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be inspired.

an experiment in positive news.

Check it:


No. 24 WINTER 2010-11

inspire(d) inspire.



Center Stage Series 2010–11

Treat family and friends (and yourself) to the gift of these three brilliant performances in February and March. Tickets and gift cards are available in the box office!

Carrie Newcomer

Nnenna Freelon


An elegant singer-songwriter presents poignant lyrics and authentic melodies.

Dreaming of the Duke A radiant jazz vocalist celebrates the legendary Duke Ellington.

A premier male a cappella ensemble, with Eric Hopkins ’99, recounts an immigrant choral journey.

Friday, February 11 7:30 p.m. $20, $18, $15

Thursday, February 17 7:30 p.m. $23, $21, $15

Friday, March 11 7:30 p.m. $22, $20, $15

Tickets available Thurs., January 20 Sponsored in part by

Tickets available Thurs., January 20 Sponsored in part by Luther College Diversity Council

Before Us

Tickets available Thurs., February 17 Media support provided by KVIK

Luther College Sense of Vocation program and Student Activities Council

All performances are in the Luther College Center for Faith and Life. Tickets:, 563-387-1357,



contents 2010-11

page 12


04 10




16 24 32 34 37 44 48


page 24


page 34


the inspire(d) media

...and more!

ON THE COVER: Valley High School student Natalie Moore sketched out this amazing illustration on the cover this issue. Aryn shot photos, and presto: we have an Inspire(d) winter cover! Check out more of Natalie’s illustrations in the Winneshiek Energy District article on page 24.


inspire(d) magazine • winter 2010-2011






ACCORDING TO SCIENTISTS AND COLD PEOPLE. PEOPLE. Omni-Heat™ is 20% warmer than an ordinary lining. It breathes and regulates temperature so you don’t get overheated. That’s because it’s made with a patent-pending silver dot pattern that reflects your heat back to you. All you have to do is put it on.

130 W WATER ST, DECORAH, IA • 563.382.5761 • M-F: 9-5 • TH: 9-8 • SAT: 9-5

Decorah Ts by RAYGUN

Its OK, Lutherans, you can laugh. Try it...and leave the guilt behind! Feels good, doesn’t it? Available at:

Fancy Pants Bring in your stuff!

Rien de nouveau

(nothing is new)

Fancy Pants has expanded to bring you an exclusive consignment shop. Now accepting consignment items of all types: Quality men's and women's clothing, accessories, purses, shoes, Prom dresses, kitsch, antiques, furniture, art, jewelry, custom t-shirts.

411 West Water Street, downtown Decorah 563 382-8898 •

a bit about the editor

(d) inspire

th in m

MY HOW WE’VE GROWN! I don’t mean just Inspire(d). I mean Decorah and I mean the greater Driftless Region. I remember when we started this little baby of a magazine three years ago, lots of people didn’t even know what – or where – the Driftless Region was. Educating about and working to brand this beautiful neck of the woods was one of the main missions with Inspire(d). We want people to know what’s here – either in your own backyard or in this place you never knew you wanted to visit. And Decorah – wow! Benji and I made a list of amazing things that have grown or “popped up” in our cool little town in the past five years. To name a “few”: the new Oneota Co-op location (it’s so awesome), Trout Run Trail, Toppling Goliath Brewery, new restaurants like Rubaiyat, McCaffrey’s Dolce Vita, Koreana, Java John’s, and the Sugar Bowl (added to the many already amazing restaurants we have in Decorah), DecorahNow. com,, Winneshiek Energy District, a re-branded arts council, the continuation of awesome local radio, and more. I’m sure I forgot some stuff too (I’m very sorry), and that’s added to some already pretty great stuff to boot. In this Winter issue of Inspire(d) – our segue into the world of quarterly magazines – we talk about some of the new stuff and some of the old stuff we’ve only just discovered…but no matter what, know it’s all good stuff. Learn about the Winneshiek Energy District, find out about our favorite beers and spirits in the tri-state area, check out our newest series, “Boxed (IN),” highlighting communities right here in the Midwest, and get some pretty awesome gift ideas – not just for the holidays, but year-round. ‘Cause seriously – who doesn’t like to get presents? Spread it out, and while you’re doing it, consider Choosing Local. That’s another thing Inspire(d) holds near and dear – the idea that we can change the world directly around us by getting inspired locally, spending our dollars locally, finding our fun locally… and inspiring others locally. So let’s do this thing. Bring on 2011. (These ones go to 11…) Happy New Year to you all. This is the year I turn 30. I’ve got a few things to finish on my 30 Before 30 List…one of them is to improve the way we bring you positive news – to make it bigger, more diverse, and ultimately, even better. You inspire me to keep this going. I can’t wait to see how much more we’ve all grown next year! Until then… looking forward,

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

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

Inspire(d) Magazine is published bi-monthly by Inspire(d) Media, LLC, 412 Oak Street, Decorah, Iowa, 52101. This issue is dated Winter 2010-11, issue 24, volume 4, Copyright 2010-11 by Inspire(d) Magazine.

support inspire(d) Although Inspire(d) is free on the newsstands, you can have it sent to your door for only $25/year. Email for a membership or visit for more info.

Write inspire(d) Want to make a comment about something you read in the magazine? Email Interested in advertising? Contact Benji at or call 563-387-6290.

Aryn Henning Nichols


Inspire(d) is printed with soy-based ink on partially recycled paper


inspire(d) magazine • winter 2010-2011

READ THE BLOG! Find the Orchestra in Austria link at!


an orchestra in austria (Or Livin’ La Vida Vienna) By Susie Clark

DR. DANIEL BALDWIN’S THOUGHTS ON INSPIRATION ARE CANDID: IT’S NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN JUST BLINDLY STUMBLE ACROSS, HE SAYS. “INSPIRATION IS A FUNNY THING… YOU CAN’T JUST GET SOME. YOU HAVE TO WANT TO GET SOME.” on the Inspire(d) website – will further entail the trials, tribulations, and un-cut testimonies of these Midwestern music makers during their residency abroad. Check out the blog to hear more about their experiences – from performances and practices to their travels taking in the historic and cultural aspects of Vienna, perhaps even some Austrian nightlife. “One of the things I am most excited to do is visit a kneiper (German for pub),” says blogger Wilkinson. “Also, we go to a formal Officer’s Ball, so I’m ready to bust out my evening gown and long gloves.” The LCSO will perform three times over the course of their residency. The tour’s program includes the overture to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream Op. 21,” by Felix Mendelssohn, “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis” composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams, “The Red Pony” a film suite by Aaron Copland, “Selections from West Side Story” by Leonard Bernstein, and “Concerto in F for Piano and Orchestra” by George Gershwin featuring Xiao Hu, Luther adjunct faculty in music, on piano. Packing up their instruments, music, and concert attire, the symphony members are brushing up on useful German phrases. You just have to wonder – what’s the German translation of “Get some”? Can’t catch their performances in Vienna? Ha! No worries, the symphony will celebrate their homecoming with a concert on February 14, 2011 at the Center for Faith and Life. Inspire(d) Intern Susie (Suz), is also a proud LCSO alumni (Get some, Class of 2010). She toured Vienna with the 2007 LCSO, and can only recall a few German phrases: “Wo ist die toilette?” and “Zu viel bier getrunken.” These phrases proved to be extremely helpful.


inspire(d) magazine • winter 2010-2011

He applies this concept with the Luther College Symphony Orchestra (LCSO) in Decorah with a preconcert ritual. It starts with a simple call. “L….. C….!” Dr. Baldwin shouts. The orchestra replies, “S….O…!” “Get some!” says their fearless conductor. “Get some!” the orchestra replies. To those outside the orchestra, this tradition might sound like something you’d hear in football locker room, and have nothing to do with classical music. But to the 87-piece symphonic ensemble, it just works. “I don’t know that anyone has ever figured out what exactly we’re supposed to be ‘getting,’” says senior bassist Will Layton. “It’s intentionally ambiguous, and maybe even nonsense. It’s flexible.” Flutist Victoria Nelson agrees. “It’s completely fitting,” she says. “It inspires you to be proactive. Don’t sit in your chair and wait for the music to pull you in. Playing music requires a conscious effort to become involved. Look up from the sheet music. Listen to the music around you – and get some.” This January, Baldwin, a stalwart conductor with Southern Roots (check the accent, ya’ll), along with his group of corn-fed Midwest undergrads and the musical works of George Gershwin and Aaron Copeland (just to name two), will be taking a three and a half week residency in Vienna, Austria. It will be Baldwin’s fourth trip with the LCSO. “But it just keeps getting better,” he says. “It is unlike anything else we do. There really is no way to describe it.” But for senior cellist Jaci Wilkinson and Layton, finding the words to describe and document the LCSO experience falls to their hands. Their blog lscoblogspot. – which, hey, is conveniently linkable


HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, WiD! On April 3, 2009 the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled that laws banning gay and lesbian couples the right to marry violated their constitutional right to equality. Several weeks later, gay and lesbian couples from Iowa or anywhere in the United States were able to legally marry in Iowa. Welcomeindecorah.


Welcome in Decorah

Amazing coffee. And by the way: our food is delicious too!

118 WINNEBAGO DECORAH. 563.387.0593 MON-FRI 8-8. SAT 8-8 . SUNDAY 8-1:30 FOR BREAKFAST


ver O ! W O


0 0 0 , $100

nts from ugh gra Foundation o r h t 1 1 le in 20 ty Community availab un o C k ie nesh in W e h T

You can write a grant for just about anything!

educational programs youth activities playground equipment fire safety gear new technology building repairs website development

For an application or details visit or call 382-2023.


...Anything that will benefit the people who live, work and play right here in Winneshiek County. Deadline: January 10, 2011

com, a website that provides all couples local wedding resources in the Decorah area, has just celebrated their first anniversary. Inspire(d) would like to congratulate and thank the WiD creative team conceived by sisters Amalia and Rachel Vagts for this incredible resource in our region. The website features local officiants, venues, lodging, food, gifts, and marriage details. It is supported through basic, affordable sponsorship rates for individuals and local businesses whom welcome all couples wishing to be married in Iowa. Here’s to equal rights for all those whom have found love in their lives.

The Holidays are time for much love and light, and while you celebrate with loved ones and friends, it is also key to remember that not everyone is as fortunate. But resources exist for those who are looking for an outstretched hand, and Helping Services of NE Iowa is a positive force in spreading good. For the past five years, HSNEIA has also sponsored Holiday Lights, Magical Nights at the Decorah Campgrounds – a magnificent drive through of holiday lighted displays. Holiday Lights 2010 features 44 such displays including a new six-horse hitch, nativity scene, and drummer boys, amongst many past favorites including animated light displays and holiday delights. The display is open Thursday – Saturdays through December from 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm and every night of Christmas week. Admission to the holiday festivity is by free will donations and includes gifts for the kids and drawings for adults including grocery gift certificates and chamber dollars from surrounding communities. Proceeds from this event stay directly in NE Iowa. Funds support programs for mentoring, parenting classes, substance abuse education, and domestic and sexual abuse client services. For more info, visit

fun stuff to do

december Monday





Dessert Among the Trees, McGregor Marquette Arts Center, 5pm

Through December 21: “Little Women,” Commonweal Theatre, Lanesboro


Kids Meet Santa & Tea Party, McGregor Marquette Arts Center, 1pm


Decorah Chorale, Christmas Benefit Concert, St. Benedict’s Church, 4:30 pm


6 Holiday Stop & Shop, The Oaks, Decorah 4:30–8 pm

Choose local this holiday season and beyond!

choose 13

8 Christmas in the Union, Luther College, 4:30–6:30 pm

local. 14

*Last Chance to see ‘The Art of Food’ exhibit at Lanesboro Arts Center, Closes12/23


Mannheim Steamroller, La Crosse Center

A Christmas Fantasy, Elkader Opera House, 2 pm





Vesterheim Free Thursday

Open through December 26: Holiday Nights Magical Lights, Decorah Campground, Thursday-Sunday 5:30-8:30, open every night starting December 16

Vesterheim Norwegian Christmas, Decorah, 10-4 pm



Vesterheim Free Thursday – Gallery Talk, Norwegian Art and Craft Club of Brooklyn, 19361956, 2 pm


December 4: Michael J. Thoma Concert, Vesterheim Bethania Church, Decorah, 2 & 4 pm Vesterheim Norwegian Christmas, 10-4 pm


Decorah Holiday Parade, Downtown, 6 pm Michelle Lynn, The Horse Shoe, Calmar, 9 pm


Michelle Lynn, Main Entrance, Prairie, 9 pm

Last night to see Holiday Lights Magical Nights! Decorah

27 December 26 & 27: The Bad Plus, Dakota Jazz Club, Minneapolis


Suzy Bogguss, Elkader Opera House, 7:30 pm


Joe & Vicki Price, Rusted Nail, Waukon, 9 pm

Pistol Whippin Joe & Vicki Price, Party Penguins, Ed’s (No Name) Haymarket, 9 pm Bar, Winona Nate & Hallie Evans

Tonic Sol-fa, Open House, Bluff Mike McAbee, Mayo Civic Center, Corner Liquor Store, Contry Gallery, Rochester Spring Grove, 9-5 Spring Grove


Vesterheim Free Thursday

Dave Zollo solo, Orchard Green Restaurant, Iowa City



Burning Joe & Vicki Price, Bright Concert, Safe House, Lansing 1st United Methodist, Decorah Dan Chouinard

Holiday Sing-Along, Winter on the Farm Seed Savers St. Mane, L-boro, 7:30pm “Muppet Christmas December 17: High & Lonesome Carol” free movie, St. Reunion Show, The Mill, Iowa City Mane, L-boro, 4 pm






Joe & Vicki Price, T-Bocks, Decorah

Vesterheim Free Thursday



ArtHaus Holiday Art Fair, 10-5 pm

December 3-5: Christmas at Luther

Vesterheim Barnetimen, Decorah, 10 am

Open Stage Night with Karsten Snitker, T-Bock’s






Vesterheim Free Thursday


Happy New Year’s Eve!

NYE Baker London with Mike McAbee, Elks Lodge, Decorah El Caminos, Goodfella’s, Waukon, 9 pm Decorah Park-Rec NYE Bash, Luther Regents Center, 6:30–11 pm

fun stuff to do















Thursday Saturday


Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Varsity Theater, MSP




Open Stage Night with James Lieder & Ridin’ High, T-Bock’s

Dr. Etta, Comedian, Elkader Opera House, 2pm



11 12

26 27





What’s YOUR 2011 resolution? Let us know on Facebook (and like Inspire(d) Media while you’re at it)!


Beards & Vesterheim Joe & Vicki Beers, D.ART Free Price, Star- Co. Happnin’, Thursday lite Lounge, Toppling LaCrosse Goliath, 8 pm January 21-23: 2nd Annual Oneota Film Festival, Luther College, Decorah



David Allan Joe & Coe, Vicki Price, Whiskey Saxon Hall, Bones Brownsville, Roadhouse, MN Rochester

Pieta Brown, January 26-30: Frozen River Civic Theater, Film Festival, Winona Rochester January 25-27: Blue Man JAN 20-29: “Snoopy!” Group, Gallagher Bluedorn New Minowa Players PAC, Cedar Falls Theater, Decorah


Vesterheim Barnetimen, Decorah, 10 am


Free Thursday

JAN 14: Decorah Community Send Off for 322nd Engineer Company Army Reserve Unit, Luther College, CFL, 2 pm

TalkStory Decorah, ArtHaus, 7 pm


January 8-10: Dorian Vocal Festival, Luther College

Starting JAN 5, every Wednesday, Vesterheim Rotary Chili Wonder Supper, Trivia night, Old Man River Brewery Free Creek, McGregor, 6:30 pm Thursday DHS, 5–7 Haymarket, JAN 7: First Friday with Jeff Decorah, JAN 7: Mike McAbee, Safe 9pm Mitchell, Funder for Baker London House, Lansing, 9 pm Presents, ArtHaus, Decorah, 8 pm



Happy 1 New Year! Lucy Michelle & TVLs, Ed’s (No Name) Bar, Winona



1 2 Groundhog



Happy Chinese New Year! The year of the Rabbit!


Winter 4






Happy Valentine’s Day!









19 Joe & Vicki Price, Root River Saloon, L-boro

JAN 25: Joe & Vicki Price, Leo’s Generations Lounge, Oelwein


ArtHaus Poetry Slam, Elks, Decorah, 8 pm

COMING UP: March 8: Mardi Gras!

24 Kenny Rogers, Treasure Island Casino, Red Wing, MN

17 Nnenna Freelon, Luther Center Stage, CFL, 7:30 pm

Every Wednesday, Trivia night, Old Man River Brewery , McGregor, 6:30 pm


FEB 15: Vesterheim Barnetimen, Decorah, 10 am



Impact Pro Carrie Newcomer, Wrestling, Luther Center Elks Lodge, Decorah Stage, CFL, Doors 6pm, 7:30 pm show 7 pm


Enchanted Ape, Haymarket, Decorah, 9pm

FEB 9: Song Writing with Carrie Newcomer, ArtHaus, Decorah, 6:15 pm


Day… Spring? Winter? Spring?

Barnelopet Disco Kids Ski, Party, Decorah ArtHaus, Prairie Decorah, 8-10 pm FEB 4-5: Second City Touring Company, Englert Theater, Iowa City

Jim Stafford Presidents’ Day Show, Elkader Opera House, 2pm






February is Black History Month


fun stuff to do


com l e W to

YOU LIKE CALENDARS? CHECK THESE OUT! ‘Tis the season to be turning over not only a new month, but a new year, and what better way to give a gift than by ringing in 2011 with a local calendar!? Inspire(d) loves the new WCCVB calendar, as well as the treasured annual Decorah High School Art Club Calendar. The Winneshiek County Convention and Visitors Bureau 2011 Calendar features photographs of area landscapes and attractions by Joyce Meyer, Tyler Buck, Randy Uhl, and others. In addition it also has listings for must-attend 2011 events, and little-known facts about Winneshiek County. “We think the calendar is a perfect stocking stuffer,” said Brenda Balk, WCCVB executive director. “We also hope county residents will give 2011 calendars to their out-of-area family members to remind them of home and to keep them informed of 2011 events.” At just $10, Calendars are an affordable and practical gift for all. They are available at the Chamber and Visitors Center, 507 W. Water, Decorah. All proceeds will support the local nonprofit tourism organization. Supplies are limited, to reserve a copy, call 563-382-2023 or email The Decorah High School Art Club is again offering their annual all-original calendars featuring the work of DHS students. Marking the 17th year that Decorah art teacher Elizabeth Lorentzen has supervised the project, students create original pen and ink works of local sights, structures, and scenes with architectural interest. The 2011 Calendar features the work of Kasi Misseldine, Ingrid Rotto, Sarah Tappe, Addie Hansen, Ida Rotto, Madison Johansen, Tessa Kraus, Camille Maker, and others. Throughout the past 17 years the calendar project has raised over $25,000 to help fund the DHS Art Club, equipment purchases, and also provide education experiences for students. Art Club Students are currently selling the calendars for $9 each, and notecards for $1.25 each, or Calendars can be purchased at Agora Arts, The Perfect Edge, Millkhouse Creamery, and other downtown Decorah businesses. Unframed prints of the featured works are also available at The Perfect Edge (118 Washington St.) for $5. All proceeds from the calendars go to the DHS Art Club.

207 WAShIngton STREet, DecOrah, iowa • 563.517.1022 Take a class. Schedule a party. Walk by & pop in to paint a quick pot. We can’t wait to see you!

Happify your creative side! Welcome to Vesterheim! Check for a schedule.

• Folk-art classes • Specialty shopping • Exclusive exhibitions • Children’s programs • Festivals Hours: May 1-Oct. 31 Open 9:00-5:00 every day

Nov. 1-April 30

Open 10:00-4:00 Monday-Sunday Thursdays—open until 8:00 with free admission thanks to Decorah Bank & Trust Co.

Preserving a heritage. Connecting us all.

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





By Aryn Henning Nichols Photos by Patrick Danz


s snow cakes the ground, cakes fill our minds… along with pies, soups, stews, and roasts. Winter food cravings often sway the direction of homey comfort and the warmth of something delicious baking in the oven. At Pedal Pushers Café in Lanesboro, Minnesota, this is exactly what they’re serving up this winter, featuring locally grown meats, dairy, and in-season produce. Locally owned and operated since 2005 by Angie and Scott Taylor, the restaurant conjures up a classic 1950s diner, with booths and placemats you can draw on. The menu includes tasty starters and salads, but we suggest you get on to the real deal: the sandwiches and burgers or their selection of classic, down-home dinners like chicken pot pie and slow-cooked pot roast. Our winter favorites include the Commercial – a sandwich complete with shredded roast beef, mashed potatoes, and gravy – or the Good Golly Miss Molly burger with caramelized onions and brie...

“Wooo hooo, I’m going to the dentist!” Okay…we know you’re probably not going to say that. But we do have cable TV in every room, local art throughout our state-of-the-art facilities, nice views, and, of course, free toothbrushes and floss. Now let’s hear a wooo hooo!

Dr. Jon R. Hart • Dr. Peter J. Blodgett • Dr. John E. Wilmes 108 Fifth Avenue, Decorah, Iowa • 563-382-3657 • Visit our website at:

And of course, you must save room for the cake. Or pie. More specifically, the “Pie and Coffee Special.” For just $1.99, you get a serving of the dessert of the day with a cup of coffee made from beans roasted right there at Pedal Pushers.

Name: Scott Taylor Age: 39 Restaurant: Pedal Pushers Café, 121 Parkway Ave. N., Lanesboro, Minnesota Number of Years Cooking: 6 Formal training or live-and-learn? Live and learn. I try to learn something from everyone I work with in the kitchen. What’s your earliest or most significant memory of cooking or being cooked for? I grew up on a dairy farm here in Lanesboro and we had home cooked meals (meat, potatoes, vegetables) three meals a day, seven days a week. The ingredients came right from our farm...we ate our cattle and mom had a huge garden that she canned from. Growing up this way inspired the way I run Pedal Pushers Cafe...simple foods, cooked well, using fresh quality ingredients.

You’re Invited!




What’s the best thing you’ve ever made? The most rewarding thing for me is when the ingredients for a soup come together just right....that feels pretty good.


Do you have any monumental food fails you’d like to share with us? I think knowing when to pull the plug and put a dish in the trash is a good skill to have.



Have you taken the initiative to reduce your carbon footprint but are wishing to take it further? Or maybe you’d like to take your very first “green step” in the right direction?

How about secret food indulgences you don’t normally talk about? Will you tell us? I am always curious to see what hot sauce will taste good on.




Why did you decide to become a chef? My wife forced me into it! (HA) I wanted to bring our restaurant back to my roots with good made from scratch cooking.

What’s your favorite: Ingredient: grass fed beef (very different flavor than regular beef) Dish: my Grandma Kari’s Norwegian meatballs and gravy Cookbook: My wife has the cookbook addiction and I try to stay out of her way Random (or not so random) kitchen tool: Chef’s knife and homemade holster Vegetable: fresh garden beets Fruit: ripe pineapple


Oneota Tags are the first local carbon offset program in Iowa, allowing you to recycle your dollars into residential energy savings right here in Winneshiek County – and they might even make a perfect holiday gift!






Learn more at under “Projects”!

Or call 563-382-4207


Northfield, Minnesota Above: Downtown Northfield. Right: the Northfiled Arts Guild. Words and Photos by Aryn Henning Nichols

boxed (IN)

inspire(d) magazine • winter 2010-2011



here comes a point every winter where we Midwesterners go completely crazy – we contemplate all sorts of wild things: plunging into frozen lakes, slapping a couple’a sticks on our feet and basically jumping down ice-packed mountains (I’ve never been much of a skier), or grabbing a pick axe, flooding the side of a silo, and climbing on up. Or maybe you’re like me and consider relocating to an exotic locale that doesn’t have the words ‘snow shovel’ in its vocabulary. While all of these things are possible – heck, even fun (surely some of you like to ski and ice climb) – we thought we’d propose something a little easier. So begins a new series in Inspire(d) : boxed (in). We don’t think you have to go far or spend a ton of money to have fun. Fo’ real. We’ll show you how. In each issue, we’ll highlight a location within our tri-state borders – Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin – that we think is cool, fun, hip, interesting, unique, odd, quirky…you get the picture. Our first town – Northfield, Minnesota – is many of those things. How could it not be with a slogan like “cows, colleges, and contentment”? Both Carleton and St. Olaf call it home, bringing along that cool college vibe, it has an interesting history complete with a Jesse James Gang shootout, and its downtown is hip and full of fun restaurants, shops, and pubs. We checked it out one snowy weekend early this winter.

who, what, where, when


ocated just under two hours north of Decorah – under an hour from Rochester, double that from La Crosse – Northfield is full of small town charm with just 17,000 people, but has the added benefit (or some businessowners would say detriment) of being only 45 minutes from the Twin Cities. Northfield wins the battle against the

The Archer House River Inn • Cozy and cute, the Archer House is in the middle of a renovation that will make it even better. Friendly staff direct you to your room, where fresh cookies await and windows overlook charming Northfield or the Cannon River. The Tavern of Northfield • Located in Archer House, the Tavern of Northfield is both lounge – located at street level with live music on Thursdays and weekends and an app menu – and restaurant – located at river level. We recommend trying the Minnesota Artisanal Cheese Platter: tasty samplings of local cheeses served with chutney, apple, and crostini, and keep it local with Summit on tap.

(continued on next page)


December 4, 7:30 pm Suzy Bogguss Christmas Concert sponsored by Alpine Communications

January 30, 2 pm

Chapati Cuisine of India • Amazing, authentic Indian food in tiny Northfield? Yes. And yum. Also located in the Archer House, Chapati’s Palak Paneer (fresh chopped spinach and home-made cheese) is flippin’ de-lic-ious. The Contented Cow • Down Division Street, down the alley, you’ll find The Contented Cow. And maybe contentment itself with a slogan like “good beer, good food, good company.” Check out the chalkboard for drink specials, the settle in for some live music inside or sightseeing outside on their awesome patio.

bedroom community label though – Division Street runs through downtown, parallel to Cannon River, and it’s bustling and exciting, even with several inches of slush and snow! Winter weekends you’ll find folks holed up in pubs enjoying live bands and local brews or braving the snow to go on an art crawl through various galleries and shops, or even taking in the annual Winter Walk – an night out in Northfield by candlelight (this year it’s scheduled for December 9, 2010). In the spring and summer you can stroll along the River Walk

The Elkader Opera House

sponsored by Fennellys’ Irish Pub

February 20, 2 pm

Bittersweet Eatery & Gathering Place • Northwoods French Toast
Cranberry wild rice bread with whipped raspberry honey butter and syrup. Need I say more? Oh yeah – find it in Archer House. Goodbye Blue Monday • Jonesing for a tasty cappuccino or mocha? Head to GBM – they serve fair trade coffee and their shop is fun, funky, and cozy at the same time. The Sketchy Artist • We want to buy everything in this quirky, Asian-inspired shop – from art supplies to toys to gifts. The Northfield Arts Guild • “Wow,” was the first word out of my mouth when I walked through the doors of the Northfield Arts Guild. It’s beautiful and a great asset to the Northfield community with rotating art shows, a retail shop, classroom and studio space, a venue for live productions, and more! It’s a must visit.

The Jim Stafford Show sponsored by Central State Bank

Ticket info at

Or 563.873.2378 Gift Certificates available

Featuring fresh-roasted organic/fair trade coffee for all our coffee beverages


Java John’s • 400 W. Water, Decorah • 563-382-5690 Homemade light fare, cinnamon rolls, treats, & more!

NEED A GREAT GIFT IDEA? STOP BY! Travel mugs, coffee beans & gift certificates! Plus: local books! Bob Felde’s “Life at the Crossroads” & Robert Wolf’s “Heartland Portraits”

Free wireless Internet! Mon.-Sat. 6:30am-5:30pm • Sun. 7:30am-12pm

LEATHER & SHOE REPAIR Custom Buffalo Moccasins • Handcrafted Art & Crafts

TUES-FRI: 9 - 5:30 PM • THURS 10 -7 PM

Above: The Archer House River Inn

during a Farmers Market (or any other time, really), or take a hike through Carleton College’s Cowling Arboretum’s 15-mile trail system. Or visit in the fall during the annual “Defeat of Jesse James Days” in September and see a reenactment of the town’s famed James-Younger attempted bank robbery. What’s this? Well, at “roughly 2 pm,” September 7, 1876, eight men rode into town to rob the First National Bank of Northfield. But locals and area merchants foiled the plan in a seven-minute battle that left two robbers dead and two badly wounded. The exciting/harrowing day is memorialized every year on the streets of Northfield. The fall festival honors the heroes who fought back that day and won, saving the bank and townspeople’s money from peril. But it you’re not into the dramatic history or walking around in the great outdoors, there’s still stuff to do. In the warmer months you can laze around on the multitude of patios overlooking the river, or hang out in the beautiful library located right on Division Street. But in the meantime, get cozy! Decorah’s Hotel Winneshiek’s sister hotel, the Archer House River Inn is also on Division Street downtown, and may as well be called Anchor House. Standing regally next to the river, it holds down one end of the city, accommodating – in addition to guests – three restaurants, a tavern, and shops. Check in and then go check out one of the many local happy hours (seriously – there are so many, both early and late!), maybe a show at the Northfield Arts Guild, a delightful meal ranging from pub fare all the way over to Indian, and get content like the cows with live entertainment and warm conversations through the night. Aryn Henning Nichols loves visiting places near and far, but especially delights in new discoveries that were right under her nose. She’s heard Northfield has been called the Decorah of the North and wonders if there, Decorah is called the Northfield of the South. But that’s not important now. And don’t call me Shirley.

The BesT holiday gifT ever! Tickets from the Gallagher-Bluedorn make the perfect stocking stuffer this season!

Friday | April 8 | 7:30 p.m. Saturday | April 9 | 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Sunday | April 10 | 1 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.

Nathaniel Hackmann as Gaston • Justin Glaser as the Beast & Liz Shivener as Belle, photos by Joan Marcus

The most beautiful love story ever told comes to life! Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, the smash hit Broadway musical, is back on tour! Based on the Academy Award-winning animated feature film, this eye-popping spectacle has won the hearts of over 35 million people worldwide. This classic musical love story is filled with unforgettable characters, lavish sets and costumes, and dazzling production numbers including “Be Our Guest” and the beloved title song. Experience the romance and enchantment of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast! sponsored by



Nestled in the heart of historic Decorah

Fresh & Delicious

English-style tea room


choose By Emily Kittleson and Inspire(d) staff

A Decorah dining not to miss!

From scratch daily:

Delightful scones, tarts, & desserts, entrees, soups, salads, & sandwiches!

Tues-Sat: 11 - 3 Store opens at 10

563-382-3795 Specials posted daily!



113 W. Water St. Decorah,

Here at Inspire(d), we know we talk about choosing, loving, buying local all the time. It’s not just because we have some vendetta against big box stores (not really, anyway) or that we simply want you to support our friends and advertisers (we do)…it’s because it makes SENSE (and cents) to support local businesses and organizations! The biggest clincher for us? Money. It strengthens regional economies to Choose Local. About $45 of every $100 spent with local businesses stays in the local economy, versus the roughly $14 of every $100 spent at large chain stores that remains in the local economy (according to a


local. 2003 study by the Institute of Local SelfReliance). Plus, local businesses tend to buy locally, supporting a variety of other area businesses, like local banks, accountants, printers, and more! We feel the holidays are a great time to remind you to Choose Local – but how about you make it a New Year’s Resolution and stretch it on into 2011 and beyond? Do yourself and your community a favor. Whether you’re shopping, traveling, working, entertaining, or cooking, do it local. Each year Inspire(d) chooses a few favorite local/regional ideas for gifts and fun. Here are our 2010 picks for the many personalities in your life… anytime of the year!

Home is Where the

Art. is


313 College Drive, Decorah

craft brew selectio n! Stock up o n Bubbles for NYE!

Roger Meyer, from rural Hokah, Minnesota, is a retired building contractor who now makes these amazing tables and art pieces with his business, Turned To Wood. We love the bowls. They’re available at the Bluff Country Artist Gallery in Spring Grove, Minnesota.

Open Mon-Thurs 10-9, Fri & Sat 10-10, closed Sun

great domestic and

We’re also totally digging Southeast Minnesota artist Karl Unnasch’s latest Stained Glass creations.


its! r i p s h t i w t i r i iday sp Get in the hol Wine, beer, liquor = Best Gifts Ever!

Have we mentioned that we love Steel Cow’s Mini Moos? They’re sweet, unique paintings of cows with attitude made in Waukon, Iowa, and they’re even more affordable this year: just $48!

Glass kaleidoscopes made by Peggy and Steve Kittelson from Woodland Designs in Clermont, Iowa, are a delicate, everchanging piece of art perfect for nostalgic, hands-on folks.

Art at Ed’s (No Name) Bar. This great locally owned and operated bar in Winona, Minnesota, features a rotating gallery of local artists and bands. You can buy the art you’re interested in at often very reasonable prices.


Life’s a Party.






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

Want to make your own dishes for the party? Go to The Clay Studio in Decorah and build from scratch or simply paint a project. Great for your own party or to bring as a hostess gift. Or heck – have your whole (craft) party at the Clay Studio…everyone can make their own piece of art to take home!

Booze & Beer: Check out Benji Nichols’ story about local beers and spirits on page 37. He’ll tell you more about Millstream, Summit, Toppling Goliath, Cedar Ridge, Hub City, Old Man River, Pearl Street Brewery, and Templeton Rye. It’s hard to go wrong with holiday spirits!

Treat your loved ones and yourself to local treats. Bear Creek Honey, Yellow River Dairy’s Monona Goat Cheese, Waving Grains Bakery Bread, Ida’s Chocolates, and Kickapoo Coffee are some of our favorites from the Oneota Food Co-op – check out your area co-op for some of the same. And if you think of it, tell us what local producers we should know about on our Facebook page (search for Inspire(d) Media…and like us!).

s e u o h k il eame ry M d le C r n a C

P and erfect env for t iron hos me e wi nta th l se alle nsi rgi tivi es ties !

An organic blend of local soy wax and pure beeswax artfully crafted in Osage, Iowa.

200 W. Water St, Decorah, Iowa 52101 • 563.382.5742

For your

Body. and Mind.

AS JAMES TAYLOR SAYS, SHOWER THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE WITH LOVE.THE POSSIBILITIES FOR THIS TYPE OF GIFT ARE VIRTUALLY ENDLESS. YOU CAN MAKE IT CUTE, YOU CAN GIVE IT A THEME, YOU CAN MAKE IT SEXY…BUT WHATEVER YOU DO, MAKE IT PERSONAL (AND MAKE IT LOCAL). Create a personalized wellness kit with local soaps like these Lynn Staley Originals. Then perhaps make your own oils, bath salts, and lotions. Include a Milkhouse Creamery candle from their new retail shop in Decorah (, and you’ve got one blissed-out gift recipient. Throw in a local spa gift certificates and it’s over-the-top good. Ahhhhh.

Give them a way to keep their mind relaxed and their body warm with knitting supplies and classes from Blue Heron Knittery ( in Decorah or Ewetopia (www. in Viroqua.

Or how about a local book? Try the Better World Handbook, co-authored by Decorah’s Brett Johnson, to get some ideas on, what else? Making the world a better place! www.

Lighten your load, Jane says her mom is running her ragged! Cinderella, and stay out of the ”Do this! Do that! Wash my hair! Clean the cold! With a wave of the wand, Donlon kitchen! Get my medicine!” I feel like pharmacists can deliver, or arrange Cinderella’s neglected best friend. your mother’s meds to be due the same day so you make just one trip a month!

Well – I know one thing she could take off that list. Donlon Pharmacy delivers!

Donlon’s: Your wish just may be our command!

201 West Water Street, Decorah, Iowa • 563-382-2626 •




t a t Y i R d L n E i F EW J E A io



Spring Grove Soda from Spring Grove, Minnesota brings you back to childhood with one little sip! www.springgrovesoda.c om Allamakee Wood Fired Pottery is one of our favorites around here at Inspire(d). It’s made in New Albin, Iowa, and they’re making mugs geared toward tikes these days! ArtHaus classes and events in both visual and movement arts help your friends express creativity – classes aren’t just for school and kids! Learn about photography, drawing, improv, dancing, and more.

Wise Owl Designs made in Decorah fit the style of the quirkiest kids and adults in your life.





Jan 7, 8pm: First Friday! Jeff Mitchell in concert @ ArtHaus. $5 BYOB Jan 16, 7pm: TalkStory Decorah. True stories told by you! @ ArtHaus. $3 BYOB Jan 20, 6pm: Japanese Tea Ceremony & clay wkshp @ Day Spring Spa & The Clay Studio. $40 Feb 4, 8pm: First Friday! Winter Disco Party. Dance away the blues! @ ArtHaus. $3 BYOB Feb 10, 6pm: Kumihimo Braided Jewelry @ The ArtHaus Studio. $30 Feb 18, 8pm: All-Original Poetry Slam @ Decorah Elks Lodge. $5/$3

It’s aanus ArtHter! Win

Contact ArtHaus to find out more, register for a workshop, or make a reservation! 563.382.5440, or



Specializing in sustainable residential & light commercial construction

Living in




Check out your region’s United Way or Habitat for Humanity. There are always ways you can help and contribute and organizers will let you know how to make a donation in the name of a friend, family member, or yourself. Also consider making a donation to your area Free Clinic or Food Pantry.

David J. Wadsworth • 563.419.0390 •

Busy Bodies Massage Tappi Hughes, LMT/Owner Cresco, Iowa & Preston, Minnesota 563-419-4084 Monday thru Saturday 9 am to 6 pm

You’re never too busy to take care of your body. Movement for Health & Well-Being


Okay, this next one isn’t exactly local but it’s a great present and cause. A Kiva gift card is the gift that lasts forever. The $25 is loaned to entrepreneurs in poverty, then returned to a Kiva account online to be loaned again! Plus your friend can see the picture and bio for each entrepreneur and choose whom to lend to. Check out for more details!

Change your life today! Contact Diane Sondrol for more information. 563.419.5420 or Small group and private lessons available, all are welcome!





HAVE AN UN-MATERIALISTIC FRIEND WITH A FLARE FOR THE DRAMATIC? Buy them tickets to an upcoming show, series, or season in your area:

Great River Shakespeare Festival, Winona, Minnesota • Commonweal Theatre, Lanesboro, Minnesota Ye Olde Opera House, Spring Grove, Minnesota Center Stage Series, Luther College, Decorah New Minowa Players, Decorah Elkader Opera House, Elkader, Iowa The Pump House, La Crosse, Wisconsin



Vesterheim Museum offers discounted classes, free museum admission, Vesterheim magazine subscription, and more in a $35 individual membership.

A Seed Savers Exchange membership includes a discount on catalog orders and a subscription to their catalogue and four seasonal magazines for $40. Inspire(d) memberships are just $25 and get you a free subscription to Inspire(d) Magazine and our undying love. Forever.

Allamakee Wood-Fired Pottery


Tired of plastic?

Try a safe alternative for your little ones. T he Wood Fi r ed Ki ds C ol l ect i on


Nate & Hallie Evans • 563-544-4378 2856 Blair Road, New Albin, Iowa 52160

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

303 W. Water Street Decorah, Iowa 563.382.4941

inspire(d) magazine • winter 2010-2011

making energy


4 p.m. on a blustery crisp day, and Winneshiek Energy District director/co-originator Andy Johnson is apologizing for not having a coffee maker in the office. “There isn’t a coffee drinker among us!” he explains of the staff of three, counting himself and energy conservationists Joel Zook and David Paquette. But if they did have a coffee maker, you could darn sure bet they’d unplug it when the brew cycle ended. Like dozens of small appliances, the average coffee pot draws power to display a clock or indicator light, even when not performing its intended function.


an ethic

Words by Kristine Kopperud Jepsen Illustrations by Natalie Moore Photos by Aryn Henning Nichols

“There’s low-hanging fruit everywhere when it comes to energy efficiency,” Andy begins, chuckling. “There are just so many ways to get started.” Winneshiek Energy District incorporated in late 2009 around ideas that have been circulating in the community for years – ideas that Andy and his dad, former Iowa legislator and (national) Natural Resource Conservation Service chief Paul Johnson, penned in an op-ed for The Des Moines Register: “Something is still missing in our state and national [energy conservation] efforts: local initiative and individual responsibility. Collectively, we see energy as a national and international issue, and so we haven’t taken it upon ourselves to solve the problem. We need international agreements on energy and climate change, and we need national and state legislative action. But most of all, we need local initiatives. We need neighbors persuading neighbors, teachers working with students, and local leaders taking on the issue with a passion. We need to expect better of ourselves.”





Winter Clearance 15 to 75% off!


year from inception, the District has two types of programming underway to help Winneshiek residents conserve energy and save money: a direct-install program – headed by Paquette – to help residents make immediate improvements in energy efficiency; and a home energy planning/cost-share consulting service – headed by Zook – to help City of Decorah homeowners calculate energy savings and plan for more holistic home improvements. “In our first years, we’re out to collect the kinds of numbers that help people see how much energy inefficiency is a drain on our local economy,” Johnson explains. This means refining tools and metrics that collect solid local data – like the Home Energy Checkup, a free, Web-based questionnaire that homeowners can use to generate a scorecard for their homes’ efficiency. (Check it out at “But getting a more accurate picture of our local energy economy isn’t enough,” Johnson adds. “The point is to get beyond educating ourselves. We need boots on the ground to get things done.”

Get ready for Fashion 2011 !

Margaret’s Fashion & Accessories from


FUN FANCY New arrivals: Mother of the Bride (& Groom) dresses! Sizes 4 thru 20W & S thru XXXL

Margaret’s Clothing 210 W. Water St, Decorah

563-382-8208 Mon. to Sat. 9-5 Thurs. ‘til 8 p.m. Holiday hours thru end of December!

Indeed, more than 90 percent of Iowa’s energy expenditures leave the state’s economy, and any way you run the numbers, that’s a lot of money. A conservative estimate of energy use by the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors of the City of Decorah alone is valued at more than $13 million annually. “A savings of just 15% over the next 5 years – hopefully achievable between our work and that of so many others doing great work – would result in close to $2 million in savings annually just in the City of Decorah,” Johnson says. Energy dollars that stay local quickly recycle themselves, engaging an economic multiplier of 2.23, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. At that rate, saving 15% of local energy costs puts $4.3 million on Decorah’s bottom line. Annually. The strategy hearkens to the Dust Bowl years of the Natural Resource Conservation Service and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The organizations pooled volunteer time and expertise with state and federally funded services to help landowners enact conservation measures on their properties. “Until now, there’s been no comprehensive, locally led delivery system for technical assistance regarding energy issues,” Johnson says.


Enter the Energy Corps, a team of trained volunteers and staff, including eight AmeriCorps volunteers assigned to the District through a partnership with Green Iowa AmeriCorps, a community service organization hosted by the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education. Once a Winneshiek County homeowner registers with the District by completing a Home Energy Checkup or the simple signup form at, or by notifying staff at, the Corps schedules time to complete either a basic or comprehensive installation of home energy efficiency devices. Basic installation includes: Replacement of incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient alternatives; installation of low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators; hot water heater temperature setting and pipe insulation; installation of “smart” power strips for electrical appliances; electronics and thermostat programming; a vehicle and bicycle tire pressure check; and an overview of energy-saving tips and practices. Comprehensive installation adds blower door testing and air infiltration assessment, air sealing, duct sealing, and other weatherizing techniques. Team members test the rate at which indoor air is exchanged with outdoor air before and after installations to help document effectiveness. Labor for the direct-install program is provided free of charge, thanks to the Green Iowa AmeriCorps placement and other volunteer training. In addition, the District picks up 50 percent of the costs of materials installed, so homeowners can expect to pay just $25-$100. Paquette is quick to point out the variability of direct installations, that it’s not a one-weatherstrip-fits-all experience. “We have different materials to choose from,” he explains. “You don’t have to give up having ‘soft white’ bulbs to read by or give up a certain look of fixture in your shower -- just tell us what you prefer, and we’ll find it.”


at center for the arts decorah, iowa


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


inneshiek Energy District is grant-funded through summer 2012, but the goal is longterm sustainability. To this end, the District administers an Oneota Tag Offset program, a local energy credit system that currently funds Energy Corps direct-install materials and should eventually cover a portion of the operating budget.


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

$10. adult / $5. children under 12

o S ee y

Luther College theatre /dance

Paquette also emphasizes the satisfaction of working, literally, to reduce energy inefficiency. “We train volunteers at the outset, and we continually improve as we work together,” he says, laughing, as he recalls an early airsealing job done on the front door of the Energy District’s office at 510 West Main Street in Decorah. “I showed the team how to do it – it was one of the first doors they’d done ­– then I had to get to an appointment. When I came back, they’d done such a good job I had to body slam the door to get it open. Absolutely no unwanted air was getting through those cracks. It was a useful learning experience, for sure.” (They’ve since pared back the seals to allow ease of use.) Decorah native Andrew Smeby, a Luther graduate and Energy Corps team member, also likes the combination of hands-on involvement and community impact. “Caulking windows may not be the most glamorous job, but its exciting being a part of a small movement that could quickly expand. And if we can reduce the residential carbon footprint (and save the homeowner some money on utility bills), we’re doing a great service.” Smeby, who pursued art and environmental studies in college, says he sees the Corps’ legacy embracing green building industries as well, as team members get their arms, maybe literally, around questions of how we came to be so nonchalant about energy use in the first place. “Being in and around old homes has me constantly thinking, ‘How could houses be built better?’” he says.


ther ! e

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

Kinderhaus Inspiring wonder; education from the outside in.

Preschool for ages 3-6 • • 563.379.7303


“Carbon credit programs, particularly of the international, corporate variety, generally get a deservedly bad rap,” Johnson explains. For one thing, they favor energy consumers who can afford to have someone, somewhere else, offset their carbon footprint. Second, their viability is hard to track – who’s to know where the money really goes? And finally, it’s hard to prove they’re doing real offset work that wouldn’t be done without the program itself (called “additionality” in offset lingo). The Oneota Tag program uses its “local” status to combat these charges. Current Tag funds go toward materials and supplies purchased wholesale for the Energy Corps direct-install programs. “The dollars stay local, so you know they’re charging your local economy while addressing energy issues,” Johnson says. “And


Lunch & dinner Monday - Saturday • 563-382-3067

n ouse o the Farm H e B& tl t B i L Made-fromscratch breakfast using locally grown foods

Small appliances, cookware, & linens provided

enjoy life's simple pleasures & the peacefulness of the country

892 Pole Line Road • Postville, Iowa • 563-864-7304

(between Decorah & Waukon) •

It’s Where You Want To Be...

206 W. Water Street • 563-382-5970

if you’re worried about where the money goes, come check it out, volunteer with a direct-install team.” For more information, visit projects/oneota-tag-offsets.


n addition to consumable supplies like light bulbs, the Energy Corps maintains a collection of home energy meters called TEDs (The Energy Detective). Originally deployed in spring 2010 as part of energy education curricula for Decorah ninth graders and their families, the units display a live readout and provide computerized analysis of energy use in the home, showing how power ramps up during peak times of day and with the use of particular appliances. “I consider myself someone who’s pretty in-tune with sustainability issues, and I’m still learning new things from the TED and at District meetings,” says TED host and District board member Carolyn Corbin, also a facilitator of Decorah’s formal Sustainability Plan, adopted by the City in October 2010. “It’s more important to switch all your bulbs to CFL or LED than to switch all your lights off every time, for example. And it’s crazy to see what air-conditioning a modest-sized house does to its overall power consumption!”


Corbin says the District’s real impact has less to do with wattage readings and more to do with championing common sense. “I see the energy district as a central agent for raising awareness – to do the difficult work of changing behaviors. Most of the time, we just don’t look at ourselves that closely, and ask the hard ‘Why?’ questions. It takes a certain nonjudgmental approach.” Eventually, the TED units may be loaned out by the Energy Corps like library books, allowing more residents a real-time relationship with their energy consumption.


eyond the quick, directinstall program, Winneshiek Energy District refines expertise and assessment tools to help homeowners look into the future and plan for more comprehensive upgrades. By using the online Home Energy Checkup, and consulting with Zook – who holds a degree in architecture and two national energy auditor certifications – Decorah homeowners can orchestrate major energy investments that qualify for a 30 percent cost-share grant-funded through the District (up to $2,000 per residence). The District can also map out a plan for homeowners to take advantage of rebates and incentives from utilities companies, as well as tax credits. “This is the more holistic, structural approach to home energy conservation,” Johnson explains. “It’s meant to address big-ticket items like mechanical systems overhaul or window replacement.” Eventually, the program could help homeowners take advantage of alternative energy installations and fund use of more sustainable materials and design in newer construction. “What’s amazing about the program is it helps you get motivated to just get these things done,” says Rachel Vagts, a member of Decorah’s city council, Luther College archivist, and the owner of a local home built in 1890. “I’ve known I need to do the attic insulation, and now I have a more realistic plan for choosing contractors, knowing what I should be asking for.” Vagts, who has seen firsthand dramatic energy savings on behalf of the city – at the wastewater plant, for example – says the price of energy conscientiousness is still high for the average individual. “Even with incentives and the District cost-share, it’s still going to be a challenge for me to pay for these upgrades,” she explains. “We need to figure out how to provide financing





1. Complete the Home Energy Checkup to get a graphical scorecard of your energy use, and sign up for the District’s Energize! Winneshiek CostShare program for home energy upgrades. 2. Sign up for the District’s Energy Corps Direct Install, or organize your friends and neighbors to host an Energy Corps “Energize My Block” Day.

Don’t forget

the present.

3. Calculate your carbon footprint, and purchase Oneota Tag carbon offsets to reduce your footprint and help fund the Energy Corps local efficiency work. 4. Learn more about energy efficiency, renewable energy, tax and utility incentives, financing your energy projects, and other worthwhile ways to make energy a lasting ethic.

Day Spring Spa

563.382.0799 116 Washington, Decorah

The trip from to


Algeria is



The trip from

Decorah to Elkader is





Make dining an experience again.

Elkader • 563-245-1992 Elkader, IA • 563-245-1992

as a community.” In that regard, Johnson hopes the Home Energy Checkup tool becomes valuable to the local real estate market, making potential energy savings tangible to a broad spectrum of buyers and creditors. Buyers considering upgrades to a newly purchased home, for example, as recommended by the Home Energy Checkup, should eventually find lenders more willing to roll financing into their mortgage. “We’re looking to get from, ‘Whoa! I can’t spend that much!’ to ‘Hey, that’s a better rate of return than virtually any other investment,’” Johnson says. “Lenders understand that.” The District also hopes to provide a track record of practical programming that, together with other energy initiatives springing up across the country, will attract state and federal support for programs statewide, then nationally, reaching out to commercial facilities, agriculture, and more. “I hope the biggest problem we have is figuring out how to serve expeditiously the many people who sign up for the services the district offers,” says board president Jim Martin-Schramm, Luther professor of religion, and author of *Climate Justice: Ethics, Energy, and Public Policy. “We have been ramping up our capacity and skill sets over the past few months in order to meet this demand.” Every county may not have the means to afford staff and technology for an energy district, Johnson says, “but the idea is to share knowledge, share expertise, share what works, so energy conservation is familiar and not intimidating and makes economic sense to whatever degree a community can embrace it.” Beginning in 2011, the District plans to extend its programming to smaller commercial properties in the City of Decorah, as well. And word on the street is that by Christmas, LED holiday lights (up to 10 times more efficient than standard incandescent) may twinkle all over


downtown Decorah, funded by individual businesses independently of the District. In other words, the proverbial bulbs are coming on. “The Soil and Water Conservation Districts, born of Depressionera economics and concerns, would never have become ubiquitous or universally effective without public support and funding, and the same is almost certainly true for Energy Districts,” Johnson concludes. “That’s going to be a tough sell maybe in this economic and political climate, but if the economic and environmental costs of our energy use are or become a societal priority, then at some point it needs to happen.” Johnson is leaning against his office door frame now, having talked right up to his deadline for leaving for the day (in time to pick up his children). Paquette is just closing shop, too, and is soon pedaling home on a well-traveled bike, backpack in tow. Zook is still finishing up notes on a consultation. They’re all wearing light sweaters or fleece, able to work comfortably in their spare home-turned-office without turning up the heat, á la Jimmy Carter. They groan a little when this throwback makes its way into conversation – the District’s goal, after all, is to make homes more comfortable, not less. But donning a sweater is just plain sensible. And unassuming. And has immediate impact – all qualities the District staff and volunteers hope to demonstrate in their first full year of programming. It’s another day of making energy an ethic, of sharing responsibility for its sources, its costs, and its role in daily life – one friendly jolt of awareness at a time. Coffee, anyone? Kristine Kopperud Jepsen wishes her home and business, Grass Run Farm, were in Winneshiek County so she could participate in the Energy District’s programs (both are just across the county line, in Allamakee). Andy Johnson says this makes her a good candidate fo getting an adjoining District started, which is, after all, how an energy ethic will spread. Until then, she will continue unplugging power strips, electronics chargers and coffee pots, sometimes to the consternation of her household.

A Thread in His Life:

HANS PETER JORGENSEN IS AN ARTIST BY DESIGN words and photo this page by Lauren Kraus

inspire(d) magazine • winter 2010-2011


keeps you young... until you look into the mirror in the morning,” Decorah’s Hans Peter Jorgensen says with a laugh. “I have always considered myself an artist.” More commonly known as “Peter,” he reclined in his chair, arms stretched out, eyes bright, smile wide and exclaimed, “I knew I’d go back to art when I retired and I’m loving it!” Cozy in the Craftsman home he shares with his wife, Mary, the living room is filled with old and new creations by Peter and others. Detailed faces, heads and figure studies made of clay and bronze are placed about. A single plaster mold Peter creates in his basement workshop may turn into several variations of clay masks, faces or heads; each painted and finished in a different way. He diligently works on detail of the eyes, lips, and facial structure, creating a realistic expression of the human form. Artwork by his daughter, grandmother and great-great-grandfather also decorates the house, providing a family gallery of incredible talent. Peter is sculptor, carver, woodworker, musician.


He designs leather pieces, playgrounds, group travel programs, restoration projects. He is a photographer, a bronze castor, a learner, a traveler, a creator. What inspires him is simple. One word: Love. Reaching toward a stack of books on the coffee table, Peter pulls one out, relying on the words of poet Kenneth Patchen to describe his feelings: “The world is nothing that can be known. In the shadow we shall see the color of god’s eyes again. Beyond love, there is no belief.” Peter is a spirited, light-hearted man who likes to share his stories, humor as a key ingredient. His resilient attitude through tales of “crashing and burning” in various efforts expels a contagious zest for life and where he’s at in it. He is not afraid of failure and demonstrates that through all he has tried, where he has lived and how he leads his life. “I’ve never been a person to despair. I just say, ‘Ok, that didn’t work’, and move on,” he says. He’s truly dialed into design and how it connects many of his endeavors. He has always been an artist. Yet, Peter, a

Mexico. Peter and his wife typically travel to this enchanted spot in the winter to soak in the culture (and sun), taste the good food, and work. He has located a foundry where he can rent space and inexpensively produce bonze pieces. Both Peter and his wife practice their Spanish, too. Muy Bien! Every aspect of the text and design in creating these colorful books is overseen by Peter, as he meticulously places each photo and writes each word to capture the experience. His last “formal” career choice also involved careful creation and design. Starting in 1999, he developed an educational group travel program that toured Iowa’s farms as part of the Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area. The mission was to help people better understand agribusiness and American farm life. He retired from this position in 2009 and has jumped into the art scene, having already hosted his first public show ever at The Perfect Edge in Decorah. With plans in motion to spend time with a master-sculptor in Ashland, Oregon, Peter continues to create a life of adventure and design, always moving forward and never pausing to look back. “My desire to create has been powerful, a powerful drive,” Peter reflects, then adds, “I’m glad I haven’t been timid.” If you’d like to see more of Peter’s work, search “Hans Peter Jorgensen, Sculptor” on Facebook. Or email him with any questions:

Lauren Kraus would be more than happy to spend the winter in Mexico. Most likely, she’ll be in Decorah playing in the snow and appreciating the town for its winter perks: cross country skiing and cribbage tournaments.

after the oneota film festival head to toppling goliath for...

Beards & Beers: An art happening inspired by silent film.

Don a beard or top hat, sample some beer, & help shape our future as the area arts council.

Brought to you by D.ART Co. – Driftless Art Collective

310 College Drive • Decorah

january 22 8 to 10 pm


self-described “sputnik kid,” didn’t start with art. “We had to beat the Russians in space exploration, you know,” he says with a smile. He started off on the then-common science track, headed toward life as a chemistry teacher, but by the second semester of sophomore year, he took an art class. And loved it. “And then I thought, ‘This is what I need to be doing!’” Peter graduated from Michigan State in 1965 with a major in Fine Art and minors in Chemistry, Education and Biology. “I grew up in Michigan, on a dairy farm. I have a strong work ethic and my thing was: I need to make stuff.” And so he did. Peter fell into the world of cabinetry. “Cabinets are basically just fancy boxes. Yeah. Fancy boxes,” he says. “And that sort of got me into historic restoration.” He worked on big, Victorian houses and even a Frank Lloyd Wright. And it was a restoration opportunity that eventually brought Peter to Decorah in 1989. He was project director of the Luther College barn restoration. He and his crew transformed that big, bright red barn on the north side of Luther’s campus into the sight it is today. “Working on this project was the most fun I’ve had standing up,” Peter says, chuckling. It got press from The Wall Street Journal and Peter has even created a book chronicling the experience, The Restoration of the Ashmore-Jewell Barn at Luther College 1991-1993. He has also created books about to other aspects of his life, such as Farm Kid, A Childhood Memoir: 19421964 and Seeing San Miguel. The latter displays hundreds of photos from his time in the city of San Miguel,






Musician Carrie Newcomer her life... keeps love at the center of

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and songwriter Carrie Newcomer. Her speaking voice alone conjures memories of a favorite Joni Mitchell album or Saturday evenings with Garrison Keillor on “A Prairie Home Companion.” It’s captivating and comfortable at the same time. “I have never met a single person yet without an amazing story to tell.”

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She takes the images that are central to her own life and makes them applicable to everyone. This applies not only across the nation, but across the globe. In the fall of 2009, Newcomer spent time in India (not Indiana) working at an American Embassy School and also traveling to communities across the country. “I was so moved by how we are different, and so equally touched by how we connect,” she says. “But I love ewcomer is no exception. Hers is the story of a our differences. All of our cultures are rich and vibrant Midwestern girl, singing about the ordinary, exposing the and have something pure and unique, however across extraordinary, telling her tales through music and song. the cultures there is still a common thread that moves Newcomer credits between all of us. If we sing her musical education about love, if we sing about grief, not to New York City or if we sing about hope – we all Nashville, Tennessee, recognize that.” but to Elkhart, Indiana. Newcomer’s recent album, LUTHER COLLEGE CENTER STAGE SERIES Wait...where? “Before and After,” celebrates 7:30 PM FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2011 “It’s interesting,” those common threads, and also Newcomer says. “When manages to find the geodes that FOR TICKETS, VISIT THE LUTHER COLLEGE I was growing up, all might be buried in your own back the band instrument yard. BOX OFFICE, CALL 563-387-1536, OR GO TO factories were in my “You’ve got to pay attention,” WWW.LUTHER.EDU/CENTERSTAGE FOR MORE hometown. Because explains Newcomer. “But INFORMATION. of that, all the school sometimes, it’s not that easy. systems had excellent We live in a very busy culture. NEWCOMER WILL ALSO BE CONDUCTING music programs. So It’s very easy not to be present A SONGWRITING WORKSHOP AT ARTHAUS really, I owe my music in your own life. But when we background to the are present, I see miracles… IN DECORAH WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY public school education everywhere.” 9, AT 6:30 PM. MORE INFORMATION AT system.” She goes on. “I see miracles ARTHAUSDECORAH.ORG. It was then that she everyday. My job is to then put picked up a guitar and those miracles into song.” made “friends” with This also isn’t the easiest some pretty important of tasks, but this Indiana-born people: Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen crooner tackles it anyway. Life, according to Newcomer, to name a few. “I fell in love with these singing poets,” isn’t so much about finding the answers, but just simply Newcomer says. “Their songs combined music with poetic asking the questions. form.” “What do we love beyond words or measures, what gives Like most musicians, her career path was a series of us hope, what sustains us?” she asks. “When we pull back twists and turns, but it never took her far from music. all the layers of distraction, what lies at the center of our Throughout college, Newcomer played whenever and lives?” wherever she could. And after graduating with a degree in When Newcomer herself is asked that question, the visual arts and education, she still felt music was calling to answer comes quickly and easily. “It’s Love. It sounds cliché, her. So, in 1984, she released her first album. but I really do love people,” she says with a laugh. “People Over 20 years and 12 albums later, Newcomer’s music are amazing. Love of my family. Love my family. Love the now awards her national acclaim. Her songs – a collision earth. Love of the earth. That is the center of my life. of music and poetry – are influenced by her life, the people she’s met, and the world outside her door. “The images I work with in my songwriting are from right here, from where I live,” says Newcomer. For example, her Inspire(d) Intern, Susie Clark is a 2010 graduate of Luther song, “Geodes” uses a localized object to symbolize a much College. Known most commonly as “Suz”, this Native larger and more recognizable concept. Minnesotan is about to enjoy her fifth winter in the Oneota “Images (such as geodes) translate,” adds Newcomer. “In Valley. When not counting down the days until the Twins Indiana, it’s very common to find them buried in your field or Season Opener, her spare time this winter will be spent knocking several things off her “30 Before 30” List (thanks, garden, but there is something so miraculous about them. Aryn Nichols). These will include learning to speak Armenian, There is something that you might not see, but you know showshoeing across the Arctic tundra, and ice road trucking. it’s there.”


Carrie Newcomer

inspire(d) magazine • winter 2010-2011


OFF IS ON AGAIN FOR 2ND ANNUAL FEST Oneota Film Festival is January 21 through 23, 2011 January can be a long month in Iowa – a long, cold, dark month. But what better way to combat winter’s frigid bite than with the company of others while taking in some good movies? The 2nd Annual Oneota Film Festival (OFF) will offer exactly that opportunity as over 25 nationally and internationally acclaimed films are screened January 21 through 23 in Decorah. Festival themes include adventure sports, local economies, ecotourism, sustainable living, social justice, local films, and more. Festival vice president and content committee chair Kristin Torresdal says festival selections “generally fall under the broad ‘sustainability’ umbrella,” but cover many interest areas. Nationally recognized films on the docket for OFF include “Ride the Divide,” a feature about the Continental Divide Mountain Bike race from Canada to Mexico, “What’s the Economy For, Anyway?,” by John de Graaf, “Neshoba - Price of Freedom,” and “Tar Creek,” the story of NE Oklahoma’s Tar Creek superfund site. A special appearance by producer John de Graaf will also be highlighted at this year’s festival. Hosted at Luther College, the 2010 Festival will have more than a dozen sets of films as well as panel discussions with filmmakers, displays, conversations with specialists on film topics, local food and beverages, and evening events around Decorah. One such activity will be Saturday

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evening’s “Beards & Beers: An art happening inspired by silent film,” sponsored by Drifltess Art Collective (D.ART Co.) at Toppling Goliath Brewery on Decorah’s west side. “Come don a beard or top hat and take part in some silent film fun, all while tasting local beer,” says D.ART Co. President Rachelle Branum. The festival is a project of the Driftless Art Collective, a 501(c)3 non-profit. All donations and sponsorships to the festival are tax deductible. Organizers have put out a call for local submissions including a “student film” category. Submissions can be of any length and guidelines for submission can be found on the Festival website at www. Festival director Kyra Bellrichard encourages interested sponsors to contact the organization. Volunteers are also needed for many aspects of the festival and encouraged to contact Bellrichard by email at kyra@ Festival presenters hope to continue drawing audiences from the greater region as OFF grows in size and scope, eventually becoming one of the biggest regional draws mid-winter. More information, festival schedules, and film listings can be found at

Turn the page for Inspire(d)’s favorite Tri-State beers and spirits!

By Benji Nichols

Hops Skip & A Mash


is thought that humans first created some type of alcoholic beverage as early as 10,000 B.C. Over the years, these beverages have been refined and used for everything from religious offerings to medical “cures.” Beer in particular traces directly back to the cradle of civilization in the Middle East. Brewers, vintners, and distillers across the world have been working since then to perfect their goods. In much more modern history, we in the US are experiencing what could truly be considered a renaissance. Throughout the last century, including the fascinating “experiment” of prohibition, government control and legislation has greatly restricted alcohol producers in their efforts to effectively sell their products. But much of that has or is changing, and once again, local is king. From wines grown across the Midwest (not just on the coasts!), to microbreweries, and ultra premium distillers, a whole new boom in industry is happening – and close to home! We hope you’ll enjoy this cross-section of favorite Inspire(d) picks. There are more fascinating and inspiring stories than we could ever fit into these few pages, but as with all business, we salute the local crafters of quality goods and services – and those who chase their dreams.

Pictured: Decorah’s Toppling Goliath Brew


MILLSTREAM BREWING TOM AND TERESA ALBERT / CHRIS PRIEBE –BREWER 835 48TH AVENUE, AMANA, IOWA 52203 319-622-3672 WWW.MILLSTREAMBREWING.COM Back in 1985 the cost of a stamp was 20 cents, the Hawkeyes were a year away from losing the Rose Bowl, and the trendsetting beer slogan in the country was “Everything you always wanted in a beer. And less.” (…seriously…). That can pretty much sum up the 1980s for beer in America, but in the heart of Iowa three businessmen had a different idea. At a time that microbreweries all but did not exist in the country, Carroll Zuber, on inspiration from a trip to Germany, talked friends and partners James and Dennis Roemig (of the Colony Inn in Amana) into launching a quaint brewing operation in the Amana Colonies. The three friends had some milk tanks welded together and begged retired Star Brewery master


inspire(d) magazine • winter 2010-2011

Decorah is home to one of Iowa’s newest breweries, Toppling Goliath. In fact, the TG Tap Room will hit its one-year anniversary as this magazine hits the racks. In its name, Toppling Goliath represents the movement back to local brewing economies across the country, and thus quality fresh beer to fans everywhere. Built by Clark Lewey with brewing assistance from Nick Murphy and Mike Saboe, Toppling has quickly become a regional favorite offering up several varieties and specialty beers on tap only. A small half-barrel system is in full use at the TG Tap Room on College Drive in Decorah, allowing the brewers to play with pilot and experimental batches, while

HUB CITY BREWING COMPANY 11352 40TH ST., STANLEY, IOWA 50671 319-283-7369 WWW.HUBCITYBREWINGCOMPANY.COM In 1886 the Chicago Great Western Railway built an east-west track through the Corn Belt that would help nickname a small burgeoning Midwest town “Hub


Joe Pickett to show them how it was done. Thus Iowa’s largest and oldest microbrewery, Millstream, was born. But it didn’t thrive until 2001 when Tom and Teresa Albert scraped together the financing to pick up the pieces. With friend and brew master Chris Priebe at the helm, the gang went to work at creating an award-winning brewery and through thick and thin, brought Millstream to its state today: a true Iowa treasure. Celebrating their 25th year in business, Millstream now features five year-round brews: Shild Brau Amber (three Gold medals alone in 2010!), Iowa Pale Ale, John’s Generations White Ale, Windmill Wheat, and Back Road Stout (Benji’s favorite!). You can also enjoy four seasonal brews throughout the year and a few special beers along the way (check out the recent Schokolade Bock for a real treat – also in one-liter swing stopper bottles). Millstream can be found throughout Iowa, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Nebraska. The Millstream brewery and tasting room is a great part of any day in the Amanas – and is even kid friendly with three types of brewery made sodas! Willkomen!

the larger 10-barrel brewery just outside of Decorah allows for brewing large batches after perfecting recipes. Bottling is in the future, but until then the brewery encourages the use of their custom growlers, which goes with the Toppling vision of encouraging people to reduce packaging. And who doesn’t love fresh beer? Toppling has several regular brews on tap including their flagship Dorothy’s New World Lager, named after the founder’s grandmother, Golden Nugget IPA, Rush Pilsner, and Tsunami Pale Ale. Many seasonal and small batches like the “Biter”, Hoppin’ Wet Amber, Luther Lager, and Rush Hallow Maple Ale (made with local maple syrup), and Naughty 90 IPA have been welcomed by local beer fans, with soon to be released winter brews including Dark Shadow Stout, Cran Stout, and Winter Solstice Black IPA highly anticipated. Keep your eyes peeled for Toppling Goliath on tap at your favorite establishment, or better yet, visit their taproom in Decorah and talk shop with other beer lovers… or just raise one at the giants.

City.” Oelwein, as it is known on the map, was not only a crossroads of the rails, but also played home to the CGW’s engine garages amongst other rail-oriented businesses. All of that is the stuff of history and beautiful old cavernous buildings now, but just outside of town a new Hub City has been born. Brian and Gloria Knoke, along with their son B.J., have been brewing lots of beer (Continued on next page...)

OLD MAN RIVER BREWERY/EINFACH BEER JACOB SIMMONS, BREWER 123 A STREET, MCGREGOR, IOWA 52157 563-873-1999 WWW.OLDMANRIVERBREWERY.COM Once upon a time there was hardly a more glamorous way to travel than by steamboat on the Mississippi River. Of much fame was the Diamond Jo Steamboat line, owned by Joseph (Diamond Jo) Reynolds, one of the largest Midwest grain buyers of the mid 1800s. Jo Reynolds resided in McGregor, Iowa for much of his illustrious business career, constructing a beautiful building and residence. The “Diamond Jo” building is now home to a most unique brewery and restaurant, The Old Man River. With its rough-hewn dining area and beautiful brick expanses, the “Old Man” is not just brewing up another regional ale. Einfach, German for “simple” or “unpretentious simplicity” is a term brewer Jacob Simmons and the Old Man gang found fitting for their beers. Brewed in accordance with the German “Reinheitsgebot,” or purity laws, Einfach beers are said to be a “testament to the quality of slowing down and doing things right.”. Currently Einfach has five brews available; Sling Shot Dunkel, Penny Whistle Wheat, Jackknife GPA, Gold Coin Helles, and Wooden Nickel Scottish, plus a root beer on tap at the restaurant. Look for Einfach on tap throughout Eastern Iowa and the La Crosse, Wisconsin area or take it all in on a lazy afternoon at the Old Man River in McGregor!

the past couple years and are growing into their place as one of Northeast Iowa’s regional brews. Currently Hub City brews several varieties including a Golden Ale, German Hefeweizen, Amber Ale, Brown Ale, Brown Porter, Oatmeal Stout, and seasonals such as the Snowbunny and Midnight Express Russian Imperial Stout. Stop by and check out Hub City MondaySaturday 10 am – 5 pm, and tell them we sent you!

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SUMMIT BREWERY – MARK STUTRUD, FOUNDER 910 MONTREAL CIRCLE, ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA 55102 651-265-7801 • WWW.SUMMITBREWING.COM In 1986, Mark Stutrud had a vision: “to bring back the remarkable craft beers once brewed throughout the Upper Midwest.” With a formula that involved an old automotive parts warehouse and a really good crew of friends, Summit Brewery was launched – and has never stopped growing. In 1998, Summit built the first new Minnesota brewery in a century. The modern brewery is quite a place to see, and offers a fantastic sampling of their year-round brews like the Summit Extra Pale Ale (EPA), Pilsner, IPA, Porter, and Red Ale along with seasonals like Maibock, Hefeweizen, Oktoberfest, and Winter Ale. Summit also offers amazing small batch brews throughout the year like brewer Nate Sias’ Imperial Pumpkin Porter (ed. note: think big smooth chocolaty pumpkin spices…drooool…), and the draught-only Oatmeal Stout. Summit is available in bottles and on tap in 13 states across the Midwest and East, but small batches, casks, and tap-only specialties are usually found close to the Minneapolis / St. Paul metro area. Celebrate this beer success story soon with a delicious Summit, as Mark Stutrud says, “We only brew what we love to drink. Whatever’s left over, we sell.”

While rambling the streets of La Crosse, Inspire(d) staff have long had a favorite local tap for daydreaming and post-delivery doldrums: Pearl Street Downtown Brown. A doozy of a river city, La Crosse offers up a warm establishment with live music pretty much every night of the week, and thus, goes high on our list of cities to spend time in. And it only makes sense that such a Wisconsin city would have not only a long brewing history, but its own lovely microbrewery. As the story goes – (wait for it, another dream… dreamers love beer!) Anthony and Joseph Ketchever loaded up a 1984 Eagle Wagon with a trailer full of brew gear and drove to La Crosse from Colorado. Over a decade later in the winter of 1999 the brewery opened for business in a small basement space on Pearl Street. Things have changed a bit since then, as the brewery now lives in the historic La Crosse Footwear building with a much larger brewing system and bottling line. You can catch PSB on tap at countless location in the La Crosse area including the Pearl Street Brewery Tasting Room, and countless locations across Southern Wisconsin. It’s true, Inspire(d) loves the Downtown Brown, but don’t be afraid to give the Pearl Steet Pale Ale or El Jefe Bavarian Hefeweizen a try – and keep an eye out for seasonals like Oktoberfest Harvest Ale, Evil Doppleganger Double Mai Bock, and Smokin’ Hemp Porter.

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Hard times call for tough choices – and when the US outlawed the production and sale of alcohol in 1920, an opportunity presented itself to farmers in Southwest Iowa. Rye was an available crop and offered a fairly unique flavor for “cookin’ whiskey.” The countryside in and around Templeton, Iowa, held several farmers looking for some extra income, like Alphonse Kerkhoff, who – outside of being busted twice for stilling whiskey – continued to supply barrels of “the good stuff” to all sorts of folks. The tales are long and fun, but the short story is that Alphonse taught his son, Meryl, the recipe, and Meryl eventually agreed, 70 years later, to share it with his son, Keith, and Iowa Entrepreneurs Scott Bush and Michael Killmer, aka the Templeton Rye gang. Rye whiskey takes an incredible amount of patience and time to make, as President Scott Bush explains, “Demand was so much greater than we anticipated, but we didn’t want to sacrifice the quality of the product and its four-year aging process to get it on the shelves. We really want to thank our fans for their patience and support while we have worked to increase the supplies.” TR’s fourth batch of whiskey has just been bottled and hits shelves as this magazine goes to print – so keep an eye out for the beautifully packaged, one-of-a-kind Templeton Rye. And by all means make a reservation to visit this unique Iowa distillery with an even more unique history!

Wednesday: Spaghetti & meatballs / kids pizzas Thursday: Prime Rib Dinner Check Friday: Blackened Salmon for special daily Saturday: Steak of the Week dishes! Pizza, pasta, salads, sandwiches, soups, appetizers, homemade cheesecake & more! NAMED BEST PIZZA IN IOWA BY USA TODAY! Gift certificates available!


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Perched on a small hilltop knoll just off of I-380 in Central Eastern Iowa sits a parcel of land strategically covered in grape vines. Now this is Iowa, and the parking lot is gravel, but what you’ll find inside this Swisher, Iowa address is anything but rough. Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery – the decade-old dream of Jeff and Laurie Quint – has built a unique reputation for not only being one of Eastern Iowa’s leading wineries but in producing small batch spirits with their 80-gallon copper pot still – and we’re not talking a garage project here. Branded as Clearheart products, master distiller Jeff Quint is producing ultra premium award-winning vodka, rum, gin, brandy, and as of this past summer, an Iowa corn-based Cedar Ridge Bourbon Whiskey. You can visit the stylish Cedar Ridge tasting room and check out over a dozen types of wines including estate varietals like Brianna, La Crosse, and Marechal Foch (Iowa’s first 90 pt. wine), as well as their housemade Grappa, Lemoncella, Lamponcella, and Port (made with house distilled brandy, of course!). And certainly don’t miss your chance to taste Cedar Ridge Bourbon Whiskey or the incredible line of Clearheart spirits. The Winery features local and seasonal tasting dinners, as well as tasty brunches and bites on the weekends – bourbon maple syrup anyone? In the warmer months the winery presents live music with a view from their stone patio and pavilion, and will feature wood fired stone oven pizza starting this spring. It is safe to say that the Quint’s dream has become an Eastern Iowa reality, and one that is worth dreaming about! Benji Nichols enjoyed writing this story with a passion. Almost every business owner involved commented that their business started as “a dream,” and there is little more honorable than chasing one’s dreams. I encourage you to toast responsibly this holiday season, and do it locally!


HULK-OUT @ THE ELKS! IMPACT PRO WRESTLING! Saturday February 12, 2011 will mark a new event for to “get in the ring” with other up-and-coming pro wrestlers, the century-old Decorah Elks Lodge. Impact Pro Wrestling and even owned a 16-foot ring. “I wanted back then to do will bring their ring to town for a one-night only show what IPW is doing now,” says Malone. But a serious spinal down featuring the IPW cord injury put an end to those plans. It Heavyweight Title match, didn’t, however, squash his fever for one of “Falls count anywhere” America’s most original sporting activities, and “Ladder” matches, and Malone continues to help others plus more. Northeast promote events. Iowa underground hero “Travis Shillington, the IPW trainer and Chris Malone is helping former wrestler TS Agressor, and Troy present the event in what Peterson, IPW owner, run a very tight ship,” promises to be an original says Malone. “They have been running and entertaining night of very successful shows throughout the wrestle-mania. Midwest for the past decade and have a “It’s a total suspension laundry list of talent whom have gone on of disbelief,” says Malone to ECW, WCW,WWE, and TNA (wrestling of his favorite sport. “I got associations).” into wrestling as a kid, so IPW is based out of Algona, Iowa, and that’s the era I’m drawn offers full training and facilities for young proto, which is why I like IPW wrestlers. It is clearly a labor of love, hard – it’s wrestling done the work, and show business that create such way it’s suppose to be experiences. done, not like what’s on TV “They (IPW) run pro wrestling shows that now. It’s all the glitz and I as a wrestling snob can sit thru with my glamour of theater with six-year-old, who just enjoys the spectacle,” IMPACT PRO WRESTLING physicality and athleticism. says Malone. “Everybody involved with IPW, SATURDAY FEB 12 When done right every match from the ring announcers to the wrestlers ELKS LODGE, DECORAH tells a story and you become absolutely LOVE wrestling and it shows.” WWW.IMPACTPROWRESTLING.COM completely immersed in that IPW brings their show to town Saturday, DOORS 6 PM, MATCHES 7 PM world – it’s a guy’s soap opera!” February 12 at the Elks Lodge in Decorah. ALL AGES, $10 ADULTS / $5 KIDS Doors open for all ages at 6 pm with wrestling Malone, a 30-something guitar whiz, has been involved starting at 7 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults in the music and entertainment industry since he was a and $5 for kids. Following the main events, wrestlers will be kid. He has called NE Iowa home for over 25 years and available to meet and greet the audience and autographs. played in countless bands across the Midwest. (Inspire(d) DJ Jungleboy will also spin elctronica following the show disclaimer – Benji played drums in his first band, “Altered rounding out a wild night of entertainment. Whether you Vision” with Malone in the early 90s…). are a seasoned wrestling fan or just in it for the mystery But his interest goes far beyond music into and intrigue, mark your calendar now – who knows, you entertainment. Around 2001 Malone himself was training might just find yourself in the ring!


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We’re Having a Party (Location: Southern Provence) By Jim McCaffrey

inspire(d) magazine • winter 2010-2011


my opinion, the important things in life are the experiences, not material goods. The memories of those experiences you carry with you for life. And wonderful memories were certainly made when my wife, Brenda, and I traveled with friends to the south of France last September. We had rented a mountainside villa for two weeks, complete with an infinity pool, surrounded by vineyards, and overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. I know! I know! Life, sometimes, can be extremely cruel. Our traveling companions were our dear friends, Jack and Sheryl, from Connecticut, and Sheryl’s cousin, Lisa, from Florida. Jack and Sheryl picked us up at the Marseille airport and we headed to Le Beausset, the closest town to our villa. It was to be Jack and Sheryl’s 25th wedding anniversary the next day. A party had been planned and


it was time to procure provisions. Let’s see. 25 or so bottles of wine to be added to the couple of cases Jack had already purchased at the neighborhood wine co-op. Two kinds of paté, olives, three types of crackers, fish balls, nuts, an assortment of cold thin slices of French hard sausages, duck breast (canard), garlic cloves, potatoes, salad mixings, six different cheeses, and, of course, loaves and loaves of French baguettes. We packed ourselves and purchases into our rental car and headed up the mountain. A hair-raising experience to say the least. The road was barely wide enough for two vehicles to pass one another. With lots of blind corners and cars whipping by at 100 kilometers an hour, I started to contemplate the sanity of our journey here. Once we reached our villa, however, and the trembling had subsided. The view itself made it all worthwhile.

Time for some wine to savor in the magnificence of the surrounding countryside. We were in the Bandol area of Southern France which is famous for its rosé vintages. We uncorked a bottle and clinked glasses to toast the fading sunset. Lisa arrived after spending the day with her and Sheryl’s cousins who live in Le Plan, about 10 kilometers away over the mountain. By this time we were all hungry, so Sheryl put together a wonderful tomatobased vegetarian spaghetti. In the process, she also “painted” the kitchen wall and ceiling red. A little wine consumption may have been the culprit here. A gorgeous, sunlit morning arrived on anniversary day.


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Much to our surprise, Didier and Shirley, owners of the villa, had hung a large welcome sign to all of us on the carport. I love this country! We lounged leisurely by the pool reading and taking in the rays. After all, one had to be fully rested and energized to prepare to take part in the traditional French five-course meal planned for the anniversary extravaganza. Things started heating up at about two in the afternoon. The sound of feet tramping up the driveway caught our attention. Bernard, who is married to Annette, (Sheryl and Lisa’s cousin) and Didier were lugging up a 12-foot table that was to hold the appetizers and drinks. It was time to get on with the business of the day. Brenda and Lisa decorated and set tables under the carport. Sheryl concocted a fabulous salad complete with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. The main featured attraction was to be grilled duck breast. Each breast weighed about ten ounces. Now those were some big ducks. Bernard, a tremendous cook, had the responsibility of preparing and finishing that dish. He made a simple but wonderful marinade (recipe to follow). He then made six horizontal slits on the bottom side of each breast and inserted flat slices of garlic into them. I love this country! The breasts were set aside for a couple of hours, happily swimming in and soaking up marinade. Didier, in the meantime, had slipped away to his studio across the driveway and came back with a small keg of Heineken


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beer. This was a pleasant surprise, very refreshing and a perfect accompaniment to the chores of the afternoon. My contribution to the festive occasion was to be a potato dish. A sort of simple version of a potato galette. We had picked up some waxy yellow skinned white potatoes. I sliced them into quarter-inch rounds and laid them in single rows overlapping each other in an olive oil-coated rectangular metal baking dish. I then sprinkled some freshly minced garlic on top and drizzled on a mixture of melted butter and olive oil. A dusting of fleur de sel (sea salt) and freshly ground black pepper and we were good to go. Well, almost. It seems that this Irish American who can barely mumble 10 words in French, much less read anything, was about to be put to the test. The oven in the kitchen was an electric convection oven. (Never used one of appliances before, much less with instructions in French). Woe is me! I scratched my brain for about a half of an hour until I had to admit defeat and find Didier to come to the rescue. To further complicate the issue, the heat settings were measured in Celsius, of course, not Fahrenheit. Despite Didier’s comprehensive knowledge of the English language it still took us three tries over the next half of an hour to achieve the proper baking temperature. Well, at least there was some great male

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bonding. While the great oven debacle was going on, guests began arriving and it was time to begin what turned out to be a wonderful three-hour meal. Appetizers covered the table along with wine and cocktails. There were 18 of us in all, cousins and friends of Jack and Sheryl, all there to celebrate their 25 years together. We all mingled and tried to understand each other despite our language differences. When it came time to sit down, Sheryl had decided to have salad as the second course before the main meal. In France, it is tradition to have salad after the main course. That Sheryl, she always has been the renegade. Bernard’s canard grilled to perfection at medium rare followed, accompanied by Jimmy Mac’s finally baked potatoes, and wine, of course. There are over 400 different types of cheeses produced in France and we sampled six with white wine for the next course. After the cheese tray had made it around the table four or five times, it was time for dessert. Annette had made a wonderful creamy meringue cake that, of course, was accompanied by what else? More wine. After three hours of wining and dining it was now time for the party to really begin. The music was cranked up. People started dancing. Bernard and Didier began boisterous rounds of singing French ballads. More wine, more wine. Dance, dance. Sing, sing. Laugh until you can’t take it any more. The wee hours of the morning approach and guests slowly begin to fade away into the countryside. But not first without tremendous hugs and kissing of both cheeks. It is tradition, of course. Finally only the five of us remain. A final toast to Jack and Sheryl. Cheers. God, I love this country!

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

BERNARD’S CANARD Marinade Duck 1 cup honey 4 8-10 oz skinless duck breasts 6 oz fish sauce 8-10 garlic cloves 6 oz soy sauce ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil Combine marinade ingredients and whisk. Set aside. Remove garlic husks. Slice cloves vertically into very thin flat pieces. Cut six slots on the bottom of each breast. Insert garlic pieces in each slot. Marinate breasts for at least one hour. Grill over medium heat 3-4 minutes a side until medium rare. (Reddish pink inside).


I have not said this nearly as often on here as I do face to face with people. KDEC FM 100.5 in Decorah, Iowa is simply the best radio station EVER. You will never get bored listening to it. New artists, unknowns, unsigned, obscure bits from people you DO know, as well as hits. You can listen online from anywhere in the world, too. -posted on facebook Oct. 2010 by R. W. from La Crosse, WI

Thanks 100.5, you cure my homesickness when I’m away at college ♥ :) -posted on facebook Oct. 2010 by C.S. at UNI





...without saying

how much they

love it! I'm from Memphis but I lived up the bluffs in La Crosse from '06 to '09. While desperately scanning for a radio station, I landed on KDEC and I haven't stopped listening since. While in LAX, KDEC played continuously (24 hours a day!) both in my home and in my car. I always had a pen and pencil at the ready to jot down the great stuff I was hearing. One of the happiest days of my life was when you began streaming and now I listen in Memphis online! Thanks to KDEC, I'm frequently turning friends on to "cool stuff". Anyway, KDEC is simply the best. In fact, I keep a KDEC music file to hold all the great stuff I've heard on your station. So, keep doing what you're doing and I'll keep listening!! - via email by L.N. from La Crosse, WI and Memphis, TN Honestly, listening to KDEC constantly reminds me of how much I love living in Decorah. How did we get so lucky to have you guys here?! Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. - via email by R.S. from Decorah

Probituary: It’s a Notice of Life!

PAUL HEXOM LIVES A LIFE OF SERVICE, LAUGHTER, AND PASSION. Interview and foreword by Sondra Carver

“I’VE LIVED IN DECORAH LONG ENOUGH TO KNOW THAT EVERYWHERE I GO, PAUL IS THERE VOLUNTEERING. HE IS STILL A COWBOY AT HEART AND FARMS A 40 ACRE TREE FARM. I THOUGHT HE WAS AN EXCELLENT PERSON FOR THIS HONOR.” - SONDRA CARVER What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you? My father said,”don’t worry, but be concerned.” Trust in God and take one day at a time. You can’t change yesterday, tomorrow will be whatever, and we can do our best today. How about the worst? Somebody said get a new car for better mileage. I did and the mileage was the same as before. What did you want to be when you grew up? Because of Roy Rogers, I wanted to be a cowboy. I also wanted to be a farmer. My first job was selling garden seeds door-todoor in elementary school for which I earned a guitar. After graduating from high school in 1957, I graduated from Luther College in 1961, then I spent 21/2 years in seminary. After hearing Bob Hope talk about the Peace Corps, I joined and spent 1964-1966 in India. What was your career? I was in sales and management for World Book Encyclopedia for 46 years. I’ve also been president of Nordic Fest, chairman of the United Way, president and vice-president of the Winneshiek County Historical Society, and president of Decorah JayCees. Presently I am vice-president of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum Board, vice-chairman of the Decorah Historic Preservation Commission, and chairman of the Locust School Museum. I also volunteer at the the food pantry. Try to describe yourself in one sentence. I am well-organized, honest, calm, thoughtful, can work with all ages, and have a “long fuse.” Do you have some favorite quotes? Yes, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people,” by Victor Borge, and “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face,” by Victor Hugo. If everyone would hug someone everyday, it would be a more peaceful world. Do you know someone you’d If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life, what would love to interview for this it be? Lefse page? Let us know! Name one thing you could not live without? Sunshine What is your favorite memory? A trip to Norway in 2005

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It strengthens regional economies. About $45 of every $100 spent with local businesses stays in the local economy, versus the roughly $14 of every $100 spent at large chain stores that remains. Local businesses also tend to buy locally, supporting a variety of other area businesses, like local banks, accountants, printers, and more! Whether you’re shopping, traveling, working, entertaining, dining, or cooking, choose local. It makes sense. And cents!

Want to do even more? Support these organizations that help educate, promote, and grow local awareness! Become members, visit their websites, like them on Facebook, share an idea or volunteer your time, & pass it on! The Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to promoting a prosperous local economy and serving the needs of area businesses, helping them unite, network, and market within the region and beyond. DACC members receive regular e-updates, newsletters, website and directory listings, access to chamber events and functions, and more! Learn more at or Decorah Area Chamber on Facebook.

The Winneshiek County Convention & Visitor’s Bureau is dedicated to keeping our entire county a top tourism destination in the Midwest. We've all heard people say our area is beautiful - so let's do our part and maintain that great reputation. Become a member; your membership dollars hugely contribute to our annual marketing plan, spent promoting our best features to potential visitors around the world! All marketing dollars return to the county in the form of visitors and tourism dollars. LIKE US on Facebook at Visit Decorah or go to our brand spankin' new website,

Inspire(d) Media not only supports local people, things, and places in the Driftless Region, it IS local - founded and run by two Northeast Iowa natives. We publish Inspire(d) Magazine quarterly, bringing you positive news about local “good stuff” and we would love to have your support! Become a member of the Inspire(d) Family - you get a free one-year subscription to the magazine and our undying love. Forever. More info at or Inspire(d) Media on Facebook.

Inspire(d) Magazine, Winter 2010-11  

Winneshiek Energy District, Northfield, MN, An Orchestra in Austria, Midwest BEER & SPIRITS (!), Local Gift Ideas, artist Peter Jorgensen, L...

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