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FEATURE S March 2014 Volume 9, Issue 3



Love and War How a Mankato boy survived Pearl Harbor, helped win the war and returned to marry the love of his life

20 Making the difference

Profiles of the YWCA Women of Distinction award recipients

24 Well-built

Clarence Staley gave his life to Sibley Park — and a lasting legacy to Mankato

About the Cover

June Staley, great-grandduaghter of Clarence Staley, kneels before the plaque in his memory at Sibley Park. Photo by The Free Press Media photographer John Cross. MANKATO MAGAZINE • March 2014 • 3





6 From the Editor Mankato builders loved community 8 Odds ‘n’ Ends 10 Introductions H. Roger Smith 12 The Gallery 28 Coming Attractions Events to check out in March 30 Day Trip Destinations Houston’s International Festival of Owls 32 Then and Now Roadmap to history 34 That’s Life Long live the ‘Ruler of the Estate’ 36 What’s Cooking Caught in the great sushi debate 40 Your Health Consider the consequences of stolen



medical identity

44 From This Valley The Piano Man: Paul Durenberger

32 Coming in April We explore the nature of faith. From rural churches and sacred spaces, to young believers to tested servants, we’ll spend some time in contemplation of our spiritual beliefs and the places we share them.

34 4 • March 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


Join us, and we’ll raise our voices together.

Mankato’s Main attraction Discover our three “P’s” The Carriage House panel option is available in widths of 8’, 9’, 10’, 16’ and 18’ and in white, brown, claytone, almond or desert tan. Add character to your door with attractive decorative face hardware in either Bean or Fleur-de-lis handles or straps.

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Estate Planning: The Adult Thing To Do Thursday, March 27, 6:30 p.m. Please RSVP to LuAnn




Old Main Village A Senior Living Community 301 South 5th Street Mankato, MN 56001 A Platinum Service® community managed by The Goodman Group.

MANKATO MAGAZINE • March 2014 • 5


From The Editor


March 2014 • VOLUME 9, ISSUE 3 PUBLISHER James P. Santori EDITOR Joe Spear ASSOCIATE Tanner Kent EDITOR CONTRIBUTORS Nell Musolf Pete Steiner Leticia Gonzales Sarah Johnson Jean Lundquist Drew Lyon

PHOTOGRAPHERS John Cross Pat Christman PAGE DESIGNER Christina Sankey ADVERTISING Ginny Bergerson MANAGER ADVERTISING Danny Creel Sales Jen Wanderscheid ADVERTISING Barb Wass ASSISTANT ADVERTISING Sue Hammar DESIGNERS Christina Sankey


Mankato Magazine is published by The Free Press Media monthly at 418 South Second St., Mankato MN 56001. To subscribe, call 1-800-657-4662 or 507-625-4451. $19.95 for 12 issues. For editorial inquiries, call Tanner Kent at 344-6354, or e-mail For advertising, call 344-6336, or e-mail

6 • March 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

By Joe Spear

Mankato builders loved community, deserve respect


espect your elders. We’ve all heard that at least once in the days of our youth, or perhaps, even in the days of our adulthood. Elders are more elderly these days, meaning they’ve stuck around longer than in the past. The debate on the value of that depends on who you talk to and who they’re speaking about. But clearly, the so called “elders” of the Mankato area as we’ve come to describe them in this month’s “Builder” issue have earned all due respect. Clarence Staley lived in poverty with his family most of his life, it seems, but he left his legacy in the beauty of Mankato’s famous Sibley Park. His descendants talk about the memories of his life and family. It’s a name most Mankatoans probably couldn’t place. He quietly went about the work of establishing one of Mankato’s centerpiece amenities and a renowned zoo. Sitting on the banks of the Minnesota and Blue Earth rivers, the park was ultimately decimated by the flood of 1965 but was rebuilt in Staley’s footprint and still thrives today as the location of one of Mankato’s premiere tourist attractions, the Kiwanis Holiday Lights. But there were others who built Mankato to what it has become today — a bustling regional center, with arts and education and entertainment and full of outdoor amenities like parks and trails. We may recognize more of the names of those who built Mankato, but only in the streets we travel. Dozens of Mankato streets were named after the town’s elders — captains of industry as well as those who conceived of Mankato’s neighborhoods. Henry Jackson made one of the first claims in Mankato. City Hall was for decades located on Jackson Street. Val Imm was a renowned state senator and owner of the Mankato News newspaper. Aaron Duke operated a small store and came to name several streets after daughters Ruth, Mable, Ruby, Anne and May, on Mankato’s North End. They are possibly the only

streets in Mankato named after women, according to those who study Mankato history. But women have played an equally significant role in Mankato’s development. From Clarence Staley’s wife, May, who took jobs outside raising her seven children to keep the family fed to legal glass ceiling breakers like Charlotte Farrish, an early partner in the Farrish Johnson law office that still thrives today. In this month’s “Builder” issue, we also recognize three women community builders as honorees of the YWCA’s Women of Distinction Awards. “Susan Frost never takes a vacation from her role as caregiver,” writes, Associate Editor Tanner Kent in our profiles of the winners this month. A longtime nurse for various organizations in town, Frost was known for the way she took in people who needed support. Cheryl Hamond is the director of social responsibility at the Mankato Family YMCA, and she practices what she preaches in her Mankato neighborhood as a welcome spot and support for Mankato’s immigrant community. She gives real meaning to the term neighbor. Julie Hawker was a corporate manager who eventually saw a greater purpose in life. She came to work for Lloyd Management, first through parttime work, but eventually in a role where she, too, helps new immigrants get a foothold in Mankato. She has been instrumental in setting up several programs that help build Mankato as an immigrant- and refugee-friendly community. All will be recognized at the YWCA Women of Distinction Award ceremony in Mankato, but like dozens before them, they only add to the growing list of people making something positive happen in the Mankato community and for the Mankato community. M Joe Spear is editor of Mankato Magazine. Contact him at or 344-6382.

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INJURY ATTORNEYS 887 Madison Ave. 507-345-4543 MANKATO MAGAZINE • March 2014 • 7

Brochures Annual Reports Catalogs Magazines Posters Hard and Soft Cover Books Direct Mail and More!

Odds ‘n’ Ends

This Day in History By Tanner Kent March 5, 1901: Blue Earth County Attorney S.B. Wilson charged Carl Johnson and an accomplice with “neglect in handling powder and explosives” after an incident in which Johnson placed a load of gunpowder into the bowl of a friend’s pipe. That friend, Edward Constans, was badly burned about the face and eyes, and kept at the hospital in serious condition. During interviews with police, Johnson tattled on his accomplice, John Wilkins. Though both insisted the act was a prank, both were fined $6.65. March 14, 1900: On this day, The Free Press reported on the heroics of one Peter Poos, three years a flagman for the Chicago and Northwestern railroad crossing at Rock Street near present-day Riverfront Park. On the previous night, he was monitoring a train approaching the crossing when he saw Miss Lizzie Klauges heading home and preparing to cross the tracks. Muffled up against the cold, she did not see the train. Though Poos called, she did not hear. Witnesses later claimed the train was 6 feet from Klauges when Poos pushed her across the track. He was struck by the cow catcher and hurled 20 feet but suffered only bruises. He later told a Free Press reporter he was just doing his job. March 1, 1870: Among the news items included in this day’s edition of the Mankato Review: • Mssrs. Bradley, Thompson and Co. shipped 40,000 rat skins to St. Paul. • A report on Blue Earth County revenue ($14,583.80 in 1869), included an intoxicating little nugget about beer production in Blue Earth and Brown counties for the previous year. Combined, the two counties brewed more than 4,546 barrels — or about 146,500 gallons — which would have been enough for every man, woman and child in both counties to consume a half-glass each day. March 28, 1871: The Mankato Review reported on this day that, a few days prior, a party of Norwegians started to cause trouble after drinking heavily at Welch’s bar and brewery. When owner George Roll told them to leave, the Norwegians refused. Roll chased them out with an ax and threatened to get a revolver. While walking away from the door, one of the Norwegians fired at him through the window. Roll was struck but suffered only a minor wound.

Still drumming for the Boy in Blue

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hen Bryce Stenzel first announced his intention to rebuild Mankato’s Boy in Blue memorial in 2011, he knew a long road lay ahead. But he and a small but dedicated team of committee members continue making strides toward the $155,000 goal that would fully rebuild the monument to Blue Earth County’s Civil War veterans that was toppled in a storm and discarded in 1911. In fewer than three years, the committee has managed to raise about one-third of the project’s cost – with the replication beginning in earnest last summer with the laying of the monument’s foundation. To continue the fundraising effort, organizers are hosting the second annual Civil War Symposium on March 15. Of the $25 registration fee, $15 will be contributed directly to the Boy in Blue memorial. The event includes a full lineup of local and regional speakers, costumed interpreters and storytellers. And a range of subjects will be covered, from the election of 1864 and Civil War technology, to the role of nurses in the war and telegraph demonstrations. For more information, visit

Ask the Expert: Stephanie Howe

By Nell Musolf

Recharging fitness resolutions


or the past nine years, fitness instructor Stephanie Howe has been helping Mankatoans live healthier and fitter lives. The owner of Howe-To Fitness, Howe has suggestions on how to recharge the New Year’s resolution many people make, but few follow through: getting in shape. “I think New Year’s resolutions sometimes do more harm than good,” she said. “They can set people up for an ‘all or nothing’ approach to their health and fitness.” Instead, Howe suggested, think about getting healthier as a year-round mindset by setting smaller but sustainable lifestyle changes. “Changing your lifestyle should be the ultimate goal. Small changes lead to big results,” Howe said. She also said that taking part in group classes is one of the best ways to stay motivated because the atmosphere is supportive and fosters a sense of camaraderie. “You just work harder when you look over and see the person next to you is still going and your trainer is right there to encourage and push you,” Howe said. If group workouts aren’t appealing, try to find a workout buddy who will hold you accountable. And it never hurts to find a workout that is enjoyable. “Exercise is hard and it will always be hard. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing for a workout, you’ll never stick with it,” Howe said, “and consistency is the key. If you’re in a rut, try something completely new and out of your comfort zone.” For those who are either unable to exercise or who can’t seem to fit regular exercise into their schedule, Howe has the following advice:

Stephanie Howe is the owner of Howe-To Fitness. | Photo courtesy of Howe

“Being active in your daily life is more important than formal exercise sessions. Staying fit is really about putting more activity into your days by making small changes. Get up from your desk to walk around and stretch every 20-30 minutes. Walk around while you talk on the phone. Take your dog for more walks. The most low-maintenance way to stay fit is to keep a mindset of doing little things every day to stay active,” Howe said. The Howe-To Fitness Studio is located at 110 W. Dukes Street, Suite 3, Mankato, 507-382-0978

News to use: Questions and answers on LED bulbs By Katherine Salant | By The Washington Post Q: Can an A19 LED (the bulb designed to replace Edison’s iconic incandescent bulb) be used with the type of lampshade that clamps directly to the bulb? A: Yes. A clamp type of lampshade will not damage the bulb; the only issue is whether the shade will clamp over the bulb. The shape of some A19 LEDs differs quite a bit from the old-style incandescent, but all the ones I tested worked with a clamp lampshade, including Philips’s SlimStyle, which is shaped like a mini ping-pong paddle. Q: Do A19 LEDs work with dimmers? A: Yes, if the package says “dimmable.” But the A19 LED bulb may not be compatible with the dimmers in your house, especially if they are more than 10 years old. Recognizing that this is an issue, both the dimmer manufacturers and the LED bulb manufacturers have worked hard to make their products compatible with each other. Q: Can an LED be used in an enclosed fixture? A: Yes, but only some brands. The issue is the amount of heat that can build up in the enclosed fixture. LED bulbs are very sensitive to heat; if the air in the enclosed fixture becomes too hot, it will shorten the life of the bulb.

An assortment of LED bulb options. If you want to install an A19 LED 60-watt equivalent in an enclosed ceiling fixture (the most common type of residential enclosed fixture), read the packaging carefully. Most say that the bulb cannot be used in this way. The only ones I found that can be are Cree’s A19 LED Soft White and its A19 Soft White TW Series. The fine print on Cree’s packaging, however, warns against mixing bulb technologies in the fixture (using a LED with a CFL or an incandescent) because the other bulb types produce so much heat that they will adversely affect the LED. MANKATO MAGAZINE • March 2014 • 9



Tanner Kent H. Roger Smith pictured in the study of his Mankato home. | Photo by Pat Christman


Docent of development H

Longtime MSU urban studies instructor shares 50 years of perspective

. Roger Smith isn’t a native Mankatoan. Though, he might as well be. In 1965, he was hired by Minnesota State University to become the first outside faculty member in the newly created Urban and Regional Studies Institute. Though the man who holds several advanced degrees had many opportunities to leave, he never did. Instead, he rooted his professional and personal lives at 10 • March 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

the bend of the Minnesota River, consulting on city development projects, serving on public committees and sharing his appreciation for architecture, engineering, economics and business. Now, the 78-year-old retiree speaks of Mankato with the kind of insight only gained from maturation and experience. The Mankato Magazine caught up with him and convinced him to share some of his wisdom:

Q: First and foremost, how did you come by your colorful nickname, “Aytch?” A: Herbert. My first name is Herbert and that’s not me. Plus, in Mankato, Herbert was Herbie Mocol. So, I started going by H. People would ask me how to spell that and I’d say, ‘Well, the letter H.’ Eventually, I started telling people ‘A-y-t-c-h.” I’d have a little fun with it, and it stuck. Q: I imagine that you’ve had many opportunities to leave Mankato since you arrived at Minnesota State University 1965-66. What’s kept you here? A: It’s a term that is often bandied about and overused, but it defines what has kept me in Mankato: The notion of home. You know, you come into a little town like this and you immediately pick up vibrations — of land use, design, hard times, great times. This notion of home I felt in Mankato really made me feel like this would be a good place to hang my hat. There was a time after I graduated with my PhD when, you know, I started to get a hair in my left eye and thought about leaving. So I called friends in California, Kansas and other places and let them know I was interested in leaving. But every one of them would tell me they were upset with their dean, or attitudes on campus or their peers. I didn’t want that. Q: Do you think Mankato still captures that sense of home? A: As I drive along the streets and see kids outside, it seems there are a lot more families coming to Mankato than there used to be — and now they are reinforcing this feeling of home. The trikes in the yard and footballs lying in the grass, they are symbols. People want to be in a place where they feel safe. Q: What impact do you think future developments such as the Tailwind project on Front Street, the FedEx distribution center and the Wal-Mart distribution center will have on Mankato? A: It’ll make a huge difference. Those projects will be tremendously attractive for people in the mercantile community in Mankato. This is going to become a real marketplace — and we’re already seeing it on the hilltop with Mankato’s boundaries running toward Eagle Lake and Madison Lake. A lot of good things are going to come — and not just for merchants, but a lot of other professions will see expansion as well. These are things that people said would never come. And now that they’re coming, there is going to be a lot of spinoff. This town is sitting on a lot of potential and it’s going to mushroom. Q: Looking back, what do you think was Mankato’s biggest mistake in terms of development? A: The biggest disaster this town has ever seen was urban renewal. From Cherry Street to Spring Street, there was a helluva lot of demolition going on. We lost tens of thousands of square feet of retail space and about the same in incipient home development.

When I came here, it was important that apartments were located above the businesses on Front Street. For those merchants, dollars drove decisions and it was more economical to live upstairs and just walk down to open the doors for people. At that time, you could go downtown and sense the vitality and energy that was coming out of that largely retail land use. Q: In your opinion, can downtown Mankato ever be resuscitated? A: Trying to rent up businesses in vacated space is hard without others there to soften the blow. There just isn’t a hell of a lot of opportunity until you get a more vibrant retail attraction. And you won’t get retail attraction until investments are made to attract and sustain private capital. Q: Merging the cities of Mankato and North Mankato has been long-debated between elected officials and citizens. What are your thoughts on such a merger? A: There would be some significant savings in all the services a city provides and there would be some other good things that would come out of that. But, you know, if people really don’t want to merge, then it might be in the interest of good governance not to. It probably will happen, but I don’t think it’s going to happen soon. The duplication of services is going to be the compelling point. Q: You’ve see the MSU campus transition to the top of the hill, add facilities and renovate existing ones. These days, what do you see when you visit campus? A: I see, as I wander around the campus, a lot of the things I was advocating and encouraging campus planners to consider. And they did. The MSU campus is a beautiful piece of work. They’ve created a wonderful place to be and that, to a large measure, is why they are so successful. Q: If you were hosting a visitor who’d never been to Mankato, where would you take them to learn a little about our development as a city? A: I would show them Old Town and the new part of town, and the vacant link between the two. I’d show them the Wal-Mart distribution center that is coming, all the development that is happening and the roundabouts. I would also show them the river — one of the real fundamental assets that was imperative in the creation of Mankato. And we’ve absolutely turned our back on it. Giving the river some emphasis would absolutely be valuable to Mankato. I would love to see the river more accessible, but I doubt I’ll see it in my lifetime. I don’t understand the politics of it, but there’s more there than meets the eye. Q: What is the one building or structure that has been torn down that you miss the most? A: The one that I really miss is the old brewery. I had only a six-month courtship with the building before it was torn down, but it was truly an example of a hard-working, industrialist partner in making a product. It was a beautiful building — the stone blocks, the woodwork on the interior. It was strong. It took a helluva lot of beating to get the building down. M

MANKATO MAGAZINE • March 2014 • 11

The Gallery

Souper Bowl in St. Peter By Tanner Kent


hoose wisely. There will be more than 250 hand-thrown, artisan bowls for sale during the Arts Center of St. Peter’s annual Souper Bowl fundraiser from 4-7 p.m. on March 17. All were created by volunteers at the Clay Center and all proceeds will go that facility, which is one of very few such public pottery studios in the region. The event will also feature a silent auction for other fine art pieces. Juana Arias, director of the Clay Center, said the selection will represent a diversity of styles, techniques and colors. “It’s great because everybody does something a little different,” she said. “With a bowl you’d think there couldn’t be much variety — but there is.” Small bowls will be $8, large bowls will be $12 and a limited quantity of $15 specialty bowls will be available. The cost also includes soup, bread and dessert. For more information, visit

More than 250 bowls created by Clay Center members will be available during the Souper Bowl. | Photos courtesy of Arts Center of St. Peter

Now showing Area’s newest filmmakers among Speechless winners By Tanner Kent

Ted and Tonya Wittman’s film “June” won’t be seen by the public until the second edition of Bethany Lutheran College’s Speechless Film Festival is held March 20-22. But if it’s anything like their previous work, audiences can expect a film that combines refined visual elegance with artful, if ambiguous, storytelling. It’s a style the Dubuque, Iowa, native and recent Waseca transplant has been developing with his filmmaking partner and twin sister Tonya Wittman for several years. Furthermore, it’s a style that earned the pair top honors in the festival’s new Made in Minnesota category. “I want to leave some room for the viewers themselves to being their own life experiences into the it,” Ted said. “It makes the film that much more powerful.” As such, the pair employ long, contemplative camera movements, allowing their subjects room to breathe and unfold. Action often feels suspended, as if inviting psychological exploration. Ted and Tonya said they employed a similar formula for 12 • March 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

“June,” a sixminute film summarized thus: “A young woman explores home in s o u t h e r n Minnesota. P a r a n o i a b e c o m e s prevalent during her examination of the space.” With a string of film festival accolades already to their credit, the pair said Speechless Film Festival provided another opportunity to refine their filmmaking formula. “We really held to what we’ve done in the past,” Tonya said. “It’s a style we’re constantly trying to improve.” For more information about Speechless Film Festival, visit

Steve and Dawna Engelhardt have turned a Methodist church in St. Clair into a multi-purpose retreat. | Photos by John Cross

DivineRelaxation St. Clair couple converts church into retreat


By Nell Musolf

ocated in the former Methodist Church on Main Street in St. Clair, the Bell Tower Suites has become a destination spot for all sorts of guests. “We have had family reunions, sorority and fraternity events, bachelor parties, scrapbookers and other crafters,” Dawna Engelhardt said. Dawna and her husband, Steve, are the new owners of the Bell Tower Suites. The couple, who moved to Minnesota from Michigan in June 2013, found their new home online while searching for a place to live. “I always wanted to live in a church and I always wanted to run a bed-and-breakfast,” Dawna said. “The Bell Tower Suites turned out to be an ideal combination of the two — although it isn’t really a bed-and-breakfast.” The couple and their four children, who range in age from 9 to 19, lived in the former church for six months after their move until they bought the house next door. Living so close to the Bell Tower Suites has made it easier for Dawna to manage the property. “We had so many bookings that it was getting to the point where we had to move in with Steve’s parents who live in Le Sueur or into a hotel,” Dawna said. “It’s much easier not to have to pack all the time.” Scrapbookers and other crafters have flocked to the Bell

Towers to use the three craft rooms located on the second floor. There they find full-sized craft tables with individual lights as well as a Crikut cutting machine. “We’ve had a lot of scrapbooking parties,” Steve said. “It’s been a busy six months.” “The people here take their scrapbooking very seriously,” Dawna added. “They drive up with mini-vans that are packed full of scrapbooking supplies. One of these days I’d like to join them because they always look like they’re having fun.” The suites downstairs each have two bedrooms, a fireplace, kitchen and large bathrooms. Another highlight of the suites are the original stained-glass windows that fill the rooms with a warm, mellow light. “One of the things I like best about the renovation from church to living space is how the builders kept so many of the original pieces in place,” Dawna said. “One of our guests came in and said, ‘It’s HGTV live!’ That was nice to hear.” Being able to see the past while enjoying the amenities of the present make the Bell Tower Suites simultaneously old fashioned and comfortably up-to-date. For more information about the Bell Tower Suites go to or call 507-380-9391.

MANKATO MAGAZINE • March 2014 • 13




How a Mankato boy survived Pearl Harbor, helped win the war and returned to marry the love of his life By Drew Lyon


n Frank Deford’s 2010 novel, “Bliss, Remembered,” the narrator promises, “(This is) the absolute very last story about World War Two. I gotta believe all the others have been told by now.” But Fireman 1st Class Victor “Vic” Paradis has one more tale of war (and love) to tell. Paradis was 22 years old when he first left home on Jan. 21, 1941. With his two sisters and four brothers, Paradis was raised on his family’s rented farm in Marshall. A neighbor had joined the Navy, and Paradis wanted to follow in his service. “I’m just a farm boy from Marshall,” he said. “There were five of us boys, no running water, and not really enough work for us, and I kind of always wanted to get in the Navy.” Paradis had never ventured beyond the Twin Cities area before he enlisted in Mankato. Soon thereafter, he was sent to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Chicago. 14 • March 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

By year’s end, on a clear Sunday morning in Hawaii, Paradis bore witness to an attack that lives in infamy. The humble Minnesota farm boy would see a lot more of the world in the next five years. “I suppose I should talk about it more,” Paradis said, “but it doesn’t bother me talk to about it.” Thus, Paradis, 95, reaches deep into the pockets of his bank. But his recollections are compiled with ease. “I remember it all very well,” he said, “because it’s all things that have happened.”

Sitting with a hero

On a snowy afternoon, Paradis sits at his kitchen table, fighting a persistent cough to recount in riveting detail his decorated war experience for nearly two hours. Vic pauses only to retrieve military artifacts from a back room in the North Mankato retirement home he shares with Lucille Paradis, his wife of 67 years. Lucille knits on a reclining chair in their living room; with her back to Vic, she chimes

Vic Paradis distinguished himself during six years of service, surviving Pearl Harbor as well as several Naval campaigns. | John Cross in only to fill in the scant details that her husband can’t quite capture. Vic begins with the nostalgia of his childhood and ends the interview — with Lucille’s help — by rattling off the Paradis’ roster of children (four), grandchildren (15) and great-grandchildren (18). In between, Paradis chronicles his six years of Naval service. As he recaps his saga, a listener nods with respect and awe, offering follow-up questions only when Paradis has finished his thought. “I was at basic training at Great Lakes from the end of January through March,” he said. “Then on April Fool’s Day 1941, I was stationed and took a train ride to Mare Island Navy Yard in California.” The train ride was eye-opening for a farm boy heading on his maiden trek west. “That was my first time going anywhere you might say,”

he said. “That was quite a train ride.” On Mare Island, Paradis was assigned to work on the overhaul of the USS Northampton’s fourth division. Any culture shock to the rigors of military life, he said, was absorbed without incident. But there was one aspect of Navy routine that Paradis didn’t enjoy from the outset. “I was a deck hand for about three weeks and we had to wake up at 5 a.m.,” he said. “I happened to look in the compartment in back of me and these guys were still in their bunk. I asked one of the deck hands, ‘How come these guys are still in their bunk?’ He said, ‘They’re engineers, they can sleep until it’s breakfast time.’ So I said, ‘That’s where I’m going!’” Two weeks after his request, Paradis was transferred to the engineering department despite having no previous experience “other than a tractor on a farm and a gasoline MANKATO MAGAZINE • March 2014 • 15

ABOVE An aerial view of Pearl Harbor, provided by Paradis. On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, Paradis was standing near the flagpole, visible in the courtyard on the right of the photo. RIGHT Paradis, now 95, pictured in his Mankato home. | Photos by John Cross engine that pumped water.” Paradis was a quick study and his desire to sleep in proved a prudent career decision (he was employed in the engineering field for another 35 years after his discharge). But after one month in California, the Northampton received orders to sail to Pearl Harbor. “Of course, the war wasn’t on yet,” he said, “but whenever we went out to sea for trials and gunfire practice and so forth, we were always prepared for war. There was always a certain amount of guns manned and hatches closed for water-tight integrity.” The Northampton would go out to sea for “maneuvers” (training) and arrive back in port for two weeks. In July 1941, Paradis was aboard the USS Salt Lake City and, along with a German freighter, sailed to Brisbane, Australia. 16 • March 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

“We were the second warships that ever docked in Australia,” he said. “We had a great big welcoming ceremony; it was a big whoop de doo.” The ships took on fuel and provisions, and set sail for Pearl Harbor. In October 1941, Paradis was reassigned to the machinist mate school at the submarine base in Pearl Harbor. The transfer might’ve saved his life. “I lived on the submarine base with the other men from the school, the electricians, the torpedosmen,” he said. “And then, lo and behold, here comes Dec. 7th.”

The day that lives in infamy

It’s been 72 years since that fateful morning and Paradis’ reflections of that grim day remain intact. For a moment, he refers to Dec. 7, 1941 in present tense:

“I get up, have my breakfast,” he said. “It’s a beautiful Sunday morning. You wouldn’t want a nicer morning to be around. I’m outside by a big white flagpole.” He excuses himself, walks to another room, digs around for several minutes — “What are you doing, Vic?” Lucille asks — and soon returns clutching a black-and-white aerial photo of the submarine base, circa October 1941. “There’s the submarines tied up there ... and there’s the buildings I lived in.” He points at the faint outline of a flagpole. “I was standing right there!” he said. “That’s it. See, on all military installations, they raise the American flag at 8 a.m. There was a sailor there, and a Marine there I think, too. They were raising the flag. Well, to this day, I never did see the flag go up the pole. The Japanese planes came in right at 7:55, and the sky was just full of them! No matter what way you looked, there was a plane.” The scene was overwhelming, the carnage unforgettable.

“You could see the pilots in their glasses plain as day. They came in real low, probably 40 feet off the water. We could see two or three of them shot down. We just kind of stood outside and watched these buggers in the air. We could see the battleships getting hit, blowing up, big clouds of smoke and fire, everything.” Fire alarms blared all around the submarine base. Survivors from the wrecked battleships ran toward the submarine base, clothed only in their underwear, soaked in crude oil. “It was just a horrible situation,” he said. “You was just kind of numb. For the next three days, nobody seemed to know what to do. It was such a turmoil. But we were very fortunate, the submarines, because they would bomb, do this or do that, but they never touched the sub base. No, they never touched the sub base …”

MANKATO MAGAZINE • March 2014 • 17

South Pacific.” The Japanese launched destroyers at four American cruisers. The Northampton was targeted, and sunk around 3 a.m. “We lost all the men that I worked with. They went down on that ship,” Paradis said. “About a third of the ship was on fire; it had gotten into the ammunition box and started to blow up the ammunition. It was like fireworks.” Before the ship’s demise, Paradis and an engineering officer made a final futile attempt to save their comrades. “One of the engineering officers came up to me and said, ‘Vic, let’s go back and see how the men are doing in the after engine room.’ I got about 3/4ths of the way and the smoke and fumes were so thick I couldn’t breathe. I cupped my hand over my mouth and headed back to the top side. I didn’t go back, but I guess he did. I don’t know how far he got. I never did know. No ...” Paradis heeded orders to abandon ship and clung to a life raft in the South Pacific. “I didn’t know how to swim, but I had a life jacket on and I shimmied down in one of those lines,” he said. “I got in the water by the raft and stayed with the raft. And that’s how I saved myself. There was a big fire aboard ship, the water was all lit up, you could see all the guys swimming and trying to get to some place safe.”

Coming home, can’t stay long

Paradis was given 30 days leave under the veil of secrecy to not disclose what happened on Guadalcanal. He sailed for 17 days before finally arriving in San Diego. Paradis then hopped a train from Los Angeles to St. Paul. After nearly Paradis has forgotten little about his years of service and has kept many mementos of the role he played two years, the sailor was finally in World War II. | John Cross heading home to the farm in Marshall. But he was no longer a boy. Sailing and surviving “The train stopped in Worthington, and Marshall’s only America’s formal involvement in World War II had 68 miles from there,” he said. “So me and another guy — begun. Paradis would participate in six major engagements he was from Fairmont — him and I got off the train. It was during the war, including the Battle of Midway and Battle 4 a.m., about 8 inches of snow, and the only thing on the of Okinawa. In late 1942, Paradis was involved in the street was a gall dang snowplow. Here we’d been in the Battle of Tassafaronga, an overlooked but crucial event on tropics for a year and a half, and we don’t have any winter Guadalcanal in the South Pacific underwear, ‘cause the Navy don’t issue them. Boy, what a “The Japanese were using their fast, speedy destroyers miserable morning that was.” to haul in barrels of supply that were tied with mines,” A bread delivery driver came to Paradis’ rescue. Paradis said. “They would dump them off nearest to the “He said, ‘Where are you going, sailor?’ ‘Marshall,’ I shore as they could get without running into the ground. said. He said, ‘I can get you to Tracy corner,’ and he left This was their last desperate attempt to keep Guadalcanal me right on the intersection of (Highway) 14 and 59, and from falling into U.S. hands. This battle was one of the last the first car came by picked me up. My home was right on surface engagements of the war, the last major battle in the 18 • March 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

the road, he dropped me off at the mailbox and I walked in.” Shocked family and friends peppered Paradis with questions he was forbidden to answer. As the mantra went in those days: “Loose lips sink ships.” “They couldn’t figure out how come I had leave,” Paradis said. “We couldn’t even say our ship had sunk, because it hadn’t been officially been reported by the military. So we just said, ‘Oh, they got tired of us.’” “We had corresponded all the while he was in the service,” Lucille said. “Then he came in and surprised all of us.” After 30 days, Paradis was sent to Philadelphia Navy Yard for new construction on the USS Wadsworth. He was then stationed in Boston in spring 1943 before the ship was commissioned “We got on the Wadsworth, down through the canal and back out to Pearl Harbor,” he said, “and I was back in the middle of it six months later.”

Back in action

After 18 months in the Pacific, Paradis accompanied the Wadsworth to Mare Island for an overhaul. Then he sailed to Pearl Harbor once more. “We ended up on the end of the Phillipines battle,” he said, “The last battle was of Okinawa and that’s where we were called the radar duty picket ship. These destroyers would be steaming off four, five hundred miles off Japan. Whenever Japan launched these kamikaze planes, we had extra radiomen. They would pick these guys up, these suicide planes and radio in for support. And we did that for 100 something days.” The Wadsworth earned a Presidential Unit Citation for its valor during the Battle of Okinawa. Paradis still possesses his copy. After the Okinawa campaign, the war in the South Pacific ended, Paradis sailed back to the mainland in November 1945, escorting a ship carrying malnourished POWs. “We had about 50 of the POWs aboard the destroyer,” he said. “When they came aboard the ship, their faces were so thin. They had no muscles, just skin and bones. But it was amazing how much they could talk.” The ship docked in San Diego for three days before Paradis sailed through the Panama Canal and arrived in Charleston, S.C., where the Wadsworth was decommissioned in April 1946. In August 1946, more than five years since he’d caught the train west to Mare Island, Paradis went home to Marshall for a nine-day leave. He saw his future waiting for him. “I came home and both of my sisters and a brother had gotten married,” he said. “My sister’s husband had been in the Navy as a machinist like I was. He’d gotten a job at a municipal power plant in Marshall. ‘Vic,’ he said, ‘I think you should go and see the superintendent.’ And I knew him. I says, ‘What’s the chance I get a job here when I get out of the Navy in January?’ And he says, ‘If I’m still superintendent, you got a job waiting for you.’ So that sounded pretty good.” Vic was looking to find an early exit from the Navy if the opportunity arose. When he reported back for duty in Charleston, opportunity knocked; Paradis answered. “Here comes a Navy report that they had excessive chief

machinist mates, which I was,” he said. “I wanted to quit. So I got the request and I filled it out for this special discharge, and took it to the commander of the Navy Yard.” His superior wouldn’t grant Paradis his discharge without stern objections. “He was a full commander and he looked at my request and said, ‘Paradis! What do you want to discharge under those conditions for?’ I said, ‘I guess I want to get out of the Navy.’ ‘Well, you know what?’ he says, ‘You’re permanently appointed as a chief machinist mate. You can come back in the Navy at that very rank, and you won’t have to do anything.’ But he said if you take this discharge and want to come back, you’ll probably have to come back about four grades below that. ‘Well,’ I says, ‘That’ll keep me out of this dang place!’ Boy, he was really a’stormin’. But he finally signed it and I went home.”

Coming home — and staying for good

Like many of Vic’s peers, there was a girl an ocean away who weighed on his mind during his stint in the South Pacific. In late 1946, with his discharge finalized, Paradis was back in Marshall, vowing to never part with the woman he’d exchanged letters with all those years out at sea. It was high time to set down roots and start a family. “We sure wanted to get married,” Lucille said. “We were ready.” On Nov. 4 1946, just a few days after his return to civilian life, Vic and Lucille were married. The superintendent at the power plant kept his word: Vic secured a job and transitioned into a stable engineering career. His new family moved to the Mankato area in 1948, where they’ve lived ever since. Paradis worked as an operator and assistant manager at Northern States Power Company and Xcel Energy before retiring in 1982. He stayed active golfing and bowling, but recently his legs betrayed him. “Boy, that happened just within the last year,” Vic said. “That broke my heart that I couldn’t bowl anymore.” “Mine too,” Lucille added. Paradis remains involved in Pearl Harbor survivor reunions. For several years, he served as the Fifth District Director of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, and has visited the island three times. “We all used to meet once a year,” he said. “But there’s less of us every year.” Vic and Lucille conclude their love story by citing the triumphs of their offspring. Pictures of their extensive brood decorate the walls of their home. But in the corner of their living room hangs a framed picture of the family patriarch, a young Vic Paradis, in his sailor uniform. “We’ve done quite well,” Paradis said. “I got to say. Just think, six months after I left Marshall, I was in Australia. And then Pearl Harbor. Who’d expect that?” M

MANKATO MAGAZINE • March 2014 • 19


the difference

Profiles of this year’s YWCA Women of Distinction recipients


By Tanner Kent

n the continuing battle for equality, it’s often the individual who makes the difference. And every year since 1973, the Mankato YWCA has recognized the women who are making that difference. This year’s recipients of the YWCA Women of Distinction awards are Cheryl Hamond, Julie Hawker and Susan Frost. Eide Bailly earned the third Distinctive Difference award. Though the YWCA has recognized more than 120 women during the program’s 41-year history, each group of winners feels as if it could be the most distinct yet. This year’s crop is no exception.

Susan Frost

from the Minnesota Nurses Association, Frost distinguished herself as a health care professional who was as compassionate as she was capable. In addition to working as a nurse for then-Immanuel St. Joseph’s Hospital (and pioneering its home-visit program for new mothers), Frost was also a nurse manager at the Open Door Health Clinic, which provides health care to those who are uninsured and under-insured. During that time, she helped turn the fledgling organization into the invaluable community resource it is today. “Everything was run by volunteers at the time,” Frost said, “and we only had two or three exam rooms. We were always so worried our funds would exhaust and we’d let the community down. But that never happened.” More than anything, however, Frost is proud of her role as “Mankato mom” to more than a dozen young women who have passed through her home. Some have been college students tired of dorm living, or in need of a place to stay during transition. Others have been nurses-in-training who are only in town a short while completing clinicals at area facilities. “They all keep in contact with me after they leave the area,” she said. “That’s been very rewarding.” In addition, Frost also volunteers with the Zonta Club of Mankato (and has twice served as president) while also volunteering with the YWCA, her church day care and as a delivery driver for senior meals. “Volunteerism is in my blood,” she said.

Eide Bailly

The company developed the “First Focus” committee for the purpose of ensuring that women professionals are as likely to succeed in the firm as their male colleagues. Eide Bailly also encourages its employees to be active in the community by serving on boards and committees where they might have an interest and passion for the mission of the organization. They currently have employees volunteering for nearly two dozen area service clubs and organizations.

Though traveling has been an important part of her postretirement life, Susan Frost never takes a vacation from her role as caregiver. During her recent journey to the Middle East, for instance, Frost spent much of her vacation tending to one of her many “adopted daughters.” The daughter in this case was a former program coordinator for the Mankato YWCA and a brandnew mother who now lives with her husband in Doha, Qatar. During her time in Mankato, the young woman lived with Frost and the two developed a close bond. So, Frost said, it was only natural for her to spend a portion of her vacation nursing mother and baby to health. “It’s part of my persona,” Frost said. “It’s just in me to help people, I guess.” From a young age Frost was interested in children and animals. She followed that calling through high school and college — despite one instructor’s admonishment that she was too emotionally involved in her child patients and shouldn’t choose a career in pediatrics. Thankfully, Frost knew better. During a long career in which she won multiple awards

Eide Bailly, a public accounting and business advisory firm, is the 2014 Distinctive Difference award winner. The award recognizes “a business or organization that has made a significant contribution to advancing women and/or people of color into upper management and leadership positions.” 20 • March 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

If You Go:

What: YMCA Women of Distinction community event • When: March 20; reception and silent auction at 5 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m. • Where: Verizon Wireless Center • Tickets: Available online at or by calling the YWCA Mankato at 507-345-4629. Deadline for ticket sales is March 12.

Cheryl Hamond

mentors and school-age children for weekly visits) and eventually coordinating other programs. A few years ago, she was asked to step into the full-time role of director of social responsibility. In addition to coordinating volunteers for some of the YMCA’s more well-known programs like Brother/Sister and Youth in Government, she also coordinates programs such as the monthly social for elementary students, a backpack supply program, and programs to collect gently used shoes and eyeglasses. She also coordinates various special projects, such as a 2012 youth leadership workshop with the Minnesota State University soccer program. “I didn’t start at the YMCA ever thinking I would land where I’m at,” she said. “They have given me so many opportunities that I am grateful for.” For inspiration, Hamond said she doesn’t have to go far. In addition to citing her father (a pastor and “wise and ethical leader”), sister (“she always has a positive attitude) and husband, Hamond said she is inspired by her daughter. Now 12 years old, Hamond’s daughter was only 7 when she had 20 percent of her cerebellum removed due to a tumor. In the aftermath, Hamond said her daughter had to relearn everything — a process that taught her much about courage and resolve. “She is incredibly tenacious,” Hamond said. “She has to push herself every single day.” As for receiving the award, Hamond said she was shocked and surprised. She said the recognition only galvanizes her personal mission to be a servant leader. “I’m incredibly humbled and honored,” she said.

Julie Hawker

he’d been invited into an American’s home. Or, the refugee woman who has taken to calling her “mama,” and Hawker to calling her ‘little one.” Or, the ones who have shared during the Tapestry Project’s regular “Getting to Know You” nights that family members were lost, left behind or killed during the flight to America “It’s all about relationships, all about heart,” Hawker said. “It’s about having conversations across a kitchen table instead of a conference table.” A Lake Crystal native who married her high school sweetheart, Hawker said a strong faith in God and a growing sense of dissatisfaction led to her career- and life-altering change seven years ago. At the time, she was the training and development manager for a now-defunct plastics manufacturer. Her job was travel-heavy and required an intense level of commitment. “For the last two years I had that job, I was always traveling during the week and only home on weekends,” she said. “I’d make family dinner and then have to leave to go to the airport. It was hard.” Hawker started out operating her own business from home, but meanwhile attended the annual Elizabeth Kearney Leadership Development Program. It was there, she said, that a lifelong sensation that she was meant to help people came into full blossom. “Before that, I had never had any experience with a person from another country,” she said. “But after that, I felt like I couldn’t look away anymore.” M

For Cheryl Hamond, “social responsibility” is as much a personal mantra as professional title. Professionally speaking, Hamond is the director of social responsibility for the Mankato Family YMCA. As such, she coordinates volunteers for programs and upholds the YMCA’s core tenet of promoting social well-being in all its actions. But those values don’t end when her work day is done. She and her family recently conducted their own campaign to collect unneeded home furnishings, furniture and appliances to redistribute to those in need. She also serves as a sort of welcome station for kids and families in her neighborhood, which happens to be one where many immigrant and refugee families reside. “You bloom where you are planted,” she said. “We all have an opportunity to influence others and give something back.” When Hamond and her husband moved to Mankato 16 years ago, however, she had every intention of being a stay-athome mom. But, being a “people person,” Hamond soon sought a parttime job at the YMCA’s front desk. That work led to coordinating the Brother/Sister program (which pairs adult

For Julie Hawker, the Women of Distinction Award isn’t about accomplishments — it’s about people. Seven years ago, Hawker left a high-wage corporate job to assume what was, at first, a parttime marketing job with Lloyd Management. As her experience and responsibilities grew, so too did her awareness of the challenges that refugee and immigrant families faced after arriving in Mankato. In response, Hawker created the Tapestry Project as a community-wide vehicle for welcoming and integrating those families. Along the way, Hawker and her team of partners passed along practical advice like how to use microwaves and change light bulbs, and what to do during a traffic stop. Word of the program’s success spread to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which gave the Mankato Department of Public Safety a community policing award for its contribution to the project, and to the city of Faribault, which is piloting the program this year, But those accomplishments aren’t what Hawker keeps closest to her heart. Rather, it’s the man who, upon visiting a pot luck at Hawker’s home, remarked that it was the first time

MANKATO MAGAZINE • March 2014 • 21


By John Cross


irds, it could be argued, are the eternal optimists. After all, even on those bone-chilling, sub-zero mornings last month, the cardinals and black-capped chickadees still were heralding the impending of arrival of spring with cheery notes shouted from the highest treetops. In coming weeks, even before lengthening days and strengthening sunshine have fully burned off a winter’s worth of ice, Canada geese will make their noisy arrival to claim prime nesting areas. Soon to follow will be more waterfowl, the first resident robins, red-winged blackbirds, all of them believing that in spite of a countryside held tight in winter’s icy grip, spring is at hand, better times are ahead. Oh, but to be a bird. M

22 • March 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

MANKATO MAGAZINE • March 2014 • 23

Clarence Staley ushered Sibley Park into its modern form. | Photo courtesy of the Staley family

Well-built Clarence Staley gave his life to Sibley Park and a lasting legacy to Mankato *By Natalie Moses

* Research, interviews and creative input for this story were contributed by students in Heather Camp’s fall semester writing course for Honor students at Minnesota State University. 24 • March 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


larence Staley dedicated himself to making the Mankato area a better and more beautiful place, yet his hard work has gone without much recognition in the decades since his tragic death. The man who would eventually give his life in service to the city of Mankato was originally an engineer, working with his father at the Saulpaugh Hotel. Although this was a steady career, Clarence’s real passion was gardening and landscaping. Self-taught in everything he knew, the man had a knack for transforming the ordinary into something extravagant. These talents were put to use after Clarence quit his job as an engineer and began working at Sibley Park.

Sibley Park is born

Where Mankato’s well-known park stands today was once the grounds for a popular racetrack. After an accident that killed the track’s caretaker, Clarence took over the job. He maintained the track well, planting a variety of flowers and keeping the landscape pristine. When the track began to lose customers, he saw an opportunity to start a new enterprise in its place. He proposed to the city the idea of making a park in place of the racetrack, and thus began Sibley Park. (Note: Information for this article was compiled through two interviews with surviving family members as well as historical documents and newspaper records.) By all accounts, Clarence was a humble and hardworking man. He and his wife, May, already had several children, yet Clarence embraced the park as another part of his family. Being passionate about the intricacies of landscaping, Clarence created the elegant stonework that Sibley Park was known for. He loved the scenery of flowers and rock gardens so much that Clarence replicated it in the backyard of his own home, despite the family’s near-constant state of poverty. Besides making Sibley Park pleasing to the eye, Clarence tended Sibley Park’s zoo. The animals for the zoo came from Como Zoo in St. Paul and Longfellows Zoo in Minneapolis. The creatures of Sibley Park included lions, ostriches, bears, alligators, and a variety of other animals, including the legendary, if unlikely, lion and dog pair, Mutt and Jeff. These animals were cared for deeply by Clarence and held a special place in his heart. He was known to take the animals home when necessary to provide further care to them. “In the spring when the (babies) were born and the mothers didn’t take care of them,” one of Clarence’s sons, Phillip, recalled, “Dad would bring them home where they stayed until they were old enough to take care of themselves, or the weather got warm.” The Staley home was constantly housing all kinds of animals, including alligators and lion cubs. The presence of these animals, however, did not please May nearly so much as Clarence. Despite intense objection from his wife, Clarence often brought the lion cubs to bed with him. “I took the little (cub) home with me … and warmed it up beside the oven,” Clarence told a reporter in 1931. “But it wouldn’t stay in the box I had fixed, so I took it to bed with me.” Eventually, Clarence was given an ultimatum: He could sleep with the cub or with his wife. Clarence chose to honor his wife’s wishes but continued to take care of the cub until it was able to survive on its own.

The woman behind the man

May Staley was a tough woman — all of her descendants attest to that. She is described as sturdy with a hard-bearing

Several of Clarence Staley’s descendants provided information and agreed to be interviewed for this story, including: (from left) grandson Dennis Staley, great-granddaughter June Staley and granddaughter Anita White. | Photo by Heather Lee personality that rarely softened. As a mother, she had suffered several miscarriages and, of her seven sons, only three survived into adulthood. “Never, not even one time in my life, did I see her smile, or hear her speak of Clarence,” recalled her granddaughter, Anita White. Family recollections also confirm that May was never entirely comfortable with housing zoo animals in her home. Besides having to share a bed with lion cubs, May had plenty of not-so-pleasant incidences with alligators. Her grandchildren still laugh about the stories of her chasing the 3-foot-long predators out of her way when making a trip to the basement. But May suffered the uncomfortability with a strong and assertive attitude. Her descendants say her unflagging will and stoic demeanor helped keep the house in order while Clarence worked long hours at the park and helped the family survive during lean times. She even took a second job cleaning bathrooms at the courthouse to help provide. The Staley family was far from well off. They relied on the zoo for resources that the family could not afford to supply on their own. Ostrich eggs from the zoo were often taken home for supper and Clarence often collected coal that had fallen from passing train cars to heat their home. The zoo also provided excess animal meat for the family. Surplus raw meat, meant for the animals, was frequently taken home by Clarence and cooked for the family. The Staley family lived in a modest home, small for such a large family, near what is now Wheeler Avenue. The family did what they could, but even with everyone working, it was difficult to make ends meet. Sibley Park’s relationship with Clarence, then, was a symbiotic one. Clarence made it beautiful, modernized it and turned it into a community recreation destination. In return, the park provided Clarence the ability to feed his family and heat his home.

The fatal attack

As Clarence’s love for the park and its animals became more evident, his dedication began to pay off when he became the superintendent of all parks in Mankato. Sibley Park was growing, and so was its popularity. During the summer, people flocked to the park to admire the variety of animals and the stunning landscape, which was a source of constant pride to Clarence and his family. The bliss and prosperity of the park continued for many MANKATO MAGAZINE • March 2014 • 25

years — at least until Nov. 11, 1934. The day was similar to thousands of others before it, and Clarence was working the park as usual. While he was in the office, however, a couple of women approached Clarence and asked for his assistance. They had been teasing the bears and accidentally dropped one of their purses into the cage. The two women asked Clarence to help them retrieve the bag. Clarence willingly obliged, though he had not been with the bears for some time. He had raised the bears since they were cubs and assumed that everything would go smoothly. Much to his surprise, the bears clenched Clarence’s leg immediately after he entered the cage. Within seconds, the beasts got their claws around his throat. Dick Evans, a young man who had been target shooting, was standing on the river bank when he saw what was happening. He shot the bears multiple times with his .22-caliber rifle, forcing the bears to release their grasp on Clarence. But it was too late. Clarence had been mauled to death by the same bears he had cared for their entire lives. The incident seemed a tragic and unfitting end for the man who gave much of his life to the park.

The caretaker and his maker

Well-liked and respected, Clarence’s funeral was, at the time, one of the largest in Mankato history. The flag on the south side of Sibley Park stands in his honor, alongside a plaque memorial — the only tributes to Clarence’s life and service.

Following the death of their primary provider, the Staley family carried on with their lives the best they could. May sued the city for compensation after Clarence’s death, receiving $10,000 after a bitter legal dispute. Harold, another of Clarence’s sons, was asked to drop out of then-Mankato State College to assume Clarence’s position. Harold carried on Clarence’s legacy for several years until a disagreement of opinions caused him to quit as superintendent of parks. Shortly thereafter, high water came to the city of Mankato and Sibley Park was flooded, taking Clarence’s flowers, landscaping, and animals with it. The scenic park was all but washed away. Sibley Park has since been rebuilt and remains a local recreation destination. Much of Clarence’s landscaping has been recreated and the park once again houses a zoo of sorts, although not to the extent of the previous iteration. To this day, the Staley family holds its memories tightly and trades stories whenever possible in an effort to hand down Clarence’s legacy. Family members express pride regarding their patriarch’s place in local history but wish more had been done to preserve his memory. “We were raised to go to the park and enjoy it,” White said. “And we always had to see the monument before we left.” Clarence’s great-granddaughter June Staley added: “I remember going to Sibley Park in first grade. I found the plaque with my classmates and told them the story about Clarence. They didn’t believe me. Some people still don’t believe me.” M

*All timeline photos are courtesy of the Blue Earth County Historical Society.

Parson King Johnson and Henry Jackson ponder if the area could be constructed into a town, but notice high-water marks on trees, which indicated flooding.

In what is likely the only instance of a steamboat navigating the Blue Earth River, a steamboat travels up to the Red Jacket Mill and carries down a load of flour.



Sibley Park is made an official city park when town officials buy about 120 acres of land from the Givens family for $13,088. Later that year, the city buys the Southern Minnesota Stock and Fairgrounds, which includes an oval horse and bicycle racetrack, grandstand and judging stand. 1887









A trading post is set up by General Henry H. Sibley. Sibley, who was later to be Minnesota’s first governor, names the post “Sibley’s Mound.”

Serves as home to Camp Lincoln where 303 Dakota were held prior to their trials for participation in the U.S.Dakota War of 1862.

Mankato Fair Association develops a fairgrounds and training area for race horses.

The park’s original racetrack is demolished and the site prepared for use as a public park.

Railroad tracks are constructed at the front of the park.

The zoo is established and opens with one bear in a cage.

More land is added to the zoo along with bison and other animals. Also, a new pavilion and bandstand are constructed.

A type of driveway is built under the railroad tracks to improve safety.

26 • March 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

d .


Mutt and Jeff: Mankato’s odd couple

he lion and dog duo, Mutt and Jeff, was the main attraction at the Sibley Park Zoo for the duration of their stay in the 1930s. Born in 1931, Mutt was rejected by his mother when he was just a few days old. For companionship, someone suggested the park’s mixed-breed dog, Jeff. They were placed together during all but meal times and were inseparable ever after. Early on, they were raised, cared for and trained by Clarence Staley. Over the course of many years, thousands flocked to the zoo from across the country to see the famous pair of friends. “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” even carried the odd couple’s story. Mutt, however, began to suffer from a painful hernia and had to be put down in 1942, leaving his lifelong canine friend grieving. Several years earlier, when the lion was suffering from a similar problem, the zoo attempted to recreate the pair with another couple of youngsters. The lion cub played too roughly with the puppy and the experiment was deemed a failure. Mutt and Jeff have remained a unique duo that has yet to be copied.

Mutt, the lion, and Jeff, the dog, were an inseperable, if famous, pair of Sibley Park residents in the 1930s. | Free Press file photo

~ Mark Wickelgren

Mutt, the lion, and Jeff, the dog, share a cage and become worldwide sensations.

The dam is removed with dynamite for environmental reasons. Ruins are still visible on both the Sibley Park and Land of Memories side of the Blue Earth River.



1934-1937 The WPA builds a dam and spillway, which park officials turn into a lake for fishing, water sports and boating.





Widespread Even though a Sibley Park’s The park bans flooding in small petting buffalo herd glass beverage Mankato zoo was is removed containers, puts destroys the established in to Blue in a locking gate zoo and kills the aftermath Mount State control, and almost all of the flood, Park. hires park the animals. the city rejects control to a bond issue prevent possible to establish a problems and new zoo. increase safety.


Present day

In addition to Leas G. Schwickert walking paths, donates funds to landscaped replace an old grounds, ball fields bandstand and and a playground, create Leas G. Sibley Park Schwickert Arts includes: Sibley Pavilion. The city of Mankato creates Farm, Sibley Park plans for a petting Pavilion, the CHS Pergola and a zoo called gazebo. Storybook Farm. MANKATO MAGAZINE • March 2014 • 27

Coming Attractions: March Feb 27- March 2 -MSU Theatre: “As You LIke It” Thursday - Saturday 7:30 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 2 p.m. -- Ted Paul Theatre, Minnesota State University -$16 regular, $14 seniors and youth -507-389-6661 1 -- Bock Fest 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. -- Schell’s Brewery -1860 Schell Road, New Ulm -- $10 -ages 21+ -- 507-354-5528 1 -- Fasching 11 a.m.-10 p.m. -- Turner Hall -101 S. State, New Ulm -- $5 in advance, $7 at door -- 1-888-463-9856 1 -- MSU Theatre: Children’s Theatre production: “Escape to Wonderland” 10 a.m. -- Andreas Theater, Minnesota State University -- $5 -- 507-389-6663 1 -- MSU: Jazzfest 2014 7:30 p.m. -- Halling Recital Hall, Minnesota State University -- $15 general, $13 current MSU students -507-389-5549 2 -- Southern Minnesota Wedding Expo 12-4 p.m. -- Verizon Wireless Center -free -- 507-345-4646

15 -- Civil War Symposium 8 a.m.-5 p.m. -- Summit Center -- 518 S. Fifth St., Mankato -- $25 advance registration, $20 at door if space available -- newsevents.html.

22-23 -- Equinox Fair 12 p.m. -- Best Western -- 1111 Range St., North Mankato -- $8 music only, $15 event and workshops, $20 all events, workshops and music -507-304-3363

15-16 -- Natural Healing and Psychic Expo Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. -- Courtyard by Marriortt Event Center -- 905 Raintree Road, Mankato -- $3 1-day pass, $5 weekend pass -- 507-340-6809

25 -- Habitat for Humanity: Home Tweet Home 6-8 p.m. -- Mankato Golf Club -100 Augusta Drive, Mankato -- $20

16 -- Mankato Symphony Orchestra: Music on the Hill: “Elegant Impressions” 2 p.m. -- Our Lady of Good Counsel Chapel -- $12 in advance, $15 at door 18 -- Skywarn Spotter Training 6 p.m. -- South Central College -- free -934-0410 or 304-4806 20 -- MSU Good Thunder Reading Series: Poet Matt Rasmussen and Tracy K. Smith Craft Talk 3 p.m., Reading 7:30 -Centennial Student Union, Minnesota State University -- free -- 507-389-1354

2 -- Mankato Symphony Orchestra: Deconstructing Rachmaninoff 3 p.m. -- Mankato West High School

20 -- MSU Performance Series: Willie Porter 7:30 p.m. -- Halling Recital Hall, Minnesota State University -- $12 general, $11 current MSU students -507-389-5549

2-3 -- MSU: Winter Choral Concert Sunday 3 p.m., Monday 7:30 p.m. -Halling Recital Hall, Minnesota State University -- $9 general, $7 current MSU students -- 507-389-5549

20 -- YWCA Women of Distinction banquet 5 p.m. -- Verizon Wireless Center -$60 per person, $550 per table

4 -- MSU: Unversity Jazz Groups 7:30 p.m. -- Halling Recital Hall, Minnesota State University -- $9 general, $7 current MSU students -507-389-5549

20-22 -- Bethany Lutheran College: Speechless Film Festival Mankato Place Theatre -- $15, $10 with student ID -- 507-344-7732

7 -- Gustavus Artist Series: The Aeolus String Quartet 8-10 p.m. -- Bjorling Recital Hall, Gustavus Adolphus College -- $15 adults, $12 seniors and students, free to Gustavus Students -- 507-933-7013

28 • March 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

21 -- Surrounded by History 6 p.m. -- Centennial Student Union, Minnesota State University -$50 per person, $500 per table -- 507-345-5566

25 -- MSU: University Orchestra 7:30 p.m. -- Halling Recital Hall, Minnesota State University -- $9 general, $7 current MSU students -507-389-5549 26 -- Trampled By Turtles 7 p.m. -- Verizon Wireless Center -$25 -- -1-800-745-3000 26-29 -- MSU Theatre: “Trust” 7:30 p.m. -- Andreas Theatre, Minnesota State University -- $10 general -- 507-389-6661 27 -- The Sodra Vatterbygdens Folkhogskola Choir 7-9 p.m. -- Christ Chapel, Gustavus Adolphus College -- free -- 507-9337013 28-30 -- Southern Minnesota Home and Builders Show Friday 5-9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday 12-5 p.m. -- Verizon Wireless Center -- free -- 515-537-2094 28-29 – Cabaret Le Ruse’s “Fool Me Once” 8 p.m. on March 28 at Henderson Roadhaus, 8 p.m. on March 29 at Arts Center of St. Peter; additional performances include 7 p.m. on April 1 at Mankato Event Center and 8 p.m. on April 4 at Grand Kabaret in New Ulm -- $12 – 30 -- MSU Performance Series: Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble 7:30 p.m. -- Halling Recital Hall, Minnesota State University -- $15 general, $13 current MSU students -507-389-5549 31 -- Bethany Lutheran College Theatre: “The Deaf Duckling” 7-8 p.m. -- Meyer Hall 101, Bethany Lutheran College --

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Day Trip Destinations: Festival



By Leticia Gonzales

A festival to

hoot about

The Interational Festival of Owls is held annually in Houston. | Photo by Alan Stankevitz


hile it’s not unusual for a small town in Minnesota to host a quirky yearly festival, Houston nearly doubles in size each March when it hosts the International Festival of Owls. “We had 1,800 people come last year,” said Karla Bloem, festival coordinator and director/naturalist of Houston Nature Center. “We have to use the whole town for the festival.” With a population of about 980 people, the city had to get creative when it came to developing opportunities for tourism. Bloem worked with the city of Houston in 1996 to create a nature center that would connect to the 42-mile Root River Trail, which runs through the towns of Lanesboro, Whalan, Peterson, Rushford and Houston. While the Houston Nature Center wasn’t completed until 2001, Bloem began offering environmental education programming to the community. With a keen interest in raptors, she took on Alice, a great horned owl, that was permanently injured. “I had no idea what I was getting into. She is a human imprint,” Bloem said. “She was injured at 3 weeks of age when she fell out of her nest, although she has all of her ‘owl’ instincts. She actually lives with me and commutes to work like a normal human being. Because of that close connection, I have gotten to know her really, really well.” Bloem said Alice quickly became “the star of the show” once the Houston Nature Center opened its doors in 2001. It was then that Bloem decided to host a Hatch Day Festival for Alice in March, which is the month the owl was born. “We didn’t advertise much and 300 people showed up the first year,” she said. “We kept adding to it until it grew into a

30 • March 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

full weekend festival.” Now in its 12th year, the International Festival of Owls attracts owl experts from all over the world, including Finland, Norway, England, the Netherlands, Germany, South Africa, Kenya, Nepal, Taiwan, Canada, and Jamaica. “There is no other full weekend owl festival in North America,” Bloem said. It takes about 150 volunteers to run the festival, which is about 10 percent of the town. The festival attracts tourists from the Midwest, as well as other states such as Oklahoma, Wyoming, New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Texas, California, Washington and Indiana. “They get real ownership of the festival, and they feel they are a real part of it — and they are,” she said. Erik Bruhnke, a birding tour guide from Duluth, has been a part of the festival for the past five years as a vendor. “I just happened to visit there with a friend and got hooked on the atmosphere there,” Bruhnke said. As an avid birdwatcher himself, Bruhnke said the festival is a great place to educate the public about birds. “For me, my biggest passion in life is birds, but also teaching people,” he said. “I found that showing people around and teaching people about birds is the best of both worlds for me.” Whether it’s the live bird demonstrations and nighttime owl hikes, or the owl-themed coffee and pancakes, the International Festival of Owl takes over the town. “It’s fun, because if you come into Houston, it’s all owls,” said Bloem. “The people who come must like it, because they come back and they bring their friends.” M

Festival Highlights

ABOVE, LEFT: The festival mascot poses with Erik Bruhnke. TOP Alice, the Admission button required (may be in addition to other fees) great-horned owl. | Photo by Images by Ingvalson Adults: $8; Kids ages 4-12: $4; age 3 & younger free All activities at Houston Elementary School unless otherwise noted. For a complete list of events visit

March 7 at Houston Elementary School

6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Start off the evening with a performance of “Owl Speak” with Larry Dolphin, followed by a “Live Owl Program” by the SOAR. Merchants and vendors also will be selling owl-themed merchandise.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

8–11 a.m.: Owl Face Pancake Breakfast (Lutheran Church) 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Photography contest voting and handson owl displays 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Owl Nest Box Building ($30/box) 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Owl Pellet Dissection ($5/pellet) 11 a.m.: “Owls: the Best Friends of Farmers and Ornithologists in Israel,” by Dr. Motti Charter 1:30 p.m.: Owl-themed Live Auction by Pete Peterson 1:30–3 p.m.: Alice’s Hatch-Day Party 8:30 p.m.: “Owls of the World by Heimo Mikkola from Finland” (Valley High Golf Club)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Birding & Natural History Bus Trip and German Lunch (leave from Houston Nature Center) with Dan Jackson and Brian Lee (pre-registration and fees required) 9:30 to 4:30 p.m.: Photography contest voting and hands-on owl displays (Houston Nature Center) 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Owl Pellet Dissection ($5/pellet) and Owl Nest Box Building ($30/box) 10 a.m.: Children’s Owl Program Noon: Indoor Owl Photography Opportunity 12:30 p.m.: Live Owl Program by SOAR

Blufflands State Trail


s you make your way to Houston, Blufflands State Trail is a great place to stop and stretch your legs. The 60-mile paved trail system features two main segments known as the Root River Trail and the Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail. The trails are groomed for cross-country skiers in the winter, and paved for bicyclists, walkers, runners, and in-line skaters in the warmer months. While summer weekends are the busiest times, Craig Blommer, area supervisor for DNR parks and trails, said the trials are still easy to navigate. “Although the trail receives over 100,000 users in the summer, you don’t get a feeling of the crowds because they are spread out over 42 miles on the Root River Trail and the connecting 18 miles of the Harmony-Preston Valley Trail,” he said. Its proximity to neighboring communities is also a plus. “It’s hard to beat the attraction of the eight small towns spaced throughout the length of the trail and the Root River that follows the trail corridor,” Blommer said. “There is a nice mix of woods, prairie and scenic views of the limestone bluffs as you travel along a relatively flat route.” MANKATO MAGAZINE • March 2014 • 31




By Jean Lundquist

Jackson Street (shown above, more than a century ago) was named for early Mankato settler Henry Jackson (pictured at left). | Photos courtesy of the Blue Earth County Historical Society

Roadmap to history Mankato street names remember community pioneers, personalities


any street names in Mankato identify the people who built this city, starting at its inception in 1852 when Henry Jackson staked one of the first claims in what was to become southern Minnesota. He’s the Jackson behind Jackson Street in downtown Mankato. Blue Earth County Historical Society Education and Outreach Manager Heather Harren says that’s where the story starts, but not where it ends. Bill Bassett is the man behind the Bassett Drive name. He served as city manager from 1968 to 1996 and is the last local person to have a Mankato street named for him or her.

32 • March 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Maxfield and Baker Streets: George Maxfield and James Baker were renowned generals in the Civil War and were honored with street names when they returned from battle. Warren Street: Thomas Warren was an early doctor in town and also a land developer. Swiss and Kreig Streets: Harren says Swiss newlyweds Albert and Anna Kreig moved to the Mankato hilltop area when they arrived, and it is for them that Swiss and Krieg streets are named Except for the streets named for them, it’s not known what else they contributed to the community. Duke, Ruby, Mable, Ruth, Anne and May Streets: Aaron Duke operated a small general store when he arrived in Mankato. Then he was elected marshal of Mankato and South Bend Township during the U.S.-Dakota War. His daughters also had streets named for them, perhaps the only street names associated with women in the city. Marshall and Byron Streets: Marshall Comstock was in the lumber and milling business in early Mankato. Byron was the son of a local judge. Hinkley Street: John Hinkley settled here in 1852 and became one of Blue Earth County’s first commissioners. Guenther Street: Jacob Guenther emigrated from Germany and was also an early county commissioner. Weaver Street: Named in memory of Edward Weaver, the Blue Earth County auditor for many years. Moreland Avenue: Basil Moreland settled in Mankato in 1853. He became a school teacher and then was elected sheriff. Val Imm Drive: Val Imm was a beloved state senator and also owned a local newspaper, Mankato News.

Pfau Street: Albert Pfau arrived in Mankato at the end of the Civil War and opened a law practice. Hubbell Street: James Hubbell was an early businessman who with others, including R.D. Hubbard, founded the Mankato Linseed Company. Sibley Street: Henry Sibley is well-known as Minnesota’s first governor elected after becoming a state. As a general, he played a key role in the U.S.-Dakota War He is the man who advocated for the city of St. Peter to become the state capital. Shaubut Street: Henry Shaubut ran the Shaubut Store with the Mankato Normal School housed on the top floor for two years before Old Main was built, according to Harren. Marsh Street: Named for brothers John and George, who ran the first mail line between Mankato and St. Paul. Patterson and Linder Streets, and Monks Avenue: Lester Patterson, Louis Linder and George Monks were all local land developers. Fuller Street: Hiram Fuller was the first Blue Earth County treasurer. Stoltzman Road: George Stoltzman was the first Mankatoan to die in the Vietnam War, and his parents live outside of town there. Although not honoring people, Harren says other streets are also important: Front Street was named because it faces the Minnesota River,. Victory Drive was named in honor of the World War II Allied victory. M

ABOVE Val Imm was a state senator and owner of the Mankato News. RIGHT A bird’s-eye view of the Main Street area of downtown Mankato where many of the city’s namesake streets are located. | Photos courtesy of the Blue Earth County Historical Society MANKATO MAGAZINE • March 2014 • 33

That’s Life By Nell Musolf

Long live the ‘Ruler of the Estate’


efore our second son was born, I naively assumed that he’d be a carbon copy of his big brother. Why not? The same in vitro picture that informed us that we’d be having another boy was also an exact replica of Baby No. 1 at the same age. The shape of the head, the curve of the body, even the faint, grainy outline of what we believed to be the baby’s eyes were identical. So, surely our second son’s personality would be just like our first. Which would have been perfectly fine with me. Our oldest child, Joe, was what my husband and I referred to as our Ideal Starter Baby and apparently had been designed with nervous, first-time parents like Mark and me in mind. Joe was placid, sweet-tempered and slept through the night at two months. He had a hearty appetite, gained weight right on schedule and both woke up and went to sleep with a smile on his face. Of course we wanted another one like him. Given our druthers we would have taken an entire platoon of babies just like Joe. So what did we get? We got Hank. I suppose I should have taken the definitions in the Name Your Baby book we consulted a little more seriously. According to one book we looked at, the name Henry meant ‘ruler of the estate.’ “Isn’t that cute?” Mark and I asked each other with a chuckle as we made our way from names Aaron through Zachary. “Like a baby could rule a household!” In spite of the warning, we decided to name the new baby Henry after Mark vetoed my suggestion of Ponyboy (I’ve always had a weakness for “ T h e Outsiders”) and I nixed his No. 1 favorite o f

34 • March 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Axel after Axl Rose of Guns ‘n’ Roses fame. We both liked the name Henry and smirked somewhat smugly at the idea of a baby ruling any estate, even one as humble as our own. Babies didn’t rule homes; parents did. Little did we know. Henry, quickly shortened to Hank, looked a lot like his brother when he was born but had a far more determined glint in his eyes that was apparent at even a few weeks. Unlike Joe, Hank didn’t like sleeping at night, during the day or during any hour that had an o’clock in it. He demanded to be held constantly and always facing outward so that he could examine this new world that he’d been thrust into without any deciding vote of his own. It became almost routine for complete strangers to approach me in the park or the grocery store to inform me that I wasn’t holding my baby right. “Babies should be held so they’re facing you,” I was repeatedly told. “Not this one,” I always replied. “This one wants to see where he’s going.” From birth on, Hank did rule our estate and he’s done it his own way. Perhaps it’s simply the survival instinct of the second born, but Hank was unique in ways I never imagined. Observant, he wondered at age 3 why Santa uses the same wrapping paper that I did — a coincidence that somehow managed to escape the rest of us. Strongwilled and definitely independent, the child that I thought would be exactly like the first is about as far removed from his big brother as a chocolate soufflé is from an apple. At first I was a little sad that I wasn’t going to have the pleasure of an immediate rerun of Joe’s babyhood. Why couldn’t Hank be more like Joe? Why couldn’t he sit on my lap without wiggling to get down, sleep through just one night without waking up at 2 in the morning or eat his dinner without ending up wearing most of it on his shirt? The answer, which finally dawned on me like a very slow sun coming up over a mountain ridge, was so obvious that I’m embarrassed to admit that it took me such a long time. How could Hank be just like Joe? He wasn’t Joe; he was Hank. Stubborn, determined, dear Hank. Wanting him to be more like Joe was like wanting one snowflake to resemble another one just because I thought it would be more agreeable if it did. As soon as I accepted that fact, somehow the differences between Joe and Hank became less frustrating and more endearing. After all, they weren’t clones of each other. They were siblings. Similar, but not the same. Our ruler of the estate is turning 21 this month. Twenty-one years of ruling our home and our hearts. In that way, he’s exactly like his brother and I wouldn’t change a thing about either of them. Well … maybe a few things. But, on the whole, I’m fine with our estate being ruled by either one of them. M

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What’s Cooking By Sarah Johnson

Caught in the great sushi debate


And, fresh tips for the sushi-curious

his is the hardest column I’ve ever had the pleasure of hating to write. It’s about sushi, a cuisine which I love to detest. Let me explain: While I adore the whole sushi “experience” – the artistry of the food, the ambiance of the restaurant, the obvious amount of care put into the whole dining event – I’ve never found the food itself to be anything less than startling. Fishy-tasting broths, squishy slices of raw fish, sourly fermented rice and bitter seaweed positively everywhere – in the words of my Norwegian forebears – “Uffda” (which translates to “gag me”). I’m left scratching my head: What am I missing? This is a type of food popular the world over, especially in the more cosmopolitan corners. Am I just not cool or sophisticated enough? Are my taste buds too coarse for this delicate cuisine? The sushi bandwagon seems to have left me behind without my tuba. But I adore reading sushi menus and wondering what would ever get me to eat such toe-curdling ingredients as salmon skin, flying fish roe, sea urchin, fatty tuna, octopus or eel. Perhaps a knife-wielding sushi chef with a gleam in his eye. Until then, such foods are safe from me. While some form of sushi has been around in Japan for centuries, the modern “quick-serve” version is a relatively new creation from the World War II era. It made its way across the ocean to both American coasts where it languished; due to the need for super-fresh fish, it couldn’t make inroads inland until improvements were made in shipping methods. Now it’s possible to enjoy (or hate) quality sushi smack dab in the middle of the continent. Hence the recent proliferation of sushi restaurants in Mankato. For those of you who have yet to try it, I’ve come up with Sarah’s Sushi Tips for the Faint of Heart:

• First of all, don’t expect to dislike it like I do. About half the people I know love sushi; the other half either haven’t tried it yet or don’t care for it. You may very well be a closet sushi lover. • However, if you’re not, look for the words “cooked sushi” or “cooked sashimi.” This fish has been properly cooked as nature intended and allows you to circumvent the entire issue of eating raw fish. Vegetarian sushi, with no fish at all, is also easy to find. • Utilize the condiments. They are there for your protection. There’s always soy sauce and wasabi paste on your table; mix a little wasabi into the soy sauce and dip, dip, dip. This mixture would make a deep-fried shoe taste good. • If you don’t like cucumber, for heaven’s sake pipe up and say so. They’ll prepare your food without it. Otherwise expect cucumber in every blasted bite. • Slow down and enjoy the experience. Savor every mouthful. Converse between bites. This is food that’s meant to be enjoyed with one’s eyes, tongue and mind. • And finally, remember that if the sushi doesn’t work out for you, there are many other standard dishes on the menu to choose from. You can enjoy a nice stir-fry while your friends eat the funky stuff. Our local sushi restaurants offer takeout, so if you want a special meal at home, feel free to pick some up. You can make this simple but sophisticated salad yourself as an accompaniment. M Sarah Johnson is a cook, freelance writer and chocolate addict from North Mankato with three grown kids and a couple of mutts.

Japanese Cucumber Salad Two medium cucumbers, or one large English cucumber ¼ cup rice vinegar 1 teaspoon sugar ¼ teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted Peel cucumbers to leave alternating green stripes. Slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise; scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Using a food processor or sharp knife, cut into very thin slices. Place in a double layer of paper towel and squeeze gently to remove any excess moisture. Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a medium bowl, stirring to dissolve. Add the cucumbers and sesame seeds; toss well to combine. Serve immediately. 36 • March 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Wine Pairing Sake is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. Sake is often called “rice wine,” but since it’s produced with a brewing process, it’s actually closer to a beer. As far as alcohol content goes, however, sake is the heavy hitter, weighing in at 15-20 percent alcohol. If sake is not your style, try a Japanese beer with your sushi such as the dark, rich Asahi Kuronama, the surprisingly crisp Asahi Super Dry, or an ice-cold Sapporo Premium. Sushi also pairs well with traditional white wines, especially Riesling.

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MANKATO MAGAZINE • March 2014 • 39

Your Health

By By Christie Aschwanden | Special To The Washington Post

Consider the consequences of stolen medical identity M

ost of us tightly guard our credit cards and bank account numbers, but health insurance policy numbers are also prime targets for thieves. An estimated 1.84 million people were victims of medical identity theft in 2013, according to the Poneman Institute, a research organization, which expects that number to rise. Victims often don’t realize they’ve been targeted until they discover a drop in their credit score or until a collection agency comes after them for unpaid medical bills, said Jim Quiggle, director of communications for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, a group that includes insurers, consumer activists and government officials. While most of the cost of medical identity theft is borne by the health-care industry and government, the Poneman Institute estimates that about 36 percent of victims in 2013 incurred out-ofpocket costs such as reimbursements for services provided to impostors, legal fees and identity protection services. The average cost for these victims amounted to $18,660; in a few cases, it exceeded $100,000 Medical identity theft can happen in several ways. In one common scenario, the criminal persuades a consumer to divulge his health insurance number. Strategies for collecting these numbers can be highly sophisticated, especially when crooks operate in teams,Quiggle said. “They might invite seniors to bogus health fairs where they take their blood pressure and give them some nutritional supplements and ask to see their Medicare cards.” Jennifer Trussell, who investigates medical identity theft for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, has seen cases where criminal rings target senior centers or homeless shelters and offer people $50 for, say, their Medicare number. “That information is sold again and again,” she said. Even though the victims in these instances voluntarily share their numbers, they may not realize the impact, Quiggle said. “They’ll discover to their horror that their Medicare account is being rifled and even maxed out by thieves who are making false claims against their policy.” Some cases are perpetrated by employees of medical offices or even health-case providers. Trussell worked on a case involving an Iowa chiropractor who had lifted the names and dates of birth of more than 200 patients to collect fraudulent Medicaid payments. In another case, a 40 • March 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Baltimore pharmacy owner and two employees were indicted for allegedly submitting bogus claims for prescription refills to Medicaid and Medicare. Sometimes medical identity theft happens with the cooperation of the victim, who allows a family member or acquaintance to use his health insurance card to obtain care. Poneman Institute founder Larry Poneman said these “Robin Hood” crimes comprised 30 percent of the medical identity thefts his group studied in 2013. Giving your insurance number to someone in need might seem like a generous thing to do, but it’s still a crime and you could suffer consequences if the visits rack up bills that go unpaid or result in incorrect additions to your medical records, Poneman said. If an impostor’s blood type or medical condition gets added to your record, you could end up receiving inappropriate or even life-threatening treatment. Electronic medical records make your medical data easier to steal, because any clerk with access to patient records can load patient information onto a thumb drive and sell it to cronies or crime rings, Quiggle said. So how do you protect yourself? Never give your medical identity credentials to anyone but those with a legitimate reason for needing this information, such as the billing person at your doctor’s office, Quiggle said. Treat with suspicion anyone who asks you for your insurance number without a good reason, and never give these numbers to telemarketers or callers conducting “health surveys.” Closely scrutinize the “Explanation of Benefits” or “Medicare Summary Notice” documents that are sent to you to make sure that you actually received the services and products listed, he said. If you see anything suspicious, ask to see your medical record to look for mistakes or evidence that your identity has been compromised. “A lot of people don’t realize that they have the right to read their medical records,” Poneman said. If you discover that your medical identity has been stolen, your first step should be a call to the police, Ponemon said. Next, call the Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft hotline, 877-ID-THEFT or report the problem online at Report Medicare- or Medicaid-related crimes to or by calling 800-HHS-TIPS. M

Faces & Places

Photos By Sport Pix

Twins Caravan 1. The Twins Caravan made a stop at the Kato Ballroom on Jan. 16. 2. Making sure the VIP room doesn’t run out of snacks, Charlie Hudrlik keeps the beverages stocked. 3. One of the guest players, Ryan Pressly, sits in the hot seat to answer questions and talk about his journey to the Twins franchise. 4. Brian Duensing signs a photograph of himself, making the memento that much more special. 5. Despite the blizzard conditions taking over the Mankato area, the Kato Ballroom was full of Twins fans ready to hear from a few of the players. 6. VIP attendees Caleb Fogal, Bryce Schwab and Carter Fogal step beside Ryan Pressly and Brian Duensing for a group photo. 7. Pete Brown and Dan Padilla grab a table in the back to discuss baseball and the upcoming Twins season. 8. Brian 2 Duensing signs a paddle for Wally Boyer, a keepsake he has had signed by numerous Twins players.






8 7

MANKATO MAGAZINE • March 2014 • 41

Faces & Places

Photos By Sport Pix

Mankato Craft Beer Expo 1. Brad and Gwyn Glynn of Lift Bridge Brewing Co. in Stillwater. 2. Terry Vandewalker and Mark Joseph of the Big Wu provided live music for the beer drinkers. 3. (L to R) Mankato Brewery workers Tony Feuchtenberger, Tim Tupy, Staci Schofield and Chris Butts were in attendance at the Beer Expo. 4. (L to R) Mankato Area Derby Girl Mean Latifa, Dawn Richardson, Cross Bones and Strawberry StrikeHer volunteered as designated driver beverage servers. 5. Marc Doherty and Jon-Michael Dimitri Wancyzcki from Great Divide Brewing 2 in Denver. 6. (L to R) Jenni DeShaw, Triada Paulson, and Holly Krieg came from Shakopee to sample the beers.



42 • March 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE




Faces & Places

Photos By Sport Pix

Mankato Bridal Show


1. Ken Bunde, from Campus Coiffures, located on the MSU campus, doing the hair of a woman for the bridal show. 2. (L to R) Brides-to-be Jessica Raymond and Alyssa Paradise looking at flower arrangements from Silk Expressions. 3. A model shows off a bridesmaid’s dress during the show. 4. A model wearing a wedding dress looks back at the audience. 5. A model walks across the stage wearing a bridesmaid’s dress. 6. A model displaying a suit during the show. 7. (L to R) Charley’s Catering employees Angie Okon, Joleen Sadaka and Eric LaPLante were at the bridal show.







MANKATO MAGAZINE • March 2014 • 43




By Pete Steiner

The Piano Man: Paul Durenberger “… they say, man, what are you doin’ here?” — Billy Joel It’s six o’clock on a Friday, the usual crowd settles in. Paul Durenberger commences an eclectic set. “What a wonderful world,” he croons with his soothing, reedy voice, before swinging on a real oldie, “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home.” The set includes his own poignantly autobiographical “Fulton Street,” a song by former bandmate, Gus Dewey, “Let Me Down Easy” – “how come that song never made it big?” – and of course, something by the Beatles. “Putter,” as he’s been known since anyone can remember, is going on three years with a Friday-Saturday evening gig at Charley’s on Madison Avenue. In a lifetime as a musician, it’s one of the most regular jobs he’s had. He loves the variety it allows him, playing anything from Frank Sinatra to Frank Zappa to Gershwin to Jason Mraz over the space of several hours. He’s picky about what jobs he takes these days, saying they either: a) pay a lot of money, b) further your career, or c) are a lot of fun. He played New Year’s Eve in tiny Hanska with a singer-guitarist friend. Got only a little over one hundred bucks, but it fulfilled (c): lots of fun. “Those people know how to party!” he grins. •••• When he was just 5, Paul Vincent “Putter” Durenberger’s mom thought he “had an ear.” She signed him up for piano lessons with renowned keyboard instructor, Gerald Greeley, who at the time was at Mankato State. Paul played his first paid gig at the old YWCA annex on Second Street when he was only 12 or 13. His band, The Enchanters, was paid a total of $7. “We went down to Marti’s (on South Front) to buy a pizza.” He wrote his first song, “You, You, You,” for Kathy, his future wife, when he was 16. The first of many albums was “Out on the Ocean,” released on cassette in the late ‘70s. On any Durenberger album, you can’t miss some echoes of the Beatles. Putter confirms the Fab Four’s importance to his life on his 2009 CD, “Shhhhhh.” In the last cut, “Liverpool,” he recalls his family settling in to watch the Ed Sullivan variety show on a Sunday evening in 1964 – the Beatles’ first appearance. Putter sings, “I knew what I would be doing until my days were gone.” •••• The interviewer, who admits to admiring Durenberger’s skill at crafting both catchy melodies and intricate lyrics, saying he does not want to ask this question, asks it anyway: Do you consider yourself more of a tunesmith or a wordsmith? Putter considers a while, then says: “Just call me a singer-songwriter.” These days, he rarely reads scores, doing almost everything by ear. He goes into his studio almost daily, sometimes “just to explore (the synthesizer).” That synthesizer gives him the ability to sound like a whole band with only himself playing. He can sample drums or clarinets or trumpets or any number of sounds that he then programs in to accompany himself in perfor44 • March 2014 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

mance. For recordings, he’ll occasionally ask someone to supply a solo, as his brother Louis does on guitar for a song on the latest CD. “Technology has revolutionized the music biz,” he says, “you can work from anywhere. I just sent Louis an MP3 and had him put his part on and ship it back.” Putter has a website – – with lots of music and video, but he hardly attends to it anymore. These days, he simply uploads everything to YouTube – “that’s the place to be.” •••• Read his lyrics, and there’s no doubt Putter is a deep thinker. He doesn’t hesitate to give opinions if you ask. On the current state of pop and Miley Cyrus: “Some people need bells and whistles.” He is also no fan of karaoke. A deeply religious man, he easily reconciles that with supposedly secular rock and roll: “Jesus didn’t hang around with all the cool dudes. He hung around with tax collectors and prostitutes.” •••• It’s not hard to find fellow musicians using superlatives to describe Putter’s talent. He himself estimates he knows a thousand songs by memory: “I can remember millions of lyrics, but I can’t remember where I put my keys!” About the creative process: “It could be anything – like one day recently, it was snowing. I was looking at the drifts, and I went into the studio to see what would come out.” The musical structure usually comes first, until he finds a melody, then he’ll vocalize on “la-la-la” until words start to emerge. But “sometimes I throw everything away.” When some call him a genius, he just laughs: “Those guys up at the hospital who dig into your brain and fix it? Those are geniuses.” •••• I have written here before that Mankato seems to be “a place with heavy gravity.” Among musicians alone, Jim McGuire, Jerry Udelhofen, Gus Dewey and others with national-caliber talent have chosen to be content here. Does Durenberger regret that he hasn’t made it to the national stage? “It’s my own fault. You gotta give up everything, forget about kids, forget about relationships. I got the best wife in the world. I’m alive when I maybe should be dead. Your chances are better at Powerball than of making it (to the Big Time).” He’s just out with his 40th album, which finds him still crafting catchy tunes and appealing lyrics. Does he worry at 62 that his creativity will slow? “Listen to ‘Easily,’” he smiles, and repeats that. It’s the last song on the CD, seemingly whimsical, but listen to the lyrics again: “As the time approaches when I cannot feel the breeze, cannot hear the bells … cannot see the keys … looking for a way out … I’m partial to whimpers (and not) bangs, I want to fade away … easily … ” Pete Steiner is host of “Talk of the Town” weekdays at 1:05 p.m. on KTOE.

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MANKATO MAGAZINE • March 2014 • 45

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People, Places, Lifestyles of the Minnesota River Valley