Area briefs: Hormel Institute gets grant for Wilms' cancer research

The Austin-based institute receives a pair of grants to help with cancer research.

Potach Donatation Dec 2020.jpg
From left, Dr. Liang Liu, Dr. Rendong Yang, Gail Dennison, Dr. Sergio Gradilone, Elizabeth Fedie, Brenda Potach, Dr. Kurt Potach, Dr. Robert Clarke and Dr. Leena Hilakivi-Clarke gather to celebrate a $60,000 gift from the Karl Potach Foundation to fund Wilms' tumor research at The Hormel Institute. (Contributed photo/The Hormel Institute)
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AUSTIN — Dr. Kurt and Brenda Potach of The Karl Potach Foundation gave a $60,000 gift to The Hormel Foundation to further research of the Wilms’ tumor.

The donation brings the total given to The Hormel Foundation from The Karl Potach Foundation of $711,500 since 2008.

The Karl Potach Foundation also gave $10,000 to the Children’s Cancer Research Foundation.

“We were not able to have our normal golf tournament and live auction, so we did not expect to be able to gift this amount at all,” said Dr. Kurt Potach. He and his wife lost their son Karl to Wilms Tumor in 1997. “This donation to further research is a reflection of our generous friends and community who made this happen, even during COVID-19 and all the hardships people are enduring.”

City of Winona asks residents to limit Christmas celebrations


WINONA — With the Christmas and New Year holidays approaching, the city of Winona is asking residents to avoid large gatherings by either postponing them or canceling them.

With a recent surge in COVID-19 cases around the state, Winona County saw nearly two months of high COVID-19 case reports, hospitalizations and deaths, compared to previous months in the county.

“Being safe in December can set us up for more freedom this winter,” said Winona Mayor Mark Peterson. “I want to see a near future in Winona where kids can go back to school and play sports, where bars and restaurants reopen, where city facilities and other community gathering spaces can again serve our residents.”

Winona Mayor Mark Peterson
Mark Peterson

While limiting or postponing gatherings is recommended, the city cites several distance-based ways to celebrate, such as sending cards or letters to loved ones, holding virtual meetings or making phone calls. If families do gather, the city recommends keeping gatherings short in duration, maintaining social distancing and wearing masks.

For more information or recommendations, visit the city's website at and click on the Be Safe This Holiday Season link.

Hormel Foundation receives $50,000 grant for nanoparticle technology


AUSTIN — A $50,000 grant from the University of Minnesota will aid in the purchase of a new nanoparticle tracking analyzer for The Hormel Foundation.

Dr. Rafael Contreras, head of the Genome Instability & Chromosome Biology lab at The Hormel Institute, conducts research in the nanoparticle field. The grant will purchase a high-resolution nanoparticle cell imaging system, which will be shared by all research labs at The Hormel Institute.

“The NTA will ... enhance rigor and reproducibility as well as innovative aspects of research that is required for high impact publications, and generation of preliminary data necessary for additional extramural funding,” Contreras said.

The nanoparticle tracking analyzer will be used by several faculty and staff that work together in cancer research studies to estimate the amount, size, distribution, concentration, mobility and kinetics of biological nanoparticle-sized samples to characterize their contribution to health impact and disease processes. These particles include liposomes, microvesicles, exosomes, and viruses.

19 organizations benefit from $25,000 in grants in Austin

AUSTIN — The Austin Area Foundation gave more than $25,000 to 19 Austin-area nonprofits for 2021 plus another $6,000 for the Salvation Army Food Shelf from the foundation's Basic Needs Fund.

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Steve Barrett


“We are thankful to our donors who make up AAF and through their donations can make gifts to those they care about in Austin,” said Executive Director Steve Barrett. “Especially in a year when COVID-19 has placed an extra burden on community organizations and nonprofits, this is a great opportunity to expand their impact and further their missions.”

Winona Fine Arts Council names 11 grant winners for 2020

WINONA — Eight individuals and three organizations were awarded grants by the Winona Fine Arts Council.

Winners of the $500 grants include Robert Armstrong, Mary Farrell, Brianna Haupt, Patricia Howard, LaShara Morgan, Nathaniel Nelson, Maggie Panetta and Anna VanDemark; plus the Frozen River Film Festival, Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts and Winona Art Center.

The Fine Arts Council considered artists and organizations based on artistic merit, financial need, contributions to Winona and sustainability of work if funded.

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