The Woman Today - April 2024

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WOMANthe today

UWS student award winner

• Duluth Community Garden Program has tools you need

• Emy DeWitt helps coordinate Interchange project

• Helen Smith Stone is Minnesota’s top quilter

• Modern cabin serves as a North Shore family retreat

Heaven Waasiikwe Fleming
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4 April 2024 PROFILES 6 Helen Smith Stone Duluth woman named 2024 Minnesota Quilter of the Year 10 Heaven Waasiikwe Fleming UWS student named 2023 Outstanding Woman of Color in Education 14 Emy Dewitt Steel-toed boots and bouquets contents april 2024 vol. 28, no. 3 WOMAN the today Pick up The Woman Today at a store near you. View us at Like us on 14 54 58 FEATURES 18 Shining a spotlight on female composers 26 Come grab a shovel; it's free to use from the library 30 Strong women designing strong buildings meant to last a lifetime ENTERTAINMENT/ARTS 22 Arts and Events Calendar HEALTH/MEDICINE 20 Essentia Keeping dreams on track 24 St. Luke’s A brush with a 'Widowmaker' KIDS KORNER 52 Sloane's Suggestions/Kids Korner HOME TOUCHES 34 Modern cabin serves as a North Shore family retreat REMARKABLE RENOVATIONS 44 Renovating a historic home in Superior FOOD/NUTRITION 54 Sweet or savory crunchy chicken salad THE WOMAN YESTERDAY 58 Irene Levine Paull (1908-1981)

WOMAN the today



Rick Lubbers


Ali Carlson


Kim Quinones


Renae Ronquist



AGC of Minnesota

Alexis Elder

Amy Carlson

Andrea Busche

Comstock Creative

DSGW Architects

Heaven Fleming

Helen Smith Stone

Janna Goerdt

Julie Spiering

Molly Milroy

Noah Beardslee

Hemma Design for Living

Laura Jean Media Services

Steven “Tigg” Tiggemann

University of Wisconsin-Superior

Wendy Durrwachter


Hello, Woman Today readers!

The poet T.S. Eliot famously wrote in “The Waste Land” that “April is the cruelest month.” I take a somewhat rosier view of the fourth month of the year.

Even when April can’t make up its mind whether it will be wintry or springlike — sometimes a little of both on the same day! — the cold, dark and bluster of winter are finally waning and giving way to more sun and nature popping back to life after a long winter’s map.

Thanks for picking up this issue of The Woman Today. While April gives way to true spring, here are some of the stories we’re excited to share with you in this issue:

• You’ll meet quilting guru Helen Smith Stone, who was recently honored as the 2024 Minnesota Quilter of the Year.

• Duluth composer and pianist Wendy Durrwachter was commissioned by the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra to create a modern composition, which had its world premiere in Duluth in November.

• Visit a tucked-away modern cabin near Two Harbors that serves as a retreat for multiple generations of one family.

• Emy DeWitt is at the center of the Twin Ports Interchange reconstruction project as the assistant superintendent for the massive interchange rebuild.

• Learn how to reserve free gardening equipment from the Duluth Community Garden Program.

Thanks for spending some of your time reading The Woman Today. Your readership is greatly appreciated.

Today is published by Duluth News Tribune. Mailed copies available for $32 per year (eight issues). Send check to The Woman Today®, 222 W. Superior St., Duluth, MN 55802
Fleming, a recipient of the 2023 Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award, is shown wearing a ribbon skirt she made herself. The photo was taken circa 2021, at the home of her father, David Waabigekek Fleming. PHOTO COURTESY OF HEAVEN FLEMING © 2024 Forum Communications Company All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

Duluth woman named 2024 Minnesota Quilter of the Year

Helen Smith Stone autographs her page in the 2022 AQS QuiltArt Engagement Calendar at the Paducah, Ky., Quilt Show. Helen Smith Stone Poppies” is an original design by Helen Smith Stone, longarm quilted by Norma Riehm and thread painting by Smith Stone.

For Duluth resident Helen Smith Stone, creating beautiful quilts is undoubtedly a form of artistic expression. But it’s so much more than that.

Quilting is also a connection to her past. She began the hobby after being inspired by her grandmother’s quilts. It provides a clear path into the future, too, as she continues to teach and mentor others in the art form.

So, she was deeply touched when she was recently named the 2024 Minnesota Quilter of the Year, by Minnesota Quilters, Inc., based in St. Paul. The award was established in 1997 to honor a Minnesota quilter who has dedicated time and talent to the preservation and promotion of quilting; has made a significant impact on the quilt community, both locally and nationally; has a collection of personal and professional quilt work; and has been a Minnesota resident for the past five years.

“When I received the call from the president of the board, I was speechless,” Smith Stone said. “I was so surprised and honored. Quilting has been such a big part of my life for the past 45 years. So receiving this award fills me with joy and gratitude.”

Rural upbringing

Smith Stone grew up in Windom, Minnesota. Her father, Oscar, was a businessman who also raised horses. Her mother, Rosie, was a homemaker. Smith Stone and her four siblings were taught the value of hard work and personal responsibility.

“We all learned how to ride horses and take care of them,” she said. “We were also very active in 4-H, where we also raised rabbits and grew veggies. And I first learned how to sew in 4-H.”

Smith Stone was taught to hand-embroider by her mother when she was 8 or 9. In her youth, she practiced her sewing skills by creating clothing, including blouses, slacks and skirts. She also enjoyed singing, playing the alto saxophone and twirling baton. But the inspiration for quilting came from her grandmother, Stella Smith, who was a prolific quilter.

Education and career

After graduating from Windom High School, Smith Stone decided to further her education. She first earned an Associate of Arts degree in business/ secretarial science from St. Cloud State University.

Later, she would return to the classroom, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in education from the University of Minnesota Duluth, and a master’s degree in educational media and technology from the College of St. Scholastica.

Smith Stone’s career has mostly been

in professional education settings, including libraries. She spent 15 years working at UMD, first as a librarian and in technical services, and later as a development director.

She also served as development director at Marshall School, KUMD Public Radio, and local public television station, WDSE. She worked in a variety

public school libraries



Smith Stone moved to Duluth with her then-husband in 1974. She was working hard and needed a distraction, which is where quilting entered her life.

“My jobs were full of pressure and stress,” she said. “It got to a point where I was always thinking about fundraising. I needed a creative outlet. I had always admired quilts my

Continued on page 8


Helen Smith Stone and her husband, Sam, sail in the Apostle Islands on one of their wedding anniversaries. The couple was married on a sailboat in the Apostle Islands on Sept. 28, 2001. Helen Smith Stone’s latest art quilt is an original design called “When Harry Met Sally,” featuring raised and released monarch butterflies. Harmony” is a Guitar Quartet pattern by Robbi Joy Eklow, fusible applique and longarm quilted by Helen Smith Stone. of as
“The Beauty of Courtship” is a New York Beauty pattern by Karen K. Stone, pieced and longarm quilted by Helen Smith Stone.

Grandma Stella Smith made, and was inspired by her. At one point, I said, ‘Someday, I want to do this myself.’”

Smith Stone is partially self-taught, but finding a mentor was also key to her success.

“I got books and read about quilting,” she said. “I am also a visual learner, so I watched some public TV programs about quilting. But later I met Shirley Kirsch, who became my mentor and taught me to quilt.”

Eventually, Smith Stone became one of the first longarm quilters in the Twin Ports. (A longarm is a type of quilting machine.) Eventually, she became so skilled that she began teaching classes. She now has a studio in the Arrowhead Place Building, and also teaches at Duluth Folk School.

Additionally, she created a quilting show in 2002, called Quilting the Quilt, which later became Quilting on the Waterfront. The event was held at the DECC for several years until it was retired.

Smith Stone is also the founder and longtime leader of Duluth’s Quilt Guild, a nonprofit educational organization. She also is a member and volunteer for Northern Lights Quilters Guild.

All these years later, Smith Stone has created a total of 40 quilts. Her son, Lane Smith Prekker, was born in 1979, and his birth was the inspiration for her very first quilt. He also received beautiful quilts from his mother for several other milestones, including high school and culinary arts school graduation, and later for his 40th birthday.

Other hobbies

Smith Stone and her husband, Sam Stone, a retired teacher, were married in 2001. They are enjoying retirement while maintaining an active lifestyle.

They volunteer at their church, First United Methodist (“The Coppertop”), and enjoy spending time at their cabin on Lake of the Woods. Smith Stone also raises and releases monarch butterflies, hikes, cooks and loves reading and doing yoga.


Reflecting on 45 years of quilting, Smith Stone offered some helpful tips for people interested in picking up the hobby.

“I would suggest joining a group, like a quilt guild,” she said. “There you can meet other quilters you can learn from — we love to share what we know. And I would really encourage taking a class for beginners, and then continuing to take classes as you progress.”

As an experienced quilter, Smith Stone now finds deep fulfillment in sharing her knowledge. She even taught her mother how to quilt.

“For me, it’s been a really wonderful experience to be a mentor,” she said. “I started teaching so I could share my experience with others.”

8 April 2024
Compass” is a Vintage Compass pattern by Judy Niemeyer, pieced by Helen Smith Stone and longarm quilted by Marlene Hiltner.

be held at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center June 13-15. The event, which features educational workshops, supplies and inspiration for all quilters, is open to the public. More information can be found at ✤

Minnesota Quilt Show

Smith Stone will be recognized with the 2024 Quilter of the Year Award at the Minnesota Quilt Show, which will

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Helen Smith Stone and her son, Lane Smith Prekker, are shown at the 2019 Mother’s Day Brunch when Lane was executive chef at the Duluth Women's Club. Andrea Busche is a Duluth-based freelance writer and small-business owner. She has been a frequent contributor to The Woman Today since 2008.
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2023 UWS student named Outstanding Woman of Color in Education

While 23-year-old Heaven Waasiikwe

Fleming feels deeply connected to her Indigenous roots, that hasn’t always been the case. Although she and her family are enrolled members of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band, she attended the predominantly white Drummond High School.

Fleming often felt self-conscious when, for instance, she would wear the large, beaded earrings her grandmother had lovingly made for her. But at home her heritage was celebrated.

“I always knew we were Native,” Fleming said. “My Ojibwe name, Waasiikwe, was given to me by a friend of my grandparents who had dreamed about it. My aunts and grandma taught me to make moccasins. And my dad, David Waabigekek Fleming, knew a little bit of the Ojibwe language. He always brought home fresh fish and emphasized the importance of wild rice in our culture.”

School and work

Fleming is a senior at the University of WisconsinSuperior, which is also her father’s alma mater. David earned a degree in business administration and has worked for both Northland College and LCO Ojibwe Community College over the years.

Heaven, meanwhile, is pursuing a degree in elementary education with a double minor in American Indian studies and instruction. She has wanted to be a teacher for as long as she can remember.

“My favorite thing to do with my siblings when we were kids was to play school. But I always had to be the teacher,” she added with a laugh.

Fleming lives in her own home on the LCO reservation near Hayward, Wisconsin, and attends her classes remotely.

Fleming has a lot on her plate. In addition to her studies, she works full time as a paraprofessional at the Waadookodaading Ojibwe Language Institute, a K-9 Ojibwe immersion school in Hayward. She also volunteers her time as an elementary-level basketball coach. The language learning curve has been undoubtedly steep for Fleming.

“At our school, we only speak Ojibwe; no English,” she

Heaven Waasiikwe Fleming walks along the Chippewa Flowage in 2023.
Heaven Waasiikwe Fleming

Recipients of the 2023 Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award were formally recognized on Nov. 9, 2023, in Madison, Wis., at an awards ceremony and reception hosted by the Universities of Wisconsin. From left: Monica Smith, associate vice president, Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging; Salisa Hochstetler, UW-Superior director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; Heaven Fleming, UWS student; and Jay Rothman, Universities of Wisconsin president.

explained. “I only started learning Ojibwe last year and, at first, could only say words like ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye.’ Now I know a bit more. Mentally, I know I’m ready to be a teacher, but I still have a lot more to learn with the language.”

Thankfully, she has plenty of colleagues she can rely on for guidance. This includes her aunt, Bezhig Hunter, who is also a teacher at the Institute.

Upon graduation, Fleming plans to continue working at the Institute, with

plans to transition from a paraprofessional to a teacher. She finds deep fulfillment in sharing the importance of her culture with young people.

“The kids here learn everything within the Wisconsin educational standards, but it’s taught in the Ojibwe language, and we look at everything through that lens,” she said. “The kids also learn our cultural traditions like spearing, sugar bushing and ricing.”


Recently, the University of Wisconsin-Superior named Fleming a recipient of the 2023 Outstanding Women in Color in Education Award. This annual honor is given to faculty, staff, students or community members

Continued on page 12

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to recognize their achievements in advancing equity and inclusion for people of color within the University of Wisconsin System, as well as communities across the state. This year marks the 28th anniversary of the award, through which more than 400 women of color have been recognized for their transformational work.

Recipients were formally recognized on Nov. 9, 2023. An awards ceremony and reception were held in Madison and hosted by the Universities of Wisconsin.

Leadership at UW-Superior is incredibly proud of Fleming’s achievements.

“Heaven has accomplished so much already at a young age and has been an

outstanding leader on campus,” said UW-Superior’s Maria Stalzer Wyant Cuzzo, Ph.D., J.D., provost, and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs.

“Her commitment to sharing her native Ojibwemowin language and culture with fellow students and the broader UW-Superior campus community have greatly enriched the learning experience and fostered a sense of belonging for all. I look forward to seeing how Heaven uses her UWSuperior education major to make a positive impact for her students and community members in the future. There is no doubt that she is creating a lasting, positive legacy that will benefit many.”

This isn’t the first time Fleming was recognized for her hard work. In 2022, she was awarded the Electa Quinney Institute Leaders of the Good Land Scholarship, which is awarded to Indigenous students in the Universities of Wisconsin, and based on academic achievement.


Fleming shares her life with her partner, Ryan Ayaabe, and her 8-yearold stepson, Naawigiizhig, who attends school at the Institute. Ayaabe is also a UW-Superior student, pursuing a degree in psychology, while working in the LCO Elder Center.

Together, the family enjoys playing board games, video games and sledding. Fleming also enjoys spending time with her family of origin, including her father and her four siblings.


Fleming is deeply grateful to have received this special honor from her university.

“Out of the 14 recipients of this award, two of us were Indigenous females. I hope this inspires all Native women to continue to work hard to achieve whatever they put their minds to,” she said. “And I hope they will take up space in the academic world. Representation is important.”

She is also pleased to be able to provide a positive example for the youth in her community.

“A lot of the kids I work with are so impressed that I go to college. It’s important for them to see that they can do big things, too.” ✤

Andrea Busche is a Duluth-based freelance writer and small-business owner. She has been a frequent contributor to The Woman Today since 2008.

12 April 2024
Heaven Waasiikwe Fleming is crowned Miss Honor the Earth at the Lac Courte Oreilles Honor the Earth Powwow in 2022.
Heaven Waasiikwe Fleming, her sister, Minwaanimadikwe, and her son, Naawigiizhig, attend a winter storytelling event in Fond du Lac, Minnesota, in 2023.
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Heaven Waasiikwe Fleming, her partner, Ryan Ayaabe, and their son, Naawigiizhig, at the Waadookodaading Ojibwe Language Institute graduation ceremony in 2023.


From a jackhammer crew to supervising ‘can of worms’ build, Emy DeWitt loves big construction jobs


a glimpse of Emy DeWitt when she’s on-site at the Twin Ports Interchange reconstruction project (otherwise known as the “can of worms”), and she will certainly be wearing a pair of steel-toed boots.

And if it’s late summer, she just might be carrying a bouquet of flowers.

But you’d have to be quick to find DeWitt at all, because, as the assistant superintendent for the massive interchange rebuild, she has to be everywhere all at once. She is responsible for making sure the supplies, equipment and personnel are in the right place at the right time for the $435-million, four-year construction project to proceed.

“I walk a lot,” said DeWitt, who grew up in Duluth and now lives in Hermantown with her husband and baby boy.

DeWitt’s workday typically begins around 4 a.m., when she arrives at the job site and begins making sure everything is ready to go. She might have to handle last-minute changes due to weather, supply flow issues or replacing a crew member who is out sick for the day.

“I’m keeping people going, organizing materials, making sure people are in the right place, making sure the materials are there ahead of the crew,” DeWitt said.

And she is walking, walking, walking around the job site. DeWitt walks so much that she wears out a pair of boots about every six months.

Overseeing a major civil engineering project wasn’t exactly the kind of job DeWitt was training for when she earned a

~ Emy DeWitt ~

Emy DeWitt of Hermantown learned that she loves working on large construction projects when she joined a jackhammer crew that was making repairs on the

degree in accounting at the College of St. Scholastica.

But in 2012, when DeWitt came home to Duluth for the summer, she joined the local laborers union and jumped on a jackhammering crew at work on the Blatnik Bridge. She took to the hard, physical work, and the crew superintendent encouraged her to stay with the company. DeWitt spent the next five years with PCiRoads, repairing joints on bridges throughout a five-state area.

There were a few tips she quickly learned. DeWitt describes herself as a “red-haired, freckle-faced, very fair-skinned person,” and the very first time she worked a 14-hour shift operating a jackhammer in the open sun and wind, “I had never been so sunburned in my life,” she said.

DeWitt learned to continually apply “nothing less than 50 SPF,” she said, and learned that she loved this kind of work.

She has always been attracted to physical labor. DeWitt worked alongside mostly men in her early career, when there were just a few women on the crew. But that ratio never bothered her, having grown up with four brothers and a family that encouraged her love of rough-and-tumble sports like hockey.

DeWitt said she learned how to do most of her job while on the job, and stepped into the managerial realm with a lot of support and encouragement along the way. DeWitt rose

Continued on page 16

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As assistant superintendent for the massive Twin Ports Interchange Project in Duluth, Emy DeWitt, pictured at left, is responsible for coordinating people, supplies and equipment so construction can continue. That means a lot of phone calls.

through the ranks to become a project supervisor at Kraemer North America.

“I have been very blessed that I work with people who are accepting of women in (the construction) workplace,” DeWitt said. “We have come a long way, but we still have steps to take.”

“What makes Emy outstanding is her passion for the industry,” said Steve Kaldenbach, vice president and area manager for Kraemer North America. Kaldenbach has been DeWitt’s supervisor since she joined the company.

“She always wants to be better, to improve, and she wants to see that in our other employees also,” Kaldenbach said. DeWitt’s ability to not get bogged down in the details of every small decision and still be able to step back and look at the bigger picture are crucial for someone in her position, he said.

DeWitt’s own mother has worked in the trades for 37 years, and DeWitt’s sister works for Kraemer North America as well.

“Emy is a very big advocate for women in construction,” Kaldenbach said. “It is very male-dominated. Companies are trying to change that, and Emy has been a part of that. She has helped a lot of other women” who have entered the construction field.

Associated General Contractors of Minnesota (the association serving the commercial construction industry of Minnesota) assembled a profile of 14 women, representing diverse trades, currently working on the Twin Ports Interchange Project. One woman missing from the photos — but memorialized on each woman’s orange safety vest with a large “RD” logo — is Roberta Dwyer, a longtime civil engineer with the Minnesota Department of Transportation in Duluth. DeWitt is proud to count herself among the hands-on workers, as well as the supervisors.

“I love the physical labor,” DeWitt said. “I love that I don’t just get to manage this project; I get to be in the field, with the crews, pouring concrete, shoveling, forming. I love being outside every day. It’s really satisfying that at the end of the day you can see what you built.”

Oh, and about those flowers.

When she isn’t working a 14-hour construction shift or mothering her new baby boy, DeWitt and her husband enjoy gardening. He grows the vegetables, while Emy tends to 500 or so gladiolus flowers she plants every year. And Emy likes to share the beauty.

Mindful that a construction career often means long stretches on the road, away from your family, Emy DeWitt frequently sends bouquets of flowers home with her crew members, for them to give to their wives, girlfriends, daughters or other family members.

“It’s a hard life, living on the road,” DeWitt said. “When you come home, you try to be present.”

And bringing along a bouquet from a grateful supervisor doesn’t hurt. Kaldenbach knows first-hand.

“I have been a recipient of the flowers,” Kaldenbach said. “That’s Emy. She’s always focused on other people, not just thinking about herself.” ✤


16 April 2024
Project engineer Mikayla Anderson, left, and assistant superintendent Emy DeWitt are all smiles on the job site at Duluth's can of worms, officially called the Twin Ports Interchange. Goerdt is an Iron Range farmer and freelance writer. The Twin Ports Interchange Project will cost an estimated $435 million to complete.


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Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra brings the work of women composers to the stage this season


Wendy Durrwachter talks with DSSO Music Director Dirk Meyer prior to her new work "Laurentia" being performed at the DECC’s Symphony Hall. The DSSO is bringing more female composers to the stage this season.

Wendy Durrwachter is still in a bit of disbelief, even months after listening to her new composition premiere with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra.

“The fact that we have an orchestra of such high caliber in such a small town … I’m still pinching myself,” said Durrwachter, a Duluth composer.

The DSSO has spent most of its current season elevating the work of women composers, from modern works like Durrwachter’s “Laurentia” to resurrected classics that were not fully recognized in their day. It’s one element of a three-year project to highlight the works of composers that have historically been marginalized — Black composers, American composers, and women composers, said orchestra Executive Director Brandon VanWaeyenberghe.

“Overall, industry-wide, Black and female composers — and some American composers as well — have not gotten a lot of dues,” VanWaeyenberghe said. He and Music Director Dirk

Meyer developed the three-year project to elevate lesser-known works and bring new works to the stage.

“Brandon and I felt that it would be really worthwhile to shine a light on some underrepresented composers,” Meyer said. “There are so many of them, we came up with a threeyear artistic initiative.”

To his surprise, Meyer l earned that the DSSO had performed only a handful of works by female composers in its 91-year history.

That’s true at the DSSO, and it’s true of most symphony orchestras. There had been fewer than 10 performances of female composers prior to this season, VanWaeyenberghe said.

“There is so much great music that is rarely performed,” Meyer said. Over the course of the three-year project so far, audiences have reacted favorably to the unfamiliar works. They are curious to hear the new stuff,” while the performances also embrace the more familiar classics.


Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra

Music Director Dirk Meyer, left, is pictured with composer Wendy Durrwachter, second from left, and Minnesota Public Radio President Duchesne Drew and MPR host Angela Davis on the night of the premiere of Durrwachter's "Laurentia."

VanWaeyenberghe said that planning such long-term storylines is helpful from an administrative perspective.

“It’s interesting and challenging, making sure we are not doing the same things over and over again,” VanWaeyenberghe said. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony might be an audience favorite, he said, but people wouldn’t want to hear it every year.

And the DSSO doesn’t want to just throw in a token piece by a female composer, or a Black composer, or an American composer, and feel like they have done their work, VanWaeyenberghe said. Rather, they are exploring and presenting these topics deeply and deliberately.

The modern “Laurentia” piece “aimed to capture the essence and grandeur of Lake Superior’s historically evolving formations and the waterways that surround us,” Durrwachter explained.

“A lot of symphonies are trying to feature the work of women composers and other marginalized composers,” Durrwachter said.

So while she was surprised and delighted at the invitation to work with the DSSO, it fit with the times, and Durrwachter had been working hard to put her name out there as a composer, she said.

Of course, Durrwachter was in the audience during the premiere.

“I was really pleased,” she said of the performance. “I tried to design (“Laurentia”) so that it had enough interesting parts for really skilled performers, and it would challenge the listeners in a modern way.”

Durrwachter’s composition also fits with the DSSO’s general

Duluth composer and pianist Wendy Durrwachter was commissioned by the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra to create a modern composition, which had its world premiere in Duluth in November.

mission of bringing new music to the stage.

“We are really thoughtful about integrating what we have done, and doing it in an authentic manner,” VanWaeyenberghe said.

Meyer celebrated being able to present the new piece from Durrwachter, and he is eagerly anticipating bringing Clara Schumann’s work to the stage. A range of pieces from female composers are woven among classics from Mozart, Brahms and Tchaikovsky this season.

Meyer said he is always actively seeking out unfamiliar music, something that catches his ear and sticks in his brain. A small percentage of that music ultimately finds its way to the stage with the DSSO — and only the pieces that have depth and meaning, “not just a shine on the outside,” Meyer said.

When he began collecting works for the current season, Joan Tower came immediately to mind. They chose the short piece “The Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman,” which is Tower’s answer to Aaron Copland’s recognizable “Fanfare for the Common Man.”

“It’s a really fresh, nice piece,” Meyer said. “I like it a lot.”

Several of the works this season are by female composers who were virtuosos in their day, but ended up being passed over in favor of male relatives.

Take the case of Clara Schumann, who was a composer and a piano virtuoso in her day. She actually changed the way pianists performed in concert, and was one of the first performers to play from memory alone. But because she was a

Continued on page 21


Keeping dreams on track

How Essentia Health kept a young man’s aspirations intact

Afootball player, a firefighter and an aspiring pilot. These are just a few things that Duluth’s Dustin Sindlinger is known for.

When responding to a major storm that rolled through Hayward, Wisconsin, last summer, Sindlinger, then 17, tweaked his knee. He didn’t even realize the injury until the next morning. It was even more noticeable at football practice.

“During practice, I heard a pop in my knee, felt a bunch of pain and was crippled on the ground,” Sindlinger explained.

An MRI revealed a torn meniscus, which would require surgery. Essentia Health’s Dr. Phillip Thomas was chosen to lead the relatively routine procedure. However, once surgery began, it was clear that Sindlinger’s tear was much worse than the MRI indicated.

“My whole knee was shredded,” Sindlinger said. “Thankfully, Dr. Thomas knew what he was doing and was able to fix it.”

Dr. Thomas had planned for about a 20-minute surgery. Due to the complications, it ended up taking about 90 minutes. But Dr. Thomas knew that if Sindlinger’s knee wasn’t fixed right, it could jeopardize his plans of being a pilot. So he took every precaution to ensure the knee was repaired properly. If not, Sindlinger could have been looking at a lifetime of pain, potentially early-onset arthritis and a knee replacement.

“It was definitely tough,” Sindlinger said. “I’ve never had a broken bone or torn anything. So it was kind of a new experience.”

Thankfully, the surgery was a success. But Sindlinger’s road to recovery wasn’t over. He underwent several months of rehab and therapy to regain his range of motion and mobility.

“Trying to relearn something that you’ve been able to do your entire life was definitely a learning curve,” Sindlinger explained.

But all the hard work paid off. Sindlinger went back to the fire department, has returned to college and his knee is on the mend.

“Dr. Thomas’ commitment to my son saved my son’s future,”

When Dustin Sindlinger tore his meniscus last summer, he turned to Essentia Health. After surgery and several months of rehab and therapy, he's back to doing the things he loves.

said Dustin’s mom, Julie Sindlinger. “At our first consultation, Dr. Thomas looked me square in the eye, put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘We are going to take good care of your son.’ And they did.”

“Essentia helped me get through this process by giving me a doctor that was overqualified, to say the least, to help me live a life where I can live pain-free, live with a knee that works 100%,” explained Dustin.

“Words cannot express my gratitude for this team,” Julie said.

Essentia has a robust team of orthopedic specialists focused on treating a wide range of issues with knees, hips, feet, hands and more. Their expertise includes nonsurgical care, pediatric orthopedics, sports medicine and more.

Because most of the patients we treat don't need surgery, we offer a variety of nonsurgical options, which we explore first. Our team is trained to know when physical therapy, medications and other alternatives can be used. However, when surgery is needed, patients can rest easy knowing we use advanced surgical techniques. Our orthopedic surgeons use minimally invasive and robot-assisted surgery methods whenever possible. These techniques improve precision and patient outcomes, while reducing recovery time and scarring.

Patients can access our services through a variety of resources. This includes our clinics, virtual visits and our orthopedic urgent care — to get immediate care for sprains, breaks and more. ✤

Anthony Matt is the media relations specialist at Essentia Health.


Continued from page 19

woman in the mid19th century, she never achieved the same fame as her husband, Robert Schumann.

“She was a trailblazer, a very successful piano virtuoso, more so than her husband,” Meyer said. “But her compositions get ignored.”

Until now. On April 13, for the first time on the Duluth stage, audiences will hear Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto, performed by UkrainianAmerican pianist Anna Shelest. VanWaeyenberghe heard the piece performed by the Houston Symphony, and he immediately called Meyer to advocate for bringing Clara Schumann to the Duluth stage.

“It’s one of those pieces people don’t know about, but it sounds amazing, and people will fall in love with it,” VanWaeyenberghe said.

The DSSO directors are putting the finishing touches on the musical lineup for year three of the project, which will

feature American composers. The season will include at least five Minnesota or Midwest premiere performances, Meyer said. Year three will also cap this deep exploration into new and interesting music for the symphony, he said.

“It was great to dive into this,” Meyer said. “There’s a big difference between knowing a work and performing a work. It’s been really great getting to know these pieces.”

“My big hope is that once we finish this project, we keep going, we keep on doing this,” VanWaeyenberghe said. “Our big goal is to put new music on the canon.” ✤

The score of "Laurentia," a new work by Wendy Durrwachter. Clara Schumann was a German composer from the mid-1880s.
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Arts & Events Calendar

TThe West Theatre Events


John Mellencamp

8 p.m. April 4

We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always call ahead to confirm dates, times, location, and other information.


April 11-27

April 10 - Peter Yarrow with Mustard’s Retreat; April 11 - Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys (with Westside Andy); April 18 - Albert Cummings; and April 30 - Kathy Mattea. Find updated information at thewesttheatre/

Trackside Jazz

Saturdays in April

Every Saturday now through April 27 is Jazz Day at the Duluth Depot. The former Club Saratoga Jazz Quartet performs live at 3 p.m., trackside, in the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. Visit

Minnesota Film Festival

April 3-7

Zeitgeist’s annual Minnesota Film Festival showcases films from filmmakers who are working in their own communities and outside of major film industry hubs. Films are made with limited budgets, from small towns, and from resourceful filmmakers. Visit

Bach’s St. John Passion

7:30 p.m. April 4

Immerse in the beauty and power of J.S. Bach’s “St. John Passion” during a special concert commemorating its 300th anniversary at Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, performed by the CSS Chamber Choir and String Orchestra and the UWS Chamber Choir and Orchestra. Visit bachs-st-john-passion

John Mellencamp’s 2024 tours includes this intimate concert at the DECC’s Symphony Hall. Visit eventscalendar.

Arrowhead Home and Builders Show

April 4-7

This 56th annual event at the DECC is a one-stop shop for building, remodeling and home and garden products. See hundreds of exhibitors, and take part in seminars and entertainment. Visit

Clint Black

7 p.m. April 6

Country icon Clint Black will perform his “Celebrating 35 Years of Killin’ Time” tour at Black Bear Casino Resort, Carlton. Visit

Breaking Benjamin

7 p.m. April 10

Enjoy the music of Breaking Benjamin with special guests Daughtry and Catch Your Breath at Amsoil Arena. Visit events-calendar.

This spellbinding story of fate, chance and choice is a cosmic collision of romance and relativity. Performances will be at the Duluth Playhouse. Visit duluthplayhouse. org/shows/constellations.


7 p.m.

April 12

MercyMe’s “Always on Jesus” Tour features Newsboys and special guest David Leonard at the DECC arena. Visit

Decision Height

April 12-21

The Boat Club’s spring production is a story about friendship and the complex though essential role of women in wartime, and will be performed at the Spirit of the North Theater in Fitgers.

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

April 12-20

This “electropop opera” adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel “War and Peace” will be performed at Marshall Performing Arts Center on the UMD campus. Visit tickets.

22 April 2024

MW6 Slavic Soul

7 p.m. April 13

The Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra will present two tone poems of Bedřich Smetana, Tchaikovsky’s hyper-romantic Romeo and Juliet, and Clara Schumann’s beautiful Piano Concerto, performed by Ukrainian-American pianist Anna Shelest, all at the DECC’s Symphony Hall. Visit concert/slavic-soul/.

John Crist

7 p.m. April 14


John Crist brings his Emotional Support Tour to the DECC’s Symphony Hall. Visit

Gucci Mane

7:30 p.m. April 19

Underground rapper Gucci Mane, with Prof & DJ Sophia Eris, will perform at Amsoil Arena. Visit

Finding Nemo Jr.

April 26-28

This oneact musical adaptation of the beloved Pixar movie, with brand new music written by the songwriting team from Frozen, will be performed at the Duluth Playhouse. Visit duluthplayhouse. org/shows/disneys-finding-nemo-jr.

Homegrown Music Festival

April 28-May 5

This 26th annual event features nearly 200 local musical acts at over 30 venues, a children’s music showcase, poetry, visual art, film, fire spinning and a kickball game. Visit

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A brush with a ‘widowmaker’

How St. Luke’s supported one Piedmont Heights grandma, wife and mom through triple bypass surgery


was something Jane MacDougall had never heard of. Then she had her first angiogram with Dr. James Mohn, interventional cardiologist at St. Luke’s Regional Heart Center.

“A widowmaker is what we call a heart attack caused by a blockage in the biggest artery of the heart,” Dr. Mohn explained. “These blockages are incredibly serious. When they fully obstruct this artery, the heart runs out of oxygen very quickly, causing irreparable damage, or worse.”

One partial blockage in this area of the heart calls for surgery as soon as possible. But Jane didn’t just have one partial blockage. She had three.

“I was shocked,” she said. “My husband, Warren, and I are active. We cross-country ski, kayak and love spending time with our grandkids. I didn’t have any symptoms besides shortness of breath.”

Dr. Mohn acted immediately, calling in cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Mary Boylan.

“She told me I needed triple bypass surgery and asked what I was doing that coming Monday,” MacDougall said. “I told

her it sounded like I was going to be having surgery. She smiled at me and said, ‘Sounds like a plan to me.’”

Preparing for triple bypass surgery

Bypass surgery involves using a vein from a leg and arteries from inside the chest to make a bypass, or detour, around blocked coronary arteries. This new pathway restores blood flow.

“For most people, bypass surgery is the biggest operation they will ever have,” Dr. Boylan said. “We make an incision through the breastbone down the front of the chest and a small incision on the leg. Almost half a million bypass surgeries are done every year in the U.S. with greater than 95% success in relieving symptoms, prolonging life and helping people, like Jane, get back to fully enjoying every day.”

MacDougall came back to St. Luke’s the

following day — Friday, December 8, 2023 — to learn more about the surgery and how she should prepare.

“I felt very informed after that,” she said. “Plus, both Dr. Boylan and Dr. Mohn had been so reassuring. When we headed to the hospital on Monday, I felt a lot of peace. I knew that whatever happened, we were going to be OK.”

A striking example of compassionate care

MacDougall was checked in, prepped and given anesthesia. Dr. Boylan performed her surgery, and everything went exactly as planned. Before she knew it, she was waking up in St. Luke’s intensive care unit.

“Dr. Boylan had told me I wouldn’t feel or know anything for at least 24 hours after

St. Luke's patient Jane MacDougall enjoys time with her husband, Warren. PHOTOS COURTESY OF ST. LUKE’S

the surgery,” MacDougall said. “And she was right! I woke up at 4:20 p.m. on Tuesday. All things considered, I felt pretty great.”

Meanwhile, a close friend was also at St. Luke’s, just a few floors below. After a long battle with cancer, she was in her final hours. MacDougall had not been able to see her over the weekend because she couldn’t risk getting sick before her surgery. Dr. Boylan heard about this and did everything she could to give MacDougall the opportunity to see her friend one last time.

“It was one of the most compassionate things I've ever had a physician do for me,” MacDougall said. “My friend passed away before they were able to get me to her, but the thought and the effort that went into the attempt meant the world to me. I just can’t say enough about all the wonderful people at St. Luke’s.”

The importance of primary care

For the past few months, MacDougall has been focused on healing. She looks forward to keeping up with her grandkids even better than before as her shortness of breath is now completely gone.

Looking back on her experience, she is especially thankful to her primary care provider, Dr. John Ryden at St. Luke’s Laurentian Medical Clinic.

“He saved my life, really,” she said. “If he hadn’t suggested that I see a cardiologist, I never would have found out that I was in danger.”

Dr. Ryden has provided all of MacDougall’s follow-up care, and he’s happy to have been of service to her.

“The secret of caring for the patient is caring for the patient,” he said, quoting Sir William Osler. “I’ve been a part of Jane’s life for 15 years. Having an ongoing relationship like this builds mutual trust and helps me as her doctor effectively address concerns.

“Jane's healthier heart is also a testament to her diligence in listening to her body and the expertise of Drs. Mohn and Boylan, along with our dedicated hospital teams. This journey truly

underscores the power of compassionate care and collaboration.”

To establish care with a St. Luke’s primary care provider, call 218249-4000 or request an appointment online at PrimaryCare. ✤

Claire Kiger is a marketing specialist and writer for St. Luke’s.

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Tool library offers free gardening equipment and more

Alexis Elder, a member of Duluth Community Garden Program, displays some vegetables she grew.

Withwinter in the rearview mirror, gardeners and members of the Duluth Community Garden Program are ready for the new growing season.

“I'm looking forward to it. It's really just very peaceful and just a nice way to spend some time,” gardener Alexis Elder said.

Elder is thinking through what to plant this season — now her fourth. In the past, she has had success with garlic and potatoes, among other veggies. When she first started, Elder was perhaps too successful with beets. Having planted two 20-foot rows of the root vegetable, she determined that was too many. But something she probably can’t get enough of is the use of the broadfork — a tool for aerating soil available through the DCGP tool library.

“We should actually probably get another one,” Megan Wylder, DCGP’s program manager, said of the broadfork, adding that it’s probably their most popular tool.

Wylder said the tool library goes back at least 10 years since it was around when she started working at the DCGP. Whether one is a gardener with a rented plot or a member, anyone can check out tools ranging from gardening forks to canning equipment.

“We're always trying to lower the barriers to gardening and make it more accessible for as many people as possible that want to garden, and providing the tools is part of that,” Wylder said. “So it really helps people have access to those things, some of which are expensive, too, that they can use for free.”

While various tools are available in garden sheds throughout Duluth, the DCGP office serves as the main hub for the equipment. The garden program received a grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to build a large shed to house the program’s tools. Wylder said the idea is to make the shed

Continued on page 28

Alexis Elder aerates the soil with her favorite tool, the broadfork.

of the tools available through the Duluth Community

28 April 2024
Program manager Megan Wylder stands among some Garden Program tool library. Shovels and other equipment at the Duluth Community Garden Program office lay waiting for use.

centrally located for ease of access.

“We're in the office limited hours, the building is locked sometimes, and so sometimes it's hard to catch people. But (the new shed) will also be really nice because we're full of stuff in here and the food preservation equipment is sort of crowded,” Wylder said.

The goal is to have the shed completed by the end of the year so it can be used in the 2025 growing season. In the meantime, Wylder said people who want to check out a tool should make an appointment via email to pick them up.

For Elder, the tool library is a way to save money by not having to buy expensive tools like the broadfork. And the land on her property isn’t good for gardening. So the ability to rent a 20foot by 20-foot plot, already fenced in and ready to cultivate, makes gardening possible for her.

17th Ave. E. — will be ripe for the picking.

To support the garden program’s work, members can choose to pay a higher membership fee of $50 or $100, which Wylder said “quite a few people” do. Otherwise, $25 annually gives one access to everything the DCGP offers.

“They're here for you to use, so please check things out. Don't by shy. And please come check out a canner.” ~Megan Wylder, Duluth Community Garden Program

Elder's favorite part, however, is the social aspect of the program and soaking in the community knowledge.

“Gardening with other people is great,” Elder said. “I was very much a newbie, was mostly good at killing plants, when I started gardening. And so having that social angle was super helpful.”

If she and her husband don’t eat all the fruits of their labor, they give them away to friends or even people passing through the garden. Gardeners using the program aren’t allowed to sell what they grow. But they are free to donate or share whatever they don’t eat themselves.

In keeping with that spirit, the DCGP has giving gardens, maintained by staff and volunteers, which anyone can harvest. The giving gardens are located at Bertha, Emerald and Denfeld community gardens. And while the giving garden at Lilliput won’t be available this year, a new one at Lakeview — 326 S.

Wylder said some people become members specifically to get access to the trove of gardening tools and food preservation equipment. She said fewer people have been checking out canning equipment lately and mused whether the garden program should host a canning class this year.

People like checking the apple pickers out from the library. But another popular item, though not technically part of the tool library, is the apple press.

“We check it out all through September and October, and it's booked solid those two months,” Wylder said.

She added would-be apple pressers should check the DCGP website when the sign-ups open in late August or early September.

“And you want to get your request in quick because it will fill up,” Wylder said.

Rules for the use of the tool library’s equipment are posted on the DCGP’s website at One must be at least 18 to check out equipment, and equipment must be returned clean in order to check out new tools. To set up an appointment, Wylder said to email garden@ for a quicker response.

“They're here for you to use, so please check things out. Don't be shy,” Wylder said. “And please come check out a canner.” ✤

Noah Beardslee is a Duluth freelance writer.
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strong women designing strong buildings meant to last a lifetime

Architecture is, at its core, about solving problems. A community needs a new school. A county needs a new government services center. A college needs a new floor.

Just how to solve that problem — in the most thoughtful, useful and attractive way possible — is where the art of architecture comes in, said Julie Spiering, principal interior designer with DSGW Architecture. Spiering began working for DSGW right out of college, finding women-led inspiration and support in the then-male-dominated business.

“I have been empowered to do what I felt was right,” Spiering said.

At DSGW Architecture, with offices in Duluth, Virginia and the Twin Cities, a strong culture of employing strong women has

30 April 2024
Julie Spiering is a principal interior designer at DSGW Architecture's Virginia office. Katherine Gerzina is a senior project architect at DSGW Architecture's Duluth office. She is also a Fitwel ambassador, promoting sustainable and healthy design and construction. PHOTOS COURTESY OF JULIE SPIERING AND DSGW ARCHITECTS


Tribal Care Center features a large ceremonial space as part of its design.

become part of their public image, and even helped push the firm toward environmental sustainability.

“I’m lucky to have found the spot where I landed,” Spiering said. The founding partners at DSGW “allowed us to shape our own futures at the firm. Our roles in the office are meshed and blended.”

That means interior designers like Spiering were never thought of as only “decorators,” she said. And when architects like Katherine Gerzina wanted to stretch their boundaries and push for using more sustainable materials and design, that was encouraged.

When Spiering was a young interior designer, about a quarter of the architects and designers at DSGW were women. Today, it’s about half, if not a little more, she said. Spiering notes that other aspects of the company are also led by women, from marketing to HR.

“I got to see that my bosses had daughters that they wanted to see grow up strong,” Spiering said. When John Gerzina brought his daughters to work with him, sure, they got to “play office” and mow the lawn and clean out the old carpet samples. But they also “were

Continued on page 32

The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribal Care Center is a long-term care center in Flandreau, South Dakota. Flandreau Santee Sioux
32 April 2024
Julie Spiering, left, is pictured bundled up on the Rock Ridge High School job site with fellow DSGW Architecture employee Melissa Lefebre. Katherine Gerzina, an architect and sustainable design enthusiast with DSGW Architecture, is pictured with high school students at the new Rock Ridge High School between Eveleth and Virginia. The new high school building incorporates many elements of sustainable design. The Rock Ridge High School was designed in partnership with the Cuningham architectural firm of Minneapolis.

watching what we do, and saw women being successful,” Spiering said.

Katherine Gerzina was just 12 years old and coming to work with her father when Julie started at DSGW. And though Gerzina swore she was not going to grow up to be an architect like her dad, that’s exactly what she ended up doing — happily, as it turns out.

Spiering’s father was an engineer at an Iron Range mine, and her mother is very artistic, she said. Architecture blends those two fields.

Both Spiering and Gerzina worked on the design of Rock Ridge High School, which combined the Eveleth-Gilbert and Virginia high school campuses and was built with sustainability at the forefront. DSGW partnered with Cuningham, an architectural firm in Minneapolis, on the school project.

DSGW has also partnered with several tribal governments in the region. The firm has a strong culture of listening to clients as they seek to tell their own stories.

An upcoming project with the Fond du Lac Tribal College is a case in point. The floor in the college’s commons area needs to be replaced. But rather than just slapping down some bland, durable flooring, DSGW tapped into the storytelling traditions within the Fond du Lac tribal community, and they all decided to let the floor speak.

“We will be telling the story of their culture with the flooring,” Spiering said. Using terrazzo composite flooring, which is almost limitless in its design capabilities, DSGW is creating a design incorporating otters, the St. Louis River estuary, braided sweetgrass, the names of the 13 moons, Ojibwe words, and much more. Plans are also to include interpretive signage explaining the significance of the design, Spiering said, meaning that the flooring can speak to anyone, any time.

The St. Louis County Government Services Center building in Virginia has a similar floor design. Visitors can walk in the vast, sunny atrium and see the stone, woods and waters of northern Minnesota reflected all around them. The terrazzo floor seems alive with oversized fish and flowing waters, while wood and stone accents are everywhere.

The way the space was designed reflects the needs of those who use the building, Spiering said.

For those entering the building under “low-stress conditions,” Spiering said, visitors turn right, into an open, airy, grand atrium.

For needs that might be more high-stress, such as accessing public health services or economic aid, visitors turn left. Here the space looks different. This area looks more like a “front porch,” Spiering said, with a low ceiling, well-lit space, and plenty of seating if visitors feel the need to pause for a moment and collect themselves.

Gerzina has been pushing the firm toward more sustainability-minded projects, after being inspired by the work of Swedish native Greta Thunberg, who advocates for


environmental justice.

The Government Services Center is a net-zero carbon building, Gerzina said, with solar panels on the roof and geothermal heat throughout. The design and execution prove that “we can do nice buildings, healthy buildings in our hometown.”

And the grand design of the building’s atrium evokes the wide-open spaces of previous generations’ grand buildings, such as the Duluth courthouse.

But, ultimately, working as an architect comes back to that initial question.

“From replacing a door, to projects that cost hundreds of millions of dollars, each one of these is a problem,” Spiering said.

And at DSGW Architecture, it’s likely that women have the solutions. ✤

St. Louis County Government Services Center in Virginia is a public building designed by DSGW that blends beauty and sustainable design. Janna Goerdt is an Iron Range farmer and freelance writer.


Modern cabin serves as family retreat

Homeowners enjoyed building process that included their children

In a protected bay just beyond Two Harbors is a tuckedaway modern cabin that serves as a retreat for multiple generations of one family.

With a spacious and simple main cabin and a detached garage, this sleek, shed-style home is also situated on the shore of Lake Superior.

Designed and owned collaboratively by a retired couple and their adult daughter and son-in-law who all have spent many years vacationing along the North Shore, they worked together to create this bright, open-concept home.

“I call it our compound because this house has been a work of the four of us equally working together for tastes — from picking everything out to functionality — and has been a real unique and fun experience because you don’t often get to do that with your kids,” the homeowner’s wife said.

The property originally had an old mobile home perched at

34 April 2024 Home Touches
PHOTOS BY COMSTOCK CREATIVE The black shed-style rooflines are perfectly symmetrical when viewed from above, complementing the striking black-clad windows. This modern cabin is situated in a protected bay with easy access to the water and dramatic views of the big lake.

the lake, making the lot significantly less attractive; however, the homeowners had the vision to recognize that it was a unique property and location ideal for North Shore getaways.

“At first glance (the lot) didn’t look that appealing,” the husband said. “Sitting on it was about a 50-year-old mobile home that had seen a full life. So when you just walked up to it, it wasn’t very appealing, but … we realized that by building in place it could be a great place.”

So they purchased the land and began work on designing their new home.

Small and simple is achievable and beautiful

The homeowners felt strongly about keeping the project local, so they began by connecting with Heather Hiner on the design. They knew they wanted a home that was modern, with a dramatic shed-style roofline to maximize both views

Continued on page 36

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The kitchen is open, spacious and simple, with floating maple shelving and granite countertops in aspen white, with flecks of grey and blue that remind the homeowners of Lake Superior.

and sunlight, and they wanted it to be simple. Their initial vision was to have the roof sloping to the lake, but Hiner came back with a different option, and the homeowners loved it.

“It was actually astounding,” the husband said. “We made a list before we sat down with her, we sat on the porch of the mobile home looking at the lake and we talked through things. We told her we kind of were attracted to the notion of the shed roof … in our minds it was a shed roof where the peak was facing toward the lake. When she came back with a design with it sideways, it was surprising, but when you looked at it, it just made so much sense. So much better getting both bedrooms and the great room and the porch all looking at the lake, and it looks cool.”

“Part of the decision for me in sloping the roof to the side rather than toward the lake is aesthetic in that the side view gave options for varying window heights rather than a single height at the lakeside,” Hiner said. “The other reasons were practical in that I could put the upper-level bedrooms on the high end of the roofline and also all the water from the roof would shed one direction to the side of the lot rather than in the front or lakeside.”

The wife notes how pleased they were with Hiner’s work.

“We made, like, one change, a change to a window and a couple things, but she was basically spot on.”

“Honestly, she hit every single box that we listed,” the husband added.

Hiner admits it was challenging to keep “true to the initial scope of the project — a small, simple cabin for the homeowners to enjoy time on Lake Superior.

“So my job was to really listen during our design meetings and separate their list into needs versus wants to avoid unnecessary square footage, design a layout with practical flow and function, and create a simple stylish exterior,” she said. “Sometimes people err on the side of going bigger and more complex than

Continued on page 38

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The front door entryway is perfectly sized and open to the rest of the home. The homeowners chose luxury vinyl tile throughout the main floor for its durability, using large-scale tiles that look and feel like porcelain. “It wears really well, and we don’t have to be worried if you’re hiking and you’re outside and you come in and have muddy shoes,” the homeowner said.

The custom steel stairwell created by Northshore Steel in Two Harbors is a dramatic backdrop to the great room, and also provides a quiet space for seating adjacent to the main living space.

38 April 2024

needed or even intended. This project proves that small and simple is achievable and beautiful.”

Building and sourcing locally

With the design complete, they connected with Mike Hoops of MD Hoops Construction in Two Harbors, who has also worked with Hiner on several projects. The whole process took less than a year to complete once they broke ground, and they enjoyed working with him and all of his subcontractors, including Mark Tibbets of Stoneridge Electric, who was very thorough and helpful throughout, they said.

Now that the home is finished, they still hear from Tibbets wanting to show potential clients their house.

“I think he’s proud of the house, too; he’s happy with how it came out,” Hiner said.

“One thing that made it easier for Mike to work with us; we kept things nice, but simple. We didn’t do a lot of crazy stuff, which obviously made the build go a lot faster,” the wife said. “That was important to us to try and work with tradespeople that are up there, local.”

Reflecting the whole family

Having an open floor plan was important, and their main floor is centered around the great room, with plenty of glass, high ceilings, and easy access to the master suite, kitchen,

Continued on page 40

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The oars that hang on the upper walls of the great room are original to the property and were found in an old shed, peeling and beat-up; the homeowners wanted to incorporate them into the house as a unique tribute to those who lived there before them.

40 April 2024
The great room’s high ceilings and dramatic wall of windows create a space that is full of light with sweeping views toward Lake Superior. The fireplace’s unique graphite lavastone stonework is topped with reclaimed redwood that was pegged together for use in cherry storage barrels. The porch is a favorite of the homeowners each morning, with a feeling of being connected to the outdoors, yet cozy and warm with the fireplace and easy access to the kitchen using the pass-through windows and granite shelf that matches the porch fireplace stonework.

dining area, entry and porch.

The great room is a favorite spot, because, “You have all this light and from there we can look at the lake. We’re always seeing the ore ships going by, and other interesting things. As a matter of fact, in the wintertime we were surprised to see surfers out there,” the husband said.

Another striking feature of the home is the custom stairwell to one side of the great room. The black steel stringer and railings in the loft were created by Northshore Steel out of Two Harbors, and the floating treads are fir glu-lam (glued laminated timber) that was stained to match the alder trim used throughout the home.

The porch, which is connected to the kitchen by a passthrough window and a granite bar, was initially planned to be a screen porch. Once they realized it was the same cost to add windows instead of screens, they enclosed it and added a gas fireplace.

“In the morning … you open that sliding door, you flip on that fireplace, it just warms it up in there, and we all kind of crowd in there to have our morning coffee. … It’s just beautiful to look out,” the wife said.

They also created a unique connection to the past by using reclaimed wood in both the fireplace and in the master bedroom. Working with Lakewood Designs in Duluth, they had a custom headboard built using reclaimed redwood that was used in cherry barrels in northern Michigan, where the husband’s grandmother grew up. The different boards were all pegged together to create the barrels, and the wood is stained a deep red from the cherries.

Their home is a special place where they hope to spend many years together as a family, now that they have created something that is beautiful and special to each of them.

“We wanted the place to reflect the four of us and the four of us working together,” the wife said, “and I am proud of that because some people wouldn’t be able to do that with their kids.” ✤

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Amy Carlson is a Duluth freelance writer.
42 April 2024
The upstairs has two bedrooms, both with views out to the lake, a full bath, and a loft area, providing extra space and privacy for guests. The master bedroom and en suite bathroom are on the main floor, allowing for complete single-level living.



A work in progress: Renovating a historic home in Superior

It’s hard to believe this is the exact same space and vantage point (left and middle). The state of the kitchen prior to remodeling was cramped, inefficient, and had very little usable counter space. After completely reimagining the kitchen, including leveling the floor and moving the back entry to a newly created mudroom off the kitchen, the space is bright, open, and welcoming, yet still true to the original style of the home. Before

Ahistoric home on Hammond Avenue in Superior has seen multiple transformations, but none as stunning as the most recent iteration. With a gorgeous new kitchen, butler’s pantry, mudroom and a new bathroom on each floor, as well as additional improvements to the flow of the home and other cosmetic upgrades, this home is now updated for this active family of four.

Originally built by the Lightbody family in 1910, this 5,000-plus-square-foot traditional home was divided into separate apartments sometime in the 1970s or ’80s, complete with kitchenettes and an exterior stairway to access the top floor. It was then converted back into a single-family home in the 1990s, but still lacked flow and function, with issues like an addition off the back that created uneven floors and the main

44 April 2024

staircase that was essentially enclosed, creating wasted space in the center of the home.

The current owners purchased the home in 2016 and began tackling the renovations themselves bit by bit: tearing down wallpaper here, pulling up old carpet to reveal the original wood flooring there, and restoring the living room fireplace. They knew they needed to hire someone to help with the bigger tasks, like the kitchen.

“It’s like a work in progress. We bought it for a super good price, and we knew we had to do work and it’s just been piecemeal,” said the homeowners, with the vision to see this home’s potential.

Design guided by Hemma

The homeowner had been looking through photos online when a modern kitchen in hues of blue in a Bayfield home caught her eye. She decided to take a chance and call the designer, Kelly Rochelle, of Hemma Design for Living.

“We had to fill out a questionnaire,” the homeowner said, saying Rochelle asked about things they liked and didn't like. “That really worked for us, because we didn’t know… I just knew I didn’t like what I had, and so she helped guide us really well.”

Rochelle helped them see through the places they were stuck while trying to envision a more modern home for her family and also minimized decision fatigue: “She was really able to narrow it down and not overwhelm (us).”

Continued on page 46

Knocking down walls around the kitchen and stairs was key to improving the flow of this home and increasing the feeling of openness, while still preserving the original woodwork and floor.



Closing off the dining room and butler’s pantry from the back of the home allowed for much more efficient use of space, while also providing a better flow throughout the main floor. The rear of the home is now accessed at the back of the kitchen, out of the way, with a mudroom, powder room and a door to the newly rebuilt deck.

Seeing their vision

They connected right away with Anderson & Hammack Construction to ensure their proposed changes would not compromise the structure of the home. Rochelle said they were “a natural fit” and they talked with the homeowners about what they were thinking, and what some of the obstacles might be so they could see the vision, too.

Throughout the six months of the project, the homeowners remained in the home, but the process went smoothly and moved quickly. The homeowner recalls they had to have the design finalized, as well as all materials selected, before the project began so they could stay on schedule.

“They were literally on it …always on top of dates. Before we had our counter and it was just plywood, we had all these dates like when the appliances would arrive, when the countertops would arrive …written on the plywood. They were just great at keeping us updated.”

Making it complete

The project centered around leveling the kitchen floor and creating a more functional space so that it kept with the home’s traditional style but with modern updates to make it feel spacious. The original kitchen had very little workable counter space, so a big priority was streamlining the flow of the kitchen.

46 April 2024

The second-floor master bathroom went from an awkward two-level room with tropical, floral wallpaper and 1990s-style brass to a modern, efficient, and serene space. For Kelly Rochelle of Hemma Living, the printed tile backsplash is one of her favorite features of the project.

Before After

With a newly created mudroom and entrance to an updated powder room off the back deck, it also houses a spacious storage closet that serves as the family’s entrance to the kitchen.

Centered around a spacious kitchen island with seating for four, the mixture of light kitchen cabinetry and Cambria countertops with touches of wood and light tile flooring are flanked by blue walls for a classic, clean look. Over the island hang two stunning pendants that are playful and modern.

The kitchen is the homeowner’s new favorite space. They like to host Sunday dinners for extended family, and there is plenty of room now for everyone to both cook and gather together.

The entrance to the original powder room through the living room (and the main focal point when entering the front door) became a built-in butler’s pantry, connecting the dining room and kitchen. All new light fixtures above both the butler’s pantry and dining room give the home a classic and polished yet updated feel. With new furniture, some of which was sourced by Hemma; a new dining room table; and a new fireplace mantel, both created by Lake Wood Designs in Duluth, the home is open and inviting, yet absolutely in keeping with its traditional style.

Rounding out the project were two fully remodeled bathrooms on each of the upper floors. Converting the dated bathrooms required new plumbing throughout the home, but the end result was well worth the investment as the homeowners now have beautiful and functional spaces.

Since the plumbing had to be redone throughout the home, remodeling a third bathroom was added on to the project. Despite being a very small space, the homeowners were able to add a shower and make efficient use of the tight spaces on the top floor.

48 April 2024

Together, Rochelle and the homeowners could see beyond the limitations of the original to a home that worked for them.

“It was a really good collaboration,” Rochelle said. “(They were) wonderful to work with, just very laid-back and honest.”

The homeowners conclude that even though they may continue to make updates, Rochelle “helped make it complete.” ✤

Amy Carlson is a Duluth freelance writer.

Even seemingly minor updates, like new light fixtures with a modern yet still traditional feel, bring new life to all of these spaces in the home.


Crafty Beehive

A bee-utiful springtime project


Get ready for some creative fun with this charming springtime craft. Transform a simple plastic planter into a delightful beehive decoration with just a few supplies and a little floral touch.

Supplies you'll need:

• Plastic planter

• Jute

• Scissors

• Black paint supplies

• Cute bee buttons

• Fake flowers

• Hot glue gun and glue sticks


1. Prepare the planter: Start by turning the plastic planter upside down so the bottom faces up. Draw a circle on one side of the planter to mark the opening of the beehive. Paint this circle black and allow it to dry completely. Use a blow dryer to expedite the drying process.

2. Wrap with jute: First, measure and cut the jute around the painted black circle. Then, hot glue it down. Next, measure and cut the jute to fit around the diameter of the planter. Using the hot glue gun, attach the jute around the circumference of the planter. Cut and glue one piece at a time, ensuring a neat finish. Continue wrapping the planter with jute until it’s completely covered. Just make sure to leave the black circle exposed!

3. Add floral touches: Use the hot glue gun to attach fake flowers to the top of the beehive, securing them in a springtime floral arrangement.

4. Attach the bees: Secure the bee buttons onto the jute with hot glue. You can place them directly on the jute or even add a few to the flowers for an extra whimsical touch.

5. Create dripping wax effect: To top off the craft and add a fun little touch, apply two pumps of hot glue around the bottom edge of the black circle. This will give it the appearance of wax dripping down.

Once your crafty beehive is complete, you'll have a delightful decoration that will brighten up any space in your home. Whether you display it on a mantel or kitchen counter, this cheerful creation will “bee” a friendly reminder that spring has arrived!

Gather your supplies and get ready to buzz with excitement as you bring this DIY project to life. You can easily find all the materials at your local discount or craft store. Happy crafting! ✤

Molly Milroy is a Duluth freelance writer.

k i d skorner

Spring is our favorite time of the year because of the MUD! If Sloane doesn’t require a tub at the end of the day, something went wrong that day :)

Enjoy the sunshine and get out and support our local businesses!

SLOanE’s Suggestions


the Depot

Museum exhibits

Educational programming. Family events. The St. Louis County Depot is a welcoming space for all. Follow us on social media or visit our website to find all there is to experience inside this wonderous building. or “St. Louis Count Depot” on Facebook & Instagram.

Summer Camp registration now open

It’s time to plan for summer! Summer day camps meet on-site and use the Aquarium exhibits,grounds, and community parks to learn about our natural world. Join us for a summer of caring for animals, celebrating Lake Superior, SCUBA diving, and more! Find the full schedule and register early at

52 April 2024
At the Aquarium Let’s Skate FRIDAY 5:00-8:00 pm* Super Glow Skate Party! *Free light stick with each paid admission!! 8:30-11:00 pm Adult Night Ages 18+ Only! College Rate With ID $8.99 + Rental $9.95 + Rental $8.95 + Rental Fun For All Ages!
to you by:


1 large Sweet potato, peeled

1 Tbsp. Olive oil

Dash Salt

Julienne shredder peeler or knife

Scrub clean and peel the sweet potato. Use a hand-held Julienne shredder peeler or knife, slice the potato lengthwise to create long shreds. Toss in olive oil and sprinkle with a dash of salt. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 5-8 minutes, tossing halfway through until just crisp. Serve as a side or topping to chicken salad.


½ cup Pecan halves

1 Tbsp. Olive oil

Dash Salt

Pour 1 Tbsp. olive oil onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Add pecan halves and toss to coat. Bake at 425 degrees for 3-5 minutes or until lightly toasted in color. Keep a watchful eye as the nuts can burn quickly. Remove from the oven and let cool before chopping.


2 portions Chicken breast

2 Tbsps. Olive oil

1 tsp. Black Pepper

½ tsp. Salt

Place chicken on a parchment-lined baking sheet and coat both sides with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake uncovered at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn the chicken over and bake an additional 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.* Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.

*Note: Cooking time can vary depending on the size and thickness of the chicken portion.

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Yields enough dressing for one chicken salad recipe below.

1 cup Greek plain yogurt

¼ cup Mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. Lemon zest

3 Tbsps. Lemon juice, freshly squeezed

½ tsp. Garlic powder

1 tsp. Salt

1 ½ tsps. Black pepper

Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined. Chill. If dressing needs to be thinned, add additional lemon juice and stir.


4 cups Baked chicken breast, chopped

2 stalks Celery, chopped

1 cup Seedless red grapes, sliced in half

¼ cup Green onions, sliced thin

¼ cup Fresh parsley, chopped

½ cup Pecan halves, toasted, chopped

1 recipe Chicken Salad Dressing

Combine all ingredients and toss. If dressing needs to be thinned, add additional lemon juice or water. Chill for at least one hour. Serve on your favorite bread, salad greens or crackers. Pair with Sweet Potato Tangles as a side.

56 April 2024


4 cups Baked chicken breast, chopped

2 stalks Celery, chopped

⅓ cup Water chestnuts, chopped

¼ cup Red onion, diced

1 cup Wild rice, cooked

3 sprigs Fresh tarragon, chopped

⅛ cup Fresh parsley, chopped

1 recipe Chicken Salad Dressing

1 whole English cucumber, seedless, sliced into thin strips lengthwise

Combine all ingredients except cucumbers and toss. If dressing needs to be thinned, add additional lemon juice or water. Chill for at least one hour. Plate with long slices of cucumber set on the side overlapping ends while making a full circle. Fill the center with chicken salad. Top with sweet potato tangles and additional parsley and/or tarragon leaves. Or, serve on your favorite bread, salad greens or crackers. ✤

THEWOMANTODAY.COM 57 B u l k op ti on s i n c lud e c o ffee bea n s, g ra i n s, n u t s, sp i c e s, c oo k i ng o i l s, hon ey, soa ps, & m o re! Th e l a rg e s t bu l k se c ti on i n th e Tw i n Po r t s!

The Woman Yesterday

Irene Levine Paull (1908-1981)

Irene Levine was born in Duluth in 1908 to Jewish immigrants from Ukraine. While in school, Levine was subjected to anti-Semitic slurs, which she often said made her identify with the downtrodden, according to MNopedia. She was a child when the Duluth lynchings happened in 1920, and she heard about a similar lynching of a Jewish man in another state. These events inspired Levine to fight injustice of all kinds throughout her life.

In 1925, she enrolled in the College of Saint Scholastica but wanted to travel and seek out adventure, so she eventually left college and moved to Chicago. While there, Levine worked with other female social reformers like Jane Addams, though she often disagreed with their approach and forged her own path.

Returning to Duluth in 1929, she married Henry Paull, a labor lawyer. They shared similar politics and worked together on numerous political campaigns, even hosting Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger when they came to Duluth.

In 1937, she and her cousin co-founded “The Timber Worker,” a newspaper supporting area timber workers who were on strike, according to MNopedia. She wrote regular

columns, often using pseudonyms such as “Calamity Jane” or “Lumberjack Sue,” and continued writing in other publications through the 1940s, focusing on other topics including the Spanish Civil War, fascism and racism. In 1941, she published “We’re the People,” a collection of her writing.

Her husband died suddenly in 1947, and Paull moved to Minneapolis with her children. During the McCarthy era, despite fearing her children might be taken from her as a member of the Communist Party, she continued her activism by working on the support committee of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted of spying for the Soviet Union. She was devastated by their execution, moving to San Francisco soon after where she reconnected with her Jewish heritage by writing for Jewish magazines. She left the Communist Party in 1956, tired of anti-semitism within the party, and was later subpoenaed and testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1963.

Paull remained a fierce activist until her death, passing away in 1981. ✤

Amy Carlson is a Duluth freelance writer.

58 April 2024
Irene Paull testifies before the Un-American Activities Committee 1963 Irene Levine Paull,1937 PHOTO COURTESY MNOPEDIA PHOTO COURTESY OF MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY
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