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NO. 48 • Winter 2016-17










309 EAST WATER STREET, DECORAH, IOWA 10-5 Mon/Tues/Wed/Fri/Sat 10-6 Thurs . 563.382.4474

Connect > /LillesosterButikken

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

WINTER 2016-17 contents

what we’re loving right now


Smithsonian water/ways in lanesboro


SUm of your biz: Brenda harris


heard about it? try it!


paper project: diy envelopes!


forgiveness initiative


Intentional acts of forgiveness


get happy winter reading


chicken and wild rice soup recipe


northeast iowa food and fitness


walkability project


Probit: grace peterson




...and more! ON THE COVER:


We love hearts around here, and hope these hearts (and this issue) will inspire you to spread a little love this winter - forgive, cook, better yourself, and be awesome. Illustration by Aryn Henning Nichols \ Winter 2016-2017


Tickets for these two performances on sale just in time for the holidays—choose your seats December 6!


SATURDAY • 7:30 p.m. FEBRUARY 4, 2017

Center 2016 17


Calmus Luther’s Lieder


flawless a cappella quintet whose program celebrates Martin Luther’s impact on music

SATURDAY • 7:30 p.m. FEBRUARY 18, 2017


interpreting modern classics with irresistible vitality

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

sale Tickets on 7 Feb. 2, 201

The Nile


7:30 p.m. • SATURDAY, MARCH 4, 2017

A thrilling musical exploration of Nile identity 2016–17 Center Stage Sponsors

Media Supporters The Decorah Newspapers


Decorah Newspapers

From the Editor


hese are some tumultuous times here in our world. There are so many things folks are upset about, and rightly so. These problems are very real and concerns about the future are legitimate. We’re not here to say everything is going to be all right, but we are going to say that this time is yours to shape. Just like any time. And just like always, Inspire(d) encourages you to start small, start in your own community, or even just start with yourself. Winter is the perfect time to look inside and work on being well and being a better person. Where do you start? How about with a little (or a lot of) forgiveness? Sara FriedlPutnam chatted with Luther College forgiveness expert Loren Toussaint, who has done extensive research on the mental and, yes, physical benefits behind being more forgiving of others and yourself. It makes perfect sense to us – holding on to negative feelings will only make us feel more negative. Toussaint shares some tips on how to start forgiving on a more regular basis – we hope you’ll give it a try (pg. 24)! Inspire(d) newcomer Cerrisa Snethen covers the part where we make our communities better places – she did an fabulous job covering the amazing work of Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative. Come 2017 (which is, indeed, coming!), FFI has been bettering Northeast Iowa for a decade! We had no idea just how many awesome changes in the region were due to this many-faceted organization. See for yourself on page 50. Speaking of communities, we’re pretty excited that Lanesboro, Minnesota is one of the towns hosting the national Smithsonian exhibit, Water/Ways, January 7 ­– February 19, 2017. Water is life – we need to protect it, conserve it, and respect it. Kristine Jepsen fills us in on all the cool details of the community-wide exhibit and its multitude of events. It’s going to be a perfect combo of education and fun (pg. 14)! This issue’s Sum of Your Business feature, Brenda Harris, owner of the Acupuncture Center Decorah, fits perfectly with winter wellness. The three facets of the Center – acupuncture, qigong, and herbal medicine – are fascinating to learn about, and Brenda’s business story is great too (pg. 24). And while we’re talking about wellness, we should also talk about staying well – I’ve included my go-to chicken soup recipe (pg. 48) – make this for yourself or your family when someone is under the weather, or if you’re just looking for a healthy, warm winter meal. We were happy to have former Inspire(d) intern, now legit-design-pro Kristin Anderson create the paper project this issue. She came up with a fun idea for reusing your favorite magazine pages: Homemade envelopes (pg. 33). They’re super cute, and who doesn’t love to get a fun little piece of snail mail delivered to their door? Okay, and winter doesn’t have to be all about looking in – you can get out too! Try some of our fun “get active” ideas – from silo ice climbing to Aerialates – on page 30! And, finally, don’t miss Grace Peterson’s inspiring probituary – we just love reading those interviews! We here at Inspire(d) hope you enter 2017 with optimism, strength, and health. Make it the best year possible. You’ve got this. Looking forward,

What’s it mean?

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

Who are we? founders:

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

We couldn’t do it without: Kristine Kopperud Jepsen / contributor Sara Friedl-Putnam / contributor Cerrisa Snethen / contributor Alex Robinson / contributor Kristin Anderson / paper project Inspire(d) Magazine is published quarterly by Inspire(d) Media, LLC, 412 Oak Street, Decorah, Iowa, 52101. This issue is dated Winter 2016-2017, issue 48 volume 10, Copyright 2016 by Inspire(d) Magazine.

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

Aryn Henning Nichols 05

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO RETIRE FEARLESSLY? And, that you’ve prepared for many of retirement’s uncertainties— and opportunities—so you can live life to the fullest. Let Thrivent Financial help you retire fearlessly. Contact us today! Jeff Olinger, FIC, CLTC Financial Consultant

Karen Trewin, FIC, CCPS© Financial Advisor

218 E Water St Decorah, IA 52101

563-382-1801 Insurance products issued or offered by Thrivent Financial, the marketing name for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Appleton, WI. Not all products are available in all states. Thrivent Financial representatives are licensed insurance agents/producers of Thrivent. For additional important information, visit

Appleton, Wisconsin • Minneapolis, Minnesota • • 800-847-4836

29027B N1-16


right now

EARL Public transit

One of the things that seemed to be lacking when we first moved back to the Decorah area a decade ago was mass public transit – it’s something we love about living in a city, so we missed it back home! Luckily, the Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation (NEICAC) took on the task. While they’ve been offering a variety of transit options for some years, it was 2015 when NEICAC launched EARL. EARL Public Transit is an acronym for Easy, Affordable, Reliable, Life Changing. The name also honors Transit Director Earl Henry, who recently retired from his longtime position at NEICAC. EARL’s in-town service gets you around a variety of places in its five-county area of Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Howard, and Winneshiek, and it’s open to absolutely everyone. We absolutely love that. The in-town ride schedule is as follows: Cresco (7-4), Decorah (7-5), Elkader (9-1), Guttenberg (8:45-1), Monona (9-1), Oelwein (9-1), Waukon (9-2), and West Union (9-2). Cost of in-town rides is $2/ one-way, and they’ll even pick you up at your door. Just call 866-382-4259 to schedule a pick-up – the EARL office is open Monday through Friday between 5 am to 5 pm. In addition to in-town service, EARL regularly goes to Rochester and La Crosse on medical trips as well as mall trips from Upper Iowa University to Kennedy Mall in Dubuque or Crossroads Mall in Waterloo (alternating every other week). “2016 was a great year for us with lots of new events and partnerships,” says mobility manager Sam Castro. “We have new events coming in 2017 and are always looking for new partnerships

Sullivan Opera House in McGregor

We’re suckers for old, historic buildings, especially ones that can house live music and arts and culture and other fun stuff. So it’s exciting that efforts are underway to begin “Staging a Comeback” – as McGregor historical preservationists say – of the 1905 Sullivan Opera House, located on Main Street in downtown McGregor, Iowa. The goal of this effort is to jump-start restoration by forming a non-profit, seeking donations, and starting to clean up the building. “This historic building could be saved and become a useful building in our community,” says Michelle Pettit, McGregor Historic Preservation Commission member. “It has a wonderful history.” More than a hundred years ago, Timothy J. Sullivan was a notable visionary of the community. He bought the McGregor building in 1905 and had the Sullivan Opera House created just months later. The Robert Lee Allen touring company performed the first show, “The Taming of the Shrew” on Dec. 15, 1905. The Sullivan Opera House had theatrical shows, bands, traveling vaudeville shows, community meetings, McGregor High School class graduations, speakers, and more. It served McGregor into the late 1930s. In June 2013, McGregor entered into a memorandum of agreement that gave the city the opportunity to acquire the Opera House, settle delinquent taxes, and do some minimal mothballing to stabilize the building from further deterioration.


Dance & Theatre



What We’re

to help elevate the quality of life in Northeast Iowa for everyone.” Partnerships include the Northeast Iowa Humane Society – the NEICAC flagship event, the Pooch Scooch 5k fun run/walk (launched May 2016), helped raise funds for the Humane Society’s emergency animal medical fund, the Stuff the Bus Food Drive event (next one May 2017) that helps restock local food pantry shelves, and this year EARL will be running a free shuttle to Helping Service’s Holiday Lights display after the 2016 Holiday Parade (December 2) in Decorah. To learn more about catching a ride on EARL, check out transit or call 866-382-4259 to schedule a pick-up.




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



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


Ticket information & full 2016-17 Luther Dance & Theatre season details at \ Winter 2016-2017


WIN A...



What We’re


right now




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

Let us come & make your house a home 08

Winter 2016-2017 /

Earlier that year, Preservation Iowa listed the Sullivan Opera House building as one of the seven most endangered properties in Iowa. The building has been vacant for nearly two decades, and time and weather has been hard on the space. Despite that, Preservation Iowa said it’s a good candidate for rehabilitation. The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs’ Certified Local Government program awarded a grant in 2013 for the Sullivan Opera House Pre­Development Project, which included an architectural and engineering evaluation. The report came back favorably, with ideas on how to restore and convert the building into a place that would benefit the community and the entire Driftless Region. For those who would like to contribute or get involved, contact or visit the “Save Our Sullivan Opera House, McGregor, Iowa” Facebook page.

Arrival Arts

“No use crying over spilled coffee.” Um, yes! We love that. It’s the motto behind the Mompost, the blog of Decorah’s Lindsay Harman and her business, Arrival Arts. Lindsay is a woman of many talents – from parenting her three boys with husband, Andrew Wood, to bringing dinner to friends just because (she’s awesome) to running an amazing variety of offerings through Arrival Arts. Arrival Arts provides “thoughtful care for independent women” – with a foundation in doula services. What’s a doula, you ask? In Lindsay’s words: “Your doula is ready to help you design the birth that YOU want. Planning on no meds? Great. Planning on meds? Great. You get the idea. You decide what you want at any given time and we will be there 100 percent, heart and hands, we believe that you hold the wisdom and we will support you in finding and using it.” Arrival Arts also offers a great list of classes and workshops ranging from mommy and me and prenatal yoga to facilitating discussions on tough topics such as miscarriage, loss, infertility, life balance, and more. One of more popular offerings is the Arrival Circle. It began in 2014 and has since welcomed over 30 area families to ongoing prenatal and postpartum support. Area providers and experts in all things prenatal and postpartum join attendees to answer questions, take part in discussions, and create a sense of ease and comfort. “The providers are in love with the magic of this circle and ask to join us again and again. Dark chocolate. Tea. Laughter. And evidence based support. All while rocking your favorite yoga pants!

Yes, please!” writes Lindsay. “Come as you are. Bring your little one, or enjoy an evening of self-care.” You can sign up for Arrival Circle and other workshops on (under services > winter classes & workshops). “Because, at the end of the day, while you are all you really need, there are moments in life where we want more,” Lindsay writes. “We want someone who will see us, hear us, honor us, who will be as big as we choose for them to be, at the exact moment we need them to be.” Yes, please, indeed. While you’re visiting Arrival Arts online, make sure to check out some funny and oh-so-real posts on Lindsay’s blog, the Mompost.

Lean on Me – Regina Noel Music Studio

Decorah is a town often centered on the twin pillars of community and music – without the two, it wouldn’t be the same amazing place to live and visit. Regina Noel Downing takes these characteristics of Decorah and incorporates them into her business, the Regina Noel Music Studio. But what we’re loving is that Regina’s studio isn’t just about making music for music’s sake. She and her students pour their music, love, and the community they’ve created into all kinds of creative projects – from performing in nursing homes and area venues to filming music videos each spring and fall. Through these performances, students learn about the power of music to heal, connect, and bring people together. This fall, the studio made a music video with the song, “Lean on Me,” to bring awareness to flood relief efforts in the region. “We opened it up to the community in an attempt to really celebrate each other – especially considering the 2016 storms and the phenomenal efforts by the community to be of service to each other,” Regina says. In addition to the Studio and community- based choir, several other organizations are featured in the video: the Decorah Police and Fire Departments, KDEC Radio, the Decorah Army Reserves, area paramedics, and a group of pastors. Footage of the 2016 flood, shot by Decorah’s Robert Jewelle (the project videographer) is featured throughout the video. “Our goal is to touch, move, and inspire ourselves and each other to see the good in humanity,” Regina says. “To inspire people to be present for others in times of need. To really send a message – that in times of trouble, those times can be the most fulfilling, rewarding times in humanity.” Their spring video from 2016 features the song “Heal the World” and studio students and friends spreading sweet messages around Decorah. Regina currently teaches 22 vocal and piano students of many ages – the youngest is four, the oldest is 63! Folks in and around Decorah can check out the Lean on Me video at the studio’s Christmas Recital at Decorah’s Christian Life Center (2513 River Road) on December 9th at 6 pm. - by Alex Robinson

Featured in photo: Resource Vintage Rental Party Island Blooms on Main Matted Ink Hammel Jewelers Hairloom Salon & Spa Photography by Brittany



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

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

1. Through December 25: Holiday Lights brings dazzling drive through displays to the Decorah Campground through December 25. Entry by free will donation to Helping Services. www. (free)


4. December 3: Porter House Museum annual Christmas Open House featuring live music, a special butterfly exhibit, refreshments, and festive holiday decor. 1-4pm, no admission fee. www.

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

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

Winter on the Farm

Saturday, Dec. 10 • FREE EVENT Horse drawn sleigh rides • 11am-3pm

Holiday Shopping

Free cookies & hot chocolate while you shop [during weekends in November & December]

Gifts for your favorite gardener and kids items

Visitors Center closed for the season Dec. 19

2. December 1-4: Don’t miss holiday classic, The Nutcracker ballet performed by Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts’ Dance Repertory Company at The Page Theatre in Winona. 3. December 2: Decorah Lighted Holiday Parade! Parade begins at 6 pm on Water Street and kids can visit with Santa Claus after the parade!

50% OFF

ALL 2016


3074 North Winn Rd • Decorah, IA • 563-382-5990 • Open 7 days Memorial Day-Labor Day | Winter: Wed-Sat 10-5 / Sun 12-4

25W/ $25B

5. December 7: Trailer Trash brings A Trashy Little Xmas Show to the historic Potter Auditorium, Chatfield, MN. Tickets $20. Doors open 6:30pm, show starts 7:30pm. Details 6. December 8: Local author, educator, and life coach Mary Jorgensen talks about her book, Way of the SAGE: 4 Paths to Manage Stress and Build Resilience. Decorah Public Library, 6:30 pm. 7. December 8-9: The first ever Iowa-Midwest Energy District Conference will be held over two days to help universalize this innovative locally-led clean energy leadership model. Open to all interested parties from any location. Learn more 8. December 10: Winter on the Farm at Seed Savers Exchange. Holiday shopping, cookies, hot chocolate, sleigh rides. Visitors Center open 10 am - 5 pm, Sleigh rides from 11 am - 3 pm. Free event. 9. January 6: Chosen Bean Concert Series presents Beth Wood at the Chatfield Center for the Arts. Tickets $20, available in advance. Show at 7:30 pm. Details and tickets at

90 S. Front St. Lansing, Iowa. 319.594.6795 10

Winter 2016-2017 /

10. January 7-February 19: Water/Ways, a traveling exhibition and community engagement initiative of the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program, opening reception January 7 at Lanesboro Arts. Special events in a variety of Lanesboro-area locations. Read more on p. 14 or visit




Christmas at T-Bock’s w/ Joe & Vicki Price, Decorah, 8 pm

Merry Christmas!








Dog Tales “PJ Pawty”, Decorah Public Library, 6-6:45 pm (read to dogs in PJs!!!)

CP Holiday Train visits La Crosse, 9pm



2 4



8 10 Winter on the Farm, Seed Savers, Decorah, 10am-5pm

Dec 8-9: Iowa-Midwest Energy District Conference, Hotel Winneshiek, Decorah

Dan Bern, CSPS, Cedar Rapids



Mike McAbee, The Hideaway, Chaseburg, WI


Happy 31 New Year’s Eve!


Decorah Park Rec NYE Bash, Luther Regents Center Jeni Grouws & Chris Avey, Decorah Elks Lodge


Cresco Bicycles Holiday Sing Holly Light Ride Along w/ Dan Chouinard, Euforquestra’s St. Mane Home for the Theatre, Holiday’s, Lanesboro, Englert, Iowa 7:30 pm City, 8pm


17 Pine 16 15 La Crosse Travelers w/ Beer By Bikes December Eddie Danger, 14-15: String Root Note, La Holiday Ride, Ties: Holiday Crosse, 9 pm Wine Guyz, 7 pm Bluegrass, Joe & Vicki Burning Bright, Pump House, 5pm & 7:30 Price, Safe La Crosse House Saloon, pm, Methodist Lansing, 8pm Church, Decorah


5 6 8 7 Trailer Trash Author Mary Trashy Little Jorgensen Xmas Show, “Way of the Chatfield CFA, SAGE”, Decorah 7:30pm Library, 6:30pm

December 2-4: Magic of Christmas weekend, Silver Springs CC, Ossian

SKÅL! Scandinavian Spirits – runs through Dec 31, Vesterheim, Decorah


Barnetimen Children’s Hour, Vesterheim, Decorah


DECEMBER 8: • Adult Recess: Explore Japan, La Crosse Children’s Museum, 6-9pm • Holiday Train Visits Winona, 4pm



Gingerbread Fair, through January 2, Bruening Visitor Center, Vesterheim


Submissions for the Oneota Film Festival due by December 15!


CP Holiday Train visits Marquette, Lansing, New Albin

Nisse 4 Pancake Breakfast, Winn. Co. Fairgrounds, 9:30a-12:30p


December 2-3: ArtHaus Holiday Art Fair, Decorah


Porter House Decorah Museum Lighted Holiday Parade, 6pm Christmas, 1-4pm Pleasant Ridge Holiday Faire Norwegian 2 December 1– 4: The Nutcracker Ballet, MN & Dance Party, Christmas, Conservatory Dance Rep, Page Theatre, Winona Viroqua Vesterheim

Holiday Lights Open through Dec 25, Decorah Campground.


“A Christmas Carol” runs through Dec 20, Commonweal, Lanesboro


fun stuff to do


December 9







Barnetimen Children’s Hour, Vesterheim, Decorah






Joe & 20 Vicki Price, Good Fellas, Waukon, 8pm


Catie Curtis, CSPS, Cedar Rapids

27 Brian Regan, Mayo Civic Center, Rochester, MN

January 27-28: Smithsonian Water/Ways Youth Access Technology Documentary Premiere, St. Mane, Lanesboro


Jan 19-22 & Jan 27-28: New Minowa Players Present The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley, NMP Building, Decorah

Postmodern Jukebox, Englert, Iowa City, 8pm




10 7 Water/Ways opening, Beth Wood, Lanesboro Arts Chatfield 11 Center for the Kickapoo Valley Arts, 7:30pm Reserve Winter Festival, La Farge, WI 9


Happy Lunar New Year!

Mississippi String Band, Haymarket, Decorah, 9:30pm


Evergreen Grass Band, Haymarket, Decorah

21 Candlelight Snowshoe, Eagle Bluff, Lanesboro

14 ‘Our 13 Mighty Dinner on Mississippi’, the Bluff, St. Mane Protecting our Theatre Waterways, Jan 13: Johnsmith w/ Dan Eagle Bluff, Sebranek & Larry Dalton, Lanesboro Pump House, La Crosse 12

January 21-22: Wisconsin Winter Free-Fishing Weekend


Jan 7: Jake Manders & Gretta Huntsiger, Haymarket, Decorah, 9:30pm


Jan 7 through Feb 19: Smithsonian Water/Ways exhibit, Lanesboro, Minnesota

January 29: Winneshiek Wedding Market, Hotel Winneshiek, 1-4 pm


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day



Through March 2: Jack Gray: Canadian Marine Artist, MN Marine Art Museum, Winona


Fifty Years of Folk Art, through April 23, Vesterheim


Jan 29: Water/Ways Science Sunday, “Swimmable, Fishable, Fixable?” St. Mane, Lanesboro, 2pm

29 Drive-By Truckers, Englert, Iowa City, 7pm

Yonder 22 Mountain String Band, Blue Moose, Iowa City


“Ripples of Reflection” Commonweal Theatre


Happy New Year!!!!




fun stuff to do






St. Ben’s Mardi Gras Celebration, Decorah




16 25 The Sudden Lovelys w/ Brandon Sampson, Chatfield CFA, Potter Auditorium, Chatfield, MN

Sō Percussion, Center Stage, Luther, 7:30pm


Candlelight Snowshoe, Eagle Bluff, 5-9pm

COMING UP: March 4: The Nile Project, Center Stage Series, Luther College, 7:30pm March 4: Dead Pigeons, Haymarket, Decorah 17 March 9-12: Oneota Film Festival March 9: David Lindley, Chatfield Center for the Arts March 12: Oneota Valley Community Orchestra Concert, DHS


Decorah Area Chamber Gala

FEBRUARY 25: • Hasan Minhaj “Homecoming King”, Englert, Iowa City, 8pm • Julian Lage, Hopkins CFA, Hopkins, MN

Feb 18: Evan Stock Band, Haymarket, Decorah, 9:30pm

Minnesota Illustrated: The Prints of Adam Turman runs through April 2, MN Marine Art Museum, Winona

Happy Mardi Gras!

Barnetimen Children’s Hour Vesterheim, Decorah


Barneløpet kids ski event, ages 3-13, Decorah Prairie



Chris Koza, February Chatfield 10-11: The Center for the Second City, Arts, 7:30pm Englert, Iowa City, 8pm ‘Chasing Niagara’, St. Mane, Lanesboro


Mike McAbee, A Night Of Sportsman’s, Saint Astronomy, Rossville, IA Driftelss Area Valentine’s 7-10pm Day Wetland Centre, February 16-18: “H20 Ten” eight Marquette, 10-minute short plays about water, 6-8pm Commonweal Theatre, Lanesboro

February 3: Joe & Vicki Price, The Root Note, La Crosse, 8pm







Taste of Winneshiek, Downtown Decorah



Feb 3: Absolute Hoot, Haymarket, Decorah, 9:30pm

Mike McAbee, Horseshoe, Marrja Nuut, Calmar, 9pm CSPS, Cedar Rapids



Water/Ways Science Sunday, Mysteries of the Driftless, St. Mane, Lanesboro, 2pm


Happy Groundhog Day!




Effigy Mounds Winter Film Festival runs through March, Saturdays & Sundays on the hour 10 am -3 pm & Mondays at 1pm

Water/Ways Science Sunday, “Ironwood Landfill”, St. Mane, Lanesboro, 2pm








FEBRUARY 4: • Family Dog Sled Day & Dinner on the Bluff, Eagle Bluff, Lanesboro • Calmus, Center Stage Series, Luther College, 7:30pm

“World on the Wall” 35 rare works, through October 2017, Vesterheim, Decorah




fun stuff to do

25W/ $25B












Inspire(d) World’s Greatest Party


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



Questions? Email

(Direct link:

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


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

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

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

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

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

25 Words/$25 Bucks


Looking for more details about events on the calendars?

adorable accessories & clothing sizes nb to 16

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

11. January 7: The KVR Winter Festival includes skating, sledding, skiing, archery, snow sculpture, ice cave hikes, face painting, horsedrawn bobsled rides, snowshoe exhibit, Tri-state Malamute Club sled dog race, weight pull, and mutt race. Chili feed and fundraiser auction for the KVR. 8:30 am – 4 pm 12. January 19-22 & January 27-28: New Minowa Players presents The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley. Tickets and details at, or call Sheryl at 563-379-5738

25W/ $25B

13. February 3: Join the Taste of Winneshiek for a fun evening of food and beverage samples around downtown Decorah. Browse, shop, and sample from door to door as you meet friends and make new ones! 5 - 8 pm. more info 14. February 4: BARNELØPET! Get outside and enjoy the winter during this non-competitive ski or walk event for children ages 3-13, held at the Decorah Prairie. 15. February 11: Chris Koza live at the Chatfield Center for the Arts presented by the Chosen Bean Concert Series. Tickets $20, available in advance. Show kicks off 7:30pm. Details

215 west

water street . decorah, iowa . 563-380-2986


Perfect catered for weddings, showers, birthdays, graduations... or just for you!

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


16. February 25: The Sudden Lovelys headline the historic Potter Auditorium (Chatfield, MN), with Six Mile Grove’s Brandon Sampson to open. Tickets $19 in advance at, $23 at the door.


17. March 9-12: The Oneota Film Festival revs up late winter to Inform, Inspire, and Engage the Driftless Region through visual engagement. A full weekend of fun, as well as ways to support the festival can be found at

118 Washington St.





CUSTOM BREWED 563.419.3141 Single origin pour overs. Nitro Cold Brew. Bulk Coffee. \ Winter 2016-2017


Photo courtesy Smithsonian . Pakhnyushchy/

Water /


Winter 2016-2017 /

Ways / Smithsonian Institute’s Museum on Main Street exhibit, “Water/Ways” lands in Lanesboro, Minnesota, January 7 through February 19, 2017. The exhibit showcases how water forges bonds more complex than ‘H’ to ‘O’. By Kristine Jepsen \ Winter 2016-2017


Historical photos of Lanesboro area – ranging from 1876-1950 – courtesy Lanesboro Historical Museum.




802 Short Street . Decorah, Iowa . 563.382.5592 .


Winter 2016-2017 /

Water/ Ways By Kristine Jepsen


ater. It hauls 108M tons of freight annually within the banks of the Upper Mississippi River alone, makes up 84 percent of any Honeycrisp

apple, and carries every single molecule of metabolized carbs and protein to each cell in – you guessed it – your body. But stats alone cannot tell the story of water’s universal importance to life, nor inspire anyone to take action to conserve it. Driving home awareness that water is a resource we must respect, honor, and absolutely protect is at the heart of Smithsonian Institute’s Museum on Main Street exhibit, “Water/Ways.” Lanesboro, Minnesota was one of six locations in Minnesota that was chosen for this national exhibit. It is installed in Lanesboro January 7 through February 19, 2017, and there’s with a huge variety of corresponding events scheduled throughout town – from Lanesboro Arts Center openings to Commonweal Theatre plays to film sets to candlelight snowshoe hikes. (continued on next page)



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


HOMES Sustainably Beautifully Efficiently

David J. Wadsworth • 563.419.0390 • Top: Fishing on the north branch of Root River, 1950. Bottom: A more recent view of the Root River Valley.


M-F 10-15 • Sat 10-4 • Sun 12-4

563-382-4646 | 18

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Designed in collaboration with state humanities councils, the project weaves the science of water conservation together with individual experiences of the power and poetry of water. Lanesboro’s narrative will, naturally, feature the Root River and its impact in the development of the region, from its meaning to Native American tribes on through to the more recent life threatening flooding of 2007-08 and 2016. “Rivers move. They’re alive. They have this flow to them that just is fascinating,” says John Weiss, outdoor reporter for the Rochester Post-Bulletin for nearly 40 years. Project technology coordinator and award-winning ethnographer Erin Dorbin recorded the interview with Weiss as they hiked along the Root River, one of several audio pieces produced for the exhibit. “You gotta love water. You gotta protect water. You got to cherish water. But never, ever, ever trust water,” Weiss continued. “You got these two sides of it – the beauty and the beast. Moving water, as everybody knows, is dangerous. You have to respect it.” Water/Ways was brought to the area by state sponsors like the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and a variety of local organizations – see sidebar for a full list. Credit for Lanesboro’s selection as a host location goes to Nancy North, who initiated the town’s application. She is principal at the Lanesboro-based communications and design firm, NewGround, specializing in environmental education and outreach. Partnering organizations have been planning the exhibit and related events since its announcement in June 2015. Alongside Smithsonian’s Water/Ways is a companion exhibit specific to Minnesota, We Are Water. This interactive story-collecting showcase includes recordings from Minnesotans – including (continued on next page)

406 West Water Street . Decorah, Iowa . 563.382.4103


Lanesboro locals – who reflect on the meaning and experience of water. There are also opportunities for exhibit visitors to share their own stories and images. We Are Water MN connects visitors with ways to take action in water conservation, including in-depth resources for youth educators, regardless of whether they visit the exhibit in person. Visit for details. The scientific side of the exhibit is spearheaded by Friends of the Root River, a non-profit advocacy coalition, and Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center, which brought on a Minnesota GreenCorps staff member to train local docents for the Water/Ways exhibit. Friends of the Root River organized several Science Sunday public lectures in downtown Lanesboro, such as “Contaminants: What the Data Show” given by Terry Lee from the Olmsted County Water Quality Lab. The Eagle Bluff Center itself, located on the bluff northwest of town, will host candlelight snowshoe hikes, several themed dinners, and a family sled dog day. “Talking about water strictly in the language of scientific research and conservation can get dense,” says Eagle Bluff fellowship coordinator Stephanie Davidson (pictured above - photos this page by Kristine Jepsen). What’s inspiring is that a lot of water quality sampling, especially in the Driftless Region, is

done by citizen scientists, she says. An introduction to water sampling is offered year-round through Eagle Bluff’s “Stream Lab” unit for students grades 4-8. Adults and/or parents of children interested in office training can sign up with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: water/citizen-water-monitoring. “Literally, grade-school students can be eyes and ears for streams in their backyards,” says Davidson. “You can collect valuable information on the pond you pass on your way to work. It’s one reason our watershed has some of the broadest and longeststanding water data in the state.” Lanesboro’s installation of Water/ Ways differs from other Smithsonian stops across the country – locations ranging from Rock Springs, Wyoming to Okeechobee, Florida – in that the exhibit’s home-base isn’t a science center or historical society, though both are integrally involved, says Adam Wiltgen, program director at Lanesboro Arts, a key collaborator (pictured at left). Instead, viewers will find Water/ Ways rooted in the historic St. Mane Theatre and Commonweal Theatre, both on Parkway Avenue, Lanesboro’s main drag. There, viewers will gather for educational

A Memory of Muskets Chloe Ellefson Mystery #7

From bestselling author Kathleen Ernst comes a new Chloe book of love, lies, and regret in the 1860s — and murder in the 1980s. The award-winning Chloe series stars a reluctant sleuth, museum curator Chloe Ellefson, and her cop boyfriend Roelke McKenna. The new mystery introduces his maternal great-grandmother. Facing the prospect of an oppressive life in her native Germany, 16-year-old Rosina agrees to marry, sight unseen, an immigrant German farmer living in a far off place called Wisconsin. The American Civil War begins as Rosina sails across the ocean. The war’s impact, and the secrets she carries into her marriage, lie at the heart of the book — and send mystery and peril echoing through time into the modern lives of Chloe and Roelke. Chloe books are available as trade paperback and ebooks from independent bookstores, BAM, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

From Midnight Ink and Kathleen Ernst 20

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events, film screenings, and musical productions. The resident Commonweal Theatre Company will present dramatic readings of locals’ most striking memories of water, as well as creative short plays, written and produced by Commonweal staff and alumni. One script pushes the envelope on water scarcity, says Commonweal executive director Hal Cropp. In the future it imagines, a bottle of water appears in a museum exhibit – because it no longer exists as we know it. St. Mane Theatre will also debut the work of student videographers Olivia Obritsch (grade 12), Jared Peterson (grade 7), Nora Sampson and Mai Gjere (grade 8), whose short documentaries on Lanesboro history and culture were funded by a nationally competitive Youth Access Technology Project grant. Just six communities received the award. Dorbin, who directs graduate-level ethnographic programs for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, conducted four months of field training with the students. “We covered everything from interviewing skills to research and editing,” she explains. “At one point, their assignment was to approach people on Main Street and ask, ‘When was the last time water made you laugh?’” The result, Dorbin says, is some of the best work she’s seen. “I have loved seeing their exploration of their environment and community and their growth as citizens, uncovering history and realizing that they are also creators of history and can influence local decision-making.” Mai Gjere, who studied Lanesboro’s economic history and plans to attract young people in the future, put it this way: “Our community won’t get better with chance. It will get better with change,” she concluded in her documentary, citing the town’s need to supplement thriving eco- and arts tourism with professional employment in more sectors. “Hopefully, my generation will be the one to change it.” Kristine Jepsen writes for magazines and the Web and enjoys grant writing for small businesses. She’s grateful for awesome educational resources, like Water/Ways, available in the Driftless -- particularly as she embarks on homeschooling with her young daughter. Read more of her work at


Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) US Environmental Protection Agency National Endowment for the Humanities Minnesota Humanities Center Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Minnesota Historical Society Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Minnesota Department of Health Minnesota section of the American Water Works Association Minnesota Public Radio Lanesboro Arts Commonweal Theatre Company Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center Lanesboro Museum Friends of the Root River \ Winter 2016-2017


Mother / Daughter Makeovers + Les Wigs Renee 111 E. Water St. Decorah, Iowa. 563.382.6212 .

The Lanesboro Water/Ways + We Are Water schedule is subject to change, so if you’re thinking of heading to one of the events listed here, please check for any updates. January 7, 4-6 pm — “Currents of Change” - Visual Art and Historic Photograph Exhibit Opening Reception + Water Bar! Lanesboro Arts and the Lanesboro Museum at the at Lanesboro Arts Exhibition Gallery (Exhibit will run throughout the Water/Ways exhibition) January 7 & 8 — “Ripples of Reflection” theatrical performance, Commonweal Theatre January 8, 2 pm — Science Sunday, River Sojourn Film Screening with Sara and Ken Lubinski, Friends of the Root River at the St. Mane Theatre January 13, 7:30 pm — “Our Mighty Mississippi” with Steven Marking, baritone, St. Mane Theatre January 14, 5 pm — Dinner on the Bluff, Protecting our Waters with Dr. Joshua Lallaman, Phd., Assistant Professor at SMUMN, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center

Let our authentic trolleys transport you in style on your wedding day!

January 15, 2 pm — Science Sunday, Wild Caving with Bill Brueck, Friends of the Root River at the St. Mane Theatre January 21 – Giant bass snow sculpture will be created today! Downtown Lanesboro January 21, 5 pm — Fish Fry, Lanesboro American Legion January 21, 5-9 pm — Candlelight Snowshoe, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center

Your entire wedding party can safely ride together, making your trip to the ceremony, photo sites, and reception even more memorable.

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January 22 — Science Sunday, Contaminants: What the Data Shows with Terry Lee from the Olmsted County Water Quality Lab, Friends of the Root River at the St. Mane Theatre January 27, 6:30 pm — Grand Premiere Film Screenings: Youth Access Technology Project, Lanesboro Arts January 28, 1 pm — Grand Premiere Film Screenings: Youth Access Technology Project, Lanesboro Arts

250 artists. 7 days a week. 1 gallery. The We Are Water MN exhibit, installed at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center in Spicer, MN. Photo courtesy Minnesota Humanities Center. January 27-28 — Lanesboro Ice Bar, High Court Pub January 29, 2 pm — Science Sunday, Swimmable, Fishable, Fixable? with Cathy Rofshus from the MN Pollution Control Agency, Friends of the Root River at the St. Mane Theatre February 4, — Family Dog Sled Day, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center


Tue, Th: 6-9 pm . Wed, Fri: 3:30-6 pm . Sat: 1-4 pm

February 5 — Science Sunday, Improving Water Quality with Land Conservation with Kevin Kuehner, Field to Stream Partnership, Friends of the Root River at the St. Mane Theatre February 11, 4 pm — Chasing Niagara, Lanesboro Arts and the Frozen River Film Festival at the St. Mane Theatre February 11, 7:30 pm — Aqua Adventure Film Set, Lanesboro Arts and the Frozen River Film Festival at the St. Mane Theatre

Happify at

February 4, 5 pm — Dinner on the Bluff, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center

February 12, 2 pm — Science Sunday, Ironwood Landfill with Gary Peterson, Friends of the Root River at the St. Mane Theatre February 16-18, 7:30 pm — “H20 Ten” eight 10-minute short plays about water, Commonweal Theatre Company February 18, 5-9 pm — Candlelight Snowshoe, Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center

CHASE AWAY THE WINTER BLUES • Create at Open Studio Hours • Check out Clay Classes / Mud Club • Host a Private Party

February 19, 2 pm — Science Sunday, Mysteries of the Driftless Film with Co-Producer George Howe, Friends of the Root River at the St. Mane Theatre


207 Washington Street, Decorah, Iowa • 563.517.1022 \ Winter 2016-2017




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This Decorah-based entrepreneur applies three passions in her business – acupuncture, qigong, & herbal medicine – to help Driftless Region folks live happier, healthier lives.

Interview and photos by Aryn Henning Nichols \ Winter 2016-2017


Music That Tells a Story Decorah High School Auditorium 3 pm



Peter and the Wolf Serge Prokofiev Narrated by Kristen Underwood Symphony 6 in F "Pastoral" - Ludwig van Beethoven

Special thanks to our sponsors: Dragonfly Books Marion E. Jerome Foundation, Inc.




Postmodern Jukebox January 25th @ 8:00PM

Second City

February 10th-11th @ 8:00PM

Winter Events


12/9-12/11 The Nutcracker Sponsored by Hills Bank & Trust Company

12/22 Euforquestra’s Home for the Holidays 1/14 Art Garfunkel: In Close-Up - sold out 1/25 Postmodern Jukebox 1/28 yMusic 1/29 Drive-By Truckers Sponsored by Kim Schillig, Realtor and City Revealed 2/4 An Evening with Dawes 2/10-2/11 The Second City Sponsored by James Investment Group of Iowa City 2/25 Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King Sponsored by KRUI 89.7 FM 3/1 BiRDMAN LiVE Co-presented with FilmScene 3/8 Victor Wooten Trio

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


Winter 2016-2017 /

hen you walk into the Acupuncture Center up on the first rise of Broadway Street in Decorah, you can’t help but feel a sense of calm. The historical building holds itself up with pride – tall doors, detailed trimwork, strong bricks, all come together in a cozy space of wellness. Inside, the offerings are all about the patron. “It’s about getting healthy and staying healthy – preventative measures,” says Brenda Harris, licensed acupuncturist and the owner of Acupuncture Center Decorah. It wasn’t too long ago that acupuncture was as good as a foreign word in the region. Five years ago in Decorah, though, that all changed. Brenda Harris was set to “just visit” a friend on a trip from Portland to this corner of Iowa, but folks in town had a different idea. People were excited to learn more about acupuncture and booked sessions during Brenda’s entire vacation. “So I thought, ‘I’m going to have to try this again,’” she says with a laugh. It all came together perfectly when Brenda found a space (then above Day Spring Spa on Washington Street) that would allow her to create a business featuring all of her passions – acupuncture, qigong, and herbal medicine. “I heard about this space and thought, ‘That sounds dreamy!’” she says. Housing came together serendipitously as well, so she jumped, closing her acupuncture business in Portland, Oregon, and moving

Seasons Greetings! Luther College

Catering Check us out online at Contact Catering at 563.387.1395 or email

Let us perfect your next gathering with Artful Appetizers Formal Dining Pastries • Breads Decadent Desserts Elegant Lunch Choices Wedding & Birthday Cakes

We also offer gift certificates for Peace Brunch - the perfect gift for family & friends!

to tiny Decorah, Iowa. Perhaps to just try it out. Perhaps to stay. That was 2011. She’s been busy treating the Driftless Region folks ever since. In 2013, Brenda planted roots even deeper. She bought and restored/rehabbed the building where Acupuncture Center Decorah currently resides (pictured above) – the different spaces of the building/house are a perfect fit for the different aspects of the business. It works like this: Brenda and her team chat with clients and figure out what their goals are, then come up with a plan using one or all of those three prongs of the Acupuncture Center – acupuncture, qigong, and herbal medicine. But really, what does all that mean? Acupuncture points lie along energy-linking channels in a network system that connects the entire body – internal organs to extremities to each other. Hair-thin needles are inserted into these points to activate the qi (energy) in a specific network or networks. Acupuncture, alone or in combination with other treatment modalities, restores the smooth flow of qi (again, energy). Qigong is the foundation of Chinese medicine. It is a series of flowing movements, gentle stretches, and strengthening postures to regulate breath, body, and mind. It moves vital energy providing strength, relaxation, and vitality to regulate physical body functions, enhance mental clarity, and brighten the spirit. Known as the “elixir of life,” qigong circulates energy to avoid the stagnation that so often results in illness. This energy (qi) work (gong) helps to maintain health and happiness by cultivating the mind, manifesting integrity, \ Winter 2016-2017


The Basics: Name: Brenda Harris Business: Acupuncture Center Decorah Years in Business: 5 (In Decorah) Tell us about the “leap” moment. When/how did you decide to jump in and become your own boss? I actually made the initial leap to being my own boss right after graduation from Acupuncture/ Naturopathic school. I began a business (Golden Needle Acupuncture) with two of my teachers right from the get-go. This was really the only vision I had, starting my own business. I did not think about joining a pre-existing practice. I then branched out on my own (Brenda Harris LAc – licensed acupuncturist), and then branched out again with a move to Decorah (Acupuncture Center Decorah). What’s the best thing about being your own boss? You learn a new lesson every day! How about the worst? You learn a new lesson every day! Was there ever a hurdle where you just thought, “I can’t do this?” How did you overcome it? One hurdle? There are always many. As a small business owner, hurdles are part of the deal. Hurdles are best overcome with tears, mind meltdowns, and then tuning into the intuition that was always clearly there.

empowering will, and strengthening OF intention. YOUR Herbal medicine – the third offering – is situated right in the center of the INSPIRING ENTREPRENEURS IN THE DRIFTLESS Acupuncture Center: the lovely kitchen. There, you can get an herbal treatment specified exactly to your needs. Chinese herbal formulas have been used for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of different medical conditions. Each herb has unique healing properties useful in various conditions. Also in the kitchen, folks can taste and/or purchase Brenda’s own handcrafted herbal teas – Earth Monkey Tea. The unique tea blends combine Chinese and Western herbs to move your qi (remember, energy) in five directions. Each tea represents an element and season, invoking your five senses. The line-up of all the teas is lovely – and each flavor unique and satisfying.


Check out for more information about any of the Acupuncture Center’s offerings, and read our Sum of Your Business interview with Brenda Harris right here! We had a blast getting together with her to taste tea and chat businesses, life, and qi. 28

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Any mentors/role models you look to/have looked to? I look to, and tip my hat to, many small business owners. I often look to my Qigong teachers and their living-by-example approach. I have many role models in Decorah, known and unknown. And likely the best role model is Nature. Nature always has a wise tidbit to share. What’s the one thing you wish you had known before you started? Tax Structure. How do you manage your life/work balance? By doing Qigong, it saves my life and my work. What keeps you inspired? Any quotes that keep you going? Patients keep me inspired. Just when one thinks she has had enough, a patient will inevitably say something amazing. “Oh dear one, you should not worry about that now that you are in it, the time to worry about that was before you entered in.” “Yes, the situation is big, but it is not insurmountable.”

Save the dates! women’s weekend out | decorah, iowa

february 3, 2017 . 5-8 pm

march 31 - april 2, 2017

Heard about it for years? Try it today! Compiled by Inspire(d)

Don’t wait until the beginning of the New Year to set resolutions and goals…realize those wishes and dreams! Make now count! All the exclamation points! Maybe there’s something you’ve heard about for a while now, but you’ve been too busy/shy/overwhelmed to try it? Carpe the heck out of that diem! Winter offers such a great opportunity to expand your horizons, especially when it comes to staying fit and active; you have to get creative when it gets dark at 5 pm and the snow is several feet high. But don’t say the weather is terrible – say it’s snowy and lovely, and you’ve got to get out there and enjoy it (but in the right gear, of course!). We’ve put together a little list of activities we thought might be fun to put on the winter to-do list…ice climbing, on a silo? Yes, please! Skiing…behind a dog? Sure! Pilates, but hanging from a trapeze-type contraption? Why not?! Enjoy this winter, friends! We hope you enter 2017 with renewed vigor and passion for life and the world. You’ve got this.

Ice Climbing – Silo Style You’ve probably heard about the ice-climbing silo down in Cedar Falls, Iowa, right? But you’ve never tried it? Better get on that – it’s already been around for 15 years! It was fall of 2001 when Don Briggs, University of Northern Iowa professor and Cedar Falls resident, came up with the idea of climbing silos. He was helping a friend till his farmland when a line of silos caught his eye, and he wondered what it would take to climb one. After getting permission to create an ice formation on the silos, he began researching how to rig hoses in order to make ice when the weather turned cold. Our own Benji Nichols tried it back in 2010, and here’s what he says: “It’s ice that in fact is just as – if not more- challenging than the real thing found in the wild. Why, you ask? Because when you are standing at the bottom of this monstrosity staring up it is a sheer vertical surface, or sometimes even inverted ice surface – you realize your going up it relies entirely upon two ice axes (and stone grip hands), boots with ice crampons, and a climbing harness attached to a top rope. This is adventure at its Midwest finest.” After more than a decade in operation, the place is a legend of sorts. Whether you are an experienced ice climber or trying for the first time, they welcome anyone who wants to give it a try. The staff is experienced and excited to help folks get all the way to the top.  Climbers heading to the silo should dress in warm, breathable, and comfortable clothes. On site, there’s a heated warming house with a full supply of climbing gear – it’s the perfect place to gear-up for a climb and relax afterwards with hot drinks and snacks. There are just a few rules: No pets, no smoking, and no kids under 10 are allowed to climb (and kids 10-18 must have parental consent).

Once the weather gets cold enough and the season opens (check for updates) hours are as follows: Saturday 10 am to 5 pm • Sunday 12 pm to 5 pm Climbing/warming house fees (Cash or Check Only): Daily Pass: $40 • Season Pass: $150

Photo by Benji Nichols


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Fat Biking

Cresco trail photo by Mark Johnson

Cross Country Skiing (& Skating)

There are cross-country skiing areas in many towns across the Driftless Region. It’s one of the most peaceful workouts of winter, and it’s fun too. We’ve heard that the Cresco, Iowa, trails are especially great. There’s a total of 10 kilometers of trails groomed for skate and classical skiing. The trailhead for skiing is at the Prairie’s Edge Nature Center. Find Cresco info and trail updates at and But what a minute – what’s skate skiing? Skate skis are a little shorter than classic skis. Classic skis are kept parallel to each other, and the skier glides forward by pushing off on the planted ski. Skate skiing resembles a movement similar to inline skating. The skis are put in a V-shape and the skier pushes the skis off in a skating motion to move forward. Here in Decorah, we have double-track and skating trails, too, plus plenty of areas that are un-groomed for snowshoers. The Decorah Community Prairie is a great spot to try skiing for the first time – it’s nice and flat and easy to access. Don’t have your own gear? No problem – Decorah Bicycles has gear for rent ( Find a cross country ski map at To the north of us, Kickapoo Valley Reserve near La Farge, Wisconsin, maintains about 10 miles of ski trails. Find a winter trail map at Maps (permits required to use KVR trails). In the La Crosse area, there are more than 20k of trails – from Hixon Forest to the Goose Island Park & Campground. Check out cross-country-skiing--snowshoeing.html for details. With all of these ski spots, be sure to call the area Parks and Recreation, Visitors’ Center, or nature center before you make a special trip – it’s good to get the latest information on weather, trail conditions, and when the trails were last groomed.

Biking on trails in the snow?!? Whoa! Okay, we know we’ve mentioned this before, but getting up on a fat-tired bike and romping around in the snow is a pretty cool (pun intended) winter activity. A fat tire bike has wheels that are 3.75 inches wide or wider, designed to allow riding on soft unstable terrain, like snow, sand, and mud. In order for fat bike trails to be open, there needs to be frozen ground and at least a few inches of snow cover. Here in Decorah, certain, accessible singletrack trails are groomed for fat biking – around 10 miles or so. The rides are just as, if not more, beautiful as they are in the warmer months too. At the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, there are eight miles of ungroomed fat bike trails (check kvr.state. In the Rochester area, fat bikers can head out on the Douglas State Trail. It has 13 miles of groomed trails that lead to Pine Island. Want to try a bunch of different things? We just discovered this place, and it looks awesome. Justin Trails near Sparta, Wisconsin, offers several opportunities to enjoy winter fun. The 200-acre homestead farm-turned-resort maintains over 10 miles of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails, two snowtubing runs, and offers skijoring lessons. Fun! What’s that? Skijoring? Skijoring (“ski driving” in Norwegian) is a sport where you get pulled on skis behind a dog! Although, technically, it doesn’t need to be a dog – there’s horse skijoring, snowmobiles, motorcycles…. in Finland, there’s even a reindeer skijoring race. Closer to home, folks can check out a skijoring race at the Minneapolis Loppet, February 3-5, 2017.

Let us create an



for your business.



Photo by Josie Smith (continued on next page)


Trails groomed for specific uses should be used for those specific uses – i.e. fat biking trails for bikes, skiing trails for skis, snowmobiling trails for snowmobiles, and snowshoeing/hiking trails for snowshoes & feet. We know trips & slips happen, but an effort to maintain the hard work of trail groomers is greatly appreciated. Be a pal, stick to your trail (not quite a rhyme, but it works, right?!). Ha!

207 College Drive, Decorah 563-380-3610 Open 7 Days A Week 31

Okay, still not up for heading outside to exercise this winter? Here are a couple of indoor options you might want to consider: The Decorah Swim Club (for adults)

Are you one of those folks who heads to the pool just do laps? Did you basically live at the pool when you were a kid because you loved swimming so much? Or, are you simply interested in learning more about swimming and getting involved with a fun group of locals (who also love learning about swimming)? Then maybe you’d love to join the Decorah Swim Club! The club is “devoted to providing a positive learning environment for swimmers to grow, improve both physical and mental strength, and enhance their technique in order to reach their full potential in swimming.” There are about 20 active members, ranging from former synchronized swimmers and college-level swimmers to people with little or no competitive background… they just like to swim. Team members say coach Stephanie Huber, a certified master’s swim coach, is creative, encouraging, and knowledgeable. The club provides an atmosphere that will promote growth, teamwork, good sportsmanship, fun, and hard work – truly all levels are welcome. The Swim Club is registered as an official club team with the US Masters organization, and has competed in the Iowa Masters State Meet several times. The team, going on three years in existence, has members between the ages of 20-70 years. They swim indoors in the winter and outdoors once the pool opens. Check it out – we think it’ll go swimmingly! (ha!)


We bet we have more than one reader who has always wanted to join the circus. Amiright? Well, aerialates might be just the thing for you! It is a brand of aerial pilates that utilizes many of the principles developed by Joseph Pilates, who – interesting fact – just happened to be an acrobat and circus performer once upon a time. Aerialates is a form of suspension training designed to improve body awareness, muscular strength, and flexibility in a safe, innovative, and encouraging environment. Elizabeth Skwiot, the St. Paul, Minnesota-based founder of Aerialates, is a professional aerialist, certified Pilates instructor, and certified personal trainer. A former circus performer, Skwiot created Aerialates when she realized that the aerial equipment she used as a performer offered a new dimension to standard Pilates training. That’s right – Aerialates incorporates many of the Pilates principles, but is performed with the type of equipment used by circus performers! Cool! Here in Decorah, folks can try Aerialates at Discover Happy Pilates Studio. Classes – taught by certified Aeriealates instructor Heather Cote – are limited to three people. Sign up at

Learn or request more information at:

Photo by Silver Moon Photography

Find your

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

60+ Miles of Paved Bike Trails! 32

Winter 2016-2017 / \ Winter 2016-2017



Winter 2016-2017 /

INITIATIVE By Sara Friedl-Putnam \ Winter 2016-2017


Come home to Decorah!


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


Holding grudges burdens the spirit and can negatively impact your health. Choose forgiveness instead! One Driftless Region forgiveness expert says you can get better at forgiving – and you may live longer and be happier if you do.


563-382-2700 • 510 MONTGOMERY ST, DECORAH, IA or find us on Facebook

MONDAY-FRIDAY 9-6 • SATURDAY 9-3 ACUPUNCTURE • QIGONG • HERBAL MEDICINE • 563.382.9309 • 309 W. Broadway, Decorah

Join us for Qigong! Classes Wed: 5:30 pm . Tues & Thurs: 8:15 am



115 Winnebago Street . Decorah, Iowa 563.382.6139

Winter 2016-2017 /

ou hit the gym – or that outdoor exercise trail ­– like clockwork. You eat fruits and vegetables and down smoothies and hot tea with abandon. You listen to zen music in the morning and practice meditation at night. But have you made the choice to forgive today? As one (tumultuous!) year winds to a close, and another – with all its endless possibilities ­– quickly approaches, take a moment to hit the pause button and reflect on the recent past. What can you do to feel better, physically, emotionally, and spiritually? What can you do to make your world – and the world around you – a happier, healthier place? If you haven’t already, give forgiveness a chance: Study after study has linked the ability to forgive with wide-reaching health benefits. Letting go of sometimes painful feelings of anger and resentment, however, does require both effort and intent. “It’s not simple to do, or we would all do it,” says Loren Toussaint, Luther College professor of psychology and author of many of those forgiveness studies. “But you can work at it, and anything you can work at, you have the potential to accomplish.” Think you aren’t up to the task – that you can’t possibly forgive that family member, friend, or acquaintance who wronged you? Then consider a truly inspirational example of the power of forgiveness from Sierra Leone. Loren Toussaint with some of his studentFrom 1991– researchers at Luther College’s Laboratory for 2002, a ruthless the Investigation of Mind, Body, and Spirit. civil war raged throughout the small West African country. More than 50,000 people died. Hundreds of thousands were maimed or disabled. And more than two million were displaced as refugees in neighboring countries. “Even though they had lived through one of the bloodiest civil wars ever documented, Sierra Leoneans welcomed the idea of

forgiveness with open arms,” says Toussaint, who traveled to the country in 2007 to teach forgiveness skills. “There was no resistance to it at all – remarkably, all the negative responses that you might have expected from people who had been embroiled in that kind of conflict were just not there.” It was a prestigious Davis Projects for Peace grant that allowed Toussaint (as well as students Alyssa Cheadle and Anthony Sellu) to embark on the ambitious mission in Sierra Leone nearly a decade ago. With $10,000 in funding from the Davis program, the trio worked with the LemonAid Fund and the internationally recognized Stanford Forgiveness Projects to develop a curriculum that would introduce forgiveness strategies to war-affected teachers and students at the Dele Peddle Preparatory School in Freetown. Though they had to overcome some unexpected obstacles – including a robbery at the school that forced them to leave early – Toussaint and his students were buoyed by the project’s results: Compared to teachers who didn’t receive the training and to the initial pre-training survey results, teachers who learned forgiveness skills reported feeling less depressed and stressed, and more grateful and satisfied with life. “If you can show that forgiveness works with individuals in the worst state of hurt, wouldn’t you expect it to be even more effective as you get back into the more normal realm of hurt and transgression?” asks Toussaint as he reflects on that experience. That powerful question begs others: What, exactly, is forgiveness? (Stay tuned!) Does everyone have the capacity to forgive? (Yes, says Toussaint.) Can we improve our ability to forgive? (Again, yes.) And why is it so important anyway? “There are many benefits,” says Toussaint, “so many, in fact, that it’s surprising they aren’t talked about more.”

“IT’S ONE OF THE GREATEST GIFTS YOU CAN GIVE YOURSELF, TO FORGIVE. FORGIVE EVERYBODY.” – MAYA ANGELOU Wikipedia defines forgiveness as “the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, and lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.” Toussaint describes it a bit more simply: “It’s when you no longer feel that horrible, ‘oh, yuck’ reaction in the pit of your stomach over something that somebody did to you and you can think about or encounter that person – or see an e-mail from him or her in your inbox – and actually have a compassionate response.” That Toussaint is able to describe such a complex topic in such relatable terms is no surprise – he has, after all, spent close to 20 years researching the topic after he landed a postdoctoral fellowship to study forgiveness under David R. Williams at the University of Michigan in 1999. “I believe you find the opportunities that you are meant to find,” he says. “David was conducting some cool national survey studies on forgiveness at the time, and he really took me under his wing – that was an extremely formative experience for me.” (Continued on next page) \ Winter 2016-2017


the Investigation of Mind, Body, and Spirit – has been published in While in Ann Arbor, Toussaint served as lead author of a paper academic references like the Journal of Health Psychology and cited published in the Journal of Adult Development that reported in popular publications like Psychology Today and Time, as well as forgiveness was associated with decreased psychological distress, on websites for the New York Times, the including feelings of restlessness, Des Moines Register, and the Huffington hopelessness, and nervousness. “I Post. And in 2015, Toussaint coedited began to see forgiveness as not just the book Forgiveness and Health: a religious and spiritual experience Scientific Evidence and Theories Relating but something that is also clearly Forgiveness to Better Health with Williams psychological,” he says. His curiosity and renowned forgiveness expert Everett piqued, he continued his research Worthington, Jr. into the health benefits of forgiveness “Research has also found that if people – first at Idaho State University and, were highly forgiving of both themselves since 2004, at Luther, a small liberal and others, that characteristic alone arts college nestled amid the bluffs virtually eliminated the connection of Northeast Iowa. “I’m a bit of an between stress and mental illness,” says odd duck here,” admits Toussaint. Toussaint. And there’s also this: Forgiving “I consider myself a researcher who yourself and others has been linked to really loves teaching, and oftentimes Loren Toussaint, Luther College professor of decreased risk of early death. (Yes, you that doesn’t go together.” psychology and “Forgiveness Expert.” read that right!) Yet it has dovetailed quite nicely for “It’s when people hang on to things in this tall, boyish-looking, and thoughtful the long-term – over weeks, months, and sometimes years – that academic. Since his arrival in the Driftless Region, Toussaint it starts to take its toll, in terms of increasing the level of stress and has quietly made a name for himself as a forgiveness expert, negatively impacting your mental and physical health, as well as contributing to a growing body of research that links forgiveness to your spiritual well-being and quality of life,” Toussaint explains. “All decreased likelihood of depression, improved happiness and physical of those things start to be negatively affected by the fact that you health, and stronger social relationships. His research – much cannot let go, that you can’t get past what was troubling you.” conducted alongside Luther students in the school’s Laboratory for





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So why do so many of us hold on to perceived wrongs, grudges, and slights, apparently at our own peril? Why do we still get that horrible feeling in the pit of our stomach when we see (or spot an e-mail from) someone who hurt us? It turns out, as with so much that’s truly worthwhile in life, forgiveness isn’t easy. And it’s harder for some than for others. “Some people are naturally gifted – they just seem to be able to forgive easily and don’t hold things as close to heart their heart when it comes to bad things happening,” says Toussaint. “But even folks who struggle with forgiveness can achieve it – they just have to work harder at it.” (See page 41 for some of Toussaint’s forgiveness tips.) In fact, Toussaint believes “100 percent” that everyone is capable of forgiveness. It’s a skill, and just like shooting a basketball or driving a golf ball, it can be improved with practice. “Personally, I think it is fueled by faith and aided by prayer and meditation,” he says. “But it can definitely provide relief even for people who are secular in their beliefs – and the bottom line is that I think most people want to feel better.” Setbacks, cautions Toussaint, can occur. So what should you do if that person you forgave tests you once again? Stay the course and remember what allowed you to forgive him or her in the first place. “Go back to feeling grateful that you have been forgiven in the past and empathize with that person who is testing you now,” says Toussaint. “You will work through it – and every time you do work through it, you will build confidence in your ability to forgive in the future.” Toussaint regularly speaks with communities, schools, churches, and businesses about forgiveness and the work being done at Luther College on the topic. For more information, contact him at or check out laboratory/forgiveness/ - By Sara Friedl-Putnam


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“I believe that everyone is capable of forgiveness and that everything is forgivable, but you have to work at it,” says Loren Toussaint, a Decorah-based forgiveness expert. “People who are successful at forgiving are folks who have a strong commitment to it and use every tool at their disposal to achieve it.” With that advice in mind, here are some forgiveness tips that Toussaint offered in an article published in the July 2016 issue of The Big Issue:

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• Be sure you know what forgiveness really is, and don’t be misled by popular misconceptions.

• Be clear about what you are trying to forgive. Start small. Forgive your co-worker for making a snide remark. Forgive the person in front of you in the express checkout line for buying half the store’s inventory. Forgive yourself for forgetting to wish someone a happy birthday. Then, once you get more practiced, start to work on bigger, more hurtful things.

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• When forgiving others, try to see the offender’s perspective. Often hurtful things are done or said when they aren’t intended, and putting yourself in your offender’s shoes can shine clearer light on motivations.

• When forgiving yourself, be sure to accept your faults and don’t deny your imperfections.

• Commit to forgiving yourself and others and improving quality of life for yourself and others.

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• Be ready for challenges as you try to forgive. Just because you struggle doesn’t mean you’re unforgiving. You’re just trying amidst challenges, like the rest of us. . 563 382 6245 . Decorah, Iowa \ Winter 2016-2017


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Get outside and enjoy the winter at this non-competitive ski or walk event for children ages 3-13. At the Decorah Prairie Start time: 10:00 a.m. Registration: 9:40 a.m. Sponsored by local Sons of Norway Lodges and Jon and Mary Hart.

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learly, forgiving is as much about you as it is about the person you’re forgiving… if not more. We bet there are some people and things in your own life you didn’t even realize you should be forgiving! You’ve all likely heard of Random Acts of Kindness – this winter, try taking on something new: Intentional Acts of Forgiveness. When you find yourself feeling upset about something, stop, and do a little intentional forgiving. We predict it will have you feeling happier and calmer about your entire life before the New Year even hits! And remember – just like smiling at others often results in people smiling back, forgiving others often results in forgiveness coming right back. On the next page are some examples of ways to start your forgiveness practice. See if you recognize your own life in any of these situations, and try switching it up with an Intentional Act of Forgiveness!

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Let it go

Your friend cancels on lunch.

Your toddler comments on your “squishy” belly.

That mom gave you a judge-y look at school drop-off.

Practice saying, “That’s a little thing; I can let it go.”





It’s gone. There’s nothing we can do about it. Let it go. Forgive yourself for mistakes you made, learn from them, and move on(ward)!

Your neighbor cuts down your favorite tree (on their property)

The dishwasher is loaded or the toilet paper is hanging differently than you like (change it if you must, but don’t stew about it!).

YOUR OWN WEAKNESSES. Remember they are countered with your strengths. We can’t all be good at all the things.

...changing your mind (again)

...not accomplishing last year’s resolutions

...not organizing the craft closet (yet!)

...forgetting to take the trash out

...making frozen pizza for dinner (again)

...watching too many episodes of Shameless

...sleeping in

Forgive yourself for:

Remember we’re all humans. Forgive your loved-one’s weaknesses, then change your perspective immediately to their strengths. Remember why you love them in the first place!

Talk to the people you love (and who are worthy of your love) about ways you felt really wronged in the past. Practice saying, “I forgive you for…” See how it feels. Keep practicing until it feels right. Mean it.

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‘Get happy’ books for those long By Sara Friedl-Putnam


mpossibly short days and seemingly never-ending nights. What are we to do with all these extra hours of darkness that winter inevitably brings? Since you’re already improving your life by committing to some new forgiveness goals, why not stay the course? Go ahead and curl up with an inspiring self-help /better-yourself book! Reading is not only fun but also provides significant benefits, from mental stimulation and stress reduction to tranquility and improved concentration. Go ahead - get inspired! To help you jump-start your winter reading, we asked Mary Jorgensen, a Decorah-based educator and life coach, to suggest a few of her favorite health-and-wellness titles. “They focus on health ‘from the inside out,’” she says of her recommendations. “I believe that when we practice the SAGE (spirituality, authenticity, gratitude, and enjoyment) philosophy, we will naturally be drawn to the physical wellness practices that work best for us.” Following are four books – including Jorgensen’s recently published Way of the SAGE – that will help you work on your inner self during those long winter nights. They’re so compelling, you may even stop wishing for spring.

Way of the SAGE: 4 Paths to Manage Stress and Build Resilience Mary Jorgensen, Mercury HeartLink, 2016 Yes, you can build resilience to handle even the toughest challenges you many encounter. And, yes, you can equip yourself to cope with the ever-increasing stress of everyday life. This research-based yet highly accessible book will show you how. Way of the SAGE explores four paths – spirituality, authenticity, gratitude, and enjoyment – to living a more peaceful, satisfying, and enjoyable life. Its holistic (and fun!) approach centers on the interplay of body, mind, and spirit and offers strategies for easily incorporating spiritual and gratitude practices into your life as well as determining your true (or authentic) self.

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The Chemistry of Joy: A Three-Step Program for Overcoming Depression Through Western Science and Eastern Wisdom Henry Emmons, Fireside, 2006 Can we combine Western science and Eastern philosophy to treat depression effectively? And can the right psychological and spiritual balance really help create a long-term strategy for finding joy? Henry Emmons believes the answer to both those questions is a resounding “yes.” In this book, the Luther College graduate advocates a natural approach to curbing depression – supplemented with medication, if necessary – focused on creating and sustaining your body’s own biochemistry of joy. The Chemistry of Joy helps you identify which type of depression (anxious, agitated, or sluggish) you may be experiencing and provides diet and exercise plans tailored to each type. It also recommends nutritional supplements and mindfulness exercises that can restore your body’s natural balance and energy.

winter nights Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment Martin Seligman, Free Press, 2002 How can you develop your strengths and virtues to achieve “authentic happiness”? This book embraces the theory that, by assessing the very best in ourselves, we can achieve new (and lasting!) levels of genuine contentment and joy. In this bestseller, the acclaimed author of Learned Optimism introduces “positive psychology” – the scientific study of the strengths that allow individuals to thrive – and asserts that happiness is not just the result of good genes or luck. Learn how happiness can be cultivated by identifying and using many of the strengths and traits that you already possess, including kindness, originality, humor, optimism, and generosity.

Anam Cara: Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World John O’Donohue, Bantam Press, 1997 “This book provides rare synthesis of philosophy, poetry, and spirituality,” raves world-renowned author and inspirational speaker Deepak Chopra, “as well as a powerful and life-transforming experience for those who read it.” Infused by Celtic mystical tradition, Anam Cara (Gaelic for “soul friend”) employs poetry and the ancient (but timeless!) teachings of Celtic wisdom to offer profound insights on the universal themes of friendship, solitude, love, and death. Light is generous. Solitude is luminous. The passionate heart never ages. The body is the angel of the soul. These are just a few of the gems of wisdom that have made this book an international bestseller.

An avid reader, Sara Friedl-Putnam also enjoyed two books shared by Loren Toussaint while doing research for this forgiveness section of Inspire(d) – The Forgiveness Project by Michael Barry and Forgive for Good by Fred Luskin­. She encourages others interested in forgiveness to check them out.

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soup Cozy up with a bowl of this delicious soup on a cold winter night. It’s healthy and comforting and makes a ton… perfect for taking care of yourself and the folks you love.

CHICKEN + WILD RICE SOUP Recipe & photo By Aryn Henning Nichols

Take care of yourself and the people you love with this cozy soup. Make it for you and your family to enjoy these chilly winter days, make it for a friend who is feeling a little under the weather or spread too thin, or make it for the freezer to save for a snowy day. Beacuse few things feel warmer, healthier, and wholesome than chicken soup. Some might be inclined to say chicken noodle soup, but I prefer this chicken and wild rice recipe – noodles can tend to get mushy in leftovers, but the wild rice in this soup just gets better each day. This recipe makes a huge pot – you should have soup for a week, at least, and it really does freeze great. I truly hope you have a healthy, happy...soup-er winter, my friends! XOX - Aryn






Use your medium-sized soup pot. Cook onion and celery in olive oil for a minute or two. Add in garlic and ginger cook another minute. Season the veggies a bit with salt and pepper. (Sidebar: I am in love with my garlic press and recently discovered you can also press ginger! This is a wonderful thing. P.S. Did you know you don’t even have to peel garlic before you put it in the press? Seriously, I love this tool!) Add the rice to toast a bit – just until it smells a little nutty. We use the Lundberg bulk wild rice at the Oneota Co-op. So good. Deglaze the pot if needed (you’ll know if the bottom starts to get brown bits…if so, just add a wee bit of water). Add in carrots and season with a bit of salt – they don’t have to cook too long because it will all cook for at least an hour on the stove. Add in the rest of the ingredients (tip: this is so good with leftovers from a rotisserie chicken!) and season to taste. Add water. Simmer until rice is cooked through - about an hour. Season as you go (the final flavors are up to you – taste often, and season more as you add more water – which you’ll need to do as the rice continues to absorb the liquid). As mentioned this soup does great over days – the rice continues to open up and it gets almost creamy from the starch. Add more kale in the coming days if it seems to get all eaten up too – it’s amazing how much leafy greens cook down! Note: You could totally make this vegetarian - just omit the chicken, use vegetable broth, and maybe add some white beans - like cannellini - for texture + protein! Enjoy!

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Together We Grow Healthy Kids Northeast Iowa Food & Fitness:



Winter 2016-2017 / \ Winter 2016-2017


All photos courtesy Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative

TOGETHER WE GROW HEALTHY KIDS The homegrown collaborative Northeast Iowa Food & Fitness celebrates a decade of making the healthy choice the easy choice for area kids and adults alike. By Cerrisa Snethen


hanging a culture from the ground up is no small task. So it makes sense that the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative is an awesomely complex network of organizations, boards, and, of course, people. The network is so vast and cyclical, in fact, that this writing can’t possibly name them all. Talk to current staff, and they’ll tell you Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness (FFI) work involves endlessly stepping on the shoulders of giants. No one person or moment has made FFI’s efforts the reality they are today, and will not entirely define it into the future. “It’s not a three or ten year program,” says Ann Mansfield, long-time FFI Project Coordinator. “It’s the work of a generation.” Still, the Initiative’s history and future plans are so honest-to-goodness-ain’t-that-just-like-the-Driftless inspiring, telling their tale is definitely worth a (long) shot. Here goes. (story continued on page 54)


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All photos courtesy Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative \ Winter 2016-2017




In 2006, the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture recognized that Northeast Iowa offered opportunities for improving access to locally grown food. The region was selected as the pilot community for its Regional Food System Working Group, the Northeast Iowa Food Coalition. Led by ISU Extension & Outreach, Northeast Iowa Food Coalition became the first pilot group in the state to develop a geographically based regional food group. The work of this coalition later became known as the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative (FFI). Its work has brought forth hundreds of economic opportunities for the region. Here’s a timeline of just some of FFI’s amazing accomplishments:

What’s it all about? In case you can’t wrap your head around what exactly the FFI is and all they do, don’t worry. These folks have got a lot going on! But in a nutshell, here’s what you need to know: The Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative works in six rural counties in Northeast Iowa (Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, Howard, and Winneshiek). Its goal is that within our region, every day, all people experience, celebrate, and promote healthy, locally grown food, and abundant opportunities for physical activity and play. “We asked ourselves, ‘How do we make real changes in schools and early childhood? How do we make healthy choices default ones? How do we teach people to reduce highly processed foods with lots of sugar, fat, and salt? How do we change people’s thinking? How do you shift the culture? How do you make these things more attractive?’” Mansfield says. “This isn’t short-term work.” FFI is a collective of organizations working together, not a single entity. They have four key strategies, all working independently of each other but coming together regularly to connect the dots between those strategies.

The Strategies: School Wellness/Outreach One of the classic tenets of FFI is that schools are hubs of change. The School Wellness/Outreach strategy looks to establish school district policies and practices that support the healthy living of children, families, and community members. Thanks to this strategy, many school lunches in Northeast Iowa have gotten a gorgeous and more nutritious makeover. Early Childhood Science is showing us increasingly how critical the first few years of life are to the long-term health of our tiniest citizens. The Early Childhood strategy is all about ensuring that caregivers and parents of children from birth to age five provide health-promoting food and active play. It’s the Early Childhood strategy that gave birth to FFI’s fantastic “Farm to Preschool” program. Food Systems The Food Systems strategy is diversely innovative and serves to ensure that local, health-promoting food is available and affordable in all communities, neighborhoods, and institutions. This is the strategy that helped launch the Iowa Food Hub, an innovative nonprofit working to connect farmers, families, and food grown close to home. Active Living/Safe Routes to School Here’s where the movement comes in. FFI’s Active Living/Safe Routes to School strategy is around to nudge folks toward using this crazy beautiful Northeast Iowa region for physical activity, play, and active transportation. Thanks to this aspect of FFI, Northeast Iowa is now home to several walking school bus programs. (story continued on page 56)

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Winter 2016-2017 /

Plans begin to help foster healthier, happier, more successful communities. Light bulb moment for FFI organizers: Schools are hubs of change.


Luther College & Iowa State University Extension & Outreach join as core partners.

FFI receives funds from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation - a total of 2.7 million over nearly 10 years.


2008 The W. K. Kellogg Foundation chooses Northeast Iowa as a project site for the Food & Fitness Initiative (FFI). NIFF discovers the third leg to their stool – FFI helps them expand their work to emphasize equity and physical activity.

Iowa’s first regional Safe Routes to School plan is completed in Northeast Iowa.

Luther College sets 35% “buy local food” service goal.

Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative is made possible due largely in part to its Core Partners: Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission Northeast Iowa Community College Luther College Supporting partners have included: WK Kellogg Foundation Food and Community Program Northeast Iowa Business Network Northeast Iowa Funders Network Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque




NIFF provides “Good Agricultural Practices” training, leading to 13 producers becoming “Certified”.


Homegrown Lunch Week launches in 15 school districts.

16 school districts are now sourcing locally grown food.

2 new local dairy processing facilities are created.


Farm to School program launches in 6 pilot schools.

2012 2 schools include “Farm to School Coordination” in their job descriptions for wanted Food Service Directors.

Rewinding History, Retooling for the Future It all began because a group of regional farmers put their ears to the ground. They realized the future of Northeast Iowa farming might not utilize the more independent practices of their grand- or great-grandparents. They started to discuss ways to protect those time-tested agricultural practices – ones that could help preserve their autonomy, the soil, and the diversity of the food supply. Their efforts had a ripple effect. The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture took note, and in 2006, deemed that Northeast Iowa had some great opportunities for improving access to locally grown food. The region was selected as the pilot community for its Regional Food System Working Group, the Northeast Iowa Food Coalition (NIFF). Led by ISU Extension and Outreach, NIFF became the first pilot

Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission joins as a core partner and hires a Regional Safe Routes to School liaison for the region.

NICC comes on board as a Core Partner in Early Childhood Outreach.

23 producers are now selling local food to area schools.

group in the state to develop a geographically based regional food group. The work of the NIFF coalition was later integrated into the Food and Fitness Initiative (FFI) as a focus area of the efforts. At the time, Northeast Iowa was the only rural area to have achieved pilot group status. The entirely organic process was utterly unique, in that the Initiative was never given a previously established directive. It was completely community driven. Organizers routinely reminded themselves that the work needed to come from inside the region – it had to be what the community itself wanted most. They called it “community self determination”. In those early days, meetings around the project(s) cast a wide net. Discussions included area coaches, school officials, bankers, farmers, parents – anyone and everyone who wanted to attend and invest in improving life and

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Winter 2016-2017 /

The School Food Procurement Pilot Project launches to help schools secure bids for local food. 20 food stakeholders are now developing a strategic plan for what will become the Iowa Food Hub

7 school districts acquire new kitchen equipment to handle & store fresh food. An area school district earns a HealthierUS School Challenge Award.

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building foundations BRUENING ROCK PRODUCTS health in the region. Learning communities were built, and a clear mandate emerged: schools are hubs of change. This, combined with the new directive – make the healthy choice the easy choice for Northeast Iowans – would inform all of the work moving forward. Chances are, if you’ve heard about FFI, you’ve heard about how, in 2007, the group received those all-important initial funds from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Food and Community Program to further support strategic planning. But here’s something you might not know about that mission-critical funding – the $2.7 million provided by the foundation had to span six counties and 10 years. As organizers got to work deciding how to distribute the funds in the most impactful way, many of FFI’s core partners came on board (complete list on page 55). (story continued on next page)


Serving communities in Iowa, Minnesota, & Missouri

900 Montgomery St, Decorah, IA 563-382-2933 . \ Winter 2016-2017


93% of the farmers participating in FFI are either female, beginning, or limited resource farmers.

Iowa Food Hub pilots weekly local food delivery to schools.

85% of the 14,551 K-12 students in Northeast Iowa are reached by FFI.

2013 A $48,000 USDA Rural Business Development Grant is awarded to the Iowa Food Hub for a refrigerated truck.

Farm to Preschool is integrated into all regional Head Start classrooms.

Luther College spends 36.3% of their food service budget on local food (thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s $486,707!).

An area school district earns the district-wide Gold USDA HealthierUS School Challenge Award.

The NIFF Coalition signs a stakeholder agreement with School Food FOCUS.

Over $5,000 is raised by FFI in one day on Great Give Day, a social media event encouraging community members to donate to local nonprofits.

All photos courtesy Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative

Every week, we display a photo taken in the Driftless Area front & center on Photo of the Week winners have their name included in the gallery. Share with your friends on social media!


Winter 2016-2017 /

4 schools using the NE Iowa Farm to School Cycle Menu increase local food purchases 158% over 2 years.

2014 The nation’s first rural, regional Safe Routes to School program successfully completes a 2-year pilot project & becomes a national model.

Iowa Food Hub purchases $236,518 from local farmers, more than 3 times the amount of the previous year.

Local food sales reported by farmers increases over 30% from the previous year, going from $1.7 to $2.2 million.

25 jobs are created as a result of producing, processing, or utilizing local foods. 10 of those jobs are full time.

Local pork appears on the menu at 6 of the region’s K-12 schools & Luther College. The overweight or obesity rate of K-6 students is the lowest in the 5 years data has been tracked – 29%, down from a high of 38% in 2010-2011.




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


When in 2009, core partner Luther College set a 35 percent “buy local food” service goal, Food Systems partners were able to aid local growers in a significant increase of local food production (see timeline). All the while, FFI’s ground game steadily spread into each of its six counties. And they knew then, just as they know now, that one of the most critical elements of their work was to change people’s thinking. Building relationships. Helping to connect people to the landbase. To their farmers. Not to mention fueling policy, system, and environmental changes. “This is one of the best possible long term investments in our communities,” says Mansfield. And if you’ve lived in Northeast Iowa over the last 10 years, you’ve probably felt the effects of their efforts, whether you know it or not. Over the years, as Iowa continued to climb higher on our nation’s list of obesity, a statistic showed that 40 percent of our children ages K-6 were overweight or obese. The FFI Food Systems folks had their work cut out for them. FFI staff members and supporters put their shoulders to the wheel to make steady and significant changes to local school menus. In so doing, they found they needed to find ways to first help farmers get produce to school kitchens. Next up was finding ways to support food service staff and leadership so they could incorporate local food in a way that’s as cost and time effective as possible. Finally, the end product had to be beautiful and well received by students. Partnerships with Food Corps and Americorps were key in creating farm to school connections and revolutionizing the way many area schools do lunch. After Iowa Food Hub was created in 2012, local food in area schools really began to increase (see timeline). Buying power increased for those schools as well, and several began winning HealthierUS School Challenge Awards. (story continued on page 61)

KDEC FM 100.5

Hozier with a side of Adele nathanial rateliff in a rich Bastille sauce

& for dessert Milky Chance smothered with Kongos

Always Free, Always Fresh. \ Winter 2016-2017


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

Thrivent Financial Karen Trewin - Decorah Jeff Olinger - Decorah Northeast Iowa Regional Board of Realtors Barbara Massman Inspired Realty – Scott Norris The Family Care Clinic Dr. David Heine NICC – Dr. Wee Hibbett Sports Superior Wood Floors & Tile Decorah Bank Life Images Photography Cheryl Wieseler Davis Family Foundation Decorah Elks Lodge Old Armory BBQ Matt Henning Dough and Joe Bakery Molly Pedretti Latham Furniture Jayme Folkedahl Walmart – Mitch Link Kwik Trip, Inc. Inspire(d) Media JC Penney employees Stone Hearth Kathy and Steven Ransom Alpha Sigma Sorority Decorah Greenhouse Subway Whippy Dip Rosie Carolan Pizza Ranch John Dambek Culver's - Lisa Roberson / Bruce and Sue Anderson Story People Annette Laitinen

Dragonfly Books Kate Rattenborg Rockweiler Appliance Dean & Heidi Rockweiler Covenant Church Luther College Book Shop Gundersen Health Friest and Associates Decorah Hatchery Drew Stevenson & Maria Jones Winneshiek Medical Center Lynch Bar-B-Que Preceptor Zeta Chapter Beta Sigma Phi Prevent Child Abuse Iowa Ace Kitchen Place / Ace Hardware Java Johns Decorah Newspapers Paul Scott N.E. Iowa Unitarian Universalists Fellowship KDEC Radio KVIK Radio Amundsons’s Clothing The Good Foot Burr Oak Lutheran Church Grace Episcopal Church Burning Bright Concert Beta Sigma Phi, Alpha Sigma Phi Chapter Lutheran Service in Iowa - Cassie Peterson West Side Study Club Caseys The Coterie Club

School purchases more than double over last school year, to $72,020.

2015 Early Childhood Outreach hires FFI Early Childhood Assistant & awards 40 mini grants to local preschool classrooms.

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

Farm to Preschool is incorporated into early Head Start homes with home visits. 4 area schools achieve HealthierUS School Challenge Awards, bringing the total number to 6 schools.

By July, 54 farmers or farmer groups are selling their products to the Food Hub. FFI has helped plant over 24 school gardens.

Upper Explorerland partners with neighboring region to initiate regional Safe Routes to School programs across the state.

FFI engages 212 youth through 14 FFI Youth 4-H teams throughout the 2015-2016 academic year.

10 schools invest financially to have an FFI Resource Contact. As a result, 572 hours of nutrition and food education is provided to children.


Schools collaborate to track outcomes on children’s weight BMI status.




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On top of healthy food choices, since FFI’s inception, Northeast Iowa schools are more active. FFI claims there’s more overall drinking of water, and that in schools where it’s being measured, students are even registering lower BMIs. Plus, participating schools seem committed to their FFI partnerships, contributing a combined $45,000 into the organization last year alone. What else? School gardens have been planted, thanks largely to the work of David Cavagnaro of Decorah’s Pepperfield Project, a non-profit education and retreat center focused on wellness and teaching intelligent choices that support sustainable systems. While Cavagnaro’s name is one of so many who’ve made it all come together, it’s impossible to speak to the current FFI staff and not hear David Cavagnaro’s name again and again. In addition to school gardens, Cavagnaro grew food at an area hospital, and taught service members how to do the same kind of work. He continues to donate seed to this day. His efforts echo fervently throughout the project. When FFI started, our region had a single school garden due to his efforts. Today, there are 24. Ah, numbers. There are many, many encouraging numbers behind FFI. Over the last seven years alone, FFI has helped to create 119 new jobs and 17 expanded jobs. Add to that 76 new local food producers or enterprises, and 211 new or expanded economic opportunities born. As FFI hits its 10-year benchmark, the group is reflecting on how to build on their strengths and expand on their shared vision. As the decade closes, however, their funding has nearly run its course. Having poured literally millions of dollars into creating a healthier Northeast Iowa, now they will be looking for funds and donations to help continue their long-term investment in our communities. That commitment is so long-term in fact, that if you speak to staff members, they’ll tell you that their plan is to stick with Northeast

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(story continued on next page) \ Winter 2016-2017



3 more area schools are awarded HealthierUS School Challenge Awards.

2016 | 563-568-2758 1253 Apple Rd. Waukon, Iowa

Perfect for private parties! Seating for 200 + catering available!

Two event spaces for small or large groups – up to 200 people. Contact our Event Coordinator at for details.

206 W. Water St. •563-382-5970 •

We service all brands.

Iowans “from breath ‘til death”. And they think the best is yet to come. Members believe that each year, the FFI effort helps us all get a little bit closer to those healthy homegrown communities so many of us want. The Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative reminds us that our children are the ones who will someday be growing our food and caring for us. The group looks to continue helping transform schools, and supporting our children’s happiness and health so they may grow into their fullest potential as members of our community, from right here where they’re planted. Cerrisa Snethen loves living in Decorah where she works as a Blog Editor and tries to do her best at mothering, partnering, friending, and helping. Some of her other written work has appeared in Hip Mama Magazine and the New York Quarterly, and she blogs sporadically on when her children are fast asleep.

Food and Fitness Leaders: 302 College Drive, Decorah, IA 563-382-4856 • M-F 8-5 • Sat 8-3

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Lawn Mowers, Snow Blowers, Chain Saws, & More! 62

Farm to Preschool celebrates their first year to have the first-in-thenation Food Corp Service member devoted to Early Childhood.

Say hi!

Burgers • Sandwiches • Salads • Appetizers • Breakfast • In-House Catering Locally Sourced Menu Options • Come watch your favorite games! • 22 Beers on Tap!


20 Bike Rodeo safety education events reach 2,000+ students annually.

$1 Million has been returned to farmers through local purchases!

Winter 2016-2017 /

Ann Mansfield, FFI Project Coordinator Teresa Wiemerslage, Northeast Iowa Food and Farm Coalition Laura Liechty, Youth Engagement Coordinator Emily Neal, School Outreach Coordinator Haleisa Johnson, Early Childhood Program Coordinator Ashley Christensen, Safe Routes to School Liaison Elin Amundson, School Wellness Assistant Multiple, invaluable Americorps and Food Corps Representatives

Farmers Market coupon program gives $22,000 to limited-income families for fresh food.

drop-ins welcome!

Officially, 1,200 bike helmets have been handed out to children in need of one.

Through Safe Routes to School, 53 Walking & Biking School Bus routes have been created in 15 communities, reaching 300 students and 50 adults annually.

Molly Gallagher, instructor

beginning, continuing, & gentle yoga 110 Washingon Street. Decorah, Iowa . 319.270.4592 128 W Water St, Decorah, Iowa • 563-382-9829 • M, Tues, W, F, Sat: 9-5 Thurs: 9-8

What’s so good about The Good Foot? The shoes! The staff! The service!

And it’s fun here to boot! (Get it?) COMFORTABLE SHOES FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

There are a zillion ways to help support the efforts of the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative. Volunteer with Iowa AmeriCorps. Be a role model. Coach youth organizations. Mentors are always needed. Donate to the Food Hub at Support school gardens. Grow your own food. Write a letter to your local school administrators or a newspaper editor. Support area trail systems. Stay active. And if you’re able, donate directly to FFI at where you can also learn about donating bike helmets to local children.

Movement for Health & Well-Being Change your life today! Contact Diane Sondrol for more information. 563.419.5420 or Small group and private lessons available, all are welcome! |


Live Music . Gourmet Dinners . Art Classes . Midwest Artists

Small-batch Herbalism Hand-crafted in Decorah, Iowa

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

Non-profit gallery & community art studio

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

214 S. RIVER PARK DR. GUTTENBERG, IOWA 563.252.2787 . \ Winter 2016-2017


Walking is a sure-fire way to unplug and really connect. 64

Winter 2016-2017 /

Photo by Benji Nichols


A NEW EFFORT STEPS UP TO HELP GET NORTHEAST IOWA GOING Did you know Iowa now has the 12th highest adult obesity rate in the nation? Combine that with the fact that so many folks feel remarkably, ironically disconnected from their friends, family, and neighbors (despite our growing online networks), and you’ve got a recipe cooking for a good long walk. The Surgeon General has issued a call-to-action to promote walking and walkable communities, but that’s certainly not the single most motivating reason to head out on foot. The benefits are plentiful and immediate. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (or ACSM), walking is the perfect prescription to: • Improve balance • Prevent sickness • Boost endorphins that, in turn, boost moods • Build bone mass • Reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, and the risk of developing glaucoma • Limit colon cancer by 31 percent for women • Lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease by half In June 2016, the Northeast Iowa region, with FFI leadership, was featured in the book “America’s Walking Renaissance” as one of nine national case studies. Now, Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness is currently taking steps (walking pun totally intended!) to launch a brand new regional “Walkability Project”. FFI is currently forming a group of community health stakeholders – so far including all eight area hospitals, five of the six county public health offices, school nurses, and other relevant folks – to address the top health issues in our Northeast Iowa counties. Walking is seriously something of a silver bullet for several of those issues, which include not just obesity, nutrition, and physical activity, but also mental health. Walking triggers endorphins, promotes relaxation, and prevents anxiety and depression. Walking even just 20 minutes a day will burn calories and body fat, resulting in weight-loss (as long as you stay within your target calories) and could extend your life by several years. Up that to 45 minutes a day, and you halve your odds of catching a cold. The statistical magic of walking is endless. In the not-so-distant future, prepare to see area hospitals leading the charge, with doctors literally writing walking prescriptions and talking with their patients about how to get going and where. FFI hopes to see Northeast Iowa employers begin to incentivize walking, and encourage walking meetings. Area event organizers are encouraged to host high profile events to promote walking, such as walks with local politicians and/or community leaders to make the case for walking and the overall health of our region. Efforts are underway to help educate the public about all of the incredible trails and safe walking routes our area has to offer. Walking is free. It’s easy to incorporate into our day. And a walk with someone we care about does wonders to remind us that everything is connected – our minds to our bodies, ourselves to our environment, and especially all of us to one another. For more information on how to help the effort or incorporate more walking into your daily life, visit Stay tuned to the Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative at for more on the Walkability Project in coming months. – By Cerrisa Snethen




FUN & CASUAL ATMOSPHERE 110 East Water St 563-382-4297

More than 60 years of great food!

Teamwork from the team that works best! DECORAH, IOWA 563-382-8406 303 W. Water St • Decorah, Iowa •563.382.4941

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Artistry in Cabinetry since 1983

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

Visit my new website! 563-382-4750 \ Winter 2016-2017



Grace Peterson

Interviewed by friend Carol Bentley-Iverson and caretaker Shannon Winkle

Grace’s name fits: her sweet voice, smile, and loving warmth exudes, like her father who “loved everybody!” Growing up in Michigan’s UP, she adored the natural world and its creatures. Marrying Walter in 1938, she helped him earn a psychology PhD in Chicago: proofing and typing research papers and ‘scrimping and saving’ to make ends meet while starting their family. With Walter in private practice, the family lived in Park Forrest, then Crystal Lake, Illinois, in a barn/house with many pets, fruit trees and a big garden, raising their three children and an adopted baby. It was also where Grace opened a day care service. She treated neighbor kids as her own: teaching sewing or cooking, cleaning them up before sending them home, or feeding them supper. It was during those years that she earned her teaching degree and taught special education. Inspired by her brother-in-law, one of the “Chicago 7”, Grace became a “real peacenik”, joining the group, Another Mother for Peace. They enjoyed socializing and were active in their communities. After the kids left home, she and Walter moved to central Wisconsin. They traveled extensively. It was during those years that Grace returned to school at age 65 for an LPN nursing degree. She spent 10 years as a home hospice nurse in rural Madison. The passion for peace and the natural world continues on in Grace and Walter’s children’s lives: daughter Jill Stephenson lives off the grid in a log cabin near Dorchester, son Eric became a Canadian citizen rather than fight in Vietnam, and daughter Gretel, an avid hiker/birder. They’re all active peace, social, and environmental advocates. Grace and Walter were two of the first to live in the newly built Vennehjem independent living apartments in Decorah (a short time before Walter died). Today, she’s 97, and loved by her children, 15 grand and 10 great-grandchildren, as well as friends and neighbors. Grace continues to love nature – feeding birds from her deck and caring for a multitude of houseplants, and she keeps a small garden, reads lots of books, and always stays engaged in current events. What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you? My father told me that every person leaves something of themselves behind, so let’s be sure to leave something good. What did you want to be when you grew up? A nurse or a teacher What do/did you do? Both: I was a teacher in special education. When I was 65 I went back to school and became an LPN. My (much younger) nursing school friends still visit each year! If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 things would you want with you? Matches, books (Mill on the Floss by George Elliot), pen and paper. Describe yourself in one sentence. Very old, self-centered (her words for aging body demands), caring and most concerned about the world right now.

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

If you could eat anything everyday for the rest of your life, what would it be? Tomatoes, cabbage, spinach (Grace eats spinach every day). Name one thing you could not live without. Friends. Tell us about your favorite memory. I always go back to this: I remember being in a boat with my father and he is checking traps in the water. It was a big lake and the air is very foggy but he knew exactly where he was going. We looked at each other and grinned as we each knew what the other was thinking – this was the world and there’s nothing else, just the two of us. It was a deep connection.

Enjoy a life of freedom, financial security and convenience! You’ll be glad you did! 66

Winter 2016-2017 /

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

There’s nothing “ruff” about picking out glasses! We’ve got something for everyone – from kiddos to adults (but, okay, not dogs…)


7:30-5:30 M, W, F 7:30-7:00 TUES & THURS 7:30-12:00 SATURDAY

Mayo Clinic Health System


With a focus on putting the needs of our patients first, WMC Decorah Clinic is pleased to welcome Dr. Caroline Schwickerath to our general surgery team. Our staff of skilled Mayo Clinic Health System general surgeons and experienced nurses provide unparalleled care, and are committed to making every surgical procedure we perform the most comfortable and patient-friendly experience it can be.

WMC Decorah Clinic general surgeons, from left: Dr. Caroline Schwickerath, Dr. Hamid Kakavandi and Dr. Steven Davis.

DECORAH CLINIC 563-382-2911 • Top 20 Critical Access Hospital in the Nation One of 50 Critical Access Hospitals to Know Four Star designation by

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Milkhouse Candles & Gifts is now

Don’t worry! We still accept Milkhouse Candles & Gifts Coupons, Bag Tags, Gift Certificates & Addict Cards, &, of course, we’ll continue to carry your favorite candles, gifts, & so much more!

200 W Water St Decorah, Iowa 563.382.5742

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

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Inspire(d) Winter 2016-2017  

Forgiveness Initiative • Smithsonian Water/Ways in Lanesboro • Northeast Iowa Food & Fitness • The Walking Revolution • Sum of Your Business...