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406 West Water Street . Decorah, Iowa . 563.382.4103


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

SPRING 2017 contents


What we’re loving right now


Lindy Weilgart / Whale Researcher


Sum of Your Biz…Brittany Todd


Female Mountain Bikers (Rule)!


Paper Project: Rad Awards!


Hannah Breckbill / Farmer


Infographic: Empower more Girls


Anna Bolz / Chef


Probit: Sarah Andersen



+Short Profiles from YOU on Women Who Inspire YOU!

...and more! ON THE COVER:


Roxie is proud of her first Inspire(d) Magazine cover, and so am I. It was fun to work with her on it, and every time I see her drawing in this photo, I’m reminded of the most important reason I do what I do: Her. / photo by Aryn Henning Nichols \ Spring 2017



Center 2016 17



The Nile


SATURDAY • MARCH 4 • 7:30 p.m.

A thrilling musical exploration of Nile identity

Gift certificates available in any amount • Luther College Ticket Office • • (563) 387-1357




SATURDAY • MARCH 11 • 7:30 p.m.

Theatrical martial-arts prowess of kung fu masters



Bad Plus FRIDAY • APRIL 7 • 7:30 p.m.

Pushing the musical limits of jazz, indie rock, and iconoclast covers Tickets on sale March 9

2016–17 Center Stage Sponsors

Media Supporters The Decorah Newspapers


Decorah Newspapers

From the Editor


verything about this spring issue reminds me of why I make Inspire(d) Magazine, and why I work every day to be a strong, smart, brave woman: our tiny four-year-old daughter. We women are an amazing gender, and while I mean no disregard for the sometimes hairier sex, we have to stick together. For many years we’ve had to prove ourselves to the world. That we’re capable, that we’re strong, that we’re smart and worth just as much as any other human being. I feel that. Definitely as a business owner and boss. As a spouse. As a mother. I strive to illustrate and help Roxie realize that girls can do motha-effin’ anything. I asked her recently if there was anything she thought girls couldn’t do. She said no. I want her to have that answer for the rest of her life. So, to that effect, we’ve featured some kick-ass women throughout these pages. We start it off with whale expert Lindy Weilgart – she grew up in Decorah and graduated from Luther, and is now one of the leading scientists in the field of sperm whale communication. Brittany Todd shares with us her mad life skills for the Sum of Your Business. She’s been capturing memories for folks for nearly seven years through Photography by Brittany, and gives us the low-down on home office vs. downtown office. I had the pleasure of interviewing some super rad female mountain bikers from all around the Driftless Region – from Lake Mills to Minneapolis to La Crosse, and right here in Decorah. I am seriously inspired and can’t wait to hit the trails. For real. Plus, I learned some really cool info about high school cycling leagues and hope I can get Roxie interested some day! The ever-talented Kristin Anderson is back again with an awesome paper project: rad awards. You can give these to the women (or men, or kids, or grandparents) in your life at any point. Congratulate them on passing a test, or for totally adulting, or being the best friend ever. Just have fun. Kristine Jepsen writes about Hannah Breckbill and Humble Hands Farm. They overcame last year’s flood and are now planting the seeds for not only their farm, but community growth too. And Sara Friedl-Putnam interviewed Decorah native and now New York-living pastry chef Anna Bolz. Anna works at renowned restaurant, Per Se, where she concocts desserts of amazing levels of deliciousness. In the “empower my girl” category, I put together an infographic to offer us some ideas – from reading books by awesome female authors to just being confident in yourself. Of course, our probituary, Sarah Andersen, is an inspiring woman too – I just loved her story. Plus, throughout the whole magazine are wonderful short stories submitted by all you lovely readers. Yep, you shared tales about inspiring women in your lives, and we got them all bundled up like little love notes. Just thinking about them makes me happy! So enjoy, my friends. Say “Happy Women’s Day” March 8. Say “Thanks” to your mom. Say, “You’re amazing,” to your wife, partner, or best friend. Every day, let’s work to bring more light into the world, like a burgeoning spring season. After a while, you’ll realize – one day – that it’s 7 pm... and it’s still light out. Looking forward,

What’s it mean?

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

Who are we? Co-founders:

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

We couldn’t do it without: Kristine Kopperud Jepsen / contributor Sara Friedl-Putnam / contributor Kristin Anderson / paper project Inspire(d) Magazine is published quarterly by Inspire(d) Media, LLC, 412 Oak Street, Decorah, Iowa, 52101. This issue is dated Spring 2017, issue 49 volume 10, Copyright 2016 by Inspire(d) Magazine.

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

Aryn Henning Nichols 05


right now

A little list of what we think is awesome in the Drifltess Region this spring...

Luna Valley Pizza Farm

In our humble opinions, there are few things tastier than pizza. It’s at least two out of three members of the Inspire(d) HQ family’s favorite food. But do you know what puts pizza over the top? A lovely setting in which to eat it.  Also, making it wood fired, and knowing that a bunch of other lovely people will be out picnicking and enjoying said pizza as well. Which brings us to our point: We are SO EXCITED that our friends Maren and Tom Beard at Luna Valley Farm are launching a pizza farm! Maren and Tom’s Luna Valley is this beautiful organic farm in rural

Driftless Books & Music

Over the river and through the valley sits a wonderfully enormous collection of used books (and music). It’s something akin to a Dr. Seuss story really, in beautiful, spine-bound voluminous glory and wild sculptures. Since 2004, Driftless Books has been collecting and selling used books from one of the old Viroqua Leaf Tobacco Company buildings (a whole story in its own right…). Proprietor Eddy Nix, a Driftless region native, found both a world travelogue and love for pages, which eventually led to purchasing a few large lots of


Dance & Theatre



What We’re

Decorah filled with grass-fed sheep and cattle, veggies and fruit, pastures, fields, streams… seriously, this place is like living in a painting. And starting this fall, folks will get to visit, set up a picnic, and eat the best food ever. They’re planning to open the gates to the public most Fridays April through October in 2018, with a short season starting September 1, 2017. We are “loving” the pizza farm now, though, because anyone can currently get in on a piece of the pie (literally). They’re running a Kickstarter March 1 – 31. Kickstarter backers can choose from rewards as simple as $1 for updates or $5 for a sticker... to tickets to their soft opening mid-August to a membership to their CSP (community supported pizza - good for one season)... all the way on up to one awesome Luna Valley Lifer (i.e. (luna)tic) who wants to throw down $10k for pizza for life (suh-weet)! We hit up the A to Z Produce Pizza Farm outside of Stockholm, Wisconsin, a few years ago and loved the experience. We think Luna Valley Pizza Farm will be such an amazing fit for this corner of Northeast Iowa! For more details and a link to the Kickstarter campaign, head on over to Pizza on Earth, friends!




MARCH 1: 8:00 PM MARCH 3: 7:30 PM MARCH 2: 7:30 PM MARCH 4: 1:30 PM



GINA GIONFRIDDO BECKY SHAW BYAt storre theatre MAY 5: 7:30 PM APRIL 28: 7:30 PM APRIL 29: 1:30 & 7:30 PM MAY 6: 1:30 PM


Ticket information & full 2016-17 Luther Dance & Theatre season details at 01 06

Spring 2017 /



You can’t plan for everything, but you can make smart financial decisions to help you prepare for the things you want in life—and for the things that could change it all.

books – which turned into more books, and more books. The store itself is a well-organized adventure of just about any type of book one might imagine, interspersed as well are used records, artwork, local goods – you get the idea. Live original music has been gracing the space as well, with a full lineup set as soon as the doors open again this spring – sometime around March 15. (The shop closes in winter for the coldest couple months each year.) Open Mic Tuesdays are now a staple for Driftless performers of various stripes and formats. We’d also be remiss to not mention that the Wisconsin Roots Music Co-Op is housed in a loft of the building – keep an eye out for more info on everything they are up to including local music session videos and more! Check out our monthly calendars for more specific dates/shows this spring, or visit

Let’s talk about how you can protect your family and prepare for the future. Call your local Thrivent Financial representative or visit

Decorah Area Team • 563-382-1801 218 E. Water Street • Decorah, IA 52101 Jeff Olinger, FIC, CLTC® Financial Representative Karen Trewin, FIC, CCPS® Financial Associate

Thrivent Financial was named one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” by Ethisphere Institute 2012–2016.

Norwegian Ridge Language Camp 2017: Alt for Barna! (For the Children) Viking Challenges & Traditions June 5-9 ages 5-9 June 12-16 ages 10 and older Just when you think Spring Grove, Minnesota, couldn’t get any sweeter, you find out they’ve been offering up an a Norwegian Language Camp for kiddos early each summer! Learn basic Norwegian language skills in the first Norwegian settlement in Minnesota? Of course Spring Grove is doing this! (continued on next page)

Thrivent Financial was named one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” by the Ethisphere Institute. We earned this distinction as a result of our leadership in promoting ethical business standards and for introducing innovative ideas to benefit the public. The Ethisphere Institute is a leading international think tank dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anticorruption and sustainability. “World’s Most Ethical Companies” and “Ethisphere” names and marks are registered trademarks of Ethisphere LLC. This is a solicitation for insurance. A Thrivent Financial representative may contact you. Insurance products issued or offered by Thrivent Financial, the marketing name for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Appleton, WI. Not all products are available in all states. Thrivent Financial representatives are licensed insurance agents/producers of Thrivent. For additional important information, visit Appleton, Wisconsin • Minneapolis, Minnesota • 800-847-4836

29282C N9-16 \ Spring 2017


Est. 1961

People you can trust. Quality you can depend on.

Norwegian Ridge Language Camp immerses students in the culture of Norway through geography, history, and experiences. In collaboration with Spring Grove Public School, iPads are used to assist with lessons. Activities might take campers on a tour in the immediate areas in and around Spring Grove or allow them to use their hands painting or have fun playing sports. Students get to enjoy hot homemade traditional Norwegian meals and traditional Norsk baking, music, handcrafts, and more. Plus, they make new friends in a fun and supportive setting! Learn more and register your campers at Pssst: Want a preview of sweet Spring Grove? Head up there for Syttende Mai – May 17 – for a fun-filled, history-rich celebration of Norwegian proportions.

Porter House 150th / Soiree We love the Porter House on historic Broadway Street in Decorah, and not just for the quirky “nature art”, and extensive butterfly and bug collections, but the entire slice of history preserved inside its stone wall. The story of the place is enough to base a modern novel on, and the Porter’s travels are full of mystique and worldwide wanderlust. The house and grounds are a perfect Midwest daydream on a summer day as well. Yep, we love the place. It also turns out that 2017 is a very special year for the Porter House Museum. 2017 marks 150 years since the original house was built in 1867, when Burt and Grace were mere sparkles in their parents’ eyes. As such, many special events are being planned throughout the year to celebrate this anniversary, including “Soiree 150”, a birthday party of sorts, gathering friends and supporters over live music, refreshments, a short program, and interactive displays. The event will be held April 23 in the upstairs of T-Bock’s in downtown Decorah. Supporters are encouraged to attend in their best vintage / historic Porter House-era wear! Additional events throughout the year will include a lecture series (March 2, 16, and 31), June Garden Party, a butterfly walk and monarch tagging event in August, cemetery walk with Kristin Underwood in September, and musical concert in October. Check the beautifully designed for additional information on special events as well as visiting the museum.

A Colorable Travel Guide to Winneshiek County, IA Monday: 9am - 8pm Tues - Fri: 9am - 5pm Saturday: 9am - 3pm 3 goldsmiths 1 graduate gemologist 1 watchmaker 2 diamond setters

31 West Main Street Waukon, Iowa 800.932-7028 • 563.568-3661 08

We’re pretty sure we’ve mentioned how awesome Decorah artist Lauren Bonney is, right? Well, hold on to your seat, folks, because she just released a project put together in conjunction with ArtHaus, Travel Iowa, Agora Arts and Anundsen Publishing Company: A Colorable Travel Guide to Winneshiek County, IA. Lauren created super cool, original, colorable illustrations of different locales around Winneshiek County like

Spring 2017 /

Dunnings Spring Park, Luther College, or even the Winneshiek Farmers Market. These pages are, honestly, already beautiful in black and white, but they would be great fun to color in by yourself or with your kids! Here at Inspire(d) HQ, we’re enjoying coloring pages with different mediums: watercolors, markers, crayons, colored pencils… you get the picture. So get the picture(s)! Folks can pick up a Colorable Travel Guide to Winneshiek County, IA online at or right in downtown Decorah at ArtHaus, Agora Arts or Dragonfly Books.

MWREA Energy Fair 2017 “The Energy Fair” is what most folks call it. No need to name specifics if you’re familiar, as the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) has been hosting this event for almost three decades. But there’s no exclusivity found here – just a warm, welcoming community of folks interested in exploring just about every facet of the alternative energy and sustainability sectors. What started as a small grassroots movement interested in

creating a sustainable future, has blossomed into a nationally-known event with lots of great workshops and exhibitors. Since the first Fair in 1990, the Midwest Renewable Energy Association has “powered” the fair, “promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through education and demonstration.” The nonprofit organization has become a powerhouse (no pun intended) in the upper Midwest for solar and renewable causes, including training and certification courses in the renewable energy field. ( The 28th Annual Energy Fair will be held June 16-18 in Custer, Wisconsin. Located just east of Stevens Point, The Fair goes beyond the informational aspects of renewable energy, creating a weekend-long event filled with live music, inspiring keynotes (like Tesla Co-Founder, JB Straubel), kids events, food demonstrations, camping, vendors, great community, and more. Heck, there’s even a Green Mini Demo Derby! (Yep, you’ll just have to see it to understand!) Discount tickets for attendees go on sale April 1 at or 715-592-6595 FYI: New and notable for 2017 will be the addition of a second Fair in St. Paul this fall, September 9-10, with a special solar professional day September 8. Details at



DREAMS In the Driftless Area & beyond

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Looking for more details about events on the calendars?

10. April 1: Comedy Night in Spring Grove! Two headliner comedians performing live on stage! Fest Building, 8:00 pm. Search SGParks on Facebook or for info.

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

11. April 1: Takin’ It to the Limit with an Eagles Tribute featuring the Fabulous Armadillos and Collective Unconscious. Potter Auditorium, Chatfield Center for the Arts, $30/$35.

1. March 1: Join us in bringing wood-fired pizza, craft brew and community to Luna Valley Farm through supporting our Kickstarter campaign (March 1-31). More info at 2. March 4: Seed starting workshop, Seed Savers: basics of seed selection, seed starting, transplants, & tips for urban gardening + behind-the-scenes farm tour. $5 Register: 3. March 10: Wine, Chocolate & Cheese Event at Empty Nest Winery; registration for prizes at 5:30, food and fun at 6:00. Grab your friends & come!

12. April 3: Local author Jerry Johnson returns to Dragonfly Books with his latest book, A Limit of Coot.  Author talk/signing 7pm.  Dragonfly Books. Free!

25W/ $25B

4. March 11, April 15, & May 20: Muscle Activation Techniques™/Try It Out Labs: BODY LOGICS, inside Decorah’s Anytime Fitness, 10 AM. Make Reservations w/ Scott Searcy @ 516.732.5751 5. March 12: The Oneota Valley Community Orchestra presents “Music That Tells a Story.” Come hear Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” narrated by Kristen Underwood & Beethoven’s “Pastorale Symphony.” 3pm DHS Auditorium. 6. March 18: “Kinder-Folk on Stage.” A celebration of spring, the arts, and Kinderhaus Preschool. Live music, spoken word, coloring, free appetizers, and cash bar. Free will donation. T-Bock’s Upstairs, 7 pm. 7. March 24: Apple Grafting / Apple School, Seed Savers Exchange. Choose your 1/2 day workshop March 24, 25, April 7, or 8. Learn more & register:

13. April 6: New Minowa Players presents The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer April 6-9 at NMP Theatre. More information at or contact Sheryl Scheffert 563-379-5738, sherylscheffert@gmail. com

14. April 7: Weekend of ArtHaus: April 7 – Winter Weekend Emerging Artist Exhibition. April 8 – Local Artists Age 18-25 Cringe Night. Read your old diaries and CRINGE. April 9 – Second Sunday Family Workshop.  15. April 9: Empty Bowls – Decorah fundraiser at Hotel Winneshiek from 11-2. A simple meal of soup & bread, and a bowl to take home, $20 donation. 16. April 11: Bestselling author Greer Macallister (Girl in Disguise; Magician’s Lie) returns to Dragonfly Books! Book discussion with Decorah Public Library, 5pm. Author talk/signing 7pm, Dragonfly Books. Free! 17. April 14: Nickolas Butler, bestselling author of Shotgun Lovesongs, at Dragonfly Books with his new book, The Hearts of Men. Author talk/signing 7pm. Free!

8. March 24: Midwestern author Casey Pycior presents his short story collection The Spoils at Dragonfly Books.  Author talk/ signing 7pm. Free!

18. Weekend of ArtHaus: April 21 – Earth Day Weekend Poetry Slam, featuring David Wright & Marci Rae Johnson. April 22 –Arts Off Campus w/ Dr. Kate Elliott. April 22 & 23 – Tabletop Mosaics.

9. March 25: Free concert for all ages with the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra in the newly renovated, historic Potter Auditorium, Chatfield Center for the Arts, 7:30pm.

19. April 22: Join the Oneota Co-op for their annual Earth Day Celebration from 5-7pm in Water Street Park. Including local music, local food, & local friends!

women’s weekend out | decorah, iowa

Entertainment all over town In-store promotions, demonstrations & parties Door prizes & giveaways

friday, saturday & sunday march 31-april 2, 2017 10

Spring 2017 /

Style Show Brunch Fantastic SHOPPING deals, extended hours! Lodging packages available

Local Pizza Farm Fun! Luna Valley Farm Kickstarter through March 31






Lillian 1 Goldman Visitors Center Opens for Season! Seed Savers, Decorah




3 2



Seed Starting Workshop, Seed Savers

March 9-12: Oneota Film Festival

MARCH 4: • The Nile Project, Luther CSS, CFL, 7:30pm • Dead Pigeons, Haymarket, 9:30pm



27 28 Conor 26 Oberst, MARCH 25: Englert, Iowa • Breakfast in a Victorian City, 7pm Kitchen, Villa Louis • Deece Grateful Dead Night, Ed’s, Winona, 9pm




March 30-31 + April 1: Trust Me, Luther Visual and Performing Arts, CFA

Wood Chickens, Driftless Books & Music, Viroqua, 7pm




Joe & Vicki Price, Ed’s No Name, Winona


Happy St. Patty’s Day!


Mike McAbee, Hideaway, Chaseburg, WI, 7-10pm

31 March Comedy 31- April 2: Night, T-Bock’s Women’s Upstairs, Weekend 8:30pm Out Decorah

BoxStore Bird, Driftless Books & Music, Viroqua, 7pm







Author Greer Macallister, DPL 5pm, Dragonfly Books 7pm


April 4-9: Mission Creek Festival, Iowa City








Jeffrey Focault, Cavalier, La Crosse, 8pm

APRIL 28-29: • Becky Shaw, Luther Visual & Performing Arts, Storre Theatre • Mid West Music Fest Winona





8 14 Colin O’Brien Weekend and Travis of ArtHaus Burch, – Artists’ Driftless Books Opening, & Music, Cringe Night, Viroqua, 7pm & Famiy Workshop

11 “Takin’ It to the Limit” Eagles Tribute Chatfield CFA


10 1 April 1: Comedy Fattnin’ Frogs, Night, Spring Haymarket, Grove Fest Decorah, Building, 8pm 9:30pm

March 31- April 2: Women’s Weekend Out Decorah


April 28-29: Allamakee Wood Fired Pottery Kiln Firing and studio tour



Osborne Nature Center garlic mustard cook off!

April 28-30: Bluff Country Studio Art Tour



Weekend Nathan Kalish, of ArtHaus Driftless Books Poetry Slam & & Music, more Viroqua, 7pm Tret Fure, Chatfield CFA, 7:30pm



Pine Travelers, Haymarket, Decorah, 9:30pm

Decorah Time Trials Mtn Bike Race


The Gambol, Haymarket, 9:30pm

19 22 Oneota Coop Earth Day Celebration, Water Street Park, 5-7pm

15 17 14 April 14-15: Author “When We Dead Awaken” Nickolas Butler Mid West Music Dragonfly opens April 14, Festival Books, 7pm Commonweal La Crosse Theatre, Over the Back Weekend Lanesboro Fence, St. Mane, Lanesboro 7:30pm

Margaret Cho, Englert, Iowa City, 7:30pm

13 6 NMP Presents The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer

APRIL 7: • The Bad Plus, Luther CSS, CFL, 7:30pm • Charles Walker Band, Haymarket, Decorah, 9:30pm


APRIL 22: • Earth Day 2017, Tani Diakite & more, Driftless Books & Music, Viroqua, 7pm • Ole Olsson’s Old Time Orkestra, Rävlek, St. Mane, 7:30pm • The Nitch, Vaudeville Variety Show, Elkader Opera House, 6pm



Author Jerry Johnson, Dragonfly Books, 7pm

Hiroya 30 Tsukamoto, Driftless Books & Music, Viroqua, 7pm

20 23 Porter House Soiree 150, T-Bocks Upstairs, 4-6pm

Celebrate National Park Week at Effigy Mounds


Kishi Bashi, Englert, Iowa City, 7pm


One of Us, Haymarket, 9:30pm


John Gorka & Lucy Kaplansky, CSPS, Cedar Rapids, 7pm


Empty Bowls Decorah, Hotel Winn, 11am-2pm



“Watershed Cairns, Joshua Rowan & Libby Reuter” opens April 7, MN Marine Art Museum, Winona



Kinderhaus “Kinder-Folk on Stage”, T-Bock’s Upstairs, 7pm

9 25 Gustavus March 24-25: Seed Savers “Apple School” Symphony Orchestra, Chatfield CFA, 8 7:30pm Author Casey Pycior, Doug Otto & Dragonfly The Getaways, Books, 7pm Haymarket


“I Am My Own Wife” opens March 16, Commonweal Theatre, Lanesboro


David 9 Foghorn 8 10 11 3 Shaolin Lindley, Stringband, Wine, Cheese, Warriors, Chatfield CSPS, Cedar & Chocolate, Luther CSS, CFA, 7:30pm Rapids, 7pm Empty Nest, 7:30pm Waukon, March 11: High School Art Show 5:30pm Opening, Lanesboro Arts, 6-8pm LazyLightning March 11, April 15, & May 20: Muscle Activation 420, Haymarket 4 9:30pm Techniques™/Try It Out Labs: BODY LOGICS

MARCH 17: • Land at Last with guests Lou Shields, Driftless Books & Music, Viroqua, 7pm • Kiss Me I’m Irie, Trempealeau Hotel



MARCH 12: • Johnny Counterfit, Elkader Opera House, 2pm • Waukon St. Patrick’s Day Parade • Carrie Newcomer, CSPS, Cedar Rapids, 7pm


Oneota Valley Community Orchestra, Music that Tells a Story, DHS, 3pm


MARCH 10: • Over the Back Fence, St. Mane, Lanesboro, 7:30pm • Dave Nachmanoff, Chatfield CFA, 7:30pm


March 1-4: The Nether, Luther College Visual and Performing Arts, CFA


fun stuff to do


March “Minnesota Illustrated: Prints of Adam Turman” through April 2, MN Marine Art Museum, Winona

fun stuff to do



Joe & Vicki Price, Courtyard & Cellar, Decorah


Bill Staines, Chatfield CFA, 6:30pm



Mother’s Day Cider & Strudel, Seed Savers, Decorah


Mozart’s Requiem, Decorah Chorale & Oneota Valley Comm. Orchestra, 3pm




Author Faith Sullivan, Dragonfly Books, Decorah, 7pm


Tuesday Wednesday














Trempealeau Hotel Reggae Fest

Music & Monarchs Fest Founder’s Park Elkader


Local H, Cavalier, La Crosse, 8pm



Brianna Kocka & Kari Arnett, Driftless Books & Music, Viroqua, 7pm

Historic Forestville “They Built This Town” Cemetery Tour, 10:15am, Rural Preston

World on the Wall: Globetrotting through Vesterheim’s Fine Art Collection Exhibition through October 27, 2017

Happy Birthday Benji!


Chris Koza Pioneer “The Elephant with Nickel & Immersion Man” opens Rose, Driftless Program May 19, Open House Commonweal Books & Music, Viroqua, 7pm Vesterheim, Theatre, 4:30-6:30 pm Lanesboro Happy B-Day Aryn!

Kodachrome Memory: Both Sides of the Mighty Mississippi, Photographs by Nathan Benn, MN Marine Art Museum, Winona


Syttende Mai Local Author Celebration, Vesterheim – Keith Lesmeister, free admission, children’s Dragonfly Books, 7pm parade, Nordic Dancers, more


9 10 11 29 12 MAY 6: • Decorah Fire Department Ultra Mega Bucket of Color Fun Run Mega, Luther • Flowers & Birds of Historic Forestville CFA open Walking Tour, 10:30am & 1pm house, 6-9pm • Breakfast in a Victorian Kitchen, The Heavy Set, Villa Louis, Prairie du Chien Haymarket, • Evergreen Grass Band, Haymarket, 9:30pm 9:30pm

COMING UP: June 2: Elkader City Park disc golf tournament June 3: Art by the River Festival, Guttenberg (April 1 deadline for entries!) June 3: “Rural Aesthetics: Patricia Canelake” Opening, Lanesboro Arts, 6-8 pm June 3: “Garden Bugs: Pollinators, Pests, and Friends” Seed Savers, Decorah




May 7: Murder Mystery Dinner Theater, Empty Nest Winery



24 April 6: INHF Invasive plant removal, Heritage Valley, rural Waukon

6 25 ArtHaus Gala Seed Savers Annual Plant & Annual Fundraiser! Sale 9am-5pm 26 Johnsmith, Seed Savers St. Mane, Spring Garden Lanesboro, School! 7:30pm 10am-3pm


“Small Treasures: Sara Lubinski” through May 28, Lanesboro Arts

May 5-6: Becky Shaw, Luther Visual and Performing May 8: The Steel Wheels, Arts, Storre Theatre CSPS, Cedar Rapids, 7pm

Visit Historic Forestville, rural Preston, MN





fun stuff to do

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Inspire(d) World’s Greatest Party


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



Questions? Email

(Direct link:

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


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

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

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

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

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

25 Words/$25 Bucks


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

20. April 23: Porter House Museum’s sesquicentennial (1867-2017), T-Bocks upstairs. Program, music, refreshments and cash bar. Optional vintage/historic festive wear! 4-6pm 21. April 28-29: Wood-firing! Join Allamakee Wood Fired Pottery at the kiln as we fire during Bluff Country Studio Tour & watch flames rage though the pots! Rural New Albin.



Our campers will learn basic Norwegian language skills & discover Norway through history, crafts, geography, traditional Norwegian meals, music, baking, & more... all while making friends in a supportive, fun setting!

Viking Challenges & Traditions

Spring Grove, MN June 5-9 ages 5-9 June 12-16 ages 10 & up

507.498.2267 REGISTER TODAY!

25W/ $25B

22. May 1: Visit Historic Forestville – Saturdays only in May/Sept/Oct. Memorial Day Weekend-Labor Day: Thurs- Sun $6-8. Step back in time to 1899. Where real history happened! 507-765-2785


23. May 2: Author Faith Sullivan (Goodnight Mr. Wodehouse, The Cape Ann, Gardenias, What a Woman Must Do) at Dragonfly Books! Author talk / signing 7 pm. Free! 24. May 6: You’re invited! Help Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation hand-pull unwanted plants from outstanding 1,200-acre woodland near Waukon. No experience necessary. Lunch provided. Kids welcome. 515-288-1846 www.inhf.orgf 25. May 6: Annual Plant Sale, Seed Savers Exchange: Rare family heirlooms & historic commercial varieties of flowers, vegetables, fruit trees. New this year: hops & strawberries. 9am-5pm. 26. May 6: Spring Garden School, Seed Savers: 10am-3pm workshop focusing seed starting, planning your garden for seed saving, and getting started with composting. Sign up: 




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27. May 7: Murder Mystery Dinner Theater at Empty Nest Winery. Advanced tickets only; $45/person includes 3 course dinner and Murder Mystery Comedy Production. Call 563-568-2758 for tickets. 28. May 7: The Decorah Chorale and Oneota Valley Community Orchestra (OVCO) will hold a joint concert to perform Mozart’s Requiem. No charge for admission however a free-will offering will be accepted. 3 pm, Decorah High School

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

29. May 12: Ultra Mega Mega, Luther College CFA, Visual and Performing Arts Spring Open House, 6-9pm 30. May 14: Mother’s Day Cider & Strudel, Seed Savers Exchange: Orchard in bloom, 20% off all purchases, cider, strudel, guided hike, apple history. More info: 31. May 16: Help us launch local author Keith Lesmeister’s first short story collection, We Could’ve Been Happy Here! Author talk / signing 7pm. Dragonfly Books. Free! 32. May 21: Original folk music matched with witty humor with songwriter/performer Bill Staines in the Legion Room, Chatfield Center for the Arts. 6:30pm. $20, limited seating. \ Spring 2017




Spring 2017 /

Whale fluke off New Zealand shores. /Photo by Lindy Weilgart \ Spring 2017


This is the first in our series of stories about inspiring women in or from the Driftless Region. each woman featured is working in an AWESOME, but often male-led, field or sport. We hope to inspire other women and girls to do and be anything!

“Sperm whales have a very interesting way of communicating and a very tight family unit. All the female family members stay together – mothers, daughters, and grandmothers – and raise one another’s calves peacefully and cooperatively. It’s extremely inspiring.” - Lindy Weilgart


Spring 2017 /

New Boutique in Downtown Decorah!

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Whale expert and bioacoustician Lindy Weilgart pauses during a walk in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Photo courtesy Greenpeace / August 2016

By Sara Friedl-Putnam


he six-month marine research trip – which would take whale researcher Lindy Weilgart to the waters of the storied Galápagos Islands – had been planned for more than a year. The pregnancy, though, had not. So when Lindy learned that her first child was due smack dab in the middle of the expedition, she could have decided to cancel their plans. Instead, she and her (now ex-) husband, Hal Whitehead, decided to roll with it.

Mother / Daughter Makeovers

111 E. Water St. Decorah, Iowa. 563.382.6212 \ Spring 2017


This page: A sperm whale underwater. Photo courtesy Whitehead Lab. Opposite page: Lindy Weilgart on the deck of the Arctic Sunrise. Photo courtesy Greenpeace / August 2016



Arnie Larson, PT & Paul Pellett, DPT

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fter assurances that the medical facilities in Quito, Ecuador, were just fine, the couple joined their crew aboard the 10-meter sloop Elendil in the Galápagos in December 1986. Weilgart was six months pregnant when they arrived, yet still fully participated in the crew’s sperm whale communication research for the next two months. Finally, at eight months pregnant and at the advice of her physician, she and Hal disembarked in Quito to wait out the remainder of the pregnancy. Within weeks she delivered her son, Benjamin. And just three weeks after that, she was back on board, seamlessly integrating the infant into everyday life at sea. Creativity was her guide – Little Benjamin’s bathtub, for example? A salad bowl. The amazing sea journey was the first of several that Benjamin and his younger sisters, Stefanie and Sonja, made with their parents over the years, though most excursions much closer to home. (Sonja, born in 1994, has cerebral palsy.) “We spent a lot of time with them on board over the years,” says Lindy, an adjunct member of the biology faculty at Dahlousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, and an expert on whale communication. “It was fulfilling to immerse my kids in the natural world, but they usually weren’t too thrilled with the whales because they took our attention away from them.”

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Affordable Elegance Menus with a worldly flair, featuring locally grown foods and homemade recipes. Still, it was a childhood their classmates likely envied – and one far removed from that of their mother, who grew up in landlocked Decorah, Iowa, far from any ocean. During the summer months, Lindy indulged in the water-based fun the area did offer, like floating down the Upper Iowa River and swimming with friends in the community pool. Those activities were the source of “much happiness,” she says, and also helped her find her calling: “The freedom to explore the outdoors without any worries and the opportunity to spend a lot of time around water no doubt helped set my sights on a career in marine exploration.” In 1978, Lindy enrolled at Luther College – where her parents, Annie and John, both taught. Those four years helped Lindy gain knowledge needed to pursue that career – she majored in biology and joined the “River Rats,” a group of biology students that spent their summers conducting Mississippi River research under the guidance of biology professor Jim Eckblad. “My interest in science was definitely sparked at Luther,” she recalls. “I led a research team my junior year, and that was pivotal in my decision to pursue research as a career.” After her Luther graduation, Lindy went on to study biopsychology at Memorial University in Newfoundland, where her master’s thesis focused on communication of North Atlantic pilot whales. In 1983, during a research trip supported by the World Wildlife Fund, she began studying communication in sperm whales, the giant but gentle creatures that would become the focus of her doctoral

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Let us help you with your next event. Phone: 563.387.1395 • Email: • Luther College, Decorah, Iowa \ Spring 2017


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Spring 2017 /

research at Dalhousie University and, it turns out, her life’s work. What she has learned about sperm whale communication over the past three decades is truly fascinating. The whales emit clicks, and those clicks not only separate sperm whales – creatures that can reach a length of 60 feet and a weight of 60 tons – from other whales but also manifest themselves in two distinct forms, feeding clicks and communication clicks. While underwater, sperm whales continually produce loud, steady clicks that pertain to feeding, as the whales echolocate – or decode information from echoes that bounce off potential prey – in search of food. Even more intriguing are the clicks emitted by sperm whales when they gather at the ocean’s surface to rest. These clicks, arranged in Morse-code-like patterns, known as codas, appear to emit a system of communication unique to sperm whales. “Sperm whales have a very interesting way of communicating and a very tight family unit,” says Lindy. “All the female family members stay together – mothers, daughters, and grandmothers – and raise one another’s calves peacefully and cooperatively. It’s extremely inspiring.” And that’s what made the discovery she made during a 1992 trip to the Galápagos Islands –taken as part of her postdoctoral research at Cornell University – so disturbing. “Even a little splash by a swimmer would freak them out,” she told Undark Magazine in 2016, remembering her surprise at how sensitive sperm whales were to noise. And if a swimmer could do that, what was the increased activity and traffic from boats, commercial shipping traffic, and military sonar systems doing to these mammoth mammals? Lindy likens the impact to an “acoustic smog.” “Most whales rely primarily on hearing and sound rather than sight to sense their environment,” she says, “and when their soundscape changes so that they cannot ‘see’ many points of interest, then they are flying blind.” Among the first to sound alarms about the detrimental impact of noise on sperm whales, Lindy has worked tirelessly over the last 20 years to bring others to her side. Her lengthy (and impressive) curriculum vitae details dozens of presentations and papers published in journals like American Scientist, Natural History, and the Christian Science Lindy speaking at the UN. Monitor. She has spoken as an expert on noise before the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, the International Whaling Commission, NATO, the European Parliament, and the United Nations. And she has served as an independent consultant for organizations that “don’t overblow issues and are concerned about accuracy and keeping everything science-based,” including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Humane Society International, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and Greenpeace (which with she travelled to the Arctic in 2016). “This work certainly has its frustrations, because conservation takes a long time to move, and I have often locked horns with very powerful entities like the U.S. Navy and oil and gas companies,” says Lindy. “But we have made some advances, and I do feel like I have made a difference – it’s pretty neat to know that I have left that legacy behind.” Some of Sara Friedl-Putnam’s earliest memories involve splashing and snorkeling in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. She has always loved oceans and the whales and other creatures who inhabit them.




arlier this year, we put out a call to folks in the Driftless Region: We wanted you to send us stories about the love and inspiration you get from amazing women in your lives. And as the essays started coming in, each one would brighten my day. I felt like I was putting together little love notes for all the women in our area. Throughout this issue of Inspire(d), we’ve shared those stories. Look for the logo above, and as you read each piece – whether short or long – think about all the amazing women in your life as well. The entire premise of this Women’s Issue was all about illustrating to our daughter, Roxie, that girls can do anything. We need to raise each other up, definitely stick together, and always inspire each other. What better place to start than right in your own community or in your own home? Let’s do this. Thank you to everyone who sent in a story about an inspiring woman in your life. I really enjoyed them – and I hope you do too! XOXO - Aryn Henning Nichols

Knowledgeable staff • Great Gifts • Book Signings

Hooray! We’re celebrating 5 years in business! Bestsellers plus special interest: gardening, Scandinavian, cooking, poetry, children’s books & more…even e-books! The women that have inspired me are… my sisters By Sue Nienhaus Sander, Decorah, Iowa

They aren’t just my sisters, but also my friends, my foes, my best enemies, my love of life, my shields, my angels…they are my mirror shining back at me a world of possibilities. They have inspired me to speak my mind, to never back down if you truly believe in something. They are my witnesses who see me not only at my best but also at my worst and love me anyway. They are my partners in crime, my midnight companions, my greatest assets, my laughing-until-you-cry companions. They know when I’m smiling even in the dark. They are strong, opinionated, my worst critics, my best adversaries, my go-to who will always have my back. They are my soul, my heart, my everything. Life won’t be life without my sisters. Pictured are my sisters – Nancy, Theresa, Sue – and our amazing father, Ray.” Nancy Nienhaus Kovarik, Festina, Iowa Theresa Nienhaus Romens, Glenwood, Iowa Sue Nienhaus Sander, Decorah, Iowa

563-382-4275 • 112 West Water Street, Decorah



Decorah High School Auditorium 3 pm - FREE! In the Steppes of Central Asia by Alexander Borodin Berceuse & Finale from the Firebird Suite by Igor Stravinsk Requiem by Mozart in collaboration with the Decorah Chorale + DONT MISS: Music That Tells a Story March 12, DHS, 3 pm Thanks to our sponsor:

Marion E. Jerome Foundation, Inc. \ Spring 2017



Brita Nelson, Decorah By Cerrisa Snethen, Decorah My friend Brita Nelson would never be the one to bring up her amazing personal qualities or accomplishments-- she’s generally too busy trying to quietly help the world or her friends, family, and community. And she does so with a quiet grace and humility that inspires me every day. Brita’s list of community contributions is vast. Whether serving as the Board President for our local Oneota Community Food Co-Op,

Sarah Krammen, Decorah by Rachel Rattenborg, Pittsburgh PA (formerly of Decorah)

me. I have never felt safer, less judged, or more loved than I do when I talk to my big sister. Whenever I need my ego brought down a notch, whenever I need my spirits boosted, whenever the world feels too big, she’s always there with the right thing to say. And I am so proud to watch her grow into the amazing woman she is today, a fierce woman who loves quickly, cares deeply, listens intently, fights passionately. My sister taught me love, what’s more inspiring than that?  Hey Sarah – MHGOTY”

Photography by Brittany

These days, I find myself crying on the couch more often than not. They aren’t tears of sadness, though, these tears well up from overwhelming feelings of love –­ a love I’ve never felt before. When I think about where this love is strongest, where it most wants to shoot out in the world, my sister is always at the top of the list. She is the most inspiring woman I have ever met. I’m constantly amazed by her strength and positive outlook on life. She has taught me the true meaning of unconditional love by forgiving me, understanding me, helping me, guiding me, listening to

helping out year after year with the Decorah United Way Book Sale, or serving Iowans with disabilities, Brita gives so much more than she takes. She’s someone you want to call to share your joy. Her blissful, genuine excitement buoys you. In tough times, her thoughtful listening, gentle non-judgement, and her faith in you, can carry you. When, as a woman you need five-minute-mentorship from someone wicked wise and insightful, she’s an ally. I’ve never seen someone so committed to her familial relationships. Brita adores her husband and family and is fiercely loyal and committed to being a rock for them. As a human being, she’s unwaveringly dedicated to growing and evolving. She stays open to the world in a rare, priceless way. In all of this, Brita stands tall in courage and heart. She’s does the quiet and methodical work-- of making things work. Her attention to detail is second to none. Her mental ability to understand complex ideas and apply real world solutions to problems regularly astounds and impresses me. I’m so grateful that we, as Northeast Iowans, get to have her in our lifeboat. Thanks for all of it, Brita. I’m so grateful to share in friendship and community with you. You are so loved. Appreciated. Valuable. You are the best of us.”

WE’RE YOUR BUSINESS PARTNER If only your office were so well equipped! Meetings at the Winn cover every detail, from custom-configured seating and AV assistance to full catering and bar options. The Hotel offers an array of spaces for events, whether you’re holding a private business dinner or company-wide training.

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Book your event in one of our facilities: Conference Center Meeting Rooms • Opera House • Lobby • Tap Room • Restauration


Spring 2017 /

Shop for Scandinavian Gifts in Vesterheim’s

Museum Store

50 Years of Folk Art Exhibit on view through April 23, 2017

Join us as we celebrate this major milestone of the groundbreaking Vesterheim Folk Art School! Learn about the history of Norwegian folk art, how Vesterheim has helped preserve and promote folk arts in America, and what the future holds for Norwegian-American folk arts.

Sweaters, T-shirts, Jewelry, Books Art Supplies . . . and more

World on the Wall Exhibit on view through Oct. 29, 2017

Travel the world through Vesterheim’s fine art collection! See over 35 rare and rarely displayed oils, watercolors, prints, and drawings of scenes from five continents by famous artists. Sponsored by Rob and Evy Alsaker.

A Class is a Blast Signauyp! tod at Vesterheim’s Folk Art School Kubbestol— From Log to Chair a class with Steve Speltz and Rebecca Hanna June 26-30, 2017 Learn all about this amazing traditional chair carved from a single log. During class, you will make your own 21-inch chair.


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

Find the class schedule and register online at Classes half price on stand-by for Winneshiek County residents.




April 1 am

Photography by Brittany

Hotel Winneshiek Sponsored in part by Inspire(d) Media, Hacker, Nelson & Co., P.C., Bank of the West, & KDEC


t’s lucky that Decorah photographer Brittany Todd “never gets sick of wedding cake.” Because in the nearly seven years she’s been running Photography by Brittany, she’s surely eaten a lot of it. From weddings in Decorah to shoots in locations as far away as New Orleans, Brittany and team have been there for the memories, the vows, and the cake. Of course, weddings aren’t the only moments Brittany’s team captures – there’s also engagements, families, graduating seniors, and a shoot option called… “All Up in Your Business,” where – you guessed it – Brittany photographs your business. Business is something Brittany has learned a lot about over the years. What started out as a hobby post-graduation has turned into a real-life career, and now encompasses a team of seven photographers, two cinematographers, and one marketing/social media expert. OF Plus, the 29-year-old mother of two YOUR busy boys offers photography classes to the public, is involved in the community, and manages to, somehow, cook actual INSPIRING ENTREPRENEURS IN THE DRIFTLESS vegetables for dinner (much to her boys chagrin). On top of all that, Brittany recently moved from a home office to a studio space in Downtown Decorah. Surely more than once, this busy woman has been requested to, “Teach us your ways of life!” “I try to do it all and not pull my hair out, but really I am better at styling the mess on my head to cover up the craziness behind the scenes,” she writes on “The main focus of my career is to capture YOU. Whether you are short, tall, blonde, brunette, married, single or anything in between: be that. My goal is to have you trust that being YOU is what makes you beautiful.” The result is lovely, saturated images that speak honestly of life, love, and…well, the pursuit of happiness. We were excited to feature Brittany as our Sum of Your Business for this inspiring women issue because she is just that: Inspiring! Read on to learn more about how she manages to have her cake…and eat it too (what, too much?!).

Advance tickets only

Style Show Brunch

Intro by Aryn Henning Nichols Photos by Photography by Brittany

women’s weekend out



(continued on next page)

Savory Crepes Roasted Potatoes Fruit Kabob Coffee & Water Bloody Marys & Mimosas available for extra charge

Get tickets at J. Tupy’s & participating stores listed at: \ Spring 2017


Name: Brittany Todd Age: 29 Business: Photography by Brittany / Years in Business: June 26 this year will start year seven of weddings! 1. Tell us about the “leap” moment. When/how did you decide to jump in and become your own boss? After graduating from Luther College in January 2010, I was certain that my calling was in Residence Life. I went through a two-month marathon process of interviews with 15 different schools and became a finalist at two different colleges. We were certain we were moving to either Dubuque or Green Bay. In April, however, everything changed.  I was informed by both schools, within one hour of each other, that I was their runner up and therefore did not have a job. At all. Anywhere. As a couple, we decided to stay in Decorah for another year since we were getting married that July and at least had some connections to odd jobs while we waited for a full-time opportunity. During that waiting process my photoshoots became more frequent and more substantial. I wasn’t just photographing my friends’ kids anymore; clients were actually hiring me to shoot their wedding day, and I was loving every second of it! In August 2011, our first son, Carter, was born, and we decided it would be much easier to raise a baby with a photography career than in a college dorm. I slowly stepped away from a career in Residence Life, to a newfound dream career in photography. Fast-forward to 2013, and shooting was officially something that paid the bills, supported my family, and gave me great joy on a daily basis. It was then that I became my own boss and officially launched Photography by Brittany… in an office next to our living room. 26

Spring 2017 /

2. What’s the best thing about being your own boss? There are countless perks! I get to travel throughout the United States doing what I love! I get to choose my own hours. Yes, sometimes this means I am the last one to leave downtown at 1 am, but it also means I can take a day off to celebrate my kids’ birthdays, go on a last-minute trip with my husband, or spend an entire day focusing on filling my own cup, whether that means a lunch date with a friend, yoga sculpt at Reefuel, shopping downtown Decorah, or binge watching online classes or even Netflix. I can dress up on days I am with clients and wear sweatpants and slippers on days in the studio. A major perk is that through this seven-year journey, my kids have been a part of almost every single work day in the office, whether that office was in our living room or downtown in the new studio. They have their moments, of course, but sometimes the brutal honesty of a three or five-year-old is exactly what I need when it comes to choosing a location, setting up a shoot or just choosing treats from Beyond the Bar or Java John’s Coffee House for a client meeting. I know not every profession allows the flexibility that mine does, but just think how much more productive everyone could be if they could work during their personal prime time hours (I am a night owl) and be with their family as much as possible? 3. How about the worst? Some days this list seems longer than the previous one, but I promise the good always outweighs the bad! I am the HR department, secretary, coordinator, president, CEO, and maintenance crew all rolled into one person. There is no guaranteed salary. There are no work benefits. Nobody gives me health, dental, or life insurance. There are no paid vacation days, paid sick days or even a single moment of paid maternity leave. When I first started, I took on any shoot that would come my way, including a family shoot the day before I went into labor with Carter as well as a wedding 13 days after he was born. (That is a story for another time, but, in short, Carter did great. Pumping in the doorway of a boat bathroom? Not one of my favorite life moments. ;) ) There is not anyone to celebrate successes with in person. Cake in the break room is just not as exciting when it is your own birthday and you are eating it alone. Do not get me wrong, I love my days alone when I can crank the music and sing aloud while I edit, but there are many days when I wish there was someone here to celebrate with during the successes, and someone here to always get input from. 4. Was there ever a hurdle where you just thought, “I can’t do this?” How did you overcome it? Not a specific hurdle, but there are definitely days and sometimes weeks that I stare at my work and think that I will never be as good others already are. If you think Pinterest is hard from a parent or teacher perspective, try looking at it through the eyes of a photographer (or a photographer mother!). Pinterest is amazing, and Pinterest is awful. I often remind myself that if I didn’t think there was someone better than me, I wouldn’t have anything to strive towards. The moments I doubt myself are the moments that make me a better photographer, business owner, and family member. (continued on next page) \ Spring 2017


5. Any mentors/role models you look to/have looked to? I highly recommend everyone start following Jeremy Cowart on Facebook, Instagram, or any other way possible. If you haven’t heard of “The Purpose Hotel” look it up! Jeremy is taking his talents of photography and expanding them into a vision that will help MANY people for decades, if not centuries, to come. His ability to run a business, expand the business and yet keep his wife and family as his number ONE priority is not only inspiring, but something we should all strive toward daily. 6. What’s the one thing you wish you had known before you started? Dear High School and College Self: Your grades matter in order to keep your scholarships, but then they will be irrelevant. Stop writing down every single word that goes on the board and take a moment to truly LISTEN to those teaching. Social networking is everything. Relationships are going to build a business faster than money can buy one. Equipment is important, but without a solid work ethic, support from those closest to you, and an incredible client base, you will not be successful. That family and friend-base you have now? They’re going to support you every step of the way. Keep being kind to those around you, because those professors, classmates, mentors, friends, and acquaintances are all going to be clients of yours someday. Each will leave a photo session with a part of your heart, and give you a little more sense of self-worth. 7. How do you manage your life/work balance? You worked out of your house originally, and have recently moved to a space in downtown Decorah – what are the pros and cons to the move? Working from home was fantastic. If you ever get the opportunity to do so I highly recommend it, even if it is just for a few weeks. While having a home office I would do laundry, make

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Spring 2017 /

Brittany Todd Photography

Fall in love all over again.

107 Water Street, Decorah, IA 563.277.1069

lunches, start dinner, vacuum, grocery shop, and play with my kids in between checking emails, editing, making phone calls, and creating online albums for client review. When the workday was over, so were all of our daily life tasks (the Todd family is pictured above). Having a space downtown has been quite an adjustment to that, but I love it in a completely different way. I get to see more people (especially more adults) on a daily basis. I can still take my kids to the library as I used to, but when we return to the studio downtown I immediately have a sense to work, instead of picking up around the house. Although it is tempting to respond to an email as soon as I see that it has been sent, it is much easier to leave work at work, and be home when I am at home (check out Peter Awad’s “Slow Hustle” podcast for more on that concept!). 8. What keeps you inspired? Any quotes that keep you going? It is a hard concept to perfect at first, but I have gotten better about telling myself that I cannot serve others if my own cup is empty. Giving myself an opportunity to remember that I will be successful today, in this moment, could be as simple as a 15 minute break with Pinterest or an hour long Skype chat with a friend to collaborate on fresh ideas. Occasionally, I feel like these activities put me further behind in my to do list, so I remind myself that if I do not take time to enjoy life, my family, and my friends, there is no purpose to my career. Yes, we need money to pay bills, but if we are not enjoying life as it happens, we are guaranteeing ourselves missed memories. I would be a hypocrite if I encouraged others to (continued on next page)

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All proceeds from gallery & events benefit after school art programs.

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Spring 2017 /

prioritize their memories, if I, myself, was not creating any. Because of this, my job inspires me during every shoot. Every client has chosen me over any other photographer to capture one of their most important moments in life. These occasions may be as extravagant as a wedding day or as simple as an annual family session, but to my clients, and to me, it is so much more than just a shoot. You never know when a session is going to be your last as a family, exactly are you as you are right now, so embrace the NOW! There is no greater inspiration than to know that this gift I have been given (and am constantly trying to perfect) is something that positively impacts those around me, with the simple click of a button.

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



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(So many) women who inspire me, everywhere. By Aryn Henning Nichols, Decorah, Iowa


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Spring 2017 /

There are so many gals out there who inspire me. I think about ALL the women I know and I really can find something inspiring about each of them. But as I sit here this evening, I’m going to do my best to pick out just a few: • My sisters, of course: Beth for her ability to move across the country to warmer climes because she was sick of winter and ready for an adventure, and Devon for her big, big heart – she will take in sick animals, buy presents for friends and family with her very last dollar, and would give the literal shirt off her back if someone she cared about needed it. • Tons of women in town: Lisa Lantz for her laidback, cool (and totally flawless) attitude around party-throwing (and she’s so amazing at sewing and designing). Kate Elliott because she’s such a bad-ass, athletic goal-setter. Parker Deen because she cares so damn much about the world. Cerissa Snethen because she just can’t help but organize groups of people to fix up our problems (and read books!). Laree Schouweiler because she always manages to say the just right thing when she’s coaching you through that next climb in spin class or chatting over coffee (and she also runs an awesome business). Maren Beard’s thoughtfulness and attention to details. Sonya Geenen’s knack for sending a text at just the right moment. Josie Smith’s endless passion for biking. Nori Hadley for saying exactly what she thinks. Thea Satrom’s contagious glee – that girl can brighten a room like no other, and I just love her. • My mom. Of course, my mom inspires me! I love how she always looks on the bright side of things. She has been my cheerleader in life – often throwing up some legit spirit fingers to celebrate with me. And who doesn’t need a cheerleader encouraging them along?! I also love that my mom takes on new adventures bravely – she’s always the one to book the next trip, plan the next move, pick out/move the new furniture, etc.

• Last, but most definitely not least: my sweet daughter, Roxie girl. All I want to do, every day, is inspire this little four-year-old, and yet she consistently manages to inspire me every day instead. With her bravery, her willingness to learn, and her dogged determination. She is my heart, just walking around out there.

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I’m thankful to all of these women – and ALL the women in my life – for offering inspiration every day. I couldn’t do this work without them. XOXO” - Aryn

drop-ins welcome!

Kari Grønningsæter, Bø i Telemark, Norway, and Decorah, Iowa by Beth Hoven Rotto , Winneshiek County, Iowa

Kari Grønningsæter looked so approachable that I started a conversation with her outside the library in 2001. It was her first year teaching at Luther College, and since then we have become fast friends. She hosted me in Norway, her home country, and has accompanied me to South Dakota, northern Minnesota and on jaunts to nearby towns. Iowa is her second home, having taught Norwegian here on and off for a total of eight years. I’m so happy she keeps coming back. Kari is fearless and strong, rowing her wooden boat on the sea or swimming so far into the fjord that she’s invisible amidst the waves. Cold water doesn’t faze her. She’s hearty, taking long hikes in the woods or mountains, skiing by day or moonlight, riding her bicycle up hills and down, with no special equipment and in all weather. Her attitude is “let’s go.” She has a keen intellect and cares what I think about the books, music, films, theater and ideas we encounter. She enthusiastically shares customs, songs, stories and food from her heritage and seeks out Midwest traditions. She is fascinated by the Amish, wooden barns, Highlandville Dances, informal entertaining, and the expanse of the prairie. Her interest in what’s ordinary (in my mind) makes me appreciate things I otherwise might take for granted. Kari is kindhearted toward elders and values their experience. She notices and listens to children and supports people in need. Her students love their cheerful, devoted educator. In Scandinavia, she teaches Norwegian to immigrants and helps them adjust to new communities and recover from trauma. Her granddaughters adore her, and she keeps in touch with family on both sides of the Atlantic. She maintains a myriad of friendships by making time and plans with those she cares about. She’s a gem!”

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Spring 2017 /

“Women, by definition – I feel – are not quitters,” says Josie Smith. “We constantly prove to ourselves that we can get things done.” Josie, in addition to blogging honest and heartfelt stories about her journey to the #bikelife on, is the “first lady” of Decorah Bicycles. She and owner Travis Greentree are getting “hitched” this summer at a cycle-filled wedding in a prairie smack dab in the middle of singletrack-land in Decorah. But not that long ago, Josie was, self-admittedly, “allergic to exercise.” She grew up on a gravel road in rural Waukon and was done biking by age 10. “I was out of shape, I hated hills…it wasn’t an inspiring environment,” she says with a wry grin. Luckily, inspiration hit one Monday morning in 2012. “I was making a humble breakfast of toast and decided, out of the blue, that I wanted to buy a bike,” she says. She tried out options in town, looking for a used bike “in case she didn’t like riding,” and ended up at Decorah Bicycles, where she ultimately found “Sir Richard.” That’s a bike, not a guy. “He was my upright, ducky, knight-in-shining-aluminum,” she says. “It was a campground rental that didn’t seem too used. First I decided I wanted to ride to work…and that began my adventures in bike riding. That bike helped me get through everything – it got me out of the house… I could be in the moment.” Shop owner, Travis, offered up tips as Josie set off riding around town and on the paved Trout Run Trail that encompasses Decorah. “Eventually this bike opened up my mind and heart, and I found out that I needed to divorce my then-husband,” she writes on her blog. “Our marriage was over and had been over for about five years, but neither of us were strong enough at the time do to anything about it. My confidence from riding eventually gave me the confidence to make a difference in my life.” started shortly after an early-on, difficult ride. “I wrote about how hard that ride was on Facebook, and asked if others ever felt like quitting. Someone commented that I shouldn’t say biking is hard – it might discourage others from trying it. But I wanted to say what I thought,” she says with passion. “Sometimes biking IS hard. I want people to have a very real perspective – not every ride is going to be rainbows and sunshine.”

Photo by Aryn Henning NIchols

Photo by Travis Greentree

That was evident – once again – for Josie when she attempted some of the challenging mountain bike trails around Decorah. “I started off with three or four terrifying rides the fall of 2013,” she says. “Then that winter – January and February – they got fatbikes at the shop and I tried it out. That fatbike made me hate it less. I thought, ‘This is kind of possible.’” Embracing the fatbike love, Josie’s first race was a winter one: Decorah’s 2015 Pugsley World Championship. “It put all my fears about racing and made them go ‘poof’!” She says with a motion of her hands. “I didn’t want to be last. And technically I was. And nobody cared. The environment was very positive. Someone asked, “Are you having fun? And I was like, ‘Are you frickin’ kidding me?! Yes!’ That’s when I realized, yeah, I actually am.” Having the blog to record it all has offered some great benefits: From connecting with other women – she frequently interviews biking women online – to tracking her own personal growth.

“It’s amazing to see where I used to be. Mountain biking is something even in my wildest dreams I never thought I’d be doing,” she says. It would seem other women think mountain biking is a “wildest dream” as well. Finding a group of females out riding the trails is kind of rare. “It’s like finding a pack of unicorns,” Josie says with utmost sincerity. “It’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever seen and you want to find more of them.” Happily, there are kind folks – like Kathy Mock, the co-director/ founder of the Wisconsin High School Cycling League – working on that. Kathy worked at Trek, headquartered out of Waterloo, Wisconsin, in the late 80s and early 90s, “back when mountain biking first came around.” There, she met her now husband, Aaron, also a biker, and they had one son, who, of course, was introduced to biking. (continued on next page)


Photography by Brittany Todd

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“That’s the number one reason I got involved,” Kathy says. “My son was 11, and he said, ‘I like riding with you guys, but I want to ride with kids too!’” So Kathy and her husband launched a grassroots mountain biking club for kids in their home-base, Lake Mills area – it brought in four towns and 85 kids in the first year. Kathy and Aaron ran this club from 2013 until just recently, when they turned it over to a new group of coaches and director for its upcoming Aaron and Kathy Mock fifth season. Knowing of this prior experience, Trek approached Kathy about starting a High School Cycling League. Kathy, knowing herself, said, “Not alone!” She teamed up with Don Edberg, the founder of the Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS), a racing series that often pulls in anywhere from 600-1000 riders. Don was already thinking of starting a league, so the team-up made perfect sense. Currently, there are 19 High School Cycling leagues in states across the U.S., opertating under the umbrella of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). Founded in 2009, NICA is devoted to developing these interscholastic mountain biking



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Wisconsin Cycling League riders start a race. / Photo courtesy Mary Luebke . First Expressions Photography

programs. The sport is growing so fast, NICA had to put a cap on how many leagues can join per year. “Middle school is the fastest growing portion of this. NICA started as a high school- only program,” says Kathy. “But we said, ‘We’re not doing it unless you include middle school.’ We found that there’s a much greater probability of reaching kids if they’re able to try a new sport early. If you wait until high school, they’re already set in their activities.” So, although it’s called the Wisconsin High School Cycling League, it’s inclusive of sixth to twelfth grades. The WI League’s first season kicked off just over three years ago, but there are already 30 teams, 478 athletes, and 266 coaches. There’s a reason there’s so many coaches. NICA requires a one to six ratio of coaches to athletes before they can even start a practice. “I direct a team of 45 kids, and I have 20 coaches on my list. I think all of our teams in Wisconsin are like that,” Kathy says. “This is different than any other kind of school sport. We highly encourage parents to get involved.” There are four coaching license levels: general volunteer, rider leader, assistant coach, and head coach, and each level has different requirements that must be met. But the most important requirement is a connection with kids. “I don’t really care if you’re a good cyclist,” says Kathy. “I say to parents, ‘If you’re good with kids, let’s get you certified as a coach.’ Kids need as many mentors as possible.” (continued on next page)

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Roughly 80 percent of the students who have joined the WI league had no prior experience on a mountain bike. “One of the more notable things about our program is that we draw in those kids who are not necessarily classic sports kids,” Kathy says. “Mountain biking has all the things I wish other sports had. Everybody gets to participate at every minute. Nobody sits the bench. You’re on the team, and you’re an athlete. Plus, you’re not in a gym; you’re outside.” It doesn’t have the year-round pressure of other classic sports as well. The WI League has a five-race season. Practice – held two times per week – can start July 1, and races begin mid-September and wrap up the end of October. The kids get to choose whether or not they compete – out of the 478 WI riders in 2016, 322 of them raced. “Many teams don’t even focus on riding every practice,” Kathy says. “ They focus on being outside, slowing down, and learning to enjoy nature.” While NICA’s goal for every league is to be above 25 percent female, the WI League is currently sitting at 23 percent girls.

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La Crosse, Wisconsin’s Ella Shively is part of that percentage. The 17-year-old, rad and inspiring-in-every-way Central High School senior has been exposed to mountain biking pretty much her whole life. Her dad, Josh Shively, is an avid mountain biker in the Driftless, and Ella started attending his races when she was just a baby. “I was twelve years old when I went on my first real mountain bike ride with my dad. I had to step off a lot, like all beginners, but I don’t remember ever feeling particularly scared or frustrated,” Ella says. “I loved being out in the woods for extended periods of time, and the challenge of learning how to maneuver around a new obstacle. Every time I fell, I learned something new from the experience.” Josh Shively started the La Crosse middle/high school team (within the WI League) in 2015, when Ella was a sophomore. “I had been riding mostly with my dad, and occasionally with some riders who were a few years older than me (and much faster!), so it just made sense for me to be part of a larger group experience,” she says. “My favorite part of being in the league is definitely traveling to different race venues and camping out with the team. My teammates and their families are all really fun people. I remember playing a lot of ghosts-in-the-graveyard in the campgrounds with my teammates that first year. We always pre-ride the night before, and then stay up way too late talking around the campfire.” (continued on next page)

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Martha Flynn with a group of her MN Cycling League riders/ Photo courtesy Martha Flynn

Indeed, the social side of a sport is often what draws people to it. And it might be part of what keeps women from joining certain sports – when there aren’t as many females riding, others are less likely to try it out. The fear of not fitting in, or “slowing down” the other riders can hold some females back. “To combat this,” Ella says, “those of us women who are already experienced riders need to be vocal about our existence. Other women need to know about those who have pedaled successfully

before them. We can grow the number of women in mountain biking by introducing our friends to the sport, and encouraging young riders.” That’s been Martha Flynn’s goal since the launch of the Minnesota High School Cycling League in 2012. “The disparity between the number of girls and boys participating in mountain biking was painfully evident from the start,” Martha says. “To attract more girls to the sport, Amber (Shult) Auer, created

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the Crank Sisters, a program within the League focused on getting girls on bikes. The vision is to empower and build confidence in young women through mountain biking.” Martha herself has been mountain biking for about 15 years, having started in her late 30s and working up to a pretty intense racing schedule in her mid-40s. But her focus now is all about getting more girls on bikes. Because of the MN League’s program, they are already seeing more girls participate in off-road cycling. “Our priorities are threefold: To introduce girls to the league, retain them by building confidence and camaraderie, and create a community of female cyclists and supporters –in coaching and other leadership positions,” Martha says. “The girls are able to connect to female role models and become a part of this growing sisterhood.”

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The Wisconsin and Minnesota Leagues are employing similar techniques to get girls involved. Basically, an opportunity to “try it out,” separate from the male riders, to help reduce nerves and make it more fun. Kathy Mock offers a “Try Out Party,” where girls can invite their friends to come and learn a few basic mountain biking skills. With the MN League, they call them “Try it Out” Sessions. “The very first singletrack ride is a very important moment for girls and mountain biking,” Martha says. “It’s a make or break chance for us to help them realize their potential through a positive experience.” The women volunteering at these try-it-out sessions work to help reduce an often-female tendency towards perfection. “We tell our stories of times we ‘messed up’ or were nervous,” Martha says. “And of course, we make it fun, not competitive. Our hope is they come off the trail with a smile and want to get the details about joining a team in their area.” The MN League also sets up a tent at races where girls and women hang out, share stories, and connect with other riders. “And it’s for everyone,” Martha says. “We welcome the guys, and younger sisters hang out at the tent too. We talk with them about riding and how much fun it is, so that they grow up thinking why NOT mountain bike.” In 2017, Martha will be moving her focus to getting those younger sisters on bikes. She’ll be working with a program separate from the League called Little Bellas, for girls ages seven through 13. Little Bellas doesn’t have a competitive element – it’s purely to create a community that will empower girls through mountain biking. “We emphasize the importance of goal-setting, promote healthy lifestyles, and recognize the positive effects of strong female bonds,” Martha says. (continued on next page)

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For women outside of that age group, Josie Smith has set up a different program called FWD: Fearless Women of Dirt. FWD is for women passionate about mountain biking and helping others find their bike life. Ambassadors can start a FWD group based off Josie’s template virtually anywhere – there’s even a Stratford, Ontario group. It’s as simple as setting up a Facebook group and putting the community out there.




IN 2016

& 2017

Josie Smith, left, with some fellow Fearless Women of Dirt riders.

“I see this as a gateway for women who would otherwise not create their own mountain biking tribe,” Josie says. “It makes it less daunting, and then you have a network of awesome FWD to connect with via social media. I suppose I felt this was a good thing to do because I, myself, have felt like a loner as I was learning to ride.” Josie plans to keep blogging about her #bikelife adventures on, always highlighting both the good and the bad. And this is good, because nobody is perfect. “Don’t let the fear of falling keep you down!” says Ella Shively. “Women often feel pressure to be perfect, but perfection is not conducive to improvement. You will fall at some point. Then you will pick up your bike, ride off, and realize, ‘Oh! That wasn’t so bad after all!’ Mountain biking is not the dangerous sport it is sometimes made out to be. That said, don’t let anyone pressure you into riding faster than you are comfortable with. The less anxious you are, and the more you look forward to the next ride, the more likely you are to stick with mountain biking for good.” And sticking with mountain biking is not only good for your physical health, but your mental state as well – being out in nature, deep in the woods on a singletrack trail, is one of the greatest experiences there is. “If there are raspberries growing on the side of the trail, stop and eat them,” Ella says. “If the change of seasons has embroidered the forest in red and gold, stop to take in the view. Mountain biking can make you see things you’ve never seen before. You will never regret taking a moment to enjoy the experience of it all.” Aryn Henning Nichols is super excited about becoming a better mountain biker this spring, summer, fall… forever! She is grateful to all these awesome women for their awesome inspiration. See you on the trails, unicorns!




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For all those women (and men!) out there thinking of joining the mountain bike community, Ella Shively would like to say, “Welcome! May your rubber side remain down, and may you ever shred gnar (that’s mountain biker for ‘have an awesome ride!’)” Here are some tips to get you going: 1. First step: Visit your local bike shop! Many will have options for renting mountain bikes, and even offer led-rides to get you acclimated if it’s your first time out. They will definitely have suggestions on gear, where to start, and the best beginner trails. 2. Talk to other people who ride. See if you can join up with them to learn more about riding!


3. Once you’re into it, remember you don’t have to be on a trail to improve your technical riding. “I taught my friends about cornering by setting up cones to make a slalom course on a grassy hill,” Ella Shively says. “In seventh grade, I learned how to ride no-handed, lift my front wheel, and corner smoothly during my daily commute to school. To this day, I commute by bike as much as possible throughout the year - riding over chunks of snow on the sidewalk imitates the challenge of riding a rooty mountain bike trail!”

of Bluff Country

Biking . Shopping . Theatre . Art . Food . Fun! 46

Spring 2017 /

507-467-2696 •

riftless Gardens

MARTHA FLYNN’S TOP 5 REASONS FOR LOVING MOUNTAIN BIKING: 1 Connecting to nature 2 Being able to push myself to my limits or just ride casually – whatever I need that day


3 Meeting so many amazing women and men through the experience

Plant More Plants

4 Being brave and tackling things I never thought I could do… riding a big drop at Spirit Mountain in Duluth, making it through a gnarly rock garden or finishing a 100 mile single track race



connect with NATURE



5 Finishing a ride completely sweaty, dirty, scratched up and thinking there is nowhere else I’d rather be right now DESIGN | INSTALLATION | MAINTENANCE

Jeff Scott . 563-379-1101 .

ELLA SHIVELY’S FAVORITE PLACES TO RIDE: “The Human Powered Trails (HPT), now called Upper Hixon Forest, is a wonderful place to ride in La Crosse! The difficulty level ranges from the mostly flat Prairie Loop for beginners, to a little more challenge and some fun turns and obstacles on Twister, to more descents and climbs like Obi Wan/The Dark Side. There are no user fees, and the trails are well-maintained. You can even ride up the Vista Trail to the HPT to maximize time spent on dirt instead of the road. If you’re up for a day trip from La Crosse, Black River Falls and (of course) Decorah also have challenging trails in beautiful natural settings. I’ve also enjoyed long weekends in the areas of Chequamegon and Copper Harbor (favorite trails in Chequamegon and Copper Harbor: Gravity Cavity and Daisy Dukes, consecutively).”

ONLINE RESOURCES: (like them on Facebook, too, for regular tips and stories about female cyclists) YouTube (tons of demos on bicycle maintenance and handling)

1813 Trout Run Rd. Decorah 563.277.1299 Check Us Out on Facebook!

Let us come & make your house a home \ Spring 2017



Betsy Fawcett, Luther College senior from Eau Claire, WI by Becky Olafson, Kendallville, rural Winneshiek County

I have been inspired by amazing women. My mother Dorothy, a historical hero, Sojourner Truth, and Hillary Clinton. These women are all from the past and I have a New Year resolution…Onward! So Betsy Fawcett, college senior, hyperactive sister…you are it! Separated by two generations, we share admiration for America’s democracy and hope for its future. Betsy’s activism has led her to a leadership role in student government at Luther College. Spending the summer of 2016 in Norway as a Peace Scholar, she spent January of 2017 as an intern with the Public Leadership Education Network in Washington DC. In addition to these impressive gigs, she worked to organize and register voters on campus and in Winneshiek County. We met in September 2015 when a candidate for POTUS spoke at Luther. Before Hillary Clinton’s speech, Betsy and I were gathered with others who were to greet the former Secretary of State. I was nervous because Hillary and I were to toast our mothers, both named Dorothy, raising Decorah’s own Toppling Goliath Dorothy’s

beer. Betsy was nervous because she was going to introduce Hillary. Betsy was picked for this honor as chair of the Luther College Democrats and because she picked Hillary. Being a millennial for HRC this election cycle was not an easy or comfortable choice. She discussed her choice with young and old, those who agreed with her and those who did not. However strong her support for Hillary, her larger goal was to get the college students to caucus and to vote. She knew that they would be overwhelmingly caucusing for Hillary’s opponent in the primary. When Betsy turned the magic age of 21, we shared a special toast with Dorothy’s beer. We continue to share a special bond, belief in America and its future.” (Pictured at left: Becky Olasfon, left, and Betsy Fawcett, right)

Linda Lantz, Redfield, Iowa by Lisa Lantz, Decorah, IA

My mom, Linda, inspires me in so many ways. One of the ways I take joy in this is by realizing the amazing things she taught me that I now share with my kids. She has gracefully led by example, practicing in her own life the lessons that she instilled in me. Thanks, mom, for being an inspiration to me and so many others around you. I love you!” (Linda, pictured above, with Lisa’s dad, David.)

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Spring 2017 /


Hannah Breckbill


Spring 2017 /



round 6:30 am Wednesday, August 24, 2016, solo farm-preneur Hannah Breckbill checked her 11 sheep (no escapees during the rain-spattered night), then headed to her lower field of kale, squash, and cabbage, located about 100 yards from the Upper Iowa River, on land she rented north of Decorah. “I knew the river would be gnarly, since it had been raining all night, and sure enough, it was out of its banks and beautiful,” she says. “I thought, as a precaution, that I should pull the canoe we keep on the bank there uphill a little bit – you know, just in case,” she says with a wry grin. Well, by the time her housemate got a look at the river, an hour later, the whole field was WAY underwater, without a kale frond breaking the surface – and some of it was four feet tall. “Just the day before, I had paid people to weed that field,” Hannah says, turning her calloused palms up. “But, I was out of luck.” And out some significant income and ability to meet her Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) obligations. “I googled ‘flooded produce’ to find out if anything would be food-safe after the floodwater receded the next day,” she explains, “and the answer is unequivocally ‘no.’” Without the fall crops from the lower field, she had to explain to her 35 CSA members – whose memberships represent about a third of her full-time farming income – that their boxes would be empty in a matter of weeks, long before their membership was due to end. But, to Hannah’s surprise, the ‘community’ part of the arrangement kicked in. “People were genuinely understanding – and some were even excited to have shared in the risk with me.” No one demanded money back. “But, an epic fail like that makes my next season a really big deal,” she says. “The wiggle room has vanished.” Having farmed on borrowed or rented land since 2013, Hannah had already been planning to move her operations to her own tract on Hidden Falls Road, also north of Decorah, part of a 22-acre piece she owns with several other Decorah residents. Together, they had established a limited liability company to buy the piece, preventing potentially harmful development of the rolling, wooded land. (continued on next page)

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Hannah’s flooded field in August of 2016

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ALL-LEVELS GREAT VARIETY OF CLASSES 7 DAYS PER WEEK YOGA TEACHER TRAININGS YOGA FOR KIDS Get started today! 2 weeks of unlimited classes for $25 52

Spring 2017 /

“I was a math major at Carleton College,” says the now 29-yearold Lincoln, Nebraska, native. She is the daughter of musicologists and an accomplished standing bass and violin player herself. “But by the time I graduated, I knew academia and abstraction weren’t my calling. I wanted to do something ‘real,’ make something with my hands for a living” – the way she loved laying down chords and rhythm playing music. After college, she interned with World Hunger Relief in Waco, Texas, running a CSA. Then, she discovered the Decorah area, working in vegetable harvest and packaging at Rock Spring Farm near the hamlet of Highlandville. She went on to complete the Farm Beginnings Program offered by the Land Stewardship Project and spent two seasons contract farming for established producers Lisa and Eric Klein of Hidden Stream Farm near Elgin, Minnesota. She was hooked – and she created a farm business of her own, Humble Hands Harvest. But food isn’t the only thing Hannah intends to produce. It’s community-raising that drives her long-term vision. “I want to be a caretaker of a place within a community, where people have a connection to seasonal rituals – garlic harvest, bean shelling, cider pressing.” She also wants it to be a place where other farm-based livelihoods can be launched without folks having to do everything

Heritage Farm

PLANT SALE — May 6 | 9am-5pm

Including a limited supply of rare special edition plants from our seed bank

Hops and Strawberries NEW this year! Transplants Vegetables, Herbs, Flowers, Prairie Apple, Pear, Cherry Trees + Horseradish, Asparagus, Rhubarb, Raspberries, Grapevines Potatoes, Climbing Plants


Over Varieties of Seed Packets

+ gardening tools and supplies Lillian Goldman Visitors Center

Open daily 10-5

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

Rufus Wainwright Saturday, April 8 @ 8pm

by their own bootstraps. It’s not so far-fetched, really, given that Hannah grew up Mennonite, believing in the good of peaceful, collaborative community. There’s just one problem: It’s sometimes tough to move a community forward at the pace of small business, which she quickly realized when it came time to invest in the three biggies in modern market gardening: water, electricity, and deer-proof fence. “So, I own this land with 20 other people, and not everyone feels the same urgency. I got to the point of saying, ‘Come along if you can, but I gotta get these things done.’” In the end, Hannah bought eight of the group’s acres so her investments could go live in 2017. “The most valuable thing I’ve learned in farming – and being a woman in farming – is how and when my leadership is required to make things happen – when I need to be less the bass line – the solid scaffolding supporting an initiative or a decision or a belief – and be more comfortable playing melody that others can follow.” To that effect, she worked up the courage to run a ‘farm-raiser’ in January 2017, a music-filled party offering supporters a chance to donate toward her farm infrastructure. “It’s a vulnerable thing to open up and say, ‘I’m looking for money’ and then graciously receive it,” she says. (continued on next page)

Gaelic Storm Wednesday, March 22 @ 7pm

Spring Events 3/8 The Victor Wooten Trio Sponsored by Founders

3/11 Zoso: The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience Presented by the Empire Agency 3/12 Saint Joan National Theatre Live HD Rebroadcast sponsored by M.C. Ginsberg 3/22 Gaelic Storm Sponsored by Micky’s Irish Pub 3/24 Christopher Titus, The 6th Annual End of the World Tour Presented by Combustion Live 3/26 Conor Oberst 3/29 Rickie Lee Jones 4/5 Ghostface Killah Mission Creek Festival 4/6 Margaret Cho Mission Creek Festival 4/8 Rufus Wainwright Mission Creek Festival 4/9 Kishi Bashi Mission Creek Festival

221. E. Washington St. Iowa City | | (319) 688-2653 \ Spring 2017




563.382.5511 •

Come home to Decorah! 2017 also brings the addition of a business partner – her secondcousin Emily Fagan, who moved to the area to apprentice with another mainstay market vendor, Patchwork Green Farm. “I enjoy financials and problem-solving,” Hannah says of the business of expanding – “figuring out what we know and what we don’t know and how to move forward.” • NEW HOME CONSTRUCTION • SOLAR • ADDITIONS • ICF CONCRETE WORK

Tom 563-380-6712 Travis 563-380-7912 54

Spring 2017 /

In addition to her first love -- magazine -- Kristine Jepsen writes grant applications for small businesses and is working on a memoir about her own decade starting Grass Run Farms, a grass-fed beef brand. She’s currently journaling about her family’s travels, driving and camping in Mexico. Read more at and

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

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

Start growing! Look for Humble Hands Harvest at the farmer’s market in Decorah and Cedar Rapids, sign up for a CSA share through, and follow the farm’s progress at The farm also sells through the Iowa Food Hub and areas north through the network of Hidden Stream Farm.

We have seeds, tools, books & more Our Visitors Center Garden Store Opens March 1 Open Daily


• March

24, 25, April 7, or 8

Apple Grafting/ Apple School* • May 6 - Heritage Plant Sale • May 6 - Spring Garden School*

*Registration Required

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

Insurance & Real Estate

Decorah, Iowa 563.382.3627 Employee Owned

Hannah Breckbill, left, is the bass player with Decorah-based klezmer/ Balkan band Maritza, serves as the coordinator for Northeast Iowa family collaboration Pleasant Valley, and is on the board of Northeast Iowa Peace and Justice Center. Emily Fagan, right, worked on market farms in Portland, Oregon, and Boulder, Colorado, before apprenticing with Patchwork Green Farm in Decorah and ultimately joining Humble Hands Harvest in 2017.


Thrifty White Specialty Pharmacy Services YOUR LOCAL SPECIALTY PHARMACY

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702 Montgomery St. Decorah, IA 563-382-8765 1-866-382-8765 Store Hours: Monday - Friday: 8:30am - 5:30pm Sat: 8:30am - 1:30pm • Sun: Closed

Auto Prescription Refill Service Your refill prescriptions will be automatically filled ahead of time and ready when you are.

Rx MedSync


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10 0 % E mp l oyee O w n ed • w w w. t h r i f t y w h i te. c o m \ Spring 2017



Adventures lead to new experiences that lead to confidence, and there’s nothing more empowering than confidence.


Like mountain biking or drumming or cooking classes or dancing…


Do it by voting for women or for womens’ rights. Do it by marching. Do it by, literally, standing up for another woman who is not being treated well – in your life, on the bus, in the grocery store, etc..


Stand Up!

(i.e. how to stand up for girls and women across the world)



ways to EMPOWER


Number of congressional seats held by women. As of 2017, women hold 19.4% of the seats in the 114th U.S. Congress, 21 – or 21% – of the 100 seats in the Senate and 83 – 19.1% – of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives.

104 of 535:

Run for Office

Encourage the women in your life to get out of their comfort zone. Do things that aren’t typically “girl” things. Be the best person you can possibly be.




Want to know how to empower the girls in your life? Be empowered yourself.


Seeing the world and how other people live opens up eyes and minds. It’s hard to treat anyone differently once you see we really are woven all together, all over the world.


Just because you’re working on empowering girls doesn’t mean you should treat boys – or anyone, for that matter – poorly. We are all humans. We are all the same.


For real. Don’t try to be perfect. Just be yourself.


Let us create an

EXPLAINER for your business.






women are at the helm of S&P 500 companies.

What?!? Yeah....

In 2016, Top Female CEOs reached a record high:



Spring 2017 /




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




For events & ticket information visit 207 N. Main, Elkader, IA photo by Scott Whittle

563-245-2098 \ Spring 2017



Anna Bolz, pastry chef at Per Se

By Sara Friedl-Putnam


Patchwork Green Farm Erik Sessions and Sara Peterson (563)387-0837

Find us at the Decorah Farmers' Market from June-October. CSA Market Shares now available.


restoration & weatherization

Residential & light commercial construction David J. Wadsworth • 563.419.0390 • AFFORDABLE, SPACIOUS ROOMS ON THE BANKS OF THE MISSISSIPPI

river view inn

Lansing, Iowa

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



Spring 2017 /


ven though Decorah native Anna Bolz lives in New York City, a metropolis brimming with 8.5 million people, her heart is deeply rooted in community. And each table of diners at Per Se, where Anna holds the title of pastry chef, offers up a different story of community and an opportunity for connection. Anna’s part in the evening’s story comes last – sometimes the literal icing on the cake – through the mouthwatering desserts she and her team of eight concoct at the Michelin three-star restaurant. Anna takes that role seriously: It’s so much more than an evening afterthought. “Because all the items are served at the same time, I strive to achieve an ideal balance of flavors, textures, temperatures, and colors,” says Bolz. “I want to ensure that the whole experience offers diners as much sense variety as possible.” Recent pairings have featured a “bright, cold, and refreshing” hibiscus and pear dessert, pistachio ice cream that’s “rich, luxurious, and garnished with rose,” and a “sweeter, softer, more modern” chocolate dessert. Anna credits her environment – “the city that never sleeps” – with providing all the inspiration she needs. “I will take a walk and smell the flowers, visit a gallery and see how a work of art is put together, or go out to eat and check out what other people are ordering,” she says. “I live in a very inspiring world, and it’s all about opening my eyes and being receptive to it.” It wasn’t all that long ago that this small-town girl was learning the restaurant basics at a Water Street eatery in Decorah. In December 2005, Anna – then a senior music major at Luther College – had her sights set on graduate school in trumpet performance when a part-time job at Hart’s Tea and Tarts morphed into something much bigger. After the restaurant’s chef abruptly quit right before the holiday season, she pitched in to help out. The experience changed her life forever. photo by Scott Whittle


The apple confit is 35 or 40 layers of thinly sliced apples, brushed with clarified butter and vanilla sugar. We bake it for almost six hours, and it melts in your mouth (even though you can still see all the layers). I added candied kumquats and sparkling cider jelly to balance out the sweetness, but to me, it’s just another way to do apple pie.” - Anna Bolz

“I realized that while the music room was fun, it also lost its sparkle for me after six or seven hours,” says Anna, the daughter of Lloyd Bolz and Mary Steele, both of Decorah. “The kitchen, in contrast, felt like play – even though I was putting in 14- to 16-hour days, it never felt like work, and I started wondering how far I could push that.” Quite far, it turns out. Since 2009, Anna has focused her natural creativity and boundless curiosity on her work at Per Se, the NYC counterpart to Chef Thomas Keller’s fabled California-based French Laundry. Originally hired as chef de partie (section cook), Anna honed her craft under renowned pastry chef Elwyn Boyles, advancing to pastry sous chef in 2011 and then, in 2015, to pastry chef. Anna has worked hard to earn the respect of her colleagues – she is one of only two women on the restaurant’s executive team, and oversees her own team that’s responsible for Per Se’s palate-pleasing array of desserts. And it’s a good bet she won’t stop there. “I’m constantly looking at how I can do my job better, help others be better at their jobs, and make an impact on people around me that’s not just about creating beautiful food,” says Anna, who typically arrives at work in the Time Warner Center before noon and rarely leaves before 1:30 in the morning. “My goal is to guide the next generation, collaborate fully with my colleagues, and be a contributing force at this destination restaurant.” Anna attributes her tireless work ethic to her parents, especially her father, Lloyd, a construction firm owner under whose watchful eye she learned how to swing a hammer and wield a saw. “My parents taught me very early in life to work for what I wanted,” she says. “I started out doing minor cleaning projects for my dad and eventually graduated to construction.” Those skills came in handy when, after earning her bachelor’s degree from Luther in May 2006, she decided to spend the next nine months doing construction full-time to save up for the move to New York. The goal: Attend the French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center).

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

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

Good. Honest. Local. \ Spring 2017


I borrowed the idea of using a crepe as a dumpling skin from Elwyn Boyles, the pastry chef at the French Laundry. We filled it with chocolate mousse, chestnuts, candied orange peel, and salted dates in honor of Chinese New Year, and then added a little red envelope for good fortune. I love the opportunity to make people smile, and a personal trick really does the trick – just like Grandma taught me!.” - Anna Bolz

KI TCHENS F OR LIF E. 802 Short Street . Decorah, Iowa . 563.382.5592 . 62

Spring 2017 /


“I had never been to New York,” she says, “but I knew it had a lot of restaurants and a lot of opportunity and thought it would be the best place for me to learn the trade.” Those instincts proved correct, and, after settling in New York in February 2007, Anna took full advantage of the city’s culinary landscape, spending her days attending classes, her nights “externing” at Jean-Georges (another acclaimed Michelin three-star restaurant), and her weekends plating and finishing desserts at the Porter House steakhouse. “I was putting in 75 to 80 hours a week among the three,” she recalls. “My friends and family thought I was crazy, but it was what I wanted to do.” That unbridled passion and undeniable talent didn’t go unnoticed. Johnny Iuzzini, Jean-George’s executive pastry chef, offered her a full-time job at Jean-Georges. (If Iuzzini’s name sounds familiar, there’s a reason – he served two seasons as head judge on the Bravo TV show Top Chef: Just Desserts.) Though Anna had intended to move closer to home after wrapping up her studies, she quickly changed course. Two years later, when Anna felt it was time to move on, her wellconnected boss was right there to help, setting up trials (a working audition of sorts) in the kitchens of two of the city’s top restaurants: Daniel and Per Se.

Per Se blue / Creative Commons

“Working at Jean-Georges opened up a lot of other options for me,” she says. “Johnny helped me realize what was possible for me in the industry and set me on the right path.” That path, of course, led to Per Se, where Bolz particularly enjoys the “systematic, detailed, imaginative work” involved in creating the finale of the nine-course, prix-fixe, French-influenced tasting menu ($325 per person). The menu’s “assortment of desserts” comprises fruit, ice cream, and chocolate treats as well as candies. (Dessert lovers, rejoice! The restaurant also has a five-course dessert tasting menu – $70 per person – at Salon, its walk-ins-only dining room.) In February 2017, Anna was one of two pastry chefs recognized by the restaurant-industry magazine StarChefs with its Rising Star Award. And while the accolades are nice, this Driftless native says the best part about her work is that it doesn’t feel like work at all. “My day is never the same because I respond to what’s happening in the restaurant and the needs of the people around me,” she says. “I love being constantly challenged to be creative, and I honestly cannot imagine doing anything else.” Sara Friedl-Putnam loves all kinds of desserts-especially any involving chocolate!--and hopes to one day indulge in a full plate of Anna Bolz’s culinary creations. \ Spring 2017


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Spring 2017 /


Brecka Putnam, Decorah, Iowa by Sara Friedl-Putnam, Decorah, Iowa

Almost 20 years later, I remember the moment as though it were yesterday. My oldest stepdaughter, Brecka, then a Decorah High School student, had just delivered a truly exceptional speech in front of hundreds of her peers at the Iowa state meeting of Business Professionals of America. She had spent countless hours writing and rehearsing that speech, making sure that her words were just right and her delivery just so. It was the exclamation point on the successful campaign she waged for the office of state parliamentarian, and I could not have been more proud of (or inspired by) her. That “give-it-allyou’ve-got-no-matterwhat” attitude is a quality I have long admired in Brecka. Whether it’s concocting spectacular Minnie Mouse- or superhero-themed birthday cakes for her nieces and nephews or brainstorming better ways to raise money to fight children’s cancer—her full-time job with CureSearch – she always does the absolute best she can, no matter what. And trust me when I say that it’s always a labor of love. Many Driftless Area folks have seen Brecka in action during the years-long (and ultimately unsuccessful) campaign she and many others waged to keep the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (GSEIWI) from selling Camp Tahigwa, 315 breathtaking acres in Dorchester, Iowa. As part of that effort, she volunteered thousands of hours to creating and organizing Camptastic, a summer camp that, over the years, allowed hundreds of girls to enjoy overnight camping after GSEIWI discontinued resident camping at the property. Despite many setbacks, she never gave up the fight to save Tahigwa, resolute in the belief that overnight camping among peers enormously enriches the lives of young girls. Time and time again, Brecka has inspired me to do the best I can with the talents I have. Our relationship has not always been easy, but I am extremely grateful for it, and I’m just as proud of and inspired by her today as I was that day nearly 20 years ago – in truth, even more so.” Pictured above: Brecka Putnam poses with her nephew, Felipe, and the superhero-themed cake she made him for his first birthday party.

Women Who Inspire Me by Bailey Miller, Minneapolis, MN (Former awesome Inspire(d) intern and Luther College grad)

I have so many inspirational women in my life. How can I pick just one? So, I will pick eight. First off, my mom. My mom Jackie is an incredibly loving and courageous woman who inspires me to be the same. She recently was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer and is bearing it like a champ. Though her prognosis is excellent, it’s still a scary time and she couldn’t be more calm about it. In fact, she keeps asking me how I’m doing with the whole thing! She really is a wonder woman, and I’m so lucky to call her my mom. (Jackie and Ron Miller of Rochester, Minnesota, pictured above) Next up, my Aunt Sandi. She is the definition of independence. A marathon runner and world traveler, she follows her own path and makes sure to stop and appreciate life along the way. I’ve often said I want to be my Aunt Sandi when I grow up (Sandi Fogo, Superior, Wisconsin, and Bailey, pictured at right).

And lastly, my Luther Loves! During my time at Luther I was able to cultivate a circle of girlfriends that has been some of the strongest bonds of friendship I’ve ever known. I’m in awe of the incredible woman each and every one of them have turned out to be. Strong, driven, and intelligent – they are all the type of person I strive to be every day.” “Luther Loves,” left to right: Katherine (Wolff) DeWeert, Chicago, Illinois Bailey Miller, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Julie Kieckhaefer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Megan Selvig, Lyons, Oregon Melissa (Conibear) Schultz, Oskaloosa, Iowa Allyson Czechowicz, Minneapolis, MInnesota Kristin Skaar, Minneapolis, Minnesota


WE DELIVER IN DECORAH Hearing your baby’s heartbeat and holding your newborn for the first time are just the beginning of life’s greatest joys. From your first prenatal visit, we work closely with you to meet all of your birthing needs, including delivery at Winneshiek Medical Center. Gundersen doctors who provide prenatal care and deliver in Decorah, include: • Janet Ryan, MD • Kristy Schilling, MD • Kurt Swanson, DO • Matt Thompson, DO To schedule an appointment, call (563) 382-3140. Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, Inc. | Gundersen Clinic, Ltd. | 16204-2_0117 \ Spring 2017



Sarah Andersen

Interviewed by niece Beth Hoven Rotto

Sarah Andersen has a vivid memory and an abundant sense of humor. She enjoys entertaining others with tales from the past, interspersed with good-natured laughter. Every story reminds her of another, some involving connections to well-known people, some of her life as a young pastor’s wife from the big city, adjusting to life in the rural Midwest, and a few revealing the minute details a niece likes to hear about her early years. (“I remember the first time I saw you, you were like a tiny sparrow with your mouth opening and closing for food.”) Sarah is Beth’s one and only aunt. Tell me about your name: My maiden name is Pfeiffer, which I always had to spell, and when I married my husband, Paul Andersen, I thought – good. I won’t have to spell that. However, even after 26 years of retirement in Decorah, I still can’t convince these Norskies that my last name is Andersen, not Anderson. What is the best advice anyone ever gave you? I grew up in Washington DC, which was a southern, segregated city. I went to the good white schools, and I was aware of that. One of my teachers in junior high school was Jane Alice Smith. I learned so much from her. I was a good student and was used to getting A’s, but I got a B+ in her class. I suppose I looked sad because she said, “Sarah, you should never rest on your laurels.”

L-R: Beth with her aunt, Sarah Andersen & Sarah’s children David & Rachel

How did you get from Washington DC to the Midwest? In 1949, I enrolled at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. When I left for college, I wore a plain black jacket and skirt and a white blouse. In those days people dressed up when they traveled. My friends gave me an orchid, but I took that off as soon as I got to the airport. I wasn’t going to wear an orchid on the plane. I had ice skates around my neck, a green short jacket over my arm, a tennis racket in its frame, and my purse. A trunk with my clothes and bedding was sent to school by railway express. I flew to and from college on Capital Airlines. They had propeller planes, not jets, and my plane left at midnight. One time when we were in the air, the airplane door flew open. The stewardess just said to sit down and put on your seat belt, and that’s what she did. What did you want to be when you grew up? That depended on my age. When I was about five or six, I went to the capping ceremony for a friend of the family. After that I wanted to be a nurse. I’ve always been interested in getting to know people. In college I was intending to go to graduate school to work with deaf people, but I got married to Paul Andersen, and that was the best thing I ever did.

Tell us about something that you’ve done. I’ve been involved with Lutheran World Relief from the time it started. It began shortly after WWII in order to offer aid to people in Europe. I organized the making of quilts, and did that for 60 years. I didn’t make them all, but there were thousands of quilts over the years. Paul was a pastor, and our first parish was in Gilbert, Iowa, then Perry Lutheran south of Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, and finally St. John’s in Boscobel, Wisconsin. We raised three children. Paul died four years ago, but we both enjoyed our years in Decorah and we got to watch our two Faldet granddaughters grow up. I’ve been so impressed with this community. Tell us about memories of Washington DC. My friend and I would take the streetcar downtown and we’d go into the Capitol. There’s a place where you can stand across the room from each other, but you can hear the other even if you whisper. So we’d do that. You could walk right into the Senate, too. You just had to go up in the balcony. Often the Senators would have their heads down and be sleeping. We’d also rent a bicycle built for two and ride through the Tidal Basin in spring while the cherry blossoms fell on our heads. Occasionally we’d climb up and down the Washington Monument. There was just one year between 1934-1955 that the Reflection Pool froze hard. That year I had my first skating venture. A man with a fur hat, a thick accent, and old fashioned skates with curled tips glided up to my parents and asked if he could show me how to skate. He pushed me ahead of him and we went speeding around. When my mother asked where he was from he just said he was from a country far, far away where there was lots of ice. I had many unusual – often goofy – experiences growing up which make me laugh even now. Do you know someone you’d love to interview for this If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you? page? Let us know! Good books, family photos, sunscreen. Try to describe yourself in one sentence: I’m more and more amazed at the world we live in – the intricate world of nature, and the wonderful diversity of the people who inhabit this amazing planet, all created in some way by God.

Enjoy a life of freedom, financial security and convenience! You’ll be glad you did!

Decorah’s Active 55+ Community 1102 Nordic Drive, Decorah IA 563-382-6521

You don't wear the same shoes for everything you do...

Why wear the same glasses?

305 East Water St. Decorah, Iowa • 563-382-4279 •

NEW HOURS! 9:30-5:30 MON 7:30-7:00 TUES & THURS 7:30-5:30 WED & FRI 8:00-12:00 SATURDAY


Mayo Clinic Health System Family Medicine & OB Physician

Lisa Zittergruen, M.D. Winneshiek Medical Center and Mayo Clinic Health System are pleased to welcome family medicine and obstetrics physician, Lisa Zittergruen, M.D., to the practice at WMC’s Decorah Clinic. Dr. Zittergruen brings the knowledge and expertise of Mayo Clinic Health System to our neighborhood.

Whether you’re a growing family or an individual facing a serious health challenge, choosing Mayo Clinic Health System at Winneshiek Medical Center means choosing the best path for getting well, staying well and returning to your life and family.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Zittergruen, please call


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Compared to our nation’s 1,300+ critical access hospitals, WMC is rated

A Top 20 Critical Access Hospital in the United States.

Meet the Artist: Tammy Rice


Door Prizes & Complimentary Cocktails & Treats.

200 W Water St Decorah, Iowa 563.382.5742

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UPPER IOWA UNIVERSITY The faculty and staff are amazing! They always knew when we needed encouragement and were always there to help. I say ‘we’ because this was not just an incredible experience for me, but a wonderful experience for my peers as well. Thank you UIU! Rachel Pugh ’16 Conservation Management

+ Get your tickets here for WWO’s Style Show Brunch on Saturday, April 1, and see us at the show!




800-553-4150 | UIU.EDU/INSPIRED

Inspire(d) Spring 2017  

Inspiring Women Issue! Female Mountain Bikers (Rule) • Hannah Breckbill / Farmer • Anna Bolz / Chef • Lindy Weilgart / Whale Researcher • Su...

Inspire(d) Spring 2017  

Inspiring Women Issue! Female Mountain Bikers (Rule) • Hannah Breckbill / Farmer • Anna Bolz / Chef • Lindy Weilgart / Whale Researcher • Su...