Page 1







Drivers typically spend five seconds looking at their phones, which is enough time to cover more than the length of a football field going normal highway speeds.



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It’s great to see downtown building in use

Editor Sarah Stultz lives in Albert Lea with her husband, Jason, and son, Landon. She loves interior decorating and gardening.

Got ideas?

This is our seventh year! We at Albert Lea Magazine want to hear what you think, and we need your brightest ideas for coming issues. Favorite musicians? Finest artists? Beautiful home? Best storytellers? Local nightlife? We are open-minded. Call Sarah Stultz at 379-3433. Feel free to write a letter, too. Our address is on the right.


I’ve always felt drawn to Albert Lea’s downtown. Over the years, I’ve written dozens of stories about the downtown — whether it was new businesses, buildings that were renovated or features about something neat found in one of the buildings. My personal favorite was a time I wrote a feature about unused upstairs floors downtown, and I got to go up in several of the buildings to see what remained of what once was there. Some of these buildings have been renovated in recent years, while others remain the same. Of all the buildings I’ve seen, one of my favorite buildings is the Freeborn National Bank building. In all the time I have lived in Albert Lea — about 13 years — the building has sat empty, other than a few pop-up stores. I watched as the city hired a contractor to restore the outside of that building and then set out to sell the building to develop the interior. Multiple ideas have come up over the years about what could be in that space, and I marveled time and time again at the potential I knew could be there. That’s why I was so pleased to hear when a deal was finally made with Mortarr, one of Albert Lea’s newest companies, to renovate the space last year. I was thrilled to see that space finally be occupied — and equally as important, I was excited to see that building transformed. I walked through the renovated building for the first time during the Governor’s Fishing Opener in May, and I remember the feeling of awe and amazement I had as I saw what they and all of the crews did to that space. Gone were the cracks and peeling paint and dilapidated parts. The walls were all white, and the space was clean and sleek. Though it felt modern, many of the historical elements still remain, which I appreciate, considering how much that building means to so many in the community. I was more than pleased to showcase the transformation in this issue of the magazine. This issue also features another of Albert Lea’s gems, Myre-Big Island State Park, and a few of the people who enjoy its amenities. I know some of us don’t take advantage of it as much as we should, but we have a great resource there. In addition, this issue features fun children’s costumes made by local residents, just in time to begin planning for the Halloween holiday. These people are so talented, and it was fun to see their creations. As the weather starts to cool and fall sets in, don’t forget to enjoy the season! — Sarah Stultz

PUBLISHER Crystal Miller EDITORIAL Editor Sarah Stultz Contributing Writers Shannon Bordeaux Linda Evenson Sarah Kocher Michelle Nelson Sarah Nelson Emily Schmidt Sarah Stultz Contributing Photographers Colleen Harrison Sarah Kocher ART Art Director Kathy Woodside Graphic Designers Susan Downey Kim Ehrich Colby Hansen SALES & PROMOTION Sales Representatives Chelsey Benz Renee Citsay Daniel Gullickson SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 Volume 7, Number 5 EDITORIAL CORRESPONDENCE: Editor, Albert Lea Magazine, 808 W. Front St. Albert Lea, MN 56007 ONLINE: or albertleamagazine © 2019 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted or reproduced without written permission. For comments, suggestions or story ideas call 507-379-3433. To purchase advertising, call 507-379-3427. To subscribe, call 507-379-3422.





2708 Bridge Ave Albert Lea 507.377.2257 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 | 3


on the cover THIS IS HALLOWEEN Residents share some of their best handmade costumes


features RECHARGE IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS Locals take advantage of respite from city in nearby state park

38 THE REBIRTH OF A GEM DOWNTOWN Albert Lea-based company combines old with new in transformed historical building





Seen 8









Departments 18






All the rest 28 54














On the cover: Paizley Lowe dresses up as Winifred Sanderson from “Hocus Pocus”





OutdOOr EquipmEnt For the Precision Cut you Expect

519 Prospect Ave. • Albert Lea, MN (507) 377-7705 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 | 5








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(1) Madlynn Ruble and Brady Schreibvogel (2) Jess Hanson and Matt Hatland (3) Alexandria Jahnke and Creighton Jenness (4) Ashley Hanson and Tanner Shaft (5) Katherine Loos and R.J. “Jason” Cirksena III with Randy Cirksena Jr., father of the groom. (6) Mollie Mickelson and Jacob Schwartz




October 5-6, 2019 | Albert Lea, MN

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DECORATING • ENTERTAINING • GIFT GIVING Our store has a wide selection of modern, rustic, farmhouse & traditional house furnishings. A variety of framed art, mirrors, clocks, candles, lamps, rugs, accent furniture, tables, floral arrangements and holiday décor.


800-658-7076 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 | 9





4 3

Residents lined up to see the annual Third of July Parade long before it started. Among those celebrated during the parade were World War II veteran Richard Thunstedt, 98, of Alden and area veterans. The parade included many area first responder vehicles, local marching bands and a number of floats. (1) Jerry Eastman, Hannah Obermeyer, Landon Eastman, Alexis Rothmeier and Michelle Stollard. (2) Bernadette Yost and Makenna Hall (3) Rylan Hall, Brynley KirschBolinger and Katie Kirsch (4) Katelynn Nelson, Leah Bachtle and Samantha Kuethea (5) Sophia Thorpe, Xander Thorpe and Kelieye Corwin (6) Jayce, Pressli and Jenna Chidester (7) Tinnley and Trealyn Mickelson 10 | ALBERT LEA MAGAZINE




10 (8) Braxton Peterson, Levi Walk and Olivia Hedum (9) Don Thoutt and Ryland Fitzgerald (10) Sienna Martinez, Alexis Martinez, Vayda Gordon and Anna Esparza (11) Emily, Lynette, Allison and Joyce Bronson (12) Lily Heler and Gage, Nevaeh and Gia Marks (13) Joan, Edna and Kent Christian and Mary Ellen Johnson (14) Kallie, Amber and Hudson Struthers









5 4 A traveling truck show brought decked-out working semis to Trail’s Travel Center for its annual event. The super rigs competed in the truck beauty contest with hopes to be selected for the 2020 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar. A truck convoy was planned to Thursdays on Fountain, but weather led to the convoy being canceled. The event also included live music from Casi Joy and fireworks. (1) Duane Johnson and Alan Meyer, both of Dumont, Iowa (2) Jim Stolz and Terry Thomas of New Ulm (3) Andrea and Denton Schoenbaum of Dunnell (4) Brett and Tabitha Wright of Sigourney, Iowa (5) Brock, Jenni and Brinlea Scott of Albert Lea (6) Connor and Lee Ashburn of Clara City 12 | ALBERT LEA MAGAZINE




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212 Broadway Ave. S. | Albert Lea, MN | MN #40230933, IA #F06060000 2019-2020 SEASON

Fly By Night | Fall 2018 Musical

Wilson’s Girl: Unpacking the Beef in a Minnesota Town

The Importance of Being Earnest

October 4–6 & 11–13

February 26–29 & March 1

Adapted for the stage by Eva Barr from the memoir Packinghouse Daughter by Cheri Register

By Oscar Wilde

Once Upon a Mattress

As You Like It

November 20–24

April 23–25, 30 & May 1–2

Music by Mary Rodgers, Lyrics by Marshall Barer, Book by Jay Thompson, Dean Fuller, and Marshall Barer

Music and Lyrics by Shaina Taub, Adapted by Shaina Taub and Laurie Woolery

Austin, Albert Lea, Owatonna, Online |



1 People from all over the area showed up in droves to the 2019 Freeborn County Fair. From rides and food, to animals, concerts and a demolition derby, there was plenty of entertainment to please every member of the family. (1) Victor Arens, Tobias Hurley-Mardey, Skylar Kelley and Tristan Williams (2) Brayden Garcia and Kaiden Jenson (3) Jim, Brenda and Kaitlyn Hanson (4) Darlene Wilson, Heather Rosas and Sue Rivard




5 (5) Ryleigh Nelson and Arielle Nielsen (6) Larry Michaud, Jennifer Donahue, Jazmin Michaud and Jr. Michaud (7) Jeremy Wolff and Cassandra Princino (8) Kameron Nelson, Henrey Buendorf, Grant Adams and Erik Stieler (9) Lucas Hensche, Mayson Grunzke, Degan Jacobs, Kyle Hanstad and Caleb Songstad






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When life offers the gift of time... how will you spend it?


ak Park® Place offers a wide variety of activities and social events to complement your lifestyle. You’ll find ample opportunities to enrich your physical, social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs through our planned activities and events, both on-site and off.

Call 507-373-5600 to schedule a personal tour. 1615 Bridge Avenue Albert Lea, MN 56007

Follow us on Facebook 16 | ALBERT LEA MAGAZINE

Celebrating our




2019-2020 Concert Series A L B E RT L E A H I G H S C H O O L A U D I T O R I U M

Thursday, October 24, 2019 - 7:30pm - DOUBLE DOUBLE DUO Monday, November 25, 2019 - 7:30pm - TIMOTHY CHOOI Friday, February 28, 2020 - 7:30pm - TERRY BARBER TRIO Thursday, April 2, 2020 - 7:30pm - SONS OF THE PIONEERS Friday, May 8, 2020 - 7:30pm - BALL IN THE HOUSE RECIPROCITY is back this season and better than ever! With 1 Albert Lea Civic Music season ticket, you can enjoy 13 concerts: 5 in Albert Lea, 4 in Austin & 4 in Clear Lake. AUSTIN: Ball in the House, Timothy Chooi, The Hall Sisters, Alliance Brass CLEAR LAKE: Ball in the House, Jason Farnham, Double Double Duo, Sundae + Mr. Goessl

Thursday, October 24 7:30pm

DOUBLE DOUBLE DUO: Virtuosi of Entertainment! Two young “classical” musicians bringing their own style of intellect, expertise and talent to audiences around the world. Each member is a double threat, performing original arrangements of show pieces, jazz ballads and fiery folk music.

View schedules for all concerts and purchase your season tickets at








WANTED Balance out the angles in your home with round home decor items. Circles will bring a natural flow of energy to your space.


1 3

1. Elements of modern design and down-home living: This round, metal wall shelf features a wooden ledge for your treasures. The chicken wire backing gives this a touch of modern farmhouse flair. 18 inches in diameter. Addie’s Floral and Gifts, Albert Lea, $40 | 2. A new twist on the mason jar: This set of three hand-painted, pint-sized jars includes the rustic box. Various colors available to fit your décor. Junktion Market, Albert Lea, $30 | 3. A simple round object featured on a rectangular piece of furniture works every time: This tabletop clock is made of rustic metal with gold numbers. The clock face sits on an open area that helps incorporate into any style décor. Addie’s Floral and Gifts, Albert Lea, $27.50 18 | ALBERT LEA MAGAZINE


5 6

7 4. Add dynamic and rhythm to your walls: Reflect the light with this mirrored art featuring a globe. A vintage-finished frame gives this piece old-world charm. 15.5 inches in diameter. Addie’s Floral and Gifts, Albert Lea, $34 | 5. Just a little roundness: Even at its smallest, a round vessel can soften any corner of your house, and it never hurts to have more greenery. 4.25 inches total height, include faux plant. Addie’s Floral and Gifts, Albert Lea, $8 | 6. Endless options for use: These wood slices are cut from a cross section of a log. Each is one-of-a-kind in various sizes from 9 inches to 13 inches. Stack them, paint them or use with your centerpiece or a functional trivet — the possibilities go on. Addie’s Floral and Gifts, Albert Lea, $8-$10 | 7. Smile, this is about whiskey: What better place to rest your glass of whiskey than on a whiskey barrel table. These authentic whiskey barrel side tables are handcrafted, each with a different branding. 24 inches high, 22.5 inches in diameter. Junktion Market, Albert Lea, $250 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 | 19

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BACK TO SCHOOL FASHION 225 S Broadway Avenue | Downtown Albert Lea | 507-373-2515





PUMPKINS When summer comes to a close and the weather begins to get crisp, it’s time for fall decorating! Pumpkins are a classic autumn staple, whether they’re the traditional bright orange shade or a neutral variation. These cozy creations add a whole lot of texture to your fall decorating, and they’re so simple that you can whip up a crate of them in minutes. Angela Moller is a local graphic designer and artist. She loves everything about fall, including the changing leaves and crisp breezes, cozy sweaters and boots and all things pumpkin! She works alongside her husband, Matt, in their handmade business, Homestead Design, specializing in meaningful gifts, custom home decor and graphic design. Angela and Matt offer craft workshops and sell their work locally at The Boutique at Dinah’s Style at 405 E. William St. in Albert Lea, at events throughout the area and online at www.


Wrap a length of twine or yarn around 2 fingers about 10 times and cut the end. For a variegated effect, wrap multiple colors of twine or yarn at once.


What you will need: Twine and/or chunky yarn Scissors Floral wire Hot glue gun Twigs Dried leaves


For larger pumpkins, wrap around a paper towel roll or a drinking glass. Twine works better than yarn for larger pumpkins due to its stiffer texture.


Secure the looped yarn with a small piece of floral wire.


Repeat 3 times, resulting in 4 sections of looped yarn.


Hot glue each of the 4 sections together, and fluff to form a pumpkin shape.


Top it off with a short twig stem and a dried leaf, securing with hot glue.


On Fountain Lake

You’ll find a


in Our Community!

Taking applications for both campuses for the| following positons: 507-373-8226

Independent Living • Assisted Living Secured Memory Care • Skilled Care • Short Term Rehab

When it comes to buying your first home, you may be thinking...

NOW OPEN Do I have enough for a

To apply submit application to: 901 Luther Place • Albert Lea, MN

The Meadows Assisted Living Apartments and The Meadows Memory Care Apartments


down payment?

at st. John's Lutheran Community on Fountain Lake

Is my credit score too low?

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Enjoy brand new senior living with lake views and a serene setting.

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CONtaCt DiaNE WiChmaNN tO sEt uP a tOur 1761 Eagle View Circle • Albert Lea, MN 507-373-8226 •

901 Luther Place, Albert Lea, MN

1861 Eagle View Circle, Albert Lea, MN

George R. Lundstrom, DDS 2018

Family & Cosmetic Dentistry We offer our thanks to all of you for your kind vote of confidence!

Do I make enough to buy a house?

You might be surprised.

Let’s talk!

Contact our local banking team to get started.

507.379.2551 Exclusive for Package e First-Tim yers Homebu

209 N. 9th Avenue Albert Lea, MN 56007


“Excellence Is Our Chosen Path” 24 | ALBERT LEA MAGAZINE All applications are subject to underwriting guidelines and approval. This does not constitute an offer to lend. Not all applicants will qualify for all loan products offered. Member FDIC.


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One stOp shOp fOr yOur fall wardrObe

2578 bridge ave albert lea, Mn 507-473-2117 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 | 25





FOOD OF FALL Bryan Cunningham has been a chef for 20 years. He loves learning new skills in the kitchen and experimenting with different ingredients. When he’s not in the kitchen, he is watching shows featuring his favorite chefs or spending time with his wife and three children. He is proud of living in his native town of Albert Lea and is working on building his new catering business, Yankee Catering.

Fall is here, and with it comes shorter days, colder temperatures and more chances to stay inside and cook up some delicious comfort food. Some of the best comfort food for these chilly days is soup, and Chicken Wild Rice is one of my favorites. Enjoyed with some saltine crackers, bread and butter, or all on its own, it’s a great meal for this time of year.

Chicken Wild Rice Soup Ingredients 1/2 cup diced onions 1/2 cup diced celery 1/2 cup diced carrots 3 cups diced cooked chicken 2 cups cooked wild rice 3 cups milk

5 cups chicken stock (broth) 1 pound butter 1/2 cup flour 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 tablespoon thyme Salt and pepper to taste


Sauté onions, celery, carrots and 1/2 pound of butter until tender. Add chicken broth and milk and bring to a boil. Then add chicken and wild rice. Make a roux with 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 pound of butter. Use this to thicken your soup to your liking. Add seasonings. Serves 4 to 6.





LIVE WITHOUT “The Wife Between Us” By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

HHHHH Review by Tricia Nelson “The Wife Between Us” is a psychological thriller that begins with an all too familiar scene of a woman scorned, a failed marriage and a younger, prettier, replacement bride-to-be. The reader is brought along to believe they know exactly what is going on with this cliche turn of events. The ex-husband, Richard, was the perfect man; his former wife, Vanessa, had an alcohol problem. Clearly, it was her fault that marriage didn’t last and he moved on. Plain and simple. Or is it? This story draws the reader in pretty quickly with an early plot twist that pulls you in even more (right around the time you finally think you can take a little break). As soon as I thought I had a pretty good handle on who should be trusted and what really happened between Richard and Vanessa, the authors completely shake things up and change the perspective on everything. This book truly has it all: suspense, drama and plenty of surprises. I would definitely recommend it for anyone who enjoyed “Gone Girl” or the authors’ other collaboration, “An Anonymous Girl,” which is equally as thrilling.

“The Girl Who Wrote in Silk” By Kelli Estes

HHHH Review by Saundra Finseth While exploring the estate she inherits, Inara finds an ornately stitched piece of silk hidden in the house. Inara takes the fabric to a professor


In front, from left, are Advanced Family Dental employees Saundra Finseth and Tricia Nelson. In back, from left, are Emily Nelson, Melanie Bakken, Robbi Woodside, Courtney Nelson and Erica Vanthavong.

versed in Chinese history, and his research leads them back to the 1880s, when the Chinese were violently forced from their homes along the Pacific Coast. The book alternates between Inara’s contemporary story and the more touching historical story of Mei Lien and her family’s story that is revealed through her embroidered art. I enjoy historical fiction mixed with contemporary drama.


SHOULDN’T MISS “The Husband’s Secret”

“The Nightingale”

By Lianne Moriarty

By Kristin Hannah



Review by Erica Vanthavong “The Husband’s Secret” takes you into the lives of three women who casually know each other, but will later discover a secret that will impact each of their lives greatly. The book begins with Cecelia opening a letter from her husband with instructions to open after his death. However, he is still alive. I read this book a while ago for book club. “The Husband’s Secret” is the type of book you will want to discuss with someone and will take you through a roller coaster of emotions. Definitely a page turner that I didn’t want to end.

Review by Melanie Bakken Two French sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, resist Nazi forces during World War II. Vianne hides Jewish children so they cannot be taken to concentration camps, and Isabelle leads Allied pilots to safety who have been shot down over France. Vianne has always followed the rules growing up and has been at odds with rebellious Isabelle. When the war begins, Vianne continues to follow the rules until the son of her Jewish best friend is put at risk. She joins the resistance by adopting him and getting false papers on other children so they can be hidden in a Catholic orphanage. Isabelle guides Allied pilots to safety through the war but is eventually caught by the Nazi forces and spent the remainder of the war in a concentration camp. I really enjoyed the story of bravery with these two sisters.

“The Silent Patient”

“The Au Pair”

By Alex Michaelides

By Emma Rous



Review by Robbi Woodside A psychological thriller. The perfect life of an artist and photographer. Alicia’s husband returns home late from a photo shoot, and she shoots him and never talks again. She gets sent away to a psych hospital. Theo, a psychotherapist, awaits an opportunity to work with Alicia. He is determined to get her to speak and figure out why she shot her husband, which motivates him to find out truths of his own. The book kept me turning the pages. Every time I thought I had it figured out, there was another twist.

Review by Emily Nelson Seraphine is mourning the death of her father and while looking through pictures, makes a discovery about her family. Seraphine notices her mom is not holding both twins in the picture that was taken shortly after giving birth. Is she holding Seraphine or her brother Danny? Her mother died tragically shortly after birth, so she reaches out and contacts their childhood au pair, who slowly reveals some dark family secrets. It was a page-turner! I read most of this book on the beach in Mexico!

“Wife in Pursuit” By Selena Frederick

HHHH Review by Courtney Nelson A two-part book (“Husband in Pursuit”) for your spouse is a 31-day challenge to help bring both God and your husband back into your life. It encourages scripture readings, conversation and activities with your spouse. It challenges you to dig deep into your faith as well as your marriage. It’s great for new parents or couples who want to reconnect.

Want to review a book?

We are looking for book clubs, workplaces or groups of friends who would like to review books for future issues of the magazine. If you want to get involved, contact Michelle Rasmussen at 379-9850 or


SHOP DOWNTOWN ALBERT LEA find everything you need, locally Conger Meat Market

Flavor & Quality That

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monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

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Monday - Saturday 11aM - CLoSE

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Football, Friends, Food & Fun Football season has started. Join us for the game!

507-373-3000 112 S Broadway Ave | Albert Lea

204 S. Washington Ave., Suite 100 | Albert Lea, MN 507-369-5701 |

Albert Lea Art Center

Create, Educate, Promote & Showcase the arts

Gallery Exhibits, Lecture Series, Classes Offered, Gift Shop, Art Supplies, Special Events

123 S Broadway | Albert Lea | 507.377.6062 Walk-ins Welcome Mon-Thurs 9am-8pm | Fri 9am-5pm | Sat 9am-3pm

for all curl kind Deva Curl Certified Salon

Contact the Art Center for Details! 101 S. Broadway, Albert Lea, MN 56007 507-373-5665 web: Instagram & Face Book: Albert Lea Art Center



Hours: 10 am—4 pm Tues-Fri 10 am—1 pm Sat

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216 South Broadway | 507-377-2081 | Albert Lea M-F 9:30am-5:30pm | Sat 9:30am-3pm

Wills | Probate | PoWers of attorney

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BETWEEN FRIENDS - boutique -


New Fall/wiNter clothes arriviNg daily! Unique women’s clothing, accessories & home decor. 144 S. Broadway Ave. Downtown Albert Lea 507-473-2111

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ExquisitE food & finE winEs A first class dining establishment that reflects the influence of classic french & italian cuisine, and current California trends. we offer a diverse selection of over 100 imported & domestic wines. full cocktail service also available. we feature usdA Prime beef & fresh seafood open thursday, friday and saturday evenings at 5:30 RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED







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Regularly changing menu, see our website at


118 s. Broadway Ave, Albert Lea


HALLOWEEN Area residents share some of their best handmade children’s costumes Photography by COLLEEN HARRISON

We asked for people who make Halloween costumes for their children or grandchildren to show us some of their creations. From skilled seamstresses to creative problem-solvers, we found people who brought beloved characters — as well as creations of their own — to life. One girl is this feature even did most of her costume work herself (with a little help from Mom).


Scarlett and Markey Samp

Age: 7 and 11 Dressed as: flappers Costume made by: grandmother Kim Stevens Costume materials: wigs, feather boas, shoes, necklaces, gloves; dresses and headdresses made by Stevens Previous costumes: Elsa and Anna from “Frozen,” characters from “The Wizard of Oz”


Caleb Flicek

Age: 14 Dressed as: Marty McFly from “Back to the Future� Costume made by: Flicek and mother Kendra MacIntosh Costume materials: orange vest, flannel and denim shirts, jeans, old skateboard painted Previous costumes: vampire, zombie


Paizley Lowe

Age: 8 Dressed as: Winifred Sanderson from “Hocus Pocus” Costume made by: Lowe and mother Jes Williamson Costume materials: spray-on hair dye, fake nails, rings, vampire teeth Williamson shaved down to look like Winifred’s and then used denture glue to keep in place, fabric picked out by Lowe and Williamson and sewn together, gold paint for fabric details Previous costumes: Sally from “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” a “Ghostbusters” character, Voldemort from the “Harry Potter” series


Olivia Sharpsteen

Age: 7 in September Dressed as: a winged unicorn, or alicorn Costume made by: mother Kristina Garcia Costume materials: hooded sweatshirt and tights, wings, yarn for the tail and mane, cardboard with glitter paint and rubber bands for the hooves Previous costumes: owl, butterfly, mouse — all paired with her mother’s costume

Costume tips for your trick-or-treaters

• Keep the footwear simple.

When Kristina Garcia was making an alicorn costume for her daughter, Olivia Sharpsteen, she knew to make the footwear easy for her daughter to walk around in. She made cardboard hooves that could be fastened to her daughter’s sneakers with rubberbands. They stayed on all night and didn’t make her daughter trip or step on them. • Dress in layers. “There’s nothing worse than having to wear a coat over your costume,” Garcia said. She usually incorporates sweatshirts and tights into her costumes. That way, if it’s cooler, layers can be added underneath without taking away from the costume.

• Leave yourself plenty of time.

This can be taken in different ways, depending on who you ask. Garcia said to leave plenty of time to dress up in the costumes so you or the children aren’t rushed or stressed getting ready to go out. For Kendra MacIntosh, it means leaving enough time to make the costume ahead of Halloween, if possible. When helping her son, Caleb Flicek, and her daughters put together their costumes, sometimes they’ve changed their mind on what to wear a little too close to the holiday for MacIntosh. • Have fun. “Get creative,” Garcia said. “This is your chance to be a kid again.” — Pictured above is Ryder Ehrich dressed in his monster costume from last Halloween. The costume was put together by his grandmother Pat Ehrich 36 | ALBERT LEA MAGAZINE

Albert Lea Hockey Association & City of Albert Lea Park & Rec

HOCKEY REGISTRATION Sept 17th – 6:00 to 8:00 PM Sept 19th – 6:00 to 8:00 PM Sept 21st – 9:00 to 11:00 AM

ALBERT LEA CITY ARENA ALHA Traveling Teams (as of July 1)

Girls U-10 .................. 10 & under Girls U-12 .................. 12 & under Squirts ..........................9-10 years Peewees ...................... 11-12 years Bantams......................13-14 years Junior Gold .............. High School FOR ALL TRAVELING HOCKEY PLAYERS AND EARLY BIRD CAMP PARTICIPANTS

Registration for USA Hockey Membership ($50) is done online at:

Registration for USA Hockey requires a debit or credit card. Prepaid Visa cards is an option for this process. You must bring your printed registration receipt from USA Hockey to one of Albert Lea Hockey Registration sessions listed above. ALHA WEBSITE: See link for registration form (save time / bring registration) Player’s Birth Certificate ( copy ) only needed for 1st Year Travelers. Players that traveled last year are on file with USA Hockey.

Park & Rec Mite Hockey

Mite 1 - Pre-K and older new to hockey. Mite 2 - 1st graders and other players that have been in hockey at least one year. Mite 3 - Primarily 2nd and 3rd graders and squirt age players who do not wish to travel. Or register online for Park & Rec Mite Hockey at

Equipment rental: $50

Early Bird Hockey Camp 2019

For Bantams, Peewees, Girls and Squirts - Starts September 28th

Same fee as last year - only $100










Research Library 40 Exhibits 18 Historic Buildings


Autumn in the Village Uncorking History Show & Tell Series Lectures Children’s Programming Tours Wednesday-Friday - 10AM to 4PM 2nd Saturday - 11AM to 3 PM

1031 Bridge Avenue, Albert Lea, MN 507.373.8003

To subscribe, call 507-379-3422 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 | 37



OUTDOORS Locals take advantage of respite from city in nearby state park Story by SARAH KOCHER Photography by COLLEEN HARRISON



ust off the interstate and a few miles out of town, there are 1,596 acres of peace. “It’s so beautiful out here,” Debi Olson said. “This is my home away from home.” Olson lives in the area and heads out to Myre Big-Island State Park to walk her two boxers, Odie and Rigs, or to take photos of nature. The park is brimming with it. She is out there an estimated three or four times a week, she said. The park has 16 miles of hiking trails, eight miles of cross-country ski trails, seven miles of snowmobile trails and seven miles of mountain bike trails. According to parks worker Cyndi Schmidt, the park’s most common uses are camping, hiking and biking. Those cross country trails are where Jeff Miller got his start in the park during high school and college, but said the trails are not as well

A variety of different trails can be found throughout the state park.


Miller and Wasson’s use of the park trails have evolved over the years. They used to ride their bicycles through the park, but now stick to more running on the trails.


maintained now as they were. Mostly, his wife, Amy Wasson, said, they use the park for running — even in winter. The couple began trail running at Myre-Big Island because it was more forgiving on ankles and knees than pounding on pavement, Wasson said. Now, they stick as much as they can to the unpaved roads. Wasson said she would never go back to road-running. “I never knew how wonderful the trails were out here until we started doing almost exclusively trail running,” Wasson said. Miller’s runs often include time both inside and outside the park. As he trains for the ultramarathon races he tends toward — any race farther than 26.2 miles — he runs the 12 miles combined to and from the park and his home and whatever he has time for in the park. A typical training run for her husband is around 30 miles, Wasson said. When he runs shorter distances, he will run with his dog, Kaia, though they are careful of both heat and ice. “I love getting outside, whatever it is I’m doing,” Miller said. But Wasson said the park is well-suited for amateur athletes or leisure users as well, with its many trail loops that allow people to do

either a little or a lot. He does not have a favorite season out at the park. “I like Minnesota because we have all four seasons,” he said. Wasson prefers the fall, because the deer flies and mosquitoes of summer start to fade away. The couple spends more than exercise time in the park. They’ve come out to camp in their pop-up camper, bike, attend church services during the summer and bring family and friends out to walk around when they come to town to visit. “We’ve brought people out here and they’re like, ‘I never even knew,’” Miller said. “‘I don’t even know that this is here and just how much different it is. You’re five miles out of town, and it’s not like you’re anywhere close to town.’” In their time in the park, they’ve had close encounters with skunks, raccoons, snapping turtles and baby pileated woodpeckers. Wasson and Miller also utilize the park at night, when Miller gets buzzed by owls and Wasson said park-goers can see the American woodcock. Minnesota marks the northwest corner of its breeding range.

We’ve brought people out here and they’re like, ‘I never even knew. I don’t even know that this is here and just how much different it is. You’re five miles out of town, and it’s not like you’re anywhere close to town. — Jeff Miller

” Debi Olson likes bringing her dogs to Myre-Big Island State Park for walks.


Olson has also seen a variety of animals in her trips out to the park, including deer, eagles and many different insects — “animals I didn’t even know we had down here,” she said. She enjoys the wildflowers — and the quiet. “This is my go-to place when I need to get away,” Olson said. She considers her time walking in the park a meditative experience.

“ ” It’s so beautiful out here. This is my home away from home. — Debi Olson

Miller and Wasson like to run, walk and bicycle on the different trails at the park.

It can also provide her the headspace to come up with solutions for workday challenges that follow her home. She and her dogs often use deer trails or buggier portions of the park to escape park foot traffic and preserve their alone time (though Olson does recommend using good flea and tick protection on dogs that romp around the park). The peacefulness, the ability to get away from people and noise that Miller looks for, he finds in the park a few miles out of town. “It changes a part of what your day was,” Miller said. AL

What can I do at Myre-Big Island State Park? Camp. Myre-Big Island has two campgrounds for a total of 98 semi-modern campsites. It also has four remote sites to backpack to. Additionally, visitors can group camp at a more modern or more primitive group camp area — there is one of each. Take a picnic. The park boasts 45 picnic sites.

Watch birds. The park has a variety of wildlife, including some special species to peek at through binoculars. According to the park brochure, birds in the park include raptors, shore and wading birds, waterfowl and songbirds: the American kestrel, marsh hawk, redtailed hawk, rough-legged hawk, great horned owl, bald eagle, common egret, great blue heron, American bittern, sora, Virginia rail, wood duck, mallard, blue-winged teal, Canada goose, indigo bunting, eastern bluebird, rose-breasted grosbeak, northern oriole, eastern wood pewee, ring-necked pheasant, ring-billed gull, white pelican and hairy, downy and pileated woodpeckers.

Rent a canoe. The park has several to take out onto Albert Lea Lake for up to four hours. Kayaks and paddle boards are also available for rental. Canoes and kayaks are $15 for four hours, while stand up paddle boards are $10 an hour. Boats can be checked out from the park office during open hours. Lifejackets and paddles are provided.

Canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle boards are available to rent at Myre-Big Island State Park.

Peep wildflowers. The park vegetation varies based on community type: oak savanna, northern hardwood forest and wetland. Flowering plants on the oak savanna include lead plant, rattlesnake master, prairie clover, prairie smoke, bottle gentian, blazing star, black-eyed susan and various types of coneflowers. Flowering plants in the northern hardwood forest include spring beauty, bloodroot, hepatica, Dutchman’s breeches, ginger and trout lily. Flowering plants in the wetland include the water lily, marsh marigold and wild iris. The wetland is also home to two carnivorous plants: the sundew and pitcher plants. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 | 43


DOWNTOWN Albert Lea-based company combines old with new in transformed historical building Story by SARAH STULTZ Photography by COLLEEN HARRISON AND MORTARR




fter two decades of sitting empty, the Freeborn National Bank building is again buzzing with activity. The building, at the corner of Broadway and William Street, is the new home for Mortarr, an online inspiration gallery and networking site for commercial construction and design. Built in 1922, the Freeborn National Bank building was originally constructed as a bank on the first floor and medical and professional offices in the upper floors. The city purchased the building in 1998 and in 2006 spent about $2 million to restore the exterior, including tuck-pointing, a new roof, a skylight and new water, sewer and electrical service to the buildings, among other improvements.

The city took a blind leap of faith to save what we all consider a real gem of a building in our community. To see local people reinvest in our community because of their strong belief in Albert Lea really pushes it over the edge as far as how much this means to our community. — Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr.

This conference room is at the front of the building. — Photo by Mortarr


Mortarr used many local companies during the renovations, including general contractor Red Door Construction — Photo by Mortarr

In the last decade, particularly, the city worked with a few other developers on potential projects for the space before Mortarr’s proposal, but none of those projects got off the ground. Mortarr came along with a different idea to turn the building into its company’s headquarters, and in May 2018, the city approved the sale of the main and second floors of the building with the potential for the company to acquire more property in the future as it expands. Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr. said though it was more challenging to get the agreement done than he anticipated, he thinks it was a great collaboration between the public and private sectors. “The city took a blind leap of faith to save what we all consider a real gem of a building in our community,” Rasmussen said. “To see local people reinvest in our community because of their strong belief in Albert Lea really pushes it over the edge as far as how much this means to our community.” The building was finished just in time for the Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener. Rasmussen said he had tears in his eyes when he saw the transformation. “It means that much to the community to have that building filled up,” he said. “To really finally see it happen when you had a vision a long time ago — with the help of many, many people to get to this point — it really is fulfilling.” Mortarr co-founder and chief marketing officer, Abby Murray, said the company worked with several local companies to make the project a reality. Red Door Construction was the general contractor for the project, and companies including Albert Lea Electric, Jim & Dudes and Dras Cases also completed work there. Murray said they tried to use local companies when possible, but when that wasn’t an option

they used other Mortarr brands. She said they tried to retain original details and design whenever possible, though some compromises had to be made. All of the walls were replastered and resurfaced, but all of the original architectural carvings remain. Some of the original flooring remains, along with exposed concrete elements.

It had amazing bones to begin with. — Abby Murray, Mortarr co-founder and chief marketing officer

The Freeborn National Bank building had sat empty for about two decades before it was renovated. — Photo by Mortarr 48 | ALBERT LEA MAGAZINE

“We love the idea of bringing old and new together,” she said. Murray said the company wanted to be in the Freeborn National Bank building because it had a great shell. “It had amazing bones to begin with,” she said. The transformed space includes space for about 30 employees,

Mortarr moved into its new location in the former Freeborn National Bank building in May. — Photo by Colleen Harrison


Right: Mortarr has a full kitchen for employee use. — Photo by Colleen Harrison Bottom: A portion of the old bank vault has been turned into a free use space for Mortarr employees. — Photo by Colleen Harrison


including four-built in offices, conference rooms, lobby space and a lounge and conference room on the mezzanine. The building’s trademark feature, a large vault at the back, remains, but has been changed into what Murray refers to as a collaboration lounge, where people can relax and come up with ideas. An inner room in the vault has been changed into a wellness room. She said she has always joked about having a vault of unused ideas, and now that has become a new place to generate more ideas. Throughout the building, quotes are posted on the walls, along with the company’s core values. Murray and co-founder Amy Petersen have a history in design and, together, helped design the space. Murray graduated with degrees in marketing and design studies from Arizona State University and prior to starting Mortarr, was co-founder of The Marketing Plant. Petersen graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth and joined her father at DRAS Cases, which provides commercial casework and millwork to retail, hospitality, restaurant and health care facilities. She served as vice president and also took on roles as lead designer and marketing and sales executive. In 2015, she joined The Marketing Plant, which is now known as Brick, heading up the commercial design division. Murray also credited the building’s original architect, who incorporated a lot of natural light into the building with large windows.

The main level includes space for offices. — Photo by Mortarr

She said she and others with the company have received wonderful community support for the project. “Everyone’s really excited someone’s occupying this space,” she said. She hopes it inspires others to take on projects of their own and to modernize their spaces. What’s next? “Our goal is to literally grow up from here,” she said, referring to the building’s other floors. AL

A lounge on the mezzanine level of the Mortarr space incorporates old with new by leaving some of the space with exposed concrete. — Photo by Mortarr


Bring Home the Beauty of Fall


919 East 14th Street | Albert Lea, MN 507-373-2431


A less starchy alternative to white or brown rice, this delicious Cauliflower Fried Rice recipe features riced cauliflower and LouAna Peanut Oil. The slightly nutty flavor of our Peanut Oil subtly enhances this dish.

Find everything on your fall gardening checklist!

Thank you

Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 20 mins Total time: 30 mins Serves: 4-6

loyal customers for voting us “Best Nursery” Monday-Saturday 8am-6pm Sunday 12pm-6pm 2512 W. Main St. • Albert Lea, MN 507-373-7253 • Gift Cards Available • Find us on Facebook


Ventura Foods Ingredient


LouAna® Liquid Peanut Oil, divided


Other Ingredients

3 1 tsp ½ cup 2 ½ tsp 4 cups 1T 1 cup 1T 3T

Eggs, scrambled Kosher salt, divided Onion, diced Cloves garlic, minced Ground ginger Riced cauliflower, about 1 lb Sesame seeds Frozen peas & carrots Mirin Low sodium tameri or soy sauce

½ cup Sliced scallions Opitonal: Sriracha

DIRECTIONS 1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add 2 teaspoons of LouAna Peanut Oil. 2. Add eggs and ¼ tsp salt and stir until the mixture reaches a semi-firm scrambled state. 3. Remove eggs from pan and keep warm. 4. Wipe skillet clean, return to stove over high heat and add remaining peanut oil. 5. Add onion, garlic and ginger and cook 12 minutes until slightly softened. 6. Add cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly softened and lightly golden, about 5 minutes. 7. Add in sesame seeds, remaining salt and frozen vegetables and cook 2 minutes. 8. Stir in mirin and soy sauce. 9. Add scallions and serve topped with a drizzle of sriracha if desired.

For more recipes, visit our website:

Thank You

We are honored to be voted

424 Bridge Ave, Suite #3 Albert Lea, MN | 377-1570

“Best Chiropractor” for the 8th time in the Annual Readers’ Choice Awards!

Thank You Located at Northpark Plaza Albert Lea

for voting us

“Best Dessert”

THANK YOU fOr cHOOsiNg Us! frEE Hearing Exams!

1 (877) 834-0507 1739 W Main St. • Albert Lea, MN 56007 Located at the Albert Lea Senior Center 52 | ALBERT LEA MAGAZINE



Riverland scholarships make a difference Scholarships make a difference. There is a financial benefit of scholarships for sure. Each dollar that a student receives through a scholarship means less that they’ll need to pay themselves or take out a student loan to pay. Reducing the total cost of going to school allows students to focus more on their education and worry less about juggling one or more jobs. However, there’s another impact that is felt by scholarship recipients but is more difficult to describe. For some, it’s that feeling that there are people you don’t even know supporting you from a distance. For other students, knowing that someone else valued their education enough to make sure someone else received a degree, too, must mean that all the work and sacrifices must be worth it. And, for other students, scholarships provide an extra push to get started, and receiving a scholarship is affirmation that it is time to take the next step. All of these reasons are why scholarships truly do make a difference in students’ lives. Caitlynn Blizzard is one of 500 students awarded scholarships each year at Riverland Community College. She received a Workforce Development Scholarship last year, and it meant more time with family at an important moment in her life when it would have been easy to walk away from her educational goals. Caitlynn’s family has a history of working in the nursing profession. Her mom is a nurse and her grandmother was a nurse, so naturally Caitlynn was drawn to nursing as well. She planned to enroll in the program at Riverland Community College to carry on the nursing tradition. And, then, her grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. She needed and wanted to help care for her but didn’t know how she would balance work, school and being a caregiver. At about the same time as her grandmother’s diagnosis, she received a scholarship to attend Riverland Community College. The scholarship allowed her the flexibility she needed to work less, be with her grandmother and continue pursuing her dream of becoming a nurse. Caitlynn acknowledges that the scholarship came at a perfect time and is the reason she is still in school. This fall, she begins her second year of courses and is excited about carrying on the family legacy of nursing.

“I will always be grateful for the scholarship because it meant I could spend more time caring for my grandmother,” she said. “It made a huge difference in my life. It is so amazing how people give to support scholarships blindly, not really knowing who is going to receive the scholarship but hoping they will make something out of it, and that’s exactly what I hope to do.”

I will always be grateful for the scholarship because it meant I could spend more time caring for my grandmother. It made a huge difference in my life. It is so amazing how people give to support scholarships blindly, not really knowing who is going to receive the scholarship but hoping they will make something out of it, and that’s exactly what I hope to do.” — Caitlynn Blizzard

Riverland Community College Foundation raises, manages, and distributes resources to support, enhance, and promote the educational opportunities Riverland Community College offers the people of our region.

Thank you for supporting Riverland students! SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 | 53


This vegetable stand was next to Chuck’s Place, a short-order eating establishment and ice cream parlor. It was operated by Charles Ulrich. The artesian well kept the soda water and beverages cold.

HOLLANDALE AT HARVEST TIME By LINDA EVENSON Photos courtesy FREEBORN COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM The 1920s found the Hollandale area experiencing rapid growth. In 1922, the village was platted. By the end of the following year, a church, school and business district were constructed. Crops had been planted, and a rich harvest was on the horizon. Albert Lea’s Empire Grocery store promoted Hollandale celery as the finest on the market. The store sold bunches for 5, 10 and 15 cents. The 1923 advertisement continued with a description of Hollandale potatoes as “clean, smooth and free from scab; the nicest potatoes we ever saw.” By 1926, branches of the Milwaukee and Rock Island Railroad lines were completed to Hollandale. Within a month


of their arrival, 35 carloads of vegetables were being shipped every day. Devastating rains and difficult weather conditions led to poor yields and some ruined crops during 1927 and 1928. The farmers’ determination and hard work, plus cooperative weather conditions, resulted in rewarding yields in 1929. Potatoes were averaging 250 bushels to the acre and attaining a price on the ground of $1.25 to $1.50 a bushel. Onions were running 300 to 400 pounds an acre. Shipment of the produce started in August 1929, and by the end of September, more than 1,200 railroad carloads had left Hollandale. The majority of the crops were shipped to markets by the first of November.

In 1926, this celery crop was hauled to the railroad for shipment. Promotional materials for the Hollandale area described Hollandale celery as “crisp, tender and succulent, and has the real celery flavor.�

These sacks of Hollandale Brand potatoes are ready for shipping. The brand was the registered trade mark of the Hollandale Marketing Association. Note the Dutch windmill on the sacks.

Early and late cabbage was raised in the 1920s. Prices ran from $7 to $40 per ton according to the variety. It was suggested to store cabbage for winter sale and higher prices.

Onions cure in crates in the field.

This array of Hollandale potatoes, carrots, beets, celery and cabbage were on display during a celebration in 1926.



Albert Lea resident Emily Schmidt is a registered dietitian at Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea. She enjoys writing, cooking and spending time with her son and family.

5 things to remember on your weight loss journey

Are you working on losing weight? Whether you’re struggling with healthy lifestyle changes or it has been smooth sailing for you, here are some tips to keep in mind as you’re working on decreasing your body weight. Remember there is such a thing as unhealthy weight loss, and although making sure you’re still nourishing your body can be a struggle, it’s very important in preventing weight re-gain and ensuring optimal health in the long run.

1. Don’t forget your fiber. Foods that are high in fiber can be beneficial for weight loss for multiple reasons. They promote satiety (meaning you can feel full longer), aid in digestion and keep you regular and can even give a boost to your metabolism. Fiber, the roughage of plant foods, does not contain calories, and your body actually burns more calories slightly while digesting fiber. To increase your intake of this nutrient, make sure you’re getting a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and legumes, and nuts and seeds. 2. Water is still ultimately your best beverage. There is a lot of debate on beverages when it comes to health and weight loss. When it comes down to it, however, nothing beats water. Every single cell in your body must have adequate water to function best at all times. Most of the time you can skip the fancy sports drinks (unless you’re exercising hard for at least an hour and won’t be replenishing with water and food immediately), and don’t even think about hydrating with soda, sweet tea, lemonade or any other sugary beverages; they are very poor sources for true hydration. If you’re not a huge fan of water, figure out how you can get yourself to drink it — make sure it’s ice cold, add or infuse with flavor (lemon, lime, berries, cucumber, mint or any other fruits, veggies or herbs), and carry a water bottle around with you. Avoiding drinking water is definitely not an option. 3. There is no ideal meal schedule — what works for you and matches your hunger/satiety levels is best (within reason). It’s not true that everyone must eat “small, frequent meals up to six times 56 | ALBERT LEA MAGAZINE

per day” to lose weight. Truly, the best meal schedule is what works for you, and it should be consistent on a regular basis. For some people, this may be just three balanced meals daily; for others, it might mean two meals and three snacks. However, avoid going so long without eating that you end up starving and overeating later on. Match eating to your hunger levels — on a scale from 1 to 10, if 1 is uncomfortably full and 10 is starving, try to stay within the 4 to 7 range. Stop eating before you become uncomfortable or very full, and don’t allow yourself to get so hungry that you overeat or binge to compensate.

4. Stay moving, no matter what. Sometimes there are seemingly endless barriers to increasing physical activity. However, even if you have multiple obstacles — pain, disability, time, motivation and so on — commit to yourself to anything that will increase your body’s movement. From dancing in the living room to parking farther away at stores, or from using small hand weights or a resistance band while watching TV to walking in place in your kitchen, it’s very important that you increase activity in some way. Ideally 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week is the minimum, but there is nothing wrong with starting small and working your way up to that as your endurance improves. 5. Making mistakes or less healthy choices does not define your self-worth or ability to lose weight. You will likely not be perfect on your weight loss journey. Accept that it’s OK to have slip-ups, and that if you do stray from your goals, it does not mean you’re a bad person. It’s too easy in our society to associate messing up eating healthy with being a failure, but that’s far from true. Look at each mistake as a learning experience and ask yourself how — without beating yourself up — you can handle things differently in the future. In fact, it’s more strange to not have slip-ups! If you need additional help with weight loss or feel stuck, reach out to your primary care provider and ask for a referral to a registered dietitian. Sometimes it takes a little strategizing and planning with a health care professional to get on the right track, and that’s OK too!


Shannon Bordeaux is a wife, mother, lover of God and all things fitness. She has been instructing group fitness classes at the Albert Lea Family Y for the last three years.

There are countless benefits to regular exercise

There are so many benefits to exercise. Your body needs it in ways that can be seen and unseen. One of the most obvious reasons people exercise is for weight loss. With increased activity comes increased calorie burn. As long as you are not putting in more calories than you are burning on a daily basis you should start to lose some weight. Another benefit that can be seen physically and something that goes along with losing weight is changes in your body. As you exercise you start to lose fat and gain muscle. This will eventually make your body look different. A body that is mostly muscle looks completely different than a body that is mostly fat, and as you exercise more and more, these changes will start to become evident as well. According to medical professionals, exercise can help reduce stress, depression or anxiety. It can help prevent stroke, decrease your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and help lower high blood pressure. Exercise has been shown to increase your energy level and make people happier. There are so many benefits to exercise, but it can be challenging for people to make the commitment and stick to a program. The list of excuses goes on and on. I’m too tired, I forgot my shoes, I’m busy, I’ll do it tomorrow, I can’t afford a gym membership, my kids are too little or are sick. The list is literally never ending, but I’m here to tell you that it is completely worth it to get rid of those excuses and get active. I was never a very active person when I was younger. It wasn’t until I had my third baby that I needed to exercise to lose that baby weight. I had no clue what I was doing in the gym. All I knew was the elliptical. I would go into the gym, do my 30 minutes and leave. I lost the weight I was trying to lose and I felt it was good enough, so I quit and went back to my inactive lifestyle.

I was tired all the time. It was exhausting thinking about how exhausted I was. I eventually had enough. I got rid of my excuses, and I started forcing myself to go to the gym again. I would go every morning while my kids were still in bed. I started running for the first time in my life, and I went into the weight room and learned how to lift weights. And that was it. My body started craving the activity. On days when I couldn’t make it to the gym, I could literally feel the difference in my energy levels. Fast forward seven years and one additional kid later, and I’m still working out every day. I had to start attending a different gym after my fourth child was born because I needed child care at that point in order to workout. In that time, my body has completely changed. I have significantly more muscle mass and less fat than I did before working out. My energy levels are higher than they were before. And there is nothing like a good gym session to get rid of some stress in your life. There are so many ways you can add exercise to your life. Start by adding activity in any way you can. Park farther away from the store entrance and walk. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Take a walk around all or part of Fountain Lake. Grab a friend and walk out at Blazing Star Trail. Find a couple workout videos on YouTube that you do every morning before work. Get a gym membership, and attend group fitness classes. Start keeping track of your progress and give yourself credit for the changes you make big or small. Stick to it, even when its hard. And it will almost certainly be hard when you first start. But that’s OK. Do it anyway. You won’t regret it in the end! SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 | 57



Women look beyond Social Security for retirement Women tend to depend more on Social Security for several reasons, including longer life spans, lower average earnings and more time spent away from the workforce to care for family members. Nearly half of all senior unmarried women receiving Social Security benefits rely on them for 90 percent or more of their total income, according to the Social Security Administration. But this isn’t by choice, because Social Security payments by themselves are not enough to fund retirement. If you’re married, your situation is somewhat different, but you don’t want to depend on Social Security too much. To help boost your chances for a comfortable retirement lifestyle, what should you know about Social Security and other steps should you take? Here are some suggestions to consider: • Understand your Social Security benefits. You can start taking Social Security as early as 62, but your checks will be bigger if you wait until your full retirement age, which likely will be between 66 and 67. You can also defer taking benefits up to age 70 and receive even higher benefits. Social Security offers spousal and survivor benefits, so it’s important that you coordinate your actions with your spouse. For example, you are entitled to receive up to half of your spouse’s full retirement benefit (offset by your own benefit, and reduced if you claim early). Additionally, the survivor benefit can provide either your benefit or 100% of your deceased spouse’s, whichever is larger. It may make sense to have the higher-earning spouse delay taking benefits for as long as possible to maximize the survivor benefit. You might be eligible for spousal and survivor benefits if you’re divorced, so it’s important to understand all of your options.


• Contribute as much as you can to your retirement plans. Because women take more time away from work to care for their families, they often have lower balances in their employer-sponsored retirement accounts. That’s why you may want to put in as much as you can to your 401(k) or similar plan — at least enough to earn your employer’s matching contribution, if one is offered. And whenever you get a raise, increase the amount you contribute. Even if you have a 401(k), you may still be eligible to invest in a traditional or Roth IRA. And with both your 401(k) and IRA, fight the temptation to invest too conservatively, especially if you’re many years from retirement. To make substantial progress toward your goals, you will need a reasonable amount of growth-oriented investments in all your retirement accounts, while still accommodating your risk tolerance. • Create an appropriate withdrawal strategy. When you retire, you’ll need to calculate how much you can afford to withdraw each year from your 401(k), IRA and any other retirement accounts. You don’t want to withdraw too much, too soon, and risk outliving your resources. You may want to consult with a financial professional who can help you determine a withdrawal rate appropriate for your age, income sources, lifestyle, projected longevity and other factors. The suggestions above can apply to everyone. But as a woman, you may find them particularly important as you strive to achieve the retirement lifestyle you deserve. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones financial advisor.



Michelle Nelson is the owner of The Pet Authority.

Is your cat thriving or simply surviving?

Is your cat thriving, growing vigorously, or surviving, just simply staying alive? You may be shocked to hear that the majority of felines are just surviving. In order to answer this question, you need to understand what it takes for your cats to thrive. First of all, cats are obligate carnivores. That means they need to eat meat, fresh-raw meat that is full of moisture. Cats lack the necessary enzymes (amylase and cellulase) to break down plant matter. Cats, unlike dogs, also do not make their own Taurine, an essential amino acid, naturally found in fresh meat. Cats even lack the intestinal enzyme necessary to convert B-Carotene in plants to Vitamin A — it needs to come from a fresh meat source. Vitamin A promotes healthy vision, growth of bone and muscle, and reproduction. Yes, Taurine and Vitamin A can be added synthetically back into a cat’s dry diet, but did you know that Taurine in dry food depletes as it ages, or what about just their inability to digest plant proteins typically found in dry food? The entire anatomy of a cat is structured for a raw diet, not a highly processed kibble diet. Cats do not have a natural desire to drink when thirsty like their K-9 counterparts. Seventy percent of their daily water intake needs to come from their food. If you are strictly feeding a dry diet (10% moisture) to your feline friend, most likely she is in a chronically dehydrated state. Feeding a raw diet or canned food daily will remedy the dehydration issue. Even using a fresh flowing water fountain will encourage cats to drink more. A cat’s sense of smell is six times more sensitive than yours, making stagnant water in a bowl become undesirable quickly, thus further

reducing their water intake. If you have a cat that has ever had an UTI, stones or crystals, feeding a proper wet diet daily, along with changing out your waterer will be very beneficial. Arthritis, cancer, kidney disease and diabetes are all on the rise. The highest contributing factor to these diseases is obesity. As a pet owner, keeping your cats slim and trim is often challenging. The two biggest mistakes owners make are free feeding and feeding an improper diet. Cats are not grazers like omnivores (horses, cattle); they are hunters. When cats are in the hunting mode, they produce an acid in their stomach that helps to break down their prey for proper digestion. If there is food in front of them all the time, they don’t go through this cycle, making their ability to digest much less effective. I recommend feeding two to three times a day and have some fun. Hide their food around the house and satisfy their natural hunting instinct. Now let’s look at No. 2, an improper diet. We already know that cats are obligate carnivores, and biologically they require a fresh-raw diet, not a highly processed dry kibble diet. Cats require a high protein, moderate fat and very low carbohydrate diet. If you look at an average dry kibble diet, you are going to see these diets are highest in carbohydrates, followed by protein, then fat. This is completely opposite of what it should be. Cats do not have the ability to convert all of those carbs into energy, and what happens to carbs when they are not consumed? They turn into sugar which makes felines fat. As pet owners, you are responsible for the health of your furry felines. Are they going to thrive or just simply survive? The choice is yours.

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507-373-2505 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 | 59



THE ROLLING STONERS When: 7:30 p.m. Where: Marion Ross Performing Arts Center Cost: $20




92ND ANNUAL SHORTSTOP GOLF TOURNAMENT When: Tee times begin between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. Aug. 31 Where: Green Lea Golf Course Cost: Various charges to participate; no charge to spectate on foot; inquire about cart rental fees More info: The Shortstop Golf Tournament is one of the longest-running golf tournaments in Minnesota. The first day is spent qualifying, and based on qualifying positions, participants will either play in the non-championship flights, playing none-hole matches, or the championship flight, playing 18-hole matches Sunday and Monday. Spectators can either follow golfers on foot or rent a golf cart. Visit for registration sheet. 60 | ALBERT LEA MAGAZINE

More info.: A fixture in the Minneapolis music scene for over six years, The Rolling Stoners deliver straight-up rock ’n’ roll the way our forefathers intended. They are perhaps most famous for breaking the usual tribute band mold of style over substance. The Stoners are not a tribute band per se, but a collective of dearest pals that admire the early era Rolling Stones live performances and dislike special costumes.



WALK TO END ALZHEIMER’S When: Registration 9 a.m., ceremony and walk begin at 10 a.m. Where: Frank Hall Park, 712 Frank Ave. Cost: Free to walk, though raising money and creating teams are encouraged More info.: There will be options for a 1-mile route or a 3-mile route. Contact Debbie Eddy at 507-289-3950 or deddy@ for more information.



THE CROWN JEWELS — A TRIBUTE TO QUEEN When: 7:30 p.m. Where: Marion Ross Performing Arts Center Cost: $25 More info.: Hailing from Minneapolis, this live tribute performs all the greatest hits, arena anthems and top 10 singles that made Queen one of the most legendary rock bands of all time. The Crown Jewels blends the vocal layering and studio precision Queen was known for with the grand scope of Queen’s live shows by recreating, both musically and visually, the live Queen experience that filled stadiums around the world.


5-6 BIG ISLAND RENDEZVOUS AND FESTIVAL When: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 5, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 6. Where: Bancroft Bay Park Cost: $14 for adults, $8 for ages 6 to 11, free for children 5 and under; family passes are $30 More info.: Voted one of the Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association in 2011, the Big Island Rendezvous and Festival will take people on a walk back into Minnesota history. Traders will demonstrate different skills, such as woodworking, candle making, crafts, blacksmithing, silversmithing, pottery, cooking over an open fire, making clothing and printing fabric. People can also enjoy live music and dance, as well as a wide selection of specialty foods. This will be the 33rd year for the event.


17-20, 23-26

“CHURCH BASEMENT LADIES 2: A SECOND HELPING” When: 7:30 p.m. on all days except for Oct. 20, when there will be a 2 pm. matinee Where: Marion Ross Performing Arts Center Cost: $20 for adults, $10 for students More info: You’ll laugh until your side dish hurts with the hilarious antics and down-to-earth charm. The year is 1969, and the world is a changing. As folks protest the Vietnam War and women are demanding equal pay for equal work, in their small rural Minnesota community the ladies of the Lutheran church basement kitchen are dealing with changes of their own. The show takes you from serving the high school students at the Luther League banquet to a church-sponsored missionary night and the rise and fall of a Vikings’ Super Bowl Sunday. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019 | 61

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family fun !

destination for hours of


APPLES Enjoy our fall treats. Carmel apples, cider slush, apple pies, apple crisp and more!


PUMPKINS Take a hayride to the patch or stroll down the foot path. Pre picked pumpkins also available

Gordy & Karen Toupal


663 254th Ave. Fairmont, MN 56031 Like us on Facebook

Over 20 activities for your enjoyment

All weekend in September & October

Saturday & Sunday 10am-6pm

Also open Labor Day & MEA, October 19th & 20th 10am-6pm


Mitch Pederson of the Lens and Shutter Club took this photo during Eddie Cochran Weekend.


Why I

L Albert Lea Sarah Nelson lives in Albert Lea and is the owner of Intego Insurance Services. She has two rescue dogs, Cash and June. She enjoys outdoor activities, traveling and various creative pursuits. I found out how much I loved Albert Lea by moving away. I grew up on a farm near Alden and was ready to leave small-town life behind after graduation. I attended the University of Minnesota with 50,000 of my closest friends. After graduating with a degree in agricultural industries and marketing, I moved to Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois. For 15 years I took advantage of educational and career opportunities, enjoyed the communities I lived in, made friends and lived life. In 2013 I made the decision to move home and transition into ownership of my mom’s business — Donna Nelson Insurance, now Intego Insurance Services. I never thought I’d move home, but you know what they say about never say never. My love for Albert Lea grew when I moved back and saw the community through the eyes of a new resident and not a bored teenager. The lake! The parks! The cute downtown! The lack of traffic! The lack of crime! One of the first stops back in Albert Lea was to get my library card. I always loved the library and was even more impressed to see its new offerings. I use the library’s Hoopla system so that I’m never without an audiobook. I enjoy browsing the shelves and think the programming the library offers is fantastic. The views at the library are amazing, too. Something else I enjoy year-round is having the beautiful lake 64 | ALBERT LEA MAGAZINE

path. I love to run or bike the lake and watch the seasons change. Seeing the community embrace the lake and host more events near it is exciting. I participated in the inaugural Rock ‘N’ Roll the Lakes event in 2018. One of the stops was Three Oaks Winery — a great place to meet friends and enjoy a beautiful setting. Another stop was the Boathouse, where Community Ed has equipment for us to get out and explore nature with. The Rotary Club took on the project of the dog park near there, and it’s great to see humans and their four-legged family members enjoying the space. Summer is packed with activities, and I especially love Thursdays on Fountain — such a great event. I’m involved in organizing Wind Down Wednesday, and it’s fun to see the community enjoying all the festival has to offer. And summer isn’t complete without a trip to the fair. Being involved in 4-H, the fair was a highlight. Attending the fair as adult, I recognize the lifelong connections I’ve made and skills I have because of being in 4-H. To the kids, the parents and leaders who bring the fair to life with their projects and support, thank you. I’ve met wonderful people by getting involved in the community. It feels great to give back to a place that molded and shaped me as I grew up and that continues to mold and shape me as an adult. I’m proud of the leaders in the community who are keeping us moving forward. We have a lot to be proud of: things like our green spaces, parks, picturesque fountains and splash pad are all big city assets, right here in Albert Lea. I hope you get out and enjoy them. Get connected and volunteer, or become a tourist in your own town — you might be surprised by what you find!


From checkups to surgery, emergencies to prenatal services, the care you and your family need most often is available close to home – right in Albert Lea. Learn more about the expert care provided in Albert Lea at To schedule an appointment, call 507-668-1181.

Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea


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Albert Lea Magazine September/October 2019  

Albert Lea Magazine September/October 2019  

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