Inspire(d) Fall 2017

Page 1


NO. 51• Fall 2017


10 s u l P








SUM OF YOUR BIZ: EMPTY NEST WINERY We mustache you some questions: Please take our readership survey!

406 West Water Street . Decorah, Iowa . 563.382.4103


Fuel Efficient. Environmentally Sensible. You’ll Love More Miles Per Dollar! Downtown La Crosse, WI at 4th and Cameron Streets Phone: 877-4-A-HYBRID

FALL 2017


what we’re loving right now


Cool, new places in the driftless


Sum of your business: empty nest


infographic: 10 truths


paper project: unicorn presents!



10 community builders!



Liz rog & brad crawford John Condon lissa carlson Mike ashbacher lora friest Patrick ‘Red’ Longmire Adam Wiltgen Roxanne SchNitzler & Jessica Rediske Shannon Dallenbach Durbin GREG WENNES


festive fall fun


chicago by train!


...and more! ON THE COVER:

It doesn’t matter what you use to build a community - glue, nails, tape, screws, fasteners. You just gotta build it. Photo by Aryn Henning Nichols

58 \ Fall 2017


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In Person

Mortgage team employee owners: (l-r) Dorothea, Emily, Mike, Laura, Becky, BreeAnn, Jody, Muriel, Joe, Rachel, and Ruth


Arnie Larson, PT & Paul Pellett, DPT

Choose a therapy team you trust. You have the right to choose the best team for your physical therapy needs. Paul Pellett and Arnie Larson are your local choice for professional, compassionate care when your doctor orders physical therapy. Whether it’s orthopedic rehab or finding fast and effective pain management, the staff at Integrated Therapy Specialists will have you back to your normal routine as quickly and as safely as possible. Let Our Strength Help You Regain Yours!

915 SHORT STREET SUITE 155 DECORAH, IOWA . 563-382-8431 Fall 2017 /


From the Editor


oxie and I were reading the Disney book, Pocahontas, recently. It’s not one I love (I’m not sure why it even made it to our shelves)…but it did spark a good conversation. We were discussing what happened to Native Americans when settlers came to this “brave, new world,” and how they’re treated still today. We talked about how people from different parts of the world might look a little different from each other – different sizes, shapes, and definitely colors – but we’re all the same on the inside. And Roxie – who just turned five – says, “Mom, wouldn’t it be SO COOL if there were pink and purple people?!” I smiled, “Why, yes, Roxie. It would be so cool. And isn’t it so cool that the people and colors we do have are all different from each other anyway? It makes the world so much more beautiful, I think.” “Yeah, totally, Mom,” she says. More colors, more variety, more beauty – we humans all make up this amazing, diverse work of art. Yet, we’re all connected through a community called humanness. This is our 10-year anniversary of Inspire(d) Magazine. We dubbed it an “experiment in positive news” when we first started out, so I decided to think on what that experiment has taught us. I compiled a list of truths that have risen to the top of my list – check out the infographic on page 25 – but the clearest lesson of all is that community is the most important thing we can build in this life. Big or small, these communities and connections are what we’ll remember at the end of our lives. So this milestone Inspire(d) is all about community-builders. Our region is filled with them, but we narrowed it down to 10 amazing groups or people: Liz Rog and Brad Crawford, John Condon, Lissa Carlson, Patrick ‘Red’ Longmire, Mike Ashbacher, Roxanne Schnitzler and Jessica Rediske, Shannon Dallenbach Durbin, Lora Friest, Adam Wiltgen, and Greg Wennes. I was inspired by every one these stories – written by Kristine Jepsen, Sara FriedlPutnam, Benji Nichols, and myself – and I’m so excited for you to read them. They start on page 29. These are some crazy times we’re living in, but there are some crazy exciting things happening too. There are great events and activities all over this fall (pg. 56) and lots of local friends taking the leap to launch new ventures (pg. 14). Veteran business-owners Dave and Pam Kruger of Empty Nest Winery have good insight for new business-owners in this issue’s Sum of Your Business. They are a husband-and-wife duo that this husband-and-wife duo truly admire! And we couldn’t have a magazine birthday without unicorn presents, amIright?!? Check out the paper project on page 28, and the full tutorial on Finally, we got out for a little Family Reseach Adventure: We took Amtrak from La Crosse to Chicago! Hop aboard and check out our itinerary to get some ideas for your own train trip! I am so grateful to you all for reading this magazine for the past 10 years. (C’mon, stop crying, Aryn!) The fact that I’m 36 years old and have been running a business for 10 years makes me feel proud as hell, and surer than ever that we really CAN do this. We can change the world. It’s so easy to feel completely helpless when we read the daily news. “What can I possibly do?!?” we ask ourselves. Talk to your neighbors. Make friends. Build community. Start to understand each other a little more every day. This is what you can do. People often ask me if I will ever run out of ideas for Inspire(d) and my answer is always, “Definitely not!” It’s because of you– you continue to inspire me, and you inspire the people around you. Keep it up, you guys. It’s working. Looking forward,

What’s it mean?

Inspire(d) Inspire(d) – pronounced in-spy-erd... you know: inspired – stands for both inspire and inspired. The idea is that person one inspires person two. That person is now inspired. Then that person inspires person three (or person one again), who is now inspired. Then the cycle continues! That’s what those arrows around the (d) are about! And our mission is, ultimately, to change the world… starting with our own community!

Who are we? Co-founders:

Aryn Henning Nichols / editor & designer Benji Nichols / writer & advertising sales (& husband, support team, dinner-maker)

We couldn’t do it without: Kristine Kopperud Jepsen / contributor Sara Friedl-Putnam / contributor Inspire(d) Magazine is published quarterly by Inspire(d) Media, LLC, 412 Oak Street, Decorah, Iowa, 52101. This issue is dated Fall 2017, issue 51 volume 11, Copyright 2016 by Inspire(d) Magazine.

support inspire(d) Although Inspire(d) is free on stands, you can have it sent to your door (or extended family!) for only $25/year. Email for a membership or visit for more info. Write inspire(d) Want to make a comment about something you read in the magazine? Email Interested in advertising? Contact Benji at or call 563-379-6315. Visit our website: Aryn Henning Nichols


What We’re


right now

A little list of what we think is awesome in the Drifltess Region this FALL... Little Farmers Preschool and Daycare You’re going to be hearing about the brand-new Little Farmers Preschool and Daycare throughout this issue of Inspire(d), so we figured we’d tell you about this new soon-to-be nonprofit and why we love them. For the past four years, our now five-year-old daughter, Roxie, has & daycare been going to parttime daycare with Allison and Josh Phillips right here in Decorah. Allison and I (Aryn) have known each other since we were BFFs back in fourth grade in Postville, so it was amazing to have a person I totally trust watching our Most Valuable Person. It was after Roxie started that we realized just how lucky we were, though, because Allison, with her degree in early childhood education, is a truly amazing teacher, and she and Josh, with their passion, values, and goals, are amazing care-givers. They have, without a doubt, contributed greatly to the awesomeness that is Roxie today.

Stanton West – Songbird Ed Lemar is one of the most tireless musicians we have ever met. Many in the Driftless have known him as Eddie Danger (or even the Reverend Eddie Danger!), a fearless figure on the independent festival and coffee shop circuit. In an all-or-nothing move this year, Ed changed his stage name to ‘Stanton West’ – a nod to his Grandfather – and released his biggest record to date. Ed had booked Joe Craven years ago on a festival, and the two hit it off. For those who aren’t familiar, Joe Craven is a mastermind percussionist and multi-instrumentalist, most notably spending several years with the David Grisman Quintet, as well as playing with Jerry Garcia, Alison Brown, and David Lindley. Ed and Joe kept up over the years, and Ed cosmically convinced him to produce his new project “Songbird” – a collection of incredible original songs based on the “tales of an injured bird who flees the nest, has many adventures, and comes home transformed”. The album was recorded at Foxtail Sound in California with Joe Craven and Friends in mid May, and is now available across the Driftless. You can catch Stanton West several places in the region as well – PHOTOS BY BRITTANY TODD


That’s all background for the dream Allison and Josh are about to realize: Opening Little Farmers Preschool and Daycare, just north of Decorah on Highway 52. This farm-based program is all about letting kids be kids, learning from playing and doing and being outdoors. They’ll start teaching kids there this fall, and it’s going to be great! We want to do everything we can to help this wonderful new facet of the Decorah community find success. We also wanted to find the perfect way to celebrate 10 years of Inspire(d), and 10 years of positive news…so we decided to do something positive! Our 10-year anniversary party, October 21, 1-4 pm, will be a fundraiser for and at Little Farmers Preschool! There will be live music by Viroqua’s Stanton West (see next Loving!) and family fun galore! You can read more about the party on page 56, and if you can’t make it, don’t worry – you can still support Little Farmers through their GoFundMe page: <3

Dance & Theatre





Check out the entire 2017-18 Luther Dance & Theatre season online... and mark your calendars! 06

Fall 2017 /

he’s often found at Driftless Books & Music in Viroqua helping with open stages and concerts, helping run the Wisconsin Roots Music Co-op, acting as MC Extraordinaire at such events as Boats & Bluegrass as well as the annual Energy Fair, and he’ll be playing with his trio at Inspire(d)’s 10th Anniversary Celebration October 21 (info on page 56). You can find out more about Stanton West and Songbird at, or follow him on Facebook and Instagram.


college planning program


Ward & Jacky Budweg…Write a Book! It’s safe to say that Ward & Jacky Budweg are some of the more interesting people you could ever meet in the Driftless region – or really, anywhere. A bar-napkin pre-nup led to an around-the-world adventure via bicycle, which is still going on! But the couple lives in Decorah when they aren’t out bicycling the world, and have been working hard to finalize a book project on their first 33,000 miles of bicycling adventures. Ward says it’s all absolutely true, and Jacky says they cleaned it up enough so that their family could read it! But the truth is, this dynamic duo is everinspiring to us here at Inspire(d) HQ. The book ‘The World at 10mph’ will be out this fall, and the couple is launching a crowd-funding campaign to help fund and support the project. Keep an eye out on Facebook, local bookstores, and more for your chance to hear about the adventures!

You may be surprised to learn that making college affordable for your student has to do with much more than simply saving or investing. We understand how to balance academics, the admissions planning conversation with your student—grounded in a larger discussion about your money and your values.

Having a plan pays off 2 out of 5 families

created a plan to pay for college.1 The results:

Families Save More Students Borrow Less

Driftless Flyathlon Trail running. Trout Fishing. Craft Beer. “We got nothin’ but a good time here...” (to steal a line from one of our favorite Joe Price tunes...) Last fall a dedicated group of fisher-beer people gave this event – born in Colorado – a test run in the Yellow River Forest of Northeast Iowa. It was a success. So, this year is the first “official” Driftless Flyathlon. We hate to break the bad news first, but registration is sold out. And we know we “loved” this last year, but we want to be sure you know you can follow along as Inspire(d)’s Benji Nichols participates in the 4.4 mile run / trout

Parents save 3.5 times more than nonplanners.

Students borrow 1/3 less than nonplanners.

Source:, 2016


Concerned about how to approach paying for college? We can help. Call today for information on upcoming workshops, or to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Decorah Area Team NEW LOCATION! 118 W. Water St. Decorah, IA 52101 563-382-1809 Toll-Free: 844-349-7388 Appleton, Wisconsin • Minneapolis, Minnesota • 800-847-4836


What We’re

catching / craft beer drinking weekend (hey, someone has to do the dirty work...)! The rules of the Flyathlon are this: During the run, you must catch a fish and photograph it on the ruler on your race bib. Your race time is adjusted by the size and species of that fish, with a double bonus for a native fish. Reach the finish line, drink delicious beer, tell fish stories, and camp in the Yellow River Forest. Oh, and raise a bunch of dough for local trout habitat organizations! Folks, don’t tell anyone, but this is why we live in the Driftless. Catch us online for Flyathlon updates October 13-15 on Facebook / Instagram / twitter @iloveinspired - Happy Fall!


right now

100+ Men Who Care Driftless / 100+Women Who Care Oneota Valley Two organizations – 100+ Men Who Care Driftless / 100+Women Who Care Oneota Valley – have sprouted from Northeast Iowa in the past year, both with a common goal: Supporting local non-profit organizations with one-time large-impact donations. Both 100+ groups are part of the 100 Who Care Alliance, a

Spanish Brass September 16

nationwide organization that was developed by a group of people who wanted to make a big impact on their communities in the most efficient way possible. The idea is that a group of men or women get together once per quarter, listen to an informal two-minute presentation about three separate local nonprofit organizations (submitted by members), and then vote on one charity to receive the donation. Then each person writes a check for $100 to the chosen cause, and you multiply that times 100 people (or however many folks are there!) for a truly great donation to a local non-profit (that often doesn’t even know it’s being nominated)! Donations are tax deductible too, since the organizations chosen must be 501(c)(3). We realize $100 donations aren’t something everyone can do, but the concept is a great way for a group of folks to make an impact, and we love that! And, according to the 100+ Women Who Care Oneota Valley Facebook page, if $100 is too big of a financial commitment, groups of two women can form and each donate $50 or groups of four women can be organized and each donate $25.

Center 40 Stage CSS




Flip FabriQue “Catch Me!” September 30

American Rhapsody: The Gershwin Songbook Presented by The Gershwin Big Band October 20

Anat Cohen November 4

2017–18 Center Stage Series Major Sponsors

Pick up a brochure, email us ( or contact us below. • (563) 387-1357 Luther College Diversity Council

Luther College • Center for Faith and Life 700 College Drive • Decorah, Iowa

Thomanerchor Leipzig November 18

Only 30 minutes away from Decorah, this full service community offers a variety of great dining options, unique antique, furniture & gift shops, & exciting recreational opportunities. Explore Niagara Cave, tour the Amish countryside, & pedal your way through 60 miles of paved bike trail! Harmony also offers a wide array of services businesses ready to meet your every need.

Welcome to HARMONY, MINNESOTA MADE LOCAL • SOLD LOCAL • SHOP LOCAL /thebomboutiqueonmain 507-886-4584

Best 20 feet of bar in SE MN!


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Lunch & dinner 7 days/week • Breakfast on Sat and Sun

Pizza Wraps Salads Burgers Sandwiches Soup Home of Julie’s Famous Homemade Pies


Chef/Owner Matt Brown 121 Main Avenue N 507.886.1234 Celebrating our 16th year in business! Homemade is the key to our success!

Niagara Cave & Mini Golf Nationally recognized as one of the Top Ten Caves in the United States

On our 1-hour guided tour…


Mon - Sat 10-5 Sun 11-4 We deliver anywhere!

• Hike 1 mile underground to depths of 200 ft. • Discover fossils ~450 million years old • See delicate & massive cave formations • Temperature is 48° F (9°C) • Walking shoes are recommended

Also enjoy…

• Miniature Golf • Concessions • Gemstone Mining • Picnic Grounds • Unique Gifts

Contact Us: 570 Main Ave N., Harmony, MN 55939 507-886-2777 •

507- 886 - 6606 - Road 30 29842 County

Harmony, MN 55939

For a FREE Visitor Guide, call 1-800-288-7153 or visit us on the web at


Looking for more details about events on the calendars? Check out these great fall activities! In chronological order, each event’s number coincides with its number on the calendar!

1. September 1: At Luna Valley Farm we are growing wood fired pizza and community. Join us on Friday nights in September and October from 4-8pm. RESERVATIONS APPRECIATED

563-382-3067 Amazing downtown loft, perfect for exploring Decorah!

Lovely Downtown Decorah Living

Large 2 Bedroom / 2 Bath Loft Gorgeous Panoramic Views . Gourmet Kitchen . Private Deck Nightly, weekly, & monthly rates. Call Doug at 563-419-5367

2. September 2: Winneshiek Farm Crawl! Family-friendly event includes farm tours and food sampling plus an evening concert at the Winneshiek County Fairgrounds. 3. September 2: Tomato Tasting (and Salsa Contest!) at Seed Savers Exchange: Sample dozens of open-pollinated heirloom tomatoes, judge a salsa contest, attend workshops, and hop on a hayride. 4. September 9: Join in on “Live on Water Street” – a community celebration featuring music, food, beer, and fun for all ages! 300 Block, downtown Decorah, 3-8 pm

25W/ $25B

5. September 9: Root River Trail Towns Taste of the Trail – 10am3pm- Lanesboro, Peterson & Whalan- Join us for a taste of each of our Root River Trail Communities- info at

6. September 9 – October 7: Dreaming Under a Cedar Tree. A free dance performance series and visual art installation with a Middle Eastern flavor, by Sharon Mansur. Outpost, 119 E. 3rd St., Winona


404 West Water St, Decorah, Iowa . 563.419.4016 Mon-Fri 10am-4pm . Sat 10am-3pm .

Harvest Time!

10. September 16: Arts & Heritage Day in Chatfield, MN. Art fair, kids activities, food, music all day culminating with the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra in Potter Auditorium.

We also have seeds, tools, and books

October 14 Harvest Festival

Cider pressing, hayrides, workshops, food storage, kids activities, and soup cook-off Italian Heirloom Tomato

Gift and Garden Store • Open daily 10-5 • March 1- Oct 31

3074 North Winn Rd • Decorah, IA • 563-382-5990 •

Fall 2017 /

8. September 15-17: MidAmerica Herbal Symposium, herb conference with amazing Herbalists sharing their plant knowledge. A weekend filled with great classes, food, and beautiful surroundings. Whitewater State Park, Altura, MN Register today, 9. September 16: Root River Trail Towns Taste of the Trail – 10am3pm- Fountain, Harmony & Preston- Join us for a taste of each of our Root River Trail Towns Communities- info at

We have • harvesting baskets • dehydrators • fermentation crocks • garlic dibbers • gardener’s hollow leg and more


7. September 14-16: Experience Cresco’s Norman Borlaug Harvest Fest with Inspire Day at the Borlaug Farm. Take in the car show, 5K, Quilt Auction, live music and MORE!

11. September 23: Takkefest! Join Vesterheim Museum for this free festival for everyone! Live Music, Dancing, Norwegian Fusion Cuisine and Beers, plus crafts and games for all ages. 12. September 23: Root River Trail Towns Taste of the Trail – 10am3pm- Houston, Rushford, Rushford Village- Join us for a taste of each of our Root River Trail Communities- info at

fun stuff to do












Sept 15-17: MidAmerica Herbal Symposium, Whitewater State Park, Altura, MN

7 Sept 14-16: Norman Borlaug Harvest Festival, Cresco



NICC Fall Fest, Calmar, 5-8 pm

25 27


SEPTEMBER 30: • National Public Lands Day! Bloody Run County Park, Marquette, IA, 10am • Flip FabriQue, Luther CSS, CFL, 7:30pm • Motor Mill Art Show, rural Elkader


Sept 21-30: Sept 15-16: Lanesboro ‘Pictures from Area Art Trail SEPTEMBER 16: a Hiroshima • Outdoor Film: Code, Arthaus, Decorah, 8pm Schoolyard / • Spanish Brass, Luther Center Stage, 7:30pm From War to • Women of the West, St. Mane, Lanesboro Reconciliation’ • Stitch in Time Quilting Bee, Historic Forestville St. Mane, • Hero Jr., Haymarket, 10pm Lanesboro

13 24 Upstart Crow Theatreworks Cemetery Walk, ArtHaus 2-4pm 14 David Mallett, Chosen Bean Concerts, Chatfield CFA, 6:30pm

Sept 16-17: Driftless Area Art Festival, Soldiers Grove, WI



SEPTEMBER 8: • Learning to Love Lepidoptera, Osborne Nature Center, Elkader, 5pm • Over the Back Fence, St. Mane, 7:30pm • Stanton West, Trempealeau Hotel

Bruce 5 Campbell, Englert

6 Sept 9 – Oct 7 – “Dreaming Under a Cedar Tree” dance/visual installation, Outpost, Winona


Mike McAbee, River Rats, La Crosse, 2-5pm

Open Streets La Crosse


“Spoons: Carving Community” open through Nov 4, Vesterheim, Decorah


Mississippi River Photo Shootout: A Juried Exhibition of River Photography – opens Sept 1, MN Marine Art Museum, Winona


Seed Savers Tomato Tasting and Salsa Contest


2 2 Winneshiek Farm Crawl


5 Root River Taste of the Trail!

Sept 21-24: Boats and Bluegrass Festival, Winona


Mandolin Orange, Englert

12 Root River Taste of the Trail

11 23 Takkefest, Vesterheim

15 9 16 BrewNost! Root River Taste National of the Trail! Czech & 10 Slovak Museum, Arts & Heritage Day + Galactic Cedar Rapids Cowboy Orchestra, Chatfield CFA

ArtHaus Poetry Slam, Courtyard & Cellar, 8pm

4 9 Sept 8-10: 8 Live on The Energy Fair, St. Paul, Water Street, Downtown Harriet Island Decorah, 3-8pm

1 1 Luna Valley Farm Pizza Nights – Every Friday through October!


15 30 Doug 29 Otto & The Seeds + Cider Getaways, INHF, Heritage Haymarket Valley Stanton West Decorah record release, Rotary Loop Midwest de Loop Half Music Store, Marathon Winona, 7pm

SEPTEMBER 9: • Joe & Vicki Price, Pulpit Rock Brewing, 4-8pm • Avey Grouws Band, Haymarket, 10pm • Silent Movies in the Park, Sylvan Park, Lanesboro

‘Homage to the Home Town’ by Betsy Bowen through Oct 7, Lanesboro Arts


Sept 1-4: La Crosse Labor Day Bicycle Fest

September Monday

2 4












Happy Halloween!



Clayton Co. Conservation “Better Know A Property”, Becker East, Millville, 5pm



28 Habib Koite and Bamada, CSPS, Cedar Rapids, 8pm

Oct 28: “Spirits of St. Feriole Island”, Villa Louis, Prairie du Chien

Sally Barris, Chosen Bean Concerts, Chatfield CFA, The Heavy Set, 7:30pm Haymarket, 10pm


20 October 19-22: Haunted Harmony MN Weekend + Parade!


Way Down Inspire(d) Wanderers, 10-Year Party, Haymarket Little Farmers The Gershwin Big Preschool, Band, Luther CSS, Decorah CFL, 7:30pm



OCT 20-22: • Dr. Ysaye Barnwell, Building a Vocal Community: Singing in the African American Traidition, a weekend of song, Decorah • “Endwaters” by Scott Dixon, Theatre du Mississippi, Winona Masonic



Dawes, Cavalier Theater, La Crosse OCTOBER 14: • Viroqua Harvest Parade! • Step Up Reach out Suicide Awareness Walk, Decorah • Apple Cider Pressing Day, Historic Forestville • The Fabulous Armadillos, Chatfield CFA • She Writes! Concert, Lingonberry, Decorah, 7pm



Kickapoo OCT 5-7: Cringe Night, Reserve Dam • The Life of Galileo, Luther ArtHaus Dance and Theatre Decorah, 8pm Challenge race • Catch Me If You Can, the musical, Elkader Opera House Pale Blue Erf, Dave Zollo, Haymarket Haymarket, October 6-8: Harmony 10pm 16 Fall Foliage Weekend

HBD Inspire(d)!


Shawn Colvin, Englert, Iowa City OCTOBER 21: • The Lowland Lakers & The Home Fires, St. Mane, Lanesboro • Apple Butter Day! Historic Forestville, rural Preston • Way Down Wanderers, Volga City Opera House


David Bromberg & Josh Sebastian, Englert, Iowa City



Olate Dogs, Englert, Iowa City

Oct 14-15: Osborne Heritage Days, rural Elkader



Martin Sexton, CSPS, Cedar Rapids, 7pm


Oct 6-7: Lanesboro Area Art Trail

13 18 14 Oct 13-15: • Driftless Area Flyathlon, Yellow River Forest Oct 14-15: Seed Savers Harvest • NE Iowa Artists Studio Tour OCTOBER 13: Festival! • Jayne Kelli & AJ Swearingen, music of Simon & Oct 14-16: Tremptoberfest, 19 Garfunkel, Elkader Opera House Trempealeau Hotel • Over the Back Fence, St. Mane, Lanesboro, 7:30pm Lidtke Mill 17 Oct 13-15: New Albin Harvest Fest, • MWMF Presents GGOOLLDD with Sleeping Jesus, Community Center Quilt Show Lime Springs Root Note, La Crosse, 8pm 8

‘The Art of North Atlantic Fishing’ opens October 3, MN Marine Art Museum, Winona

“World On The Wall” exhibit closes October 27, Vesterheim, Decorah




fun stuff to do




7 Hot cider today?


15 National Bundt Pan Day!



National Day of Giving




“Koselig” Exhibit opens December 1, Vesterheim Museum, Decorah






Small Business Saturday!


24 Society of Holiday Fest Broken Souls w/ Faux Faun, Art, Craft & Gift Expo, Driftless Books Filmore Central & Music, HS, Harmony Viroqua

“Kids in a Victorian Kitchen”, Villa Louis, Prairie du Chien


Armistice Day


December 1-10: Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Elkader Opera House Players

Nov 24-26: Victorian Home for the Holidays, Villa Louis, Prairie du Chien


Happy Thanksgiving!


Over the Back Fence Variety Show, St. Mane, Lanesboro, 7:30pm

Anat Cohen, Luther CSS, CFL, 7:30pm

4 23 Ruth Moody Band, Potter Auditorium, Chatfield CFA


DECEMBER 2: • Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins, Chatfield CFA • Joe & Vicki Price, Saxon Hall, Brownsville, MN • FEAST Local Food Fest, Rochester, MN • Pleasant Ridge Waldorf “Holiday Faire”, Viroqua


Holiday Lights Walk Through Night! Decorah Campgrounds




NOVEMBER 18: • Author Eric Litwin of ‘Pete the Cat’, Carrie Lee Auditorium • Thomanerchor, Luther CSS, CFL, 7:30pm • Matt Woods, Haymarket, 10pm



Nov 4-5: Iowa Wine Trail Fall Tour “Hollywood and Vines”


Nov 2-5: NMP presents 22 “The Whole Shebang and Then Some”



“Ryuta Nakajima: Squid and I, An Art and Science Symbiosis” up through January 7, MN Marine Art Museum, Winona

“Rocks and Hard Places: Emigration Through the Lens of Knud Knudsen” through 2018, Vesterheim Museum, Decorah



The Lords of Liechtenstein w/ Yellow Bellied Sapsuckers, Driftless Books & Music, Viroqua


National Donut Day!

Daylight Saving Time Ends – Fall back 1 hour!


NOVEMBER 4: • Lanesboro Arts Gala w/ The Old Fashioneds, Lanesboro Community Center • ArtHaus Arts Off Campus: Jane Hawley, Arthaus, 4pm • “Real Estate”, Englert, Iowa City




fun stuff to do

25W/ $25B












Inspire(d) World’s Greatest Party


Date (not included in word count): Worlds Greatest Party! 7-10 pm. Inspire(d) invites you to the greatest party ever! We’ll have amazing amounts of fun! See you there!



Questions? Email

(Direct link:

See - we told you about our amazing fictional party in less than 25 words! On the visual calendar (like the one at left), your event will be listed along with a number that corresponds. People can just scan on over to the following pages to get the details!


Simple! We get an email with all your details exactly as you’d like to see them in the listing, and then we add it to the calendar!

It works like this: 1. Go to and click on the 25W/$25B sidebar box 2. Enter your information in our online form 3. Click through to PayPal to complete the transaction

Thus we’ve implemented a simple, expandable list of events for the pages following our regular calendars. Those who are planning “fun stuff to do” get a guaranteed spot on the calendar and in that event listing by purchasing “25 Words/$25 Bucks.”

We know it’s a tough racket to put on live music, activities, and special events, so we want to give you a chance to get the word out without breaking the bank.

Calendar time is always an exciting time at Inspire(d) Headquarters. “Just how much can we fit on there this month?!?” In recent years, what we had chosen for these lovely pages had been entirely editorial and subjective. We figured, hey, you like our magazine, so you’ll probably like the fun stuff to do that we pick out from around our region. But we’re running out of space and want you, our lovely readers, friends, and fellow event planners, to be able to tell us a little more about your fun.

25 Words/$25 Bucks


Looking for more details about events on the calendars? Houston, Minnesota 507-896-OWLS (6957)

Check out these great fall activities! In chronological order, each event’s number coincides with its number on the calendar!

13. September 24: Upstart Crow Theatreworks presents The Cemetery Walk, celebrating the Porter House’s sesquicentennial. Tours leave every 15 minutes, 2-4pm, Phelps Cemetery, Decorah. $10/$5. 14. September 24: Chosen Bean Concert with David Mallett. Live folk music up close and personal. Limited seating, $20 in advance or at the door. 6:30pmconcert.

Hours Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon: 10 AM–4 PM Call or check our website for extended summer hours and live owl programs



16. October 6-8: Fall Foliage Weekend, Harmony, MN – Enjoy beautiful fall colors in bluff country, tours of Niagara Cave and Amish Tours


18. October 14: Harvest Festival at Seed Savers Exchange: Soup cook-off, pumpkin carving, garlic workshop, cider pressing, hayrides, and kids activities. 19. October 14: Enjoy a fall adventure at the Lidtke Mill Harvest Festival - Ghost Tours of Old town, Craft Show, Soup Supper! Lime Springs, IA Community Building. 4-8 pm. Adults $5/Children $3 - Best Town By A Dam Site!

Adults: $5 / Ages 4–17: $3 Ages 3 and under: Free


15. September 30: Seeds + Cider. Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation invites you to Heritage Valley, a 1,200-acre nature preserve, for a fall prairie seed harvest! RSVP at

17. October 13-15: Take a beautiful drive to the New Albin Quilt Show, Fri 4-7, Sat 10-5, Sun 12-4, Community Center - 137 Railroad Ave, New Albin, IA!




YOGA TEACHER TRAININGS YOGA FOR KIDS Get started today! 2 weeks of unlimited classes for $25


20. October 19-22: Haunted Harmony Weekend – Join us for a weekend of Halloween themed fun! Grand Parade, Monster Bash Haunted House, Costume Contests, pumpkin decorating & more! More info at 21. October 27: Chosen Bean Concert with Sally Barris. Live folk music up close and personal. Limited seating, $20 in advance or at the door. 7:30pmconcert. 22. November 2-5: NMP presents “The Whole Shebang and Then Some” at New Minowa Players Theatre, featuring three one-act plays. Tickets and more information at 23. November 4: The Ruth Moody Band in the historic Potter Auditorium. $30 in advance, $35 at the door. 7:30pmconcert, door open 6pm. Food, drink available. 24. November 18: Holiday Fest- Art, Craft & Gift Expo 10am3pm Fillmore Central High School Gym- Shop 50 holiday vendors featuring a wide variety of homemade arts & crafts as well as direct marketing vendors. 25. November 22: Holiday Lights Walk-Through Night. Only night to walk through the Lights! Drive through starting tomorrow, open 5 - 9 pm nightly. | Pulpit Rock Campground, Decorah |

563.379.7303 |


@waikebotanicals Small-batch Herbalism Hand-crafted in Decorah, Iowa

Liniments • salves • body oils • loose-herb incense blends • face + hair care products – all made with a combination of Chinese & Western herbs \ Fall 2017


WE love to find out about rad new business happenings in the Driftless! get out there and support local, friends!!


Driftless IN THE

RockFilter Distillery Hey. We love whiskey, and that’s just that. Local, hand crafted, organic whiskey and bourbon in the Driftless? Why, yes please! As they say at RockFilter, “No barn nor glass should be raised alone.” Nor spirit crafted, one could add. The RockFilter crew, just up the road in Spring Grove, Minnesota, have been hard at work creating unique whiskey and bourbon – beautifully bottled and sold in small batches, as well as served in their extremely well-designed tasting room just off the park in downtown SG. Local grain – and local talent – are playing out well for this start-up distillery. And we couldn’t be more excited to have (another) reason to visit this cute little town. Currently, the distillery and cocktail room are only open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, so check their website or Facebook for hours before visiting.


High, Wide & Handsome

Word on the street is that there is some tasty pizza flying out of High, Wide & Handsome in Calmar, Iowa these days! That would make sense, since it’s the Sparrow family dishing up the pies. Jason, “Mr. High, Wide & Handsome” Sparrow is realizing his take-out pizza dream at 117 E. Main St. Call ahead – 563562-9029 – to order a Three Little Pigs, or a Bacon Cheeseburger (pizza, that is…). Kudos to Calmar – with the new PIVO Brewery set to open in Calmar sometime later this year – it seems like this awesome community is ever-reinventing itself as the crossroads of NE Iowa! Like High, Wide & Handsome on Facebook to stay in the pizza-know.

Luna Valley – Pizza Farm Nights

While we’re on the subject of Pizza (we could do this all day…), you may recall a “loving” write up from our Spring 2017 issue about the start-up of our friend Maren and Tom Beard’s Luna Valley Farms Pizza nights. Well, tick-tock, and guess what? They’re slinging farm fresh pizzas out of the wood fired oven every Friday night through October. Here at Inspire(d), we are big fans of the “pizza farm” concept, where local producers use their own and other local ingredients to put out tasty pizzas for you enjoy picnic-style on Maren and Tom’s gorgeous Driftless farm. Find details on Facebook or at

Kickapoo Coffee Viroqua Café

While you’re in Viroqua for the Harvest Parade Oct 14 (or any day, really), we highly suggest you swing in to the new Kickapoo Coffee Café. The Kickapoo Coffee kids have been hard at work upping their – already pretty amazing ­– brand the past couple years, with a successful partnership launch of a Milwaukee Kickapoo Café in 2015. So it only makes sense that they bring the good stuff to the masses back home in the Driftless. The Viroqua cafe, on the corner of Terhune and Main St, is a clean, beautiful space with indoor / outdoor communal seating and cool décor. Delicious baked goods from Crumb Bakery fill the case, in addition to tasty local café fare. Kickapoo has been “farmer focused” since the beginning of their coffee roasting adventures in 2005. They’ve come a long way from the old train depot they started in, and we couldn’t be happier for them (unless we drank even – more – of their delicious coffee…). Swing by the café next time you’re in Viroqua, or make the trek just to check it out! 14

Fall 2017 /

Photos by Ray Siler for Kickapoo Coffee

New Downtown Decorah Digs!

There’s been some grumbling amongst the coffee klatch crowds this past year about empty storefronts in downtown Decorah – but huzzah, we’re here to say never fear! While our favorite stores and restaurants continue to breathe new life into our community, Decorah is in the midst of a slight renaissance, with some new and relocating businesses just on the horizon! A duo of buildings in the middle of Water Street have recently been transformed into new office spaces for Thrivent Financial and Midwest Group Benefits, Inc. Just down the street, adjacent to the Hotel Winneshiek (in the old Hallmark) our friends Lisa Lantz and Scott Bassford are busy beautifying the space to become “The Getup” – a cool new shop that will buy and sell quality used children’s clothes, gear, and maternity ware in-store and online ( Meanwhile over on Winnebago, Gabi Masek has been busy at Wildcrafted Acupuncture and Herbs – check out the community acupuncture and personally crafted Wai Ke Botanicals ( Across the street from there, you’ll soon find Cardboard Robot (in the old StoryPeople

wood shop), self-described by the legendary Eric Sovern (owner) as a “supply depot for makers, artists, kids, former kids, goofballs, and nerds.” Back on Water Street, Decorah artist Paula Brown has opened a retail shop for her work ‘The Goods’. You may remember reading about Paula in Inspire(d) before – she’s offering some really cool art and services downtown now! ( It’s so exciting to watch Decorah continue to grow! Now if we can just figure out what to do with that old JCP building…

Fat Pat’s BBQ Truck

Well, well. If it’s not the craft whiskey distillery gussying up lil’ ol’ Spring Grove, then it’s a kick ass new BBQ food truck! That’s right, Patrick Longmire Jr may have cut his teeth bagging groceries at his Pop’s IGA (read about Red on pg 42), but it was several years on the road playing music in Texas that brought him into the world of BBQ. When he and his family circled their wagons for Spring Grove, his love of BBQ led him to explore the idea of a BBQ truck – and it was an excellent idea! The menu is simple BBQ, the sides are beans, slaw, or potato salad, and the customers are raving. The best part is that you don’t ever know where Fat Pat’s may be pulling up next – recent favorite spots have been the new RockFilter Distillery (Spring Grove), Karst Brewing (Fountain), and Turtle Stack Brewery (La Crosse). Keep an eye on www.fatpatsbbq. com or instagram @fatpatsbbq, or Facebook to see where you can catch some killer BBQ next!

Offering over 40,000 plants!

Iowa's #1


Garden Center Just 30 minutes south of Decorah

Decorah K&K Gardens

108 E. Wilbur St, Hawkeye, Iowa • 563.427.5373 • Open daily May - October




WINERY Interview and photos (unless noted) by Benji Nichols


Fall 2017 / \ Fall 2017


EVERYTHING FROM JEANS TO SUITS! Extended hours! 130 W. Water St. Decorah, Iowa 563.382.5761

M, T, W, F 9-6 Thursday 9-8 Saturday 9-5 Sunday 12-4


HOMES Sustainably Beautifully Efficiently

David J. Wadsworth • 563.419.0390 •

R.M. Granet & Company Nort h Io wa’s In t ern ational Gi f t & Antique Store

Featuring... fine art, estate jewelry, porcelain, crystal, silver, antiques and home furnishings

1110 North Grand Avenue Charles City, IA 50616 Phone Number 641-220-5100

Teamwork from the team that works best! DECORAH, IOWA 563-382-8406 18

Fall 2017 /


mpty Nest Winery was born out of – you guessed it – an empty nest. Once Pam and Dave Kruger’s kids flew the coop, the couple took a leap of faith into their next phase of life: Business ownership. They looked at shifting their milking operation away from cows and into wine, and never slowed down for a second – except to maybe enjoy a glass of wine! When meeting Pam and Dave, it’s clear they are tireless and passionate about their work and products. From the first tasting room added on to their old farmhouse, to the thoughtfully decorated interior of the new tasting and event space that now houses Empty Nest Winery’s main operations, their century farm has been put to grand use. That winery building, built on the Krueger’s property in 2015, has been busy pretty much the minute the doors opened to the public. Part of the success? Tireless hours poured into making sure that each event – small or huge – is a big success in the guests’ eyes. Making tasty products like distinct fruit wines and ever-changing house-made ciders is no small deal, but Empty Nest’s attention to every detail creates not only the foundation of the business, but a literal sparkle to this destination winery.

Est. 1961

People you can trust. Quality you can depend on.

Interview and photos (unless noted) by Benji Nichols

Name(s): Dave & Pam Kruger Age(s): 50s! Business: Empty Nest Winery Years in Business: Started building in 2010, opened in 2011, built new winery building in 2015 1. Tell us about the “leap” moment. When/how did you decide to jump in and become your own boss? Both Dave and I grew up on dairy farms – this is Dave’s home farm that his family has owned and where they lived for about 100 years. When we were married, I moved here to the farm and together we milked Registered Brown Swiss cows and farmed for years. We have both also worked off the farm during those years, but for us the “leap” was starting a new winery business from scratch after all our kids graduated and moved out. Hence the “Empty Nest” name for the winery. A lot of people say that at that age of the “Empty Nest”, parents are starting to slow down and not work so hard, but that thought never crossed our minds. Another huge “leap” was in February 2015, when we held our annual “Blind Wine Tasting” which is always the weekend after the Super Bowl. We had over 500 people come to our small tasting room and vote on their favorite wines. Even though we were both over 50 years old, we knew we had to build a bigger winery. With the help of our son, two neighbors and a local crane operator, we carefully took down our 100 year old barn, reclaimed all the beams, boards, corrugated steel and pretty much anything we could use in the new winery building. (Continued on next page)

Monday: 9am - 8pm Tues - Fri: 9am - 5pm Saturday: 9am - 3pm 3 goldsmiths 1 graduate gemologist 1 watchmaker 2 diamond setters

31 West Main Street Waukon, Iowa 800.932-7028 • 563.568-3661 \ Fall 2017


We designed the building using new technology like geothermal heating and cooling and spray foam insulation, while also incorporating those reclaimed materials. We made sure the building with a spacious tasting room, larger event room and warehouse/production area for wine. We found a general contractor who would run with those plans (working out the details) and broke ground in May of 2015 for a new building. We moved in and held our Grand Opening Thanksgiving weekend 2015 with over 3,500 people coming to see and celebrate the new winery building. Since November 2015, we have hosted over 450 private parties and events either in our front Tasting Room or our spacious Event Room. There is something going on every weekend from Murder Mystery Dinner Theaters, to weddings, reunions, bachelorette parties, birthday and anniversary celebrations, graduation parties, wine and painting parties, baby and bridal showers, Christmas parties, vendor

shows like our ‘Wining with the Arts’… we have pretty much hosted any kind of party here. People love the new building with its outside patio and relaxed fun atmosphere. Our latest addition is a stunning new gazebo a short walk from the winery, where you can sit and relax in a more private setting. 2. What’s the best thing about being your own boss? Probably setting your own hours 3. How about the worst? Probably setting your own hours… lol. We are both “workaholics” and have a goal to make every person’s event here the best it can possibly be, even if this means working through the night to achieve that. 4. Was there ever a hurdle where you just thought, “I can’t do this?” How did you overcome it? Probably our first wedding here. There is so much that goes into a wedding at the winery that you have to get it perfect, that is why we only host six Photo by Jess RIlling

(Continued on page 22)



2041 State Hwy 9. Decorah, Iowa • Book your stay at • 563-382-8800

Tap Room Visit us today for a meal, drink, or a lovely stay! • • 104 E. Water St. Decorah, IA • 1.800.998.4164


Puppies expected in December 2017



Photo by Jess RIlling

weddings a year. We host the whole wedding day from decorating the event room, to the perfect wedding picture backgrounds, then onto making the outside ceremony flawless, back inside catering the reception dinner and hearing those tear jerking speeches, seamlessly tearing down and flipping the room into the best wedding dance ever, all while everyone is enjoying a drink at the bar and having a great time. How did we overcome it?? We had some help from our kids, help from some great friends, we worked our tail off, and just trusted and believed we could do it! Angie Herrmann KITCHEN & BATH DESIGNER

Come visit our new showroom!

1813 Trout Run Road Decorah, IA . 563-382-9360


Fall 2017 /

5. Any mentors/role models you look to/have looked to? It might sound crazy but our role models are each other. We both love working with each other, we make great partners in business each doing what we are good at. And make great partners in life. Our sum is much larger than each part. 6. What’s the one thing you wish you had known before you started? All the behind the scenes work there is to both the making quality wine/winery business and the catering / venue business. Trying to keep everything inside and outside perfectly clean and beautiful for Empty Nest Winery to be a destination for many people to come, relax and enjoy! 7. How do you manage your life/work balance? That is a constant struggle for us. Being “Empty Nesters” we don’t have kids at home to set mealtime or bedtime hours, or attending

all those sporting and fine art events at school as in younger years. Those family hours of younger years are now more working hours. So our scales are too tipped on the working hours and not enough family hours right now. We are working towards more balance in our lives, so we can enjoy our four children and their growing families more. 8. What keeps you inspired? Any quotes that keep you going? What keeps us inspired is two-fold. First our kids keep us inspired. They are all successful in their own chosen professions and balance that with their family lives. We are so proud of each and every one of our children! When they come home, they are amazed at how the business has grown and jump right in and help. Every event we host also inspires us. For example, it is so inspiring to have a bride and groom find us at the end of their wedding day and say that it was the perfect wedding they had always dreamed of. Or the excitement of a mother-to-be at a baby shower. Or pulling off a surprise birthday party that really was a perfect surprise. Or having a winery guests that drove hundreds of miles to come here, write reviews on Facebook that they loved the homey relaxed atmosphere here… and the wine! We have several quotes: • Do whatever it takes • I will… until • If it was easy, everyone would do it • If you build it, they will come or If you pour it they will come • Make every day count • Treat people the way you want to be treated \ Fall 2017


A class is a blast at Vesterheim’s Folk Art School

Three new exhibitions at Vesterheim this fall!


Carving. Community.

August 25, 2017 - November 4, 2018 This exhibition captures the spirit of the spoon carving movement by highlighting the spoon carving community and showcasing historic and modern examples of carved spoons.

Sign up Sámi Inspired Rings today! November 11 (9:00-1:00 or 2:00-6:00) with Norma Refsal

Rocks and Hard Places: Emigration Through the Lens of Knud Knudsen

September 23, 2017 - September 23, 2018 Explore emigration through first person accounts, family histories, and the stunning black and white photography of Knud Knudsen.

Register online at Classes half price on stand-by for Winneshiek County residents.

Shop for Scandinavian Gifts in Vesterheim’s

Museum Store


December 1, 2017 - April 22, 2018

Come get cozy with Vesterheim in this new exhibit and discover the Norwegian secret to suviving winter—warm drinks, wool socks, close friends, and an untranslatable word! Vesterheim thanks the generous sponsors of these exhibitions. Visit a complete list.


The National Norwegian-American Museum & Heritage Center Decorah, Iowa • • 563-382-9681

Sweaters, Jewelry, Décor, Art Supplies, Handcrafted Art, ....and more!

Wenonah Canoe’s 50th


Ye s


Canada’s 150th!

e v l ’ e n e w t e ha


National Parks 100th

Happy Anniversary to Us - and these fine folks too!


Agora Arts’ 25th

Porter House’s 150th

NE Iowa Studio Tour’s 20th


207 College Drive, Decorah 563-380-3610 Open 7 Days A Week

After 10 years of this experiment in positive news, here’s what we’ve learned... Intro and infographic by Aryn Henning Nichols

I had my camera out the other day, and Benji asked me, “What are you shooting?” “Oh, unicorn stuff,” I replied. It’s all unicorn stuff to me though, really. We’ve been making this magazine for 10 years. Something about that extra digit in there blows my mind…10 years! We won’t get to add another digit for another 90 years, so let’s really relish in this moment. …(Try not to cry, like me)…… Driving around the countryside, delivering magazines – literal stacks of positive news – to the amazing people of the Driftless Region, you get some time to think (don’t get me wrong – Benji Nichols does 97 percent of the Inspire(d) delivery, but I do a few select routes and love to ponder life, love, and, you know…the pursuit of happiness). This summer, I thought a lot about Inspire(d), what we hope to do going forward, and what a decade of this experiment has taught us. What’s important? What is true? What do we need to do to make the world a better place? Answers to these questions are seemingly subjective, but there are (at least) 10 things we feel stand out as indisputable truths. Turn the page to read what they are (hint, people and community are at the root of it all)! Thank you so much for reading Inspire(d), my friends. Let’s keep sending those ripples of positivity out into the world, one community at a time. XOXO – Aryn

LET’S CELEBRATE! To celebrate 10 years of Inspire(d) – and 10 years of positive news – we wanted to DO something positive! So we’re having a party, and it’s also fundraiser for our friends, Little Farmers Preschool & Daycare! We hope you’ll come! Get info at

Let us create an



for your business.

CORBIN GROUP \ Fall 2017



e v learn ’ e w t e ha





Years of


Travel helps us to appreciate where we live, understand how other people live, and remember how beautiful this world really is. Seriously, we’ve gotta enjoy this life and see as much as possible.

Through travel we gain empathy, perspective, & experience.


Good food – vegetables and fruit and other healthy stuff – makes us feel good. So does exercise. We’ve got to take care of ourselves to enjoy this life!

Shopping locally supports your actual neighbors, fosters sustainable local economy, and builds community!

5 Fostering our kids’ kindness is the most important thing we can do as parents.

No one wants their kids to be jerks.

Technology can be useful, but face-toface time is essential.

3 hi!


People want to be heard. We should try to listen.

At the end of our lives, our connections and experiences with people will be what’s most memorable.

A community of people – no matter the size – is one of the most valuable things we can build.


Getting outdoors is just as important as travel. Nature is filled with perfect designs and inspiration. Being inspired is one of the greatest gifts in this life.

Just like we’ve gotta take care of our house to keep it from falling apart, we’ve gotta take care of our planet to keep it from falling apart.

After your massage... take a breath.

riftless Gardens



Jeff Scott . 563-379-1101


Presents disguised as unicorns? Yes, please! You wouldn’t even have to open this one to spread a little joy to the world!


Paper Project details at 28




A community is defined as a unified body of individuals. You can build community in a neighborhood, city, region, state, nation... world, at any level. It doesn’t have to be big to have a big impact. Building community is the most important thing we can do on this planet. Connecting with others helps us connect with our humanity, and realize we’re all in this together. The Driftless Region is full of amazing community builders! Read on to learn about 10 great groups or people, just for starters. We’ll keep sharing more in coming decades! XO - Aryn \ Fall 2017


Story and photos by Kristine Jepsen


think this started because I would get asked by someone on the street, or in the Co-op, if maybe there wasn’t some Norwegian dancing and music they could learn, or go listen to?’” says Decorah community champion Liz Rog, her hands flying to her temples, incredulous wonder spreading on her face. “And I thought, ‘How could these wonderful, engaged people live here for years and NOT know about Foot-Notes dances?’”

Where local & organic aren’t just a corner of our store, they are the cornerstone of our cooperative business.


FOOD COOPErative decorah, iowa




Water Street Caf é f r e s h .

o r g a n i c .

l o c a l .

312 West Water Street • Decorah 563.382.4666 • Monday-Saturday 8:00 am-8:30 pm • Sunday 10-7

everyone can shop 30

Fall 2017 /

everyone welcome

no membership required

grocery bulk produce café meat cheese bakery wine/beer supplements body care



Liz Rog & Brad Crawford

250 artists. 7 days a week. 1 gallery. celebra


years Liz Rog and Brad Crawford, builders of, chat about their work while at Java John’s Coffeehouse in Decorah.

Driftless Area Art Festival Celebrating the Visual, Performing, and Culinary Arts of the Driftless Area

(Local string band, Foot-Notes, plays traditional Scandinavian schottisches and other Scandinavian-American music for public dances year-round.) “I realized that people just needed to know about the cool things going on around them in this wonderful place, and that no one should feel they have to be in the ‘in’ crowd to be invited to events. So, I became the messenger,” she says. Now, it’s not hard to imagine Liz Rog as a networker, community catalyst, person who knows stuff. One look at her black daily planner, crammed with notes on bits of paper and filled to every margin, tells you that community and the facilitation of it are her life’s work. At the time, in 2008, she was already emailing 100-odd supporters of historic East Side School, who were fighting to save it from demolition, ultimately unsuccessfully. Late one night, using wi-fi at Oneota Community Food Co-op (she still doesn’t have Internet at her rural home), she sent this group a list of everything she knew to be happening in town that week. Thus began, an online listing of events (especially music), classes, and resources in Decorah and surrounding communities. Today, 800 users view the site daily and more than 200 buy/sell/want ads turn over in its classified section each month.

Sat. Sept. 16, 10-5 Sun. Sept. 17, 10-4 Soldiers Grove, WI 80 Visual Artists Live Music—Local Foods Free Admission and Parking

(Continued on next page) \ Fall 2017





20 – 21, 2017 NE W











But in those early days, as residents of all ages were just beginning to use digital calendaring and communications daily, much of Decorah Now compilation happened by hand. “People would call me and leave messages, and I’d be sitting until 3 a.m. typing these notes into one massive list for a weekly e-mail,” Liz says. “Every week I would swear off it. And every day someone would tell me about something they had attended or discovered because of it, and I didn’t want to disappoint them.” Eventually, she started color-coding sections and highlighting new items, in an attempt to make the email more readable. Her earnestness caught the attention of Decorah native Brad Crawford, who was working in California at the time. “I got an email from Brad with a QuickTime video tutorial attached,” Liz explains. “And after I got QuickTime installed so I could view it, I realized an angel had been sent to save me.”

tuesday, september 5

bruce campbell Presented by Prairie Lights Bookstore September 7–9

Dis/unity: A Service

Presented by Baker + Tarpaga dance & the englert

saturday, september 23

mandolin orange

sunday, october 15

david bromberg & john sebastian tuesday, october 24

shawn colvin olate dogs & her band Tuesday, october 3

sunday, october 8

saturday, november 4

titus andronicus real estate RSC HD Rebroadcast Sponsored by M.C. Ginsberg sunday, november 5

Saturday, october 14 the lone bellow coriolanus RSC HD Rebroadcast Sponsored by M.C. Ginsberg OCTOBER 20-21, 2017

221. E. Washington St. Iowa City | | (319) 688-2653

Knowledgeable staff • Great Gifts • Book Signings

The clip demonstrated a Ruby on Rails database Brad had built that automated much of the formatting and allowed readers to subscribe and contribute their own news items. And so began their partnership in problem-solving for the public good. The two meet regularly, often in Java John’s coffee house, now that Brad has moved back to Decorah and works with Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation & Development. They knew they were on to something when amazing things started coming through, Liz explains. “At one point, a parent posted about their child dropping $5 of hard-earned money on her walk home. Within a day, someone had found and returned it.”

MON - THURS: 11- 9 • FRI - SAT 11-10 • SUN: 11-8 Hooray! We’re celebrating 5 years in business!

Homemade goodness.


Bestsellers plus special interest: gardening, Scandinavian, cooking, poetry, children’s books & more…even e-books! 563-382-4275 • 112 West Water Street, Decorah


Fall 2017 /


dine in • carry out • catering 563.382.6208 /OldArmoryBBQ

November 18th

Save the Date!

And some listings say ‘small town’ in a big way, Brad adds with a chuckle. “One person posted that they were headed out of town for the weekend and that others were welcome to the two bananas, a kiwifruit and an apple in their fridge.” In 2016 Liz and Brad began migrating the site to WordPress, an industry-leading website platform where new features are contributed by developers around the world., for its part, continues to be free to use and accepts donations to offset the time it takes to answer reader questions, debug site features, and catch new scams that crop up in the classifieds section. “It’s really a big experiment in seeing what the community needs and using technology to get it out there,” Brad says. And, thanks to the Internet, word has spread. New residents credit the vibrant diversity showcased in as one reason they decided to move. And Liz and Brad have still bigger dreams for the future, such as building a Skills School Network for practical arts and developing a sharing economy to help out elderly or other citizens who need a hand. “I wanted to shine a light on the people here and foster appreciation for what we have together – and make it plain that anyone can fit in by offering what they have to offer,” Liz concludes. “And it has done exactly that.”

Eric Litw in Or igina igin a l Au t hor o f

P e t e t h e C at

Eric Litwin, the best-selling author of the original four Pete the Cat books, The Nuts, and Groovy Joe, is coming to Decorah!

Performance times & registration details coming soon!

sponsored by

Friends of Decorah Public Library with support from the Walmart Foundation Hosted by the Decorah Community School District at Carrie Lee Auditorium

SEASON 4 PREMIERE OCTOBER 22 FREE! See for concert details

Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland The Unanswered Question by Charles Ives St. Paul's Suite, Op. 29 No. 2 by Gustav Holst Symphony No. 5 in D major “The Reformation”, Op. 107 by Felix Mendelssohn

In addition to her work with, Liz also hosts community singing events throughout the region, including OpenHub Singing Club at Decorah’s own ArtHaus. The 8-week fall session starts up October 4.

Our Mission: To present live classical music to the residents of the Oneota Valley, to promote music education, and to provide the opportunity for amateur and professional musicians to continue a lifelong study and performance of classical music. \ Fall 2017


KDEC FM 100.5 & Good Time Oldies AM 1240

Inspired by music





John Condon

...from our solar array to your radio waves! Algerian & American Appetizers & Entreés Vegetarian Options Sandwiches & Salads

Teaching the builders of tomorrow

Delicious Desserts Signature Cocktails Connoisseur Beer Selection

John (second from left in front) and Winneshiek Farmers Market’s Steve McCargar, posing with one of John’s industrial technology classes and the shed they built for the Market.

118 Washington St. Decorah, Iowa

Elkader, Iowa • 563-245-1992 • By Sara Friedl-Putnam

T 563.419.3141 Single origin pour overs. Nitro Cold Brew. Bulk Coffee. Employee Owned

Thrifty White Specialty Pharmacy Services



Ready refill

702 Montgomery St. Decorah, IA 563-382-8765 1-866-382-8765

Auto Prescription Refill Service Your refill prescriptions will be automatically filled ahead

Store Hours: Monday - Friday: 8:30am - 5:30pm Sat: 8:30am - 1:30pm • Sun: Closed

of time and ready when you are.

Rx MedSync


Synchronized Prescription Refill Service A convenient, new way to have ALL your prescriptions filled on the same day.

10 0 % E mp l oyee O w n ed • w w w. t h r i f t y w h i te. c o m


Fall 2017 /

his July, as they do each July, crowds lined Water Street during Decorah’s Nordic Fest to treat themselves to homemade Norwegian fare – kringla and krumkake, varme polse and rømmegrøt – all dished up from festive food booths. The sturdy structures – 14 in all! – are a signal that Nordic Fest is upon us, but they weren’t constructed by hardworking Nordic Fest volunteers; they were built by John Condon and his hard-working carpentry classes at Decorah High School (DHS). “We’re turning our focus outward,” says John. He joined the DHS faculty in 2000 and has since shaped an industrial technology program that offers “a café menu of choices,” including woodworking, electrical, cabinet-making, and construction-metals classes. “We’re focusing our projects less on the individual student and more on the wider community.”

“I believe every human has a desire to build, that we are all builders in one way or another,” John says of his teaching philosophy. “And that’s why my goal is to prepare students to live and to serve in a world full of construction, not necessarily to become construction workers.”

Upcoming Potter


Galactic Cowboy Orchestra

September 16 The Fabulous Armadillos

October 14

In addition to the Nordic Fest booths, John’s classes have built the infrastructure for the popular Winneshiek Farmers Market – including a barn-themed storage shed and two picnic tables – as well as numerous bike racks found throughout the city of Decorah. A rack shaped like the state of Iowa stands in Freeport Park, while another in the shape of a softball enhances the main DHS softball diamond. Both of the bike corrals on downtown Water Street were built by his classes as well. “Students learn best by doing, and that’s why I’m so big on incorporating hands-on projects into my classes,” he says. This fall, inspired by the success of the community projects his classes have completed to date, John introduced a new class, community construction, to the DHS curriculum. “I’m trusting that the community will continue to come up with cool things for the class to make,” he says with characteristic optimism. “Decorah is a bustling little town, with all sorts of potential projects.” John’s investment in community building dates back much farther than his employment at Decorah High School though. In 1987, he joined with three other individuals to found Hometown Taxi, a community-minded transportation service. Since 1990, he and his wife, Teresa – a Spanish teacher at Waukon High School – have brought together folks through music as the popular Buck Hollow Band. “We play whatever it takes to get the crowd together out on the dance floor,” he says, noting that they have taken on more than 3,400 gigs over the past 27 years. “We’re a big part of people’s social lives, and we do not take that commitment lightly.” John is clearly committed to his day job on the same level. He discovered this new passion and direction in midlife (age 40) while working as an electrician in Winneshiek County. After hearing that Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) was starting an industrial technology education program, he signed up and became one of the program’s first graduates. A member of the school’s Alumni Hall of Fame, he has also completed carpentry and industrial electrician programs at NICC. “I believe every human has a desire to build, that we are all builders in one way or another,” John says of his teaching philosophy. “And that’s why my goal is to prepare students to live and to serve in a world full of construction, not necessarily to become construction workers.”

Ruth moody band

November 4

The Pistol Whippin Party Penguins

December 2

in beautiful Chatfield, MN

405 Main St S • 507.884.7676 \ Fall 2017


New Boutique in Downtown Decorah!

Coulee Parenting Connection



Lissa Carlson

Les Wigs Renee

Lissa Carlson’s talents extend beyond awesome magazine-making to face (and arm) painting too!

By Aryn Henning Nichols • Photos courtesy Lissa Carlson

Mother / Daughter Makeovers

111 E. Water St. Decorah, Iowa. 563.382.6212


Fall 2017 /


hen you become a new mom or dad, you automatically join an amazing, yet evercomplicated new group: the parenting community. You’ve got no choice! Once you’re in, you’re in. As they say, “It takes a village to raise a child.” But a lot of new parents feel like that village up and moved to the next valley… and didn’t leave a note. Lissa Carlson, founder of Coulee Parenting Connection, wanted to change that. Lissa was 32 years old when she had her first son, Christopher. Their second, Corbin, came along three years later. But her first “child” – albeit, made of paper – will always be Coulee Parenting Connection (CPC), born in 2001. CPC is a La Crosse-based parenting publication that strives to improve life for families in the Coulee Region. “I wasn’t a parent yet, but I knew it was a lot to be one, and I was interested in the power of parenthood to change a community. Keeping up with local activities and events, and new or better ways to parent, while raising a child…yeah, it’s a lot,” she says. “I wanted to make it a little easier, and make Coulee Parenting Connection a one stop shop for busy families in the area.”

As a kid, Lissa, armed with a Pippi Longstocking book or the latest in the Boxcar Children series, was drawn to the printed word. Books could come along for the ride as Lissa’s family moved around Wisconsin through her dad’s work with Aflac. When Lissa landed at UW Milwaukee, her love of writing led to a degree in journalism and mass communication, then landed her a pivotal internship with Metroparent Magazine that fostered her career path. “I didn’t really daydream about my wedding day, or what my life would be like with my future husband,” she says. “I daydreamed about having kids…about being a mom.” Lissa and her then-husband, Eric, met in the Navy Reserves during college. After graduation, they moved to the Twin Cities for Eric’s job with the Army Corps of Engineers. Lissa went to work for a really niche publication – Marine Store Merchandising – for two years, but she wanted to get back to something she felt passionate about. Luckily, Eric’s job brought the couple to La Crosse, and while working at UW La Crosse, Lissa hatched the idea for Coulee Parenting Connection. She was 30 years old, and they didn’t have kids, but Lissa knew she wanted to help bring families together. That was 2001. By the third issue, they were expecting Christopher. Back then, Lissa was doing all the editorial and design work, but now she employs designers, writers, and distributors, creating her own community right within CPC. “A team has such an impact on everything,” she says, “and I’m grateful that there were and continue to be people along the way who believe in our mission and help us keep our commitment to families in the Coulee Region.” Published six times annually, Coulee Parenting Connection is available for free in libraries, schools, shops, and more across Southwest Wisconsin, Southeast Minnesota, and Northern Iowa. From the Family Fun Calendar to kid-friendly stuff to check out to stories about real parents, each issue pulls together family-oriented ideas and helps folks navigate – and join-in on – the local parenting community. “I like to believe we’ve had an impact on family life in the area,” Lissa says. “I don’t know if it’s necessarily because of Coulee Parenting… but I do know I’ve seen a lot of growth in events and organizations we’ve worked with, and it does my heart good when someone says they did something special with their kids because they read about it in Coulee Parenting.” Learn more about Lissa, her team, and Coulee Parenting Connection at And watch for CPC’s annual Family Fun Expo at the Onalaska Omni Center. 50+ businesses set up to show off their offerings, there’s cool, kid-friendly entertainment, and 3,000-4000 people come to check it out!

Uffda Fest!




OCT 6-7



FUN Little Gift Shop… big Sense of Humor :) • 118 East Main, Spring Grove, MN \ Fall 2017





110 East Water St 563-382-4297

Mike Ashbacher By Benji Nichols

Solar Sales & Installs since 2012 Licensed & Insured Contractor • Electrician licensed in 3 states



Decorah, Iowa


563.382.5511 •



More than 60 years of great food!




115 Winnebago Street . Decorah, Iowa 563.382.6139

Fall 2017 /


or some, it’s the thrill of riding in a fire truck, adrenaline pumping, or feeling the intense heat that a fire gives off, but for Decorah Fire Chief Mike Ashbacher, it’s the thriving community of volunteer firefighters and the service they provide that has kept him involved. With deep ties to Northeast Iowa, Mike’s family moved back to the region when his father was offered a full-time position in law enforcement. Mike was just about to start kindergarten, so Decorah has been home for most of his life. After school, Mike followed in his father’s footsteps at first, in criminology and law enforcement, but it was a chance EMT class that sent him in a different direction. He now sits at the heart of what has been – and continues to be – an incredible and professional group of emergency service responders. He has been a full-time Winneshiek Medical Center paramedic since 1987, and also a flight paramedic for Gundersen Lutheran since 1994. On top of work life, he and his wife have two grown sons, and are also new grandparents. So one could easily see the day-to-day schedule overflowing, yet Mike has been a dedicated member of the Decorah Fire Department (DFD) since 1991, and Fire Chief since late 2001. “I’ve always felt it was important to be involved in service, and the Fire Department allows me to give back to our community,” he says. Decorah, like many small, rural fire departments, is staffed mainly with volunteers. There are just over 30 members – a tightknit community of firefighters who give their free time for numerous hours of training to keep the region safe in case of fire or emergency.

Decorah Fire Department

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These men and women are called out for a variety of emergencies – from fighting fires to helping folks in trouble on the Upper Iowa to, yes, even rescuing a beloved family dog from a limestone cliff’s edge at Palisades Park in Decorah. The group works hard together, and shows pride in that work, and the camaraderie that is built through training and service is what makes the organization so worthwhile. “It is a large time commitment, and families sacrifice all sorts of time while a member trains, serves, and is called out on a moments notice,” Mike says. “It’s the support from those families, as well as employers, that makes a volunteer organization like the DFD work.” All of that time spent together is what makes it a real community. It also makes for some fun times within the department. The firefighter’s skills spill out in ways that serve the larger community through social events, fundraising, and community service – like the popular DFD Red Hot Bucket of Color In Your Face 5K run each spring. In the post 9/11 world, the risks and realities of responding to emergency situations are very real. “Having a driven, and educated group of individuals who want to keep learning skills, techniques, and technology makes for a great department,” Mike says. “Our guys do the training and know what to do when we are sent on a call. It makes my job as Chief easy.”

Mini Ag Grant! $5000 Eligible businesses must be located in Winneshiek County Contact Stephanie Fromm at

for an application today!

Deadline is December 15, 2017 \ Fall 2017



Photo by Benji Nichols



“The real community building occurs when a group of people sit together to envision and inform a project,” she says. “To me, it’s all about helping people realize they can work together to make a positive difference in their community.”

“Thank You!” from Project Care!

Lora Friest

NE Iowa Resource Conservation & Development By Sara Friedl-Putnam


t’s early on a hot July night, but Lora Friest bounds into Java John’s Coffee House in downtown Decorah as if the day were just getting started. She’s been going nonstop for hours, but you wouldn’t guess it judging by the enthusiasm, energy, and quick wit she exudes while talking about Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation and Development (NEIRC&D). Based in Postville, Iowa, the nonprofit organization partners with community members to diversify local economies while also protecting and enhancing natural resources. Lora, the executive director, leads a staff of 12 full-time employees. “Our stated mission is to ‘recognize opportunities and provide leadership to make Northeast Iowa a vibrant, place-based model for the nation,’” she says. “What that really means is we want every rural area to be what it aspires to be – communities have different strengths and different dreams, and it’s our job to help them capitalize on those by empowering people who have great ideas.” Basically, Lora and her team help communities build community. It was 1999 when Lora left her job with Luther College’s Environmental College for Young Leaders to join NEIRC&D as its Upper Iowa River watershed coordinator. “I had worked as intern at the Decorah Fish Hatchery a few years before and kept wondering why we were continually restocking fish and not making it so that they could live and reproduce naturally in the streams,” she recalls. “There was not much natural reproduction at the time, and I wanted to be part of efforts to change that.” And she has been. Today, thanks to the dedicated efforts of many individuals and organizations – including Lora and NEIRC&D – 45 Iowa streams boast naturally reproducing populations, compared with just five as recently as the 1980s. “It has had such an amazing impact,” she says, noting that fishing and other water activities bring more than a billion dollars to regional economy. “If you are ever involved in something that is that broad in scope and it actually works, you are inspired to do other things.” Or, in Lora’s case, many other things, and often simultaneously – she logs, on average, 60 hours per week writing grants, conducting feasibility studies, meeting with community members and leaders, and doing whatever else it takes to build a better Northeast Iowa. That dedication has produced results: Lora estimates that she and her NEIRC&D team have helped secure more than $100 million in funding – much of that in state and federal grants – to support a wide range of projects, including the Guttenberg Marina, Decorah’s Trout Run Trail and Freeport Trail, and local foods programs. “Yes, we have received multi-million-dollar grants, but I try to never forget how much it meant to someone that we got him or her $2,000 for a project,” she says. “That $2,000 grant can change one person’s life as much as a $1 million grant might change the lives of others.” Some 18 years after first signing on with NEIRC&D, Lora says she never tires of visiting with people about their ideas and helping them realize that they can actually achieve them. “The real community building occurs when a group of people sit together to envision and inform a project,” she says. “To me, it’s all about helping people realize they can work together to make a positive difference in their community.”

Project Care was founded 8 years ago as a way to uplift area young people who were not only graduating from high school, but who were also “aging-out” of Iowa's foster care system and transitioning to a life of independent living. Project Care strives to provide all of the basic living essentials needed in this time of new beginnings. Project Care now serves students in five area counties. This Inspiring effort would not be possible without the support of a caring and generous community. We would like to thank the individuals, families, businesses, fraternal and organizational sponsors who have helped to make Project Care so successful in being able to help foster youth in our community. All gifts are tax-deductible, and 100% of contributions of this volunteer effort go directly to the youth being served. Thank you for your continued generous support of Project Care!

Pastor Chad and Cheryl Huebner, Cole and Caleb Kate Martinson Jim and Rita Friest Dave and Brenda Carlson Larry and Diane Grimstad Andy and Brenda Rix , Owen and Danielle Roger and Vicky Jaeger Judy Refsell Melinda Hanson Jayme and Dan Nelson Diann Marten John and Arlene Nelson Patricia McClure Pastor Harris Hostager Kristine Jepsen Owen and Linda Christianson Larry and Betty Danielson Luann Smith Rob and Sandy Larson Laree Schouweiler Steve and Katie Sheppard Dennis and Carol Tack Jim and Sue Haemker Will and Ruth Bunge Heather Armstrong Otter Dreaming Bob and Judy Alford Pete and Linda Becker Marge Rix Carol Birkland and Tom Woxland Paul and Norma Dirks Dan and Carol Edmondson Rich and Linda Svenson Tom and Kathy Skold Jenine Jordahl Ann Landstrom Marilyn Wahlberg Troy and Michelle Whitehill Edna Jacobson Jeff and Marilyn Roverud David and Kirsten Heine, Andrew and Zach Jim and Marge Iversen Mike and Kim Sims Colleen Orwell Pastor Melissa & Matt Bills, Samuel Steve and Patti Davis Dawn Deines-Christensen Monica Koth Kevin Barth John and Ann Glesne Janice Kraabel Laurie Worcester Edward and Arlene Wenthe Drew and Cheryl Pellet Karen Fretheim Leslie Sand

Jackie Wilkie Jim and Sandy Hoeg Rita Tejada Eric and Jennifer Shelton Dr. Britt Rhodes Addy Taylor Leah Christ Hannah O’Polka Daniel Dejapin Collin Kern Taylor Schmitt Nate Orton Jana Mueller Charles Malek Neve Heimer-Lang Hannah Harms Justin Thompson Lauren Supanich Courtney Field Anna Jennerjohn Thank you to these businesses and community groups that supported Project Care 2017.

Grace Episcopal Church Burr Oak Lutheran Church N. E. Iowa Regional Board of Realtors Friest and Associates Davis Family Foundation Story People / Annette Laitinen Dough and Joe Bakery / Molly Pedretti Thrivent Financial / Jeff Olinger / Karen Trewin Luther College Book Shop LSI / Cassie Peterson Oneota Co-op Family Care Clinic / Dr. David Heine Subway Pizza Ranch / John Dambeck Decorah Bank and Trust N. E. Iowa Gideon Bible Project Reefuel Community Walmart / Mitch Link Decorah Greenhouse Rockweiler Appliance / Dean and Heidi Rockweiler Life Images Photography / Cheryl Wieseler Culver’s Kwik Trip, Inc. Beta Sigma Phi Beta Tau Sorority Decorah Newspapers Inspire(d) Media Whippy Dip / Rosie Carolan Calmer Lutheran Church Women Luther College Social Work Club Orleans Lutheran Church Women West Side Study Club

“Be not Forgetful to Entertain Strangers: For Thereby some have Entertained Angles Unawares” Hebrews 13:2

Patrick ‘Red’ Longmire Red’s IGA




Patrick ‘Red’ Longmire (R) and Pat in Fat Pat’s BBQ Truck! Photo by Kristine Jepsen

By Kristine Jepsen

eatball suppers, spaghetti feeds, pancake breakfasts: There’s no dispute that food fundraisers are a beloved Midwestern tradition, especially when there’s lefse involved. But in small towns across the Driftless, fundees face a bit of a problem: Any such rally takes time to organize and many, many hands to run successfully. And who wants to plan for months to raise only a few Benjamins in the end (after expenses)? This was the dilemma Pat ‘Red’ Longmire of Spring Grove, Minnesota, set out to solve six years ago. As founder and owner-manager of Red’s IGA on the east end of town, he saw mutual benefit to running a “turnkey” fundraising program for local organizations. First, Red’s chooses a tasty seasonal menu (meat, ‘taters, veg, coleslaw, and a buttered roll) and performs the food prep. Then, they set up a serving

station, usually in the produce aisle of the store, and a few staff, often including Red himself, work alongside student or non-profit volunteers to assemble $9 to-go plates as customers drop in. Generally, 250 meals are served up, and when it’s done, Red’s provides the cleanup. “My goal is to put $1,000 in their pocket every time,” Red says of the fundraiser recipients: Spring Grove student council, Lions Club, food pantry, and Friends of the Library, among several other causes. “It’s like smoking brisket,” he says, referencing one of his favorite hobbies. “I just love to see the reaction on someone’s face when they take a bite and enjoy it.” Meanwhile, customers who stop in for the meal get a close look at Red’s ever-expanding stock of vegetables, fruits and items on promo, there in Aisle One.

Find your

Adventure in Southeast Minnesota! Photos / Bob Smock . 507-765-2100

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“Having people come into the store, supporting a local cause, at the end of a long day, getting a plate of comfort foods, gives people a lot of confidence in shopping locally,” Red says. “It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, the more you give back to community, the stronger your support in return. As business owners, I feel it’s our responsibility to give back.” So keep an eye on the lettered sign outside Red’s IGA (like this one, pictured). Once each month, September through May, it will announce which Spring Grove organization is running a “Red’s meal deal.” Plates will feature sliced turkey breast (sometime in November), or, yes, gooey, delicious Swedish meatballs in midwinter. This year they’ll be adding half-chicken to the rotation, utilizing the smoking equipment of Fat Pat’s Texas BBQ, a food truck Red is partnering on with his son, Patrick, Jr. Recently returned to Spring Grove with his young family, Pat (as he’s known, apart from his dad) picked up the BBQ trade as a traveling musician in – you guessed it –– Texas. Father and son work side-by-side in the grocery store and in the food truck, which often sells out within an hour or two of sliding open their window for business. “In small towns, people are giving constantly,” Pat concludes. “That’s the nature of pitching in to make things like the Christmas light display in the city park possible.” By providing a hot, familiar meal on a chilly night, Red’s IGA hopes to make that charity easy as pie.

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2 CONVENIENT SIMS LOCATIONS 112 Winnebago St, Decorah • 121 N Vine St, West Union 563-382-2355 • Mon - Fri 8 am - 6 pm • Sat 9 am - 5 pm \ Fall 2017





Adam Wiltgen Lanesboro Arts

Adam Wiltgen helping with the community mural.

By Sara Friedl-Putnam


here’s some serious pep in Adam Wiltgen’s step as he leads an impromptu tour of the arts campus in Lanesboro, a small, but vibrant, community in Southeast Minnesota. A quick stop at Gateway Park (decorated with colorful string “surprise sculptures” made by local kids) is followed by a popin tour of the historic St. Mane Theatre and, finally, the Lanesboro Arts Gallery, which showcases the work of talented local artists. Adam, program director of Lanesboro Arts, a multidisciplinary arts organization engaged in community development, is clearly proud of the prominent role that art plays in Lanesboro, and is thrilled to talk about the community’s local arts program and his role in shaping it. “I always wanted to work in public and community-based art and make an impact on the culture of a town, to use the arts as a way to bring people together and build community,” says Adam during a brief stop at his neatly organized office above the gallery. “And as a Southeast Minnesota native, Lanesboro has always been on my radar.” It just took a while for him to find his way back to the area. After earning a bachelor’s degree in music business and entrepreneurship at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in 2008, Adam held a variety of arts-related positions. Stints as station manager at 89.1 KPVL out of Postville and Decorah, Iowa, and store manager of the Winona Mister Groovys store were followed by a few other positions, including box office manager and then assistant managing director at his alma mater’s Performance Center. In June 2015 – on the day of the organization’s popular Art in the Park festival, no less – Adam joined the staff of Lanesboro Arts. “What excites and energizes me about my job is the community engagement,” he says. “Each day I have many opportunities to work with business owners and other community members to improve our community. Collaboration is essential in a small town, and honestly that’s where the real fun lies as well.” The Smithsonian’s acclaimed Water/Ways traveling exhibit, displayed in Lanesboro last winter, exemplifies the collaborative effort that has put (and kept) Lanesboro on the map regionally and nationally. The town was one of only six across Minnesota picked for the exhibit, and, with a population of 750, it was by far the smallest. “When you work on something so long, it’s almost magical to see it actually happen,” says Adam, who, as project lead, collaborated with numerous nonprofits to bring the exhibit to town. “That project was very impactful for Lanesboro – in addition to bringing the town lots of attention, it created a platform to have a sustained dialog on water issues. In 2016 Adam was awarded a fellowship from the McKnight Foundation to travel to Austria for the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators. There he met dozens of other young arts leaders, all of whom shared their successes and challenges in using art and culture to move communities forward. He came away from the weeklong event both energized and optimistic about Lanesboro’s collaborative, asset-based approach to community building. “From our ongoing artist residency program to the new community mural on the back of the St. Mane Theatre, the arts contribute greatly to the vitality of this place,” says Adam. “I feel really good about the future of this organization and this town, and that’s a great feeling to have.”

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gallery 110 Coffee Street Lanesboro, Minnesota . 563-419-0727 \ Fall 2017


Roxanne Schnitzler & Jessica Rediske



Red-Roxy Quilt Co. By Kristine Jepsen


hen Roxanne Schnitzler and Jessica Rediske opened Red-Roxy Quilt Co. on Water Street in 2013, mother and daughter were already pretty well known around town. Roxanne was an administrator in the Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Office, and Jessica was a loan officer at Viking State Bank, both based in Decorah. “But who really likes to go to the bank?” Jessica says with a questioning look. “Or to jail?!” adds Roxanne. “This business is a different ball game: People are so happy to be here,” Roxanne concludes. Crafting is, one might argue, in their DNA. Roxanne has served as clothing superintendent for the local 4-H chapter since her own kids were in the club. Today, machine embroidery is her strong suit (she stitched the logo tapestry that greets visitors at the Red-Roxy checkout). Jessica, for her part, is a natural problem-solver and quickly took up the Jessica Rediske (L) & Roxanne Schnitzler in Red Roxy. Photos by Kristine Jepsen

STER RECOVERY. SMALLER INCISIONper. FA form many minimally invasive s Gundersen Decorah Clinic surgeon s. This means less pain, smaller sion inci ll sma surgeries through very shorter hospital stay and quicker scar, fewer risks of complications, a r life sooner, just like Michelle. recovery so you can get back to you ls in West Union, Cresco Surgery performed locally at hospita and Decorah. ical evaluation. Call (563) 382-3140 to schedule a surg EALTH.ORG/SURGERY READ MICHELLE’S STORY AT GUNDERSENH

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Michelle Giddings, Decorah

This community of quilters and ‘sewists,’ are part forager, part engineer, and all artist.

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Bernina sewing machine repair and warranty work that came with the business. They divide the required management between them – more amicably than either imagined. “We didn’t really know how it would go, to be honest,” says Jessica, whose day starts early with the milking of 75 registered Holsteins on her family’s farm. “What’s surprised us most is how diverse the quilting community is, right here in our rural town.” One of the first of Red-Roxy’s many ongoing classes, exploring “100 Modern Quilt Blocks,” drew 36 people, ranging in age from 21 to 85. This community of quilters and ‘sewists,’ they say, are part forager, part engineer, and all artist. Even though Red-Roxy stocks 3,000 bolts of fabric, folks know that when any given batik or double gauze or true-blue cotton is gone, it’s gone – as in, perhaps not even available from the manufacturer – and they pore over them with the precision of gem buyers, piecing together just the right combination that will make their next project shine. Jessica and Roxanne decide which of these fabrics to buy a year or more in advance, often at huge market shows that feature thousands of designers and vendors, all vying to get their limited-time wares out on shelves. “Our store trademark has become the bright and modern,” Roxanne says. One of her current favorites features fluorescent cats. “And we’ve learned to make our buys together to get the other’s opinion on how it fits the year’s craft trends or palettes. Otherwise, something will show up and we’ll cringe and point fingers at each other: ‘Did you order that?’” Then there’s the magic of bringing a quilt, wall-hanging, or piece of clothing to life, full of angles, measurement, cutting, and of course, sewing. Red-Roxy sells kits of pre-cut fabrics, ready to be stitched into blocks, or staff can advise on how fabrics will (or won’t!) work together in a pattern. True to the nature of ‘patchworking,’ Red-Roxy is a stop on the All Iowa Shop Hop each June, in which crafters get access to exclusive fabrics and discounts as they pick a little here, a little there from the circuit of nearly 100 stores. Red-Roxy also contributes to “Row by Row,” an international event each June through September. Central organizers choose a theme each year (2017 was “On the Go!”), and shops design and cut unique kits that comprise one row of quilt blocks. The first crafter in each store to complete eight rows, each representing a different store’s local flare, wins that store’s Row by Row prize: a valuable bundle of ‘fat quarters’ (quarter yards of fabric). But Jessica and Roxanne say quilters’ true colors come flying out in the store’s dedicated craft retreats, winter and summer, as well as “Fridays After Close” (FAC for short), 5pm to midnight, once a month. The adult version of a lock-in, these retreats allow crafters to bring their current project and machine and just dial in for hours. “We feed them, and we break up the frenzy with games and other fun stuff,” Roxanne says. “It’s so fun to see the talent in this community.”

Shannon Dallenbach Durbin



Creative Community By Aryn Henning Nichols


got this.” It’s a phrase Shannon Dallenbach Durbin has found herself saying a lot. Usually it’s about a job or a project that will bring artists, kids, and/or creativity together. “Computers can do so much now. They can replace manual labor and intelligence,” she says. “But creativity can’t be replaced. It’s what humans have… and we don’t nurture it enough.” Fostering a creative community started early for Shannon. “I always wished I had that one best friend,” she says, “But instead I had a bunch of friends from a bunch of different groups. And maybe that’s because of my personality – I like almost everyone.” She grew up in Arlington, Iowa, and went to school at Starmont, where she was active in pretty much every activity possible: musicals, choir, saxophone, piano, art, dance, tae kwon do (she’s got a black belt!), future homemakers, future business leaders, chess, drama, yearbook, quiz bowl… you get the idea. “I really wanted to experience everything,” she says. “And nothing about that has really changed.” (Continued on next page)

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563-382-4646 | 50

Fall 2017 /

In high school, she was also on what she called a “LOVE mission.” “It was my goal to make sure that no one felt unloved,” she says. “I wrote lots of letters to random classmates sharing what I liked about them, I went to graduation parties I was afraid wouldn’t have many attenders, and I bought anonymous gifts for people.” After an eighth grade trip to the Holocaust Museum, she came across a Dalai Lama quote: “It is not enough to have compassion, you must act.” This became Shannon’s motto, and even drove her college choice, the University of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota, because of the school’s strong emphasis on Social Justice. Shannon got a degree in art education, then moved back to Starmont to teach high school art. It was a great job, just not quite the right fit. “I realized I loved organizing curriculum but teaching wasn’t my favorite,” she says. So Shannon took an ad design job at a newspaper in Elkader, but shortly after she started, most of the folks in her office left to start another newspaper. Shannon stayed on. “This newspaper had been around for decades and I really didn’t want to see it end,” she says. The owners of the paper said, “You got this?” “I had no idea what I was doing, but I still said, ‘Sure! I can do this!’” Shannon started running the place, hiring writers and designers – even her husband, Bryce. It’s this can-do attitude that has helped Shannon grow creative communities across Northeast Iowa. Shannon and Bryce moved to Elkader in 2008, where they had their two sons, Lincoln and Felix (now 8- and 3-years-old). She ran the newspaper for two and a half years. Next up was a two-year stint with AmeriCorps, then two years running a retail shop in Elkader called Whimsy Market, while also volunteering with the Elkader Main Street Committee, and helping to organize the first Art in the Park in Elkader. Then she landed a job that brought all her passions to one place: program coordinator for the Clayton County Extension office in Elkader. Her work focused on planning community events and youth programs like a makers’ space, lego robotics, youth after-school clubs, and more. “I loved that job so much,” Shannon says. It was hard to conceive of leaving, but in 2016 a job opportunity arose: Executive Director at ArtHaus in Decorah. “I basically said, ‘If you can make this job a lot like my current job, then I’m your gal,’” she says. The board was excited to have Shannon’s background in the arts, business-ownership, kids, and the region as a whole. They offered her the job, and she accepted.

“There is a great group of people on the board, and they give me the flexibility and freedom to do what I think will work best for ArtHaus,” she says. That means promoting cool classes that are all about community. Folks can come together for a casual night of subversive crossstitching, or head in for open studio time or join in on a singing or writing workshop. “I want to make it easier for people to make their own art,” she says. “ And I want to make the arts community accessible for everyone.” “I think I found my groove,” she says. “I love partnering with other groups to make things happen and reach sustainability,” she says. “ Then it’s my turn to say, ‘You got this.’”


bar menu available + DON’T MISS OUR WINE SHOP!

117 WEST WATER STREET, DECORAH . 563.382.WINE Rubaiyat gift certificates are always a great idea!

Shannon with her husband, Bryce Durbin, and their two boys, Lincoln (back) and Felix.

Insurance & Real Estate

Decorah, Iowa 563.382.3627

303 W. Water St • Decorah, Iowa •563.382.4941

Luxury salon & day spa

Love Mission Shannon brings her “Love Mission” wherever she goes, in a way. On Facebook, she posts what she calls Good News Reports each week, full of good things happening in the world during a time when the news is often bad. The posts are signature Shannon optimism, and we love them. “When the 2016 election happened, I wrote a Facebook post with really negative predictions for the future, and people I knew from high school, college, and present day all called me out saying, ‘This is not the Shannon we know,’” she says. “One person told me to focus on one positive thing a day. No one likes to hear, ‘Keep your chin up,’ when they are in mourning, but I had a few weeks to think about it. When the inauguration came around, I had found sources of encouraging news that helped me to focus on that instead. I shared it and people responded so well that I felt it could be something I did to help others who also felt saddened by current events. Now that I’m a mom and don’t feel like I can do large things that take me away from the care of my family, my main motto is one of Mother Teresa’s: “Do small things with great love.”

Hair salon + Manicures & Pedicures Facials •Massages • Makeup

Artistry in Cabinetry since 1983

Kitchens Home offices Bars Entertainment centers Fireplace mantles Cabinets & shelving Remodeling Finished carpentry

Visit my new website! 563-382-4750 \ Fall 2017




Greg Wennes Sunrise Care Facility

Story and photos by Kristine Jepsen


Sunrise Care Facility co-founder Greg Wennes and current manager Greg ‘Gregor’ Rostad collaborate weekly – sometimes daily – to help residents help themselves. For a taste of the positive thinking that Wennes claims buoys him in moments of doubt, tune in to his 1-minute ‘Upbeats’ radio announcements. These snippets of inspiring news headlines air throughout the day on KNEI 103.5 and KVIK 104.7.

t’s a sunny Thursday morning, and Greg Wennes is waiting in a plastic lawn chair, under the mature trees shading Sunrise Care Facility, just “Sunrise” for short. It’s a farmhouse on the outskirts of Spring Grove, Minnesota – known by locals as the Gilbertson place. As many as 10 men, all recovering alcoholics or addicts, can eat, sleep, work and find community and support here. They may stay weeks, months or years as they transition between formal rehabilitation treatment and regular, productive lives. When Greg, owner-operator of Wennes Communication Stations, helped found Sunrise in 1988, it was among the first of its kind in this part of the Driftless. And while these days he’s a guy who has the glow of wintering in warmer places and who drives a glittering burgundy


Photography by Brittany Todd

563-382-3657 . 108 Fifth Avenue, Decorah, Iowa . 52

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motorcycle, among other classic rides, he needs you to understand this about him first: He’s a recovering alcoholic, a lifelong condition. There was a time when he himself came home from residential treatment to find his house empty but for a mattress and a dying spider plant, his wife and kids gone. He’s been to the depths, and he knows what it takes to climb out (and stay out), one handhold at a time. Sunrise was founded to provide the footing. “Drinking is a lonely occupation,” he says, “but ‘sober lonely’ is incredible. It’s one of the most difficult parts of recovery.” Opening a care facility isn’t the easiest thing in a tight-lipped Scandinavian community, where people keep problems to themselves, but beneath any public stigmatization that existed, Greg and other founders quickly assembled a broad base of support, across medicine, recovery treatment policy, public health, law enforcement, and ministry. The home opened as a non-profit with significant help from the Tweeten Foundation, previous owners of the local hospital. Renovated twice to date, Sunrise operates with resident fees paid privately or subsidized by state and federal public health systems. Supporters aspire to add a private wing for women soon, too. “It takes an alchie to know and help an alchie,” Greg says of his friend and colleague Greg ‘Gregor’ Rostad, using recovery slang for an alcoholic, as opposed to a ‘normie’ (an un-addicted person). Gregor, also a successful business owner, is in his fifth year as administrator on-site at Sunrise, a job layered with management, mentoring, discipline, and compassion. “It takes being both an achie and a business person to make this place work,” Gregor says. Above all, he has to keep inevitable social challenges from trampling the bottom line. Residents, each with his own private room in the stately farmhouse, make meals together in teams. They coordinate clinic and therapy visits, run errands in Sunrise’s two shuttle vans, and perform all the maintenance of the house and five-acre grounds. They also host and attend recovery meetings, both on-site and at other meeting spaces around the region. Friends and family can sign in to visit, and it’s common for residents to walk the mile or so into downtown Spring Grove to shop on their own, enjoy the view of neighboring pastures, and get a breath of normal, small-town life. “Anyone can quit drinking,” Greg says. “The question is, ‘How do I learn to live and function in society as a sober person?’ Our goal is to provide a sober, safe sanctuary.” To join the conversation, Greg and Gregor recommend Facing Addiction (, a resource hub for those living with addiction or wanting to support someone who is. To learn more or support Sunrise Care Facility, visit


FOR EVERY BODY. Gabi Masek, Dipl.OM, L.Ac / 563-382-4312

Thoughtfully designed, handcrafted, timberframe buildings. . 563 382 6245 . Decorah, Iowa \ Fall 2017


About the Community writers Kristine Jepsen writes creative non-fiction, grant applications on behalf of small businesses, and magazine articles for awesome publications like Inspire(d). She’s currently working on a farm memoir and learning to ride horses. Read more at Thank you, thank you to community builders everywhere! You are appreciated. Sara Friedl-Putnam continues to be inspired by the passion, energy, and vision of all community builders – especially those she profiled for this issue! – and believes that we all have a role to play in improving the communities in which we live. Benji Nichols grew up running around the Decorah Fire Station where his Dad was a career volunteer fire fighter. It was a pretty fun place to be able to visit often as a youngster, climbing amongst the trucks, trying on gear, and getting to ride in parades. The smell of a firehouse is something that never leaves you. He thanks all of the tireless volunteers that serve on departments across the Driftless and beyond. Aryn Henning Nichols loved chatting with Lissa Carlson, an amazing community-builder and a top-notch magazine-maker, and Shannon Dallenbach Durbin, a wonderful community-builder right here in Decorah. This place…this world…is a constant inspiration!

Inspire(d) 10-Year Readership Survey!


years! It doesn’t seem possible, but here we are, a decade into bringing positive news to the Driftless Region. And do you know what?! We feel like there are more stories to write about than ever. It solidifies what we knew when we started: People are good. Speaking of good people, we need to thank you fine folks holding this magazine – if it weren’t for you all – and our incredibly supportive advertisers – we couldn’t make this fine and fun publication. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Times 10… million!

Don’t miss the special Walk-Through night on Nov. 22!




Enjoy driving through dozens of Christmas light displays with your family and friends this holiday season while supporting a great cause. Don’t forget to visit Santa! (Thursdays through Sundays)* Holiday Lights is made possible thanks to hundreds of volunteers’ time and generous sponsorships from businesses and individuals. *DEC 23 | SANTA’S LAST NIGHT


Your gift will be used to help individuals and families be safer and healthier. 54

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In order to keep bringing Inspire(d) to the world, we’d love to know some more about you! We’re always fine-tuning our content to what our readership wants, and always helping our advertisers understand our market so they can best represent their businesses within our pages. So: Please tell us about yourselves through this survey! And please let us know what you’d like to see done differently in Inspire(d), or what ideas you have to make this magazine even better. Just fill out this page and mail it back to Inspire(d) HQ (412 Oak St., Decorah, Iowa 52101), or fill it out online (at Everyone who answers the survey will be entered in a drawing to win a few fun (but small) prizes! (Unicorn pens? Local treats? You’ll have to fill out the survey to find out!)

READER SURVEY Also available online!

Support local businesses, and they will support you! Thank you! - Aryn, Benji, & Roxie

Email address: Male or Female: Age: Zip code:

If you do keep Inspire(d), how long? Is there a section of Inspire(d) you love the most? (Check all that apply.) Positive people features What We’re Loving Right Now Sum of Your Business Travel features Calendars Paper Projects Probituary

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PL o d AC s E

What do you do with your Inspire(d) Magazine once you’re done reading? Recycle Put it on your coffee table Return it to a rack Give it to a friend Other:

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What do you do for fun? (Check all that apply) Traveling Cooking Reading Exercising Outdoor Adventure Insert your own:

If you have a minute, would you like to give us a testimonial? Feel free to use additional paper if you’d like. Thank you!

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Have you purchased, visited or contacted an advertiser in Inspire(d) Magazine because of their advertisement?

sip · sample · shop Local food fun

for the whole family!


Mayo Civic Center, Rochester, MN Local Food Shopping, Chef Demos, Kids’ Activities + MORE


@Local_Feast \ Fall 2017





Festive Fall fun! Here are just a few events we’re hoping to get to this fall! See you there?

Live on Water St. - Sept 9, 3-8 pm

Water Street Music Series is presenting an afternoon of awesomeness at “Live on Water Street” and we’re excited for a little hometown fun in Decorah! The festivities will take place in front of the Oneota Community Food Co-op, where they’ll be serving up tasty food and Pulpit Rock and Toppling Goliath will be selling local brews for the (21+) masses. And, of course, there will be great live music, with sets by John Goodin & Erik Sessions, Cedar Rapid’s DICKIE (Dick Prall), and headliners, Farewell Milwaukee. Make sure to bring your favorite lawn chair / blanket / dancing shoes! Inspire(d) is happy to help sponsor this event – see you there! Check Live on Water Street on Facebook for details.

Root River Trail Towns Taste of the Trail Series – Sept 9, 16, 23

For events & ticket information visit 207 N. Main, Elkader, IA



School is in, and schedules are filling up – but it’s not too late to enjoy an afternoon on the Root River Trail system of SE Minnesota. In fact, this may be the most beautiful time of the year to enjoy a ride through the trees and bluffs. For three Saturdays in September (9, 16, 23), you can visit different sections of the trail and enjoy a “Taste of the Trail”. Stops will include samples of foods and beverages, along with activities like wagon rides, outdoor programs, music, and more! Visit to see which towns are featured each day – and tell them Inspire(d) sent you!

Takkefest - Sept 23, 3-8 pm

Vesterheim Museum is ‘takin’ to the streets’ with a Takke- i.e. “thank you” -fest this fall! Ok, so actually, they’re taking it to the Open Air Division of Vesterheim, but we’re sure it will be a blast! Scandinavian foods and treats (Nordic Waffles are coming back!!!), beverages and dancing are all on the docket. Hop in and do a schottische, or settle in to do a craft, pioneer activity, or mini folk art class! The street party starts with Nordic Dancers, then the Foot-Notes, and finished up after SE Minnesota band Root River Jam. So, as they’ve been saying at Vesterheim, “let’s loosen up our bunads and kick up our heels” for a little harvest party fun! We’ll be the ones throwing bean bags with one hand and eating lefse with the other…! Find details at

Viroqua Harvest Parade - Oct 14, 2 pm

Oct 13, 14 & 15 • 51 ARTISTS at • 38 LOCATIONS

Free • 10a-5p

On the second Saturday of October each year, the Western Wisconsin town of Viroqua comes alive with giant puppets and festively costumed characters parading down Main Street: It’s the Harvest Parade, a one-of-a-kind event from the heart of the Driftless. Happening since 2010, the event’s mission is to build community, foster connections in the arts, and provide artistic opportunities to youths and adults. Entries are more-or-less Harvest themed, people powered, and utilize as many reused materials as possible. After the parade, enjoy the Harvest Celebration with music, food, and more entertainment. Check Facebook page for details.

Inspire(d) 10th Anniversary Party - Oct 21, 1-4 pm

Scenic drive yourself tour all within 40 miles of Decorah

Did we mention we’re celebrating our 10th year in business? (Ha, a few times, right?) We’re pretty excited to celebrate and thank you all for helping us get here. We’re throwing a party – well actually, a benefit party for some friends of ours who are opening a really neat preschool just north of Decorah: Little Farmers. So it’ll be a farm party! Come out to help us celebrate and enjoy music from Viroqua’s Stanton West, pumpkins and gourds, fall treats, and family fun while checking out the new school, chickens, bunnies, and more! It’s free to attend, but we hope you’ll help us raise some funds for the soon-to-be non-profit preschool. 2902 US Hwy 52 (just south of Nob Hill). Details at or

Save the Date: FEAST - Dec 2, 10 am - 4 pm

The Preview • Aug 10-Sept 29 Work of Tour Artists on Display

at ArtHaus • 508 W Water St, Decorah 56

Meet the folks who grow and create what you eat, at the fourth annual FEAST! local food fest at the Mayo Civic Center, Rochester. Savor and shop with more than 100 of the region’s best food artisans, and enjoy cooking demos and activities for kids. It’s a great chance to purchase your favorite local foods right from the foodmakers, either to stock up or to share. Samples are free, but bring cash to purchase items to take home. Vendor applications are still being accepted. To learn more about Feast! visit, check them out on Facebook, or follow @Local_Feast on Twitter.







Years of


1-4 pm



Details at LITTLE FARMER S preschool & daycare



chugga chugga



chugga chugga

CHICAGO Inspire(d) takes the train from La Crosse to Chicago Story & photos by Aryn Henning Nichols

“I’ve always wanted to do that,” is what people usually say when we tell them we’re taking the train from La Crosse to Chicago. The Empire Builder– on its way back from Seattle, Washington – chugs from the Pacific Northwest into the Midwest. It picks us up at the historic train station near downtown La Crosse, and takes us through beautiful Wisconsin countryside, with stops in Tomah, Wisconsin Dells, Portage, Columbus, and Milwaukee, then onto Glenview, Illinois and, finally, Chicago. Traveling by train is, by far, one of our favorite ways to explore… the vacation starts right when you step aboard. Unlike driving, you don’t have to worry about traffic or exits or detours. You can pack snacks (or a cooler!), and at each seat – which is, by my estimate, 75-80 percent more spacious than an airplane seat – there are plug-ins, foot/leg rests, and large windows where you can watch the world roll right on by.

If you get antsy, you can choose to walk around to the snacks/bar car, observation car, or just for fun between the comfortable train cars staffed with friendly Amtrak folks. We got $74 round-trip tickets, and kids rates are 50 percent of the adult fare. Fares aren’t always that inexpensive, but if you watch you can definitely get good deals. Compared to parking and gas costs, this can be a really economical way to get to Chicago. It’s not always perfect, of course – no travel is. Trains can be delayed or tracks out of commission. But the journey is the destination – in our minds, anyway – and train travel is the perfect way to take it all in. The days we traveled, the trains were on time to the very minute! The landscape starts to change as the train approaches Chicago, the third-largest city in the U.S. Buildings rise up from flatlands, and fields turn to parking lots and parks. The Empire Builder slows down as it makes its final turns into Union Station, right in downtown Chicago. The station opened in

Like a pack of mountain biking unicorns!

#fearlesswomenofdirt #bikelife #womeninspire Join in on a fun Fearless Women of Dirt ride! 60

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DETAILS ONLINE! 101 College Dr. Decorah, IA. 563-382-8209

1925, although work began on the massive project in 1913. The entire station occupies about nine and a half city blocks, and the headhouse – where you’ll find the lovely Great Hall, a 110-foot-high atrium topped with a large barrelvaulted skylight, takes up an entire city block. The giant pillars, marble floors, and gorgeous brass lamps take you back to a time when train travel was more the norm. It’s a busy station – third in the nation after Grand Central and Penn Station in New York City – so get there a little early when you’re heading back to La Crosse. Here’s what we ended up checking out during our three+ days in Chicago – we added a day to our original itinerary because we were having so much fun! So here’s your first travel tip: If you can swing it, stay for three nights! That way you have two full days – excluding travel days – in Chicago to explore this fun Midwestern city. And even that probably isn’t enough time! While we visited mostly tourist destinations (and the River North neighborhood, with easy proximity to Union Station), many will tell you that Chicago is all about getting out into the neighborhoods and exploring – whether its Wicker Park, Pilsen, Wrigleyille, or Uptown. The ‘L’ – elevated Subway, can take you just about anywhere (with a little planning!), and Uber and Lyft (see below) are such great tools for getting around affordably. Happy Exploring! (Continued on next page)

Travel tip: Sign up for Lyft or Uber to get around the city at a cheaper rate than taxis. It’s so easy, and the companies will sometimes offer ride credits or discounted fees. We had 50 percent off rides with Lyft for much of our Chicago trip!

Kid-friendly travel tip: While part of a vacation is trying out cool, new restaurants, folks with young kids know the occasional misery that can come with toting those tots along for dine-in meals. It’s actually pretty nice to have a hotel with a kitchen – mom and dad can get tasty take-out and you can make the kids mac and cheese or their favorite green beans without worrying about next-table diners. Plus there are often happy hours and/or free breakfasts, making the stay’s dollar amount an even better deal.

open 7 days • fresh & organic produce • grocery • in-house bakery • full-service meat & seafood • made-from-scratch deli soups & sandwiches • vegetarian & glutenfree options • specialty cheeses • coffee & tea bar • cosmetics • body care • vitamins • local food & favorites

La Crosse 315 5th Avenue South 608-784-5798 Rochester 519 1st Avenue SW 507-289-9061

Good. Honest. Local. \ Fall 2017


Burgers • Sandwiches • Salads • Appetizers • Breakfast • In-House Catering Locally Sourced Menu Options • Come watch your favorite games! • 22 Beers on Tap! Two event spaces for small or large groups – up to 200 people. Contact our Event Coordinator at for details.

206 W. Water St. •563-382-5970 •

Mary Haas, DO Dr. Haas offers a full spectrum of family medicine, including obstetrical services. For an appointment call:

563-547-2022 or toll free 888-547-5474 Cresco Medical Clinic • 321 8th Ave W, Cresco, Iowa •


Fall 2017 /

Eataly: Ok, ok, we know – this is a cheesy (get it?) example, but Mario Batali’s Italian Superstore, a sprawling, 62,000-square-foot multi-restaurant complex in Chicago, is a bit like an IKEA for Italian food. It is also an easy place to grab a meal / coffee / treat with kids. Nutella bar, a pizzeria, a mozzarella “lab,” a brewpub, a gelateria, two cafes, plus all the meat, cheese, bread, pasta (raw and cooked), olive oil, and wine you could ever imagine. Heck, they even had Country View yogurt on the shelves from right here in the Driftless. It’s pretty fun to check out, and will keep you moving! 360 Chicago Observation Deck So back in my day, it was all about the Sears Tower. And it still is, but it’s called the Willis Tower now, and the attraction is Skydeck Chicago. We heard the lines can be long, though, so we opted for another gorgeous view: the John Hancock building’s 360 Chicago. Getting there right when they opened at 9 a.m. meant – literally – no lines. We zoomed up the 94 floors up in an alarmingly fast elevator. Doors opens to a, what else, 360 view of Chicago from 1000 feet up. Cool interactive displays, the 360 Tilt (feel like you’re falling out over the city!), a café/bar, and a gift shop, of course (don’t worry, there’s yet another gift shot at the bottom in case your kids didn’t beg you for something at the top). The views of Lake Michigan are worth it alone, and buying advance tickets can save you a few bucks. Glazed and Infused Yum. Donuts and coffee. Need we say more? Okay, okay, we’ll say more: Glazed and Infused is apparently listed as one of People Magazine’s 100 Reasons to Love America! Ha! From Maple Bacon Long Johns to a Chocolate Dipped Old Fashioned to Roxie’s favorite, the Red Velvet, we pretty much guarantee you’ll get something you like and probably wish you had room (and calories allotted) for more. Established in 2012 by chef and restaurateur, Scott Harris, Glazed & Infused doughnut and coffee shops are fun and casual. The doughnuts are made fresh daily, by hand, using whole and natural and, if possible, local ingredients. Keep in mind, most of their shops are tucked into other venues in the cities, like hotel lobbies. The search to find them is even fun!


City Pass Chicago If you’re planning to really “do up” the museums and attractions and stay for more than a few days, we highly recommend getting a City Pass (or similar deal). It can be a fun and affordable way to check things out, and it usually includes skipping lines! City Pass Chicago includes: Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck Chicago, The Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry or 360 CHICAGO, Adler Planetarium or Art Institute of Chicago.

Field Museum Dinosaur bones, fossils in the floor, exhibits where you get shrunk into bug-size and “dig” through the tunnels of earth? Tons of taxidermied animals, amazing gems and jade, the opportunity to touch an actual meteor and lots more? Sweet! With “4.6 billion years under one roof,” the Field Museum is the perfect place to explore and learn about the history of our planet. One of the biggest draws for Roxie was the Tyrannosaurus Rex named Sue. Sue’s skeleton is the largest, most complete, and best-preserved T-Rex ever found. Sue’s sex is unknown (she’s named after Sue Hendrickson, the fossil hunter who discovered her in South Dakota in 1990), but by counting the rings in Sue’s bones – kind of like counting rings in tree stumps – scientists discovered that she grew rapidly during adolescence and was 28 years old when she died – the upper range of T. Rex life expectancy. Since her unveiling at The Field Museum in 2000, millions of visitors have come to check out Chicago’s famous prehistoric giant every year. The Field Museum’s Sue is also the namesake for Decorah’s own Toppling Goliath’s tasty pale ale, Psuedo Sue. You can buy Psuedo Sue in the Field Bistro or in bottles in the museum gift shop! (Continued on next page) Kid-friendly travel tip: Remember when you were a kid? The best part of the vacation was the hotel pool, so make sure to work some time for that into your itinerary. Plus, it’s nice to take a little break after a busy morning (and make it back for hotel happy hour). 563.382.9309 309 W. Broadway Decorah, Iowa


Java John’s FINE WINE CRAFT BEER DINNER ENTREES DESSERTS COFFEE & ESPRESSO LIVE MUSIC Monday-Thursday until 9 Friday & Saturday until 11 Sunday until 3 400 West Water Street, Decorah 563.382.5690 63


river view inn

Lansing, Iowa

60 SOUTH FRONT STREET, LANSING, IOWA 563-537-0072 • 563-538-4231 (DAYTIME)




restoration & weatherization

Residential & light commercial construction David J. Wadsworth • 563.419.0390 •



228 North Elm St. 563.547.3907. 64

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Navy Pier Chicago Children’s Museum Navy Pier, we will warn, is rather touristy. You can check out the famous Ferris wheel, the Centennial Wheel, ride on a carousel, or try out remote control boats. It is also where the Chicago Children’s Museum is housed, and members of the La Crosse Children’s Museum get 50% off through museum reciprocity! Cupcakes at Molly’s! Molly’s Cupcakes started in Chicago, when owner and chief “Egg Cracker” John Nicolaides saw an opportunity to treat the masses to his third-grade teacher, Molly’s, cupcake recipe! The company now has branches in Chicago, New York, and – duh duh dah – Iowa City! The original, in Lincoln Park, is worth a stop if you’re in the neighborhood. The ambiance is fun, and the cupcakes are cream filled, plus there were swings at the counter. Pretty fun! Alliance Patisserie While we’re talking sweet… Benji happened across Alliance Patisserie while working in Chicago last summer, and was happy to find it again this trip. The River North location is one of Chef Peter Rios’ two locations in Chicago. The café is a cute little coffee / patisserie with incredible European style treats, including macaroons, petit gateaux, and viennoiserie > that’s French for amazing baked goods…(or things of Vienna, really)! It’s worth seeking out for a special morning treat, a decadent dessert, or a box of macaroons for the train home. Maggie Daley Park! This place is a must-visit if you have kids who like to explore, romp around, and have fun. Let’s rephrase. This is a must-visit if you have kids! Maggie Daley Park is a super rad multi-level park full of different areas – splash pads, climbing walls, boats, bridges, slides…it’s pretty amazing. There’s even a track where you can rent roller blades or scooters and ride around, and mini golf, tennis courts, and more. In the winter, there’s an ice skating “ribbon,” that flows along a path in the park! Millennium Park You can’t go to Chicago without getting your fingerprints all over… er, taking a selfie with that famous bean! Cloud Gate is the official name for the giant, stainless steel piece of art that has become one

Kid-friendly travel tip: If you’ve got kids in a city and it’s a hot day, always carry a swimming suit! We loved the Polk Bros Park splash pad at Navy Pier, but had to do some scrambling to get dry clothes. We found out later we should have just looked at Navy Pier for suits in the gift shops! The splash pad is totally worth planning for – it’s free, and will keep younger kiddos chasing water fountains as long as it takes to cool off.

of Chicago’s most recognizable landmarks, and it’s just one of the amazing pieces of public art on display in Millennium Park’s 25 acres. Since it opened in 2004, Millennium Park has presented tons of free events and programs, including art installations, outdoor concerts, films screenings, open-air workouts and more. Cool off by splashing around in Millennium Park’s Crown Fountain, or be like Roxieand make several wishes in the water feature next to Lurie Garden, Millennium Park’s free, four-season garden. It’s beautiful. In the warmer months, spread out a blanket in front of one of the most beautiful stages we’ve ever seen, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion (above, right), for a live performance. We got to see Amadou & Mariam + Frank Waln. The concert was seriously great, and was Roxie’s favorite part of the whole trip. I’m glad I didn’t give in to my tendencies to want to get her to bed on time, because it was so fun to watch her dance and enjoy the music! We hoofed it back to the hotel, albeit a bit later than expected, Benji carrying Roxie on his shoulders! On our last morning in Chicago, we took a short stroll down to the Riverwalk. It’s a lovely path built out along the Chicago River. There, we checked out different river and lake cruises. There are


Travel tip: Download the Millennium Park app to keep up-to-date on what’s happening there.

options for architectural, sight-seeing, or even cheese and beer tours! We decided to go a little more casual, and caught a river taxi with Wendella Boats’ Chicago Water Taxi. The water taxi operates its boats on a closed loop route on the Chicago River connecting commuters and tourists to their destinations with its seven dock locations – you can easily hop on at Michigan Avenue and get off in Chinatown for just $5, or get an all-day pass for $9. There’s no tour, so the rides are a lot shorter (good for kids) but you still get to be out on that greenish river, going under bridges and looking up at the tall buildings of Chicago. Just up from the riverwalk, you’ll see the NBC tower – there are some lovely gardens and fountains situated in Pioneer Court at the foot of NBC, and food trucks are parked there regularly! You can check Trucks at NBC Tower on Twitter to find out what’s for lunch! •

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Al Etteldorf

Interviewed by Marilyn Southard, a long-time fan

Al Etteldorf is a Decorah native, and grew up in the Phelps Park neighborhood where he still resides with his wife, Doris. Retired from a career of 30+ years as Decorah Chief of Police, he is an avid gardener. He and Doris have a large (66 x 76-foot) garden on some farmland north of Decorah, and also grow vegetables and flowers at their home. He also loves smoking fish in his backyard (see photo). In high school, his uncle sold him a 4x5 Graflex camera, and photography became his true life-long passion. He continues to take great photos of Northeast Iowa landscape and Doris’s lovely flower gardens. What advice would you give your 21 year old self if you could look backward? I would say, don’t take things too seriously.

How did you get into law enforcement?

I was a photographer and working as a 19-year-old stringer for WMT-TV in Cedar Rapids. I would go to accident scenes and get photographs, so I stopped into the Winneshiek sheriff’s office to talk to Bob Hitesman one day. Bob was the sheriff at the time. He and two deputies comprised the entire sheriff’s department. I asked Bob to call me if they had an accident report. Well, he made me a clerk for the department, and when I turned 21, they deputized me… I was not planning on a law enforcement career. (Al says he was “too long chief-of-police,” but he is proud of purchasing some excellent photography equipment for the department. When he retired, the Decorah police force had grown to Backyard fish smoking is another of Al’s hobbies. about 25 officers.)

Try to describe yourself in one sentence.

That’s hard… A hard-working but easy-going individual.

If you could eat anything for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Now that is too hard, too! My wife is an excellent cook, and as long as she prepares it, I love it! She does bake especially fine French bread.

Do you know someone you’d love to interview for this page? Let us know!

In addition to photography, what are your interests? Any collections?

Well I do have a collection of about 200 cameras… much to my wife’s chagrin. And we have a 1965 forest green mustang in mint condition.

Tell us about your wedding day.

It was a gorgeous day, June 6, 1960. I chose that date because I thought I would be able to remember it easily: 06/06/60. (And so far he has not forgotten the date! ) We had a lovely ceremony with family and my wife and I each had a good friend as best man and bridesmaid. Then we took a trip to Wisconsin for our honeymoon. I think we went to Milwaukee.

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