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2 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


FEATURE S September 2013 Volume 8, Issue 9



In pursuit

How Jon Louis found more than a hobby with Harley restoration.


Spin to win’

Mankato BMX track showcases skills and thrills.


Africa in sight

Family pursues hunting tradition on big-game safaris.


Day Trip Destinations: Worthington King Turkey Day

About the Cover

Jon Louis rides one of several vintage Harley-Davidson motorcycles he’s restored himself. Photo by The Free Press Media photographer John Cross MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2013 • 3







6 From the Editor Passionate pursuits run wild 8 Odds ‘n’ Ends 10 Introductions Scott Kudelka 12 The Gallery Brian Frink, Mike Zwart, area authors 28 That’s Life Toby the Sandwich Thief 30 Garden Chat September’s reward for a so-so-summer 32 Day Trip Destinations Worthington’s King Turkey Day 34 Then and Now Yaeger Bus Service 36 Your Tastes Fresh tips for game-day dips 38 Coming Attractions Events to check out in September 39 Happy Hour Drink up the pages of these wine reads 40 Your Health Reconsider the mammogram 44 From This Valley The Welsh Hymn Festival

34 Coming in October Let’s have a toast to the spirit — and spirits — of south-central Minnesota.

36 4 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


We’ll invite all the usual suspects and even call a few unexpected guests to the table as we pour a glass and raise a cheer.




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MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2013 • 5


From The Editor


september 2013 • VOLUME 8, ISSUE 9 PUBLISHER James P. Santori EDITOR Joe Spear ASSOCIATE Tanner Kent EDITOR CONTRIBUTING Nell Musolf WRITERS Pete Steiner Jean Lundquist Marie Wood Emre K. Erku Leticia Gonzales



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 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

By Joe Spear

Passionate pursuits run wild


n old credo in the world of journalism suggests that if you spend enough time with interview subjects -- say three or four hours -- they will usually get to something really interesting. They will reveal strong feelings, passions, even anxieties. After all, everyone has a story to tell. Unfortunately, many of today’s journalists do not have the luxury of multiple hours for every interview subject. The next best thing is to find someone who’s really passionate about something and doesn’t hesitate to tell you about that. Such is the nature of several interviews in this month’s issue of Mankato Magazine. Jon Louis, for example, is clearly not a “Harley enthusiast.” No, Louis takes his passion for Harley Davidson motorcycles far beyond enthusiasm and into passion, zealotry, very near divine devotion. He restores old Harleys, piece by piece, sometimes traveling all over the country to find parts. And he keeps them, sometimes, in his living room. He secured an old autopsy table as a work bench, and meticulously rebuilds machines made decades ago. Lynn Austin put his physical wellbeing at risk at times for his passion. The 60-something local auto repair shop owner still gets on BMX bikes and flies up and down steep embankments, razor sharp turns all in competition for space on the trail with people much younger. “There’s nothing else that makes my heart pump more,” explained Austin. “I spin to win.” Justin Miller is among the BMX enthusiasts in Mankato who, through their volunteer organization, have maintained and supported BMX tracks in Mankato, first along Stoltzman Road now off Lime Valley Road near the outskirts of Mankato. All donate their time because of their passion, their love of the sport. On a given evening, one can see the enthusiasm for this Olympic sport rising in the dust that emanates from the tracks.

The thrills for Randy Westman come mostly in the African safaris and jungles where he and his family have hunted zebra, wildebeest and lions. His passion for hunting started with his family shooting whitetail deer and pheasants near St. James. He carries on the family hunting tradition. He once tracked a Cape buffalo for nine days in an African jungle. When his son was nine, he hunted down a massive wildebeest. From my observation, people with passion for anything seem to have a sixth sense about the extraordinary things around them that others may not so readily notice. It could be the ability of the human body to steady a two-wheeled bicycle through acrobatic stunts that generally defy gravity or at least play games with it. It could be the deep thinking that went into inventing the internal combustion engine and then creating mutations that manifest into things like Harley Davidson motorcycles. It could be the realization that even though the physicality of some beasts far outweighs that of man, a man’s mind was able to conceive of the technology to overcome the natural dominance of the beast. Those who enjoy life’s passions seem to have an acute understanding of these extraordinary possibilities and they pursue these things to prove, over and over again, they the physical nature of the extraordinary is real and the mental power that created it is true. Whatever the case, we’re lucky there is no shortage of people who are passionate about something, whether that be a game, a competition or an invention. The benefit to society, of course, is passion by example. The stories are always fascinating, motivating and carry their own bits of wonder. They get us to consider ways to follow our own passions or at the very least, discover them. M Joe Spear is editor of Mankato Magazine. Contact him at or 344-6382.

Celebrate the harvest season...Tom, our Meat Buyer & Assistant Deli Manager loves to grill and he’s good at it. Join us for our local dinner series....Minnesota on Mulberry. Buy a ticket in the store, come out to the patio and Tom will grill to order. Enjoy live music during dinner and our local producer’s best bounty! It’s a local thing. 228 Mulberry Street, St. Peter, MN Open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Everyone is welcome everyday!

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friday, september 20 | 6-8 pm MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2013 • 7

Mother Nature is not the only one who can produce great color!

Odds ‘N’ ENds 


This Day in History Sept. 10, 1909: In response to the interest in the Mankato Normal School’s celebration of the 50-year anniversary of Charles Darwin’s seminal publication “On the Origin of Species” in 1859, a Mankato priest announced a series of sermons on the topic. Over the next three months, Rev. E.L. Heermance delivered a dozen lectures on such topics as “The Evolution of Life,” “The Evolution of Man” and “The Evolution of Religion.” He told the newspaper he wanted to host the events because he believed that Christians should be “helped to reconstruct their thinking in light of modern knowledge.”

In 1909, Rev. E.L. Heermance delivered a series of sermons about evolution and its impacts on religion to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of Charles Darwin’s (pictured) publication of “On the Origin of Species.” | Public domain photo

Sept. 8, 1963: The 507 area code is born when the Mankato Citizens Telephone company officially made the switch to seven-digit dialing. In a series of advertisements and news stories that appeared in the newspaper prior to the midnight switchover, the system was touted as making it possible for residents of Mankato, Eagle Lake and Madison Lake to place calls without the assistance of an operator. A 35-person crew worked through the night to facilitate the switch. Sept. 18, 1877: The Mankato Weekly Review published a sharp rebuke to parents of Mankato schoolchildren. Citing a series of statistics provided by the school district, the newspaper noted that nearly 10 percent of the district’s enrollment had attended less than 10 of the school year’s 40 days thus far. All told, half of the district’s students had been in Pictured is the first Mankato schoolhouse, located on school for less than half of the North Broad Street. | Photo courtesy of Blue Earth year. The newspaper concluded County Historical Society the admonishment with: “We commend these figures to the consideration of every parent.”

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Sept. 12-14, 1899: Mankato’s harvest festival and street fair was beset with low attendance, controversial attractions and pickpocketing. After the first night of the street fair, Police Chief Bruels suspended several attractions for obscenity and gambling-related offenses. Later that afternoon, a clutch of scorned fair proprietors, concerned citizens and city officials gathered in Mayor Currier’s office for a lengthy debate. Though the meeting concluded with the decision to allow the controversial attractions to reopen — mainly the belly-dancing shows and the Wheel of Fortune gambling game — controversy erupted the next day when a Wheel of Fortune proprietor was caught rigging his game and lifting $45 from a poor-luck gambler. Later that day, citizens complained about a suggestive musical number called “Mary Wood” and the police chief issued a warning against pickpockets, one of whom stole $27 from a Janesville woman.

Ask the Expert: Back to School

By Nell Musolf

A seamless transition


hen it comes to making the transition from the easy days of summer to the more structured world of school, Ann Haggerty has a few tips to share with parents. Haggerty has worked in the education field for almost 20 years, first as an elementary school teacher followed by a stint as assistant principal at Franklin Elementary and now as principal at Roosevelt Elementary in Mankato Area Public Schools. For parents who will be bringing their kindergarteners to school for the very first time, Haggerty suggests they face the fact that transitioning is going to be hard, both on mom and dad as well as the new student. Haggerty likens that first day of school to pulling off a bandage and said it’s much easier on everyone if it’s done quickly. “Say your good-byes at the classroom door,” Haggerty said. “We will call you if there’s a problem — but most of the time there won’t be.” Another important tip Haggerty has is that parents listen to their children about their schools days, especially if there seems to be any issues between a student and his or her teacher. “If a student announces that he doesn’t like his teacher, try to see if there are specific reasons behind his statement,” Haggerty said. “Also, try to remember that the beginning school days are long, especially for young children.”

Haggerty said that parents should never hesitate to contact their child’s teacher if they have concerns. Another important tip from Haggerty to start the new school year off on the right foot is to get students to school on time. “There might not be a lot of academics going on very first thing in the morning, but when students get to their classrooms on time, they will have more of a sense of being part of the class,” Haggerty said. “Feeling like you belong is important for everyone.”

News to use: Make a homework space By Nicole Anzia | Special To The Washington Post


he word “homework,” greeted with anxiety by kids and parents alike, will soon be the topic of daily conversation once again. You can make things easier by taking on a little assignment of your own: Set up a designated homework area where your kids will be happier and more productive. Choose the right location For kids in elementary school who need assistance with assignments, choose a space that is centrally located so you’ll be able to help them while you’re chopping vegetables or stirring the soup for dinner. Proximity is less crucial for middle and high school students, but limiting distractions is important. If possible, involve your kids in the decision of where they’ll do their work. Find and organize supplies Once you have identified a sizable space, begin thinking about the supplies your child will need and how best to store them. Although the size of the homework station is crucial, a fancy or expensive desk with built-in storage is not. A portable folding table will suffice, or if you would like to create a simple desk, companies such as the Container Store and Ikea allow you to mix and match table legs and table tops to create your own individualized work space without spending a lot of money.

Create a go-to spot Even though teenagers might prefer to sit on the couch or in bed with their laptop, sitting at a desk helps promote concentration and alertness. Additionally, a desk will provide a space to store supplies, spread out papers and keep a docking station for chargers. Another advantage of a designated homework space is that you can have a set surface where you and your kids can post scheduling reminders and deadlines. M MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2013 • 9




Tanner Kent | Photos

by John


Scott Kudelka accepted a newly created position with the DNR in 2012.

A natural fit


How Scott Kudelka found his niche as a DNR naturalist

cott Kudelka never really intended to be a naturalist for the Department of Natural Resources. In fact, his college ambition was to become an archival photographer. But, when his friend got the only such job on the state — and stated matter-of-factly that he would not be relinquishing the position any time soon — Kudelka was left looking for alternatives. Having spent his summers working as a seasonal park ranger, Kudelka decided to pursue a career in the outdoors. That decision would ultimately lead Kudelka to southcentral Minnesota where the affable and knowledgeable naturalist has become an educator, resource and advocate for the beauties of the Minnesota River Valley. Mankato Magazine: Where did you grow up, and what were your earliest experiences outdoors? Scott Kudelka: In the small town of Forman (population 500) in southeastern North Dakota on the edge of what had been Glacial Lake Agassiz, I had your typical childhood of the 1970s where you were allowed to explore to you heart’s content with little adult supervision and only bounded by your imagination. 10 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Most of my time was spent with my brother Brian and my best friend Emerson trampling all over town and its outskirts building forts and camping among the many shelterbelts and small lakes surrounded by cropfields of wheat, oats and other small grains. Both of my grandfathers were farmers with one living along the Sheyenne River and the other on former rolling tall-grass prairie. We were outside all the time no matter the season or weather conditions doing our own thing. MM: Did you intend to become a park ranger and naturalist all along, or were the circumstances more coincidental? SK: Growing up, my family visited and camped at a lot of different state and national parks. But I don’t ever remember thinking that’s what I wanted to do for a career even after my sister Lisa married Jesse, a park ranger with the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department. In 1982 I went off to college at North Dakota State University in Fargo and received a degree in Public History (the non-teaching aspects of history) to focus on working as an archival photographer (restoring old

photos). I wanted to stay in North Dakota, but there was only one archival photographer position and my friend Todd said he planned to be around for at least another 30 years. By this time, I had started working during the summer as a seasonal park ranger and found a strong pull to give it a chance. Over the next four years, I alternated between working as a park ranger in North Dakota for seven months and the winters in Colorado as an assistant supervisor on the Lift Crew for the Aspen Ski Company. Eventually, I got a fulltime job first as a chief ranger and later the state’s interpretive ranger. MM: Can you share a few experiences from your time as a park ranger that illustrate the parts of the job you enjoyed the most? SK: The first thing that comes to mind is how you never know what your day would be like as a park ranger. It could run the gamut of taking care of a pissed-off badger in the campground or searching Lake Sakakawea all day for a missing canoe or assisting the U.S. Border Patrol with people crossing the Canadian border illegally. As a park ranger, you were responsible for making sure people were warned before a tornado touched down in the park and the next moment cleaning the toilets. My first summer was spent out at place called Little Missouri Bay State Park taking care of 5,000-plus acres in the Badlands and riding horse while maintaining 25 miles of trails and living in a 15-foot trailer. During the 15 years I worked in the North Dakota Parks and Recreation Department in a variety of parks, I oversaw a nature preserve, managed an environmental learning center and assisted in the construction of a log cabin. By the time I left, I had started to focus more on interpretation and conducting education programs. MM: What were your observations of the Minnesota River Valley when you first arrived here in 2006 and began working at the Water Resources Center? SK: I actually got my first view of the Minnesota River Valley in 2002 when I took a job conducting an assessment of the Lac qui Parle-Yellow Bank Watershed on the far western end of the basin. It was probably typical of what many people see: a wide valley with a fairly small river flowing through it and fields upon fields of corn and soybeans intermixed with large livestock operations. Only later when you begin to get off the main roads does a person discover a very unique place with many amazing and wonderful features. Even after being in the New Ulm/ Mankato area for more than seven years, I can still be surprised at finding places like Red Rocks County Park in eastern Cottonwood County or some new stretch of a river I hadn’t paddled before. MM: You began working for the DNR in May 2012, assuming a newly created position. Tell us a little bit about your current position: SK: I am responsible for interpretive and education programs at three state parks: Minneopa, Flandrau and Fort Ridgely, along with the Minnesota River and all of its tributaries, the communities of Mankato and New Ulm and, just for good measure, the Sakatah Singing Hills Bike Trail. My work revolves developing and presenting a wide range of programs, leading paddles and bike rides, and

Kudelka hosts a variety of public programs in the area’s three state parks. working with a diverse range of partners to put on special events. The thing I love about my job is that I never know what will pop up on my radar screen and it is always evolving and changing. MM: What are your impressions of the people and programs that exist in the area to preserve and protect the Minnesota River ecosystem? SK: Dedication is the word that comes to mind right away. I have never experienced the number of unique and wonderful people as here in the Minnesota River Basin coming at it from different directions. Most of the cherished experiences I’ve had have been the result of meeting someone like Tom Kalahar with the Renville SWCD or Carrie Jennings, a geology expert on the Minnesota River, or Patrick Moore, who has devoted his life to this basin. There are Art and Barb Straub of rural Le Sueur teaching hundreds of people about nature, Audrey Arner and Richard Handeen raising grass-fed beef, and the Friends of Minneopa Board looking out for a true treasure in the Minnesota River Valley. Water quality problems are still an issue in the basin, but it would be far worse if it hadn’t been for the dedication of these people and many more. MM: What are a few things people may not know about the parks in which you work? SK: At Minneopa, the creek runs through a tunnel for the railroad and highway that was constructed in three different sections. There is also the confluence of the Minnesota River and Minneopa Creek and the diversity of plant life. Flandrau had been a former World War II Camp and you can stay in the same buildings the German Soldiers had lived in. A number of Works Progress Administration buildings are still being used like the Beach House and Picnic Shelter. At Fort Ridgely, there is a small creek that runs through the park filled with all this cool aquatic life. MM: Spending so much time in parks and on trails yourself, do you still have moments of discovery? SK: Constantly. It is one of the reasons I really enjoy my job whether I am off by myself or with a group of people. In this job you are always learning something new and I love the challenge of that. I don’t think there is a better feeling than teaching someone something new and getting feedback with a high five or just a simple smile. M MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2013 • 11

The Gallery

Pet projects Frink’s promotion comes at transformative moment in his career By Tanner Kent


ongtime art instructor Brian Frink is marking the occasion of his recent Minnesota State University promotion with an exhibit of his recent work at the Conkling Gallery. Frink’s exhibit — which remains on display through Sept. 11 — is the gallery’s first of the season and comes on the heels of the announcement that Frink will replace James Johnson as chair of MSU’s art department. Frink said the appointment comes at a transformative time in his career. Only a few years removed from the artistic “epiphany” that prompted him to begin painting large-scale pet portraits in addition to his more gestural and abstract work, Frink said he’s begun thinking of his art in terms of genre. “I enjoy the tension between these different styles,” he said. “If I can paint these dogs, why ignore that? Why not use that?” Frink’s stylistic revolution came after his daughter requested that he paint the likeness of her father-in-law’s recently deceased spaniel. Not surprisingly, the artist whose work has been exhibited across the country, is held in public collections at the universities of Wisconsin and Princeton, and has earned a reputation as an awardwinning and mindful artist, bristled at the notion of painting a dog. The subject matter was simple and saccharine, seemingly below his station as a serious artist and tenured professor. On the other hand, Frink liked the finished product so much, it began to call into question all that he was, and believed in, as an artist. “Nothing is more terrifying than changing,” said Frink, who explains as much in a video created recently by the McKnight Foundation that can be viewed here: vimeo. com/71351779. “It was a huge risk.”

Brian Frink, the newly named chair of MSU’s art department, will display the work he’s created during the last year in an exhibit this month at Conkling Gallery through Sept. 11. | Free Press file photo

But it was a risk Frink was wise enough to take. And since then, both the motivation and content of his work has shifted dramatically. For 35 years, Frink’s style was described (though, not always accurately) as “organic gestural abstraction.” First as a pioneering artist working out of a factory space in Brooklyn and then as an art instructor at Minnesota State University, Frink admits he began to succumb to the mythology of the artist as a “graced being.” But after surrendering himself to his first pet painting, Frink said that mythology began to evaporate. “It was a sea change for me,” Frink said. “For a lot of artists, it’s a marketing thing, a belief system almost, to develop value in their work. … I just don’t think I’m all that special.” But that doesn’t mean he’s limiting himself. As visitors will see in an exhibit of Frink’s most recent work at MSU’s Conkling Gallery this month, the artist continues to operate in a variety of styles. He still produces more abstract work and said he is additionally working on a series of paintings based on a recent trip to Maine as well as another series inspired by the Black Madonnas of Europe. For more information about Frink, visit http://

Since his “epiphany” a few years ago, Frink has begun working in several styles. Pictured are examples of his pet portraits as well as his “Memory of Water” series. | Photos courtesy of Brian Frink 12 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Taking his turn

Mankato woodturning artist devoted to hand-me-down hobby By Nell Musolf


ike Zwart comes by his interest in woodturning honestly: his father was an industrial arts teacher for many years in Zwart’s hometown of Emmetsburg, Iowa. In addition to teaching his son the basics of woodturning, Zwart’s dad also gave him a handme-down lathe that Zwart has installed in the basement of his Mankato home. For many years, Zwart’s primary interest when it came to working with wood was making furniture such as endtables and cabinets. It wasn’t until 2008 that Zwart began woodturning. He took to it immediately. “I’d definitely rather woodturn than build cabinets,” Zwart said. “When I’m building a table or shelves, I have to follow a set pattern but woodturning is much more creative.” For his woodturning projects, Zwart prefers to use green wood as opposed to dried wood for several reasons. He can get green wood for free from a relative’s property and he also likes the challenge that using the younger wood offers. “With dried wood it’s easier to know what the finished project will look like,” Zwart said. “With green wood, you have to cut it up to see what’s in there.” Zwart starts with a log, quarters it and works down from there. While turning the wood on his lathe, he listens to the wood as it gets smaller. “You can hear the wood getting thinner,” Zwart said. “You can hear it through the lathe and with your ears.” Among the items that Zwart makes are wine stoppers, duck calls, earrings, salad bowls and pens, to name a few. “I kind of think of woodturning as wooden pottery,” Zwart said. “Although when you’re working with clay, if you make a mistake you can use the same clay and start all over again. When you’re working with wood and you make a mistake, it’s pretty much over.” Zwart gets most of his ideas from woodturning friends

Above: Mike Zwart in his woodturning studio. Below: Examples of Zwart’s work. | Photos by Pat Christman on Facebook or through other online sites since there aren’t any woodturning groups in the area. In addition to creating graceful objects, Zwart also appreciates woodturning as a stress reliever. “Woodturning helps me relax after working all day,” he said. “I never know what I’m going to get when I start a new project. I like that.”

Quick Hits: Area writers in the news


number of writers with area ties have made recent literary news, including:

Aruni Kashyap: The Minnesota State University instructor and native of the Assam region of India recently published his debut novel, “The House With a Thousand Stories,” through Penguin. The book focuses on Pablo, a city boy visiting his ancestral homeland for a wedding. Like much of Kashyap’s work, intimate family stories are interwoven with broader political contexts. His writing is sensitive, at times surreal, and his book has been described by critics as “intricately woven” and signaling the arrival of one of Northeast India’s “most original voices.”

Julie Seedorf: The Wells native and columnist for the Albert Lea Tribune has inked a one-year contract with Illinoisbased Cozy Cat Press, which specializes in printing light mysteries. Her first book, “Granny Hooks a Crook,” was published in August and centers around a quirky grandmother who doubles as an undercover cop in an equally quirky small Minnesota town. Tim Akers: The MSU Information and Technology Services employee’s middle-grade manuscript “Chocolate Eyes” was selected as one of three finalists for the 2013 Genesis Award for young adult literature. M

MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2013 • 13

Jon Louis on the 1947 Harley-Davidson he rebuilt himself.

In pursuit Jon Louis found a hobby — and himself — with Harley-Davidson restoration


By Tanner Kent | Photos by John Cross

on Louis is more than a Harley-Davidson “enthusiast.” Such a description well understates the Mankato man’s devotion to both his restoration hobby and the quintessentially American motorcycle brand that has become synonymous with the kind of open-road freedom that can only be delivered on two wheels. An enthusiast might own a bike or two — but only a devotee owns more than eight. An enthusiast might attend a swap meet periodically to search for an original part or talk shop with other riders — but only a true fanatic attends seven meets a year.

14 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

A Harley enthusiast is familiar with the company’s long and storied history, its reputation for mechanical innovation and its dominant place in motorcycle culture. Perhaps an enthusiast has even visited a manufacturing site or the Harley museum in Milwaukee. But only a true votary of the brand would memorize the serial numbers of his engines, or contribute to his kids’ college funds with spare parts, or plan a road trip to take his picture in front of the exact factory door his fully restored, all-original 1947 OHV rolled out of some 66 years ago. “That was a good day,” Jon said. “I had goosebumps the

Jon Louis’ love of motorcycles began early: “As soon as I found out you didn’t have to pedal, I was done with bicycles.” whole time.” Val Curtis received her first indication that she had married a man whose interest in Harleys would later border on the obsessive about a year after their vows. She remembers walking into the home that they shared — a home that did not have a garage — and finding Jon’s bike parked safely in the living room. Over the years, she and Jon had children, raised them, sent them off to lives of their own and now enjoy their bounty as grandparents. But Val was never really able to get her husband’s motorcycles out of the house. “I don’t have a problem with his hobby overall,” said Val, who celebrates 33 years of marriage with Jon in November. “But I was a little taken aback when it moved into the house.” She was even more taken aback a few years ago when Jon came home from an auction with a century-old autopsy table. With rambunctious grandkids around the house, he figured, it was only prudent to find a way to get his latest project off the carpet. That project — a 1936 that is considered among the three or four most desirable Harleys because it represents the first year the company introduced its patented “Knucklehead” engine — has become Jon’s most intense and arduous pursuit. The journey started six years ago when he found an exceedingly rare ’36 motor in a scrap pile in Faribault. Later, he found a matching frame at a swap meet in Davenport, then found breaks in Sweden, an oil tank in Pennsylvania and

various other parts scattered around the globe. He settled for nothing less than original parts, had them nickel-plated himself and has shown “his girl” (as he affectionately calls it) only to friends and family. He now has “99.9 percent” of the parts he needs and estimates the machine is 90 percent restored. “I do want the biker community to see it,” he said. “But I’m sensitive. I want to wait until it’s all done.” Such sensitivity, perhaps, is what separates Jon’s pursuit from mere enthusiasm. Decades ago, Jon admits he was becoming wrapped up in some of the destructive extracurriculars that are all-too-often (and sometimes unfairly) associated with Harley culture. When his kids were born and life took a turn toward the domestic, he gave up riding completely in order to shield himself from temptation. Living in Alexandria at the time, it wasn’t until he met a group of equally devoted, but entirely sober Harley riders that he felt comfortable reinvesting himself in his passion. Not long after, Jon brought home the first of his two 1947s. The year was 1986 and he discovered the bike at a swap meet damaged and badly burned from a fire. He carried it home, he said, “in pails” and procured a second job cleaning chimneys at night to pay for the expense of restoration. “I put it together with a butterknife,” he said. “It started on the first try.” After that, Jon says he was hooked. MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2013 • 15

“I guess I wanted something to do when I grow old,” Louis said. “Now, I’ll be able to finish off all these toys.”

Swap meets became family camping trips. Restoration projects became milestones. When he wasn’t working or spending time with his family, he was in the shop — “mostly standing around and swearing,” he confesses — or on the road to some corner of the country in pursuit of the next addition to his collection. “He turned his attention to something constructive, rather than destructive,” said Val, a rider herself who got her license in 2003. “Instead of being out at bars, he was at home in the shop or at swap meets. … His hobby grew us closer together.” For Jon’s part, he gives his wife a lot of credit — both for encouraging his passion as well as tolerating its occasional excess. Still, she’s not sure about that autopsy table. “I was so disturbed when he brought that home,” she said. “Beyond words. I don’t think I could ever wipe the energy off it.” M

16 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2013 • 17

Spin to win’ Mankato BMX track showcases skills and thrills By Emre K. Erku 18 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


t the top of a semi-steep starting hill, riders dressed in colorful uniforms line up bike to bike. At close glance, their eyes are wide and alert inside their helmets as they await an automated countdown. After a few suspenseful moments of built-up adrenaline, the gate drops and the riders shoot down the hill into a series of obstacles designed to test all skill levels. As pedals pump and spokes turn, the track announcer details the action over a loudspeaker while the crowd cheers on the riders. Since 2007, the Mankato Area BMX track has been home to a community of dedicated racers of both genders ranging from ages 3 to a remarkable 60. As a volunteer-operated, non-profit organization, this plot of bumpy rollers, smooth-flying rhythm sections, and intimidating tabletops provides riders an adrenaline-pumping alternative to baseball bats and pigskins. Track operator and announcer Justin Miller is a firm believer in making the track a community destination. As an enthusiast and entrepreneur of the Olympic sport – he owns a

The Mankato BMX track is located on Industrial Road, north of Mankato.

MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2013 • 19

Riders from age 3 to 60 participate in events at the track.

The track is professionally designed to test all skill levels.

The Hansen family (pictured is Nick Hansen) travels the country to BMX racing events. 20 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

business specializing in racing electronics – Miller and other volunteers maintain the delicate, professionally designed dirt course with the proceeds accumulated from sponsors and entry fees. Contestants who place first through third in the races are presented with either track credit (free admission points) or store credit (credit at local bike shops). Such spoils are guaranteed for all races. “One hundred percent of our money goes back into making the facility better and nicer,” said Miller, sitting on a picnic table near the track. “Nobody gets paid. We all do it because we love doing it.” Because of this devotion, families are given the opportunity to guide, coach and encourage each other from the gate of the starting hill to the finish line. Said Miller: “You will not find any other sport where you have 3-year-olds and 60-year-olds competing in the same event.” There are at least 15 different jobs involved with making the races possible. People are needed to run the gates and finish line, officiate, register riders, maintain sanitation and groom the course. Not to mention, there’s an on-sight medical staff for each day the track is open. Prior to 2007, the track was located on Stoltzman Road and was operated by Lynn Austin, owner of Austin’s Auto Repair Center Inc. of North Mankato. The track is now located on North Industrial Road, near the intersection with Lime Valley Road. Though Austin is pedaling into his early 60s, he still suits up his BMX uniform and hits the track with the mentality of a gung-ho 16-year-old. “There’s nothing else that makes my heart pump more,” explained Austin. “I spin to win.” Along with himself, his son Chris Austin, and his grandson Kyle Austin – who isn’t even 7 years old yet – they compete on a weekly basis. They’re, of course, commonly known around the track as the Austin family. They’ve been a part of the Mankato BMX community more than 30 years. Another devoted, well-known BMX family is the Hansens. Nate and Nicholas Hansen are two teenagers that have been coming to the track for quite some time, and apart from Chris Austin, are some of the faster riders on the course. On any given Wednesday night, it’s often Chris and Nicholas battling neck and neck for first place. Whizzing over jumps, hugging the unique asphalt berm turns, and overcoming the infamous “Quadzilla,” they take turns crossing the finish line for gold. With their enthusiastic mother cheering and coaching them from trackside, the Hansens have flown all over the country to

put their skills to the test. From Oklahoma and Illinois to Georgia and Ohio, they’ve set their expectations high in the world of BMX out of pure passion for the sport. “You feel light as a feather floating through the air,” Nate said, explaining what it feels like hitting a big jump. “If the wind catches you, you’re going for a ride.” Apart from the races, Mankato Area BMX provides clinics and practice sessions for all riders. Pro rider and Minnesota native Elliot McGrath has made his presence at the track to teach riders how to improve their skills. Miller begins every season in May, and if weather permits, it continues until the first snowfall during the latter half of autumn. Practices are every Tuesday, and races are every Wednesday. M

At a glance: Mankato area BMX track - Located on North Industrial Road, near the intersection with Lime Valley Road - Practices every Tuesday, races every Wednesday from May until first snowfall - More info at

Races are held at the track every Wednesday throughout the season.

MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2013 • 21


By John Cross

22 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


y now, most of us have had our fill of steamy, summer evenings. And while September sometimes ushers in just one more month of summer, it also frequently offers a pleasant hint of the impending autumn. Naturally, we Minnesotans take pride in our hardiness. But after several summer months to thin our blood, the chill of those first September evenings can be keenly felt. So hardy though we may be, come September there’s no shame — even for Minnesotans — in pulling out a favorite woolen sweater before going to watch the boys play beneath Friday night lights. M

MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2013 • 23

The Westman family with some of their African pursuits. From left, Randy, Hunter and Pam. 24 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Africa in sight Westman family pursues hunting tradition on big-game safaris By Marie Wood | Photos by John Cross


andy Westman tracked a Cape buffalo for nine days through an African jungle. He relied on the amazing senses of native African trackers to guide him through the jungle and back to the truck each night. “That was the hardest animal I’ve ever hunted in my life,” Randy said. Randy, who is retired from Westman Freightliner of Mankato, grew up hunting pheasant and whitetail deer with his dad and brothers in St. James. Today, his outdoor pursuits have taken him across the continent from the Mexico desert to the Alaska Range. He has traveled twice to Africa for 10-day hunting safaris. In 2006, Randy and wife Pam went to South Africa. Then in 2009, they brought their son, Hunter, to Zimbabwe. Randy has sighted kudus, dropped a zebra and bagged a lioness. Taxidermy and hunting photos adorn the Westman’s Lake Washington home as a tribute to the family’s passion for hunting and the wilds of Africa and North America. “Now it’s turned into a Westman family tradition. My greatest thing in life and hunting is to have my son hunting with me,” said Randy, who also likes sharing the sport with his wife. Experiencing the African bush and culture and seeing exotic animals like zebras, wildebeests, rhinos, and giraffes add up to an amazing adventure. When a herd of elephants moved, they heard them. “You could feel the earth shake. You don’t want to be in their way,” Pam said. Pam recalled coming upon an area where elephants had been. The elephants tipped the trees over and ate the fresh growth on the treetops. “It was destroyed. It looked like a tornado had hit it,” she said. By day, the Westmans stalked big game with professional hunters and native trackers. Sitting on benches in the open beds of Toyota hunting trucks, they covered bumpy terrain from the jungle-lined river banks where the monkeys and

crocodiles live to the grasslands and foothills where big game roams. Acacia, baobab and oak trees dotted the landscape. They jumped out of trucks to shoot when prey was spooked. Kudus, with their perfectly spiraled horns and speed, required quick and accurate marksmanship. “Kudus are like hunting an antelope. They’re elusive and run like hell,” Randy said. Impalas are in herds and run about 20 yards before they stop and turn. “Hopefully by that time, you’re ready to shoot. It’s difficult, but fun,” Hunter said. By night, they enjoyed comfortable accommodations. The hunting lodge had a formal dining room, cabins and wall tents. Evenings brought happy hour with gourmet appetizers followed by a wild game feast with African wines and linen tablecloths. They ate everything they shot: Cape buffalo, kudu, elephant, wildebeest and other game. Nothing was wasted. After dinner, they gathered with their party and guides by the campfire to talk about the day’s hunt and tomorrow’s plans. “You could hear the lions roar. That just about went right through you,” said Randy.

Blue wildebeest

Hunter was 9 years old when he shot his blue wildebeest on a 1 million acre conservancy in Zimbabwe. The guide took Hunter out just before dark and found the animal. When Hunter exited the vehicle, his aim was true, but the animal didn’t go down. “Those African animals are tough,” said Pam. So Hunter and the guide chased it into the harsh African terrain of thick brush and low-hanging trees. After Hunter finally dropped the beast, its horns were scored and his wildebeest turned out to be even bigger than dad’s. “I shot the biggest wildebeest that came off the land ever,” said Hunter. MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2013 • 25

Hunting has long been a shared Westman family tradition. 26 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

The Westmans preserved their hunting trophies through Jeff Holmin, owner of Holmin’s North Star Taxidermy in Nicollet. The hides were salted, frozen and shipped from Africa to Nicollet.


The first and only animal that Pam has shot was a zebra in South Africa. “The animals didn’t stand there for you to take a picture. In the wild, they’re very elusive. You get out in the wild and it’s wild,” said Pam. “There’s a million ears in a heard of zebras. They hear one sound and they’re off and running.” The professional hunter showed Pam how to shoot the gun – a .270 bolt-action rifle. Pam pushed the gun into her shoulder, pulled the trigger and never flinched. Pam and her guide stalked the zebras on foot, scoped them, and then the zebras took off. It’s not easy to sneak up on a herd of zebras, so they walked a lot. On the fourth attempt, the guide instructed Pam to take the second one from the left and aim right behind the shoulder. She hit the zebra on the first shot, the zebra froze and stared. On her second shot, it fell. “I was so nervous I would miss,” said Pam.


During the South Africa safari, Randy traveled 200 miles to a remote lodge in the Free Country, the only area in South Africa that granted permits for lions. Lions are only hunted where they are overpopulated and killing cattle and sheep. “We drove in high trucks, looking, hunting, glassing with our binoculars,” Randy said. On the first day, they were skunked. On the second day, they baited the lions with impalas. The grass was waist-high and dotted with oak trees. The lions were the same color as the grass. Randy was sneaking up on a lioness and took his shot within 75 yards of the big cat. “You know they can turn around and get you as fast as you can get them. It’s a weird feeling,” he said M

“The animals didn’t stand there for you to take a picture. In the wild, they’re very elusive. You get out in the wild and it’s wild.” — Pam Westman MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2013 • 27

That’s Life By Nell Musolf

Toby the Sandwich Thief T

oby, a dog we once had, loved to eat. Dog food was OK but what he really liked was food left unattended by a family member who was doing something like, oh, getting up to refill their milk glass. Toby would nonchalantly wander over to the dining room table and make his move the second he spotted the opportunity. Needless to say, Toby’s thieving ways didn’t go over too well with my husband, Mark. “That dog is impossible,” Mark said whenever Toby nabbed something off his plate. “When’s he going to learn that there is people food and there is dog food?” I didn’t have an answer for him but it seemed pretty clear that not only was Toby never going to learn, he also didn’t have any interest in learning since he seemed to truly enjoy his life as a food felon. Eventually, we all grew a little wiser when it came to protecting our meals. Every night someone in the family was appointed Guardian of the Dinner Table so Toby was no longer able to sneak a hamburger or a hot dog off anyone’s plate. We learned not to leave bowls of potato chips unattended on the coffee table. We especially learned to keep all food scraps in the garbage which went under the kitchen sink behind a sturdy door. Toby didn’t like our vigilance but we knew that it was good for his digestion system and also good for our nerves. Mark was especially happy that Toby was no longer stealing food from us, his exasperated, hungry owners. After a while, we no longer had to be quite so vigilant. Toby seemed to be content with the food in his bowl. Family members were able to leave peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the kitchen counter, leave the room for longer than 10 seconds and return to find their snack still intact. Our kitchen kleptomaniac was apparently cured. Or so we thought. One night, Mark was making a sandwich to put in his lunch for work the next day. Toby sat watching him, his big brown eyes following Mark’s hand as Mark slathered on mayonnaise and sliced some roast beef extra thin. Mark looked at Toby looking at him. “This looks good, doesn’t it, Toby?” Mark said more than a bit smugly. “Well, I’m sorry but it’s for my lunch. I’m going to put it in the refrigerator and eat it tomorrow and it’s going to be delicious.” Toby thumped his tail in response, drooling just a bit and Mark wrapped his sandwich in foil, put it in the refrigerator and t h e n left the room. Toby remained behind. 28 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

The next morning when he got up for work, Mark went to the refrigerator for his beautiful roast beef sandwich. He opened the refrigerator door, reached for the foil packet and his fingers met … nothing. Mark leaned down and looked into the refrigerator. His sandwich was gone. After checking every shelf, bin and container he realized that his roast beef sandwich was really and truly gone. He decided that someone else in the family must have eaten it so he grabbed an apple and a cheese stick and left for work. The subject of the missing sandwich didn’t come up for a day or two, not until Mark was making another sandwich with the last of the roast beef. “That looks good,” I commented. “You should know,” Mark responded. “After all, you ate my roast beef sandwich the other day.” “I did not!” I responded. “Sure you did. It was wrapped in foil in the refrigerator and it was gone the next morning. Didn’t you eat it?” “Not me,” I said. “Maybe one of the kids?” But both of our sons denied touching their dad’s roast beef sandwich and I believed them. Neither of them has ever been too big on roast beef. Later that same evening, I found a ball of foil crumpled on the floor of the living room. The moment I picked it up, Toby left the room looking somewhat guilty. I looked at the ball of foil I was holding. Was it possible? Had Toby managed to get the refrigerator door open, found the roast beef sandwich, and devoured it without our knowledge? Mark and I agreed that it had to be what happened. “I can just imagine what he was thinking,” Mark said ruefully. “I was making that sandwich, telling him how wonderful it was going to be, telling him how he couldn’t have any of it and he was thinking, ‘Want to bet?’” M Nell Musolf is a mom and a freelance writer from Mankato.

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Garden Chat By Jean Lundquist


September’s rewards for a so-so summer

omeone who is much wiser than me said, “Gardening is the slowest form of performance art.” September, however, proves there is a climax to the growing season — and it’s here. Usually, tomatoes and peppers reach peak performance in August. But for the Lundquist garden, the rain delays and cold snaps all pushed the timing off a bit. For a while in late July and early August, after a serious cold snap that felt a lot like October, the green beans walked out in a dispute over working conditions, demanding the heat be turned back up. Fortunately, the work stoppage was only temporary. Still, the dearth of green beans on the supper table and reheated in the microwave for breakfast in the morning did dampen the spirits in the middle of the green beans’ limited run. I’m giving the season to date mixed reviews all around. Although I maligned the straw bale plantings — due in part to nothing more than my aching back — the bale did provide me with my first ripe tomato. It was not early by any stretch, but it was two days earlier than a co-worker’s first tomato, and that won me some bragging points. That’s worth more than money, sometimes. I was stopped at the Blue Earth County Fair by a Mankato Magazine reader who suggested I stack the bales two high next summer to see if it helps calm the aches. That’s actually a pretty good idea. If I don’t have to bend to the halfway-up-halfway-down position, I might even be inclined to keep the bales moist by watering them every day. I have to admit that I didn’t do that this year. I didn’t even come close to watering every week! But when I did water, I used the non-shingle shed rainwater, and it

made a ton of difference, I swear. Of course, I also used a lot of organic fertilizers — but the rain water surely didn’t hurt anything. Because the rain water fell from a tin roof this year, it was plant potable. The first ripe tomato was heirloom Abe Lincoln. I’ve never tasted one before, so I don’t know if it was great tasting because of the variety, or because it was the first tomato of the summer. Because the summer was so cool (mostly), the mesclun mix I planted was kept “mowed” and didn’t get too bitter. In order to use it all, I had to share a good bit of it with the chickens, who seemed to really appreciate it. (Mesclun is salad greens.) Fortunately for all of us, the chickens were too scared — chicken, perhaps? — to venture all the way down to the garden. They let me do the harvesting and serving, and they stayed out. They DID discover the joy of potted oregano and hibiscus flowers, however, so I won’t be drying any oregano this year. I did manage to deter them from the hibiscus before they killed it. Chickens like to take dust baths. They taught me this summer that I need to not only water my bales more, but also my potted herbs and flowers. Dust baths cannot be taken if there is mud rather than dust. Despite their proclivity for scratching the plants out of my pots, the chickens have actually been a boon to my garden bounty this year. As part of my marketing strategy, I decided in August that everyone who bought eggs from me had to take either a zucchini or a cucumber, or both. It was my discretion. The strategy didn’t seem to hurt me too much. The varmints cut into that strategy, however. The raccoons came by night, and the red-tailed hawks came by day, and my flock dwindled to half. Needless to say, that cut into egg production and led to an over-abundance of zucchini and cukes. I wish I could save some of these garden gifts into the winter months. A meal of eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, salad, kohlrabi, peppers and new potatoes is such a delight. To save the bounty, I’m going to fire up the canner and the pressure cooker, and start boiling water so I can put this summer in a mason jar. Bring on the late-summer humidity found only in a gardener’s kitchen! M

Jean Lundquist is a master gardener who lives near Good Thunder. 30 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

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Destinations: King Turkey Day

King Turkey Day pits Worthington against Cuero, Texas, in a turkey race for the title of America’s turkey capital. The annual festival draws its share of attention and celebrity — as shown in this photo with Sen. Al Franken chasing the action. | Photo courtesy of Chad Cummings


By Leticia Gonzales

King Turkey Day began in Worthington as a way to showcase the area’s once strong turkey production industry. | Photo courtesy of Chad Cummings

Crowning the turkey capital

orthington takes its turkeys seriously. So seriously in fact, the ruffled bird has been the center of a yearly September celebration in the city for more than seven decades. Known as King Turkey Day, the festival first started off as a way to promote the large turkey production industry that was present in 1939. But even after the number of operational turkey farms in the county dwindled, Chad Cummings, a member of the King Turkey Day Board of Directors, said the festival continued to grow. “I grew up in Worthington, so I have been around the festival my entire life,” he said. From kiddie parades to turkey races, 40-year-old Cummings said he has fond memories of the celebration and the history of how it began. “We claimed to be the turkey capital in the world,” he said. “They found out in the early 1970s there was another town that also claimed that.” That town was Cuero, Texas. Cummings said the community of Worthington came up with the idea that they could settle the dispute with southern Texas by racing turkeys. Since 1972, the two cities have put together a race team, turkeys included, to prove who really holds the title. The teams race in both of the community celebrations, which include King Turkey Days in Worthington each September and Turkeyfest in Cuero each October. “I am happy to say that we are winning that battle still,” Cummings said. Trying to get a turkey to trot toward the finish line is no

32 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Worthington easy task. “We tell everyone we go through grueling training tactics and rituals — but in reality it’s drop and pray,” Cummings said. “It’s a turkey for crying out loud.” And while it may be only a block-and-a-half of actual racing, Cummings said it seems like two-and-a-half miles when you factor in how long it takes to chase the turkey. “The favorite part of the whole thing is the friendships with Cuero community, and celebrating what good people we are,” Cummings said. He said the two communities have built a friendship throughout the years, which have included many weddings and funerals. “It was a couple of turkeys that brought us together,” Cummings said. Aside from the great turkey race, King Turkey Day features other entertainment and events such as a free pancake breakfast put on by community volunteers, the Turkey Day

“What brings people there are more than 5,000 American Indian carvings,” he said. “It’s an encyclopedia of American Along the route to Indian culture and history that goes back 7,000 years. It was Worthington’s King Turkey still a place of destination even when there were settlers. Right Day is the Jeffers across the road from us, in the early 1900s, there was horse Petroglyphs site in Comfrey. race track and baseball diamond.” Among the land lies 160 Sanders spoke of the trading system that was in place long acres of restored prairie, before our time. The location was a “crossroads” where people about which Site Manager traveled, traded goods and left messages. He described it as an Tom Sanders said: “It’s just early type of social networking. Today, it’s considered not grass.” something more. With 300 species of native plants, Sanders said many “(Visitors) first should know it’s a sacred site, and a place visitors comment on its stunning beauty, which he compared for prayers,” he said. “It’s also a place to learn about history to a cathedral. and about native peoples, and their culture.” “(The) big open rooms of a cathedral will give you the same Over the past few years, Sanders said crews were able to sort of feel,” he said. uncover 2,500 carvings. Depending on the season, you will find white and purple “The site is unique as both a natural site, ecological site and colors blooming, yellow coneflowers, purple leaf plants, and also as a cultural site,” he said. “People come from all over the goldenrods. During September, the site’s tall grasses are up, world to see this place.” such as the Indian grass and big bluestem grass. While the interpretive center is only open seasonally “I love the copper colors in September of the Indian grass,” through Labor Day, Sanders said the park gates are always Sanders said. open for people to explore the site’s walking trails. If Once over the breathtaking view of the colorful you call with a group of 10 or more, the site can open Mankato vegetation, the site’s main attraction is the with a reservation. petroglyphs. “There’s much for everybody, no matter what your heritage is,” Sanders said. “It’s really just about everybody’s history in a sense, and not just native American history. It’s about our roots.” Hours and directions can be accessed at places/sites/jp/ or by calling 507-628-5591.

Jeffers Petroglyphs

Kilen Woods State Park If you want to capture a glimpse of what a prairie area looked like 115 years ago in Minnesota, you might want to visit Kilen Woods State Park in Lakefield, between the cities Windom and Jackson. Phil Nasdy, the Parks and Trail Area supervisor, described the area as an old oak savannah environment that spans 200 acres. “It’s on the bluffs of the Des Moines River, so there are some nice overlooks on the valley for hiking,” he said. The five miles of walking trails provide a terrain of hills for

hikers that travel through the forest during the non-winter months. There are also 3.5 miles of un-groomed trails available during the winter months for snowmobiling and snowshoeing. Nasdy said the park features a scientific natural area, which is protected by the DNR. “It has what is called the ‘prairie bush clover,’ which is a threatened species of flower,” he said, “It happens to have one of the better populations of prairie bush species in the state.” In addition to the park’s scenic treasures, it touts 33 seasonal camp sites, which include shower and sanitation facilities. Visitors also have access to the newly upgraded sand volleyball court, horseshoe pits and picnic areas for rent. September is a popular month for weddings, and since the site doesn’t take advanced reservations and is on a first-comefirst-serve basis, it is best to come early. Visitors can call 507831-2900, ext. 221 or visit kilen_woods for more park details.

Grand Parade, and the Turkey Day 10K. The two-day festival, according to Cummings, draws upward of 10,000 people. “Our festival has grown considerably through the years,” he said. “There have things that have come and gone, there have things that have been added.” One of the recent additions has been a barbecue competition that Cummings said has attracted participants who have been featured on the TLC reality TV show “BBQ Pitmasters.” Also added last year was live music by the 1980s tribute band “Hairball,” who performs music from bands such as Twisted Sister, Alice Cooper and Aerosmith. The festival also draws in many celebrities.

“We’ve had Robert Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, governors, actors; all kinds of people as the featured speaker,” Cummings said. This year’s guest is Holly Hoffman, a former contestant on the reality TV show “Survivor: Nicaragua.” The guest speakers are there to share an uplifting message to festival-goers. “The best part of it, in my opinion, is that the community and area come together to celebrate one of the best town festivals I have ever been to in my life,” Cummings said. And in accordance with the festival motto, he said, “Come see us for a gobbly good time!” M MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2013 • 33




By Nell Musolf

Chad Yaeger is a third-generation family owner of Yaeger Bus Service in Mankato. He is pictured with wife Cara. | John Cross

Keep on turnin’


Yaeger’s buses get kids to school on time since 1954

aeger Bus Service has been transporting students from home to school in southern Minnesota since 1954. The company was started by Merton Yaeger when the Indian Lake School closed and Merton Yaeger bought a 42-passenger bus and began transporting students from the Indian Lake area to Mankato Area Public Schools. His first route ran from Indian Lake Road and the Highway 66 area. As the Doc Jones and Southview I and II areas were developed, Merton added two more bus routes. In 1973, Merton’s son Dwight began working with his father, eventually purchasing the company’s three buses and routes and taking over the running of the business. When Gene and Bernie Kopachek of Kopachek Bus Service decided to retire in 1978, they sold five buses and routes to Dwight and his wife Karen. At that time, more

34 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

bus service was added for students in grades 9 through 12 who lived in the then-new section of Eagle Lake off Highway 14. The company continued to grow the following year when the Yaegers purchased 10 bus routes from Don and Ed Wold, owners of Mankato City Lines. The 1980s saw Tom Goettl of Goettl Bus Service sell one bus and one route to the Yaegers. The Yaegers also took over transportation for the LeHillier and Neubert areas. Keeping the business in the family, when Dwight and Karen retired in 2012, they sold Yaeger Bus Service, Inc. to their son, Chad. Presently, Yaeger Bus Services, Inc. transports students in Mankato schools from the south side of Mankato, Eagle Lake and Rapidan areas. Chad Yaeger estimates his company’s buses bring between 1,300 and 1,400 students

Early motorized bus models featured perimeter seating with students facing the middle of the bus. Also, early models had rear exits, a holdover from the horse-drawn days so as to not spook the horses. Pictured is an early motorized model in Reading. | Photo courtesy of Nobles County Historical Society to and from school daily. Bus technology has changed greatly over the years. Bus seats used to be made out of fiberglass with relatively low backs and are now made out of vinyl with much higher backs, helping to prevent neck injuries in case of sudden stops. Older buses held between 42 to 48 passengers and now hold between 77 and 90. However, buses still hold three passengers per seat. The average life span for a school bus is between 10 to 12 years. “How long a bus lasts depends on Minnesota salted roads,” Chad said. Probably the most dramatic change in school buses since the early days are the additions of many safety features. Today’s school buses have an eight-light warning system for loading and unloading passengers and strobe lights are used in low-visibility weather conditions. Another safety feature of today’s buses are two-way radios. “All buses have two-way radios in them so we are always in contact with the drivers,” Chad said. In addition to four push-out windows for emergency evacuations, school buses also have two roof hatches. The very newest buses are equipped with a warning system that requires the bus drive to perform a “walk through the bus” before being able to exit. A horn sounds and exterior lights flash on until the driver walks from the front to the back of bus and opens the rear door. The driver has 30 seconds to perform this safety walk before the warning system kicks into gear. This safety feature ensures that no children are accidentally left behind on the bus. Today’s buses also have a lot more safety mirrors than their predecessors including a crossover mirror on each fender of the bus. Another technological advance of today’s generation of buses over ones from half a century ago: cameras. While VHS cameras were originally used, now digital recorders film what’s happening in the seats while kids are carried from home to school. “Having cameras on the bus helps ensure student and driver safety,” Chad said, Like everything else, when technology is added the price generally goes up. The cost of a new school bus when Dwight Yaeger first started transporting students was around $6,000. Now it is closer to $90,000. When it comes to safety, Yaeger Bus Service, Inc. strongly believes in preventive maintenance. School buses are inspected annually by the Minnesota Department of Transportation with random spot inspections throughout

Buses have come a long way since this orange Blue Bird bus owned by the Yaegers in the 1960s. Pictured are (left to right): an unidentified bus driver, Gary Yaeger and Dwight Yaeger.

Roof hatches, mirrors, emergency exits and even warning systems for students who may be left on the bus are becoming common safety measures. | John Cross

the school year. Safety extends to bus drivers also. To be a school bus driver, perspective employees must pass a criminal background check, pre-employment drug test, five written tests and a behind-the-wheel road test. Drivers must also attend eight hours of training plus annual reviews. “School bus drivers have to have their drivers’ license records checked twice annually,” Chad Yaeger said, “but we check them three times a year.” One last colorful change from when Dwight Yaeger bought his first bus: Minnesota school buses used to be orange until 1972 when they adopted the National School Bus Yellow. M MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2013 • 35

Your Tastes

By Family Features

Fresh tips for game-day dips


hen family and friends gather together to watch the game, loading up the table with a variety of easy-to-grab, flavorful appetizers is a winning plan. After all, casual food and good times are what game day is all about. In the world of appetizers, dip is king. From savory to sweet, this simple tailgating party addition can take on flavors that span the globe, or that are as American and as beloved as the gridiron game itself. A tailgating scene can seem overwhelming for those who don’t want to splurge all their day’s calories, so be sure to have lots of fresh, crunchy vegetables on hand. Start with your standard dippers – like sliced carrots, broccoli and cucumbers – or score big with unique vegetable dipper options – like snap peas, asparagus spears and

radishes. This recipe for Cucumber Cups creates simple and crunchy bite-sized noshes with a delicious dip of hummus in the center. Potato and tortilla chips go hand-in-hand with tailgating festivities, but beyond these standards is a whole world of other dipping options. For a Mediterranean touch, go with flatbread, pita bread or pita chips. Instead of plain old butter rounds, opt for more texture with multigrain crackers that include raw flax, chia or sesame seeds. Or, serve up a warm batch of buffalo wings with this smoky and spicy recipe for Hummus Buffalo Wing Dip. Incorporate a few of these dip tips into your game day strategy and watch as fans huddle up to fill their plates. M

Hummus Buffalo Wing Dip 1 1 1 1 1/4 1/4 1 1

teaspoon red wine vinegar teaspoon olive oil tablespoon tomato paste teaspoon Dijon mustard teaspoon garlic powder teaspoon onion powder teaspoon smoked paprika cup hummus

Whisk first seven ingredients together (vinegar through paprika). Add hummus and combine thoroughly.

Cucumber Cups Yield: 16 servings 2 1 1 1

English cucumbers container hummus teaspoon paprika bunch parsley, finely chopped

Peel cucumbers and slice lengthwise into 1 1/4-inch pieces. Using melon baller, carve out seeds to create a vessel, making sure to leave bottom intact. Using piping bag or small spoon, fill each with hummus, about 1 teaspoon each. Sprinkle with paprika and finely chopped parsley.

36 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

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Ladies First Give, gab and giggle for health care

Gather your girlfriends and join us at the Ladies First fundraiser benefiting pediatric and obstetric patients and families. Listen to special guest speaker Deadra Stanton and enjoy hors d’oeuvres, cash-bar cocktails, raffle and silent auction.

Thursday, Sept. 19, 5:30–9 p.m. Courtyard by Marriott, Mankato

Tickets are $50 each and are available from Mayo Clinic Health System Auxiliary at 507-304-7298.

MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2013 • 37

Coming Attractions: September 5 — MSU Performance Series featuring Papa John Kolstad with Clint Hoover 7:30 p.m. — Halling Recital Hall, MSU — $12 general admission, $11 MSU students — 507-389-5549 5-6 — Minnesota Shorts Play Festival Mankato West Theatre — 1351 S. Riverfront Drive — advanced tickets: $8 adults, $7 seniors, $5 students — $10 at door — 6-7 — Mankato Pridefest 8 p.m. Friday, Queer-aoke at Pub 500 — 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Parade down Riverfront Drive — 12-5 p.m. Saturday, festival in Riverfront Park — 8 p.m. Saturday, Pride Dance, MorsonArio VFW, $5 in advance, $7 at door — 507-389-5792 7-8 — Farmamerica Fall Fair Farmamerica Center — 7367 360th Ave., Waseca — $8 adults, $5 children 13 and under — www.farmamerica. org — 507-835-2052 7-8 — Farming of Yesteryear Old-Time Threshing Show 1736 600th Ave., Kiester — 507-525-1828 — 507-294-3253 7-8 — Rock Bend Folk Festival 12-10 p.m. Saturday, 12-7 p.m. Sunday — Minnesota Square Park, St. Peter — free, donations welcome — — 507-934-3400 8 — Southern Minnesota’s Wedding Expo 12 p.m. — Reception Hall, Verizon Wireless Center — free — 507-345-4646 14 — Buddy Guy Concert 7 p.m. — Vetter Stone Amphitheater — $75 reserved, $35 General Admission — — 1-800-745-3000

14 — Indian Island Winery 4th Annual Grape Stop 1-4 p.m., Stacey Veroeven plays; 5:308:30 p.m., Gypsy Soul Haley Rossow — Indian Island Winery — 18018 631st Ave., Janesville — — 5 07-317-7914

Riverfront Drive — www.

14 — Mankato Walk to End Alzheimer’s 9 a.m., registration; 10 a.m. Opening ceremony and walk — Sibley Park

22 — KDOG Mankato Bridal Show 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. — Reception Hall, Verizon Wireless Center — free —

15 — Auto Restorer’s Car Show and Swap Meet 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. — Nicollet County Fairgrounds — 400 W. Union St., St. Peter — admission $5 — show cars $15 — autorestorers — 507-345-6541

22 — MSU Performance Series featuring Alison Scott with The Okemah Prophets 7:30 p.m. — Halling Recital Hall, MSU — $15 general admission, $13 MSU students — 507-389-5549

15 — MSU Performance Series featuring Noah Hoehn 7:30 p.m. — Halling Recital Hall, MSU — $12 general admission, $11 MSU students — 507-389-5549 17 — MSU Performance Series featuring Steve Kaul and The Brass Kings 7:30 p.m. — Halling Recital Hall, MSU — $12 general admission, $11 MSU students — 507-389-5549 18-21 — Sky Girls 7:30 p.m. — Andreas Theatre, MSU — $10 regular, $9 senior citizens and youth 16 and under, $8 current MSU students — 507-389-6661 20-22 — Bethany Lutheran College Fall Festival Bethany Lutheran College — events include Family Weekend and Alumni Reunions - 20-22 — Bethany Theater Department’s annual Theatre Physics 7-9 and 9-11 p.m. on 20-21, 2-4 p.m. on 22 — Sigurd K. Lee Theater, Bethany Lutheran College — free — 507-344-7374 20-22 — Mahkato Pow Wow 3 p.m. Friday - 5 p.m. Sunday — Land of Memories Park — $7 — Gem7773@ — 612-990-2518 21 — Mankato Symphony Orchestra: Viva Vivaldi: Autumn 11 a.m. — Mankato YMCA — 1401 S.

38 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

21 — Waseca March Band Classic 12:30 p.m., parade starts; 5 p.m., marching bands compete; 8 p.m., awards presented — Waseca High School — 507-835-3260

24 — MSU Performance Series featuring Michael Johnson 7:30 p.m. — Halling Recital Hall, MSU — $12 general admission, $11 MSU students — 507-389-5549 26 — Zonta Annual Fashion Show 5 p.m., doors open; 6:15 p.m., dinner; 7 p.m., show starts — Verizon Wireless Center — — 507-386-6268 27 — Mankato Symphony Orchestra: Music and Brews 5:30-7:30 p.m. — Mankato Brewery — 1119 Center St., North Mankato — $10 — 28 — The Great ArfWalk Festival 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. — Land of Memories Park — 507-625-6373 29 — Mankato Symphony Orchestra: Patron Appreciation Recital 2 p.m. — Emy Frentz Arts Gallery — 523 S. Second St. — 29 — Minnesota River Valley Winds Ensemble 3 p.m. — Halling Recital Hall, MSU — $9 general admission, $7 MSU students, $7 K-12 students and children — 507-389-5549

Happy Hour

By Fred Tasker | McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Drink up the pages of these wine reads

“A Beer Drinker’ Guide to Knowing and Enjoying Fine Wine,” by Jim Laughren, Crosstown Publishing, 2012 ($16.95). “No one says you have to give up beer,” he writes. Then he cites a dozen reason why beer drinkers should at least take a foray into wine. It’ll impress your boss. It’ll make you seem sophisticated. Wine tastings are “great venues for slightly tipsy encounters of the possible romantic kind.” He urges readers to embrace their “inner wino,” describing how to taste wine and defining such wine-speak terms as “feminine,” “masculine,” “clumsy,” “reticent” and “hollow.” A cheeky read, but also a brief and helpful beginner’s guide. “Wines of the New South Africa,” by Tim James, University of California Press, 2013, $39.95: For centuries, South Africa’s sweet dessert wines were famous, the favorites of Napoleon Bonaparte. Then came apartheid and isolation from world markets that reduced many of the country’s wines to mediocre plonk sold in giant bulk shipping containers. With the coming of free elections in 1994, the country is now emerging, producing excellent wines new to the international stage such as pinotage. A hopeful and interesting read.

“Postmodern Winemaking: Rethinking the Modern Science of an Ancient Craft,” by Clark Smith, University of California Press, 2013, $34.95: Clark Smith is a maverick. He’s winemaker for Diamond Ridge Vineyards and his own WineSmith Cellers and an adjunct professor at California State University, Fresno and Florida International. Smith started out making wine the science-based American way, juggling ingredients, running statistical analyses, producing clean, proper wines. Then he hit a wall. “The wines had no sex appeal,” he said. But if over-manipulation was futile, so was its antithesis – the naïve, “hands-off” Natural Wine movement. It turns out, he says, that technical operations like reverse osmosis to lower excessive alcohol levels also have a place in making what he seeks -– “soulful wines.” Inside baseball, but a great read for serious wine fans. “Nose,” by James Conaway, Thomas Dunne Books, 2013, $24.99: In 1990 Conaway wrote “Napa,” a tell-all expose of the egos and ambitions of the Gallos and Mondavis who put California on the world wine map. Now he’s written a novel about the area that will make him unpopular there again. It’s about a love-to-hate-him wine critic revealingly named Clyde Craven-Jones who finally finds a wine worth his top score of 20, only to learn it has no discernible origin. He sets out to solve the mystery, with pretty funny results. Nectar for the foodie crowd. M


MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2013 • 39

Your Health

By Emily Herrmann | Slate

Reconsider the mammogram


recent cover story in the New York Times Magazine made a convincing case against the mammogram. The author’s main criticism was that mammograms result in many false-positives, which other research has confirmed. Women get treated for cancers they don’t have, or cancers that are noninvasive but which doctors at the moment can’t distinguish from the malignant ones. All of this leads to a lot of wasted money, stress, and distrust of the system as a whole. While this is almost certainly true, many in the scientific community prefer to look at mammograms in a different way. Mammograms are a life-saving screening method, but they are not being utilized properly. But there is a way to fix that. A group of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Harvard Medical School have started to use risk factor models that can help eliminate some of the harms associated with mammography and use it to its full potential. With mammograms, it is becoming increasingly apparent that a one-size-fits-all recommendation is not the ideal approach. Professor Oguzhan Alagoz from the University of WisconsinMadison, his former Ph.D. student Turgay Ayer from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Natasha Stout from Harvard Medical School are working on a model that will determine the optimal time for a woman to get her next mammogram. Currently, screening recommendations are based almost exclusively on age. The American Cancer Society and many other groups recommend annual mammograms starting at 40 years old, while the United States Preventative Services Task Force currently recommends biennial tests starting at 50. Individual physicians will then discuss earlier screening based on other risk factors. But age is not the only relevant risk factor for breast cancer. Family history, alcohol use, number of lifetime menstrual cycles and breast density are just a few of the myriad other factors. Ayer, Alagoz, and Stout’s model accounts for many of these risk factors and personal history information and using this information, calculates the best time for a woman’s next mammogram. The model works by calculating the risk of getting either invasive or noninvasive breast cancer. While noninvasive cancers pose little threat to the woman, they can sometimes progress to invasive cancer. Therefore the model includes the likelihood of the woman getting noninvasive cancer simply because that is a risk factor for invasive cancer. The model then makes a recommendation based on the risk of invasive or noninvasive cancer. If the woman’s overall invasive cancer risk exceeds the desired threshold, a mammogram is recommended. 40 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

In a recent article in Operations Research, the authors show how the model would be used. Take a 40-year-old white woman who has no history of breast cancer in her family, who started menstruation at 14, and who had her first child at 23. Because her chances of getting in situ cancer or invasive cancer are low (0.1 percent and 0.2 percent), the model recommends waiting to get a mammogram until she turns 42. They then look at a 50-year-old woman who has the same risk factors as the first woman but did not have any mammograms during that time. This time, the model recommends getting a mammogram because her risk, at this later age, is high enough to justify the screening. If the woman has another negative mammogram, the intervals continue to increase. Conversely, an unusual mammogram result, such as a benign cyst in the breast, can prompt a woman to shorten the time between her next mammogram. In the end, the model would create a single statistic that would account for the individual’s breast cancer risk factors and her previous screening decisions and results. Ideally, this statistic would be a starting point for discussion among the radiologist, physician and patient. It would help with mammography decisions of course, but it would also be useful in discussing other breast cancer prevention treatments, such as the drugs tamoxifen or raloxifene. The model could potentially help save numerous highrisk women while preventing undue harm to the rest of the public. In addition, the model could help reduce the $100 million that we overspend in mammography. These savings come from a simultaneous decrease in the number of mammograms and the number of false-positive mammograms. Using the screening guidelines set in this model, the researchers estimate that an average woman will need 14 fewer mammograms and at least halve the number of false-positive mammograms. Of course, implementation of such a model may be controversial. When the United States Preventative Services Task Force changed its mammography recommendations, there was a major backlash. Many claimed that the task force did not truly have women’s interests in mind, and instead they were in the pockets of the insurance companies. We still do not fully understand all of the risk factors for breast cancer, nor do we fully know why breast cancer affects some women and not others. We still do not know the optimal treatment policy for breast cancer, and whether some cancers would be better left untreated. And as we learn more about this disease, the model will need to constantly evolve to match the incoming research on these issues. M

Faces & Places

Photos By Sport Pix

MN Veteran Classic car & Bike Show

1. Doug Zahnow talks with Robb Murray about his vehicle. The trike of sorts was one of only a handful at the show. 2. Steve Simpson relaxes next to his car, enjoying the show and prepared to talk about his vehicle. 3. Tom Maus (left) and Dennis Heath discuss and analyze one of the antique cars. 4. Chelse Theis and Dustin Tolzmann show their pride at the MN Veterans Classic Car Show. 5. An american pasttime comes to life as classic cars and bikes take over Sibley Park for the MN Veterans Classic Car and Bike Show. 6. Thomas Peterson gives his son Julian a tight squeeze while viewing an abundance of classic cars. 7. Father and son, Denny (left) and Brad Hewitt spend the morning together viewing classic cars at Sibley Park.



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MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2013 • 41

Faces & Places

Photos By Sport Pix

wings of freedom 1. Walter Janske, of St. Peter takes a look around the inside of the B-17 Flying Fortress named “909.” 2. Allen and Loretta Sigafus pose in front of a B24J Liberator named “Witchcraft.” Allen served in the Air Force and holds a photo of himself and his friends taken while they were in service. 3. Mac McCauley does some routine maintenance on one of the engines on the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. 4. Visitors were able to get a close look at the Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress. 5. Visitors inspect the massive B24J Liberator at the Mankato Regional Airport. 6. Ben Wachtel has a little fun handling the .50-caliber machine gun on board the B24J Liberator.






42 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


Faces & Places

Photos By Sport Pix

Police K-9 Association Region 12 Field Trials Demo Day 1. The Nicollet County Sheriff’s Department gave wagon rides to visitors. 2. People also had a chance to meet Smokey the Bear. 3. Nicollet County Deputy Sheriff Paul Biederman and his K-9, Draeco, hosted the USPCA Region 12 K-9 field trials in St. Peter. 4. One of the main attractions was a Minnesota State Patrol helicopter. 5. The St. Peter Fire Department demonstrated a vehicle extrication using the Jaws of Life. 6. Each officer’s K-9 competed in a series of trials which included this suspect search with gunfire trial.







MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2013 • 43




By Pete Steiner

The Welsh Hymn Festival “Songs of praises, songs of praises, I will ever sing to Thee …” On the last Sunday afternoon of September, one group of southern Minnesotans will skip the Vikings’ game. They won’t mow the lawn one last time either, nor rake leaves or bring in the dock at the lake. No, on that Sunday, these 200 or so Minnesotans, mostly of Welsh descent, will gather as they have for nearly 80 years, for the purpose of singing hymns. For two hours at First Presbyterian in downtown Mankato, they’ll sing their lungs out. Under the direction of a trained song leader, they’ll go through about 16 hymns from a special songbook. I have often been among the harmonious assembly, and it always appears they are being transported by the music. It’s as if they are singing for their salvation.

tenor, William Williams!” In truth, it’s not uncommon for a singer at the festival to get a bit carried away by emotion and oversing. ••••

People who live in our area have access to some wonderful ethnic festivals. You can celebrate German heritage at Oktoberfest or Fasching in New Ulm. Towns like St. Peter and Waseca are filled with Irish spirit and traditions on St. Patrick’s Day. Everyone in our melting pot nation seems to search for an identity. The Welsh find theirs in song.

In the 1800s, many Welsh fled the coal mines and farms of their beloved native land, believing America offered more opportunity. Many found and settled in the rich farmlands around Lake Crystal and westward into the Cambria valley. Many of their descendants still carry those Welsh surnames: Jones and Roberts and Wigley and Lloyd and Williams. Anyone who watched Princess Diana’s funeral may recall that the Princess of Wales was sung to her rest not only by Elton John, but also with the great choruses of the favorite Welsh hymn, “Cum Rhondda” – “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.” I haven’t been able to make it through the third verse without a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye since they carried my Welsh grandfather out to those strains at his funeral 44 years ago. A second-generation Welsh-American, Jab had maintained a herd of Jersey dairy cows near Lake Crystal until the Depression forced him out. He later found success in the business world as founder of Lloyd Lumber.



The Welsh, who claim to have invented four-part singing about a thousand years ago, love to tell an old joke: They’ve gathered a 1,000voice choir to sing the old hymns. There are 333 sopranos, 333 altos, and 333 basses. However, there’s just ONE tenor, William L. Williams. They run through the first verse and chorus of “Onward Christian Soldiers,” and the director praises the singers. “Wonderful, marvelous,” he says, “just maybe a little too much

It’s a good bet that you’ll find Ken Lloyd (no direct relation) at this year’s Welsh hymnfest. Over more than five decades, he figures he’s missed only two of the September gatherings. On “Cum Rhondda,” he can sing all three verses and three of the four parts (not alto) by heart. It’s as fun WATCHING Ken sing as it is to listen. He lifts not only his voice, but also his eyes, often closing them, then lifting his hands in praise. Some of the hymns are joyous,


44 • september 2013 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

even boisterous. Others are pleading and intensely emotional: “Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to thy bosom fly, while the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high; hide me, oh my Savior, hide, ‘til the storm of life is past …” •••• The actual Welsh name for the hymn festival is “Gymanfu Ganu,” pronounced “guh-MAHN-vuh-GAHnee.” Welsh is described as a melodious language, although in print, it seems to need to buy a vowel, as Vanna White might put it. The musicality of the language has helped produce not only famous musicians, including Tom Jones, but theater legends from Richard Burton to Catherine Zeta-Jones, and of course, the poet, Dylan Thomas. While the immediate focus of the local Welsh contingent is on that last Sunday in September, something much bigger looms. Over Labor Day weekend next year, Minneapolis will host thousands of Welsh singers from across the U. S. and Canada for the 2014 North American Festival of Wales. I think I had better be there, to get that lump in my throat, and maybe even to find that legendary tenor, William L. Williams. M Pete Steiner is host of “Talk of the Town” weekdays at 1:05 p.m. on KTOE.

Convenient Care Our providers now offer evening appointments Monday through Thursday. We’ve made it easier to work with your family’s busy schedule. Our patients’ parents have been asking for evening appointments, and the Mankato Clinic has listened.

Please call 507-389-8529 to make an appointment for your child.

MANKATO CLINIC 1-800-657-6944 •

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