People, Places, Lifestyles of the Minnesota River Valley
Care for all ages. Establishing a relationship with a primary care provider is essential for optimum health care. A physician who is familiar with you and your health history can provide quality on-going care, not just manage symptoms. We are proud to welcome our newest providers to our team. At the Mankato Clinic, we have providers who are here to give complete health care for all ages and stages. Call 507-625-1811 to make your appointment. MANKATO CLINIC 1-800-657-6944 â€˘ www.mankatoclinic.com Leah Breit, M.D., Family Medicine and Obstetrics North Mankato Manuel Lugo, M.D., Pediatrics Main Street Preman Singh, M.D., Internal Medicine Main Street Learn more about our providers by visiting www.mankatoclinic.com. MANKATO, MN SOUTHERN MINNESOTA’S PREMIERE EVENT FACILITY With over 45,000 square feet of flexible meeting/event space Trade Shows | Concerts | Corporate Meetings | Conventions | Weddings Plus, Mankato’s City Center’s arts and entertainment venues are right out the front door! VERIZONWIRELESSCENTERMN.COM | 507.389.3000 ANKATO M FEATURE S April 2013 Volume 8, Issue 4 magazine 24 Purchase power Get yourself the right price with a little investigation and negotiation. 36 Spring birthday Essay by acclaimed North Mankato writer Nicole Helget. 42 From Hollywood to Henderson Cameraman and photographer Joel King collected a lifetime of memories along the way. 48 Day Trip Destinations: Lanesboro Check out the 16th annual Ibsen Festival 54 Thrift thinking Tips for thinking and shopping frugally. About the Cover Minnesota State University theatre and education student MacKenzie Nix served as the model for this month’s cover. Photo by The Free Press Media photographer Pat Christman MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 3 MANKATO DEPAR TMENTS magazine 10 12 16 22 6 From the Editor Magazine gets a fresh look 8 Odds ‘n’ Ends 10 Introductions Mike Thomas, North Links Golf Course 12 The Gallery Eric Harstad, Claire Wellin, literary notes 14 That’s Life Cutting the cable cord 16 Your Tastes Easy Easter brunch with pantry punch 18 Your Health Statins: Good for heart, bad for memory 20 Garden Chat What I do for the good of the garden 22 Your Style Step into spring spirit 28 Coming Attractions April events calendar 30 Happy Hour Grow your own cocktails 50 Then and Now Mankato police cruisers 60 Remember When Paging through old yearbooks: Part 2 Coming in May We’ll take a look at some of the partnerships — from charitable legacies to unlikely collaborations — that make this area such a great place to live and work. Plus, it’s almost summertime, so we’ll get outside and do some traveling as well. Join us, and we’ll partner up for the task. 28 4 • april 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE 50 MANKATO From The Editor magazine April 2013 • VOLUME 8, ISSUE 4 PUBLISHER James P. Santori EDITOR Joe Spear ASSOCIATE Tanner Kent EDITOR CONTRIBUTING Nell Musolf WRITERS Pete Steiner Jean Lundquist Marie Wood Nicole Helget Leticia Gonzales PHOTOGRAPHERS John Cross Pat Christman PAGE DESIGNER Christina Sankey ADVERTISING David Habrat MANAGER ADVERTISING Karla Marshall Sales ADVERTISING Barb Wass ASSISTANT ADVERTISING Sue Hammar DESIGNERS Christina Sankey CIRCULATION Denise Zernechel DIRECTOR Mankato Magazine is published by The Free Press Media monthly at 418 South Second St., Mankato MN 56001. To subscribe, call 1-800-657-4662 or 507-625-4451. $19.95 for 12 issues. For editorial inquiries, call Tanner Kent at 344-6354, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For advertising, call 344-6336, or e-mail email@example.com. 6 • april 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE By Joe Spear Magazine gets a fresh look Travel, revamped features, more arts and new twists on old features lead the way M ankato Magazine is undergoing an exciting remodeling of sorts, and we think you’ll like a lot of the new look and feel. We’re tweaking the design, revamping some of the departments, giving them a fresh coat of paint. We’ve met with a magazine design consultant and reviewed some new ideas that we think will make the magazine even more engaging while keeping the interests of our readers in mind. We’re changing the order of some of the departments and features to give the magazine a pace that primes the pump with short items of interest up front, eases readers into longer features in the middle and then concludes each month’s Mankato “story” with personal columns. We’ve added a day trip feature that will become a monthly staple. This month, Associate Editor Tanner Kent takes us on a a literary trip of sorts to Lanesboro, the quintessential small town in Minnesota that has become a pretty huge tourist attraction. It hosts the Ibsen Festival in April. Henrik Ibsen was a Norwegian playwright said by some experts to rival Shakespeare. There are plenty of interesting things to do during the festival and most of them are free. Along the way, you can visit a quirky historical museum in Fillmore County and a old city jail turned into a bed-and-breakfast in Wykoff. Our aim is to bring you a new destination each month and suggest a trip during a time when there is some significant event occurring in the location. We’re also renaming some of our departments to not only freshen them up but to help people understand what those departments are about. We changed the “Artist Insight” feature that usually just focused on one artist and their work to a department now called “Gallery” that will be a little broader in subject matter and contain two or three shorter items. We’ve turned our “Places in the Past” to “Something Old, Something New,” a feature designed to show how things have changed in interesting ways. Again, we broaden the category beyond just places. This feature will be more graphically oriented, and we start with how the latest popular police car, the Ford Interceptor, has changed compared to features that were in the old Crown Victorias, the longtime standard police vehicle. In the area of interesting people, we have multiple offerings this month. Take Joel King, a former Hollywood cameraman living in Henderson upon his retirement from the silver screen. He has tons of stories of Hollywood happenings and photos to go with them. He’s worked with Steven Spielberg, took pictures of Barbara Streisand and worked on movie sets with Lawrence Olivier, Bette Davis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones. Beyond stories of memorabilia of the stars, our Thrift Issue offers some advice from experts on how to find such treasures from farm auctions to estate sales. “Old farm auctions in southern Minnesota are the best ones to go to. There are hidden treasures,” says Rob Winter, co-owner of Antique Warehouse in Mankato, who has made a living of buying old and cheap and selling for more. Give us your thoughts on the new look and content changes, and, as always, take time to read. M Joe Spear is editor of Mankato Magazine. Contact him at 344-6382 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Odds n’ Ends By Tanner Kent This Day in History Bright colors Bright ideas Corporate Graphics Your Printing Solutions Company 1750 Northway Drive North Mankato, MN 56003 800-729-7575 www.corpgraph.com April 3, 1948: Two large and mysterious balloons were discovered near Lake Washington. Unfolded, the balloons were large enough to cover a small barn. They were made of a white, plastic material, had no markings or identification, and were both found deflated. The Associated Press reported the balloons were sent from Little Falls as part of a test for the Navy. April 5, 1890: “A lively sensation” overtook municipal court proceedings when it was discovered that W.H. Anderson, who was charged with possessing and distributing obscene literature, had deserted Mankato. In a letter he left for his attorney, Byron Hughes, Anderson order the stock of his “fruits, tobacco and confectionery” to be sold and used to repay his $200 bond and lawyer fees. He also promised to expose the “true colors” of Chief Fowler, whom he accused of having a vendetta. April 8, 1901: On this day, The Free Press reported that three days prior, a mountain lion was killed five miles southeast of Mankato along the Le Sueur River. Two weeks earlier, Casper Schulte’s pig pen was raided by the cat, badly lacerating five sows and mortally wounding three. In the ensuing days, Schulte’s family members reported additional sightings. Around 5 p.m. on April 5, Schulte’s son spotted the beast and fired upon it with a Winchester rifle. He dropped the animal initially, but it picked itself up and ran off with a group of armed men in tow. After tracking the animal along the river, it was shot again trying to cross a bridge. Still not dead, the men dispatched the mountain lion with clubs. The mountain lion was 800-1,000 pounds, 5 feet long and 3 feet high. April 19, 1897: On this date, the popular and widely known phrenologist William Windsor visited Mankato. Phrenology is a mostly debunked science that proposed that an individual’s character could be determined from the morphology of the skull. After an early career as a criminal lawyer, Windsor toured the country offering lectures and remedies. In Mankato, he lectured about “How to Become Rich” and held an event in which he paired young men and women for matrimony based on skull measurements. Home craft: Mason jar magic By Cindy McNatt McClatchy Tribune News Service G iving your Mason jars a colorful tint is easy and takes about 10 minutes. All you need is white glue, a sponge brush and food coloring. If you don’t have Mason jars, use spaghetti sauce jars. I save them for all kinds of projects. For pretty blue flower vases, I chose three sizes. Here are the steps: Pour 2 tablespoons or so of white glue into a small glass bowl. In another glass bowl, add a drop of food coloring. Use a spoon to pick up a dab of food coloring and add it to the glue. Mix well. Keep adding food coloring 8 • april April 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE until you achieve a color you like. Use a dampened sponge brush to brush your mixture onto clean jars. Don’t worry about the brush strokes they will disappear when the jars are dry. You’re done! The treatment isn’t dishwasher safe, but an occasional rinse in cool water won’t harm your tinted jars. Spring cleaning: Solutions for the trickiest of recycling problems By Terri Bennett | McClatchy Newspapers There is a popular topic that I like to tackle every so often. It’s how to recycle items that may be a bit tricky. Never fear, you can do your part to find eco-friendly solutions. Here are few items that I get asked about and ways you can get them all responsibly recycled. Mattresses These bulky items usually get replaced around every ten years. So what happens to the old ones? They usually go to waste in a landfill despite the fact that most of its materials are recyclable. Some full service recycling centers will accept them for materials. If the one where you live doesn’t, many homeless shelters will accept mattresses in good condition. Also, if you are buying a new mattress, some companies will take away your old one for free. However, it’s up to you to find out if yours will be recycled. Companies such as Sleep America and Emattress are committed to recycling and repurposing the old ones by giving them to low-income families. Mercury thermometers Mercury thermometers are becoming harder and harder to find. That’s because many states don’t even allow them to be sold because of the toxic mercury inside them. So if you have an old one you want to get rid of, the last thing you should do is toss it in the trash. Instead, contact your local health department to see if they participate in a mercury thermometer exchange program. Many will give you a free digital thermometer in return. You can also bring those mercury thermometers to a full servicerecycling center. Cables and cords Who doesn’t have a bunch of cables and cords collecting dust somewhere? These are considered electronic waste (e-waste) and contain materials that can be recycled. Many Best Buy stores will accept them for recycling as will Goodwill collection sites across the country. Check out DoYourPart.com/Columns for more e-waste solutions -- including ones that could earn you a little cash. Eyeglasses When it’s time to get a new pair of eyeglasses, you may find that your old pair of glasses still has plenty of life left in them. Lions Club International successfully collects more than 20 million pairs a year and gives them to people who need them the most. Unite for Sight also will take old pairs as will the New Eyes for the Needy organization. Toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes How many tubes of toothpaste do you think you’ve thrown in the trash after you’ve gotten that last squeeze? What about old toothbrushes? Once you’re done with them there are ways to get them recycled. In fact, Terracycle will pay for you to send them in. From there, they are made into plastic pellets that can then be molded into everything from playground equipment to garden tools. Ask the Expert: Spring motorcycle prep Interview by Nell Musolf Spring has officially arrived and along with the sound of birds chirping there’s another familiar noise filling the air: the hum of motorcycles. Matt Raker, owner of Mankato Crank and Chrome, 1385 Lookout Drive, North Mankato, says now is the time to get your motorcycle into shape before hitting the road. Raker recommends taking care of the following when getting out a motorcycle that’s been stored for the winter: • Check tire pressure, oil level and quality, making sure to check on the floor where the motorcycle has been store for evidence of fluid leaks. • Check chain tension and relubricate if necessary. • Check fuel level and quality. If the fuel has a stale odor, drain the tank and fill with fresh fuel. • Checking the battery condition is also important. “Batteries age and sulfate faster when not used regularly. If the starter seems to crank slower than you remember and the battery is more than 3 years old, it’s probably time for a new one,” Raker says. Once your motorcycle is ready for the road, Raker has tips to keep it up and running. “Just like cars and trucks, motorcycles need to be maintained in all the same ways,” Raker said. “Keep clean motor oil in the engine. Use oil formulated specifically for motorcycle engines — do not use automotive oil. If equipped, make sure the drive chain tension is within specification to prolong chain and sprocket life. If your bike is carbureted, use non-oxygenated gasoline. This will help prevent damaging and varnishing of the carburetors.” Raker says that all gasolines in Minnesota are blended with at least 10 percent ethanol unless otherwise labeled. “Look for label’s that say “no alcohol” or “nonoxygenated” on the gas pump,” Raker advises. “When in doubt, follow the recommended maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual.” MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 9 Introductions Interview by Tanner Kent Photo courtesy of Mike Thomas Mike Thomas has been the general manager and PGA golf professional at North Links Golf Course in North Mankato since 1995. The Pro Mike Thomas, the general manager and PGA golf professional at North Links, has a game that goes well beyond the course Mankato Magazine: When did you start playing golf, and when did it become a more serious pursuit? Mike Thomas: I started playing golf at age 5. My dad used to take me to the golf course and I was allowed to pull his cart and I started playing every day shortly thereafter. I was pretty serious about the game by age 10 traveling around the state of Iowa and the Midwest and eventually the country as a teenager playing in tournaments from Florida to California. MM: Can you share some highlights from your playing days at Iowa State? What do you remember most? What was your proudest moment? MT: I was one of the better junior players in Iowa, winning a state championship at age 16. I continued to play golf at Iowa State University and was an average varsity player usually playing in the fourth or fifth spot. I was most 10 • April 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE happy about graduating in 1989 — it is a challenge being a student athlete. MM: When did you come to North Links, and what led you here? MT: I have been at the North Links Golf Course and Banquet Facility since 1995. I was brought on board by the management company I worked for in Iowa, who was hired by the group of banks that owned the golf course after the city of North Mankato. MM: What has kept you here since 1995? MT: I work for a great owner and Mankato is a great city. The golf course is owned by the Wilson Golf Group. We own nine golf course in four states. The Wilsons are from the White Bear Lake area and own Wilson Tool International in Hugo. Photo courtesy of Mike Thomas North Links Golf Course hosts more than 30,000 golfers every year and is designed for all skill levels. MM: How many people play at North Links each year? What do you see as the course’s strengths? MT: North Links is host to 30,000 golfers each year. The golf course is easily enjoyed by all skill levels. Our primary goals are to provide a quality golf course at a fair price. MM: As a general manager and PGA golf professional, what does your job entail? Are there any misconceptions about your job? MT: I wear a lot of hats during the day, as does anyone running a small business. My main goal during any day is to ensure that our customers are happy and having a fun experience. North Links also hosts a large number of golf outings and events so I am constantly working with those groups to ensure their expectations are being met and that their day is perfect. The biggest misconception is that PGA golf professionals play a lot of golf. After a long day and week, I like to get away from work like everyone else. I play about 10 times during the Minnesota golf season and take a couple golf trips in the winter with friends. MM: Do you participate in any other sports outside golf? Are there any lessons or skills that carry over? MT: There are two thing I don’t remember ever not doing, golfing and running. I have been running since the age of 11 and haven’t stopped. I run a couple marathons and a dozen other races each year. It is something, like golf, that I want to do until the end of my days. Both golf and running take dedication and discipline if you want to do them well and keep improving. Running takes me where I want to go. MM: If you could put together a dream foursome to play 18 holes with, who would you include and why? MT: Dream foursome: My dad, Duane “Spoot” Thomas, who passed away in 2008 and introduced me to the game; my mom, Billie Thomas, who was an avid golfer and passed away last year; and Jack Nicklaus who was my golf hero growing up and is still the greatest player of all time — sorry Tiger. Both my mom and dad made multiple holes in one. Me? I’m still waiting. M MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 11 The Gallery By Tanner Kent Claire Wellin: From MSU to Broadway Minnesota State University alum Claire Wellin made headlines in March when she became the first MSU graduate to perform in a Broadway production. While previous graduates have worked on Broadway in technical roles, Wellin was offered the opportunity to join the cast of the musical “Once” in the role of Reza. The Tony Award-winning “Once” tells the story of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young woman takes a sudden interest in his love songs. Their unlikely connection, however, turns out to be deeper and more complex than any ordinary romance. Wellin, a Bismarck, N.D., native, began her performances on March 26 and will continue through April 23, appearing in all eight shows each week. While at MSU, Wellin was an award-winning performer with several leading roles. “From the minute she arrived in our department, we knew she had a special talent,” said Paul J. Hustoles, chair of MSU’s Department of Theatre and Dance. “All of her performances tended to be electrifying.” The following is a photo gallery of some of Wellin’s most memorable roles. M “Gypsy,” April 2007 “Bus Stop,” November 2007 “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” April 2008 “Cats,” October 2007 12 • April 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE “Hamlet,” February-March 2008 “See What I Wanna See,” November 2008 Harstad and Haydn E New conductor leads Minnesota Valley Chorale into spring performance ric Harstad has been officially named the conductor of the Minnesota Valley Chorale. The Hutchinson music teacher and doctoral candidate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln assumed interim duties last year in the wake of Rod Urtel’s retirement into the singing section of the Chorale. He’ll kick off his official role on April 6 and 7 when the MN Valley Chorale performs Haydn’s Mass in G “Sancti Nicolai” as well as other selections. The Chorale will be accompanied by a chamber orchestra and keyboard. Performances are 7:30 p.m. on April 6 at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Mankato; and 3 p.m. on April 7 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Mankato. Tickets are available at the door for $15 ($12 for students and seniors). Harstad, who has agreed to conduct for the next two seasons, described the Haydn selection as tuneful and varied. “It’s the kind of thing people will like the first time they hear it,” he said. The Mankato Magazine caught up with Harstad for a few more questions before the Minnesota Valley Chorale takes the stage: Mankato Magazine: What qualities distinguish the Minnesota Valley Chorale? Eric Harstad: The leadership within the group and the collaborative effort of members. I’m the conductor, but I’m not everything. And that’s unique. Other groups might have a conductor and someone who is a go-getter — but what happens when they step away, or get sick? We are group-led, not conductor-led. Over time, that’s helped the group gain a lot of survivability. Also, I think we have a unique repertoire of great choral literature that is often not performed. I think we bring something to the area no one else does. MM: What do you hope the audience finds in your upcoming concert? EH: One thing I hope they find is variety. ... The pieces we are performing demand more soloistic tone with more color and freedom. Some require more vigorous singing, and other pieces explore more gentle tones. It’s like the difference between playing hockey and throwing someone into the boards, and threading a needle. It’s easy to allow a group to have one tone. But we don’t want to have one generic tone. I think that’s something we are working on and having success with. MM: What’s the most moving musical experience you’ve ever had? EH: Oh, I’ve had a lot. Usually, they’ve involved choral music. I did shed a couple tears at the U2 concert at the Target Center. But that was ultimately a big singalong with a definite spiritual element. Singing with the Dale Warland Singers, I’ve had a number of moments. One time we sang the Stephen Paulus piece “The Old Church,” that just seemed to be one of those magical nights. We were all feeling something together. You only get moments like that when it’s live. M Literary quick hits: Vatican release, Hanel debut, Good Thunder wraps up • The timing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s resignation couldn’t have been better for Mankato native John Thavis. Thavis, a longtime reporter and bureau chief for the Catholic News Service, released his Vatican tell-all, “The Vatican Diaries,” in February, just weeks after the announcement of Benedict’s resignation. His book has since been reviewed in newspapers and magazines across the country, vaulting into the top 16 of the New York Times Bestseller list for hardcover fiction by mid-March. Kirkus Reviews called it “irreverent and revealing.” The USA Today praised it as a “well-reported story” that is more journalism than sensationalism. For more, www.johnthavis.com “Digger O’Dell” and cheerfully embraced his role. The title of her book was Digger’s chosen motto. Hanel has a number of release events scheduled in the area. For more, see this month’s events calendar on page 28, or visit www.rachaelhanel.com. (Disclosure: Hanel has appeared as a columnist for Mankato Magazine.) • Minnesota State University’s Good Thunder Reading Series wraps up its 31st season with a pair of events in April. — Poet Kris Begalk and fiction writers Thomas Maltman and Scott Wrobel will visit on April 11. Craft talk will be held 3 p.m. in MSU’s Ostrander Auditorium. Reading is 7:30 p.m. in Centennial Student Union room 253. • Madison Lake writer Rachael Hanel’s debut publication “We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down” will be released this month by the University of Minnesota Press. In the memoir, Hanel explores her childhood as the daughter of a gravedigger, a man who styled himself — MSU faculty Geoff Herbach and Diana Joseph will participate in the faculty residency April 25. Craft talk will be held 3 p.m. in MSU’s Ostrander Auditorium. Reading is 7:30 p.m. in Centennial Student Union room 253. All events are free and open to the public. M MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 13 That’s Life By Nell Musolf Cutting the cable cord H aving grown up in the golden years when shows like “The Man” from U.N.C.L.E.,” “Rich Man, Poor Man” and “Falcon Crest” were shown, I spent a great deal of my free time (as in most of it) plopped in front of the boob tube instead of doing something worthwhile, such as my homework. Fortunately my husband Mark grew up with the same addiction and even agreed to use Alan as our younger son’s middle name in honor of Alan Brady of “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” (I have learned that when you are nuts, it helps a lot to marry someone who is just as nutty as you are.) For many years we were happily addicted together, spending countless evenings debating the realism of “The Love Boat” plots and which Ed Asner we’d rather work for — the one on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” or the one on “Lou Grant.” But as time passed and our cable bill grew until it rivaled the January heating bill, the bloom slowly faded from our television addiction rose. There never seemed to be anything worth watching and every month as I wrote out the check to the cable company, I would ask, “Why don’t we just cancel cable?” I thought it was an empty threat until one day Mark agreed with me: 14 • april 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE “Why don’t we? With the money we save, we could buy DVDs or get Netflix or take a trip to Hawaii.” So we took the plunge and cut the cable cord. At first it was easy to fill our empty evening hours. We were thrilled not to be sending a check to the cable company and, as we told each other repeatedly, now we had time to do more worthwhile activities, like reading and listening to music and talking to each other. Then the second day rolled around. Although neither of our sons inherited the television addiction gene, they both had their favorite shows that they missed. “You are going to get cable back before “Breaking Bad” is on again, aren’t you?” our son Joe asked. “And what about Comedy Central?” Hank questioned. “It’s not the same watching “The Colbert Report” on the computer.” “We are not getting cable back ever,” I said in my most firm voice. “This is it, guys. We can have cable or we can save up for a wonderful, family vacation where we can bond and have memories that last a lifetime.” Joe and Hank exchanged somewhat jaded glances. “I’d rather have cable,” Joe informed me. By the end of our first month without cable, we were all getting a little frazzled. The thrill of being our own television programs had long since gone away and as Mark and I sat in the family room in front of the darkened television set, our conversations went something like this: “What do you want to watch?” “I don’t know. What do you want to watch?” “I don’t know. “Magnum, P.I.?”” Sigh. “I guess. Are you going to put the DVD in?” “I put it in last time!” Adding even more pain to the situation was the dismal realization that the antennae we bought picked up a meager two channels and we lost both of those when we rearranged the family room and discovered that the antennae didn’t pick up anything in its new location. The feeling of total isolation increased and Mark began to speak darkly of not knowing when the next snowstorm, invasion from a foreign country or meteor might strike us. “We won’t know anything,” he pointed out. “We’ll be sitting ducks.” “Do you want me to get cable back?” I quickly asked. Mark and I looked at each other, hope sparking behind each of our eyes. “Do you want to get cable back? After all, we’ve saved so much money not having it.” Although I hated to ruin his illusion that we’d been fiscally responsible for once in our marriage, I had to. “Not really since we bought the complete series of “McMillan and Wife,” “Columbo” and “Gilligan’s Island.” “I don’t care. We can watch those when there’s nothing on cable.” So I called the cable company and they sent out a very nice installer who told us that we were the third people he’d reinstalled that week. After he left and we had all three television sets blaring, Mark sat down in his recliner, picked up the remote and said, “That was the longest six months of my life.” Again, I hated to burst his bubble but I did anyway. “Actually, it was only six weeks.” Mark didn’t hear me. He was too busy channel surfing. After going through the complete line up, he said, “There’s still nothing on but I don’t care. Life just isn’t the same without cable.” No, it isn’t. And now that we have it back, we’re never going to pull the plug again. M Nell Musolf is a mom and a freelance writer from Mankato. MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 15 Your Tastes By Family Features Easy Easter brunch with a pantry punch T he ingredients for an easy weekend breakfast or a special Easter brunch may be in your pantry right now. Holidays are the perfect time to sprinkle additional creativity or fresh new thinking into meals for family and friends and — by using staples like pancake mix, syrup and instant mashed potatoes in unexpected ways — you can craft new and delicious dishes sure to make everyone smile. Try these recipes using simple pantry staples, and turn them into what will become new brunch favorites. Good Morning Granola Yield: 5 cups Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats 1 cup sliced almonds 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut (optional) 2 tablespoons wheat germ 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 tablespoons Crisco Pure Vegetable Oil 1/2 cup syrup 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar 1 cup dried fruit, such as raisins, golden raisins, cherries or cranberries HEAT oven to 350 degrees. COMBINE oats, almonds, coconut, wheat germ, salt and cinnamon in large bowl. Combine oil, syrup and brown sugar in another bowl. Pour over oat mixture. Toss until well coated. Spread evenly in 13-inch-by-9-inch pan. BAKE 30 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Cool completely. Stir in dried fruit. Store in airtight container at room temperature. Pancake Breakfast Sandwich Yield: 4 servings Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes Pancakes: No-stick cooking spray 3/4 cup pancake mix 1/3 cup water 1/4 cup syrup 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 1cup frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed, chopped into bitesized pieces 1/4 teaspoon salt 4 3-inch round sausage patties Eggs: 1 tablespoon butter 1/3 cup diced red pepper 4 large eggs 1/8 teaspoon salt For pancakes: COAT griddle or skillet with no-stick cooking spray. Heat griddle or skillet on medium heat (350 degrees). WHISK pancake mix, water and syrup in medium bowl. Stir in cheese, potatoes and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook sausage patties as directed on package. POUR 2 tablespoons batter on griddle, spreading batter to make a 3-inch circle or by using 3-inch pancake molds, coated with no-stick cooking spray. Repeat to make 7 more pancakes. Cook 2 minutes or until golden brown. Turn. Cook second side 2 minutes. 16 • april 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE For eggs: MELT butter in large skillet. Add red pepper. Cook and stir about 1 minute. Whisk eggs and salt in small bowl. Pour into skillet with peppers. Cook slightly, then shape into four 3-inch circles about the same size as the pancakes and sausage. PLACE one pancake on plate. Top with cooked sausage patty, egg and another pancake to make breakfast sandwich. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 3 more sandwiches. TIP: If using pre-made sausage patties, flatten slightly into 3-inch rounds, if necessary. We make you pretty on the inside. Make an appointment with us today. Giving the Best Care to your Best Friend. Preventative Medicine | Laser Surgery | Dentistry 501 Raintree Rd • (507) 388-4500 • www.rhpch.com MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 17 Your Health By Christie Aschwanden |The Washington Post Statins: Good for the heart — bad for memory A lawyer contacted Beatrice Golomb, a physician at the VA San Diego Healthcare Center, because he could no longer follow a normal conversation with his clients. A radiologist told Golomb that he found himself suddenly unable to distinguish left from right. A third person told her he had grown so forgetful that his doctor assumed he had Alzheimer’s. All three had developed their memory problems after taking a cholesterol-lowering statin drug, and the symptoms improved after they stopped the medication. The statin revolution began in 1987, when lovastatin was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since then, this class of drugs has transformed cardiac medicine, says Allen Taylor, chief of cardiology at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. “Cardiovascular disease affects one in two people. This is the one drug that works.” But these drugs are not without risks. Golomb has amassed thousands of reports at her website Statineffects.com, detailing adverse reactions from statins. She says that cognitive problems are the secondmost-common side effect reported in her database, after muscle pain. In a 2009 report in the journal Pharmacotherapy, Golomb described 171 patients who’d reported cognitive problems after taking statins. The idea that a cholesterollowering drug could make your brain fuzzy might sound crazy, and Golomb says the notion was greeted with suspicion at first. But eventually the FDA received enough such reports that last February it ordered drug companies to add a new warning label about possible memory problems. No one knows how common the cognitive side effects are. Golomb says the data that she’s collected are all self-reported and voluntary. And 18 • april 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE the FDA’s MedWatch database is similarly built of mostly voluntary reports, though drugmakers are required to submit to the FDA adverse events that they know about. So without more systematic tracking, it’s impossible to measure how commonly these side effects occur. Many doctors believe the problem is fairly rare, posing little risk for the tens of millions of people using statins every day to keep their cholesterol levels in check. “It’s not a very common side effect,” says Orli Etingin, an internist and professor in women’s health at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. “But it’s definitely real. Typically, it’s a fairly high-functioning woman who is having difficulty remembering and multi-tasking.” Taylor points out that clinical trials on statin use have never turned up memory problems and that researchers once held hopes that the drugs might actually prevent cognitive decline. However, a 2002 clinical trial designed to determine whether statins might decrease the risk of memory problems in elderly patients found no difference in cognitive function between participants who took pravastatin and those who didn’t. “I’m very skeptical [of the link between statins and memory problems],” Taylor says. Most patients taking statins have a greater risk of developing cognitive decline from heart disease (which can impair blood flow to the brain) than from the drugs. Golomb says that detecting cognitive side effects is hard because subtle changes are difficult to measure even under ideal circumstances. Multiple memory tests, for example, may not be very informative, because you become better at them the more you do them, and so performance from one to the next can be highly variable, she says. Unless the changes are dramatic, they may evade measurement. Furthermore, most people don’t undergo cognitive testing until they start having memory trouble. “Unless you have baseline data, you have no way to measure what’s happened,” Golomb says. If you’re taking a statin, what kind of problems should you look out for? “Often it’s trouble with multitasking or word retrieval,” says physician Gayatri Devi, a neurologist in New York whose practice focuses on memory loss. “It’s short-term memory. It won’t make you forget your child’s name.” She warns against panicking. Don’t assume it’s your statin every time you can’t find your keys. “People tend to misconstrue the level of the effect,” Devi says. “It might cause cognitive changes, but it won’t put you in a coma or cause completely irreversible memory loss.” Devi advises patients who worry that they may be having statinrelated side effects to stop taking the drug for two weeks, under doctor supervision, to see if things improve. If the statin is to blame, the problems should clear up within that time period. For people without heart disease who take a statin as part of cholesterol-lowering strategy aimed at prevention, going off the statin for a month or two should not pose any risk, Etingin says. If the symptoms stop after you go off the drug, the next step would be trying a different statin, Etingin says. But don’t make any changes without consulting your doctor first, especially if you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease, Taylor says. For people with heart problems, “this is the one drug that works,” he says. If you quit your statin and then have a stroke, your memory troubles will be far worse. If you suspect that a statin is impairing your memory, talk with your doctor about the options that make sense for you. “If your doctor says you’re crazy, look for another doctor,” Golomb says. (Statin makers AstraZeneca, BristolMyers Squibb, Pfizer and Merck declined to comment for this article.) M MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 19 Garden Chat By Jean Lundquist What I do for the good of the garden W hat a long, strange winter it’s been! Spring is more than welcome again this year. Here’s a synopsis of my winter: Last fall I got the flu shot. Then, last winter, I got the flu. After the first ice storm, I managed to bounce my head off the ice when I slipped and fell rather unceremoniously. Then I did it twice more, just for good measure. In the name of doing something good, I adopted a stray kitten from an animal impound. He is not the cutest kitten I have ever laid eyes on, but I believed he deserved affection and food in a forever home. He hated me. I spent a couple hundred dollars on him to make him adoptable for his real forever family. My chickens, plus the hens I took in for the winter decided their favorite place to be each day was on the steps by the door. Chickens tend to poop wherever they happen to be. A lot. With one photograph, I can prove my hens are free range and cage free. Yuck. Every measurable snow was welcome, because I could clear the steps of more things than just snow. But I didn’t want to wash off the steps with water — which would become ice — because of my previous episodes with ice and head bouncing. But one woman’s “yuck” is another woman’s treasure. Lucky for me, I happen to be both women in this saga. My chicken coop is very small. It’s actually a plastic garden shed that has been imaginatively rigged to allow chickens to be out during the day, and locked up tight against predators at night during the summer. During the winter, they spend a lot of time in the coop staying warm and out of the wind. The manure buildup can be something terrible in the winter. When they aren’t on the steps, they tend to be in the coop, you see. But I found three days warm enough this winter to thaw the buildup, so I could scoop the poop from the coop. Larry backed the truck down to the garden to make a rut for my wheelbarrow through the snow, and the stinky treasure was delivered to the part of the garden that will not be planted into grass seed this spring. The straw I used is bean straw, so there should be no crop of oats or weeds from the bedding this year. And it’s been a while since I’ve added any amendments to my soil, so it is truly treasure for my soil. I don’t like mucking manure out of the chicken coop, but when it’s for my garden, I can think of spring and lush vegetation to spur me on to finishing the project. I plan to scoop the poop from the coop once more this month. I intend to rake it out over the surface of the 20 • April 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE garden, then till it into the soil. In two months when my garden sprouts to life, I will forget the steps, and forget how I had to hold my breath every morning when I opened up the coop. Instead, I will be thinking how wonderful it is that I can grow food for my family that is so healthy because of using manure on my garden. Black gold. Better than compost. Fertilizer I made myself, with more than a little help from the chickens. I’m hoping to see a boost in the garden plot this year with the help of those chickens. I’ve been unable to find a real purpose for them otherwise. I sell their eggs, but I have been unable to make a profit from that so far. In fact, this winter I had to “loan” them some money so I could buy them food. In the winter, they can’t supplement the store-bought food with the weeds and bugs they find in the yard in the summertime. Or maybe I should charge more for the eggs ... This year, I borrowed an additional 10 hens to put in the coop to help generate body heat in the coop on those cold winter nights. They were too young to lay eggs when I got them, but they were not too young to be manure machines. I’ll see this summer if they paid for their keep when I see how well my garden grows. But even if the result isn’t as dramatic as I’m hoping it will be, those hens won’t be included in the chicken cluster on the steps this summer. M Jean Lundquist is a master gardener who lives near Good Thunder. Twin Rivers Council for the Arts PROMOTING A VIBRANT ARTS COMMUNITY Arts by the River is now accepting applications from arts and culture organizations. To learn more, or to volunteer, visit ArtsbytheRiver.com. Deadline May 1. In the Gallery at the Emy Frentz Arts Guild, 523 S 2nd St, Mankato: APRIL 8, 5:306:30PM – ArtTalks! Networking group. Meet, collaborate, brainstorm, and be heard. Free to TRCA aﬃliates. $5 general admission. RSVP to email@example.com. APRIL 12, NOON1PM –The Artist Circle: Facilitated by Barbe Marshall Hansen. Make your artistic voice a priority, as an audience member, student, or practitioner. Meeting monthly 2nd Fridays. Free to TRCA aﬃliates. $5 general admission. Bring a lunch. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. MAY 13, 5:306:30PM – The Business of Art Workshop: 501(c)3 vs. Fiscal Agency. Free to TRCA aﬃliates. $15 general admission. RSVP to email@example.com. MAY 22, 14PM – The Business of Art Workshop presented by Minnesota Council of Nonproﬁts: How to ﬁle for your own 501(c)3 and set up shop with the state. $25 for TRCA aﬃliates (scholarships available); $55 general admission. RSVP to info@ twinriversarts.org. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. So arts and culture thrive Twin Rivers Council for the Arts located in The Emy Frentz Arts Guild 523 South Second Street, Mankato, MN 56001 507-387-1008 firstname.lastname@example.org SouthernMnArts.org www.twinriversarts.org GreaterMankatoEvents.com A calendar of events in our region including sports, arts, history, nature, festivals, and expos... 032061584901 MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 21 Your Style By Lisa A. Flam | The Associated Press Step into spring spirit in pointy-toe shoes I f you are looking to take a fashionable step into spring, let your shoes lead the way. Sleek, sophisticated and ladylike, the pointy-toe shoe is coming back strong, pushing several seasons’ worth of chunky platforms toward the back of the closet. The narrowed point, part of the retro-feminine trend drawing on the 1960s, has trickled down from the designer world to the mainstream market, said Gregg Andrews, fashion creative director at Nordstrom, and will be a silhouette to wear to look well-dressed and on-trend for spring. “It looks so fresh,” he said. “It feels right with everything that’s going on in fashion.” The classic, versatile style, last a must-have in the “Sex and the City” era, is enjoying an updated return to the spotlight in a burst of colors and with decorations such as pretty bows and tougher-looking studs. “When you think of the pointed-toe shoe, you think of Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy,” Andrews said. “You think of those very famous fashion icons from the 1960s, but then you tweak it and you make it very 21st century.” Decades ago, women stepped out in black or white patent leather, he said. “Now we’re seeing it in a whole myriad of colors and seeing everything from nude all the way into bright highlighter colors, and of course, black is still there,” he said. If you are a newcomer to the silhouette, stylist and shoe fanatic Stacy London believes there is no better place to start than the classic pointy-toe stiletto. “It’s the basic shoe for any woman’s wardrobe,” said London, who says that a line-lengthening pointy toe punctuates at least one-quarter of her shoe collection, now approaching 500 pairs. “There’s nothing it can’t go with, and it does literally add a little bit of height and class to any outfit,” she said. “It makes you look taller, longer, leaner and more graceful.” At Narciso Rodriguez’s New York Fashion Week show last month, pointy-toe heels, including ankle-strap and bootie versions, walked the runway. To him, the style is sexy, sensual and no-nonsense. Of all of the shoe silhouettes he has designed, the pointed toe is the most flattering on a woman’s foot, he said. “It’s great when you want to look sleek and pulled together,” Rodriguez said. He added: “There is something about it that naturally looks correct.” The shoes that Rodriguez has turned out for the last several seasons also have single soles, which are more delicate that the thicker ones popular with platforms. He was inspired not by Jackie O but by looks worn by 1990s’ style stars Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, for whom he crafted her wedding look, and Kate Moss. 22 • April 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE “Now it’s really become more the thing that you will see on everyone’s runways,” he said. “It’s great to see it again. It looks so smart.” One of the best attributes of the shoe, which can also be fashioned with a kitten, mid-height or flat heel, is that you can wear it with just about anything. Michelle Obama worked in several mediumheel pointy-toe pumps plus a pair of sharp-point boots in her inaugural wardrobe this year. London favors a higher stiletto paired with cropped pants or midi skirt, and said the shoes also work well with a pantsuit, a full or pencil skirt, a sheath dress and even the boyfriend jean. For a trendy outfit, dress up a look of skinny jeans, T-shirt and lightweight leather jacket with a pair of pointed stilettos, Andrews suggested. “The whole idea of juxtaposing the feminine with the more tough is a huge trend,” he said. A casual look could combine a pair of feminine shorts with a pointy toe flat, Andrews said, or add a mid-height heel to careerwear or an embellished stiletto beneath a cocktail dress. “It’s a great shoe because its silhouette is so clean and neutral, you can really do a lot with it,” he said. Rodriguez sees the versatility as well. “I like it with pants, and I think it can look quite chic if you’re wearing something that’s quite relaxed,” he said. “You can wear it with something that’s quite body-con. It works in pretty much any situation.” Just as the shoes can befit both first ladies and fashionistas (or first lady fashionistas), they can also be naughty or nice. “I don’t think that it’s just a proper-girl look,” Rodriguez said. “It can be an extremely sexy look depending on the shoe.” Subtle bondage references are found in shoes topped with ankle straps, London said. “If you want powerful and a little bit more dom than fem, go for a shackle,” she said. While “anyone and everyone” can slip into the style, said London, there still are things to consider: A skinny heel, for example, can make heavy calves or ankles look heavier, so women might want to consider a wedge or stacked heel instead. Also, an elongated toe box can look “a little witchy” on shorter women, she said, urging wearers to “keep the point in proportion with your height.” And don’t fall for the misconception that a pointed toe will be uncomfortable. According to Andrews, the width of a shoe at the foot’s widest part remains the same as in shoes without the narrowed toe. The pointy toe will make everything in your closet look new again, Andrews said, and perhaps even give your psyche a boost. “A pointed-toe shoe is unquestionably a sign of good taste,” he said, “And that makes a woman feel empowered.” M MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 23 Purchase power Get yourself the right price with a little investigation and negotiation By Marie Wood We all want a fair deal — but a good deal is even better. Buying a car or home can strike fear in our hearts as we navigate the numbers game. We shop garage sales, estate sales and auctions in hopes of scoring bargains on anything we can use, collect or resell. So here’s some wisdom and trade secrets from the local people who know how to buy cars, homes and antiques. 24 • April 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE Photo by John Cross Rob Winter, co-owner of Antique Warehouse in Mankato, said farm auctions and estate sales can be gold mines for those searching for vintage or antique treasures, like this large wardrobe. P Auctions & Estate Sales ie safes, Mission furniture, fiesta ware, jewelry, fine china, barn wood, old tackle, beer signs and jukeboxes — you name it and chances are Rob Winter, co-owner of Antique Warehouse in Mankato, has bought it at an auction or estate sale. Odds are also good he resold it for a profit. “Old farm auctions in southern Minnesota are the best ones to go to. There are hidden treasures,” said Winter. “Condition and rarity are what hold the value in collectibles.” Auction homework Auction-goers look to the weekly Mankato “Home Magazine” for auction listings that include items for sale and the auctioneer’s website. “I go to the websites, look at pictures to see what the stuff looks like,” Winter said. “If you can find it on eBay, then you know what they’re selling it for.” Winter has also learned little tips like running his hand around the top of glassware to feel for a chip that you cannot see. He also brings a magnet to test silver and gold. If it’s magnetic, the metal contains iron, tin or steel, which is junk to collectors. Bidding When you get to auction, you’ll sign in and receive a number. When the auctioneer introduces an item, he will start at the estimated value and then drop the price until someone makes a bid. “Nobody likes to be the first bidder,” said Winter. “If it sits there until it’s dirt cheap, I’ll throw a bid in.” Dollar boxes At most auctions, boxes of random stuff are auctioned for one dollar. The boxes are treasure hunts for bidders who don’t know the contents. Winter’s record is 35 dollar boxes in one auction. Kara Richardson, a glassware collector, visits Antique Warehouse to browse and sell. Richardson once bought a dollar box at auction and discovered a Mickey Mantle baseball card worth $30. “They’re fun, because you don’t know what’s inside,” said Richardson of Mankato. MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 25 Homes Bev Thorn, realtor for JBeal Real Estate Group, teaches Home Stretch, a home-buying workshop at the City of Mankato Intergovernmental Center. “For the average person, a home is the biggest purchase they’ll make in their lifetime. You have to weigh and measure a lot of things. There are lots of emotions that go into buying a home,” Thorn said. For instance, sometimes senior citizens have been in a property for many years and are ready to move into the next stage of their life such as a townhouse or retirement community. “Those are properties first-time home buyers could benefit from. It will probably take some updating on the buyer’s part, but the cosmetic things are minor” Thorn said. Determining an offer Where do you start? Too high and you won’t get the best value, while offers that are too low can incense the seller and bring an abrupt end to negotiations. And it is best that your Realtor not recommend your opening price, explained Thorn. Usually after seeing a number of homes, buyers have a good idea of market values and are ready to Photo by Tanner Kent make an offer on their home of choice. Bev Thorn, a realtor for JBeal Real Estate Group, serves as an instructor The Realtor may look up county records for the for Mankato’s Home Stretch workshops where she advises first-time assessment value, but the appraised and assessed homebuyers on the finer points of buying a home. values can differ in today’s market. Finding comparable homes that were sold and listed on the Multiple seller’s home equity, length of time on the market and the Listing Service (MLS) can be a more effective tool, listing price. Thorn said. Once the seller and buyer agree upon the price and “I go to the MLS and look for homes sold in their price terms and all the documents are signed by both parties, range in the last six months. I find homes that are in the the purchase agreement is a legally binding contract. same local area with comparable criteria such as age, style, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, Inspection garage and lot size. I show the comps to my clients,” Thorn advocates for inspections. For instance, in an Thorn explained. older home, an inspector can tell if there’s been moisture Then the buyers can compare the sold homes to the one over the years. If an inspector suspects water in the they want to buy. basement, he can offer scenarios as to how it happened “If it’s priced right and in sparkling good condition, the and give advice of how to solve the problem. seller may have more than one offer and then the buyers “You want to have as many eyes as you can,” said can get caught in a bidding war, which is not good for the Thorn. buyer,” Thorn said. Purchase agreement The next step is to make an offer through a purchase agreement. The buyer must write a check for earnest money to be deposited in the listing broker’s trust account. At closing, earnest money is applied to the buyer’s mortgage. “Nothing is valid orally. You have to get it down on paper. The purchase agreement has to be presented to the listing agent. Then the negotiation process begins,” said Thorn. Negotiation can be emotional and Thorn reminds her clients that realtors are the messengers who are doing their best to use their knowledge and skills to negotiate on their behalf. There are many variables in negotiating: the 26 • April 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE Home Stretch workshops Learn everything you need to know about home buying and ownership during Mankato’s Home Stretch workshops. Topics include: overcoming barriers to home ownership, shopping, financing, qualifying, closing and more. For course dates and to register, call the city of Mankato at 387-8600. Cost is $20. To learn more, visit mankato-mn.gov and search “home stretch.” Photo by Pat Christman Derran Dugger, owner of Rockin Ronny’s Superstore in Mankato, suggests always having a mechanic or expert on hand when deciding to purchase a used car. Wheels Derran Dugger, owner of Rockin Ronny’s Superstore in Mankato, gets up close with most late model cars when he installs audio equipment, remote starters, alarms and DVD players. A builder of custom cars and hot rods, he also works on his own specialty cars in his home garage. “In my experience, with the used vehicle, you have more negotiating ability,” said Dugger. “I usually try to buy my cars from private parties.” He surfs Craigslist and eBay, but Dugger warns that you have to be skeptical. Private party or dealership, Dugger advises bringing along an expert. “I would suggest going with someone who’s a mechanic or someone who knows the ins and outs,” said Dugger. CarGurus.com CarGurus.com is Dugger’s favorite site for used cars. Search by make, model and zip code and you’ll net a list of vehicles rated from good to bad deals. You’ll even see how far below the market value each vehicle is and how many days the car has been listed. “I’ve gauged a few potential purchases off that. Not that many people know about it. It’s interesting to see how long the dealerships have had these cars sit on their lot,” said Dugger. The longer the car sits on the lot, the more willing a dealer will be to unload the car at a low price. “Don’t get taken” “Don’t Get Taken Every Time: The Ultimate Guide to Buying or Leasing a Car, in the Showroom or on the Internet” by Remar Sutton, now in its sixth edition, is the definitive guide to buying and leasing a new or used vehicle. Go inside the auto business and learn step-bystep techniques from negotiating to financing. Available on Amazon.com. M MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 27 Coming Attractions: April 3 • Women’s Spring Apparel Shopping Extravaganza 1-4 p.m. • The Club Room at Old Main Village • Free • www.oldmainvillage.com 4 • Book Launch for Rachael Hanel’s memoir “We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter” 6:30 p.m. • Barnes & Noble • Free 6 • Betsy’s Birthday Party 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. • Barnes & Noble • Free • www.greatermankatoevents.com 6-7 • Minnesota Valley Chorale in concert 7:30 p.m. on April 6 at Christ the King Lutheran; 3 p.m. on April 7 at St.John the Baptist • $15 Adults, $12 seniors & students • www.minnesotavalleychorale.org 6 • Mozart in Me Concert III 11-11:45 a.m. • Mankato YMCA exercise room • 1401 S. Riverfront Drive • $10 adults, $5 children under 18 • www.mankatosymphony.com 6 • St. Peter Reads Book Festival 1-5 p.m. • St. Peter Community Center • 600 S. Sixth St. • Free www. greatermankatoevents.com 9 • GMG Business Showcase 4-7 p.m. • Verizon Wireless Center • Free • www.greatermankato.com 11 • “Legally Blonde” 7:30 p.m. April 11-13 & 18-20, 2 p.m. April 20-21 • Ted Paul Theatre, MSU • $22 regular, $19 discounted, $15 MSU students • www.mnsu.edu/theatre 13 • The Adolphus Jazz Ensemble and Gustavus Jazz Lab Band in concert 7:30 p.m. • Bjorling Recital Hall • www.gustavus.edu/music 14 • Mankato Area International Festival 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. • Centennial Student Union, Minnesota State University • Free • www.mankatointlfestival.com 14 • The Gustavus Symphony Orchestra Home Concert 1:30 p.m. • Christ Chapel • www.gustavus.edu/music 28 • april 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE By Wess McConville 15 • “A Little Chamber Music” 7:30 p.m. • Halling Recital Hall, MSU • $9 adults, $7 students & children • www.mnsu.edu/music 16 • The Gustavus Oratorio Festival Concert 7 p.m. • Christ Chapel • Free • www. gustavus.edu/music 17 • Sakatah Reading Series featuring Rachael Hanel Noon • South Central College • Free 19 • “Gravitone the Musical” 10 p.m. to midnight • What’s Up Lounge • 701 N. Riverfront Drive, Mankato • $7 adults, $5 advanced adults • www.gravitone.wix.com/ gravitone 19-21 & 26-27 • “Hamlet” 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 19-20 & 26-27; 2 p.m. Sunday, April 21 • Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center, Bethany Lutheran College • $8 adults; $5 children, seniors & student • www.blc.edu/theater 20 • Mankato Gorilla Fun Run 4 p.m. to midnight • Starts at the MSU campus, ends at Buster’s Bar & Grill • $50 adult, $25 returning adult with gorilla suit, $30 children, free for children under 6 • www. halloweencostumes.com/promotions/ gorilla-fun-run.aspx 20 • Mankato Walk to Defeat ALS 9 a.m. to noon • Mankato West High School • 1351 S. Riverfront Drive • $50 • www.greatermankatoevents.com 21 • “It Ain’t Necessarily So” jazz violinist Andy Stein in concert Mankato West High School • $25 gold section adult, $20 silver section adult, $15 bronze section adult, $5 students with ID & youth 17 and under • www. mankatosymphony.com 21 • Mankato Children’s Chorus Spring Concert 3 p.m. • Christ Chapel, Gustavus Adolphus • $10 adults, $7 children and seniors• www.mankatochildrenschorus.org 21 • MSU Concert Bands 7:30 p.m. • Halling Recital Hall, MSU • $9 general admission, $7 students & children • www.mnsu.edu/music 23 • Jazz Big Bands in concert 7:30 p.m. • Halling Recital Hall, MSU • $9 general admission, $7 students & children • www.mnsu.edu/music 25 • MSU Orchestra in concert 7:30 p.m. • Halling Recital Hall, MSU • $9 general admission, $7 students & children • www.mnsu.edu/music 26 • “Gravitone the Musical” 8-10 p.m. • St. Peter Arts Council • 315 S. Minnesota Ave., St. Peter • $7 adults, $5 advance adult, $3 advance child • www.gravitone.wix.com/ gravitone 26-28 • “Under the Surface” 8 p.m. April 26-27, 2 p.m. April 28 • The Black Box, Gustavus Adolphus • www.gustavus.edu 27 • Earth Jam Revolution All day • John’s Family Courtyard, Gustavus Adolphus • www.gustavus.edu/music 27 • “Gravitone the Musical” 7-9 p.m. • The Roadhaus • 510 Main St., Henderson • $7 adults, $5 advance adult, $3 advance child • www.gravitone.wix.com/gravitone 27 • Betsy’s Birthday Party Noon to 3 p.m. • 332 & 333 Center St., Mankato • $5 adults, $2 ages 6-16 • www.greatermankatoevents.com 27 • Mankato Baltics Striker-to-the-Line Noon to 3 p.m. • Erlandson Park, Mankato • Free • www.bechshistory.com 27 • YWCA Girls on the Run 5K 8 a.m. to noon • Sibley Park, Mankato • Prior to April 15 — $20 adults, $18 teams, $10 youth, $7 kids; April 15-27 — $30 adults, $15 youth, $10 kids; April 15-22 Ñ $23 teams. • www.mankatoywca.org 28 • Gustavus Percussion Ensemble in concert 1:30 p.m. • Bjorling Recital Hall • www.gustavus.edu/music 28 • Gustavus Woodwind Chamber Concert 3:30 p.m. • Bjorling Recital Hall • www.gustavus.edu/music 28 • Spring Choral Concert 4 p.m. • St. Peter & Paul’s Catholic Church • 105 N. Fifth St., Mankato • $9 general admission, $7 students & children • www.mnsu.edu/music 30• Jazz Combos/Vocal Jazz concert 7:30 p.m. • Halling Recital Hall, MSU • $9 general admission, $7 students & children • www.mnsu.edu/music 30 • The Gustavus Women’s Chorus Festival All day • Schaefer Fine Arts Center & Christ Chapel • Free • www.gustavus.edu/music Go ape at the “Gorilla Run” MANKATO — Don’t be alarmed when hordes of apes are running down the street April 20 — it’s only the second annual Mankato Gorilla Fun Run, a run sponsored by HalloweenCostumes.com to raise money for the Miracle League of North Mankato. The Gorilla Fun Run begins at 4 p.m. on the campus of Minnesota State University and ends at Buster’s Bar. Once runners reach the finish line, free food, soda, beer and live music from the Twin Cities’ Funktion Junction is on tap. Event organizer Aleksandra Sobic has high expectations for this year’s run. “Our goal last year was to raise $10,000 for the Miracle League, and we ended up raising $25,000. This year we hope to double that.” Not only does Sobic hope to double the amount given to the Miracle League, she also hopes to break the world record for the number of costumed gorillas in a single area. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Mankato will need more than 1,061 “gorillas” to participate. The old record was set in 2009 at a gorilla run in Denver. For more information and to register, visit www.halloweencostumes.com/ promotions/gorilla-fun-run.aspx. MSU International Festival offers up foreign flair MANKATO — Forgot to renew your passport? No worries, you can still travel the world at the 2013 Mankato Area International Festival 11-4 p.m. on April 14 at the Centennial Student Union at Minnesota State University. Around 70 different vendors will offer food and craft samples from a multitude of cultures and countries. Performances from European folk dancers, Japanese Taiko drummers and a Flamenco Dance troupe are also scheduled. Kyle Goodfellow, a graduate assistant at MSU’s Kearney International Center, said this year’s International Festival, now in its second year, will be even better than the first. “We’re doing a lot of new things this year,” said Goodfellow. “We will have more Hispanic and South American options, and we have added an entire area devoted to desserts from around the world. We’re all excited for the opportunities the festival is going to bring us.” For more information on the 2013 Mankato Area International Festival, visit www.mankatointlfestival.com. M LOVE YOUR FLOOR SALE love your inspiration... March 29 – May 13 NO INTEREST UNTIL 2016* 219 S Victory Dr l Mankato 507 l 345 l 7009 email@example.com independentpaintandooring.com HOURS: Tues & Wed & Fri l 9am to 6pm Mon & Thurs l 9am to 7pm Saturday l 9am to 4pm See retailer for details. MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 29 Happy Hour By Dean Fosdick | Associated Press Grow your own cocktails G ardening can be an intoxicating hobby, especially if the botany is booze-related. Consider the possibilities: grapes fermented into wine, corn distilled into bourbon, hops used to flavor beer and fruit to sweeten liqueurs. Why run to a liquor store when you can savor the harvest from your own cocktail garden? Three processes are involved in converting plants into serviceable drinks: fermentation, distillation and mixing, according to Amy Stewart, author of the new book “The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks” (Algonquin Books). “Virtually anything that produces sugar — fruit and grains — can be used distilled, fermented or drunk,” Stewart said in an interview. “Most people get involved with the mixers.” Fermenting — adding yeasts to turn plant sugars into alcohol — came first, she said. High-proof beverage alcohol (20 percent and above) came later with distillation, or heating fermented liquids into a vapor and then re-condensing that into a more concentrated mix. A cautionary note: It’s illegal to distill anything in the United States without a license. “You can ferment but you can’t distill without the feds knocking on your door,” Stewart said. In addition, know your plants. “Understand what you’re doing if you’re out there gleaning,” Stewart said. “A lot of plants become solvents when mixed with alcohol. Don’t pick anything that might become potentially deadly.” A dizzying array of plants has been converted into alcohol over the ages, everything from agave (tequila) to yams (beer and vodka). Many plants are used primarily as garnishes, such as spearmint (mint julep), olives (martini) and cherries (Manhattan). The marketplace is untapped for this emerging type of niche gardening, said Tim Russell, a spokesman for Territorial Seed Co. in Cottage Grove, Ore. Territorial is teaming with Stewart to sell a cocktail-friendly line of herbs, fruits, vegetables and flowers. “A lot of young people are looking to do cooler things in their gardens like grow their own cocktail ingredients,” Russell said. “We’re hoping this will draw them further into gardening.” The average liquor bottle contains a great deal more than straight alcohol, Stewart writes. “Once a spirit leaves the still, it is subject to endless experimentation with herbs, spices, fruits, nuts, bark, roots and flowers,” she said. “Some distillers claim to use over a hundred different botanicals in their secret recipes.” So if distillers are continuing to experiment, why not gardeners? Stewart’s garden-themed recipes can be the foundation for: • Infused vodkas. Fill a clean jar with fruit, herbs or spices and then add vodka. Seal, store and sample until your taste buds tell you it’s ready to drink. • Homemade grenadine. Peel a half-dozen pomegranates, leaving the seeds and membranes intact. Squeeze and filter until you’ve made about two cups of juice. Pour that into a saucepan, add 1 to 2 cups of sugar, simmer and stir in an ounce of vodka, which acts as a preservative. The syrup should be good for about a month. • Maraschino cherries. Clean and pit a small batch of fresh, sour cherries. Loosely fill a Mason jar with the cherries and cover with brandy or bourbon. Seal the jar and refrigerate. Use them in drinks or over ice cream. For more ideas, visit: www.territorialseed.com/Tips-on-growing-a-CocktailGarden. M 30 • april 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE COMPLETE PROTECTION, COMPLETE SATISFACTION. From simple asphalt shingles to complex metal decorative shingles, Schwickert’s is proud to be able to offer the most diverse and comprehensive roofing solutions in the region. Call Schwickert’s today or visit our showroom on Poplar Street in Mankato. 330 Poplar Street, Mankato, MN | 507-387-3101| schwickerts.com Photo Essay By John Cross To have just fallen off the turnip truck, most of us know, is to suggest gullibility and naiveté. But in on a mid-April weekend, traditionally the Minnesota stream trout fishing opener, a more appropriate phrase might be to have just fallen from the fish hatchery truck. Unlike southeast Minnesota which is blessed with multitudes of cold water fisheries, opportunities to catch trout in our neighborhood are decidedly limited and of the put-and-take nature. Fish hatched and then raised in captivity in the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources cold water hatcheries are trucked to the few streams in south-central Minnesota cold enough to for the fish to survive. Fresh out of the hatchery and in their new environment, they typically lack the wariness of their wild brethren and can be very easy to catch. Though trout-fishing purists might hold such trout in low regard, for most of us, a tug on the fishing line, the flash of rainbow-tinted flanks in open water, is a welcome sign that winter is behind us. M 32 • april 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 33 ywca mankato 5th Annual Community Run/Walk Event Open to Everyone Saturday, April 27th, 2013 22 varieties of beer on tap OPEN MIC MONDAY 2nd and last Monday of every month 125 S 3rd Street St. Peter 507-931-9051 Tuesday Pub Trivia Karaoke Wednesday Live Music www.patrickson3rdstpeter.com Every Sunday 4pm-7pm Sibley Park Registration & Activities: 8:00 a.m. Kids K Starts: 9:30 a.m. Run/Walk Event Starts: 10:00 a.m. Family activities throughout the event! Adults: $20 ($30 after April 15) Teams of 6 or more: $18/ea. ($23 after April 15) Children under 12: $10 ($15 after April 15) Kids K: $7 ($10 after April 15) Businesses & Families are encouraged to form teams. Chip timing is included. Register Today! 507-345-4629 www.mankatoywca.org MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 35 y a s s E Spring birthday Forcing life into the cold machinations of the cosmos By Nicole Helget T his is the week the skunks wake from hibernation and bumble, dazed, out of their dens into the middle of March, an uncertain time. This is the time the raccoons stretch their front paws and yawn and scramble between the dirty snow drifts and forage for food. Gordon Henry arrived this week, a year ago. Like the skunk, he is cute but stinky, and like the raccoon, he has thighs disproportionally fat for the rest of his body and likes to douse things in the toilet water before putting them in his mouth. That these three mammals arrived at the same time of year seems appropriate. They are, all three, cute, smelly, messy heralds of spring moseying about the place in a way that makes everyone smile, dopey and hopeful. Gordie’s my last one. He’s the only one of six that I delivered totally naturally, which isn’t as pleasant as the word “naturally” might suggest. Four days before his due date, I was reading on the couch in the early morning, trying to figure out if the cramps I was feeling were real or not. I’d been having cramps I’d describe as significant for several hours and they only seemed to be getting mildly worse. I had been known to think I was in labor before, alarm Nate into action, only to have to tell him “Nah. I don’t think so. Just kidding.” So, I wanted to be sure before I woke him. Around 3, I texted him to call his mom, our on-call babysitter. He was only upstairs, but I didn’t want to climb the staircase. He called me and wanted to know if this was it, for real. “I think so,” I said. His mom got there about an hour later, which was pretty impressive considering she lives an hour away. By the time we got to the hospital and got checked in and changed and all that, I was pretty far along, six or seven centimeters. The nurses couldn’t get the IV in my arm, which they tried six times. But I’ve got veins that “roll,” which I had politely warned them as soon as I got in the room (based on previous experience in FIVE previous labors), information which prompted the nurse to smile politely at me and 36 • April 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE commence slapping, pinching, poking, prodding, and digging for suitable veins to bore. Three, four, and finally five nurses later, the IV was in, kinda. So, when they checked me again, I was 10 centimeters and ready to push. And it was much, much too late for morphine or demeral or nubaine or whatever else they juice those machines with. I’d have to stand it all, completely bare to the pain, naked to what it takes to start a life living. At this point, the nurses told me to not push because there was no doctor available. I had inconveniently come during shift change at the hospital. I remember watching the minute hand on the cruel clock go round and round. For one full revolution, my abdomen and upper thighs would feel like they’d been charged with the responsibility of holding back the Minnesota river. Then the coming of a raw, red, twisting, crushing pain all around my back and abdomen and down to the tops of my thighs would fuse with the river pressure and radiate for another 60 seconds. I literally saw white lights. I think my eyes rolled back in my head. I asked for drugs at least three times that I can remember. It may have been more. It may have been more like three hundred times actually. I’m sure I made animal noises, something like the screech rabbits make when being plucked by hawks. I might have been crying. I know I was holding and pressing down on Nate’s hand as though my grip on him could keep me in some kind of control over the process as in, “I’m in unbelievable pain and I’ve lost my ability to communicate, but through my fingers and palms, I will transfer to you what is happening to me.” Finally, a wet-headed doctor wearing inside-out scrubs arrived and told me I could push, which I did. And then it really hurt. I do remember leaning forward to push, getting his head out, and then gasping and falling back onto the bed and thinking I might die of this. Sometimes when my friends talk of their natural deliveries, the process sounds really noble or magical in some way. But mine wasn’t. And, since then, I’ve talked about it in ways that should encourage schools to invite me to come and speak to their sex-obsessed students. I’m sure I could get them to consider more seriously the consequences of not using birth control. I don’t tend to romanticize the event, I mean. The afterward was sweet, sure. But the birthing itself was excruciating and shameful and uncontrollable, conditions most human beings I know try to avoid. Birthing is a tough state in which to maintain dignity because there’s so much pain that a woman has to literally bend to. Also, there’s nudity. Plus, an audience. When Gordon emerged, the doctor held him up for me to see. I smiled, and I tried to twist to my side a bit. I wanted, I think, to curl up in on myself. One nurse kept my foot on the stirrup, so I couldn’t. But I eased into the pillows, and in those seconds, complete relief washed over my whole body, relief in the real and correct denotation of the word, the deliverance from pain. I know I should remember first how happy I was to meet him and how cute he was or how he looked like me, but what I really remember first are relief and deliverance. The doctor jostled him a bit, to get him breathing and pink, and then put him up on my chest. He felt solid and sturdy. He felt familiar to me. He squinted at me as if he recognized that we had just endured something extraordinary. We were in love then. Like all mothers on their child’s first birthday, I’m thinking about all I want for Gordie today and what kind of a world he’ll be living in. I’m wondering if there will be more or less pain, to greater degrees or otherwise. I’m thinking about what skills he’ll need to manage it. This geologically intimidating and politically tumultuous and financially unbalanced time is astoundingly challenging and frightening. Today, he’s a mess. His nose is runny. He’s got a booger in his hair. His butt is red from diaper rash because he serially poops in his sleep. But he’s happily crawling around here, over his three brothers, through a pile of unmatched socks and blankets. He’s looking at toys and then tossing them aside. He’s laughing at his brother Mitchell when he makes silly faces, and he cries with his other brother Archie when he cries. He’s pulling on his sister Isabella’s legs and his other sister Violette’s hair, an attempt to get the girls to hold him and play. Today, he’s attentive and inquisitive as his other brother Phillip takes him for a stroller ride. He’s satisfied to drink his milk and go to sleep, another day notched on his diaper tabs. qpo Pain is the universal unifier, the thing that connects each of us to every other person on the planet. I wish it were joy or love, but it is not. Now, I am thinking about his woodland animal way, all thumpy maneuvering and poufy cheeks and about how much he’ll like spring weather. I’m thinking about the things he needs most to make it in this place and to make it better, which I believe are intellectual curiosity and empathy, seeds of which he seems to possess already and qualities that will assuredly lead him to experience great despair. But in between those hurting times, empathy and intellectual curiosity should also inspire him to make friends, snuggle with siblings, play nicely with cats and dogs, study snowflakes, poke sticks in melting ice, examine tree buds, watch robins pluck worms, explore the patches of grass soon to appear, and to finally feel March’s lengthening days bring back light and joy after a long dark winter. M qpo For days, I was stunned by the hurt that came along with birthing. I honestly couldn’t understand how our species had survived. My mother! My mother did it this way. My mother in law! Six times! They must have been nuts! Whatever that hormone is that women produce after birth that makes them forget the pain (this is real, by the way), I don’t think I produce it. Maybe they do. Millions and millions of women as far back as time must. Pain is the universal unifier, the thing that connects each of us to every other person on the planet. I wish it were joy or love, but it is not. From the second we’re born, we’re totally vulnerable to the cold machinations of the cosmos and dicey whims of others. That very condition makes us ripe for anguish. Not everyone experiences love, but everyone experiences the pain of earaches or neglect or heartache or grief or poverty or a million other sorrows and stings. Pain is also a universal constant. It will always be. And when I think about how much I love Gordie, and all my kids, I sometimes want to weep for forcing them alive, for introducing them to existence where pain is inevitable. I sometimes think I could go zany trying to figure out all the ways to help them manage it, get through it, avoid it, prevent it for themselves and others. Nicole Helget is a North Mankato mother of six and prolific writer with a catalog of award-winning titles, including: “Summer of Ordinary Ways,” “The Turtle Catcher” and, most recently, “Horse Camp,” which she co-authored with husband Nate LeBoutillier. Her next novel, “Stillwater,” is a work of historical fiction due out this year. MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 37 9th Annual Tuesday, May 14 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sponsored by: Keynote Speaker: Paul Douglas FREE at 2 p.m. in the Verizon Wireless Center Banquet Hall. đƫ Admission đƫ Parking in City Ramps đƫ 100 Exhibit Booths đƫ ROOT BEER FLOATS! đƫ Informational Seminars đƫ FREE Shuttle from Caledonia Community Center đƫ Medical Screenings đƫ Door Prize Drawings 1 Civic Center Plaza | Mankato, MN 507-389-3000 www.verizonwirelesscentermn.com 38 • April 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE Read us online! MANKATO magazine THE CLASSIC CAMP ALL SUMMER LONG. ALL AGES. ALL KINDS OF CAMPS. For backpacking preschoolers to skateboarding teens. From half-day camps to resident camps. The Mankato Family YMCA offers another great summer. Bus transportation is provided as well as before- and after-care to make dropping off and picking up easy on parents. Contact the Y at 387-8255 or at mankatoymca.org. MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 39 Meet your future with conﬁdence. Call us at 507.625.9050 for a complimentary Conﬁdent Retirement® conversation. In challenging economic times it can seem diﬃcult to feel conﬁdent about your ﬁnancial future. Take the ﬁrst step toward having peace of mind in retirement with our proprietary Conﬁdent Retirement® approach. We’ll work with you to address the four basic principles of retirement: 1. Covering your essential expenses 2. Ensuring you can live the lifestyle you want 3. Preparing for the unexpected 4. Leaving a legacy behind for family or a special charity Davis, Thoen, Kramer & Associates A financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Gregory M. Thoen, CFP,® ChFC,® CLU® Harold A. Hunt, CFP® Mary P. Klingel, CRPC® 1930 Premier Drive Mankato, MN 56001 507.625.9050 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ameripriseadvisors.com/harold.a.hunt The initial Confident Retirement conversation provides an overview of financial planning concepts. You will not receive written analysis and/or recommendations. Confident retirement is not a guarantee of future financial results. Brokerage, investment and financial advisory services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. © 2013 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved. EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNITY OLD MAIN VILLAGE MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 41 42 • april 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE From Hollywood to Henderson Cameraman and photographer Joel King collected a lifetime of memories along the way By Leticia Gonzales A fter spending more than four decades as a cameraman for television commercials and Hollywood films, Minnesota native Joel King considers himself retired from the industry. Just last year, King, who has called Henderson his home for the past eight years, closed his photography studio. “At my age, I need to stop,” said King. But stopping doesn’t mean that the avid photographer and former cameraman — who worked with a long list of Hollywood stars including Lawrence Olivier, Bette Davis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones to name a few — is ready to sit back and put his feet up. “I got stories you wouldn’t even believe in Hollywood,” he said. Those stories will bring King through the next chapter of his life, as he prepares to write an autobiography that will include a memoir along with photographs of his childhood, his time spent in Hollywood, and life after. “It’s a different Hollywood,” said King, of the era he spent as a cameraman. “I have all those memories.” Beyond Burnsville Those memories began for King when he left Burnsville after graduating from high school in 1961. During that time, Burnsville was a more rural area where King said he spent his time stealing his neighbor’s pigs and selling them to local stockyards. After graduation, he decided to go to California to partake of the surfing craze that was built around bands like the Beach Boys. King referred to himself at that time as a “hodad,” which is “someone who dresses like a surfer, looks like a surfer, but doesn’t surf,” he said. “It sure got the girls.” He also had a desire to be artist. Although he wasn’t able to take any art classes in high school, King said he was voted best in class in art after painting a school mural. He got his first Nikon camera from a teacher of cinematography at the University of Southern California. From there, he started taking night classes at Culver City High School in California where one of his photos was selected as the cover for the student handbook. “It just came to me,” said King. “Once you’re a photographer, you look at everything differently. Everything’s a photo.” With a new boost in confidence for his work, he went on to take extension classes at UCLA. “Six weeks into photography, the instructor at UCLA said, ‘I can’t let you in. You’re too good. You belong in advanced photography,’” King said. Straight to the top King found work doing album covers and portraits for models, but what he really wanted was to get into a film studio. He was finally able to land a job in the mailroom of 20th Century Fox. “I could go on the sets, I could learn and work my way up,” King said. “I was a mail boy, maybe a year, and I married the executive’s daughter. (Her) dad asked me what I MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 43 Photos by John Cross Joel King keeps a larg collection of memorabilia that recalls his long career as a Hollywood cameraman. He’s worked on countless sets for feature films, television shows and commercials, including “Grumpier Old Men.” wanted to be, and I said a cameraman.” King said he was pretty aware of the nepotism that went on in the industry during that time. “In the 60s, if you weren’t family, you didn’t get in,” he said. The 20th Century Fox studio assigned him to various shows including “The Green Hornet” with Bruce Lee, “Land of the Giants,” “Lost in Space,” and “Batman.” From 20th Century Fox, he moved on to Universal. One of his first movies was as an assistant cameraman for Steven Spielberg’s 1971 TV film, “Duel.” “Working with Spielberg, I always say I started at the top and worked my way down,” said King. “I moved up very fast as a cameraman.” King recalled how he felt when he realized his dream had come full circle. “You’re finally sitting behind a camera on the Universal back lot,” King said. “Not bad for a kid from Minnesota with Ds and Fs in school.” Life behind the lens From there, King said he went “from one show after another.” One of his favorite movies was “Carrie,” which was released in 1976. 44 • april 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE “We were all young,” King said of himself, along with actor John Travolta and actress Amy Irving. “We worked on the “Carrie” prom scene for three weeks. Going to work was like going to the prom.” Other notable projects for King included working with Peter O’Toole in the 1980 film, “The Stunt Man,” and with Gregory Peck in the 1977 film, “MacArthur.” Even though King was a cameraman, he didn’t forget his roots of being a photographer. “When I worked in sets, I always carried my Nikon with me,” he said. “I have trunks and trunks of photographs.” King said he had more than 24 rolls of Barbara Streisand alone. “She wouldn’t let anyone photograph her,” he said. But the actress soon warmed up to the notion when she saw the photos King took of her on the set of “The Main Event” in the late 1970s. King said he went on to date Streisand’s sister, Roslyn Kind. However, the two split up during what King called his “drug days.” “I started to lose touch with reality. I was so wrapped up in the scene,” said King. “I wouldn’t call my family for five years at a time. I forgot about them.” Following his career in Hollywood, King spent more than “This, if you look around, is a collage of my life,” King said of his collection. “I wanted it to be a memory of my life.” 10 years shooting television commercials for McDonalds, as well as other companies like Church’s Chicken and Rollerblade. “I never wanted to go back to Hollywood,” said King of his decision “to get out of the fast lifestyle of California.” He worked in Chicago on commercials for several years before finally returning to his home state of Minnesota in the early ‘90s. He continued to work on commercials as well as many popular films such as “Mighty Ducks,” “Iron Will,” and “Grumpier Old Men.” When the movies started to dry up in Minnesota, King said he had to make a choice as to where his next move would be. He didn’t want to return to Hollywood, but the Twin Cities reminded him “of the same lifestyle of Los Angeles.” “I wanted something that was peaceful and quaint,” said King. Scene change After a friend introduced him to the city of Jordan, King decided to open a photography studio at the Jordan Brewery. “I was a cinematographer, but was doing portraits all of my life,” King said. “One year of opening the studio in Jordan, I was doing 40 weddings a year.” After five years in Jordan, King decided to move due to moisture problems in his home. It was around 2005 when King stumbled upon Henderson. “It’s like a set out of a movie; the bluffs, the river, all the quaint buildings,” he said. After living in Henderson for the past eight years, King said he takes full advantage of the scenic area. “I just go to places and I take my Nikon,” he said. “I’m just doing all artsy stuff on my own.” Between being immersed in his personal photography and working on piecing together the stories of his life to publish his book, King said he is enjoying himself. “I have all those memories,” said King. “You work 30, 35 years in Hollywood, you’ve got stories.” Preserving the memories King has tried to keep those stories alive by creating a montage of mementos and collectibles that decorate his home in Henderson. From stacks of movie scripts to large drugstore signs that advertise products like the Nehi soft drink popular in the 1940s, each room of King’s home is strewn with memorabilia and items that reflect his animated career. Framed record albums and Time magazine covers decorate the wall in his 1960s-themed bedroom. Collectible figurines from shows like “Batman” and “I Love Lucy” line dresser shelves. The lights are kept dimmed, as life-size figures of movie characters including Marilyn Monroe, Freddy Krueger and Jack Skellington from “Nightmare Before Christmas” greet you throughout the house. An Electra brand Hollywood pink bike is even suspended from King’s kitchen ceiling. “This, if you look around, is a collage of my life,” he said. “I wanted it to be a memory of my life.” But the true reflection of what King has experienced can be found in the portraits he took during his film days. While there are hundreds proudly displayed throughout his home, more can be found in storage. “There are stacks in there, stacks in trunks, full of photographs, each has a story,” he said. “With the photos, it’s easy to get the memories back.” As King sifts through the photos for his book, he is able to recollect those times of his life. “I had a fascinating life,” he said. “To be behind the camera; I kept counting my blessings every day.” M MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 45 Day Trip Destinations: Lanesboro By Tanner Kent Lanesboro’s 16th annual Ibsen Festival I f you’ve never been to Lanesboro, April 12-14 is a good time for an introduction. The idyllic southeastern Minnesota hamlet is home to only 750 people, no stoplights and not a single franchise. Ensconced along the Root River, Lanesboro’s combination of smalltown charm and scenic surroundings have earned multiple inclusions in various best-of lists, including: 100 Best Small Art Towns, 50 Best Outdoor Sports Towns and 20 Best Dream Towns. Lanesboro has been further dubbed the “Bed and Breakfast Capital of Minnesota” as well as the “Rhubarb Capital of Minnesota.” It could also be called the “Henrik Ibsen Capital of Minnesota.” On April 12-14, Lanesboro will host the 16th annual Ibsen Festival, which is dedicated to preserving and promoting the plays of the Norwegian playwright whose genius, some believe, is rivaled only by Shakespeare himself. The festival is sponsored by the Commonweal Theatre, a professional stage company housed in a $3.5 million, 200-seat theater. “To my knowledge, we are the only company committed to doing an Ibsen every single, solitary year,” said Adrienne Sweeney, associate artistic director for the Commonweal. This year, the Commonweal is performing an adaptation of “A Doll’s House,” Ibsen’s profound masterpiece that is considered the most performed play in the world. The adaptation is by acclaimed Twin Cities playwright Jeffrey Hatcher, with whom Commonweal has collaborated several times in the past. But an Ibsen performance is only one aspect of the festival. This year’s event includes a play by Ibsen’s contemporary and playwrighting rival August Strindberg as well as presentations by such Ibsen luminaries as: Astrid Saether, former Director for the Centre of Ibsen Studies; Amal Allana, Mankato chair of the National School of Drama in Delhi, India; and Nissar Allana, director of the annual Delhi Ibsen Festival. Other events include art galleries, dance performances and book talks. Almost all of the events are free. “This is always a very, very special weekend for us,” Sweeneys said. “We are very excited.” For a full lineup of events and other information, visit www.ibsenfest.org. M Wykoff’s cozy confines What’s a road trip without spending a night in jail? In Wykoff, just a 20-minute drive from Lanesboro, the Jail Haus Bed and Breakfast can accommodate — without any of the hassle of getting arrested. Unlike other jails-turned-touristIt doesn’t get much cozier — or more confined — attractions, the 1913 city jail still retains its iron bars and bunk beds. than the Jail Haus Bed and Breakfast in Wykoff. 48 • april 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE If you get out on good behavior, visit the nearby Ed’s Museum, the legacy of a notorious Wykoff junk collector who “gifted” his curious collection of things most people throw away to the town when he died in 1989. For accommodations at the Jail Haus, call 507-352-4205. Owatonna’s must-see bank At the corner of Broadway and Cedar streets in Owatonna is what some consider the most beautiful bank in the world. The old National Farmer’s Bank building is on Minnesota’s Register of Historic Places and attracts visitors from all over the planet to see the architectural design of Louis Sullivan, a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright who built a series of small Midwestern banks in the twilight of his career. The bank’s design was unlike anything seen before or since, resembling a jeweled strongbox The National Farmers Bank building was constructed in 1908 and designed by architect Louis Sullivan. The historic building is now a Wells Fargo branch but remains on the Minnesota Register of Historic Places. bathed in color. The square structure features semi-circular archways, large stained glass insets and highly ornate ornamentation designed by George Elmslie. Though the bank is now a Wells Fargo branch, and suffered some poor restoration efforts in the decades since its construction in 1908, much has been restored to its original luster. Submitted photo Lanesboro, population 750, hosts upward of 300 visitors each year for its annual Ibsen Festival, a tribute to the Norwegian playwright. Lanesboro See more in Fillmore If you think you’ve seen all county museums — you haven’t seen the one in Fillmore County. Located in Fountain — a tiny city of 400 people at the junction of Highway 52 and County Road 8, and right on the way to Lanesboro — the Fillmore County History Center has an impressive list of oddities and curiosities not seen anywhere else. The mounted heads of a twoheaded calf raised by a local farmer? Check. A mastodon tooth estimated to be 100,000 years old? Check. A home-built flying machine called the Pietenpol Air Camper? Check. A still-functioning, 5-inch-by-7inch padlock said to have been owned by the great Norwegian explorer Leif Ericson? Check. What else could you want? Regular museum hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, and 1-4 p.m. on Sundays. MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 49 Then and Now: Police Cruisers By Tanner Kent | Photos by Pat Christman P olice car technology has come a long way, to be sure. Beginning in 2012, the Mankato Department of Public Safety began replacing its fleet of Ford Crown Victorias with the latest in squad car innovation: The Ford Interceptor. Ford unveiled the police-rated Interceptor in 2010, rolling out sedan and utility models to replace the Crown Victorias that were discontinued in 2011. Matt Westermayer, Mankato’s deputy director of public safety, said he first saw the Interceptor in October 2011 during a national public safety conference. “I was immediately impressed,”he said. Here’s why: The Interceptor is factory-equipped with a 300 horsepower, 3.7 liter engine, providing more power and 20 percent better mileage than the Crown Victoria. 50 • april 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE Westermayer said the push-bumper on the front of the Interceptor protects the grill and radiator, serves as a mount for extra lights and is useful for moving stalled vehicles. As opposed to previous two-wheel drive models, the Interceptor features all-wheel drive as well as stability control. Both are welcome additions in Mankato, a town with plenty of hills and inclement weather: “Forever we’ve been struggling with getting around in just a few inches of snow,” Westermayer said. “Particularly in life-threatening situations, that can be very aggravating.” The Interceptor includes front, side and sidecurtain airbags with sensors that differentiate between gunfire and collision. The frame is constructed with crumple zones to absorb and dissipate energy from a crash, and the Interceptor is 75 mph rear-crash tested. The Interceptor includes a rear partition to separate the back seat from the storage area as well as much more storage room that the Crown Victoria. In the 1990s, Mankato upgraded to what was long considered the standard issue police cruiser, the Ford Crown Victoria (shown here in 1994). Discontinued in 2010, the model was the most popular automobile in law enforcement for more than a decade. The Interceptor allows for the addition of window bars. As Westermayer notes, kicked out rear windows are “a rather frequent occurrence.” As police departments began increasing horsepower and muscle in the 1960s, so too did the Mankato police department with its Chevy Biscayne cruisers. A steel undercarriage deflector plate protects the underbody of the Interceptor. The Interceptor can be outfitted with a plastic seat covering that does not allow individuals to hide contraband and makes it easy for officers to clean out bodily fluids or biohazardous material. The Interceptor enhances officer safety by allowing a series of re-programmable switches on the steering wheel to control various functions of the vehicle. The Interceptor includes seats designed to accommodate a gear belt and a center console designed to accommodate radios, computers and other equipment. Dubbed the “fortresses on wheels” in an article that appeared in The Free Press in August 1934, this pair of police cars were considered the finest automotive technology available to police departments. The vehicles reached top speeds nearing 100 mph, boasted puncture- and bullet-proof tires, and had enough armor to stop a round from a submachine gun. Pictured are a Dodge model (left) and a Chrysler along with Mankato officers Carl George (left) and Alfred Salisbury. Concerned by the amount of traffic violations in Mankato’s “congested” downtown area, Mankato police trialed a motorcycle in 1941. Patrolman Ralph Davis is seated on the Harley-Davidson. MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 51 Frugal fashions We asked Kim Stanton, manager at Encore! in Old Town consignment store, to put together some fashionable, yet budget-friendly, outfits. Here is what she found: Evening outfit Black halter dress: $5 Green pattern shawl: $12 Black heels: $3.50 Black hand bag: $1 Weekend outfit (pictured on the right) Lucky brand jeans: $4 Lucky brand sweatshirt: $3.75 Skecher tennis shoes: $1 Imitation Louis Vitton handbag: $5 Work outfit (pictured on the left) Kasper 3-piece suit: $7.50 Tiganello large handbag: $25 Black heels: $3.50 Thrift thinking With some planning and restraint, anyone can become a frugalist By Nell Musolf S hopping with a thrift guru like Jane Laven is a win-win situation because not only does Laven spot bargains from 50 yards away, she walks so fast that it’s next to impossible not to burn a few calories while saving a few bucks. At the River Hills Mall, Laven sees a large yellow banner announcing 70 percent off savings inside a pricey women’s clothing store. “See that?” she asks. “It says that clothes are on sale for $6.99. Let’s check it out.” Inside the store, Laven marches to the clearance racks located in the back. After going through holiday sweaters, autumnal shirts and blue jeans, she points out that very little is on sale for $6.99 “That’s how they get you,” she notes. “They’ll have a few things for a low price but most of the items — even on sale — are still expensive. Too expensive. And did you notice? The sales racks are at the back of the store so you have to walk past all the regularly priced stuff first.” MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 53 Photo by Pat Christman Jane Laven (left) and Encore manager Kim Stanton peruse the racks. Over the years, Laven has honed her thrift-hunting skills to a fine point. Whenever she shops in a discount store, the first thing she does is cruise by the end caps — the displays each department has where sale and clearance items end up. Laven says that it’s important to know your stores and find out where those end caps are if you really want to find a bargain. Things like vitamins, canned goods and cosmetics can all be found on end caps and usually marked down by quite a bit. “I was in ShopKo the other day and saw dried cherries on an end cap,” says Laven. “I bought four bags that had been marked down to $2.52, which is a great deal because dried fruit is always expensive.” Knowing how much an item typically costs is an important part of being a thrifty shopper. That way you’ll know a good deal when you see one. It’s also important to check the expiration dates on food and other products. “If the date is relatively close, it’s OK but if it’s a few months past, I wouldn’t buy it,” Laven says. “But you can freeze a lot of things on their expiration date and they’ll still be good when you use them. I freeze flour, rice and I’ll freeze some of the cherries I just bought.” Encore sells women’s fashions for about 75 percent less than shoppers spend buying new. “Plus, everything we have is one of a kind. Shopping here takes away the fear of running into someone wearing exactly the same thing,” Stanton added. Stanton helps her customers find outfits that can be worn year-round, another money-saving suggestion. For example, she found a little black dress, a wrap, an evening bag and shoes that could be purchased for under $25 and worn to a wedding, anniversary or any other dressy event. “You can change it out with groovy jewelry for the summer, leggings in the fall and a jacket in the winter and you’re set,” Stanton says. Coupons never hurt, either. Laven uses them whenever she can and keeps her eyes open for deals at stores such as Kohl’s that have sales and then award shoppers with in-store credit for their next visit. “I shop off season. In other words, I’ll be buying winter clothes at the end of winter and summer clothes when everyone else is getting sweaters,” Laven said. She doesn’t mind having to hold onto her new clothes until the appropriate season rolls around again. “I think it’s cool to walk out of the store and hear, ‘you just saved $264 today.” That makes the wait worthwhile.” Divine advice Becoming a savvy, thrifty consumer is something anyone can achieve. Vance Becker, pastor at Good Shepherd Church in North Mankato, gives his parishioners suggestions on how to save money on a regular basis. Among his suggestions are not spending money on things you don’t really need and spending the money you have wisely. Deferred gratification is another wise money move. If you don’t have money for something, do without or wait until you do. “The inability to resist the urge to have it now assures that one will always have less later,” Becker said. “Buying now and paying later means paying more in the long run.” Becker also urges his parishioners to avoid buying on credit. “Never buy anything on credit except what will save you money, such as a house, or make you money, such as a car to get to work,” Becker said. Patience is key for anyone who wants to save money. Shopping around for bargains, letting friends, co-workers and family know what you’re looking for is also helpful. Consider shopping at thrift stores or consignment shops when looking for clothes, especially items for special events such as weddings, reunions and job interviews. But perhaps the best advice comes from an old adage. “Don’t try to ‘keep up with the Joneses,’” Becker said. “It is foolish to spend money you don’t have to buy things you don’t need to impress people who don’t care.” M qpo “Reduce, reuse and recycle. There are far too many things going into the earth, but when you buy something that is gently used, you’re reversing that trend.” qpo Reduce, reuse, recycle Kim Stanton, manager of Encore! consignment boutique in Mankato, says that shopping at resale stores isn’t only about being thrifty, it’s also about doing the right thing. “When you buy an outfit at Encore, you’re doing the best thing you can for the environment in addition to saving money,” Stanton says. “Reduce, reuse and recycle. There are far too many things going into the earth, but when you buy something that is gently used, you’re reversing that trend.” 54 • april 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 55 Faces & Places Photos By Sport Pix St. Peter Polar Plunge 1 1. Volunteers at the registration table check in the brave souls who are taking part in festivities. 2. Members of the Mankato Police Dept. known as the “Copsicles” took part in this year’s event. 3. Wacky costumes are all part of the fun as at the Polar Plunge as shown by Mike Mehrkens, Dane Ecker, and Chris Knight in their Borat inspired outfits. 4. Nicollet County Sheriff Dave Lang started off Plunge again this year. 5. Miss Mankato 2013 Gabrielle Chavers stopped for a moment to pose with Mat Willner before the Plunge got under way. 6. Isaac Francour emerges from the water with a smile. 2 4 56 • april 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE 3 5 6 Faces & Places Photos By Sport Pix Mankato RV Show 1 Rebecca Gurney of Mankato relaxes in the Kroubetz lounge area. 2. Randy Gilman and Al Gerard discussing campers at the show. 3. Bridget and Tom Weigt of Mankato looking at a Keeper’s camper. 4. Kelly Pauling of St. James looking at a Kroubetz camper. 5. Aubrey Rentschler and Meea Atkinson outside of a camper. 6. Dietrich and Seth Rosin from the St. Peter area look at one of the many campers on display. 7. Bob Mason of Eagle Lake signs up for the Keeper’s free drawing. 8. Tami Gardner of Eagle Lake 2 signs some paperwork with Kroubetz campers. 9. Kim Kroubetz of Kroubetz Lakeside Campers talks with Mike Johnson of Mankato. 4 8 5 6 1 3 7 9 MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 57 Faces & Places Photos By Sport Pix DAncing with the mankato stars 1 1. The father-daughter combo of Dave and Kaylee Munson danced with a Minnesota Vikings theme, as Kaylee is a cheerleader for the Vikings. 2. Meredith Martin and Jay Weir entertain the crowd with a hip hop number. 3. There were no shortage of acrobatic dance moves in the competition. 4. Many crowd member came to support their favorite dancer in the event. 5. Travis Shafer lifts Stacy Steinhagen during a tango number. 6. Sarah Person and Paul Finocchiaro were the winners of the innagural dance contest. 7. Bridget Carson and Rick Lund dance to a jazz-themed piece. 8. Pete Steiner and Dani Moritko dance the salsa. 2 3 4 6 58 • april 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE 5 7 8 Faces & Places Photos By Sport Pix kids & baby expo 1. Alayna Osborne giving out modeling clay for footprints or handprints at the Home Medical Equipment booth. 2. Melissa Mickelson and her daughter Alayna of Mankato walking through the expo. 3. Kristina Sorenson handing out stickers at the Mankato Clinic Car Seat Safety booth. 4. Colton Franklin of North Mankato speaking with the Rasmussen College Early Childhood Education booth representative. 1 5. Brody Moriarty playing with some toy dinosaurs in the Children’s Museum Play Lab. 6. Jaylin and Kayla Yost of St. Peter enjoying a healthy snack from the Mankato Clinic Diabetes and Nutrition Education Center 7. Asher and Paisley Ramerth of North Mankato going along for the ride at the expo. 8. Emma Abrahamson of North Mankato putting together hats at the Mankato Clinic Pediatrics booth. 3 6 4 2 5 7 8 MANKATO MAGAZINE • April 2013 • 59 Remember when By Pete Steiner Paging through old yearbooks Part 2 I n my mind’s eye, I still see canyons of snow looming above the school fan bus, snow cliffs lining the highway as we made our way west to face Luverne, to find out which basketball team would go to State. The now-legendary St. Patrick’s Day Blizzard had dumped a fresh load of the white stuff on top of an already impressive snow pack. Soon April’s rains would come, falling on the frozen ground, and ... Well, we’re getting ahead of the story. •••• Time flies, our world rumbles on. Last month I wrote about the memories an old yearbook had evoked. Right now, a new senior class is anxiously anticipating the excitement of graduation. All roads are still open for them. But as they did for my class, the Mankato High School Class of ‘65, eventually those roads will narrow and choices will have to be made. In 1990, I had the honor of speaking to the then-current classes at Mankato West during my 25th reunion. Here’s a little of what I said: “The class of ‘65 grew up in one of the most comfortable eras in American history. ... We watched “Leave it to Beaver” and “Father Knows Best,” and concluded the world was a pretty SWELL place. By the time we were juniors and seniors, we learned those previous conclusions were too rosy. We saw people dying in the Deep South, trying to integrate schools. We saw our leaders die. We all know exactly where we were and what we were doing the day John Kennedy was shot. There was a war building in Vietnam, and many of our lives were changed forever by the effects of that war.” Still, you mostly remember the good stuff. The committee that’s organized most of our reunions once put together a list of the best 60 • april 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE memories from our years at Mankato High. They included cruising Front Street when it ran all the way through from west of the YMCA to the A&W root beer stand near where C & S Supply is now. We’d run for lunch at Robby’s (see Feb issue of this magazine) to grab ���a gut bomb and a sack of nails.” We’d sample the relatively new food fad, pizza, at Pizza Kato, or at Marti’s, both near the Wagon Wheel. In our yearbook supplement, there’s an action photo of Mike Nere, who swears he was the first skateboarder in town. “Bye Bye Birdie” became the first high school musical the town ever produced. I had been a jock, but we had a good crop of athletes and I was riding the basketball bench. Harry Fitterer, director of the class play, knew I could sing and approached me about trying out for the show. Long story short, he cast me as the male lead opposite the enormously talented Kathy Burns. If I had not said yes to Mr. Fitterer, I don’t think I would be writing this today. That play really changed the direction of my life. Just before we were to begin our senior year, something happened half a world away, a seemingly minor incident, but it would change the life of just about every guy in the class of ‘65. A U.S. destroyer had a confrontation with three North Vietnamese patrol boats in the Gulf of Tonkin on Aug. 2, 1964. Congress would subsequently pass the Gulf of Tonkin resolution that would justify President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s deployment of, eventually, 500,000 ground troops to Vietnam. We were in for a decade of war. But before any of us would have to face the draft, a monumental event much closer to home would leave a huge mark on our lives. •••• The meteorologists and the hydrologists knew it, but as we rode that school bus to Luverne, most of us students were only focused on getting past burly Del Jessen and the Cardinals, unaware of a much mightier foe coming at us. On April 10, swelled by melting snow and early rains, the Minnesota River at Mankato would reach an all-time high crest above 29 feet. The picture in our yearbook supplement says all you need to know: our beloved high school became an island, besieged by flood waters along with Madsen’s Super Valu, Lloyd Lumber and every other entity on the lower West End. •••• Not many times in life do you ever feel like a hero. I did that spring when I was 17, even though our unit lost the battle. On a drizzly cold day, as an able-bodied male, I volunteered to help sandbag to save the city. My group was sent to Sibley Park, where the raging Blue Earth River was threatening to inundate the whole west end. Go there today, stand on top of the big dike, and imagine the water rushing by almost at your feet. Clad in bulky rain gear, we did our best to build up that barrier. But at midday, someone said, we weren’t going to prevail, and they told us to get into the bucket of a front-end loader. Once on the ground, we headed back to the Red Cross station downtown for sandwiches. That was the day the venerable zoo at Sibley, with its big cats and alligators, was wiped out. •••• With the high school an island, we had to rehearse our senior class play on higher ground, at Roosevelt Elementary. We eventually got to move back in at West, but you could still smell the dankness that permeated the building. We did put on our play on the main stage. Perhaps very fittingly, that play was called “The Desperate Hours.” M Pete Steiner is host of “Talk of the Town” weekdays at 1:05 p.m. on KTOE.