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FALL 2015

By women...for women...about women.






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Fall ‘15 Contents



The Geritol Frolics


Preparing For Your Financial Future


Family-Friendly Shooting Range


Mom’s Morning Out


Traveling With The Art Pub

It takes more than a wing and a prayer to produce the Geritol Frolics. Carolyn Corbett talks with the Yunkers. By Carolyn Corbett

In days gone by, women often turned over retirement financial planning to men but that trend is changing. By Jenny Holmes

Women and children find the Lakshore Conservation Club a family-friendly place for trap shooting. By Joan Hasskamp

Not isolated or alone, new moms share joys and questions about parenting in a program offered by Essentia. By Jodie Tweed

This mother-daughter duo uses their entrepreneurial skills to create a fun, relaxed atmosphere for art classes. By Karen Ogdahl


On The Cover Photo by Joey Halvorson, At age 13, Meadow Christiansen is earning awards in martial arts


on a national stage.

In This Issue editorial • 4

A New Feature, A New Platform by Meg Douglas

youth • 6

A Champion On And Off The Mat by Sheila Helmberger

health • 12

Blending East and West by Sarah Aamot


entrepreneur• 16

collector • 27

the arts• 38

by Joan Hasskamp

by Cynthia Bachman

by Marlene Chabot

Birdie Babe Golf business • 20

Planning + Perseverence + Patience Pays Off by Melody Banks

homes• 24

Journey Home by Jill Neumann

A Jewel Of A Collection wellness • 34

Amazing Powers of Music community connection• 40

Homecoming with a Healing Feeling

Essential to the Community

her say • 36

Fun Fall Finds

by Jan Kurtz

outdoors • 46

by Annie Bandel

Not Back To School

by Jill Hannah Anderson

her Voice ISO• 42

by Rebecca Flansburg

Tough Love

by Becky Stover

Fall 2015 | her voice 3

from the editor


A New Feature, A New Platform — Social media here we come!


Facebook followers, says Phil Seibel, Brainerd Dispatch advertising director, are between the ages of 30-60— our readers. So, Her Voice is launching a Facebook page and want you to “like us!” Lisa Henry, Her Voice graphic designer, has taken the lead on this venture, designing our page, moving the project along. She’ll be posting issues and photos of interest to our readers, as will a Facebook team including Rebecca Flansburg, Leo Miller and Joey Halvorson. We’re hoping to generate connections with you, the readers, inviting your comments on our stories, posts and opinions. As with the magazine, we’ll stay away from heated controversy, encouraging lively exchanges but with a civil tone that respects differing opinions. Also new to the magazine is a column called Her Voice ISO. (ISO is a social media acronym for “In Search Of.”) In this and future editions, a column will list a variety of resources in the area, sometimes adding web links with more information. Rebecca (Becky) Flansburg and Lisa Henry developed this column, Becky saying, “I want fun, fresh, out of the box ideas that shine light on area resources.”

A list of possible future topic columns might include: • fitness on a budget • beating the winter blues • resources for seniors • where to donate gently used items • gardening helpers The list goes on.

By women. For women. About women.


Tim Bogenschutz EDITOR

Meg Douglas Rebecca Flansburg

Lisa Henry

Hopefully, we’ll provide resources that appeal to a wide range of women and their families. “This is an MGSO, a multigenerational sharing opportunity,” says Becky. Becky and Lisa are well positioned to take the lead on these projects. Born and raised in Brainerd, Becky opted for a new career in freelance writing after 30 years in sales. Mother to two children and an avid blogger, she created Franticmommy as an outlet for her “goofy parenting stories.” She is also a virtual assistant, working from home as an independent contractor. Becky loves writing, but is tech savvy and knows her way around the world of social media. Also social media savvy and mother of three, Lisa Henry was raised and educated in St. Cloud, coming to the Dispatch after five years at the St. Cloud Times as a graphic designer, social media discussion leader and guest columnist for their Momslikeme forum. While Her Voice is moving forward, we aren’t abandoning our original mission: creating well-written stories about diverse women and their interests in the lakes area with great photos in a glossy format. This is the heart and soul of the magazine and won’t be disappearing anytime soon.


Lisa Henry


Joey Halvorson COPY EDITOR

DeLynn Howard


(entertainment tab)

CONTACT US: Advertising:

(218) 855-5895 Comments/story ideas:

(218) 855-5871 Mail: ATTN: Her Voice Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 974, Brainerd, MN 56401 A quarterly publication of the Brainerd Dispatch. Printed by Forum Communications.

Meg Douglas, Editor copyright© 2003 4 Fall 2015 | her voice



A Champion On and Off the Mat




Christensen may only be 13, but she already is developing a discipline and work ethic that will follow her through life. With parents and coaches who support and encourage her, she has accomplished some pretty impressive feats, gaining national recognition.

Meadow Christensen demonstrates her “can-do” attitude to Jared Feierabend, owner of Black Arrow Martial Arts in Brainerd.

6 Fall2015 2015| |her hervoice voice 6 Fall

She placed first in the invitation only Five Grappling National Championship and second this past spring in the Kid’s Pan American JiuJitsu Championships, the largest martial arts tournament in the world for kids. “She’s a national champion,” says Jiu-Jitsu professor Jared Feierabend, who owns Brainerd’s Black Arrow Martial Arts, where Meadow trains. He has worked with the Department of Defense and with Tier 1 Special Operations. He says a “can-do” attitude is essential for success and Meadow has that. This past summer she worked two days a week docking boats at Bar Harbor. While other kids spent their days off at the beach or going to movies, she clocked six hours a day at Black Arrow, perfecting her Jiu-Jitsu moves. “Champions are made in the off-season,” says Jared, “That’s why she works so hard. Aim small, miss small.” Meadow, daughter of Derick and Amy Christensen, began Jiu-Jitsu classes when she was just 3 years old. Today she is a Gold with Black Stripe Belt 2nd Degree. She has competed in California, Florida, Illinois and Wisconsin. “My favorite thing to do is train and to just hang out with all of my friends here,” says Meadow of Black Arrow. “When you’re here and having fun, you don’t even realize that it’s work.” Over 50 students at Black Arrow are 16 years of age and younger. Coach Kyle Matuszak works with the youth classes. “We provide kids an atmosphere where learning is fun. You need to find ways to make them want to learn Jiu-Jitsu. They’re laughing and smiling the whole time. They just think they’re playing games but we know that they’re developing in their Jiu-Jitsu growth.” The youngest students are called the Tiny Tigers. Little Ninjas and Turbo Tiger classes follow. Students at Black Arrow range in age from 3 to the mid-70s. Meadow says the hardest lesson she has learned from her time in martial arts is to accept failure. “At tournaments when things don’t go your way

“Meadow is


of her own story.” ~Coach Kyle Matuszak

Over the summer, Meadow spent six hours a day perfecting her Jiu-Jitsu moves

next task with humility. She asks questions every single day.” “I’m always nervous before a tournament,” says Meadow, even after all of these years. This fall Meadow will be preparing for her next big competition. In December she travels to the Kids World Championships in Long Beach, Calif. What’s so remarkable about her,” adds Kyle, “is she’s courageous and takes challenges. A lot of girls her age get caught up with celebrities and try to do this or that, and have the best clothes, the best

hair, and try to fit in and be like everyone else, but Meadow is the hero of her own story.” n

Sheila Helmberger is a freelance writer in the Brainerd lakes area.


you just have to move on. If it’s a tournament in Minnesota you’ll probably see those kids again and you’ll be ready for them,” she says with a sly smile. When she is getting ready to go to an important tournament, training also includes a six to eight week competition training class and time spent working with higher belts to prepare. Meadow’s reputation is well known in the state and she’s often paired with boys in her age group. “It’s more of a challenge,” she says, “but I like to accept the challenge. It’s more fun competing with the boys because they think I’m just a little girl - but they don’t know what I can do.” Just recently, she went against a boy who had 25 pounds on her but she arm-locked him with seven seconds remaining in the competition. Says Kyle, “As a coach you try to study each student. Meadow needs to be in the zone. She needs to know that it’s go time. We have to make sure that she’s warm and has a good sweat. She understands that she has to not wait for opportunities, she needs to create them. When she sees them she needs to seize them. If she doesn’t seize her opportunity, it might not come again.” Meadow is a model of Brazilian JiuJuitsu, says her coach, and admires her inner strength. “Meadow is a great example of what you should aspire to be whether you are 5 years old or 55 years old. She is a great student – a champion on and off the mat. To a lot of the kids here, she is a superhero,” says Kyle. “She is very humble,” adds Jared. “She knows that she’s got another tournament to prepare for. When you have a big win there’s a moment where you can glow - but she quickly moves on to the

Fall 2015 | her voice 7

The Geritol



the Geritol Frolics first hit the stage at the Brainerd Junior College (BJC, now Central Lakes College) in 1987, Yvonne Hill was too young to sign on. In 1993, after an absolutely horrible year where both her son and husband died and she herself struggled with cancer, Yvonne decided it was time to change her life. The following year, able to meet the minimum age requirement, she joined the Frolics. 8 Fall 2015 | her voice

PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON She joined the danceline, becoming dance captain for several years. She met a whole lot of brand new people, including a man named Ed Yunker, who was to become her husband. Ed, like Yvonne, had a great love of music and no formal training. It began a whole new period in her life that led to becoming costume designer and co-writer for the Frolics. The Geritol Frolics originated in 1987 as an inspiration of Bob Dryden, director of theater at BJC. Dryden was looking for a way to involve area senior citizens in community theater and he succeeded. He put out a call and got all kinds of people with all kinds of talent. The seniors loved performing songs, dances and comedy and the audiences loved the show. In 1988, the Frolics’ second year, the group took the show on the road to a conference of the National Council of Aging in Washington, D.C. The college discontinued production of the show in 2001. But in late 2003, Yvonne, and Ed decided, “Let’s put this thing back together,” with a core


Men and Women Kick up Their Heels

Yvonne Hill and company, act, sing and dance in the Geritol Frolics. The show supports itself through advertising, ticket sales and donations.

group including Jerry Wahlstrom, Dianne Pearson, Ole Olson, Jan Burrows, Kay Churchill and Mike and Leanne Gendron. Performers from the original cast at the college came back to the stage: Ernie and Ellie Aarrestad, Bert and Mona Caswell, Paul and Myra Vrudny and Betty Alderman, who is still in the danceline today. The Yunkers dived in wholeheartedly. Yvonne and Ed took on the responsibility of co-writing the show. Ed assumed the role of director and it was a natural for Yvonne to become the costume designer. She’d drawn figures with costumes when she was little, worked on costume construction in Bemidji and Wisconsin and designed costumes for other shows at BJC. Yvonne has since designed every costume ever used in the show and until the 10 year anniversary, they’d never repeated a costume. The organization now has an $110,000 inventory of costumes and equipment. The community donates costumes and formal wear, stored at the Franklin Art Center in the old cafeteria and two additional storage areas.

Yvonne started the bookkeeping system the day they committed to bringing the show back to the stage. Paul Bloom, through the Brainerd Schools Community Education program, floated them a loan. When the first curtain went up, they had spent double what they’d planned. “They paid off the loan and the bills, put nearly $7,000 in the bank and never looked back,” says Yvonne. The Frolics continued to operate under the auspices of Brainerd Community Education with the school as their fiscal agent until last year when they filed for incorporation Fall 2015 | her voice 9

Ed Yunker and his wife, Yvonne Hill, are the guiding force behind the Geritol Frolics, co-writing the show. Ed directs, Yvonne designs the costumes and does the bookkeeping.

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as a stand-alone, non-profit organization. They created by-laws, got insurance and seated a board of directors. ArtSpace, which owns the Franklin Art Center, leases the building to ISD 181. The Geritol Frolics, in turn, leases it from the school district. People are often amazed how much it costs to put the production together, given that everyone in the cast, including the singers, dancers, ushers, director and behind-the-scenes help are volunteers. Few realize that Frolics has paid for painting, re-carpeting and electrical work at the Franklin Art Center, including trusses to mount lights and projection equipment. They also upholstered the old wooden seats in the auditorium. The budget for the 2015 production of the Geritol Frolics is $70,000. Even if they sold every single ticket for each performance, they couldn’t afford to put on the show. Costuming alone costs $7,000-$8,000 a year. Then there’s the expense of the music, along with the printing of posters, handbills, programs and tickets. There is set design, box office operation, leasing of storage space and insurance. In addition, there are performance and rehearsal space fees, and compensation of musicians, choreographer and other support staff. The show presently costs three times as much to produce as it did originally. Also, for the past four years the organization has funded a $500 scholarship for a Brainerd High School graduating senior who is going into the performing arts. Rebecca Wig was the recipient

of the scholarship this spring. The show supports itself through advertising, ticket sales and donations. Around May of each year, the cast heads out to sell advertising space in the Frolics’ brochure. Yvonne says that Lakes Printing, who does all the printing for the organization, finds these “old people” sell more ads than any other group. Businesses all through the surrounding areas – Brainerd, Baxter, Pequot Lakes, Crosslake, Pine River, Nisswa, Cass Lake, Breezy Point - support the Frolics. A mailing goes out to more than 2,000 people on the first of September. This year the organization is “being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century,” says Yvonne. Their web site has electronic tickets that can be paid for online and printed off. Prices for tickets stayed the same from the first performance at the Franklin until last year when they were raised to $15 and $17. The auditorium which seats 482 people, with an additional two wheelchair spots at each of eight performances, means the Frolics reaches about 3,000 show-goers each year. Twenty tour groups are scheduled to see the show in September and October this year, most from the metro area, with an average of 48 people per bus. These folks will eat at least once in the lakes area. Some busloads will sleep over, some will go on to a casino. People join the Frolics through auditions. An advertisement goes out twice, once in March and again in early May, to catch those folks returning to


$ Oct. 15, 17, 24 • 7 p.m. Oct. 16, 18, 22, 23, 25 • 2:30 p.m. Minnesota from winters in warmer places. Positions are found everyone who applies. Some want to perform, others want to help backstage, still others are ushers. Those who are able to participate get hooked. It gets in their blood. The cast is like a big family and the snowbirds are excited enough to be back with their Frolics family that they start non-mandatory singing rehearsals in May. Like Yvonne, a goodly number of the folks who were involved in the Frolics have experienced challenging events in their lives: loss of a loved one, cancer, heart attack, joint replacement. Some people think we’re just a lot of old fogies fluffing our feathers,” Ed says, “but in a modest way we are helping the economy. We bring people into the area.” n

Carolyn Corbett taught elementary school for 14 years before resigning to sail off into the sunset. Upon her return, she tutored English and writing at Central Lake College. Today, as a freelance writer/editor, Carolyn has over 250 articles published in cruising, parenting and general interest magazines.



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East and West

When Dr. Jennifer Person, chiropractor and co-owner of Family

Chiropractic in Baxter, was studying for her acupuncture certification in 2008,

she knew what she was learning would change the way she practiced medicine.


What she didn’t expect was how profound and rewarding that change would be. After 18 months of study and passing a national board exam, Jennifer received her acupuncture certification in 2009. The first thing a patient thinks of when they hear the word “acupuncture” is needles, and to many people needles hurt. In reality, acupuncture is relatively pain free.  Insertion of a needle - acupuncture needles are not much thicker than a hair and nothing like ordinary needles - may cause a sudden achy feeling, but this sensation goes away quickly. Many patients cannot feel the needles after they’re inserted.  Dr. Person stresses that “treatment with acupuncture is a process; it takes time for the body to correct itself and find balance, so multiple sessions are necessary in order for acupuncture to be truly effective.”  Very rarely do patients feel complete relief after only one treatment. In addition to acupuncture, 12

Fall 2015 | her voice

Jennifer incorporates several other traditional Chinese modalities into her practice. They include Gua sha, which means “scraping sha-bruises,” a treatment in which the skin is scraped to produce redness and stimulate circulation; cupping therapy, in which a local suction is created on the skin to mobilize blood flow; meridian massage, also called Tui Na, which can be used to improve circulation and strengthen the body’s regulatory systems; auricular acupuncture, which uses acupuncture points on the ear; and acupressure, which uses precise pressure over specific acupuncture points. One of the most common questions that Jennifer’s patients ask is, “Will acupuncture help my condition?”  Her response is always, “Acupuncture helps with most things; it is a form of medical practice, and in China, is used as a mainstream medical treatment.”  There are very few conditions, aches or pains that cannot be treated

Chiropractor Jennifer Person uses a variety of western and traditional Chinese modalities, including acupuncture, in her practice.

or improved with acupuncture and its accompanying therapies. Diseases and conditions that are neurological in nature come with their own brand of life-altering symptoms and challenges. One of these diseases is ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. For the past two and a half years, Dr. Jennifer has been treating a patient with ALS - Frank

Sarah Aamot is the Vocal Music Director at Central Lakes College-Brainerd Campus; choir director at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Baxter; and the Founder and Artistic Director of The Legacy Chorale of Greater Minnesota, a multi-community choir based in Baxter, now preparing for its 14th season.

she treats him every 10 days at Family Chiropractic. Nader’s remarkable lack of progression of his ALS has his doctors baffled. Jennifer regularly consults with patients’ family doctors, ensuring that the patients they share are getting the best care possible.  She appreciates the opportunities to co-treat. “I often get cases where conventional medicine hasn’t completely alleviated the problem, and they (the patient and/or their doctor)

don’t know what else to do. They figure, ‘Well, maybe we should try chiropractic or acupuncture.’ Many patients are referred to me this way to try something different and it helps more often than it doesn’t.”  But, Jennifer suggests, we’re moving closer to the day when patients and doctors consider alternative or complementary care as a first choice, instead of a last resort. n

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Nader of Brainerd. Nader was diagnosed with ALS on Oct. 2, 2012, and immediately set out on a search for the best doctor he could find to help him. A friend of Frank’s, who lives in Ann Arbor, told him about his own family physician, Dr. Yun Luke Lu, a true-to-life Chinese healing Monk. Nader and his wife contacted Lu and during his initial visit, began receiving extensive traditional Chinese medical treatments - a protocol of the varied acupuncture techniques described above - while Dr. Jennifer observed. This treatment plan lasts anywhere from three to four hours, and needs to be repeated every 10 days. Flying to Ann Arbor for treatment wasn’t possible or practical, so Nader had to find a practitioner in Brainerd who could learn and follow the treatment protocol. Nader’s search led him to Jennifer, and with Lu’s approval, she began traveling with Nader to Ann Arbor for training. It is this training and experience with Lu and Nader that has helped Jennifer develop her skills at blending the East and the West so effectively in her practice. She realizes the incredible opportunity she has in front of her - being able to mentor one-on-one with a Chinese healing monk - and has spent considerable time learning from him about foods, teas, acupuncture techniques and varied methods of treatment.  “I am so grateful to be learning from Dr. Lu. And as far as my work, I can’t imagine doing anything else.” Under Lu’s supervision, Jennifer and Nader continue their trips to Ann Arbor every three months, and


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Fall 2015 | her voice 13

Preparing For Your Financial Future

Tara Hemsing (left) counsels Terri Fleming on developing long term financial strategies.



hile her children are only mastering one, twos and threes at this point, Tara Hemsing Woitalla, a Thrivent Financial representative, is hoping she will raise a financially confident daughter.


For over 13 years, Tara has worked in the financial industry, making it her mission to help others fully understand and prepare for their future. And while she’s equally happy working with either gender, Tara said she especially finds joy in assisting women to find independence in their long-term strategies. In 2011, Tara came to the area with nine years of experience in the industry, and started her own financial practice through Thrivent Financial - a Fortune 500 organization that is a notfor-profit, community-focused, membership organization of Christians. “The drive for me was helping people prepare for their fu14

Spring 2015 | her voice

ture as well as finding a way to give back and help our local communities,” Tara explained of her career path in financial management. “I love building strategies, so working out distribution plans and having those conversations with people as well as talking about ‘the what ifs’ truly motivates me.” Since starting her own practice, Tara said she has naturally attracted many female clients. And while she would never turn away a male looking for financial services, she said she acknowledges there’s a certain comfort in turning to another woman. “I always take that extra step to be sure my clients fully understand – men or women. I never want them to leave not

knowing what the strategy is or why we’re doing it. Females may feel insecure in this area and feel they shouldn’t work with someone; therefore, they may leave it up to a male to manage those types of things. In a male dominated industry, as a female, it’s been very helpful in working with women.” Through her practice, Tara specializes in life insurance, disability income insurance, long-term care insurance, education strategies, legacy strategies, investments and retirement distribution strategies. With every new client, Tara said she makes sure to also have conversations regarding tough topics like taxes, social security options, Medicare, loss of spouse, and potential extended care needs as a Certified Long Term Care professional. “I think that’s where I’m really unique,” she said. “I want to be sure we’re talking about all of the different strategies rather than just how we can grow assets. We, as women, tend to have a longer life expectancy and proper strategizing is needed.” An additional area of financial anxiety comes by way of divorce. Tara said she has, and continues to, work with women experiencing the hardships of a fallen marriage and gives them hope moving forward. “It’s such a big change in a woman’s life, so helping coach them through the process is critical. After a divorce, a lot of women have a broken sense of confidence. I want to help them move forward, financially, in a positive direction.” Inspired by a community-driven and generous organization, Tara walks the walk and talks the talk outside of the typical nine to five workday. “I enjoy partnering with a lot of organizations, especially organizations of other mothers and women.” Tara has helped sponsor the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, participated in the Brainerd Women of Today, served as the 2013 revenue chair for the local chapter of March of Dimes, sponsors a junior softball team, partners with Bridges of Hope on a number of projects benefiting women and children, participates in a Mothers of Preschoolers group, and attends various events to benefit women in

the lakes area. “There are so many organizations that need the funding and support to make a difference in individuals’ lives,” she says. Education for the local community has been a top priority for Tara in her practice and through a variety of workshop sessions, she hopes to empower and educate everyone to the importance of financial preparation for today and tomorrow. “A lot of people think it costs money to sit down and work with a financial professional,” Tara said. However, she says, she offers complimentary financial analysis and provides coaching to help achieve success through proper guidance. “Anyone who has debt, is getting married, having a child, changing jobs, getting divorced or preparing for retirement should be consulting with a financial professional.” Legacy strategies are also key, says Tara. “I help clients decide what assets they want to leave when they’re no longer here and how they want to be

remembered. You can prepare now to ensure those funds are transferred the correct way when the time comes.” In a perfect world, Tara said she would advise individuals – men and women – to consult with a financial professional today. “Many women consult with me as to the ‘what ifs’ - ‘what if ’ I lose my job, ‘what if ’ my spouse doesn’t come home, ‘what if ’ I become ill. We want to make sure we’re preparing for today and 20 years from now. And while a lot of people wait until they’re ready to retire before they utilize a financial professional, I believe we need to have those conversations early on to help protect our family and ourselves.” n

Jenny Holmes is a former reporter for the Brainerd Dispatch and currently owns a public relations and communication firm. She lives in Nisswa with husband, Tim and their two school-aged children.

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Birdie Babe Golf Jill Beyer hatched an idea to

design golf bags one cold winter afternoon. As co-owner of Wildwedge Golf & RV Park along with her husband, Todd, she found very few “girlie” golf bags and accessories for her customers. PHOTOS AND STORY By JOAN HASSKAMP

Based upon observation and input from women golfers, Jill designed a line of lightweight and colorful golf bags and head covers which she primarily sells through her website, “I decided to combine all the good things about the carry and cart bags into one awesome bag,” she said. She designed her “hybrid” bag mostly as a cart bag but she kept the stand feature for those who move their bag frequently. Bags contain extra pockets for additional accessories and she even added a built in cooler to keep refreshments cold. Jill picks out the fabric and designs the features on each bag. She markets six different bags on her website, all with clever names, such as, Hippie Hooker, Zazzy Zebra and Bahama Mama. She recently added two tie dye 16 Fall Fall2015 2015| her | hervoice voice

bags to her line. “I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who makes tie dye golf bags in the world,” Jill said with a laugh. The retro hippie-look bags quickly shot to the top of her best seller list. When she hits the links, her bag elicits a lot of positive comment from other women golfers. “Women love the look,” she said. “They like the bags and coordinated covers because they’re different and they stand out with their unique and colorful design.” All items on her website feature bold designs in vibrant colors ranging from lime green to bright blue. Pink is always a best seller. Jill runs her operation out of an office in Pequot Lakes. She updates her website, takes the orders and ships the items. The Pequot Lakes High School graduate earned a degree in International Business from Hamline University. If she went back to school today she might lean more

“I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who makes tie dye golf bags in the world.” ~ Jill Beyer toward a degree in graphic design or web site design. “I’ve always been the artsy one in the family,” she said. One of the primary reasons Jill started Birdie Babe Golf was because she witnessed too many girls quit the game. “At our golf course, I see about an equal number of boys and girls involved in golf lessons when they are very young, but as they get older, fewer and fewer girls seem to be interested and that really bothers me,” she said. Despite the availability of numerous women friendly area courses and girls high school golf teams, she sees too many girls walk away from the sport. “I have found that girls stay more interested if they have cute and fashionable equipment to start with.” Jill didn’t take up the game until she dated Todd because girls’ golf programs were non-existent when she attended school. “I wish I would have had the opportunity to start golf sooner,” she said. When Jill and Todd introduced golf to their two young sons, it quickly became a favorite family activity. “It’s a sport everyone can participate in together.” Now that her boys are adults, she still carves some time out of her busy schedule to golf with family or her girlfriends. She enjoys the socialization aspect of golf. In addition to Birdie Babe Golf, she and Todd own and operate Wildwedge Golf & RV Park, Wildwedge Mini Golf and Wildwedge Amazing Mystery Maze in Jenkins. Several years ago they sold the nearby AmericInn to focus more on their other business ventures. Jill’s entrepreneurial spirit keeps her busy. Wildwedge features nine holes ranging in length from 75-175 yards. In addition to her website, Jill sells her bags and accessories at Wildwedge and wholesales some products to other golf courses. Golfers from all 50 states have purchased her bags.

In addition, she’s shipped orders to a number of countries including Japan, Australia, Canada, and much of Europe. Stateside, the majority of her orders come from the golf friendly states of Florida, California and North and South Carolina. Jill is currently at work on several new designs which she plans to make available for purchase next spring. It takes about six months from start to finish to create a new product. Her goal is to update the line every two years. Since she began her business, she observes women’s fashion trends much more closely. “I’m not much of a fashion person but now I try to keep an eye out for what is trending in terms of color and design,” she said. In addition to her bags and head cov-

ers, her website features numerous colorful golf accessories including gloves, visors, towels and clothing. “Golf is a great social activity we can continue to play as we get older,” Jill said. And with her line of bright and fun products, girls and women can look and feel good doing it. n Joan Hasskamp is currently working on a humorous book titled “We Don’t Care Who Wins as Long as Joan Loses.” Now that she is retired she has even more time to embellish and exaggerate stories about herself. She lives in Crosby.

Fall 2015 | her voice 17 Fall







perational since 1954, the Lakeshore Conservation

Club initially attracted mostly men, but in the past few years, women and children have also flocked to this family-friendly club.

Membership now exceeds 600 compared to only about 100 in 2006. The surge in family memberships is a result of many more women and kids joining the club, says secretary treasurer/membership chair, Penny Stumvoll. “Boys and girls and women have really taken an interest in the outdoor sports shooting activities we offer.” Formerly known as the Lakeshore Rod & Gun Club, the non-profit organization offers trap, skeet, rifle and pistol shooting and archery facilities. Located across the road from Mount Ski Gull on County Road 77, the club also spon-

sors and promotes sporting events and programs geared toward youth education and family oriented outings. “We encourage families to enjoy the club together,” Penny said. The club offers a number of mixed adult leagues and youth leagues in both trap and skeet. The club also sponsors and serves as the host facility for the Brainerd, Pillager and Pequot Lakes high school trap and skeet teams. About 100 kids participate on the three co-ed teams. In 2014, the Minnesota State High School League recognized trap shooting as an official sport. This spring over 8,600 kids participated statewide making it the fastestgrowing high school sport in Minnesota. Clay target shooting now has more par-

Nancy Schroeder (left) and Penny Stumvoll, members of the board, believe that the growth in membership of the Lakeshore Conservation Club has been the result of more women and children joining.

ticipants than boys’ ice hockey. According to Nancy Schroeder, board member, the sport appeals to boys and girls who might not want to participate in traditional mainstream sports. It provides an opportunity for kids to be part of a team and earn athletic letters. Because no one rides the bench, everyone contributes to the team score and feels like part of the team. Nancy’s son, David, was the top shooter for the Pequot Lakes team this past spring. Pillager’s Kaitlyn Luksik was the top female shooter. “Girls love clay target shooting because they can shoot as well

Lakeshore Conservation Club 18 18 Fall 2015 | her voice


is beneficial. Penny echoed the same sentiments. “The club encourages and supports family participation. I’m a child care provider so children are really important ~ Nancy Schroeder to me. I love to see kids come to the club with their parents.” as the boys,” said Nancy. “Many kids reason we hold the Expo is to keep kids The club attracts members from a find their niche in the sport. They cheer involved in the outdoors and to encourlarge geographic area. She feels the mix each other on which builds confidence.” age safety,” she said. “We receive very of people of all ages provides a fun, famInstead of traveling, each team shoots at positive feedback every year.” ily atmosphere. “When you join the the club on Sundays during the season. In May the club also holds a Teach a Lakeshore Conservation Club, you get to They submit their scores to the league as Kid to Trap Shoot day. The free event is know people on a personal level.” People do the other teams in the district. open to kids of all ages. Penny said the picnic on the grounds and use the faIn order to raise money to purchase club wants kids to learn about gun safety cilities for parties and other events. The clay birds for the high school teams, the and safe shooting early on. “We provide facility is available for rent by members club hosts a very popular Wild Game training so kids are better prepared when as well as non-members. Birthday and Dinner at Grand View Lodge each they take their firearm safety certification bachelorette trap shooting parties have spring. Penny serves as chairperson for classes.” become increasingly popular with womthe event which draws 400 people and A family membership costs $50 per en who shoot. sells out months in advance. “We re- year. Newcomers receive instruction from If a woman is interested in joining the ceive so much community support and a variety of teachers, including Dianne club, Penny suggests they contact the club our sponsors are unbelievably generous,” Wade. The nine-year member teachto set up an appointment. Each person said Penny. Without the financial sup- es the basics of shotgun and trap. She will receive one-on-one instruction at a port from the dinner, the costs associ- also assists coach Mike Hammer, with very reasonable rate. Newcomers will be ated with shooting would be prohibitive the Brainerd High School Skeet Team. taught gun safety and how to shoot by a for many of the kids. In addition, she and her husband, John skilled instructor such as Dianne Wade. The commitment the club shows to Cumming, teach hunter safety and target Group lessons are also available. “We the youth is evident in their strong sup- shooting classes. strive to make everyone feel comfortable port of various youth programs. Nancy Dianne enjoys shooting trap and and at the club,” Wade said. and her husband, Roger, are co-lead- encourages women to come to the club to Nancy summed up her feeling about ers of the Crow Wing County 4-H try out some of the activities. “Anybody the club this way, “We’re a family and a Shooting Sport/Wildlife Project which can do shooting sports and we’ll procommunity at Lakeshore Conservation uses the facility to practice. The kids vide all the instruction needed,” she said. Club. I love being a member.” n learn to safely shoot archery, BB guns, “Everybody is friendly and helpful at the Joan Hasskamp is curair rifles, air pistols, .22s, shotguns and club.” rently working on a hublack powder guns. The boys and girls Penny and Nancy serve on the ninemorous book titled “We participate in the state 4-H shoot which member board. Nancy said she has witDon’t Care Who Wins as Long as Joan Loses.” Now is held after Labor Day. “The club is very nessed the dynamics of the club change that she is retired she youth oriented because youth are the fu- with the addition of more women and has even more time to ture of the gun club,” said Nancy. kids. The influx of new people has proembellish and exaggerate stories about herself. She In addition, the club sponsors a vided a different perspective that she feels lives in Crosby. Brainerd Lakes Area Youth Outdoor Expo every June. The family-friendly Celebrating our event is free and open to the public. Activities include: duck and goose calling, archery, fishing stations, BB gun galCome see us in our new location on lery, trap shooting, black powder shootGovernment Drive ing and outdoor survival. Representatives from groups such as Pheasants Forever, Muskies Inc., Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and the Department of Updos * Nails * Pedicures Natural Resources provide information. Colors * Extensions * Perms * Hair Removal According to the chair of the event, Amy Experience matters. Serving the Lakes Area since 1995. Odegard, about 600 people attended last | 218.568.8771 | Pequot Lakes year, of which 250 were kids. “The big

“Girls love clay target shooting because they can shoot as well as the boys.”

20th Anniversary


Fall 2015 | her voice 19


Planning + Perseverance + Patience

f f O s y a P



any women dream of starting their own business

someday. Marlene Waller, the owner of The Paper Plan-it, has worked hard to make her dream a reality. After several years of

With an expanding list of clients, Marlene Waller is hiring more staff in her bookkeeping/payroll business.

planning, her perseverance and patience is paying off with an expanding list of clients and hiring staff to meet the demands of her growing business.


ss Women’s Busine


20 Fall 2015 | her voice

According to the National Women’s Business Council, Marlene is one of nearly 7.8 million women in the U.S. who own a business. Women’s businesses make up approximately 28.7 percent of all non-farm businesses and generate $1.2 trillion in total receipts to our country’s economy. Marlene worked full-time for others while pursuing her goal part-time. For years she worked from a room set up as an office in her home. As the business grew, she converted her garage into a comfortable, cozy, well-lit, fully-equipped office. Marlene is a whiz with numbers. She has a bachelor of arts degree in office management and has more than 25 years of experience working as a bookkeeper. In addition to her bookkeeping skills,

she is extremely organized and has the ability to quickly grasp and understand a variety of software programs. Though she is proficient with several programs, her special area of expertise is QuickBooks. “I tell people that unless they love doing bookkeeping and payroll they should hire us,” Marlene says. “Trying to manage it all themselves just distracts them from focusing on their own business. I understand what small business owners are up against.” The word is spreading. Marlene now serves more than 60 clients in three states and has hired one full-time and a part-time employee. Individualized service, accuracy, convenience, affordability and speed are qualities Marlene’s customers admire

BNI Lake Country Connections. “BNI is an international group of professionals whose goal it is to help one another’s businesses grow through referrals,” explains Marlene. “But it is also a great help in personal growth and developing leadership skills.” The Brainerd area has three BNI groups. Only one profession is allowed per group. For example, Marlene is the only payroll and bookkeeping service represented in her group. Other professions run the gamut from a doctor of chiropractic medicine and lawyer to an automotive technician and plumber. “We are a diverse group from a wide variety of backgrounds, skills and contacts,” Marlene says. “The experience has been invaluable to my business and me personally.” She currently serves as secretary-treasurer of Lake Country

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Connections. When asked what she likes to do in her limited spare time, Marlene laughs. “Well, I really enjoy sleeping.” She recently bought a device to track not only how much she sleeps but her quality of sleep. “I also like kayaking and intend to spend more time on the water,” she says. That makes sense for a person who is so analytical, after all, physical activity is an important aspect to getting good sleep. n

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and have come to expect. “For payroll services, it doesn’t matter if our clients have one employee or 50. A business can simply submit their payroll data to us by phone, email or fax. If we receive the information by midnight, we can turn it around by five o’clock the next business day. Our bookkeeping service doesn’t require the client to submit all or nothing. We work to create a solution that fits their specific needs and business.” Marlene says services range from doing only monthly bank reconciliations to managing entire accounts receivable and payable, payroll and filing of monthly or quarterly payroll and sales taxes. Marlene thrives on challenges. “It may sound strange,” she says, “but I enjoy taking messy financial records and converting them into accurate financial statements. Once we organize the information, it is amazing how we can streamline the process for our clients. Today’s technology provides a variety options. For example, we can share file access using the online version of QuickBooks or a service such as Qbox. We can create a method of transferring source documents and do the bookwork in our office or provide service onsite.” For people who feel uneasy about working with finances, Marlene is a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and offers one-to-one training. “We’ll set things up and provide basic instruction that fits our clients’ needs,” Waller says. “We can also assist those using QuickBooks to understand it better and use it more efficiently.” And for those who have always wanted to learn QuickBooks? Waller adds, “I also offer instruction for those with no experience with QuickBooks but who are interested in learning it.” Though much of the Paper Plan-it’s growth and success can be directly attributed to Marlene’s personal work ethic and dogged perseverance, she feels she would be remiss if she didn’t give a shout out to a local networking group,

Fall 2015 | her voice 21


M M‘s



Jessica and Quinn Ferry

The first few months of motherhood can be a sleepdeprived blur, and new moms, especially first-time moms, can easily feel overwhelmed. But a weekly moms group, offered through Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd, is connecting new moms to other new moms in the community, providing a comfortable place each week where their parenting questions are encouraged and where moms will often discover they are not alone. Missy Lake, Lactation Services Coordinator at Essentia Health, serves as facilitator for the Mom’s Morning Out group, which meets from 10-11:30 a.m. Wednesdays in the hospital’s lower meeting room. All mothers of infants



are invited to attend, even if their babies were delivered elsewhere. The group is free and moms can just show up with their babies if they wish. Missy brings a baby scale to weigh infants whose mothers would like a current weight, especially if they have breastfeeding concerns. She prepares a weekly topic for the group, such as infant feeding, teething or sleeping, but if the moms would like to talk about something else, she’s open to discussing whatever is on their minds. While the class was originally intended several years ago as a weekly group for moms of newborns, often the moms and their babies keep coming into toddlerhood. Etta Norton, Baxter, frequently attends Mom’s Morning Out with her

Every Wednesday Morning!

Sarah and Kaylee Reed Etta and baby Ilsa Norton

Carly and Lewis Almond Christina and Audrey Liane

daughter, Ilsa, 1-1/2 years. She started coming when Ilsa was six months old as a way to connect with other moms of young children. Many of her friends have older children and it had been a long time since they had little ones like Ilsa. “It’s so nice to meet with other moms going through the same thing,” Etta explained. “You have those questions like is my kid normal? Are there other kids doing the same thing?” Ilsa enjoys their weekly outing, too. She knows where to find the toys that Missy brings to the meeting room each week. Carly Almond, Brainerd, brought her three-week-old son, Lewis, to her first Mom’s Morning Out meeting in June. “I needed to get out of the house,” Carly said with a laugh. “It was kind of a challenge. This is all new for me. I came here to learn from seasoned moms.” Christina Liane, Pine River, started attending Mom’s Morning Out not long after her son, Ren, now 21 months, was born. In June she brought her daughter Audrey, who was 11 days old, for the second time. Christina was a little concerned that Audrey wasn’t getting enough breast milk. After nursing her daughter for five minutes, and then having Missy re-weigh her, Christina learned that Audrey had gained one ounce. This was

Mothers of infants and toddlers are welcomed every Wednesday morning at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center to swap stories, learn about parenting issues and connect with other moms 22

Fall 2015 | her voice

reassuring news. Christina said she’s found a lot of support from other moms and from Missy during Mom’s Morning Out, which is why she’s returned with her second child. Sara Reed, Brainerd, continues to bring her daughter, Kaylee, 14-1/2 months. She said she’s found support from other moms for many parenting decisions she’s made, including breastfeeding and co-sleeping with Kaylee. Sara said Missy has introduced topics to the group she hadn’t even considered, such as using bug spray and sunscreen on infants. Jessica Ferry’s daughter Quinn, 7 months, was just about to take off and crawl in June. The East Gull Lake mother and daughter started coming to the meetings after Jessica could safely carry an infant car seat after recovering from her C-section. She said when she returned to work when Quinn was 3 months old, she relied on advice from other moms in the group to emotionally prepare for the separation. They also gave her tips on how to navigate the morning rush before work. “Going back to work is not intuitive with a 3-month-old,” Jessica explained. Sara agreed. She works an hour away from home, and she had to figure out

how she was going to incorporate pumping breast milk for Kaylee into her new work routine and long commute. She said the other moms gave her some helpful tips on making that transition. Dr. Steven Senica, Essentia Health ob/gyn, said groups like Mom’s Morning Out are important for new moms, especially moms who might be struggling and feeling overwhelmed. “The more women can interact with each other and share stories, the better,” Senica said. “We’ve got a lot of moms who are struggling, and we do give them contacts, but just some interaction with their peers is invaluable, to know that they are not alone and there’s no right or wrong way to do things sometimes.” Missy encourages moms to call her with any questions, particularly about breastfeeding, since she is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She also teaches childbirth education classes, allowing her to get to know each mom during pregnancy, then also postpartum while in the hospital and later, she watches their babies grow as they attend the mom’s group on Wednesdays. Missy said she enjoys watching new moms gain confidence, as well as new friendships. Some moms will meet up


on play dates outside of the weekly meetings. Others rearrange their work schedule so they can make it to Mom’s Morning Out even when they’re back at work full-time. “It’s fun to see them interact, bring up topics and hear their responses,” Missy said, of her new moms. Many of them use breastfeeding apps on their phones to track their baby’s nursing schedules. They often share tricks they’ve learned on packing diaper bags and making their own baby food. The goal of the group is to provide a resource for moms and their babies until their children are older and they can then transition into Early Childhood Family Education classes offered by area school districts. Etta said her daughter Ilsa enjoys the group as much as she does. “She loves it. She loves to see all the babies,” Etta said, of her toddler. n

Jodie Tweed, a former Brainerd Dispatch reporter, is a freelance writer who lives in Pequot Lakes with her husband and their three daughters.

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The Primrose family voyage toward a new Habitat for Humanity home start-

ed with a few bumps in the road as Jodi Primrose experienced a staggering triple threat of divorce, bankruptcy and a foreclosure on her home in the past few years. 24 Fall 2015 | her voice


Jodi, a single mother, and her children Nikolas, 16, and Gabrielle, 13, are a typical family in the Brainerd lakes area. They work hard, play hard and are busy with school, work, church and sports. Active in her church and community, Jodi is busy with her many jobs, too. She has three jobs, including working for 10 years at Brainerd Public Schools, presently as a kindergarten educational assistant at Riverside Elementary School. Also, during her evenings and weekends, she has worked for over 10 years as a server at Prairie Bay Restaurant and in childrens’ programming at the Brainerd Lakes Family YMCA.

During the separation from her spouse three years ago, she moved out to begin rebuilding her life and secured HRA rental housing. She assumed this was a short term solution and marital reconciliation would occur. When Jodi learned her former home was about to be foreclosed, she desperately sought to find a way to regain possession of the family house. Unfortunately, she found no programs to assist her family with that process.  However, she did met Kevin Pelkey, executive director of Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity (LAHFH), and he invited her to apply for a house to be built in Brainerd by LAHFH.

We live here.

love here. know here.

Jodi Primrose (second from right) and her son and daughter Nick and Gabrielle Speliopoulos must contribute 300 hours of sweat equity to their Habitat home, the first home built in Brainerd in 2015. Ted and Micky Feyder (far left) volunteer on the project.



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Jodi kept in touch with LAHFH and was notified of the informational meeting about the comprehensive application process. She applied, provided documentation for consideration and met with the selection committee. To that end, she said, “It has been a very humbling experience to expose myself and my situation, but I can’t let my pride hinder an opportunity for my kids.” Safety is a concern in their current home and Jodi wished to provide greater stability in their lives. Habitat for Humanity selection criteria includes a demonstrated need for adequate housing and an ability to pay a mortgage, taxes and insurance. Fall 2015 | her voice 25

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Fall 2015 | her voice 25

Kevin Pelkey, (left) Habitat Executive Director and Larry Johannessohn, Construction Manager, coordinate the building project with owner Jodi and her family. Many volunteers contribute time and energy to the project.

To learn more about how to help with the Primrose family home or other Habitat for Humanity projects or need:

Lastly, a partner family must be willing to partner by contributing 300 hours of sweat equity which may include helping to build the house, serving food to volunteers and working at other LAHFH events. The partner family must also make payments on time, be a good neighbor and be a responsible homeowner. A modest down payment and the 300 sweat equity hours must be satisfied before a family can assume the mortgage and move into their new home. Appreciating the timing of her good fortune Jodi says, “My home application was approved and coincided with my church’s plan to partner with Habitat for the first home built in Brainerd in 2015… which happened to be a home for my family. God is amazing!” The journey toward home is ending soon in southeast Brainerd with great joy for the Primrose family. In early June 2015, this property features a promising rectangular slab of concrete with roughedin wiring and plumbing awaiting further construction and volunteer labor. Upon completion, this new Primrose residence will possess three bedrooms and one bathroom. Jodi is grateful and inspired by the opportunity afforded her family.“It will be my privilege to be an advocate for Habitat and it has been amazing to see how God has orchestrated and confirmed His will for us. My kids will have a home that they can call their own, something that they helped to build. I want to encourage other families that need a home to consider this as a viable option for homeownership and stability for their family,” says Jodi. She added, “Change is sometimes hard, and the unknown can be unsettling. It has been a testament to God’s plan for us and that it is a good plan. My children have been humbled and overwhelmed by the love and generosity of our church family, as well as strangers that have offered to help build our future.” n 218-828-8517 Jill Neumann is the communications manager for the Brainerd Public Schools, a mother of two boys and is active in the community. She enjoys family time, the martial arts, being outdoors and reading. 26 Fall 2015 | her voice



Over the years, Carolyn Avelsgaard has collected 11,000 pieces of costume and vintage jewelry.

A Jewel of a Collection




say Carolyn Avelsgaard collects jewelry is an understatement. She has a room

in her home dedicated to the display, repair and storage of the jewelry found over the years. She has 11,000 pieces of jewelry, mainly costume and vintage. A variety of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, pins, lockets, rings, watches and more, all well-presented or stored in a perfect system so she can easily show you what she has. Carolyn has categorized them on a computer disc, including 890 rings. Carolyn was always one to wear and enjoy a simple string of pearls. Then in 2002, while at an auction in the South Long Lake area, she purchased an old tool box. To her surprise it contained an eclectic mix of items including some vintage jewelry. That purchase piqued her interest and the beginning of her hobby: collecting, studying and repairing jewelry simply for her own pleasure. Family and friends also gave her jewelry, her mother, Lois, ‘keeping an eye open’ as she shops rummage sales with her many friends. Next, Carolyn purchased books and tools to identify and repair the treasures she was finding at estate and garage sales and consignments shops. Some of the tools Carolyn uses for repair are special lights, a mounted magnifying glass and instruments for fine, detailed work. I had not given much thought to the many styles of earrings. Carolyn showed me a history of pierced and non-pierced earrings: the clip-on and the screw-on variations (neither of which looked very comfortable or easy on one’s ear lobes) and now the ‘held-by-dual-magnets’ system. Of the pierced earring there is a selection of dangling, hoops, posts and more, including earrings created from a variety of metals, stones, gems, seeds and even rickrack.

Fall 2015 | her voice 27

Velveteen pedestals display matching sets of necklaces, earrings, rings and pins. Finding one piece says Carolyn often leads to a hunt to complete the set.

“I wear whatever interests me from day to day.” ~ Carolyn Avelsgaard Carolyn tells of her adventures to find a matched set. If she has a necklace, she might look to find the matching earring, ring, pin and bracelet to complete the set. She’s been successful several times and has them displayed in frames or on velveteen pedestals like one might see in a fine jewelry store.

28 Fall 2015 | her voice

And then there are the bracelet and charm collections. The bracelets have a variety of clasping systems; snap, clip and hook. There are lockets of many sizes and shapes designed to hold special items such as pictures, perfumes and locks of hair, or even a timepiece within. Menswear is also represented with

cuff links, watches including pocket watches, service pins such as military, Cub Scout, centennial and union pins. She also has an assortment of school and military rings. With all these choices she says for her personal use: “I wear whatever interests me from day to day.” She also has a special holiday area.

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There are pins, necklaces, etc., to represent Christmas, Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day and on and on. She has fun with the glowing, wild jewelry that represent the holidays as well as those pieces that are basic, classic and charming. Other hobbies include a love for jigsaw puzzles which she assembles then glues together to use as wall decorations in her guest room. She has interesting and fun collections of paper dolls and LP (vinyl) records - all meticulously presented and itemized. Carolyn quilts, using upholstered fabric samples as her palette. I was able to see her latest piecework which she had laid out as a work-in-progress. She talked me through the design and I could hear the love that she is stitching as a gift for a friend. Carolyn is the mother of two daughters, one who lives in Brainerd and the other in Fergus Falls, and two grandsons. They have a close relationship and spend time together as schedules allow. A semi-retired non-denominational minister, Carolyn has been instrumental in marriages, funerals and community events. Last summer she had the honor of performing the wedding ceremony for her grandson. In 2013, Carolyn lead the service for Memorial Day at the Evergreen Cemetery. When Officer Mike Lambert died, his wife Jan honored police officers with a statue placed in front of the Brainerd Police Station and asked Carolyn to lead the dedication prayer.  All of her special collections and community interactions keep Carolyn Avelsgaard active and connected with others. If you meet her about town, take note of her energy and interests as well as her unique jewelry. n


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Cynthia Bachman grew up and lives in the Brainerd area with her husband, Brian. She graduated as a studio arts major from the University of Minnesota and enjoyed the art and creativity of Carolyn’s collections. Fall 2015 | her voice 29

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Enjoying a night out with the Traveling Art Pub: Back row left to right, Erika Windels, Lois Fisher, Kari Roberts, Tessa Schultz, and Mandi Ylliniemi. Front row, left to right, TAP originators, daughter Sarah Stawarski and mother Lisa Stawarski with participant Kallie Berry.


reception hall at Manhattan’s in Crosslake hums with conversation and laughter. Fifty women and a few men sit at tables while waitstaff circulate, serving beverages and taking food orders.


It could be any group of friends gathered for a social night out, except these guests sit in front of easels, canvases and paintbrushes. It’s a night out with The Traveling Art Pub and these folks are having a wonderful time. The Traveling Art Pub (TAP) was conceived two years ago as the brainchild of mother and daughter Lisa and Sarah Stawarski. Sarah, an artist, had moved back to

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Brainerd from Colorado and was looking for a creative outlet. The two took a jewelry class together and discussed how much more fun it would be to have some wine and snacks while they worked. That conversation led to the idea of sponsoring events where people of all ages and experience levels could meet in a relaxed, pressure-free atmosphere and have fun with art.

They were nervous about launching such a venture, but a chance encounter solidified their decision. Lisa explained, “We walked into a book store, and the first thing we saw was a book cover that said ‘Do something every day that scares you.’ We looked at each other and said, ‘We’re going for it!’ Now our favorite saying is, ‘Why not? You’re only going to lose if you don’t try.’”

TAP’s motto is Eat, Drink, Create, Socialize, so Lisa and Sarah knew from the very beginning that they wanted a party atmosphere where everyone could have fun. Traditional classrooms just wouldn’t do it, so they approached the Sunshine Kitchen Moonshine Lounge and Prairie Bay about hosting TAP events. Both restaurants were excited about the idea and readily agreed to provide the room and serve drinks and food. Now TAP events (over 200 in the last two years) can be found at a variety of coffee shops and restaurants all over the Brainerd lakes area and beyond. TAP takes measures to remove the fear factor for inexperienced artists. For example, TAP sessions are called events, not classes, and those who attend are guests, not students.

According to Sarah, “The comment we hear most often when people first come is, ‘I probably shouldn’t be here. I can’t even draw a stick figure.’” She reassures them, “Well, you’re in luck! We aren’t going to be drawing and we’re not painting stick figures. You’ll be fine.’” The TAP staff tries to create a relaxed environment with plenty of personal attention. “We want to take the fear out of it,” Lisa said. “Many first timers tell us they haven’t painted since high school. Then they have this fun, positive experience, and it brings back the joy they once found in being creative.” Each event lasts two and a half hours and all materials are provided. Most of the events feature acrylic painting – it is more forgiving and dries faster – but TAP is branching out to

TAP’s motto is Eat, Drink, Create, Socialize. People of all ages and experience levels create in a relaxed, fun, atmosphere.

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Fall Fall 2015 | her voice 31

“I had no idea I could do this and have so much fun at the same time.” ~ A common customer reaction

The artist/leader reviews some simple, basic techniques to get creative juices flowing. A break in the middle allows participants to sample goodies and see other creations.

explore other media including watercolor, mixed media, jewelry and pottery. The artist/leader brings an inspiration painting for the guests to copy if they wish, but people are invited to be creative as well. The artist goes over some basic art techniques like shading, blending and balance, but this is intentionally brief so that the guests can dive into the experience right away. During the process, the artist also is painting a second copy of the inspiration piece so the guests see what to do step-by-step. The atmosphere is congenial as guests paint, talk to each other, sip beverages and munch on snacks. During a “social break” in the middle of the project so the background paint can dry, guests walk around and see what others are doing. Sarah said, “It’s always a surprise to them when they see the variety and creativity that people put into their work. Even though they are painting from the same model, no two are exactly the alike.” Who comes to these events? Mostly women, but more men are giving it a try. TAP also hosts events for children and teens at its remodeled gas station studio on South Sixth Street. “Part of the joy is that it can be intergenerational. We have grandmothers bringing their granddaughters and fathers coming with their children,” said Lisa. “It’s just a wealth of ages and it’s something they can do together.” The most gratifying comments come at the end of the event. People love taking home a finished piece of art and are surprised and impressed with the quality of their work. A common reaction to the event is, “I had no idea I could do this and have so much fun at the same

BE PART OF THE EXPERIENCE! 218-454-1888 32 Fall 2015 2015| |her hervoice voice 32 Fall

the affect of TAP on their guests, they know it’s worth the work. “What really keeps us going,” said Sarah, “is the energy and excitement of new possibilities and the responses of our guests. We see so many people who are energized and excited about what we are doing!” Even the responses of the smallest TAP guests echo that excitement. One enthusiastic 5-year-old told Sarah, “It’s

so cool that you told me there are no mistakes in art. I love art!” And thanks to the Traveling Art Pub, more and more people, young and old, agree with him. n Karen Ogdahl of Baxter is a retired teacher and community volunteer.


time. I love this. I want to come back and bring my friends.” TAP has plenty of return business. Lisa and Sarah call them their TAP groupies noting that some people have come to 12-14 of their events. TAP also offers private parties like reunions, bridal parties and corporate groups and they are partnering with resorts in the area to serve the summer visitors. To the Stawarskis, TAP is about so much more than painting pictures. It’s about encouraging everyone to be involved with the arts and giving confidence to people who have never before participated. It’s also about promoting the lakes area’s amenities. “We know how important the arts are and we also feel very strongly about celebrating the community. Our community has great artists and great chefs. This is an opportunity to showcase the talents of both,” Lisa said. Lisa and Sarah give much of the credit for TAP’s success to their leader/ artists, the hosts and the community. “We are so thankful for our artists who have been willing to take a chance with us. We’ve been embraced by the community and all the host venues and businesses we’ve partnered with. We’re grateful to the city planners, the city council and our landlord who all have been so good to us. We live in a great, supportive community!” said Lisa. “We love showcasing all our community has to offer,” Lisa continued. “For example, if we have an event at a coffee shop, people who have never been to that coffee shop will have a good time and want to come back. Those partnerships are going to make us all stronger as a community.” Both Lisa and Sarah have other jobs, which means that their schedules can be beyond busy, but when they see

Fall 2015 | her voice 33



Kaari Kuusisto has come home to the Brainerd lakes area, where, she is happy to say, she is finally here to stay. This time, however, Kaari brings her growing family and a professional healing modality that is truly unique.

PHOTO BY JOEY HALVORSON Kaari's Therapeutic Touch Myofascial Release 218.765.3003

34 34 Fall 2015 | her voice

Life, love and fate took Kaari far from home after graduating from Crosby-Ironton High School in 1991. A degree in communication and psychology from UND brought her to the marketing department of Hunt Technologies in Pequot Lakes. After a layoff, Kaari followed a new career direction, graduating from the Minneapolis School of Massage and Bodywork. Now she feels she has found her calling. In 2001, Kaari moved to Texas, working with massage therapist Sharon Rodebaugh. Sharon became a mentor and the first person to suggest looking into a treatment modality called Myofasical Release (MFR). That suggestion turned out to be life-changing, validated by the clear voice of intuition, telling Kaari, “if you don’t learn MFR, your life may not turn out the way you hope.” Listening to her inner voice, Kaari hopped on her computer, finding a series of classes in Minneapolis. After the first day of classes, Kaari was hooked, and so excited with her new knowledge of fascia, that she

talked her dad, Dr. James Kuusisto, into joining her at a seminar. Since then, he has almost the same certifications under his belt as Kaari. Kaari was grateful for the massage opportunities, but after her first MFR class she knew in her heart that she was going to practice it exclusively and wanted to go home to Minnesota to do so. Ten years and many classes later, Kaari has immense admiration for John F. Barnes, a doctor of physical therapy and massage therapy who she studied with in Sedona, Ariz., and who developed myofascial release. He had suffered a debilitating injury, leading him to develop “this extremely mild and gentle form of whole body, hands on healing that has a profound effect on the body tissues, eliminating pain and restoring motion.” After a short stint at home, Kaari moved to Roseville, where she started her first professional MFR practice and quickly grew an appreciative client base. During that time, she met Matt Hastert, the love of

COMING with a Healing Feeling

and low back pain, looking for relief. provides an opportunity for people Joey says that after her first treatment who are suffering to experience the reshe experienced no pain in her back lease of pain and trauma. Thank you, Kaari. We’re glad you’re and movement in a locked big toe. The second time she saw Kaari, the pain back. Welcome home! n was gone from her hip. “There’s major magic in MFR treatments,” says Joey, Annie Bandel, a long time resident of the Brainerd making her a true believer. Sharing her lakes area is also a long experience with other friends, Joey says time user of MFR. When not getting treatments, they tell her, “Thank you for introducAnnie can be found reading me to Kaari!” ing; both astrology charts Using her training as an expert level and fiction books. MyofascialDesign Release Therapist, Kaari 15-3572_Ad Her Voice.qxp_Layout 1 7/6/15 8:26 AM Page 1

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her life, whom she married in 2010, and in 2011, they welcomed a daughter, Katja, a son Kelan in June. Always in the back of her mind, Kaari wanted to return home. With her growing business and Matt’s steady job, it seemed an impossible dream. But Kaari was persistent, sure that she and Matt could someday raise their family in the peaceful setting of the lakes where she’d grown up. After a long search, Kaari found the perfect house, near her parent’s home. Shortly after they bought their home, Matt found a job at Stern Industries, which he loves, and they started transitioning to their new home. Kaari commuted to keep seeing her Twin Cities clients, and with her mom, Judy Kuusisto helping with Katja, it was possible. This past May, with another baby due in June, Kaari said a tearful goodbye to her clients in Roseville and officially moved north. Kaari and her mom share a beautiful space in Barbeau Pines Office Park, where artist Judy has a studio, and Kaari a peaceful treatment room. A former Twin Cities’ client, Cathie Foster, now in Nisswa, exclaimed, “I just love her; she has kept me going.” Cathie has osteoarthritis in her knees and knows that Kaari “can’t cure her.” But the treatment she says, “sure makes me feel good and deal with the pain.” After treatment, the pain she says is almost non-existent and helps her stay off heavy pain medication. Steadily, Kaari is attracting clients, where people like Joey Halvorson come to Kaari with issues such as hip bursitis

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her say



This year, I did not start

having ‘teacher nightmares’ in August. I did not dream that the students were crawling out of a second story window as I walked into the classroom.

I did not wake up hyperventilating because I could not find my rooms or worse, couldn’t find the school. This year, when the stores put out backpacks, pencils and notebooks in July, I did not gasp, like I do when Christmas decorations go up before Halloween. I simply smiled and went about my shopping. Finally, after 16 years as a student and 30 more as a teacher, I am not going back to school this fall. This sense of relief surprised me. As a student, school 36 Fall 2015 | her voice

meant new clothes, the smell of (yes) fresh ditto paper, clean pages to be filled and seeing my friends again after summer vacation. As an instructor, it meant putting up displays, meeting new students and the chance to again share my worldview from a soap box I actually got paid to stand on. There was the satisfaction of seeing the light in a student’s eyes when they would ‘get it.’ There was the enthusiasm they shared after meeting someone from another

"Mom, lets go back to the lake...” Former teacher Jan Kurtz now relishes her late August time with her mother at their lake cabin.

gloriosa daisies are still glorious. The ruby-throated humming birds hover around the feeder. The gold finches crack into the black sunflower seeds. The striped chipmunks bound after the scolding red squirrel. The morning rain had dimpled the lake, leaving droplets glistening on the tips of white pine needles. It’s all still here. Who knew? This morning, I watched the fog rise off the bay and drift out over the lake, taking with it a few degrees of water warmth. While others were boarding buses, I paddled down a creek choked full of pickerel weed. Their purple flowers have changed into heavy seed pods, no longer able to hold their heads high, dipping them into the water where they will become next year’s plants. The mosquitoes and deer flies are mostly gone,

leaving only dragonflies to land on my toes. I admire the rainbows reflected on their wings. The grasses are beginning to yellow. A flock of geese rearranges its flight pattern overhead. This year, my change of season will be marked by nature, not by sales of new computers and the latest in leggings and new sweaters. This year, autumn will still come. Students will still fill school hallways. Power points will still be shown in dark rooms. Discoveries will still be made and eyes will still light up. As for me and my mom? This year, we will still be . . . at the lake. n Jan Kurtz retired May 2014, after 30 years of teaching Spanish from junior high to college levels. Her work included leading foreign travel, language camps, Cultural Thursdays, Spanish Clubs and CIS/College in the Schools. It was a good run, but she is excited to be living without a lesson plan.





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culture or better yet, their own stories when returning from far away places. So, why am I feeling so giddy and… free? Did I not love what I had done all those years? Or is it the unnatural sense that Labor Day shuts the big doors on summer? The yellow buses fill and drop all manner of humanity into buildings where their heads will bow for months of work . . . inside. Perhaps that has been my problem! Mid-August was the beginning of the countdown to being inside. It was against my nature. Nature does not confine itself to little square boxes numbered on a calendar. When the bluebirds arrive and the lilacs bloom, it is spring. When the mallards swim in front of their ducklings, it is early summer. When the Perseid meteors shoot through the night skies, it is mid-summer, if you go by fall equinox. Yet, when the school doors open, they shut out my connection to the natural cycles. I am one whose moods change with the prevailing winds. I either need to be outside or have large windows and natural lighting. I hop from one task to another as the sun peaks in and out of the clouds. Sitting in a dark theater watching a power point on declining enrollment, state funding and financial implosion isn’t ever my forte but becomes unbearable on a beautiful day. This August, as duty days approached, I planned a change of venue for my first real day of retirement. After anointing my successors with essential oils and all good wishes, after blessing the office that had housed me for decades, after putting my energy into my donated books, I turned in the key and walked out the doors. Out-of-doors! I re-entered August and the possibility that summer was not over. “Mom, let’s go back to the cabin,” I proposed. “When?” she countered. “Would next week be good?” And, because we are now both retired teachers, here we are, sitting along the shoreline, rediscovering late August and early September, as nature planned it. The bee balm is still pink. The

Fall 2015 | her voice 37

the arts


Pat Boser (right), music therapist, shares her love of music with client, Kristy Tanner.

“Music soothes the soul,” but have you ever witnessed its healing power on the mind and body?



Boser, employee of St. Francis Music Center in Little Falls, certainly has. She began her music therapy career in 1966 right after graduation from Texas Women’s University. “Music can help with coordination,” Pat says, “as well as listening, fine motor and cognitive skills and motivation,” Pat, who lives on a dairy farm in Pierz with husband Rod, grew up in Minot, N.D. Her first exposure to music was through her mother, a choir director and pianist, and her uncle who sang. The therapist also enjoyed singing and learned to play various instruments: piano, tenor sax, clarinet and organ. But it wasn’t until her high school years in North Dakota when she saw the words “mu-

38 Fall 2015 | her voice

sic therapist” on a career poster and toured various school settings around the state with her school choir, that she realized she wanted to get a degree in music therapy. “During the tour, I saw the effect music can have on the mind and body. Special needs children enjoyed music so much. Handicapped or not they participated.” Life for Pat as a music therapist began at Brainerd State Hospital right after college. Her first position was devoted to special activities in Building 4. Twenty years later she left the hospital to care for her family, but her love of music remained constant. Wanting to continue sharing the expression of music with others, she began to offer music lessons for piano, organ and guitar in private homes, schools around Pierz and eventually Little Falls in 2001.

Over the years, the music therapist has worked with those as young as 4 years, all the way up to their mid-70s. Her clients’ capabilities vary too, according to their situation: non-verbal (autistic), physically challenged, language or behavioral. Each person is assigned musical instruments or songs beneficial to them, their needs and how well they tolerate sound. One might listen to classical music. Another may play a rhythm instrument along with a rock-n-roll CD, or perhaps be given a guitar with adaptive equipment. “I enjoy seeing how far each person develops through music,” Pat says. Some of her music therapy students have performed in recitals and gone on to become church musicians. After only one session with Pat and client, Kristy Tanner, a young adult

Pat’s joyful spirit and the sharing of music has helped others heal.

Marlene Chabot is a freelance writer, novelist and member of numerous writers’ groups. In 2014, two of her mystery stories were selected for anthology publications. She’s currently working on her fifth novel. Connect with Marlene: Facebook-Marlene Mc Neil Chabot, or

Pat spends a half hour to an hour with each of her five clients. Presently, Kristy is the most verbal of her clients. “But non-verbal clients can do a lot with instruments. Reaction to music comes from a different part of the brain than speech.” The music therapist’s classroom closet is full of rhythm and musical instruments waiting to be used and she keeps getting more donations. Right now the closet houses tambourines, bongos, xylophones, guitars, hand bells, rattles, bells, a snare drum, triangle, African thumb instrument, baritone ukulele and autoharp. The main concern this music therapist has for the near future is who will replace her when she retires from her position at St. Francis Music Center. “We need someone to develop an in-

terest in this field for our area.” For anyone interested in becoming a music therapist Pat suggests getting acquainted with the American Association of Music Therapy. Learn about all the areas developed for this field, there are many choices. “Special needs pull a community together for a good purpose.” Of all the positions Pat’s held throughout her career the most challenging was her internship at a mental clinic in Dallas. “We worked all shifts. Each client had a different problem and most lived on campus.” Pat Boser’s music career may have taken her many places since her forma tive years in North Dakota, but there’s one rule she has stuck by no matter where she has found herself, “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.” n



struggling to speak again after a stroke, I came away amazed at the way Pat’s joyful spirit and the sharing of music has helped others heal. For Kristy, who could barely communicate when she started coming to Pat’s classes only two months ago, singing has helped her tremendously. “I was so excited when I found out I had received medical approval to take music therapy,” Kristy said. Before she started therapy she couldn’t get her tongue to move the way it should. Tonight Pat played the ivory keys and joined Kristy in singing her favorite tune “When the Saints Go Marching In.”Kristy’s face shone brightly as she formed each word. Kristy’s proud of what she’s accomplished, but she doesn’t take all the credit. “It’s with God’s help I can do this. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here.”


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her voice voice 39 39 Fall 2015 | her

community connection

Left to right, Jeri Hughes, Marketing Planner; Deb Anderson, Volunteer Coordinator; and Miranda Anderson help Essentia give back to the community by coordinating volunteer work and community events.

Essential to the Community


hey’re everywhere. Lurking behind the scenes, working their magic with the strength of a thousand wizards. “They” are the women behind Essentia Health in the Brainerd lakes area.


In 2014 alone, Essentia Health was part of over 100 events, touching the lives of more than 56,700 individuals, thanks to the many volunteers and Essentia employees. And, as with most great things, it takes a village to make a difference. Out of that “village,” here the focus is on three women who head up areas helping give back to the community through volunteer work and community events: Jeri Hughes, Marketing Planner; Miranda Anderson, Marketing & Community Relations and Deb Anderson, Volunteer Coordinator/Gift Shop Manager. All three stress that they are “just one of many.” At Essentia, Miranda and Jeri, they give me a tour of the basement where the props and information resources are stored for community events. Wandering through the decorations, brochures and a hundred other useful items reminds me of the movie “Big.” At any moment I expect to see Tom Hanks hopping around on an oversized floor 40 Fall 2015 | her voice

keyboard…which would be a good item for them to promote activity. “I wish we could show you the giant colon,” says Jeri. That catches my interest. “Unfortunately, it’s deflated until our next cancer screening event,” Miranda delivers the sad news with a grin. Darn. Miranda and Jeri’s offices are next door to each other and as we step inside Miranda’s, I eye her strategically placed

83% women of 1,300 employees in the Essentia Health Central Region.

mountains of paperwork, afraid if I sneeze I’ll create a disaster. She is one busy woman. In their hectic offices, Miranda and Jeri wear their creative hats, deciding which area of Essentia would best fit a community event participant’s health information to each audience. “First and foremost we are a community health system. Because of that we invest dollars and time to our community to promote healthy activities and safety,” Miranda explains. Much of Essentia’s impact is from female employees. “Eighty-three percent of the 1,300 employees in Essentia Health Central Region are dedicated women who strive to make a healthy difference in our community members’ lives,” says Jeri. Deb Anderson’s office is located next to the gift shop at Essentia — just one of the many places volunteers give of their time. “Volunteering in our community gives opportunities for baby boomers to stay in touch with doing something for the community,” says Deb, who started at St. Joseph’s (now Essentia) in 1980. “They have a passion to give of themselves wholly to the hospital.” Volunteers are recognized annually at an appreciation brunch and are included in several social functions with staff. Deb also oversees the auxiliary — part of the volunteer department. “All money from our gift shop goes to the Auxiliary fund,” Deb explains. The Auxiliary coordinates fundraisers throughout the year, such as: Annual Bazaar in December, Jewelry Is Fun, Gear Bag, Scrub Sale and the Variety Show. There are more than 230 volunteers through Essentia, not including the Junior Volunteers, who donate their time after school. Deb is also involved with Miranda in the Brainerd River Walk project — which hopes to provide a 2.5 mile river walk along a stretch of the Mississippi in the Brainerd area. Other events involving Essentia employees include the Nisswa Jaycees Run for the Lakes, coordinated by Jeri and Miranda. Bonnie Thompson, Amber Harris, Shannon Paysse, Judi Smith, Melissa Erickson and Collette Larson

staff the recovery tent for the runners, while runners crossing the finish line are met by Ashley Palmer, a certified athletic trainer at Essentia. Besides the Run for the Lakes, Jeri and Miranda coordinate Essentia volunteers at: United Way chili cook-off, March for Babies, Wine and Words (Friends of the Library event), the Crosslake St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Arthritis Walk on the Paul Bunyan Trail, to name a few. Jeri and Miranda plan each event carefully and their years of experience help them promote good health. Miranda has built a career in marketing and advertising over the years, with her last four at Essentia. Explaining the motto behind her job she says, “Research studies show the best way to

impact healthy choices and lifestyles is by helping to impact individual behavioral and social interactions.” For Jeri, her 16 years at Medtronic in the cardiac surgery education department have come in handy. Leaving Medtronic, she moved to the area and worked as event and communication coordinator at Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber. “I missed healthcare so when the opportunity came to join the Essentia Health team, I was excited,” Jeri says. “Giving someone the information to have a positive impact on their quality of life is gratifying.” This is why Essentia Health is such a welcome and essential part of our community! n

Jill Hannah Anderson writes women’s fiction and is a member of WFWA. She loves the outdoors, wishes summer and fall were six months each and enjoys running, biking and curling. Her website is: , where she also features book recommendations by authors and book lovers. In her “spare” time (is there such a thing?) she loves hanging out with friends and her ever-growing family.

Fall 2015 | her voice 41

ISO Her Voice


[ in search of ]

Fun Fall Finds For the Whole Family BY REBECCA FLANSBURG

As the weather begins to cool, the leaves begin to turn and area waterfowl start to contemplate a jaunt southward, we know that autumn has arrived. The fall months are also a time when everyone feels the need to squeeze out the last few drops of summer before the impending winter months. Luckily, the lakes area is filled with fun opportunities to get outside and enjoy the bounty that a Minnesota fall can bring. n


GILBY’S NURSERY & ORCHARD AITKIN Family-friendly corn maze with plans to expand complementing their other fall activities that include fall color walking trails and apple picking tours.

It’s A-Maze-ing! Corn Mazes Corn mazes are fun and popular ways to test your problemsolving skills while also enjoying the benefits of being outside. A corn maze, or maize maze, is a maze cut out of a corn field and consist of paths that go around in a pattern. Many mazes have themes and this activity is normally combined with other farm attractions that would be of interest to families and day trippers.

42 Fall 2015 | her voice

PAUL BUNYAN LAND BRAINERD Those who are in the mood for some adventure intertwined with a good scare will enjoy the Haunted Corn Maze at Paul Bunyan Land in Brainerd. This scary-fun maze is open every Friday and Saturday around the first part of October. THE FARM ON ST. MATHIAS BRAINERD Arlene and Bob Jones, owners of The Farm on St. Mathias, offer fall family fun and activities with a six acre corn maze, hayrides, pumpkins and fall décor. The corn maze opens the second weekend of September through October. They host birthday parties and offer group discounts on weekends, and host school groups and other large groups by appointment during the week.

Treasure Seeking Geocaching

Geocaching: Call it “treasure seeking” or the “thrill of the hunt,” the activity called geocaching is picking up steam as a popular recreation in the Brainerd lakes area. It’s an “any season” adventure that can take participants to new places in their own hometown and beyond. There are 2,000,000 geocaches worldwide and hidden caches can be discovered with help from sites like Geocaching. com. The basic premise is locating hidden capsules of trinkets that are marked and mapped via GPS coordinates. Treasure hunters can also use one of the many geocaching apps on their iPhone or Android devices to track down a cache. Geocaching can involve walking, driving and even climbing to locate a hidden cache. This fun, and sometimes challenging activity, is for individuals or families and there are even caches that are handicap accessible.

By foot, bike or boat! Fall Leaf Tour

Take A Fall Leaf Tour: Our area is blessed with a variety of trees that burst into rich colors once the fall months roll around. These fall colors are on vibrant display each autumn in the Brainerd lakes area and also throughout the state of Minnesota. Trees like maple, scarlet sumac and maple, golden oak and yellow birch create a nature pallet of color that simply can’t be beat. Viewing this fall foliage display is another great autumn outdoor activity and colorful leaves can be viewed from walking trails, vehicles and even boats. Many Brainerd resorts, hotels and campgrounds are either located along, or offer great access, to the bike trails and typically peak fall colors occur in late September to early October.

Mapped tours:

Get Your “Fest” On Oktoberfests Oktoberfest is an autumn festival with an emphasis on merrymaking and the consumption of beer. But this yearly event with German roots can take many forms and can take place in many areas across Minnesota. One of the best known local Oktoberfest’s, Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge is hosting its 30th annual Oktoberfest Arts & Craft Fair this year on Oct. 17. Other well-known events include the Pierz Oktoberfest (Aug. 30) which includes a 2K or 5K run for the whole family, a parade, petting zoo, exotic animals, inflatables, Bingo and children’s games.

Resources: Paul Bunyan Land- Pierz Oktoberfest- Ruttger’s Oktoberfest-

Rebecca Flansburg is a proud mom of two, a freelance writer, blogger and project manager for the national children’s literacy event Multicultural Children’s Book Day. When not happily writing and creating content for others, she appreciates being outside, reading and thrifting. You can connect with her on Twitter as @RebeccFlansburg or via her blog

Fall 2015 | her voice 43

Her Voice Service Directory • Fall 2015 Appliances


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

7217 Excelsior Rd, Suite 105 Baxter, MN (218) 454-8272

Schroeder’s Appliance


Thrivent Financial


Cuyuna Regional Medical Center 320 East Main Street Crosby, MN (218) 546-7000 (888) 487-6437

US Bank Corp. Investments

Just For Kix

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

Essentia Health

Gull Lake Glass

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


Lakewood Health System



18441 HWY 371 Brainerd, MN (218) 829-2881

Arlean’s Drapery

Pequot Lakes, MN (218) 568-8280

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

Cub Foods

417 8th Ave NE Brainerd, MN (218) 828-1816 14133 Edgewood Dr. Baxter, MN

Home Healthcare

Pequot Lakes Supervalu

Accra Care Home Health

30503 MN-371 Pequot Lakes, MN (218) 568-5001

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Choose one or all! Weddings North • Outdoor Traditions Love of the Lakes • Brainerd Public Schools Magazine • HealWatch • Nisswa Guide Veteran’s Day Salute • Recreation,Golf and Dining Guides

Brainerd, MN (218) 270-5905 • 218-855-5895


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Success Begins Here




Katie Lee

Vitamins Herbs Health Essentials

44 Fall 2015 | her voice

Downtown Pine River • Email:

Betsy Hollister, Realtor (218) 330-1920





C: 218-831-5243 | F: 218-825-3636 |

Your Neighborhood Health and Wellness Center


KRIS & DAN KAYSER • 218-587-5900


Her Voice Service Directory • Fall 2015 Home Healthcare (Senior)

Online Marketing

Real Estate

108 S. 6th St. Brainerd, MN (218) 824-0077

Nisswa, MN (218) 825-9667 1-866-568-3203

15354 Dellwood Drive #100 Brainerd, MN 56401 (218) 828-7000

Home Instead

AJ Business Development


Northridge Agency

Edina Real Estate


Salons and Spas

7636 Design Road Baxter, MN (218) 825-1976 (800) 952-3766

24719 Hazelwood Drive Nisswa, MN (218) 961-0095

Great River/Crosby Eye Clinic

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


Bell Cheveux Salon and Spa

1 Third Ave. NE Crosby, MN (218) 546- 5108 (800) 952-3766

E.L. Menk Jewelers

623 Laurel St. Brainerd, MN (218) 829-7266

Salon Couture

30920 Government Drive Pequot Lakes, MN (218) 568-8771

Lakes Area Eyecare

Law Firm

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

Borden, Steinbauer, Kruger & Knudson, P.A 302 S. 6th St. Brainerd, MN (218) 829-1451

Serenity Spa At Breezy Point Resort

9252 Breezy Point Drive Breezy Point, MN (218) 562-7158

Midwest Family Eye

7870 Excelsior Rd Baxter, MN 56425 (218) 828-9545 121 4th St NE Staples, MN 56479 (218) 894-5480

Breen & Person Ltd.

124 N. 6th St. Brainerd, MN (218) 828-1248

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Cindy Carlson,

Jolaine Johnson,




utrinkets, llc

I Help Buyers and Sellers Find Each Other.

yarn ~ antiques ~ gifts

617 Laurel Street, Brainerd, MN 56401


Text cindykcarlson to 952-856-8300

Sheila Holley, GRI/CRS/RRS Commercial Division/Premier Properties



Tammy Schultz




Download my free property search app today! • Find us on Facebook & Ravelry 001240079r1

Knowledge. Experience. Commitment. Sandy Swanson, Realtor®

218-839-9058 001279499r2

Baxter Office 218-839-4390



Fall 2015 | her voice 45



Tough Love



was a later than normal loon hatch in 2014. Ice out came after the opening of

fishing in May so there weren’t many nesting areas or enough open water. Now it was Sept. 26 and all the loon parents had flown south, leaving their young ones behind to mature for the flight south. Loon watcher, Becky Stover.

But one late baby in our bay, born weeks after the others, had still been attended to by its one parent, still teaching it to catch fish, getting it fat in preparation for the parent leaving, protecting it from the eagles and showing it how to fly. The baby hadn’t succeeded in flying yet but everyday would spread its wings and really try to take flight, only to paddle awkwardly across the surface of the lake and then do a nosedive in the water. Born so late, I thought it wouldn’t make it but the one parent had been diligent in caring for its baby after all the other parents had left. This morning I happened to be out watching them and

“...The parent softly and gently cooed “hoo-hoo” to the baby...I realized the parent was leaving.”

the parent softly and gently cooed “hoo-hoo” to the baby and the baby cooed, “hoo-hoo” back. Then the parent swam further away and cooed the same call again with the baby responding. It was a sad and loving cry. The cry continued as she swam further and further away with her cooing and the baby echoing in response and I realized the parent was leaving. I interpreted the cooing to be the parent saying it loved 46 Fall 2015 | her voice

the baby, for it to stay safe and watch out for the eagles, that the parent would miss it and hoped to see it again and the baby responding that it loved the parent too. When the parent was all the way across the bay it cooed one last time with the baby responding, flew away and was gone. I was feeling so sad for the baby since we didn’t have any other babies in our bay and I still didn’t think it would make it. I woke up the next day to see another older baby fly in and swim next to our baby. They stayed together keeping each other company, with our baby trying to fly each day. Finally it took off and went a ways in the air and hit the water with an awkward nosedive, but kept practicing until it was gracefully air born. I saw them together until the weather got colder. Then one day a few other babies joined them in our bay rafting together. Finally, all of them took off, flew south and were gone. Our baby had made it against unusual odds mostly due to an unselfish and caring parent putting the baby’s welfare first. Becky Stover and husband Ken are snowbirds, wintering in Fort Myers, Fla., and spending summers on Upper Gull. She’s a member and past president of Nisswa Women’s Club. Besides loving loons, she also enjoys her creative writing group and book club.

YOUR PILLAGER-STAPLES CARE TEAM SEEING PATIENTS AT OUR PILLAGER & STAPLES CLINICS: Becky Bennett, PA-C; Arden Beachy, MD; Jody Giza, PA-C; Christine Albrecht, MD; Neil Bratney, Pediatrician


HELPING YOU LIVE WELL. Your care team is dedicated to your overall health and wellbeing. That means they know the ins and outs of your game plan—working alongside their partners to ensure you receive the care you deserve. So, regardless of which team member you see, you can rest assured, your health is in good hands.

800-525-1033 I 218-894-1515

Her Voice Magazine Fall 2015  

The Geritol Frolics: It takes more than a wing and a prayer to produce the Geritol Frolics. Carolyn Corbett talks with the Yunkers. • Prepar...

Her Voice Magazine Fall 2015  

The Geritol Frolics: It takes more than a wing and a prayer to produce the Geritol Frolics. Carolyn Corbett talks with the Yunkers. • Prepar...