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Summer 2014 By women... for women...about women...

Skydiving If you’re not scared, you’re not having fun

Sara Dunlap Involved in her community

At The Cabin Bittersweet memories of happy times at the lake


Passion for Pedaling Mother of four Boys infertility


Christine Albrecht, M.D.

Berit Amundson, M.D.



Arden Beachy, M.D.

Kelly VanVickle, NP-C Women’s Health Team

Becky Bennett, P.A.-C

Jody Giza, P.A.-C

Erik Dovre, OB/GYN

My best health advice would be to get out in the fresh air and do something active.

We’re happy to welcome Kelly as the newest nurse

Carol Uhlman, OB/GYN

practitioner to our Women’s Health team. Kelly has been part of the team as a registered nurse since 2000. She will

Kelly Thompson, N.P.-C

see patients at our Staples and Pillager clinics, and her

Neil Bratney, Pediatrician


Because Lakewood Health System understands the


ensure you receive the best possible care. Our entire staff from women’s health and psychiatric services, to surgical care and rehab services is designed to help you achieve overall wellness.

Kathryn Riordan, Rheumatologist


interests include infertility and well-woman care.

importance of partnership, our goal is to work with you to

Nicole Uban, Midwife



Pillager Clinic








HerVoiceMay_PillagerKellyV.indd 1

800-525-1033 I 218-894-1515 3/18/2014 11:32:50 AM



Features Skydiving




eco Camp


Finding Her Photo Niche


Sara Dunlap


Faith, Family and Farming











Is it on your bucket list? YMCA instructor, Kris Peterson, takes the skydiving leap. By Sheila DeChantal

Getting pregnant. Heather shares her trials and tribulations, finally finding success. By Heather Carey

Happy Dancing Turtle promotes sustainable living through Eco Turtle Camp, a day camp for children ages 4-13. By Carolyn Corbett

Learning to refine her eye and techniques, this young woman shares her photos. By Kelsey Anderson

Not just taking a point of view, Sara gives time and energy to her causes. By Karen Ogdahl

Farming for this woman is her life, not just a lifestyle. By Arlene Jones

In This Issue




Breathing New Life Into Old Items by Sheila Helmberger



Raising Boys by Mar y Aalgaard

clubs and clusters

L a ke H u b e r t Wo m e n ’s C l u b C e l e b r a t e s 1 0 0 Ye a r s B y L i n d a Yo u n g s



Lives of Faith and Ser vice by Meg Douglas


T e s s Ta y l o r ; T h e W o m a n B e h i n d T h e Vo i c e by Rebecca Flansburg


More Than A Beauty Queen by Bonnie Rokke Tinnes



See A Need, Fill A Need by Jill Hannah Ander son


Sunny Side by Mar lene Cha bot


pioneer profile



Riding The Or phan Train by Suz Wipper ling

16 22 26


Pa s s i o n fo r Pe d a l i n g by Melody Banks


her say




At The Cabin by Jan Kur tz Golf Nut by Jan Kur tz

On The Cover


B ra i n e r d Y M CA i n s t r u c t o r Kr is Peter son skydives w i t h a f r i e n d i n Ve r m o n t .

Read Online:

Summer 2014 | her voice


Photos by Joey Halvorson


Lives of Faith and Service

With the long awaited warming of the earth, garden stalks stand straight and tall and buds emerge oval-eyed from the deep to look around. Beyond the garden, poplar trees release their seeds, swirling on soft eddies of breeze like children playing in the grass. A summer sun coaxes life from the earth, its musky smell a perfume to the senses. I scratch with my tools in the dirt, wanting to participate in this miracle of mother earth that brings new life. I share a love of gardening with Deborah Celley, former United Church of Christ pastor in Brainerd for 14 years, who passed away in February. While not part of her flock, she was part of mine, submitting an essay called “Soul Gardening” in the very first edition of Her Voice, May 2003. In this prescient piece, she writes about wanting to be remembered as both a pastor and a gardener, finding similarities between the two. Deborah’s awe is palpable, as she writes about the miracles that come to life in her garden. “When I remember the tiny slip of a seed that I put in the ground, which sprouted against what seemed insurmountable odds, grew into a bushy little plant, survived a winter under the snow and the mulch, shot up to six feet in height and produced frilly pink cups of nectar, my heart overflows in admiration for the miracle of life.” In honor of Deborah’s passion for gardening, the UCC church will plant a garden as a memorial and each summer watch the

new life emerge in her memory. Also passing in February, Bonnie Cumberland. While her commitment to the community can be defined by her multiples roles as teacher, mayor, city council member, volunteer, it was as “The Daughter of a Dane,” she contributed to Her Voice in the Spring 2005 edition. Bonnie had researched her family history, and wrote about her grandmother who arrived in the U.S. from Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1893. In her article, she encouraged others to learn about their Danish heritage through the Danish Sisterhood of America, locally the Brainerd Amber Lodge No. 186. Perhaps it was her grandmother’s immigrant experience that gave Bonnie her sensitivity to others. Rebecca Flansburg, a frequent contributor to Her Voice and one of Bonnie’s students writes, “Bonnie was like a guiding light for me. Even after graduation, she continued to be my greatest cheerleader, mentor and bearer of sage wisdom and advice. I remember she was always cool under fire, always the voice of reason and always willing to say ‘I am proud of you.’ I will carry her memory and her encouraging words with me no matter what I do in life. I miss her tremendously.” In this summer season, may we celebrate the lives of these women and all those who came before us — inspired by their lives of faith and service.


meg Douglas, editor Bonnie Cumberland (left) and Deborah Celley, women who left their mark in the community.

Staff Publisher Tim Bogenschutz editor meg Douglas Art director Lisa Henry PhotogrAPher Joey Halvorson coPy editor DeLynn Howard




Is A QuArterly PublIcAtIon of the brAInerd dIsPAtch • For advertising opportunities call Ashly Johnson 218.855.5846 or 1.800.432.3703 Find our publication on the web at

E-mail your comments, suggestions or topics to or mail them to Her Voice at Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 974, Brainerd, MN 56401 copyright© 2003 volume 12, edition tWo summer 2014


Summer 2014 | her voice

Women’s Choice Award The Cancer Center at Essentia Health – St. Joseph’s Medical Center has been

America’s Best Breast Center The Cancer Center at Essentia Health St. Joseph’s Medical Center has a reputation that offers peace of mind and confidence to the women that we serve. Our Center is certified, accredited and recognized by the following:

named as one of the 2014 America’s Best Breast Center by WomenCertified, Inc, home of the Women’s Choice Award. The distinction is the only award that identifies the country’s best healthcare institutions based on robust criteria that consider female patient satisfaction, clinical excellence, and what women say they want from a hospital, including quality physician communications, responsiveness of nurses and support staff, cleanliness and trusted referrals from other women.


Learn more at

Story by Sheila DeChantal

Kris Peterson skydives tandem with an instructor. Crossing her arms over her chest, she takes the jump.


If you would have asked Kris Peterson a year ago what she would consider the scariest situation she could think of, she would have answered without hesitation, “Being up real really high — heights just freak me out.” Kris, who works at the Brainerd YMCA as an instructor for classes such as Silver Sneakers, Group Power and Group Cycle, was very content with her day to day routines. And then she received a phone call that changed everything. Michael Scruggs, the husband of Kris’s longtime friend Cindy Scruggs called Kris one day with an idea he had to surprise his 6

Summer 2014 | her voice

wife for her 50th birthday. “I would like you to fly out to Vermont and surprise Cindy by skydiving with her.” Kris and Cindy had been friends and coworkers for a long time. When Mike and Cindy moved to Vermont around 15 years ago, Kris and Cindy still kept in touch through occasional trips together and phone calls. This idea, however, of skydiving, was something way out of Kris’s comfort zone, but she also knew it had always been a dream of Cindy’s to skydive. “My first reaction,” Kris recalls, “was I could feel my heart leap into my throat. Skydiving was so far from my reality that it

had never even crossed my mind of doing it.” As scared as Kris was, she already knew she would do it for Cindy. Over the next few weeks Kris would keep telling herself, “I am a good friend. I am a very good friend.” Michael’s phone call came in early July, giving Kris about three and a half weeks to prepare. A friend connected Kris to a man who had been a skydiver for years. He helped to set Kris’s mind at ease by giving her some tips and advice. He talked her through the steps of what the experience would be like. The one thing Kris remembers him saying is, “If you are not scared, you are not having fun.”

Well…let’s have some fun! Kris flew out to Vermont as planned and surprised Cindy for her birthday. Cindy had no idea that Kris was coming so it was a great surprise. Cindy also did not know until later that evening, that there was more to her gift from her husband and that she and Kris would be skydiving together the next day. Kris said as a last ditch effort she offered to be the one to take the pictures, but Michael said that was his job. Less than 24 hours from Kris’s arrival, she and Cindy were in a car on their way to the skydiving site in West Addison, Vt. Kris said they were given 20 minutes of training. They were told how to get out of the plane and to cross their arms in front of them when they jumped with their tandem diver. They each wore an altimeter (like a watch) which lets you know what height you are at as you go up in the plane and by knowing the

height as you come down you will know when to pull the parachute cord. Kris and Cindy went up in the plane to 11,000 feet, right around two miles up in the air. They were the only people who were not wearing parachutes. “Even the pilot had a parachute on,” Kris laughs as she recalls. The reason for this is that since Kris and Cindy were going tandem with trained skydivers, the tandem divers each wore two parachutes. When it was time to jump, Kris was connected to the other diver and they scooted to the edge of the open door of the plane. Kris was told to cross her arms in front of her. Her instructor told her that they would not be counting, just jumping. And then they did. At first you fall at around 120 miles per minute. At 5,500- 5,000 feet you pull the parachute cord. Kris had the opportunity to pull the cord but asked her

Ò If you aren’t scared you aren’t having FUNÓ

Kris says the scariest part of the whole experience was saying yes to do it.

Summer 2014 | her voice


On the ground, aglow in the success of mission accomplished, Kris and her friend Cindy Scruggs (right) wanted to go back up.

We DiD iT!

tandem diver to do it instead as she did not want to worry about that. Once the cord is pulled you can fall another 500-700 feet before the chute is fully open. Kris describes the experience as floating on air. Even before the chute is open you don’t feel like you are falling that fast, she said. The scariest part of the whole experience was saying yes to do it. After that one really big step out of the plane it was exciting. Kris said it was an amazing experience that both she and Cindy enjoyed very much. “It’s all over so quickly and once you are on the ground all you want to do is get back in the plane and do it again!” Kris is so glad she went and shares that if anyone ever has the opportunity to skydive, they absolutely should do it. 8

Summer 2014 | her voice

Sheila DeChantal

A Brainerd native, Sheila reviews books at Besides being a lifelong, crazy, book addict, she also enjoys biking, roller blading, hiking and other adventures.

We LIVE Here. We RACE Here. We SAVE LIVES Here.


And this magazine:

By Heather Carey Photo by Joey Halvorson

When When When Heather Carey saves room on her wall of family photos for a baby photo. After three years with five artificial inseminations and two miscarriages, she is expecting in July.


“When are you going to have a baby?”


For most women, the idea of pregnancy — and that your own body is capable of it — is first introduced alongside fear-inducing lec lectures. You think of it almost as something that happens to you spontaneously — a life-altering force of nature. “Wait to have sex until marriage. Or, at least, use protection.” “You have your whole life ahead of you.” Then you go to college and the lecturing continues. “Don’t make a mistake now.” “A college degree is essential to providing for you and your family.” “Make something of yourself first.” Next, you get your first “real” job and the pressures of adulthood really set in. “Establish a career path. Or at least a savings account.” “Live your own life first.” Finally, you get married. And you’ve barely finished uttering “I do” when the conversation changes. Your family and friends want to see you continue on life’s natural trajectory, if not accelerate it. Maybe we can blame the old nursery rhyme: “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in a baby carriage.” “When are you going to have a baby?” For those who have struggled in the past or are currently struggling with infertility, or for those couples that just don’t want to have children, the question is on repeat at social 10

Summer 2014 | her voice

events. At work. In your church. Your local coffee shop. “When are you going to have a baby?” And from your family and friends, who you know wish you the happiness, joy and love they have experienced raising their own children. “When are you going to have a baby?” It’s always the question, even from people you barely know. And for those couples struggling with infertility, it’s painfully frequent. First you dread it. Then you become numb to it. You learn to smile through it. You become the most skilled subject changer you know. My husband Ryan and I have been struggling with infertility for over three years. I know that is nothing compared to some couples out there, but it’s still not easy to face every day — especially in the world of social media. Every day I would see Facebook posts of parents-to-be announcing their pregnancies and pictures of the newest little additions to their families. That was supposed to be me; it should be our announcement. Of course, at the same time, I was excited and happy for others — at least someone could get pregnant. But my heart still sank a little each time. In the past three years, we have had five intrauterine inseminations (a.k.a IUI or artificial inseminations) and spent thousands of dollars trying to fulfill our dream of becoming parents.

I’ve been on hormones and several daily vitamins for the past two years. We even tried acupuncture, drinking green tea, increasing our leafy green intake (OK, so we actually started eating our leafy greens). Ryan was put on the same drug I was to boost his testosterone levels. (Pretty sure he didn’t need a boost in that. He had all the testosterone I could handle!) I’ve even spent countless hours with my legs up over my head because hey, anything helps, right? We were able to get pregnant twice: once by IUI and the other naturally (minus the hormones). I had my first miscarriage at five weeks and the second at eight weeks. The second miscarriage was the worst. I would visit the bathroom every 15 minutes to make sure there was no blood. For some women, they bleed throughout their healthy pregnancies. So what was I hoping to gain by checking all the time? I couldn’t prevent a miscarriage. It didn’t matter what I did or didn’t do, nothing was going to affect the outcome. We had made it far enough to show our families an ultrasound. One day we were discussing a nursery, and the next day there was no heartbeat or growth. I had the option of having a D&C (dilation and curettage), but I chose to let my body abort naturally. I know it was because part of me couldn’t come to grips with reality. I wanted to believe that maybe there was a heartbeat.

Maybe it was just too early to detect it? What if our baby was just behind the curve, and next week we would be right on track? That glimmer of hope was quickly shattered when the contractions started. For anyone who has suffered a devastating miscarriage, you can’t help but feel responsible. You wonder why it happened to you or what you did wrong. Whether it was three weeks or three months, the fact that your baby died inside of you is heartbreaking. I felt I had failed as a woman. There is a lot of silent suffering among women and couples dealing with infertility. Why are we so quiet about it? Is it just too hard to hear the words aloud? Are we embarrassed? For me, I think it was both. I couldn’t even say the word for months without tearing up while feeling that lump in my throat. I was embarrassed. If this was supposed to be what made me a woman, then to think I

couldn’t even do that left me feeling ostracized and alone. I was also afraid others would see me as weak or seeking pity if I told them. But when I did open up, I found it was not only therapeutic, but others opened up and shared their experiences, too. The subject of babies is so common. It’s part of our daily conversations. It makes most people smile to just hear the word. But for others, it brings the pain of unfulfilled dreams. Before we began trying to conceive, I didn’t think twice about



Fa i t h

asking the question, “When are you going to have a baby?” It seemed innocent enough and an easy conversation starter. Now that I’m on the other side of the conversation, I realize just how hard that answer can be. I ask this: be sensitive. If you’re curious whether or not a couple you care about is going to start a family, don’t press the subject if you get a roundabout answer or a quick

subject change. While there is no ill intent in asking the question, think about how they may feel if they are trying to start a family and need to give responses over and over again. If you are a woman that has been through a miscarriage or struggling with infertility, know that you’re not alone. It’s not your fault. For those of you that are blessed with easy and healthy pregnancies please cherish at least some of your sleepless nights and dirty diapers. I wrote the above article when my husband and I didn’t know if or when we would be able to have a baby. After many years, the possibility of not having an addition to our family was something I had come to peace with and wanted to share my journey with others who may be struggling too. Last fall we decided to give IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) a try and I am happy to announce that we are expecting a baby in July. Never lose faith.

Heather Carey

Heather and her husband Ryan moved to Nisswa five years ago from Duluth. When they aren’t on the golf course, hiking the local trails with their dog Maddy or at the hockey rink, they are enjoying the Gull lake area with friends and family.

Summer 2014 | her voice



By Sheila Helmberger Photo by Joey Halvorson

PJ Overvold fashions unique vintage items from collectables, on display at The Red Umbrella Shop and the Olde Depot Junktion, an event late May.


New Life



Summer 2014 | her voice

You are probably already a fan of PJ Overvold’s work. You just don’t know it yet. You may have seen it at Prairie Bay, at a wedding or in a friend’s home. Maybe you’ve browsed through the items at her store, The Red Umbrella Shop, on 371. She is also the owner of ODesign, an interior decorating and wedding planning business. The Red Umbrella Shop opened its doors almost two years ago and has become known for the oneof-a kind pieces that PJ creates by breathing new life into second hand furniture and antiques. Shoppers are treated to furniture and other antique pieces PJ has redesigned and refinished. Sometimes the pieces remain in their original form. Sometimes she makes something entirely new out of them. PJ says she loves to repurpose antiques. She takes old furniture and repaints and distresses it, followed sometimes by reupholstering. “I might

into Old Items

take an old chair…and take it all the way to the bones and rebuild it so it’s like a brand new chair when we’re done,” she says. “If somebody has something old in their house, whether it came from a relative or if it’s something old that they just found, they want to keep it. It’s fun to come up with a way to help them be able to do that.” PJ uses her designer’s eye to fashion all sorts of unique pieces. She painted a cattle trough and put greenery and flowers in it to make a novel yard decoration. She likes to make creative tables by putting tops on everyday pieces like trunks and suitcases. Sometimes she looks at something and thinks, “Hmmm, what could I ever do with that?” But something can be done. “I can just look at something and see it as something else.” PJ thinks it’s her background as an interior decorator that gives her an eye for making something new out of something old. ”I always say it’s like someone that paints. They can

take a blank canvas and take a look at it and know exactly where they want to start and what their vision is,” she says. The home she decorated last October for the Lakes Area Home Tour was a visitor favorite. “It was really an ‘idea’ house,” she said, “One of a kind ideal things other people could do.” She sprayed an authentic deer head silver and put rhinestones in the eyes and says she showcased several Christmas trees in the home and each was completely different. She also had another ambitious idea of how to share her business and others with area residents. After looking at the Northern Pacific Depot as a location for weddings she saw its potential as a location for vendors. She joined forces with Pam Massie of Massie Creek in Nisswa and Brad and Amy Johnson from Second Hand Rose and the Olde Depot Junktion was born. To be held annually, the sale brings similar vendors from all

over the country to one place. A Bloody Mary bar and the Prairie Bay food truck made the day a hot location for more than 2,500 shoppers in its first day last May. “People love to look at the vintage things,” says PJ, “I always say vintage is like that strand of pearls: timeless.” The second Olde Depot Junktion is scheduled for May, with even more vendors. PJ says the hot trends now are almost anything made out of old barn wood, and refinishing furniture and other items with chalk paint. One brand, Annie Sloane, is very popular for its unique, matte finish, looks nice painted on any surface and comes in a variety of colors. “I just love to work with it, even more so than just regular paint. Some people like to spray but I’d much rather do chalk paint,” says PJ. The drawback to chalk paint is that the product is only sold in a few select places. PJ says if enough people are curious about the medium, she would be willing to teach classes at the Red Umbrella Shop on the chalk paint technique and might also be willing to carry it in her shop in the future. PJ also decorates customers’ homes for the holidays and donates her talents to help the community doing the decor for both the Nisswa Women’s and the Women of Today style shows. Find the Red Umbrella Shop on Facebook for current seasonal hours, up to the date information and special events.

Sheila Helmberger

Sheila lives in Baxter and has been contributing to area publications since 1999.

Repurposing Antiques Olde Depot Junktion May 24-25 • 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. • Cost: $8 For $20 shoppers can ‘catch the early train’ and shop two hours early on Saturday and free on Sunday.

Summer 2014 | her voice



Story by Mary Aalgaard

s y o B g n i s i a R


g boys, When it comes to raisin it’s not about having r, it is power over them, rathe

empowering them.

Eric and Charlie Rude


Summer 2014 | her voice

One Mother’s Day, a few years back, my then six-years-old boy said, “We need to go to the park, Mom. We left your presents there.” They looked for my gifts on the playground, up and down the slide, and in the platforms that look like forts. They sat on the diggers and dug up the sand at my feet, perhaps looking for the treasure buried beneath. They sat in the picnic shelter, sharing crackers and water and talking to me. Then, my four boys headed onto the baseball diamond. My oldest son, age 12, organized a game of imaginary baseball. He “pitched” to his eight-year-old brother who “hit” it and ran the bases. Someone caught it, and we had a moment of arguing with the ump. I sat in the stands and thought to myself, I will remember this moment until I am an old grandma in the nursing home. When I split up with their dad, I brought these same four boys, just a little older, to another park. Again, the oldest, the game inventor, brought everyone to my side. “Mom,” he said. “We’re playing a game where we all have a part. You tell us which one is the citizen, the assassin, the cop, and the target.” They played this game for hours, many different nights, role-playing, running, scheming, trying to solve the crime or fool the detective. As bigger boys (the oldest is now in college), they play more organized and technically advanced games. They all play football and chess. They spend most of their down time attached to video games. I asked them, “What is the draw in gaming?” “You get to be part of the game, Mom.” Ah, role-playing. “And, what’s so great about football?” My middle son explained, “We need a place to take out our aggressions. You know, we sit all day. We have to be quiet in school and just study. In football, you get to be strong and work out all your frustrations.” Ah, strategizing, need for physical exertion, and what he didn’t say, being part of a band of brothers who work hard as a team to build each other up and be strong together. Win or lose, they’re always part of the team. You also like chess, I said, where you just sit there, staring at a board with a bunch of pieces that have special moves. “In chess,” said my oldest, “I get the same excited feeling as when I’m playing football. When I see that in a couple moves, I’ll have captured his queen, then put his king in check, my heart rate goes up just like

Mary Aalgaard with her four boys, left to right, Charlie, Mary, Bobby, Zach and Eric Rude.

when I’m playing a sport.” I wonder sometimes, why God gave me four sons to raise, and no daughters. I’m such a girly girl. I am not at all athletic, nor competitive. I arrive late or leave early from football games, but I’m the first in line for the band concert! I like spending too much money on books, and I cry at the first note of a sad song or tender moment in a play. When the boys were small, we sat next to a table with girls who were all sitting on their chairs, coloring, talking quietly about what they were going to order at the restaurant. Our boys were up and down and under the table. They used the crayons as mini-swords, and someone spilled juice. I thought to

myself, “We’ll always be the noisy table.” And, yet, I know that boys need their moms. They need to know where it’s safe to show their emotions. The same boy who turns into a grizzly bear on the football field, weeps at the death of his pet. The same boy whose heart rate goes up as he sees his strategy will crush his opponent in chess, rolls up his sleeves to work the soup kitchen, join a mission trip, or sandbag a neighborhood during a spring flood. The same boy who wrestled his brother to the ground while standing in the pick-up line at school also told me that he “said a pray” on the playground when he was in the s econd grade so that the other boys

would stop bullying his friend. When it comes to raising boys, it’s not about having power over them, rather, it is empowering them. They need physical activity, and to use their brains to find the best strategy in situations. They need a safe place to show their true emotions, as well as outlets to show compassion. Boys need to take risks. They’ll set up jumps and not see the mailbox at the end of the launch. Their lively spirit can brighten any room, and they’re always good for a strong bear hug.

mary Aalgaard

Mary is a freelance writer and blogger. Her blogs on include Play off the Page, inspiration and entertainment reviews; Ride off the Page, a travelog; and Dine off the Page, for chef’s tips, recipes, and restaurant reviews. Mary is also a playwright who works with both children and adults. She and her sister Joy started Primo Art Spa, giving private voice, piano and writing lessons and offering classes in art and theatre.

Summer 2014 | her voice


clubs and clusters

S t o r y b y L i n d a Yo u n g s

Lake HuBert WOmen’s CLuB

CeLeBrates 100 years

Lake Hubert Women’s Club membership from several years ago. Club historian Linda Youngs chose not to identify club members in this photo as membership and attendance she says varies from season to season, year to year.


This summer the Lake Hubert

Women’s Club will be celebrating its 100th birthday. It is quite unusual for an independent club with no outside affiliation, to endure for 100 years. The gathering for all Lake Hubert residents will be at the Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa on July 20.


Summer 2014 | her voice

The Lake Hubert Women’s Club was started in May of 1914 by six women who lived on the lake and who decided to get together for a coffee party. They had such a nice time that one suggested that they start a “little club.” There were no dues or purpose at first — just getting together for a good time. Soon however, the Nisswa School was built and the women found a purpose for their gatherings. They sold tickets on a quilt, planned a supper and social and were soon able to buy a bell for the school. They continued to meet in each other’s homes and raised enough money to purchase bookcases and pictures for the school. When World War I started, they worked with the Red Cross. One woman knit 26 sweaters for “Buddies for Britain.” In one

of the old scrapbooks the club still owns, there is a list of the monthly care packages sent to France, listing such things as 5 pounds of corn meal and sugar and 1 pound of raisins and dried beans plus needles, thread, thimbles, cloth, etc. During the depression, the club worked with Miss Walz, the county nurse. They pieced and finished seven quilts and made and mended over 700 garments to give to people in need. In addition they auctioned off “fancy work” and continued to buy supplies for the school, such as cases of soup for the children’s lunches, and shoes and boots for children who needed them. They even raised money to send a local child to the University of Minnesota Hospital to have a lip repaired. Minutes from some of the early years

have not been found, but some records show that in the early years it was called “The Mother’s Club,” then later “The Women’s Club of Lake Hubert” and finally in 1926 it became the Lake Hubert Women’s Club, and so it remains today. This energetic group of women held meetings twice a month and transportation to the meetings was by foot, horse and buggy or by sleigh. At times the minutes read that there was no meeting because of deep snow and on social occasions husbands were invited. At one time membership had to be limited to 35 as that was the most the homes could accommodate. Later it was raised to 50 and they began to meet in restaurants and resorts. Over the years they held quilt and afghan raffles, basket suppers and ice cream socials. In 1968 the Lake Hubert open-air train station was moved to its current location on Highway 13. This is the last remaining openair train station in the United States. In 1975 the club held a “Pufferbilly” sale at the station for station maintenance. They wore old-fashioned clothing and sold baked goods and collectables. The club continues

to care for the grounds and keep the flowerbeds well watered. The Lake Hubert Women’s Club has always been an independent club. Nonetheless members were proud when Mrs. William McKay Blake, wife of the founder of Blake Camp, (now Camp Lincoln on Lake Hubert) brought a message from the state convention of the Federation of Women’s Clubs commending them on their outstanding service to the community. This was a total surprise as the club had never joined the Federation of Women’s Clubs. Today the membership totals 52 women and it continues to meet once a month at area restaurants. The club follows the tradition of giving service to the community. Every year, just before Christmas, a member of the club sews 50-60 cloth bags, which are then filled with toiletries donated by club members. These are given to the Women’s Center of Mid-Minnesota. For many years Christmas gifts were purchased and wrapped for local area families in need. Recently the practice has been changed to

giving money to the Nisswa School so they can purchase warm boots and snow pants and other clothing as the need arises. Money raised through dues and donations in recent years has been given to the food shelf, Brainerd soup kitchen, hospice, First Responders, as well as the Nisswa School for field trips. Lake Hubert Women’s Club continues to be a vital and active part of the Nisswa community and looks forward to celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2014, and with good intentions hopes to continue for another 100 years.

Linda Youngs

Linda moved to the lakes area 13 years ago from Grand Forks, N.D. She is a reader and a quilter and currently the historian for the Lake Hubert Woman’s Club.

Summer 2014 | her voice


By Carolyn Corbett Photos by Joey Halvorson and supplied

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"You guys, we need the head to be s t a b le ."

" So m e thing ne e ds to ho ld the back up.

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Kids learn about ecosystems, ecology and sustainable living at Happy Dancing Turtle’s Eco Camp. Fresh strawberries make a healthy snack. 18

Summer 2014 | her voice

The team of five fifth and sixth graders is working on a Something From Nothing project at Happy Dancing Turtle’s seventh annual Eco Camp on the Hunt Utilities Group campus in Pine River. So what is Eco Camp? It is a weeklong summer day camp utilizing scientific experiments, recycled crafts and environmental activities to teach about ecology, ecosystems and sustainable living. The mission of Happy Dancing Turtle, a non-profit organization, is to build, demonstrate and promote sustainable living in ways that are economically and ecologically practical, and Eco Camp is one of the ways they carry the message to young people. “This is just hilarious,” says Alex Kempka of the robot-in-progress they’ve dubbed Samantha. “It’s got a CD brain to store the data.” Components of their bionic being include duct tape, cardboard tubes, a yardstick, a computer keyboard, clothespins, rubber bands, bolts, fabric, wire, CDs, netting, leather and rubber, among other goodies. The finished robot also sported a flower cannon, useful, says the team, for weddings if you don’t have a flower girl or for planting flower seeds. Across the room a second team is hard at work creating a cache of catapults and are urgently requesting a screwdriver. They need to take apart an old blender “to see what’s inside.” The directions for the team project were simple. Sitting still long enough to hear the directions was the hard part. “Dig into the Rubbermaid bucket of ‘weird stuff’ and make something that would be useful,” said Barb Beck, Education & Events Coordinator at Happy Dancing Turtle. “Work as a team. Be creative. Design something that could do something.” At Eco Camp, kids play board games and Jeopardy, use compasses on an orienteering course to find sets of coordinates, go on a garden scavenger hunt,

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visit a goat farm, tie dye T-shirts. Topics may include oil spill clean-up, how pollutants get into ground water, decomposition study or how to make solar hot dog cookers. Children may play food pyramid rummy, use stem brushes to do mud painting or make leaf prints. Barb and her program assistant, Michelle Hoefs, try to balance indoor and outdoor activities about half and half. Recycled craft projects are a big hit. Last summer’s fifth and sixth grade group made jump ropes out of plastic bags, bracelets out of pop tabs or old sliced up T-shirts, art paper out of shredded office paper, school pencil boxes out of cereal boxes and picture frames out of rolled magazine “beads.” They also kept journals and created Eco Hero comic books. A selection of other craft projects offered at different age levels include accordion juice carton pouches, toilet paper tube castles or owls and snakes, button and puzzle piece picture frames, cardboard chameleons, hand print flags, egg carton critters, leafy critters and Cheerio bird feeders. There are also activities with mysterious names. A Grave Mistake, Poison Pump, Trashy Town, How Many Bears Live in the Forest and Sort Line Model, as well as

Working well together and having fun, campers construct a robot.

snacks called Moose Lips and Butterfly Bags. The food is good at Eco Camp. Two snacks each day primarily feature goodies based on what is available from the garden

at that time of the summer. Morning snack for the hungry fifth and sixth grade teams following the Something From Nothing Inventions included baked zucchini chips and fresh strawberries. Another day it was

Summer 2014 | her voice


Barb Beck, Happy Dancing Turtle Education & Events Coordinator, leads campers on a woodland hike.

A field trip to the B&B Goat Farm in Jenkins is popular with campers.

OtherÊ greatÊ booksÊ Ê BarbÊ weavesÊ intoÊ theÊ Ê curriculum:Ê Ê (dependingÊ onÊ ageÊ level)Ê

• Ò IÊ CanÊ SaveÊ theÊ Earth:Ó Ê OneÊ LittleÊ MonsterÊ LearnsÊ toÊ Reduce,Ê ReuseÊ &Ê Recycle.Ó • Ò MollyÕ sÊ OrganicÊ Farm,Ó Ê aÊ storyÊ featuringÊ anÊ curiousÊ littleÊ catÊ whoÊ introducesÊ kidsÊ toÊ plantsÊ andÊ theÊ keyÊ elementsÊ ofÊ growingÊ Ê foodÊ organically. • Ò MichaelÊ Recycle,Ó Ê aÊ young,Ê greenÊ caped,Ê super-greenÊ superheroÊ whoÊ teachesÊ peopleÊ aboutÊ recycling. • Ò JosephÊ HadÊ aÊ LittleÊ Overcoat,Ó aboutÊ aÊ manÊ whoÊ remakesÊ hisÊ overcoatÊ intoÊ oneÊ Ê thing,Ê thenÊ anotherÊ asÊ itÊ becomesÊ worn.Ê • Ò TheÊ BeeÊ Keeper,Ó aÊ rhymingÊ introductionÊ toÊ bees,Ê howÊ honeyÊ isÊ madeÊ andÊ whatÊ aÊ Ê beekeeperÊ does. • Ò JoÊ MacDonaldÊ HadÊ aÊ Garden,Ó aÊ gardeningÊ take-offÊ onÊ OldÊ MacDonaldÊ Ê HadÊ aÊ Farm. • Ò CompostÊ Stew,Ó Ê whereÊ Ò appleÊ cores,Ê bananas,Ê bruised,Ê coffeeÊ groundsÊ withÊ Ê filters,Ê usedÓ allÊ goÊ togetherÊ withÊ moreÊ ingredientsÊ toÊ createÊ compostÊ stew. • Ò AdventuresÊ ofÊ anÊ AluminumÊ Can.Ó • Ò OneÊ Well:Ê theÊ StoryÊ ofÊ WaterÊ onÊ Earth.Ó • Ò ThisÊ IsÊ MyÊ Planet Ê TheÊ KidÕ sÊ GuideÊ toÊ GlobalÊ Warming.Ó


Summer 2014 | her voice

lettuce wraps made with carrots, onions, cucumbers, green peppers and tomatoes the kids picked fresh from the garden. Other snacks throughout the summer included PBJ banana wraps, banana whip, fruit kabobs, frozen bananas and bagel faces. The participants bring their own lunches from home, with an emphasis on healthy foods and waste-free containers. Barb has a wonderful collection of children’s books. One of the books the kids especially enjoy is “There’s a Hair in My Dirt: A Worm’s Story,” by Far Side creator Gary Larson. It tells the tale of a young earthworm who finds it isn’t easy being him. “Dirt for breakfast, dirt for lunch and dirt for dinner! Dirt, dirt, dirt! And look — now there’s even a hair in my dirt!” Barb checks school and community calendars when deciding which age groups to schedule at what times of the summer. She gets the word out through Facebook, the Happy Dancing Turtle web site, school district newsletters, local libraries and email messages to families who have previously attended. Children often return year after year. Approximately one-third of Eco Camp kids are repeat “customers.” Most of the kids come from Pine River and other local towns. Some come from Brainerd and some are kids who are up visiting at a grandparent’s cabin. Each youngster invites their family for a “show off” time on Friday afternoon and goes home at the end of camp knowing a CD full of pictures will be arriving in the mailbox soon.There is a minimum of seven children per session and a maximum of 15, with four separate sessions held throughout the summer. The camps are divided by age level, with 4-year-olds through 13-yearolds served. The little ones cover the same concepts as the older kids, just at a simpler level. Two especially popular activities at every age group are Jim Etzel’s talk on bees followed by a visit to the hives, and the field trip to the B&B Goat Farm in Jenkins. Other favorites? Alex Kempka liked Eco Camp altogether “because you learn how to reuse almost everything.” Payton Taylor really liked the solar oven. “What I liked about Eco Camp,” said Rylee Norman, “was that I got to see Barb and Michelle. I had the best time (last) summer at Eco Camp.”

Campers are engaged and focused on their craft projects.

Carolyn Corbett

Prior to her passion for playing with words, Carolyn Corbett taught elementary school for 14 years. At 35, she resigned and sailed off into the sunset. Literally.Along the way she became a contributing writer for a number of sailing magazines. Today, as a freelance writer/editor, shehas over 200 articles published in cruising, parenting and general interest magazines.

Summer 2014 | her voice


By Rebecca Flansburg Photos by Joey Halvorson


tess taylor the Woman Behind the Voice


Radio personality, Tess Taylor with her daughter, Lola.


Summer 2014 | her voice

When many of us are still deep in slumber, WJJY’s morning show host Tess Taylor’s day is just beginning. At 3:30 a.m. this new mother gets up, gets ready for work and makes the trip from her home in Breezy Point to the BL Broadcasting Studio in Baxter. Listeners in the Brainerd lakes area are no stranger to this 17-year radio veteran’s bubbly on-air personality, but may not know her dream of broadcasting began at an early age. “I’ve always had a fascination with being on the radio,” says Tess. “My mom actually has a cassette tape of me, at around age 7, recording pretend radio shows and saying things like ‘I’m Tess Taylor and I’ll be back with the news.’ I would make my own commercials, with matching jingles, and mimic the DJs I heard on the radio. I think broadcasting has been in my blood forever!” As a Duluth native, Tess graduated from Duluth East High School in 1992 then decided to pursue her love of radio as she was finishing college. She graduated from the University of Minnesota, Duluth in 1996 with a B.A. degree in communication and went to work immediately in Duluth’s radio and television market. Four years later, Tess moved to Minneapolis to take a job as the marketing director then promotions manager for Radio Disney. In 2004, she left that position and moved north to join the WJJY team. She is now a familiar voice to lakes area listeners as one half of The Morning Mess with Ken and Tess radio show on WJJY alongside radio veteran Ken Thomas weekdays from 6 to 9 a.m. Together, this dynamic duo has been informing and making WJJY listeners smile and laugh for almost 10 years. When her morning shift at WJJY is finished, Tess can also be heard from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Today’s Best Country, B93.3 FM. “I can’t believe how lucky I was to be paired with Ken Thomas almost 10 years ago,” Tess says. “We just work well together and we seem to “get” each other. I truly feel that I am in the right job, at the right place. We have so much fun here at WJJY. This is hands-down, the most cohesive team of on-air talent I have ever worked with. We are a small group that shares many duties, but everyone gets along well and respects each other tremendously.” When not co-hosting The Morning Mess or preparing the news for all the BL Broadcasting

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stations, WJJY 106.7, KUAL 103.5, B93.3 and KLIZ FM the Power Loon, Tess says that she loves to give back to her community. As a host of Ladies Night at Iven’s On The Bay, a volunteer celebrity reader at area schools and a willing emcee of many events including Polar Plunge for Special Olympics at Breezy Point Resort, Kinship Partners’ annual banquet at Breezy Point Resort, and Hoofin’ It for HART in Nisswa, Tess is always excited to lend a helping hand (or voice) to area events and organizations. “I love being out in the community and doing what I can to give back,” Tess enthused. “Being able to go out in public to talk to people and hear their stories, thoughts and appreciation is what keeps me going. It’s so fun when listeners meet me in person and are able to put a face to the voice that they hear every day. I get just as excited as they do sometimes!” When asked what question she gets asked the most from listeners, Tess shared that people often question her on-air relationship with meteorologist Stu Muck. “Stu is like a big brother to me,” she confirmed. “We tease each other a lot on-air, but that banter is only because we do get along so well. I have the utmost respect for Stu and am so lucky to be able to work with him every day. The second most popular question is about my much-discussed hoodie collection,” she added with a laugh. “In case you were wondering, I had 62 hoodies at last count. And I love every single one of them!” Blessed in her off-air life as well, Tess and husband Derrick are new parents to oneyear old Lola and together they are all still learning the work/family balancing act. “I am lucky to have a very flexible daycare and a very patient husband,” says Tess. “Derrick gets Lola up, dressed, fed and to daycare every day. I then pick her up in the afternoon when my workday is done. It works for us and we get plenty of family time. Being a parent is challenging and wonderful all at the same time. My advice to other moms is to breathe. Just breathe. Take comfort in knowing you’re doing your best, and remember to be grateful for any time spent with family… whether you work outside of the home, or inside.”

The Morning Mess dynamic duo: Tess Taylor and Ken Thomas.

rebecca Flansburg

Rebecca is a freelance writer and work-at-homemom who lives in Baxter. She is also a full-time virtual assistant in the field of social media, content management and blogging. You can connect with Rebecca on her blog, Summer 2014 | her voice


Story and photos by Kelsey Anderson

“I am passionate about photography.”

An abstract photo, one of photographer Kelsey Anderson’s favorite genres.

Finding Her Photo


My interest started after my daughter Karlie was born, she being the subject more often than not. Having a child at a young age didn’t leave me with a lot of extra money, so it was only a few years ago that I purchased a DSLR camera. Since then I have learned a lot of new things about photography and have come a long way from just point and shoot. I do a lot of research and have attended weekend seminars in Duluth. I have shot seniors, weddings and several family and child sessions. Although I have more experience photographing people, my passion is abstract and macro photography. I want to


Summer 2014 | her voice

be able to capture photos people love and want to display in their homes. One example is letter photography. I take unique photos of nature or objects that could pass as looking like an alphabet letter and put several together to make words or names. My mom is probably one of the pickiest when it comes to decorating with photos, so my goal is to someday be able to capture something that impresses her. Eventually I want to have a gallery with prints available for purchase. I try to find time on nights and weekends to run around town and photograph anything that catches my eye.

When I was younger I used to dream of becoming a photographer for National Geographic. Over the years I have learned that I am too family orientated to travel as much as that would require. I now have smaller dreams that are more local. This past summer I made a picture adventure book for my nephew James, who lives in California. “You Left Me in Minnesota” was the story of his figurine Ninja turtle, Michelangelo, that he’d left behind. I photographed Michelangelo on adventures all over the area. Maybe making books like that will become a goal of mine someday.


oto Niche Kelsey’s career goals include capturing photos people want to hang in their homes: objects in nature, alphabet letters.

Kelsey Anderson

Born and raised in Brainerd, Kelsey has an 11-year-old daughter, Karlie. She works at Gull Lake Glass, Wild Rice Depot and does photography. She is busy with sports all year long, playing softball and indoor/outdoor volleyball. She also runs around for Karlie who plays volleyball and softball as well.

Summer 2014 | her voice



By Bonnie Rokke Tinnes Photos by Joey Halvorson

BeautyQ ueen More than a


People said they couldn’t help but do a double take the day they walked into the Deborah Schey Salon and saw a tall, dark-haired girl with deep brown eyes standing behind the counter. She was selling baskets with collections of things you might need for a party. “This is Bailey Wachholz. She is selling baskets to make money for a junior high dance trip,” said Deb Schey, the salon owner, to a customer. Soon Bailey moved on from selling baskets, earning titles of Miss Minnesota Outstanding Teen and the 2013 Miss Brainerd Lakes. Bailey was born in Waconia, Minn., and moved to Nisswa, Minn., with her parents, Duane and Pamela Wachholz, in 1999 when she as four years old. An only child, she has lived with her parents on Roy Lake since then, spending her summers on the lake boating, tubing and water skiing and spending her winters snowmobiling. In first grade, Bailey developed osteomyelitis and spent three weeks at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. It took

a long time for her to feel well again. During this time she decided she wanted to be a pediatric doctor to help other children, but fear of needles changed her mind. It didn’t matter. Soon her life would go in another direction. Bailey was 13 years old when her father was diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It was difficult for her to understand why a parent could get it because she thought Alzheimer’s only happened to grandparents. Shy to the point of having her mother order her food at restaurants when she was 12, she felt isolated and afraid. “I didn’t understand at that time that a devastating diagnosis can be a blessing in disguise,” she says. Shortly after his diagnosis, her dad saw an ad for a scholarship pageant in the newspaper. He suggested to Bailey that she should enter and they connected with the Miss Minnesota Outstanding Teen Scholarship Program, little sister to the Miss Minnesota Scholarship Program and Miss America. Her shyness caused her some anxiety, but at the age of 14 she entered. She didn’t place, but bitten by the pageant bug, she decided to compete again the following year. Since that first pageant, Bailey has concentrated on Alzheimer’s awareness, using it as her platform for the pageants and a way to educate others about the debilitating disease. To date, she has spoken in 16 schools, has reached out to college-level students, and has spoken to over 5,000 students throughout Minnesota. In 2009 her family was named Honorary Chair Family for the Brainerd Lakes Walk to End Alzheimer’s. In 2010, Bailey was named Champion

Miss Brainerd Lakes 2013, Bailey Wachholz, wants to spread awareness of Alzheimers Disease.


Summer 2014 | her voice

of the Year by the MN/ND Alzheimer’s Association for her work to educate. She has served as co-chair, emcee, team captain, and a Champion Club organizer. She has helped raise over $23,000 for Alzheimer’s in five years. Bailey was second runner up Miss Minnesota Outstanding Teen in 2010, first runner up in 2011, and was crowned Miss Minnesota Outstanding Teen in 2012. That year she competed for Miss America Outstanding Teen in Orlando, Fla., meeting 52 other women from every state and Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. “I have never felt like I have had to give up anything or sacrifice anything,” she says. “Stage fright doesn’t even bother me any-

more. I’ve been in front of so many people. I really came out of my shell after my second pageant.” In August 2013 Bailey was crowned Miss Brainerd Lakes and will compete in the Miss Minnesota Pageant in June 2014. Her wish is to compete some day on the Miss America stage in Atlantic City, N.J. At the present time, Bailey attends Bethel University in St. Paul and is majoring in Accounting and Finance with hopes of becoming a CPA. The pageant scholarship programs have paid for her first two years of college, one of the reasons she continues competing and developing her piano talent. It is important to Bailey that Bethel is Christ-centered and she loves

the people and the college. Bailey is a girl with strong, solid goals and these goals include continuing working with Alzheimer’s. She also has developed a line of jewelry called Ashley’s Hope which she uses to raise monies for the Alzheimer’s Association and for Children’s Miracle Network, an affiliation of the Miss America Scholarship Program. “I never realized the impact I was having on those around me until I received 24 handwritten thank you letters from a class I spoke to,” Bailey says.

Bonnie rokke Tinnes

Bonnie was born and raised in Minnesota, where she has lived most of her life. She is an English and Russian teacher, a registered nurse, author of fiction and nonfiction, and a poet and has five published books. Bonnie and her husband Gilmen have lived in the Brainerd lakes area for almost 20 years. The most important thing in her life is her family, especially her grandchildren. Besides writing, gardening and cooking are two of her favorite pastimes.

Bailey with her parents, Duane and Pamela Wachholz.

Bailey’s Blog: Website: Summer 2014 | her voice



Story and photos by Jill Hannah Anderson

Valeri Ann Diller owns Valeri Ann’s Family Foods in Merrifield.

See A Need, Fill A Need


Most of us have asked ourselves at one time or another, “What do I really want to do with my life?” A few years ago, Valeri Ann Diller, owner of Valeri Ann’s Family Foods in Merrifield, asked herself that very same question. She took a good look at her future, her opportunities and her goals — and made some drastic life changes.


Summer 2014 | her voice

“I knew I had 20-plus years ahead of me to work, and wanted to still do something that would help people,” said Valeri, a former mortgage loan officer/branch manager. Starting in the food business was a big career change for her, and would seem a strange venue to pursue if she wasn’t so passionate about feeding and helping people. And, if she hadn’t already spent so much of her life cooking, canning and gardening. Growing up in a family with seven children, Valeri and her husband, Dennis, now have their own growing family of four daughters and six grandchildren. “My idea started when I realized my grandma, who lives alone, wasn’t always eating nutritious meals. Cooking for one, or even two people can be tough, so I decided to create a product that would help people like my grandma be able to still eat the wellbalanced, home-cooked meals they’d known growing up.” Initially, Valeri prepared nutritious, individually packaged meals friends and family could heat in the microwave. Knowing she wanted to move beyond that, Valeri needed to find a state certified kitchen to prepare these meals for the public. “We looked online, in the newspaper, everywhere for area possibilities, and found a kitchen at the right price, here in Merrifield.” The pizza business was for sale and the kitchen was perfect for expanding her ready-made meal business. Valeri opened for business in October 2011 and continued on with the existing pizza business, including delivery within a 10-mile radius. They also have delivery for their ready-made packaged meals. Already frozen, they’re priced at $5, with a “working man” portion for $6.50. The menu selection contains a lot of “comfort food” such as meat loaf — their best seller, along with dishes with a twist — like their Whiskey Turkey. Wanting to expand, catering was next on Valeri’s list. She had the kitchen already, along with a growing list of customers. Her catering business has served weddings, funerals, board meetings, family reunions, grad parties and anniversary parties. In 2012, Valeri was approached by her landlord about taking over the diner, located at the other end of the building she leased. Itching to increase business and use more of the family recipes she’d gathered over the years and knowing this would be the logical next step in expanding her brand, they opened The Olde Uptown Diner in the spring of 2013. “We have regular groups at the diner, for instance the “old geezers” club (a term they

label themselves) comes in every Tuesday morning for breakfast,” explained Valeri. “And we host Bible study groups, card playing clubs, any small gathering works well for the size of our diner.” Valeri tries to not compete with area bars and goes for more of the meals we all loved to eat at Grandma’s house. “We don’t use a fryer for anything except fries and chips for sandwiches, and only serve one great burger on our menu,” she said. As if running four separate businesses isn’t enough, Valeri and her husband, who live four doors away, will have an enormous garden to harvest every year and use in all four food businesses. Valeri spends most Mondays — her only day off, catching up on bookkeeping. If she has any free time for fun, guess where you’ll usually find her? Yep, in the kitchen. “I love canning and freezing and getting together with my girlfriends to cook together. We’ll have a pie making day — drink wine, sit around and chat and make a variety of pies.” If she’s not in the kitchen, she’s spending time with her grown children and grandchildren.

Valeri employs four people during the winter months and between eight and nine during the summer season. Her husband takes care of all the maintenance work and other jobs such as shoveling. The ready-made meals have become the biggest part of her business. “Besides the people who live alone, many stock up for camping trips, hunting camp and people use them for a healthy portion control meal,” said Valeri. The downside she says is, “the unpredictability of all four businesses!” And her favorite part: “Definitely the customers. When they say ‘this smells and tastes just like how my Grandma used to make it,’ it warms my heart.”

Jill Hannah Anderson

Jill is a frequent contributor to Her Voice, is in the process of submitting her first women’s fiction novel and at work on her second. Her website is and you can find her on Facebook under Jill Hannah Anderson.

Summer 2014 | her voice


By Karen Ogdahl Photos by Joey Halvorson

Sara Dunlap


A gentle and passionate soul, Sara Dunlap fights fiercely for peace and justice.

activities. “Even though we lived in an area which was very prejudiced, he encouraged me to get involved in the civil rights movement,” she said. She feels fortunate to have participated in one of Martin Luther King’s marches. Later, during the Vietnam War, Tom couldn’t openly oppose the war because of his military position, but he always encouraged Sara to act on her conscience. “It led to lots of years on the protest lines!” she remembered. Does Sara think all the protests were worth it? Without a doubt. “If you go back over the years, you’ll see that ordinary people made a difference. Rights for women, rights for all people regardless of race or religion — look how far we’ve come. I protest against wars because I believe that there are other ways to solve disputes besides killing people,” she said. “I think about these issues a lot before I 30

Summer 2014 | her voice

Sara Dunlap is a small person with a big smile. She’s a loving mother, grandmother and greatgrandmother. She speaks softly, with measured words that hint at Southern roots, but she also carries a big stick – frequently at the end of a protest sign. This diminutive lady has been a fierce fighter for peace and justice issues for 60 years. Civil rights and several wars have caused Sara to take action, and it’s not likely that she’ll be retiring soon. Her early involvement in peace and justice issues began in an orphanage. Born before World War II, she and her siblings were abandoned when Sara was five years old. She grew up in a children’s home in Florida. The matron of the home frequently told the children, “You need to be kind to each other; you need to be respectful,” and because of that, Sara remembers beginning to think seriously about injustice.

take a stand. People have to rise up. It’s the only way change happens. People call me a dreamer, but when you have a dream of a world where people are kind and fair, where we look after each other, you have hope. I have this great hope in my heart. Otherwise, why would I have worked so hard for 60 years? I’ll still be out there on the front lines.” Hope for such a world hasn’t been limited to the protesting. It led Sara to a long career of helping people. She started volunteering at St. Joseph’s Hospital (now Essentia Health) in 1972 and eventually was hired to oversee the Meals-on-Wheels program. “I did that for 20 years,” she said. “I loved it. It’s a beautiful program – to bring a meal to someone. It’s more than just the meal; many of those folks became dear friends.” She also served as a patient representative at the hospital. “If patients had prob-

When Sara was 14, she was chosen by a teacher to go hear Eleanor Roosevelt speak. Mrs. Roosevelt talked about the role of Susan B. Anthony in the struggle for women’s rights, which struck a chord with Sara. Those two women became and still remain her role models. She emulated Anthony by becoming a Quaker and eventually naming her daughter Susan. “They lit a fire within me, and it never went out,” Sara said. At 16, she met Tom, a career Marine, and the man with whom she would spend nearly 60 years. After high school graduation, Sara gave up a science scholarship at Florida State University to get married. Tom promised her that they both would pursue higher education. “Everywhere we lived, we’d look at the local colleges and go to night classes,” she said. Tom was also supportive in her protest

lems, I’d go listen to them. My responsibility was to speak on behalf of the patient even if I didn’t totally agree with the person. I tried to be as friendly as I could, and we’d end up solving the problem,” she said. Her last position before retirement was as volunteer coordinator at the hospital. It required strong organization and people skills and made her an enthusiastic advocate for volunteerism. “Most people feel they get more out of volunteering than they bring to it,” she said. “You make new friends and learn so much, especially if you volunteer in an area that’s unfamiliar to you. It boosts your self-esteem, and you know in your heart that you’re making the community a better place.” She also served on several community boards. Sara has spent her life bettering the community and working to end injustice, but perhaps her most difficult challenge came this past year. Her husband Tom died in

2013, leaving her without her lifelong companion and most ardent supporter. “Grief is tough,” she said. “I went through some very bad months. Family and friends helped fill the void, and spirituality was a comfort, but in the end, I think it just takes time. I don’t think grief ever goes away. If you love somebody, a certain part of your heart will grieve forever. That’s just part of life.” “Tom and I were together so long, and I always felt he made me happy. After he died, I looked to other people to make me happy, but now I realize I’m the only one who can make me happy. I have to live my life with that in mind. That’s what I’m working on right now, and since I’ve had that attitude, I think I feel better,” she said. Sara attended some grief support groups, which were helpful, but it was her grandson who gave her some of the best advice. He said, “Grandma, when I went through some tough times, if I smiled even when I didn’t feel like smiling, it made me feel better. Grandma, what I want you to do when you’re feeling the lowest is just think of Grandpa and what a handsome, nice man he was and smile. Even if you’re driving along in the car, just keep smiling and sing, ‘I’m happy, I’m happy!” “When he was telling me this, I thought it was kind of silly, but I tried it, and it was an effort at first, but I found it worked. Sometimes if you pretend and pretend enough, you buy into it. Maybe pretend is the wrong word, but I find if I try to be happy, I feel better,” she said. Yes, maybe pretend is the wrong word. Maybe envision might be better. Sara has always envisioned a world without war, a world without injustice, a world without loneliness, and, yes, a world without paralyzing grief. But she doesn’t stop with the vision. Instead, she gets to work. Maybe it’s walking in a protest march, or maybe it’s giving a hug to someone who needs it.Wherever there’s need, she works to make those visions become reality, and the world is better for us all because of her efforts.

Holding a variety of positions in the helping professions and now as a volunteer, Sara exhibits warmth and compassion.

Karen Ogdahl

Karen is a retired teacher and community volunteer living in Baxter.

Summer 2014 | her voice



Story and photos by Marlene Chabot

y n n u S Side

Sherri Lynn Lynn’s and the Sunflower Boutique

Sherri Lynn Hoheisel (left) and her daughter, Angie Hoheisel, co-own Sherri Lynn’s and the Sunflower Boutique in Pierz.


Sherri Lynn’s and the Sunflower Boutique in Pierz may shine brightly in the morning on the sunny side of the street, but co-owner Sherri Lynn’s sunny disdisposition radiates all day long. If you haven’t visited her yet, make sure to stop by. Sherri Lynn Hoheisel, originally from Anoka, opened the boutique with daughter Angie almost two years ago. Named after their favorite flower, the boutique carries the women’s personal line of can-dles, bath and body products and gourmet foods plus other fine Minnesota handcrafted products. Gift baskets laden with the owners’ creations are avail-able for corporate and special events as well. Before the boutique opened, you could find Sherri and Angie at 30 craft and fine art shows a year, throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.


Summer 2014 | her voice

Now, they travel to just six shows, including Rice, Minn. The moment you step through the boutique’s door a wedding display draws you in. “That’s Angie’s special corner,” Sherri explained from behind the counter. Her engaged daughter loves customizing the lotions and soaps to match a person’s wedding colors. The color-coordinated products are purchased for bridal shower and wedding favors. “We even provide matching bags for the gifts,” says Sherri. Someday, Angie would like to expand the wedding area to include a bridal consignment section too. As I strolled to the counter, I asked whether either of Sherri’s parents was involved with handcrafts. “My mother Lynn is extremely creative and has been my inspiration since childhood,” she replied. Mom supplies the store with quilts and stained glass windows and occasionally fills in. The co-owner of the boutique stepped out from behind the cash register now to give me a

tour of the unique store and to share the history behind the products Angie and she creates. We began in the candle section first. Sherri became involved in the candle making process in 1973 while earning her business degree at Winona State. “I did it to earn extra cash,” she explained. When college ended, she continued creating candles and other items to give as gifts, but it wasn’t until 1999 that she actually ventured into her own home-based business, Candlelight by Sherri. From the start, all three of her children were involved. The first type of candle created was made by pouring scents and melted wax into jars. Later, waxed dipped critters, Sherri’s Lil Stinkers, were added to her line. The candle maker has experimented with various scents and colors over the years. Once she used a high school’s colors to honor the graduates. Her favorite part of creating jar candles in h e r

The boutique lines include bath and body lotions using sunflower products.

home though is blending new signature fragrances — Lavender, Lilac, Minnesota Memories, Log Cabin Kitchen, Pomegranate Mint and Café Mocha. “Whenever a customer purchases one of my jar candles,” Sherri shared, “I tell them we will gladly refill it once.” In 2004, Sherri’s passion for cooking led her to branch out into gourmet food mixes — brownies, breads, dips and soups — but preparing food for sale requires a commercial kitchen, so she uses the Brickyard in Pierz. Five years after gourmet food mixes were added to the business, Angie suggested creating yet another line of products, bath and body lotion. The line includes sunflower lotions such as Minnesota Diva and Minnesota Chic, lip balms, scrubs and suds and hand swirled soaps. A private section of the boutique is set aside for the production of a bath and body line. The owners of Sherri Lynn’s and the Sunflower Boutique also offer two seasonal air freshener products for their customers, dipped toilet paper and Angelica aromas. Dipped toilet paper, available at Mother’s day and Christmas, is made by dipping a whole toilet paper roll in fragrant wax and approprithen adding a colorful ribbon and appropri ate floral arrangement. Angelica aromas, air beads, come in sachet bags and can be hung in a car or locker. Besides carrying products created by Minnesota artists at their place of business, mother and daughter strongly support their local businesses when purchasing supplies ingreand try to use at least one Minnesota ingre dient in each product. Bruce Marquette of Little Falls provides their beeswax and Smude’s in Pierz the sunflower oil. For anyone thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, Sherri Lynn offers some sound advice. “Know your market first.

Then live it, breathe it, sleep it before selling it to the customer. Remember, there are many failures before success.” As busy as these two ladies are, they still find time for a little fun. They love to fish and bowl. When the women travel though, it’s usually bowling related. “I’ve been bowling for 40 years,” said Sherri, Minnesota’s current bowling president, “Angie and her two brothers, DJ and Rich, since they were young children.” Sherri, who is also the bowling tournament director, works with about 6,000 gals.

marlene Chabot

Marlene is a freelance writer and member of Great River Writers and Sisters In Crime. Her fourth Minnesota based mystery novel is to be released this June and she’s already hard at work on her fifth. Find her on Facebook at Marlene Mc Neil Chabot or

Summer 2014 | her voice


pioneer profile

By Suz Anne Wipperling

riding the Orphan train


“Get rid of the child or I will kill it” Charles Underwood told Mary on December 23, 1896, about their newborn daughter, Nellie. A week later, Mary left her only child at the New York Foundling Hospital, a Catholic orphanage.


Summer 2014 | her voice

Nellie was a ward there until she was three years old, when the overcrowded orphanage took advantage of the Orphan Train and sent Nellie out west with her name pinned to her dress. The Orphan Train was a Catholic concept. The idea was any Catholic family could meet the train, and pick out a child to bring home. There were no background checks, or attempts to protect the orphans from abusive or non-loving families. Often it was families looking for free “help” in their homes or fields that took the children in. Nellie was rousted from bed, bathed, dressed and fed, then taken to Grand Central Station where she was placed on a train traveling to St. Paul. Nellie was placed on the Great Northern Pacific Railroad for the trip to Paynesville. She had been on trains for 42 hours and traveled almost 1,300 miles. Jacob Neutzling, of Lake Henry Township, brought Nellie home. In the 1900 census she is listed as a “lodger” in his home. When Jacob’s wife died, she went to live with George and Eva Weidner in Littonville (Regal). The Weidners had all boys and Mrs. Weidner wanted help in the kitchen. Nellie became the maid and housekeeper. Eva Weidner was a hard woman. Nellie

There were 437 known Orphan Train riders in Minnesota. Left to right, Nellie as a young girl, Nellie’s biological mother, Nellie as an adult and Nellie’s granddaughter, Kim Carstens Piehl. Kim lives in Baxter, and has spent much of the last five years researching her family’s genealogy. Christina Baker Kline, an author, interviewed Nellie’ family for background for her book ÒO rphan Train.Ó

forgot about her early life and believed the Weidners were her family. She always wondered why the boys were treated so nicely while she was beaten and made to work so hard. George was a kindly man, but he worked away often, leaving her to the mercy of Eva. Nellie’s Indenture Agreement was filed in 1910, officially making her a legal slave, without her knowing. Nellie remembers, “One time Eva beat me with a board. I was on the floor. Eva was hitting and kicking me. Each time the board hit my head I saw stars. I thought she was going to kill me.” Then one of Eva’s sons came in and grabbed the board and pushed Eva away. He said “Mother, that is enough.” At a baseball game, Nellie fell in love with a kind man named Frank Breitbach, and though Frank’s family moved out to Montana, he wrote to Nellie, and George helped hide the letters from Eva. Frank wanted to marry her, so she traveled with Frank’s sister out to the Montana homestead. The priest that was to marry Frank and Nellie needed her birth certificate and she had him write to Eva Weidner. Eva responded, “She is not our daughter; you have to write to the New York Foundling Home for that information.” This was the first time Nellie heard they were not her parents. In remembering, she said, “I always wished I could run away, but I didn’t have a red cent to my name.” Married in September of 1922, Nellie and Frank had five children and returned to Minnesota. Theirs was a happy home, full of all of the love that Nellie had missed in her early life.

In 1949, a letter arrived from the New York Foundling Home. Nellie’s birth mother had written them inquiring after her daughter. The nuns were asking permission to connect them. Many years of questions prompted Nellie to agree. Her mother, Mary Kittrick Underwood, was living on Welfare Island, having lost all of her money to a niece while she was in the hospital. Nellie asked her to come live with them in Minnesota. Mary was a quiet woman, now aged 82. She followed her daughter’s train odyssey across the states to Minnesota. She explained to Nellie that her father had threatened to kill her if Mary had not given her away. Although she was a Presbyterian, she wanted Nellie to find a good home, and thought the Catholics would do that for her. Nellie learned she had no brothers or sisters. Mary

could not settle in comfortably in Minnesota, having lived in NYC her whole life. She only stayed a week and then returned to the city, where she died in the early 1950s. With a life of abandonment as her background, Nellie learned to be a wonderful mother to her own children. Nellie died in 1986, after sharing her story with her children and grandchildren. As we sit here in 2014, we cannot imagine putting a 3-year-old child alone on a train, with no knowledge of who would take her, or what they would do with her. Nellie is a reminder that whatever “Orphan Train” rides your past, your future is what you make it.

Suz Anne Wipperling

Suz Anne is an AFLAC agent in the Brainerd lakes area. She belongs to Heartland Poets and the League of MN Poets. Suz has been a contributor to Her Voice for nine years.

Summer 2014 | her voice



By Melody Banks Photos by Joey Halvorson

A Passion for Pedaling


Sharon Bodie began smoking as a teenager. Both of her parents smoked. After watching her mother struggle with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and emphysema, she knew she wanted something different for herself and to set a better example for her three children. “I think my daughter was about 5 when I decided to quit,” Sharon says. “That’s when I started biking.” When she first began riding, she had no idea how passionate she would become with the sport but she hopped on her bike and has never looked back. Sharon and her husband Gary were both registered nurses living and working in Bemidji, Minn. Sharon was a labor and delivery nurse and Gary was a CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist). St. Joseph’s Medical Center was just finishing a new surgery wing when Dr. Yue, owner of Regional Anesthesia, asked Gary to come and work as a CRNA in Brainerd. Sharon was hesitant. “I didn’t know if I wanted to leave Bemidji,” she says. “I was comfortable there. It was our home. I felt established.” But in 1991 they made the move. Sharon had been biking for several years by that time and she decided to take a Community Education class on bike maintenance. “We learned how to change a tube and lube our bike chain,” she says. The instructor, Gary Jensen, told the class about the Paul Bunyan Cyclists and she decided to join them for one of their weekly Wednesday rides. “I got dropped. There was no way I could ride at their level,” she says. “I did not go back again that year. That is one thing we have changed in the group; we never leave a rider behind!” Sharon continued riding on her own but rejoined the club in 1994. That was the first year she participated in the Tour of Lakes ride, the annual event sponsored by the club. “I had never ridden much more than 15 miles before I completed that 65-mile route on my heavy knobby-tired cross bike. I was exhausted, but I was hooked and I vowed to get a road bike,” she says. Biking is Sharon’s passion. She now serves as the director of the annual ride and is affectionately referred to Director of the annual Tour of Lakes, Sharon Bodie started biking as part of a healthy life style. In winter or inclement weather, she sets her bike up on a trainer in her garage so she can continue riding.



Summer 2014 | her voice

, t r e e .

as the Czarina. “I first volunteered at Tour of Lakes in 1995,” she says, “and I have volunteered every year since — 19 years!” Sharon has worked in just about every volunteer position on the ride. She has helped at registration and rest stops. As director, she organizes the event and whittles down a to-do lists that runs the gamut from ordering the Porta-Potties and garbage cans to paying bills, updating and distributing brochures and planning a volunteer appreciation dinner. This year the event’s routes will start at Forestview Middle School in Baxter. Registration is open until the first 1,200 riders sign up or May 1. “It is not a race,” Sharon says. “Riders of all abilities are welcome to participate in one of two 35- or 65-mile routes. All riders must adhere to the Rules of the Road (see sidebar) and wear an ANSI helmet.” “This will be our last year taking paper registrations,” she says. “We hope to simplify the process with online registrations. We’ll send out postcards directing participants to our website where they can register online.” While going to online registrations should save the club some costs, Sharon says, “The Tour of Lakes is not a fundraiser. Our goal is to put on the kind of ride we want to do. The event is well known for the quality of ride we put on and the phenomenal food offered at the rest stops. If we have funds left over we use them to support cycling. In the past we have given away new bicycles, helmets and locks to deserving families at Christmas.” Sharon bikes whenever she can. She meets club members at the Baxter DNR Trailhead parking lot to ride every Wednesday at 6 p.m. during daylight savings time. She also participates in three to four week-long rides each year in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. “Biking has introduced me to many people over the years,” Sharon says. It is a lifelong sport and from it I have formed lifelong friendships.”

Sharon does maintenance on her own bike. In 2000 she attended bike mechanic school at the Barnett Bicycle Institute in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

SHaRon’S CyCLing adviCe • Buy the best bike you can afford. • Have the bike fitted to you for proper seat and handle bar height. • Ride with someone better than you –join a bike club.

melody Banks

Melody lives in Nisswa with her husband Ron.

• Wear padded bike shorts – they really do help. • Learn how to fix a flat tire. • Set a goal for yourself – ride in Tour of the Lakes!


Summer 2014 | her voice


her say

photos and story by Jan Kurtz

n i b a C e h t t A

Jan Kurtz recounts the joys and challenges of a summer living with aging parents at the cabin in Wisconsin. Her father died last August.


Another day of rain at the cabin. Games have been played, a movie watched and tales told over cups of tea. Now, I am alone. The breakfast dishes air dry, the water pails are full and the woodstove fire is taking off the chill. Maybe Dad would be more alert this morning. I call Mom. “Sorry, your dad is still asleep and this time, it’s no mystery! I was up at about 4 a.m. and he wasn’t in bed. I found him in the bathroom. He couldn’t remember how long he had been there. He was sick again. It can’t be the food. Yesterday, we had salmon with a spinach salad and fresh peaches for dessert. But, he roams so much in the evening. Lately, he gets into the fridge and the cupboard and grazes. I have all his gluten free food in one place but once he got into some wheat bread! Such cramps! And now, this morning, I discovered that all but four of the prunes for my recipe were gone...” 38

Summer 2013 | her voice

Ò This is my piece of heaven on earth.Ó

I look out on the lake where small waves break up the reflection of shoreline and gray sky. Inside this cabin, my father’s life reflects back through double-handled log saws, deer antlers, photos boasting stringers of fish and long-lived cartoons, faded, but still taped to the fridge. And there’s the drawing where he has written: “Find the 16 bears,” but we never find more than 15. “Yesterday, I found him in the garage after our daily drive. When I asked what he was doing back in the car, he said, ‘Looking for the car keys.’ What a scare! I hid them where he’ll never find them!” I had driven my parents here for their traditional wedding anniversary vacation. Sixty-four years ago, on June 9, they stood at the altar, her long, satin train curled in front of her feet and his suit pressed and stiff as they posed with the wedding party. The vows alluded to but did not detail the

part about incontinence and sundowners. “Shirley’s funeral is on Thursday,” my mother continued. “I called Andy to come over and sit with your dad, but he is not available. I will hire help for a couple of hours so I can go.” A log shifts, sparking the fire. A log he likely split pre-21st century! There is a woodshed full of large chunks of oak, maple and birch, as well as the little red shed filled to the top with cedar kindling. “It will be OK. I’m not going to worry about the money. I am getting into a routine. Every day — some activity. Tomorrow is shower day. I get into my swimsuit and with the new longer shower hose, I can make it work. Sure would help if we had bidets, like the Europeans, though,” she let out a sigh. Baths at the cabin include heating a kettle of water… or the lake. Presently, a musk-

rat cuts a “v” through the still water, heading toward the lily pads past the dock. “He needs to have a tuberculosis vaccination so he can go to Adult Day Care. Then he’ll be ready if one of the Memory Care wait lists opens up.” I recall my father’s mantra: “If I am ever not able to take care of myself, put me on an ice flow headed out to sea!” “Are you getting some rest up there? You have had quite a summer between home and me and your new grandbaby. After all these years, I finally learned it is not about what you accomplish, but remembering the good in this wonderful world!” This place is wonderful. These antique dishes that were a gift to Dad from a patient when he worked as a psychologist. This footstool was made from coffee cans by his mother. I sleep on ironed sheets in Mom’s civilized wilderness. “Any activity on the lake? Anyone up? Any wildlife?” She fired off the questions like a lawyer. This year, Dad and I had sat in the lake swing, watching the eagles, the loon, the clouds appearing from behind the esker. He usually proclaims, “This is my piece of heaven on earth.” This time, I held his hand. He squeezed back. “It would be better for me if he would talk. I guess he just can’t respond. He is always falling asleep,” says Mom. I looked out at the porch window seat, nearly expecting him to be napping there. I had rather hoped that one day he would just crawl up there and doze off into eternity with the lake air and bird song flowing over him. “I’ll call you back tonight when he is up,” she paused and then added: “It just doesn’t seem right — after such a full, productive life. This shouldn’t happen to a dog.”

A magic time at the lake; dusk or daylight, when the breeze calms and the lake is still.

Jan Kurtz

As of May, Jan shed her formal career at CLC to pursue new paths. Using her Spanish, writing, travel with family and volunteering in the Latino community are parts of the new dream.

Summer 2013 | her voice



Golf Nut W

Golf enthusiast JoEllen DittrichReeck is on a golf course quest. Here she samples what New Mexico has to offer. Summers she plays Tuesday golf league at the Legacy with good friend, Renee Rivard (right.)

By Sandy Opheim


There are golf enthusiasts, hackers and pro professionals and then there are golf nuts. A golf nut is a person who goes above and beyond to improve their game by obtaining gear and gadgets, ball hawking, course quests, reading, exercising, lessons and attempting television appearances. JoEllen Dittrich-Reeck is definitely a golf nut and someone I always enjoy golfing with in the summertime. In fact, she was a finalist on the WCCO’s Golf Nut television program during the 2009 PGA Championship held at Hazeltine in Minnesota. Her golf nut YouTube video is titled “I live at the golf course – my mom is a golf nut.” JoEllen didn’t start golfing until her 30s. “I was invited to play at a work golf outing and I wanted to play.” After learning basics from her sister-in-law, she went to a range. Later she joined a league and spent five years topping the ball. After years of taking a lesson or two each year and league play, she now enjoys the game to the fullest. “I met my husband on the golf course!” says JoEllen. “My golf clubs were on a pull cart and I got a flat tire, so I caught a ride with Dan and the rest is history.” She and Dan now share a golfing quest to play the Top 25 public 18-hole courses of Minnesota and Wisconsin. She bought a book called “Hackers Guide: What’s Good, Bad, and Ugly About Minnesota and Wisconsin Golf Courses” that includes a list of courses ranked by a variety of seasoned golfers. JoEllen warns, “Take the reviewers seriously. If the book says to not use your driver on a certain hole, they are telling you the truth.” To date, she and Dan have golfed 21 of the 25 courses. “We bought a camper and wanted to enjoy both camping and golfing around Minnesota and Wisconsin. We played a good variety of everyday Joe Hacker courses to the very pristine, well-maintained courses.”




Summer 2014 | her voice

On the quest they have had some memorable moments. Both she and her husband have had hole-in-ones, but both happened when they were alone on their home course, The Vintage Golf Course of Staples. “Dan’s was witnessed by another golfer who was teeing off on another nearby hole, but I was alone.” On one of their top 25 course visits they planned to play the Jewel Golf Club in Lake City, Minn., and camp in a state park campground nearby. Unfortunately, they arrived 10 minutes before the state shutdown occurred and were turned away. They did end up finding another campground near the flooded Mississippi River. “Our camper electrical cord stretched through water, but we had our site.” They did get to enjoy the scenic Jewel Golf course after all. “It was like a Cadillac of courses,” she smiles. Her favorite course so far is not listed in the book, but is worth mention — Hawk Tree of North Dakota. “It got the best of me. It was a challenge and I like a good challenge,” says JoEllen.

the right jacket, shirt or rain suit for the day. She has tried nearly every tee out there to improve her game. Her range finder is in hand for each shot to help keep a low score. “The range finder was the best birthday gift ever!” she says. If it is too hot she has a spray bottle with a fan and a hiker’s neck wrap to cool her core. “On my 50th birthday I gave myself custom golf clubs,” says JoEllen. Although she is the best golf ball hawker I have ever seen, she is sure to mark her ball with a pink bear paw for the rare occasion that she loses a ball. Finally, friends and family go to her for her ball hawking finds and to restock their golf ball supply. JoEllen’s love of golf shows in her enthusiasm on the course. She is a true golf nut in my book and if I could choose a golfing partner for a day it would certainly be her.

Her favorite course so far is not listed in the book, but is worth mention — Hawk Tree of North Dakota. JoEllen is a dreamer and is always looking for the next quest in golf. “Both Dan and I would like to volunteer for a PGA or LPGA event when we retire. I havebeen to both events as a spectator and it would be fun to volunteer.” She mentioned that usually you pay to volunteer which covers the cost of some gear as a part of being a volunteer. JoEllen is the golf gadget queen. As we golf together in a league I am always impressed with her collection of gear. If it is rainy, wet, windy, hot, buggy or humid she has

Sandy Opheim

Sandra teaches English in the Staples-Motley School district and continuing education courses for St. Thomas University. She is a children’s book author and a frequent contributor to Her Voice.

Summer 2014 | her voice


Story and photos By Arlene Jones

Faith, Family and Farming



Rosanne Caughey; an award winning farmer and spokesperson for family farms.


Summer 2014 | her voice

Farming isn’t a hobby for Rosanne Nelson Caughey; farming is her life. Born on a 320-acre farm on Daggett Brook, Rosanne says her passion for farming began with her parents. Raised with seven siblings, her parents were lifetime dairy farmers in the area. Her love of farming began at an early age when her mother lost a leg in a car accident and she assisted with all of the duties on the farm. “You couldn’t be sissies, you had to learn to take care of things.” She also learned at an early age the animals don’t take care of themselves. “If you don’t care for the animals, they won’t survive.” For Rosanne, farming and taking care of people is a great purpose. As a young girl, she would help her brother do his chores so he could attend Future Farmers of America (FFA) events. She indicates that being raised on the farm helped instill values of faith that continue to carry her belief in the values of farming and caring for Mother Nature. “We thank God for the good things and ask his help to deal with the obstacles and challenges.” She says that her mother instilled a value of farming and agriculture, and seven of the eight Nelson children are engaged in farming and agricultural activities still today. Rosanne and her husband Bruce, both Brainerd High School alumni, have been married and farming together since 1977. Bruce was in FFA with Rosanne’s

brother, and they met when she was 17. After college, Bruce and Rosanne rented a farm just one mile north of her childhood homestead. Beginning farming with Bruce’s aunt and uncle on 460 acres, they’ve built a dairy and crop-farming operation which includes four homesteads and has grown into a 2,000-acre operation. The fields are planted with a large diversity of crops, including corn, soybeans, oats, rye and hay. Harvested crops are used to feed their livestock and they sell the remainder to area farmers. Twice a day, 365 days a year, they milk an average of 56 Holstein dairy cows. They also raise beef cows and tend to a herd of approximately 180. They’ve raised all of their children on the farm and credit their love of the farm life to their active engagement in farming and its opportunities. Indeed, raising kids, cows and corn have been Roseanne’s life’s work, and her passion. The Caugheys have four children: Katy, Dan, Becky and Mac. All are continuing the farming tradition. Her sons Dan and Mac, and daughter Becky actively farm on the original homestead. Rosanne attributes this to providing a good farming education and their activities off the farm. All of the Caughey children were in FFA and served as leaders. They’ve all been actively engaged in 4H. Roseanne has also always been very active in numer-

o a f n a p w D C s F M

F B t m h H s s p m h e S


ous agricultural endeavors, as well. She was a 4H leader for 20 years, assisting in projects for not only her own children, but also numerous area farm children. She’s been active in the Midwest Dairy Association in promoting milk and dairy products. She worked to resurrect the Crow Wing County Dairy Princess Contest. She was on the Crow Wing County Fair Board for 12 years, serving as president for 10 of them. She is an FFA alumnus and was inducted into the MN FFA Hall of Fame. The Caughey Family was the 1992 Farm Family of the Year. Rosanne was the Brainerd Jaycees Agribusiness Person of the Year in 2008. She has recently become more active in the Farm Bureau. She sees herself as a spokesperson for family farms. Her goal is to continue to spread the message of how important agriculture is, and spearheading the good word of farming principles, taking care of the land and animals, being good stewards of the land. To her, it is important to know who your farmers are and where your food comes from. She feels that it is important to use your

talents and become involved. “It is important to have rural Minnesota farmers’ voices heard to legislators with regard to regulations.” Rosanne embraces technology and believes it is important in farming to continue to use technology to increase efficiencies. Many things are different today, however. When she was in high school, Rosanne describes milking cows twice a day with heavy bucket milkers, feeding fermented chopped corn with a silage fork and scooping animal waste with shovels. “It was a lot of handwork and a lot of back work.” Rocks used to be picked by hand. Small square bales of hay, which Rosanne affectionately called “idiot cubes” were stacked in the barn by hand. The weather forecasts came by watching the sky or listening to the radio. Telephones consisted of neighbors who shared party lines. Today, milking cows still occurs twice a day — 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. Automated milking systems move the milk to a sanitized bulk tank where it is cooled and held for transport by refrigerated milk trucks. Barns are

Continued on page 46

Rosanne introduces her grandchildren to life on the farm, as she did her own children. In the milking barn with her granddaughter, Clare.

Summer 2014 | her voice


Her Voice Service Directory • Spring 2014 Appliances


Schroeder’s Appliance

Arlean’s Drapery



16603 St. Hwy 371 N Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 829-3624

Pequot Lakes, MN 56472 (218) 568-8280

Thrivent Financial

14391 Edgewood Dr., Suite 200 Baxter, MN 56425 (218) 297-0199

US Bank

320 South 6th St. Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 828-5406

Framing Assisted Living Excelsior Place

14211 Firewood Drive Baxter, MN 56425 (218) 828-4770

Good Neighbor Home Health Care (218) 829-9238 (888) 221-5785

Picture Perfect Framing Studio 610 Front Street Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 454-0870


Cuyuna Regional Medical Center

320 East Main Street Crosby, MN 56441 (218) 546-7000 (888) 487-6437

Essentia Health

St. Joseph’s Medical Center 218-829-2861 Brainerd Clinic (218) 828-2880 Baxter Clinic (218) 828-2880

Lakewood Health System

Staples Motley Pillager Eagle Bend Browerville (218) 894-1515 (800) 525-1033


Inner Healing Hypnosis

324 South 5th Street, Suite K Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 851-7081


Just For Kix

6948 Lake Forest Rd Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 829-7107


Northridge Agency 123 N 1st St. Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 829-1166


Ernie’s On Gull

10424 Squaw Point Rd, East Gull Lake, MN 56401

Healthcare Continued

Dr. Curtis Waters Cascade Women’s Wellness Centre and MedSpa Riverstone Professional Center 13359 Isle Drive Baxter, MN 56425 (218) 454-8888


E. L. Menk Jewelry 623 Laurel Street Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 829-7266


Showplace Kitchens 15860 Audubon Way Baxter, MN 56425 (218) 824-4228


Summer 2014 | her voice

Her Voice Service Directory • Spring 2014 MRI


2019 S. 6th Street Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 822-OPEN (6736) (877) 522-7222

923 Wright Street Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 829-0303

Lakes Imaging Center

Rohlfing Inc.



617 Laurel Street Brainerd, MN 56401


Women in Networking 21 Washington St Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 829-4146


Crosby Eye Clinic

Crosby, Baxter and Remer (800) 952-3766

Lakes Area Eyecare

7734 Excelsior Rd N Baxter, MN 56425 (218) 829-2929 (888) 540-0202

Midwest Family Eye 7870 Excelsior Rd

Baxter, MN 56425 (218) 828-9545 201 1st St NE Staples, MN 56479 (218) 894-5480

Opticians Continued Northern Eye Center Great Northern Opticians

Brainerd, Little Falls, Staples (218) 829-2020 (800) 872-0005


Real Estate

Exit Realty Katie Lee

The Olde Open Window 604 Laurel Street Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 851-7853


Johnson Centre 14275 Golf Course Drive Suite 210 Baxter, MN 56425

(218) 831-5243

Fancy Pants Chocolates 704 Laurel Street Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 828-7844

Advertising Beautiful Photography Attractive Design Broad Range Of Content

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From page 43... cleaned with an automated barn cleaner, moving manure into pits that are emptied twice a year and incorporated into the soil. Bobcats and Skid steers remove rocks. Hay is baled by big round balers and stored outside under protective netting. Smartphones and television weather reports provide accurate forecasts, which assist the Caugheys in deciding when to cut and bale hay. However, for Rosanne, some things never change. The cattle need tending to every day. The crops need tender loving care. Her passion for agriculture has not changed. “I want to share my passion for agriculture with the next generation by my example on how I live my life.” She thoroughly enjoys her rural life and the role she continues to play in the daily farm operations. While she no longer milks cows every day, she does continue to assist in the farm business. “I’m a relief milker now.” “They still need my help, even if I get to drive the air-conditioned tractor now.” Daily chores still do consist of Rosanne rising early. These days, the joys of farming have shifted to tending to her grandchildren so her children can complete the daily chores. She may have a little more time to enjoy her embroidery, reading and working at the Senior Center making doughnuts. But for Rosanne, farming is a life, not a lifestyle, and she is thankful for her lifetime of farming. “Farming renews my faith every day. You have no control over Mother Nature. You just go with the flow and make the best of it.” The Caugheys have built a wonderful life of raising, tending, baling and stacking. They are a shining example of a farm family. The economy of the farm life is simple, says Roseanne. “When there is surplus, you build up the farm. When things are tough, we tighten our belts and get by.” There were very, very few family vacations. Vacations, Rosanne says, were spent at the county fair. She would still like to travel to Alaska…someday.

Rosanne in the milking barn with her granddaughter, Gianna.

Arlene Jones

Arlene Jones owns and operates The Farm on St. Mathias with her husband, Bob. A strong advocate for local foods, she launched SPROUT MN, a local food hub, in 2013. When not farming, you’re likely to find her with their grandchildren and Gordon Setters. She is a current Bush Fellow.


Summer 2014 | her voice

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HerVoice Magazine: Summer 2014  

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HerVoice Magazine: Summer 2014  

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