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NO. 56 WINTER NO.2018-19 56 WINTER 2018-19

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lifelong friends and . . .

• Learn critical thinking with award-winning professors • Engage with classmates from 43 states and 70 countries • Lead action and change through 90+ student organizations • Experience life-changing study abroad programs • Discover a lifelong network of 36,000 alumni


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

WINTER 2018-19 contents



yTAouLKr 34

what we’re loving right now


mentoring in northeast iowa


winter challenge


sum of your business: david wadsworth


paper project: crowns


koselig cheat sheet for winter 2018-19


walk your talk: women mayors


snowbird on the cheap


getting in the spirit: local distilleries


burning bright celebrates 20 years


Probit: Imogene Macal


...and more! ON THE COVER:


Roxie and I are ready to Walk Our Talk this winter! Love her little boots walking along the sidewalk, ready to take on the world. Photo by Aryn Henning Nichols


The Westerlies Friday, February 15 7:30 p.m.

CenterStage Series 2018–19


Thursday, March 14 7:30 p.m.

Tickets $28, $26, $15

Tickets $26, $24, $15

On sale Dec. 4

On sale Dec. 4 2018–19 Center Stage Series Major Sponsors

CSS gift certificates are available in any amount. • (563) 387-1357 Luther College Council for Equity and Inclusion

Luther College • Center for Faith and Life 700 College Drive • Decorah, Iowa

From the Editor


hose feet on the cover? They’re mine and Roxie’s, and looking at that picture gives me a sense of pride, excitement, and – I’m finding as I get older – a sense of urgency. I know, I know: I’m only 37! But time keeps on ticking away, and I want to be sure we’ve a.) lived this life well and b.) taken care of this world so our daughter can live her life well, too. I think about it every day – are we doing enough? What will things be like for Roxie in 10, 20, 30 years? The urgency of it all starts to seep in. But I take a deep breath, and do what I can do. I try to walk our talk within our community by emulating the ideas we write about in this magazine. Others walk their talks in their own, awesome ways, like Driftless women who have recently pulled a seat up to the political table as mayors. Maggie Sonnek interviewed four such women – some are the first female mayors in the history of their towns. This comes as we celebrate a record number of women elected to congress in November 2018. It’s (beyond) time, and it’s exciting. I applaud and support these women, and I’m happy they’re providing these great examples of female leaders for Roxie. In a different – but equally important – role, there are mentors in Northeast Iowa who are directly supporting young people through Helping Services Youth Mentoring. 2018 marked the program’s 20-year anniversary of fostering positive friendships and experiences in the area, and January is National Mentoring Month. I interviewed Mentoring Coordinator Kathy Schwartzhoff, as well as local mentor Paul Bauhs and his mentee, Jake, about the ripple of good impacts that has come from the program (and how you can join in too). Decorah’s popular winter solstice concert, Burning Bright, has been bringing light in the darkness and giving back to the community… also for two decades! Choir member Kristine Jepsen chats with founding members and directors as they reflect on years past and prepare for this season’s performance. Along with the work (and joy) of walking our talk, there also has to be time for fun. This day – and every day – is one to be lived well. Winter can be a tough time for remembering that, so we put together some ideas to help you get out – of the doldrums, and out the door, too. Winter challenges, ideas for “Snowbirding on the Cheap,” and more. Plus, don’t miss Sara Walter’s feature on the rise in craft distilling in the Driftless – read about RockFilter Distillery, La Crosse Distilling Co., and Harmony Spirits, then grab your designated driver and head out to explore this new and rising industry in our region. Special shout-out to my good friend and photographer, Jen Opheim, for road tripping with me to Spring Grove – see her beautiful photographs of RockFilter starting on page 44. Other days, you might want to stay in. We’ve got you covered! Maybe as you make your house extra koselig (remember? If you don’t, check page 32) you can read about David Wadsworth and Wadsworth Construction in this issue’s Sum of Your Business. Making houses cozy and well put together is what he’s all about. All of us here at Inspire(d) hope you have a great end of 2018, and that you look to 2019 as a year filled with possibilities. You can do anything! Let’s do this! Happy New Year! Thank you for reading – and being – Inspire(d)! Looking forward,

What’s it mean?

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

Who are we? Co-founders:

Aryn Henning Nichols / editor & designer Benji Nichols / writer & advertising sales (& husband, distributor, logistics)

We couldn’t do it without: Kristine Jepsen / contributor Maggie Sonnek/ contributor Sara Walters / contributor Jen Opheim / photography contributor Inspire(d) Magazine is published quarterly by Inspire(d) Media, LLC, 412 Oak Street, Decorah, Iowa, 52101. This issue is dated Winter 2018-19, issue 56, volume 12, Copyright 2018-19 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 We’re


right now

A little list of what we think is awesome in the Drifltess Region this WINTER... Wellness Wednesday Club Inspire(d) editor Aryn Henning Nichols is super excited to have teamed up with her good friend and Decorah Public Library Director, Kristin Torresdal, to present some new programing to help you destress and relax: Wellness Wednesday Club! We’re meeting once or every other month for some light-hearted fun and relaxation. We hope to create opportunities for attendees to unwind and have a few laughs with friends and neighbors in a casual social setting. Wellness Wednesdays is all about putting time for yourself on the calendar – scheduling the break and giving yourself permission to do something that isn’t ‘work’. Our first Wellness Wednesday activity was simple: Coloring! 25 people maxed out the registration and came to Rubaiyat to color and hang out. It was great! We brainstormed ideas for future WWC events, and so far we’re thinking puzzles, guided meditation, crafting, coloring (again), and more! The next Wednesday Wellness Club is scheduled for January 16 at 7 pm at Rubaiyat in Downtown Decorah. Stay tuned for details and check out other upcoming Wellness Wednesday Club events at Decorah Public Library online (, or on Facebook – or decorahpubliclibrary.

NewBo – Happier Hour Thursdays

Hall, it’s well worth exploring. At the heart of the neighborhood is NewBo City Market – a vendor / food market that is focusing on the positives as winter kicks in. We definitely think you should check out “Happier Hour” at NewBo – Thursdays 5:30-7:30 pm (Dec 6, 13, & 20) – where the focus is on eating well, moving more, and feeling better! Inspired by Healthy Cedar Rapids and the Healthy Hometown program, Happier Hour was designed to provide healthy activities, nutritious food options, and social connections to help make positive and lasting changes in the community. Activities include sampling from different NewBo Market Shopkeepers and area businesses each week, a FREE yoga class from 6 to 7 pm on Thursdays in Rotary Hall (bring your own mat!), and a Happier Hour with tastings at NewBo Beer and Wine. Wellness events and programs will continue in 2019 – check the website for any schedule updates and sign up for notices from NewBo City Market.


If Wednesdays aren’t your speed, how about Thursdays in Cedar Rapids? We’re big fans of the NewBo area. From cool bike shops, to great dining, gallery shows, and performances at Legion Arts / CSPS

Wellness Wednesday Club photo by Nick Chill

Dance & Theatre



MARCH 15 & 16 – 7:30 PM MARCH 16 & 17 –1:30 PM


APRIL 5 – 7:30 PM APRIL 6 & 7 – 1:30 PM


MAY 9 & 10 – 7:30 PM MAY 11 – 1:30 & 7:30 PM

Mark your calendars for these spring shows! Details online at 06

Winter 2018-19 /


Wonderful, wild


Full Moon Hikes! We know the cold temps and dark (super early!) nights of winter can be kind of rough – even for the hardiest of Midwesterners. But if you look just right, you’ll find a few gems that will inspire you to get moving and be social through the long winter months! One of our favorite ideas is a Full Moon Hike. There’s nothing like the sound (or lack thereof!) of a winter hike, and the view of a clear, crisp night sky filled with twinkling stars and a big, bright moon. Various conservation and outdoor groups organize Full Moon Hike events throughout winter. Winneshiek County Conservation (563-534-7145) has a Full Moon Hike scheduled for December 22 at Lake Meyer near Calmar, Iowa. Allamakee County Conservation (563-538-0403) has hikes scheduled December 21 (County Road 527), and February 21 (Yellow River Forest). Keep an eye out for more updates, or give these great organizations a call – you might find out about more events to keep you going this winter.

Winneshiek Idea House - Spring 2018 The second annual “Winneshiek Idea House” will take place Saturday, February 23, 2019 at the Decorah Elks Lodge. This community event showcases multiple area entrepreneurs in an environment that allows for presentation, discussion, and feedback from the community. Audience participants can also give support to the projects in a variety of ways (monetary, in-kind, mentoring, etc.). This is a great chance to support your entrepreneurial neighbors – or become one yourself! If you are serious about pitching an idea for the event, make sure to speak with one of the organizers in advance to fine-tune your presentation. Keep an eye out for the evening’s exact schedule as the date draws near. Here’s to all the folks out there willing to take the leap of entrepreneurship! Find out more at or by contacting Tabita Green (563-387-7663) or Stephanie Fromm (563-382-6061) or director@ Continued on next page


Magical Nights, NOV 22-DEC 24: Holiday Lights Pulpit Rock Campground on Stout DEC 15: Kentucky Brunch Bourb beer release, Toppling Goliath rket, Hotel Winneshiek

JAN 27: Winneshiek Wedding Ma

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: , Luther College March 7-9: Oneota Film Festival t, Decorah

April 5-7: Women’s Weekend Ou

Planning a visit to Winneshiek County? All the info you’ll need is now provided by Winneshiek County Development Inc. Check us out at or

Discover more at Request a visitors guide today! 563-382-3990


March 7-9, 2019

"Stories In Community" FREE for

all to att

end. Ho

sted by

1st Annual

Luther C



h, Iowa

Saturday February 9 2019

Student films and videos from all over Iowa. FREE to submit and FREE to attend for all Iowa students. Hosted by the Center for the Arts, Luther College Sponsored in part by the Iowa Arts Council

Luther Catering food. first & foremost

HOLIDAY PARTIES & COMPANY BANQUETS Let us handle all of your holiday party needs, from set up to clean up, and every detail in between! Custom menus for every occasion! 700 College Drive, Decorah, Iowa 52101 563.387.1463 -


Winter 2018-19 /

What We’re


right now

A little list of what we think is awesome in the Drifltess Region this WINTER... OFF X – 10th Anniversary of Oneota Film Festival: ‘Stories & Community’ March 7-9, 2019 10 years ago, a wraggle-taggle crew of folks and friends from around the Decorah area decided it would be grand to have a film festival here in the Oneota Valley. Luther alumni Walter Ordway (‘69) and Kyrl Henderson (‘71) were key in this process, helping spearhead the organization and inception of the event. The festival has grown into a much-loved annual event, including films from students and professionals across a diverse range of topics. Hosted on the Luther College Campus, amongst other downtown Decorah venues, the festival continues to grow – new this year will be the first-ever Oneota Student Film Festival held Saturday, February 9, at the Center for the Arts at Luther College. Student videos and films from across the region will be featured. OFF X will take place with a kick-off in downtown Decorah on March 7, and films showing on the Luther College Campus March 8-9. More information and membership information at: www.

NICC Culinary Foundations Program Check out this cool new offering at Northeast Iowa Community College in Calmar: The Culinary Foundations Career Pathway Certificate. It’s an 80-hour, hands-on program designed to prepare students with little or no culinary experience for a career in the culinary field. Successful students will be ready for entry-level positions as cooks or servers in a variety of hospitality settings. The training provides an overview of the culinary industry, including terminology, techniques, and standards, from front-of-house to back-of-house. A core skill track that covers effective communication, professionalism, teamwork and conflict resolution is combined with instruction in food safety and proper operation of cooking equipment for a safe work environment. Students will learn and practice knife skills, become familiar with measurements for small

and large food production, acquire knowledge about general cooking and serving methods, and learn how to provide superior customer service. Class details: Monday & Tuesday | 5-9 pm, Jan 8 – March 5, 2019 The Spectrum Network Kitchen @ 200 Railroad St., Decorah Register Now! Call 563-562-3263, ext. 399 Tuition assistance available if you meet all eligibility requirements.

Food + Shopping = Fun In today’s world where Big Box and online retailers are outdoing themselves to shovel groceries to your doorstep, we’re reminded that shopping for food can mean more than just filling your belly. We’re eager to point out that the Driftless Region is rich with local food shopping options – particularly in the form of Food Cooperatives. Here in Decorah, the Oneota Food Co-op is a long established, and continually forward-thinking store. People’s Food Co-op in La Crosse and Rochester are regional outposts for savvy shoppers, the newly renovated Bluff Country Co-op in Winona anchors a community of shoppers up and down the upper Mississippi River Valley, and the Viroqua Food Co-op has just completed a stunning renovation, worth the trip alone just to wander the aisles. High quality items alongside everyday necessities – stocked by friendly, local folks – are available seven days a week at these stores. You don’t have to be a member to shop at a co-op (although membership has its benefits!), and you may find yourself surprised at how much fun shopping for groceries can be. There are other

From our family to yours, wishing you a

Merry Christmas!

great aspects to Food Co-ops as well: Access to healthy, delicious (often organic) food, environmentally conscious options, and you’re supporting community businesses. On a national average, 21 percent of food co-op sales are of local products (National Co+op Grocers 2017) – which means more of your money stays local to support your regional economy. Not only are Food Cooperatives large regional purchasers, they are also large employers, as well as community hubs. Shopping at any of our regional co-ops almost guarantees a short conversation or chance to learn something new about your food. So what are you waiting for? Stop clicking around and walk that beautiful smile into a Food Co-op today – and tell them we sent you!

Empty Nest Winery December: Sat 10-5. Sun 1-5. Closed January 1 through February 7 After Feb 7: Sat 10-5. Sun 1-5.

Upcoming Events

Great Venue for your next event!

Like us for details!

Dec 31: Murder Mystery Dinner Theater w/ Professional Actors! Tickets @ + New Years Eve Party! Open to public starting at 9:30 Games, prizes, & free champagne at midnight! Feb. 8-10: 8th Annual Blind Wine Tasting Taste & judge 9 new wines & ciders, then cast your vote for the next wines we’ll make! Feb. 23 Murder Mystery Dinner Theater w/ Professional Actors! Tickets @ • 563-568-2758

1253 Apple Rd. Waukon, Iowa


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! 1. December 1: Helping Services Holiday Lights! The Lights are open for drive-through every night through December 25, 5:00 to 9:00pm. Pulpit Rock Campground, Decorah. Freewill donation.

Open by appointment Tues-Sat: 563.379.7583 - 930 Division St. Cresco, IA


Free Will Offering!








Monday: Closed Sat: 10-5 Tue-Fri: 10-6 Sun: 10-2

301 West Water St. – Across from the Oneota Co-op!


Celebrating 5 Years!

M-F 10-15 • Sat 10-4 • Sun 12-4

563-382-4646 | 10

Winter 2018-19 /

2. December 7: Ultra Mega Mega! Fall studio open house for Art, Dance, and Theatre for the Visual and Performing Arts Department Luther. 6-9pm in the CFA 3. December 8-9: Bluff Country Christmas at the Chatfield Center for the Arts. Craft Fair, Cookies with Santa, Brad Boice, Brass Band Concert, HS Art Club Art Auction.

25W/ $25B

4. December 14-15: Pinball ARTcade – 80s Party! Fall youth classes have built cardboard pinball machines Come celebrate! Friday Adults Only 80s Party, 8pm. Saturday Family party, 1pm.

5. December 31: Decorah Elks NYE! Guilty Kilts (8:30-10) - Avey/ Grouws Band (10pm-1am) $10 advance, $15 door. Tickets Venmo or Paypal – or Oneota Coop beginning Dec 1. 6. January 1: Trempealeau Hotel Organic Music Cooperative Open Jam 2pm - late, join artists young and old, experienced and just getting it together. Bring an instrument and hang out before the January break! 7. January 12: Chosen Bean Concerts welcome Dennis Warner to Chatfield. Live acoustic music up-close and personal. Limited seating, $20 advance or at the door. 7:30pm performance. 8. January 17-20 & 25-26: New Minowa Players presents A Year With Frog and Toad, a delightful family-friendly musical. More details at 9. January 24-27: 48th Annual Driftrunner’s Snowfest! Cresco, IA Fairgrounds. Trail Rides, Raffle, Lonesome Road Band Saturday Night. Facebook “Driftrunners Snowmobile Club” for details. 10. January 26: Rick Brammer’s Absolute Science – A fun and educational program that encourages children of all ages to be engaged in the world of science. Decorah Public Library, 11 am 11. January 27: Winneshiek Wedding Market. Sample and experience the area’s best wedding products. Hotel Winneshiek and Opera House. 12-4pm. Free Admission. Details at


Holiday Lights open 5-9pm every evening through Dec. 25 – Decorah Campground

Monday Wednesday


Dec 1-2: Montauk Holiday Open House, Clermont, IA 12-4 pm



Vesterheim Norwegian Christmas





Richard Thompson Electric Trio, Englert, Iowa City




Barnetimen Children’s Hour, Vesterheim, 10am


Avey/ 11 Grouws Duo, Tap House, Rochester, 6pm

Haymarket, Decorah, 9:30pm

*Terrapin Shells,

3 8 Dec 8-9: Bluff Country Christmas, Chatfield CFA




Dec 15: DECEMBER 21 • Holiday Sing-along w/ Dan Santa Visits Chouinard, St. Mane 7:30pm Driftless Area • Solstice Full Moon Hike, County Rd. Wetlands 527, Allamakee Co. Conservation, 6pm Center, 1-4 pm • Chicken Wire Empire, Haymarket Full Moon • Euforquestra’s Home for the Night Hike, Lake Holidays, Englert, Iowa City Meyer, Calmar


15 13 4 14 Burning DEC 14: Dec 14-15: Bright, First • “Musical Chairs” Kris Pinball ARTcade, Methodist, Delmhorst w/ Sam Moss, Friday Adults Decorah The Ark, Viroqua, 7 pm Party 8pm, 4 & 7 pm • Beer By Bike Brigade Saturday Family Winterland: Holiday Party, JavaVino, 1pm, ArtHaus Legends of ’77, La Crosse, 7-9 pm Decorah Englert, IA City


ArtHaus Pop Up Holiday Art Shop, Dec 6-16: “The Game’s Afoot,” Decorah, La Crosse Community Theatre 7-9pm

2 7 Ultra Mega Mega! Luther CFA, 6-9pm

6 *


26 27 25 28 Happy 29 Rocks & Hard Places: Emigration “Noon” Year, Merry Joe & Vicki Children’s Christmas! through the Lens of Knud Knudsen” Price, The Museum of La closes Dec 31, Vesterheim, Decorah Safe House Crosse, Saloon, 31 10am-Noon Decorah Park Rec NYE Lansing, Guilty Kilts and Avey/Grouws Family Bash! Luther Joe & Vicki Price, 8-11pm 5 Band NYE! Decorah Elks Lodge, College Regents Center, Trempealeau 8:30-1am, $10 advance/$15 door 6:30-10:30pm FREE! Hotel, 7-10pm

DECEMBER 16: • “Intertwine” Textile Social, Vesterheim, 2-4pm • Scandinavian Music Jam, Vesterheim, 1-3pm • Hayes Carll, Cavalier Theater, La Crosse


Classic Christmas Fantasy, Elkader Opera House, 2pm


Holiday Train in NE IA! DECEMBER 8: • Stephen Kellogg, CSPS, Cedar Rapids • The Weepies, Cavalier Theater • “Musical Chairs” Courtney Hartman w/ Shane Leonard & JE Sunde, Rooted Spoon, Viroqua


Dec 7-9: Theatre du Mississippi Christmas Radio Show, Burke Music House, Winona

DECEMBER 7: • A Phil Vassar Christmas, Englert, Iowa City • Mike McAbee, The Tavern, Prairie, 8pm


DECEMBER 1: “It’s a Wonderful Life: • OFF presents, “Journey to the Christmas Star”, Vesterheim, 3:30pm Dead Pigeons, Live Radio Play” runs • Porter House Christmas Open House & Wreath Auction 1-4pm Haymarket, through December 22, • The Old Fashioneds, Trempealeau Hotel, 7-10pm Decorah, Commonweal, Lanesboro • Pleasant Ridge Holiday Faire, Waldorf School, Viroqua, 9:30-3pm 9:30pm


fun stuff to do



11 Winneshiek Wedding Market, Hotel Winneshiek, 12-4pm


Jan 19-20: Wisconsin Free Fishing Weekend

“Intertwine” Textile Social, Vesterheim, 2-4pm




“Christian Midjo: Choose Your Own Artventure” through April, Vesterheim, Decorah

Happy New Year!








JAN 27: • Scandinavian Music Jam, Vesterheim Museum, 1-3pm • Mike McAbee, Spillway, Harpers Ferry, 2-6pm • Dawes, Englert, Iowa City





Martin Luther King Jr. Day JANUARY 19: • “XOXO: Love & Forgiveness” Exhibit opens, Children’s Museum of La Crosse • Ice Cave Hike Series, Kickapoo Valley Reserve, La Farge, 12:30pm • Hank Williams Tribute w/ Cheech & Friends, Leo & Leona’s, Middle Ridge, WI


John Pizzarelli, Dakota Club, Minneapolis











26 Rick Brammer’s Absolute Science, Decorah Public Library, 11am


JAN 26: • Frozen River Film Festival Road Show, Lanesboro • Winterland, Haymarket, Decorah, 9:30pm • Billy & Elton, The Hits Tribute, Cotter Auditorium, Winona

Jan 24-27: Driftrunner’s Snowmobile Club Snowfest! Cresco Fair Grounds




Gentlemen’s AntiTemperance League, Haymarket, Decorah, 9:30pm


Mike Munson & Mikkel Beckman, Haymarket, Decorah, 9:30pm


Trampled 7 Jan 10-13: The by Turtles w/ Dennis Them Coulee Threepenny Warner, Opera, CSPS, Boys, La Crosse Chatfield Center Cedar Rapids Center for the Mike McAbee, Arts, 7:30pm Spring Ave Pub, Waukon, 9pm


Jan 18-19: Dueling Pianos, Four Daughters Vineyard, Spring Valley, January 17-26: NMP Presents “A Year MN With Frog & Toad” Family Musical



“Craig Blacklock: St Croix & Namekagon Rivers – The Enduring Gift” runs through January 20, MN Marine Art Museum, Winona


Barnetimen JAN 17: OFF Presents Children’s Tedeschi Trucks “Human Flow” Hour, Band w/ Charlie 2019 Preview, Vesterheim, Parr, Paramount, T-Bock’s 10am Upstairs Cedar Rapids


• “Musical Chairs” Humbird, Shane Leonard & Simon Balto, Westby WI Area PAC, 7pm



Application 6 Deadline Trempealeau “Spitting Hotel Organic Image” Music Self-Portrait Cooperative Group Show, Jam, 2pm-late Lanesboro Arts


JANUARY 12: • Lanesboro Arts Juried High School Art Show Opening Reception 6-8pm • Kickapoo Valley Reserve Winter Festival, La Farge, WI 10am-4pm




fun stuff to do







Barnetimen Children’s Hour, Vesterheim Museum, 10am


I’m With Her, Englert, Iowa City



Driftless Dialogue: Our Brain on Stress – Impacts on Farmers, Kickapoo Valley Reserve, 6:30pm




The Fab Four, Englert, Iowa City

Feb 6-10: Frozen River Film Festival, Winona



Angelique Kidjo, Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis


Oneota Valley Community Orchestra, Feb 24: A Czech Scandinavian Influence, Decorah High Music Jam, Vesterheim, School, 1-3pm 2:30 pm


“Intertwine” Textile Social, Vesterheim Museum, 2-4pm


Barnelopet Kids Ski Race, Decorah Prairie

FEBRUARY 9: • 1st Annual Oneota Student Film Festival, Luther College • Joe & Vicki Price, Byron’s, Pomeroy, IA, 8pm • Doug Otto & the Getaways, Haymarket, Decorah, 9:30pm • “Musical Chairs” John Davey, Kari Arnett & Drew Peterson, Rooted Spoon, Viroqua, 7pm


Feb 5: Happy Chinese New Year!


“This is New York” runs through February 28, MN Marine Art Museum, Winona

“Spitting Image” Self-Portrait Group Show opens February 9, Lanesboro Arts









TAKO (Take a Kid Outdoors!) Ice Fishing, 10am-2pm, Gilbertson Nature Center Pond, Elgin


8 14 9 Feb 9: The Pushing Chain, Magic of Chatfield Center Isaiah “Rocket for the Arts Into Reading!” 15 family show, Driftrunner’s Decorah Snowmobile Public Library, Club Warming 11am Bin & Chili Feed 13

Feb 1-2: Snowflake Ski Club Jumping Tournament, Westby, WI


Feb 2: Ice Cave Hike Series, Kickapoo Valley Reserve, La Farge, 12:30pm


Feb 22-23: Big Turn Music Festival, Red Wing, MN


EF5, Haymarket, Decorah, 9:30pm


Winneshiek Idea House, Elks Lodge, Decorah

COMING UP: March 2: Pat Donohue & the Prairie All Stars, Chatfield CFA March 9: • “Musical Chairs” Mike Munson, Joe & Vicki Price, Rooted Spoon, Viroqua • David Zollo, Haymarket, Decorah, 9:30pm

March 7-9 - OFF-X – 10 Years of Oneota 17 Film Festival! Luther College, Decorah


February Full Moon Hike at Yellow River, Allamakee Co. Conservation, 6:30pm


The Trempealeau Westerlies, Hotel Opens for the Season Luther College Center Stage Feb 23: Joe Series Happy & Vicki Price, Valentine’s The Mill, Iowa Day! City, 8pm


Feb 8: Demetri Martin, Englert, Iowa City




fun stuff to do

25W/ $25B












Inspire(d) World’s Greatest Party


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



Questions? Email

(Direct link:

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


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

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

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

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

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

25 Words/$25 Bucks


Looking for more details about events on the calendars?


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

Feeling creative? Come see us! Art Supplies STEM Projects Nice Paper Coding & Electronics Bits

12. February 6-10: The Frozen River Film Festival engages, educates, and activates our community to become involved in the world through the art of documentary filmmaking.

Maker Stuff

25W/ $25B

14. February 9: Pushing Chain returns to Chatfield’s Chosen Bean stage. Folky-tonk roots music up-close and personal. Limited seating, $20 advance or at the door. 7:30pm performance.

15. February 9: Ride your snowmobile to Driftrunner’s Warming Bin near Granger, IA for Charlie’s Chili Feed. Soup available to warm you up. Facebook “Driftrunners Snowmobile Club” for details. 16. February 14: Trempealeau Hotel is back! Serving Thursday through Sunday, music most Thursdays and Saturdays. Make a reservation for you and your special someone! Sustainable, regional & international menu, including vegetarian delights. 608-534-6898

17. March 7-9: 10th OFF-X! 10 Years of the Oneota Film Festival, hosted by Luther College. Become a member today and Submit your events for the next Inspire(d) online at

We service all brands. 563.419.3141

Single origin pour overs. Nitro Cold Brew. Bulk Coffee. YOGA & CYCLING





110 Winnebago St. Decorah • 563-382-4086 •

118 Washington St. Decorah, Iowa

13. February 9: The Magic of Isaiah “Rocket Into Reading!” A family show with lots of audience participation, clean family comedy, magic, and illusions. Decorah Public Library, 11 am.

302 College Drive, Decorah, IA 563-382-4864 • M-F 8-5 • Sat 8-3

NOW is always the right time to tune up or upgrade your mower or blower! TOP-OF-THE-LINE BRANDS – TORO • CUB CADET

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

YOGA TEACHER TRAININGS YOGA FOR KIDS Get started today! 2 weeks of unlimited classes for $25

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

M, T, W, F 9-6 Thursday 9-8 Saturday 9-5 Sunday 12-4 \ Winter 2018-19


“It’s nice to just have a friend. He’s older than me. He tells me lots of stories and taught me how to play chess!” – 11-year-old, Allamakee County

“My daughter absolutely loves her mentor and has grown more independent since having her.” – parent, Howard County

“My son is so excited about seeing his mentor and he has a lot of fun with her. We are grateful and thankful for this program.” – parent, Winneshiek County “Perfect match! It’s been an amazing experience.” – parent, Winneshiek County


“My mentor is cool. We have fun. He shows me how to be a person that is kind to others.” – 12-year-old, Howard County

“When I grow up, I want to be just like my mentor.” – 10-year-old, Winneshiek County

“My daughter enjoys mentoring very much! She likes having a mentor to do things with and share with. I enjoy seeing her have fun and it gives me a little break. When there is time for mentoring events, she enjoys the group activities.” – parent, Winneshiek County

“My mentee has grown considerably through the years of being with her. Physically and socially, I feel a great deal of accomplishment working with her and helping her through her struggles.” – mentor, Howard County

“He is more excited about doing different things than usual. He feels important and honored to spend time with his mentor.” – parent, Allamakee County 14

Winter 2018-19 /

SINCE 1856. Northeast Iowa Youth Mentoring program celebrates 20 years BY ARYN HENNING NICHOLS


athy Schwartzhoff sits in an office in Helping Services for Youth and Family, a stack of papers neatly piled in front of her – details and history at the ready as she shares stories from her two decades working as mentoring coordinator in Northeast Iowa. The office is situated in a cozy house on a corner lot in Decorah, but Kathy’s not “home” there often. She’s more likely traveling around the region playing – but really, working – matchmaker. It’s not matchmaking like you might think. Kathy is a friendship matchmaker. She makes mentor matches for kids looking for time with an adult, or a fun reason to get out and explore, or kids simply wanting to make another friend. “Lasting relationships,” Kathy says. “That’s the life force of mentoring.” “One man – every time I see him, he gives me an update like, ‘My guy called to talk about college with me,’” she continues. “They’re still in each others’ lives. And that’s just one person sharing his story. I hear the same kinds of stories from people who have only done mentoring for a year.” The concept behind mentoring is really pretty simple: Connect a youth with a responsible adult, and build a healthy friendship. Mentors are not parents, psychologists, or social workers. Rather, they’re role models, sharing their time and experiences with a Kathy Schwartzhoff young person. Winneshiek County celebrated 20 years of providing kids mentors in January of 2018, and the two-decade anniversary for Howard and Allamakee was November 2018. Delaware County began in 2009. Kathy has led the Winneshiek program from the start, and she’s been in charge of all three of the Northeast Iowa county programs for the last 15 years. But it all started at a meeting amongst various local non-profits and agencies. “Someone said, ‘We’ve been hearing about mentoring programs. Is anyone interested?’” Kathy says. “Eight or 10 people raised their hands, and we were off.” “It took two years to get it going. We built it from scratch,” she continues. “We looked at a lot of programs across the country – pamphlets, information… I mean this was before the Internet. We gathered everything and picked what we thought would best suit the program we wanted to build.” Everyone took little portions, and slowly, they put together criteria and training, and launched the program with just 10 mentors and mentees. “We had no money. No other volunteers. No staff. Now try doing that,” Kathy says with a laugh.

Kerndt Brothers Bank has been serving communities since 1856. Our business was founded on a strong bond of mutual trust between the original Kerndt Brothers and the northeast Iowa area we serve. No matter if you are just starting out, opening a business, planning retirement or making a major purchase, come to the bank that has a long time reputation of service. 370 Main St., Lansing 563.538.4231 820 11th Ave. SW, Waukon 563.568.5234 801 S. Mechanic St., Decorah 563.382.2228 200 Mill St., Clermont 563.423.5267 205 N. Vine St., West Union 563.422.6072 600 Boyson Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids 319.378.8100

Continued on next page \ Winter 2018-19


Roger and Jane Kolarich with mentee Kaden. Photo courtesy Helping Services

Mentee Requirements: - Have to be between ages 5-16 - Go to school or live in Winneshiek, Allamakee, Delaware, or Howard County - Both youth and parent(s) must agree to the child being a mentee

The process for mentors goes like this: After potential mentors fill out an application, they complete an interview with Kathy and a two-hour training. Once approved, their basic requirements are that they spend four hours per month with their mentee and they sign on for at least a one-year commitment. Mentors can be individuals, couples (or two friends) or a family. “As soon as I get an application, I call them on the phone,” Kathy says. “I’m in the business of building relationships, and I want to build a relationship with you as well.” Decorah resident and business owner Paul Bauhs has been a mentor since April of 2017. His mentee, Jacob – or Jake – is eight years old. “I signed up to be a mentor for a couple of reasons,” Paul says. “First, since I’m single with two grown kids who live out of the area, my life seemed to have gotten pretty selfcentered. Mentoring seemed like a good way to ‘give back.’ Secondly, I like the idea of being a supportive

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Winter 2018-19 /


friend to someone just starting out in life, sharing ideas and skills and interests, doing projects, and just plain having fun.” They have a regular Wednesday evening ping pong match, and hang out on weekends when the schedule allows. It’s rewarding for both mentor and mentee. “The best part of being a mentor for Paul Bauhs and his mentee Jacob. Photo me, I think, is being by Cindy Simpson. Top: Paul and Jake have a that supportive friend ping pong match on a Wednesday evening. that Jake can count on for serious discussions if need be,” Paul says, “as well as someone to enjoy all kinds of fun activities with.” Jake agrees. “I like getting to do all the fun stuff like rollerskating and ping pong,” he says. And what kid wouldn’t? As for Becca, Jake’s mom, she says she wanted her son to have a positive role model outside of the family. Paul and Jake have hit it off well, and that’s in large part to Kathy’s specialty: Making a good match between mentor and mentee. “A big part is personality,” she says. “The criteria can fit, but that doesn’t mean the personalities will.” To become a mentee, youth must be between ages five and 16, live or attend school in Winneshiek, Allamakee, Delaware, or Howard County, and both kid and parent(s) must agree on the child having a mentor. The mentee / parents fill out an application, and then they have an interview with Kathy, where she asks the child questions about interests and wishes for an ideal role model. Kathy spends a lot of time listening and observing – she’s honed her skill over decades of experience in making a good mentor/mentee match. “People sometimes say, ‘Kathy, how do you do that?’” she says. “Part of it is watching people’s mannerisms…How they talk. How they are. It’s not always what they say, but how they are. That helps me know if it’s right.” Continued on next page



building communities




Four generations of Bruenings

87 years in business!


Serving communities in Iowa, Minnesota, & Missouri

900 Montgomery St, Decorah, IA 563-382-2933 . \ Winter 2018-19



6 ferris FOOT wheel! GIANT giraffe, dinosaur, unicorn, OH MY!




201 W. Water St. Decorah, IA 563-382-2626

Mon - Fri 9:30am-6pm Saturday 9:30am-3pm


Check out

Small Business Development + Business Coaching Services Consultantants specializing in marketing, small business start-ups, agricultural businesses, succession planning, & more. This service is provided to Winneshiek County businesses/entrepreneurs at no cost! Call Stephanie to set up an appointment: 563-382-6061 or • 507 W Water St, Decorah 18

Winter 2018-19 /

Since day one, more than 1000 kids have been connected to a role model through youth mentoring. There are currently 76 kids taking part in Helping Services Youth Mentoring here in Northeast Iowa. And the impact of these friendships made between mentor and mentee goes deeper than just the two of them. Add in any other kids in the family, parents, and friends, and you’ve got a pretty widereaching, positive influence. This January marks the 17th anniversary of National Mentoring Month. There are currently about 25 to 30 kids waiting to find a mentor here. For four hours a month, a mentor could help these kids • No fee, one-on-one consulting add more positive experiences to their lives.

• Advice from experts in finance, start-ups, marketing, social media, non-profits and ag-related businesses


A Czech Influence

Lachian Dances - Janacek Symphony No. 38 in D "Prague" - Mozart Cello Concerto in B minor - Dvorak

SUNDAY FEB 24. 2:30 PM Decorah High School Auditorium 100 Claiborne Dr. Decorah, Iowa

The Oneota Valley Community Orchestra is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit community orchestra, dedicated to presenting live classical music to the residents of the Oneota Valley, to promote music education, & to provide the opportunity for amateur & professional musicians to continue a lifelong study & performance of classical music.

Thanks to our sponsor: Marion E. Jerome Foundation, Inc

Attendees at a Mentoring event pan for gold (above) and kayak (right).

“It doesn’t have to be a fancy-schmancy outing,” Kathy says. “We had one mentee who was so excited to simply wash a car with his mentor one sunny day.” There are also opportunities to “try it out” or sign on with less commitment though events. These are fun group outings like picnics, trips to local museums, and more. A Mentor For A Day is a person who has agreed to attend a mentoring event as a friend to a youth whose regular mentor could not attend, or one who is on the waiting list for a mentor. These events are popular for mentors, mentees, Mentors For A Day, staff…pretty much all who attend. “I asked Jacob what he thought about a recent event they attended, and his reply was, ‘I just liked being here. Being with the people I was with.’” Kathy says. “It just as simple as that.” “We have this opportunity to make a difference in these kids’ lives,” she continues. “What they are facing at home? What are their challenges? Where do they find joy? All I know for sure is that Jacob found joy that day.”

Aryn Henning Nichols thinks the Helping Services Youth Mentoring Program is great, and encourages you to check it out if you’re even just a little bit interested. Let’s spread more positivity in this world! \ Winter 2018-19


Helping Services conducts surveys twice a year with the youth involved in mentoring. The surveys look at things like their attitude toward school or if they feel like they can say no to drugs or have positive relationships. And the results show that having a mentor is definitely improving their lives. youth can say no to drugs 97% of mentored and are hopeful about their future positive relationships with 96% theirhavepeers and other caring adults about themselves 95% mostfeelofgood the time

87% have a good attitude about school Mentor requirements:

- Age 17 or up - Records checks - Driving record - Four references (“We call all of them,” Kathy says.) - Two-hour interview - Two-hour training

Kevin Sand with mentee (and fish). Photo courtesy Helping Services.

Are you Ready to be a Mentor? Did you have someone you looked up to when you were a kid? Sam Beard with mentee. Photo courtesy Helping Services

Do you have a caring, positive attitude?

Here’s just a small sampling of Youth ready for a Mentor:

Names changed for confidentiality

Do you have four hours a month to give? Can you commit to at least one year? Do you want to make an impact on a child’s life, just by being their friend, having fun, and encouraging them? Do you have hobbies or interests or activities you’d like to share with a mentee? Do you want to do things that helps you see things from a kids’ perspective? Go to to apply or get more information.

This is Kathryn. I am seven years old. I live in Cresco. I like to swim, play, astronomy, knitting, and carving. I want to be a teacher when I grow up. Hi! My name is Karrie and I am eight. I live in Cresco. I like to swim, paint, draw, cook, and be outside. Hello! This is Karen, and I am eight years old. I live in Cresco. I like to draw, go shopping, play outside, cook, and play games. I want to be a farmer when I grow up. My name is Kelly and I am 10. I live in Waukon and I like to swim, horseback ride, kayak, attend rodeos, and be with animals. I want to be a teacher or vet when I grow up. I’m Tess and I am 10. I live in Calmar. I like shopping, fashion, picnics, cooking, and having fun! Hi! My name is Carla and I am 10. I live in Decorah. I like to bike, swim, go to the park, and sports. Hello! I am Ryanne and I am 13. I’m from Postville. I enjoy shopping, animals, pottery, photography, and sports. I want to be a veterinarian when I am older.

School-Year Programs: Children’s House – 3-6 years old E1 (lower elementary) – 6-9 years old + Summer Camps! June-August



The joy of discovery! 418 W. Water Street. Decorah, Iowa 52101. 563-382-6491 \ Winter 2018-19


Monthly Events at Vesterheim Museum Everyone welcome—enjoy camaraderie and make new friends this winter! More info at

Vesterheim’s Folk Art School Check out the exciting 2019 class schedule and register online at

Barnetimen (Children’s Hour)

For pre-schoolers and their parents or caregivers. Third Tuesday of the month, 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Woodworking • Rosemaling • Fiber Arts Blacksmithing • Cooking • Jewelry • And More!

Find your Scandinavian gifts at . . .

Vesterheim’s Museum Store Intertwine

Textile enthusiasts gather to work on their own projects. Third Sunday of the month, 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Scandinavian Music Jam

Learn a tune, share a tune, and jam together. Fourth Sunday of the month, 1:00-3:00 p.m. December will be held on Dec.16

Norwegian Sweaters, books, folk-art supplies, jewelry, décor, toys, plus much more!

502 W. Water St. Decorah, Iowa 563-382-9682



e get it. It’s icy out and super cold, and we’re all feeling like maybe we should just ride winter out on the couch with a constant stream of Netflix and popcorn with M&Ms. Right? NO! Do not give in to the doldrums! There’s fun to be had. We’re here to propose a challenge. Add some things from the next page to your winter to-do list. (Aka your “Is This Winter Ever Going to End?!” list. Your “Bucket, It’s Cold” list. Your “Let’s Move to Arizona” list. Or whatever you want to call it.) Let’s make this your best Driftless winter yet! C’mon! It’ll be fun!




Let’s get outside for winter fun!



FATBIKING • 101 College Dr. Decorah, Iowa • 563-382-8209 \ Winter 2018-19


e s i c r e Ex best si the to e t o d i t an . s h a l b r e t win race p for a



Play in the snow. Just embrace it. It’s here (hopefully!)

Send a note in the mail = instant warm fuzzies. ity.

activ p u o r g

Sign u

If you’re local to Northeast Iowa, check out the Beat the Blues Winter Marathon: Complete a full marathon – 26 miles! – between January 1 & March 1. Run, walk, ski, snowshoe, or bike 26 miles outdoors at your own pace, when it works for you and your family. (Or play outside for 30 minutes to equal one mile.) Record your mileage & submit your logs online at after each marathon you complete. The more “marathons” you complete, the more chances you have to win the grand prize! Contact April Bril at with questions.

Other rac

es you cou


ld t ry out

Resolut ion Run 5K, Dec Frosty B ember 3 uns Rac 1, Roch e Series County, ester, M – 3 race IA- Iow N a Game s in Bla Race (J s Cham c k an 12, h a wk pions Ced (fat bik e + sno ar Falls), Wint hip Snowshoe er Warr ws Sticky S ior Dua tride (M hoe – Feb 2, J thlon anesvil arch 2, Vesterh l e C ) e , d & ar Falls eim’ s B The ). arnelop Februar e t y 10, D ecorah, Kids Ski Race Rochest (ages 3 IA er MN H -13), ypother mic Hal f Marat hon, Ma rch 2

Winter 2018-19 /


r e t n i W ot -do

Sledding, snow angels, snowball fights, snow forts, skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, snowmen…

Fresh air is ! impo rtant

Go to a w

inter event

Live mu si out our c, performan ce c Check o alendars for i s, and more… de ut c Festiva the Kickapo as on what t heck oV od l, for ext Saturday, Jan alley Reser v o! e Winte ra wint uar y 12 er fun. , 1 0 am to 4 r kvr.sta te.wi.u p s/Even m, ts/

Make. Blanket. Forts.

e d i s t u o t Ge even just for

– alk – a shor t w y. ever y da

Take a class to learn something new!

Gear up! Rent or borrow some outdoor snow-fun gear and try something new like snoeshoeing, cross country skiing, or ice skating.

Dance in your kitchen De-clutter your space.

Host a winter party

Ever celebrated the Lunar New Year? It’s a perfect time for a party!



Burgers. Sandwiches. Salads. Appetizers Breakfast. In-House Catering




2 amazing spaces. Small or large events. Details at

206 W. Water St. Decorah 563-382-5970 •



b uy great



sel l great 102 W WATER ST DECORAH, IOWA

All photos courtesy Wadsworth Construction unless noted From top left, clockwise: 1. New construction – a farmhouse-modern design – by Wadsworth’s team. 2. Wadsworth Construction restored the windows of T-Bock’s Bar & Grill in Decorah in 2012. 3. The crew wrapped up window restoration on this Washington, Iowa, building mid-November 2018. 4. The windows and balustrade of the tower on the Clayton County Courthouse in Elkader, Iowa, got some restoration love from Wadsworth’s team.

Buy & sell in-store & online. Details at 26

Winter 2018-19 /

Sum of Your Business: David Wadsworth

Wadsworth Construction

Great Gifts Readings & Signings

Fantastic Selection

Bestsellers Mysteries Puzzles Poetry Childrens Books Scandinavian And more!

Hooray! We’re celebrating 8 years in business!

Get your book buzz!


Knowledgeable Staff

Open daily! 563-382-4275 • 112 West Water St. Decorah

250 artists. 7 days a week. 1 gallery.



hen you’re walking around in Northeast Iowa – and many places beyond – you might look up and see David Wadsworth. No, he’s not superman, but he is pretty super, because he’s likely removing old windows from a building or house for restoration (or reinstalling the finished ones), or discussing a thoughtful construction plan with a homeowner as they take on a new project. David is that kind of guy. He thinks things out and brings a passion and meaning to his business that shows plainly in his and his crew’s work. Continued on next page \ Winter 2018-19


David Wadsworth (fourth from left) and his team in front of their project house on Main St. in Decorah. / Photo by Benji Nichols

#StayAmazing DECORAH, IOWA

2041 State Hwy 9. Decorah, Iowa • Book your stay at • 563-382-8800

Name: David Wadsworth Age: 44 Business: Wadsworth Construction Inc. Years in business: 15 Business address: 1087 250th St. Waukon Website: 1. Tell us about the “leap” moment. When/how did you decide to jump in and become your own boss? When I moved back to Northeast Iowa in 2003, I was faced with the choice of going to work for someone else, or become my own boss. Prior to that point, I had worked for contractors in Boulder, Colorado, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Madison, Indiana. After looking at the work being done in the area, I realized that if I wanted to do the kind of work I was experienced with and passionate about, I would need to strike out on my own. 2. What’s the best thing about being your own boss? The best thing about being your own boss is that I am in control of the direction of the business. As trends change and my interests evolve, I like being able to adapt quickly. 3. How about the worst? The worst thing about being your own boss is that there is really never a time when your attention isn’t needed. Even when everything is going smoothly, I’m always trying to figure out how we could be more efficient, improve quality, etc. It’s hard to shut that off. Continued on next page

Photography by Brittany

If they’re not out working on someone else’s house, you might spot one or some of the crew – a team of eight, including David – renovating a “project house” on Main Street in Decorah. “Buying a fixer-upper gives us the opportunity to pour our expertise into bringing a house back from the brink,” he says, “Creating a house that is well put together and with a lot of unique and pleasing features, but would seem overwhelming to most people.” David and team spend about half their time restoring old windows, and the other half on new construction or contracting work on existing buildings and homes. “I’ve always liked working on older buildings, because there is always something there worth taking care of. And I’ve tried to take many of those features and incorporate them into our new homes,” David says. “Window replacement, in particular, always stuck in my craw because in most cases we were replacing old, original windows with a clearly inferior product. The quality of the craftsmanship and the materials, not to mention the beauty of the original windows, was generally far superior to what where we replacing them with. And in cases where the windows need work, there’s nothing that cannot be repaired with readily available materials.” His passion is clear, and he’s convincing in his pitch. Wadsworth Construction restored five of our hundred-year-old windows in our home this spring, and they make us smile every time we see them.

Interested in being a vendor? Email us at or call 563-382-4164



R.M. Granet & Company Nort h Io wa’s In t ern ational Gi f t & Antique Store

Featuring... fine art, estate jewelry, porcelain, crystal, silver, antiques and home furnishings

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

On this new construction project in Decorah, Wadsworth Construction worked with the homeowners to create a passive solar design plan.

4. Was there ever a hurdle where you just thought, “I can’t do this?” How did you overcome it? In order to take on the really interesting and fun projects, I needed to move beyond working by myself, and build a crew. And while the crew changes over time, there’s a continuity to our work that can be seen across projects and over time. 5. Any mentors/role models you look to/have looked to? There have been several individuals that I’ve worked with in the past that I would consider mentors. And in each case it wasn’t necessarily how they drove a nail that inspired me, but the passion and thoughtfulness they brought to the job. For them, there was no distinction between life and work. They were one in the same. 6. What’s the one thing you wish you had known before you started?


restoration & weatherization

Residential & light commercial construction David J. Wadsworth • 563.419.0390 •

MON - THURS: 11- 9 • FRI - SAT 11-10 • SUN: 11-8

Homemade goodness.


dine in • carry out • catering 563.382.6208 30 /OldArmoryBBQ

Winter 2018-19 /

Before I started this kind of work, I wish someone had warned me that I was committing myself to critiquing every building that I see. Talk about distracted driving! 7. How do you manage your life/work balance? It took me years before I felt like I was beginning to take control of my life/work balance. Work will take everything you give it and still demand more. As my role in life has changed as a boss, husband, father, and friend, that balance has constantly shifted. But I came to realize that I’m not very good in any one of those roles if I don’t take time to recharge my batteries. And anyone that knows me will attest to the fact that I’m always in search of adventure. 8. What keeps you inspired? Any quotes that keep you going? I’ve always loved this quote by John Ruskin: “When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, ‘See! This our father did for us.’”


Got some leftover wrapping paper? Want to be queen or king for a day (or celebrate one in your life)? Make your own paper crown!

step-by-step instructions at


Paper Project! 31

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emember learning about koselig in last winter’s Inspire(d) Magazine (and at the awesome exhibit that was at Vesterheim Museum here in Decorah)? No?! Here’s a refresher: In the winter in Norway, there are parts of the country that experience “polar nights” – days where the sun doesn’t make it over the horizon. The farther north you go above the Arctic Circle, the more polar nights there are. Tromsø, a town 217 miles north of the Arctic Circle, has 60 polar nights in a row. Sound like it could be kind of a bummer, right? But Norwegians know a thing or two when it comes to fending off wintertime blues. Mostly, they do it through the warm fuzzy feelings of koselig (“koos-uh-lee”). Getting koselig is more than being cozy – it’s a mentality and a way of life. Make your home feel warm – literally and figuratively. Gear up and find adventure outside. Take a beat to take care of you. There are lots of ways to get koselig, and it’s easier than you might think. Here’s a cheat sheet with ideas for making your life koselig and bright for your 2018-19 winter. 1. Let there be light: Turn on lamps, put up twinkly lights, light candles, and get that fireplace rolling (if you’ve got one). 2. Invite friends over for a koselig night in: good food, drinks, and a round of your fave board game. 3. Fill your favorite mug with hot cider, coffee, cocoa, or tea – it’s most koselig if it’s steaming hot. 4. Snuggle up under a comfy blanket to watch a great movie. Bonus points for fuzzy socks or slippers! 5. Bake bread, cinnamon rolls, cookies, cake… anything, really. Warm oven + the smell of fresh baked goods + eating fresh baked goods = koselig. 6. Wash your sheets – fresh sheet day is the best! 7. Treat yourself – massage, yoga, acupuncture, or even just a warm bath. 8. Dress in bright clothes. Sometimes you gotta fake it to make it. 9. Read a book. Really, is there anything more inspiring than getting lost in a great book? We especially love local books! Add these to your winter reading list: 32

Winter 2018-19 /

Herbal Adventures – Rachel Jepson Wolf (Viroqua, WI)

The Hands-On Life – Amy Weldon (Decorah, IA)

The Lacemaker’s Secret – Kathleen Ernst (Middleton, WI)


cheat sheet Hush Hush, Forest – Mary Casanova (Northern MN), Woodcuts by Nick Wroblewski (Minneapolis, MN)

Pumpkin Island – Arthur Geisert (Elkader, IA)

Girl on the Leeside – Kathleen Anne Kenney (Southeast MN)

New Year, New FREE Catalog

600+ cherished and proven varieties for your garden.

Decorah, Iowa

PS: See you this spring when we reopen with a fresh face!

This ad paid for in part by the Iowa Tourism Office.


omen here in the Driftless are lacing up their boots (or sneakers) and striking out to lead their communities as mayors. We walked and talked with four such women – some the first to hold the office in their town’s history – to learn why they’ve decided to take up the mayoral mantel, and what they hope to achieve. One thing is clear: In addition to making their voices heard, they want to hear yours too.

Photo by Aryn Henning Nichols




yToAuLrK \ Winter 2018-19


Est. 1961

People you can trust. Quality you can depend on.


yToAuLrK Monday: 9am - 8pm Tues - Fri: 9am - 5pm Saturday: 9am - 3pm 3 goldsmiths 2 graduate gemologists 1 watchmaker 3 diamond setters

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


Winter 2018-19 /

How women are changing the political scene: Conversations with four female mayors in the Driftless Region BY MAGGIE SONNEK


n a warm, sunny August afternoon in Wabasha, Minnesota, mayoral candidate Emily Durand sits in a lawn chair at the local Farmer’s Market. She sips on an iced chai she purchased at one of the stands and nibbles on a homemade cookie bought at another, and she chats with folks as they pass – locals and tourists alike – sharing her vision for the charming Mississippi River town. But more powerful than anything Emily could say, is how she listens. The joys, the frustrations, the worries – she hears them all, and she ensures her neighbors and friends that if she’s elected mayor, she’ll always keep an open ear, and an open mind. Fast-forward four months to November 6, 2018. Election Day, the day Emily joined a wave of female candidates breaking barriers in this year’s mid-term elections. Candidates like Ilhan Omar from Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, who, along with Rashida Tlaib from Michigan, became two of the first Muslim women elected to Congress. 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York’s 14th District, became the youngest

Coming to Potter Auditorium Pat Donohue

& The Prairie All Stars

Saturday, March 2

RHONda vincent & The Rage

Thursday, April 11 Hot club of cowtown

Friday, May 3

Deja VU: CSNY Celebration with Collective Unconscious

Saturday, May 18

Tickets to all shows on sale now Chatfield Center for the arts

405 Main St S | 507.884.7676

Left, Emily Durand (back center) with some of her Emily for Mayor team. Above, Emily’s son, Heller, holds a campaign sign. / Courtesy Emily Durand

woman elected to Congress. Abby Finkenauer, another 29-year-old, defeated incumbent Rod Blum to represent Iowa’s 1st District, and Cindy Axne was elected to represent Iowa’s 3rd District. They will be the first women from Iowa elected to the House of Representatives… ever. On an even more local level, women here in the Driftless are lacing up their boots (or sneakers) and striking out to lead their communities as mayors. We walked and talked with four such women – some the first to hold the office in their town’s history – to learn why they’ve decided to take up the mayoral mantel, and what they hope to achieve. One thing is clear: In addition to making their voices heard, they want to hear yours too. Emily Durand, Mayor-Elect in Wabasha, Minnesota, says whether she won or lost the race this fall was beyond the point. She wanted to show her nine-year-old daughter, Thea, that having a voice is important. “We, as women, have to get comfortable feeling uncomfortable. We have to learn to ignore the doubts and negative voices,” Emily says. “Sometimes politics can feel like an old boys’ network. I hope that instead of shutting women down, this inspires them to find their own way into leadership.” An expert in the realm of research and project management, Emily toyed with the idea of running for office while she and her husband, Scott, were living in the Twin Cities. But when Scott became part owner of a dental practice in Wabasha, the couple and their young

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Continued on next page \ Winter 2018-19


daughter moved the 60 miles south, and political plans took a backseat while they settled in. This year, though, six years after the move, the timing was right. Emily ran for Mayor of the town of 2,500 – and won. She’ll be the first female mayor in Wabasha. Her plate is full: She plans to continue working as a project manager, and she and Scott have two children now – their daughter, Thea, and now four-year-old son, Heller. But moving away from the idea that life needs to look a certain way is freeing, she says. “Women get asked the question, ‘How will you do it all perfectly?’ And the answer is, you will not,” she says. “And that is totally fine.

Once you realize that perfection is not the goal – and it’s actually not healthy for it to be the goal – you can start moving forward.” Lorraine Borowski, former director of Decorah’s Public Library System, was definitely qualified to run for Mayor in Decorah, Iowa. But she was scared, she says. And uncomfortable. She hated door-knocking. So she added a talking point: Bright red New Balance Above: Lorraine Borowski’s red shoes helped give tennis shoes. her the confidence needed to door knock. At left: “I was confident Emily Durand chats with people at an Emily for in my ideas and Mayor booth in Wabasha, Minnesota. what I had to say, but I was terrified at the thought of actually doing it,” Lorraine says of campaigning doorto-door. “But once I put on my red shoes and got out there and just did it, I was fine.” Lorraine suspects other women leaders feel the same way. Like her, they have the skills and passion to lead, mobilize others, and make decisions, but they sometimes let fear take over. To combat these doubts, Lorraine found a mentor, a retired teacher who is active in state and local politics. And once she was elected in 2017 as the town’s first-ever female mayor, she continued to surround herself with knowledgeable people, who made sure that even if she didn’t know the answers, they would. Her favorite part of the job? Listening to her community (there’s a trend here). “I love having open discussions,” she says. “I love allowing people to talk and creating space to listen.” When Karen Mischel returned home to Viroqua, Wisconsin, after being away for 17 years, she jumped right into local government.

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From far left, clockwise: Lorraine Borowski is the first female mayor in the history of Decorah, Iowa. Karen Mischel and her husband, David Higgins. Bottom: Karen Mischel is also the first female mayor in the history of Viroqua, Wisconsin. She won against the incumbent mayor in the 2018 spring election.

The former Merchant Marine was proud to be from the small (population 4,500) Wisconsin community – and excited to be back. But she knew the progressive town, bordering the Ocooch Mountains and nestled in one of the best organic farming regions in the U.S., needed a change. Karen was ready to disrupt the status quo in a race against the incumbent mayor, who had held the position for two decades. This past spring, she did just that: She won the election and became Viroqua’s first female mayor. “The former Mayor had a reputation for just going through the motions,” Karen says. “He didn’t show up for community events. He didn’t want to make waves or cause anyone, including himself, to feel uncomfortable.” Karen knew Viroqua, with its historic downtown complete with unique shops and award-winning restaurants, deserved a leader who would move the community forward. “How can we do that if our mayor doesn’t even show up?” Karen asks. She cut through the white noise by holding listening sessions, and, simply enough, answering her phone. These people just really wanted to be heard, she says. Continued on next page


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Spring Grove, Minnesota, Mayor Sarah Schroeder first ran for her office in 2015. She was re-elected again this fall. / Courtesy Sarah Schroeder

Her full-time job as an organic farm inspector gave her further opportunities to connect with the people of Viroqua. Vernon County, which encompasses Viroqua, has the highest concentration of organic farms per capita in the country. “These farmers and their families are so devoted to their work,” she says. “Even though each farm operates differently, they’re all working toward the same goal. That’s how I’d like to see our town work too.” Northwest of there, in Spring Grove, Minnesota, it was an argument that led Sarah Schroeder to politics. She got into it with the city administrator about proposed admission prices for the town’s new swim center. At the end of their conversation, the city administrator suggested she run for mayor. She initially laughed it off. But, after some thought, she decided to run. Sara jokes that she did most of her campaigning from her mother’s beauty shop. “I think it all comes down to who is willing,” Sarah says. “Who is willing to hustle? Who is willing to have discussions? Who is willing to listen?” Sara, who works as a graphic designer at Gunderson Lutheran in La Crosse, is clearly willing to jump in and do the work. She serves on the board of the Ye Olde Opera House in Spring Grove, and sits on the town’s economic development authority, planning and zoning commission, and fireman’s relief association board. She ran for mayor in 2015, when she was just 33 years old, and won. She was re-elected this fall. “I would get asked, ‘Aren’t you too young to be mayor?’” she says. “By continuing to break down barriers, as women – young women – we are proving that we have a voice. We have ideas. And we can move communities forward.”

Maggie Sonnek is navigating life in the slow lane. A transplant from Minneapolis, she loves living in the Driftless Region where she can hike in the bluffs and swim (not in the winter!) in Lake Pepin. She’s a wife to Eric, mom to three kids and writer.


We’re all about enjoying winter – the snowmen, the hot chocolate, the cozy sweaters and warm fires – but there’s a point where you just want to walk out the door without four inches of down covering every part of your body. When winter strikes, and strikes, and strikes again, you just kind of wanna strike back, right? Well, we think you should strike out! On a trip! We here at Inspire(d) HQ like to joke about how we want

to be snowbirds, but the reality is that it doesn’t really work for us on the long-term. But we can make shorter trips happen, and we like to make them happen on the cheap! We thought you might like that too, so we’ve put together – surprise! – an infographic filled with tips and ideas to help make that happen. Happy traveling, snowbirds!

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Mark out dates that work for your family’s school & work schedule, & watch airline prices regularly. Take longer breaks if you can – if you are going to the trouble to get there, you may as well stay a little while! See if you can even work remotely for extra time!

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Do free or inexpensive things in the place you’re traveling.

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Spirit IN THE

the Rise in Craft Distilling in the Driftless



raft distilleries are popping up all over the country – according to the American Craft Spirits Association, the industry has more than tripled in the last decade. There are about 1,850 distilleries currently operating in areas across the United States, and the Driftless Region is no exception. With the help of communities, farmers, and sustainable resources, these three distilleries – RockFilter Distillery (MN), La Crosse Distilling Co. (WI), and soon, Harmony Spirits (MN) – are crafting the scene here in our neck of the woods (or bluffs!). And they all have at least one major thing in common: A lot of local spirit goes into local spirits. READ ON TO LEARN ABOUT THEIR PATHS TO DISTILLING

Gin and vodka are easy to distinguish from one another, but what’s the difference in whiskey? Whiskey is a broad category of liquor (bourbon and rye are both types of whiskey). It is made from fermented grain mash (barley, corn, rye, or wheat) and must be aged in charred oak casks (most often they are white oak), giving it its distinctive brown color. To be considered “straight whiskey” of any type, it needs to be aged at least two years. 44

Bourbon is made from a mash consisting of at least 51 percent corn, and can only be called bourbon if it is made in the United States. The mash must be distilled at 160 proof or less and put into the barrel at 125 proof or less (so water is added to bring the proof down). No other additives are allowed.

Rye is similar to bourbon, but it’s made from at least 51 percent rye instead. Rye is a grass in the wheat tribe and closely related to barley. The rest of the mash often comes from barley or corn. The production regulations on rye are almost the same as bourbon (proof levels, oak barrels, etc).

Jen Opheim loves to geek out about photography and go on road trips with new friends to places like RockFilter Distillery. Learn more about her work at

All RockFilter photos by Jen Opheim

Sara Walters is a writer and mom local to the Driftless Region. No whiskey was harmed in the writing of these stories. Okay, maybe a little.Â \ Winter 2018-19


RockFilter Distillery


t RockFilter Distillery in Spring Grove, Minnesota, the business of spirits is built from the ground up. Literally: The whole process begins with land that has been farmed for more than a decade by RockFilter founder Christian Myrah. “We control everything – from the time the seed goes into the soil until the time you’re sipping on the final product,” Christian says. And what you’re sipping is delicious, certified-organic bourbon and rye whiskey that’s been planted, tended, milled, and distilled by Christian and the RockFilter team. Christian is certainly no stranger to farming. Myrahs have been


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farming in Spring Grove for generations. His family farm, which officially became certified organic in 2004, hasn’t changed that much over the years, even with Christian’s venture into distilling. “It wasn’t like a big shift that we had to make in our farming. Our distillery and our products are whiskey and bourbon, which are grain-based. Bourbon is 51 percent corn… and we grow a lot of corn around here,” he says with wry smile. They operate on a standard annual cycle of planting in the spring and harvesting corn in the fall and small grains in the summer. “We just try to work with Mother Nature and the season,” he says. They also raise cattle and sheep, and rotate fields to help with soil


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There’s been some recent growth in distilling specifically in Minnesota, credited partially to a shift in legislation that lowered the annual license fees for small distillers from $30,000 to $1,000 (a hefty drop!).



composition. They’ve tried a few different specialty grains, but ultimately they stick to what they know and what works best, a strategy Christian says fits right in with the RockFilter ideals. “We want to make products out of grains that grow well here,” he says. Utilizing the local resources of Spring Grove – a tight-knit community of about 1,300 people – has been key to creating the perfect product. After the harvested grains are cleaned, they are ground at nearby Schech’s Mill, the oldest water-powered mill

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Winter 2018-19 /

in Minnesota. The milled grains then make their way to the distillery at RockFilter, where they are mashed, fermented, and distilled, before put into barrels to age. Even the barrels are made with oak harvested nearby. “Mashing and distilling happen almost every day of the week,” Christian says. It sounds like a lot of work – and without a doubt, it is – but it’s worth every minute of labor when it’s finally time to taste. To fully appreciate the multitude of local ingredients and love that’s put into it, Christian recommends RockFilter spirits be sipped straight – at least for the first time. “I like to taste it at full strength and then add an ice cube or water,” he says. “But the best way to drink bourbon is how you like to drink it.” Their premium Fence Jumper Bourbon – perfect for drinking neat – is distilled with Oaxan Green Corn and Cherrywood-smoked rye, giving it “a smoky flavor with the sweetness of corn,” Christian says. “It’s not your typical Kentucky bourbon.” The cocktail room in Spring Grove has become a community hub – pretty much since opening day in June 2017. A large garage door opens during the warmer seasons – if you’re lucky, there’s live music playing, and Fat Pat’s BBQ truck is parked nearby, slinging ribs and other tasty things. During the colder winter months, it’s pure cozy inside, with thick slab tables and the RockFilter folks mixing up tasty beverages up at the rustic-cool bar. “Our most popular cocktail is the simplest one,” Christian says: A Bourbon Sour made with either Stones Throw or Giants of the Earth Bourbon (the latter named after the local Giants of the Earth Heritage Center), plus Lemon Sour Spring Grove Soda Pop, and fresh lemon. The RockFilter Manhattans and Old-Fashioneds are pretty popular too, and you can’t forget the Smoked Mary, a Bloody Mary that is poured into a glass that was smoked over Applewood chips.

RockFilter Bourbon Sour

1 1/2 ounces RockFilter bourbon 4 1/2 ounces Lemon Sour Spring Grove Soda Half slice of fresh lemon It’s really is simple: Pour RockFilter bourbon and Lemon Sour Soda into a cocktail glass filled with ice. Stir, then garnish with fresh lemon, and enjoy!

smoked mary All RockFilter photos by Jen Opheim


Christian and team often tap into the knowledge of industry experts, like those at the farm distillery Far North Spirits, located in Hallock, population 980, way up in the most northwestern county of Minnesota. Far North Spirits and RockFilter Distillery, which is, interestingly, located in the most southeastern county of Minnesota, are the only two certified farm distilleries in the state, meaning they control the entire operation, from grain to glass. “The craft distilling industry is pretty collaborative. There’s no use reinventing the wheel. Learning from each other is what we try to do,” he says. RockFilter is off to a good start. They’ve been open only a year and a half, and have already won multiple awards for their tasty bourbon and rye whiskey. That said, they’re planning to continue operating on a relatively small scale for now – to keep life simple, working the land and harnessing the resources around them, producing a product that’s as local as it is delicious. RockFilter Distillery 113 Maple Drive Spring Grove, Minnesota 507.498.7625

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La Crosse Distilling Co.


iving in a river town like La Crosse, Wisconsin, has many perks – beautiful scenery, booming industry, and access to quality farmland, to name just a few. Combining those together, you get the perfect place to open a distillery. The folks behind La Crosse Distilling Co. agreed. In August of 2018, the downtown La Crosse business opened its “farmer forward, Driftless pure� distillery and restaurant, with an emphasis on sustainable energy and organic products.

Photos courtesy La Crosse Distilling Co. \ Winter 2018-19


popular cocktail: Sugar Bush “This is basically our own spin on the old-fashioned. It is made with our High Rye Light Whiskey – light whiskey is just ‘kissed’ by white oak for a few days before it is bottled. The whiskey is then infused with cherry bark for a couple of days, and then combined with maple and coconut-infused Jamaican Bitters No. 2. It is a very spirit-forward cocktail that has characteristics of an oldfashioned without a ton of sugar,” says Chad Staehly.


All photos courtesy La Crosse Distilling Co.

That focus on sustainability is built right into the swankyet-casual 10,000 square foot facility. “We want to not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk,” Chad Staehly, part owner of La Crosse Distilling Co., explains. The building runs almost entirely on geothermal energy, something that is relatively easy to do in the Mississippi River Valley, Chad says. They also use water sourced from the region’s glacial aquifers, and work directly with local and regional farmers to take their harvests straight from the field to the mill, and eventually the La Crosse Distilling stills. “We want to be good stewards of the land as much as we can, in all that we do,” he says. “We made the decision to create 100 percent organic spirits because we know how much better organic

farming – especially no-till organic farming – is for the land.” This allows them to keep as many dollars as they can in the area while still producing high-quality vodka, gin, and whiskey that, as Chad explains, is like “ tasting the Driftless Region.” Folks visiting the distillery can also taste delicious food from a menu meticulously crafted by renowned Chef Jorge Guzman. “Chef Guzman comes from the Yucatan in Mexico, and his food is definitely inspired by traditional as well as not-so-traditional Mexican flavors. Our Fieldnotes Gin, which is a new American-style gin that’s very citrus-forward and bright, seems to pair well with a lot of the menu,” says Chad. The menu – said to be “fun and approachable” by Chef Guzman himself – also rotates in specials like Fish Fry Friday or smoked short

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ribs. For the kids, there’s a menu with hot dogs, quesadillas, and more, plus old-school analog games to keep them (and you!) busy. In addition to the Fieldnotes Gin, La Crosse Distilling sells their Fieldnotes Vodka and High Rye Light Whiskey at the distillery, as well as in Wisconsin grocery and liquor stores, bars, and restaurants, as of November 2018. As the fall corn harvest comes in, Bourbon will be in the works too. “It is our hope that our hard work and dedication to truly handcrafting each step of our process,” Chad says. “Whether it’s making the cocktails, cooking the food from scratch, milling the rye and other grains for our spirits, and then distilling it all down, shows in the final product.”


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La Crosse Distilling Co. 129 Vine St La Crosse, Wisconsin 608.881.8800 Try it out: Happy Hour is 3-6 pm Monday through Friday (except Tuesdays, when they’re closed)

Distillery Tours: Weekly on Thursday and Friday at 4 pm and 5 pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm, 3 pm, and 4 pm. The cost is $5 and includes a tasting at the end of the tour. Reservations are recommended:Â www.

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

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Photo by Becky Hoff

Harmony Spirits Courtesy Harmony Spirits

Jim, Larry, & Andy

With its quaint shops and eateries, Amish culture, and renowned cave, Harmony, Minnesota, has established itself as a community with something to share. But after a fun distillery road trip – a favorite weekend activity for Jim Simpson, Larry Tammel, and Andy Craig – the trio identified something they thought was missing in the area: A high-quality, locally-crafted cocktail. So Jim, Larry, and Andy – now joint owners of Harmony Spirits – took their combined 45 years of industrial alcohol production and home brewing experience, and put it to work in planning their new distilling business. With the help of investors, they launched a five-year

location search that ultimately landed in Harmony. “We knew we wanted to be in Southeastern Minnesota, as our entire goal was to bring micro-distilled spirits to our home area,” explains Jim, an Iowa native who now resides in Chatfield, Minnesota. Larry and Andy are local to Harmony and Preston, respectively. With a place to call home, Harmony Spirits is now working through the final stages of licensing and inspection. They are hoping to be open to the public by early spring, 2019. The progress they’ve made over the years is in thanks, in great part, to the community,

Get in the Spirit!

There’s nothing more inspiring than hanging out with your people – your friends, your family – talking, laughing, and being you. We think winter is the perfect time to host a get-together! Looking for an excuse – Awesome Reason – to have a Winter Party? Check out these ideas for inspiration:

Jim says. Many of the distillery’s investors are from Southeast Minnesota, and building construction was completed exclusively by area contractors. “Our goal is to keep everything as local as possible and support the community that is making this project happen,” says Jim. Even the spent grains will stay local, serving as feed for the cattle on Andy’s family farm. Plus, there’s that local water that distillers seem to love so much. “Our water in Southeastern Minnesota is very similar to that of the Bourbon Region of Kentucky. Our aquifer is composed of soluble limestone and carbonate, giving the water excellent properties for the production of toprate Bourbon,” Jim says. With that in mind, bourbon and vodka will be the initial focus of Harmony Spirits. “We do have a few cocktail ideas based on traditional recipes, but with a unique Minnesota spin,” he says. Jim won’t spill on just what those cocktails might be. “I think we’ll hold those recipes close to the vest, and hope people enjoy them as much as we do.” Jim also hopes Harmony Spirits will help visitors feel right at home in their community, and maybe even inspire folks to stay awhile and check things out. “We have several great places to eat in town, such as Estelle’s and On The Crunchy Side, as well as some local attractions that shouldn’t be missed. The door to our tasting room is just steps off the Root River Bike Trail,” he says. “We were drawn to Harmony because they had so much to offer a small business like ours, and the town and community have welcomed us with open arms – everyone is excited to have us.”

Harmony Spirits 40 1st Ave NW Harmony, Minnesota Opening in 2019

Winter Solstice December 21 National Hug Day January 21 Groundhog Day February 2 Chinese New Year February 5 (Halfway Through Winter!) Random Acts of Kindness Week – February 17


o t s s e n k r a D


Photography by Brittany Todd

563-382-3657 . 108 Fifth Avenue, Decorah, Iowa . 58

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Burning Bright

: t h g i L


Decorah’s winter solstice concert, Burning Bright, celebrates 20 years of bringing light in the darkness and giving back to the community. Choir member Kristine Jepsen chats with founding members and directors as they reflect on years past and prepare for this season’s performance.


ooh, that one’s my favorite,” fellow alto Emily Neal whispers as we open our binders to “The Parting Glass,” a traditional Scottish tune about toasting one’s friends. We’re sitting in choir rehearsal for Burning Bright, an annual winter concert that brings together singers and instrumentalists in the Decorah area. Kathy Reed, who co-directs Burning Bright with Otter Dreaming, settles at the keyboard, ready to prompt us, as late-afternoon sun slants in through First United Methodist’s stained-glass windows. We’ve sung this rollicking, bittersweet song before, and that’s all the more reason we want to get it right. In the deep of this winter, the Burning Bright chorus, along with instrumentalists and youth and children’s choirs, celebrates two decades of offering “light in the darkness.” The concert – two performances, actually – is a handmade gift of obscure carols, folk songs, and sacred world music. Each year, the pieces reflect a theme, and in this anniversary year, it’s “Exultation.” Some pieces honor Christmas,

y Reed ming, Kath

Otter Drea

ne Jepsen

to by Kristi

ockne. Pho , & Ellen R \ Winter 2018-19





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Go: Burning Bright

Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 4 pm and 7 pm First Methodist Church 302 W Broadway St Decorah, IA 52101 Advance tickets recommended – available at Oneota Community Food Coop.

but more centrally, Burning Bright – BB, as members say – is about the winter solstice, the night on which our hours of darkness turn toward light. “You said ‘I Am Christmas’ was your favorite song on the concert,” I whisper back, kidding, as the opening accompaniment unfolds. “I know,” Emily says with a happy sigh. “I love them all. For me, this is it. This IS Christmas.” I get what she means. Burning Bright itself started with just one song – “‘Twas on a Night Like This,” arranged for soprano, harpsichord, and oboe, to the hymn tune of “When Christ Was Born on Earth.” The firstever performance was called “Songs of Christmas: A Concert for Harpsichord and Voice,” says Decorah business owner Ellen Rockne, the “voice” in question. A child of the Lutheran singing tradition, Ellen was already a chronic music organizer and accomplished soloist when she moved to Decorah in 1996. She crossed paths with Kathy Reed through their young children’s homeschool activities and soon shared her dream of a winter concert to warm the cold Midwestern nights. Kathy, who is formally trained in musicology and harpsichord performance, felt their synergy immediately. “I didn’t move here because of the potential to combine these different aspects of my musical life,” says Kathy, who is now an instructor of music at Luther College, “but one day our kids’ group met up and someone mentioned trains, and then someone jumped in and said, ‘Hey! We know some songs about trains!’ and we all spontaneously started singing, and I thought, ‘OK, this is a place where people sing. That’s fun.” Ellen, by her own admission, sings all the time. “I don’t even know I’m singing, but my now-grown sons say I never stop,” she says. “The disconcerting thing is that as the years pass, I find myself making up little songs about every little thing,” she says, laughing and rolling her eyes. “The other day, I caught myself singing a tune to the phrase, “Now, here is my tea….” Otter first got involved with the concert in 2002 as a singer, and joined its administrative ranks soon after, Kathy says. “At dress rehearsal that year, we sang everything end-to-end and realized the concert would be three hours long – a major problem, since we

really wanted a two-hour program. At some point, Otter mentioned as tactfully as possible, ‘You know, you could identify a number of pieces – say, 20 – that will fill out the time, more or less, and aim for that each year,’ and I thought, ‘Oh! Now there’s someone we need organizing this thing.’ And Kathy Reed and Ellen Rockne from the early years he was right: of Burning Bright. Photo courtesy Burning Bright That target number is 19 pieces,” Kathy concludes. “We’ve stuck to it ever since.” The goal with Burning Bright, Otter and Kathy say, is making the concert accessible both to participants – ranging from professional musicians to debut choristers – and a diverse audience. Often, this means making the sound intentionally less “perfect” and more faithful to a song’s historical roots. “OK!” Kathy says, presiding with a smile over a section of skilled sopranos. “Now that you know your line, let’s make sure it isn’t that ‘pretty’ ever again. I need more ‘hale and hearty’ from the beginning.” “You mean, lusty?” a choir member pipes up, gambling for a laugh. “No, no,” says Kathy quickly, in her quietly irreverent way. “I mean….” “Musty?” another member suggests. “Fusty?” “Well, I’m not going to say lusty,” Kathy presses with a wry smile, “but, with more vigor.” If none of these songs or techniques sound familiar, that’s by design. “This is never going to be a concert of familiar carols,” Kathy explains, though often there is one audience sing-along. She prepares pieces for the Burning Bright choir that resonate with her, sometimes arranging songs to fit the group. She did this for the Mary Chapin Carpenter lullaby, “Dreamland” – another piece to be revisited on the 2018 concert – by writing it for men’s voices, instead of a solo woman’s. “Now Otter,” she continues warmly, “is a composer. He will come across a text he likes and write all four parts for it, or vice versa. He’s also more familiar with world music, bringing in pieces from Africa, from Syria, from musical traditions I’m not as fluent in.” This is how Burning Bright keeps musicians and audiences coming back: By stitching together a colorful mix of lesser-known music, and welcoming darker themes – fear, grief, loss – along with those of light, hope, and joy. “One of the most rewarding and touching things for me,” Otter says, “was performing a short, very personal piece I composed reflecting on the deaths of several friends and family members. I received a thoughtful card from someone who had been in the audience that year, thanking me and telling me how it had helped

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Otter Dreaming in front of a packed audience. Photo courtesy Randi Berg

her to accept her own mother’s death. “I’ve also been blindsided by emotional reactions to pieces related to my daughter’s arrival in my family and in the community,” he continues. “One Stephen Foster lullaby, ‘Slumber My Darling,’ that Kathy arranged for tenor and bass voices, took me by tearful surprise at the first performance of our concert. I knew it was coming in the second concert and wasn’t expecting the same emotional response, but – surprise, again!” On a lighter note, Burning Bright members gladly anticipate being caught off-guard by the wit of founding member-singer and sometime-banjo accompanist Dale Kittleson. Known for telling dad jokes when rehearsals get tense, Dale has reportedly encouraged chuckle-inducing costumes and lyrics, such as to the 2017 performance of, “Farewell, my friends, I’m leaving FaceBook…,” a

satirical anthem about digital-device dependence. On another concert – without the knowledge of, let alone permission of, the conductors – Dale orchestrated a coup in the bass section. As the song’s verses lilted along, Dale and his cohort stood up and sang their part, “...five for the oxen standing by…” – in their highest falsetto. “The entire church just erupted in laughter,” Dale says of the packedto-capacity audience (almost always the case for Burning Bright performances). “I can’t remember who was conducting, but their jaw was on the floor. Then we basses sat down like nothing at all was out of the ordinary, and the sopranos, who followed us in the song, were cracking up, but somehow the beat went on. Now,” he says, with mock seriousness, “in what other group can you pull that off and know, even before you risk it, that your fellow performers will not excommunicate you? “But that’s all concert stuff – the things the audience sees,” he continues. “Really, I keep coming back for this,” he says, gesturing to the rehearsal that’s just ended, “the privilege of getting together with this group – of catching up with really quality people and working hard on a rich program every year.” Close to show-time each season, the Burning Bright choir is joined by local instrumentalists – bass, violin, guitar, clarinet, hand drums, recorder, harp, and more. Retired Luther College librarian and professional mandolin player John Goodin was among the first to perform on the concert. He now arranges music for mandolin and writes manuals for Mel Bay Publications – along with scouting out a reel or jig to play on the concert with Decorah violin teacher/performer (and professional vegetable grower) Erik Sessions. Their duet has become a Burning Bright tradition, almost always ending in a blazing, fast-asthey-can-play finale that rouses thunderous applause. “Here in Decorah, musicians are treated with great respect,” John says, “but the Burning Bright audience is the best. Most years we don’t even know what we will play until the last week or two, so it’s a little bit like stage-diving – where you know that the audience will catch you.” Proceeds from ticket sales for each Burning Bright concert go to non-profit organizations – usually shedding light on underserved populations at home or abroad. In addition to Decorah Community Food Pantry, the flagship beneficiary each season, choir members nominate and vote on charitable organizations with which they have personal involvement. 2018 beneficiaries are: Neighbors Helping




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Neighbors of Decorah; Northeast Iowa Peace & Justice Center; Re-Member of Pine Ridge, South Dakota; and The New Hope Jeremiah Project of Cape Town, South Africa. So it happens that, each midwinter, a concert in the spirit of true community comes together. Performers wear no robes or formal dress – just “jewel-toned” concert attire that might “glow” in the soft light of the chancel. Adult singers steward younger ones, making sure they can see the conductor and be seen by the audience, amidst their shuffle into place, their sly little hands waving to family in the pews. There will be moments, without doubt, when the music makes space for sadness, doubt, or hurt – making the rising aura of peace and joy feel whole and true. “When I look back and think of the beautiful voices and musical talents that each person has added to the Burning Bright concert, it makes me realize how unique each year is depending on who we are lucky enough to have performing,” says founding singer Betsy Peirce. “Vocal jazz scats, rich trained voices, tuba, and oboe – it’s so fun coming to the first practice each year, discovering new people who add to our tapestry of sound. The love that flows from the choir, to our directors, to the audience and back again is as palpable as it is audible – the joy on their faces as they listen – that makes it worthwhile.” Like Burning Bright founder Ellen Rockne, Kristine Jepsen grew up in the Lutheran singing tradition and so loves performing on this winter concert. Outside of the alto section, she writes for literary journals and small businesses – more at

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Exultation: Celebrating 20 Years of Burning Bright

A concert to benefit: Decorah Community Food Pantry Neighbors Helping Neighbors Northeast Iowa Peace & Justice Center Re-Member The New Hope Jeremiah Project Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 4pm and 7 pm First Methodist Church 302 W Broadway St Decorah, IA 52101

Advance tickets recommended– available at Oneota Community Food Coop. Above: Younger members of Burning Bright. At left: Ann Streufert and Beth Rotto front the “The Wall of Fiddles,” a Scandinavian fiddle reel played in unison by virtually every violin student in town.

Beneficiaries of Burning Bright Concerts Through the Years

Decorah Community Food Pantry Decorah Public Library Youth Programs Decorah Volunteer Fire Department Domestic and Sexual Abuse Resource Center Decorah Power NAMI NE Iowa (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Partners in Health, Haiti Heart River of Hope, Mandan, North Dakota Thistle Farm & Magdalene Residence, Tennessee Project Care Path to Citizenship Thunder Rode Therapeutic Riding Mother Health International’s Uganda Ambulance Fund Decorah Community Free Medical Clinic The Northeast Iowa Peace & Justice Center Rushford Flood Relief Fund Winneshiek Farmers’ Market Association Postville Community Support St. Bridget’s Catholic Church Hispanic Ministry Program, Postville, Iowa Greater Area Pantry, Calmar, Iowa Sunrise Foundation, Nicaragua Postville Children’s Health Fund Decorah Diversity Appreciation Team People for Animal Welfare (PAW) of Northeast Iowa Decorah Community Education and Arts Center 563.382.9309 309 W. Broadway Decorah, Iowa

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Imogene Macal

Interviewed by Inspire(d) Media’s Benji Nichols


mogene (Moellers) Macal grew up on Silver Spring dairy farm just outside of Ossian, Iowa. She and her three siblings went to school and church at St. Francis de Sales in Ossian, and graduated high school in 1944. Imogene worked full time at Klisert’s store in Ossian, and then in Waterloo for a year before coming back to the Decorah area and marrying her husband Roy. The couple, from their young years on, loved to dance at local dances and ballrooms like the Inwood in Spillville, and Matter’s Ballroom near Decorah. It wasn’t until they were raising their family of five kids (Lynn, Christy, Marlene, Joe, and Mary) in Decorah, with Roy driving a fuel truck, that Imogene started working in the kitchen of St. Benedict’s School – a job that she would hold for decades. “We fed anywhere from 200-300 kids when I started, and I did much of the baking and such,” says Imogene. Many St. Bens students fondly remember her from lunchtime, and she says the job “was just ideal” for her. Later in life, Imogene took up several varieties of needlework (including Hardanger embroidery) volunteering at St. Benedict’s Church in Decorah, and playing bridge twice a month. Her bridge group began with eight friends rounded up by Jo Tierney, who had a book on how to play. Regular phone calls to Jo’s sister in Oklahoma during games for advice helped the group keep playing! Imogene’s late husband, Roy, also worked at ACE Hardware for 13 years where he was well known to customers, and the couple were regulars at dances across the region. What did you want to be when you grew up? I grew up on a dairy farm, and delivered bottled milk with my Uncle. Later I enjoyed working at Klisert’s in Ossian, but I knew I always wanted to have a family. What do/did you do? I met Roy at a dance at the Inwood Ballroom – although we had gone to high school together. After we were married, we had five kids, and I worked at St. Benedict’s school in the kitchen – I was there for over 40 years. Try to describe yourself in one sentence. “We loved to dance – I think I wore out quite a few shoes dancing!”

Photo by Jay Walter

If you could eat anything every day for the rest of your life, what would it be? We always had a big garden, and my Mom was a great cook – we grew everything we ate, and meals were always meat, potatoes, but also some type of vegetable – and a homemade desert! We always had a homemade pie, or cookies, or a cake. Multiple choice: tell us about… Your wedding day. Roy and I got engaged on Easter Sunday, we were invited to a friend’s for Easter dinner. Roy gave me a ride home, and gave me the ring in the car – I was so thrilled – when I got out I walked the wrong way down the lane! We were married at (St. Francis) de Sales in May of 1948 – we had a reception at the house and then held a dance (of course!) at the Inwood Ballroom after.

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Your first job. I helped my Uncle Arnold (Timp), deliver bottled milk throughout the area, even receiving the nickname of “Speedy”, while riding on the running boards and running bottles of milk to doorsteps.

Needlework by Imogene

Your favorite memory. We loved to dance, and Spillville (The Inwood) was always a popular spot – as well as Matter’s Ballroom. We spent a lot of Sunday afternoons on the dance floor.

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