accepted and the rest was history.”
Dr. Price said he remains partial to the University of Nebraska. “I got a really, really good education there. And today they’ve maintained their concept of what dentistry should be.”
Dr. Price needed another year of college at the pre-dentistry level before attending dental school. Then he had four more years of dental school. “One advantage I had was I was more mature and was a little older and had been around,” said Dr. Price. During his final year of dental school, the University instituted a pilot program stressing total patient care and Dr. Price and other older students were picked to participate. The program proved a success and was extended.
After Dr. Price graduated in 1969 he began his preparations for practice in Baldwin. He and his wife Jan first stayed in an apartment they rented from Wally and Anita TeGrootenhuis. He rented space in the building owned and used by Dr. Spears on Eighth Avenue for his practice. He ordered dental equipment, cabinets and supplies. “All of it came except the cabinets,” said Dr. Price. They were ordered from a dental speciality company whose workers were on strike. So, nearly ready to open his office, but without cabinets, he called Wevers Cabinet Shop and Clarence Wevers said he could build and install the same cabinets in a week, and he did, said Dr. Price. “So we were ready to open on August 4, 1969.
Both Dr. Spears and Dr. Arnquist practiced another year and then retired. Dr. Price was left the only dentist in the area and had more patients than he would deal with. “I had a six month waiting list,” he said. “I worked five days a week and Saturdays. One Saturday I worked from eight in the morning until nine at night. There were so many people and they knew that I was available.”
In 1972 Dr. Price received a call from Dr. Macfarlane. Dr. Macfarlane was a dentist practicing in St. Paul who saw a lady from Baldwin. He asked the lady why she came to St. Paul and was told she couldn’t get an appointment in Baldwin. Dr. Macfarlane called Dr. Price to ask if that was true and when told it was, Dr. Macfarlane came to Baldwin and rented from Dr. Spears in the same building. In the next several years new dentists also came to surrounding communities easing the shortage. “In a short period of time we went from me to four more dentists,” said Dr. Price.
Dr. Price said he was desirous of a new dental office so he engaged an architectural firm that specialized in dental offices to design one. Gene Nelson was hired to do the building and in 1978 Dr. Price moved into a new office on Eighth Avenue about six blocks south of his old office.
Dr. Price said dental school gave him a good fundamental education but he has always strived to keep learning. Not only to keep learning, he said, but “to keep learning from the best.” To do so he attends meetings and seminars and continues to advance his education.
Dr. Price said he has also been able to utilize his engineering background for his dental practice. “To this day I still design my own cases. I’m happy that is part of what I learned and part of what I do,” he said.
Dr. Price said he is skeptical of new techniques and materials until they have been proven. And in several instances his skepticism has been proved correct.
Corporate dentistry is a trend that Dr. Price said has more drawbacks than positives. As a positive he said it may allow some young dentists to break into practice and it may allow some patients the opportunity to see a dentist. But on the negative side, the bottom line with corporate dentistry is that profits come before the patient.
Retirement? Dr. Price said he has no thought of it at present. He said that for him to continue practicing he must continue to enjoy his work. “It has to be fun and exciting,” he said. And “I have to be able to deliver for my patients and have the skills to meet their needs. I don’t ever want to be a position where people say you don’t deliver the quality you used to.”
Dr. Price added that one trend today is shared practices in which “some people in my age group work less hard and have more time off.” That is something Dr. Price mentioned but did not rule out or endorse.

Page appointed to permanent position

Alison H. Page will serve as the permanent CEO of Baldwin Area Medical Center (BAMC) effective July 16. Julie Herman, Chair of the Board of Trustees announced the decision this week. Page, who has served as Interim CEO since January 15, has signed a three year contract with the Board of Trustees.
Page holds a Masters degree from the University of Minnesota in Healthcare Administration and was an administrator with the Fairview system in Minnesota from 1996 to 2008. “I am honored and excited to work with the Board of Trustees, the staff, and the communities served by BAMC, to ensure the people of this region have access to exceptional healthcare and service right here in Baldwin,” Page said.
The Board of Trustees will be working with Page and the medical staff to expand services in surgery and other specialty areas at BAMC. Over twenty-five specialists work regularly in Baldwin with the seven primary care providers based at the medical center. In addition, the Medical Center provides a wide array of necessary outpatient healthcare services like Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab, Physical and Occupational Therapy, Laboratory, X-Ray, CT, MRI, Nuclear Medicine, Chemotherapy, among many other local services. Baldwin Area Medical Center works with a variety of specialty care physician providers from the surrounding geographic region to offer local access to necessary specialty referral services.
Baldwin Area Medical Center is a community-based health care organization providing comprehensive health services to the communities of Baldwin, Woodville, Hammond, and surrounding areas. Services include primary and specialty medical care, emergency care, and inpatient services. BAMC employs over 240 people, making it one of the largest employers in the region.
Page can be reached at 715-684-8615. The Medical Center’s Board of Trustees, the Medical Staff and the employee’s are very proud to be “Your Trusted Health and Wellness Partner”.

Man gets prison for killing girlfriend

A 30-year-old St. Paul man originally charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the shooting death of a woman in the St. Croix County Government Center parking lot was sentenced last week to 35 years in prison after being convicted of a lesser charge.
Christopher Soriano Ledesma pleaded no contest and was found guilty of second-degree intentional homicide. Judge Eric Lundell sentenced Ledesma to prison followed by 25 years of extended supervision.
The prison sentence will run consecutive to a five-year prison sentence Ledesma was given in Minnesota for a conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm and to a six-year prison sentence he was given June 25 in St. Croix County for violating probation conditions stemming from a first-degree reckless injury conviction in June 1996.
Ledesma was convicted in the September 20 shooting death of Kelly Lynn Dahm, 19, of Maplewood, Minn. He killed Dahm, an on-again, off-again girlfriend, by shooting her multiple times in a car registered to Ledesma in the government center’s upper parking lot.

County Fair is this weekend

The St. Croix County Fair kicks off at the Glenwood City Fairgrounds this Thursday, July23 and continues through Sunday. The fair starts at 10:45 a.m. Thursday with a Flag Raising and Opening Ceremony in Memorial Gardens (Near Croix Court). The Horse pull starts at 6:30 p.m. and the Fairest of the Fair Coronation starts at 8 p.m. The Alzen Family Blue Grass Band will perform at 8:30 p.m.
A fun-packed Friday begins the Kiddie tractor pull at 1:30 p.m. The WSCA Open Game Show and Championship Pulling Series Tractor and Truck Pull are at 6 p.m. The 4H/FFA Meat Animal Auction is at 6:30. Battle of the Bands starts at 7 p.m. and S&S Entertainment, Karaoke will be at the Beer Garden starting at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Saturday starts out with ATV Mud Races at 11 a.m. The Draft Horse Hitch show starts and 4 p.m. 4x4 Mud Races and Team Penning/Sorting Tournament both start at 7 p.m. The Memories Vocal Group will perform at 8:30 p.m.
A non-denominational church service at 9 a.m. starts the Sunday events. Mud volleyball and Antique Tractor Pull start at 11 a.m. Ole & Elmer at 11:15 a.m. The Willow River Players perform at 12:15 p.m. and the Local Talent Show starts at 1 p.m.
Free entertainment on the stage will take place throughout the weekend as well as a petting zoo and pony rides.

From the Exchanges
   Interesting News Items from
      Surrounding Communities

THE SUN (OSCEOLA): Issues with the federal economic stimulus package are causing delays to facility improvements at the county-owned Golden Age Manor nursing home in Amery. While bids for replacing windows at Golden Age Manor came in lower than expected, county board chairman/administrative coordinator Bryan Beseler will hold off on seeking county board approval for the window replacement project until it is known whether or not the county’s application for stimulus package money is approved or rejected. Beseler and county finance director Tonya Weinert said that if the county were to begin the window replacement project before being awarded stimulus package money it would no longer be eligible for such federal funding for energy efficiency. Bids for the window replacement project ranged from $138,353 to $199,800. At its April meeting the county board authorized a grant application for new windows and a new roof, as well as the purchase of new carpeting for some of the building, with some of the nursing home’s 2008 profits to be used to purchase carpeting. Weinert said the deadline for stimulus package grant applications has been pushed back a full month, to the end of July. That means applications won’t be acted on until August, at the earliest. No bids were received for the carpeting, which now will be re-bid. Since it will take at least six weeks after ordering for the carpet to arrive, Golden Age Manor’s maintenance supervisor John Johnson said it appears it will be impossible to have the new carpeting in place by the time Golden Age Manor holds its 50th anniversary celebration Aug. 30.

MONDOVI HERALD-NEWS: An injured man was found lying in the middle of the road in the Town of Naples early last Friday morning. The Buffalo County Sheriff’s Department received a 911 call at approximately 2:15 a.m. from an individual who came upon the man lying on County Rd. HH just west of Alleman Rd. The injured man was identified as Christopher M. Nelson, 38, and was transported to Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire with numerous injuries. Investigation is continuing on the incident.

BURNETT COUNTY SENTINEL: Bonnie Niemi said it best Wednesday night. "I think it would be a crime if we don't take advantage of this grant opportunity," she said.
At issue was the community development block grant (CDBG) the Village of Webster was considering applying for on behalf of the library board for improvements to the library. Niemi is with the Friends of the Burnett Community Library in Webster. Webster trustee Tim Maloney agreed. "I don't think this opportunity will come around again," he said. "I think people will be generous once we get the ball rolling," resident Marie Bremer added. Some in attendance were worried there isn't enough money in the current building fund. "There's still an on-going campaign to raise money," Maloney pointed out. "We don't necessarily have to move forward with what we have in hand." For her part, library board president Laura Rachford said none of the businesses in town have been approached for funds, but her plans include touching base with them. "We will be seeking project donations," she said. "As we have a better plan, we feel people will have a better idea for what we are trying to do." She wasn't alone in that thinking.

RIVER FALLS JOURNAL: It’s not marriage, but some say it’s marriage-like. There will be a waiting period and a fee, but no ceremony needed. In a couple of weeks, same-sex couples in Wisconsin will be allowed to declare domestic partnerships and take advantage of some of the rights and benefits extended to married. County clerks around the state are preparing to accept domestic partnership declaration applications starting August 3. The Domestic Partnership Law was included in the 2009-10 state budget signed by Gov. Jim Doyle June 29. The budget also includes domestic partner benefits for state employees. The application process, said St. Croix County Clerk Cindy Campbell, will be similar to applying for a marriage license. At least one of the applicants must have lived in the county for 30 days or longer, both must be of the same sex and at least 18, neither may be married or in another domestic partnership, the two must share a residence and they must not be nearer of kin than second cousins. Applicants must apply in person and there will be a five-day waiting period. Once the application is signed, it must be recorded with the county register of deeds. Campbell said she has no idea how many same-sex couples will register partnerships locally. She said Dane County, a larger county that already recognizes domestic partnerships has been registering about 30 a year. Under the new law, about 40 of the more than 200 rights and benefits extended to married couples will apply to domestic partners. Those include allowing domestic partners to take family and medical leave to care for a seriously ill partner, make end-of-life decisions, inherit the partner’s estate in the absence of a will had have hospital visitation rights.