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y a d i l o H Edition A lesson in forgiveness - page 4 Helping your neighbor - page 7 Peek behind the events - page 17 Mending the family feud - page 21

Celebrate the season in Maple Grove and Osseo - pages 11 & 15


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Welcome to the fifth issue of Maple Grove & Osseo Living, and welcome to Holiday Season 2015. This magazine has been created to share information and stories about the people who make living in this area so special. You’ll find stories on the Hindu Temple’s forgiveness, churches helping area residents, planning holiday community events, upcoming events and more. Plus, learn how to mend family feuds before holiday celebrations. We hope you enjoy these feature-based stories as you and your family prepare for the upcoming holiday season. We must issue a very special thank you to the local businesses who support this publication. We urge you to support our local businesses whenever possible. They have done a great job making this magazine possible so we hope you choose to support them as well. So put your feet up, breathe in the holidays and enjoy your copy of Maple Grove & Osseo Living. OSSEO


Volume 5, No. 1 Maple Grove & Osseo Living • November 2015 EDITORS: ALICIA MILLER, AARON BROM ADVERTISING DIRECTOR: JEREMY BRADFIELD REPORTERS Susan Webber ...............................Hindu forgiveness-page 4, 5 Alyssa Krekelberg ............Churches helping citizens-pages 7, 9 Alicia Miller.................................Maple Grove events-page 11 Alicia Miller............................................ Osseo events-page 15 Alicia Miller..................... Holiday event planning-pages 17,19 Susan Webber ....................Mending family feuds-pages 21, 22


PRODUCTION Naomi Carlson ....................................................... Ad design Mike Erickson ......................................... Production manager ADVERTISING Bob Guisinger ( .................. Sales SUPPORT & DESIGN Keith Anderson ............................................Director of News Peggy Bakken ................................................Executive Editor

Osseo-Maple Grove Press 33 Second St. NE, Box 280, Osseo, MN 55369 763-425-3323 ECM Publishers, Inc.


Area Hindu community demonstrates forgiveness BY SUE WEBBER CONTRIBUTING WRITER Forgiveness and second chances are at the root of plans for a Garden for Peace and Reflection in Maple Grove. On April 5, 2006, just six weeks before the Hindu Mandir Temple of Minnesota was set to open, two young vandals broke into the building under construction at 10530 Troy Lane in Maple Grove. The 43,000-square-foot Mandir, constructed at a cost of $9 million, is built on 20 acres facing east and overlooking a pond. The two men decapitated, dismembered and disfigured numerous handcrafted sculptures from India that were about to be consecrated in 2006. They shattered windows and used a baseball bat to damage walls and columns at 125 different places within the temple. Damages amounted to $296,000. Paul Spakousky and Tyler Tuomie were 19 years old when they committed the crime. “The Hindu community was grief-stricken,” said Dr. Shashikant Sane, president of the Hindu Community Center. “A reward was offered and the boys were apprehended after they boasted to their friends about what they had done. They were tried in the court and were each found guilty of three felonies.” But that’s where the story becomes unique, because of the Hindu values of love, peace and nonviolence. “We felt that what the boys did was inappropriate and deserved punishment,” Sane said. “But you don’t respond to a violent act with violent punishment. There’s more than one way to deal with a painful crime. The vandals are just as good and divine as everyone else, and they deserved to be given a second chance.” Temple leaders worked with the court to arrive at an agreement: if the young men changed their ways and did community service to atone for their crimes, the felonies would be expunged from their records. The perpetrators expressed regret for their crimes and said they hadn’t realized the building was a religious facility. “We hoped and prayed that by offering a suspended sentence and a chance to do community service after their jail time, Paul and Tyler would learn firsthand about compassion and non-violence,” Sane said. “Our community feels their prayers have been answered. With God’s grace, these boys did the community service. They met with the Hindu community, and were welcomed with open arms and hugs.” The Hindu temple has been open almost 10 years now, and it is thriving.


On Oct. 17, 2015, a crisp, sunny Saturday morning, church members and people who were instrumental in crafting the recovery from vandalism and a second chance for the perpetrators, met to break ground for a Garden of Peace and Reflection. The Honorable Kevin Burke, the Hennepin County judge who sentenced Spakousky and Tuomie, was on hand for the ceremony. “When this happened initially, there was a big public outcry that it was a hate crime,” Burke said. “It had the potential to get quite ugly, but it didn’t. It was really a learning experience for the community as a whole. “Holding people accountable is good. So is compassion. It was a remarkable experience for the community as a whole to see how the criminal justice system can be a lot better.” Sane told attendees that the garden is intended to be a place where people from all walks of life, regardless of race or religion, can meditate and reflect on forgiveness. It is meant to reflect the Hindu values of truth, non-violence, love, compassion, tolerance and forgiveness. The garden will be built at the same site where some of items broken by the vandals were buried several years ago. According to Sane, the $1 million project will include an open amphitheater and pond and will be open to the entire community. The first phase of the $1 million project, expected to be completed by next summer, is slated to include landscaped walkways, stone tablets, a fountain and steps to the pond reminiscent of classic temples in India, Sane said. The second phase will include a solar energy building with glass windows and a skylight to bring nature indoors. The building will be for

Dr. Shashikant Sane, president of the Hindu Community Center (far right), pointed out highlights on the temple grounds to, from left: Maple Grove Mayor Mark Steffenson, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the Hon. Kevin Burke, a judge in Hennepin County.

meditation and yoga. Noting that the majority of the 40,000 Hindus in the Twin Cities are politically aware and active, Sane said, “We are legal immigrants, including doctors, engineers, mathematicians and professors. Once we assimilated and became citizens, the local community got to know us better and we were seen as hardworking people.” The Hindu community now is working to generate a new brand: as community builders, Sane said. Their goal, he said, is that “every individual reaches his potential and achieves peace and a state of total contentment.” “We recognize the inherent goodness in everyone, regardless of their actions,” Sane said. “Ignorance is the root cause of fear.” During a program prior to the ground-breaking ceremony, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who was the Hennepin County Attorney when the crime occurred, said, “This is not just a place to gather; you have built a community. You have extended your hands beyond these walls into a wider world at a time when politics is filled with intolerance. Our rhetoric is at a pitch of anger and hostility. People need to visit this garden and see an example of how a terrible crime was handled.” Klobuchar said she remembers “how shocked and horrified the religious community and the people at the courthouse were” when the crime occurred. “Your community asked for leniency,” Klobuchar said. “You chose education. You chose compassion. You walked the path of forgiveness. You put your faith into action and you changed the lives of these two men. Kindness and compassion really can change lives.” “Namaste,” Klobuchar said, using a Hindu greeting which means “I bow to the divine in you.” “You could have seen these two locked up for a long time,” she said. “But you saw God within them. You have taught us all a lesson. My hope is that this civility and tolerance will become the norm.” She noted that the two young men “got to know the people at the temple well, as they put in 200 hours of community service over three years.” “Their felony convictions were expunged, they paid back the damages, they learned and they grew,” Klobuchar said. “They made friendships to last a lifetime.” Burke agreed with Klobuchar’s comments about the need for role models. “We’re in an era of a huge amount of cynicism about the criminal justice system,” Burke said. “Cynicism needs to be addressed.” In his view, Burke said, “We don’t listen very effectively. We need role models. We need champions in this state who will hold the criminal justice system accountable. A really good system of government and criminal justice has to have the values of compassion and empathy.” He credited Klobuchar and Peter Cahill, who was the Hennepin County prosecutor on the case when the crime occurred, with having “courage to listen and take a chance.” “It worked out great,” Burke said. “We need em-

The Hindu Mandir Temple of Minnesota is at 10530 Troy Lane, Maple Grove. (Photos by Sue Webber) pathy, courage and compassion.” Maple Grove Mayor Mark Steffenson said he can remember the day the crime occurred. “It was a horrible day for our community,” he said. “Those despicable acts were hard to explain and understand.” He credited members of the Hindu temple with approaching the situation with forgiveness, tolerance, love and compassion, with the result that both perpetrators now are productive members of the community. “Thank you for your approach and your values,” Steffenson said. “Your love and compassion allowed them to seek and obtain redemption. We as a community have learned from it. They have learned. You are demonstrating how we can become community builders.” Sane said he and his wife, Dr. Kumud Sane, (both are pediatric physicians who helped start Minneapolis Children’s Hospital in the 1970s), were co-chairpersons of the temple’s board at the time the crime occurred. Sane and his wife have lunch with the young men yearly. “We are good friends,” he said. “They are doing well and they are extremely grateful to the community for this second chance.” Spakousky, a college graduate, is married and the father of two young children. He works in a church, Sane said, adding, “He and his wife work hard.” Tuomie got his education at Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis, according to Sane. “He is extremely good with his hands,” Sane said. “He is holding a good job and he is happy.” “One who never falls down is not the winner,” Sane said. “These two fell down and were able to get up and start walking. They are the winners.”




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In a season of giving, area churches give back BY ALYSSA KREKELBERG SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS Church-sponsored mission trips to other countries, aimed at helping those in distress, occur regularly. However, churches in Maple Grove and Osseo are also recognizing the need to help others in or around their own community. Advent Lutheran Church in Maple Grove kicked off its program last September to address the needs of students at Osseo Senior High School. Advent’s Backpack Ministry began after retired Reverend Morrie Wee expressed his wish to find a way to connect with those in need within the community. The Backpack Ministry was built around helping students’ needs after OSH counselor Jackie Trzynka partnered with the program. Trzynka informed Advent’s Assistant Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministries, Tiffani Richardson, of the food insecurities that many OSH students face on the weekends, and wanted to find a way to help those students. Since September, volunteers at Advent have been packing donated food into 12 to 15 grocery bags each week, which they then deliver to OSH. The guidance office then goes through these items, puts them into different backpacks, and gives them to students they know need the extra help. Richardson notes that they try to pack the bags with items that are geared towards kids and families too, such as pots and pans, and enough food to feed more than one student for the weekend. Donations from Advent’s congregation and other community members help fund the cost for food. Their goal is to supply enough food to aver-

Last holiday season, St. Joseph the Worker added holiday themed notebooks and pencils into the KidPacks for elementary school children at Cedar Island and Oak View Elementary.

At Advent Lutheran Church, rows of shelves are filled with food, deodorant, plastic bags, and other items that will be donated to Osseo Senior High students in need. age 1,800 to 2,000 calories a day for each student. Advent also supplies these students with simple items like deodorant, body wash, shampoo and conditioner, bus passes, and locks for gym lockers. “These are items that cost money and that people don’t think about,” said Richardson. “I’m amazed at how many people have come forward to donate and to volunteer their time to pack these bags,” Richardson adds. “The reason we do this program is because not only does it help these kids, but it helps people see that the need is in our community. We go on mission trips to other states, but there are kids right here in our schools that need our support.” The purpose behind this program is to keep students from worrying about where their next meal is coming from. The idea is that if their basic needs are met, these students will be better able to study, work on school, and be kids. However, Advent Lutheran Church isn’t the only community church looking out for the wellbeing of area youth. For three years, St. Joseph the Worker in Maple Grove has been involved in a program known as KidPack, which is an initiative with the Osseo, Robbinsdale and Hopkins Area Schools to address food insecurities that elementary school students may have. St. Joseph the Worker supports Cedar Island Elementary and Oak View Elementary in Maple Grove by delivering food packs to these schools twice a month. These packs typically have seven items of snack food that kids can easily make themselves.


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Area churches give back to Maple Grove, Osseo residents from page 7 All parents of these students have the option to opt-into this program at the beginning of the year. The schools then compile that information and give volunteers at St. Joseph the Worker the total count of students that have requested KidPacks. These volunteers work with CROSS Food Shelf to purchase the snacks. KidPack Coordinator at St. Joseph the Worker, Diane Janowak, coordinates volunteers to help pack these bags from September through May. She also delivers the KidPacks to the schools. Typically, volunteers pack 350 bags a month. “It’s been a great way to help out kids and bring awareness to the fact that this is an issue in our community,” Janowak said. “Our main goal is that we’re helping out the families and showing kids that there are people out there that care.” Janowak also expressed her delight at the community response to this program. “It really has been cool to see how people have stepped up to make this program work. A hungry child is just a heartbreaking thing and it’s closer than we think, but the support for this program is heartwarming,” added Janowak. The KidPack program can be found at other churches within the community. Christ’s Community Church in Maple Grove also partners with CROSS to purchase, pack and deliver around 300 bags of food once a month to students at Park Brook Elementary in Brooklyn Park. Kids in Sunday School classes at Christ’s Community Church pack each bag of food. Kids as young as two years old participate in the program and learn what it means to serve others.

Raisins, chewy bars, and cans of soup are examples of some of the items that are put into KidPacks.

Christ’s Community Church prepares and delivers sandwiches to Simpson Housing in Minneapolis to help address the food insecurities in the community. This is the second year Christ’s Community Church has participated in this program. It costs around $6,000 a year to support the children at Park Brook Elementary and Reverend Jen Moran stated that the funding for this program has been covered entirely by outside sources and special funding. “We are so grateful for this opportunity to serve our community and make some small difference in the fight against hunger,” Rev. Moran said. In addition to its participation in the KidPack program, Christ’s Community Church has partnered with the Minneapolis Simpson Shelter since 2010. The Simpson Shelter houses, supports and advocates for those that are homeless, Last year alone, Simpson Housing served 3,178 people experiencing homelessness by providing overnight shelter, programs for kids and supportive housing. Each month, Christ’s Community Church purchases, prepares and delivers 150 sandwiches to the shelter. Congregation volunteers fund the program, known as Simpson Sandwiches, and organize the sandwich making and delivery. “We chose to participate in this program because Jesus calls us to feed those who are hungry, and the Simpson Sandwiches ministry is just one way we can answer that call,” Moran said. “We live as people who have more than we need, and want to share that abundance with others.” One mission at Christ’s Community Church is to serve the community, address social injustices and make a difference in people’s lives. “Sometimes, the seemingly ‘small’ ways we make a difference really have the most impact. Simpson Sandwich ministry is a simple ministry that has a real impact,” Moran said. Through different programs, many churches are proving that there are various way to address peoples’ need in their own communities.



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The Sleigh Bells & Sparkle Parade takes place Saturday, Dec. 5, at 5 p.m. along Main Street in Maple Grove near the government center. (Sun staff file photo by Alicia Miller)

Maple Grove kicking off season with parade, Santa Join the Maple Grove Community Organization, Arbor Lakes Business Association and other Maple Grove businesses as they bring the holiday season off to a grand start with the Hometown Holiday on Main Street and Sleigh Bells & Sparkle Parade Saturday, Dec. 5. Santa is planning a visit to the Maple Grove Community Center early Saturday, Dec. 5. The Maple Grove Community Organization and Maple Grove Lions will once again host a Breakfast/ Lunch with Santa. Families are invited to spend the morning having a relaxing breakfast or lunch before sharing their list of wishes with Santa. You may bring your own camera for your memory photo with Santa. The Maple Grove Ambassadors will provide camera assistance for a family photo with Santa. Other activities included in the ticket price are children’s novelty games, face painting, craft projects and a cake walk. Tickets went on sale Nov. 1, breakfast is from 8:30 to 10 a.m. and costs $4 for breakfast pastries, fruit and juice or milk. Lunch is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is $6 for pizza, pop and cookies. Registration is available online only at www. No mail in registrations accepted. For more information or to volunteer call voice message line at 763-494-5985. The holiday fun continues at 3 p.m. and runs through to 7 p.m. at the Arbor Lakes Business Association’s annual Hometown Holiday on Main Street with a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, music on the Plaza at the North End of Main Street,

treats, contests, carriage rides and surprises. Stick around as Santa joins the ranks in the fifth annual Sleigh Bells & Sparkle Parade. Come line up to watch the parade units as their lights sparkle and twinkle in the evening sky beginning at 5 p.m., viewing area is on Main Street from the corner of Schuler Shoes/Chico’s continuing around the corner on Arbor Lakes Parkway to the Maple Grove Government Center parking lot entrance. Culminating the procession will be the sound of Jolly Ole Saint Nick sleigh bells, as he magically brings sparkle and lights to the community holiday tree, signifying the start of a “Wonderful Holiday Season” in Maple Grove.

People can sign up now to have breakfast or lunch with Santa at the Maple Grove Community Center. The event is Saturday, Dec. 5, and is run by the Maple Grove Community Organization.













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Santa will arrive in Osseo atop a fire truck. He will be in town for the Osseo Minidazzle event Saturday, Dec. 4, and again for a Lunch with Santa Saturday, Dec. 5.

Osseo to host Minidazzle, Lunch with Santa events

The first Friday evening each December is a special evening in downtown Osseo. Discover Osseo by joining the festivities for the annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony and Minidazzle Friday, Dec. 4, in Boerboom Veterans Park across from Osseo City Hall. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. and continue to 8 p.m. At 6 p.m., Central Avenue comes alive with all the dazzling lights. A festive parade begins at First Street N.E. and travels Central Avenue to the Civic Plaza at Fifth Street. The parade includes the American Legion Color Guard, area fire trucks decorated for the holiday season, police squad cars and sheriff cars. Santa Claus is escorted into town on a fire truck at the end of the parade and available to visit with children in his regal chair at the park. Bring your camera for a photo with Santa. Goody bags are distributed to the kids by Santa’s elves. Rides will also be offered on fire trucks. Toys for Tots items are collected in the park that evening by the U.S. Marines Corps Reserves, as well as at local participating businesses during the holiday season. The Osseo Police Department coordinates the annual Toys for Tots program. Food donations will also be collected for CROSS Food Shelf in Rogers. The Osseo Senior High School Oriole Chamber Singers perform in the park. The bonfire on Fifth Street next to the park is a hit with young and old alike. Inside the Osseo Community Center features holiday music, along with hot dogs, cookies, and cocoa, between 6 and 8 p.m.

The annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony and Minidazzle Friday, Dec. 4, will take place in Boerboom Veterans Park across from Osseo City Hall. The holiday festivities continue Saturday, Dec. 5, with the Lunch with Santa event. Join Santa Claus for lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Osseo Community Center, 415 Central Avenue. The Osseo Lions Club sponsors Lunch with Santa. They will be serving free lunch for all kids. Lunch is also available to grown-ups for $8. Kids can get a goody bag. Sit on Santa’s lap, and a professional photographer will present you with a photo. There will also be a children’s holiday movie shown.


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The Osseo Minidazzle event features a parade of emergency vehicles, a tree lighting in Boerboom Park, a bon fire, caroling, a visit with Santa and more. (Sun staff file photo by Alicia Miller)

Much planning goes into community holiday events BY ALICIA MILLER SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS Despite possible cold and snowy weather, many people enjoy heading out to one of the many community holiday events that take place in Maple Grove and Osseo. A lot of time and work goes into creating a fun event. But just how much time and work? OSSEO MINIDAZZLE One of the longest holiday celebrations is the Osseo Treelight, and now Minidazzle. Osseo city staff and the former Osseo Business Association has had major hands in planning this event for years. Since the late 1990s, there has been a holiday celebration the first Friday evening in December, according to city staff. In the 1990s and early 2000s, the event was called An Old Fashion Christmas in Osseo. Some of the festivities included tree lighting in Boerboom Park, Santa, horse drawn hay rides, food, caroling, food collection for CROSS Food Shelf, and special treats for kids. Osseo city staff said there was also a home Christmas lighting contest, with gift certificate awards. Even storefronts were decorated and businesses could win an award. Local businesses donated food and/or funds toward the cost of the event. Reconstruction of Central Avenue was completed in 2009, so that was the year the Minidazzle

(Yes, the name is an off shoot of the big celebration Holidazzle) began and included the ribbon cutting of a brand new Central Avenue. Aside from the normal festivities, there was a parade of lighted fire trucks and other emergency vehicles led by the American Legionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s flag guard, fire truck rides were offered to kids, the U.S. Marine Corps were present to collect Toys for Tots, and a big bonfire in the street kept everyone warm. The planning for this bigger event took about six months. City staff said volunteers have always played a part, whether serving or donating food, directing traffic, helping with all the children, caroling, donating funds for treat bags for the kids, setting up for the event, extending an invitation to Santa, donating a big tree for decorations in Boerboom Park, showing a holiday movie in the community center, etc. One year there were line dancers and face painting in the community center, along with Living Windows downtown Osseo. The events now take about four months to plan. The planning committee includes city staff, the Osseo Lions and a local church group. Donations of food (hot dogs, cookies, hot chocolate) or money toward treats/goodies for the kids are sought. Ads must be inserted in several local publications well in advance for promotion of the event. Weather can play a part in whether more events are inside the community center rather than outside in Boerboom Park.


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Community events take time to plan from page 17 For the last four years, a Lunch with Santa event has been held on the Saturday following Minidazzle in the Osseo Community Center. The Osseo Lions Club sponsors this fun event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Kids enjoy a free lunch, with adults paying. Santa is happy to listen to children’s wishes and sit for a free complimentary photo. A holiday movie is enjoyed and all children get a goody bag of treats. ARBOR LAKES/MAIN STREET There are also many different holiday events that take place in Maple Grove along Main Street. These include Santa’s Magical Workshop at the Fountains at Arbor Lakes, Winter Wonderland Weekend at the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes and Hometown Holiday on Main Street. Nancy Whitelaw, with the Arbor Lakes Business Association, said the group was formed in 2003 to market Arbor Lakes. “The Sleighbells & Sparkle Parade is an event embedded in the association’s annual Hometown Holiday on Main Street, which has been occurring since 2000 when we first lit the community tree on Arbor Lakes Parkway and Main Street,” Whitelaw said. “It has evolved into an event providing free horse and carriage rides on Main Street, visits and photos with Santa and, of course, the Sleighbells & Sparkle Parade.” Whitelaw said since this is an annual event, the plans evolve from the prior year’s event. She said the group recaps the event immediately after it occurs and keeps that information in mind as the group moves toward the next year’s event. Editorial planning begins about three months before the Hometown Holiday event on Main Street. Contracts are signed with vendors about two months out. “Most everything is in place and ready to go about two weeks before the actual

The Hometown Holiday/Sleigh Bells and Sparkle Parade features a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. (Sun staff file photo by Alicia Miller)

event date,” Whitelaw said. “For Hometown Holiday, Arbor Lakes Business Association is dependent upon the participation of its members to make any event successful,” Whitelaw said. “By hosting in-store ‘warming houses’ or having a special offer or entertainment, they are essential to the process. We are very reliant on our member volunteers to prepare the association’s float for the parade and pulling the float in the parade. The Sleighbells & Sparkle Parade is put on by the Maple Grove Community Organization and the Maple Grove Women of Today—both are volunteer organizations.” One the most difficult things about planning these events is worrying about the weather, according to Whitelaw. “Unlike an enclosed mall, Arbor Lakes’ events are all outdoors. Two years ago, the parade was cancelled, but we went on with our event because we had advertised it and all of our restaurants were open for business. It was about 14 below zero that night and we still had packed restaurants and many brave souls watching the tree lighting and enjoying carriage rides,” she added. The best part of planning the events is “watching our guests enjoy themselves. Our events bring out families and seeing them having fun is very rewarding,” according to Whitelaw. MAPLE GROVE ROTARY The Maple Grove Rotary Club also hosts an annual fundraising gala. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the gala. Jill Englund with the Maple Grove Rotary said the group regularly meets weekly. The planning for the gala has been in the works for several months already. “We determine a theme, brainstorm places to solicit donations, ways in which they can engage the community,” she said. The Rotary members all perform the necessary tasks to host the gala on a voluntary basis. Englund added, “Putting together any type of silent auction takes several months. Do Good Events has been working with the Maple Grove Rotary since approximately August for the gala.” Englund said one of the most difficult things about planning the event is coordinating the silent auction donations. “It is an exciting challenge that often takes until the final hours to put together,” she added. Kalsey Beach, with Do Good Events, said this event is “highlighting 25 years of shining light in the community and celebrating 25 Rotary star moments.” When asked what was the most rewarding thing about planning the event, Englund said, “Seeing a community of dedicated individuals come together for the good of others. This is a wonderful group to work with!”


Upcoming area holiday events Santaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Magical Workshop Saturday, Nov. 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fountains at Arbor Lakes Check out the Santaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Magical Workshop event where you can meet Santa, get to ride a reindeer and visit the petting zoo, have a free photo taken with Santa and merchant specials.

Light the Grove Thursday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. Maple Grove Hospital Join in for the sixth annual Light the Grove holiday event. Bring the family and friends to meet Santa and his reindeer, enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride, sing with the choir and more. The official lighting ceremony will take place at 6 p.m.

Holiday Boutique Friday, Dec. 4, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Maple Grove Hospital Come and enjoy a wonderful holiday shopping experience filled with homemade gifts by Maple Grove Hospital staff, volunteers and their families.

Angel of Hope Candlelight Memorial Sunday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. Angel of Hope Statue (Maple Grove Arboretum)



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Each year there is a candlelight memorial at the statue to honor and remember children that have died. The public is invited to attend the short ceremony. Candles are also provided. Those attending are invited to bring a white flower and leave it at base of the memorial statue in memory of loved ones. After the candlelight vigil, people are invited to join the Friends of the Angel of Hope Maple Grove group across the street at the Arbor View Early Childhood Center for further remembrance inside. The Friends of the Angel group will provide refreshments and beverages.

Winter Wonderland Weekend Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12 and 13, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes Gather for good cheer, great shopping and a jolly old time at The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove. Winter Wonderland Weekend features festive activities to help your family get into the holiday spirit and help you tackle the to-doâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s on your holiday gift list. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget to enjoy the live reindeer, revel in the Shoppesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; spectacular holiday dĂŠcor and of course, take advantage of all the discounts from the areaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s finest retailers.

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Heading off stress and family conflicts might be as simple as choosing to celebrate Thanksgiving a week ahead of time, or celebrating Christmas with your own family, instead of the extended family. You could celebrate one holiday with one side of the family and another holiday with the other side of the family.

Avoid holiday family feuds by thinking ahead BY SUE WEBBER CONTRIBUTING WRITER Holiday decorations start to appear in stores before Halloween, and gift catalogs begin to fill our mailboxes prior to that. But what also may arrive with those outward harbingers of the upcoming holiday season are feelings of anxiety, depression and negative anticipation. For many, the feelings come along with contemplating family gatherings that are supposed to be joyous, but may be tainted by ongoing feuds or resentments. “The holidays, more than any other time, bring out unrealistic expectations and losses,” said Cathy Malmon, a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and also co-owner of The Calli Institute in Maple Grove, a mental health clinic that offers therapy for families, couples, groups and individuals, as well as medication management and psychological testing. “The expectation is that we’re all going to get together and everything will be the same,” Malmon said.

But maybe the family has experienced a loss. Maybe a family dispute is simmering. Or maybe a family member is missing. In addition to possible negative holiday emotions, the amount of daylight is dwindling, which may have a negative effect on some. In her clinical practice, Malmon said, “We start getting people who are reacting to the shortened daylight. If they have any kind of depression, the seasons signal it. People become irritable.” Holidays are a time when some people may feel stressed about what they believe they must do or are expected to provide, and money may be a factor, she said. Holidays also are a time when people often don’t take care of themselves, Malmon said. “They eat too much, or they skip meals,” she said. “The emphasis is on party foods, which may lead to stress and irritability. They aren’t getting enough sleep, believing that they can just ‘power through it.’ There is pressure to spend the same amount of money as in years past. People believe they have to provide something for everyone.


to page 22


Work towards reconciliation with family members now from page 21 “It’s no wonder people collapse afterwards. There’s not enough time to rest.” In the case of a blended family or one in which a divorce has occurred, one family may be trying to split a two-day holiday among several different families. Heading off stress and family conflicts might be as simple as choosing to celebrate Thanksgiving a week ahead of time, or celebrating Christmas with your own family, instead of the extended family. You could celebrate one holiday with one side of the family and another holiday with the other side of the family. “That way, you can still honor the holiday and yet not play favorites,” Malmon said. Or, she said, “More and more people are choosing to go out for dinner, have dinner catered, or buy ready-made foods.” “It’s a matter of looking at the holiday differently in terms of how you spend your time and money,” she said. Family feuds or conflicts should never be tackled publicly, or at a family gathering, according to Malmon. For someone embroiled in a conflict with another person, she suggests that they write a letter of apology beforehand. “Anticipate that this will be a stressful time and try to circumvent the crisis,” Malmon said. “Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Own your part of it.” “Holidays are not the time to reconcile stuff that’s happened in the past,” she said. “When you factor in alcohol and stress, that could lead to a holiday nightmare. You can acknowledge the conflict, but choose a different venue [to resolve it]. You can gently say, ‘I hear this is important to you.’ You can acknowledge that someone needs to get something off their chest, but suggest that this is not the time to do it. Set aside another time to talk.” The secret to avoiding conflicts during the holidays is in planning ahead, anticipating what has worked in the past and deciding what you need to do to make the gathering less stressful, according to Malmon. Her advice for heading off negative expectations is this: “Be realistic. Keep it simple.” The Reverend Joel Jueckstock, supervisor of spiritual care at Maple Grove Hospital, agrees that tensions increase during the holidays, sometimes occurring when grown-ups go to their parents’ home. Often, he said, “The patterns and relationships of old become fully alive again.” “Maybe you go to into family gatherings and you’re uneasy about the dynamics,” Jueckstock


Family gatherings during the holidays are supposed to be a joyous time, but for some families these times can be stressful. There is help to deal with all kinds of situations — divorce, feuds, stress, etc. — to help make holiday gatherings easier for everyone.

said. “Look into yourself and see how you’re a part of this. You can be present and celebrate the holiday by owning your own stuff.” If there has been a family conflict, he said, “There has to be willingness on both sides to move toward reconciliation. You often have to recognize that it begins with yourself.” “We can’t force others to change, but we can try to bring them along,” Jueckstock said. “It requires great humility and introspection to look at your own stuff, to commit to not being angry, and to abstain from judging or blaming others.” “Forgiveness is allowing the grip, the hold, the power of another person over you to go away,” Jueckstock said. “When you forgive, you let the weight of the conflict go away. The beautiful thing is that the freedom of forgiveness doesn’t require both parties. Forgiveness is largely an emotional and spiritual benefit for the person doing the forgiving.” Reconciliation, however, does require both parties. And reconciliation can’t happen without forgiveness, he said. “Forgiveness is not expecting anything in return,” Jueckstock said. “If you forgive, you can move to reconciliation. There can be a tremendous freedom in being forgiven. It often is not just one person’s problem. A whole family system may contribute to the problem.” Reconciliation “requires much of us,” he said. “You have to be willing to do the hard work, to have the hard conversations. Change may come after a 15-minute discussion, or it may take years of work and the help of a counselor.”

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