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FEATU RES september 2012 Volume 7, Issue 9





Growing flowers — and friendships As it celebrates its 50th anniversary, the Twilight Garden Club is still growing strong.

Delivering the news Mankato volunteers for the Radio Talking Book Network deliver the news nightly to the blind and visually impaired.


Finding his grain Great Britain native Gary Moore has taken risks to pursue his goal of becoming a furniture maker in southern Minnesota.

Job well done Bill Hoehn has built more than 200 of his beautiful red cedar benches for one simple reason: “It’s hard to say no.”

On the cover: Bill Hoehn and a few of his red cedar benches in his south Mankato workshop. Photo by John Cross

MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2012 • 3








6 From the Editor Giving back offers its own dividends 9 From the kitchen No sweat dinners 10 Familiar Faces Lora Brady of Common Good RSVP 12 Artist Insight Jake Zeiher 27 Garden Chat High hopes dry out 28 That’s Life How to be happily ever after 30 Things to Do, Places to Go Events to check out in September 32 Good Health Genetic testing identifies risks of Alzheimer’s 34 Fashion Currents Decorate with far-from-mellow yellow 35 Happy Hour Bloody alternatives 44 The Way It Is Of circles and drums and 40 and 150

Coming up in the October issue of Mankato Magazine ... October is a bellwether in Minnesota — signifying a change in season, a change in mood, a change from summer delights to fall haunts. We’ll remember a college instructor killed in a tragic lab accident 74 years ago and remember some of the old methods for bringing in the harvest. We might even throw a party and share a scary story or two. Join us. We’ll take the hay ride together.

34 4 • september 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE



MANKATO magazine


James P. Santori Joe Spear Tanner Kent


Nell Musolf Pete Steiner Jean Lunquist


John Cross Pat Christman


Christina Sankey


David Habrat


Barb Wass


Seth Glaser Sue Hammar Christina Sankey


Denise Zernechel

Mankato Magazine is published 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 344-6390, or e-mail

6 • september 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

From The Editor

By Joe Spear

Giving back offers its own dividends


herever you go in Mankato, whoever you meet, at whatever event you attend, when you get talking to people, you find a common fact that is a bit surprising. Almost everyone volunteers for something. People are involved in service clubs, nonprofits, the arts, recreation and endeavors to preserve nature and encourage use of the outdoors. So, it is with this issue we explore these charitable spirits, their motivations and the charitable culture that seems pervasive in the Mankato area. The Mankato Downtown Kiwanis Club of which I am a member is one of the biggest in the country for a city our size, always hovering around 100 members. The club has a host of volunteer activities one can sign up for at each weekly meeting. Two that I particularly enjoy include ringing the Salvation Army bell at Christmastime and helping with bingo at Hillcrest Nursing Home during the summer. I usually bring my 13-year-old daughter. I used to volunteer for kids activities when my kids were young. I helped coach YMCA soccer for a year or two. But when your kids get older, there are not as many opportunities in those realms, so a service club seems like the next best thing. People in those clubs who urge you to volunteer always say, “You’ll get more out of it than you put into it.” It sounds like a cliché, but they’re absolutely right. Stories told in this month’s edition reflect that sentiment. The Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network is near and dear because these volunteers read newspapers — The Free Press — to people who have visual impairment or are blind. The longtime daily pleasure of getting a little give and take with the news and a cup of coffee may be a simple thing, but for those with visual impairments, it can be a major loss. Some 40 volunteer readers in Mankato read the newspaper into a radio once a month so that every day at 7 p.m. the 200 or so visually impaired listeners in the area can catch up on the news. RTB network organizer Stuart Holland in St. Paul says there are some 140 other radio reading services around the country, but “it all started here in

Minnesota.” Very cool. In another episode of random acts of charity, the Twilight Garden Club will this October celebrate 50 years of voluntarily tending the fabulous garden at the R.D. Hubbard House in Mankato. Charter member Joyce Nelson seems a bit surprised to realize the milestone. “It’s hard to believe that it has been 50 years since we started. We used to meet at a member’s house every week,” Nelson recalled, “and we held the membership to 12.” The group now numbers 33 members. But charity and giving back is not just for groups. Bill Hoehn, an 80-year-old veteran of the Korean War, farmer and one-time factory worker, now makes beautiful red cedar benches in his workshop. In five years or so, he’s made 430 of them. He was asked if his motivation for creating the elegant, one-of-a-kind red cedar benches was driven by his love of art. He replied: “Not really.” Rather, he says, he can’t say no to people who want them. He donates many of them to veterans groups and other charities and gives them to family as gifts. Volunteerism, charity, do-good people abound in the region. Just go ahead and ask someone next time you go somewhere. It may be in the water, or in the genes, or maybe people live in a fortunate place and time where it just seems right to give back. M Joe Spear is editor of Mankato Magazine. Contact him at 344-6382 or

MANKATO MAGAZINE  •  september MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2012 • 7

Printing more than just your everyday color!

September Almanac

This day in history

Sept. 1, 1900: Two trains collided near presentday Rock Street in Mankato, killing a conductor and injuring several more. The accident occurred around 8 p.m. on a Saturday when a flagman dispatched to flag an oncoming train had his view momentarily obscured by another train. The Free Press reported “the wreck was one of the worst that ever took place in or near the city.” Conductor W. F. Carroll was killed. His fireman on the train later said Carroll had been involved in two previous accidents. Sept. 6, 1951: The Mankato police department purchases a brand-new “Interceptor” model squad car. The department boasts that it can reach 90 mph in first gear and has a top speed of 115 mph. Mankato Mayor John C. Zotalis supported the purchase, noting at the City Council meeting that area speeders had more horsepower at their command than officers. Sept. 8, 1951: The Mankato police department’s brand-new Interceptor was wrecked during a collision at the intersection of Minneopa Road and Given St. The officer was answering a call when he momentarily looked down to activate his sirens and collided with another vehicle. Damage, police officials said, was “considerable.” Sept. 20, 1891: August Schell, founder of the New Ulm-based brewery that is second-oldest family-owned brewery in the United States, dies. Schell was a German immigrant who was among the founding families of New Ulm. Building his brewery on the banks of the Cottonwood River, Schell established a legacy that is still read on bottle labels today. Sept. 29, 1983: Father and son Jim and Steven Jenkins lure two Ruthton bankers to their former property and shoot them dead. The bank had foreclosed on the property years earlier and the duo sought revenge. Jim and Steven fled to Texas where the elder Jenkins committed suicide and the younger was apprehended.

A look at labor Highest paying/lowest paying Each year, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles and evaluates the median salaries for hundreds of occupations Highest — Anesthesiologist, $234,950; surgeon, $231,550; and obstetrician/gynecologist, $218,610. Lowest — Fast food worker, $18,230; dishwasher, $18,360; and shampooer, $18,420.

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Best jobs/most stressful used several factors related to job satisfaction — salary, growth potential, stress level — to determine lists of the best and most stressful jobs of 2012. Best: Software engineer, actuary, human resources manager, dental hygienist and

financial planner. Stressful: Soldier, firefighter, airline pilot, police officer, event coordinator. Rarest jobs A sampling of occupations with fewer than 1,000 people employed in that field, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Private cook (360), prosthodontist (560), fishers and other fisher-related workers (640), fabric mender except garments (760) and wood pattern maker (820).




By The Washington Post

No sweat dinners I

t’s meteorologically impossible to pinpoint the exact temperature at which the idea of cooking — that is, using some form of heat to prepare a meal — becomes completely unpalatable. Dinner may need making each night, but it’s nice when it doesn’t bring on a deep sweat. The goal is to develop non-cooking preparations that are at once attractive, inspiring and satisfying. The inspiring part demands some thought. Anybody can toss together a PB&J, but a meal should be more than just bread and condiments. “Marinating” or wilting vegetables is one trick to these no-cook preparations. Another is employing meaty ingredients that need no heat. Cut a thick piece of fresh tuna into thin slices and drizzle them with an intense lemon vinaigrette. Toss store-bought rotisserie chicken with a hoisin-sesame sauce and Asian noodles. Or pair full-flavored smoked mozzarella with stale pita bread and greens. For dessert, give traditional peaches and cream an Italian twist by fortifying the cream with mascarpone and fresh rosemary. Arrange the cream and sliced peaches on store-bought pizzelle.

Herbed Pita Bread Salad 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients 2 pints grape tomatoes, halved (use different colors for visual interest) 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or more to taste 1/2 cup olive oil, or more to taste 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives 1/4 cup chopped pepperoncini 2 whole-wheat pitas, left out overnight to go stale, then broken up into 1-inch pieces 1 large head Boston lettuce, cored, cut into 2-inch pieces, rinsed and spun dry 6 ounces smoked mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 12 leaves basil, torn into large pieces 3 tablespoons chopped parsley, preferably flat-leaf Steps Place the tomatoes in a large bowl, toss with the salt, and let them sit for 10 minutes to pull out their juices. Whisk together the vinegar and olive oil in a medium bowl and add about 3/4 of it to the tomatoes along with the olives and pepperoncini. Toss to combine. Add the pita, toss and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. Add the lettuce, mozzarella, basil and parsley; toss to thoroughly combine. Taste, and add more of the dressing mixture or salt as needed. Serve immediately.

Peaches With Rosemary-Mascarpone Whipped Cream 6 servings

Ingredients 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped rosemary, plus rosemary sprigs for garnish 3/4 cup whipping cream 1 1/4 pounds peaches (about 3), pitted and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons light brown sugar 1/2 cup mascarpone Salt 6 pizzelle Steps Combine the rosemary and cream in a small bowl or other container, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and preferably 4. Place the peaches in a medium bowl, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar, toss well and let the mixture sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Combine the mascarpone, salt and the remaining 2 teaspoons of brown sugar in a medium bowl, stirring to mix thoroughly. Pour the cream through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer, discarding the chopped rosemary. Beat the cream at high speed until it forms soft peaks. Gently fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture. To assemble, set a pizzella in the middle of each plate. Spread some of the cream mixture on each pizzella, then top with peach slices, fanning them decoratively if desired. Drizzle with any juices from the macerated fruit, if desired, and garnish with rosemary sprigs.


MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2012 • 9

Familiar Faces



Tanner Kent Photos


Pat Christman

Make me a match Lora Brady is Mankato’s volunteer matchmaker Lora Brady has been the coordinator of Common Good RSVP in Mankato since 2007. The program matches volunteers 55 and older with non-profit organizations that can use their skills and talents.


I had always wanted to work in non-profit since my college work study at the public radio station. But life’s twists and turns took me elsewhere — corporate marketing, event promotions and, as I said, retail for a while.

Mankato Magazine: How long have you worked with Common Good RSVP? And why did you choose the job? Lora Brady: I started this job in February 2007 and, to be honest, it was a blessing and a welcome surprise because I had been in retail for quite a while. This was my “big break,” you might say, on getting back into the community.

MM: What kinds of organizations do you match volunteers with? Can you accommodate a wide variety of interests and skills? LB: Our goal is to find volunteers for agencies and non-profits whose focus aligns with key areas like youth programs, education and senior independence. But we also partner in areas of affordable housing, hunger and job skills training. In past years we have taken part in environmental and disaster preparedness projects. As far as matching skills to missions, I always say “If you can imagine it, it can happen.” If a volunteer comes to me with skills that might fit a specific agency’s needs, I will facilitate a meeting between the two. But it is up to the volunteer in the end to decide if it works with their needs and desires. Recently, I had a newly retired woman who wanted to work only with a food program. That was her focus. She just started training to take calls for the local office of Second Harvest’s food assistance

hough Lora Brady came from a retail background, she’s thrived as the coordinator for Common Good RSVP. RSVP is a nationwide program funded by the Corporation of National and Community Service (CNCS), the Minnesota Board on Aging, and the United Way locally. The National Senior Corps programs, RSVP, Foster Grandparents and Senior Companion were developed over 40 years ago to engage retired individuals in meaningful community projects. In Blue Earth and 10 other surrounding counties, Catholic Charities of Winona operates the Mankato chapter, Common Good RSVP. The program connects individuals 55 and over with local nonprofit agencies or projects. There is no cost to either party and volunteers can receive volunteer insurance and mileage reimbursement. As Brady said: “In short, we are the catalyst to a great match.”

10 • september 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

program. One blind gentleman wanted to write letters to kids through our pen pal program, so he worked with the area center for independent living in order to have his letters read and written. He has had two student pen pals for the past three school years. There is no limit to being involved as long as you are a willing participant. MM: How many volunteers do you place? Are you looking for more? LB: There is never a shortage on the need for volunteers, especially those who have the most lifetime experience. We currently place anywhere from 200-300 just in the Greater Mankato area. Placements depend again, on the volunteer and where they choose to serve. But we are always looking for more volunteers, even those who feel they don’t have any skills to give; my job is to ensure they feel needed and are making a difference in their community. MM: Can you share any success stories or anecdotes that illustrate the mission of your program? LB: Absolutely. Cindy Hamberg from Lake Crystal called me last summer after she had attended a Bone Builders exercise class while visiting her sister up north. RSVPs across the country sponsor them, but our chapter was still examining how to best implement it in our service counties. Cindy witnessed how this exercise program improved her sister’s life and others in her community. Cindy wanted to bring it to Blue Earth County. Her excitement generated the incentive of our team to seek additional funds to get it started. We kicked off Bone Builders a year ago in partnership with the Lake Crystal Area Recreation Center and have seen some amazing results in the participants’ lives. Another favorite story is that of a woman who loves dogs but could not walk them for the Blue Earth Nicollet County Humane Society. She suffered from polio as a child and has to use crutches. We placed her in a volunteer position at BENCHS where she could greet and register the dog-walking volunteers and still interact with the dogs.

MM: What trends have you noticed in volunteering? Do people volunteer differently nowadays? LB: There is definitely a shift in thinking and practice overall. Back when RSVP started in Mankato 25 years ago, it was not unusual for individuals to give in extremes — full days, sometimes, having looked at our records. Some of those people are still doing so in their 80s, and some are even in their 90s. The new retirees seem to prefer project-based volunteering that may be a one- or two-time event that gives immediate, high-level impact — like a food drive or a gala event. Although agencies need menial tasks done like answering phones or doing office work, today’s volunteers aren’t looking to do them. One supervisor called me to ask what jobs she should give to a volunteer who felt their education and 25-plus years of work experience did not fit the tedious tasks at the agency. I suggested the supervisor find them a project that they could spearhead — like a newsletter, or perhaps a goal-focused project. The next person you meet might love doing more manual tasks, and that’s the beauty of the interview and enrollment process. Volunteer recruiting and management is largely about “thinking outside the box” because you are dealing with people. What might have worked 10 years ago may not apply today. MM: Anything you’d like to add? LB: Reflecting on my job, I would say to everyone that despite the technology we have at our hands nowadays, it’s really important to take the time and get to know one another. Volunteers love that aspect. Most are not about awards, as I’ve learned the hard way. While I do have a lot of places I need to visit in my work, I try to get to know each person in our program and look forward to meeting those I haven’t. The other thing about volunteering to know is that you don’t need to over-extend yourself. Everybody has a life, and family is important. Giving one hour a month, or even a year can create impact, too. But most importantly, you will only love volunteering if you choose something that speaks to your heart. M

MM: What are the biggest challenges you face? LB: The biggest challenge is engaging the “boomer” generation. This group of retirees spans 20 years, so you get a variety of mindsets and experiences. It is the largest generation to have attended college, and have worked in their careers the longest, so we really need them to help meet critical gaps in our communities. Tapping that large group can be a challenge — many lost money when their 401(k)s tanked in 2008 and they had to return to or stay working. I hear smaller agencies say how they need the “new” retirees to keep critical programs going to keep them available when this same generation needs them.

Lora Brady chats with a volunteer at the Neighborhood Thrift Store on West Lind Street in Mankato. Brady places up to 300 volunteers each year with organizations around the greater Mankato area

MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2012 • 11

Artist Insight

By Nell Musolf

Fired up Henderson artist takes pottery back to its roots


ake Zeiher fires the pottery he throws the old-fashioned way: in a wood-burning kiln instead of one powered by electricity or gas. Wood-burning kilns are known as Anagama kilns. Anagama is a Japanese term that means “cave kiln.” In an Anagama kiln, wood is used to produce heat in temperatures up to 2,500 degrees centigrade. When using an Anagama kiln, wood ash falls on the pieces being fired and forms a natural glaze that can’t be found with other techniques. “Before about 100 years ago, any pottery you saw was made in a wood-burning kiln,” Zeiher noted. “There wasn’t any other way to do it.” Zeiher learned the old school art of firing ceramics in wood-burning kilns when he was a college student at Beloit College in Wisconsin and attended a three-week ceramics workshop in northern Wisconsin one summer. That workshop was back in the 1990s but Zeiher continues to return every summer, now as one of owner Mike Weber’s chief wood gatherers and wood stokers as well as all around enthusiast. “I was hooked,” Zeiher recalled. “I felt like I was really getting back to the roots of ceramics.” In 1997, Zeiher decided that the time had arrived for him to build his own Anagama kiln on the family farm near Henderson. Zeiher utilized the kiln building tools he had learned in college but before he was able to get started he needed to collect bricks — a lot of bricks. Kilns don’t use ordinary bricks but instead need special fire

Photo by John Cross

Henderson artist Jake Zeiher uses a traditional wood-fired kiln for his pottery. He built his kiln himself and fires it twice a year. bricks that can withstand the intense temperatures inside the kiln. To get the quota he needed, Zeiher scavenged bricks from all over southern Minnesota. “I really had to hunt them down,” Zeiher recalled. “St. Olaf College was getting a new kiln so I got a lot of bricks from there.” Zeiher’s kiln is built on a hillside so the hot air produced inside the kiln rises as the temperature goes up. He now fires up the kiln twice a year in the spring and in the fall, typically firing up to 400 pieces of ceramics at a time. During those twice-yearly events, keeping the kiln going is a 24/7 endeavor and requires aroundthe-clock wood as well as wood tenders. Zeiher draws on help from other area artists to help him out during firing times. “It takes a community of people,” Zeiher said. “We use up a lot of wood while we’re firing.” When using a wood-burning kiln, the only guarantee the artist has is that every piece is going to turn out differently. But that’s part of the excitement. Although he might attempt to predict the outcome of a piece, Zeiher said the work inevitably takes on a life Photo by John Cross

Zeiher creates both functional and artistic pieces using his wood-fired method. 12 • september 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

of its own. “I like that kind of surprise,” Zeiher said. “Every piece is like Christmas morning. You never know what you’re going to get.” Another facet of woodburning kilns that Zeiher likes is the kilns produce what he terms more “earthy” colors. “You aren’t going to get the bright colors with a wood-burning kiln that you’ll find with an electric or gas-powered kiln,” Zeiher said. “The colors are more muted.” In addition to the teapots and pitchers and other housewares, Zeiher also creates sculptures. He notes that sometimes his artwork tells a clear story while, at other times, it seems to take on an almost dream-like quality. “If you “I make art because I need documentation of the difficult situations that I and those around me face. Once drop a piece digested, everything that life throws at me finds its way back into on the floor, it most my art,” Zeiher said. After receiving his bachelor of arts from Beloit College, Zeiher likely will went on to get a master’s in arts from Minnesota State University break. Then and then a master’s in fine arts from the University of Delaware. you have to Zeiher is working as the artistic project manager at the Minnesota m a k e another New Country School in Henderson. In addition to his duties there, he’s also involved with the art one. It’s not scene in southern Minnesota and serves on the board of directors a big deal.” Utilizing at the Carnegie Art Center. He teaches pottery classes through the Lincoln Community Center to all ages from pre-school to n a t u r a l adult with an open pottery class offered on Mondays during the resources is school year. Zeiher said he likes teaching the variety of students part of the he sees and he tries to impart to them that they’re never going to appeal of Zeiher’s artwork. In his home kitchen, all of the plates and cups are ones he’s made and said that one would be hardthrow a perfect pot. “I see a lot of students who come into class wanting to create pressed to find anything made out of plastic or paper in his house. “My work is very organic. That’s how I like it.” M something ‘perfect,’” he said. “I tell them right away that if they want a perfect pot, they can find one at Walmart.” Zeiher also reminds his students that creating pottery is more about usefulness than anything else. “You have to consider how a piece is going to be used. If you’re making a coffee cup, you want to make sure that it fits over the nose of the person who will be drinking from it. And if you’re making a cereal bowl, you have to remember to keep the edges curved up so your Wheaties don’t fall out on the way to the table,” Zeiher said. Another thing Zeiher wants his classes to keep in mind is that every so often, pottery Submitted photo breaks. And when that Submitted photo Zeiher tends his kiln 24 hours a day happens, it’s not the A wood-fired kiln reaches temperatures of 2,500 degrees during his spring and fall firings. end of the world. centigrade. Jake Zeiher fires as many as 400 pieces at a time. MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2012 • 13

The garden at the R.D. Hubbard House in Mankato has plenty of evidence of the dedication and skill of the Twilight Garden Club’s members.

Growing flowers — and friendships Twilight Garden Club has maintained Hubbard House garden for 50 years By Nell Musolf | Photos by Pat Christman 14 • september 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

From left, Shirley Hoelscher, Bonnie Sellner and Marilyn Lerud look at the flowers in the garden near the R.D. Hubbard House.

”When I go into the garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson


he above quote is highlighted in the 2012 Twilight Garden Club handbook and directory and is an apt description of what the garden club’s members seem to collectively believe. Working in a garden on a regular basis has given its members both the gift of health along with the joy of seeing how their group garden grows. The Twilight Garden Club of Mankato will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this October, a fact that seems to surprise charter member Joyce Nelson. “It’s hard to believe that it has been 50 years since we started. We used to meet at a member’s house every week,” Nelson recalled, “and we held the membership to 12.” When the group first started in the early 1960s, the club met at a site near Sibley Park. Nelson said the site was also close to her

place of employment at the time, Pathstone Living. Since there was no water available for the garden and no hoses nearby, Nelson remembered having to haul water from her workplace to the garden. “We hauled a lot of water,” Nelson said, “but Pathstone didn’t mind. They were very nice about it.” Water is no longer a problem for the Twilight Garden members, a group whose membership has grown over the years from the original 12 and is currently at 33. The club also no longer holds meetings at group members’ homes. Instead, the club has a weekly meeting at the R.D. Hubbard House, where members tend and maintain its spectacular garden. The weekly meeting is called a maintenance meeting and is held every Tuesday at 6 p.m. from May through September. Maintenance for the garden includes weeding, watering and other MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2012 • 15

Joyce Nelson is the only remaining original member of the Twilight Garden Club. This year, the club celebrates its 50th anniversary. general tasks. In addition to the maintenance meetings, the group also has monthly meetings on the fourth Tuesday of every month hosted by a group member and featuring desserts and beverages served along with different gardening topics. Karna Swenson-Stock is co-president of the Twilight Garden Club along with Terri Jensen. Members range from beginner gardeners to master gardeners. “We have quite a few master gardeners,” Swenson-Stock noted. 16 • september 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Shirley Hoelscher quickly added with a smile: “And for the rest of us, the garden masters us.” The Twilight Garden Club was named to honor the most convenient time for its members to get together. Most of the garden club’s members have always been women who have worked outside of the home and who weren’t able to attend a meeting until after work or twilight. The majority of the members are still working women who want to find a way to combine

something they enjoy doing with the opportunity to get together with other gardening fans. All of the club members recall having a lifelong interest in plants. Swenson-Stock remembers winning a prize at the state fair as a child when she was able to correctly name pictures of plants. Other Twilight Gardeners share similar memories. “I was always gardening,” Nelson said. “I still can’t go past a weed without wanting to pull it up.” Twilight Garden Club members fall into two categories: active members and social members. Dues for active members are $10 per year and they are expected to show up at the group garden on a regular basis and put in some serious soil time. Social members aren’t required to work but they do pay a little more in the way of dues: $25 per year. The money raised from dues goes to buying gardening supplies and plants. Cindy Johannsen has been an active member for the past 15 years. Like the other members, she enjoys both working in the garden as well as meeting other people who share her passion for plants. “We have formed some pretty good friendships over the years,” Johannsen said. “We all have, at the very least, gardening in common.” In addition to getting together to garden, the members also have guest speakers, a summer potluck and a Christmas party. Some of the topics covered by guest speakers in 2012 have included “Landscape Feng Shui” by realtor Peg Ganey of Century 21 Atwood Realty and a “Make and Take Containers” presentation by Drummers Garden Center and Floral. The group also has an

annual trip to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Another activity the group shares is visiting other gardens in the Mankato area. Bonnie Sellner and Marilyn Lerud are responsible for finding gardens for the group to tour this year. “We hear about them word of mouth, mainly,” Lerud said. “Someone will know about someone who has a nice garden and we’ll take it from there. We try to find people who want to give tours and a lot of people are very happy to show us their gardens.” Dividing the Twilight Garden’s plants has benefited most of the members and Swenson-Stock said she has noticed that gardeners in general tend to be very generous. “A lot of us have added to our own gardens with cuttings from each other’s plants as well as from the Hubbard garden,” SwensonStock said. “We might notice a plant someone else has and they’ll give us a cutting.” Swenson-Stock added that being a member of the Twilight Garden Club is an excellent way for a novice to learn about gardening. The club is open to anyone who has an interest in gardening and new members are always welcome. “We have all levels of gardeners in the club and we all help each other out,” Swenson-Stock said. The hot, dry weather of this past summer has made gardening more of a challenge but that hasn’t stopped the Twilight Garden Club members from loyally appearing every Tuesday to weed, water and visit a little bit too. “Gardening is good for people,” Nelson said. “It’s good for your body and it’s good for your soul.” M

Twilight Garden Club members, from left, Shirley Hoelscher, Karna Swenson-Stock, Cindy Johannsen, Joyce Nelson tend the garden near the R.D. Hubbard House.

Finding his grain Area furniture-maker takes big risks to bring his passion across the pond By Tanner Kent | Photos by John Cross 18 • september 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Gary Moore takes inspiration from a variety of sources for his designs. His honeycomb bookshelf is based on the hexagonal pattern present in beehives. “When I relax, it’s like a Rolodex of shapes in my head,” he said.


ix years ago, Gary Moore knew something wasn’t working. Born in Swindon, an industrial city of about 210,000 some 80 miles from London, Moore spent much of his working life as a printer. But something inside kept nagging him. Perhaps it was something handed down from his grandfather who was skilled in woodworking. Perhaps it was something that developed gradually as he dabbled in photography and other creative hobby pursuits. Perhaps it was something even less defined that prompted Moore to start over. Such a drastic change wasn’t easy for the man who now creates fashionable, sleek, custom furniture and was named Best in Show at this year’s Arts by the River festival at Riverfront Park in Mankato.

With no prior experience and little more than a wish, Moore launched his career as a furniture-maker and woodworker by simply signing up for a class at the local technical school. “I’d always hankered to be a woodworker,” Moore said. “It was hard. It took ages.” ‘Where I’m happiest’ Moore knows about starting over. All woodworkers do. Sometimes, when the dust is flying in Moore’s Lake Washington workshop, he’ll turn off the saw and regard his effort with a knowing disappointment. As all woodworkers do, he has a special bin for lumber that doesn’t cooperate, or refuses to mesh with artistic vision. “You do feel like sometimes you’re trying to get the wood to do MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2012 • 19

filled with scraps of paper and hastily jotted ideas for new project and designs. “I like being out here,” he said, gazing around his workshop. “This is where I’m happiest.” Looking for work But the early days weren’t so glamorous. Classrooms can only get a hopeful craftsman so far. Sooner or later, Moore knew he had to find work in a shop. So Moore quit his job as a printer, sent out letters, made inquiries and offered to work for free until he proved himself. Finally, he was offered an apprenticeship at a joinery. He swept floors, made tea and helped complete larger projects like furniture and staircases. After honing his technical skills during a second apprenticeship with a master craftsman in Wales, he launched into his passion full time by starting his own business — but not without acknowledgment of the risk. “Even if I found a job, there was no guarantee I’d be any good at it,” he said. “I just had to keep pushing on and hope it worked out.” Risk and reward As it turns out, Moore is good. Really good. His furniture designs are characterized by inventive, playful designs that have an understated quality that allows them to serve as quiet centerpieces that illuminate a space without dominating it. His honeycomb bookshelf is based on the hexagonal shaped pattern produced by bees. The pattern has been recreated by humans for a variety of uses, from architecture to aerospace engineering, because of its lightweight yet durable construction. Moore’s award-winning Ailish table was inspired by an automobile brake light. His OGLE toybox inspired by children’s building blocks was chosen from thousands of items to be included in a popular Christmas catalog. “I just view everything I see to be a potential design,” he said. Great Britain native Gary Moore and his Waseca-born wife, Carrie, met in England but recently In Great Britain, it appeared Moore’s risk moved back to southern Minnesota. Moore is an award-winning furniture-maker who is trying to was being met with reward. After the company relaunch his business. with whom Moore found his second job closed, he found a workshop willing to lease him a something it doesn’t want to do,” Moore said. “But sometimes bench where he could build each of his pieces made-to-order. His you just know when something really works. And that’s really furniture was selling and he was gaining attention for his designs. exciting.” Then, he and his wife, who is originally from Waseca, decided And Moore has had plenty to get excited about in his relatively to relocate to the United States. short career. Since appliances in Great Britain operate on different voltages His fresh, contemporary designs for tables, toy boxes and and wattages, none of his power tools and saws would work when bookshelves have garnered awards and recognition. His home is he moved. Moore started over once again. accented with furniture that exhibits his style for combining “That was another risk,” he said. “It felt like starting over every artistic aesthetic with everyday functionality. He’s got notebooks 20 • september 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

single time.� Building business Now that Moore is settled in south-central Minnesota, he’s once again trying to expand the reach of his products. He maintains a website — — and Facebook page to promote his own pieces. He also makes custom furniture and is in the process of displaying a few of his pieces at the Forage Modern Workshop in Minneapolis. He’s fashioning a couple pieces for display at the Carnegie Art Center in Mankato and he’s working on a sale through, a curated online catalog of contemporary design products. But it takes time to build business. And with only a small trickle of paid work so far, Moore has had a lot of time to tinker with new ideas for chairs and side tables. Maybe too much time. “This is the scary part now,� he said. “I’d like to be busier with paid work.� Even so, Moore said he doesn’t regret his career change for a moment. Despite the stops and starts, the risks, the occasional need to start over, he said he still feels energetic and enthusiastic about his passion. Early in his career, Moore remembers viewing a chair fashioned by another furniture-maker. He was in awe and made himself a

In addition to his own designs, Gary Moore also builds custom furniture like this cabinet he’s building for a client. promise to someday create something equally as magnetic. “I want to design something that I’m so happy with that I could die with no regrets,� Moore said. “That hasn’t happened ... yet.�



Scouting offers many benefits for singleand two-parent families alike. With today’s hectic family schedules, Scouting provides MSL_PIPSP[`, allowing boys and their families to be involved without inter fering with other obligations and extracurricular activities. In addition, Scouting remains one of the most HMMVYKHISL options for families today. And best of all, Scouting instills essential ]HS\LZin your son, which teach him to make moral and ethical choices.




;^PU=HSSL`IZHVYN‹‹  MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2012 • 21


By John Cross

Minnesotans naturally welcome the first appearances of spring greenery after a long, tough winter. Likewise, we’re ready for a change in the scenery after a long, hot summer such as we have recently experienced. During this month of September, slashes of crimson in roadside sumac soon will begin to appear, the first hints of impending fall. In coming weeks, the maples, the ashes, the hackberries, will get the act until the entire Minnesota River Valley is awash in an expanse of golds, reds and yellows. The transition of foliage from greens to more riotous colors is all about chlorophyl, or more correctly, the lack thereof, as shorter days and longer, cool nights begin to shut down the photosynthetic process. As the green chlorophyl is depleted, the showy, brighter colors take over, perhaps boosted by the presence of glucose. Perhaps we should consider those few brief weeks of a Kodachromecolored countryside as nature’s apology for the wintery days soon to follow.

22 • september 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2012 • 23

Mankato volunteers have read the newspaper to the blind every night since 2000 Volunteers like Tom Drake spend an hour every evening reading the newspaper to the blind and visually impaired in the area. The program has about 40 volunteers.

Delivering the news By Nell Musolf | Photos by Pat Christman


eading the newspaper while sipping a cup of coffee is one of those daily pleasures that most people take for granted. But for people who are blind or otherwise visually impaired, that daily pleasure has all but vanished. Thanks to the Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network (RTB), however, the blind and visually impaired in Mankato are able to hear the local newspaper being read by volunteers at 7 p.m. every day. RTB began in 1969 and was the world’s first radio reading service for the blind. When the organization was first created it was part of a public-private partnership with the State Services

24 • september 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

for the Blind. According to Stuart Holland, manager of the Minnesota Talking Book Network in St. Paul, the organization was conceived as a fast way of getting current information to people with blindness and visual impairment. “There are currently about 140 other radio reading services around the country and a number in other parts of the world, but it all started here in Minnesota,” Holland said. In the early 1990s, RTB decided to have groups of volunteers read local newspapers in cities around Minnesota. Mankato became one of those sites in 2000 with the support of the local

Lions Club. To become a reader, volunteers first take an oral reading test that is administered by Sister Mary Donald Miller at Good Counsel. The test consists, in part, of reading lists of words as well as sample newspaper articles. The test is then sent on to Holland for scoring. Not everyone passes the first time they take the test. Clear enunciation, a conversational pace, smooth reading and a pleasant voice all add up to the ideal reader. Holland noted that some aspects of oral reading can be practiced and improved upon. “We look for accuracy — not leaving out or adding any words,” Holland said. Mark Dickey is the area coordinator for RTB, a position he has held for over three years. Dickey read about RTB in a church bulletin and first served as a reader before taking over as the area coordinator. He is also a substitute reader if a regular reader has to miss a session. As coordinator, Dickey is responsible for training volunteers and setting up a schedule for approximately 40 volunteer readers. RTB readers take turns reading The Free Press once a month out of a studio at CCTV. Dickey estimates that in the Mankato area there is an average audience of around 200 listeners tuned into RTB. The listeners have special radios provided by RTB that receive only that signal. In addition to The Free Press, listeners can also hear other newspapers such as the Star-Tribune being read out of the RTB station in the Twin Cities. “I think we’re doing something beneficial,” Dickey said about his work with RTB. Volunteer Paul Gorman agreed. Gorman belongs to the local Lions Club and helped bring RTB to Mankato. He was also among the local chapter’s first readers and now serves as a substitute reader. Broadcasting of Mankato’s Radio Talking Book program takes places at the CCTV studio in Mankato. “I had detached retinas in both eyes,” Gorman said. church bulletin and thought it sounded interesting. Helping the Although Gorman was able to avoid losing any sight thanks to visually impaired runs in Piehle’s family. surgical intervention, the experience made him aware of how “My grandmother did Braille work,” Piehle said. “She difficult it would be not to have the ability to read books, transcribed material on a Braille typewriter for the visually magazines or newspapers. impaired.” “I’m a radio guy. I like knowing that people can listen to RTB Now that Piehle’s mother has macular degeneration, a condition and hear what’s happening locally,” Gorman said. “Thanks to that causes visual impairment, Piehle is happy she is doing RTB they have access to local news that they might not otherwise something that helps visually impaired people keep up with local have.” news. As far as volunteering goes, Piehle said she appreciates the Kathy Piehle is another volunteer who was among the first to fact that she knows in advance how long it will take to read each join Mankato’s RTB in 2000 and has been reading once a month month. ever since. Like Dickey, she heard about the organization in a “One hour a month really is not that much of a time MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2012 • 25

Tom Drake was one of the first readers for Mankato’s Radio Talking Book Network when its chapter began in 2000. commitment,” Piehle said. “It’s not like other volunteering where you sometimes don’t know what you’re getting into time-wise.” Piehle typically gets to the studio about a half an hour before the 7:00 session. She gets organized and makes sure she has the newspaper articles arranged so she can read them with a minimum of shuffling. “It’s kind of weird,” Piehle noted when talking about what it’s like to read the newspaper out loud. “You have to trust that people are out there listening because we don’t get a whole lot of feedback.” One listener who is willing to give feedback is Oak Terrace West resident Alfred Lahti. The 92-year old has been legally blind for the past six years and has been listening to RTB for about the same amount of time. “One thing that has kept me listening is the focus on the local news,” Lahti said. “I listen to the television stations but they don’t spend a lot of time on what’s happening locally. When I listen to the radio I get to hear a lot more of what’s going on in

Mankato and the towns around here.” Lahti enjoys hearing the news and also the editorials that are read during each broadcast. “If the local news is kind of thin, then they’ll read the editorials from other newspapers,” Lahti said. “I like it that the readers don’t spend a lot of time on national news. I can get that on television.” Another aspect of RTB that Lahti appreciates is the lack of advertising. “There are no commercials,” Lahti said of the RTB broadcast. “To me it’s a little more down-to-earth news.” Mankato’s RTB organization is always on the lookout for more volunteer readers. “People move on so we do need a consistent flow of volunteers,” Dickey said. People interested in volunteering can contact Sister Mary Donald Miller at Good Counsel, 389-4200, to schedule a reading test. M

“I’m a radio guy. I like knowing that people can listen to RTB and hear what’s happening locally,” Gorman said. “Thanks to RTB they have access to local news that they might not otherwise have.”

26 • september 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Garden Chat

By Jean Lundquist

High hopes dry out during a ‘too much’ summer


had such high hopes for this summer. Last winter was so mild, I thought the summer would float on butterfly wings as well. But absolutely NOTHING this summer went as I had hoped, envisioned or even planned. This summer has been one of “too much.” First, we had too much rain. Then we had too much drought. I had a bout of too much stubbornness, and I refused to water until it was too late to help almost everything in the garden. So I mowed down half my garden, including my beloved green ice cucumbers and “Gotta Have It” sweet corn when purslane threatened to become the kudzu of the north in that half of the garden. After picking dry, hollow green beans, I begrudging started to water — but with the hose and the ground water, not from my rain barrel. As with everything else, this summer, the rain barrel proved that too much of a good thing is true. When I finally got it to hold water, I happened to pick up the instructions so I could recycle them. That’s when I saw the instructions that said if the rain was coming off asphalt shingles, not to use the water on vegetables, and to never drink it or allow any birds or animals to drink it. I didn’t need to look at the roof. Larry and I put those asphalt shingles up there ourselves several years ago.

I remember the project well. I was so sore, even my hair hurt. That was just too much work! With half my garden gone, and the rest coming in slowly, I turned my attention to the care and feeding of my chickens. That’s then the varmints struck, killing all 46 of my birds. Larry had told me I had too many birds, but as it turns out, I didn’t have enough. The evil varmint terrorizing and killing my chickens turned out not to be a mink or weasel, but a plain ol’ garden variety raccoon. In fact, it was a mother and baby duo. I saw them one night under the bird feeder. The next night, they were captured on the hundred dollar trail camera we had purchased to see what was getting into the coop. We set the traps, and knowing now what we were after, had them the next day. The next night, we saw a mother and three babies on the trail cam. So we set the traps again. Just my luck, I had too much success when the next evening Larry came in to chide me about the cute little baby skunk in the live trap. I went out to have a look, and sure enough, there was a baby skunk with too much cute in that trap to kill him, so I went about setting him free. That’s when, without ever turning his backside to me, the little so and so sprayed me good. I stunk of skunk! With one can of tomato juice in the house at 11:00 at night, I used the stuff

wisely, having shed my clothes on the garage floor. The next day, the skunk with too much cute for his own good met his maker, but not before spraying me again, a couple more times. I have to be really angry to pick up a firearm, and after the sprayings, I was just that angry! Thank goodness there is a wonderful product called Skunk Off that is available at veterinary offices and pet stores and works really well. I recommend you have some on hand if you are going to mess with a skunk at 11:00 at night. Or 11:00 in the morning, for that matter. Then, with way too much confidence, and costing way too much money, I went out and bought more chickens. I was telling a friend on the phone that it only cost me $20 more than I had in egg money to purchase these hens, and I’d had $84. Larry heard me, and burst out laughing. He said “Right - $84 in egg money and a thousand dollars in expenses, not counting the Skunk Off.” Perhaps I have too much optimism. The things a gardener usually (always?) has too much of, this year I did not. I did not have too much zucchini. Instead, I had just enough. I might have to submit this record to the Guinness World Records people. I also did not have too many cucumbers. I had to beg cukes from my neighbor, who has been very gracious. They watered all summer long, you see.


Jean Lundquist is a master gardener who lives near Good Thunder. MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2012 • 27

That’s Life

By Nell Musolf


How to be happily ever after

friend’s son is getting married this month. The couple will have a church wedding followed by a large reception for relatives and friends. I am positive the bride will be beautiful and the groom will be handsome. But as I’ve listened to my friend talk about all that goes into planning a wedding — and there’s far, far more than I’d ever realized — I’ve been thinking a lot lately about weddings, marriages and the hopefully inevitable happily ever after. I’m not an expert on weddings since my husband and I eloped, but since that elopement has resulted in 30-plus years of relative matrimonial bliss, I think I’ve gleaned a nugget or two of wisdom of how to stay married over the past three decades, wisdom I’m more than happy to share. My first piece of advice for any newly wedded couple would be this: You had the wedding; now start focusing on the marriage. The fun of picking out colors, mulling over wedding invitations and deciding on what friends you want in your wedding party is now over. The time has come for the two of you to remember that you’re in this for the long haul and that’s really and truly a good thing, although you might not know that from the way marriage is portrayed in popular culture these days. Nowadays, TV and movie husbands and wives tend to treat each other like combatants rather than partners with sarcasm replacing respect and annoyance taking the place of pleasure. I think that’s a shame. To me, being married is a lot like going from the cold of winter into the ease of spring: everything seems to be a little less daunting than it was before. Instead of trying to figure things out on your own, you now have the two of you working together. One of you might excel at understanding insurance policies while the other might be great at knowing why the car makes that knocking noise every time you start it up. The two of you will be able to do more as a team than you ever could on your own. But there’s more to being married than just being able to fill in the blanks on an insurance form for each other. When you’re married, you’re never

alone. This can be good and it can be bad, but I think the good far outweighs the bad. When you wake up in the middle of the night, there’s someone in bed with you who shares the same hopes, worries and joys that you’re experiencing. Marriage means having someone to go to the emergency room with when your child falls and cuts his head. It means having a hand to hold when you hear upsetting news and someone to hug when the news makes you smile. Is being married always a piece of cake? Hardly. Will there be times when walking out the door alone seems like the best option available? Absolutely. Living with the same person year after year, getting to know his or her flaws in the most intimate environment imaginable — under your own roof — is inevitable over the course of a long marriage. But while you’re learning what drives you nuts about each other, you’re also learning about what makes each other happy. Surprisingly, when you’re mate is happy, you’ll discover that you’re happier, too. Most books and movies end with the wedding and the implied promise that the newly wedded couple will live happily ever after. Whenever I read a book that ends that way or see a movie that fades to black with the couple standing at the altar gazing into one another’s eyes, I feel a little bit cheated. I want to see or read about what happens after the guests have gone home and all the wedding cake has been eaten. Which is why “Betsy’s Wedding,” the final book in the Betsy-Tacy series by Mankato author Maud Hart Lovelace, is one of my favorites. Maud Hart Lovelace didn’t end the Betsy-Tacy series with a wedding. Instead she started the book with the ceremony and went forward from there. I like that because that’s what a wedding is: the best kind of beginning of all. So here’s to the young couple starting out. I wish you the best of luck and offer you congratulations on the huge step forward you’ve just taken. Try to hang on to the fact that your love won’t always be perfect, but try to hang on to something else even harder: Each other. M

Nell Musolf is a mom and a freelance writer from Mankato.

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MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2012 • 29


to do,


to go


3 • Little Feat 7 p.m. • Vetter Stone Ampitheater • 6-7 • Minnesota Shorts Play Festival 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. • Mankato West High School Theater $10 adults, $9 students & seniors •

19 • Willie Nelson 7 to 10 p.m. • Vetter Stone Ampitheater General admission $39.50, Reserved $79.50 •

6 • Minnesota State University Presents Rob Bingham & Gordon Thorne 7:30 p.m. • Halling Recital Hall General admission $12, Student,$11 •

20 • Zonta Fashion Show 4:30 p.m. • Verizon Wireless Center $45

7 • The Indigo Girls 7 p.m. • Vetter Stone Ampitheater $35 •

23 • KDOG Mankato Bridal Show 11 a.m. • Verizon Wireless Center free •

8 • Mankato Pridefest 11 a.m. to 11:55 p.m. • Riverfront Park free •

23 • Minnesota State University Performance Series Presents: Keri Noble 7:30 p.m. • Halling Recital Hall General admission $12, Student $11 •

8 • Rock Bend Folk Festival Noon to 10 p.m. • Minnesota Square Park, St. Peter free • 13 • Minnesota State University Performance Series Presents Bella Ruse 7:30 p.m. • Halling Recital Hall General admission $12, Student $11 • 14 • Trampled by Turtles 7 to 10 p.m. • Vetterstone Ampitheater $20 • 17 • Minnesota State University Performance Series Presents Lehto & Wright 7:30 p.m. • Halling Recital Hall General admission $12, Student $11 • 30 • september 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

25 • Minnesota State University Performance Series Presents: Rawlins Piano Trio 7:30 p.m. • Halling Recital Hall General admission $12, Student $11 • 27 • Eric Church 7 to 10 p.m. • Verizon Wireless Center General admission $47, Reserved $42 & $37 • 30 • Minnesota State University Presents: Minnesota River Valley Wind Ensemble 3 p.m. • Halling Recital Hall General admission $8, Student $7 •

MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2012 • 31

Good Health

By The Washington Post

Genetic testing identifies risks of Alzheimer’s disease A

lzheimer’s disease can’t be prevented or cured, and it ranks second only to cancer among diseases that people fear. Still, in an international study last year from the Harvard School of Public Health, about two-thirds of respondents from the United States said they would want to know if they were destined to get the disease. Although there are no definitive tests that predict whether most people will get the disease, people sometimes want such information for legal and financial planning purposes or to help weigh the need for long-term-care insurance. Current tests to identify the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease when no symptoms are present provide only limited information, and health insurance generally doesn’t cover them. But that’s not stopping some people from trying to learn more. Most of the 5 million people who have Alzheimer’s developed it after age 60. In these cases, the disease is likely caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors. About 5 percent of Alzheimer’s patients have inherited an early-onset form that is generally linked to a mutation on one of three chromosomes. Research suggests that the brain may show signs of Alzheimer’s decades before obvious symptoms appear. Scans can identify the presence of beta-amyloid, a protein that is often deposited in the brains of people with the disease, for example. Changes in proteins in the blood or cerebrospinal fluid may also be associated with Alzheimer’s disease. But tests to measure these changes are available only in a research setting, and insurance typically doesn’t cover them. James Cross, head of national medical policy and operations for Aetna, says his company “does not consider blood tests or

32 • september 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

brain scans medically necessary for diagnosing or assessing Alzheimer’s disease in symptomatic or asymptomatic people because the clinical value of these remains unproven.” Genetic testing is somewhat easier to arrange, but insurers generally won’t pay for it, either. In addition, genetic counselors caution that long-term-care insurers may use genetic testing results when evaluating whether to issue a policy. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act prohibits health insurers and employers from discriminating against people based on their genetic information. However, life and long-term-care insurers are not covered by the law. “Before anyone has genetic testing, they should get life insurance and long-termcare insurance,” says Jill Goldman, a certified genetic counselor at the Taub Institute at Columbia University Medical Center. Genetic testing for late-onset Alzheimer’s involves one gene, the

apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene on the 19th chromosome. The gene comes in three different forms ÷ E2, E3 and E4. Everyone inherits one form, or allele, from each parent. Having one or two of the E4 variants can increase a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease three to 15 times. About half of those who develop lateonset Alzheimer’s, however, don’t have any E4 alleles at all. Genetic testing in asymptomatic people therefore isn’t definitive or even all that informative, say experts. For late-onset Alzheimer’s, “the predictive value of genetic testing is low,” says Mary Sano, director of the Mount Sinai Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. But sometimes people want information, even if it’s inconclusive. Brian Moore, whose father died of Alzheimer’s at age 89, wanted to know more about his genetic risk for the disease. Moore, 48, was better equipped than most to understand the testing: A neuropathologist who co-chairs the

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department of pathology at Southern Illinois University’s School of Medicine, he has performed hundreds of autopsies on the brains of people who died of Alzheimer’s disease. Moore contacted 23andMe, a company that for $299 offers a genetic analysis of a person’s risk for more than 100 diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer’s, based on the APOE gene. The company sent him a specimen kit with a container for saliva collection that he then sent to a lab for analysis. About six weeks later, he logged on to the company’s website and learned that he has two E3 alleles, the most common variants, which means that his Alzheimer’s risk is average, at least as it relates to the APOE gene. “It was reassuring,” he says. “I know it’s not determinant, and environment and lifestyle also play a role. But at least I have that base covered.” The National Society of Genetic Counselors and the American College of Medical Genetics practice guidelines recommend against direct-to-consumer APOE testing for late-onset Alzheimer’s, in part because of the difficulty of interpreting the results. Ashley Gould, 23andMe’s vice president of corporate development and chief legal officer, says that if people want help understanding their results, there are genetic counselors they can speak with. This service is available by phone for a fee based on the level of service. But in the case of the APOE gene, some experts say, the information isn’t all that helpful. “The things we know that really impact the disease are related to lifestyle,” says George Perry, dean and professor of biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio, who is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. “Be mentally and physically active, eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables. These reduce the risk of developing the disease by at least half.” This column is produced through a collaboration between The Post and Kaiser Health News. KHN, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health-care-policy organization that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. M


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MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2012 • 33

Fashion Currents

By The Washington Post

Decorate with far-from-mellow yellow


rends in home decor often echo trends in fashion. spray-painted a pair of horsehead bookends Sun Yellow by Rustoleum. So it’s no surprise that shortly after Chanel’s Resort She also updated a highchair her mother passed down to her when collection introduced a buttery shade of tweed called her daughter, Clara, was born by coating it in yellow. “mimosa,” and Proenza Schouler used fluorescent shades of citrus in Then, last summer, they put it on their front door. its spring line, decorating blogs and Pinterest boards exploded with That was when the Petersiks discovered how fickle yellow can be. photos of rooms painted and accessorized with bright yellow. After days of negotiating with swatches, they painted four test spots But wearing a bold bag is one thing. Committing to a kitchen of various yellows and left them up for 48 hours, evaluating how they covered in Lightning Storm (a lemon yellow by Benjamin Moore) is looked in the morning, evening, rain and sun and marveling at how another. While few colors have yellow’s power to brighten and uplift, dramatically the colors would change. Eventually they settled on Full it’s not easy to pull off. Sun by Valspar, a color they love so much they dubbed it “sunshine “Yellow is absolutely the trickiest color to get right,” said in a can.” Alexandria, Va., color consultant Jean Molesworth Kee. “After “Yellow is a competitive color,” Sherry Petersik said. “Use it white, it’s the color that most strongly reflects light. Pick the wrong sparingly in spaces that are already bold. For neutral rooms, it’s a shade and it will scream on the walls.” quick way to ‘happy them up.’” Kee said there are two important things to consider when Kee said Washingtonians are known to love Benjamin Moore’s choosing yellow paint: the size of the room and the amount of Hawthorne Yellow because it befits traditional design and natural and incandescent light it gets. Small rooms that receive little architecture. But it should be reimagined so as not to look dated. or no natural light can handle bold, bright yellows. But if the room Designer David Herchik, who works in the District of Columbia and has large windows that face outdoor greenery, the reflected light can uses it on the inside and outside of houses, said the trick is to pair “quickly turn lemon into limesicle,” she said. So for large rooms, Kee the buttery shade with very crisp, bright whites and unpredictable advised sticking to the less exciting paint chips. accent colors. “They may look boring in the deck but they’ll look fabulous on a “Hawthorne Yellow is a safe color, so you have to have fun with it large surface,” she said. “You’ll still get the impact you want.” for it to look fresh,” he said. These days, Herchik loves pairing Bethesda, Md., designer Kelley Proxmire said yellow has been a yellow with shades of gray, which he called the new neutral. constant in her home for the past 16 years. The exact shades have “It’s true, gray is everywhere,” said Proxmire. Kee agreed, and changed with her tastes ÷ she started with buttery shades and now added that the reason the two colors are so often paired together is leans toward citron ÷ but she’s never strayed from yellow. Her because of the way gray lets yellow “sing.” But she cautioned not to favorite room is the dining room, where she said the yellow glows at discount white in the months ahead. night. “White is going to come back in a very big way, and I think it’s “It’s dramatic, cheery and strong,” she said. “It’s a stimulating going to come with really big pops of yellow,” she said. “It’s simple. Yellow draws the eye.” M color for conversation.” When Sherry Petersik and her husband, John, of the popular design blog Young House Love, decided to make over their small laundry room in Richmond, they went bold. With only one window that looked out onto a carport, the space was dark and depressing, she said. A few coats of Benjamin Moore’s Sesame, which Petersik described as an “avocado yellow with a splash of green,” did just the trick. “The quickest way to go wrong with yellow is to overdo it,” she said. “The laundry room has white shelving and appliances with natural tones brought in through baskets and wood floors. These balance the cheerfulness of the yellow-green and take it from a childish, one-note room to something layered and (L to R) classic kettle, ($80,; farmer’s basket ($14,; sophisticated.” Scout citronella porcelain lamp ($168,; Lotus wallpaper ($285 per roll, us.farrowThe Petersiks frequently; Fleur tealights ($10,; Zebra Citrine pillow ($80,; experiment with yellow in their metal bookshelf ($89,; Schwinn comfort bike ($249,; decorating projects. Sherry Petersik Atelier Chesterfield sofa ($5,998, 34 • september 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Happy Hour

By McClatchy Tribune News Service

Bloody alternatives Leave vodka behind for a better bloody

In the realm of bloody marys, vodka reigns. But by definition, vodka is a flavorless, odorless spirit, and that leaves the average bloody mary as little more than a glass of spicy tomato juice with a Sunday morning buzz. The simple solution for creating a more layered beverage is to leave the vodka behind, and replace it with a more complex spirit. The possibilities are wide. One of the most beloved is the bloody maria, which substitutes tequila and results in a brighter, zestier beverage with a little welcome funk. Downtown Cocktail Room in Las Vegas is well known for its Downtown Dill Bloody Mary, notable mostly for its use of Plymouth gin. Though the drink hasn’t been on the menu for about four years, it established a deep fan base and remains one of the bar’s biggest sellers. Because of its neutrality, “vodka is always the easiest way

around things when it comes to making cocktails,” said Downtown Cocktail Room owner Michael Cornthwaite. “We always look to feature the sprit and balance the cocktail rather than hide the spirit,” he said. “People always say it’s the best bloody mary they’ve ever had.” Then there is Char No. 4, a Brooklyn restaurant specializing in bourbon, where the house bloody mary is made with - you guessed it - bourbon. Sean Josephs, owner of Char No. 4, knew quickly that a bourbon bloody mary would appear on his brunch menu, not only because he is usually underwhelmed by the vodka version, but because bourbon and a bloody is “a natural fit.” “Bloody marys have a lot of acid with the lemon juice and tomato, and they’re spicy with the Tabasco and horseradish,” he said. “Bourbon is on the sweeter side, and it helps balance the drink. All that acid can use a little sweet in the equation.” It also adds bits of earth, wood and smoke to the glass, creating a much more nuanced drink than the standard. “Occasionally someone will hesitate,” Josephs said. “But people realize (the improvement) when they taste it. People love it. You definitely know you’re not drinking a vodka bloody mary.” Alternate bloody marys are enough of a rarity that they probably won’t come to a menu near you any time soon, but bartenders are usually happy to make them upon request. M

MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2012 • 35

Bill Hoehn started making red cedar benches five years ago. Since then, he’s sold, donated or given away about 430 of them.

Job well done

80 years old and well into retirement, Bill Hoehn takes on one more occupation: hobby bench-maker By Tanner Kent | Photos by John Cross


ill Hoehn’s workshop is spartan, functional, practical. Not unlike the man himself. A few bicycles stored against the wall and an old, stripped-down Duster on cement blocks flank a few toolboxes and workbench. The rest of the workshop, as well as the dusty pickup parked inside, are filled to the brim with red cedar timbers. There are no calendars with pictures of 36 • september 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

vintage cars or blushing pinups. There are no retro advertisements or stuffed hunting trophies. There is nothing to distract the laborer from the labor. Hoehn is a Korean War veteran, lifetime working man, husband of 58 years and father. He harbors no far-flung notions about the hobby to which he has devoted the last five years of his life. When asked if he creates the elegant,

one-of-a-kind red cedar benches for the love of art, he replied: “Not really.” Searching still for the motivation behind such a time-consuming endeavor, he was asked if perhaps there was satisfaction in continuing to put in a hard day’s labor — even at 80 years old and well into retirement. The man who worked hard all his life, both as a farmer and at Continental

Bill Hoehn’s benches can be seen everywhere from campgrounds to gas stations to front porches and local fundraisers. Can, just shook his head. Instead, the reason is more pragmatic. “It’s hard to say no,” he said with a clipped chuckle escaping his lips. That’s not to say Hoehn isn’t a craftsman. He’s precise and exacting, inspecting his

dozens of timbers for the showiest grains, the right measurements, the right feel for every project. He used to make his benches with basswood, but switched to the red cedar for its unmistakable beauty and durability.

“Once people see red cedar, you ain’t gonna give ‘em no basswood,” he said. Each bench is cut and joined by hand. He applies four different grades of sandpaper and coats the finished product in a marine varnish that is resistant to weather. He figures he’s made about 430 benches since he started. And he’s got more to go. His workshop reads like a phonebook. Over there are the benches for the Pongratzes, the Hollerichs and one for the newlyweds Paul and Jane. In the corner is the bench for the Steen Ranch and another welcoming visitors to Kiesler’s Campground. He’s made benches for the Food-N-Fuel in Minnesota Lake and for Village East in Mankato. He’s got 60-some benches with friends and family in Omaha. And every year he donates a handful to veterans service clubs (including the Morson-Ario in Mankato), breast cancer benefits, the Pheasants Forever banquet and local fundraisers for families in need. The ones he does sell, he practically gives away for what he charges. A few hundred dollars will buy from Hoehn what

Hoehn said he prefers red cedar because, “It’s beautiful. No two trees are the same color.” MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2012 • 37

Bill Hoehn gets his red cedar from a variety of sources and has the timber milled by a friend. would cost four-digits elsewhere. “Money ain’t everything in life,” he said. As he said before, it’s hard to say no. He’s tried to pass on the hobby, to give someone else the responsibility of saying yes. He taught one fellow who made a few right away, but has since trailed off. He’s had a few others show interest, but they’ve never followed through. Though the final products are rugged, handsome, charming — the work is repetitive, mechanical, taxing. Hoehn collects all his red cedar timber himself — from a neighbor who took down a fence line, from Calvary Cemetery, from old Northern States Power poles, from his own acreage — and relies on a friend to 38 • september 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

have them milled. In the shop, he usually wears a mask because red cedar dust can be potentially toxic. He’s chewed through two Milwaukeebrand saws and, on the really hot afternoons, relies only on an industrial box fan to fight the heat. Yet, almost every day, Hoehn makes the short walk from his south Mankato home to his adjacent workshop. He always puts in the time. “Too much time, I suppose,” he said. Before the interview is concluded and Hoehn returned to his work, he offered one anecdote that shed some light on his motivation to finish these benches, day in and day out. Hoehn served in Korea from 1953-54.

Though the war ended just 12 days after he arrived, his best friend was killed after being in Korea only two weeks. Hoehn said his friend never had a chance to marry, have a family and use his hands to contribute to society. He added that a lot of other young boys didn’t get that chance either. Though he doesn’t say it outright, it seems Hoehn preserves the memory of their lives by exhausting his own. “If I die tomorrow,” he said, “I’ll have no regrets.” M

MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2012 • 39

Faces & Places

Photos By Sport Pix

REd Hot Boom!


1. Veterans bridge provided a nice view of the old courthouse and of the city. 2. Legendary musician Steve Murphy plays a crowd favorite. 3. Isaac Coombe had the most patriotic stroller in the park. 4. The crowd listens in on the tunes of The Murphy Brothers Band. 5. Vetter Stone Amphitheatre fills up at Riverfront Park to listen to some live music. 6. The Veterans Bridge crowd had a great view of the fireworks reflecting off of the river.






40 • september 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Faces & Places

Photos By Sport Pix

North Mankato Fun days Parade



1. Kyle Reedstrom sits with his daughter, Allie, as they wiat for the parade to begin. 2. Kam Hanson strikes a pose at the end of a piece. 3. A group of nice men help to move a broken down tractor off of the parade route. 4. Chase Pehling does a stunt on his bike for the crowd. Chase was riding for Scheitel’s Music. 5. Jeff “Stunt Monkey” Lang poses for a picture as he passes. 6. Will Sonnek demonstrates a flying kick. 7. The Mankato MoonDogs mascot Muttnik gives out some hugs to children along the parade route. 8. Miss Mankato, Kiah Bennett, waves to some of her fans.







MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2012 • 41

Faces & Places 1

Photos By Sport Pix

Relay for Life


1. As the sun set, the luminaria were lit to illuminate the path for those walking. 2. The Big Hot Morning Show’s Johnny Marks takes a plunge in the dunk tank. 3. The luminaria were beautifullly decorated in memory of cancer victims. 4. St. Clair Boy’s basketball coach, Charlie Freitag, spoke about his students’ efforts in the Coaches vs Cancer drive and presented a check with all of the funds they raised. 5. With an enthusiatic swing, Payton Richtsmeier splits a pinata, spilling the bounty for a waiting group of chidren. 6. Some of the members of the Lancers Drumline lead the Silent Lap to remember all those lost to this deadly disease.


7. Cindy and Stacy Kalis light a candle for thr luminaria made in memory of their father, Marvin. 8 Nick “Miss Nicole” Zuehlke recieves is crowned as the winner of the Miss Relay contest by the reigning Miss Mankato, Kiah Bennett.




42 • september 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE



Faces & Places

Photos By Sport Pix

Paddlefish Days Parade


1. Taylin Metcalfe waves to the cheering people after her dance. 2. Colin Terrell smiles from the driver’s seat of a Farmall. 3. Grand Marshal Ann Manske wave from her seat of honor at the front of the parade. 4. The Chinese dragon gives an unsuspecting group of children an icy blast. 5. The cymbal line of the SuDuFu Drum Line perfoms one of their acrobatic moves for the crowd.


6. Miss Elysian Leta Spore, in red, and her attendant, Amanda Baker, smile and wave as they pass.





MANKATO MAGAZINE • september 2012 • 43

The Way It Is

By Pete Steiner

Of circles and drums and 40 and 150

Late summer winds, the increasingly oblique angle of the sun, shorter days and cooler temperatures — all foretell the impending change. Sensing that change, Native American tribes, as they have for centuries, will gather near the equinox, at the confluence of the rivers. They will greet each other, and sing and dance and tell stories, hoping to preserve the memories and traditions of their people. •••• We like round numbers. They give us a tidy means for remembering. Today’s numbers are 150 and 40. Almost exactly 150 years before the day you are reading this, fierce battles raged right here in the Minnesota River Valley, between white settlers who had recently arrived here and the Dakota tribes they were displacing. That conflict ended with the largest mass execution in U.S. history, the hanging of 38 Dakota near downtown Mankato. In the early 1970s, looking to heal old wounds, several local businessmen teamed with a Native American named Amos Owens, hoping to bring a wacipi, or powwow, here to Mankato. Their efforts bore fruit: This year will mark the 40th annual Mah-kato traditional powwow, to be held at Land of Memories Park. •••• Approaching from a distance, one hears the insistent drumming, the wailing voices, outward manifestations of the effort to connect with the Great Spirit. As the dancers move rhythmically in a circle, someone drops an eagle feather. Since 44 • september 2012 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

eagles are sacred, and the fallen feather represents a fallen warrior, the dancing stops, and an elaborate, lengthy ritual begins. The speaker at the podium explains: “Sometimes it seems that it takes a long time for these things we do, but it must be done.” Carefully observing the proceedings is a Caucasian American carrying a staff topped with a turtle shell and wearing a rabbit skin cap. John Shoemaker’s black shirt is adorned with 37 Eagle buttons. Those large buttons have signified paid attendance for all but the first two powwows, which the Mankato man also attended. “This is fun,” he says. “I get out and dance as much as I can. It keeps you warm.” With John is his 7-year-old nephew, himself already a veteran of five powwows. Anyone who wants to dance is welcomed at the “inter-tribals.” Just keep moving in the Circle. •••• Ancient traditions struggle to survive in a modern, digital world. The Dakota have adapted, and they’ve adopted capitalist ways. They may still pitch a teepee, but they’ll also charge a pretty penny for beautiful silver and turquoise jewelry. You can buy a buffalo bull’s skull, but it won’t come cheap. I try some Indian fry bread, a thick, soft, round pastry, drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon. Washed down with hot coffee, it’s a delicious treat on a cool September day. Some Dakota have also discovered capitalist riches in gambling. Stan Crooks, the chair of the Mdewakanton band for 20 years, was watching last year’s proceedings. The Mdewakanton operate Mystic Lake Casino and donate millions every year to other tribes. They support the Mah-kato Wacipi with tens of thousands of dollars. Crooks tells me he is not a Vikings fan. He smiles. Hoping to fund a new stadium, the Vikings had been trying for years to capture, through competing slot machines or a racino, some of the gambling dollars that go to Mystic Lake.

•••• For more than a century, even during the early years of the local powwow, the Dakota did not like coming to Mankato. It will always be the place where the 38 were hanged. But over the last quarter century, new efforts have been made at reconciliation. In fact, the Buffalo sculpture downtown is the centerpiece of what is called “Reconciliation Park,” and the park is being further upgraded for the 150th anniversary of the conflict. •••• Like the Dakota tribes, bald eagles have returned to the valley at the bend of the Minnesota River. The eagles were headed for extinction until the pesticide DDT was banned as an organic pollutant that was contaminating their food source. The Vikings, with a new stadium funding source in place that probably is as little a threat as Stan Crooks could have hoped for, have completed their annual training camp in Mankato. The stone buffalo maintains silent sentry at Reconciliation Park. The long hot summer is fading, and we know that all too soon, the snowy season will be upon us. We can’t hear the drums yet, but the dancers will be circling soon, just like the seasons. Everything goes around, then comes around again.


Pete Steiner is host of “Talk of the Town” weekdays at 1:05 p.m. on KTOE.

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Mankato Magazine  

Magazine featuring the People, Places, Lifestyles of the Minnesota River Valley