The Woman Today - Jan/Feb 2024

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WOMAN

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Women firefighters answer the call in Normanna Township • Tonia Villegas is an advocate for inclusion • Labor and delivery nurse exudes care and compassion • Breneman turns research into public knowledge • SSB: ‘They’ve made my life so much easier’


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contents

PROFILES

january | february 2024 vol. 28, no. 1

6 Tonia Villegas She’s a woman, she’s a Chicana, she’s an advocate for inclusion

12 June Breneman Turning research into public knowledge

18 Saranae Thimm St. Luke’s nurse honored with prestigious DAISY Award

24 Judy Breuer A few accommodations make a huge difference for visually impaired student

FEATURES

46

50

36 Answering the Call: The women of the Normanna Fire Department

ENTERTAINMENT/ARTS 32 Arts and Events Calendar

HEALTH/MEDICINE 30 St. Luke’s

Siblings and colleagues at St. Luke’s

34 Essentia How Essentia Health’s concussion program gets patients back on their feet

KIDS KORNER 42 Sloane's Suggestions/Kids Korner

FOOD/NUTRITION 46 Sweet Treats

18

THE WOMAN YESTERDAY

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50 Mira Southworth (1883-1975)

WOMAN Pick up The Woman Today at a store near you.

View us at thewomantoday.com

Like us on 4 January | February 2024

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the

WOMAN

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GROUP PUBLISHER

Neal Ronquist

EXECUTIVE EDITOR Rick Lubbers

ADVERTISING ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Ali Carlson

ADVERTISING ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Kim Quinones

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Renae Ronquist

PRODUCTION COORDINATOR

Julie Schulz

CONTRIBUTORS

Amy Carlson Little Tea Photography Andrea Busche Sara Marciniak Janna Goerdt Saranae Thimm Judy Breuer Tiffany Hartman Julie Orbeck Hulst Tonia Villegas June Breneman

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The Woman Today is published by Duluth News Tribune.

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TO OUR READERS Hello, Woman Today readers! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and that your 2024 is off to a great start. I, for one, am enjoying the extra daylight that January brings and watching the sun slowly take a higher position in the sky. The days of both driving into and from work in the dark get a little old. According to the Farmers’ Almanac, for those of us living in the Midwest, we receive about two extra minutes of sunlight every day by the middle of January. A month later that shoots up to three minutes per day! I’ll take it. The perfect way to enjoy those precious extra minutes of daylight is by reading the latest issue of The Woman Today. Here are some of the stories we’re excited to share with you in this issue: • Normanna Volunteer Fire Department has a unique trait in that maledriven world. Half of the volunteer firefighters are women. • You’ll meet Saranae Thimm, a labor and delivery nurse who recently won the prestigious DAISY Award for her care and compassion. • Duluthian Judy Breuer is legally blind but lives an independent life. Find out how State Services for the Blind helped her overcome a challenge with her college studies. • June Breneman has a talent for turning Natural Resources Research Institute research into public knowledge. Thanks for spending some of your time reading The Woman Today. Your readership is greatly appreciated.

Rick Lubbers Executive Editor, Duluth Media Group

ON THE COVER:

Sara Marciniak is shown at the scene during a fire call for the Normanna Township Volunteer Fire Department. PHOTO BY TIFFANY HARTMAN PHOTOGRAPHY

© 2024 Forum Communications Company All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher.

THEWOMANTODAY.COM 5


She’s a woman, she’s a Chicana, she’s an advocate for inclusion A lifetime of experience prompts Duluth woman to work for diversity and equity

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Tonia Villega s

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T

onia Villegas knows what it feels like to be homeless. That doesn’t mean she has ever gone without a roof over her head. But Villegas, the daughter of a Canadian mother and a Mexican-American father who took his family around the world for his military service, never felt like she had a home. And as a white-passing Chicana woman, Villegas said she is used to code-switching, or moving frequently between two distinct communities, with all the challenges and rewards that may bring. 6 January | February 2024

Duluth has become her adopted home, and Villegas plans to stay at least until she retires. She has found her calling in helping the region’s BIPOC community feel at home in the north. “I remember learning, at a very young age, that I wanted to help people,” Villegas said. She recalls the traumatic scenes she witnessed and heard about when she and her family lived in Berlin in the mid1980s, when the Berlin wall still divided the city. She

PHOTOS COURTESY OF TONIA VILLEGAS

By Janna Goerdt


Tonia Villegas speaks about equity and inclusion practices at the NorthSpan Equity Summit. experienced violent incidents when she lived near Washington, D.C. And when she and her family moved to Duluth from the diverse city of Fairbanks, Alaska, Villegas personally endured racist and hurtful behavior. That background merely cemented her desire to work toward inclusion and equity. Villegas is aiming to open her own consulting business, called Lineage LLC. She hopes to use the organization to spark cultural conversations and cultural development among all ages. “Lineage is about using respect, honesty, authenticity and our roots to not only make history, but become the future. It is about uniting people and learning from one another, becoming accountable to each other, and taking experiences and learned knowledge and turning them into a journey to bring folks together,” Villegas explains on her website.

Villegas envisions her new consulting venture as a chance to change the culture from the ground up. “I want to get into the community and talk to people,” Villegas said. “We don’t talk any more, we don’t problem solve.” She is excited about the opportunity to use Lineage LLC to work with young BIPOC students, with young women, with members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community, to help them build support systems, “and show them how they need to trust each other,” Villegas said. She envisions working with local schools to reach students in large groups and one-on-one. “The need is there,” Villegas said. As a society, Villegas believes people often focus “too much on others,” she said. “We Continued on page 8 THEWOMANTODAY.COM 7


Tonia Villegas, center, and Jennifer Reyes, right, meets with legislators at the state Capitol for Latine Days.

Tonia Villegas loves to travel and drink in local culture, including visiting the 125-year-old establishment Veneiro's Pasticceria in New York City, which features the “best cheesecake ever,” Tonia said, or sipping a cup of coffee at a small local coffee shop in Noblesville, Indiana. 8 January | February 2024


In 2019, Villegas was selected as one of the Vikings Women 100, recognizing 100 female Vikings fans for overcoming their life's challenges and inspiring others. Villegas is a longtime Vikings fan.

Continued on page 10

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Tonia Villegas, left, and local artist Kayla Jackson, who designed the St. Louis County BIPOC Leadership Team logo, and Villegas' Lineage logo.

have to focus on ourselves, first — the relationships in our lives, our friendships, our partners, our families. If they are causing us stress and anxiety, it’s not right for us.” Growing up in a military family “was the best education I ever had,” Villegas said. “But it leaves you longing for a home.” Moving to Duluth in 1992 was a “shock,” Villegas said, and she endured 10 January | February 2024

her share of racism. While attending college at the University of Minnesota Duluth, she joined the school’s Latino organization and met a lifelong mentor — Susana Pelayo-Woodward, the director of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. Pelayo-Woodward still works at UMD. “She helped me grow into my own,” Villegas said. “She really helped me feel comfortable in my own skin.” Villegas worked for many years in

early childhood education, including serving on a task force organized by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz called “Great Start for All Minnesota Children” that sought to improve access to high-quality early education in the state. The St. Louis County BIPOC Leadership Team was born following public outcry after the murder of George Floyd in 2020, and Villegas joined the team in 2022. In her two years in the position, she had advocated for St. Louis County government to hire an equity inclusion specialist, and to adjust the county’s hiring processes to promote more inclusion. She did outreach at many community events, including the Northspan Equity Summit in 2022 and 2023. Part of the BIPOC leadership team’s mission is not only to help current employees who identify as BIPOC feel more supported and connected, but to retain those employees and reduce stigma around topics of race, equity and equality. On their own time, members of the leadership team fundraise to help local families and shelters. Villegas recently stepped down as chairperson of the BIPOC Leadership Team to make room for new perspectives and new energy, she said. She is turning more of her focus to building Lineage LLC. “The work is exhausting, the lived experience is exhausting,” Villegas said. “You are doing the work, and you need others to do it, too.” Yet Villegas is intent on living her life to the fullest, whether she’s satisfying her frequent urge to travel and experience new places — thanks to her childhood of being frequently on the move — or enjoying watching a Minnesota Vikings game. When she travels, Villegas tries to soak up as much hyper-local culture as she can, particularly by sampling the brews at small, locally owned coffee shops. She recently married her “very


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supportive husband, who dated a single mother for 14 years,” Villegas notes. She makes time to visit with her two grown children, as well as her mother, Darlene, who lives in Canada. Her beloved father, Trino, died in 2006. But wherever Villegas might be at the moment, and whoever she is with, she continues to advocate for equity and inclusion. It’s simply a part of who she is. “I do the work I do for those who are out there,” Villegas said. “I was gifted to be able to do this.” ✤

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Denver is a 26-year-old mixed-blood horse that June Breneman learned to ride with. She and Denver have been riding in several states, though lately, they stay close to home.

12 January | February 2024

~

June Brene man

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF JUNE BRENEMAN

Turning research into public knowledge


June Breneman has spent the past two decades translating science and research for the casual reader By Janna Goerdt

J

une Breneman is always on the hunt for a good lede. It might be an anecdote about Thanksgiving, or a story about birds. Breneman, the senior communications specialist at the Natural Resources Research Institute in Duluth, thinks a lot about how she begins a story explaining an NRRI program. A “lede” is the introductory paragraph for a news story, and Breneman uses it to translate what might otherwise be a wonky, hard-to-understand research paper. “I’m trying to lede with something people know, something they are comfortable with,” Breneman said. “Then I will lead them into something they don’t know.” Breneman is the bridge between a group of scientists and researchers working with cutting-edge and often quirky technology or projects and the public who may ultimately benefit from their research. Breneman’s natural curiosity and background in journalism made her a standout candidate for the job when she applied in 2001. Breneman, who later heard there were 100 applicants, thought she had little chance of nabbing the job. At the end of her interview, she was told to read through the abstract of a research project about birds, and then write an appropriate lede. “I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just do this and get out of here,’” Breneman remembers. She came up with a lede about how birds in the spring are trying to find a place to live, “just like the rest of us,” she said. Whether it was that approachable translation to the bird research or something else they saw in Breneman, she was plucked from the group of 100 applicants and has been translating for NRRI ever since. She has written hundreds of articles about projects ranging from restoring peat bogs to looking at a taconite byproduct that might be useful for patching potholes. She has written about birch bark extract and using magnetic resonance technology (just like having an MRI for a human, she explains in her lede) to figure out what kind of minerals might be just beneath the earth’s crust. She has written about biochar and Continued on page 14

June Breneman and her 26-year-old horse, Denver. The pair learned to ride together. June was not experienced with riding horses, and Denver was a "hot," barely trained horse, June said, but they learned together.

June Breneman and Denver enjoy a fall ride together. THEWOMANTODAY.COM 13


June Breneman, who handles marketing and communications tasks for the Natural Resources Research Institute in Hermantown, is pictured in the agency's lobby. For more than 20 years, Breneman has written stories, newsletters and press releases that translate the research done at the agency, to make it relatable for the general public.

June Breneman hikes in Olympic National Park in Washington. 14 January | February 2024

June Breneman enjoys a hike with her daughter, Jenna Kallestad of Portland, Oregon.


Canada lynx, uses for cranberry skins and seeds left over from commercial juicing, and — what do you know — about how NRRI worked with the Audubon Society to develop a Minnesota bird breeding atlas in an online, interactive format. She loves the process of turning research into public knowledge. Does she have a favorite story from more than two decades of writing? Yes. “It’s always the one I’m working on,” Breneman said. “I get really focused on them.” The NRRI recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, having been established by the Minnesota Legislature in 1983. The Legislature set out to “foster the economic development of Minnesota’s natural resources in an environmentally sound manner to promote private sector employment,” according to the agency’s charter. Breneman’s elevator speech about the agency is “We were formed to be like R&D for the state of Minnesota,” she said. The agency, part of the University of Minnesota system research enterprise, doesn’t set policy or advocate for one side or the other of any issue. Rather, the scientists, technicians and engineers ask — and then try to answer — interesting questions about how to use Minnesota’s resources in an environmentally sound way to solve current-day problems. Even after decades of outreach and public education, of hosting open houses and authoring articles by the hundreds, “it’s a struggle to get people to understand who we are,” Breneman said. But once people learn what’s going on in that odd-looking building along Highway 53, they are amazed by the diversity of research centered in the Hermantown and Coleraine locations. NRRI has grown since its beginnings in the 1980s. “That’s due to a lot of work in promoting by our executive director (Rolf Weberg),” Breneman said. The agency has been able to access federal grant funds from the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, among others, to help fund ongoing research. She often finds her story subjects by sitting in on leadership meetings, talking with staff members and keeping her ear tuned for interesting tidbits that might be developed into fulllength stories. Breneman believes part of her value as a research translator is that she is not a scientist. “If they had another scientist writing these stories, they would sound very different,” she said. “Even after 22 years, I ask the stupid questions, I ask the clarifying questions: Why is this important? And who cares?” Those “stupid” questions lead to revealing answers, which lead to stories that appeal to everyday readers. For example, Breneman followed up on NRRI research into possible uses for birch bark, considered a waste product of the lumber industry. The Actives Factory in Two Harbors is now using a process developed by NRRI researchers to extract beneficial compounds from birch bark. The original research is filled

June Breneman enjoys a visit with two of her three grandchildren in May 2023.

with references to specific compounds like botulin, lupeol and botulin caffeate, as well as technical descriptions and phrases like “the cytotoxicity of 3-0-phthalic botulin esters have been tested on tumour cell lines in MTT tests.” Breneman, in a 2016 story, translated that to: “Modern science and ancient medicine have both confirmed the healing powers of the natural chemicals in birch bark.” She concluded the article with a quote from the founder of The Actives Factory, Brian Garhofer: “And although we’re looking at compounds from birch bark, this process may be feasible for products from other natural sources. But for now, there’s plenty of potential in the amazing birch tree.” When she isn’t writing, Breneman spends time with her two children and grandchildren, often putting her sewing machine to work on a variety of crafts and creations for her grandchildren. She has long been physically adventurous, though she has pulled back a little in recent years. She and her husband have been remodeling a house down to the studs for the last several years. Continued on page 16 THEWOMANTODAY.COM 15


June Breneman, right, and her two "barn buddies," from left, Lynn Smith and Anne Gullion, enjoy riding and hanging out at Gullion's stables to care for their horses. Her other constant companion over the last 24 years has been her horse, Denver. Breneman and Denver learned to ride together — with rider learning to decode her young, untrained horse’s cues over time. Breneman and Denver have traveled together to many states, “but Denver is thinking of retiring,” Breneman said, somewhat ruefully. They still go riding, but they stick to local trails, she said. Breneman has an eye toward retirement sometime soon as well, she said. As a first-generation college and high school graduate in her family, Breneman advises others to pursue interesting and meaningful pursuits, even if the odds seem long or they haven’t been encouraged. “Gaining knowledge doesn’t have to be intimidating,” she said. “I never let that stop me.” ✤ June Breneman and her husband, Dan, paddle in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in 2023. 16 January | February 2024

Janna Goerdt is an Iron Range farmer and freelance writer.


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St. Luke’s nurse honored with prestigious

DAISY A W A R D

P

~ honoring her work as a nurse. Her Sarana Award, nomination resulted from one of her more e Thimm difficult cases, where sadly, the baby did not survive. But the care and compassion she provided will never be forgotten. ~ Interestingly, Thimm almost didn’t become a

regnancy is often an uncertain and vulnerable time in a woman’s life. Having a compassionate medical team can make a world of difference. Superior resident Saranae Thimm is a labor and delivery nurse — and staff development facilitator — at St. Luke’s hospital. Providing excellent patient care is a top priority for her, and she has a calling for treating moms and newborns. During her 18-plus-year career, Thimm has helped deliver over 500 babies. But on the flip side of the coin, she also sees many losses. No matter the outcome, her care and compassion never waver. “People say that it must be the best place in the world to work,” Thimm said. “This is true, but it can also be the hardest and saddest place. Not all birth stories are happy. Either way, it’s an experience that is so emotional and dear to your heart.” Thimm was recently recognized with a prestigious DAISY

18 January | February 2024

nurse at all. But after earning a degree in elementary education, she couldn’t find a teaching job. So, she pivoted to nursing and has never looked back.

Early years Thimm was born and raised in Superior, where she still resides today. She has always been ambitious. In her youth, she was president of the student council, played volleyball, participated on the dance team, and worked several jobs. When she began college, her plans were to become a physical therapist. But some of the math and science courses were incredibly difficult. She made the decision to pivot to

PHOTOS COURTESY OF SARANAE THIMM

By Andrea Busche


teaching and earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Saranae married her husband, Kelly Thimm, right after college. The couple moved to Madison, where Kelly pursued his law degree. It was up to Saranae to pay the bills. “I had an incredibly hard time getting into teaching in Madison,” Thimm explained. “It was very competitive.” She took a gig as a long-term substitute and worked as a special education aide. But no permanent positions were available. “I really needed a job — I was supporting the two of us,” she said. “So I worked as a bank teller, an administrative assistant, and as a front desk clerk in a hotel. But I continued having the nagging thought in the back of my mind that I still had an interest in health care, and always felt a draw to the medical field.” After Kelly graduated, the Thimms moved back to Superior. There, Kelly Continued on page 20

Saranae Thimm and her daughter Kearra LaPorte, who was also an RN at St. Luke’s hospital at the time, are proud of Saranae’s DAISY Award.

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settled into his career as Douglas County’s assistant district attorney. He is now a Douglas County Circuit Court judge. Ultimately, Saranae made the decision to return to college, and graduated with an associate’s degree in nursing from the former WITC in 2005. She was hired as a nurse at St. Luke’s in June 2005, and has worked there ever since. Interestingly, she also serves as a nurse educator on her unit. She feels fortunate to use her background in education and nursing concurrently.

DAISY Award

Representing Superior Health Care Clinic, Saranae Thimm volunteers at a booth handing out candy, condoms and reproductive health information at a University of Wisconsin Superior welcome event.

Thimm received a DAISY Award for nursing in March 2023. The DAISY Award (which stands for Diseases Attacking the Immune Systems) is a program that celebrates and recognizes nurses by collecting nominations from patients, families and co-workers. It was established in 1999 in honor of J. Patrick Barnes, who passed away after an eight-week hospitalization. To date, over 210,000 nurses have been honored with a DAISY Award. Thimm was the first-ever recipient at St. Luke’s.

Nomination

Superior resident Saranae Thimm is a labor and delivery nurse, and staff development facilitator, at St. Luke’s Hospital. 20 January | February 2024

Sarah Belanger is the patient who nominated Thimm for the DAISY Award. She also happens to be a colleague; Belanger works as a nurse in the St. Luke’s emergency room, and shared her very personal story with The Woman Today. Belanger lost her first child, a son, after suffering a miscarriage. Nurse Thimm was with her every step of the way. “The nurse that came in that morning was Saranae,” Belanger said. “She walked us through the entire process. She took the time to discuss every single detail with us: what the delivery would look like, what our baby boy would look like, what things would be like after his arrival, and funeral home arrangements. She made sure all our questions were answered. “She went out of her way to make


Presenting the DAISY Award to Saranae Thimm, center, are Anna Solem, director of case management at St. Luke’s; Marie Wyatt, ICU RN; Theresa Hannu, vice president & chief nursing officer; Angela Hraban, manager of education; Tara Haugen, director of surgical services; and Eric Barto, director of education & patient care services. sure we were OK, and I don't think I'll ever be able to thank her enough for that. You never think the unimaginable is going to happen to you during your pregnancy, but we had just hoped and prayed for a nurse to treat us with kindness and compassion. Saranae did just that.” Thimm was deeply touched by this nomination, and in receiving the award. “I was surprised when I found out I was nominated, and who it was from,” she said. “The fact that a fellow nurse would take the time to nominate me makes it extra special. As a fellow nurse, Sarah knows what care and compassion really are. And people who have suffered a loss deserve the most compassion.”

Testimonials Leadership at St. Luke’s also offered praise for Thimm’s compassionate care. Theresa Hannu, St. Luke’s vice president & chief nursing officer, said, “St. Luke’s has extraordinary nurses, and we wanted to participate in an opportunity to recognize our nurses for the compassionate care they provide patients. We were proud to present the first-ever St. Luke’s DAISY award

to Saranae. She embodies all of St. Luke’s core values, and goes above and beyond to make a positive impact on patient care.” “Saranae gives the time and attention to her patients that they deserve,” added Maternal Child Health Manager Stephanie Forslund. “She has so much confidence with her nursing skills that her patients feel confident they are getting the best care possible.” Thimm was honored with a surprise ceremony, where she received a plaque, a bouquet of daisies, and a beautiful sculpture. At the time, her daughter, Kearra, also worked as a nurse at St. Luke’s. Having Kearra present for the ceremony made the moment extra special.

Personal The Thimms have three daughters: Kearra, 24, Sidney, 23, and Kenlyn, 16. They also have a “bonus daughter,” Paulina Roemer, 26, whom they first hosted as a German foreign exchange student in 2011. In her spare time, Thimm enjoys reading and participates in Continued on page 22 THEWOMANTODAY.COM 21


Kelly and Saranae Thimm Saranae’s family celebrates daughter Kearra's wedding on Jan. 7, 2023: Kenlyn Thimm, Sidney Thimm, Braden LaPorte, Kearra LaPorte, Saranae Thimm and Kelly Thimm.

a book club. She is a member at the YMCA, and loves playing wallyball. She and her family also love to travel. In addition to her work as a nurse, Thimm is vice president of the board for Superior’s Health Care Clinic. She has also served on the alumni association for WITC, and the board for Club Superior Volleyball.

Rewarding Career For Thimm, who sees the full spectrum of life in her career as a labor and delivery nurse, her work is incredibly fulfilling. Being honored with an award is just icing on the cake. “I love being able to help and support people through having their families, however that looks in their lives,” she said. “And I’m passionate about education, teaching and supporting my coworkers throughout their nursing careers.” More information about the DAISY Foundation and award can be found at daisyfoundation.org/about-daisyaward. ✤

Saranae Thimm and her husband, Kelly, are avid Green Bay Packers fans. 22 January | February 2024

Andrea Busche is a Duluth freelance writer.


Saranae’s three daughters are Kenlyn Thimm, Sidney Thimm and Kearra LaPorte.

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~ Judy Breue r ~

HUGE DIFFERENCE For Visually Impaired Student 24 January | February 2024

PHOTOS COURTESY OF JUDY BREUER

A Few Accommodations Make A


By Andrea Busche

F

or people who are visually impaired, the world can be a tricky place to navigate. Tasks many of us take for granted — like cooking a meal, reading a book or attending college — can present obstacles. But with the continued advancements of technology and a few supportive resources, those who are blind or visually impaired can do almost everything a sighted person can do. Duluthian Judy Breuer, along with three of her four siblings, was born with congenital cataracts. Her vision currently measures 20/200, which means she is legally blind. But with a few modifications, she lives a full, active life. She is a successful college student who lives independently, works and enjoys time with friends. However, it has taken her awhile to get to this point. “Today, I can go through life and my visual impairment isn’t the focus of my day,” she said. “But I do things a little differently. As a visually impaired person trying to be a student, things are a lot more challenging for me. “But overall, I think things are getting better,” she added. “There is less stigma around disabilities, and particularly visual disabilities.”

Early challenges Breuer has been visually impaired since birth. Her late mother, Gwen Breuer, also had congenital cataracts, and attended what was then known as “blind school.” Breuer and her siblings, however, all attended public school. As a young child growing up in the Twin Cities, Breuer had two surgeries to remove her cataracts and lenses, and later had a permanent lens implanted into each eye. In 2008 and 2012 she suffered retinal detachments, which are common with her condition. Both instances required additional eye surgeries. She now wears different types of glasses for different activities.

Judy Breuer displays her certificate after being initiated into the College of St. Scholastica’s Alpha Alpha Alpha Honors Society, which is bestowed on first-generation college students in graduate school who have achieved a grade point average of 3.5 or higher.

Continued on page 26 THEWOMANTODAY.COM 25


PHOTO COURTESY OF STATE SERVICES FOR THE BLIND

A State Services for the Blind of Minnesota staff member reads and records a book at the organization’s recording studio in St. Paul. Breuer moved to Duluth to attend college in 2007. She graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a degree in public health education and promotion. She is now attending the College of St. Scholastica, pursuing a master’s degree in social work.

Adaptations Breuer lives independently in an apartment. She described several adaptations that help her with daily tasks. “I’m fully independent, minus driving,” she noted. “I shop for myself and get around on the bus.” While Breuer owns a cane, she doesn’t use it. She has never had a Seeing Eye Dog. And, while she loves to read, she doesn’t know Braille. Rather, she relies on things like audiobooks for reading. As far as technology goes, Breuer frequently uses GPS functionality on her phone. She also takes photos and zooms in on them, to view details of things like food labels and street signs. She also uses raised dot stickers on her printer to make it easier to find the power button. Other resources she recommends include Learning Ally, 26 January | February 2024

Lighthouse for Vital Living, the Minnesota Library for the Blind, and Audible.

SSB One organization that has been immensely helpful to Breuer has been State Services for the Blind, or SSB — a division within Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development. Natasha Jerde serves as the director for SSB, which is headquartered in St. Paul. She explained a bit about the work they do. “Our mission is to facilitate the vocational and personal independence of Minnesotans who are blind, visually impaired and deafblind,” she said. “Some of the services we offer are adjustment-to-blindness training, pre-employment transition services, job search help, assistive technology, and tuition help. We also offer a service where our volunteers voice-record books, which can then be accessed by anyone at no cost.” Recently, Breuer learned that she needed to access the Continued on pages 27-29


Judy Breuer relied on transcription assistance from State Services for the Blind, who produced an audio recording of this 947-page textbook Breuer needed for her master’s degree coursework. The voice recording took nearly 90 hours by 15 volunteers from SSB; Breuer used this audio player to listen to the recording.

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Judy Breuer pauses for a photo while hiking Rock Knob trail in Hartley Park.

Judy Breuer enjoys playing DJ Trivia at the Tipsy Beaver bar with her friend, Heather Opsahl.

28 January | February 2024


Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (or DSM-5, for short), for her college coursework. At 947 pages long, Breuer had no idea how she’d be able to access this immense volume. She turned to SSB for help. Audio Services Librarian Dan Gausman, who tragically passed away during the creation of this story, was eager to help. He coordinated 15 of SSB’s volunteers to do a voice recording of the DSM-5 for Breuer. It took them a whopping 87 hours. But it was well worth it. This was a life-changing service for Breuer, and anyone else who needs the DSM-5 in the future. “I am so grateful to SSB for this service,” she said. “There are a lot of different voices I hear when I listen, and I don’t know who they all are. But they’ve made my life so much easier.” SSB currently has 150 employees and 300 volunteers. Over 10,000 people have been served by SSB in its 100 years of operation. Gov. Tim Walz even declared June 22, 2023, as “100 Years of State Services for the Blind Day” in the state of Minnesota. Jerde and her team find great fulfillment in their work. She said, “With the right tools and training, along with a more accessible world, people who are blind should have no limits to what they can accomplish.”

Work and play In addition to pursuing her master’s degree, Breuer works at Duluth’s Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP) as a wheel request coordinator and national training program assistant. She also facilitates men’s groups, and works as a therapist intern at Insight Counseling, too, where she offers services to couples. Upon graduation, she hopes to continue her work at DAIP, and ultimately become a therapist. In her free time, Breuer enjoys singing, reading, walking in nature and trivia nights with friends.

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Advice In our daily lives, sighted people may feel an instinct to step in and help if they notice someone visually impaired. Breuer offered this advice: “If you don’t know what to do or how to help, it’s OK to ask. I would say, just acknowledge the discomfort.” Above all, Breuer just wants to be an active, productive member of society. “My desire is to simply go through life and do my work,” she said. “I just want to fit in and have a happy life like anyone else.” For more information about SSB, visit mnssb.org, or call 651-539-2300. ✤ Andrea Busche is a Duluth freelance writer.

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HEALTH/MEDICINE

SPONSORED CONTENT

Siblings and colleagues at St. Luke’s How Drs. Kristina and Jordan Lindholm became physicians and the importance of primary care

F

or siblings Kristina and Jordan Lindholm, health care is more than a profession — it's a family legacy. Growing up in Virginia, Minnesota, their mother was an emergency department nurse. They would often meet her in the cafeteria for lunch, where they admired the bustling hospital and recognized the significance of their mom’s role. It was these early experiences that caused a curiosity for the medical field to take root and a driving force behind their journey to become physicians. Dr. Kristina Lindholm reflects, “I have always been interested in working closely with people and problem-solving. These interests,

30 January | February 2024

Drs. Kristina and Jordan Lindholm are primary care providers at St. Luke's Mount Royal Medical Clinic. combined with my mom’s example and a love of science, led me to medicine.” Her path inspired younger brother Dr. Jordan Lindholm. “After hearing about my sister’s undergraduate and medical school experiences, I realized medicine was a pathway that aligned with my career interests, too,” he said.

A collaborative journey In September 2021, Dr. Kristina joined the family medicine team at St. Luke’s Mount Royal Medical Clinic. She’s enjoyed her time there so much that when Dr. Jordan was exploring potential positions, she recommended that he consider St. Luke’s. Having previously worked together during their residency, Jordan welcomed the prospect of doing so again.

PHOTO COURTESY OF ST. LUKE’S

By Claire Kiger


“Transitioning from residency has been a smoother experience, knowing I have her support,” he said. “Working at the same clinic makes it easier to discuss difficult cases and bounce ideas off of each other.” Both Drs. Kristina and Jordan emphasize the critical role of topnotch primary care in a person’s overall health. “That’s why I highly recommended St. Luke’s to Jordan,” Dr. Kristina explained. “From the moment patients walk in, they receive the highest level of care, with primary care being a priority, as it should be.”

that bring them there. To schedule an appointment at a primary care clinic, call today. St. Luke’s has great availability and will get you in quickly. If you want to establish care, call 218-249-4000 or request an appointment online at slhduluth.com/PrimaryCare. ✤ Claire Kiger is a marketing specialist and writer for St. Luke’s.

The importance of primary care A primary care provider is a doctor, physician assistant or nurse practitioner who has special training in family medicine, internal medicine or pediatrics. They handle everything from acute problems to chronic disease management and preventive care. “Having a primary care provider is a great way to invest in your health and well-being,” emphasized Dr. Kristina. A primary care provider will start by getting to know your story and health history. This way, they can treat any issues you may have, offer personalized recommendations, and refer you to specialists when needed. Ultimately, they will help you reach your health goals and stay healthy long term. “I enjoy working with patients and watching them take an active role in their care to improve their health,” Dr. Jordan said. Dr. Kristina echoed her brother’s sentiments, adding, “I love listening to patients, problem-solving, determining a treatment plan with them, and seeing them improve.” In addition to Mount Royal Medical Clinic and various clinics in Duluth, St. Luke’s extends primary care services across the region. Clinics are in Hermantown, Mountain Iron, Hibbing, Two Harbors, Silver Bay, Superior and Ashland. Scheduling appointments is more convenient than ever, with more appointment availability, extended phone answering from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and reduced phone wait times.

More than a patient at St. Luke's At St. Luke’s, primary care goes beyond the conventional approach of merely treating symptoms or preventing health issues. There’s a commitment to developing meaningful relationships where patients feel seen, heard and fully understood for who they are. Dr. Kristina attests to this holistic approach. “Working at St. Luke’s has allowed me to become the type of physician I envisioned. I am motivated by the relationships I develop with patients over time and supporting them during all the stages of their life.” Her brother agreed, adding, “At St. Luke’s, we truly do put The Patient. Above All Else.” This patient-centered model at St. Luke’s ensures that health care is not a transaction but a journey, where physicians like Drs. Jordan and Kristina are dedicated to understanding the unique stories and needs of everyone. This personalized and empathetic approach that sets St. Luke’s apart. It creates an environment where patients experience comprehensive care that extends beyond the reasons

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Arts & Events Calendar The West Theatre Events Thursdays in January/February Jan. 24 - Candlelight Sessions: The Girl from Ipanema (Getz/Gilberto). Find updated information at thewesttheatre/ events.com.

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.

Murder on the Orient Express January 26 to February 4 The Duluth Playhouse will present Agatha Christie’s iconic novel at the NorShor Theatre. Visit duluthplayhouse. org.

Sundown on the Jasper County Jewel 6:30 p.m. January 6 BOLD-choice Theatre’s newest production is the company’s first foray into musical theater. The performance will be held at the the NorShor Theatre. Visit https://www. duluthplayhouse.org.

Duluth Wedding Show 10 a.m. January 13 You and your entire bridal party can sample and experience the area’s best wedding products and services while chatting face-to-face with local and regional vendors, as well as a fashion show The 35th annual event will be held at the DECC from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit duluthweddingshow. com.

MW2 Epic Tales 7 p.m. January 20 Enjoy Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No.3 featuring Blythe Gaissert as alto soloist and the women of the DSSO Chorus. Visit dsso. com/concert/epic-tales/.

Lake Superior Ice Festival January 26-27 This annual event, featuring ice sculpting, trivia contests, ice golf, snowshoe demos, live music, food trucks, stock car racing, KidZone, fireworks and more will be held at Barker’s Island. Visit lakesuperioricefestival.com.

32 January | February 2024

Charlie Berens 5 p.m. February 3 Comedian, author, journalist, musician and creator of the Manitowoc Minute, Wisconsin native Charlie Berens will perform at the DECC’s Symphony Hall. Visit decc.org.

Greysolon Dinner Dances 6 p.m. Various Dates Greysolon Dinner Dances are back! The Father Daughter Dances are Feb. 2, March 2 and 15; Mother Son Dances are Feb. 24, March 1 and 16; Mother Daughter Dances are Feb. 10 and March 29; and Family Dances is March 30. Visit greysolonduluth.com.

Jesus Christ Superstar 7:30 p.m. February 8 Celebrating its 50th anniversary, this iconic musical phenomenon returns to the stage, performing at the DECC’s Symphony Hall. Visit decc.org.

Rise February 15-18 Minnesota Ballet's mixed repertory performance features contemporary works crafted by Minnesota Ballet artists and guest

choreographer Jayson Douglas. Rise will be performed in Studio Four at The Depot. Visit minnesotaballet.org.

Duluth Sport Show February 15-18 Combining the Duluth Boat, Sports, Travel & RV Show and the Northland Outdoors Duluth Deer Classic, this mega-show will feature exhibitors, seminars and events throughout the DECC’s Pioneer Hall, arena and convention center. Hours vary per day. Visit duluthsportshow. com.

Duluth Comedy Festival February 16-17 Headliners are comedians Maria Bamford and Drew Lynch, along with a fantastic lineup of comedic friends, all at the NorShore Theatre. Visit duluthcomedyfest.com.

Duluth Women’s Expo February 24 Whether you’re calling the shots at home or work, the Duluth Women’s Expo is the perfect place to learn how to feel healthier, more beautiful, or just plain appreciated! It includes the Pioneer Market, live music, over 100 exhibitors, presentations and workshops from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the DECC. Visit duluthwomensexpo.com.

Have an event for the

Calendar? Submit your event information to: magazines@duluthnews.com at least two months before your event.


R sie 7TH ANNUAL

A W A

R

D

S

NOMINATIONS OPEN!!

T

he women of our community are a driving force and we recognize them each year for what they bring to our unique culture. We’re looking to you, our readers, to help us celebrate those among us who drive us forward. Nominate a special woman you know today by sending us a summary describing their contributions to our community.

Tonya Loken

2023 Leadership Award

We will honor winners in the following categories: Most Engaged Volunteer: A woman who goes above and beyond Leadership Award: A woman who demonstrates outstanding and works tirelessly in the region for the good of us all. leadership by challenging, motivating and inspiring others in their field of endeavor. Mentor Award: A woman among us who has acted as an Silent Advocate: A woman who silently helps her communities experienced and trusted adviser to those around her. and neighbors. Trailblazer Award: A woman who is willing to step out and blazes a new positive path for others to follow. Rosie Award: That woman who simply gets stuff done - she’s a volunteer, a silent advocate, a leader, a trailblazer and a mentor.

Nominate at

thewomantoday.com For questions, please contact Ali at 218-428-2929 or dearrosie@thewomantoday.com

Presented by

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HEALTH/MEDICINE

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‘I died on April 27’ Northland woman grateful for Essentia’s lifesaving care

Carla Holmes enjoys a visit to Duluth's Lakewalk this summer.

I

t’s something you never want to hear from a loved one: “I think I might be having a heart attack.” But in April, that’s what then-51-year-old Cloquet resident Carla Holmes told her fiancé Jason Londgren. Holmes was experiencing severe back pain on April 27. It wouldn’t go away, so she decided to lie down. Londgren, whose plans to be gone for the evening had fallen through, went to check on her. Holmes knew something was wrong and asked what the symptoms of a heart attack were. “I’m so thankful he was home because if he wasn’t I might not be here,” said Holmes. Londgren didn’t hesitate. He knew they needed to get to the hospital. Holmes, who lost consciousness before she could receive lifesaving care, was rushed to Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center. Fortunately, the ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) care team at St. Mary’s Medical Center was waiting for Holmes. Led by Dr. Nicole Worden, an interventional cardiologist, Holmes immediately had three stents put in to open up clogged arteries, with a fourth added later. “Carla’s excellent outcome is a direct result of the talented team that came together to provide care for her,” Dr. Worden said. “We provide first-class care for our STEMI patients because we have built this excellent team over time, with education, outreach and dedication.” 34 January | February 2024

A STEMI is the most severe type of heart attack and has a significant risk of serious complications and death. It is caused by the abrupt closure of a major coronary artery. Holmes’ heart attack was so severe that she was placed on a ventilator and didn’t regain consciousness until May 2, about five days later. “The care saved my life,” Holmes said. “I wouldn’t be here without Essentia.” “We have really built a system that provides exceptional care to those experiencing this life-threatening emergency,” Dr. Worden said. “We know people do better with prompt care, so we actively measure our care practices to make sure we are pushing ourselves to be better. From my perspective, I really enjoy doing these procedures more than any other because I know what I do matters to the patient. For some patients, the procedure is the reason they survive their heart attack.” After a couple of days of recovery, Holmes was released from the hospital on May 4. “Dr. Worden was wonderful, and she was so caring,” Holmes said. “I could have easily died that day, and she was genuinely thrilled that I survived.” A spirited and lively person, Holmes lives with congestive heart failure (CHF), a long-term condition that happens when your heart can’t pump blood well enough to give your body a normal supply. “Everyone at Essentia is so good at working through this

PHOTO COURTESY OF ESSENTIA

By Anthony Matt


SPONSORED CONTENT

diagnosis with me,” Holmes said. “From the schedulers to the nurses and all the way to the top doctors, they all explain to me what I need to be doing, when and how I need to do it, and how I can adjust to this so I can live a long and healthy life.” Nearly two months later, Holmes now goes to Essentia’s cardiac rehabilitation classes in Duluth and has routine checkups done at the Essentia HealthCloquet Clinic. “The rehab program is awesome. I get one-on-one, personal care that makes me feel really loved, reassured and cared for,” Holmes said. “They monitor everything I’m doing to make sure my heart rate and blood pressure are staying in healthy ranges, and they make the whole process easy and helpful.” She attends three classes a week and will for a total of 12 weeks. “Having a clinic available in Cloquet is so convenient,” Holmes said, “especially for those quick visits. Sometimes, I can drive there, have a quick check-up and be home in about 15 minutes.” “Essentia provides comprehensive, high-quality cardiovascular care and is a leader in the region and around the state,” Dr. Worden said. “We will do anything we can to provide lifesaving care in a timely manner.” For the last 10 years, St. Mary’s has been honored with the Platinum Award for heart attack care. Awarded by the American College of Cardiology, it’s one of the highest cardiac honors a health care system can achieve, recognizing positive patient outcomes, performance and quality of care. Essentia’s cardiology team has also received several awards from various organizations. ✤

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Answering the call Half of the volunteer firefighters in Normanna Township are women By Janna Goerdt

N

36 January | February 2024

Julie Orbeck Hulst people” on staff, she said. Having a large number of women ready to head out on a fire or medical call is often an advantage, particularly when it’s a woman who needs medical help. “I’ve been on calls where it’s an obstetrics call or another female-related call, and you can see the look of relief wash over people’s faces when they see women” arriving to assist them, Orbeck Hulst said. “Representation is very important, especially in male-dominated fields like this.” Cassandra Klints was the first of this wave of women to join

PHOTOS COURTESY OF JULIE ORBECK HULST

o one is quite sure how it happened. It was gradual … and then noticeable. And suddenly, it was significant. However it came to be, it’s notable that half of the volunteers on the Normanna Volunteer Fire Department are women. Some married into the firefighting family. Some were recruited. Some were fulfilling a lifelong dream. All have sacrificed time and effort to serve their community as volunteers. “It’s cool to see women in our community step up,” said Julie Orbeck Hulst. She has been an emergency medical responder with the department for about a year and a half. Her husband, Andrew, and father-in-law, Corey, are also in the department. Orbeck Hulst said she had always planned to join her local volunteer fire department. Her father is the fire chief in St. Martin, Minnesota, and Orbeck Hulst had always looked up to his service leadership. She always planned to follow that family tradition, and when she met her husband, whose father is also a fire chief, they both joined the Normanna Volunteer Fire Department. There were already many women serving with the department when Orbeck Hulst joined. “Dad’s department is lucky to have one woman out of 25


more women have the department. joined the She has been a firefighter and department, Klints EMR with has appreciated the Normanna for diversity of experiences and more than eight perspectives years. women bring to the “I always mix. thought it would be “Everyone has cool to help the different strengths,” community,” she Klints said. “It’s said. “But I didn’t nice to have a wellwant to do the rounded and medical side. I balanced team.” wanted to be a Working as a firefighter.” firefighter can be a At the time, physically Klints didn’t know demanding job, that was possible; said Normanna Fire but she stopped by Chief Corey Hulst. the fire hall one Julie Orbeck Hulst, far right, visits with some children in Normanna day and was asked Township after an annual fun run in the community. But he also said if she wanted to there’s no reason that women, even join. She learned small-statured that she could women, can’t do the same physical things as their male indeed just get certified in firefighting, but a year after she counterparts. joined the department she earned her EMR certification as “I want to make sure that doesn’t stop any woman from well. applying” to join the Normanna or any other fire department, “I like the feeling of helping people out,” Klints said. She Hulst said. also loves the “family feeling” that has developed among the He recalled a former female firefighter who, “soaking wet, close-knit group of volunteers in the department. When Klints joined the department, she was the only woman there. Continued on page 38 “It didn’t matter to me,” she said. However, as more and

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Christina Hacking, left, from the OBGYN department at St. Luke's hospital, demonstrates childbirth techniques for a training session with Normanna Fire Department volunteers, including Julie Orbeck Hulst.

38 January | February 2024


Members of the Minnesota Air Rescue Team (in orange) are pictured following a training exercise with the Normanna Fire Department volunteers, from left, Andrew Hulst, Leah Hulst, Sara Marciniak, Julie Orbeck Hulst and Alexandra Juten.

with all her gear, would have weighed less than 130 pounds,” he said. Hulst said he worked several interior fires with this volunteer, “and I trusted her with my life.” There are also equipment tips and tricks firefighters can use to get the job done, rather than brute strength, Hulst said. And sometimes, it’s just numbers. Hulst told the story of a fire truck (full of water) that wouldn’t start, and needed to be pushed out of the Normanna Fire Hall. There were seven women and no men at the hall that day, so they did what had to be done. Hulst steered, the women pushed, and the truck rolled. “It was quite the deal,” Hulst said. Sara Marciniak’s 4-year-old son really, really wanted a firetruck themed birthday party. Marciniak asked if someone from the Normanna Fire Department could swing by in a fire truck, and some volunteers made it happen. “They made his day,” Marciniak said. And the experience made her think about joining the volunteer force. She already

worked in the medical community, and she enjoys helping people, so it seemed like a good fit. Marciniak also went ahead and earned her Level 1 and Level 2 firefighter certification, and she also serves as the department’s secretary. “I can do a little bit of everything,” she said, and she learned most of it from scratch. Her first response trips with the department involved “hanging out and watching,” she said. But it wasn’t long before she was responding to medical emergencies and fire calls just like long-time volunteers. Marciniak said the training was a commitment, but it’s doable. The Normanna Fire Department holds at least two training sessions each month, Klints said, and extra training sessions are frequently available. Volunteers respond to calls as they are able. Continued on page 40 THEWOMANTODAY.COM 39


Members of the Normanna Volunteer Fire Department gather for a group photo. Half of the volunteer responders are women. Many area departments have women in their ranks, but none have as many as Normanna. “You go when you can,” Klints said. “If you surveyed a lot of the volunteer departments around, you’d find women involved throughout the rural communities in northern Minnesota, way more than in the (Twin) Cities,” Hulst said. He believes women in rural areas are more willing to step up and be ready to protect their neighbors. “I love it,” Klints said. “If anyone is even considering it, at least visit your local department. It’s a rewarding experience — every call you go on, you’re a part of a community that’s bigger than yourself.” If you are interested in joining your local volunteer or paid-on-call fire department, contact your local department or visit www.mnfirehire. com to learn more. ✤ Janna Goerdt is an Iron Range farmer and freelance writer. From left, Sara Marciniak, Julie Orbeck Hulst and Alexandra Juten, all of the Normanna Fire Department, take part in emergency medical responder training offered by the department. 40 January | February 2024


Members of the Normanna Volunteer Fire Department rest following a training session.

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kids

korner By Ali Carlson

We have been getting out and taking advantage of his abnormally weird warm start to winter! Sloane enjoys all outdoor activities and everything Duluth has to offer. One of our favorite activities in the winter is to drive around to different communities and enjoy their seasonal decorations. This year Sloane was convinced for Thanksgiving that everyone was decorating their yards with chickens! Sloane advises everyone to get out and enjoy our great community!

SLOanE’s Suggestions

At 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. ExperienceTheDepot.org or “St. Louis Count Depot” on Facebook & Instagram.

At the Aquarium Let’s Skate Wonder Wednesdays

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Sweet Treats Cake Pops and Hot Chocolate Mix

PHOTOS COURTESY OF KIM QUINONES

By Kim Quinones The Woman Today

46 January | February 2024


HOT CHOCOLATE MIX Ingredients: 2 ½ cups Instant nonfat dry milk ¾ cup Unsweetened cocoa 1 ¼ cup Powdered sugar ¼ tsp. Salt ¼ tsp. Cinnamon Directions: Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and blend well using a whisk to stir. Store in an airtight container or glass jar with a lid. To prepare a cup of hot chocolate: Mix together ¼ cup hot chocolate mix with 8 ounces of hot water. Top with whipped cream or marshmallows.

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❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ CAKE POPS

Ingredients: 1 box Cake mix flavor of your choice; Red Velvet was used in this recipe plus the ingredients listed on the box on how to make the cake (3 eggs, 1 cup water and ½ cup vegetable oil). ¾ cup Frosting; premade cream cheese frosting was used in this recipe 12 oz. Melting chocolate 24 Treat sticks (3) 2.5 oz bags Sprinkles Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9x13 cake or two round cake pans with non-stick baking spray. Follow directions to mix cake batter and pour into the prepared pan; select the baking time for pan size according to cake mix directions. Cool cake, remove crusty layer on top, then crumble cake into a large mixing bowl. Add in ¾ cup frosting and mix slowly for 30 seconds at a time until the cake holds together.

Use a 2-tablespoon scoop to measure out cake mixture and use your hands to roll into a smooth ball. Place on a parchment paper-lined tray and freeze for 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer. Melt chocolate wafers in the microwave at 15-second intervals until creamy. Take a treat stick and dip the end into the melted chocolate, then insert it into the center of the cake ball.

Hold the cake ball by the stick and dip into the melted chocolate using a spoon to assist in coating all sides. Pour sprinkles over the warm chocolate immediately. Place assembled cake pop onto a tray to set up or use an egg carton turned upside down and punch a hole in the bottom of each carton bowl to hold the cake pop upright. ✤ Tip: Place sprinkles in a small dish and put a larger dish under cake pop while pouring sprinkles from the smaller dish. It helps keep the mess in check.

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The Woman Yesterday

This Mira Southworth photo, one of many, illustrates the beauty of Duluth and Lake Superior.

Mira Southworth

These are just a few of Mira Southworth’s photos taken in and around Park Point; many more can be found in her scrapbooks held in the archives at the Kathryn A. Martin Library at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Mira Southworth (1883-1975) orn in 1883 in Stoughton, Massachusetts, Mira Southworth first traveled to Duluth to visit a friend while earning a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Minnesota. After she earned her master’s degree at Harvard University, she returned to Duluth and took a job as an English teacher at Central High School in 1918. During her long tenure at Central, she became a beloved teacher who read classic works of literature aloud to her classes. In 1999 the Duluth Budgeteer claimed that she was so popular her classes overflowed and she always had encouragement for every one of her students. She also became the advisor of the first photography club there and enjoyed staying in touch with graduated students. She often sent GIs Christmas cards during World War II, which she handmade with her own photographs and a quote from a favorite poet on the inside. 50 January | February 2024

She also fell in love with Park Point and eventually bought a home there in 1934 which she called “Outermost House,” residing there for 40 years. “Oh, I’m a Park Pointer. I grew up on the Atlantic seaboard and the lake means so much,” she said as quoted in the Duluth Herald in a 1951 article celebrating her retirement. Southworth spent much of her free time taking photographs of the natural world, even after retirement. According to a 1999 article in the Duluth Budgeteer she would often have neighborhood children assist her while on photo shoots, many of which were in the marsh across from her house. Named in honor of her contributions to the community, Southworth Marsh was established in 1999 and is a 10-acre preserve on the bay side of Minnesota Point. Southworth passed away in 1975 at the age of 92. D Amy Carlson is a Duluth freelance writer.

HEAD SHOT AND BOAT PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE BUDGETEER NEWS, DULUTH PUBLIC LIBRARY COLLECTION, COLLAGE PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BREEZE OF PARK POINT, FEBRUARY 2016

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By Amy Carlson



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