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• Minnesota author Gene Stark will sign books on Saturday, December 7 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Book World in Alexandria.

Gene StarkStark, born and raised in Minnesota, is a teacher, organic farmer, trapper and greenhouse grower. Through both poetry and prose, his writing depicts the outdoors and the people and culture of rural America.

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His latest novel, Water and Dirt, tells the story of a successful New York businessman, Rutherford “Runt” Hobbes, as he ponders his past life. Orphaned and crippled at birth, he slogged through the essence of survival in rural Minnesota.

Stark previously published Flyover Seasons, an outdoor journey through changing landscapes, and Tracks in the Mud, a personal chronicle of when a great fur boom hit the continent.

Visit Stark’s blog at www.flyovercountryscribe.com.

• Paul Amundson, financial consultant with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, was awarded a professional designation in the field of long-term care, Certified in Long-Term Care. The program is independent of the insurance industry and focuses on providing financial service professionals the tools needed to meet their client’s long-term care needs.

The goal of the designation is to teach financial professionals how to create a plan that preserves the emotional, physical and financial well-being of a client’s family should care be necessary.

Participants are provided the information and training needed to offer guidance to families on a range of issues including home care, assisted living, nursing homes, social services and establishing a plan for what will pay for these resources.

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