Page 1

Spring 2018

Voted Second Place

Best Minnesota Magazine 2017

Painting DTAWNEE reams CORNING

Local Artist










2 | in Bemidji Spring 2018


John Williams

Dr. James Hess

Dr. Susan Tesch

and ask us how to find the

We offer a variety of services including: • Custom Frame Repair Kristi Gubbels • Eyeglass Adjustments • Vision Therapy

By our Professional Opticians Outside Prescriptions Welcome

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Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8:00-5:30

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212 - 3rd Street Downtown Bemidji

333-EYES (3937)

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504 Paul Bunyan Dr. NW Bemidji • 751-8868


Lakeview Liquors

510 Paul Bunyan Dr SW Bemidji • 751-3911

Spring 2018

in Bemidji | 3


1320 Neilson Ave. SE Bemidji, MN 56601 218-333-9200


Editor Content Director Creative Director

Jillian Gandsey Abby Randall Chris Johnson

Consulting Committee

Lead Designer Mollie Burlingame Advertising Beth Grundy Business Larisa Severson


Publisher Editor Controller Advertising Director Circulation Manager Customer Service Supervisor

Dennis Doeden Matt Cory Tammie Brooks Todd Keute Tim Webb Eve Rongstad

To Advertise 218-333-9200

Shelly Willison

James Hanson

Barry Karpinski

Questions and Feedback Email in Bemidji at Volume 5, Issue 2


Copyright © 2018 Bemidji Pioneer in Bemidji

All rights reserved. Although some parts of this publication may be reproduced and reprinted, we require that prior permission be obtained.

ON THE COVER Local artist Tawnee Corning in her home studio. Photo by Jillian Gandsey.

Photo by Jillian Gandsey

in Bemidji’s mission is to be Bemidji’s and the surrounding area’s local lifestyle magazine. We strive to enhance the quality of life for the people of the Bemidji area by informing them about all of the amazing people who live in our community. Our concentration is on everything local: fashion, food, health, and most importantly, unique individuals and stories. We strive to maintain a high level of integrity as an inspiring, local media presence for our readers and provide advertisers with a high-quality, effective marketing medium.

Bemidji’ online! Visit, then click on in Bemidji’ near the bottom of the page. Read the award-winning in 4 | in Bemidji Spring 2018




12 20

inside Spring 2018

Features 12 Meet Deb Pfaff

16 20 24

Hear from Deb Pfaff, Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce President, in a Q&A with inBemidji editor Jillian Gandsey.

At home on the lot

Learn about three of Bemidji’s auto dealers and their history of service within the community.

Painting dreams

Local artist Tawnee Corning invites us into her Bagley studio and chats about her artistic style and more.

Who is Nana Boozhoo?

Michael Lyons, a teacher from Voyageurs Expeditionary School, shares Ojibwe culture through online videos.

14 In this issue

06 08 14 28 30

#Bemidji on Twitter Spring fashion trends Jillian cooks veggie burgers Loop the Lake What is it?

16 28

08 Spring 2018

in Bemidji | 5



Bemidji is mentioned on Twitter often. Whether it has to do with curling, ever-changing weather or our obsession with plaid, someone always has something to say. Here are just a few things said about Bemidji on Twitter:

Barron Von Awesome @CappyD

As a Canadian who has been to Bemidji to compete in another sport, I can honestly say that the people there are some of the friendliest you will ever come across. #Curling Northern Dental @NDACBemidji

We are in love with the new addition in our front waiting room! Artist: Brian Dow “Boozhoo Indianwemaaganidog” (“Hello my Relatives”)

dyl aka Rock Mannon @DYLPLOPOUL

Bemidji is one of the only places left in the world where nickelback is played in a nonironic way. Nearsighted Girl @christysalmonso

Are you only allowed to wear plaid in Bemidji? Ryan Fransen. @RyanFransen25

Man, I am amped to see my guys in Bemidji this weekend Tires Plus Bemidji @TP_Bemidji

Rollin into the weekend like... #TiresPlusBemidji Carl


Two Christmas’s ago, my daughter said she wanted t-shirts from bands she likes, so Santa brought her a London Calling one, which is how she became the coolest girl at Bemidji High School. Have more to say? Check us out on Twitter: @inMagBemidji, and use the hashtag #Bemidji to sound off! 6 | in Bemidji Spring 2018

Richard Phelps 218-766-5263 Facebook @DickPhelpsRealtor 001616157r1



Hometown bank. Hometown bankers. It’s a great time to start looking to buy or build a home. Getting preapproved means buyers can trust you to close on time. Get started today by applying online at Call 333-4320 to talk with one of our retail lenders.


Spring 2018

in Bemidji | 7

growing Fashion trends heading into spring Fashion is fickle and so are the techniques we rely on to look and feel great. Because trends change so often, it can be challenging to figure out which have staying power and which might be passing whims. Here are some trends to keep in mind for those who are looking for a quick update heading into the new season. Just remember to have fun, try something new unapologetically and be the beautiful you that you are!

saturated colors For a budget friendly wardrobe, focus on classic staple items that can be used in each season such as a trench coat in khaki, neutral-colored pants and blouses, a suede ankle boot, but then look for that punch of color in your accessories. For color inspiration, check out Pantone’s New York Fashion Week’s Color Palette. Shout out to all the purple lovers, we have a feeling it’s going to be a fabulous year.

8 | in Bemidji Spring 2018

Simplistic natural skin Th is spring, in lieu of heavy foundations try quality skin cleansers and moisturizers that let your natural skin shine. Combined with multitasking products like moisturizer with SPF, this means fewer products clogging up makeup cases and bathroom counters. Try enhancing your natural features by fi lling in brows pairing with plump eyelashes on bottom and top for a quick and easy 10-minute face.

Gifts For All Seasons! ART SUPPLIES




Masked faces It’s not Halloween revisited, but rather a much-needed beauty time out for adults. Face masks continue to be the DIY beauty treatment of the moment, and the mask market is expected to expand even further. Masks are advantageous because they can target specific problems and provide noticeable results right from home. Whether it’s DIY or store bought, treat yourself to a little mask time this spring!

Bold eyes Another popular trend involves playing up the eyes. Holographic or colored eyeliner and aqua-tinted lashes and liner can offer a beachy, mermaid inspiration for summer. Intense kicks of color are typically balanced out with neutral features elsewhere. If you’re more daring, spring for the intense hair color for an even more noticeable look.

ORIGINAL ARTWORK Zoomer’s Rod Shop Diane‛s Dance Studio Since 1966


The Old Schoolhouse OPEN ALL YEAR Monday - Saturday 10-5:30

2335 Monroe Ave SW, Bemidji Located: 1 mile south of Bemidji on #197 and 1 mile west on Carr Lake Road SW & Co. #11


Email: Spring 2018

in Bemidji | 9




By Alisa Vandyke Kitchen & Flooring Design Specialist Cabinet Corner of Bemidji


looring is essential to the overall aesthetic appeal of your home.

When walking into a home, one of the first things that sets the tone is the flooring. With so many options to choose from it can be an intimidating start, but once you have determined the foundation of your design it’s amazing how the rest seems to fall into place. The amount of flooring options available grows every year along with the quality and durability. No longer are the days of only sheet vinyl and laminate.


“With so many options to choose from it can be an intimidating start.” THE FIRST STEPS We know that it is difficult to make flooring decisions as well as tie everything together with swatches and samples. That’s why I always suggest that you start with a consultation. Here at Cabinet Corner, we offer free consultations because it’s important to us to spend the time to learn about your personal style and the budget for your project. Whether you already have a complete design idea or simply a Pinterest board, we can bring your ideas together to create your ultimate vision.

FIND AN EXPERIENCED DESIGNER In addition to flooring for any room, my background includes designing custom tile showers. I have a fortunate understanding of working with tile as my husband, Jeff Vandyke, is a local tile installer. We work together as a team to turn your dream into a reality. We both truly love what we do and every project is special to us. Whether you are ready to start a new project or refresh your existing home, contact us and we will be delighted to help you create a design that you will love for a lifetime. Cabinet Corner is a family owned business since 1983 and with seven designers on staff. We are now one of northern Minnesota’s largest cabinet and flooring home centers.

Cabinet Corner Inc. WHOLESALE RETAIL

Visit us at

218-751-7522 | Toll Free 1-888-751-7522

5 miles W. of Bemidji on Highway 2 Mon-Fri 9-5; Sat 10-2

Meet Deb Pfaff President of Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce by Jillian

Gandsey, in Bemidji Editor

inBemidji sat down with Deb Pfaff, Bemidji’s new Chamber of Commerce President, in January to chat and learn more about her and what brought her up north. Originally from Illinois, Deb comes to us from a western suburb of Chicago. She’s been with the Chamber since just after Thanksgiving and said it’s been whirlwind to begin with, but she’s had a warm welcome to the First City on the Mississippi. How has your time in Bemidji been so far? I’ve been warmly welcomed by everyone in Bemidji. It’s been a great experience. Lori Paris made numerous connections for me and the Chamber is in a really good place, which is a great experience to come into. I’m so impressed by the city of Bemidji. We’ve been able to enjoy a lot of different types of experiences. We were invited to a BSU men’s hockey game that went into double overtime. It was a great game. We were invited to the Symphony to see their performance of “The Snowman.” My son plays in orchestra at the middle school and so we were able to experience that and I’ve just really enjoyed our time. Tell us about your work style? I enjoy public relations. I enjoy meeting people. I enjoy talking with people. I enjoy looking for mutually beneficial ideas and programs that serve the greater good, that serve the community. There are lots of things that are in place already with the Chamber of Commerce that are going well. For instance, there’s a partnership with the Bemidji Career Academy where Chamber members can come in and speak about what it’s like to be a CEO in the Classroom. That was such cool experience. A great opportunity. There’s also things that we do that are services for small businesses like our HR Connections group that provides speaks and resources for small businesses who can come together and kind of bounce ideas off of each other or be exposed to things that they may not have been able resource on their own. So it’s nice to be in a service organization that can provide some of those options and opportunities for businesses. Other than the Chamber position, what attracted you to Bemidji? I have family in Park Rapids that we’ve visited for numerous years for all types of vacations. Summer vacations. Christmas vacations. So we’ve experienced many different seasons of northern Minnesota. My immediate family has all moved to the area. My parents moved. My brother and his family moved. Another aunt and uncle moved to the area. And suddenly, family get-togethers in Illinois were getting smaller and smaller so I thought after making several trips north this summer, five trips in four months, we were at a family dinner and somebody said,

12 | in Bemidji Spring 2018

“You know Deb, you’ve got to be tired of driving 600 miles, maybe you should look for a job up here,” and I said, “Oh yeah, well when the right thing happens, when the right thing comes along, I will.” And within a couple of weeks, my aunt called me and said “Hey, did you know there’s an opening at the Bemidji Chamber? You should look into it. I think you’d really enjoy it.” So the rest is history, as they say. What motivates you in life? Doing something to the best of my ability. My motto is “Work hard. Play hard. Have fun.” That’s kind of my theme at the end of the day. I want to know that I did everything to the best of my ability for the community. For myself professionally. For my family. And hope that I made a difference. What is the average day of a Chamber President like? The great thing is there is no typical day. It’s a different thing everyday. There are different dynamics everyday. There’s enough consistency where it’s benefiting the business community but always looking for new ways to benefit that community. New partnerships with different organizations such as our recent co-location with Visit Bemidji. We’ve been able to do lots of idea sharing. It’s so much more enjoyable when organizations get along and work well together and that’s been a wonderful experience. Are you a reader? What are you currently reading/ excited to read? I used to read a lot and now with a 3-year-old, I read a lot of bedtime stories. So my reading style has changed immensely to a lot of Dr. Seuss. Are there any northern Minnesota hobbies you’re eager to try? I love water skiing. I’m an avid water skier so I am looking forward to warmer weather. Winter hobbies really are watching my kids enjoy their activities and their sports. And cooking. Oh, and gardening! I love gardening. What do you want Bemidjians to know about you? I’m approachable. If there’s something that you like about the Chamber, tell me. If there’s something that you’ve seen done in other communities that you think, “Wow, this would be great for Bemidji,” let me know. Let’s see what we can do to make Bemidji an even better place for everyone.

If there’s something that you’ve seen done in other communities that you think, “Wow, this would be great for Bemidji,” let me know. Let’s see what we can do to make Bemidji an even better place for everyone. •Deb Pfaff

Spring 2018

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Gandsey, in Bemidji Editor


ER ’

by Jillian



’m stepping into the Larisa Cooks kitchen this season to share two of my favorite homemade veggie burger recipes. Both are bean-based and favorites in my home. Each recipe is customizable and I urge you to experiment! You know what you like. If a whole cup of corn in the taco burger sounds like too much for you, it probably is. I came up with these recipes by testing out different flavors on my own and usually I just end up tossing whatever vegetables I have in a bowl with some mashed beans. Let us know what your favorite veggie burger recipes are over on our Facebook page.

14 | in Bemidji Spring 2018

Jillian Gandsey

Red Pepper Chickpea Burger Serving size: About 4 patties


1 15 ounce can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained Half of a red pepper, finely chopped ¼ cup roasted red pepper cheese 1 large egg


¼ cup bread crumbs ½ teaspoon paprika ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes ½ teaspoon chili powder ½ teaspoon garlic powder Salt and pepper to taste Oil for pan

: Mash beans in a mixing bowl, leaving some in tact. Add red pepper and cheese and mix. Add egg, bread crumbs and seasonings and mix until well combined. Shape patties with hands or by using this *tip. Heat oil in a skillet. Fry each patty until sides are equally browned, about 2-3 minutes for each side, or until desired crispiness is achieved. Prep buns and burger toppings in the meantime. Add a cheese slice (if you want to make it a cheese veggie burger) in the last minute of cooking. Stack it all together and voila! *Tip: If you have a hard time shaping patties with your hands, try flattening out the mixture and using a cup to cut out the patties. That way you can form even patties and make the most out of your ingredients.

Northwoods Veggie Taco Burger Serving size: About 4 patties


1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped 1 cup of corn

¾ cup cooked wild rice 1 teaspoon taco seasoning ½ teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon paprika Salt and pepper to taste Oil for pan


Mash beans in a mixing bowl, leaving some in tact. Add red onion, corn, wild rice, seasonings and mix until well combined. Shape patties with hands or by using this *tip. Heat oil in a skillet. Fry each patty until sides are equally browned, about 2-3 minutes for each side, or until desired crispiness is achieved. Prep buns and burger toppings in the meantime. Add a cheese slice (if you want to make it a cheese veggie burger) in the last minute of cooking. Stack it all together and there you have it. *This recipe is vegan as it is here, but to add extra protein (and to make the patties stick together better when cooking) you could also add egg and bread crumbs to this one. Like I said, experiment!

Note: If your patties are too moist and it’s tough to get a good patty out of them (you may not have drained the beans well enough or for whatever reason), just add more bread crumbs. If the opposite is your issue and the patties are too dry, add some egg white or a bit of vegetable oil. Spring 2018

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At Home

Bemidji has a unique history of family owned auto dealerships dating back to the mid-1960s. Today these dealerships continue to offer quality products and services and a rich tradition of community involvement.


Fankhanels keep business growing at Bemidji Chrysler Center and Honda of Bemidji Family businesses tend to evolve, and Bemidji Chrysler Center and Honda of Bemidji are no exception. Jim Fankhanel, owner of Bemidji Chrysler Center and Honda of Bemidji, purchased the family business in 1999. “I was taking some chances there buying that much so quickly,” Jim said. In 2000, he also purchased the former Ness Motors of Park Rapids, now Park Rapids Ford, which was sold in 2017. In 2006, he also purchased the Honda of Bemidji franchise which was the former Spaulding Motors dealership. Jim got his start working in sales and

as sales manager. “I’ve been selling cars since 1989,” he said. It all started in 1952 when Jim’s grandfather, Walt Fankhanel Sr., opened a John Deere implement dealership. In 1957, he added Nash-Rambler, which became American Motors. Jeep was also part of AMC at the time, so he sold those vehicles, too. But in 1958, Walt Sr., died. His and his wife Libby’s sons, Dave and Walt Jr., were 18 and 20 years old at the time and in college. CONTINUED ON PAGE 17

Bob Lowth Ford keeps focus on community It was 54 years ago, in early February, that Bob Lowth Ford fi rst opened its doors in downtown Bemidji at 315 Th ird St. It was the same year the Beatles made their fi rst appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” Bob Dylan released “The Times They Are A-Changin,” Buffalo Wings were made for the fi rst time in Buffalo, N.Y., and the iconic Ford Mustang was introduced to American car buyers. Robert Lowth owned and operated his dealership in that spot until

1974, when lack of space to show off the increasing inventory made a move necessary and brought an upgraded new dealership to its present-day location, 3010 Bemidji Ave. N. Lowth was generous to a fault and his focus was not necessarily on the maximization of profits but more about treating his employees and customers fairly while building a loyal following in Bemidji and surrounding areas. One that is still in existence today. CONTINUED ON PAGE 18

Dondelinger GM continues growth, community focus In 1974, Chevrolet’s advertising slogan was “Building a better way to see the USA.” It’s also the year in which Wayne and Carolyn Dondelinger purchased Dibble Chevrolet-Buick from Paul Dibble located in downtown Bemidji, across from Bemidji Woolen Mills. That was just the beginning of a long history of growth, change and community involvement for the dealership in the Bemidji area. The dealership located downtown had 18 employees then and today employs more than 40 people. In the late 1990s, Wayne decided to move the dealership to its present location at 2310 Paul Bunyan 16 | in Bemidji Spring 2018

Drive. The changing business environment, building condition and growth of the dealership were the deciding factors in making the move to the new location. Continuing to find ways to grow their business, the Dondelingers also purchased the Pontiac-GMC-Cadillac franchise from Buster Spaulding in 2006. “It will offer more products and allow us to serve more customers in the area,” said Dan Moudry, then a 17-year sales veteran about the acquisition of the new lines. CONTINUED ON PAGE 19

Bemidji Chrysler Center and Honda of Bemidji “Uncle Walt went to college two years. My dad went to college four days. They were just kids,” Jim said. “They worked very hard over the years to sustain their business and support their family. Their hard work paid off.” Dave and Walt named the business Dave Walters, Inc. in 1969. In 1972, they bought the Chrysler franchise from Chester Berg. At that point, they quit the John Deere business. The brothers also branched out into the mobile home business, which was also called Dave Walters, although the family sold that enterprise in 2006. “Over the years, they sold a diversity of products,” Jim said. Some of the lines they sold were logging equipment, snowmobiles, lawn and garden equipment, RVs, boats, motorcycles and marine and travel trailers. “Those things came and went,” Jim said. “But they had the ability to change with the times and capitalize on a niche in the market when it existed.” When reminiscing with Jim, stories of old-fashioned hard work and determination become the obvious theme to the business. We learned about Jim’s grandmother, Libby, who had never worked at the family business until her husband died, but she soon pitched in greeting customers, answering phones and doing bookwork. “She worked every day, seven days a week,” Jim said. “They pretty much had to work to survive. They couldn’t afford employees.” She continued working regularly at Dave Walters helping out on Saturdays until she was 80 years old. In 2010, she passed away at age 100. Today, Jim and his wife, Tiffany, work together in operations. They have three children: Taylor, 19, Maxwell, 13 and Joseph, 11. Jim and Tiffany recently completed a new 16,500-square-foot expansion to the business which includes new exterior showroom windows, new vehicle display parking area featuring the dealership’s automobile inventory, interior showroom including new office, restrooms, express oil service area and customer service areas. When asked about the mission, Jim said his philosophy is simple: “We continue to change and focus on our customer’s buying and service experience to make it enjoyable and to fit their needs.”

We’ve got your Brand! SHOP CHRYSLER


“For over 65 years our mission has been to provide our customers with a shopping, buying, service and ownership experience that satisfies your needs and exceeds your expectations in a comfortable supportive environment.”




BEMIDJI 218-751-8006 • 755 Paul Bunyan Dr NW, Bemidji 218-444-4663 • 755 Paul Bunyan Dr NW, Bemidji Spring 2018



in Bemidji | 17

Bob Lowth Ford It’s still a family affair today as Robert’s son, Todd, who started his employment in the body shop and by 1980 was working the sales floor. Todd is the dealer principle and his brother Jim, who started in the parts department, now works in customer relations at the dealership. Over the 54 years in business, there have been many changes that have taken place such as how cars are ordered, how deals are written up, financing options and the addition of computers on every desk. But the more things change the more they stay the same. To this day on payday, Todd delivers most of the paychecks personally to employees. “It may be a little thing but it’s a way to make a personal contact and let them know they are appreciated,” Todd said. “We want to treat our employees and customers as friends which is the right way to do business. One of the things that makes me get up every day and climb our unique spiral staircase to my office are the relationships I have built with customers and employees alike. When I am not here I miss it.” The Lowth family also knows the importance of giving back to the community as Bob Lowth Ford supports many clubs and organizations in the Bemidji area. “My father always said that the Bemidji community has been good to our family and he wanted to give back to that same community for their support. We are very proud to be able to continue giving back, making Bemidji a better place to live and do business.” When asked what the future brings to the Ford brand, Todd stated there is an emphasis on electric and/or possibly hydrogen-fueled, as well as self-driven vehicles. “It’s also all about retro, as the Ranger and the Bronco will again be rolling out in the next few years,” he said. It’s very much like Bob Lowth Ford’s business plan, retro: taking care of their customers as they have for 54 years.

Jim & Todd Lo wth


“And we have been in Bemidji for almost half of it!”

54 years

Bob Lowth Ford 001684189r1

18 | in Bemidji Spring 2018

Dondelinger GM

Today, Wayne is still active in the dealership, while his son, Tim, is the president and has been overseeing the day-to-day operations for several years. “We pride ourselves on being a family run dealership and how we treat our employees and customers,” Tim said. “We are vested in this area and in the community. Understanding the importance of taking care of our customer’s needs is job No. 1.” In 2014, the dealership went through another change as a full remodel of the facilities took place to conform to General Motors standards. “We transformed the entire building from sales to service and all points in between. With the updates and changes it really makes the entire buying experience more pleasant and comfortable for our customers,” said Tim. “And not just in our sales area but also the entire service area as well.” Changes in vehicle technology and how Dondelinger reaches potential customers has changed drastically over the years. “It’s exciting to see the new technology and the safety features in the new models but what is really great is to see the excitement and smiles on our customer’s faces as they drive off in their new vehicle,” Tim added. Chevy’s current slogan is “Find New Roads” and if history is any indication, Dondelinger Chevrolet will continue to find new ways to help their customers find those new roads. “We are proud of our growth over the years and very proud of the active role we continue to play in our community and the support of programs that serve youth, education our environment and those with disabilities,” Tim said.

Tim Dondelinge r



HWYS 2 W & 71 N, BEMIDJI 751-1220 | OPEN M-F 8-7, SAT 8-5 001689484r1


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Artist profile:

Tawnee Corning Photos & story by Jillian

“I was obsessed with horses so he would­teach me how to draw them,” — Tawnee said of her father.

On the door of Tawnee Corning’s studio — a room in her quaint Bagley home — hangs her painting of Jim Morrison. He’s painted as a bouquet of flowers and in tones of pink. The piece of work is an excellent example of Tawnee’s artistic style. “A lot of times, I’m going more for a thought with it, not so much of who it is, but the feel or look of it with colors more than who it actually is,” she explained. When she sat down with inBemidji in late January she was putting the finishing touches on a painting about as big as she is. It’s part of her DREAMSCAPES collection, which is on display at Wild Hare in downtown Bemidji until the end of March. The painting is inspired by a road trip she took with her husband almost two years ago now. “That was my first time really exploring the mountains and so


that I guess has been stuck in my mind,” she said. She adds her touch to the landscape painting with a psychedelic-looking sky. Swirls of orange and green with a little pink surround mountains and pine trees. Tawnee remembers when she missed the first week of school in the third grade after her art teacher submitted a painting of hers to a contest. She was one of 50 children from around the country to win a full paid trip to Washington, D.C., for her and her family. While she was there, she painted a mural with the group. “I was on the front page of The Bemidji Pioneer for that,” Tawnee recalled. “I wanted to track that down but I have no clue where it’s at now.” She retains that memory as “the first big thing” to come to her in life as an artist. She began drawing when she was little, but when she was about 15, painting became more of her medium.

Celebrating over 30 Years Locally Owned & Operated



(218) 751-1506

20 | in Bemidji Spring 2018

We take pride in offering your home and business with quality products, exceptional service, and the most convenience with every visit!

STORE HOURS: Mon.-Fri. 7am-8pm Sat. 8am-6pm Sun. 9am-5pm



“I always liked the really fine detail with stuff, but then I couldn’t get the color in there,” Tawnee said. “I got into oils and whatnot, and that’s what I like to use a lot now.” Tawnee also grew up with some artistic influence in her family. Her aunt also paints, does woodworking and chainsaw carving. Her father would sketch cartoons as he talked on the phone. “I was obsessed with horses so he would teach me how to draw them,” she said of her father. The 28-year-old is now busy with a soon-to-be-year-old daughter, Isley Corning. After putting the paint brushes down through her pregnancy and a little bit after, she now spends at least a half hour per day in her studio. “If Isley will give me that time, it’s cool,” she laughed. “I can get a lot done in a half hour now. It’s pretty amazing.” Looking to the future, Tawnee hopes to do more live paintings along with concerts and she sees artist residencies as a possibility too. She’s done live paintings in the past to sounds of her husband’s band, Kitchi Boogie. “When I first did that, that was the coolest thing I did for a long time,” she said. “Because you get a front row seat and then people get to watch that. How cool.”

“If Isley will give me that time, it’s cool,” she laughed. “I can get a lot done in a half hour now. It’s pretty amazing.”


Competitive Rates - Experienced Team - Free Pre-Approval


collection is up at Wild Hare until

the end of March. She will also be the Artist of the Month at Dunn Brothers Coffee in May. To see more of Tawnee’s work, visit her website at

Max and Anne will help find the right loan for you!


Spring 2018

in Bemidji | 21


Confessions of a Secret Entrepreneur: By Alicia Erickson Store Manager and Design Consultant at Sterling Carpet One


n a town filled with so many people of innovative spirit, known for promoting entrepreneurship and enabling them with the tools to be successful, I find myself as a store manager of a design center with the drive of an entrepreneur heart. I continually strive to ensure Sterling Carpet One’s originality, setting us apart from our competition. The question is, can you be an entrepreneur without actually owning the company you work for? If you Google the definition of entrepreneur, you may not think so, but after reading how fellow entrepreneurs define themselves, you may find yourself broadening the definition of the word. 001685581r1


Rosie Pope, founder of Rosie Pope Maternity says, “To me, entrepreneurship is creating something, nurturing and leading it. It is a labor of love, guts and hard work.” Maia Haag, co-founder and president of I See Me says, “It represents the freedom to envision something new and to make it happen. It includes risk, but it also includes the reward of creating a legacy.” I look at it this way: When you’re working your dream job for an owner who instead of micromanaging takes a back seat to see what her employees are capable of, amazing possibilities become inevitable and the drive to take personal ownership in a company you truly believe in becomes entirely possible. I not only see myself as an entrepreneur, but as I stand back and examine my team, I see them captivating the essence of entrepreneurship as they are “driven by an innate need to create, build and grow” - Justine Smith, founder and CEO of Kids Go Co. They also, “Give everything they have when the going

gets tough and never give up” – Jennifer MacDonald and Haley Carr, founders of Zipit Bedding. I’ve come to the realization that our company is not built on one owner or manager’s dreams, but from everyone who chooses to invest their whole heart into the company, even when hurdles and risks come into play, in order to build a legacy. This is absolutely what sets Sterling Carpet One apart from so many other companies. It is not just a job to us, it is an investment of how much we care. Sterling Carpet One is, by definition, the collaboration of multiple entrepreneurs looking to change the industry.

D CERTIFIE ed n w Woman O ned w Business – o d by te and opera women

218-751-1063 1788 PAUL BUNYAN DR. NW, BEMIDJI


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Boozhoo Nana Boozhoo Michael Lyons spreads his culture through videos, podcasts By Jordan Shearer Staff Writer Photos by Jillian Gandsey

24 | in Bemidji Spring 2018

Awenen giin Inamanji’o Zhigaag waabang Mashkikii Detibised Manidoo Giizisoons Mino Oshki Biboon Nimaanendam Aaniin ezhiwebag bijiinaago nimbakade ningiikag Ningodwaazi niibaa anama’e giizhigad Ziiga-dibikad Bashkodejiibik animikii waabigwan Giziibiigiisaginige-giizhigad Asabikeshii-winini Zhooniyaa Boozhoo Aanii Beindigain Baamaapii Nini Ikway Nokomis Mishomis Binoojiing Zahgidiwin Manajiwin Bapeewug Ekandasowin Awenen giin Inamanji’o Zhigaag waabang Mashkikii Detibised Manidoo Giizisoons Mino Oshki Biboon Nimaanendam Aaniin ezhiwebag bijiinaago nimbakade ningiikag Ningodwaazi niibaa anama’e giizhigad Ziiga-dibikad Bashkodejiibik animikii waabigwan Giziibiigiisaginige-giizhigad Asabikeshiiwinini Zhooniyaa Boozhoo Aanii Beindigain Baamaapii Nini Ikway Nokomis Mishomis Binoojiing Zahgidiwin Manajiwin Bapeewug Ekandasowin Awenen giin Inamanji’o Zhigaag waabang Mashkikii Detibised Manidoo Giizisoons Mino Oshki Biboon Nimaanendam Aaniin ezhiwebag bijiinaago nimbakade ningiikag Ningodwaazi niibaa anama’e giizhigad Ziiga-dibikad Bashkodejiibik animikii waabigwan Giziibiigiisaginige-giizhigad Asabikeshiiwinini Zhooniyaa Boozhoo Aanii Beindigain Baamaapii Nini Ikway Nokomis Mishomis Binoojiing Zahgidiwin


e may only be a puppet in a home-based studio, but Nana Boozhoo and his small cadre of friends have a lot to share about the Ojibwe language and culture. Complete with his own headset and microphone, Nana Boozhoo has gained a following through the videos of his podcast he releases on Facebook and YouTube. Many of the videos start by the puppet greeting his audience with “Boozhoo, Niij-anishinaabedoog: Welcome back to Boozhoo Nana Boozhoo: the podcast about Ojibwe language and culture.” The man behind the puppet is Michael Lyons of Bemidji, a teacher at Voyageurs Expeditionary School who identifies himeself as a Leech Lake Ojibwe. A graphic artist and musician, Lyons expanded his art portfolio about five months ago when he began the videos. His fi rst video received about 3,000 views. He’s to the point where he’s creating a new video almost every day. Lyons is among those who are attempting to keep Native American culture and language alive, combining both his heritage and artwork into a single process. With the use of the puppets, Lyons hopes children will be able to grasp at least an iota of

cultural heritage. “I think it’d be cool if we did something that was sort of like ‘Sesame Street on the rez’ or ‘Sesame Street meets (the movie) Smoke Signals,’” Lyons remembers thinking about the early concept for the podcast. In some videos Nana Boozhoo sings and plays guitar. In others, he teaches the viewer a word or two of Ojibwe. In others still, he talks about Ojibwe rituals and concepts, such as using sage to keep away bad spirits. Sometimes Lyons will appear in the videos, speaking with Nana Boozhoo about one thing or another. While the videos may differ slightly in format from one to the next, the podcast as a whole contains the same basic premise of Nana Boozhoo recording from his studio. “I kind of want to create a recurring story,” Lyons said. “I want to tell a little story about a Native American guy who lives with his grandmother and has a podcast.” At the outset, Lyons bought the “guts” of the puppets and then accessorized it until it arrived at the final Nana Boozhoo version. Nana Boozhoo wears a long feather in his black wig, often a bandana around his head and a beaded necklace. He wears cut-off gloves, and Spring 2018

in Bemidji | 25

I want the

culture not just to

explain it but

represent it -Michael Lyons-

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26 | in Bemidji Spring 2018


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often a plaid shirt. His name is derived from Native American culture, as NanaBoozhoo is a Native American folklore figure. A couple months after he started the videos, Lyons gave Nana Boozhoo a puppet girlfriend, named Natasha. She appears in some of the videos, oftentimes singing. Adding a little diversity to the mix, Lyons introduced a stuffed dog into the cast of characters. The “sound engineer” for Nana Boozhoo’s podcast, the hound will throw out a few Ojibwe words here and there, coated with a thick southern drawl – a trait Lyons picked in an effort to make his students laugh. While many of the videos incorporate Ojibwe language and concepts, others are more mainstream. Nana Boozhoo uses many videos to perform either covers of hit songs or those that Lyons wrote himself. In addition to performing Lyons’ songs, the puppet is an extension of Lyons in another subtle way. In some episodes, Nana Boozhoo yells to his grandmother in another room, off screen. She then can be heard yelling back. Lyons himself used to live with his own grandmother. The puppets are not Lyons’ first project of combining Ojibwe culture with artwork. He previously made Ojibwe comic strips. The puppets, he said, were a natural progression of working with the comics. Nana Boozhoo will even refer to Lyons’ book or drawings in some of the videos. “It was an idea that was sort of floating around for years,” Lyons said. “This has been sort of an extension of the comics; In a way, I kind of feel I went 3D with my comic strips.” For Lyons, though, the videos are not necessarily just another creative outlet, but a way to connect with the youth in his own Native American culture. He describes a moment of violence on the Red Lake Indian Reservation as one of the turning points in his life. Around the same time, he took a class about American Indian psychology, where the instructor spoke about the importance of using skills to further a cause. Lyons decided to turn his skills into a way to help Native youth. “One of the big turning points in my life was when the Red Lake (school) shooting happened,” Lyons said. “I especially care about Native kids.

It’s a mess: The drugs, the gangs, the hopelessness, and the lack of cultural awareness.” Lyons is not alone in his promotion of Ojibwe language and culture. According to BSU Professor of Ojibwe Anton Treuer, there are far more Ojibwe resources today then there were even a couple decades ago. Students are able to learn it in school. Even local businesses and government offices have directional signs in Ojibwe displayed. Part of that language revitalization effort, though, involves molding the language to the way people communicate today. “Just like any language and culture, we’ll have to change to keep up with the times,” Treuer said. “If we have TV and Xbox and podcasts streaming into our house, then they should be streaming in Ojibwe... Some of that will include technological and cultural change. In that sense, what Michael’s doing is innovative, but also required; It’s helping us keep up with the times.” Even though there’s already dozens of videos – or podcasts – of Nana Bozhoo online, it’s a concept that’s still growing. Lyons said he’s not sure if Nana Boozhoo will look the same way a year down the road or if there will be more characters introduced into the crew. Even if Nana Boozhoo’s appearance does change slightly, Lyons has a firm view of the ideas he wants to communicate with the podcast. Even beyond the actual Ojibwe words and concepts that Nana Boozhoo explains to his viewers, Lyons wants the character of Nana Boozhoo to say something in and of itself. “I want the culture – not just to explain it, but represent it,” Lyons said about Nana Boozhoo. “He honors his grandmother. He lives in Minnesota, and talks about the weather.”

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Loop the Lake It’s all about community — and fun! by

Sue Bruns & photos by Monte Draper Bemidji’s Loop the Lake bike ride, held the third Saturday of June since 2014, has been a well-received addition to summer events, and organizers are gearing up for the fi fth annual ride, set for Saturday, June 16. Individuals, groups and families can enjoy the paved route and a variety of foods from local vendors in a fun, affordable event for all ages. Unlike other organized rides, this is not a fundraiser to fight a disease; it’s not a destination ride, nor a ride to promote a state trail. It doesn’t have big business sponsors to pay organizers and workers. Bemidji’s Loop the Lake is a healthy outdoor activity, featuring Lake Bemidji as its centerpiece. It’s a short distance, as bike rides go — about 17 miles — but that’s part of its draw. In the fall of 2013, organizers started planning the fi rst ride. The idea had been tossed around before, but the timing was particularly good. “We had just been designated a bicycle-friendly city by the League of American Bicyclists,” said Muriel Gilman, a key organizer and sponsor of the event, “and Nice Ride was coming to town. (It) was a pivotal moment. Bike Alliance of Minnesota liked the route around the lake.”

“One hundred percent of our volunteers showed up,” -Muriel Gilman 28 | in Bemidji Spring 2018

“We’ve had all ages and fitness levels from a 4-year-old on training wheels to a 64-year-old woman who said she hadn’t been on her bike in years,” -Donna Pavilec

That November, about 25 people met in Deputy Hall on the BSU campus, and Gilman took the lead. The group set some parameters: There would be no mega sponsor, no paid workers — all volunteers, other than workers who assist as a part of their job. “We kept meeting regularly,” Gilman said, “Bi-weekly, then weekly — until just before the event. It was important to me that it be really organized. We only wanted 250 people, but we ended up with 350, which worked.” Participation has grown by about 200 riders per year since then. Starting at the Sanford Center, the route features several key Bemidji landmarks: the Paul Bunyan Trail, the South Shore, the Mississippi River, Paul and Babe, the old Carnegie Library, historical homes, the old hospital, the BSU campus, Diamond Point Park, Cameron Beach and Birchmont Drive — a pretty inclusive historic snapshot of Bemidji. “How many bike rides have you been to where you can listen to a string quartet on the way?” asked Donna Pavilec, another key organizer and sponsor. At Ruttger’s Birchmont Lodge, riders can stop to enjoy the music of a string ensemble and help themselves to muffins, coffee and juice. From there the route continues to Lake Bemidji State

Park (where there’s more food, more live music and a telescopeview of a bald eagle’s nest); then through the park and back onto the Paul Bunyan Trail, one of many former railroad lines that served the Bemidji area a hundred years ago. Back at the Sanford Center, riders cross the finish line to cheers and congratulations. Vendors offer everything from bagels and fruit to Thai spring rolls, fresh pizza slices and ice cream treats. Under a big tent, more musicians share their talents. The planners have worked to keep the event inclusive. “We’ve had all ages and fitness levels from a 4-year-old on training wheels to a 64-year-old woman who said she hadn’t been on her bike in years,” Pavilec said. One visitor from Mankato said he loved the pace of the ride without the constant call of “on your left” that many rides have. Bikers in this event aren’t in it to beat their best previous time. Th is is an event where the fresh air, comradery, food and music contribute to a relaxing experience where you can — quite literally — stop and smell the wildflowers along the trail. Behind the scenes, 130 volunteers worked the 2017 event — a well-choreographed troupe that included several Americorps members. “One hundred percent of our

volunteers showed up,” Gilman said. “They worked anywhere from 2-4 hours, and 11 of them signed up that day to work the 2018 event. The Americorps crew were the last to leave — all seven of them.” In 2017, 49 sponsors contributed $50, $150, $300 or $1,000 (totaling $18,900 in cash, services, or food) to make the event happen for about 940 riders. Many of the sponsors, have been supporters since the event’s inception, and new ones jump aboard each year. Gilman and Pavilec also credit the steering committee, volunteers and several local entities for the event’s success and growth: Phil Hodapp and the Sheriff ’s department, Mike Mastin and the police department, City Recreation, the Headwaters Regional Development

Commission, Amity Graphics, The Bemidji Pioneer and Paul Bunyan Broadcasting. The family atmosphere of the past four years is what defines this ride and has made it the unique, healthy tradition for local riders and visitors to enjoy the lake, the ride, the food, the music and the community spirit that is Bemidji.


For more information, photos and videos of past events, or to register for this year’s ride, check out http://www. Special rates are available when you register as a duo or foursome.

Spring 2018

in Bemidji | 29


what Garden is it? Tools 3


2 Can you identify these five garden tools?

4 5 ANSWERS: 1. Garden hose handle; 2. wheelbarrow; 3. rake; 4. garden trowel; 5. watering can. 30 | in Bemidji Spring 2018

Spring 2018

in Bemidji | 31

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