Mankato Magazine

Page 1



talented Mr. Berry

Athlete, dancer, playwright, administrator: Tim Berry does it all

Also in this issue:

The history of the PATHFINDER AWARDS

MUSIC PLAYLIST history, Mankato style

magazine Get to know TikTok’r JOHN O’SULLIVAN

The Free Press

FEBRUARY 2023 $4.99
LloydLumberCompany AMankato Tradition –QualityProductsandExceptionalService fromyourlocal,hometownlumber yardandrentalcompan y. “Andersen”andallothermarkswheredenotedaretrademarksofAndersenCorporation.©2022AndersenCorporation.Allrightsreserved. We featurehigh-qualityAndersen®products. EnergyEfficient | Variety &Styles | Add Valueto YourHome YourHometownLumber Yard andRentalCenter Over75 yearsof QualityandService LocallyOwnedandOperated LloydLumber... Your#1Building andRentalCenter! “Quality Doesn’tCost -ItSaves!” 1860CommerceDr.,NorthMankato• HOURS:Monday–Friday7:00a.m.to5:00p.m.;Saturday7:30a.m.to12:00p.m. Building FriendsonCommerceDrive | StoporCall Today! Buywhatyou want,Rentwhatyouneed. 507-625-4500


GOLFERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD COME TO CHALLENGE THE JUDGE and the two other golf courses in Prattville at RTJ Capitol Hill. Bring your clubs and come take on Judge hole number 1, voted the favorite hole on the Trail. Complete your day in luxury at the Marriott and enjoy dining, firepits and guest rooms overlooking the Senator golf course. With the Marriott’s 20,000 square feet of meeting space, 96 guest rooms and luxurious Presidential Cottage combined with three world-class golf courses, business and pleasure can definitely interact in Prattville.

THE ROBERT TRENT JONES GOLF TRAIL AT CAPITOL HILL offers three magnificent 18-hole championship golf courses. The Marriott Prattville is part of the Resort Collection on Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Visit or call 800.949.4444 to learn more.

COME JUDGE for Yourself.



Volume 18, Issue 2

The talented Mr. Berry

The Black experience, Mankato style

From a visit by Dr. Martin Luther King and racism to progress and perseverance, the black experience in Mankato mirrors the rest of America.

The right Path

The annual Pathfinder Awards have been a bright spot for highlighting individuals living out the spirit of MLK.


Timothy Berry, a Minnesota State University professor and administrator, has been a leader in diversity at MSU and in the community. He was photographed by Pat Christman.
Timothy Berry, a rising voice at Minnesota State University, is a man of many talents.
4 • FEBRUARY 2023 • MANKATO MAGAZINE DEPARTMENTS 10 36 34 40 42 12 Coming Next Month Our annual photo issue! 44 From This Valley Banned books 39 Comic Four ideas for Valentine’s Day 40 Lit Du Nord: Minnesota Books and Authors Hassler memoir 42 Ann’s Fashion Fortunes Shackets and snap dresses 28 Senior Living 12 Familiar Faces John O’Sullivan 10 Beyond the Margin Juneteenth 7 This Day in Histor y 6 From the Editor 36 On Tap Speaking IPA 101 38 Wine View from Washington 34 Let’s Eat! Lola American Bistro 8 Faces & Places
MANKATO MAGAZINE • FEBRUARY 2023 • 5 America’s #1 carandhome insurancecompany. Mankato |Mapleton 507.345.3606 Mankato IMapletonI LakeCrystal


DESIGNER Christina Sankey



CONTRIBUTORS Ann Rosenquist Fee

Dana Melius

Robb Murray

James Figy

Jean Lundquist

Leigh Pomeroy

Leticia Gonzalez

Pete Steiner

Nick Healy

Renee Berg

Jane Turpin Moore

Michael Lagerquist


Jennifer Flowers

Jordan Greer-Friesz

Josh Zimmerman

Theresa Haefner

Tim Keech


This month in Mankato Magazine, we’re recognizing Black History Month.

To that end, we’re bringing you several stories that speak to Mankato’s past struggles with racial strife, an in-depth profile on Timothy Berry (a rising voice of diversity and artistic fortitude at Minnesota State University), and a look back at the history of the Pathfinder Awards.

For most of our nation’s history, small towns in the Midwest that aren’t large urban centers are going to be mostly, well, white.

A home-grown Minnesotan, Berry’s story is at once common and unique. Like many others, he attended high school in the Twin Cities and chose to pursue a degree at MSU.

But unlike most, he is a man who excelled on the football field, in the dance studio, in the writer’s room and in the realm of higher education administration. Writer Jane Turpin Moore captures his spirit and success beautifully. It is a must-read in this month’s issue.



PUBLISHER Steve Jameson


In our deep dive this month by Michael Lagerquist, we go way back in The Free Press archives to find examples of times when the social climate wasn’t exactly welcoming or inviting to people of color. This piece also touches on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s visit to Mankato, as well as the progress the community has made since those darker times in the mid- to late 1800s.

We’re not naive enough to think things are perfect. They are not. But we’d like to think our community is evolving and changing for the better. A look at the annual Pathfinder Awards, which honor individuals and groups working in the spirit of MLK, reveals an impressive list that crosses demographic lines.

And while certain social media interactions might lead us to believe there are still people whose intellects and hearts are firmly rooted in old, racist ways, the Pathfinder Awards and other initiatives in southern Minnesota show that, while we’re not there yet, we’re on our way to being the inclusive, diverse, harmonious community we’d all want our children to grow up in.

It’s also important to highlight leaders of color in our community, such as Berry.

Elsewhere in Mankato Magazine, we bring you the story of John O’Sullivan, the Mankato East High School alumnus who is making quite a name for himself on the TikTok social media platform. O’Sullivan (a former Free Press intern) is using his skills as a tour guide to produce one-minute videos focused on Minnesota history. Several have garnered hundreds of thousands of views. His style is engaging, upbeat and very Minnesotan.

Our restaurant feature focuses on a favorite New Ulm spot called Lola: An American Bistro. New Ulm brings a lot to the table when it comes to eating and drinking. Lola is a unique part of that culinary menagerie.

And in our book feature this month, writer Nick Healy explores the memoir of John Hassler, one of the all-time great Minnesota authors. (“North of Hope” is on my reading list for 2023.) Hassler, who died in 2008, had many fans. This latest book, while not another work of fiction, gives us a peek into the man’s life, told in his own voice, which Healy rightfully calls “a gift.”


6 • FEBRUARY 2023 • MANKATO MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2023 • VOLUME 18, ISSUE 2 Mankato Magazine is published by The Free Press Media monthly at 418 South Second Street, Mankato MN 56001. To subscribe, call 1-800-657-4662 or 507-625-4451. $59.88 for 12 issues. For all editorial inquiries, call Robb Murray 507-344-6386, or email For advertising, call 344-6364, or e-mail
Robb Murray is associate editor of Mankato Magazine. Contact him at 344-6386 or
Time to reflect


Seven allowed to live in motel until March

Feb. 8, 1991

The Viking Motel in Mankato, located halfway up the Madison Avenue hill, had been deteriorating for years.

In December 1990, state health department inspectors had ordered 27 of 62 rooms permanently off-limits due to rodent infestation, leaking plumbing and deteriorating structural problems.

The owner decided to close every room in the hotel by Feb. 10. But seven residents who lived there long-term filed suit, alleging in part that they were being evicted because of the complaints they had filed about the living conditions.

Some of them rented rooms at the Viking by the month. In court, they won the right to live there with full services until March, but the issue of back-rent had yet to be decided.

Mankato Place stores adapt to construction

Feb. 15, 1997

Businesses in the Mankato Place in downtown Mankato may have been struggling a bit before demolition and construction began on offices in the mall for the city of Mankato and School District.

But with the remodel, many stores noticed decreased traffic, and owners were not happy about it.

One of the main issues was the construction of a wall that meant pedestrian traffic to the mall had to walk outside to get from one store to another. They also had to go outside to get from the mall to the civic center.

The owner of Double Play told a reporter that regulars would find them, but she worried others would not. Still, she said, there were always things that lure people in. “Right now for us, it’s ‘Star Wars stuff,’” she said.

Carnival a big hit

Feb. 11, 2002

A big winter carnival in Mankato was planned as a lead-up to the city sesquicentennial celebration and as a response to criticism that Mankato’s RibFest had no family-friendly counterpart.

Although billed as a winter carnival, most events were scheduled indoors, including a kids playroom, concerts and a peanut bar staged in the Ellerbee Room at the civic center.

Meanwhile, a threat of a snowy weekend likely scared out-of-towners from attending, and the warm, rainy weather that actually showed up put the kibosh on the skating rink and melted ice sculptures in the Civic Center Plaza.

Rare bird pops in for eats in Owatonna

Feb. 9, 1984

When an unknown bird shows up at your feeders, it’s exciting. And so it was when a white-rumped Brambling came to feeders in Owatonna.

Though not avid bird watchers, the home owners knew they were looking at something out of the ordinary, so they called a bird-watching friend.

When he couldn’t identify it, he called a member of the Minnesota Ornithological Society, who knew the bird right away from his travels to Alaska.

When word got out, the homeowners brought every chair they owned to the picture window facing the feeders for birders with binoculars and cameras in hand, hoping to catch and capture a glimpse.

The owners were happy to invite birders in, offering coffee and cookies every day of the week. But they put their foot down on Sunday, closing and locking their doors to unknown bird watchers.

Corporate Graphics Your Printing Solutions Company 1750 Northway Drive North Mankato, MN 56003 To learn more, call us at 800-729-7575

Bells on Belgrade

FACES & PLACES: Photos By SPX Sports
5 6 7 8 4 1 2
1. Sharon Car tway Belgians and Wagon Ride strolls through the streets at Bells on Belgrade. 2. The Bells on Belgrade Parade of 2022. 3. Children enjoy Bells on Belgrade in Nor th Mankato. 4. Miles Wolf had his first visit with Santa at Bells on Belgrade. 5. Owen Jaqua fishes for candy canes at Bells on Belgrade. 6. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church puts on a live Nativity during Bells on Belgrade. 7. Abel Stewar t visits Santa at Bells on Begrade. 8. Tristan Jelinet bowling at Bells on Belgrade.
3 9
9. Rylan Mabinuori poses next to a decorated fire truck at Bells on Belgrade.

Holiday Craft and Vender Show

& PLACES: Photos By SPX Sports
1. Madden Thurston greets everyone with a warm welcoming smile at the 2022 Holiday Craft and Vender Show. 2. Bob Siever t selling antique belt buckles. 3. Chelsea and Breadon Steele (left to right) selling their beautiful handcrafted cutting boards and charcuterie boards from Steele Grain Woodworking.
3 5
6 7 4
4. Connie Solomon (left), owner of Ar t Attack, helps a mother and daughter pick out a hand-painted rock. 5. Ali Urness of The Blackbird LLC helps customers pick out the per fect accessories. 6. Annie Butenhof f (right) selling her handcrafted earrings to a couple of customers attending the Holiday Craft and Vendor Show. 7. Lainey, Riann, and Dana Brenhaug (left to right) purchase a hand knitted winter hat.

Hidden Black history now seeing the light

If American history is undergirded and defined by the stories of heroic and self-made people who have overcome great odds to achieve a decent life for their family, then Black history is American history.

We can look to people of color throughout history who overcame great odds to become rights-earning Americans, however delayed those rights were and still are. Slavery and decades of discrimination are not given the appropriate weight in measuring the impact on Black lives over history.

Carter G. Woodson, 18751950, is considered the founder of what later became Black History Month. Self-educated and the son of a farmer and later working in Kentucky coal mines, he learned enough on his own to enter high school at the age of 20, where he finished in two years and later went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in literature from Berea College in Kentucky.

Always an advocate for telling the stories of Black Americans, especially when he was denied membership to white historical societies, he established Negro History Week in February

1926 to mark the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, a leader of the Abolitionist movement. Woodson’s history week came to be celebrated as Black History Month every February since 1976.

But history can be brutal and Black history is full of examples of that.

In “Authentic Anecdotes of American Slavery,” gathered from witnesses of slavery, we find the story of an 11-year old slave girl who was whipped to

death. When authorities asked to dig up her grave to view the injuries, the slave owner woman found it to be an imposition. When it was determined that’s how she died, the law did not allow for prosecution or even testimony of witnesses, who may have been her mother and father.

Another story talks of slave owners selling young slave girls to white men owners to feed their lust. The anecdote recounts a woman slave owner resisting selling the girl to the man until he pleaded: “Miss G, I must have that girl. I cannot live without her. I pitied him and he offered me a very high price. I pitied the poor fellow, so I sold her to him.”

The Massachusetts AntiSlavery Society published the historical record of these anecdotes in 1838 and offered legal verification should interested parties request it.

Another case shows how a white woman raised a black infant given to her by a slave owner until she could not afford a fancy dress and then had her husband sell the 5-year-old for a dress.

Slave owners and wealthy landowners eventually made their way to Minnesota and Mankato.

St. Cloud State University professor

of ethnic studies

Christopher P. Lehman published the 2019 book “Slavery’s Reach: Southern Slaveholders in the North Star State.” The book details a long history of Minnesota business and political leaders inviting slaveholders to move here and buy land and start other businesses.

Minnesota existed for only the last 16 years of the country’s

246-year history of slavery, but Lehman details extensive connections and intent on the part of the state’s political leaders to recruit and attract wealthy southern slaveholders.

One slave owner actually lived in and represented Mankato as a member of the Democratic Party, which had both proslavery and anti-slavery factions. Joseph Travis Rosser made Mankato his home in 1859 after living in Virginia and St. Paul.

Even though he lost a U.S. Senate seat nomination, he ran again for Congress out of Blue Earth County but lost to another Democrat in the primary. His pro-slavery stances led at least one local newspaper to not even announce his candidacy. Other newspapers encouraged him to run.

He eventually left Minnesota when Republicans took over the governorship and congressional seats with Lincoln as the standard bearer of the “radical” Republicans. Rosser left behind property and unpaid debts.

In an unvarnished introduction to his book, Lehman notes it was not surprising the wealthy southern landowners and slaveholders looked for further investments in the north, but the degree to which political leaders recruited and encouraged the fact might be lost on most Minnesotans.

“Minnesotans and other northerners have forgotten their states’ complicity in the slaveholding economy, just as some southerners have denied that the Civil War was fought over slavery,” Lehman wrote.

History sometimes demands a modern-day response.

What communities can do to honor Black history can be what


we do to honor mostly white history: Hold celebrations, walk in marches and parades, speak from the podiums of truth and commemorate byways.

We’ve done some of that in Mankato. A group of students at then Mankato State University held the first Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration a few years before it was an official federal holiday in 1986.

King made a famous stop in Mankato in 1961 where he gave two sermons at Centenary Methodist Church and a speech at Mankato High School. A local documentary was made on the 60th anniversary.

Mankato was the first city in Minnesota to name a road after Martin Luther King Jr. and the first to name a school after civil rights leader Rosa Parks.

For decades we’ve celebrated the Pathfinder Award, given to an individual or business that has been exemplary in acting on King’s principle of equal justice

the official freeing of slaves. We can also recall and contemplate these dark histories and pledge our allegiance to condemning the evil that was and the evil that will be.

Joe Spear is editor of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison marched with Mankato marchers on Juneteenth in 2022.

John O’Sullivan








Atop the scaffolding on the Lake of the Isles Pencil, a bizarre monument to a downed tree that a wealthy homeowner decided to turn into a gigantic novelty pencil and host an annual “pencil sharpening festival,” where he welcomed a marching band donned entirely in pencil outfits.


“Station Eleven,” the most optimistic show about the apocalypse you could ever watch

If you’re a TikTok user, chances are you’ve swiped up to find a freshfaced man with a booming voice talking enthusiastically about Minnesota history.

What you might not know is that booming voice and fresh face belongs to Mankato native John O’Sullivan. His TikTok videos grow more popular every day (he even took 60 seconds while he was visiting with us to record a TikTok video about The Free Press printing press). He hits up breweries, the Minnesota State Fair, and even Gov. Tim Walz spent a few minutes with O’Sullivan during the pheasant hunting opener.

Here’s more from him. And if you’re interested in seeing his TikTok videos, he’s @oneminutetours.

Familiar Faces Photo by Pat Christman

MANKATO MAGAZINE: Let’s get right into it. What prompted you to start your history video brand One Minute Tours?

JOHN O’SULLIVAN: I’ve owned and operated Depot Adventures, a walking tour business, for seven years. For a living, I and my team of guides give three-hour history walks of the cities we love. When the pandemic hit, I was faced with a challenging circumstance: I was not able to deliver the product that made my livelihood. I turned to social video and started experimenting with the form. I tested all the platforms — Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch and more. It wasn’t until I found TikTok that I found my voice.

The creative constraint initially given by TikTok was that all videos be less than one minute. With my history of performing and tour guiding, I found I was able to cram a lot of information and enthusiasm into a 60-second clip. I turned my three-hour tour into 180 one-minute tours, and when I ran out of content, I kept looking for more. Two years later I continue to publish daily one-minute tours on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and more with my @oneminutetours username.

MM: Your videos have resulted in some notoriety. (We loved KSTP’s coverage of your State Fair history segments, btw.) Has that notoriety affected your location choices? Are people requesting your attention for various historical sites around the state?

JO: The notoriety primarily affects my day-to-day life, as I get recognized a couple times a day around my home. While I haven’t let it affect the kind of videos I make, it has occasionally made filming easier. Picture this: I’m a 6-foot-4-inches guy walking around with a camera pointed at his face talking to himself and his camera quite loudly. So when I wander into places like the Mankato Brewery (which I recently did) and get immediately recognized by the brewer, it makes filming a bit more comfortable.

MM: How do you choose the locations for your videos?

JO: I wrap my content around where my life takes me. If I’m driving down Highway 169, I’ll pull over in St. Peter and talk about its near-miss at being our state capital. If I’m walking by the Cathedral of St. Paul, I’ll pop in and do a quick video on that, too. What I’ve found is that there’s no shortage of fascinating stories to be told about the places we spend our time, so I arbitrarily pick a filming location, then start looking for an interesting story to tell about it.

MM: What’s the craziest historical fact you’ve ever stumbled upon?

JO: Minnesota sells its history short. Our own state flag advertises our state’s origin year as 1819 (the year Fort Snelling was built). The fact of the matter is, our state has tens of thousands of years of history, and it’s evidenced by incredible places just near Mankato, like the Jeffers Petroglyphs or the bison at Minneopa Park. When taking in our full history — including Dakota traditions — we can stretch our lineage back to before the dawn of recorded history. We’re all Minnesotans, and I try to tell an inclusive history that brings in every aspect of our society.

MM: You’ve traveled quite a bit and have lived in various locales around the world. What’s it like living tens of thousands of miles from your hometown?

JO: I’ve been blessed to live in Ireland, Wales, England and Australia. Each time I moved, I started over again with my social life. I developed a metric for “feeling at home” in a new place — I didn’t start to feel at home until I ran into someone I knew without planning it for the first time. In smaller places like Galway, Ireland, it took three months. In major cities like London it took over a year.

This brings me back to Mankato. I returned from overseas a year ago after 12 years. One would expect a town to have moved on. Yet when I walk around Mankato, I’m greeted by my old classmates, teachers, priests and colleagues that I haven’t seen in years or even decades. Growing up in Mankato gave me an experience I never would have had in a larger city — it gave me the experience of being a part of a community tapestry. Even 12 years away can’t take away my membership into this community. That’s something I feel whenever I’m in my hometown.

MM: Tell us about your family.

JO: I met my Aussie wife, Cathy, in Wales (as you do) then after living with her in London for a time we moved to her home of Australia and got married five years ago. Surprisingly, I’ve found an Australian who absolutely loves Minnesota winters. She and I just welcomed our second child last month, a daughter named Frankie. Our son Finnian just turned 2 and is loving the snow just as much as his mother.

MM: What was the best part about growing up in Mankato?

JO: My education at Mankato East High School was second to none. I had fantastic teachers and coaches during my time on the speech team, debate team and in theater. These people laid the groundwork for the skills I use every day in my job, and I wish I would have better appreciated it when I was there.

MM: Rumor has it you once interned at The Free Press. What was that like and how did you survive?

JO: I worked in circulation in the early aughts. If your paper was missing, my job was to wake up a sleepy paperboy or papergirl and have them re-deliver the paper. It was my none-too-veiled attempt to work my way up to the newsroom. Eventually I got up there for a few hours a week, compiling the weekend local news round-ups for “The Local” section. Sitting next to the police scanner, watching Free Press journalists head out to cover a story was my 17-year-old crowning achievement. I love the history that’s in that Free Press building, and I would find myself wandering the halls in my spare time, flipping through old editions of the paper and breathing the history of such a Mankato institution.

MM: Tell us something about you that would surprise people

JO: I’m a dual, soon to be triple citizen. Through my grandfather I was eligible for Irish citizenship and was granted it about 15 years ago. Through my wife I’m eligible for Australian citizenship and have been going through the application process since 2016. It’s a wildly complicated application process, but worth it for all the opportunity it has provided me and my family.

Compiled by Robb Murray

Talented, passionate, curious

Equity, excellence shine in Berry

Pinning a label on Timothy Berry is an impossible task, unless multitudinous descriptors suffice. Musician? From toddlerhood. Award-winning composer? You bet. Educator? Teaching is at his professional core. Dancer? Uh-huh. Collegiate football standout? Yes, a Maverick running back, back in the day. Equity advocate? You’d better believe it. University administrator? Got it. Dramatist? Family man? Foodie?

Yes, yes and yes.

When asking Berry to choose only a few words to describe himself, expect a long pause — followed by an insightful response.

“A multifaceted, curious educator,” said Berry, the interim associate vice president for Faculty Affairs and Equity Initiatives at Minnesota State University since

July 2021.

“An innate curiosity has led me to try some things — and, lo and behold, I found I could do more of it. Curiosity has led to a lot of opportunities.”

This native Minnesotan was the 10th of 11 siblings raised in north Minneapolis by a musician mother and minister father, and Berry’s commitment to both his state and family couldn’t be greater.

“I love Minnesota — I was born here. It would take a lot to get me to leave the state,” Berry said.

“And family is everything to me. The concept of family, of having a strong nuclear family, has been a saving grace, as well as grafting into really close relationships with other people who are really important to me.”

Tim Berry (seated, far right) authored the play “Wounded Healers,” which was staged during the 2021-2022 academic year at Minnesota State University. The play was chosen for the prestigious Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for region 5 in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo courtesy Minnesota State University.

People such as Bukata Hayes, a longtime friend and professional colleague of Berry’s who is now vice president and chief equity officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota. Hayes affirms Berry this way:

“Brother Berry, a moniker reinforcing my love for, admiration of and connection to Dr. Berry, is an old soul steeped in the Black church and continuing a long line of activists and community builders from the North side of Minneapolis.”

Minnesota and family remain two of Berry’s guiding principles, even as he continues to exercise his varied talents and expand his everwidening sphere of influence.

Origins: support and struggle

In the early 1970s when Berry was about 7, he witnessed a person violently throw a rock through a window of the Minneapolis school bus he was riding. The memory is ever-present for him and sometimes surprises those who assume racist, prejudicial acts didn’t occur in this northern, more “liberal,” state.

“I tell that story because people need to understand these things happened here,” said Berry, mentioning it occurred when integrated busing was being enforced.

“People think the media has a liberal bias, but in that time, such incidents were not highlighted to the general public.”

Despite such discriminatory challenges, the ebullient Berry seized opportunities during his childhood, including piano lessons with his mother, church music (“I grew up singing in the church, and my first memories are of making some kind of music,” Berry said) and athletics.

A 1986 graduate of Minneapolis North High School, Berry was able to indulge both his artistic and athletic sides, since the arts program at his alma mater was modeled after the New York high school immortalized in the movie “Fame.”

“Minneapolis has a tradition of growing great musicians, some who went on to super stardom,” said Berry, noting that Prince was an older brother’s classmate. And a neighbor, William “Hollywood” Doughty, was a drummer in

Prince’s first band, Grand Central.

But it was football that initially beckoned to Berry, a running back throughout high school and college.

He started his collegiate years at Moorhead State University; after a successful first semester there, he knew it wasn’t the place for him.

“Once the football season was over, it hit me like a heavy boulder that it wasn’t a place I could tap into culturally,” Berry said.

He thought the historically black Tennessee State University in Nashville might be a better fit, but as a first-generation college student with little guidance in navigating the financial aid process, that possibility fell through.

After taking off a couple of semesters, his high school friend and teammate Ramon Wilder suggested, “You should go to Mankato,” where Wilder himself had found a niche.

“So I did,” Berry said.

He reached out to Maverick

coaching legend and MSU Hall of Fame inductee Dan Runkle, transferred to then-Mankato State University and began the second phase of his college football experience before suffering a career-ending knee injury in the 1990 season.

A continual embrace of his considerable artistic talents and cultural identity led him to people of great influence in his life.

“Two individuals really integral to me staying and finishing at MSU were Florence Cobb, the first Black female professor in MSU’s history, and Dr. Michael Fagin, who introduced me to the concept of Pan-Africanism (the idea that people of African descent have common interests and should be unified),” Berry said.

Cobb, namesake of the recently dedicated Florence Cobb Dance Studio, engaged Berry during his first year in Mankato.

“She spoke to my life in ways I still hold in high regard,” he said.

Berry is a highly sought-after speaker both on campus and off. File photo.

“I was an athlete but was also in dance classes — that was not unusual for me, because my mother reared us so that there was no problem with my being a football player who took ballet — and Florence hired me as a student worker to play piano and percussion for her classes.”

Fagin, now a professor emeritus, worked with the Black Student Union.

“He brought in the top scholars in that field, and I had the chance to personally interact with Amiri Baraka (an influential Black poet, thinker and university professor) for two days because I volunteered to drive him around when he was visiting,” Berry said.

“Dr. Fagin, to a large degree, started me off in pursuing a path outside the Western canon in literature and art.”

Berry also appreciated people like Runkle and Allen Wortman. Wortman conducted Berry in the Ellis Street Singers, among other campus vocal ensembles.

“Dr. Wortman really was a white ally before that became a thing,” Berry said. “He was inclusive in ways that I felt and that others could learn from; there were always individuals like him who acknowledged there were challenges, and they were open and understanding.”

Stepping forward to make a difference

Armed with a bachelor’s degree in music education, Berry embarked on a 20-year career as a K-12 music teacher. During that period, he taught at various schools in the Twin Cities area and observed the lamentably low status afforded arts education.

While Berry once thought he’d aim for a doctorate in choral music after finishing his master’s in music education with an emphasis in multicultural music at the University of Minnesota, he shifted his focus to educational leadership when he realized that would allow him more chances to make a difference. Ultimately, he completed an Ed.D. in educational leadership at MSU.

“Educational leadership is a means of addressing societal problems, and I wanted to have a bigger impact — especially on Black boys because I saw how they are treated, and statistics bear that out,” Berry said.

“They score lower in academic achievements, they are way overrepresented in suspensions, emotional-behavior disorders, all of those things.

“And educational leadership provided me with a broader platform to bring in creative elements to education — if you’re in a meeting with me, you will hear some artistic ways of thinking.”

Ask to speak to a loan officer about our low rate HELOC loans. Berry says he believes he can change the world through educational leadership, calling it “a means of addressing societal problems.” File photo.

Berry is quick to say his life has been one “long, circuitous route,” and that has led him to share his talents with not only the MSU community that earlier fostered his own growth but also with the broader state arts scene.

Before returning to MSU in July 2021 to take the reins in faculty affairs and equity initiatives, he spent 18 months as dean for the School of Urban Education at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul. In all, he has spent 10 years to date on the MSU faculty and/or administration; his wife of 30 years, Julie Kerr-Berry, is chair of the MSU Department of Theatre and Dance. The couple has two 20-something children and enjoy deep thinking, long walks and good food.

One colleague who attests to Berry’s success is Robbie Burnett, director of Innovation and Collaboration with Minnesota State’s Division of Academic Affairs.

“What impresses me about Dr. Berry is his creative, authentic, courageous and loving leadership,” Burnett said. “He continues to remind us of our ‘why’ in this work of education and brings a pedagogy to his leadership that is unmatched because of his lived experiences.”

And Berry is well-placed to have an impact, she asserts.

“Currently, I believe there are four Black men on the president’s extended cabinet, including Dr. Berry, and that is a historical first,” Burnett said. “Representation matters, and they are exemplars for all students, faculty and staff to see and experience Black male leadership.”

Berry is striving to overturn all the “isms” — racism, sexism, antiSemitism, etc. — that hold back too many people.

“My goal is to not have (negative) patterns predictable by race in outcomes,” Berry said. “That’s equity to me.”

The only “ism” Berry champions? Optimism.

“I’m not going to stop trying, I’m not going to lose hope, because this is bigger than us and me,” he said. “Hopefully, the next generation can take things and make them even better than they’ve been for me.” MM

MANKATO MAGAZINE • FEBRUARY 2023 • 17 •WINDOWS •SIDING •GUTTERS •ROOFING 507-625-5064 2104 NRiverfrontDrive •Mankato LIC#20272178 Your FriendsInTheBusiness FamilyOwnedandOperated forover25 years InfinityfromMarvincreatedUltrex®, asuperior fiberglassmaterial. Replacingyourwindowsis adecision youonly wanttomakeonce.The strength, finishanddurabilityof Infinity’sUltrex® fiberglasswill maximizeyourinvestment. ext.34 Old Main Village S e n i o r L i v i n g w i t h H i s t o r i c C h a r m WE’D LOVE TO SHOW YOU OUR COMMUNITY! 301 South 5th Street, Mankato, MN 56001 | Please call 507-388-4200 to schedule a personalized tour! INDEPENDENT LIVING | ASSISTED LIVING | RESPITE CARE • Serving a range of lifestyle preferences and continuing care needs • Casual living with activities and services available as needed • Award-winning dining venue • Great value for Mankato and surrounding areas • Walking distance to downtown Mankato • On-site pool and hot tub • 24-hour on-site staffing TOURTODAY!

Evolution & change

When you see newspaper articles about Mankato from the first years of the 20th century, you don’t think, “This is a town that will be a strong supporter of civil rights.”

Like the rest of the nation, Mankato has both wrestled with racism and accepted change
Dr. Michael Fagin is cited by many as a mentor at Minnesota State University. File photo.

Looking at events that have happened here shows how that assumption has played out.

When in 1903 the Mankato school superintendent received a “neatly and legibly written” letter “free from rhetorical or grammatical errors,” he nonetheless decided to tell the young Black teacher who sent it in search of a job that “it would be impossible to make arrangements to have colored teachers in any of the schools under his jurisdiction.”

The Mankato Review declared in the closing paragraph of the Sept. 9, 1903, article: “It would seem that just such an educated negro woman as wrote this application would be useful in negro schools in the south to teach children of their own race how to read, write and figure.”

The attitude had hardened by 1911 when the Mankato Review ran the headline, “THE NEGROES IN MANKATO MUST KEEP THEIR PLACES” over a July 7 article that doesn’t bother itself with attribution for the ideas expressed.

It began: “The negro population of Mankato has been growing quite rapidly of late, and some of the specimens of that race that have located here are anything but desirable as citizens.”

Just a few days later in the Weekly Ledger there appeared an item that said, “The bunch of (n-words) imported to this city by the management of the Saulpaugh, have been making themselves obnoxious to women both young and old.”

They were “imported” because management of the downtown Mankato hotel said they could not secure white waiters.

Attention has been drawn to the battle for civil rights in recent years, in part due to the creation of the “MLK 11.12.61” documentary in which Martin Luther King’s visit to Mankato in November 1961 was used as a touchstone to chronicle local efforts.

“This documentary uses a historical visit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Mankato as a way to honor anti-racist activism as well as to point out that this work remains incomplete and must continue,” said Jameel Haque, director of the Kessel Peace Institute and executive producer of the film, just before the film’s release in January 2022.

Even with the value gained by having such a historic leader as King speak in Mankato, it certainly did not end discrimination. Stories of discrimination here continue to be shared that are similar to those heard around the country.

Facing hatred

Mankato State College alumnus Lou Bellamy, who went on to found the Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, told The Free Press in 1994 of what he faced while here as a student just a year after King’s visit.

“As soon as I moved off campus, there were real problems with finding housing,” he told The Free Press. “You’d call about an apartment, show up and all of a sudden it would be rented. Those kinds of things.”

On several occasions, he found citizens trying to run him over with their cars, he said.

“Some of it was ignorance, but most of it was actually hate,” he said then. “That stare that says, ‘I

would like to kill you.’ You’d go into a bar, and you would see the neck starting to get fat, as though one were encroaching on someone else’s territory.”

Henry Morris, who is now vice president of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Minnesota State University, spoke of experiencing similar treatment when he arrived in Mankato as late as 1990. He recalled going to look at apartments that were suddenly rented when landlords saw his face and security guards at department stores who followed him through the store.

The Cobb era

These incidents certainly echoed experiences of Blacks in the 1960s. In many cases, they were worse than previous decades.

By the end of the 1960s, for example, it seemed that progress was being made. Linda Cobb came to Mankato from Nashville, Tennessee, with parents Robert and Florence Cobb. Robert was hired to lead the health science department at Mankato State and Florence, it appears, was a spousal hire in dance.

Florence went on to start a dance program that today boasts one of the region’s few Master of Fine Arts programs. She was honored in December when the Highland North 225 dance studio was named in her honor.

Linda Cobb attended Wilson Campus School, an experimental high school that was in today’s Wiecking Center, graduating in 1970. Like her mother, she was a dancer who found herself utilizing those skills in campus demonstrations against the Vietnam War and for civil rights. Her experiences enhanced her education.

“It was a great experience for me because I had come from a parochial girls’ school,” Cobb said. “(At Wilson) we were able to write our own curriculum. We had great teachers.”

Because they could take college classes, Cobb found herself deeply involved with the politics on campus. Anti-war protests abounded; students shut down the college and the Main Street bridge in town. Military policemen came to campus seeking students who were hiding from the draft.

“So it was a very volatile time, and politically a very divided time. But it was very exciting,” she said.

Her sister, Joyce, was already in college when the family moved north, so she doesn’t have the same memories of Mankato as Linda does.

“I think (my father) had several offers,” Joyce Cobb said. “He was ready to move on after 19 or 20 years at Tennessee State. But I think the main source of my father wanting to go to Mankato State is that part of his job was to recruit minorities.”

Expanding diversity

Just as in the early 21st century when MSU President Richard Davenport made a concerted effort to recruit international students to broaden the intellectual base of students, in the 1960s and ‘70s administrators recognized the importance of having a student body that reflected society as a whole.

One of the students who came to Mankato through that recruitment was Obie Kipper. He acknowledges

“So it was a very volatile time, and politically a very divided time. But it was very exciting.”

today the importance of that recruitment effort, but also recognizes his status as a recruited athlete limited his difficult interactions with community members.

“I interacted with people in the community,” he said, “but through athletics primarily. People in the community were not as involved in diversity as they are today.”

Kipper grew up in South Minneapolis, graduating from Minneapolis Washburn High School, and his parents were highly educated. He earned degrees in vocational rehabilitation and special education while competing on track and field and football teams.

“Without the degrees I would be nowhere,” he said. After a long career with the state of Minnesota, he has served in various other positions and now operates Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Consultants Inc. He also has served on various committees for his alma mater.

He credits several people with helping him and other Black students not only get to college but to graduate. Among them is Michael Fagin, who he called “a special advocate and educator” who is probably the most important educator/vice president in regards to people of color in the institution’s history.

Fagin’s leadership

Fagin began at the university’s new Minorities Groups Studies Center in 1970. The center was the brainchild of the Black Students Union, which wanted to see more faculty of color, more students of color and more retention for both, it was reported upon Fagin’s 2015 retirement.

20 • FEBRUARY 2023 • MANKATO MAGAZINE 20765 FoleyRd.,Mankato,MN|507.387.2434|507.726.2411
Four Time National Award Winners
Henry Morris has been a leader at Minnesota State University for decades. File photo.

Fagin created a major in minority studies as well as a graduate program in the subject. He created the Pan-African Conference, which was named for him in 2010.

In 2015, Kipper said, “Many of us wouldn’t have gotten our degree without him. Dr. Fagin set the table.”

Changing vibes

Jerry Lee came to Mankato from New York City in the early 1970s, following a high school friend who had ended up in Albert Lea the year before. That friend was older, so he sat out for a year while Lee completed his first year in Mankato and then joined him as a sophomore.

“The mood on campus was, you know, the campus was trying to move in a direction of acceptance and integration of different types of people,” Lee said. “So the campus was very, very, very different than I think it was a few years before.”

Lee had come to Mankato because it had a strong reputation for its students passing the CPA test. For that reason, he kept a lot to himself and his studies. But there were exceptions.

“Yeah, I had to punch a few people in the face. You know, that

happened. That kind of goes with the territory,” he said matter-offactly. “There’s people who think they’re smarter than they are (and) their mouths run faster than their brain.”

Much of the protest in Mankato seemed to be focused on the Vietnam War, students of the time said. But racial issues were always simmering, albeit below the surface of demonstrations.

It’s possible many took the same approach that Lee did: “I think that everything I did was an attempt to make a statement — not a physical statement, not a dramatic statement, but a historical context statement.”

As mentioned, Minnesota State University works to recruit international students primarily, but in the process is likely more receptive to BIPOC students from the U.S. as well.

Proactive measures

And in Mankato Area Public Schools a class has begun that works to make another statement to younger students. The social studies class began last year and is alternated between East, West and Central high schools, according to West teacher Matthew Moore. It’s

called Race, Ethnicity and Civil Rights.

“Our department had been talking for a number of years of trying to offer an African-American history class, or maybe like a special topics class that focused on civil rights,” he said.

The class has a theme-based structure, where general topics are discussed and then students have the opportunity to choose the theme they want to research, such as oppression and power.

Use of case studies, whether from the more distant past or from current events, allows students to guide the discussion into areas where they may have questions or that they think are most relevant.

Studying the documentary on King’s visit was more relevant to students because he spoke at West High School.

“I think they felt the fact that he spoke in our building,” Moore said, “that important civil rights work has been done in our community.” MM

Matt Moore, a history teacher at Mankato West High School, is shown here being interviewed for a documentary film about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s visit to Mankato. Photo courtesy of True Façade Pictures.


The cold of winter is here. Bone-chilling, teethchattering, skin-freezing cold. Even for those who live here all winter, it can sometimes be too much to bear.

It’s difficult to remember that the bitter cold can bring beauty and fun, too. Ice skating, sledding, clear skies and sundogs only happen after a lot of cold. MM


Pathfinder Award winners keep contributing

Since 1986, the Greater Mankato Pathfinder Awards have been awarded to individuals or organizations that, in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., are initiators or action takers in the struggle for equal treatment, human rights and nonviolence.

The Young Pathfinder Award was added in 2002 to recognize the commitment and courage displayed by young people to achieve fair and equal treatment for all, healthy communities and peaceful resolution to conflicts.

In 2003, the first Business Pathfinder Award was

Kirstin and Dan Cronn-Mills are shown here receiving their Pathfinder Award, which they won for creating a Facebook group to support marginalized communities. File photo.

presented. This award recognizes area businesses that strive for equal treatment, human rights and nonviolence in the workplace.

Former Mankato Public Schools Supt. Ed Waltman is listed as the 2006 winner of the Greater Mankato Pathfinder Award. Awarded to him for the creation of the Greater Mankato Diversity Council, Waltman was quick to recognize the support he received from the Mankato Area School Board, Minnesota State University, the city managers and elected officials.

It was at an annual conference of the Minnesota School Boards Association that he and Jodi Sapp, School Board member, attended George Thompson’s presentation on the creation of Rochester’s Diversity Council.

“After attending George’s presentation, both Jodi and I felt that it was just what our community needed to be proactive

in a time in which our area’s population was changing,” Waltman said. The idea got support at the monthly meeting with city managers and college presidents, and soon former Mankato East High School Assistant Principal Mary Lou Kudela was selected as the first Diversity Council education director.

Interestingly, Kudela had received the Pathfinder Award in 2004. At East High School she worked with student groups to establish a student-led diversity initiative in schools, she said. She still facilitates Respect Curriculum in area schools and calls herself a cheerleader for current Greater Mankato Diversity Council leadership.

In 2012, the Pathfinder Award went to Wilbur NeuschwanderFrink for her work in Minnesota’s self-advocacy movement, a civil rights movement for people with developmental/intellectual

disabilities. It had a profound effect on her work.

“It came at a pivotal moment in my career,” she said. “I was already in the process of discerning whether or not to start a nonprofit for the theater work.” Within a few years, she had laid the foundational work to start that nonprofit, Open Arts Minnesota.

She has been going full blast since then. She has participated in three Advocating Change Together Olmstead Academies and Community Integration Projects; helped create a third inclusive theater group in Fairmont, Aktion Club Theatre of Fairmont; completed a three-year certification program in spiritual deepening for global transformation offered by The Christine Center in Wisconsin; helped design and fundraise for the Fallenstein Playground in North Mankato; and joined the board of the Miracle League of North Mankato.

Bukata Hayes and Diana Joseph share thoughts at a Pathfinder Awards ceremony. File photo.

Her awards include the Binger/ McKnight Unsung Hero Award, the Service to Mankind Award, Kiwanis Division Star Award, Irving Martin Professional of the Year Award and a Community Peace-Maker Award from the Kessel Institute.

Neuschwander-Frink said her work in self-advocacy continues.

“I am most grateful for all of the people involved in self-advocacy who shared their tender stories with me. These stories shaped the work I do and shaped me as an ally.”

Someone who found her pathfinder skills at an early age was Lauren Senden, Youth Pathfinder Award winner in 2018. From 2007, when she was a kindergartener, until 2018, Sanden spent Saturdays of her summer break running a treat stand at the end of her driveway.

“Over time, we raised $19,130 for child hunger relief, primarily through the BackPack Food Program,” she said. Since 2018, when she graduated from high school, the effort has been continued by other young women in the community.

In addition, in 2017-2018 she performed three free-will music concerts that raised $8,700 for BackPack Food Program, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Partners for Affordable Housing. Through her church, she also helped support the Page Education Foundation based in Minneapolis.

She plans to graduate from Baldwin Wallace University in the spring with a bachelor’s of music in music theater. Next, New York City will benefit from her music and philanthropy.

“I am forever grateful for the honor of the Young Pathfinder

Award,” she said. “I have received recognition for my singing in the past, but this award I hold most dear because of who Dr. King was and the purposes of the award.”

Dan and Kirstin Cronn-Mills used the election of Donald Trump as president in 2016 as a launching point for creating the Ally Network of MN, which is now called the Solidarity Network of MN and has nearly 1,400 online members.

They were honored with the Pathfinder Award in 2019.

“The Network was started to support all those left behind in Trump’s version of America — women, people of color, the LGBT community, immigrants,” Dan Cronn-Mills said.

26 • FEBRUARY 2023 • MANKATO MAGAZINE CheckOur Daily Specials! Authentic MexicanFood andAmazingDrinks 1404MADISON AVE.,MANKATO 507.344.0607 | Open:Monday–Thursday11–10 Friday &Saturday11–10:30;Sunday11–9 Gift Certificates Available Valentines Day Tues. Feb. 14th
Elora Greiner is shown here discussing her work fighting for LGBTQ+ rights at Mankato East High School. File photo. Young Pathfinder Award recipient Kyle Kehoe talks with Greater Mankato Diversity Council Executive Director Bukata Hayes during the Pathfinder Award announcement in 2019. File photo.

“We hold the words of Rep. John Lewis as our guiding philosophy: ‘When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation, a mission, a mandate to do something about it.’”

He said the Network’s mission has four parts: share events and opportunities to be in solidarity with communities who need support; share educational information; share good examples of solidarity; and encourage respectful discussions of how to be in solidarity with others.

“We all have an obligation to support and listen to marginalized communities, to contribute to dismantling of systems of oppression, and to encourage people with privilege to put that privilege to good use,” he said.

Among the Business Pathfinder Award winners have been Mankato Ford (now Harrison Ford) in 2003; Mayo Clinic Health System in 2005; Mankato Clinic in 2007; Eide Bailly in 2008; Coughlan Companies in 2009; The Coffee Hag in 2010; The Free Press in 2011; Lloyd Management in 2012; MRCI Workforce Center in 2016; and Cambria in 2018. MM

MANKATO MAGAZINE • FEBRUARY 2023 • 27 •Water Softeners •DrinkingWaterSystems •SaltDelivery •BottledWater &Much, MuchMore LocallyOwned &Operatedby: JOHANNECKWATERCONDITIONING,INC. NowServing TheMankatoARea! GoodHealthStarts WithGreatWater! 507-345-4688 •WaterConditioners •DrinkingWaterSystems •SaltDelivery •BottledWater •FREECONSULTATIONS Mankato’sNewestDiningandTravelDestination! NOWOPEN! MankatoTravelCenter (507)613-8440 Ten20 Tavern (507) 344-1020 Locatedatthe intersection ofCounty Road12and Adams St. Onemile East of Hilltop Hy-Vee.

senior life

Making the Move transitions to senior living Safe at home again

28 • SENIOR LIVING • FEBRUARY 2023 • Special Advertising Section





“Myfeetweresobadthat Iwouldbeintears, lifewasnotgood. Iwasintearsatnightbecausethe painwassobad. Ihadbeendealingwiththisfor almost10yearsand Ihadtriedeverythingelsewith differentdoctorsanditdidn’twork.Nowlifeisgood. Icanstandanddostuff, Icanwalkwithmygrandkids. Myfeetare 110%better!”

Special Advertising Section • FEBRUARY 2023 • SENIOR LIVING • 29 507-344-6777 | PILLARSSENIORLIVING.COM/MANKATO ©2022 Fairview Health Services THE BEST THANK YOU MANKATO FOR VOTING US BEST SENIOR AND ASSISTED LIVING COMMUNITY! $2023 per month IN 2023 ON SELECT STUDIO APARTMENTS CALL TO SCHEDULE A TOUR 507-344-6777 Come and experience what makes The Pillars of Mankato an amazing home for you. Stop in to meet Parker our community ambassador (Golden Retriever), and ask about our move-in specials! 1706LorRayDrive,NorthMankato,MN 507-388-7744 “FinallyGet Helpwith Numbness andPainin YourFeet!’’ “CalltoReceiveyour$47ConsultationandFootPainand NumbnessSeverityAssessmenttoFindOutifthis NewAdvanced TechnologyCanHelp You!” Callnowbeforeitgetsevenworse! CALLTODAY Youdon’thavetolivewithpain! ANeuropathyPatientStory:
Doyousufferfromany ofthefollowing.... Ifyouanswered YES toanyof thesequestionsthenyou’rein LUCK!
•YouhaveNeuropathyorPlantarFasciitis? •Youmustlivewiththepain, becausenothingcanbedone? Haveyoueverbeentold...
5022nd AveSouth,StJames,MN56081 507-942-2002
Dr.CraigHartman DC,MS,C.Ac.

Making the move Tips and thoughts for transitions to senior living communities

Making the move to a senior living community can be challenging, whether you’re the one preparing for a new home environment or a caregiver helping with the process.

Fortunately, many skilled and sympathetic people are employed at area residences catering to seniors so your accompanying questions and worries can be more easily resolved than might initially seem evident.

Finding the right fit

The first step is recognizing when it makes sense to transition from a private home or residence and into a residential community where meals, friends and services are more readily available in one spot.

Lisa Sandmann, Outreach and Sales Director at The Pillars of Mankato, has patience and helpful ideas galore.

One of her prime recommendations? Do advance research.

“It’s never too early,” said Sandmann, mentioning that the sooner one starts investigating the possibilities, the greater the chances of avoiding a stressful move necessitated by a crisis situation.

“Check out websites of various senior living communities, take tours and ask friends or relatives for referrals, even if you think it could be a year or two before you might move.

“And The Pillars [like most other area senior living communities] offers frequent open houses, so take those chances to visit, explore, ask questions, meet residents, observe the types of activities available and get a really good feel for what each community would be like.”

Considering the scale of a residence is also important, Sandmann advises.

“There are different-sized communities—The Pillars, with 118 apartments in all ranging from independent living to assisted living to 20 memory care apartments—is a larger setting, which is appealing to a lot of people,” Sandmann said.

“But a smaller community with less space to navigate might be more comfortable for some folks,” she added.

“It’s really about finding the right fit for you.”

The Pillars happens to welcome anyone 55 or older to live there independently, but the beauty of a progressive, “aging in place” living site is that residents can stay where they are and receive more care if and when the need gradually arises.

“We have a full array of assisted living services for any apartment with no need to move should someone need extra help,” said Sandmann.

And lest you think 55 to 60 seems young to relinquish the charms of a single-family home, consider the upsides to a community like The Pillars—especially after Minnesota’s recent bout of sub-zero temperatures and double-digit


“Living here means no more shoveling, mowing or writing utility checks,” said Sandmann. “We take care of it all, and housekeeping and dining options are available; you can contract for one to three chef-prepared, restaurant-style meals daily.

“And we also have an underground heated parking garage.”

Still, Sandmann recognizes that many people prefer to stay in private homes as long as they possibly can—which sometimes means they are more likely to require services upon arriving at The Pillars or to need assistance in packing when the time comes.

Sandmann recommends Caring Transitions, a relatively new Mankato senior relocation home that offers downsizing, decluttering and estate sales assistance throughout southern Minnesota.

“You will most likely need to downsize, and pick and choose the items that are most important to have with you,” said Sandmann.

“And making your new home an enjoyable, comfortable space is our goal.”

Caring Transitions can provide hands-on help with packing, sorting and unpacking upon arrival at one’s new location.

“They will bring in belongings, hang pictures on walls, make beds, put dishes in cupboards and have everything ready to go so a new resident can settle in after just one day,” Sandmann said.

“And Caring Transitions staff are considerate and compassionate and coordinate well with us.”

The Pillars staff itself is comprised of experienced, empathetic people who have worked in the field “a long time,” according to Sandmann, and are understanding about the challenges.

That’s true from the top down, since Executive Director Stacy Wihlm brings years of experience to her role as The Pillars’ leader, plus a background in social work and skills that date to her teen days as a CNA.

“And we assign new residents an ‘ambassador,’ a current resident willing to meet with a new neighbor, introduce them to the building and to others, share a few meals and make the transition as easy as possible,” said Sandmann.

But it does help to be realistic when preparing for the shift, she suggests, including knowing that some home goods will need to be left behind and others (like lift chairs) may need to be acquired for optimal living.

“If packing becomes too overwhelming, start small—maybe just commit to a half-hour a day—and be willing to ask for help,” she said.

Sandmann recommends that people do their best to focus on the positives of the change.

30 • SENIOR LIVING • FEBRUARY 2023 • Special Advertising Section

“We want you to maximize your time and life by making the move when you’re still able so you can enjoy our amenities and make friends,” said Sandmann.

Getting there

When you’re ready to get a move on, Kato Moving & Storage is one of the local companies primed to do the job.

In fact, Erin Pietz, the business’s salesperson for local moves, coordinates an average of three to five moves weekly for those transitioning to senior living communities.

“We’re the premier moving company for most of the assisted living facilities in the area,” declared Pietz.

Typical clients range from their mid60s to late 80s—and beyond.

“Often, a family member or child is calling us for their parents,” said Pietz. “It’s nice when a person has someone who can do that coordinating for them.

“We’re so familiar with this type of move—for a person shifting from a home to an assisted living community— that it can be done very efficiently, usually within a few hours.”

But efficiency isn’t the only priority, Pietz knows; yes, she and the entire Kato Moving & Storage team are efficient problem-solvers, but they are also sensitive.

“Everyone in our office is empathetic, and so are our crew members,” Pietz said.

“Oftentimes I’ll give them a little extra information about the clients [if one of the parties has an illness or difficult diagnosis] so they can show extra empathy and care—because everyone here has to know that is part of our job.”

Pietz finds herself having extensive conversations with customers about the new phase they’re entering, so she is accustomed to the transition’s

challenges and understanding of the emotional load they may be bearing.

“A lot of times, people don’t want to part with things so that creates difficult conversations with family and friends,” said Pietz.

“The best way is to plan ahead, to be realistic about what can and can’t fit in their new space, because there is a point where you need to realize you can’t have three hutches, two desks and all of your tables in a smaller apartment,” she continued.

“It’s good if you can prepare before the move, be mindful of the new space and think about what you may need to part with before the move actually happens.”

What if someone has overestimated and the moving crew just can’t fit everything in?

“There are multiple options,” Pietz said reassuringly. “We work with Blue Earth and Nicollet Counties, or we can help facilitate donations to VINE Home Thrift Store, or if you’re just not ready to part with something we can take it back to our warehouse or you can contract with us to store things—we have multiple storage units.”

The main thing to know is Kato Moving & Storage has plenty of experience with on-the-spot problemsolving.

“We have many options to help families with this transition process, and if you decide to donate, we can just take it off your shoulders,” she said.

To get ahead of the problem, Pietz can visit a home to advise family members about what would be easy to donate, what would be difficult to move to a smaller space and what would be useful to take along.

“At times there can be several family members involved, and it might be a stressful or emotional moment, but I’m a neutral, more objective person so I

can help make it work efficiently,” Pietz observed.

Pietz has facilitated enough senior moves to know it’s vital to remain respectful of clients’ emotions, and that even though it’s a routine process to her, it’s a new and personal journey for them.

“With absolutely everyone I talk to, I can tell it’s a relief for them to have a conversation with someone like me who can go over everything and walk them through the process,” said Pietz.

“To have someone detail the steps and services can be very relieving.”

But she also brings a practical perspective.

“Parting with things you’ve had for years can be emotional, but it’s [moving] a good time to do it because if you don’t do it now, your family may have to figure out what to do with things later—and then you may not be part of the decision-making,” said Pietz.

So even when a client or their family members may have difficulty seeing the light at the end of the moving tunnel, Pietz can guarantee it will all come together to a satisfying resolution.

“It can be a stressful and emotional time, sure, but when you think about it, almost every time a person moves it’s for an emotional reason—a new job, a divorce, a death, a new baby or a need for more services as a senior,” Pietz said.

“In the latter situation, it can be really hard, but it can also be a relief to know that mom or dad will be taken care of in a safe and comfortable place,” she added.

“Making a connection with customers and problem-solving for families is always something I love about my job.”

Special Advertising Section • FEBRUARY 2023 • SENIOR LIVING • 31
Call ADAR A at 507-519-4016with yourskillednursing, physical, occupational,andspeechtherapyneeds.
Call ADARA at 507-519-4016 Adarawas voted #1 In-HomeHealthcare 2nd yearin arow!
RUN inphotofromlefttoright:KristenMellen,RNClinicalSupervisor, AngieOwens,RNGeneralManager, SarahMcCourtney,RNClinicalSupervisor

Safe at home again

When Mary Lou Haldorson moved into The Pillars of Mankato a few months ago, she experienced a warm and personal welcome that quickly put her at ease.

“There was a framed message on the lobby desk, ‘Welcome to Mary Lou Haldorson,’ my first day here, and everybody knows my name in the halls and

dining room,” said Haldorson, 83.

“How in the heck do they all remember my name? I can’t get over it, but boy, that’s a welcoming feeling to have your name spoken to you.

“They’ve got it down pat how to make people feel at home, I’ll tell you.”

After living with her husband Nordeen in the greater Mankato area since 1962,

Haldorson is relieved to have found a comfortable, supportive residence at The Pillars as she transitions into a new phase of life.

“I was a teacher for 100 years,” joked Haldorson in jovial fashion. “I was teaching at Washington Elementary when I retired and I went out on such a high; I had a wonderful career and have nothing but positive memories.”

Haldorson’s husband, Nordeen, was a beloved science teacher who spent the bulk of his career at Mankato East High School. Her tale of meeting Nordeen while attending workshops for her first teaching job at Buffalo Center, Iowa—a location about which she was initially skeptical—belies her ever-present humor and optimism.

“In comes this tall blond in a navy blue suit and I thought, ‘Hmmm, this might not be so bad after all,’” quipped Haldorson.

The pair married in 1960, and after short stints of teaching in Faribault (him) and Owatonna (her), Nordeen accepted a position in Mankato, their hometown ever since. Their children, Michael and Jane, are Mankato East High School graduates.

In recent years the couple lived in an accessible patio home in the Diamond Lake Road area.

“It’s across from East, all on one level, the doors were a little wider—we loved it,” said Haldorson.

SiestaHillsisSouthern Minnesota’sfirstadult lifestylecommunity structuredaround maintenancefreeliving andanemphasisonfitness andactivity.Choosefrom primesitesforbuilding patioorwalkouthomes, in acommunitypacked withamenities.

“But life took a little turn there.”

Haldorson had been serving as the 24/7 caregiver for Nordeen, who has Alzheimer’s, when the couple was struck by COVID last September.

“I ended up in the hospital for five days,” said Haldorson.

“I was so sick I couldn’t make decisions—I didn’t know what the heck I was doing—but while I was in the hospital, the kids were busy.”

Haldorson only knew that returning to their previous living situation was not sustainable.

“I had become too run down, I was under too much stress, and I think that’s one of the reasons COVID hit me so hard,” said Haldorson. “I didn’t want to live in the house alone anymore, having to worry about the heat, the water and tweedledy-dee, tweedledy-dum.”

Nordeen was able to move to Generations Child & Memory Care on Hoffman Road, and Haldorson’s children asked if she was interested in living at The Pillars, since

32 • SENIOR LIVING • FEBRUARY 2023 • Special Advertising Section Dial-a-ride Transportation for Blue Earth, Le Sueur & Nicollet Counties Monday - Friday 8 am - 5 pm Ridefor Sold Sold Sold Model Model Home Home Highway22 Sold Sold Sold Cont Cont Sold Sold Sold Sold So d S esta Way VISIT: SIESTAHILLSLIVING.COM ManyHomeDesigns DepictionsofSiestaHillsmadeinthisadthroughrenderings, specificationsandplannedamenitiesarebasedoncurrentproposed developmentplansandaresubjecttochangewithoutnotice. Find Your Perfect Home Site Now! Single Level &Walkout Lots Available •IndoorPool& LargeOutdoorPool •FitnessCenter •SpinCycleStudio •GolfSimulator Communit yAmenities Take acloserlookatMankato’sexclusiveadultlifestyle communityandimagineyourselfin aSiestaHillsdream luxurytownhomeorpatio home.
•LargeGourmetKitchen forGroups •Pickleball &TennisCourts •SteamRoom
SI ES TA HI LL S LotsAvailablefor $130,000 -$150,000 OwnerislicensedRealEstateAgent. Steve-507-327-8411 Pete-507-381-0400

many friends and acquaintances were already residing there.

“We made a decision, and I’m so glad,” said Haldorson.

“I had to ask myself if I’d make two more moves in what I have left of my life, or if I’d make one move to The Pillars, enjoy it and be content,” she continued.

“So that’s what I decided to do.”

With Generations and The Pillars so close to each other, Haldorson is able to easily drive the short distance to frequently visit Nordeen.

“My car is parked inside where it’s nice and warm, so there’s no chipping ice off the windshield before going,” said Haldorson.

“But I don’t have to get in that car and go anywhere if I don’t want to—and that’s comforting, too.”

Haldorson likes her spacious one-bedroom apartment; she says the living room can easily accommodate up to six people.

“It’s very comfortable,” she said. “I’ve had help moving in and getting things up on the walls,” mentioning that not only The Pillars staff but also her children and grandchildren have provided great support.

While Haldorson still has some belongings in storage as her former house is in the process of being sold, she has found a community The Pillars—friends and people with multiple connections to her years as a teacher or to Nordeen.

“Patience is a wonderful virtue when going through this,” said Haldorson, “and I seem to have quite a bit of that—so that’s good.”

Since moving to The Pillars, Haldorson has improved “120%” over the state in which she found herself after battling COVID, when she was weak, coughing and not eating well.

With meals provided, caring staff on site and fewer personal responsibilities, Haldorson feels better with each passing day.

“I still have some lingering effects from COVID, but here I am watched and supported, and if you have an ache or pain they’re on it immediately,” said Haldorson.

She is also relieved that her adult children can focus more fully on their own lives without added worries about how she and Nordeen are doing on a day-to-day basis.

“It’s good for the kids because they know we’re safe,” said Haldorson. “They don’t have to check in all the time or wonder ‘What in the heck are we going to do with mom and dad.’”

Moving to The Pillars, where everybody knows her name, has been a wise move for Haldorson.

“A lot of it is about your attitude,” she said. “You can fight it and keep calling the shots, but I have peace of mind.

“I’m settled and I’m happy.”

Special Advertising Section • FEBRUARY 2023 • SENIOR LIVING • 33 Benefits of Cooperative Living • Maintenance Free Inside & Out • Laundry, Furnace & A/C in each unit • Secure Entry with Indoor Parking • Theater, Library & Craft Room • Exercise Room, Workshop & Car Wash • Guest Suite • Beautiful View of Pond & Wildlife • Home Ownership with Tax Benefits 700 Agency Trail, Mankato, MN 507-388-2886 Willow Brook Senior Cooperative SouthernMinnesota’sFinestSeniorLivingChoices!! •LovelyApartmentHomes •LocatedonHeritage Park •Independent &Assisted LivingServices •BistroCafé •Customized Servicesto maintain independence •Refreshinghospitality •Healthand Wellness programs •HousekeepingandLaundryservices •Dailymealservice •Urgencycallsystem •Secured building •In-house &Out PatientRehabilitation–P.T.,O.T.,andSpeech Therapy •RespiteCare •Hospice •Long-termStaff •Therapeutic Recreational Director •LocalPhysicianswho makeweeklyrounds •24-hourSkilledNursing •WoundCareManagement •SecureCareSafetyProgram •Medicare/Medicaid •PrivateandSemi-privateRooms •RecreationalOutings •EcumenicalServices •In-houseBeautyandBarberservices •SpecialCareSuiteand FamilyRoom 303 TroendleSt. • Mapleton,MN |301 TroendleSt. • Mapleton,MN 507-524-3315


New ownership keeps Lola’s traditions going strong

Aron Bode’s deep dive into the New Ulm bar and restaurant scene keeps him hopping, balancing three projects and planning a fourth.

The 29-year-old New Ulm native and entrepreneur’s newest venture has Lola’s maintaining the traditions that’s kept the popular downtown New Ulm restaurant as busy as ever.

Bode took over Lola’s last year from restaurateur Lacey Leuth, who built up the establishment during her 14-year run as owner-operator. Bode previously worked at Lola’s following college graduation and “was very excited when I heard it came up for sale.”

Leuth surprised many in the New Ulm area when news surfaced that she was moving on to a new restaurant venture, The Cranberry over Superior, in northwest Wisconsin. It wasn’t an easy decision for Leuth, having transformed the Larkspur Market into Lola: An American Bistro, then adding a popular food truck and catering business.

“I still think about the place every day,” Leuth said recently.

“I mean that was pretty much my entire existence for 14 years building that to what it is. I miss the people, and the work. But sometimes new beginnings and projects are needed for longevity in this industry, I believe.”

For Bode, there’s been several new beginnings and projects. He’s been a tremendously active food and beverage business developer, along with brother Eric Bode, a New Ulm-based commercial and residential real estate broker.

The Bode brothers’ first ventured into a “speakeasy” establishment, The Retz 277, in 2017. It’s a specialty business, open only Friday nights.

Next came New Ulm’s first drive-thru coffee shop, Sippet Coffee & Bagels, two years later. Lola’s makes it number three, while Aron Bode has already begun work on number four.

34 • FEBRUARY 2023 • MANKATO MAGAZINE Food & Beer southern mn style
An American Bistro, is in downtown New Ulm. The popular restaurant changed hands in 2022. Photos by Dana Melius

“Recently, I started construction on ‘Rush,’ a small plate, intimate restaurant with indoor seating, as well as a rooftop patio in New Ulm,” Bode said.

But it’s Lola’s that has the richest tradition in downtown New Ulm, and Bode is proud to have kept the popular Minnesota Street restaurant thriving. His move didn’t, however, come without pause.

“I definitely had my reservations about being able to go between all of these locations, but the teams that I have at each location, and even as a whole, are fantastic,” he said.

Bode did make some key changes. A wall was constructed to the south side of the kitchen to allow for more prep space for staff, and another wall will be taken down to allow for installation of a larger dishwasher.

Bode added, “We spruced up a few items, like furniture, bathrooms, etc., which will always be an ongoing process.”

Still, another key decision for Bode was to limit hours of operation, ending the evening dinner hours.

“This was a very hard decision,” Bode said.

“But we sat down and looked at how to become the best restaurant we could be. This meant we would no longer do larger caterings, our hours would change, and we would focus more on what our group could do together. One day we hope to bring back evening dinners and larger caterings but, for now, we just want to become the most well-oiled machine we can be.”

That doesn’t mean Bode is dropping the popular Lola’s food truck, which remains a busy part of the business. It does mean Lola’s staff may alter the direction a bit of where that food truck might appear.

“We are going to try to approach this next year, 2023, a little differently,” Bode said.

“I have booked a bunch of our fun, out-of-town caterings, but we also want to dive back into our own community. We have plans to run the truck right out by our store on weekends and days that we would normally not be running (the restaurant). We want to support the (New Ulm) downtown with a new menu for locals and tourists alike.”

And as with most in the food and beverage industry, staffing remains critical, he said.

“Staffing is tight in every industry right now. I just hope I can hold onto the awesome crew that I have at Lola. Seriously, every industry is feeling the staffing shortage.”

Bode knows how Leuth built up Lola’s and the reputation it carries throughout the region. And as he moves between his restaurant and business ventures, he places his confidence in both Lola’s veteran employees and new staff members.

“I cannot stress enough that I would not have done any of the ventures or even got into Lola without the individuals that I have working with me,” Bode said. “I hope that I can work with the current employees to meld what Lola is now with what my style is.”

Joint Replacement Surgery Important Choice, EasyDecision

Lola's menu includes unique, made-fromscratch sandwiches and other dishes, including this Veggie Dagwood.

7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays


For quality care, close to home, it’s OrthoEdge . The OrthoEdge Joint Replacement Program features two of the most experienced orthopaedic care providers in the area, The Orthopaedic& Fracture Clinic and River’s Edge Hospital .

• 3,000 successful hip, knee and other orthopaedic surgeries

• 245 years of combined orthopaedic surgery experience

• 1 of 13 hospitals in the nation accredited as a hip and knee replacement center of excellence

Getting the care you deserve and trust, close to home, makes OrthoEdge the right choice for joint replacement surgery.

Learn more at

Recognized for Being the Best!

River’s Edge Hospital has been recognized as a DNV GL Healthcare certified Orthopaedic Center of Excellence for:

• Hip & Knee Replacement

• Shoulder Surgery

• Spine Surgery

Plus, River’s Edge Hospital is top rated for patient experience!

Lola: An American Bistro Where: 16 N. Minnesota St., New Ulm When:


Speaking IPA 101

Remember all the great promises of learning a new language in high school or college? You could travel the world, increase your empathy, enhance your neuroplasticity and maybe even appear debonaire while showing off your skills.

Maybe your teachers implied these things. Or maybe you just imagined it all, says the guy who minored in French.

Well, learning to speak IPA can’t deliver any of that. But it can make you a little bit more knowledgeable next time you’re at the bar. Whether you’re a hophead or hater, it might make you want to branch out from your usual.

As with any language, though, there are disagreements. Sometimes it comes down to specificity — choosing the “mot juste,” as one might say after spending a couple of years and several

thousand bucks on a French minor.

IPAs are the dominant style in the U.S. They’re mainstream, and that always generates some disdain. I’ve felt it, too. Recently in a big-box retailer’s liquor store, I struggled to find a mixed pack that wasn’t at least half IPA. In the dead of winter. When all I wanted was a stout.

Depending on your dialect, fine lines could be drawn between what’s an actual term and what’s made-up marketing nonsense. Slapping the term IPA on something that already exists is a leading accusation. I’ve included a couple of controversial examples.

What matters is that you feel more confident in your selections, keep finding things you enjoy and have words to put to them.

LocAle’s Doradus is a solid example of an American IPA. Photos by James Figy

An incomplete IPA language glossary

American IPA . My May 2022 column mentioned how IPA as we know it is truly an American invention dating to the start of the craft beer revolution in the ’70s, despite its fabled beginnings in Britain. American IPAs (sometimes called APAs) focus on the floral, fruity, citrusy, piney or resinous characteristics of American hops.

Black IPA . A variety using roasted malts, creating a brownto-black color with roasty notes, first commercially brewed in the early ’90s.

Brut IPA. This bone-dry variety resembles champagne, but is rarely seen anymore.

Cascadian Dark Ale. Same as black IPA. This name was common on the West Coast and Pacific Northwest. Last year, Arbeiter Brewing Co. in Minneapolis released a dip-hopped black IPA with the tongue-in-cheek moniker “It’s Cascadian Dark Ale.”

Cold IPA . This crispy newish variety uses a malt bill and yeast common for lagers, meaning it ferments at a lower temperature than most ales.

DDH . This abbreviation indicates an IPA that has been double dry-hopped. That means the hops were added twice during fermentation, creating a more floral or fruity character, rather than in the boil, which produces the traditional bitter yet clear ale.

Dip-hopped . Pioneered by Japan’s Kirin Brewery Co. in 2012, this style caught fire in 2022. Dip hopping involves adding hops to the fermenter with just a small amount of wort or water, while the majority of the beer is cooling, before pitching yeast and dry hopping. Dip hopping increases floral or tropical notes, suppresses piney or dank notes and speeds up fermentation.

DIPA . A double IPA has a bigger malt and hop profile, along with higher ABV, though it’s not exactly two times what a standard IPA would have.

Fruited IPA. These IPAs don’t just taste fruity from the hop characteristics — they also have fruit purees to add flavor.

Hazy IPA. Again, my May 2022 column covered this extensively, but a hazy IPA relies on dry hopping and the addition of oats or other adjuncts to create a pleasant haziness.

IBU. An International Bitterness Unit measurement is supposed to describe how bitter a beer is. A standard APA should rate between 50-70 IBU, but the IBU doesn’t always tell the full story.

Imperial IPA. Same as double IPA.

IPL . While there are some marginal differences in adjuncts, the India Pale Lager was the forerunner to cold IPA. It was just ahead of its time.

Juicy IPA. A typically quite hazy IPA that has flavors of citrus and/ or stone fruit solely from the hop characteristics, not because any fruit puree has been added.

Milkshake IPA. This variety of hazy IPA includes both fruit puree and milk sugar (lactose) for an extra sweet and dessert-like flavor. The milkshake IPA had a big moment a few summers back but hasn’t maintained its popularity as well as the standard NEIPA.

NEIPA . The Northeast IPA denotes that juicy IPAs originated in New England with brews like The Alchemist’s Heady Topper. Today, breweries across Minnesota are equally adept at producing NEIPAs, in particular BlackStack Brewing in St. Paul.

TDH . An IPA with three additions of hops during fermentation.

TIPA. Like a DIPA, this denotes an ale that’s even stronger, fuller and higher in ABV.

West Coast IPA . In reaction to the rise of hazy IPAs, West Coast styles highlight traditional American hop varieties, with bitter or piney flavors, and a clear appearance.

QIPA . What can I say? Some breweries are getting wild out there with things like quadruple IPAs. Is it innovation, marketing or maybe a cry for help? Only you and your tastebuds can say. But hey, at least now you know the language to do so.

James Figy is a writer and beer enthusiast based in St. Paul. In Mankato, he earned an MFA in creative writing from Minnesota State University and a World Beer Cruise captain’s jacket from Pub 500. Twitter and Instagram: @JamesBeered

From fruited and northeast to dip-hopped, the variety of IPAs continues to grow.

A view from Washington

As I write this, I am again sitting in the front room of my sister's houseboat (aka floating home) overlooking Lake Union in Seattle. As opposed to the summer view, which is bright and sunny with spectacular sunsets, it's iron-gray outside with just a few splashes of dull color.

The lake is nice though, with periodic flotillas of mallards, cormorants, mergansers, grebes and American coots paddling by, and an occasional blue heron flying over. Boats are more scarce this time of year, but the ones that do crisscross the lake are decorated with Christmas lights.

Seattle is a great city for food and wine. There is a plethora of restaurants and, of course, Washington and Oregon wines are abundant. In a little corner grocery store called Pete's Super Market, just a few blocks from the houseboat, the Washington and Oregon wines share their own shelves apart from the rest of the store's generous and impressive inventory of California, French, Italian and other world wines.

The best-known brand from Washington is Chateau Ste. Michelle, a huge operation that makes mostly mid-priced whites, rosés, reds and sparklers. Yet its winemakers also create high-quality special cuvées, most of which are only available at the winery or to wine club members.

Chateau Ste. Michelle currently is located in Woodinville about 15 miles northeast of Seattle. But it's been in the news lately because it was sold to a private equity firm that has decided to close the home winery and move all winemaking production to eastern Washington, where the vast majority of the state's grapes are grown.

From a winemaking point of view, this makes great sense, but the home winery also has been a center

for cultural and musical events that entertain tens of thousands each year.

My sister's companion, John, is a former Boeing engineer turned winemaker turned winery owner. His wine work comes from being a member of the Boeing Employees Wine and Beer Makers Club (aka the Boeing Wine Club), from which as many as two dozen Washington wineries have emerged.

Unfortunately, as most were small operations in this era of massmarketed wines, few have survived, including John's Willis Hall label. Perhaps the most well-known of the survivors are Nota Bene, Cadence and Soos Creek.

(As an aside, John donated all the wine left in barrels in his cellars to a distillery to make hand sanitizer during the early stages of COVID in 2020.)

As I write this, I'm sampling a 2014 Nota Bene Arianses Vineyard Red Blend of the traditional Bordeaux varietals Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Such blends are common among Washington wineries, and varietal Cabernet Sauvignons and Merlot also are ubiquitous.

But equally as compelling are the Washington wines made from the traditional Rhône varietals such as Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre, or blends thereof, as these grapes do well in the eastern Washington climate of hot days and cool nights.

Smaller wineries and independent

vintners have pursued experimental blends, such as the 2012 Pleasant Hill Cellars Cinsault Cuvée that I enjoyed last night from Larry Lindvig, a key member of the Boeing Wine Club.

Cinsault is a minor blending grape from the Rhône, but Larry has made it a centerpiece in this blend that also includes Malbec, Petit Verdot and Tempranillo, mixing traditional grapes from the Rhône, Bordeaux and Spain. It was racy and spicy and truly one of the best reds I've had all year.

One evening we also enjoyed a 2015 Pleasant Hill Cellars Tempranillo-Tannat blend. Tempranillo is the primary grape of Rioja and Ribera del Duero, two of the premier wine-growing areas of Spain. Tannat is a grape mainly cultivated in southwest France and Uruguay.

While Tempranillo usually produces a medium-bodied, highly perfumed and potentially long-lived wine in Spain, Tannat is known for its over-the-top brawniness coupled with plenty of bitter tannins. I envision this blend as Beauty and the Beast dancing together.

Regrettably, to get these dynamic reds, you'd probably have to go to Washington. Yet exciting blends abound throughout the wine world. Varietals are fine, but to me, blends can be more nuanced in their creativity. (Important note: Pinot Noir is best as a 100 percent varietal.)

That said, this article has focused exclusively on hearty reds, appropriate for cold Washington and Minnesota winters. Come spring, I assure you, I'll give equal attention to the great white varietals and white blends from the Pacific Northwest.

Pomeroy is a Mankato-based writer and wine lover.




‘Days Like Smoke’

The origin story of Hassler’s novels

Nearly 15 years have passed since Jon Hassler died, and while his novels and his nature as a wry and moving writer live in the memory of many Minnesota readers, the passage of time has made it easy to forget the impact of his work and the stature it held beyond the borders of his home state.

In his foreword to Hassler’s posthumously published memoir, “Days Like Smoke,” novelist Will Weaver explains that, after a series of bestsellers in the 1970s and 1980s, Hassler’s many fans included people in high places.

“Not long after Jon Hassler returned from a private lunch at the White House with Hillary Clinton, a group of friends gathered at a lake cabin in northern Minnesota,” Weaver writes, recalling a 1993 get-together.

“We did not know of his trip to the White House, nor that Mrs. Clinton was a big fan of ‘Staggerford’ and other of his novels — and he did not mention it.”

In his stories, Hassler was a modest, humble presence and a careful observer with an understated sense of humor. It seems, from Weaver’s telling, that Hassler was the same in life and among his friends.

On the pages of “Days Like Smoke,” published by Afton Press in late 2021, Hassler describes his origins as the child of a grocer in the small Minnesota towns of Staples and Plainview.

The memoir is a slim book of fewer than 150 pages, and it’s difficult to discern whether Hassler considered it the beginning of a longer work. But after all these years, the chance to read something new, so to speak, from Hassler is a gift, and its brevity doesn’t reduce the fondness his fans will feel for it.

Hassler published more than 20 books during his lifetime, including a dozen novels and several books of nonfiction, along with short story

collections and children’s books. He was and remains best known for his 1977 debut, “Staggerford,” the tragicomic story of a small-town teacher during one defining week of his life in the classroom.

His subsequent novels included “The Love Hunter,” “A Green Journey,” and “North of Hope.” He was known for writing about people in small towns, and he was known for writing about teachers and priests and other people whose lives include significant responsibilities and negligible comforts.

In his 1987 novel “Grand Opening,” Hassler’s narrator is a pre-teen boy whose parents have purchased a grocery store in a small town much like Plainview. In “Days Like Smoke,” Hassler tells the true story that inspired the novel, and he explains how people he knew in Plainview inspired characters across his catalog of books.

“Although I would put off writing for another twenty years, I’ve always thought of the Red Owl Grocery Store in Plainview, Minnesota, as my training ground,

for it was there that I acquired the latent qualities necessary to the novelist,” Hassler writes, “from my dear German father, endurance, patience, resilience and sound working habits, and from my dear Irish mother, the fun of picking individuals out of a crowd and the joy of finding precise words to describe them.”

“Days Like Smoke” begins as a fairly straightforward chronological account of Hassler’s early years. He was born in Minneapolis, but his story really begins with his young days in Staples, where his father managed a grocery store and the family scrimped by during the Depression years.

During World War II, they returned to Minneapolis, and his father found work in a plant that manufactured grease guns intended to service military vehicles.

After only a short time in the city, Hassler’s parents bought a struggling little store on a gravel street in Plainview, about 100 miles southeast of Minneapolis.

Clearly, the years Hassler and


his parents spent there were not easy. His father worked long hours to keep the store on its feet, and his mother had to make her way in a community where she was a stranger.

And as an only child, Hassler experienced all of that without the buffer and aid of siblings. But he recalls with fondness his afternoons in the town’s movie theater, his nights on the gridiron as a member of the Plainview Gophers football team, and his unrequited love for his classmate Libby, who inspired a memorable character in “North of Hope.”

Whether you’ve read one or all or none of the books Hassler published during his lifetime, “Days Like Smoke” will provide you a brief but vivid encounter with a way of life that is lost and with a writer who was one of a kind.

Reading this powerful little memoir will likely compel you to discover or rediscover the books that made him famous and won him an invitation to a luncheon with Hillary.

START BUILDING YOUR DREAM NOW CALL 507-345-6653 SERVING SOUTHERN MN EEO/AA MN ID #BC757938 NEWCLIENTS BUY20UNITSOFBOTOX GET20UNITS FOR FREE ($240 VALUE) Checkoutallouramazingservicesat our websiteat 1351Madison Ave. |Suite127 Mankato, MN |507.740.0250 507-779-7188 • Mankato NEW LOCATION 113E.Hickory StreetMankato GIVING YOU MORE FOR YOUR MONEY Consistently a Top-Producing Agent in the Greater Mankato Area 507•345•4040 510 Long Street, Ste. 104 Mankato, MN ABR,
Happy Valentines Day!
Nick Healy is an author and freelance writer in Mankato.
CPS, GRI Karla Van Eman, ABR, CRS, GRI Owner/Broker


Shackets, nap dresses, other quandaries

DEAR ANN: What is a “shacket?” I would rather not enter the term into a search engine because it sounds vaguely obscene. Thank you for your help.

DEAR READER: You are absolutely correct in choosing not to search the term, because if you did, you’d get inanities like this from a style piece:

“A shacket is a crossover between a shirt and a jacket… it’s usually a little oversized and looks like a shirt, but made from a heavier material. And while the heavier material helps distinguish this piece of outerwear from a shirt, it’s also not quite a jacket. For starters, there’s typically no hood or lining. And while you can layer a shacket underneath heavier outerwear, it’s more often layered over tees, tanks or longsleeved shirts.”

Doesn’t sound inane to you? Well, it would if you were looking at the accompanying photos like I’m doing right now, and it’s all I can do not to shriek, “It’s a flannel, it’s a flannel, it is simply a flannel, stop calling it something else because IT IS A FLANNEL.”

Are you kidding me, “made from a heavier material?” It’s called flannel.

I think I’d be more accepting of this contrived awe if it included some small acknowledgement that while the term is new, the article of clothing itself is as old as time, or at least as old as the 1985 classic “The Breakfast Club” in which Judd Nelson wears the look to perfection (red shacket-I-meanflannel with cut-off sleeves atop a tight-fitting thermal).

So despite not knowing the term, you probably already own several shackets, and you should feel free to wear them out and about while they’re enjoying a moment.

Also, not that you asked, but I recently learned of the term the “nap dress,” and as a sewing enthusiast, at first I thought it referenced the texture of the fabric.

The term “nap,” in sewing, refers to the direction of the fibers. It’s really noticeable in corduroy or velour, and the direction it usually points is down.

For instance, if you’re a guest at somebody’s house, and you wash your hands in the kitchen so you can help chop vegetables or whatever, and they offer you a guest towel, and you do the Midwestern lady thing of saying, “Oh no, I don’t need to crumple that good towel, I’ll just use my skirt,” and then give your hands a shake and run them down the front of your skirt, what you’re doing — in addition to ineffectively and unsanitarily drying your hands — is smoothing the nap.

So, this is what I thought the nap skirt was about, i.e., somehow showcasing the nap itself as a feature of the garment.

It seemed totally on-trend with both gender-fluidity and neurodiversity that we’d invert the usual rule of fiber direction, so that garments like corduroy or velour or faux fur or microsuede would defy convention and provide the wearer with sensory stimulation.

Sadly, I was wrong. “Nap dress” refers to a poufy-sleeved nightgownish dress that’s comfortable enough to wear while napping, yet looks plausibly not-slept-in when you wake up

just in time for a cameras-on Zoom meeting.

I would probably be delighted by this concept had I not originally thought it was about something subversive and sewing-related. Alas, as your original hunch suggested, some things are better left not-Googled.

DEAR ANN: Is there some way I can be stylish and festive on Valentine’s Day, without wearing red or pink? Neither are flattering to my skin tone.

DEAR READER: Color theory to the rescue. Go with a subdued green, either mossy or grassy or lime. You’ll be festive by way of being supportive, by way of being complementary to all the red and pink in the room.

And, bonus, you’ll have a head start on classy St. Patrick’s Day attire.

Style icon Javier Trejo stands in emphatic opposition to my analysis of the term “shacket.” In his defense, the Japanese indigo denim garment he’s wearing here is definitely shacket-like and definitely not flannel.

DEAR ANN: Nail polish has gotten so complicated, I’m afraid to get a manicure any more because I don’t know what I’m supposed to want. I don’t think I want gel-anything. I definitely don’t want acrylics. I really don’t want tiny seasonal vignettes, not even on one finger. Any guidance would be appreciated because I usually enjoy a manicure midway through the winter but this year I’m just not sure I can handle it. Thank you.

DEAR READER: Fortunately for you, white polish is trending, and that’s as simple as it gets. White-white or pinkish white, matte or glossy, opaque or translucent.

Stride into any local nail salon, announce you’d like the hottest-trending white in old-school non-gel polish, and then take a seat and prepare to enjoy a midwinter oasis of warmth, exfoliation and elegance.


Submit it at (click on Ann’s Fashion Fortunes).

Ann Rosenquist Fee is executive director of the Arts Center of Saint Peter and host of Live from the Arts Center, a music and interview show Thursdays 1-2 p.m. on KMSU 89.7FM.

a question?
Style! …workin Newfallstylesarriving… FOOTWEAR UNIFORMS Mon.–Fri.8am–6pm •Sat.8am–5pm •Sun.11am–5pm TheSpring market hassprung! Areyou readyto buy orsell? Call us today! LocallyOwned |Serving MinnesotaandWisconsin 507.387.5151 -507.931.5313 WhoYou Hire Does MakeA Difference on YourBottomLine! CallUs Today!! Nolimit.Mustpresentcoupon.Reusablecoupongoodfor age 60+onMondaysonlyfrom 10am-4pm thru2/28/2023 ANYLIQUOR&WINE EveryMondaywiththisreusablecoupon! 340StadiumRoad,Mankato • 625-KEGS MondayIsSeniorDay! 15% Off 144 EM aineSt .A mboyMN56010 re BY APPOINTMENTONLY Nowrentingtuxes fromJimsFormal We ar Callor Text 507-995-2492 42 0N.M inn esota, St.Peter,M N 507- 93 4- 56 55 |sto nest hrowg aller 0 N M i nn esota S t Pete r M ea ch angi ng at Stones Th ro wGal le ry Gett ingr eady fora20% of fsale Febr ua ry 10 -24! (not Su nd ay s)


I Read Banned Books

The funky Bayfield bookstore, the kind of place where I could spend hours, featured a display of Salman Rushdie’s books.

A young fanatic had recently attempted to assassinate Rushdie, long a target of fundamentalists offended by one of those books.

Lots of offended folks these days are seeking not assassinations — not yet, anyway — but the banning of certain books. More than 1,600 have been targeted, by one account, including classics like “Catcher in the Rye,” “Catch 22” and “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.”

My favorite children’s book, “Where the Wild Things Are,” is on some lists. While I didn’t buy a book in Bayfield, I did notice, in a display near the cash register, a T-shirt and I just had to have. It sported the simple slogan, “I read banned books.”

The past year, I did indeed read a couple of books that various groups have tried to ban. One was Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison’s debut novel, “The Bluest Eye.”

Writers are often urged to write what they know, and Morrison, growing up Black, knew intimately the Black experience. So she portrayed the deep grittiness of life for some Black folks who’d moved north, struggling for a better life in the middle of the last century.

It’s a coming-of-age story that portrays violence and incest, and yes, some parts are uncomfortable.

Should we ban the book because it is truthful? If a parent does not want their child reading it, I can understand, and they should have the right, as many school districts offer, to choose an alternate book. But not the right to say no child can read it.

In some locales, self-appointed censors have tried to ban Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried,” which I consider the

best novel about the war that transformed my generation: the Vietnam War.

The complaints are that the book is filled with F-bombs and violence and some “pornography.” What does one expect in a war novel? I assume the complainers never served.

As to F-bombs, when I got off the bus at basic training at Fort Bragg, the first word I heard was “you,” the second was a particular variation of the F-bomb. F-bombs, as nearly every part of speech, are maybe the most-used words in the military.

Anyway, kids these days hear the F-bomb flung about on the playground from an early age. Should we then keep our kids off the playgrounds?

As for the “pornographic” parts, well, war is pornographic, and 16- and 17-year-olds should know what situations politicians might want to throw them into. I went to school with Tim in St. Paul; I know how much he gave up to serve as a drafted grunt in Vietnam. His books should be read by all.


If I were banning books, I would start with those by hate-monger Alex Jones.

But there it was, his latest, prominently displayed at a local bookstore. I considered burying the book at the bottom of a pile, but I didn’t. If someone wants to read it, they’ll find it.

It’s still a free country, for now. I also had this thought: If “pornography” is the complaint (and the term is too freely applied), might not “Song of Solomon” in the Bible be banned? The language is beautiful, but it is also rather juicy.


A novel that should have no trouble with censors, but that I found a great read, is Claire Keegan’s “Small Things Like These.”

A small book that can be read in an evening or two, its beautiful and economical use of language to tell a tale based on the tragic treatment of pregnant unwed mothers and their babies in Ireland through much of the 20th century got it short-listed for the prestigious Booker Prize.

Its appealing protagonist is what we might call an ordinary man who rises to nobility through a small, defiant action.

Finally, if you’re looking for an easy read at bedtime, or any time of day, pick up anything by Carl Hiassen.

His densely plotted novels feature multiple story lines, all set in Florida’s crazy socio-political climate. Hiassen’s day job as a Miami newspaperman has given him endless material that often leads — even when the stories deal with dastardly financial shenanigans and murder — to laugh-out-loud moments with characters who tend to be zany and outlandish.

One caution for the politically sensitive: Hiassen is not afraid to skewer any Florida politician or arrogant capitalist; he can also be ribald at times. But he is always entertaining.

I enjoy writing this annual books column for winter days when it’s sometimes easier to stay inside. Thanks for suggestions some readers have made about what should be up next from the bookshelf.

Longtime radio guy Pete Steiner is now a free lance writer in Mankato.


Relax in Montgomery’s only rooftop pool and spa. Escape to the elegance of Mobile’s historic Battle House Hotel. Come experience Alabama’s top hotels, resorts, and courses along the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Stay in eight luxury hotels and play 26 world-class courses from the Tennessee River to Mobile Bay. Laugh, play, explore, and relax in picturesque settings. Pamper yourself in luxury spas. Tee off with family and friends. Walk to area attractions. Enjoy farm-to-table cuisine. It’s time to plan your next trip to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. To learn more, visit or call 800.949.4444. We will be here awaiting your arrival.

Your contribution to Shrimpin' - Mardi Gras Style makes it possible to provide one-on-one tutoring for students struggling with For further information go to: EIN 61-1915154 17 FEB Friday, February 17th - Kato Ballroom 5 : 3 0 p m - 9 : 3 0 p m Live Music Dinner 6 : 00 – 7:00 French Quarter Casino Join Good Counsel Learning Center for Mardi Gras and help advance literacy in our community. Thanks to Our Shrimpin’ Sponsors Taylor Corporation Bastian Family Foundation Schola Foundation Free Press Media School Sisters of Notre Dame Profinium Tailwind Group Sign Pro Farrish Johnson Law Office WOW! Zone MEI Pratt Wealth Management St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Serra Ministry of Mankato Community Bank Holy Rosary Council of Catholic Women Knights of Columbus #5551 Knutson+Casey Adams Auto Kato Roofing Radio Mankato
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.