Inspire(d) Spring 2011

Page 1

An experiment in positive news from the Driftless Region.

Spring 2011


No. 25




Be Inspired

War and Peace Adoption Garden Planning Dubuque Boxed (IN) Mid West Music Fest

Women, make your health a



ll day long you’re busy taking care of everyone else. Take a few minutes to take care of yourself. After all, you need to stay healthy so you can be around to care for those you love.

Our experts offer women of all ages the most advanced healthcare, from gynecology, obstetrics and menopause education to screening mammography* and diagnostic breast services. We want to partner with you to make your health a priority. To find the Gundersen Lutheran clinic nearest you go to or call (800) 362-9567. Are you up-to-date on your wellness checks? • Annual wellness exam • Yearly mammograms after age 40 • Colonoscopy after age 50, earlier if family history • Bone density test after age 65 • Vaccinations • Laboratory screening (cholesterol and glucose) • Regular eye exams

*Gundersen Lutheran offers breast services at the Gundersen Lutheran – Decorah Clinic and Palmer Lutheran in West Union.

SPRING 2011 contents


10 13




20 26



On the cover: A project completely by Aryn Henning Nichols - from wrapping paper to photo upload. Learn how to make these May Day baskets on page 13, and the paper flowers at!

32 34 38 42 44 46 50

...and more! – Spring 2011 – 03

It’s not just another day. It’s an occasion.

Come to Amundson’s Clothing in Decorah for tuxedo rentals for any occasion. If you rent 6 or more, the groom’s tuxedo is free!

130 West Water Street Decorah, Iowa, 52101 563.382.5761

Personal service for a perfect look.

Monday - Friday 9-5 Thursday 9-8 Saturday 9-5

Stay in the heart of Downtown Decorah 104 E. Water Street 1.800.998.4164

great gift idea!







A gem of a landmark, the Hotel Winneshiek features lavish, upscale accommodations paired with impeccable service and every comfort of home. Feel pampered the moment you walk through the door.

WE MAKE IT EASY TO STAY MORE THAN A DAY! Special rates for Luther College parents!

Great package stays!

From the Editor

Inspire magazine


pring! It’s a fantastically awesome time of the year – the weather gets warmer, things start growing, and I turn 30! Okay…that last part has nothing to do with you, but the first two exist for all to enjoy. Get out there, I say! Maybe this is the year you plant a garden? Check out the Amazing Sonya Luse Geenen’s planting plan in this issue. I learned more reading her fun and informative garden “recipe” than I did mulling over my entire organic gardening book. Sadly, our garden is usually a disaster, but maybe this is its year! I’m ever-optimistic. Spring is a time for things to be re-born as well, to come out of hibernation and start l-i-v-i-n’. And we’re excited that Inspire(d) has been re-born too, with shiny new printers and a slight redesign. Bear with us as we work out the kinks, and look forward to more fun, regular features and fabulous-looking pages. Can you tell I’m pumped? In our very first issue in October of 2007, I wrote a story about motherhood… of how my sister, Beth, was a surrogate mother (read it at theinspiredmedia. com). So I thought it was fitting that in this first official quarterly I would write about another “non-traditional” family: Decorah’s Jensens. Dave and Jane Jensen had four daughters before they went on to adopt seven more children. It’s an inspiring story that will have you wanting to make room for seven of your own adopted children. In this Spring Inspire(d) you’ll also learn from Benji about the birth of the music festival, Mid West Music Fest, the history and upcoming return to the region of the Unified Jazz Ensemble, and intern Suz Clark gives us the back story on Midwest choral group Cantus. In Mississippi Mirth, you can celebrate Mother’s Day with a recipe for the most amazing Rhubarb Upside Upside Down Cake ever. Seriously. It’s. So. Good. Kristine Kopperud Jepsen grapples with the difficult issues of war and peace in a story centering around the Nobel Peace Prize and the Forum Luther College will host early March, and Lauren Kraus takes us on a photographic journey with Holmen, Wisconsin, artist and photographer Jamie Heiden. We’ve also got the regulars, of course: Boxed (IN) at Dubuque, Chef on the Block with Schera’s in Elkader, and an interview with Verne Koenig by granddaughter Sarah Cisco. So read on, dear readers. Maybe even do it outside. XOXO.

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

We couldn’t do it without: Kristine Jepsen/ contributor Lauren Kraus/contributor Sonya Luse Geenen / contributor Jim McCaffrey / Mississippi Mirth Suz Clark/ Inspire(d) Intern Natalie Moore/ Inspire(d) Illustrator Intern

Inspire(d) Magazine is published bi-monthly by Inspire(d) Media, LLC, 412 Oak Street, Decorah, Iowa, 52101. This issue is dated Spring 2011, issue 25, volume 4, Copyright 2011 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) Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols P.S. This is a photo of my sister, Devon Wagner, on her first tour in Iraq. She’s in the Decorah Army Reserve Unit that was deployed January 2011. I am proud of her and I miss her. So when you get this, Devon, consider this a “Hollar!” Love you!

Want to make a comment about something you read in the magazine? Email

Interested in advertising? Contact Benji at or call 563-387-6290. – Spring 2011 – 05

ArtHaus ArtNews ($ too!) Spring is coming at ArtHaus in Decorah! Artists ages 18-23 are encouraged to submit 2-D and 3-D work to the Emerging Artists’ Exhibition. The exhibition runs from May 6 to 27 and is open to residents and students of the Driftless Region of Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota, and Southwest Wisconsin. Artwork must have been completed within the last year, and all media are accepted. Each applicant may submit up to two works.


06 – Spring 2011 –

Jurors will include area college professors, professional artists, and board members of Driftless Art Collective (D.ART Co.). Interested applicants must send digital images with an application form, brief artist statement, and entry fee of $20 by March 28. Artists will be notified by April 11th if their work has been selected. Selected works must be delivered or shipped ready to install by Wednesday, May 4. There will be an opening reception on May 6 from 7 to 9 pm. Best of Show will receive a $200 cash prize and a solo exhibition in the 2011-2012 ArtHaus calendar year. Runner up will receive a $100 cash prize. Two additional Honorable Mentions will be named. Submit entries to: ArtHaus, 508 W. Water Street, Decorah, IA 52101. Phone: (563) 382-5440 or email arthaus508@ ArtHaus will also throw their annual Garden Party Art Auction & Fundraiser Saturday, April 30 from 6 pm to 9 pm at the Elks Lodge (402 W. Main St.) in Decorah. The party will feature a local silent art auction, live music, hors d’oeuvres, and a live auction at 8pm. Support ArtHaus by bidding on the work of outstanding local artists, both student and professional, in this celebration of the creative season: Spring! Ladybug Landscapes and ArtHaus students will bedeck the Elks Lodge in greenery and décor for the occasion. Come for the impressive collection of artwork, fun atmosphere, good company, great food, or just to show your support for your local art center!

fun stuff to do


Patty Larkin & Willy Porter, Cedar Cultural Center, MSP

Open Stage Night, T-Bock’s


TalkStory Decorah, Arthaus, 7pm First Day of Spring!


Lehto & Wright in Concert, ArtHaus, Decorah, 7pm


KDEC Home, Sport, & Garden Show, DHS, 10 am–3 pm






8 9


Barnetimen, Vesterheim, 10 am



Two 5 Many Banjos, Haymarket, 9:30 pm



30 31

Joe & Vicki Price, Lincoln Wine Bar, Mt. Vernon

Lewis Black, GBPAC, Cedar Falls, 7:30 pm

McGregor/Marquette Girls Get Away Day!


Beet 26 Root Stew, Haymarket



Jeff Mitchell, Ed’s No Name Bar, Winona

18 Grand 19 Cantus,17 Luther CFL, ASUMAYA, Opening the Root Dragonfly 7:30 pm Note, La Books St. Patty’s Crosse Michelle Lynn, Day Trempealeau Celebration, Hotel 7 pm Rubaiyat

10 The 11 Gallagher Gypsy Lum(Sledgeberjacks, o-matic!), Haymarket Whiskey Cantus, Bones, Rochester, Luther CFL, 8pm 7:30 pm

March 26: March 25 – 27: Lanesboro March 28 – April 4: Upstart Crow Presents Mission Creek Festival, Iowa City “The Learned Ladies” by Barn Dance, Sons of – Moliere, ArtHaus Norway, 8 pm





Joe & Vicki Price, 331 Club, MSP

March 19: IRRMA Party with Midnite Express, Richie Lee and the Fabulous Fifties, Nob Hill




Dinner On the Bluff, Eagle Bluff, Lanesboro, 5:30 pm

ArtHaus 4 First Seed Savers Each week: Vesterheim Friday, Lillian Free Thursday! Decorah, Goldman 8 pm Visitors March 4: Joe & Vicki Center Price, Main Entrance, March 4-5: Nobel Peace Opens! Prairie du Chien, 9 pm Prize Forum, Luther College


March 10 -12: Luther Theatre/ Dance Presents “100 Saints You Should Know”



March 5: Ryumonji Zen Monastery Winter Gala, rural Dorchester Mardi Gras with El Caminos, Nob Hill, Decorah, 8 pm


3 4



Pixies, Roy Wilkins, Saint Paul

Open Stage Night, T-Bock’s





April 16-17: Unified Jazz Iowa Wine Ensemble, Trail The Hub, Weekend Cedar Falls Boston Brass, GBPAC, Cedar Falls, 3 pm

Los Lonely Boys, Englert Theatre, Iowa City







9 Rock the Roof Extravaganza, Lakeside Ballroom, Guttenburg, 7pm 14



Earth Day


KPVL 23 Soiree, Elk’s, Decorah April 22-23: The People Brothers Band/Hipnopotamus, Haymarket 27 29 Seed 30 28 Saver’s Rosie Flores, Gospel Gossip, Bird & Rochester Civic Ed’s No Name Wildflower Theatre Bar, Winona Walk April 29 - May 1: April 30: ArtHaus Garden Party Art Auction/Fundraiser, Bluff Country Elks, Decorah, 6 pm Studio Art Tour


16 Unified 15 Jazz Ensemble, Luther Jazz Orchestra April 15 Elk’s, Decorah – 16: Mid concert, CFL, 7 pm Clovis Mann, West Haymarket Music Fest, April 15: Caroline Smith & the Winona Good Night Sleeps, ArtHaus, 8 pm

April 8 – 10: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, GBPAC, Cedar Falls

The Undead Earth Day Mariners CD Celebration, Release, with F. Oneota Stokes, Mouse Co-op, Pocket, and 4–7 pm T.U.G.G. the Root Note, La Crosse



Church Basement Ladies, Luther CFL, Northwoods Band, 2 & 7:30 Ed’s No Name Bar, pm Winona


ArtHaus First Friday with photography by Aaron Lurth, 7 pm


April 1: Guided By Voices, Blue Moose Tap House, Iowa City (Mission Creek Festival)

April 1-2: The Great Spring Getaway! Decorah

ArtHaus Jason Derulo, Poetry Luther Regents Slam, Elk’s, Center, 8 pm Decorah, 8 pm


Each week: Vesterheim Free Thursday!

April 8-16: Elkader Opera House Players’ “Death by Chocolate”


April 2-3: Old West Trader’s Show & Jubilee, The Barn, Prairie du Chien Johnny Mathis, GBPAC, Cedar Falls, 7:30 pm



“An Enemy of the People” at the Commonweal April 14 – June 10, Lanesboro




fun stuff to do









6 ArtHaus








Memorial Day

May 28-29: Spring Arts & Crafts Festival, Triangle Park, McGregor








COMING UP: June 3: Michelle Lynn, The Haymarket, 9:30 pm June 4: Blues Bash, Trempealeau Hotel, WI

May 28-29: Taste Louisiana Festival, Amana Colonies

May 27-29: Festi Di Bella Tempo, Harmony Vesterheim Park, Geneva, MN Free Thursday!

Benji’s birthday!



Now at Lanesboro’s Commonweal Theater: “An Enemy of the People” through June 10, and “Sylvia” opening May 13





Effigy Mounds Bird Walk, Marquette, 8 am


Reggae 21 Fest, Vesterheim Joe & Vicki Vesterheim May 20: Trempeleau Free Aryn’s Price, Hell’s Syttende Hotel, WI Thursday! 30th Kitchen, Mai Birthday! Minneapolis Stand Still Parade, May 19-22 : Bluff Country Old Time Music Whalan, Gathering & Barn Dance, Lanesboro 10–3 pm



Maceo Parker, Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis

The Blue Olives, Haymarket, 9:30 pm

May 20-22: Spring Grove Syttende Mai Festival

May 8: Luther Norsemen Choir & Luren Singers Concert, Decorah Lutheran Church, 7 pm

Mother’s Day

Brunch & Plant Sale, Eagle Bluff, Lanesboro, 10–1:30 pm


Tri-State Natural Baby Expo, Schera’s Hall, Elkader, 9 am–5 pm


May 6: Nick Mrozinski and The Feelin’ Band w/ Manfort, Ed’s No Name Bar, Winona

Every week: May Day! First Get your April 29-30, May 5-7: Luther Theatre/ Vesterheim Friday Dance presents “The Assemblage Free baskets Shot To Point”, Jewel Theatre, CFA, Luther Thursday! delivered! Hell, HayCinco de market, May 1: 21st Annual Decorah Time Trials Mountain Bike Race Mayo 9:30 pm





fun stuff to do













Inspire(d) World’s Greatest Party

Inspire(d) invites you to the world’s greatest party in the world’s greatest venue! We’ll have amazing amounts of fun! See you there! Time, day, month.



Learn more about 25 Words/$25 Bucks at

See - we told you about our amazing fictional party in just 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!


For example:

So we’ll be adding some pages starting with the summer issue and implementing a simple, expandable list of events after our regular calendars. Those who are planning “fun stuff to do” will get a guaranteed spot on the calendar and in the 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 to this point, 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


Fifth Annual Concert for Epilepsy For the past five years, Decorah native Chad Barth has spearheaded a benefit concert for the Epilepsy Foundation of America in the metro Washington D.C. area. The 2011 chapter of this endeavor is bigger and better than ever before. Top Billboard and Grammy nominated country stars Josh Turner and Little Big Town will play the benefit show on Saturday evening, March 26 at the Gaylord National Resort near the Nation’s Capitol. Special guest artists The Wil Gravatt Band will open the show with a pre-concert reception starting at 5:30 pm. The benefit concert was created by Barth in conjunction with the National Walk for Epilepsy in order to honor his sister, Christina, who had her first epileptic seizure at the age of three months. Over 20 years later she is a lover of music and life. Please share in this incredible event by considering a donation or buying tickets to support the Epilepsy Foundation of America. 100% of the proceeds go the 501c3 foundation to help those affected by Epilepsy. For details or to donate, visit

Visit Vesterheim’s New Museum Store in the Westby-Torgerson Education Center For an exciting spring schedule of museum events check • Norwegian-American Lutheran Colleges Exhibition • Syttende Mai Celebration and more

Coming this Spring! New Bruening Visitor Center


Winneshiek County Development Inc. is again offering local businesses an opportunity to win financial funding through the Biz Booster Challenge. The business-plan competition allows expanding or prospective businesses in Winneshiek County, Iowa to receive funding to help accelerate their level of growth. The main criteria for the Biz Booster Challenge is the amount of economic impact the new or expanding business will have within the County. In addition to a comprehensive written business plan, finalists will make an oral presentation before a judging panel. Over the past three years, tens of thousands of dollars have been awarded to area businesses like restaurants, media outlets, educational entities, retail stores, ag businesses, and more. “Wow - ArtHaus was overwhelmed with excitement from our 2010 award. Our expansion was made possible thanks to Biz Booster Challenge support,” said Lea Donhowe Lovelace of ArtHaus, a Decorah arts education center that serves the area with youth and adult arts classes, programming, and interactive events. “This contest has been a great learning experience and so good for our business as we grow and define our goals and future direction,” said Aryn Henning Nichols of Inspire(d) Media, a 2008 Biz Booster Challenge winner. Inspire(d), a 2007 start-up media businesses has grown into a quarterly magazine with a distribution of 10,000 magazines per issue in a 70 mile radius of Decorah, in addition to a host of freelance services. The business was also awarded WCDI’s “Pioneer” award in January 2011 (ed. note: toot, toot!). Registration materials and more information about the Biz Booster Challenge may be obtained by contacting Winneshiek County Development Director Randy Uhl at 507 W. Water St., Decorah, IA 52101, phoning 563-382-6061, or at wcdi@

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

The Great Spring Getaway’s

Style Show Brunch!

Saturday at Rubaiyat April 2nd Restaurant 9 am just $12 each! (advance sales only)

See you there!

Biz Booster Challenge 2011!

M useum

Preserving a heritage. Connecting us all.

Take the morning off and join us for brunch & find out what is new for spring 2011, plus register for many $20 gift certificates! Fashions from J. Tupy’s, the Decorah Hatchery, Elaine’s, Fancy Pants, & Amundson’s! Accessories and gifts from Country Gardens, KD Rae Jewelry, Milkhouse Candle Creamery, & Vanberia! Brunch features homemade quiche, fresh fruit, breakfast potatoes, and a beverage. Tickets may be purchased at Decorah Chamber and Visitor’s Center, J. Tupy’s, or Fancy Pants.

Sponsored in part by Hacker, Nelson, & Co., P.C. Don’t forget to make an appointment for your 2010 taxes! 563-382-3637

Details at – Spring 2011 – 09

Photo courtesy Dubuque Chamber of Commerce

Boxed (IN) Goes South

words and photos, unless otherwise noted, by Aryn Henning Nichols

“I had to go to France to appreciate Iowa. That was the best way to get perspective. I realized [while in Paris] that all the really good ideas I’d ever had came to me while I was milking a cow. So I went back to Iowa.” – Grant Wood


hen you live in a land of no coasts, bodies of water take on a whole new significance. This is not to say that something as large and in charge as the Mississippi River isn’t already “kind of a big deal” – it’s just that we Midwesterners tend to appreciate it in a “let’s spend the day at the beach” sort of way...especially when we can head out of the house in less than 40 layers. This Boxed (IN) takes us to the southern “port” town of Dubuque, Iowa. Dubuque has a certain old-world charm – it’s one of the original European settlements west of the Mississippi River. The first permanent settler arrived in 1785 – a pioneer named Julien Dubuque. After Julien came a plethora of German and Irish Catholic immigrants moving to Dubuque for work, eventually leading it to become a Roman Catholic headquarters, with the Archdiocese of Dubuque established there in 1837. Much of the population is still Catholic, and beautiful old churches mark the landscape, along with amazing Victorian architecture throughout downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods. From the Town Clock – dating back to 1873 when it was built on top of a building a few blocks from the roundabout it currently centers – you can start a fun-filled afternoon in Dubuque. Head over to the Cable Car Square and take the Fenelon Place Elevator up “the world’s steepest, shortest scenic railway” – ‘cause really… how could you head to Dubuque WITHOUT doing this totally typical (Story continued on page 12, travel tips on page 11)

Dubuque, Iowa: 60+ miles south of Elkader/McGregor/Prairie du Chien 98 miles south of Decorah 121 miles south of La Crosse, Wisconsin 171 miles south of Rochester, Minnesota (for great history!)

Who, What, Where, When En Route: You can make some fun stops on the way, depending on the direction you’re driving. Stop by and see Brian and Frederique at Schera’s in Elkader, or visit the Park Farm Winery in Bankston to experience a grand hilltop villa in rural Iowa. Fenelon Place Elevator The world’s shortest, steepest scenic railway, 296 feet in length, elevating passengers 189 feet from Fourth Street to Fenelon Place. C’mon: embrace the tourist inside you! Open April 1 to November 30. Dubuque Museum of Art With three main galleries and one of the best Grant Wood collections in the state, this little gem of a museum isn’t to be missed – and it’s FREE! Hotel Julien The Hotel Julien is upscale beauty and comfort with historical Midwest river town charm. Built in 1839, the hotel received a complete renovation finished in 2009. Much attention to detail was saved in the rooms – with original doors and windows saved – giving you an unaltered view of the great Mississippi River. Make sure to take a few minutes to check out all of the history on the walls of the grand lobby and atrium as this property is rich in history. Downstairs off the lobby, Caroline’s Restaurant serves “American cuisine with a twist” and the Riverboat Lounge’s vibe is laidback and cool, with a great Double Bubble Happy Hour. If you’re in the mood for relaxing, try the Potasa Spa in the lower level – they have great pampering packages! L.May Eatery www. While we didn’t have time to try a whole lot of eateries in Dubuque, we did get to check out L. May. Brother and sister team EJ and Lea Droessler run this sweet little bistro and serve up tasty pizza like the namesake L.May with Italian sausage, capers, asparagus, and goat cheese, or the over-the-top bacon mac and cheese. They also feature great daily specials and a fantastic hand picked wine list! National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium More fun than a barrel of sea turtles. Seriously – do not

miss this great museum. The campus is spread across the riverfront with two main buildings, a boatyard, wetlands, steam ship artifacts, and even a “4D” Theater. Plan on spending a few hours! Other good things to eat/drink/enjoy: Pepper Sprout Restaurant Crust Italian Kitchen + Bar Lot One Bar & Grill First lot plotted in Dubuque The Bank Bar & Grill The Old Star Brewery Building: Stone Cliff Winery Star Restaurant & Lounge The Lift (no website – check ‘em out at 180 Main St.) Monks Kaffee Pub Café Manna Java For the outdoor-lovers: Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

+ plus WHAT’S HOT!

Wednesdays SPIN & WIN!

Come in and try your hand at the luck of the draw! $3/spin = tap beer decision made!



“Gamble” on your beer & get the bottle picked at a token price – just $2.50!





EVERY NIGHT: 5 TO 6 PM $4 HOUSE WINE, $1.50 SEASONALS, & $2 TOPPLING GOLIATH PINTS! Eagle Point Park – Southern Gate Road Mines of Spain Recreation Area Other things you might enjoy: Diamond Jo Casino Dubuque 365 (a local entertainment magazine – holla’)

dinner: wed-sat – open at 5 sunday brunch: 9-1 bar menu also available reservations appreciated

563.382.WINE find us on facebook!

117 W. Water Street Decorah, Iowa – Spring 2011 – 11

tourist attraction? Embrace it, because the views at the top are breathtaking! Back at the bottom of the hill, out of the clouds, take in the Dubuque Museum of Art. Although it’s quite small (or some might say “perfectly-sized”), you won’t be able to miss it. Just look for giant American Gothic sculpture, and enjoy one of the best Grant Wood collections in the country. While there are a variety of places to stay in the downtown vicinity, the Hotel Julien’s history, charm, and upscale accommodations are hard to beat, and so is their “Double Bubble” (two-for-one) Happy Hour (you know we love a good happy hour… kicks a sad hour in the butt). Then for dinner, check out one of the tasty and tastefully renovated restaurants in the Historic Downtown District (see side bar). Be sure to make time in your trip to visit the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium – it is Fun with a capitol F. Expect to spend several hours here before you even realize it! There are large aquariums and exhibits that feature giant catfish, turtles, otters, ducks, frogs, reptiles and the history of our river – and how we need to take care of it. The interactive exhibits and demonstrations bring history and science to life – literally. It’s truly a wonderful place for people of all ages to spend a day, but we’re sure the kids will have fun splashing around and checking out live seahorses or aquatic games. You can even sit in a cave to hear a story! Beyond the fun your inner child is having, your big kid self might enjoy a trip to a local brewery, winery, or even the Diamond Jo Casino. Or get outside for a trek at the Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, Eagle Point Park, or the Mines of Spain Recreation Area. Then catch some live music or an open mic at the Lift or Monk’s Kaffee Pub, which, coincidentally, turns into a coffee shop by day were you can grab a cappuccino before you head on home. Aryn Henning Nichols had a fond childhood memory of riding up the Fenelon Place Elevator up the hill with her family. She was so sad it was closed when she and Benji visited, but no worries. She’ll be heading back…she simply can’t get enough of that National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium!

About the Inspire(d) Boxed (IN) series: We don’t think you have to go far or spend a ton of money to have fun. Fo’ real. We’ll show you how. In each issue, we highlight a location within our tri-state borders – Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin – that we think is cool, fun, hip, interesting, unique, odd, quirky…you get the picture.

Donlon HealthMart has “Bamboobies”! Does this ad say something about man boobies?

Ha! No, it says BAMboobies. I’ll let Stan fill you in on it....

Heeyy, I’m not being callous. Seriously! They’re the new nursing pads just in at Donlon’s! Bamboobies, a new mother’s must-have, are “like a cashmere sweater for boobies...” super-soft, milk-proof, & organic!

201 West Water Street, Decorah, Iowa • 563-382-2626 • 12– Spring 2011 –

Projects: Yes You May There’s something about the first of May that makes people want to stash packages at people’s door and run, or as one website put it: “quietly and secretly place them on the doorstep…demonstrating the gift of giving without receiving.” Whether it’s a celebration of spring, gift giving, or the pure fun of the “ding and dash”, we love it. And so, we’ve put together a little pattern for you – make your own May Day Basket! Use this page to make one just like this Inspire(d)’s cover, or trace it onto different paper. The possibilities are virtually endless! And for another paper project, log onto We’ll teach you how to make the sweet little flowers on the cover, and – bonus! – they double as gift bows!

The Basic May Day Basket:

Learn how to make these cool paper flowers @

1. Cut both sections out along dotted lines, as well at the tag.!

2. Roll larger portion into a cone shape and glue (glue sticks work well) or tape the seams. 3. Fold the handle portion in half and attach to the cone with glue or tape. If you’re going to put something heavier than paper flowers in the basket, make sure you enforce the handle with extra tape, maybe even add a ribbon to strengthen it. While you’re at it, feel free to give it as much added flair as you’d like – glitter, stamps, stickers, that sort of thing. Attach the tag with ribbon or pipe cleaners with your own message on the other side (if you’d like). 4. When May 1 rolls around, pick your favorite friends and revel in the excitement of “the ding and dash”!

Happy May Day!

Cut on these lines!

Happy May Day!

Fold here, line in. – Spring 2011 – 13

Do you

Then you’ll SUPER

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Be Inspired


us on FB. We’ll

you IRL.

Your Yard + A Garden = Yarden

words + garden plan by Sonya Luse Geenen / illustrations by Natalie Moore

So you want to start a garden? There’s no time like the present to get those hands dirty… or at least start planning to get your hand dirty… once there is some dirt to get at. And there’s nothing like fresh _____ (fill in the blank with your favorite veggie) picked straight from your garden to make your day! As the snow is piled in your yard begin to notice the sunny areas and then once the snow has gone rip up some sod, get the soil ready, and get going. Make friends with your neighbors who garden and ask questions. Find the gardening books at the library and check out embarrassing numbers of them. Some of your veggies will produce so heavily they’ll knock your socks off. Others may flop. There are many factors that play into a happy, productive garden, so don’t beat yourself up if something doesn’t do well this year. Take notes – consider a garden notebook – and do it differently the next time around. It’s helpful to know that the average last frost date for the Driftless Area ranges between May 1 and May 31. And first frost date ranges between September 1 and September 30. This is an outline for a basic kitchen garden. The size isn’t mapped out because everyone has different spaces – the layout can change, but some plants have been placed next to each other because they are allies and companions. The marigolds and nasturtiums, for example, act as replants to trouble-causing insects and enhance the growth of other vegetables. Basil is another example of an ally. It enhances the flavor and growth of tomatoes. There are two gardens here, but they are really the same garden at two different times of the season. The early plantings will taper off and need to be pulled – lettuce, spinach, peas, radishes – and the later plantings – tomatoes, beans, peppers, basil – will easily fill their spaces. – Spring 2011 – 15

Nasturtiums: Sow directly one week after last frost, space 6 - 12” apart, ¼” deep. The flowers are edible and will add good color, spunk, and spice to your salads. Marigolds: Plant directly into the garden two weeks before the last frost. 6 - 12” apart just below the surface of the soil. Beets: Plant these versatile (you can eat them raw in salads, roasted, steamed), mega nutritious (with vitamins A and C and more iron and minerals than spinach) veggie a month before the last expected frost, or as soon as you can work the soil. Sow ½” deep and space 2 - 4” apart. Fun fact: Beet seeds contain 8 true seeds. You’ll need to thin these plant clusters so toss the tiny tender leaves into salads or cook ‘em up. Beets are yummiest when they’re 1 ½ - 3” in diameter. Lettuce: Fresh garden salads are magic. There are many lettuce varieties. Some favorites are butterhead, leaf lettuce, and romaine. Mix your choices – the textures and colors are fun to play with and make beautiful salads. Soil temps only need to be 35 degrees to plant outside. Mark your lettuce patch and sow seeds closely ¼” apart, rake lightly to cover. Plant every two weeks for a continuous harvest. Spinach: Here is another early bird green veggie. Plant as soon as you can work the soil, up to six weeks before the last frost. To keep a continuous harvest coming make small plantings every 10 days until mid May. Plant ½” deep and 2” apart. Thin to 4 - 6” apart once they have two bigger, or true, leaves. Enjoy in salads, or add it cooked to pasta or grain dishes. Sugar Peas: Snow and snap peas have edible pods. If you choose other varieties look forward to a new hobby of shelling peas. You also get to use your creative juices to fashion a trellis for your peas to climb. Plant 4 - 6 weeks before the last frost when the soil is at least 40 degrees. Plant 1” deep and 1” apart. Yumm! Radishes: These are quick growing, instant gratification-type veggies. Some will be ready in as little as three weeks. Plant 4 - 6 weeks before the last frost, as soon as the soil can be worked. Space ½ “ deep 2” apart. Keep watch and dig around the tops a bit to check if they’re ready for eating. Carrots: Plant three weeks before last frost is expected. Carrot seeds are tiny. Mark your rows and sprinkle the seeds 2 - 4” apart. They can take one to three weeks to sprout so

toss a few radish seeds in to help mark the row and pull them after the carrots sprout. You can harvest some as soon as they are big enough to eat or leave them to pull in one harvest. Cucumbers: Cucumbers enjoy warm soil and will germinate faster with warmer temperatures. Wait until the soil is at least 70 degrees. There are bush and climbing varieties. If you decide on the climbing varieties you’ll get to build some beautiful trellises. Plant ½” deep and 1’ apart.


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Beans: Beans, beans, the magical fruit… These guys need warm air, 70 – 80 degrees, and soil temps of at least 60. Sow at least one to two weeks after the last frost. Spacing depends on if you’ve got bush (3- 6” apart) or pole beans (1 3” apart). Sow 1” deep with soil pressed over them to make sure of soil contact. Harvest almost daily when beans are pencil sized. Steam them up or eat as you pick them. Tomatoes: There are gobs of variety when it comes to tomatoes. Many sizes, colors, and shapes. You’ll need to find a good source for tomato transplants unless you want to give starting tomatoes from seed a go. Plant the transplants out when the soil temps are nice and warm, 70 degrees. Space

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e om c l We o t tomatoes 1 - 2’ apart with trellises already in place. Plant at a depth so the lowest set of leaves is at soil level. As they grow, tie them up loosely every 6” with soft twine. Keep watch, water as they need it, and enjoy keeping tabs as YOUR tomatoes bloom, set fruit and then as they ripen and you get to eat them.

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Peppers: Like tomatoes, find transplants to purchase. Find happy plants, ones with strong stems and dark green leaves. Soil temps should be at least 60 degrees. Space peppers 1’ apart, and plant the transplants as deep as the lowest leaves. Most peppers become sweeter as they mature from green to their truly ripened colors of reds, yellows, oranges, browns or purples. Basil:: Sow seeds directly two to Basil three weeks after frost when the soil is warm. Seeds can be planted just below the surface of the soil. In a patch, plant basil thickly or space them more generously – 1’ apart – in a row. You can encourage bushy growth by pinching the plants back. Basil can be chopped fresh and put on tomatoes, in salads, sauces and other dishes. Pesto is another very delicious option for basil to use throughout the year.

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Chives: A permanent herb garden is a great thing to start. Chives are easy to find in yard sales, garden stores, or neighbors who need to split the chives they have. Oregano, thyme, rosemary, and lavender are herbs to work up to. Sonya (Luse) Geenen enjoys yardening immensely. She lived in Decorah for almost five years and loved living vicariously through friends’ yards, and is thrilled to now be sharing a yard with her hubbn’, Dave, in the Island of Rock (Rock Island). She has plans afoot for lots of flowers and lots of veggies this year and hopes that you have fun with any yardening that comes your way!

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Natalie is a senior at Valley High School in Elgin. There, she’s involved in student council & every other activity she can manage, including drama, speech, & Valley’s Food & Fitness Initiative. When she isn’t found at school or work, Natalie enjoys creating artwork for Inspire(d), drawing, traveling, learning, visiting museums, & acting in Elkader’s community theatre. Next fall Natalie will be moving to New York City to attend Columbia University & study Art History. – Spring 2011 – 19

Peace. Peace? Peace!

20 – Spring 2011 –

Why attend the 23rd Annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum Striving for Peace: Courage to Act? by Kristine Kopperud Jepsen

Peace isn’t a neat ideal to define. Neither are the actions that bring it. Alfred Nobel, 19th century Swedish inventor and originator of the Nobel prizes, knew this well. He spent his life patenting parts and processes that (literally) make wheels turn around the world, developing synthetic rubber, leather, silk.... and dynamite. When he died in 1896 he held 355 patents, was head of laboratories and factories in 20 countries, and had revolutionized the blasting of rock and the building of tunnels and canals. He’d also killed his brother Emil and several others in a laboratory explosion while experimenting with the handling of nitroglycerine, and contributed weaponry to the arsenal of warfare for all time. In his will, Nobel stipulated that the Nobel Peace Prize (one of five prizes) be awarded annually to the individual or organization, “who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” Simply put, the prize is awarded to those who will to go to the mats for peace on earth, meaning less war and more camaraderie, empathy, and collaboration. Over time, some laureates, like 1979 awardee Mother Theresa, have been shoe-ins. Others, like controversial 1906 winner Theodore Roosevelt, were less crystalline choices. So here’s a question: What is it about a person’s course of action that ultimately serves the Greater Good? And what happens if it’s also an action of force, albeit with peace in mind? By 1973, when the Peace Prize was awarded to U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and Le Duc Tho of North Vietnam (who declined to receive it), the awarding committee was grappling with

1. It’s open to the public and brings to Decorah a host of presenters who do the work of peace in the midst of war and political uncertainty. It’s also full of workshops to put all the talk into action. One example? World Cafe, a small-group discussion model designed to pose hard questions relating to the forum’s keynote topics, encouraging participants to share their perspectives. More info at: www.luther. edu/peaceprize/schedule/worldcafe. 2. It’s a very local chance to find your own courage to act, even if your daily grind does not appear to be the path to a Nobel Prize. “There is nothing more exhilarating than being in an audience of hundreds when a Nobel Laureate speaks,” says event organizer Karen Martin-Schramm, also Luther assistant to the president. “You can feel minds opening up all around you.” 3. It’s the last time the forum will be held here. Beginning in 2012, the forum will be situated in Minneapolis, to make it more accessible by all its affiliated colleges.

The details: March 4-5, 2011 Register at: Cost: $40 for general public ($25 for high school students and non-sponsoring college students). Registration fee includes admittance to all sessions and Saturday lunch.

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the value of specific, event-oriented peace work versus lifelong service, particularly with military action involved. “[Kissinger and Tho] were awarded the Peace Prize because, within the framework of the politically possible, they championed a peace which, though it might not be perfect, was nevertheless a step along this road,” stated then-committee chair Aase Lionæs in her presentation of the 1973 award ( Newly elected U.S. President Barack Obama also had to address the military-force-as-peace-mechanism when he was tapped for the Peace Prize in 2009. Noting his relatively short term of political service, he accepted the honor only with grave reservation stating, “Perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this prize is the fact that I am the Commander-in-Chief of a nation in the midst of two wars [in Iraq and Afghanistan]. …. And I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill. Some will be killed. And so I come here with an acute sense of the cost of armed conflict filled with difficult questions about the relationship between war and peace, and our effort to replace one with the other.” Obama went on to address his fellow Americans and others who enjoy the luxury of political stability: “...In many countries, there is a disconnect between the efforts of those who serve [in military forces] and the ambivalence of the broader public. I understand why war is not popular. But I also know this: The belief that peace is desirable is rarely enough to achieve it. Peace requires responsibility. Peace entails sacrifice. … There is no simple formula here. But we must try as best we can to balance isolation and engagement, pressure and incentives, so that human rights and dignity are advanced over time.”

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This “engagement” in the name of human rights is central to the 23rd annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum, says Karen MartinSchramm, coordinator of the event, “Striving for Peace: Courage to Act,” on Luther’s campus March 4-5, 2011. “Most U.S. college students today don’t have access to the issues of war and peace. I think they get the environmental threats and gay and lesbian issues, but they’re a generation removed from first-hand experience with war. I’m not a veteran, but I do remember as a kid how the Vietnam war so deeply divided this country and how service people were shunned when they returned.” The forum, highlighting – among other things – a military’s role in peace-making, comes to town just as Decorah bids goodbye to the men and women of its Army Reserve 322nd Engineering Company as they begin their year of service in Afghanistan. The unit, which served in Iraq in 2003, includes diverse area professionals – some who, in their civilian lives, do the very work they perform as military personnel. This competence is a priceless calling card, says Waukon native Justin Piggott, who served with the company in Iraq just days after the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue. “When your job is in construction, it helps a ton that some of your fellow soldiers are master electricians, building contractors, or pour concrete for a living. When you’re all living in very close quarters and everyone is a little out of their element for any number of reasons, it helps to have good solid work to point to,


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and have that show who you are,” he says. While their main mission was to build and maintain housing for military personnel in Iraq, the unit also assisted in the building of local schools and other projects to restore normalcy – and some semblance of peace – to war-damaged communities. Piggott adds, chuckling, that Midwesterners like him sometimes have a bit of an advantage in the bootstrap and ingenuity department. “They might call you a hick,” he adds, “but I’ve seen some of our mechanics weld tools and make parts from scrap that would have taken months to get on order.” It’s often through honest work that civilians, too, can best demonstrate peace in political upheaval, suggests Shirin Ebadi, 2003 Nobel Peace Laureate and Luther forum keynote speaker. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for her efforts for democracy and human rights.” As a child, Ebadi saw the U.S. assist in the overthrow of popular and democratic Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, in favor of the less-experienced but pliant young monarch Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. She resolved then to become a lawyer and take part in the systems that guided her government’s decisions. “It was a profoundly humiliating moment for Iranians, who watched the United States intervene in their politics as if their country were some annexed backwater, its leader to be installed or deposed at the whim of an American president and his CIA advisers,” she writes in her memoir, Iran Awakening. By the time Ebadi had studied law and become a judge at age 23, the Islamic Revolution in Iran was already mobilizing to remove her from public service because of her gender. The disgrace propelled her toward justice of a more personal nature. Despite continual repression, she found ways to practice law and established Human Rights Defenders Centre in Iran in 2001, fighting the abuses of women, children and refugees, in particular. She has lived much of her career under threat of violence – while working through revolutionary government files, she found evidence that her own assassination had been authorized, her own blood From top: Justin Piggott on his tour in “halal, its spilling permitted by God.” More recently, her Iraq; a group of Iraqi children; Shirin Ebadi husband has been arrested, beaten, and forbidden to leave the country. Her bank accounts have been closed, and her phone is monitored to this day. But still she speaks out, willing to recognize courageous action wherever she finds it. “The price of transforming Iran peacefully.... is sacrifice of the highest order. It is simply a matter of reality that people like myself or the dissidents I represent will be lost along the way. What good am I abroad? The nature of my work.... could it be conducted from across continents? Of course not. And so I remind myself that the greatest threat of all is my own fear; it is.... fear that makes our opponents powerful.” Ahoo Tabatabai, visiting professor of sociology at Luther and Peace Prize Forum presenter, also grew up in Iran. “The issue of force [for peace] is a complicated one for social justice activists,” she says, “and I have found myself in more than one situation/discussion where seemingly likeminded folks are fundamentally divided on the issue. I’m really thinking about Egypt now,” she says of the popular uprising to dislodge President Hosni Mubarak. “Would a government such as Mubarak’s have come to respect human rights at some point in the future? No. For those who value freedom and dignity, the only option was/is to force him to step down. The question of force always comes down to this for me: Force by whom and for what purpose?” Fellow Peace Prize Forum presenter and Luther alum Scott Hanson addresses that question every work day. A Brigadier General in the U.S. Air Force, Hanson has “sat on nuclear alert

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in tankers, flown and escorted US Congressmen around the world, played a role in numerous missions supporting everything from disaster relief [in the Balkans, Somalia, Haiti] to non-combatant evacuations, and helped build another country’s air force [in Iraq].” Trust and security, within and without, are key tenets of peace, he says, and can be built on the most mundane acts of goodwill, even in military uniform. In Iraq (Hanson returned December 2010) that meant “knowing personally each [Iraqi] brigadier, major and lieutenant general, spending time visiting with each of them, knowing about most of their families, and understanding their capabilities, plans, and challenges,” he says. “I was most close with the commander of their Air Force, and spent many hours traveling with him, working his strategic plan, Brigadier General Scott Hanson and even joining him as he pinned pilot wings on his son.” One of the mission’s culminating objectives – one that recognizes professional readiness and open cultural exchange – was to invite young Iraqi airmen to train to fly F-16 fighter aircraft in the United States. “The offer was made to the Iraqis just before Christmas, and they were looking for dollars within their budget to support the first installment of this multibillion dollar program to defend their airspace,” Gen. Hanson says. “Continuing, enduring engagement is necessary to encourage lasting trust.” The only uniform Kristine Kopperud Jepsen has ever worn was for marching band, but she appreciates the significant challenges military servicepeople face in doing the work of peace. In addition to tending her laying hens (with daughter Eliza), Jepsen cultivates trust and goodwill in our local food system as a founding owner of local meats company Grass Run Farm.

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These Red Threads that Bin

Photo by Silvermoon Photography

words by Aryn Henning Nichols

Families are bound together – whether it’s by the blood that flows through our veins or the tangled threads of fate. Sometimes it’s both. Decorah’s Dave and Jane Jensen began creating their family “traditionally” with the birth of their first daughter, Erica, in 1989. In the six years following, three more beautiful baby girls – Dana, Kari, and Kiersten – were brought into the world. And while most would consider this a large family already, the Jensens felt their clan wasn’t quite complete. 26 – Spring 2011 –

nd Us

The Jensen Family Timeline:

Erica - 21 Dana - 19 Kari - 18 Kiersten - 15 Claire - 10 years old from Fujian China Adopted at 11 mos old in Jan. 2002 David - 9 years old from Guangxi China Adopted at 22 mos in Jan. 2004 Matthew - 8 years old from Xinjiang China Adopted at 33 mos in August 2005 Amy - 6 years old from Guangdong China Adopted at 20 months in August 2006 Luke - 5 years old from Jiangsu China Adopted at 24 months in March 2008 Asmere and Abbeke 4 years old from Ethiopia adopted in August 2010 The Jensen family totals 13 people. Their rural Decorah home has seven bedrooms. And there are still 147 million orphans in the world.

“We didn’t think we needed to produce another human being for this earth,” Jane says. “But adoption – it was something we always wanted to do.” They began to research different adoption agencies, and sent away for information from Holt International, an agency that has been finding orphaned children permanent families for more than five decades. Then, that very week, they saw a notice in the newspaper: Holt International was coming to Decorah to educate and inform the community about their mission and how adoption works. It was the first of many twists of fate that have led Dave and Jane to the seven children they’ve adopted since 2002. “Each of these adoptions – they’ve opened up so many doors,” Jane says, amazement in her voice. “In China they’re called ‘Red Threads’.” The “red thread of destiny” is a Chinese legend that says there’s a god who ties a red thread around the ankles of two people, binding them together forever, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. Although commonly tying male and females together as soul mates, the phrase may be applied to any two people. For the Jensens, it was a look on their future child’s face, the amazing chance that they were the

Photo by Silvermoon Photography

“My advice: Look into it. Go to an adoption meeting. It’s been the best thing we’ve done,” Dave says. Interested in learning more? Check out

these Jensen-recommended adoption and orphanage websites: – Spring 2011 – 27

only ones writing to adopt a certain orphan, or a “spoken for” child suddenly being “available,” that made them certain a higher force was at work. “Once we traveled to China and became personally aware of the plight of the orphan, those sweet innocent children left behind, who all deserve their own family to love them, we were changed forever. There was no turning back,” Jane says. “We knew God had a plan for our family from that first moment we met Claire.” Claire, now 10 years old, was adopted from the Fujian Province when she was just 11 months. The experience was one of excitement and surrealism for the Jensens. “I remember when we found out we got her,” Jane says. “We were getting ready to go to Christmas at Luther and got the email from the agency. Everyone gathered around the computer and just screamed! We couldn’t believe it!” Within six weeks Dave, Jane, and Erica were on a plane to China. They traveled with several other families that were also adopting, and they all stayed in the same hotel, waiting for the new children about to come into their lives. “They told us to stay in the hotel room,” Dave says. “Then they call you on the phone and say, ‘The babies are on the way.’ You know they’re gonna hand you this baby, so of course, everyone came running out of their rooms. Kids were screaming, laughing…” “Then they hand you this beautiful child,” Jane continues. “I remember thinking, ‘I’m so glad we did this.’ It’s just as miraculous as birth – you know this is the child you’re supposed to have.”

Since then, they’ve adopted four more children from China, and two (twins) from Ethiopia. Their ages at the time of adoption ranged from 11 months to three years, although for many – probably most – orphans, there’s no real certainty on age or birthdates. “A lot of orphans are just left somewhere for someone to find them,” Dave says. “Supermarkets, hospitals, the side of the road – Matthew’s unique because he was left at a hospital with a letter from his birth father.” The letter gives details on Matthew’s birth – his father was a migrant worker with no money, but he tried to take care of him. He kept him by his side for a year, until he realized he could no longer manage it. Matthew had clubfeet that needed attention. In fact, all of the children the Jensens have adopted except one have had special medical needs. With their new family they were able to get the medical treatment necessary to happily continue their lives. The Jensens – always Jane, sometimes other members of the family as well – have traveled to China several times now, and Ethiopia once, just this past summer of 2010. Eighteen-year-old Kari and 19-year-old Dana joined Jane on the Africa trip. It was very different from China, she says. There was so much poverty, yet the people were so nice, open, and happy. Similarly, though, the orphanages were full. “The big problem in Ethiopian orphanages is that usually

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either one or both of the parents have died of AIDS,” Dave says. “People say, ‘You can’t change the world.’ But once you experience the situation there, you’re changed. You’re never the same.” “You want to adopt them all,” Jane adds. Dave finishes the thought on both their minds, “You realize the children left behind are just like our children we’ve brought home. Every one is special and all they need is a family to love them and to give them a chance. People have so many excuses about why they can’t adopt as well. But you must be willing to take that leap of faith.” It’s hard to not want to adopt every orphan out there. Not only are there young children with special medical needs, there are the older kids who are much less likely to find a permanent family. And at age 14 – at least in China – orphans “age out”: they are no longer eligible for adoption. It’s heartbreaking to

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look through photos online – posted through organizations like Love Without Boundaries and Ordinary Hero – and know that a good portion of those children will live their entire young lives in an orphanage. It’s obvious it gets to the Jensens. But will they adopt more? Dave and Jane’s eyes meet. “The timing’s not right,” Jane says, with a look on her face that says she’d love to adopt a hundred more at least. And while Dave appears to agree with the timing, it

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Rien de nouveau

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      

30 – Spring 2011 –

Photo by Silvermoon Photography

doesn’t look like he’d need much convincing to bring home Jensen number eight. “We never say never any more.” “People say, ‘These kids are so lucky,’” he says. “But we’re the ones who are lucky.” Jane agrees. The rewards of adoption are many; the challenges few. “Everyone just transitioned so seamlessly. And everyone always has someone to play with. It’s kind of the more the merrier!” she says with a laugh. “It’s just like they’ve always been here.” This more the merrier attitude lends a certain amount of excitement to the household, but everyone seems to enjoy – or at least adapt – to it. “It’s good entertainment,” says Erica. Then Dave jokes, “The volume has definitely intensified. And there’s more food – massive grocery store bills.” Yes, with a household of 13, meals are an adventure. The question Jane is most often asked is: how do you feed everyone? “Just like every family, you can’t Photo by Silvermoon Photography

good radio. Can’t get KDEC

Aryn Henning Nichols has been inspired over and over again as she was writing this story. From a family of six, two of Aryn’s siblings are adopted as well. She hopes someday she, too, can provide a home to a child in need.

on the dial?

Try us ONLINE! www. kdecradio .com

we’re streaming!

please everyone,” she says. “We just make it work.” If that means the house doesn’t always get picked up, so be it. And if it means they have to drive on a vacation instead of flying, that’s okay too. “We’ve lost every kid at some point during different trips,” Jane says, laughing. “We’re like, ‘We got her all the way from China, and now we’ve lost her!’” “So we said, ‘Fine. Next time we’re gonna drive,” Dave goes on. “So we did. To Florida. The floor was this deep in wrappers, food, and underwear,” he says, gesturing to about a foot above the ground. It was for that trip that they got the big family Sprinter that hauls the crew around. When they go out to dinner, people always want to hear more about their family, their story. Indeed, it is amazing. They embrace what they call the chaos, and wouldn’t have it any other way. “Most things in life that are worth doing and worth having require sacrifice and hard work and we can’t think of anything we would rather be doing!” Jane says. “We are truly the lucky ones!”

(aka rockin’ independent programming and some of the best music in the country) – Spring 2011 – 31

Unifying Jazz

by Benji Nichols


n the early 1990s something invaded the Oneota River Valley. No, it wasn’t locusts, RAGBRAI riders, or deer; it was jazz. Literally – through the National Endowment for the Arts’ “Rural Residency Arts Initiative,” jazz invaded Northeast Iowa… with a passion. From August of 1992 to the summer of 1994 the Unified Jazz Ensemble took up residency in the middle of a “jazz desert.” This April, they are coming back to Eastern Iowa for a “mini-residency.” “When I first moved to Decorah in 1986 I was stunned by the lack of jazz,” says Decorah High School band director Jim Fritz. “You couldn’t find it on the radio, there was no jazz band at the high school, and the Luther Jazz band was primarily student-run. It was pretty bleak.”


at center for the arts decorah, iowa


100 Saints You Should Know By Kate Fodor March 10 at 7:30 pm March 11 at 9:30 pm March 12 at 1:30 pm & 7:30 pm


The Assemblage Point (world premiere) Devised by Jane Hawley April 29, 30 & May 5, 6 at 7:30 pm April 30 & May 7 at 1:30 pm

$10. adult / $5. children under 12

o S ee y

Luther College theatre /dance

But as jazz-barren as the valley may have been, it was also this precise detail that led to the National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) placement of a professional residency. Renata Sack, former executive director of the Cedar Arts Forum recalls: “In 1991, the National Endowment for the Arts solicited input from Cedar Arts Forum in regard to a Chamber Music Rural Residency program. We enthusiastically embraced the idea and formulated a partnership with the Jesup Community Schools, Upper Iowa University in Fayette, and Luther College.” Fritz, along with former Luther College Dean Tom Kraabel, teamed up to link the program between the city, public schools, Luther College, and the community. Fritz and Kraabel specifically requested a jazz ensemble, and the idea piqued the NEA. A search


ther ! e

Tickets @ Luther College box office 563.387.1357 & 1 hour before shows at Jewel Theatre 2010-11 Season details at



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came up with the Unified Jazz Ensemble (UJE) eighth record, “Cradle Song”. Eight appears to – a quintet of young, professional, modern jazz be the magic number, as the ensemble was musicians willing to relocate to the rural Midwest also one of eight groups chosen from across for a minimum of 10 months. the country to participate in the Chamber The five-piece ensemble consisted of vibraphone Music America’s Residency Partnership and trombone player Mike Noonan, saxophonist Program. Through the program UJE will Jeff Antoniuk, pianist Tim Harrison, Marty Morrison be performing and in residence in schools on drums, and Ray Parker (originally) on bass, with and communities across Maryland and the John Pineda eventually stepping in on bass. Each Washington D.C. area through the 2011 member – with wide roots ranging from Canada to school year, in addition to keeping up a regular Texas, and England to Missouri – all took on new gigging schedule and traveling to Iowa. territory by moving to Iowa. They found themselves But what is it, exactly, that sets UJE apart gigging in grocery store aisles and teaching elementary students how to improvise on plastic recorders, but by the end of their first few months, the band felt at home. “Living in rural Iowa was at first a little challenging for the ensemble members,” Noonan recalls, “but the community of Decorah embraced the opportunity to be exposed to America’s true art-form.” A weekly gig at Orsey’s (RIP!) in Decorah presented not only a unique improvised concert each week, but a chance for local students and residents to sit-in with the band. In addition, countless school clinics and concerts across the region from the masses? exposed an entire generation to a music style they “Longevity,” Fritz quickly responds. “While may have never known. there have been personnel changes, the “Students of all ages learned about jazz, jazz basic mission of UJE is still vibrant, as is their musicians, and performing jazz. Everyone from commitment to jazz education. It’s a passion kindergarten to high school, and college to adults they have as musicians and as a band.” picked up on jazz from UJE,” says Fritz. “UJE shook The Unified Jazz Ensemble brings their things up. They are outstanding, great guys, and fine diverse brand of jazz back to Northeast Iowa educators.” for a mid-April mini-residency. They will be In those early years, UJE honed their craft, both presenting workshops and concerts in Des individually as well as through their ensemble Moines, Ames, Decorah, Cedar Falls, and playing. With influences from classic jazz to West Calmar. For more information and to listen to African rhythms, the group created heavy modern the UJE visit jazz grooves. “It was an incredibly invaluable springboard that Benji Nichols has been helped launch and sustain us,” says Noonan, who – banging on things & making a decade and a half later – still leads the group on too much noise since he weekly Tuesday night escapades… only in Maryland, was a kid. Some of that not Iowa. noise was funneled into the For the past 14 years the group has resided jazz realm by none other than the UJE, which he is in Annapolis, Maryland and play almost every forever thankful for. week at the café/bar 49 West. They have a loyal following of fans and musicians – both professional and students, who continue to learn UJE MIDWEST GIG AND MINI-RESIDENCY SCHEDULE and collaborate with the band. And the ensemble itself has continued to evolve. 4/12 – IA Jazz Championships, Des Moines UJE is now a quartet featuring Noonan 4/13 – Iowa State University – student clinics, Ames on vibes and trombone, with John Pineda 4/14 – Luther College – student clinics, Decorah on bass, Grammy award winning trumpet 4/15 – Public Concert, Decorah Elk’s Lodge, 7:30 – 11:30 pm and flugelhorn player Tim Stanley, and 4/18 –Public Concert, The Hub, Cedar Falls, IA, 8 pm drummer Dominic Smith. 4/19 – Luncheon gig, Northeast Iowa Community College 2010 proved to be an exciting year for the ensemble, with the release of their – Spring 2011 – 33

Simply Magic A snapshot of a Driftless Region photographer by Lauren Kraus

34 – Spring 2011 –


ou can go 100 miles in any direction, it’s all just so beautiful,” boasts Jamie Heiden of the Holmen, Wisconsin area. The Driftless Region photographer doesn’t hesitate to hop in her car and ramble over bluffs, through cornfields, near river valleys: anywhere that she can discover the magic in simple, barren objects. Camera in hand, Jamie cleverly captures things that fill our everyday lives, eyeing all things with wonder and magic. “Sometimes I get lost out taking photos! There are so many things to take pictures of… I just pull over on the side of the road,” she says. Whatever comes out of that photo of the old oak tree or


the rickety country barn, Jamie uses to create a final image – one more dream-like and painter-esque than any photograph you’ve ever seen. There’s a child-like whimsy in her images that could perhaps be traced back to – fittingly – her childhood. “As long as I can remember, I have loved pictures. My bedroom was filled with anything that inspired me or caught my eye,” she says. “And I’ll tell you a secret: if you went back to my childhood room today, you’d find one closet door still covered in magazine cutouts.” She dreamt of becoming a National Geographic photographer one day and felt lucky that her school kept a

Join a D.ART Co. committee! seriously, it’s way more fun than this guy makes it look…

Be an arts advocate! Fundraise, help artists get ahead, and help new arts initiatives get started!

Find Driftless Art Collective on Facebook for details.

D.ART Co. Driftless ART Collective – Spring 2011 – 35


Save money... AND the world! • Residential & business programs • Partnerships & volunteer opportunities



Visit us online at or call 563-382-4207

where nature and art are merely the raw material We use natural, local materials. We create pragmatic, modern, inspired landscapes.

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lehto and wright in concert

Sunday, March 13, 7 pm, ArtHaus • $10/$5 students

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poetry slam

Friday, April 8, 8 pm, Elks Lodge, 402 W. Main St. $5/ $3 students

garden party art auction & fundraiser

Saturday, April 30, 6-9 pm, Elk’s Lodge • $10

first fridays every month! See website for details! 36 – Spring 2011 –

photography program. “I knew right away in high school that I wanted to get into photography and I had a great teacher who reinforced my passion for it.” Jamie graduated from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff with a BS in Photography and Printing. She learned about managing and marketing and all about film. “My core education was in photography and I became very interested in Polaroid transfers,” she explains. Polaroid transfer is a technique in which the “negative” is placed on another material, usually watercolor paper. This process creates a slightly blurred image that is textured and resembles a painting. Due to this textured look, Jamie’s work has often been labeled as “photo-impressionistic,” having a painter-esque quality. There’s one small word for this inventive photographer that holds big stock: simplicity. “I am drawn to the simplicity of things. The simplicity pulls me in; that has been a constant in my work,” she says. Jamie is inspired by and works to find a little fairytale every day. “I am drawn to old barns that will someday be gone. Often times people don’t look, they don’t even Jamie Heiden see some of the things that are around them.” Holding onto her passion of Polaroid transfers post-college, Jamie balanced being a stay-at-home mom with exploring her basement darkroom. She did a lot of shoots with children and families, always keeping photography a constant in her life. It wasn’t easy, but Jamie eventually put her film use – which was unfortunately becoming more expensive and supplies harder to find – on the back burner and joined the digital era. For all you photo gurus, she fancies Nikon cameras and works with a D300 model. “I take my camera everywhere… well, not to the grocery store,” she says, laughing. Translating her passion for Polaroid transfers into the digital world, Jamie uses a layering effect in Photoshop to create texture in her final product. “I’m not a computer person, but the program is so helpful in what I aim to do.” She works with multiple images to get the look she wants: one might be a photo of a barn, another of a blue sky with puffy clouds and another of a plaster wall. This creates the photo-impressionistic feel in the images. “I don’t want to say I love it because every time I say I love my computer it breaks…but, I really like it!” Most of Jamie’s pictures have text as a part of the image. “I am drawn to text in photos. Text is intended to go with the photograph, to complete the story.” Sometimes she uses a typewriter print or even her own handwriting. “The image forms its personality when I am taking the picture. The story really starts then. But, I don’t have the words yet.” she says.

Check out more of her work, buy her book, and see upcoming show details:

Lauren Kraus, Decorah resident, loves when the sky is blue and can’t wait for the grass to green and the flowers to pop. An avid photographer herself made talking with Jamie a joy and totally brought her back to the days in the darkroom!

“They are part of the whole process and then added at the last step.” Jamie’s work has made a name for itself, especially in the last year. She attended her first regional art fairs last summer, propelling her work into the public eye. And the accolades started rolling in. She was awarded Best of Photography at the 2010 Madison Art Fair Off the Square, winner of Art Fair On the Green’s People’s Choice Award 2010 and, winner of The Driftless Area Art Festival’s People’s Choice Award 2010! She will Pamper Get Movin’ be attending several fairs this coming Yourself at the 5K summer in towns such as Milwaukee, with a Madison, Lanesboro, Stockholm, and Run/Walk Pedi/Mani more. You can see Jamie’s work this spring at a few galleries in the area: VIVA Cocktails & in Viroqua, Wisconsin during the month Fashion of March and Lanesboro Art Center April Party 9 through May 29 – which is on the Bluff Country Studio Art Tour, April 29 through Brunch May 1. Jamie is also excited about Style Show Unique Boutiques & Shops her first international gallery showing at Man Made Images Photo Gallery in ‘Church Mount Charles County, Donegal, Ireland Basement Registration is free! Go to February 25 through May 20! Ladies’ LIVE Jamie does what she loves and loves comedy to sign up. You could win $$$! what she does. She is passionate about show bringing a magical light to humble Art objects, reminding the world of the joy in DIY Crafts Showings Book a night in a cozy B&B or Hotel simplicity. Well, as she puts it, “Simplicity… with a little twist.”






the Great Spring Getaway!




Enjoy...brought Food,toFashion, Flair, and Friends in Decorah... you by The Winneshiek County Convention & Visitors Bureau & Participating Businesses. Build your own weekend itinerary with tons of fun for all ages! – Spring 2011 – 37

Mom, Mother’s Day, & Rhubarb

(or the Upside Upside Down Cake) words by Jim McCaffrey / cake by Benji Nichols / photos by Aryn Henning Nichols – Spring 2011 – 39

Luxury salon & day spa Cuts • Perms • Up styles • Color • Highlights • Facials • Manicure & Pedicures • 60-minute massages • Makeup Consultation & application

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2149 Twin Springs Road, Decorah, Iowa 4-9 pm Wed – Fri | 11-9 pm Sat | 11-8 pm Sun 40 – Spring 2011 –


oon winter will be just a sleeting memory. With the advent of spring comes an ever-changing cornucopia of newly-sprouting varieties of vegetation. Lilies of the Valley, Fiddlehead Ferns, Dutchman’s Breeches, Bluebells, and Jack in the Pulpit abound in the woods around the Driftless Region. One finds the spark of new life in the cultivated gardens of the area as well. Asparagus loves to nudge its pointy little head out of the earth at the first advent of frost packing it in for another season. Freshly planted onion sets strive mightily to reach out and touch the sun. Lettuces frolic with wild abandon, seemingly screaming out “Pick me! Pick me! And slather me with homemade Green Goddess dressing!” But the most formidable spring garden plant just has to be rhubarb. Once it takes hold, it is just like the Energizer bunny. It keeps growing and growing and growing. So let me share a story from the McCaffrey Family Chronicles. A tale of rhubarb deception or at the very least, a mother’s indiscretion. I grew up the son of a father who went through the Great Depression and a mother who escaped with her sister from East Germany during World War Two. Together my parents some how came up with the down payment on an 80-acre farm just west of Decorah. I’m sure making the ends meet while raising five children and sending them to the Catholic school as well was no picnic in the park. After all, my dad was a rural mail carrier and like most families at that time, he was the sole wage earner. In order to make do, we had a couple of large gardens and raised various species of livestock that graced the table throughout the year. One year we raised 400 chickens in the garage. We spent an entire weekend butchering and pulling feathers. We then proceeded to have chicken for supper six days a week. On the seventh day we rested and had hamburger. I still do like chicken in spite of that experience. Needless to say, a lot of effort was necessary to keep the farm above the waterline. We pretty much lived out of the gardens year-round. What wasn’t eaten fresh was preserved in one fashion or another. Potatoes and onions were piled on pallets in a dark abyss of a corner in the basement. To this day I can remember distinctly the raw spud aroma that permeated the basement air. Hey, my father was Irish, so 400 pounds of potatoes hanging out in the basement was not uncommon. We also amassed a trove of canned vegetables and pickles that were stored in a large floor-toceiling cupboard in the cellar. Mom was the “preserve principal”

in our family. She had a small wooden-handled paring knife that she used for her culinary cutups. As a chef I marvel at the amount of food she processed with that knife. Bushels of sweet corn were voided of their kernels by several swift strokes. She spent hours at the kitchen table being the human vegematic. I can just see her slicing strawberries, chopping up rhubarb, and cutting green beans French style. Rhubarb was usually the first of the yearly harvest. Mom would slice the stalks into small pieces and freeze most of them for when the strawberries were ripe and delicious. She then made some delicious strawberry and rhubarb jam and pies. My favorite of her desserts, however, was her so-called Rhubarb Upside Down Cake with a sweet butter sauce. Mom passed away a couple years ago and no one can find that recipe. I decided to use some Irish ingenuity and see if I could come up with something close. So I Googled Best Rhubarb Upside Down Cake. “What is wrong with this picture?” In fact, “PICTURES.” Every recipe with a picture of the cake had the rhubarb on top. Even Martha Stewart’s. (One can’t argue with America’s culinary maven). Mom’s rhubarb was on the bottom. My childhood conception of upside down cake has been completely shattered. Mom, how could you have led me so astray? OK. Take a deep breath and breathe easy, breathe easy. Time to come up with a plan. In the future, I will call it Rhubarb Upside Upside down cake and the heck with Martha. I plan on making this for my family in honor of my mom on Mother’s Day this year. It isn’t the original recipe but it is close. Oh, and Mom, I still love you.

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.

Ed. note: Benji made this delicious – seriously – cake for these photos and halved it, baking it in a 9” round cake pan and using two eggs. It worked beautifully. (Sorry, Jim, it’s not upside upside down, but we DID serve it that way, and MAN was it good.)

Rhubarb Upside Upside Down Cake 8 Tbl butter 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar 8 cups cut up rhubarb 3/4 cup butter 2 cups granulated sugar 4 cups all purpose flour 2 Tbl baking powder 2 cups milk 3 eggs 1 Tbl vanilla Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 8 Tbl butter in large skillet or pot. Add brown sugar and stir until blended. Add rhubarb and mix until well coated. Grease an 11 X 18 baking dish. Cover the bottom evenly with rhubarb mixture. Cream butter with sugar in an electric mixer. Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix until smooth. Gently pour over the rhubarb mixture and smooth with a rubber spatula. Bake 40-50 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Sweet Butter Sauce 1 cup butter 2 cups sugar 1 cup cream or 1/2 and 1/2 2 tsp vanilla Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan on medium low. Cook and stir for about 10 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Pour warm over cake slices and enjoy!

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Your Medicap Pharmacists: Lori Rissman, Sue Burks and Mark Branum

- Treatment goals

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Our Compounding Services include: - Hormone Replacement

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Call us at 382-8765 for more information. – Spring 2011 – 41


Striving for Peace

Courage to Act 23rd Annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum Luther College Decorah, Iowa March 4–5, 2011




Schera’s Algerian American Restaurant peaceprize Invited 2009 Nobel Laureate President Barack Obama

Confirmed Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi, Iranian lawyer and human rights activist

42 – Spring 2011 –

by Inspire(d) staff

It’s a tale of two cities – Elkader, Iowa and Mascara, Algeria – and the perfect pairing of two business and life partners’ backgrounds and cuisines. Brian Bruening and Frederique Boudouani established Schera’s Algerian American Restaurant in 2006, because, as Brian says, “a restaurant gave us an opportunity to work together…and make use of our very disparate skill sets.” Neither had a restaurant background, but they decided to take their love of food and entertaining to create this anomaly of a dining experience in Northeast Iowa. Named after the heroine Scheherazade from “1001 Arabian Nights” as well as Frederique’s sister, Schera’s features Algerian dishes right alongside classic American fare. And they do this in a tiny Iowa town named after a North African freedom fighter. Wait, what? Elkader, Iowa, was named after Emir Abd-el-Kader, an Algerian national hero who fought against the French occupation of his country in the mid-1800s. One of Elkader’s founders, Timothy Davis, was inspired by this man and dedicated his community’s name to him. The Iowa town renewed its Algerian sister-city connection in the late 1980s, and it continues to this day. In the restaurant, paper lanterns and exotic tunes cozy up to Grant Wood-inspired paintings just as comfortably as the schawarma – a delicious gyro sandwich with seasoned

St. Mane THEATRE • 206 Parkway Ave N, Lanesboro, Minnesota

Lanesboro Arts Center 507‐467‐2446

Feb ‐ Nov 2011: 2nd Fridays, 7:30pm

$5/$3. 7pm pre‐show music

JohnSmith Singer/songwriter

Sat., March 12

10am‐2pm Songwri�ng Workshop ‐ $20‐$40 7:30pm Concert ‐ $12/$10


“Troubled Waters” Followed by Farm Policy Specialist Loni Kemp

Friday, April 15, 7:30pm Ibsen Fes�val Event


Friday, April 29 Sat., May 14

From top left: Schera’s interior; a delicious Bell’s Hopslam; and Cade, an Algerian “chickpea custard of sorts” with the famous harissa. Photos by Aryn Henning Nichols.

slices of lamb and beef and tasty tzatziki – sits next to the sweet pepper turkey wrap on the menu. It’s important you get SOMETHING that involved the harissa – it’s amazing! We recommend the cade appetizer, a baked chickpea custard of sorts, served with bread and that yummy Tunisian hot sauce, harissa. The appetizer menu offers everything from chicken samosas to homemade onion rings, all perfect with Schera’s fabulous Belgian and local beer line-up and fabulous cocktails. Who knows – maybe you’ll even stay long enough for the late night menu… ‘cause you really should try that falafel…

Exhibi�on GALLERY • 103 Parkway

6:30pm Pot Luck 7:30pm Film (farm/food topic)

Pa �y Carmo dy Smith Feb 4 ‐ Apr 3

Fantasy Photo‐ graphy Apr 9 ‐ May 29

Bluff Country Studio ART TOUR Fri‐Sun April 29, 30 & May 1 10am ‐ 5pm

Kids Create! Family Art EARTH DAY Celebra�on Sat., April 30, 10am ‐ 2pm

In partnership with Eagle Bluff – Spring 2011 – 43

no idea that I would end up in a kitchen in a restaurant (or back in Iowa for that matter!), but a restaurant gave us an opportunity to work together in an environment that could make use of our very disparate skill sets. Frederique: I don’t think I decided either. It came naturally as I always loved entertaining and sharing new flavors and stories about Algeria with friends and guests

Name: Brian Bruening / Age: 34 Name: Frederique Boudouani / Age: 38 Restaurant: Schera’s Algerian American Restaurant Number of Years Cooking: We’ve both been cooking since we were very young.

Formal training or live-and-learn? Brian: Nothing formal. I learned to cook when I was younger because my parents are farmers and would often have little time to get something together to eat. So it would fall on us kids to get lunch and dinner together. I’m also a cookbook collector – especially from the 1950s and 1960s – so I’ve learned a lot from them. Frederique: The School of Motherhood… I am not sure it is recognized by the James Beard Award but What’s the best thing I truly credit all my culinary knowledge to both my Frederique, left, and Brian, right. you’ve ever made? mother and grandmother, in fact I still keep my mom’s Brian: My secret talent is for number on speed dial for inspiration or if I am yearning for a making really great soup, especially vegetarian ones, out of basic childhood flavor that I am trying to replicate. ingredients I have around the kitchen. Soup making is culinary art at its most aesthetic – ­ unlike baking which is very much a What’s your earliest or most significant memory of cooking or numbers game. being cooked for? Frederique: Harissa, a complex Algerian hot sauce that involves Brian: I’ve always loved to grow things, a love I think I got from my a slew of ingredients and a lot of love. Someone recently called Grandma Bruening. We had a garden and raised our own meat, having it available for sale, “a moral imperative!” lol so I’ve had that connection to where my food came from. It’s a logical step to move from growing food to cooking it. Do you have any monumental food fails you’d like to share with Frederique: One of my fondest and earliest memories is making us? almond pastries before Eid, a holiday in Algerian to celebrate the Brian: When I was in high school, I had to make a Mexican meal end of the month of fasting. for my family and report on it. I decided on breakfast and made my own chorizo. So I dutifully followed the recipe that involved Why did you decide to become a chef? something along the lines of three teaspoons of cayenne pepper Brian: I didn’t, it comes with having a restaurant! But seriously, to a pound of meat. The chorizo was so spicy I wouldn’t have been I love being in the kitchen because it allows me a creative outlet surprised if it burned a hole in the frying pan. Suffice to say, nobody while simultaneously providing a living. When I was in college, I had ate the chorizo…I think we ended up eating cold cereal in the end. I learned that recipes are merely guides that need to be adjusted to your audience. Frederique: Using too much heat spice in a soup and trying to remedy the fail by doubling the batch and before you know it, ending up with gallons of soup. So unless you are planning to feed your whole town, use heat spices s t sparingly. lol c

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How about secret food indulgences you don’t normally talk about? Will you tell us? Brian: Sweets, especially caramels, most especially fleur de sel caramels. Frederique: My secret indulgence lately has been Ramen Noodles, though I usually get rid of the little seasoning packet and create my own broth experimenting with new ingredients. Try it, one of the best comfort food that I can think of, and its like $.25. What’s Brian’s favorite… Ingredient: Lately it’s been harissa. I often add a dab of it to soups to give it a little bit of heat and spice but if you are judicious with it, it will

stay in the background and support the other flavors, especially potentially bland vegetables like potatoes and zucchini. Dish: Scrambled eggs with garden fresh vegetables and herbs. Eggs are a perfect canvas for enjoying the bounty of the spring and summer garden. Cookbook: Too many to list, but Martha Stewart whole oeuvre has been extremely influential to me. Both my mother and her mother never really enjoyed cooking; it was a chore that had to be done. But Martha Stewart, in many ways, was in the forefront of the movement that said it is ok to enjoy cooking and gardening and domestic pursuits. She took the Julia Child love of proper cooking technique a step forward to a love of a good domestic environment and reshaped the concept of what it meant to be a home cook. Random (or not so random) kitchen tool: Microplane, I really don’t know how chefs managed to zest lemons and grate nutmeg before it. Vegetable: Kohlrabi, the lovely turnip-like cabbage cousin. We always had kohlrabis in the garden when growing up. I can munch on slices of them like chips, but they are completely guilt-free. Fruit: Clementines are the perfect portable fruit package. And they are almost always delightfully tart, which I love.

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The tasty shawarma (photo by Aryn Henning Nichols).

What’s Frederique’s favorite… Ingredient: Cinnamon, Black pepper, and onions, the Algerian culinary trinity, as it is often the beginning common denominator to Deliciousness. Dish: Couscous, not only the National dish of Algeria but of the Whole Maghreb (North Africa). It is an amazing experience to try different couscous in different places as it is in my mind almost an anthropological study of the region. Cookbook: An old family heirloom Algerian cookbook that I had to fight my siblings very hard for, some serious diplomacy and concessions where used to attain it. lol Random (or not so random) kitchen tool: Pestle and Mortar, my favorite alchemist tool. It’s like you are working on some magical elixir. Vegetable: Eggplant, it is truly one of those amazing discoveries that tradesmen brought back from the spice/silk routes. It went global after that with each culture adopting it and giving it its own twist. Fruit: Pomegranate. Although it is just hitting prominence in the US, it has been considered the fruit of Gods in many ancient cultures. It keeps showing new health properties each time a new study is done. I find it almost therapeutic as you go through the long process of seeding the fruit, till you get to the prized juicy seed. It also makes for a delicious Martini. :)

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Cantus, Not Cactus by Susie Clark


t all started at St. Olaf College,” says tenor (and ‘99 Luther graduate) Eric (Hopkins) Ellingsen. “In lieu of flipping burgers or mowing lawns, the founding members of Cantus spent their college summers traveling crosscountry, giving concerts for free-will offerings.” After graduation, the group thought it was a gig too good to retire, and so Cantus was made in to a professional non-profit ensemble. 2011 marks their eleventh season. Cantus is now celebrated as the premiere all-male vocal ensemble in the country. Based out of Minneapolis/St. Paul, the nine-member group performs nationally – nearly 80 concerts and 40 education outreach seminars every season. Through the Luther College Center Stage Series, Cantus will present “Before Us”. a musical exploration of American composers and choral tradition. If the group’s name, Cantus, is pronounced correctly, it’s Latin for melody or song. But for some reason, it’s stumbled over by many. “It’s really quite amusing,” says Ellingsen. “We’ve had people announce our name (Cantus) as ‘sanctus,’’”conscience,’ and even ‘cactus!’” 46 – Spring 2011 –

Believe it or not, Cantus’ artistic work is NOT inspired by a spiky desert plant; their goal is simple: Instill in its audiences a love for choral music. Through their position as Artists in Residence for Classical Minnesota Public Radio, Cantus will be doing just that. In its second year of existence, Classical MPR’s Artist in Residence Program is a one-year contract bringing some of the world’s greatest classical musicians to Minnesota. The residency includes performances across the state of Minnesota, as well as an educational component- sharing their musical knowledge and expertise with high school and college students. “We kind of act like ‘musical ambassadors,’” says Ellingsen. “Our job will be to give concerts to out-of-state communities that would otherwise not have access to a live performance of Cantus,” he explains. The ensemble will also be featured through on-air performances, and programs such as “Performance Today,” a showcasing of some of the world’s greatest classical musicians. One would think there would be room for plenty of ego, but ever-living up to the “Minnesota Nice” reputation, it’s not the case with Cantus. (There’s even a member named Aaron Humble.) The group relies on its members for direction – a kind of musical

democracy when it comes to performance and interpretation. “Each member of Cantus has an equal responsibility and investment in the artistic product,” Ellingsen says. “We get together and choose the theme and the music of our concerts. After that, each song is assigned a ‘producer,’ who then acts as the director for the individual piece.” Through individual artistic leadership, Cantus achieves a different blend

were mentored by Weston Noble and Anton Armstrong.” Each member’s background gives the educational component of Cantus’ mission even more impact. Visiting over 50 schools and colleges every year, Cantus works with over 5,000 students, performing master classes, school concerts, and festivals. “Choral music, and all other arts programs in schools, teaches so much more than just music. It teaches you math, reading, comprehension, confidence, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills,” says Ellingsen. “We in Cantus find it very important to advocate for arts education.” Luckily, it’s not difficult for Cantus Luther College’s Center for Faith to find ways to inspire students. 213 WEST WATER STREET and Life, Decorah. DOWNTOWN DECORAH Midwestern winters, however, are For ticket pricing and information less than inspiring. “On a tour to contact the Luther College Ticket Box Aberdeen, South Dakota, we got stuck in a ditch,” Ellingsen says. office at 563-387-1536. But despite frigid temps, snow, and HOUSEMADE SPECIALTIES ice, these men are never without a FROM AROUND THE GLOBE. sense of humor – and a pitch pipe. FULL CATERING AVAILABLE and feel for each song, treating audiences to a “While we were being pulled out, we all broke ON-SITE OR TO GO! one-of-a-kind choral experience. into song, singing a barber shop tag!” Proof Being host to some of the nation’s best that, for the nine members of Cantus, there is choral groups and educators, Midwest always something to sing about. MON-THURS: 10:30-8PM standards for choral music are high. Cantus FRI-SAT: 10:30-9PM shares Minneapolis’ choral spotlight with other greats such the Dale Warland Singers and the National Lutheran Choir. “Having the rich, Lutheran college choral tradition here in the Midwest has a great deal with making our music scene unique from those of New York or elsewhere,” Ellingsen says. “Over half Tappi Hughes, LMT/Owner of the current members of Cantus come from the Midwestern choral tradition and Cresco, Iowa & Preston, Minnesota 563-419-4084 Inspire(d) Intern, Susie Clark, (most commonly known as “Suz”) is proudly writing for her fourth issue of Monday thru Saturday Inspire(d) Magazine (Holler!). Her spare time this 9 am to 6 pm winter has been devoted to cross-country skiing, reading, and


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Mid West Music Fest:

Where music and community meet. April 15-16, 2011 by Benji Nichols

Highway 61 follows the Mississippi River Valley south from Red Wing, Minnesota to Winona and beyond – a trek that has certainly inspired many, and AmeriCorps volunteer Sam Brown was no exception. A late winter drive with a friend down this vividly gorgeous road planted an idea: Brown would help launch a community music festival in his new hometown. “I don’t know what kind of bug got into me but I wanted to see this happen in Winona. It was like why NOT do this?” The idea wasn’t just about creating a music festival, but also an event with involvement from the community at every step. Thus, the first Mid West Music Fest (MWMF), “an all-ages, multiplevenue, multiple-genre and multiple-day music festival,” was born. Its mission: to strengthen Winona’s community through music. The second annual MWMF will take place April 15 and 16, 2011 – just over one year after the very first MWMF organizational meeting. Brown admits to being slightly naïve last year about the number of festivals Winona already hosted, but also found it worked, and “chance had it that Winona is a city of festivals – great festivals all year round – with a community that supports them.” Brown wasn’t naïve, though, to music and festival planning. He started playing guitar as a teenager in Red Wing, Minnesota under the moniker of Bo.Monro. His path then led him to Salem, Oregon, where he attended Willamette University and got involved in a fledgling festival, “Wulapalooza.” Just three short years later, he was the president of the event, and brought it to a whole new level of community involvement. At that time he also worked the Mix-n48 – Spring 2011 –

Mash Festival in Salem, which later became the Cherry City Music Festival – a popular independent festival that has now featured hundreds of bands from across the Northwest and beyond. In 2009, when Brown made the decision to return to Minnesota as part of the AmeriCorps Learning Early Achieves Potential (LEAP) Initiative, he was given the choice of working in Caledonia or Winona, and quickly choose a position with the Southeast Minnesota Community Action Agency (SEMCAC) at Winona’s Head Start. Despite knowing virtually no one in the town, he did know there was a strong student base, and a love for music. “It was my first time being in a new community without being in school – and that can make it difficult to connect,” says Brown. “But I feel really lucky to have met the people I’ve met. There’s a great community here.” In addition to Head Start, SEMCAC provides outreach to 11 counties in Southeast Minnesota with services like: advocacy and crisis assistance, food shelves, homeless prevention and assistance, community development including energy and housing programs, health clinics, transportation, and senior services. Through his AmeriCorps supervisor, Brown was able to show that MWMF would be a project worthy of his Corps service and SEMCAC. People quickly got behind the festival, and true to its cause, 2010 proceeds helped raise funds for a Head Start tricycle path in Winona. “Even though I was integral in the concept of the festival, I definitely wanted there to be ownership in the community,” Brown says. “It really grew organically – I came up with a name and started asking people for time and help. We put everything into it.”

The first meeting of the ad-hoc steering team took place in March of 2010 with several volunteers. One of the members was Franklin Hessler, now co-director of the festival, and a friend of Brown’s. “I met Sam and he asked if I wanted to be a part of this music festival he wanted to do. Now I am doing an internship [as MWMF co-director] for my graduate degree in Educational Leadership,” says Hessler. “Working with so many great people is amazing, and Sam is a great fellow to have on your side.” Committees of students and local artists stepped forward to help create the first festival in just four months. “We received 270 submissions for bands to come play,” says Brown. “It was incredible. We had a lot of work to do to sort them out – and it’s hard – you’d like to tell everyone yes.” Out of the hundreds, 77 acts were chosen ranging from rock to bluegrass, blues to swing and big band – even a musical called “The Renewsical” which featured puppeteers acting and singing about renewable energy. Bands came from across the Driftless Region and beyond to play the two-day festival in venues such as the Masonic Temple, Winona State University, and local favorites like Ed’s No Name Bar and the Acoustic Café – 14 venues in total. The dream of a community-run Mid West Music Fest had become a reality. And about that community? “I was blown away by the support,” says Brown. The Winona Fine Arts Commission agreed to fund the festival with a $2,000 grant, and additional donations came from the United Central Methodist Church, Hiawatha Broadband Communications, RTP Company, area banks and businesses, and of course from ticket holders. In the end, the 2010 festival saw over 1100 participants with 800 patrons and more than 120 volunteers. The festival was able to re-donate their Fine Arts Commission grant (and more!) back to the Commission and helped fund the trike path project – but most importantly – organizers realized it was plausible to plan another festival. The 2011 Mid West Music Fest has a couple of notable changes – it’s moved from summer to spring, for one. This year’s festival will take place April 15 and 16, in part to tap into the “12,000+ possibilities” (i.e. college students) who reside in the river town during the school year. And the planning continues to evolve. “Having a more horizontal group structure is great for planning this type of event,” says Hessler. “Everyone has different ideas about each aspect and things get done more efficiently – and our steering group is great.” Several area organizations are also sponsoring – and

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programming – specific stages this year – like Earth Day, Vega Productions, the popular fall Boats & Bluegrass festival, the Frozen River Film Festival, and MJG Productions, to name a few. Organizers are expecting over 80 bands at more than a dozen venues across Winona. Some of the regional line-up includes: Heiruspecs, Pert Near Sandstone, Charlie Parr, The Pines, Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles, Roster McCabe, Nicholas Mrozinski & The Feelin’ Band, Michelle Lynn, The People Brothers Band, Ill Chemistry, F.Stokes, More Than Lights, First Communion After Party, The Northwoods Band, Dustin Thomas, and more. The Winona Fine Arts Commission and Winona Community Foundation have stepped up to the plate again to help fund the festival, along with countless local businesses and organizations. “Sam’s enthusiasm and single-mindedness were contagious,” says Greg Neidhart, Commission member. “The Winona Fine Arts Commission was pleased to provide early support to the Mid West Music Fest and continued support as the festival moves into its second year. This event is yet another example of how our region has been shaped, in recent years, by passionate, forward thinking and committed artists, arts leaders, and arts supporters.” Proceeds from this year’s MWMF will go to three causes: an art supply fund for the Winona Arts Center’s “Inspire Children’s Workshops”, Winona State University’s “Kids First” program, and the Winona Fine Arts Commission’s grants program. Despite the seemingly endless hours of planning, organization, promotion, fundraising, and physical labor of putting on the festival – you’ll still find Sam Brown humbly powering on with his crew to create the best event possible. “When you are so close to it, and putting so much of yourself into it you want to see it succeed – but you can’t guarantee it,” he says. “I just work as hard as I can to make it successful.” Help make the 2011 Mid West Music Festival a success April 15-16. You can visit for the full 2011 line-up and important details. Benji Nichols has been making a living by making noise since 1999. He is inspire(d) by MWMF and the power of music lovers across the world to make a difference. Support local, live music wherever you can.

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Verne Koenig knows what’s important in life: Family, music, and pie. Verne Koenig, a long time resident of Decorah, started his career in radio at KFJB in Marshalltown, Iowa. Eventually, he settled in Decorah and became co-owner of KDEC radio along with Ken Bjerke. He still lives in Decorah with his wife Ardith. They’ve been married for 68 years. Interview by Sarah Cisco, granddaughter of Verne and Ardith. 1. What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?

My Dad said, Be your self. Do the best you can with what you’ve got and you’ll turn out okay.” So, I’ve tried to follow that and I believe it works. 2. How about the worst?

If anybody did give me terrible advice, I don’t remember it. 3. What did you want to be when you grew up?

A Country and Western cowboy singer on radio. 4. What do/did you do?

I did become a Country and Western singer and it grew into my career of a radio station personality, entertainer, newscaster, announcer, emcee, and so forth. And that eventually lead to my owning and operating a radio station in Decorah. 5. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?

My guitar, my stamp collection, and my recordings. 6. Try to describe yourself in one sentence.

I’m someone who cares deeply for humanity. I hate brutality and wars. 7. If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Any kind of pie.

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

8. Name one thing you could not live without.

The love of my wife & family, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. 9. Multiple choice: tell us about; Your favorite memory.

Meeting and announcing with Ronald “Dutch” Reagan during a high school football game over KFJB. Reagan came from WHO radio in Des Moines to fill in for our sportscaster who was ill.

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