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NO. 31 • FALL 2012



I’m sil e


b nt

ecause.. .



Give a piece-Jima McCaffrey chance! Like Inspire(d) Media on Facebook! XOXO

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FALL 2012 contents





21 22 26 34 38 42 46





10 15 18


22 ...AND MORE! ON THE COVER: We here at Inspire(d) just love pie. Who doesn’t? So it was hard to resist making one for this issue’s cover. Plus, we wanted to celebrate, and what better way than with pie? We even had pie made by the Pie Maven, Julie Noel (pg. 46) at our wedding. What are we celebrating this time? Well…a new baby, of course! And…get this…FIVE years of Inspire(d) Magazine! Holy moly! Our official anniversary is October 4! Thanks to you for reading and making this amazing life possible. XOXO. Photo and pie by Aryn Henning Nichols. \ Fall 2012


Feed your soul.

Rich arts experiences connect all of us.

Fall season performances: Sat., Sept. 8

• The Water Coolers

Tickets on sale Friday, August 31

Sponsored by Gundersen Lutheran Decorah Clinic

Sat., Sept. 29 • Sweet Honey in the Rock®

Tickets on sale Thursday, September 6

Sat., Oct. 20

• An Evening with Abigail Washburn

Fri., Oct. 26

• Sphinx Virtuosi with the Catalyst Quartet

Tickets on sale Thursday, September 27 Tickets on sale Thursday, October 4

Sponsored by Luther College Diversity Council

Thurs., Nov. 8 • Luciana Souza Quartet

Tickets on sale Thursday, October 18

All shows start at 7:30 p.m. in the Center for Faith and Life, Luther College, Decorah, Iowa


Center Stage Series Get your tickets!, (563) 387-1357, Visit for the complete season list of shows. Special thanks to all our Center Stage Series sponsors and media supporters for lifting up the arts in northeast Iowa: Luther College Diversity Council

From the Editor


oday I’m sitting at Winneshiek Medical Center in Decorah, waiting to bring our three-day old daughter home from the hospital. I put off writing this letter until she had arrived because I knew we would want to share the news with our readers in this fall issue. So even though the magazine has been done for over a week, this document sat on my desktop, waiting. And waiting. In the end, Roxie made us wait two long weeks, 30 hours of labor, and, finally, a surprisingly quick c-section. But she was so worth every. single. second. We are delighted to announce the new member of our Inspire(d) team, Roxie Eleanor Nichols… pretty sure she’s moved right into the top boss position. Yes, it’s a momentous time for us – new baby August 11, five year wedding anniversary August 17, and the fifth birthday of Inspire(d) Magazine October 4. Benji and I are so grateful to our readers, advertisers, and supporters for making it possible to live this amazing life we live. We feel lucky and even more solidified in our belief that people are good and this world is one amazing place. In this issue, and perhaps a little influenced by our new parenting status, Sara FriedlPutnam helps folks navigate the early pre-school scene in the Driftless Region. On the school vein, we’ve also got an inspiring piece written by Kristine Kopperud Jepsen about the Decorah High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance and the great people who help bring awareness to this very important issue – prevalent in any town near you. With school back in session, there is also some great music to check out – from the awesome shows like Abigail Washburn (read about her on pg 10) in the lineup at Luther College’s Center Stage Series to the new Water Street Music Series created by Luther students Lindsay Sheridan and Dan Fernelius (pg. 38), you’re sure to be entertained this fall. On a side note, Water Street Music Series is a project of Driftless Art Collective (D.Art Co.), the arts board of which I’m president! It would be great if you could check out the new D.Art Co. website when you get a chance (…the board worked countless hours this spring and summer getting it launched, and we’re pretty proud of how it turned out. While you’re there, become a member – support the arts! Speaking of arts, Lauren Kraus interviewed Lanesboro’s Barbara Keith for the artist feature. Her intricate mosaic pieces (pg. 18) are amazing! Also amazing (and super!): bird migrations (pg. 22). If you’re still looking for more stuff to do, we suggest you try a Driftless Day Trip. Our Boxed (IN) this issue goes all over the region, highlighting some really cool events and activities right under our noses. Chef on the Block takes you on one of our favorites day trips too – over the ridge to Prairie du Chien and Simply Coffeehouse (pg. 15). We here at Inspire(d) love fall, so we hope you get out there for some fun too! Another thing we love around here is pie. Could you tell by the giant photo of pie we put on the cover? That’s a peach and blueberry pie made by me, with the Inspire(d) ‘(d)’ carved into the dough (Happy Birthday, Inspire(d)!). For the photo, I thought it would be perfect to set it off with a sweet towel gifted to us years ago from Benji’s grandma, Margaret Stortz. She’s our featured probituary this issue – and Roxie’s only living great grandma – and was quite the baker in her day. Few things are more comforting than baking pie in the fall, and Jim McCaffrey’s Mississippi Mirth this issue really is a fitting ode to the wondrous pastry (pg. 46). Mmm. Pie. Seems like the perfect thing to bake on maternity leave, don’t you think? With much love, and always looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols (and Roxie)

Inspire magazine

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 Lauren Kraus / contributor Joyce Meyer/ photo contributor Jim McCaffrey/ Mississippi Mirth

Inspire(d) Magazine is published quarterly by Inspire(d) Media, LLC, 412 Oak Street, Decorah, Iowa, 52101. This issue is dated Fall 2012, issue 31, volume 6, Copyright 2012 by Inspire(d) Magazine.

support inspire(d) Although Inspire(d) is free on the newsstands, you can have it sent to your door 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: “Like” Inspire(d) Media on Facebook! 05

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


306 W. WATER ST. DECORAH. IA • 563.419.2329 After your massage...

5 6 3 . 3 8 2 . 079 9

beauty shine

Let your inner

Day Spring

116 Washington, Decorah, Iowa


Mississippi Mud Run An obstacle course race for those who live loud!

1. Sept. 2: Done Doin’ Laundry with special guests Simple Rogues. Bluegrassy rock n’ roll and rollicking Irish tunes. 7:30 p.m., Luther’s Bentdahl Commons, FREE. Bring blanket/ 2. Sept. 7: ArtHaus First Friday: Baker London Presents Baker London, 8pm; $5 @ ArtHaus Studio Courtyard; BYOB; Help us welcome back the concert series namesake!

25W/ $25B

3. Sept. 15: Mississippi Mud Run, 9am. Warrior-inspired obstacle race with round-bales, cars, tires, and MUD! Register as team or individual at www. All ages. PDC Skatepark Fundraiser. 4. Sept. 15: United Way Used Book Sale! Recycle and save money while building your winter reading library! 8-11:30AM. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 701 Iowa Avenue, Decorah, IA. 5. Sept. 19: World famous Finnish band JPP with Arto Järvelä at Vesterheim’s Bethania Church. Time, price, and workshop details TBD, check 6. Sept. 21: Coming Home Again Longtime friends together for new music. Ellen Rockne, Erik Sessions, John Goodin, Kathy Reed. 8:30p.m., Steyer Opera House (Hotel Winneshiek), $5/person.

September 15

St. Feriole Island, Prairie du Chien, WI

Proceeds go to the PDC skate park. To register go to For more information see the event calendar.

Tourism Info 1-800-732-1673 •

“Delicious food + great atmosphere = fun!” 117 W. WATER ST., DECORAH, IA • 563.382.WINE DINNER: WED-SAT – OPEN AT 5 SUNDAY BRUNCH: 9-1 bar menu also available RESERVATIONS APPRECIATED



Check in!

Read reviews!

Fall 2012 /

7. Sept 28: ArtHaus Poetry Slam; 8pm; $5/$3 students; @Decorah Elks Lodge; The ArtHaus Poetry Slam has become a not-to-be-missed Decorah event, welcoming anyone to participate. 8. Sept. 30 through October 6: Upstart Crow Theatreworks presents Banned Books Theatre; Performances throughout Banned Books Week; FREE; Check Banned Books Week posters for more information. 9. Oct. 5: First Friday: New Work by Megan Jackson, 7-9pm, FREE @ ArtHaus Studio; Wine tasting compliments of the Oneota Community Co-op. 10. Oct. 18: ArtSong at ArtHaus Six top student vocalists collaborate with Jessica Paul, Luther piano professor for an evening of vivid music. 7:30 p.m., ArtHaus, $5/person. \ Fall 2012


fun stuff to do


Tuesday Wednesday












JPP with Arto Järvelä, Vesterheim Bethania Church


T-Bock’s Open Stage Night w/ Too Tall for You

28 ArtHaus Poetry Slam! Decorah Elks Lodge, 8pm

Sweet Honey In The Rock, Luther CSS

29 Uff Da Fest, Spring Grove

September 29-30 Rendezvous Days, Ft. Atkinson, IA

Sept 26-29: Boats & Bluegrass, Winona



21 Brass Messengers Family Dance Party, Cedar Cultural Center, MSP



T-Bock’s Open Stage Night w/ Patsy Wellman

Charlie Parr, Ed’s No Name Bar, Winona


Capitol Steps, GBPAC, Cedar Falls



Fall Fun Weekends at Pinter’s Gardens & Pumpkins through Oct. 27!

Trail Weekend 6 in Decorah! September WSMS: Trout Run Trail 19-22: CSPS Coming Grand Opening, Landfall Festival Home of World Music, Again, Hotel Loop de Loop Cedar Rapids Winneshiek, half marathon /5k, Decorah 8:30pm Open Streets!

Jim Wand, Hypnotist, Luther CFL

Chris Smither, CSPS, Cedar Rapids






4 “Childhood




OC2T 1

OC6T 2


19 Vesterheim Benefit Auction, Hotel Winn


Mike Mcabee, Parkway Pub, Lanesboro


Talkstory 12 Decorah, ArtHaus, 8pm

18 WSMS: ArtSong at ArtHaus, 7:30pm


Sphinx Virtuosi Ensemble with The Catalyst Quartet, Luther Center Stage Series Evergreen Grass Band, Haymarket




31 Happy Halloween!


Seed Saver’s Harvest Festival Weekend


Kickapoo Reserve Dam Challenge Triathlon, La Farge, WI


A million thanks to all of our readers and advertisers for the past five years - we couldn’t have made it this far without you! We hope you will keep being Inspire(d) for another five!!! Aryn & Benji


Abigail Washburn, Luther CSS (See p. 10)


October 12-14: NE Iowa Artists Studio Tour

Alloy Ochestra, Englert, IA City

October 18-19 Englert Theatre Centennial Celebration, Iowa City


12 Over the Back Fence, Lanesboro Vince Gill, GBPAC, Cedar Falls Gypsy Lumberjacks, Haymarket


5 ArtHaus First Friday, new work by Megan Jackson, 7-9pm



Oct 26 New Student Registration, The Yoga Studio, Decorah, 4:30pm

Live at Birdland, Englert Theatre, Iowa City


9 Oct 6-7 & 13-14 McGregor Fall Arts & Crafts Festival

October is National Arts & Humanities Month – Check out all the great art-related activities in the area!




1 Octoberfest Sept. 28- Oct. 6, La Crosse


7 The Water 8 2 Baker Coolers, London, Luther CSS ArtHaus Studio Mark Courtyard, Newman 8pm Benefit, General B & the Nob Hil Wiz, Haymarket


14 3 15 Green Tea, Marty’s, Mississippi Mud Run! Prairie du Luther, Chien, 9 am 7:30pm United Way Used 4 Book Sale!, Good Shepherd Church, Decorah, 8-11:30 am

Absolute Hoot, Haymarket




Artist reception Lisa Ulik & Kim Radatz, Pumphouse, La Crosse


Little Feat, Englert, Iowa City, 8pm

Sept. 7-9: Hesper/Mabel Steam Engine Days


Sept. 23: Decorah Open Streets 11am -3pm


Fall Fun Weekends at Pinter’s Gardens & Pumpkins Sept 15 to Oct. 27!


Sept. 30 - Oct.6: Upstart Crow presents “Banned Books Theatre”, check local listings!


Ani DiFranco, First Ave, Minneapolis


BeJae Fleming & Dave Moore, Byron’s, Pomeroy

September 15-16 Driftless Area Art Festival, Soldiers Grove, WI


Oct. 11: Ben Kyle (Romantica) Crooked Cedar Cultural Center Barn Music Festival, La Riviere Park, Prairie du Chien, WI


WSMS: Done Doin’ Laundry with Simple Rogues, Luther Bentdahl Commons



OCT. 4: Happy Birthday Inspire(d) Magazine! 5 Years!

/ Barndom,” LC Theatre & Dance “Much Ado About Nothing” Vesterheim Exhibit opens Oct. 4-6 & 10-11, 7pm Geoff “Oliver” the musical, Elkader Opera House, Muldaur, Oct 4-7 & 11-13 CSPS, Cedar Sept. 30 - Oct.6: Banned Books Week Rapids



Seed Saver’s Tomato Tasting


Winneshiek Farmers Market, Decorah Wednesdays (3-6pm), Saturdays (8-11am).

Interior/Exterior, Oil Paintings by Jane Weis through October 13 at Lanesboro Art Center

Vesterheim Exhibit: “Carl Homstad: A Sense of Place” opens August 24.

“The Philadelphia Story” through Oct. 26, “The Drawer Boy” Opens September 7, Commonweal Theatre, Lanesboro



fun stuff to do


Fall 2012 /








Dec. 18 - Burning Bright Community Concerts!

Upcoming in December Holiday Lights Magical Nights open Thursday through Sunday and every evening Dec. 13-25!








KPVL Soiree, Elks, Decorah

Happy Thanksgiving!


Straight No Chaser, Paramount, Cedar Rapids



Nels Cline, McGuire Theater, Minneapolis



Holiday Lights Magical Nights 5K


ArtHaus Poetry Slam, Decorah Elks Lodge, 8pm


Beet Root Stew, Haymarket

Dec 2: Lanesboro Christmas Inn Tour, 2-6pm, Lanesboro


Lew Klimesh Band, Haymarket

Mike McAbee, Cresco Opera House


Bitter Root Band, Haymarket

Fun (band), Regents Center, Luther


Manfort, Ed’s, Winona

Nov. 9-10: “Deck the Tables”, Hotel Winneshiek

Luciana Souza, Q4 Luther CSS



Lanesboro Art Center’s Swingsation! Lanesboro



Nov. 9-10, 15-17 “A Tragedy Like Macbeth”, LC Theatre & Dance

Nov. 23: Holiday Lights Magical Nights Opens, Decorah Campground


Away In The Basement, Church Basement Ladies, Englert, Iowa City



Mike McAbee, Hideaway, Dec. 1-2 Vesterheim Norwegian Christmas Weekend. “The Sami Reindeer People of Alaska,” opens December 1. Chaseburg,

Charlie Parr, Ed’s, Winona




Election Day!

• Thaw Bird • Make Pie Crust • Call Grandma!


Nov. 25: T-Bocks Open Stage Night w/ Mark Hagen

Conrad Tao, GBPAC, Cedar Falls


Veteran’s Day Please Thank a Veteran!


Indigo Girls, Englert, Iowa City

Lucy Kaplansky, CSPS, Cedar Rapids

Charlie Hunter, Dakota Club, MSP

Vesterheim Knit In! Around The World With Iowa Wine Trail

NO-V4 3

“A Christmas Carol” through Dec. 23, Commonweal Theatre, Lanesboro

1 Free Vesterheim First Thursday!


WSMS: cello+ Phuc Phan, Amanda Hamp, and friends, The Mighty Diamonds, ArtHaus Cedar Cultural Cntr, MSP 7:30pm


“Cutting Edge” Stained Glass by Barb Keith through Dec. 22 at Lanesboro Art Center




fun stuff to do












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!



25W/ $25B

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 link 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?!?” Up until 2012, what we’ve chosen for these lovely pages has been entirely editorial and subjective. We figure, 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? Check out these fantastic fall activities! In chronological order, each event’s number coincides with the number on the calendar!

Do you use Decorah Bank online? It’s amazing!

11. Oct. 19: Benefit Auction and Gala Dinner at the Hotel Winneshiek featuring outstanding folk art. Enjoy the dinner or just attend the auction, to view items.

I know! No missed payments, paperless statements, easy transfers. I love ‘em!

Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.

12. Oct. 19: Talkstory Decorah, 8pm @ ArtHaus; $5/$3 students, Come to listen or to tell your story, inspired by the theme of the evening: “Family.” BYOB ok. 13. Nov. 2: cello+ Phuc Phan, Amanda Hamp, and friends. Cello and unexpected partners in an intimate and warm setting. Limited tickets. 7:30p.m., ArtHaus, $5/person. www.

25W/ $25B

14. Nov. 3: Swingsation! Lanesboro Arts Center’s Annual Benefit Gala! Silent & Live Auctions, Fine Food & Wines, Music by Prudence Johnson & her band. 507-467-2446. 15. Nov. 9-10: Deck the Tables! Open House, beautifully decorated tables, raffle, door prizes, and local business showcase. At the Hotel Winneshiek. Friday 3-7 and Saturday 9-1, $10. 16. Nov. 16: ArtHaus Poetry Slam, 8pm; $5/$3 students, @ Decorah Elks Lodge; The ArtHaus Poetry Slam has become a not-to-be-missed Decorah event, welcoming anyone to participate. 17. Dec. 2: Lanesboro Christmas Inn Tour, showcasing 11 B&Bs and Inns charmingly decorated for the holidays. Sunday 2-6pm. $20 advance tickets. 800-944-2670.

It’s Where You Want To Be...

206 W. Water Street • 563-382-5970


inspire & create

Stop by or give us a call! 508 W. Water St. Decorah, 563.382.5440

See Inspire(d) calendar or ArtHaus website for details!

do You loVE inspirE(d)? Help support us! Become a member of our family, or give us to one of your family members (aka give them the gift of Inspire(d) - maybe this holiday season.)! When you become a member (just $25!), you get Inspire(d) Driftless Magazine sent to your door for one year for FREE! Go to, click on “Become a Member”, and check out with PayPal. It’s that easy! Thank you for your support these past FIVE years! You inspire us.

Personal service for a perfect look. 130 W. Water St. Decorah, Iowa 563.382.5761

Mon - Fri 9-5 Thursday 9-8 Saturday 9-5 \ Fall 2012


The Kung Fu Appalachian Sound By Benji Nichols

“Outside your door the world is waiting, inside your heart a voice is calling, the four corners of the world are watching, so travel daughter travel, go get it girl…” Translated from “Song of the Traveling Daughter” – Abigail Washburn

theatre & dance Luther College 2012-13 season

Tickets @ Luther College box office 563.387.1357 & 1 hour before shows | $10. adult / $5. children under 12 Much Ado About Nothing * | by William Shakespeare • Oct 4-6, 10-11 @ 7 p.m. A Tragedy Like Macbeth * | based on the play by William Shakespeare Nov. 9, 10, 15, 16, 17 @ 7:30 p.m. A Production to be Announced *| March 8, 9,16,17 @ 7:30 p.m. March 9 @ 1:30 p.m. & March 15 @ 9:30 p.m. Arcadia * | by Tom Stoppard • May 1, 2, 3, 4 @ 7:30 p.m • May 4 @ 1:30 p.m.

* at jewel theatre, center for the arts * outside at the Bentdahl Commons

| luther college, decorah, iowa

2012-13 season details at 10

Fall 2012 /

An interview with Abigail Washburn

“It was when I heard Doc Watson playing and singing Shady Grove off an old LP that I knew I needed to buy a banjo and learn that song – it was just so primal and rooted and powerful, familiar and yet ancient. Little did I know the banjo is the perfect window into U.S. roots music because it arrived with the earliest immigrants and evolved into a beloved and stately ‘American’ sound,” she writes via email. No, Washburn didn’t grow up with a banjo in her hand, nor did she visit China until after she’d started Colorado College – it was more of a gradual love. “After my first year I went on a school trip for seven weeks all over China. My interest in the program was peaked simply by a sign I saw in the hallway leading to the cafeteria. (Watch out! You never know what sign will grab your attention and change your life!). Honestly I didn’t love it on that first trip. But due to being raised by totally idealistic and thoughtful parents (and due to a phase of watching the Gandhi movie ceaselessly for months at a time in my 8th grade year) I couldn’t let myself live with being disenchanted with 1.3 billion people on the face of our global home. I HAD to go back and figure out how to love it. So, I went back to Sichuan province for a semester abroad, met little 75-year-old ‘Old Lady Wang,’ visited with her several times a week in her apartment and learned about life in China through her eyes, stories, and poetry. I fell madly in love and promised to never abandon the place again.”



hen you think of the banjo, your first thought may not be Chinese/American international relations. But spend even a couple minutes listening to Abigail Washburn talk about the power of music, and you’ll quickly see Ms. Washburn and her banjo just might be the answer to a lot of our world’s misunderstandings.



Good clothes take you great places

211 West Water Street Decorah, Iowa M.T.W.Fr.Sat 9-5 Thurs. 9-8 563.382.8940 \ Fall 2012





it w w o N

ICS N O R T ELEC ! ns o i t a c 2 Lo

As always, serving you at our home base.

112 Winnebago Street, Decorah


Stop in & check our awesome Home Theater Room!

1014 South Mill Street, Decorah Local & friendly US Cellular, Dish Network, Direct TV, & Satellite Internet services. Get connected, & fast!


Under new ownership!

eu Lik

563-382-CELL (2355) •

Mon - Fri 8 am - 6 pm • Sat 8 am - 5 pm • Thurs ‘til 8 pm Check out our great selection of HD TVs, laptops, digital cameras, & electronics supplies – we’ve got your part or can order it.

I’m not just kind of a Big Guy… I’m kind of a Big Deal!


Start early on holiday shopping & SAVE 20-50% through local gift certificates. Save on: restaurants • automotive • home & garden • health & fitness • entertainment • & more!


Fall 2012 /

It was well after she graduated from college in 1999 that she took the banjo seriously – more seriously than the former plan to become a lawyer. “It wasn’t until I had spent time in China that I realized I wanted to learn a stringed instrument, specifically the banjo because of its ties to traditional U.S. culture. I had spent so much time studying and loving China to that point that one day I woke up and realized that I hardly knew a thing about my own traditional cultural roots.” During a “farewell to America” road trip before her planned move to Beijing for law school, she made one last stop. “I was soaking in the sights and sounds of Appalachia and learning a few banjo tunes along the way. My last stop was Louisville, for the (IBMA) Bluegrass convention. After randomly connecting with several young women we sat down in an elevator lobby and played through the few tunes I knew,” she says. “An A&R rep from a record company walked by at that moment and asked if I would come to Nashville to cut a demo for their company! It blew my mind and changed my life forever.” Washburn truly found that “sometimes you have to go half way around the world to find your way home.” The journey to create the (self proclaimed) “Kung Fu Appalachian” sound has never ceased to amaze her since. “Sometimes I feel like I’m living in this magical video game... there’s constant challenges, obstacles, built-in rewards and unexpected fantasy lands and situations!” The life of banjo troubadour has proven to be one of great opportunities for Washburn. Through her work with the all-female string band, Uncle Earl, a great audience base discovered her music. She continued it with the Sparrow Quartet (including fiddler Casey Driessen, cellist Ben Sollee, and Washburn’s now husband Bela Fleck), a group that became the first American band ever to tour Tibet in 2006. It is often said that a huge part of the music Abigail Washburn industry is being in the Luther College right place at the right Center Stage Series time, and Washburn October 20, 2012, 7:30 pm would also add “an open heart and curious mind creates miracles.” In recent months, Washburn and her latest collaborator, Kai Welch, have been busy traveling across the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Australia, and Norway (which she describes as “so righteously beautiful and civil.”) Honors included playing for the Queen of England, the Winnipeg Folk Festival, delivering the commencement address at her alma mater, and becoming a TED Fellow (check out her talk online!). Welch and Washburn have also toured China three times together and started a band called The Wu-Force with guzheng player Wu Fei. Needless to say, Washburn doesn’t sit still for long and also never stops reflecting on all that she has done – even the not-so-great moments that have helped her get where she is now. In her Colorado College commencement speech she quips poetically, “I am thankful for retrospection, for it brings glory and purpose to moments that really suck…” Washburn’s main focus, though, is still to bridge the differences in humanity through music – clawhammer banjo music in specific! In any given show, she is known to break out in traditional Chinese song as well as tunes she’s penned herself – in both English and Mandarin. “The first song I ever wrote in English was ‘Rockabye Dixie.’ The second song I wrote was in Chinese, ‘Song of the Traveling Daughter.’ It was totally natural. China is why I play music.” Her recent album, “City of Refuge” (Rounder Records, 2011), was released to great acclaim – garnering many nods as one of the best folk/roots albums of the year – and fired Washburn up for her many other goals. “So many things are piquing my


interest... the challenge for me is to focus,” she says. “In the long run I feel an eagerness to make a record with all of my different Chinese friends and with The Wu-Force – specifically to the unique ‘Kung Fu Appalachian’ sound we’re exploring! I’m headed back to China in November to be a part of a U.S.-China Forum along with Amy Tan and Michael Tilson Thomas, and hoping to tour Anhui (province) after that. I’m also eager to establish a nonprofit wing of my work that will expand the reach of musical collaborations between U.S. and Chinese musicians.”

104 East Water Street Decorah, Iowa




hosted by Albert’s & Executive Chef Tom Skold

Featuring a variety of delicious starters like Asparagus Salad with Lemon & Chevre, tantalizing main courses ranging from Smoked Turkey Hash with Poached Eggs & Sauce Choron to Orange Ricotta Pancakes with Berry Compote, plus French Style Omelets, House Made Breakfast Sausage, Fruit Crisps, Bread Pudding & More!

Every Saturday & Sunday, 10 am – 2 pm Washburn is not afraid to think big, but also notes that the simple, yet profound, experience can be what reaches across cultural divides. She tells a story in her TED talk of visiting an earthquake refugee school in the ravaged Sichuan province. A small girl comes up and asks if she can sing Abigail a song that her mother used to sing before she was “swallowed up in the earthquake”. So they sat, and she sang. “In that moment, we weren’t our American selves, we weren’t our Chinese selves; we were just mortals, sitting together in that light that keeps us here,” Washburn says. “I want to dwell in that light – and I know U.S./China relations doesn’t need another lawyer.” Abigail Washburn plays as a duo with multi-instrumentalist Kai Welch on Luther College’s Center Stage Series October 20, 2012 in the Center for Faith and Life. More information and tickets can be found at Benji has had some pretty neat gigs over the past 15 years, but being a Dad is going to take the cake. He feels incredibly fortunate to continue watching the web of life unfold, and truly hopes you will check out Abigail Washburn’s show on October 20.

Make a reservation at or by calling 563.382.1837

Enjoy Your Weekend at

Hotel Winneshiek

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performinG arts center University of Northern Iowa

get 2012-2013 series tickets




Doug Tesar

of Simply Coffeehouse Intro/Interview by Benji Nichols Photos by Aryn Henning Nichols


imply Coffeehouse and Eatery in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, is right at home in the newly renovated downtown Blackhawk Avenue. From the high ceiling interior to the rustic furnishings, Simply is a great place to stop and take a break. Part coffeehouse, part cafe and bakery, owner Doug Tesar’s eatery has become a local favorite and a must-stop for out-oftowners like us (and soon, hopefully, you too).

Driftless Area Art Festival Celebrating the Visual, Performing, and Culinary Arts of the Driftless Area 80 Visual Artists Live Music Local Foods

Saturday, September 15 10:00—5:00 Sunday, September 16 10:00—4:00 Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin

Free Admission and Parking \ Fall 2012



hey serve up an ever-changing breakfast menu, and for lunch, offer homemade soups, salads, and sandwiches as big as your head! From Simply grilled cheese on housemade bread to the Kick-N-Roast Beef made with their own roasted meat, the options are seemingly endless. Always suckers for chicken salad, we gave Simply’s a try – and it certainly did not disappoint. It was – simply put (haha) – delightful: a wonderful made-fromscratch mixture of sweet, crunch, and salt that complimented the chunky chicken perfectly. We suggest you also try their chocolate frappe, and the cookies, bars, and cupcakes are killer too and often sell out by noon! So get there early, curl up with a coffee in a street-front window or with a magazine (may we suggest Inspire(d)?) by the giant aquarium where the “pet” (and giant) fish swims happily every day, and enjoy some time at Simply. Or stop by for an early morning coffee before hitting the river, and grab lunch and take off for a picnic in the park – it’s simple! This is just half of Simply’s Chunky Chicken Salad sandwich!


Fall 2012 /

Name & Age: Doug Tesar, 38 Restaurant: Simply Coffeehouse and Eatery Number of Years Cooking: 22! Formal Training or Live and learn? Live and Learn… From short order cook, to sous chef, and somewhere in there a food and beverage purchasing agent. I’m now owner and operator of my own restaurant! What’s your most significant memory of cooking? I would say my earliest (professional) memory was cooking stir fry and broiled tilapia for Bill Clinton and his campaign staff. Recently, it would be an auction for the hospital to raise money for their hospice program. I and my superstar helper, Carly, were auctioned off to cook and serve a group of 6 to 8 people in their home for $3,400! (What to make right? Haha!) Why did you decide to become a chef? I really didn’t decide, I just started off on dishes and kept on rolling ­– before I knew it, I was getting moved up in positions, making money, and just really enjoyed doing it.


heirlooms Above: Doug, in his Simply kitchen. Below: A delicious, chocolate frappé

What’s the best thing you’ve ever made? Sea Bass with a mustard and balsamic crust. Do you have any monumental food fails you’d like to share with us? Sauerbraten with an 18 pound prime rib! How about secret food indulgences you don’t normally talk about? Will you tell us? Cheap hot dogs, peanut butter on a spoon, and mac and cheese without the butter and milk. What’s your favorite… Ingredient: Course salt and pepper Dish: Broiled Scallops Cooking Tool: Rubber spatula Vegetable: Corn Fruit: Strawberry


“On the Great River Road,” Genoa, WI.

Made by Hand

for You



Thoughtfully designed, handcrafted timber frames for homes, park shelters and barns.


Decorah Iowa \ Fall 2012


Barbara Keith and her Glistening Glass Mosaics

By Lauren Kraus


he tiny pieces of jagged glass fit just so to bring together the elaborate image. Sketched out in pencil on backer board – birds, fish, landscapes, cats, pigs – you name it, Barbara Benson Keith can bring it to shiny, two-dimensional life with stained glass and an intricate plan. The mosaic masterpiece almost jumps off the wall, drawing you in for a closer look… it’s hard not to reach your hand up and touch it.

Become a member. Support the arts.

dar tco. 18




Our website,, is LIVE, but missing an important piece: YOU! One of the best D.Art Co. (formerly Decorah Regional Arts Council) membership benefits is the publicity and marketing you and your artwork or business will receive through our online Artist and Supporter Directory.

Go to to register & learn more! Thanks for supporting the arts!


Fall 2012 /

Driftless ART Collective

Barbara’s piece, “At the Dance”, will be at the Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts competition this year (2012).

MaKing thE cut




Continued on next page.

At left, Gertrude, the mosaic that started it all. At right, Elmer, won the 2010 blue ribbon.


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arbara, a Twin Cities native and now Lanesboro resident, is clearly a woman who has a way with glass. After making her sketch, she uses a scorer to cut a thin line in her piece of glass, a tool to break it and finally a nipper to cut it into smaller shapes. She places the bits of cut glass onto glue to create a figure and finishes by covering her work in grout. “It’s a lot like doing a puzzle. Sometimes, if I’ve been mosaic-ing all day, when I’m trying to fall asleep, I’ll see shapes that I can’t get out of my head,” she says with a laugh in a PBS segment called “Off 90” that recently featured her work. “Mosaics are great because they just give me this great feeling while I’m working on them. I just feel good doing it. Being creative.” In our phone interview, it’s obvious she’s passionate about the process, excited about every little piece that goes into the larger, whole, piece of art. Barbara shares her favorite, final step almost giddily: “I love the part when I get to wipe the grout off the mosaic. It turns out sparkly, clean and new, and the piece is finally unified.” Barbara’s formal training, though, is not in art, but in elementary education. She taught kindergarten and first grade for some time, but was always loving art and typically doing some on the side. So she decided to leave teaching in 2001 and head to graduate school for graphic design. The mosaics came into the picture after taking a community education class in stained glass window making. It sparked inspiration and she started to experiment. “Lots of people paint, and photography, and everything, but not so many people work with glass…” she says during “Off 90”. “So there’s a little bit of an allure for me to do something off beat.” Traveling to Rome led to further inspiration and ultimately work on a large mosaic. The final product was an award-winning 51 x 51-inch piece called “Gertrude: Hamlet’s Mother”, designed after her love of theatre. She entered it in the Minnesota State Fair art competition where only 300 entries are chosen out of thousands, and out of those, only a few win – suffice it to say, it’s quite competitive – and Barbara’s piece got second place in the glass category. She was, of course, exhilarated! Consultants as well as the Minnesota Mosaic Guild took interest in Barbara and her work. The rest is history as she has moved full steam ahead on mosaic work, making it her career since 2007. Reminiscing about the experience, Barbara says, “The state fair really was by accident and chance, and it has continued to evolve since then.” In 2010. she entered a mosaic pig in the state fair competition and got first place in the glass category, receiving a new, blue ruffle ribbon. “I made it my mission to get one of those new ribbons and I did it!” Barbara says happily. “Having art in the fair is such a fun thing and it is great exposure for my work. I love the fair; I am a fair nut!”

Barbara Benson Keith Oct 20—Dec 22

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Fall 2012 /

Public art pieces, above, for the Children’s Hospital and below from the mosaic book, original pieces now at Kaiser Permanente.

In addition to the state fair scene, Barbara has displayed her work to numerous public spaces all over the country: hospitals, clinics, event centers, schools, and soon the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. She believes this creates a unique introduction to her art. “I like doing public art because people get to see my work and they don’t even have to go to a museum.” Displaying in this type of exhibit started with a book she made (yes, she does books, too, using mosaic art!) called Mosaic Zoo: An ABC Book. The book is made up of photographs of mosaic animals from A to Z. She sold the whole, original alphabet – each piece three feet tall and 26 inches wide – to Kaiser Permanente, a healthcare non-profit in Los Angeles, California. Public spaces are looking for art to fill their walls and hospitals especially are interested in art to help aid the healing process. And Barbara’s work does just that: her pieces truly brighten and revitalize any wall they’re hanging on and lift up any somber soul looking for cheer. Whether you’re pondering a pink pig at the state fair or checking out a tree scene at the airport, you’ll find this glass wizard’s work captivating. Curious to see some of her remarkable work right here in the Driftless Region? Barbara’s show, “Cutting Edge”, will be on display at the Lanesboro Arts Center in Lanesboro, Minnesota from October 20 to December 22, 2012. Head there for the reception on Saturday, October 20 from 6 to 8 pm, or anytime while the show is up. Or check out Barbara’s work at www. Lauren’s favorite quote goes something like this: “Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light.” Bright, colorful art like Barbara’s has a way of sparking a joyful fire in the soul of the viewer. Lauren loves taking in vibrant artwork as well as lots of travel this summer.

Projects: Paper Bag Puppets step-by-step instructions at!


THANKS! Let’s celebrate!

This October 2012, Inspire(d) celebrates 5 years in business. Wow! We are forever grateful to our advertisers, readers, and supporters who have made this life possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you.



You're super! Bird Migration! By Aryn Henning Nichols Photo by Joyce Meyer

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Fall 2012 /


t’s a familiar fall scene: you hear the honking first, then see the v-shaped flock fly over – geese heading to some exotic locale for the winter. It’s obvious why “snow birds” – ironically human – head to warmer climes to avoid the frigid Northern winters, but what about these birds? Why do they migrate back and forth each year, and how do they even know where they’re going? Approximately 1,800 of the world’s 10,000 bird species take this annual, large-scale movement between their breeding or nesting (summer) homes to their non-breeding (winter) homes each year. (1) Like many things in life, food is the main motivating factor. Birds that nest in the northern hemisphere hang out in the spring to take advantage of the plentiful insect populations, budding plants, and large quantity of places to set up “nest”. As winter sets in and the availability of insects and other food options declines, the birds head south – simple as that. (2) Many of these birds that breed in North America migrate to areas south of the Tropic of Cancer (Southern Mexico, Central and South America and the Lesser and Greater Antilles in the Caribbean Sea) in the fall (August-October) and then winter there until April when they head back to their old stomping grounds up North to breed and raise young. (3) There are three different types of bird migration: short (moving from a higher to lower elevation on a mountainside), medium (moving a distance that spans several states) and long-distance (generally moving from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere). For short-distance migrants, the reason really is as simple as a need for available food. But the origins of longdistance migration are a little more complicated. What “tips” the birds off that it’s time to get moving varies – days getting shorter and colder, dwindling food supplies, or it even something in their genetic predisposition. (2) In the period before migration, many birds display higher activity or Zugunruhe – German for “migratory restlessness”. Even cage-raised birds with no environmental cues (e.g. shortening of day and falling temperature) show signs of Zugunruhe, further leading scientists to believe migratory tendencies might be genetically predisposed. (1) Birds also eat more food pre-migration, storing it as fat. Fat is normally three to five percent of the bird’s mass, but some will almost double their body weights as they pack it on for the

trip! The ruby-throated hummingbird, for example, weighs only 4.8 grams but can use stored fat to fuel a non-stop, 24-hour flight across a 600-mile stretch of open water from the U.S. Gulf coast to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico! But most songbirds don’t fly to their non-breeding grounds non-stop. They stop a number of times to rest and feed in places called stopover sites. Some birds stop only one day to rest and feed, and then continue their migration. Others will remain at stopover areas for weeks, storing up more fat. The arctic tern may hold the longest distance migration, made possible because they stop over various places to eat fish and feed along the way. The tern migrates about 18,600 miles each year! Amazing! (3) It’s not just the distance traveled that is amazing, though – the “how” of the travel is pretty wild too. They don’t come equipped with GPS, but somehow migrating birds can cover thousands of miles, often on the same exact “bird highway”, year after year. Even first year birds may migrate – without a guide – to a winter home they have never before seen and return in the spring to their birth land. (2) They use the age-old compasses in the sky to navigate the way – the sun and stars – and also something really cool: the Earth’s magnetic field! Yes, you read that right! Birds apparently have tiny grains of the mineral magnetite just above their nostrils, which helps them find what direction is true north by using the Earth’s magnetic field. Beyond that, day flyers navigate using the positions of the sun and night flyers find their way by following the patterns of the stars. And – get this: In their very first year of life, those birds memorize the position of the constellations in relation to the North Star! Some birds can also use their sense of small to help find the way. (3) Many, if not most, birds migrate in flocks, which for larger birds, can conserve energy. Geese save from 12 to 20 percent of the energy they would need to fly alone – and some even fly faster in flock formation! (1) In the spring, we’ll see them heading back up the “road” home, and now, when you gaze up at the first honk, know it might even be the same exact birds you saw this fall! Aryn Henning Nichols was constantly amazed as she researched this Science, You’re Super. How cool are migrating birds?!?

1. 2. 3.

zing Collec t amat! folk ar

Benefit Auction and Gala Dinner October 19, 2012 Enjoy the bidding fun online Oct. 1-17, then join in during the event on Oct. 19 at the Hotel Winneshiek or by phone! Make reservations at Vesterheim for the Gala Dinner, or stop by the event just to bid at the auction. Norwegian- American Museum

502 W. Water St., Decorah, Iowa 563-382-9681 • \ Fall 2012


Visit Vesterheim in Decorah!

Shop Norwegian Style for all your gifts! The popular lawn game Kubb!

New exhibitions on view this fall...

A Sense of Place: A Carl Homstad Retrospective August 24, 2012 - April 28, 2013


October 4, 2012 - April 21, 2013

Norwegian- American Museum

Preserving a heritage. Connecting us all.

502 W. Water St., Decorah, Iowa • 563-382-9681 •

‘Deck the Tables’ This Season! Get in the spirit of the holiday season this year with carriage rides, kettle corn, and carolers – in addition to a great party and lots more – during a special weekend, “Decorah – All Decked Out”, November 9 through 11, 2012. Deck the Tables launched just last year to great acclaim. Attendees had a fun and memorable evening while supporting a great cause: Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. The event is a celebration of autumn splendor, winter beauty, and New Year glitz, as the talents of many area residents are showcased through the beautiful table settings they create for the festivites. Bring your friends and family to the Open House in the Hotel Winneshiek on Friday, November 9, from 3 to 7 pm, or Saturday, November 10, from 9 am to 1pm to view the festive décor, preview holiday items from local businesses, and enjoy complimentary refreshments and delicious treats created by the Hotel Winneshiek’s culinary staff. Admission is $10. All guests will be eligible to win door prizes, have the opportunity to place bids on auction items, and purchase tickets for raffle items, including a complete table setting for eight and all the decorations. Proceeds from Deck the Tables will benefit the 2013 exhibition The World of Jan Brett at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. A community presentation and book signing by Jan Brett herself will complement the three-month-long exhibition on the popular children’s author and her work. Plus, 2011’s event was such a hit, the now annual event will host even more fun! “Decorah – All Decked Out” is an extended weekend planned by the Deck the Tables committee in collaboration with Vesterheim, the Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Winneshiek County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce retailers are also participating, with events being planned in stores and shops throughout Decorah including carriage rides through downtown; kettle corn, strolling musicians, and carolers on Water Street; style shows, wine and food tastings, restaurant specials, store discounts, book signings, cooking demonstrations, and much more. Sunday, November 11, will feature Open Houses at several Bed and Breakfasts in Decorah and numerous retailers will also be open for shopping. No matter what, the weekend promises to be full of wonderful activities, starting the holiday season with a festive spirit that will lead into Decorah’s annual Holiday Open House weekend on November 15 through18, 2012. For more information about Deck the Tables, contact Stephanie Johnson at or 563-382-9681, or check To learn more about Decorah – All Decked Out, visit the Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce website at or the Winneshiek County Convention and Visitor Bureau site at

‘Freadom’! In 2011, among the top 10 most challenged books in publication, you found oldies but goodies such as “A Brave New World” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”, more recent favorites like “The Hunger Games” trilogy, and even less expected titles like “My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy”. But whether the topic is obviously controversial or the book more questionably being held back from the shelves of our libraries, it violates the First Amendment (the freedom of speech) and just as importantly: the freedom to read. So in an effort to bring awareness to these challenged books, Banned Books Week celebrates just that freedom. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week – the 2012 national theme is “30 years of Liberating Literature.” It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,000 books have been challenged since 1982. Banned Books Week 2012 runs the week of September 30 through October 6. It highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted banning of books across the United States. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. According to the American Library Association, there were 326 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2011, and many more go unreported. Plans for a Decorah area celebration of Banned Books Week 2012 are currently under way. Activities include local book groups reading and discussing banned books, retail window displays downtown coordinated by Kate Rattenborg, a Banned Books Week presentation at Decorah Public Library, and Upstart Crow Theatreworks street theatre called “Banned Books Theatre”, presented by ArtHaus director Kristin Underwood. “Most people know that ‘Huck Finn’ and ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ topped the banned books list for decades. But how about Shel Silverstein’s ‘A Light in the Attic’?! If art is meant to hold a mirror to humanity, what is it about our society we cannot bear to see or understand? Join the young performers of Upstart Crow Theatreworks in this original street theatre performance,” says Underwood. This free show runs Tuesday October 2, at 5pm in Water Street Park in Downtown Decorah and Saturday October 6 at 9:30 and 10:30 am at the Decorah Farmers Market. Other locations TBA – check or Banned Books Week posters for more information. Additional information about Banned Books Week and attempts at censorship through history will be available on the Decorah Public Library website, or by calling Decorah Public Library at 563-382-3717 (or contact your local library to see what they’ve got planned!).

Taking local to a whole new level.

• • • •

Local Bookstore Local/Regional Authors Great Local Place for Gifts Plus book signings & readings too! 563-382-4275 • 112 West Water Street Decorah • M-Tu-W 10-5:30 | Th 10-8 | Fri-Sat 10-5 | Sun 12-4

QUARTER/quarter Restaurant & Wine Bar

Stephen Larson Chef/Owner

Serving refined comfort foods in a contemporary setting

Please call for current hours, reservations or to arrange a special party.

507.886.5500 | 25 Center Street East, Harmony, MN

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Fall 2012 /

F y l u i n m a F y o Enj

priMEr By Sara Friedl-Putnam


kends for FALL FUN! 2012 WeeSept. 15th-Oct. 27th Fri & Sat 9-5 • Sun 9-4

~ Hayrides to Pumpkin Patch ~ Corn Maze ~ Haunted House ~ Big Slides ~ Farm Animals ~ Giant Jumping Pillow ~ Pedal Carts with Track ~ Pumpkin Blaster ~ Corn Bin ~ Goat Walk ~ Bakery Goods & Sandwiches

preschool is increasingly viewed as an essential part of the education equation. in an area of the country known for its commitment to education – iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin ranked among the top 10 states for education performance – parents have more choices than ever. read on to learn more about three options available for our youngest of learners, right here in the driftless region.

Visit for Fall Theme Weekends , Live Entertainment Calendar and hours.


s the temperature climbs on a glorious morning in Decorah, Iowa, Steve McCargar – or “Mr. Steve,” as he is known at the Waldorf-inspired Kinderhaus preschool – commands the rapt attention of roughly a dozen inquisitive young girls and boys, all fully energized after downing a hearty snack of oatmeal and apples that, minutes earlier, they helped their leaders prepare. Like he does many mornings during the academic year, McCargar guides his young charges and their other leaders beyond the grounds of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (where the preschool meets), along the sidewalks of the town’s west side, and on a path that runs beside the Upper Iowa River before coming to a stop under a large tree beside the river’s banks.

y r e k a Thate B Stop for sandwiches, homemade fudge, pie & other sweet treats! 9 63

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WINNESHIEK COUNTY RECYCLING Here to serve the entire Driftless Region! Winner!

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Info at: 563-382-6514 Like Winneshiek County Recycling on Facebook 28

Fall 2012 /

McCarger tells a river-side puppet story. Photo by Sara Friedl-Putnam.

One by one, the children, who range in age from three to six, settle down before him, eagerly anticipating the next part of their activityfilled morning. Lips sealed, necks craned, they listen intently as McCargar, puppet props in hand, proceeds to tell this day’s story – a clever little tale about a rabbit that saved the sun. Later that afternoon, a group of equally inquisitive youngsters spreads throughout the inviting learning environment that is the Decorahbased Northeast Iowa Montessori School. One young girl quietly settles down at a small wooden table, child-size scissors close at hand, and begins delicately stitching a limegreen patch of cloth. Another crouches on the carpeted floor and eagerly proceeds to sort through the school’s “moveable alphabet” – a case of pink and blue letters that facilitate the Learning with a moveable alphabet. Photo/NEIM. forming of words, phrases, and sentences. Yet another claims a sun-bathed spot near the school’s front windows and carefully starts coloring a series of images detailing the metamorphosis of tadpoles into frogs – an illustrated book about the topic within easy reach for quick reference. All are clearly enjoying the “work” of learning. As the school day draws to a close, a circle of preschoolers in Ossian, Iowa, gathers around a couple of decidedly docile guinea pigs – Sparkles and Mr. Guinea Pig – the popular pets in the South Winneshiek Elementary School Jump Start classroom. As they play with their furry friends, the youngsters are also reinforcing knowledge gained in a previous presentation about guinea pigs – that, despite their species name, they are neither pigs nor hail from

Nearly a century the African country of Guinea; that they, like people, need water to survive; and that, when later, more than 1,000 really happy, they “popcorn” – or leap suddenly Waldorf schools exist into the air. This study of guinea pigs is just worldwide – including one of a number of Creative CurriculumPleasant Ridge employing studies that took place over the Waldorf School in past academic year in Jump Start. Viroqua, Wisconsin, and Three Rivers Preschool is increasingly viewed as an Waldorf School in La essential part of the education equation, a Crosse, Wisconsin place for children to bolster socialization skills (both members of the and self-sufficiency, to learn language and Association of Waldorf pre-reading skills. In an area of the country Schools of North long known for its commitment to education America [AWSNA]) – Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin all ranked – as well as any among the top 10 states for education number of Waldorfperformance, notes a recent National Assessment of Educational Progress report – inspired schools, like Jump Start kids & guinea pigs! Photo by Shanna Putnam Dibble parents have more choices than ever. Kinderhaus in Decorah But how does a parent choose among the (which also incorporates various programs flourishing nationwide? Waldorf. Montessori. elements of European outdoor kindergartens). All Waldorf schools The Creative Curriculum for Preschool. These are just a few of subscribe to the same overriding philosophy – the intellectual, the educational approaches embraced at different preschools emotional, and physical development of the child, or, as the AWSNA throughout the Driftless Region where these young students website puts it, the education of the “head, heart, and hands.” embark on educational journeys that will, with any luck, transform So how, exactly, does that holistic approach play out? them into lifelong learners. What are the basic philosophies that “Our kindergarten focuses on self-directed, imaginative play,” underlie these three approaches? What do they have in common? says Maureen Karlstad, enrollment coordinator at Pleasant Ridge And what sets them apart? Waldorf School, which has two mixed-age (three- to six-year-olds) kindergarten classrooms. “The kindergartners’ work is experiential Educating the Head, Heart, and Hands: – to play in movement, to play in interaction with others.” The Waldorf Approach As photos of a typical Waldorf kindergarten classroom illustrate, The world was still reeling from the devastation of World War I the environment is simple, yet warm, and bears scant resemblance when Emil Molt, owner of the Waldorf-Astoria Cigarette Company in to most preschool and kindergarten classrooms. Because the Stuggart, Germany, approached Austrian philosopher and scholar spoken word is emphasized, no books line the shelves (though both Rudolf Steiner with a lofty goal in mind – to establish a school for oral and dramatic storytelling abound). No computers are in sight. the factory workers’ children that would help them develop into There aren’t any plastic toys, either, though other toys can be found balanced adults with a strong belief in service and community. – all made from natural fiber and materials (think beeswax crayons, Steiner quickly signed on, with a few conditions – that the school cloth dolls, driftwood, pine cones, shells, and cotton or silk cloths), welcome both boys and girls, accept all interested students, and the better to encourage imaginative play. that its teachers retain primary control of the curriculum. Molt And that play, just like at Kinderhaus, isn’t limited to the indoors. agreed, and the first Waldorf school opened its doors in Stuggart in Children in Waldorf early-childhood programs spend a good part 1919.

We know kids… …from their heads and shoulders down to their knees and toes. And, we’re making it easy for your kids to get the healthcare they need by those who know them best, with: • Expanded hours and ease of scheduling appointments • Same-day appointments for illness or injury • A comprehensive team dedicated to caring for you and your family If you’re looking for compassionate, family-focused care for the little heads, shoulders, knees and toes in your life, count on Gundersen Lutheran. By the way, we know grown-ups, too!

Call the Gundersen Lutheran - Decorah clinic at (563) 382-3140 to schedule your next appointment or visit for a complete listing of clinic locations. \ Fall 2012


of the day outdoors immersed in the natural environment. “We strive to foster a sense of respect and a sense of awe for the natural world,” says Karlstad. “The children spend a lot of time outside, including taking a long walk, rain or shine.” Kinderhaus director Alicia Trout agrees, “We’re completely committed to having children out in nature and building their social skills and imaginations – preserving and valuing childhood and allowing kids to remain in it, knowing that there’s research that supports this educational approach.” What students won’t experience in a Waldorf-style early-education environment is formal instruction in reading or writing. “What children do physically in kindergarten lays the groundwork for what they do academically, beginning in first grade,” explains Karlstad. “We don’t focus on the academic process as early as some other programs.” Instead, the focus is on oral-language, music, art, and creative-play activities that, as Trout explains, develop capacities that prepare children to learn how to read and write later in their educational journeys. “Oral telling of stories, for example, builds comprehension and reading elements that are missing when kids focus on decoding,” she says. “It’s a type of learning that really resonates with many children and parents.”

Following the Child: The Montessori Approach “Follow the child” might seem like an unusual motto to display on any other commercial storefront in downtown Decorah, but it perfectly suits the tenant of 418 West Water Street – the Northeast Iowa Montessori School (NEIM). There are no clothes to try on here, no menus to peruse. Instead, passersby peering

It’s that time of year again... sniff, cough, cough....uuuungh.

in the windows on any given day will see children working independently in a peaceful environment – a slipper-clad three-year-old carefully carrying a tray of water-filled vases… two young children working collaboratively to assemble a puzzle map of Africa country by country… a six-year-old comfortably engaged in a book about Van Gogh. “The Montessori approach is distinctively child-driven,” explains Jennifer Jones, head of school at NEIM, which can accommodate 28 three to six-year-olds in its mixed-aged environment (or “Children’s House”). “Children learn and develop at their own pace, with uninterrupted work periods; the Montessori philosophy holds that each child knows intrinsically what he or she needs to focus on in order to evolve into the child he or she is meant to become – it’s a remarkable evolutionary process.” The focus of Montessori environments, according to Jones, is to ensure that children capture learning concepts at an early age while the mind is still receptive – a theory Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and educator who opened the first Montessori school in Rome in 1907, called “the absorbent mind.” The theory caught on, and today thousands of Montessori schools operate worldwide, among them NEIM, the La Crosse (Wisconsin) Montessori Preschool, the La Crescent (Minnesota) Montessori Academy, and the Lakeview Montessori School in Sparta, Wisconsin. Top: Kinderhaus students explore. Photo by Sara Friedl-Putnam. Bottom: A Montessori student works on a project. Photo by NEIM.


Take precautions to stay healthy - for you, And the little ones around you. We offer: Tdap (protects against Pertussis/Whooping Cough, Tetanus, Diphtheria), Shingles (for any adult age 50+), & Flu vaccinations.

You sound terrible! But I’m so glad to know you got your vaccinations before whooping cough season hits - we gotta keep our little baby protected!

about Pertussius/Whooping Cough:

Adults can be carriers without any symptoms. Babies/children need a 3-dose series, Kids get a booster at age 10 – 12 but can be vulnerable in the few years before & then again in 5 to 7 years after it wears off.


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“The Montessori guide’s job is to ‘follow the child,’ respond to each child’s often subtle cues, and introduce new materials and concepts in one-on-one presentations,” Jones explains. “The materials draw the children into working with them and uncovering the gifts of knowledge they hold.” Children are encouraged to return to their “work” as often as they like for as long as they like, with a good portion of the learning occurring through further independent exploration of the Montessori materials. Those materials can be found throughout the school, which is organized into subject areas – including practical life, sensorial, language, mathematics, science, and art. Children first explore different polygon shapes sensorially, for example, then incorporate language by naming each shape, and eventually integrate math by calculating the angles. Likewise, children in the practical life area using tweezers to transfer colorful beads are developing their pincer grasp for writing, while those sweeping floors or preparing an apple to share are cultivating life skills and mastery of their environment. The availability of only one of each Montessori material at any given time promotes both completion of work – children learn from a very early age how to finish what they start – as well as cooperation with others. “It’s a community where the children have to work together in order for it to run smoothly,” says Jones, noting that the mixedage environment encourages the older children to help the younger ones. That’s a key part of realizing the dreams of founder Maria Montessori. “The hope of the Montessori movement is to help children grow into confident leaders and peaceful messengers with a sense of responsibility and respect for the world around them,” says Jones. “The early academic achievement many find as a result of this method is not necessarily the main focus of our program, but is a wonderful byproduct of it.”

lEarning through plaY: thE crEatiVE curriculuM for prEschool approach There’s serious learning going on each day in the Jump Start classroom for three and four-year-olds at South Winneshiek Elementary School in Ossian, Iowa, but that doesn’t mean these young students aren’t also having a whole lot of fun. Some are cuddling up with books. Others are building with blocks. Still others are delivering mail or extinguishing (yes, imaginary) fires in the room’s dramatic play area. In fact, they’re having so much fun that one might not even recognize all the learning that’s taking place – both academic and social, including how to resolve conflicts and how to share. The Jump Start classroom is one of three in the South Winneshiek Elementary School that employ the research-backed and play-based Creative Curriculum for their youngest learners. First introduced by former preschool and kindergarten teacher Diane Trister Dodge in 1979, today the curriculum is used by teachers in public and private schools across the country, including the Head Start program operated by Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation and numerous other Head Start programs nationwide. According to Shanna Putnam Dibble, Jump Start teacher, the Creative Curriculum advances the philosophy that young children learn best by active exploration of a learning environment arranged into specific interest areas. In other words, their work is to play.

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“Engaged and meaningful play is a very important part of the earlychildhood learning experience,” she says. “Most children this age are ready to absorb math and literacy skills, but to sit them down and ‘teach’ them isn’t the most effective way to do it – children learn best by doing, observing, exploring, experimenting, and questioning.” Students in a typical Creative Curriculum classroom aren’t confined to sitting behind desks. Instead, they’re encouraged to actively explore a room boasting a variety of interest “centers” – possibilities include reading, writing, art, sand and water, and music and movement – that promote cognitive, social, physical, and language development. Activities can be either child-initiated or

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Jump Start students get outside for fun. Photo by Shanna Putnam Dibble

teacher-directed, with the goal to help children become independent, self-confident, and enthusiastic learners. Group circle time and crosscurricular themed studies – in a recent academic year, children in the Jump Start program, for example, studied insects and exercise in addition to guinea pigs – further augment learning in math, reading, social studies, and science. “The main goal is to prepare students academically, socially, and emotionally with the skills that they need for kindergarten and beyond,” says Putnam Dibble. “Children are so curious and inquisitive that it’s important to take advantage of that and get them excited about learning. The Creative Curriculum is fun and engaging and does just that.”

thE Big picturE According to the National Institute for Early Education Research, more than 65 percent of four-year-olds and more than 40 percent of three-year-olds in the United States were enrolled in some kind of preschool in 2005. Whether listening to a story in a Waldorf school, stacking number rods in a Montessori environment, contributing to circle time in a Creative Curriculum classroom, or participating in activities in a different type of preschool program such as Reggio Emilia, developed in the 1940s, or High/Scope, developed in the 1960s – young boys and girls are engaging in the business of learning. And that, of course, is a good thing. “Preschool gives children a really good starting point to develop all those important skills – the social, the emotional, the physical, the academic – that they will need throughout their lives,” says Putnam Dibble. “Hopefully it also gets them excited and puts them on the path to become lifelong learners.” Sara Friedl-Putnam never seriously considered teaching preschool but finds herself in awe of the dedicated, passionate, and patient educators who have chosen the education of the region’s youngest learners as their life’s work.

Boxed (IN): driftlEss daY trips Compiled by Inspire(d) Staff

This fall, we challenge you to take a trip in the ever-delightful Driftless Region. Over and over again we are amazed at the beauty to be found in our area – bluffs, rivers, lovely towns and fun cities – we’ve really got it all, but if that’s still not enough to get you off your bum, below are some extra-special events and activities that have us pumped to do even more regional exploring. So come along, folks – for this Boxed (IN), let’s take a Driftless Day Trip! MaBEl, MinnEsota 60th Annual Hesper-Mabel Steam Engine Days September 7 – 9, 2012 We highly recommend heading through the hills of Southeast Minnesota to Mabel for the 60th Annual HesperMabel Steam Engine Days. Steam tractors, threshing exhibits, gas engines, log sawing, plowing, vendors, tractor pulls, a quilt show, musical entertainment, a pumpkin weigh-off, and our personal favorite: bingo and beer in the dairy barn. What more could you want? Oh, a parade? How about two parades, EACH day? Saturday and Sunday the Steam Tractor Parade starts at noon, and is followed by the always-growing town parade at 1 pm. And, of course, make sure to enjoy the local church lunch stand’s excellent homemade food and pie. A Steam Engine Days button is required for entrance to the grounds (not the parade) and is available for $5. Don’t miss your chance to purchase raffle tickets, the tractor girls calendar, and more! Find a complete schedule of events online or more information by calling 507-493-5299. Continued on next page \ Fall 2012


Kim Radatz

Decorah, Iowa

Ed. note: We’re obviously biased, but really – we think Decorah, Iowa, is such a lovely place in the fall, and few places are better suited for a road trip. There are lots of things going on in the Decorah area this fall – below are just a few. Come check ‘em out, and if you see us around (we’ll be a family of three, how exciting!), say hello! Above photo by Randy Uhl Trail Weekend: Loop de Loop Half Marathon and 5K/ Trout Run Trail Grand Opening/ Decorah Open Streets September 22-23, 2012 • •

Sho w :

September 6 to October 20, 2012

R e ce pti o n :

Boy are the people of Decorah excited about the grand opening of Trout Run Trail! The 12-mile loop boasts a beautiful new bridge across Highway 9, plenty of switchbacks (and thus hills) and scenic stops, a great opportunity to check out the Trout Hatchery, and lots of lovely views. Join a crew of folks for the Loop de Loop Half Marathon and 5k September 22, partake in various Grand Opening activities throughout the weekend, or head downtown to join in the merriment of the second Decorah Open Streets September 23, 11 am to 3 pm. Open Streets celebrates all sorts of activities by closing downtown streets to car traffic and opening them to walking, biking, rollerblading, dancing…pretty much anything you can imagine! Pinter’s Gardens and Pumpkins Weekend September 15-October 22

September 15 5 to 7 pm

Visiting a pumpkin patch is the ultimate fall activity, in our opinion. Thus, Pinter’s Gardens and Pumpkins, located between Decorah and Cresco, offers families of all ages a super fun fall destination that includes even more than just a pumpkin patch – there are garden displays, a pumpkin blaster, hayrides, a haunted house, corn maze, pedal carts, a giant jumping pillow and playground, farm animals, live music, fudge, pies and cakes, sandwiches, and more! The extra fall festivities are open on weekends September 15 through October 22. Bring the family and take it all in!

119 King St, La Crosse, WI 608.785.1434

Northeast Iowa Studio Art Tour October 12-14, 2012

Lisa Ulik 34

Take the scenic route and discover art treasures along the way at the 15th annual Northeast Iowa Studio Tour. 53 artists at 43 locations will open their doors for a behind-the-scenes studio view not usually offered to the general public. The popular event features award-winning artists displaying and selling pottery, paintings, woodcuts, baskets, jewelry, woodworking, kaleidoscopes, sculpture, photography, fused glass, ironwork, and more. Folks can set their own pace while driving from studio to studio through the beauty of Northeast Iowa. It’s free of charge and sites are all within 35 miles of Decorah. Workspaces are open from 10

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am to 5 pm all three days. Directions, maps, GPS coordinates, and lodging/dining are available as web downloads. For more information or for a brochure, visit, email tour@, or call Winneshiek County Convention & Visitors Bureau: 800-463-4692.

Olivia’s Attic

prairiE du chiEn, Wisconsin Mississippi Mud Run September 15, 2012, starting at 9 am From any direction, the drive to Prairie du Chien is a pretty one, with bluffs carved out by the iconic Mississippi River. Once you get to Prairie, further enjoy the river– REALLY get in there – by joining in on the second annual Mississippi Mud Run. It’s roughly four miles of Photo by Randall Paske Mississippi River Valley terrain – starting on St. Feriole Island – with obstacles along the course like vehicles, tires, hay bales, tubes, and the everpopular Mud Pit. Bring friends who like to get messy and a change of clothes, because it is “sure to be a muddy good time”! Proceeds of this event will go toward the construction of the Prairie du Chien Skate Park. For more information on this event and how you can either participate in, donate to, or become a sponsor, email at: And while you’re in Prairie, make sure to check out Simply Coffeehouse – you can read more about their tasty food and talented chef in the Chef on the Block feature on page 15.

la crossE, Wisconsin

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Oktoberfest September 28 – October 6, 2012 La Crosse, Wisconsin, is a long way from Munich, Germany – 5,000 miles, in fact – but that doesn’t keep the hoppin’ Mississippi River town from living it up each fall in the annual Oktoberfest celebration. Over the years, the fest has drawn crowds up to 150,000 people during the opening weekend alone! Get in the car for a beautiful drive to this historic town, then leave it parked as you partake in the fun weekend that is Oktoberfest, USA, in La Crosse! The first Oktoberfest, USA, was held on October 13, 14, and 15, 1961, in the hopes of getting a community-wide activity on the map. Over 50 years later, we think it’s safe to say the goal has been achieved. Festivities include live music, parades, luncheons, the Festmaster’s Ball, and, of course, lots of great beer. Admission buttons are $5 pre-fest and $8 at the Gate – festival-goers must be 21 to enter tents or buildings where alcohol is being served.


soldiErs groVE, Wisconsin Driftless Area Art Festival September 15 –16, 2012 Beauford T. Anderson Park Southwest Wisconsin truly is a place of beauty. Head out into the rolling hills south of Viroqua to check it out and take in the eighth annual Driftless Area Art Festival. Enjoy local wines, foods, music, and art by the talented artists of the Driftless Region – ranging from ceramics to drawing to fiber, glass, jewelry, and more. The mission of the Driftless Area Art Festival is to “celebrate the broad array of arts of the region, support art education, and promote community collaboration.” Their slogan: Discover the area. Discover its artists. Delight in both. Indeed – enjoy a trip through this region during one of the most beautiful times of the year!


LANESBORO, MN 100 EAST COFFEE STREET 507-467-9002 SUN: 10 AM - 7 PM MON- WED: 10 AM - 5 PM THURS- SAT: 10 AM - 7:30 PM

Continued on next page \ Fall 2012


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Head just a bit southwest of Decorah into Iowa for this Driftless Day Trip. Hawkeye Buffalo Ranch in Fredricksburg, Iowa, is a heritage farm established by the family’s great-great grandfather in 1856. But in the 1990s, it switched from raising beef to raising buffalo. In addition to offering a unique product, this change has inspired Hawkeye Buffalo Ranch to open up their farm for fun and educational tours. In the last year, the ranch has hosted preschools, day camps, and visitors from across the country, as well as travelers from as far away as Turkey and Siberia. Tours begin in the store with several Native American artifacts on display and history of the buffalo and the family farm. Then the wagon heads into 350 acres of timber, through native prairie, woodlands, and pasture, to find the buffalo herd. While touring through the woods, visitors often see deer, hawks, blue herons, goldfinches, and occasionally a pair of Sandhill Cranes. The buffalo are grass fed and get corn only from the tours, so buffalo will come up to the wagon to eat it right out of your hands! Souvenirs include mugs, stuffed buffalo, jewelry, and books about buffalo, and they also sell buffalo burgers, steaks, bacon, and jerky. It’s small working ranch, so it’s always best to call ahead before coming for tours or meat sales: 563-237-5318.

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Dedication Ceremony Sunday, September 23 Beginning at Decorah High School at 3:30 p.m., with a special ribbon cutting ceremony place on the brand new Hwy 9 bridge later at 5:30 p.m.

Enjoy the trail, live music, snacks and prizes!

Need Trail Info & Maps? The Winneshiek County Convention & Visitors Bureau is your one-stopshop. Call, click or stop by the Visitor’s Center in downtown Decorah. 507 West Water Street • 800.463.4692 • “Visit Decorah”

We hope to make your visit to the area a memorable one!

September 22-23, 2012 Trail Weekend in Decorah! Fun for everyone! A celebration of community held on streets that will be car-free and open for activities of all kinds – dancing, biking, jogging, games and more. It's Northeast Iowa's largest block party! .com

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Loop De Loop September 22, 7:30 a.m. Half Marathon & 5K Help dedicate the Trout Run Trail with the

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Connecting a Community Introduction and interview by Aryn Henning Nichols

Photo by Aryn Henning Nichols

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Fall 2012 /

Luther College students Lindsay Sheridan and Dan Fernelius were bored one day.

Est. 1961

Ha. Just kidding. Between playing in orchestras and chamber ensembles at Luther, interning with various arts organizations, composing music, being involved in many, many activities at Luther, and, of course, classes, for some reason these seniors decided to take on a whole new endeavor: Create a community music series. It’s a pretty ambitious project for anyone, let alone a couple of really busy college students “You’re right, it is ambitious – a little crazy – but that’s why we love working on it!” says Lindsay. The Water Street Music Series (WSMS) started from a “big, crazy idea” and has come to fruition as a concert series that will bring together local musicians – both community members and Luther College-based – for fun musical collaborations in different venues throughout Luther and downtown Decorah. The series highlights everything from tango to bluegrass to jazz and is driven by “passion, enthusiasm, and the belief that the music we have in this little valley is worth sharing.” Plus, both Lindsay and Dan hope to make the arts part of their livelihood post-college, and what better way to learn about the steps needed to run an arts organization – crafting events, raising money, marketing to the community, etc – than by creating one? So they brainstormed, started meeting with movers and shakers in the area, and talked to musicians about their vision. “We asked, ‘Who would you love to see perform in Decorah and how can we present them in a way that really makes the concert something outstanding?’” Dan says. They hatched themed ideas, like February’s concert featuring couples and this fall’s “Coming Home Again” with well-known area or once area-based musicians Ellen Rockne, Erik Sessions, John Goodin, and Kathy Reed, then they landed Driftless Art Collective as fiscal sponsors, designed a logo and a website, and went door-to-door to businesses on Water Street, telling them more about the series.

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Seriously. How did they find the time? “There are always enough hours in the day and enough time to accomplish what you want, and sometimes need to accomplish,” Dan says. “College is the time to really push yourself to see what you are capable of.” Lindsay jumps in,“So, I mean, why not start a local music series!? This is truly just something we feel needs to be done – so we figured we are the people to do it. We are so excited to tackle this fun and exciting endeavor!” Inspire(d) caught up with them while they were at their summer internships – Lindsay at Virginia-based Wolf Trap and Dan at Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan – to chat some more about the making of a music series.

Monday: 9am - 8pm Tues - Fri: 9am - 5pm Saturday: 9am - 3pm

Tell us about the Series – why did you decide to launch a music series like this in Decorah? What was the “idea light bulb” moment? Lindsay: Dan approached me last winter with an Dan and Lindsay. Photo by Emily Voss. idea for a series in town that would get Luther students playing in the community, and I had been mulling over a way to have classical chamber music in interesting places around Decorah. Dan: It was our intention to create events that got music outside of the traditional concert hall and created collaborations between musicians who typically don’t perform together. With so much

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Check out the WSMS at the free kick-off of the series on Sunday, September 2, 7:30 p.m. - Done Doin’ Laundry (above, photo by Aryn Henning Nichols) with special guests Simple Rogues at Luther College’s Bentdahl Commons.

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Fall 2012 /

talent in Decorah, why not engage them together to attract a broad audience to a brand new experience? Lindsay: At first we were uncertain if this was something Decorah would be excited about, but we were encouraged by all the great reactions we received as we shared our idea. So it’s been a series of little exciting light bulb moments! We love that your mission includes connecting the community and the college on a new level – could you talk more about that? Dan: We love all of the things that already engage the community and college – and we intend to enhance this idea further. Lindsay: Surely not on purpose, but a lot of times there are events going on at Luther that only (naturally) attract a crowd of students. Conversely, I think students are somewhat aware of things going on downtown but often don’t take the time to find out more. Dan: Both of these sorts of events, we feel, could benefit from audience overlap. How can we encourage more musical interaction between both sides of the Upper Iowa? Ultimately we aim to not create more events necessarily, but rather partner with something that already happens or fill a place where there has been a need for a concert. What kind of experience do you hope folks will have when they attend a concert in the WSMS? Dan: First and foremost, it will feel like something special they can’t miss. Lindsay: And we, of course, want the concerts to be high quality and enriching for musicians and audiences. At the same time, we want this feeling of a neighborhood hangout – informal, accessible, fun – to continue throughout the series, no matter what kind of music is being presented.

Dan: You don’t need to have a degree in music to come listen to Bach, and you don’t need to know how to tango to come listen to Luther’s tango group partnering with Maritza.

Dan: I think Lindsay and I are both the type of people that recognize opportunities as they come up, which certainly means the future is exciting because we don’t really know what could come next! We know that we will be leaving Decorah for jobs/graduate school, but by working on this series we feel that a part of us is now better connected to this place.

What do you see for the future of Water Street Music Series? Lindsay: We would love to see the series continue after we leave, and truly think that it has the potential to thrive in Decorah. As we’ve been talking to people more and more suggestions of artists to feature have come up – enough to fill at least three seasons! FREE KICK-OFF! Sunday, September 2, 7:30 pm: Done Doin’ Laundry with While we are both Luther students, I can see this special guests Simple Rogues | Luther College Bentdahl Commons working very well with community members, new Luther students, or some combination of the two Friday, September 21, 8:30 pm: Coming Home Again – Ellen Rockne, Erik working behind the scenes. Sessions, John Goodin, and Kathy Reed | Steyer Opera House, Hotel Winneshiek Dan: We have organized all of the various details and meetings that have gone into Thursday, October 18, 7:30 pm: ArtSong at ArtHaus – Luther piano professor just planning this series, and what a learning Jessica Paul with six of Luther’s top student vocalists | ArtHaus experience it has been. To be able to share this process with other students so that they too may Friday, November 2, 7:30 pm: cello+ – one cello and two partners, featuring have experience working in running a communityPhuc Phan, Amanda Hamp, and Kristen Underwood | ArtHaus based music series is something of real academic, and “real world” value. This series could continue Donate, become a season subscriber, or see the full season’s in a variety of different ways, ultimately serving both the community and Luther for a variety of details at reasons.

WSMS Fall Concerts:

What do you plan post-college/post-Decorah? Lindsay: Well, concisely: find a fulfilling, thrilling job in the arts world doing work for an orchestra or arts venue, take whatever awesome opportunity (hopefully) happens to come my way. And very likely make my life in the arts no matter what.

Aryn Henning Nichols, president of Driftless Art Collective (the WSMS fiscal sponsors), is excited to have been in the loop about the Water Street Music Series from fairly early on. She can’t wait to attend these great events over the next year!

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i’M silEnt todaY BEcausE...

You’re Silenced Everyday

Decorah High Schoolʼs Gay-Straight Alliance aims to make coming ʻoutʼ – and understanding gay rights – an open dialogue.

By Kristine Kopperud Jepsen


n sight, Decorah High School counselor Pat Trewin isn’t perhaps the first guy you’d peg as the staff advisor to a Gay-Straight Alliance. As a self-described “large individual,” heterosexual father and husband, and an assistant coach to the school’s football team, Trewin seems groomed to play it very cool when it comes to discussing the rights and respect of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students (abbreviated as GLBT). Stoic Iowan machismo practically demands it. But he sensed that passivity and silence weren’t going to cut the subtle layers of anti-gay discrimination he had witnessed among students. “I had been thinking about my gay relatives, and some members of our community who are gay, and thought it would be tough to be gay in high school,” he explains, adding that he first took action in 2002, when two young men who had been dancing and had kissed at a DHS dance were shoved up against lockers by classmates and told, “that’s sick.”

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Fall 2012 /

This page – Just a handful of the members of the Decorah High School Gay-Straight Alliance Facebook Group, from right: Pat Trewin (advisor), Jenna Bremer, Ian Wold, Carolina Deifelt Streese, Karen Trewin, Austin Olson, and Aubrey Wergberg.

Decorah High School Gay-Straight Alliance

The DHS Gay-Straight Alliance is a student-run organization that focuses on making a positive impact in our school and community with a special focus on GLBTQA (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Ally) issues.

“When I heard about it, I Turns out, he was right: the group is thriving. Today, approached the principal and the school’s GSA counts 40+ members per year and guidance counselor at that time and promotes both local and national GLBT outreach events like asked what I could do to help,” he any other student club, posting fliers and ordering t-shirts, says. Many schools were creating like the tie-dyed ones they made just before school got out Gay-Straight Alliances, so he got the in 2012. The majority of members self-identify as straight. go-ahead from administration and Some members are ‘out’ and openly gay, lesbian, bisexual collaborated with Luther social work or transgender, while others are not. majors to define the high school’s On the group’s Facebook page, the stated purpose own GSA to support GLBT students is simple: “The DHS Gay-Straight Alliance is a studentPat Trewin and to advocate for acceptance and run organization that understanding of gay students’ rights focuses on making a and perspectives. positive impact in our Trewin also saw academic merit school and community in creating a GSA at Decorah High. with a special focus on Research by the Gay, Lesbian and GLBTQA (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Bisexual, Transgender, indicates that nearly nine out of 10 Questioning, and Ally) GLBT students nationwide experience issues.” some form of harassment in school, Members do this resulting in a third of GLBT students by inviting discussion missing at least one day of school with their peers and GSA Students show their support at the homecoming parade. out of fear for their safety. In addition, community members students more frequently harassed that’s honest and because of their sexual orientation or ongoing, covering topics as charged as ‘coming out’ among gender expression reportedly earn peers, biblically-based opposition to same-sex sexual grade point averages almost half a identity, bullying, and incidence of GBLT student depression grade lower than students who are and suicide. less often harassed (2.7 vs. 3.1). (For “I think there is a much bigger gap between tolerance more info, see the 2009 National and acceptance than we really understand,” says 2011-12 School Climate Survey at www.glsen. group president Carolina Deifelt Streese. “Most students org.) are fine with dropping the subject, ignoring the fact that “I had been reading the statistics of some of their peers are gay, and pretending that there is how poorly gay students do in school no issue. The real challenge is to bring the topic into the because of the many issues they face Carolina Deifelt Streese classroom, discuss these issues the same way we discuss with other students, and sometimes race or gender issues, and teach students that their GLBT family, and became convinced that schools with GSAs have peers are just as worthy of respect and praise as they are.” students that do better in many areas of life,” Trewin says. Deifelt Streese says that DHS and Decorah are

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remarkably more welcoming of GLBT activism than others across the state and country, but intimidation and other forms of bullying are still present. “There were a couple moments, one I witnessed, where GLBT students were pestered about their orientation in the middle of class,” says fellow GSA member and aspiring 2013 leader Ian Wold, who is straight. “I myself have definitely been exposed to slurs such as ‘faggot’ or ‘queer,’ [and] been asked twice if I was gay for wearing odd clothing. I have no idea if those events are connected to my position/involvement with the GSA, but they most certainly were not intended lightly.” Wold and Deifelt Streese explain that – not surprisingly – it takes a Ian Wold whopping amount of courage for students to ‘come out’ about their sexual orientation and build an identity around it in the maelstrom of emotions and pressures that define high school. And, Deifelt Streese adds, ‘coming To join Decorahʼs GSA or to request a presentation out’ isn’t restricted to GLBT students. Every Saturday by members for a community event, contact Pat Trewin “One can also ‘come out’ as an ally, (advisor) at or get an extra (563) 382-3643 ex. 1507. meaning you are an open supporter 10% off*on— well, of the GLBT community. I feel that To follow the musings of current members everyone’s coming out experience just about everything! or to support the group virtually, check out is different. I know of teens who had Including sale items, their Facebook page at: traumatic coming-out experiences groups/151103131581579/ Hanky Panky, Blue Q and – they were kicked out of the house Accoutrements or shunned by friends. On the other For more information about GLBT advocacy, resources *some restrictions apply hand, I also have many GLBT friends and research, visit the Gay, Lesbian and Straight who have loving, supportive families Education Network (GLSEN) at and understanding, loyal friends who love and accept who they are.” 411 West Water Street, downtown Decorah Informally, the GSA carves out an empowering space for members, she says, as they form 563 382-8898 • discussion groups or get together to watch movies and share thoughts on the issues and personal experiences. “It really helps to get a feel for what other people are going through, and you feel comforted when someone else can say, ‘That happened to me, too!’” More publicly, Decorah’s GSA organizes a float for DHS’s homecoming parade and observes National Coming Out Day in October, World AIDS Day in December, and National Day of Silence in April. Members also speak at community gatherings, in churches, and in the classroom among peers. National Day of Silence offers students – including a wide swath RESERVATIONS of the student population APPRECIATED 120 WASHINGTON ST, DECORAH, IOWA beyond the GSA’s Lunch & dinner Monday - Saturday • 563-382-3067 membership – a popular opportunity to call attention to the silencing The Driftless Area’s Best Home effect of anti-GLBT Brewing & Wine Making Supplies! bullying and harassment in schools. Participants elect not to say anything (unless called upon in class) for either a half or whole day, while wearing a personalized badge stating “I’m silent because....” (more info at 2427 Tamarack Drive Rd., Suite B Decorah, IA 52101• 563-277-1002 After a shared experience such as Tues - Fri: 11 am-6 pm • Sat: 10 am - 4 pm


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“Thank You!” from Project Care!

the vow of silence, students often have some common ground on which to build understanding, says Wold. “The greatest ‘ah ha’ moments for me are when I can understand where someone’s coming from [with] a contrary position and carry out an intelligent discussion with them.”

Sierra Port-Lettington participates in the Decorah GSA’s Day of Silence.

It’s also meaningful, he says, to call attention to the several understated sexual slurs that are hurtful and demeaning to GLBT people – teens especially – such as, “That’s so gay!” “faggot,” “butch,” or “queer.” The GSA also reaches out to the wider Decorah community, speaking to adults and younger children, alike. “I think my most inspired moment was when Mr. Trewin, Connor Edrington [the 2011-12 vice-president of GSA], and I were guest-speaking with the Adult Forum at First Lutheran of Decorah about the purpose and goals of the GSA,” writes Deifelt Streese. “I was initially scared, because you never really know how receptive your audience is going to be, [but] people there all turned out to be great, and at the end, many of the elderly members shared stories of how their views of the GLBT community were changed, and that really gave me hope. “If these people, who were taught their whole lives to be hostile to the gay community, can become accepting, then our youth should be able to do it too. One gentleman even compared our cause to that of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. That was such a great moment – I really felt that what I was doing made a difference, and there is no better feeling.” Kristine Jepsen admires advocates of all kinds for their courage and confidence. She narrowly survived her own geekiness in high school, though she is now proud to back band nerds everywhere.

We thank you for your support & care!

On behalf of First Lutheran Church of Decorah and the Project Care Committee, We would like to extend our heart-felt thanks to all of the individuals, businesses, and families who made Project Care Possible! The goal of Project Care was to recognize the area students who were not only graduating from high school, but also “out” of the foster care system. This dedicated effort raised money to help equip these young people in their next stage of independent living. They have endured much, persevered, & we wish them all the best! We also hope that this project brings to light the NEED of all the children in Iowa's Foster Care System! This inspiring endeavor would not have been possible without the kindness & support of those listed below.

Dan Huebner Bob & Sharon Lillie Dan & Jayme Nelson Helen & E.D. Farwell Delores Timmerman Paul Hexom Carolyn Flaskerud Diane and Larry Grimstad Luann Smith Michelle and Troy Whitehill Denis and Paula Olejniczak Brenda Rix Linda Becker Marge Rix Denise Netzlaff Cheryl Brueggen Bank of the West / Cindy Simpson Rich & Babs Amundson Story People / Annette Laitenen Carol Birkland Tom Woxland Luther College Ruth Kath Denise & John Olds Jon & Mary Hart Kirsten & David Heine David & Brenda Carlson Dan & Carol Edmundson Farmers & Merchants Bank / Maureen Duncklee Rich & Linda Svenson Gloria Carpenter Owen & Linda Chirstianson Ben & Padrin Grimstad Decorah Bank & Trust / Ben Grimstad Casey's / Dawn Diane Marten Karen & Pat Trewin Jeff & Marilyn Roverud Karen & Jim Martin Schramm Subway / Kim Zweibohmer Whippy Dip / Rosie Carolan Pizza Ranch / John Dambek The Family Care Clinic / Dr. David Heine Culvers / Bruce & Sue Anderson anonymous Walmart / Ray Scott & Dewey Henderson Rockweiler’s / Dean & Heidi Rockweiler & Jason Zuck Dawn Deines Christenson Marilyn Wahlberg Heidi Olinger / Iowa XI Zeta Omicron Sorority Bob & Darlene Jones H.George & Christine Anderson Kwik Trip / Sharon Gundersen Lutheran / Angie McConnell Ace Hardware / Julie Spilde Marlys Lien Inspire(d) Media / Aryn & Benji Nichols Steve and Edith Jacobsen Jenine Jordahl John & Arlene Nelson Rita Tjada Laurie Worchester Les & Evie Peterson

“Be not Forgetful to Entertain Strangers: For Thereby some have Entertained Angles Unawares” Hebrews 13:2 \ Fall 2012


An Ode To Pie


Fall 2012 /

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Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man… er… Pie Man… scratch that – in this case, Pie Maven. As you may have surmised, this column is dedicated to an exploration of eating humble pie. And since creating scrumptious pie isn’t one of my strong suits, I decided to do just that, and enlist the aid of the premier pie maker I know, Julie Noel. Julie is our pastry chef extraordinaire at the Dolce Vita. When you walk into our kitchen and Julie is whipping up an intoxicating concoction, the smells will make you think you’ve died and are at the pearly gates. Cheesecakes that are lighter than air, mouthwatering fruit crisps, humongous cookies, tantalizing kolaches, and the freshest cinnamon rolls are just a few in her farreaching repertoire. But making pie is her finest forte. So we talked pie. Julie immediately shared her earliest recollection of the delightful pastry: She was seven or eight and had walked home from school to find a lemon pie on the counter. Her aunt, also a great baker, made it for Julie. It was a special treat because her mother made nothing from scratch, and the memory had Julie almost drooling. You know, she was living the pie life.


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Julie has had no formal training as a pastry chef. She learned “by the seat of her pants and the school of hard knocks”, and got her start making pies while working for Vesterheim at the Dayton House Café. It has been a love affair ever since. It is not unusual to find her making 25 to 30 pies for a wedding or an event. So then we got to the making pie talk. This time of year there is always an abundance of fruit available so we concentrated on pies made with fresh apples, peaches, berries, and so on. Julie explained that the most important part of making pie is the crust. (Dough recipe to follow.) The dough consists of five basic ingredients: flour (preferably pastry flour), chilled fat, ice-cold water, sugar, and salt. Her most preferred fat is lard. All right!! Pork fat!! I’m loving it. For sweet pies like we are concentrating on, you will want to use lard without any smoke flavor. Smoke flavored lards are great for savory pies such as quiche or chicken potpie. See, I learn something new every The pie maven herself, Julie Noel. day. Thanks, Julie! If lard is not in your larder, then a combination of half butter and half Crisco is acceptable. Julie adds the dry ingredients together and then works the fat into the flour by hand. Water is added sparingly just to slightly moisten the dough as it is worked. She can make the perfect dough in her sleep. All the rest of us mere mortals probably are going to do a lot of dough 101 practice. Being the dedicated researchers we are, Julie and I decided that a pie foray was in order. All right!! Road trip!! We deliberated long and hard as to where to satiate our pie appetites. Oh, for maybe three minutes. The Aroma Pie Shop in Whalen, Minnesota, beckoned us. Our intrepid group of pie seekers consisted of myself, my always fashionable wife, Brenda, Julie the Pie Maven, Fawn (daughter and other baker), and two precocious and potential pie professionals, August (eight) and Stella (two and a half) (grandchildren). We stopped in Lanesboro for lunch at the Riverside on the Root. After burgers and salads and three trips up to the trestle bridge on the bike trail crossing the Root River, we walked up town to The Spud Boy Diner, the only wood wheeled diner left in the United States. Gordon and Val Tindall operate it seven days a week from April through October with inside seating for 20 and a kitchen area so small you have to step outside to change your mind. Gordon was sitting outside and asked me what we were doing in town. I explained our pie mission. Immediately he informed me that he had made a blueberry and peach pie that very morning. OK! I nabbed a slice and had it for breakfast the next morning. Delicious. Both fruits complemented each other perfectly. The women in the group decided they would like to shop for a while, so August and I headed to the bike store to buy some fishing bait. August had brought along his pole in case the opportunity to drop a line arose. We proceeded to the city park where there are two trout stocked ponds. Nothing was biting on spinners so worm drowning

was in order for the next hour. When the rest of our party returned, it was time to fly for pie. A few minutes down the road, we pulled in front of the Aroma Pie Shop. I parked in the shade under a big maple tree because one of our potential pie professionals (Stella) had slipped off into slumber land. I’m sure she was dreaming of a big slice of pie and eating with her fingers and smearing it across her face. I know my granddaughter. Fawn 501 MONTGOMERY ST stayed in the van with her and the rest of us proceeded into the pie DECORAH, IA shop. And there was pie to behold. I think they had 16 different types ranging from fruits to banana cream to key lime. I spoke with the owner, Maggie Gerges. She says she has three fulltime bakers. They Pick up & delivery available bake the pies fresh every day. On real busy days they have baked up to 100 pies. All of the crusts are made with lard. (There’s that pork fat thing again.) And they’re scrumptious. I had a piece of blackberry, Brenda strawberry rhubarb, Julie peach, and August banana cream with two scoops of ice cream and a root beer float. What can I say, he’s a growing boy. Julie’s first pie-expert reaction was “This is just perfect. The crust is terrific and the natural flavor of Looking for a way to save? the fruit comes out. Sugar has not been added in proportions to You need to insure both your auto and your home, so why not overpower the real fruit taste.” I agreed. save money in the process? Call today for a free, no-obligation Ah yes, pie. A wonderful experience. I’d recommend it to look at auto and home discounts from American Family. anyone. I mean… all we are saying is give a piece a chance! Kerbie R Engel, Agent



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Jim McCaffrey is a chef, author, and co-owner with his family of McCaffrey’s Dolce Vita restaurant and Twin Springs Bakery just outside Decorah. He is author of a humorous cookbook titled “Midwest Cornfusion.” He has been in the food industry in one way or another for 40 years.

American Family Mutual Insurance Company and its Subsidiaries American Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin American Standard Insurance Company of Ohio American Family Insurance Company

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JULIE’S APPLE PIE CRUST:                                                                 2 1/4 cups flour                                                     1/4 cup sugar                                                        1/2 tsp salt                                                            1/4 cup Crisco chilled                                            1/3 cup butter chilled                                           1/3 to ½ cup ice water                                         FILLING: 3 Granny Smith apples 4 Golden Delicious apples 2/3 cup sugar 1/2 cup flour 1/2 tsp cinnamon 2 Tbl butter GLAZE: 2 Tbl Cream 1 egg white Sugar By hand, mix all crust ingredients except ice water in a mixing bowl. Add by sprinkles water as needed to form a ball. Divide in half. Press into two circles and roll into two twelve inch circles. This is best done on a cool surface. Place one crust in the bottom of a 10-inch deep-dish pie pan. Overlap the edge and trim off excess. Mix all filling ingredients and put in pie pan. Cut butter into 8 pieces and dot ingredients. Cover with remaining crust. Trim excess. Crimp edges with a fork. Whisk cream and egg white. Brush top of pie. Make 3 slits on top of pie. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 degrees 50-60 minutes until golden brown and filling is bubbling. \ Fall 2012


Margaret (Halvorson) Stortz enjoys the simple things in life Probituary: It’s a Notice of Life! Interviewed by grandson Benji Nichols

Margaret Stortz was born in the fall of 1921 – she celebrates her 91st birthday November 14! – and grew up farming in rural Decorah. Through a life that has spanned from horses and buggies and speaking Norwegian to the speed of the inwternet and a time where one could now have ice cream pretty much every day, she still values family, comfort food, and a bottomless cup of coffee. What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you? My Dad (Hans & Mabel Halvorson) gave me lots of good advice – he was a schoolteacher when he was younger and then farmed. I always liked: “Take what you can eat, and eat everything you take.” We grew up in a time when there wasn’t always much extra. What do/did you do in life? I was a farm wife. We milked cows twice a day and raised four kids – Diane, Beverly, Loren, and Lowell. I can remember getting up very early from a young age to milk – I was often the first one up in the house. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you? My coffee pot (ready to brew!), my orange coffee mug, and some good homemade cookies! If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? Meatballs, mashed potatoes, and Lefse. Maybe a good piece of pumpkin pie too! Name one thing you could not live without. My Relatives. I have a good family. Tell us about… Your wedding day. Virgil & I were married on May 5, 1946. I didn’t get married until I was 24 as I just really thought I should keep helping on my folks’ farm. We began our married life farming too.

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

Your first job. I can remember doing chores on the farm since I was very young, so that would have been my first job. I graduated from the 8th grade and went right to work, like a lot of folks then. I worked at Barges Café in Decorah when I was young, and also did housework and helped take care of kids. I think I worked for all of the Ronans at one time or another! Your favorite memory. There are many. I have great memories from all the time I spent with my sister Ruth. She graduated from 8th grade and left home right away to work for others, so I missed her when I was young. We kept up all through life and enjoyed our visits. I also recall anytime my Dad’s relatives would visit – they only spoke Norwegian and expected we would do the same. When I first went to school I remember trying to speak English and accidentally slipping in Norwegian words and getting laughed at. My Dad’s Uncle, Evan “Shorty” Boe also used to own an ice cream parlor in Decorah. When my Uncle Andrew would visit from Chicago he would take us out for ice cream – it was a big deal and the only times we had ice cream as kids.


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Inspire(d) Fall 2012  

Preschool Primer, Decorah High School Gay-Straight Alliance, Interview with Abigail Washburn, Water Street Music Series, Simply Coffeehouse,...