By women...for women...about women.
Tiny Homes Knee Injuries Women with HART Third Generation
Plus... • ACTOR/ACTIVIST • THEATRE AT THE CREAMERY • DOMESTIC ABUSE A BRAINERD DISPATCH PUBLICATION
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From left left to to right: right: From Missy Laposky, Laposky, RN, RN, BA, BA, OCN; OCN; Missy From left to right: Lauraleft Joque, MD; Laura Joque, MD; From to right: Missy Laposky, RN, BA, OCN; Barb Morris, Morris, RN, BSN, BSN, OCN; OCN; Barb RN, Missy Laposky, Laura Joque, MD; RN, BA, OCN; Aby Z. Z.Joque, Philip, MBBS MBBS and and Aby Philip, Laura MD; Barb Morris, RN, BSN, OCN; Jessica Nybakken, AOCNP Jessica Nybakken, AOCNP Morris, RN,and BSN, OCN; Aby Barb Z. Philip, MBBS Aby Z. Philip, MBBS and Jessica Nybakken, AOCNP Jessica Nybakken, AOCNP
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SPRING ’15 Contents Features
Third Generation Madden
Making A Comeback
Helping Hands At Hallet
Women With HART
While the third generation often abandons the family business, Abbey Thuringer Pieper vows she won’t. By Jenny Holmes.
What happens when a knee injury disrupts the game of a Pequot Lakes basketball player? Read her story. By Katherine Hengel Frankowski.
It takes a cadre of women in the Crosby area to provide services at The Jessie Fern Hallett Memorial Library. By Jill Hannah Anderson.
Rescue dogs and cats in the area now have new digs. By Jodie Tweed.
Not always easy to read, this story reveals the abuse in a woman’s life and how she changes. By Carolyn Corbett.
On The Cover Photo by Joey Halvorson A third generation resort owner, Abbey Thuringer Pieper moves into management.
In This Issue
18 business • 12
Reaching For Your Dreams by Sheila DeChantel
homegrown • 14
From Teen to Queen by Kathryn Sundquist
the arts • 16
editorial • 4
An Ambassador of Goodwill
by Sandra Opheim
sports • 18
Two Roads Converged by Elsie Husom
38 actor/activist • 26
homes • 34
by Jan Kurtz
by Rebecca Flansburg
The Art Of Living Tiny
farmer • 28
by Amanda Whittemore
by Catherine Rausch
writers • 30
entrepreneurs • 42
by Audrae Gruber
by Marlene Chabot
Creative Transplant theatre • 32
Cream Of The Crop Theater Company by Mary Aalgaard
clubs and clusters • 46
Girls In Action by Monica Husen
by Meg Douglas
Spring 2015 | her voice 3
from the editor
An Ambassador of Goodwill
and a girlfriend talked their parents into letting them visit America. It was to be just for the summer but after meeting and marrying Sonny, her life changed. Ingrid’s mother liked to tease, “You had to go to America to marry an Anderson? You could have found hundreds right here in Sweden.” The Andersons spent the next 10 years Ingrid Anderson as government employees in the Panama calls Nisswa and Leksand, Sweden Canal Zone, summering sometimes with home. relatives on Lakes Margaret and Cullen. Attracted to our woods and water, the young ou can’t watch the news with- couple found a five-acre parcel on Gull out feeling we live in a world Lake in 1968. Like transplants before and divided by race, religion and after, Ingrid and Sonny had to make a living culture. But long before CNN, and with a part of her heart still in Sweden, or YouTube, a woman named she and Sonny opened The Swedish Timber Ingrid Anderson arrived in the House. Since 1999, Ingrid has officially been Brainerd lakes area from Sweden, sharing a dual citizen of Sweden and the United her culture with our community. States. After Sonny died in 2000, Ingrid ran For 30 years The Swedish Timber House the store just two more years before closing sold arts and crafts from Sweden, Norway, the doors. Now, with summers free, she told Denmark and Finland. Well known by both friends she needed to find a project “a little locals and summer residents, the store conbigger than knitting a sweater,” and bought nected the community to other cultures. Ingrid and her husband, Lloyd “Sonny” an old log structure on the family homeAnderson, crossed the ocean every winter, stead in Sweden. Over the next two years, she immersed herself in rebuilding and rescouting crafts and gifts. But more than a shopkeeper, Ingrid be- furbishing this 17th century structure as a came an unofficial ambassador, fielding summer residence. Ingrid returns to Nisswa in the wincalls from all over Scandinavia. Choirs, folk ter, our goodwill ambassador, keeping her dancers and orchestras, asked for help findMinnesota connections. Now a favorite ing venues at parks and theatres. “I never said no,” says Ingrid, who then made public activity: helping others find long-lost relaservice announcements on the radio, asking tives. They bring her letters to translate (she knows French and German beside English for housing. Ingrid remembers with a smile, a po- and Swedish); she does some family relice orchestra from Sweden, riding into search. “This has been so rewarding,” says Brainerd, parade-like, met by Brainerd po- Ingrid, her voice catching, “beautifully writlice with sirens blaring, bringing goodwill. ten letters, filled with family news and longThick notebooks and overflowing bags of ing for each other.” We are so grateful for our goodwill her projects include The Nisswa Stämman, a Scandinavian folk music festival that re- ambassador! mains a popular annual June event. In the ‘90s Ingrid worked with Brainerd city offi- Editor, Meg Douglas cials, creating a sister city relationship with her home district, Leksand, Sweden. Ingrid grew up on a poultry farm, in a village called Lycka in the Leksand district. At age 21, filled with an adventurous spirit, she
4 Spring 2015 | her voice
By women. For women. About women.
Tim Bogenschutz EDITOR
Meg Douglas DESIGN AND LAYOUT
Joey Halvorson COPY EDITOR
For advertising opportunities (218) 829-4705 1-800-432-3703 Online at: www.her-voice.com CONTACT US: Comments, suggestions or story topics: Lisa.Henry@brainerddispatch.com (218) 855-5871 or mail to ATTN: Her Voice Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 974, Brainerd, MN 56401 A quarterly publication of the Brainerd Dispatch. Printed by Forum Communications.
copyright© 2003 VOLUME 14, EDITION 1 SPRING 2015
PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON BY JENNY HOLMES
Abbey Pieper has fond memories of sunny days and riding on a golf cart with her grandfather, Jim Madden. The duo would make their rounds at the family resort, Madden’s on Gull Lake, checking on outlets and ensuring everyone was enjoying their stay. Abbey earned herself the nickname ‘Little Jim,’ as she was often Grandpa’s sidekick in the family business.
Abbey Thuringer Pieper is one of only a few women to serve in management in the hospitality industry.
essentially grew up on the resort. As kids, both my brother and I ‘worked’ at a very young age. I remember my first job at the resort was picking up cigarette butts in the parking lot when I was 6 or 7. I got a dime for every pickle bucket I could fill. I don’t know that I ever completely filled one, but I thought I was being helpful.” As she got older, Abbey’s responsibilities evolved. In her early teens, she assisted with the children’s program. Later, she worked as a server, a ski school instructor and worked through the ranks along with everyone else. In the summer, friends would also work at the resort; and it soon became part of who she was. “I don’t know that there was a job that my brother and I hadn’t had the pleasure of doing,” she laughed. “It was different. But, it was always really fun.” Abbey recalled, even at a young age, her brother declaring he wanted “to do what Dad does.” “He knew he wanted to be a resorter,” she said. “And I thought, ‘I’m never doing it. I’m doing my own thing.’” So while Abbey went away to school with intentions of majoring in medicine, Ben focused on the hospitality industry. However, it was during college that Abbey began to have a change of heart. She couldn’t quite explain it, but years of working in the resort business came flooding back to the forefront. While taking the Medical College Admission Test, Abbey and her brother Ben liked helping Abbey’s passion for working in a family-owned business their grandpa, Jim Madden, at the resort. drew her back to Madden’s. “It was a great way to grow up, and I thought it’d be a great way to raise a family. So I took a big 180 and decided I was going to do it.” Nearly three decades later, ‘Little Jim’ makes the rounds Abbey said her parents were very receptive to her change without her grandfather; but, undoubtedly, makes him of heart when she broke the news. proud as vice president of Madden’s resort and the third “I think they had their reservations, but they know me generation to take the reins of the family business. pretty well. With the unknowns In 1981, Abbey was born of life, I think they were pretty in Brainerd to Brian and Deb hopeful it would work out.” Thuringer. The couple had just In lieu of medical school, moved to the Brainerd area Abbey moved to Colorado earlier that year to assist in the Springs where she took a posioperations of Madden’s on Gull. tion working at The Broadmoor, Deb’s father, Jim Madden, had a luxury mountain resort, for a asked his son-in-law to move to number of years. It was there she the lakes area to help with the met the man she would evenGull Lake location after having ~ Abbey Thuringer Pieper tually call her husband, Brad helped run the Pine Edge Inn, Pieper. Brad also happened to another Madden family-owned be from Minnesota and was a hotel, in Little Falls for some summer friend of Abbey’s brother Ben. time. When Brad moved to Chicago to begin business school, As brothers and business partners, Jim and Jack Madden Abbey moved with him and worked for Hyatt Regency aged; they agreed Brian would be the successor to the famChicago, going from a boutique hotel to a big box convenily resort business. And, as such, Abbey and her younger tion center. brother, Ben, would come along for the ride. Abbey and Brad were soon engaged and Brad took a con“I was always around the business,” Abbey recalled. “We
“It was a great way to grow up, and I thought it’d be a great way to raise a family...”
66 Spring Spring 2015 2015 | her her voice voice
Third Generation Business
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sulting job in the Twin Cities, bringing them one step closer to making the transition back to the lakes area and Madden’s. Abbey worked remotely for the family business for several years and turned her multi-dimensional experience into something she could use to help in the transition. Studies have shown that only 12 percent of family businesses are still viable into the third generation and only about three percent of all family businesses operate into the fourth generation or beyond. Those statistics were staggering for Abbey. “I thought, ‘That’s not gonna happen on my watch,’” she said. The mother of a toddler, Abbey went back to school to earn a master’s of business administration. And, in the spring of 2013, she graduated, had a second child and moved back to the Brainerd area. Today, Abbey is one of few women to hold a senior management position within the hospitality industry. In fact, nationwide, research shows that fewer than 10 percent of hotel general managers are women. “It’s a business that requires a lot of your time,” Abbey noted. “It’s not a
Abbey and the original resort sign.
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7 Spring 2015 | her voice 7
business that opens its doors at eight and closes at five. It requires 24-hour-a-day attention. That itself is not conducive for a lot of women. However, I think women have a lot to offer. I’m a big women’s business advocate. I think women can do it. The resort business is about ensuring people are cared for and having a good time – all things women are uniquely positioned to excel in.” Both Thuringer siblings, Abbey and Ben, continue to increase their involvement at Madden’s, as their parents continue to slowly back away. Ben manages Madden Lodge, as well as the tennis and croquet center. Abbey has taken on a greater role in overseeing the renovation and revitalization of the Wilson Bay portion of the resort. “Ben and I have completely different strengths,” Abbey added. “But we work really well together. And not all family businesses have that. We bring those strengths together to be more effective.” Both have also quickly learned that “in a family business, when there’s a hole – you jump in and tackle it.” As a wife and busy mother of two young boys, Abbey said the road isn’t always easy, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. “Looking back on it, I’d do it all over again. Sure, at times, it was really hard. But I’m glad I did it. Being in the resort industry, it’s a blessing to be able to help families make memories. Because I was once part of that, too.” n
Abbey brings her own unique talents to the family business started by her grandfather, Jim Madden.
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15620 Edgewood Drive, Baxter Located in the Baxter Village 88 Spring Spring 2015 2015 || her her voice voice
Kayla Miller returns to the basketball court after a devastating injury. Women are at greater risk for knee injuries.
PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON
Making A Comeback Recovery after a knee injury
By KATHERINE HENGEL FRANKOWSKI
ayla Miller is just one of those athletes - naturally gifted, great size, speed and attitude. Though she was a three-sport athlete at Pequot Lakes High School, she shined brightest on the basketball court and Division I recruiters noticed. They started calling her in the spring of her junior year.
That same spring, Kayla was playing basketball in an off-season league. On May 18, 2013, early in the first half of a game, she got the ball at the 3-point line. She faked left, went right, then pulled up to shoot. The strength in her left leg propelled her skyward,
but from her right leg, “There was nothing.” On her way down from this misbalanced jump, she let out a small scream, released the ball and put her hand out on the shoulder of the girl defending her. Coaches and teammates raced to
Kayla’s side. As they helped her to her feet, she stood for the first time — though an MRI had yet to confirm it — as a member of a growing cohort of young female athletes with bodies and careers forever altered by an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear.
“All the recruiters — they just stopped calling.” - Kayla Miller Spring 2015 | her voice 9
sports fan, central Minnesota native, ACL tears get big press lately due and owner of Select Therapy, a practheir prevalence and their nastiness. tice established in 2003 that specialIn a 2013 Grantland piece, journal- izes in hands-on, patient-centric ist Neal Gabler calls the ACL tear physical therapy. “I don’t know where I would be “the Godzilla of injuries” because it is “painful beyond tolerance” and without Trevor,” Kayla says. “He pushed me to the next level. He takes “eons to rehab.” In other words, ACL tears are would do my workouts with me — devastating — especially for prom- even squats. He gave me handout ising young athletes like Kayla. “I after handout. In my opinion, he’s broke down after the MRI,” she re- the man.” Trevor encouraged Kayla, as he calls. “All the recruiters — they just encourages all ACL patients, to fostopped calling.” Of those first post injury, Kayla’s cus on full extension (the ability to mother says there were “a lot of fully straighten the injured leg) and tears.” Parents of young athletes who the strengthening of the quad mussustain ACL tears have their hands cles. “If you stress what’s important, full dealing with their children’s kids listen,” Trevor says. “Kayla came emotions. They also have a lot of in scared, like everyone does. But homework to do, says Kayla’s father, when you tell her something, she does it. I just kept building her up.” Bob Miller. For five months, Kayla met with “You feel helpless,” says Bob. “But there’s not much you can do except Trevor every week. “They were a team up and find the right people to great match,” says Kayla’s mother. “Kayla is very intense about her help.” Bob notes that shopping for med- sports. Trevor was able to take that ical care is difficult, but the good intensity and work with it. Toward news is that “you’ve got time,” as the end, they were playing half court, most surgeons won’t perform sur- one on one. They were fun to watch.” Trevor stresses that anyone lookgery until swelling dissipates and ing for a physical therapist should patients can straighten their leg. Together, Kayla and her parents look for someone with whom they used the time wisely, interviewing can connect. “The relationship matseveral Minnesota-based orthopedic ters,” he says. “If you don’t respect surgeons before selecting one for her your PT, you’re not going to listen.” As critical as the relationship besurgery on June 11, 2013 — about tween recovering athlete and physithree weeks after her injury. cal therapist is, Trevor is quick to AFTER THE SURGERY point out that no therapist can do Kayla knows the dates of her in- for an athlete what that athlete must jury and surgery by heart. Same with do for him or herself. “Kayla had the the date she chose as her recovery right mindset,” he says. “A PT can’t goal — November 18, 2013. That’s control that.” the day her senior year of basketball What was Kayla’s rehabilitation started. mindset? “I did my workouts every It was an aggressive target, leaving day,” she says. “I ran a lot of laps. just five months for post-surgery re- They say not to push yourself. But habilitation, a process that typically I did. Sometimes I went above and takes six to eight months. But Kayla beyond. That’s just what you do. If was determined, and she had found you want something, you work for a physical therapist who supported it.” her: Trevor Harting, an enthusiastic
THE FIRST FEW WEEKS
After physical therapy, Kayla can fully straighten her injured leg.
A GROWING PROBLEM Up close, an ACL doesn’t look like much. It resembles a stubby little bunch of angel-hair pasta — about an inch long and a halfinch wide. But this stout little ligament is integral; it connects your thighbone to your shinbone, holding these bones together and stabilizing your knee. Unfortunately, this ligament is tearing more than ever before, especially among female athletes. According to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), women suffer ACL injuries four times as often in basketball, three times as often in gymnastics, and nearly two and a half times as often in soccer as their male counterparts. Why are women at greater risk? Theories abound. Some blame estrogen — how it impacts ligaments. Others point to the differences between men’s and women’s pelvic-leg alignments. Kayla’s mother, Mary DeVahl, has a more existential explanation. “It’s one of those things that just happens,” she says. 10 Spring Spring2015 2015||her hervoice voice 10 Winter 2014 her voice
“If you want something,
you work for it.” ~ Kayla Miller
Kayla got what she wanted. On November 18, 2013, she was on the court, knee brace and all, for the first day of practice. But she wasn’t quite herself. “I would try to drive the lane, like I used to,” she says, “but I’d get hit and I’d get nervous.” Despite all her rehabilitation, Kayla still had work to do — most of it of a mental nature. “Kayla always liked to penetrate, make things happen,” says Pequot Lakes High School Girls’ Basketball Head Coach Jon Dale. “She had to change that and develop more of a perimeter game. Her shot came a long way as a result.” Her father agrees. “She’d always had all this natural ability. But after her injury, she had to start thinking about her game,” he says. It’s a transition that Kayla views in a positive light. “I know I’m better for it,” she says. Though Kayla was making changes to her game during her senior year, she was also leading her team to state, earning team MVP and making the all-area and all-conference teams. In fact, her performance was so impressive that the longsilent recruiters started calling once again; Wayne State in Nebraska offered her a full scholarship, as did Concordia
Katherine Hengel Frankowski grew up in Pillager and now lives in Minneapolis, writing for both a living and for pleasure. About one weekend a month, she fights the Twin Cities traffic and comes “up north” to spend time with her family.
University in St. Paul. “After losing all the attention after I got hurt, it was nice to have it again,” says Kayla. Kayla chose Concordia University. Presently, she wears the number 10 jersey for the Golden Bears and is studying sports medicine with plans to pursue a career in physical therapy. If ACL-tear trends continue, there’ll be plenty of work for her — especially among young female athletes. n
Kayla had to make both mental and physical adjustments to her game after her injury and rehab.
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Spring 2015 | her voice 11
PHOTO BY JOEY HALVORSON
Reaching for your Dreams
By SHEILA DECHANTAL
about reaching for your
dreams. She was dabbling in the title industry as a real estate closer when she heard through a friend that Univer-
Wife and mother Laura Vanlandshoot now oversees her company’s business in northern Minnesota as production manager for Universal Title.
sal Title was looking at opening an ofﬁce in Brainerd. Laura saw this as a door opening to her dreams.
Her husband Allen grew up vacationing in the Brainerd lakes area and had a dream to one day move there. Both Allen and Laura liked what the school district had to offer so they kept their eyes open for opportunities to move. When the children were 12, 8, and 3, they moved in 1993. “It was a crazy and exciting time for our family,” says Laura. Allen took a year and a half off to build their home while Laura worked full time at Universal Title. In the early years, Laura balanced her job with raising her children, often working nights and weekends. The three children spent a lot of time in the office with Laura while they were 12 Spring 2015 | her voice
growing up. Coming from a large family, Laura wanted her children to understand the value of a dollar and doing a job well. She and Allen owned a few rental properties and the children all helped out by assisting with cleaning and earning an allowance. Now, over 20 years later Laura holds the title of production manager for northern Minnesota. She oversees an area including: St. Cloud, Bemidji, Grand Rapids, Duluth and the Brainerd lakes area. Her children all are doing well, Camille, a dentist; John, a lawyer; and Emily has a degree in psychology. Now comfortable with her life, Laura
had more than her share of obstacles growing up. There were 14 brothers and sisters in a small home in St. Paul. Laura describes their childhood home as having a large room used for sleeping that was divided down the middle by a sliding door, with one side for the boys and the other for the girls. Later on, her father, who worked two or three jobs at a time to support his family, added on a couple more bedrooms. “Things were tight,” Laura recalls. At times the family was on welfare and anytime they could receive commodities they did. Laura’s grandmother Laura, who she was named after, had a large garden and was always bringing
over vegetables for the family to eat. She also collected clothes for the 14 children at the start of the school year. People always ask Laura what it is like to grow up in such a large family and to that she laughs. “The cool thing was there was always someone to hang out and do stuff with. More people to share the chores, but of course… with so many people there were more chores. Laundry, she recalls, “was an everyday thing.” “As children, we were always taught that we could be whoever we wanted to be and do whatever we wanted to do,” Laura says. Both of Laura’s parents Gordon and Ruth had some college education. It was in sixth grade that Laura says that she and her twin sister decided they would go to college. Laura says, “Knowing I was going to go to college changed my direction. It was good to know what my future held and I had a goal of reaching that future.”
Laura wanted to get a degree in special education. She had a younger brother who was severely handicapped, passing away from his disabilities at age 8. Laura knew she would go to school for special education to learn how to teach and work with handicapped children. Coming from such a large family, Laura qualified for a grant from Mankato State University. While the grant did not cover all her expenses, she worked to save money for her college years. She worked through all four of her college years and received her bachelor’s degree. After college, Laura found work in Wisconsin in special education. For a time she worked in an adult special education center as well as in a junior high school. Laura describes these positions as advancements in her career, but they also were quite political and soon Laura moved back to St Paul to see what doors might open for her.
While working in St. Paul, she met her husband, Allen through his brother who was a co-worker of hers. “We hit it off,” Laura laughs. Soon the couple married and they had three children. Laura still enjoys working full time. She finds value in her job and in spending time with her family, which now with marriages and babies, has grown even larger. Laura worked hard to open the door to her dreams. n
Sheila DeChantal has lived all her life in the Brainerd lakes area. She reviews books at bookjourney.work-press.com and besides being a crazy book addict, she also likes biking, roller blading, hiking, traveling and other adventures.
Spring 2015 | her voice 13
From Teen to
By KATHRYN SUNDQUIST
was a seventh grader at Forestview Middle School. I had never worn a pair of high- heeled shoes and didn’t own a dress.
I could barely shave my legs without hitting a vein. My biggest battle was winning the war against acne. I could hardly get a brush through my hair and I still had braces. If there is an ugly duckling stage in a girl’s life, PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON
“You don’t have to be perfect to be in a pageant,” says Forestview middle schooler and teen queen, Kathryn Sundquist.
14 14 Spring 2015 | her voice
I was in it. A girl has to pass the time while in these awkward years. I was busy with Just For Kix dance, Stroia ballet and tennis. I also ran 5K races with my mom. Last year, I crossed the finish line of the Thanksgiving Turkey 5K Run at Northland Arboretum and was waiting for my mom to finish. I knew it would be a while. As I was standing around, I saw Bill Musel, one of my mom’s co-workers from the school district and we began visiting through chattering teeth. Bill is the co-director of the Miss Brainerd/Baxter United States pageant and he encouraged me to enter this local pageant in the spring. Does this guy need glasses? Was this some sort of joke? My nose was running. I was in
sweaty clothes with no make-up and around the state, queens are given learned no matter what disability a my hair pulled back in a ponytail. I’m many opportunities to volunteer. We person has, we all love hot dogs. I not sure I even brushed my teeth that ran the Susan G. Koman Race for the learned too much glue on false eyeCure, thankfully in tennis shoes and lashes makes me wink…at everyone. morning. As spring temperature warmed up, not high heels! We also volunteered I learned queens still have to ride the so did my interest in entering the pag- at Relay For Life and cleaned up bus to school. I learned I am too busy eant. It seemed like something good downed trees at Camp Vanasek. These to have a boyfriend. It is unbelievable how a person can to do and when I went to the infor- queens get dirty. I also had the opportunity to be change in one year. I have had the opmational meeting, involved in oth- portunity of a lifetime and now own everyone was so “It is unbelievable er queens’ plat- a lot of dresses. I am excited to comnice. I showed up forms expanding pete for the title of Miss Junior Teen to the practices and how a person can my knowledge Minnesota in February where I can took my first baby steps in five-inch change in one year.” of how we can continue to show other generations make a dif- that young people can put down their Tippy Top heels. ~Kathryn Sundquist ference in our electronic devices, have meaningful Eventually, my conversations, be active in their comcommunity. walk went from a I had the opportunity to speak at a munity and build lasting relationwobble to something of a strut. I also learned how to do those sassy pageant city council meeting and meet our lo- ships - in high heels. n turns you see on television. It seems cal and state legislators. I didn’t always Kathryn Sundquist is an eighth grader at Forestridiculous, but I also learned how to know who they were so it helped me view Middle School and the reigning Miss Junior properly introduce myself and answer understand how government works Teen Brainerd. Her passion is dancing at Just For Kix and dreams of being a Kixter one day. She interview questions. (You need to outside of a text book. has won three writing contests in the Brainerd I learned to interact with people think quickly!) School District. Entering the pageant world for the and discovered that little girls and first time can be overwhelming but senior citizens love us equally. I there are a lot of people that guide you along the way. Vicki Randall, PERMANENT MAKE-UP the other co-director of this pageant, Eyeliner • Eyebrows • Lip Liner/ Lipstick helped me select an interview dress, Catharine Funk CPCP New Ser vice lovely evening gown and age approEntire Purchase of priate swimsuit (she also taught me Non Sale Items how to apply butt glue.) The reigning Infant - Women Sizes and Gifts queens also give you great resources Permanent Make-Up Service Expires 5/26/15 - one per customer per visiit Expires 5/26/15 - one per customer per visiit for pageant hair and makeup (neither one should be worn to middle school) PALON PALON and the many websites that you can OUTIQUE OUTIQUE purchase used items to make this an An Aveda Concept Salon An Aveda Concept Salon affordable experience. YO G A - - P I L AT E S - - A E R I A L F I T N E S S It took a village, but I cleaned up 4430 Main St. Pequot • 218-568-5185 • blissspalon.com nicely and grew into this confident young woman. In June, I was crowned Miss Junior Teen Brainerd. Summer is a whirlwind of events including parades and other local pageants representing the Brainerd lakes area. When Bill and Vicki tell us about a scheduled appearance, I am not always sure it will be a fun one. However, I have learned that a carload of sister queens 218-454-8272 make every event exciting. Besides making appearances 001197061r1
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15 Spring 2015 | her voice 15
By SANDRA OPHEIM
someone says you have a screw loose, you may get a bit upset. Sara Miller, on the other hand, has the right tool
to set things straight and make you look trendy.
PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON Inspired by her husband’s machine shop, Sara Miller repurposes industrial materials in her jewelry designs.
Sara is a jewelry designer who uses your more industrial materials. She can turn “O” rings, miniature nuts, lock washers, standard washers and stainless steel wire and chain into necklaces, earrings and bracelets. She has a knack for making jewelry with an industrial flair. Sara lives in Staples with her husband Jeremiah and their sidekick pup, Baxter. Married for 13 years, Sara says Jeremiah inspires her jewelry creations. “We have a machine shop, JDM Machining, and he can fix anything, make anything. He amazes me with his creativ-
ity,” she says. Although she has college training and work experience in floral design and has also worked for the local hospital in medical coding for 10 years, she was needed in the machine shop as it grew. “It is a perfect place to be inspired to make ‘industrious’ jewelry.” Sara has fun making pieces on personal requests. “A lady from Texas commissioned a piece in honor of her dog, Moonpie. I designed a necklace with the critter’s name on it. It was for the woman to wear and not the dog,” she chuckled. She enjoys making custom pieces for her cus-
tomers, friends and family. People nationwide order her jewelry. Her favorite piece is a necklace fashioned after a 45 record adaptor. It reminded her of childhood and the nostalgia led her to making a cool necklace. Her husband’s machining talents came in handy and helped her make her vision a reality. Her ability to combine beads and your standard washer into lovely earrings is impressive. Growing up in the country near the small town of Holdingford and living on a farm with five siblings - four brothers and one sister -
EMERALD FISH DESIGNS CAN BE FOUND AT WWW.ETSY.COM/SHOP/EMERALFISHDESIGNS.COM 16 Spring 2015 | her voice
Sandra Opheim is the author of the picture book, “Whose Hat is That?” An educator and coach in the Staples-Motley Schools, she is also a mother and wife who loves anything outdoors.
she suggests looking through jewelry making and beading magazines and visiting YouTube. She purchases products from a variety of suppliers and a lot of the online suppliers also provide helpful design tips. Her company, Emerald Fish Designs, sells earrings, bracelets, necklaces and rings. The jewelry currently ranges in price from $5 to $45. If you are more traditional, she has beaded creations too. She admits that she could expand to art shows, craft fairs and get her work into local coffee shops. “I just need to take the time to do my research and weigh my options.” She would also like to pursue learning new processes and techniques in her jewelry making so she can improve and expand in her skills, all while continuing to work with her husband in the machine shop. n
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helped her to be resourceful. Fixing go carts and transforming wagons and little trailers to be trollied behind the go-carts allowed her to experiment with tools, metals and creativity. “The sheds always had a lot of rusty nuts, bolts, fasteners, screws, fittings, different tools, parts and antiques. You had to hunt for what you needed to get the job done. We had a lot of fun. When I was about 7 or 8 I asked for a bead kit, and that’s when my interest for jewelry making really began. As I grew up I also bought old jewelry, tore it apart and repurposed it into something else.” Sara’s jewelry making interest continued when she attended a beading class at the Bead Box in Brainerd. The store has since closed for business. “I learned the basics using ordinary beads, clasps, wire and more. Today, not all of my creations turn out. It’s a lot of trial and error. Some end up getting thrown out or torn apart to be rebuilt. But it’s all part of the process and I just try to have fun with it.” For the novice jewelry maker, Sara suggests acquiring a chain nose pliers, a flat nose pliers and a good wire cutter for tools, and then adding more tools as your need grows, which it will. She enjoys working with all materials depending on what she is making, but prefers stainless steel wire, chain, hardware and other materials and components because it is durable, won’t rust and is usually safe for sensitive skin. To get tips on how to make your own designs,
Spring 2015 | her voice 17
sports and wellness
Two Roads Converged
PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON
By ELSIE HUSOM
“I feel that I am the luckiest person in the world,” says Cassie. “My job is to coordinate an effort in which I ﬁrmly believe; I am among supportive people and I get to coach college basketball, which has always been a dream.”
Unlike Robert Frost, Cassie Carey did travel both roads: one leading to teaching and coaching and the other to a health and wellness career. She has discovered at this time in her life, the two roads have converged. The first road Cassie took to a teaching/ coaching career, began when she was very young. Born into a sports-minded family, she spent her growing up years involved in softball, basketball, volleyball and golf. Shooting hoops with her dad and older sisters – often into late dark - taught her “the value of practice, even in the off-season.” High school sports led to college basketball and golf. Graduating with a degree in physical education and health, she taught at Milaca and then Pine River Elementary and began her 14
Spring 2015 | her voice
venture into coaching and refereeing. This career path next took her on a four-day drive to Alaska, pulling a trailer with everything needed for her new job teaching at Valdez High School. When she inquired about coaching also, the principal replied, “We don’t have a boys’ basketball coach; would you be willing to take on this job?” Cassie’s response: “Why wouldn’t I?” With only a few glitches, the years in Alaska were wonderful. Traveling 350 miles for games at some high schools, the team stayed overnight, sleeping on a classroom floor. Her assistant coach, husband Alvin, chaperoned the boys while Cassie slept in the athletic director’s office. The team even traveled to Minnesota to play local teams with
Following both her passions, Cassie Carey coaches women basketball at Central Lakes College and coordinates the community initiative, Crow Wing Energized.
expenses covered by their fundraising over $20,000. The call of the lakes area was strong, and after three years, Cassie and Alvin returned to be closer to family and to begin her travels on the road to a health and wellness career. Cassie says, “I had two wakeup calls which eventually led me down the second career road. Being diagnosed with cancer as a high school junior changed my disposition in life. I learned to be resilient and not to take life for granted.” Her father’s fatal heart attack at age 59 was the second wakeup call. According to Cassie, “Our family has always struggled with weight control, but its dangers didn’t really sink in until I lost my dad.” Although her studies in health education had embedded the
importance of a healthy lifestyle, it was her development of a medical careers teaching unit that ignited interest in a health career for herself. She entered the nursing program at Central Lakes College and graduated with an RN degree last year. Juggling her studies, nursing in Urgent Care and being a lifestyle change coach at Essentia Health was a challenge. When a position opened for a health and wellness specialist, Cassie saw it as a perfect fit. In February, Crow Wing County and Essentia Health partnered in hosting a community health and wellness summit, from which Crow Wing Energized was launched with Cassie Carey as coordinator. “Crow Wing Energized is a grassroots ... movement that aims to help engage, equip and empower community members of all ages to make the healthy choice the easy choice.” Cassie reaches out to existing organizations, “energizing” them in their wellness
efforts. At this time, she is overseeing numerous community driven “strategies” dealing with mental fitness, smoking cessation and weight control. She works to create connections that will help improve the overall health of Crow Wing County’s 62,000 people – a dauntless undertaking. Cassie is not intimated by this “recruiting” task. It is little different from her recruiting of basketball players. Yes, recruiting! Cassie’s career roads converged this fall when she took on coaching the Central Lakes College women’s basketball team. Recruiting is not the only similarity between Cassie’s positions as coordinator and coach. To her, promoting teamwork on the basketball court is a synonym for seeking collaboration among community entities. As Cassie relates, “I love to be part of a group of people working together for a common cause.” With high expectations of herself and others, Cassie is still realistic.
“I don’t ask for 110 percent, but I do expect others to give the best they can at a given time.” Whether in the gym or community meetings, convincing others to choose a healthy lifestyle is key to both jobs. Having education and experience in nursing, teaching physical education and health as well as coaching and refereeing is definitely an asset. Conferring with prospective collaborators for Crow Wing Energized or blowing her Fox 40 whistle on the basketball court, Cassie shows her conviction and commitment to her blended career in the energy she puts into each. n Elsie Husom is a retired educator who lives west of Brainerd. She loves to golf, read, travel, play mindchallenging games and make art. She volunteers at the Crow Wing County Jail and the Crossing Arts Alliance.
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Spring 2015 | her voice 19
Lots of staff work and help out at the Jessie Fern Hallett Memorial Library.
Helping Hands at Hallett PHOTOS AND STORY By JILL HANNAH ANDERSON
nyone who loves books would be lost, or broke, without their local library - plain and simple. As much as I love to read, there is no way I can buy every single book I want to read. So all you book lovers out there, 20
Spring 2015 | her voice
go hug your local library. Or at least a librarian or two. And the book lovers in the Crosby area owe an enormous hug to E.W. and Jessie Hallett. When E.W. Hallett funded the building of a library in Crosby back in 1978, he dedicated it in memory of his beloved wife, Jessie, who had passed away two years earlier. And likely had no idea of the nest he’d made for future decades of female workers who would keep the fire going in honor of his wife. Or of the learning and laughter that has gone on every day inside those
walls. I know… shhhhhhh! Jessie was a refined woman with a great love for children (their two sons died young.) She was trained as a teacher and very involved in church and social activities. The Jessie Fern Hallett Memorial Library ( JFHML) has maintained the integrity of Jessie over these past 30-plus years, building on the desire to help others learn through books, expand their horizons and work at continuing to keep the doors of the library open for many generations to come. Jeanette N. Smith was the first to oversee the living memorial to Jessie Fern Hallett. I recently attended an event where author William Kent Krueger spoke about libraries and librarians and their importance in a community. “They help us research our past, enhance the present and learn for the future.” The hands of many women keep JFHML alive and hopping, doing just as William Kent Krueger said. Beginning with Peggi Beseres, head librarian, with 29 years of experience at JFHML, it has truly been her second
â€œI love the point in a story where kidsâ€™ eyes sparkle...â€? ~ Sharon Beaman
In the popular children section of the library, librarian Christie Elliott reads to (left to right) Brad Hachey, Nate Hachey, Ben Przymus and Ella Przymus.
each Wednesday for story hour. â€œI love the point in a story where kidsâ€™ eyes sparkle as they â€˜catch onâ€™ to what the author or illustrator is conveying,â€? says Beaman about story hour. Children are such an important part
of the library and Deb reinforces their commitment to children. â€œWe hope to develop a more vibrant teen readership in the next year.â€? Munns has a fond memory of E.W. Hallett with the area children. â€œI feel
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home for nearly three decades. In fact, the librarians have a combined experience of over 50 years - and thatâ€™s not even including their experience at previous libraries. Besides Beseres, the women of the library staff includes Deb Weide, Sharon Beaman, Becky Munns, Gale Leach, Christie Elliott, student worker Ashley Bartel and custodian Carol Bobich and all wear many hats. Beseres says it best. â€œI am a teacher by trade, but would like to be a writer or be in advertising. When you are a librarian, you do all three.â€? Add thespian to the list of jobs for Weide. â€œIf I werenâ€™t a librarian, Iâ€™d have to be in the movies or on stage because I have a little of the â€œhamâ€? in me when put in front of an audience ... like 30 preschoolers.â€? The JFHML library has many areas to offer patrons. Le Connection is their updated computer lab and Wi-Fi internet cafe, along with a small coffee and hot cocoa shop. Backstreet Books is a small shop that hosts used books, DVDs, book art and related crafts and outside is the Garden of Readâ€™N. Probably the most popular areas are for youth: Curbside for teens and an early childhood interactive area called Cattale Corner. One child care facility from the Brainerd area brings 12 to 15 young children to the JFHML library
Spring 2015 | her voice 21
very fortunate I was able to meet Mr. Hallett and thank him for providing such a wonderful library. I remember him standing at the doorway of the newly completed library and handing Lifesavers candies out to the children who entered the library.” As with any business, JFHML employees have a wish list. “I’d love to see a large outdoor reading area for those perfect Minnesota weather days. And I’d like my desk to be out there too, on those days,” Beaman jokes. While Beaman wants to make the most of the summer months, Munns is thinking of the long winter months. “I think an electric fireplace would be a cozy addition.” The JFHML Friends Foundation was formed in 2011
to help promote and support the work of the library. The funds raised go toward special programs and materials and many area women contribute in one way or another. Some have donated their works of art — everything from knit items and quilts to repurposed book-page flowers, doll clothes, birdhouses and handcrafted jewelry — which are sold through the Backstreet Bookstore. Others write grants or serve on the library board, or JFHML Friends Board. More than 100 women have donated books for the mega book sale in August and other items used for their yearly Jessie’s boutique fundraiser. The library sponsors around five author talks each year
to m o d e e “ The fr o ver y read is s nt...” importa ide e ~ Deb W
Spring 2015 | her voice
JFHML librarians: (Left to right) student worker Ashley Bartel, Peggi Beseres, Deb Weide, Sharon Beaman, kneeling, Gale Leach.
along with many public and children activities. Seventy percent of the funding comes from the Hallett Trusts and this library is the only Minnesota public library funded mainly by private sources, the Hallett Charitable Trust. Beseres explains the book selection process. “The patrons make requests and we order books/ebooks/ audiobooks once every four to six weeks. Some books are part of a “plan” by major booksellers and there is a material selection committee. I do the actual ordering. We also receive book donations from patrons.” For Leach, the billing clerk, one of the few downsides of the job is making sure books are returned to the library. One of their favorite moodlifters is their Quote Board. “Sharon keeps a quote bulletin board of funny things the staff has said over the
years. We laugh a lot at the library,” Beseres says. Every year seems to bring something new and exciting to the JFHML. As Beaman says, “My mantra is ‘Blessed are the flexible!’ because a library is like a living organism that changes and adapts and grows all the time.” The main focus will always be bringing the written word to the public. Says Weide, “The freedom to read is so very important. Everyone has the right to read books and materials of their choosing.” What a wonderful way to spend a day… surrounded by books. No matter what form: ebooks, audio books or printed, as author Helen Exley has said, “Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled ‘This could change your life.’” n
Jill Hannah Anderson enjoys writing, running, reading, and the outdoors, and has started a new guest book recommendation blog~ http://fridayfictionfriend.blogspot.com/ and is currently working on her second women’s fiction novel. You can connect with her here:www.JillHannahAnderson.com.
PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON
Women with HART include, JoEllen Johnson (back,left), Mary Kirzeder, Pam Boucher, Janet Larson, Ashley McCapes, Katie Rettkowski, Alesha Rothberg (front, left), Donna Wambeke, Teasha Scheeler.
The entire staff at Heartland Animal Rescue Team, all 13 part- and full-time employees, is made up of women.
By JODIE TWEED
erhaps that’s not surprising, since women have long been on the forefront of the fight for the humane treatment of animals. The Brainerd lakes area animal shelter was formed by a group of concerned women – along with their supportive husbands – in 1987. Back
then, HART’s operating budget was about $1,000 a year and volunteers fostered and cared for the animals in need of loving homes. “I think women are drawn to this type of work,” explained HART executive director Donna Wambeke, who is also one of HART’s founders. “It’s a nurturing type of job.”
Camille Haglin, kennel assistant, loves her job. Spring 2015 | her voice 23
Left, Mary Kirzedar, receptionist, holds Dottie the cat. Right, Ashley McCapes and Teasha Scheeler, both kennel assistants, prepare the cats’ lunch in the med room. Next Page: Katie Rettkowski (left) and Camille Haglin do laundry and clean kennels.
“It’s a lot of work...but it’s rewarding work.” ~ Janet Larson
Thanks to its staff and generous supporters, HART continues to grow to meet the needs of homeless pets in the Brainerd lakes area. Today HART has an operating budget of $440,000 and finds forever homes for more than 2,500 cats, dogs and other unwanted pets each year. The shelter also provides impound services for 18 area municipalities. In 2014, HART underwent a stunning remodeling project. Instead of building a new animal shelter because their existing building was badly in need of repairs, HART board of directors embarked on a $500,000 remodeling project, asking for donations to help offset the cost. HART had occupied its current building since 1992, and had only made minimal repairs since then, Wambeke explained. While the impound area remained at 24 Spring 2015 | her voice
the shelter during the renovation, the entire animal rescue team moved its operation to the former Brainerd High School farm site for the summer, from May 5 to Sept. 4. The school farm site was a perfect temporary location for the summer. The shelter took six large outdoor kennels with them for the dogs, who also enjoyed running around the large pole buildings at the farm. “It was like camping with all these animals,” Wambeke said with a laugh. “Thank goodness for the farm. I don’t know what we would have done with our circus.” HART now offers a state-of-theart facility, with an improved ventilation system for the animals and new animal-proof surfaces that make it easier to clean. Each dog kennel now has its own floor drain, allowing kennel workers to thoroughly clean each kennel and reduce the spread of illness. A new floor plan has allowed the
shelter to streamline its surrender and adoption processes by offering separate entrances. There are puppy and kitten rooms, and an “Itty Bitty” room for birds and small furry animals. The Meet and Greet room allows adoptive families to spend time with their prospective dog or cat. “It’s not extravagant; it’s very functional,” Wambeke said of the improvements. “A lot of thought and details went into this.” HART has raised $225,000 for the project and funded the rest with a bank loan. A fundraiser is planned this spring. While you don’t have to be a woman to work at HART, it does take someone who is compassionate, yet realizes that sometimes you can’t save them all. HART is an “open door” shelter, which means they do not turn away any animals, whether they are sick or injured. Often staff members will take home animals that need extra care to try to nurse them back to health. “I
Adopting a pet? www.hartpets.org (218) 829-4141
foster a lot of animals, and all the staff does, too,” said Alesha Rothberg, shelter manager. “It’s a lot of rewarding work, a lot of frustrating work, but in the end, you know you’re making the lives of the animals better,” said Janet Larson, HART office manager. Larson has worked at HART since 1998. One of HART’s greatest missions is education. They offer monthly “Young at HART” classes for children ages 4-11. They also offer birthday parties for children who can visit the animals, play games and learn about responsible pet ownership and receive gift bags and a snack. They also host school, church and community tours, which includes a presentation about animal welfare. Right now they are focused on educating the public about reducing the cat population through spaying and neutering. Their cat intake, as it is at most animal shelters, has exploded in recent years.
If you’re looking for a dog or cat to join your family, visit HART’s website, to view photos and descriptions of the animals now available for adoption.
Fortunately, now is the best time to become a shelter dog. The trend is to adopt shelter dogs, rather than buy from breeders. When you adopt from HART, your new pet has been tested for heartworm or feline leukemia, vaccinated and the dogs have been microchipped. All dogs and cats are spayed and neutered before they are available for adoption. Wambeke said when pet owners buy or adopt a “free” dog or cat from an online pet adoption site, they don’t necessarily know the health, condition or temperament of the animal. Wambeke herself adopted a Chihuahua that had been flipped for a profit by four different owners on an online classifieds before ending up at HART. The dog, now named Mr. Beans, was terrified of people. It took lots of loving care to make him the affectionate family dog he is today. In many situations, a pet owner has to surrender an animal because of a crisis situation, which can be heart-
breaking. In July a couple was forced to surrender their black labs, Bear and Bandit, who were each more than nine years old. In October, an older couple adopted the two furry friends and they remain together in the last years of their lives. People often tell Wambeke that they feel sorry for the dogs and cats at the shelter, but those aren’t the animals that worry her at night. She worries about the unwanted pets that haven’t yet found their way to HART. “These aren’t the dogs you should feel sorry for,” said Wambeke. “It’s the ones that aren’t here that you should feel sorry for.” n
Jodie Tweed, a freelance writer and frequent Her Voice contributor, lives in Pequot Lakes with her husband and three daughters. Spring 2015 | her voice 25
Stage Right By JAN KURTZ
Stage right, seated primly on a tapestry sofa, head held high, her loose bouncy curls flow from beneath her shiny faux leopard hat. Her blue eye shadow accentuates the fire red lipstick and matching fingernails, now tapping the bottom of her martini glass. Two strings of large beads cascade from her neck to the waist of her long, shimmering brown velvety dress. PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON
26 Spring 2015 | her voice
As an activist, Barb McColgan works for the rights of the LGBT community. As an actor she plays Madame Arcati in “Blithe Spirit.”
“My mother was a medium before me,” she is sharing with her dubious hostess, “I had my first trance when I was 4-years-old . . . of course, the manifestations were quite short in duration.” Thus we meet Madame Arcati, delightfully interpreted by actress Barb McColgan in the play, “Blithe Spirit.” Barb will throw herself into séances, faint ‘dead away’ and bring back not one but two wives from the other side, truly haunting the astounded husband. Acting came into Barb’s life during high school at Hill City. “In a class of 26, there were only six girls to fill the parts in ‘Annie Get Your Gun.’ I got to be Annie,” Barb explained about her arrival on stage. “I had always liked getting personal responses from family and friends. Make them laugh. Make connections.” Despite her new found venue for connections, it was years after graduation before Barb found herself again on the stage. “First, there was college. Then, having a career, being a wife and raising my two sons took precedence. It wasn’t until much later when Dennis Lamberson urged my friend, Wendy DeGeest, to have me show up at the first rehearsal of “The Producers.” He needed some old ladies. We would just have to walk on and wouldn’t even
have any lines. I tried out, got the part and, event though I didn’t have to say a thing, I was nervous!” Barb’s next role jumped to 300 lines as the character Veta Louise Simmons in “Harvey.” “I would listen to my part on a CD, but it became easier when actually on stage with other actors performing everything in context. An unexpected problem was not understanding stage lingo. What did it mean to upstage someone? Where was stage left?” Beyond the connection with audiences, Barb enjoys the camaraderie with the cast and crew. “It is, by nature a supportive arrangement. If you forget a line, everyone has to rally. It is a team effort. It is fun!” This sense of teamwork and supportive community emerged in another role that Barb had not foreseen in her life: door-knocking and phone calling for OutFront Minnesota, an organization working for the rights of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) population. “I had always felt that the discrimination against these individuals was not only allowed, but sanctioned,” Barb began. “When my oldest son ‘came out’ to us in college, I believe, as a mother, that I had known for a long time. I had no change in my attitude, but it became clear that I could no longer be on the sidelines of these issues.” “I attended an OutFront MN Lobby day at the State Capitol with my son. I saw the families and their pain as we met with our legislators. One young man, standing there in tears, had been handed a pamphlet on ‘how he could be cured of his homosexuality.’ He equated it to being African-American and having someone hand him a brochure on the Ku Klux Klan.” This experience led Barb from holding her cards close to her chest to becoming a volunteer representative for OutFront MN in Brainerd. She entered the scene as the campaigns for Vote No and Marriage Equality issues were heating up. Barb worked as a phone caller, receiving role play training that would hopefully result in non-
Proud Mother. “My son told me that meant more than he could ever say.”
dren. How could I walk away and take the chance of letting these wonderful people and my son down?” As the Marriage Equality Vote was being counted at the Capitol, Barb was there, wearing her rainbow colored T-Shirt with bold lettering announcing, “Proud Mother.” “My son told me that meant more than he could ever say.” Barb cited Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous quote: “Do one thing every day confrontational information gather- that scares you.” Be it on the homeing. It was a quest to define what Vote town stage as an eccentric medium No implied and to answer questions. falling into trances or standing up When more trainers were needed, for your core beliefs, Barb urges you she stepped in and ultimately stepped to: “Overcome your fears and try. out into the streets with face-to-face Simply try.” n door-knocking. “The door-knocking was an effort to collect signed postcards that could be presented to the legislators, verifying support for extending these Jan Kurtz recently retired, human rights to LGTB people,” Barb shedding her career perexplained. “I was one of the so-called sona. She plans to cocoon this winter and watch for “Momma Bears,” mothers motivated what the next stage of life by the discrimination against our chiland spring will bring.
her voice voice 27 27 Spring 2015 | her
Make Soap —
When life gives you too much goat’s milk PHOTOS AND STORY By AMANDA WHITTEMORE
When Abbie Schramm settled on a farm north of Jenkins, she just wanted to provide fresh food for the family. But her goats produced an abundance of milk and she found herself with a unique entrepreneurial opportunity. When life gives you too much goat’s milk, make soap!
Owner of B&B FarmCo. with her husband, Abbie Schramm makes soaps and lotions from goats’ milk. 28 Spring 2015 | her voice
Pequot Lakes natives Abbie and her husband Luke were high school sweethearts. The Schramms have two blonde-haired and boisterous sons, Brak, 6, and Brodie, 4, and farming is deeply rooted in Abbie’s family. Her parents, Lance and Robyn Bragstad of Brakstad’s Green Acres, raise Jersey beef steers and bale and sell hay, to name just a few activities, on their 325-acre farm that has been passed down through generations since 1917. Passionate about farming and sustainable living, the Schramms began building their small hobby farm after marrying in 2007. Starting with horses and hens, Abbie wanted to expand the farm to include a fresh source of milk for her family. Abbie purchased her first goat, a Nubian doe named Nellie, in December 2010. Nellie would be the first of many and soon the herd swelled to 17. Her goats boast names like Hiccup and Marshmallow,
manageable herd of seven. Chores start at 6:30 a.m. every morning with the last round of chores at 6:30 p.m. Brak and Brodie participate in chores and they understand the farm animals are intended to provide milk, meat and eggs for their family. Abbie says, “We chose to live the farming lifestyle for our kids. Farming teaches you so much about animals, the land, nutrition and so much more. It gives you a whole new respect for where your food comes from and for the animals that provide it. Farming can be the most rewarding and most heartbreaking job in the world. We are thankful to be sharing that lifestyle with our kids.” In her “spare time,” Abbie works parttime as a vet assistant in Crosslake and is the head dance coach at the Pequot Lakes High School where she formerly
taught high school history. She currently teaches “Soap Making 101” and “Soap Making 102” at workshops and for private groups. “Moving forward,” says Abbie, I would like to see our farm become more efficient and support itself. I would like for us to rely even less on food from other sources and be able to sustain our family from our land. I would love to see my business grow and spend more of my time just focusing on our family and farm.” The farm lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but Abbie embraces it wholly, graciously reaping what she so passionately sows. You can find more on B & B FarmCo. on Facebook. n
Amanda Whittemore coordinates an AmeriCorps national service program at the Initiative Foundation in Little Falls. She’s passionate about volunteering, local foods and caffeinated beverages. She enjoys fawning over her daughter, spending time outdoors with her hunter-gatherer husband and freelance writing and editing.
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named by her son, Brak. Goat’s milk is naturally homogenized and easy to digest with each goat producing as much as three quarters of a gallon of milk per day, far more than the Schramms could consume. In response to the excess milk and not wanting to waste a drop, Abbie began researching homemade goat’s milk products. “They say that if you like to bake, you’ll be good at making soap which requires following directions very closely,” Abbie says, having made her first loaf of soap in 2011. She gave the soap away as gifts to friends and family who told her, “You should sell this stuff !” At the end of 2011, after much experimenting to refine her soaping practices and recipes, Abbie formally established B & B Goat Goods, LLC – for Brak and Brodie – and began selling her soaps. In the coming years, the business has grown to include 27 varieties of goat’s milk soap. Some of the best-sellers are lavender, wild daisy and spring bouquet. She also makes unscented soap for those with sensitive skin, two body scrubs, four lotions, a body butter, bath salts and two lip balms. Additionally, Smude’s Sunflower Oil sells several of her products under their private label. The soaps are heavenly, some swirled with a variety of bright colors, others with natural earth tones and hints of herbs, flowers and citrus. Abbie’s conscious about what she puts in her products and thoughtful about the impact on both consumers and the environment. The lotions are free of paraben and formaldehyde, preservatives typically found in many cosmetic products. Her goat’s milk soaps and other products are sold at several local stores, area farmers’ markets and other special events. In 2013, B & B Goat Goods became B & B FarmCo., a name more inclusive of all the growing farm’s doings that now include selling livestock and meat. The farm has also grown to include a handful of cows and pigs, though the goat numbers have decreased to a more
Corner of 7th & Laurel • Downtown Brainerd 829-7266 • www.elmenkjewelers.com Monday-Friday 9:00 to 5:30 Spring 2015 | her voice 29
Sue By AUDRAE GRUBER
Smith-Grier ’s life story as a writer began as a kindergartener in Chicago when her ﬁrst poem was published with a picture. “From the moment I could hold a crayon, I wrote,” says Sue, now a storyteller with Storycoat Tales. Sue wasn’t sure what she would find for writers and groups when she moved to the Brainerd lakes area three years ago, but in a short time she found new inspiration and many new friends. She was an honored poet at the Poetry on the Wall program at the Q gallery in 2014, and is involved with writing groups in Staples and Brainerd. She has participated and completed the NANOWRIME challenge (write a novel in a month) for the past two years. For DyNAMC magazine in California, she writes descriptive stories of women in leadership roles. She is an engaging storyteller and spent last Halloween telling stories to school children in Staples. She makes and sells her jewelry. She plays the guitar and recently accompanied the reading of Kathy Krueger’s poetry at the Brainerd Women’s Shelter Celebration. She is involved with the Franklin Art Center as an artist, storyteller and writer. Most recently, Sue’s own story is being pub-
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PHOTO BY JOEY HALVORSON Sue-Smith Grier brings a new voice to the writing community in Brainerd.
lished by the Minnesota Historical Society Press for Blues Vision: “An African American Writers in Minnesota Anthology” to be published in 2015. This anthology will include writers Gordon Parks, well known journalist and writer and Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson, documenting stories and lives of people of color. Part of Minnesota literacy history, it will be distributed to colleges and high schools throughout the state as a resource and is a well-deserved honor. Sue grew up in the Chatham-Avalon section of Chicago, a park-like area once voted in 1960 as the most stable place to live in the U.S. Her father was a dentist and her mother a teacher. Sue and her two brothers enjoyed a unique lifestyle in this special part of our country’s third largest metropolis. However, between 1960 and 1970 Chicago became a city on fire. Marches for racial equality as well as the political disruption of the Chicago Five became top news stories of the decade and life in Chicago was never the same. Sue reflects this change in her poetry and prose as a time of turmoil for families and friends. A chance encounter with a perfect stranger, who told them about the peace and quiet of Emily led them to Lake Roosevelt and many long
weekends and vacations. Sue traveled the U of M where she met her future with her family to this unique woodsy husband, but after three years, the marplace. One can only imagine the chal- riage dissolved. Sue stayed in St. Paul, lenge of traveling 1,000 miles includ- working and raising her two children, ing 12 hours roundtrip from Chicago to Jeannette and William. She worked Emily. The Emily location became the for the Girl Scouts as a manager/specialist as well as prospect for a new a children’s serhome and in the vices coordinator early ‘60s they purfor the Wilder chased a resort. Foundation, helpIn 1972, her faing children sucther closed his ceed in school. practice in Chicago With creative and moved the writing on hold family to Emily and a master’s as home, opening ~ Sue Smith-Grier degree, Jeannette a new practice in moved to Atlanta Aitkin. It was a toand became a tal change of lifestyle from a population of half a million first grade teacher. Three years ago, Sue to one of about 300. Not surprisingly, moved to Emily to help take care of her Sue will tell you she was overjoyed to be mother who has dementia. “It meant in the woods. The new surroundings of- packing up and putting my life in storfered inspiration for her writing. As is age but … ,” she joined her brother Reggie, a minister, and his wife Karen. her style, Sue met the challenge. Sue attended Ripon College and then With her other brother, William, also a
“A pigment of imagination with a Christian hue.”
minister, she calls herself a “pigment of imagination with a Christian hue.” Sue’s imagination has added a new voice to the Brainerd writing community. Her poetry, storytelling and writing brings a strong voice with unique insight from her life experiences as an African-American woman. Part of her writing goal is to get people to think - “nudge” them to think differently. Sue is constantly on the move, mercurial and multi-talented. We haven’t heard the last of this courageous, transplanted writer. Her writing life is “coming out of storage.” “I write because I must,” she will tell you. The battle cry of the writer. n
Audrae Gruber is on the Brainerd Library Board and is a writer, volunteer, researcher and continual seeker.
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Spring 2015 | her voice 31
PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON The Randall Creamery’s top ﬂoor is the new home for Beth Selinger’s theatre company, Cream of the Crop.
By MARY AALGAARD
The arts scene is growing in the lakes area. A new community theater has cropped up in Randall. Photographer Joey Halvorson and I drove down County Road 1, south of Pillager to get the scoop. The drive is gorgeous during any season, giving you time for some creative thought.
My sock puppets, Millie and Willie Cottonpoly rode along, hoping to get a foot in the door for the next performance. It all started with Beth Selinger, a quilt and coffee shop and a dream to convert an old creamery building into creative space. The old creamery in Randall once was a place flowing with life, where farmers brought their milk to be processed and shipped. Upstairs, they had a room with a shoebox-sized stage where small bands could
32 Spring 32 Winter 2015 2014 || her her voice voice
set up for dances and parties. It could also be used for any type of gathering that a small community might have, from pie socials to theatrical events. It stopped being a creamery in the mid-1970s and soon the building’s use dwindled to just a few shops. When Sharon Frisk bought it, she had hopes of using it as creative space. In 2011, Linda Thesing and Janelle Johnson bought the building and turned the lower level into a quilt and coffee shop. You can read more about their story in the Winter issue of Her Voice or on their website, oldcreameryquiltshop.com which has a link to the Cream of the Crop theater. As it often happens in small towns, people know your business and make connections. During a Christmas party, Beth found herself sitting next to Linda Thesing who leaned over and said, “You do theater, don’t you?” Before she had time to finish her Christmas punchline, Beth was talking theater space with Linda and figuring out the cost of starting up a theater in the upstairs room.
As the word spread, like melted butter on lefse in a small town, the residents of Randall got excited and asked, “How can we help?” Beth gave them a financial proposal. They sent her a check. Then, she and husband Dan, who is her business partner and biggest supporter, got busy. Volunteers showed up with love and support, as well as muscle and craft. Good friend C.J. Anderson provided the tech equipment, including excellent stage lighting. Linda and Janelle provided curtains and quilts to use as wall hangings. Cream of the Crop’s first production was the summertime classic, “On Golden Pond” starring local talents C. J. Anderson as Norman and Laura Oldham as Ethel Thayer. The set had the feel of a little cabin on the lakes, with a creaky screen door, games like Parcheesi and a borrowed grandson with a little attitude and bend for fishing adventures. All of the performances sold out. Beth and Dan kept bringing in more chairs to accommodate audience members from the area, as well as Duluth, Hermantown and the Twin Cities. Their second production was a murder mystery dinner theater called “B-I-NG-O Spells Murder.” The Four Cheeks BBQ guys of Randall catered the dinner. Every performance sold out again. The town folks wiped the sauce off their faces and said, “So, what are you doing next?” Beth, who has done theatre from Long Island to L.A., says that she loves theater because it builds community! It has been her “in” whenever she’s moved. She has witnessed the healing powers of storytelling and being involved in a production, from audience member to starring role. When her mother was terribly ill and just one day away from surgery, she called the theater in Phoenix, Ariz., where she had tickets for “Camelot.” Sir Richard Harris was starring in it, her mother’s favorite. She explained that they would need to arrive early
and her mother’s needs. When the show was over, they thought they were being taken through a special exit, but found themselves backstage with the star who gave Beth’s mom the royal treatment. They next day, as she was being wheeled off to her surgery, the nurses said she was in great spirits and singing all the songs to “Camelot!” Beth says that a small, intimate theater, like Cream of the Crop, provides a feeling of sharing the story with the audience. They’re in it together. She wants to present stories that are real and meaningful, that people can connect with. Up next is “The Cemetery Club,” a story about friendship, loss, hope and moving on, with plenty of laughs and moments of feeling a connection to the
characters. In the future, Beth would like to do some of the classic plays and involve high school kids, as well as community members. She’s planning a children’s reader theater experience for the summer and another production, yet to be determined. Millie and Willie Cottonpoly are warming up their voices. They’re hoping to see all of you at the next audition and/or performance at Cream of the Crop Theater! n Find Us on Facebook! Cream of the Crop Theater Company
Mary Aalgaard is a freelance writer and blogger. Her words stretch across the globe through her blogs on www.playoffthepage.com. Her original drama “Coffee Shop Confessions” was performed in coffee shops around the Brainerd, MN area in 2012. She works with both children and adults to create original dramas, and is offering theatre classes for kids where they write their own plays and create the set, with the help of her sock puppets Millie and Willie Cottonpoly.
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PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON
Brainerd native Beth Ann Norrgard is an advocate for the newly popular tiny home movement.
The Art of Living Tiny
By REBECCA FLANSBURG
Many of us dream of downsizing and “living simple,” but former Brainerd native and Brainerd High School grad Beth Ann Norrgard has actively made that dream a reality.
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Adopting a nomadic lifestyle, she now travels, speaks and teaches about the tiny house movement. Both architectural and social, the tiny house movement advocates living simply in small homes, often 600 square feet or less. Everyone from TV show hosts to families are hopping on the bandwagon of this diminutive alternative to home ownership as the concept gains in popularity. Beth’s interest in the Tiny House movement surfaced while she was still working in her career as a paralegal in Dallas. “I had been working for the same lawyer for 20 years and I loved my job,” she says. “I could see change coming at work; my attorney was retirement age and I was not. I didn’t want to start over with a new firm. I decided to start
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my life over, not from a fail, but to find out what would really make me happy in the second half of my life.” Tiny houses had already been on her radar for years and in her spare time Beth Ann shared that she had been watching the movement take hold and reading about it in her spare time. “I loved the idea of tiny houses. It just fascinated me,” she says. “I had even bought a book by one of the pioneers of Tiny House living, a man named Jay Shafer. Jay is the owner of the Four Lights Tiny House Company and his “The Small House Book” was a wealth of information on the art of living tiny. I remember thinking how cool that whole concept was, but at the same time it all seemed so unattainable for me.”
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Have house will travel: Beth Ann trailers her 120 square foot home so as to exhibit features such as the loft bedroom and well-stocked kitchen, where spices line the wall.
s “ W hen it coms.e.. to possession
a purpose? e v a h it s e o D ity? Is it a necess iful? or is it beaut
e ond those thre Anything bey ’ and stuff ties ff tu ‘s st ju is s thing Beth Ann you down.”~
To read more about Beth Ann’s tiny house story, go to:
www.abedovermyhead.com For more information on the tiny house movement: www.fourlightshouses.com www.fourlightshouses.com/ blogs/news/15066033-b-a-norrgard-joins-four-lights Rebecca Flansburg is a freelance writer and work-at-home-mom who lives in Baxter. She is also a full-time virtual assistant in the field of social media, content management and blogging. You can connect with Rebecca on her blog, Franticmommy.com. 36 Spring 2015 | her voice
Excited to pinpoint a new career for herself, Beth Ann enrolled in a weekend career class offered by a well-respected coach named Helen Harkness, owner of Career Design Associates. Beth Ann and eight other women worked with the 87 year-old Harkness every Saturday for nine months of intensive learning, growing and career coaching. “Helen is amazingly sharp, vibrant and savvy,” Beth Ann says. “We spent months peeling off the layers of ourselves to assess our skills, talents and passions. Ultimately the career I wanted wasn’t found on any list; I really wanted to do something with Tiny Houses.” Beth Ann finished Helen’s career coaching program in October of 2012 and shortly after that took her first leap of faith by selling or donating the majority of her possessions. Keeping only her camping gear, power tools, her dog supplies and a few sentimental items, she began the process of extremely downsizing her life. By November she accomplished another bold move by putting her 1929 Tudor-style home in a much sought after conservation district in Dallas on the market. It sold in 24 hours. “The whole purging process is an amazingly freeing process,” says Beth Ann. “When you are living in less than 120 square feet it really makes you realize what in your life is truly important. You learn to look at possessions with different eyes and make choices based on that realization. When it comes to possessions, I ask myself these three questions: Does it have a purpose? Is it a necessity or is it beautiful? Anything beyond those three things is just ‘stuff ’ and stuff ties you down.” Now that her tiny house is built and is her permanent residence, Beth
Ann has set her sights on traveling, teaching others about living tiny and also helping others to facilitate their own downsize. “Income is a key part of making this new lifestyle work so I began making plans to travel, teach and speak a few months ago. Now I am
nearly ready to begin my new nomad lifestyle,” she added with a laugh. “I am selling my Mini Cooper convertible, purchasing a truck that will tow my tiny house and hitting the road as a tiny house community consultant, guest speaker and exhibitor. I feel my
excitement growing as I formulate and plan this next leg of my new career. I feel like I am rebuilding my life — not from a fail, but with a new focus. I am so excited to see where my tiny house journey will lead.” n
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Winter 2014 | her voice 37
A victim of domestic abuse, Kathy Northburg transformed her life and now helps transform the lives of others as an advocate at the Women’s Center of Mid-Minnesota.
PHOTO BY JOEY HALVORSON
BY CAROLYN CORBETT
Kathy Northburg, lead advocate at the Women’s Center of Mid-Minnesota wears jewelry representing dragonﬂies. The dragonﬂy is often associated with the symbolic meaning of transformation.
Kathy’s life has been filled with transformation, both hers and that of the battered women whom she feels honored to assist. Kathy’s life as a battered woman began in 1974 at the age of 24 when she moved to Crosby with her husband. Kathy had a 3-year-old from a previous marriage and felt financially vulnerable. The next 10 years were a nightmare. Her new husband was violent and controlling from the start. The abuse began with isolation. Degrading statements. Mind games. 38
Spring 2015 | her voice
Kathy began to question her sanity. Required to have two weeks’ worth of meals planned, her husband took her grocery shopping. When chili night came, she would find the beans missing and was berated by her husband as “a stupid bitch.” The following night, something was missing for that meal too, but the beans were back. It was crazy-making. Over 1,000 miles away from her family, Kathy was totally isolated. She wasn’t allowed to keep any money or go to the mailbox. She wasn’t allowed to get a driver’s license or touch the phone without permission. When she was able to call her family, her husband listened to the conversation on another line. When she was able to go for coffee at the neighbor’s, he called every five minutes telling her to come home. “Your children need you,” he’d threaten. He was so rude to her friends they stopped coming around. He was even jealous of Kathy’s relationship with her children, whom he also abused. The first time Kathy tried to leave her husband, about 18 months after the wedding, she loaded the baby in the stroller
and walked away in the general direction of law enforcement. Her husband caught up with her before she’d gone far and took her back home, later moving them to a more isolated area. Her husband agreed to couples counseling, but quit when the counselor told him the problem was his behavior. Kathy left for the second time about two years later. When her husband was gone, she called a woman whose children had played with hers. She loaded the kids in the car, drove to the house and stayed overnight. The next day he was waiting in the parking lot when she arrived at work. “It will be better,” he promised. She’d heard that before. Other people thought her husband was “Mr. Wonderful.” Everyone loved him. They’d see him sitting in church on Sunday, arms around his wife and children. One year before Kathy successfully left the relationship, she confided in a woman from church who rebuked her saying, “If what you are telling me is true, you have to look at your responsibility as a Christian wife.” “The driving force that keeps battering going is silence,” says Kathy. “Silence of women who try to hide the bruises and exhaustion, but also community silence, men’s silence, not holding other men accountable for their behavior.” Kathy promised herself that if her husband called her a particularly vulgar name in front of the children again she would leave. He did, of course. It was 1985, 9:30 at night and she was without a car again. She left on foot in the dark, with two changes of clothes, walking down Highway 371. When he came after her in his car, her daughter screamed out the window, “Come back, Mommy!” Kathy knew she had to get help for herself and her children, so she crossed the highway to walk against traffic where he couldn’t get to her. At this time she was working at a gas station near Westgate Mall. She knew that at 2:30 a.m. the police would come to check on the nearby bus sta-
she’d mourned eight women and two children killed by domestic violence. As Kathy sat outdoors before one of these funerals, a dragonfly lit on her knee. She wears the dragonfly jewelry in honor of the women who died at the hands of an abuser. Kathy left the center in 2003 to go back to school. She worked in a law office, later Crow Wing County Planning and Zoning. In 2007 she called Louise Seliski, founder and first executive director of the Women’s Center, asking if she could come back. Louise’s reply? “Can you start on Monday?” “I do what I do because I have to,” Kathy says. “I expect people to be caring and involved. If you saw a drowning puppy struggling on ice trying to get out of a lake, wouldn’t you call somebody? Yet 218-828-1216 when a woman is fighting for her life, some people 888-777-1248 don’t want to get involved.” email@example.com When Kathy was speakhttp://womenscenteronline.org ing to a group of seniors, an older gentleman stood up and asked what he and no, but encouraged Kathy to go to the battered women’s shelter in Brainerd. the other men in the room could do. That day Kathy walked into the “Talk to your grandsons about what is Women’s Center for the first time and and is not acceptable in relationships,” filed for an Order for Protection. The Kathy answered. “Let them know you judge said her husband and his attor- will hold them accountable for their actions.” ney had commitment papers ready to “The most important thing you can file on her, but there was no question do is let women know you hear them, she was battered. Kathy was granted believe them and that it’s not their fault. the Order for Protection and the po- In doing this you honor their courage. lice took her to get her three children, Letting a woman know that whatever ages 14, 9 and 3. They stayed at the she decides to do, you will be there to Women’s Center for a month. support her can make a huge difference When she wouldn’t take him back, in her life. Not just in her life, but the her husband filed for divorce. lives of her children - and it can make Kathy began working at the Women’s a huge difference in the world in which Center in 1988 and for the next 15 we live.” n years her heart was deep into the work, so deep she burned out. “Too many funerals. Too many tears,” she says. Too many murders. During those years,
tion. Her plan was to sit on the curb, smoke cigarettes, drink coffee and wait for the police. Kathy figured they’d take her to the state hospital as she felt insane. The woman working the counter told her to go in the back office to get some matches, then locked her in. This coworker told Kathy she wouldn’t unlock the door until Kathy told her the name of a friend who would come to pick her up. A friend arrived in robe and slippers, taking Kathy into her home where she stayed overnight. The next morning Kathy phoned her older sister, asking if she could stay with her. Her sister said
Women’s Shelter and 24-Hour Crisis Line:
Prior to playing with words for a living, Carolyn Corbett taught elementary school for 14 years. At 35, she resigned and sailed off into the sunset. Literally. Along the way she became a contributing writer for a number of sailing magazines. Today, as a freelance writer/editor, she has over 250 articles published in cruising, parenting and general interest magazines. Spring 2015 | her voice 39
Teaching Watercolor By CATHERINE RAUSCH
wice over a few months, I saw the letters ART on the license plate of an automobile. I ﬁnally realized God was talking to me about art, but I didn’t know how to get started.
A few months went by and I picked up a rock from our driveway. I drew a simple nature scene on the flat side and painted it. A small beginning, but I painted many rocks that year, both big and small, including a cemetery headstone. Then I got stuck again, not sure of what to do or where to go, until I met Eloise Ryan. My husband brought home a copy of “Our Neck of the Woods,” an up north publication. He wanted me to see the cover story about an author, but it was the article on page two that got my attention. The Pine River Art Club was looking for members and artist of all mediums (I didn’t know what that was), but they offered a watercolor class as part of their monthly meeting. I called and talked to Eloise. She was so gracious, and for $20 she offered two paint brushes, paint, a pre-drawn sketch and instruction on how to paint with watercolor. How could we go wrong? My husband and I took her class the following week. Eloise sat with us at the table. With sketch and brush in hand she told us what to do and showed us how to do it: wet the paper, choose a color, use lots of water and paint to make mix, apply the mix to the moist paper and add
Spring 2015 | her voice
Eloise Ryan takes the mystery out of water color painting.
finishing touches. Her step by step teaching pushed me past my insecurities and allowed me to see that I could paint. “Oops, I made a mistake. “That’s OK,” Eloise said, “We call those happy accidents.” and she showed me how to work the mistake into my painting. Eloise asked if I wanted to sell my painting at their annual art show the following month. I was shocked. I thought it would take years to paint anything sellable. She had a way of taking the mystery out of painting and move me through the painting process before I could stop and analyze how I was doing. I was impressed with the results. Eloise cropped my painting and put it in the art show. At the age of 8, Eloise began drawing animals free hand from her dad’s wildlife magazines. She was the only one of
eight siblings with an interest in art and still holds on to a few sketches from childhood. As a senior in high school, she took a mail order art class from the Minneapolis Art Institute and entered “draw me” contests, offered through magazines. After marriage, she and Marvin lived in Morris where she dabbled with oil paints while raising their six children, including two sets of twins. Sad to say, they lost one twin girl at birth. Eventually Eloise gave the oil paints to her niece. “They were too messy,” Eloise said. When Marvin retired they moved to Little Deep Lake in Backus. In the summer of 1995 Eloise attended some watercolor demonstrations in Pequot Lakes given by Russell Norberg of Nisswa. After meeting Russell, Eloise knew she wanted to paint watercolor. She joined the Pine River Art
Club and the Leech Lake Art League of Walker to pursue her interest in watercolor. Soon her artwork was printed on greeting cards. In 2006-2008 she won a ribbon and two merit awards for her watercolors. Most recently she did artwork for “Birds of a Feather,” a book of poetry released July 2014, by Charles Stone of Bemidji. It contains sketches of 70 northern Minnesota bird species painted by Eloise. After we finished our class I asked Eloise if she would teach a class in Little Falls. “I don’t have a degree or anything like that,” she said, with an innocent smile. “That doesn’t matter,” I said, “You know how to teach watercolor. That’s what matters.” “Oh, OK,” she said. Eloise is President of the Art Club. In conjunction with teaching water-
color she oversees the club’s three day art show each June during Pine River’s city-wide Summerfest Celebration June 25-27, 2015. In 2012 the Pine River Art Club decided to spend time painting during their monthly meetings. This last summer they painted more than once a month. Eloise believes it’s better if you have at least one day a week to paint. I agree because beginners like me need help staying focused. Eloise is eager to teach what she knows about watercolor and offers insight on other techniques like paper preparation and stretching, matting and framing, color mixing, etc. Eloise simply found something she liked to do and stayed with it. She and Marvin celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in April 2014. She is an inspiration to anyone that would like to give art a try. Some of her art can be seen
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on the Pine River Art Club website. At our December meeting Eloise painted an owl; Sue, watercolor flowers; Larry, an eagle scene; Shirley, acrylic nature scenes; Duane, a feather; and I was learning to draw. If you are interested in joining us, call Eloise at 218-821-9181.
Catherine Rausch lives in Little Falls with her husband, Duane. They have four adult children and seven grandchildren. She writes poetry and nonfiction stories with plans for a book and a screen play. She also speaks and teaches on topics relating to abuse and offers one-on-one prayer counseling at Catherine.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Spring 2015 | her voice 41
PHOTOS BY JOEY HALVORSON
STORY AND PHOTOS BY By MARLENE CHABOT
Not too far up the road from Brainerd in Pine River, one can experience a by-gone era baby boomers and their parents still vividly recall—life around the soda fountain. Whether you’re a youngster or an oldster it’s fun to visit Ole and Lena’s Sweet Revenge vintage soda fountain shop to see history unfurl right before your eyes. A two-foot statue of Betty Boop, a cartoon character created in the 1930s, propped on a 1950s black and white television console greets you as you pop through the front door. Betty’s posed in the familiar white dress made famous by Marilyn Monroe when she appeared in the 1955 movie “The Seven Year Itch.” Take a few more baby steps and you’ll see a poster of Marilyn herself on display. The picture of Marilyn’s not the only thing that adds excitement to the long deep wall running alongside the bright canary-yellow booths. There’s a photo of Elvis playing a mean tune on his guitar, retro ads from the ‘50s through the ‘70s, and metal signs advertising Kodak cameras and Whitman candy. Rock’n roll music fills the air. Anyone care to dance? If you’ve ever wondered 42
Spring 2015 | her voice
whatever happened to those old, vinyl 78 and 45 records, look no further than the 1906 tin ceiling. Debbie Oliver, owner of the sweet shop, said when her sister Sharon Manley, now deceased, and she bought the building and began cleaning it out, they discovered the current ceiling was only a drop one. The real gem, hidden from view, was left from a pharmacy that once occupied the premises. The old soda fountain’s a charmer too. It’s what sold the gals on the building. You can mosey up to its counter, plop yourself down, and order something yummy for your tummy. “Everybody loves the soda fountain,” Debbie shared. “They can peruse the old time ads, jokes and such under the glass covered counter while they wait for their order.” Most people are also curious about the fellow who occupies the last seat. “He’s Sven—A permanent fixture.” Ever since opening the doors to Ole and Lena’s Sweet Revenge, the community has been both welcoming and
Debbie Oliver owns and operates Ole and Lena’s Sweet Revenge, a charming vintage soda fountain in Pine River.
supportive. Thanks to their thoughtful contributions of articles and artifacts for the business, Debbie has learned so much more about Pine River’s history. “Attitude determines your altitude,” is her mantra and she proves that every day through her community involvement with the Chamber, Kinship Partners, Cinco de Mayo and schools. Pam Mills, special education teacher, said, “We appreciate Debbie’s generous special pizza discounts she offers for various school activities like Feed the Kid day and prom.” The actual idea for this shop was born four years ago by two Pine River sisters, Debbie and Sharon. “We grew up here and thought it was a great spot for a business.” The sisters originally were thinking more along the lines of a candy store—fudge and such. Luckily, they hooked up with a great mentor, Tommy Larson owner of Tommy’s Treats in Walker. He suggested the women attend a food show to see what all their options were. They came back all fired
up, deciding to make hand-tossed pizzas with names like Little Red Corvette, Sweet LIL’ Sheila, and Chuck Berry. Creating pizzas wasn’t as simple as it sounded. The women were challenged by the size of the kitchen in their building. It wasn’t adequate and would have to be upgraded. “The nice thing about ordering pizzas made from scratch,” Debbie said, “is we can put together any mixture the customer wants if it’s not on the menu.” Sharon created “Sherry Baby,” a unique mixture of Alfredo sauce with chicken, shredded roast beef, garlic and extra cheese. Eventually, the sisters added other items to their menu: burgers and fries, hot and cold wraps, appetizers, ice cream treats and desserts. “It took a while to get the right mix of meals,” Deb explained, “but we finally did.” Their most popular specialty malt is peanut butter. Deb’s year around business is strictly a family affair consisting of nine members. One of which is Deb’s 82-year-old mother Earlene Mills. Mom, who raised 10 children, does everything from waitressing, washing dishes to bussing tables. The day I stopped by she and daughter Bonita were on duty. Ole’s Pub with a cozy Up North feel, a newer addition to the business, can be entered via the side door at the back of
A visit to this soda fountain is a nostalgic trip back to the ‘50s.
the building or main entrance. Named after Debbie’s husband Steve, it’s a great place to meet, drink, dine on food from the soda fountain menu and even win a meat raﬄe. Deb’s still got more ideas brewing for her sweet venture. Plans include purchasing the building next door, enlarging the menu, moving the kitchen to the other building, and installing a bigger pizza oven. n Marlene Chabot is a freelance writer, novelist and member of Great River Writers and Sisters In Crime. Her fourth mystery novel and a short story for Minnesota’s Sisters In Crime anthology were released this past year. Find her on Facebook at Marlene Mc Neil Chabot or www. marlenechabotbooks.com
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218-828-4770 - 14211 Firewood Drive, Baxter, MN Spring 2015 | her voice 43
Her Voice Service Directory • Spring 2015 Appliances
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44 Spring 2015 | her voice
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Her Voice Service Directory • Spring 2015 Insurance
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Girls in Action Action in Elementary-aged girls practice self-defense and other athletic skills at Central Lakes College in an after school program sponsored by the Girl Scouts.
STORY AND PHOTOS BY By MONICA HUSEN
Sponsored by the Girl Scouts, elementary-aged girls from Brainerd and Baxter can participate in an afterschool program called Girl Scouts in Action.
This national sports program combines leadership skill building, exercise and homework help. During each session, volunteers guide activities that build athletic skills and knowledge about nutrition. On their sixth and final meeting day, the girls (both those who participate in Girls in Action and girls from the community) head to Central Lakes College where student athletics and 46 Spring 2015 | her voice
professionals from the community share their expertise as girls try basketball, an obstacle course, self-defense and Zumba. The Sports Day activities, with the help of Central Lakes Nursing Students, help girls learn about hand washing, hydration and healthy eating. Each girl makes a trophy to celebrate how she was taking charge of her health. Girl Scouts offer the six-session Girl Scouts in Action program twice a year with a different theme each time. If you have a passion for environmental awareness or entrepreneurship and youâ€™d be willing to volunteer about 25 hours over a couple of months, planners would love to explore the options and benefits of volunteering with you. Girl Scout sports day were so well received that we are planning a sports day this spring for all elementaryaged girls in the Brainerd lakes area. n
Calling All Girls! Sports Day 2015 in April Brainerd High School Cost: $20 for the day All participants must register for Girl Scouts, which is an additional $15 (scholarships available). Once registered, girls can also run a cookie business, join a troop, be a Juliette (independent Girl Scout), or attend camp. To find out more about attending the upcoming sports day or joining Girl Scouts, contact Monica Husen. 828-3515 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monica Husen is the membership specialist team lead for Region 3, Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Lakes and Pines.
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Published on Feb 26, 2015
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