Inspire(d) Winter 2021-22

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Inspire(d) DRIFTLESS MAGAZINE

AN EXPERIMENT IN POSITIVE NEWS FROM THE DRIFTLESS REGION

NO. 67 WINTER 2021-22

free!

g n i p p a r W P U


Toppling Goliath Taproom 20+ TAPS & beer to-go

appetizers & Entrées

Join us for nightly taproom events and watch for the release of several new stouts throughout the winter months!

for more information about taproom events, releases & more during these cold-weather months visit:

www.tgbrews.com/events

open daily! | located at 1600 PROSPERITY Road, decorah, IA | 563.387.6700


O p e n S t u d i o Pa s s e s

Adult Classes Youth Classes

INSPIRE

C R E AT E

Makers Market

Gallery

Ceramic Cafe

Support local artists by purchasing their work!

107 W. Broadway, Decorah, IA • 563.382.5440 • arthausdecorah.org

This ad paid for in part by the Iowa Tourism Office

winter Adventure...

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Eggs, Minneola Organic Farms, Zumbrota, MN Rochester: 29 miles Green Pastures Poultry Farm, Cashton, WI La Crosse: 32 miles

Downtown La Crosse, WI and Rochester, MN www.pfc.coop 7 days, 8 am–9 pm Open to the public • Free parking!

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Grab & go (...or stay!) food & drinks – coffee, ice cream, baked goods, local bites, wine, cider, craft beer & more!

THE L A NDING Market

Nestled in the West side of Decorah, The Landing Market is a modern food hall. Our goal is to provide opportunities and support for all groups of people in Decorah through positive interaction and inclusion. This vision of warmth and community delivers a comfortable, convenient setting to relax and indulge, while also extending a welcoming opportunity to employ our friends at The Spectrum Network.

market

local vendors

bottle shop

211 College Drive, Decorah, Iowa

thelandingmarket.com


WINTER 2021-22 contents

WHAT WE’RE LOVING RIGHT NOW

09

AMANDA GOODENOUGH

17

HOW TO BE A BETTER ALLY

19

BROOKE PFEFFER

20

MARTY & TERI RICHARDS

23

SUM OF YOUR BIZ: THE GOOD DOG CENTER

27

PAPER PROJECT: GIFT BOWS!

31

WRAPPING UP + MENTAL HEALTH!

33

IOWA WOMEN IN WRESTLING

40

WINTER BIRD FEEDING MENU

52

SHOULD I STAY (IN) OR SHOULD I GO (OUT)?

56

KIVA IOWA

60

PROBIT: IRMA JOHNSON

66

Community Builders 09

27

...and more! ON THE COVER:

40

The blanket on the cover was crocheted by Aryn’s late Grandma Betty. She gifted each of her grandkids an afghan before they headed off to college, and it seemed the perfect symbol of “wrapping up” in cozy love for this winter season. / Photo by Aryn Henning Nichols

05


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This stunning ornamental pepper makes a splash in both borders and containers. Bushy plants produce a dense canopy of dark-purple leaves and myriad small, conical peppers that ripen from purple to orange to dark red. The peppers measure about 3/4" long and stand erect on the plant; they are edible but very pungent and somewhat bitter. ‘Grandma Kirksey’ is named for Willie Jane (Pulley) Kirksey, who received the variety during the Great Depression and grew them in her flower beds. 100 days to ripe fruit from transplant. Hot. Learn To Grow It


What’s it mean?

From the Editor

W

rapping up. This phrase holds several meanings for me. Before I (and my cousins) headed off for college, my now-late Grandma Betty would give each of us a blanket that she had carefully crocheted. This way, we could wrap up in something that reminded us of home anytime we wanted, snuggling in a little cocoon of comfort and kindness. My blanket is on the cover of this Inspire(d), and I like to think I put the same love into our magazine that my Grandma put into her afghans. Wrapping up can also mean finishing out a project, a season, a year. As we enter the winter season, and get ready to wrap up 2021, I think it’s important to remember, “rest is productive,” and a vital part of life. Mental health writer Olivia Lynn Schnur helps us tap into this time of rest and transition in her piece on page 36 (with an introduction/infographic by me on page 33). We also have three great Community Builders this winter – Amanda Goodenough from La Crosse, Wisconsin (with excellent recommendations on How to be a Better Ally); Brooke Pfeffer from Lanesboro, Minnesota; and Marty and Teri Richards from Richland Center, Wisconsin. We are always so inspired by the people who work to make their communities a better place, year after year, and we are happy there is truly an endless list of these folks. So we’ll keep ‘em coming (and let us know if you’d like to nominate a Community Builder in your area)! We are inspired by the young change-makers of the world as well. And boy – or I should say – girl, do we have some great ones featured in Kristine Kopperud’s story about Northeast Iowa women in wrestling (pg 40). These young women (and coaches) have worked hard over the years to get more girls on the mats, and it’s working. Girls’ wrestling has grown from 36 girls on Iowa teams in 2014 to 660 in 2021! In Renee Brincks’s story about Kiva Iowa, the new Cedar Rapids-based local lending opportunity (pg 60), we learn how we can help entrepreneurial change-makers create new businesses in Iowa, and in this issue’s Sum of Your Business, Benji Nichols caught up with Carmen Hurley of The Good Dog Center in Decorah to see how she’s made her business work for more than two decades! We’ve also got Craig and Mary Thompson sharing their talents and expertise with a Winter Bird Feeding story (pg 52), and great inspiration throughout the whole issue for indoor and outdoor activities to (happily) get you through winter. Finally, there’s one more meaning of wrapping up for me: Gifts! When I was younger, my mom taught me to make the homemade gift bow we’re doing for this issue’s Paper Project (pg 31). It is a favorite of mine – a version of it actually debuted our Paper Projects back in 2011 (wow!), but as a flower. The bows make perfect present toppers for the holidays, birthdays, or any gift-day, and always amazed friends at parties – “Whoa, you MADE that?!” (In all honesty, it’s really very easy – but you don’t have to tell anyone that!) To wrap up this letter (what, too much?!), thank you, dear readers, for your support and kindness throughout this year. Here’s to a 2022 filled with forward momentum, positive stories, and lots of love, gratitude, and inspiration. Happy Holidays, New Year, and Winter, friends! Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

What is the driftless?

P.S. Check out the awesome PJs my mom gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago in the pic above! Hello, cozy winter!

Inspire(d) Inspire(d) – pronounced in-spy-erd... you know: inspired – stands for 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! 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, head of logistics)

WE COULDN’T DO IT WITHOUT: Kristine Kopperud / contributor Sara Walters / contributor Olivia Lynn Schnur / contributor Craig Thompson / contributor Renee Brincks / contributor Tallitha Reese / contributor Steve Harris / contributor Mary Thompson/ illustrator Inspire(d) Magazine is published quarterly by Inspire(d) Media, LLC, 412 Oak Street, Decorah, Iowa, 52101. This issue is dated Winter 2021-22, issue 67 volume 15, Copyright 2021-22 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 $28/year. Email aryn@iloveinspired.com for a membership or visit iloveinspired.com for more info. Want to make a comment about something you read in the magazine? Email aryn@iloveinspired.com.

Interested in advertising? Contact Benji at benji@iloveinspired.com or call 563-379-6315. Visit our website: iloveinspired.com facebook.com/iloveinspired

It’s a region in the Midwest – Northeast Iowa, Southeast Minnesota, Southwest Wisconsin, and a wee bit of Northwest Illinois – that was skipped by the glaciers in the last ice age, leaving the area “lacking glacial drift” – i.e. Driftless. The gist of that is we get to enjoy bluffs, valleys, coulees, and other fun geographical features that don’t typically occur in other parts of our states (the Mississippi River contributes nicely to this list as well). It’s a lovely place to live and visit, and we’re happy you’re here! 07


Perfect for a Day Trip or Weekend Getaway!

Explore Harmony, Minnesota Only 30 minutes away from Decorah, this full service community offers a variety of great dining options, unique antiques, 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 service businesses ready to meet your every need.

CONSIGNMENT & BOUTIQUE WOMEN'S CLOTHING & ACCESSORIES, CHILDREN'S CLOTHING, VINTAGE, GIFTS, & MORE 65 Consign with us! Learn more at www.shopbeebalm.com facebook.com/BeeBalmHarmony

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Amish Tours of Harmony Experience a lifestyle... Enjoy an exciting tour of Harmony’s Amish community with one of our knowledgeable guides!

Mini Bus Tours . Car Tours . Group Bus Tours . Spring thru Fall Call 507-886-2303 . www.amish-tours.com

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Mark your calendars for 2022 Harmony Community Events! April 16: ECFE Easter Egg Hunt – Harmony Community Center June 17 –18: Root River Trail Towns 60-Mile Garage Sale July 1 – 4: Harmony’s Fourth of July Sept 17: Taste of the Trail Oct 22 (MEA Weekend): Haunted Harmony Nov 19: Holiday Fest Art, Craft & Gift Expo

Primitive, rustic and vintage decor, screen printing, embroidery, custom items. Something for everyone! 114 Main Ave N Harmony, MN •507-886-3326 • tinrustandharmony.com

Dec 3: Breakfast with Santa & Community Tree Lighting Ceremony

For a FREE Visitor Guide, call 1-800-288-7153 or visit us on the web at www.exploreharmony.com


What We’re

miss your chance to take a class – woodworking, rosemaling, fiber work, weaving, and more – at the Vesterheim Folk Art School, open to attendees of all levels. Online options in Nordic Cooking, as well as Language classes, and an awesome youth and family series offer up some excellent ways to see the winter months through as well. Check it all out, including up-to-date hours and info at: vesterheim.org

Loving

right now

‘SEE VIROQUA’ POSTER PROJECT

A LITTLE LIST OF WHAT WE THINK IS AWESOME IN THE DRIFTLESS REGION THIS WINTER... VESTERHEIM – INNOVATORS AND INVENTORS

PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRITTANY

There are few places as warm and inviting in the winter months as Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum in Decorah. From the ship room to the cozy cabins, there are indoor treasures to explore from floor to floor – including the new “Innovators & Inventors” exhibit. Check out Ole Evinrude’s outboard motor, John Tokheim’s gasoline pump, Karsten Solheim’s ergonomic golf putters, or the pacemaker, invented by Earl Bakken. In addition to patents, drawings, models, and artifacts, Vesterheim shares the stories behind these creations – like how Harriet Lovseth, a South Dakota teacher, invented a chalk holder to keep her students a little bit cleaner at the end of the day. The exhibit helps shine a light on both past and contemporary Norwegian immigrants and their descendants who have contributed to our daily lives and helped make the world a better place. While you’re at the Museum, or if you’re looking for a splendid spot for some fun holiday shopping, pop into the Vesterheim Store to pick out some Norwegian apparel, jewelry, folk art supplies, Scandinavian snacks, and other fun items for every age. Hoping to learn a new skill during these cold, winter days? Don’t

The Viroqua Chamber Main Street recently launched the “See Viroqua” Arts Project, commissioning six local artists to create a unique poster celebrating and promoting Viroqua. Inspired by iconic WPA Posters of the 1930s and 40s, each artist had free reign to interpret a favorite local, or locally influenced scene that represents the uniqueness of the area. From a trout stream, to Amish buggy, single-track trails to round barns, and a beautiful community flower garden patch, the posters truly capture the look and feel of Viroqua and Vernon County. Artists included Natalie Hinahara, Ryan Rothweiler & Gabriela Marvan, Zoe Craig, Rena Medow, and Kathie Wheeler. The original pieces were unveiled at a public reception at Rooted Spoon in October, and have been making their way into the public eye. While all of the posters can be viewed online, keep your eyes out for these to start popping up in additional outlets and campaigns – and prints of the art are even available throughout the holiday season from the Viroqua Chamber. For more information, please contact the Viroqua Chamber Main Street at 608-637-2575 or infodesk@viroquawisconsin.com viroqua-wisconsin.com/chamber-mainstreet/see-viroqua

Dance & Theatre

JEWEL THEATRE, CENTER FOR THE ARTS • DECORAH, IA

MUSICAL THEATRE CABARET DIRECTED BY lynne rothrock

APRIL 8 – 7:30 PM APRIL 9 –2:30 PM & 7:30 PM

EVERYBODY

BY BRANDEN JACOBS-JENKINS DIRECTED BY DR. ROBERT VRTIS

APRIL 22 & APRIL 29 – 7:30 PM APRIL 23 – 9:30 PM APRIL 30 – 2:30 PM & 7:30 PM

SENSING (i)DENTITY CHOREOGRAPHED BY JANE HAWLEY

MAY 5, MAY 6, & MAY 7 – 7:30 PM MAY 8 – 2:30 PM

Mark your calendars for Luther Dance & Theatre shows! More info online at luther.edu/theatre/ iloveinspired.com \ Winter 2021-22

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What We’re

Loving

right now

A LITTLE LIST OF WHAT WE THINK IS AWESOME IN THE DRIFTLESS REGION THIS WINTER... THIRD ANNUAL DECORAH FIRE DEPARTMENT GALA

The third annual Decorah Volunteer Fire Department Fireman’s Gala will be hosted at Toppling Goliath Brewery on February 4, 2022 from 7-10 pm. This annual event has become not only an incredible fundraiser for DFD special projects, but an incredible showing of support for the volunteers that give their time and talents across the

CENTER STAGE SERIES 2021–22

community. The event features live and silent auctions, raffle prizes, brewery tours, hors d’oeuvres, and of course world-class beer. A limited amount of tickets will be on sale in January 2022, with proceeds benefiting the Decorah Volunteer Fire Department and earmarked for specific projects and equipment purchases. Past galas have helped fund the DFD Training Facility on Old Stage Road in Decorah, as well as specific equipment purchases, and more. Tickets will grant access to the event, a bidder number for raffles and auction items, one free pint pour, unlimited access to appetizers, brewery tour options, and entry into a Toppling Goliath prize drawing. Keep up with all the details for the 2022 Gala at www. tgbrews.com/events To learn more about the Decorah Fire Deparment, visit www. decorahia.org/fire-department

LUTHER COLLEGE IOWA IMPACT AWARD

In recent years there has been plenty of talk about the rising cost of higher education and the amount of debt incurred by students and families to attain degrees. As Colleges and Universities look for answers, some are finding local solutions that can help along the way. One such program is Luther College’s “Iowa Impact Award” – a scholarship program that supports the notion that quality higher education can, and should, be accessible for all students regardless of their financial circumstance. The Impact Award covers the cost of tuition to students that meet program requirements, including a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher, family adjusted gross income of $70,000 or less, with a typical amount of reportable assets, and proof of Iowa residency as defined by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission. Students must reside on campus for each year

Goitse (gwi-cha)

Saturday, Mar. 12 • 7:30 p.m.

Right in the Eye a ciné-concert

Friday, Feb. 25 • 7:30 p.m.

Call (563) 387-1357 or visit tickets.luther.edu to see the full season.


the award is received, and currently be an incoming student for Fall 2022. In order to be considered for the Iowa Impact Award, you must submit your Luther Application and FAFSA by March 1, 2022, but no special scholarship application is needed beyond the FAFSA. If your application is accepted and you qualify for the Iowa Impact Award, Luther will ensure your gift assistance equals the cost of tuition. Go Norse! For more information on this program, or all that Luther offers, visit: www.luther.edu/admissions

WHITETAIL RIDGE SKI (AND TUBE!) AREA

Wintertime means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. One thing we’re sure of, though, is that it’s a lot more fun to embrace what comes, versus shoving your face further down your parka with the season’s change. Here at Inpsire(d) HQ, we love a good reason to call up the friends and proclaim a backyard “Sledding Party!” when the snow hits just right. A bonfire, perhaps a warm (or cold!) beverage, and winter’s feeling all right. And if the winter sun is shining high, a field trip may even be just what ol’ man winter ordered! We’re guessing several of our readers may not be aware that a small but mighty treasure of a snow-play area exists in our region, just past Wisconsin’s “West Coast.” Located at Fort McCoy Army MWR, near Sparta (WI), Whitetail Ridge Ski Area offers gentle downhill skiing slopes, a six-lane snow tubing hill with a “magic sidewalk” ride back up, and over five miles of cross country ski trails. The facility is open to, and welcomes the public to enjoy their services during the season (and also offers a great campground during the summer!). To top it off, the daily pass prices are downright affordable with special discounts on nights and some weekdays. Plus, the Ten Point Pub and Chalet offers a short menu and refreshments for all ages with indoor and outdoor seating. If you are like us, this is starting to sound like a very good way to spend a winter day! Find details, and check ahead on snow conditions and opening / closings at “WhitetailRidge” on Facebook, at mccoy.armymwr.com/ programs/whitetail-ridge-ski-area or by calling 608-388-4498.

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What We’re

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Winter 2021-22 / iloveinspired.com

right now

A LITTLE LIST OF WHAT WE THINK IS AWESOME IN THE DRIFTLESS REGION THIS WINTER... 100+ WOMEN WHO CARE – ONEOTA VALLEY

Since 2017, a fun and welcoming group has been hosting a community fundraising forum as “100+ Women Who Care”. Each quarterly meeting is held at a different location in Decorah, where participants gather for social time and/or submit nominations for local nonprofits they believe would be worthy of receiving support. Submissions are pulled out of a hat and “pitched” to the group, and then voted on to decide which nominee receives that meeting’s donations. Attendees write checks for $100 (although “teams” can be formed for the $100 – one vote per $100 is the only rule) directly to the organization and a sizeable impact is made in just one hour. To-date, the group has raised over $60,000 for area nonprofits. The 100+ Alliance is the international organization that has inspired the creation of more than 700 100+ Women, Men, People, Kids Who Care Organizations around the world. You can read more at www.100whocarealliance.org A joint meeting of the local Decorah groups – both the 100+ Men and 100+ Women Who Care Chapters – will be at Impact Coffee on Wednesday, December 1, with doors open at 5:30 pm and the meeting from 6-7 pm. This opportunity allows both groups to make a major end-of-year gift to one of our region’s amazing non-profits. The next meeting of 100+ Women Who Care will be Monday, March 7, at Rubaiyat from 5:30-7 pm, and a warm invite is extended to anyone with interest. Find out more by following the Facebook page: “100+ Women Who Care-Oneota Valley”

TOM MURRAY – HAGIE HERITAGE AWARD WINNER!

This fall we were thrilled to see our neighbor (and one of Tosh the poodle’s “Hoomans”) selected as the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation’s 2021 Lawrence and Eula Hagie Heritage Award winner. The Hagie Heritage Award is given annually by Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) to recognize Iowans who have demonstrated extraordinary personal service and commitment to improving the quality of Iowa’s natural environment, and who encourage others to do the same. “Tom is steadfast in his love for Iowa’s wild places,” says Michael Siepker, one of Murray’s nominators and fisheries management biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “He is willing to listen and communicate to others the conservation challenges facing Iowa and he approaches all challenges with a collaborative spirit that is infectious.” Murray was nominated for his work protecting and expanding access to cold water trout streams throughout Iowa. He’s involved


DRIFTLESS STARGAZING

with many local conservation groups, notably serving as the first Board President of Iowa’s Coldwater Conservancy, a founding member of the Driftless Chapter of Trout Unlimited, as well as a board member of the nonprofit Friends of the Decorah Fish Hatchery, and served two terms on the Winneshiek County Conservation Board. “I have seen firsthand how making positive changes in how we care for the land in a watershed can lead to significant improvements downstream in the ecosystems that sustain our rivers and streams,” Murray says. “These positive results, that are vital to improving water quality for humans and wildlife, happen when people are willing to listen to each other and to share their ideas and resources.” The Hagie Heritage Award was established in 1990 by Janice Hagie Shindel of Florida and Ila Jeanne Hagie Logan of Moville, Iowa, in honor of their parents, Lawrence and Eula Hagie. To find our more about the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, visit www.inhf.org

NICHOLAS C. ROWLEY

COURTNEY ROWLEY

BENJAMIN R. NOVOTNY

DOMINIC PECHOTA

FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE, CIVIL RIGHTS, & EQUALITY

WE ONLY GET PAID IF WE WIN

Some of the most stunning sights of winter in the Midwest are our beautiful night skies! Sure it’s cold and dark, and there’s always the allure of a cozy blanket on the couch – but embracing the nighttime sky as it changes throughout the seasons is one of our most basic ways of relating to humanity, and our chance to enjoy saying “Howdy” to Orion the Hunter! We’ve greatly enjoyed following the “Driftless Stargazing LLC” page on Facebook as a way to learn about what special sights might be seen in our night sky throughout the seasons. John Heasley, the person behind Driftless Stargazing, is an experienced teacher and stargazer who lets people discover their connection with the cosmos in classrooms, libraries, parks, and sidewalks, to “get you looking up, remembering the past, and imagining the future.” Heasley’s deep background in astronomy and teaching has led him to share his passion with crowds young and old across our region, including learners of all ages at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, Taliesin Cultural Programs, and countless library and public programs. Grab your warmest jacket and scarf, and follow “Driftless Stargazing LLC” on Facebook for timely updates on nightly sky highlights and special astronomical events that can be viewed in our region. Happy viewing!

JON SPECHT

KAREN ZAHKA

LAURA THOMPSON

Being real Trial Lawyers means we don’t settle out cheap. We fight for full justice and nothing less and see our clients as human beings who we care about. We cherish and place great value on fundamental constitutional rights (Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness). If you or a loved one ever need help, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Request a FREE consultation at 866-TL4J-LAW or info@tl4j.com.

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Trial Lawyers for Justice • TL4J.com • info@tl4j.com • 563-382-5071 • 421 W. Water St, 3rd Floor, Decorah, IA


What We’re

Loving

right now

Drive through 5-9 pm until Dec. 25, 2021 Pulpit Rock Campground Decorah, IA

MMAM ANNOUNCES 2022 EXHIBIT SCHEDULE

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Expires 12/31/2022

$5

The Minnesota Marine Art Museum (MMAM) in Winona is home to one of the finest collections of American and European artwork in the Midwest, with works by artists such as Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe and Vincent van Gogh. We love this jewel of a museum (a self-proclaimed “diamond in the bluffs” ), which offers a very approachable size and scope, particularly for kids and families – or for a quick road trip in our region. The Museum also has three galleries of rotating, temporary exhibitions, exploring the theme of “great art inspired by water,” and the 2022 line-up of exhibits are stellar companions to the Museum’s permanent collection. January 7 to May 1, 2022: Minneapolis-based photographer Eric Mueller takes a look back at 2021, through a photo-a-day in his exhibition Reset 2021. January 28 through May 22, 2022: Cloth as Community: Hmong Textiles in America features Hmong flower cloth (or paj ntaub), reveal the radical upheaval of the Hmong refugee experience. May 6 to September 11, 2022: Sonja Peterson: What the Trade Winds Brought features complex and intricately cut paper sculptures and installations of, flora, fauna, and the history of travelers above and below the world’s waters. May 27 to September 25, 2022: Impressions of Water: Prints of Cara Ueland 1997-2022 Ueland features images from her trips to the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota, Lake Superior, and Scotland. September 16 to December 21, 2022: Karen Savage-Blue, an Anishinaabe artist and art educator living and working in Duluth, MN, will be exhibiting “Laughing Waters” - paintings highlighting the themes of internal reflection, identifying with nature, and exposing transitions from human to natural forms. October 2, 2022 through January 24, 2023: Water Stories: New Works by Anne Labowitz. These colorful and powerful large-scale works and installations feature Labowitz’s artistic and social justice processes. “We are thrilled to offer such a diverse line-up of exhibitions in 2022,” says Dave Casey, MMAM Assistant Curator of Education & Exhibitions. “The artists exhibiting at MMAM this coming year offer a wide range of perspectives and experiences, and represent a wide range of artistic mediums. With painting, photography, printmaking, textile, and paper-cut sculptures, there is something for everyone to connect with in these exhibitions.” Check out details on and current hours at: www.mmam.org


Explore our latest exhibit:

Innovators & Inventors Innovators & Inventors is an exciting new exhibit that celebrates the creativity and ingenuity of Norwegian immigrants and their descendants in America. It covers everything from Karsten Solheim’s ergonomic golf putters to the pacemaker, invented by Earl Bakken. The exhibit shares the stories behind the creations and shines a light on some unknown Norwegian immigrants and their descendants who helped make the world a better place. It also prominently includes contemporary innovators and inventors.

Vesterheim Main Building and Museum Store are open daily! In scenic Decorah, Iowa.

Innovators & Inventors Lecture Series Save the dates for these programs in the Innovators & Inventors Lecture Series! Check vesterheim.org for more information.

An Innovator Abroad with Rick Steves Sunday, January 16, 7 PM (CT) on Zoom

Teaching Innovation with Bruce Gjovig Saturday, March 19, 2 PM (CT) on Zoom

The Art of Innovation with Anna Eide

Thursday, May 5, 7 PM (CT) at Luther College

Register for Zoom links at vesterheim.org The exhibit and lecture series are supported by the Tomson Family Foundation.


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MORE THAN A SUMMER DESTINATION! HERE ARE A FEW FUN WINTER IDEAS TO GET YOU STARTED:

Chatfield offers winter trout fishing, snowshoeing on Lost Creek Trail, regional snowmobile trail access & ChillFest, a winter celebration in early February Fountain hosts the county’s history center & a brewery destination. Preston has catch & release winter trout fishing close to town, so you can enjoy the brewery & places to eat afterwards. Harmony is known for its movie theater, shopping that includes a large antique mall, a distillery, & destination dining.

D

+ FISH SKI DINE PLAY

riftless Area beauty extends north across the Iowa-Minnesota border, where less than an hour from Decorah you will find the Root River Trail Towns. These small communities, connected by a 60-mile, paved Root River and Harmony-Preston Valley State Trail System, are big on year-round outdoor recreation. Abundant state forests, wildlife and aquatic management areas, state parks, and several city bluff parks offer both rustic or designated trail hiking, birding, or snowshoeing. Snowmobile across blufftops and through scenic valleys adjacent to partially frozen streams and rivers. Also when snow accumulations allow, several sections of the Root River Trail are groomed for cross country skiing. Attractions abound in, around, and between the Root River Trail Towns, although getting from one to the other is an attraction in itself when you’re in Bluff Country. There are many opportunities for good food from hometown eateries or stay for a while at locally owned, modern motels or resorts, lavish to farmstead B&Bs, or historic inns. Whether you’re looking for new outdoor adventure or a quiet winter getaway, stop along the Root River Trail Towns to shop small and support homegrown businesses.

Learn more: www.rootrivertrail.org

Lanesboro, recognized for B&Bs & the arts, offers a bluff country getaway that can be enjoyed any season. Whalan hosts a candlelight cross country ski every February & has a cozy resort with wide-ranging activities for year-round fun, including its tubing hill for winter guests. Rushford Peterson Valley’s renowned lefse producer with a Scandinavian gift store has been a long-standing destination, but also shop nearby family farm stores for cheese curds, meats, & locally-grown products. Houston’s owl & nature center are fun for all ages and try the local coffeehouse or bar & grill for tasty family-friendly fare.


ugh

All photos courtesy Amanda Goodeno

COMMUNITY

BUILDERS

Amanda Goodenough La Crosse, WI BY SARA WALTERS

G

enerally, when people speak fondly of a community, it’s because it’s a place where they feel a sense of belonging. “To me, a community is a people and place that supports one another and works toward a common good. Where we come together because we’re stronger together,” says Amanda Goodenough. Amanda is a La Crosse, Wisconsin-based educator, consultant, and speaker for Social Responsibility Speaks (SRS), an organization focused on weaving equity, inclusion, and diversity into daily lives. But sometimes, the sense of belonging isn’t extended to all community members. In predominantly white communities – like many of those found in the Driftless – it can be difficult for people of color to find their footing. To find that sense of belonging. To feel like they matter. Amanda and her family have been building their lives in La Crosse for decades. And like many other U.S. cities, there are intolerances in this community that have permeated the lives of Amanda, who is of Black and Mexican heritage, and other people of color. “[La Crosse is] such a geographically beautiful area. Most of the people also reflect this beauty. But I think we still have a collective responsibility to always push our circles of influence to show up better for one another,” she explains. That’s why Amanda has lived a life of advocacy, fighting to improve the experience for all in her community. “When people talk about things like racism in the Driftless Region, we’re often met with attitudes of ‘if you don’t like it, just leave,’ but it’s quite the opposite, really. When you love something, you hold it accountable. There is a lot that I love about the places and the people that make up the La Crosse area, and that is why I like to ask the hard questions and push us to be better. It’s truly an act of love,” she says.

She has been pushing for change for much of her career, first as a long-time member of the Campus Climate team at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and now in her role with SRS. Amanda is also involved with the Greater La Crosse Area Diversity Council’s (GLADC) Speakers Bureau, and is an independent facilitator for the La Crosse area YWCA Racial Justice workshops, Waking Up White Collaborative, and Creating a Healthier Multicultural Community initiative. She was even recognized for her dedication to civil rights activism as the 2021 recipient of La Crosse’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award. As part of SRS, Amanda has worked with non-profits, school districts, colleges and universities, and corporate businesses. Sometimes they need help in response to a harmful situation, and other times they need guidance for changing their culture. “We provide coaching, consulting, comprehensive reviews of policies/ practices from an equity lens, culture/climate assessments, keynotes, workshops, and more,” she explains. Amanda sees the value of intervention on this larger scale, but also knows how much work needs to be done at home with the youngest members of our communities. “My kids are still pretty young, but when I talk to children of color across the state, their stories too often echo mine from 35 years ago,” she says, recalling the discrimination, from unwelcoming looks on the street to death threats, that her Black/Mexican family experienced in her youth, growing up in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, just west of Milwaukee. “I try to be proactive and intentional with the conversations I have and the space I create for my children about racial and social justice issues because the world hasn’t evolved enough to use hope as the only strategy,” she adds. Continued on next page iloveinspired.com \ Winter 2021-22

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She has seen her two elementary-school-aged children – often perceived as white because their father is white – shielded from some racism. “White privilege and colorism is definitely a protective layer granted to my kids that my parents and I did not get to experience.” And although she has seen many positive strides for her children and future generations, she is also discouraged by the progress that has not yet been made. A lot of the work that needs to be done is in Below: Amanda Goodenough is a La Crosse-based educator, consultant, and the coded, subtle dayto-day interactions of folks speaker for Social Responsibility Speaks (SRS), an organization focused equity, inclusion, and diversity. Above: Amanda, who is Black/Mexican, and her husband, who oftentimes, have white, try to be proactive and intentional in conversations with their children good intentions. “It’s the about racial and social justice issues. / Photos courtesy Amanda Goodenough. colorblind racism and the inequitable policies and communities. These conversations for practices found in dress codes and communities of color can be a space hiring practices. It’s the differential for validation, affirmation, sensetreatment when it comes to making, healing, empowerment, and providing services or implementing joy. For white communities, these discipline. It’s the lack of nonconversations can be important for white representation at the highest awareness, education (learning and levels of leadership and the unlearning), courage-building, action, whitewashing of history or school and accountability,” she says. curriculum. And then, of course, Amanda hopes that her work will it’s the everyday slights and insults help to contribute to larger goals that permeate too many casual for the community of La Crosse, like interactions,” she says. reducing the discrepancy between races in Amanda hopes that her conversations about poverty numbers, income levels, graduation race with her kids help to prepare them for these rates, leadership demographics, and home interactions, but she also knows that the clients she ownership. She also wants local schools to be works with at SRS can contribute to changing the actively supported and encouraging increased dialogue in their communities, too. The organizations consciousness and critical thinking of its and groups that have made the biggest strides, in students. her experience, have been those that are willing to Though she has taken a very active role in learn and grow and embrace actual change, “not building her community and giving purpose just an optics or check-the-box approach, where one and belonging to all its members, Amanda might move through the motions with no intention to knows she can’t do it alone. “All of us need actually shift culture or change policies/practices,” she to be in these conversations. We all have a says. responsibility to contribute positively to There is so much value in talking about the race the world around us.” She adds, issues in a community and the work is never done. “My goal within this is to leave Amanda keeps pushing forward for the beautiful Check out people and places better than community that she loves and for all its members, Amanda’s I found them, to make both so that they all find a place of belonging. “I believe suggestions my ancestors and descendants for Being a dialogues about race and racism are important proud.” Better Ally for everyone, and necessary to foster thriving

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Winter 2021-22 / iloveinspired.com

Sara Walters is a writer, mom, and member of the beautiful La Crosse community that Amanda supports.

CONNECT WITH AMANDA

srspeaks.com Amandagoodenough.com

– someone that aligns with and supports a cause – here!


HOW TO BE A BETTER

Ally

Ready to show up for anti-racism? Educate yourself

Listen to a podcast, read a book, or attend a webinar. There are tons of free resources to expand your understanding of race.

Go to events

A great way to build a network of like-minded allies is to attend events. Check your local library or community calendar for conferences, presentations, forums, and volunteer opportunities.

Support through spending

Do your research about where you shop. Spend your money at black- and brownowned businesses when you can.

Amanda Goodenough of Social Responsibility Speaks offers strategies to incorporate into your life in order to support people of color.

Be an upstander

Instead of standing by, try standing up! Make yourself aware of problematic or harmful actions and do your best to confront them.

Listen to people of color

If you want to understand racism, listen to people of color. Your efforts don’t need to be grandiose. Simple, compassionate listening is all that’s needed.

Teach them young

Kids are impressionable, and as they grow, they are faced with many outside messages. Talk with them proactively about race to help them develop a foundational understanding.

Getting More Active Becoming an Accomplice

Influence local politics

Get yourself to meetings and places where decisions are being made. Let your voice be heard by those that make the laws.

Design by Inspire(d)

Protest injustices

This can mean heading to the streets or just pushing back against racism in your school or workplace. Be prepared to stand up for the sake of humanity, despite the personal consequences.

Reflect on your actions

Think about yourself as a racialized person. Cross-racial conversations are more productive and positive when we spend time reflecting on our own relationship with race.

If you’re already doing what allies do, and you’re ready to get a little more courageous with your support, here’s how you can take it a step further.

Don’t let race limit you

Many communities have organizations that are led by white folks (and supported by people of color), like the Waking up White Collaborative. People of color are not the only ones who can fight for equality and take a leadership role.

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COMMUNITY Photos courtesy Brooke

Brooke Pfeffer Lanesboro, MN

Pfeffer

BUILDERS

BY STEVE HARRIS

B

rooke Pfeffer wouldn’t describe herself as a “community builder.” But community has a way of happening all around her (even some fun four-footed kind). That can’t be a coincidence. Brooke is the owner and operator of The Peddler, a colorful and cozy little gift shop tucked into a side street of Lanesboro, Minnesota. A Minnesotan from the start, she was born in Mankato and grew up near Pemberton. She met her future husband, Joel, on a blind date in 2000. “I was planning to move to Detroit to become a flight attendant and told myself not to get distracted,” she remembers. “After three dates I got distracted.” They married, bought a fixer-upper house in Joel’s hometown of Madelia (where he was a self-

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Winter 2021-22 / iloveinspired.com

employed contractor), and established their most important community, four kids: Brynn, Havilah, August, and Jolie, ranging from age 10 to 15. Then Lanesboro happened. “Relatives in Preston invited us there for a birthday party,” she says. “We’d never heard of Lanesboro but as we drove down the County Road 8 hill on a beautiful fall evening, we were blown away with the look and feel of the place. We came back to look around and do some biking and soon found ourselves talking about moving here.” On one of those visits in the spring of 2017, she walked by an antique shop downtown that had a “For Sale” sign in the window. “Other than brief Target and Herbergers jobs, I’d never worked retail before,” she says. “But I started imagining


an antique shop that might also offer fun clothing and craft items. We made an offer. Six months later it all happened.” Brooke’s desire to get involved in and give back to her new community started with simple questions. “When Joel and I first considered moving to Lanesboro we asked ourselves, ‘what can we bring to this place? What skills or talents can we add? How can we benefit the town?’” The answers are coming for Brooke through The Peddler, but also through her volunteer efforts like serving on the board of the Friends of the Lanesboro Library, helping to organize recent Taste of the Trail events, Top: The Peddler storefront in downtown Lanesboro, her Farmers MN. Bottom: Brooke and her family pose for a photo. Park fund raising efforts, and volunteering with the Girl Scouts. “We had nearly 30 girls in the shop recently for an art project. It was a bit of a squeeze for our space, but I love doing events that bring people together. We also offered a pinecone painting class with ‘artists’ from age three to 80. I want the Peddler to be an inclusive, welcoming place for everybody who comes in.” The Peddler has prospered, even through the COVID pandemic, evolving into the store Brooke envisioned. “I have fewer antiques now, more clothing and crafts. We also have homemade handbags, hats, swimwear, candles, baskets, pillows, furniture, toys, shoes, and gifts, among other things. A fun variety. I look for whatever sparks peoples’ interest, what they’re looking for and talking about. That’s how I connected with the Fair Trade community.” Fair Trade items come primarily from developing countries, made by workers who receive fair wages in healthy work environments. No sweat shops. “The work and the workers are monitored and certified,” says Brooke. “You feel good knowing that what you’re buying didn’t involve suffering of any kind.” Fair Trade helps create the “feel” and the inventory of The Peddler. “We have knit-ware from Nepal, wrapped skirts and blankets from India, decorative trinkets from Thailand, Peru, and Mexico. I majored in geography, traveled some, and have always been interested in other cultures, so this is a good fit for me. For many customers the items spark memories of their own travel.” For now, though, Brooke and her family have put down roots at their five-acre, formerly Amish farm six miles south of Lanesboro. It works for storage of Joel’s equipment, and was a perfect location Continued on next page

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for an expansion of their family – the fourlegged kind. “We certainly weren’t looking for a new house. But I had dabbled in horses long ago and Joel said maybe this could be a place to do that again,” Brooke says. “Girls like horses, you know. He sold me and here we are.” The farm now hosts a community of eight horses, seven alpacas, and two dogs. Most of the horses and all the alpacas came from Wisconsin via Craig’s List (“the lady made me promise that we’d keep them all together as a family”). Brooke has rescued the other horses from “kill pens” as well. “People sometimes end up with older horses, often in bad health, that are difficult to re-home,” she says. “They don’t want to keep feeding and supporting them so they offer them for sale online. If the horses don’t sell in a week they end up in a kill pen to be shipped off for slaughter. We bought three including one that looked very overweight. A few months later she surprised us with a foal. They’re all doing well and we love them.” Alpacas and horses are part of the Why alpacas? “I like alpacas,” she community at the Pfeffer family farm. says. “They’re different. They also can present some challenges. For

one, they need to be sheared at least once a year. I knew nothing about that. I figured it must be like bathing a dog, right? I ordered clippers on Amazon and watched YouTube videos to learn about it. I gave it a try one summer afternoon but after an hour in 100-degree sun with cranky alpacas and crying kids I realized it was not like bathing a dog. I called a local sheep shearer who did all seven in about an hour. I plan to call him next year, too.” Are there new communities that Brooke plans to build? “My daughter wants chickens but I’m not sure about that. We might expand The Peddler so we can do more there. I’d like to offer more support to other business-friends in town.” As a busy mom and business owner, there’s much to keep her busy. “I need to keep my head down and not get distracted,” Brooke says. But it happens. “On a recent Saturday morning I went for a walk to get some coffee and passed by an Amish family selling quilts and things. They had a crate of puppies. One had a broken tail. What can I say?” Steve Harris, a freelance writer and the author of “Lanesboro, Minnesota,” has given serious consideration to the theory that alpacas are actually life-forms from another planet. Contact Steve at sharris1962@msn.com.

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COMMUNITY

BUILDERS

Marty & Teri Richards Richland Center, WI

BY TALLITHA REESE

P

laces like rural, small-town, Driftless Wisconsin are a rarity. Richland County, for example, boasts a stunningly beautiful landscape, friendly people, and a simple authenticity that can’t be found just anywhere. The entire county is home to one city, 16 towns, and five villages. It is also “home” for Marty and Teri Richards, and always has been. It’s where they grew up, met and fell in love, and raised their family. The area has definitely seen some struggles through the years, though, with what seemed like a long-term decline in farms, storefronts, and population as businesses shut down, young people left the area, and funding for local governments and businesses seemed to dry up. But in recent years, a renewed interest has things looking up for Richland County, thanks in large part to people like the Richards. They founded Ridge and Valley Tours in 2019 because they have always seen and believed in the value and beauty of the area, and wanted to share that with the world. When Marty retired from his job with WEA Member Benefits, an insurance company in Madison, in 2019, the Richards

Teri and Marty Richards are the founders of Ridge and Valley Tours in Richland Center, WI. / Photos court esy Ridge and Valley Tours

considered moving to Washington state, where two of their three daughters had settled. However, after some extensive world traveling, they decided they would miss their home turf too much. And a trip to Italy helped Marty and Teri discover the joy and value of experiential tourism. Continued on next page

Preston Get Hooked. Cozy

Embrace Your True North Plan your visit today – gethookedonpreston.com | 507.765.2100 iloveinspired.com \ Winter 2021-22

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Above: Teri poses during a snowshoeing adventure. Right: Marty shares information about the rock formations near Richland Center during a Ridge and Valley Tour. Below: A tour learns about local agriculture at the Kayla and Nate Duren farm.

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“We met up with a vineyard owner in Italy, through help from our daughter who is a tech sergeant in the air force and was stationed at Aviano Air Base,” explains Marty. “While there, we helped him pick his Pinot grapes, had a little wine in the vineyard, and when we were done, we had a three-hour dinner with him, his parents, and sister’s family. It was a very casual, but impromptu thing. We absolutely loved it.” The Richards came home with that evening fresh in their minds and soon discovered there were several farmto-table offerings in the area with operators who were eager to have their story told through unique agriculturerelated experiences. Thus, Ridge and Valley Tours was born. The tours, which are custom-created by Marty and Teri, are designed to provide a combination of education, storytelling, and entertainment, and to do so while highlighting sustainable family farms and related businesses in the area. “Our motto: ‘We are on a journey to tell our local story’ rings true through everything we do,” says Teri. “There are young families wanting to homestead; there are people who want to grow organic and do regenerative pasturing and care for the animals properly. We want to highlight their efforts; tell their stories and educate the consumer.”

Winter 2021-22 / iloveinspired.com


Barneløpet Feb. 5, 2022 FREE! Enjoy the winter at this non-competitive ski/walk event for children ages 3-13. Decorah Prairie, Ohio Street Start time: 10:00 a.m. Registration: 9:40 a.m. For Information: Darlene Fossum-Martin, 563-419-4958 Weather cancellations: Check local radio. Supported by Jon and Mary Hart in memory of Kjell Berntsen, and Sons of Norway Lodges in Decorah, Lanesboro, & Spring Grove.

In addition to their hands-on tours, the Richards also offer the recently remodeled upstairs of their home, on the farm where Marty grew up, as a short-term rental suite for people visiting the area, and are currently working on building several additional short-term rental cabins on a property nearby. “We purchased two acres approximately a quarter of a mile down the road from our house,” says Marty. “We are building some unique cabins that reflect a Scandinavian look eventually complete with a sauna for guests to use.” This new short-term rental property project is also a chance for Teri, who has worked as a flight attendant for the past eight years, to utilize her passion for hospitality and to help realize one of her personal goals: Seeing the area become more accessible to wheelchair travelers. “One of our new rental units will be fully ADA compatible,” explains Teri. “We will have wide doorways; zero grade thresholds; tile on the full floor of the bathroom and no curb for the shower. I have put much time into designing a space for wheelchair guests that make them feel special.” In addition to promoting the area to tourists visiting for the weekend or piquing interest in folks for relocation to Richland County, the Richards are working to further develop a sense of community. Marty, who accepted the position of Richland Center Tourism Director in February of 2020, started a video series on YouTube called “Why Do We Call It That?” where he explains interesting history or legends about different areas of the county and their names. Marty quickly discovered that not only was the series enjoyed by visitors and potential guests, but it also helped create a local pride and renewed appreciation for the area in current residents. Continued on next page

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Prairiescapes by Katherine Bergman

Matthew Cody, Music Director Guest Artist, Benjamin Yates

SUNDAY FEB 27, 2022 • 3 PM Decorah High School Auditorium 100 Claiborne Dr. Decorah, Iowa www.ovcorchestra.org Sponsored by Marion E. Jerome Foundation and Iowa Arts Council iloveinspired.com \ Winter 2021-22

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Ridge and Valley conducts their variety of tours by UTV, exploring local agriculture in a fun and engaging manner. / Photos courtesy Ridge and Valley Tours

The Richards are also excited to be working with several fresh, new faces in area leadership and local government who have longtime attachments to the area, and have now boomeranged back with new ideas for improving the area and attracting new residents and businesses. “We have had experiences outside of the area for several years, appreciate the

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resources available here, and have a vision for a community and county that is more vibrant with great energy,” says Marty. “For the first time in my recollection, all parties, and our residents, have the understanding that the area has to grow and status quo is not an option.” Marty says he is starting to see many local businesses working together for the betterment of all businesses and the community as a whole. “I believe we have seen the end of the insecurity that used to exist between businesses. They are truly problem-solving issues and working together,” he explains. Marty and Teri believe in Richland County and envision it as a growing area with unlimited opportunity. “We are working hard to get visitors and the locals to fall in love with Richland County,” says Teri, “This area is really one of the top ten best places in the Unites States. Is it as fancy as the Rockies? No. Is it as amazing as the redwood forests? No. But it is pretty darn cool.” Tallitha Reese is a freelance writer and content manager based in Cashton, Wisconsin. She owns Words By Reese and you can find out more about her and her work at www.wordsbyreese.com.


SUM BUSINESS OF YOUR

INSPIRING ENTREPRENEURS IN THE DRIFTLESS

INTRO BY BENJI NICHOLS

L

CARMEN HURLEY of

ike a puppy growing into a true companion, a passion can grow up to be a great business. The Good Dog Center, located just north of Decorah, started as the dream of two friends – Carmen Hurley and Beth Einck – and a leap of faith into creating a business to not only train dogs, but build a community of “dogs and their people” from across the region. And just like many dog walks, there were a few twists and turns along the way, as well as lots of help and support from a growing group of dog owners and training enthusiasts. Over the years, Beth moved on to retirement (as planned) and longtime Good Dog Center (GDC) students and training professionals Julie Wittry and Ann Grimstad joined the roster to offer additional classes and services. It wasn’t long before the business outgrew its space on Short Street in Decorah, as dog ownership and training interest continued to increase. Carmen recruited Pam Long, a friend and professional trainer from Atlanta, Georgia with 40+ years of experience, to move to Iowa and help with the expanded services, and the group began looking for a new space.

The requirements were that it had to be large enough to accommodate two regulation-sized obedience rings, plus have room for grooming, retail, train and board, and more. The former Nob Hill Supper Club north of Decorah offered an attractive location on a hard surfaced road with ample green space, as well as abundant indoor space to meet the needs. The group decided it was a perfect fit, and Ann and Joe Grimstad, recognizing the need and unique opportunity to help the facility grow, facilitated the purchase of the property. Julie Wittry commented that the iconic Decorah landmark had “gone to the dogs,” but everyone loved the idea of keeping the history of Nob Hill alive with nods to the former occupant, naming the doggie daycare the Pupper Club, planning a “Dog Hill” bar “Yappy Hour”, and more. The puns abound at the Good Dog Center! Current GDC services include dog training classes, grooming, train and board, day training, doggie daycare, hosting of obedience competitions, service dog training, a retail space, and more! Wave a paw next time you drive by on Highway 52! Continued on next page

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Name: Carmen Hurley Age: 48 Business: Good Dog Center, Inc. www.gooddogcenter.com Years in Business: 21

3. How about the worst? As any business owner knows, with growth comes more paperwork. These days I’m spending a lot more time in an office, and less time interacting directly with 1. Tell us about the “leap” moment. clients. That is something I miss. One When/how did you decide to jump in of the additional challenges of being and become your own boss? your own boss is handling abusive I have to credit a good friend, Beth clients. One thing I will not tolerate Einck, for helping me start the business. is the abuse of my hard working She had been a staple in the dog staff. There have been thankfully training community in Decorah for a only a few situations that required number of years, and she and I had I ask a client to take their business lightly tossed around the idea of starting elsewhere after they mistreated a a dog training business together. Beth staff member. called me one day and said that she’d found a building for us to rent – the 4. Was there ever a hurdle where current location of Letterwerks on Hwy you just thought, “I can’t do this?” 52. Beth was already retired at that How did you overcome it? point in her life, and wanted to help In two decades, we have been in me start the business, and step down a five different locations, including few years into it, which is exactly what running the business out of my we did. We chose to add grooming and home for a few years. Finding the retail services when we opened. We are space that we need for the growth now located next door to the building in the training business has been a Carmen Hurley, Good Dog Center owner, with her dogs. that started the business 21 years ago – challenge. I’ve been very blessed we’ve come full circle! with the recent opportunity of working with Joe and Ann Grimstad, which has allowed us to move into a 2. What’s the best thing about being your own boss? much larger building and expand services. We had reached a point 21 years later, knowing the amount of work that went into in previous locations where business growth had hit a ceiling due growing the business in a rural area, I take a great amount to pride to lack of space. in its success. I have met so many wonderful people throughout the years, many who have become close friends. As the business 5. Any mentors/role models you look to/have looked to? has grown and staff has been added, it has allowed me more Yes, many! I regularly work with professional trainers in flexibility with my schedule, which gives me more time with family other parts of the country, and Canada, to continue my training and to do the things I enjoy. I am blessed with an incredible training education. I’ve been blessed with wonderful mentors over the and grooming staff, all people who I met through my dog training years, who keep my mind open to improvement. I believe when classes. The business wouldn’t be what it is now without them! we stop educating ourselves we limit our own capabilities.

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Winter 2021-22 / iloveinspired.com

Back row: Marcia Madrigal, Mike Kelly, Jayme Folkedahl, Gina Smith Front row: Janice Numedahl, Jeanne Gullekson, Keegan Steinlage, Ron Juve


Left to right: Pam Long, Ann Grimstad, Carmen Hurley, and Julie Wittry.

6. What’s the one thing you wish you had known before you started? In hindsight, I wouldn’t have allowed negativity from others who didn’t believe in what I was doing to influence the choices I made. My advice to others is to persist, and surround yourself with people who are a good support system. 7. How do you manage your life/work balance? Ha! It’s a continual process. I have been through many time periods over the years where work overtook my life. I have to continually make efforts to keep balance in check. It was hard for me in the early years of the business to set limits with my clients, especially during the time when the business was run from my home. I would take phone calls at all hours, or answer emails at 6am or 10pm (okay, I still do this), and generally not give myself any mental time off. With practice I am getting better about setting limits, but I’m a workaholic by nature, so giving myself time off, especially when there is always online and social media work I can do from home, isn’t easy for me. 8. What keeps you inspired? Any quotes that keep you going? My CLIENTS keep me inspired! I love to see the amazing relationships that have developed between dogs and their people. Watching owners put in the time and hard work, and going on to be therapy teams in the community, working service dogs, successful competition teams, and just learning to enjoy their relationship with their dog, is extremely rewarding for me! It’s positive reinforcement for the trainer! The majority of my advanced competition students who compete with their dogs in dog sports, started out in a Basic Obedience class just wanting a well-behaved pet. They dedicated themselves to improving their relationship with their dog, and went on to see they were capable of so much more. It is wonderful for me to see these competition students making therapy visits to schools and nursing Continued on next page

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Such good dogs at Good Dog Center in Decorah!

homes, participating in demonstrations for the public, and being able to take their well trained dogs out into the community. They continue to inspire me, and others! Our recent move to the Nob Hill building, which we now refer to as Dog Hill, has come with a partnership of several team members: Ann Grimstad, Pam Long, and Julie Wittry. This

incredible team is responsible for the expansion of services to include retail, doggie daycare, train and board, dog show events, seminars, and our soon to be Yappy Hour at the bar. Stay tuned for news about a dock diving pool in our future. THANK YOU to our clients and the local community for your support of the business, we appreciate all of you!

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Paper Project!


Inspire(d) and Decorah Public Library have teamed up to help you

Check out these 10 books at DPL today to get started! Kids ’ Books

Adult Books

Lucia the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza When Lucia gets told that girls can’t be superheroes, she learns a family secret from her abuela and dons a lucha libre costume to wrestle injustice on the playground.

Natural Birdhouses by Amen & Maria Fisher Create beautiful homes for birds in your yard using natural materials and simple hand tools.

Teatime Around the World by Denyse Waissbluth and Chelsea O'Byrne From Matcha to pink chai with pistachios this picture book highlights the flavors and festivity of teatime.

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking Light some candles, grab some cozy blankets, make some hot cocoa, and discover why Danes celebrate winter instead of just enduring it.

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner Winter may look lifeless and bleak, but all sorts of animals are busy eating, scurrying, and hibernating just under the snow.

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen Follow a father and daughter as they learn about silence and hope during a winter owl walk.

A Day So Gray by Marie Lamba and Alea Marley Two friends find color and coziness in what might seem like a dreary winter day.

Winter Backpacking by Ben Shillington Put the old Norwegian saying of “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes” to the test and go backpacking, hiking, or camping this winter. For Small Creatures Such As We by Sasha Sagan Rituals help us create shared memories, celebrate achievements, and provide context for life’s difficult moments. This book helps create rituals based in science and the natural world instead of religious frameworks. How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell This is an antidote to the Internet’s obsession with consumption, productivity, lifehacks, and other means of “leveling up” for no reason.


g n i p p a r W UP INTRO & INFOGRAPHIC BY ARYN HENNING NICHOLS

F

or me, the winter theme “Wrapping Up” encompasses both the idea of cozying in, and the fact that we’re finishing up a year, with all its good days and bad days over and done. As we head into this season, let’s spend some time thinking about the past year, learning from our experiences, and remembering we need to rest and recharge to start anew in 2022. “Rest is Productive” is a mantra that’s been something of a lighthouse for me through 2021. It was the first year in many that I put my mental and physical health as a top priority, and it has made all the difference in EVERYTHING. And, ironically, I’m getting more done than ever. Rest is something we need throughout the whole year – not just winter or the end of the year – but the stillness of this season (and the occasional ice storm or -10 degree day) lends itself perfectly to beginning this habit anew. In fact, the start of a new year often coincides with new habits (news flash, right?!). I recently read this is called the “Fresh Start Effect” – the idea that a person might modify past behaviors with

new, positive ones once they reach a temporal (i.e. time-based) landmark (like a new year, new month, birthday, anniversary, etc). It can act as a reset button to help us get back on track with our goals. On the opposite end of that spectrum is what I’m calling the “Deadline Effect” (as a publisher of a magazine, I live with so many deadlines!). I put my goals into high gear as I approach a deadline, and like to look at goals on a monthly basis, with fresh starts at the beginning of the month, deadlines at the end, and lots of good rest in between. I believe we are more likely to achieve our goals with a series of fresh starts and deadlines – they can be daily, weekly, monthly, yearly…it’s all up to you! Throughout the next section of this Inspire(d), you can read more about rest and transitions, and see what works for you. As for me, I know my desire to always have “productivity” is a whole other ball of yarn I’ll need to unravel! But I’ll have to do that work myself. Maybe in 2022?! Happy New Year, friends! Let’s make it a good one! XO – ARYN

One of my favorite quotes!

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Read on

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It makes for a more vital community!

2. Try to support local businesses in 2022.

rnal Rad jou w’ s r ro a p S m fro rah, in Deco Iowa

Winter 2021-22 / iloveinspired.com

Think about how you’d like to frame your Fresh Start & Deadline cycles. Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Yearly?

• Fresh Start Effect – A “start time” to reset your goals • Deadline Effect – An “end time” to put your goals into high gear

1. Make realistic goals, using the:

g n i p p a r W UP

Planning for 2022? Here’s some inspiration:

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It’s necessary to be healthy, happy, and simply alive. A rested mind and body will be more energized, focused, and ready to take on challenges.

Rest is Productive

Sometimes, everything just feels like too much. Listen to your body when it’s telling you this. Rest.


>

<

Reflect on 2021. What was great? What was not so great? How did that help you grow? Sometimes our greatest hardships lead to our biggest accomplishments

Words of Affirmation - compliments, words of appreciation, encouragement, etc Quality Time – time together with active listening, eye contact, and full presence Acts of Service – doing things to make your loved-ones’ life easier Gifts – visual symbols of love through thoughtful (not necessarily expensive) gifts Physical Touch – physical signs of affection, like hugs, shoulder rubs, etc

3. Pay attention to the people you love in your life. What’s their love language? Try to learn it and lean into it.

Try a slow-down habit. Learn to knit or crochet (or any other calming hobby).

Ask yourself, “Am I spending energy on what matters?”

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WRAPPING UP ILLUSTRATIONS BY YANA ALISOVNA / SHUTTERSTOCK

Northeast Iowa-based mental health counselor, Olivia Lynn Schnur, shares ideas for enjoying winter as a time of rest and transition.

BY OLIVIA LYNN SCHNUR

W

inter has so much to offer. The deep release of autumn and the foretold blooms of spring are both wrapped in a cocoon of white. The woodland creatures are at rest, and we follow suit, wrapping ourselves up in the comfort of our homes. It is a season of stillness, a pause, and a (literal) breath of fresh air. Autumn taught us to let go and accept change. Winter will show us how to settle into something new, leaning into the season to benefit both our bodies and minds.

KOSELIG

(koosh-lee)

A Norwegian word/concept, most closely translated as “cozy,” but moreover, it encompasses a sense of contentment, warmth, and comfort – both outside and inside – to promote personal well-being and warm fuzzy feelings.

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Winter 2021-22 / iloveinspired.com


WINTER IS A GIFT In Norway, the winter days are cold and short, much like winters in the Midwest. Yet, Norwegians have been called some of the happiest people on earth. What is their secret? It may be related to a Norwegian tradition called koselig. While koselig does not have an exact English translation, several words come to mind: cozy, content, and connected. Koselig teaches us to embrace winter’s gifts, instead of grieving the loss of warm weather activities. It calls for finding contentment with a warm mug, sitting by the fire, or breathing in the fresh air of winter. It invites coziness into our lives through fuzzy blankets, warm scents, and burning candles, or by donning warm and cozy gear as we head outdoors. Connection – with nature, animals, or loved ones – is also a large part of the Norwegian tradition. See the worksheet to follow for tips of inviting koselig into your winter.

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REST IS PRODUCTIVE In everything we do, there is a natural expansion and contraction. Both are equally important. When we breathe in, we expand. We are active and productive, full of creative energy and excited to share our gifts with the world. During these seasons, we may feel expansive, full, and energetic. But we cannot remain in this state forever. When we breathe out, we contract. Winter is the perfect time for this necessary mental and physical retreat. We are still allowed to move and be creative, but we should do so in a way that is nourishing, engaging in activities that replenish so we can begin again to share our gifts with the world. This brings our nervous system back into a state of relaxation. There are two branches of the nervous system designed to respond to threat. The first is the sympathetic nervous system, often called the fight-or-flight response. Our body responds based on our perception of the threat – it cannot tell the difference between the stress of an overwhelming list of responsibilities or the danger of coming face-to-face with a grizzly bear. In either situation, our muscles tense, breathing constricts, digestion stops, and our brains develop a singular focus on the perceived threat, determining the best course of action. As a society, we often rely on the fight-or-flight system to respond to our daily tasks. We rush from one thing to the next, while our bodies release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. But these hormones are meant to be our reserves for emergency situations, not so we can stress about the day-to-day. Enter the parasympathetic nervous system. It is designed to help us rest, digest, and repair after a threat. But just like our bodies cannot tell the difference between real and perceived threats, they also do not know when it is safe to relax. We can tell our bodies to relax by stimulating the vagus nerve, which transmits information from the brain to the body. It plays an essential role in determining whether or not the body enters a state of relaxation. Deep belly breathing is the quickest and most effective way to stimulate the vagus nerve. It activates the part of the nerve that runs beneath the belly button – imagine that a deep exhale from the belly presses the relaxation button in our bodies. Continued on next page

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Try These Activities Regularly to Stimulate the Vagus Nerve: Sing, chant or hum to create vibrations in the throat. Get regular chiropractic care, massages, or acupuncture. Find ways to connect – with friends, nature, or animals. Exercise or stretch daily. Find what works for your body! Practice deep belly breathing (see tips in Wintertime Meditation)

WINTERTIME MEDITATION Cold exposure is another quick and effective way to stimulate the rest and digest response. That is why people often splash cold water on their face to wake up or refresh. Try this meditation anytime for a quick mood boost. Be prepared to step outside. Wrap yourself in something warm and cozy, whether it is a blanket or a jacket. Step into some slippers or boots. Open a window or walk out the door, and immediately take a deep breath in through the nose. Feel the cold air rush into your chest, lungs, and belly. Hold the air in your lungs and feel the expansion in your body. Place a hand on your belly and appreciate the way it expands with the in-breath. Practice your deep belly breathing techniques, and audibly sigh as you exhale, releasing your stress and worries. Feel your belly contract beneath your hand as you empty the air from your lungs. Repeat a few more times, or as long as you continue to feel the benefits of this practice. Before returning inside, take a moment to appreciate the way the cold air invigorates your senses. Feel into your body – with gratitude – and notice the sensations created after a few deep belly breaths. Return to this mindfulness practice as often as desired, knowing that you have the potential to create a sense of calm in your body and mind.

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REFLECTION IS A RESOLUTION Many cultures and societies see transitions as a rite of passage. In Western culture, we tend to celebrate transitions based on achievement: graduation ceremonies, weddings, and births. We sometimes neglect the natural transitions: the change of seasons, moon cycles, fertility cycles, and even death. Rites of passage and transitional ceremonies help us cope. They give us space to reflect and recalibrate after loss, change, or periods of turmoil. In the New Year, we often set intentions, but we fail to reflect on the year we are preparing to leave behind. Surely, there are a multitude of blessings and lessons to observe. That reflection in itself is a resolution. When we look back on our lives, with the intelligence of hindsight, we make connections and absorb the lessons learned from mistakes and misfortunes. When we reflect on the past, we automatically set intentions for the future. Reflecting only once a year, though, can mean we overlook a few things as time passes by. Try taking it a step further by creating a monthly ritual for reflection – see the following worksheet for tips.

WRAPPING UP Winter is a season of stillness, but there is so much going on beneath the surface. The pause and quiet may be exactly what are needed to enter a state of rest and repair. Take this time for reflection and setting intentions for the seasons to come, appreciating the transitions and learning to love the space between. Olivia Lynn Schnur is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Registered Yoga Teacher. She combines her knowledge of yoga and mental health to offer holistic healing for the mind and body. Visit her website to learn more: oliviaschnur.com.

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Winter 2021-22 / iloveinspired.com


WORKSHEET: THE WINTER OF OUR CONTENT

Make it koselig! Here is some inspiration for adding koselig to your winter: • Plan a coffee/tea date with a friend, family member, or a good book! • Reflect upon childhood winter pastimes (you’ll likely find koselig inspiration there). • Invest in winter clothing that allows you to feel warm and cozy both indoors and out. Tip: local thrift and consignment stores can help you do this on a budget. • Create new traditions centered around bonding with loved ones over meals, games, puzzles or movies. • Seek warmth: A fire, warm bath, hot water bottle, steaming mug, or a warm embrace with a loved one. • Try Forest Bathing: A Japanese tradition of mindfully walking through the woods. Pay attention to your five senses as you walk. • Set aside a day each month to journal with a warm drink and cozy blanket. Remember connection with yourself is just as important as it is with others.

Winter Reflection: Questions to Ask Yourself Monthly What are my major accomplishments this month? (Celebrate your successes!) __________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________ What did I do this month that was not working out for me? What can I do differently? __________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________ What do I want my life to look and feel like a month from now? What do I need to do to accomplish that? __________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________ What did my life look like a year ago at this time? (Acknowledge your growth!) __________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________ Things I am grateful for this month: __________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________

iloveinspired.com \ Winter 2021-22

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For DHS wrestler Naomi Simon celebrates a win over New Hampton. Decorah’s wrestling program has supported girls’ wrestling, funding gym time, coaching staff and uniforms, since 2019. / Photo courtesy Melissa Simon

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win

WRESTLING GROWS OPPORTUNITY FOR IOWA GIRLS BY KRISTINE KOPPERUD

I

n fall 2019, Decorah high school senior Meg Sessions, and her sister, Mairi, then a freshman, shocked their parents, Sara Peterson and Erik Sessions. “They came home one day and said, ‘You know, we’re going to join wrestling,’” Sara recalls. “And we said, ‘Um, OK?’ It was just left field because we have no background in wrestling. I’m an elementary teacher and Erik is an organic farmer who teaches violin,” Sara continues. “We’d never even been to a meet.” But the opportunity was there that year, thanks to incoming Decorah High School boys wrestling coach, Lee Fullhart, a Decorah native and Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee. While at the University of Iowa, he was a three-time All-American and won a national collegiate championship, then went on to a U.S. National title and was runner-up in Olympic and world team trials. Fullhart saw an opportunity to be on the front edge of parity, and started inviting female members of the student body to follow the program. When more girls see girls wrestling, he reasoned, more girls join the sport, learning skills and self-confidence with every move. It’s working. In Decorah and across the state, girls’ teams are doubling or better in numbers with each passing year. The January 2021 state tournament fielded 457 young women from 124 schools (even in the shadow of COVID-19), up from 87 wrestlers from 32 schools in January 2019. “We went to a couple boys’ meets the year before, and it looked like fun and good conditioning,” Meg explains. Both she and Mairi were looking to bridge the time between cross-country in the fall and running track in the spring. “They told us that if we could get six girls out for the team, then we could start one, so we started talking to people.” Joining them in recruiting was Naomi Simon, now a Decorah High junior, who picked up wrestling as a middleschooler on the heels of gymnastics, martial arts, and aerial training. “I think the feeling about starting a girls team was just, ‘Why not?’ If you like individual contact sports, this is the sport for you.” Continued on next page iloveinspired.com \ Winter 2021-22

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Clockwise, from above: Then senior DHS wrestler Meg Sessions destabilizes an opponent in her first (and only) season; Mairi and Meg Sessions’ parents, Sara Peterson and Erik Sessions, and their younger sister Nina, learning to “watch a match to the end,” says Sara of their trepidation; “That was me, about four seconds from getting pinned,” Mairi says of this take-down early in her career. Girls brand-new to the sport have to learn a lot of technique, strength and strategy in short order, she explains; Meg (left), Mairi (with bloody nose, after her third match of the day) and teammates regroup to encourage each other.

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Naomi’s dad, Matt, coaches her in exhibition events and USA Wrestling club championships and is also a Decorah assistant coach. “Colleges – including the University of Iowa – are building women’s programs, so this isn’t just a one-off interest,” says Matt, a former wrestler and longtime rugby player. “It’s about time girls had this opportunity, actually.” Starting a high school athletic program – of any kind – depends partly on having athletes to fill out a team and partly on the administration to fund it, a chicken-and-egg scenario. Iowa is relatively unique in having separate athletic unions for boys’ and girls’ sports, and at the time that wrestling started to rumble, the girls’ administration didn’t have guidelines by which to sanction it in schools, a petition process that’s still unfolding. This means that districts like Decorah have no statedirected budget to pay for gym time, coaching staff, busing, or even uniforms – unless they self-fund it. “And that’s exactly what we did,” says Decorah High math teacher Paige Hageman, now in her third year as Decorah’s girls’ program coach. “Our entire boys’ wrestling staff basically doubled their mat time, holding separate practices for the girls.” The private practice Paige Hageman was necessary both to teach technique to many literal newcomers and to build team confidence, wrestling similarly skilled peers, Paige says. Some students, like Naomi, grew up with parents, siblings, or cousins in wrestling or had even been boys’ team managers. Others, like Meg and Mairi, had the will and athleticism to learn but no frame of reference. “It’s not an understatement to say we didn’t know anything,” Mairi explains, “as in, ‘What’s a take-down?’ and ‘How many points for...what?!’ Our coaches would demonstrate something perfectly, and then I would try it, and it would be a mess,” she says with a grin. “And then, there’s putting it all together in a meet, where you have to remember all the rules and anticipate the technique.” Meg nods. “I think our first few meets, I basically did what they told me to do, without even understanding the strategy.” Their persistence paid off: Mairi is credited with the first win in the history of Decorah’s girls’ team, and both girls went on to win their weight classes in the conference meet. “Starting without experience isn’t always a bad thing, though,” Paige explains. “There are no bad habits to break. All you can do is learn, and get better. Our very first year, we practiced separately from the boys, which put a lot more time on the coaches, but the girls needed that space. The whole coaching staff was running practices before and after school. Our second year, we did more of a hybrid schedule, with practice with the boys a couple times/ week, and some just the girls. Wrestling the boys, who had been wrestling for years, brought the girls up to speed a lot.” The girls’ team also extended Naomi Simon talks with Coach Fullhart before the Continued next page

State finals match. / Photo courtesy Melissa Simon

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Winter 2021-22 / iloveinspired.com

DHS sophomore Dahlyn Headington takes down her opponent. / Photo courtesy Melissa Simon

their season to make up for lost time, practicing beyond their state tournament, right up until they had to get outside to run track in March. Technique isn’t the only learning curve, Paige continues. “This is going to sound weird, but one of the biggest things I have to coach, more than any actual move, is teaching girls to use their bodies to make others feel uncomfortable. Girls are often not used to being in control of their bodies or being intimidating. It’s empowering for girls to understand that, ‘No, I’m in control, and I’m going to make my opponent do what I want them to do.’ “Along with control is teaching girls good body awareness and to fight. I ask them, ‘What if you get caught on your back?’ I mean, there’s not a lot of technicality: you just have to fight to get off your back. At first the girls were like, ‘What do you mean I have to fight? Most of them just froze, and you could almost see them thinking, ‘I know if I just wait like this, it will be over.’ I say, ‘No! Hey! You are in control! You may cause pain, and that’s a good thing, because it means you’re in control.’” Often, parents of female wrestlers must climb that same learning curve, Sara Peterson explains. “I realized that at any given time during the season, one or both girls would have bruises on their face. I mean, I’m a teacher, where we talk all the time about being kind and not hurting each other, and this is...I’m not sure what to call it...controlled pain? I had to work up to being a parent who can keep watching [a match] to the end.” “But then I just think it’s so brave and amazing,” Sara continues. “Here it’s one-on-one, and all eyes are on you, and you’re out there in a skintight singlet, and everyone knows your weight. And they love it. They work so hard, Mairi says, they know each other by their sweat.” Girls’ wrestling has always had its detractors, adds Naomi’s mom, Melissa Simon, especially around issues of body image, weight, and the occasion when young women are pitted against boys in duals or meets. This naturally happens when an opposing school doesn’t have a women’s team and girls fill weight-class slots on the boys’ team.


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EVENT VENUES Above: Naomi Simon reacts to winning the 2021 state title at 145 pounds. Below: Former DHS wrestler Lauren Myli pins her opponent. Myli is now wrestling for Grand View University. / Photos courtesy Melissa Simon

This was almost always the case for 2018 South Winneshiek graduate Felicity Taylor. When she joined the wrestling team in 2013, there were very few girls competing. After learning the sport a bit late – she started in eighth grade – she ended up rocketing that same year to a state ranking at 106 pounds (against boys), and went on to win three straight conference titles and two state championships in high school. She became the first female in Iowa history to record more than 100 wins. In the off-season, she began competing in elite freestyle club wrestling tournaments, earning All-American status and finishing second in national individual competition, while helping her team to a firstplace finish in national duals and a third-place finish in national team competition. Now a math education major at McKendree University, in Lebanon, Illinois, Felicity has yet again made history as the first Iowan ever to win a national women’s collegiate championship, also helping her team to a win. Her success qualified her for both the Olympic trials and international U23 World Team trials, where she turned heads as one of the younger competitors. “My goal is to compete better,” she says of match-ups against elite wrestlers, Continued on next page

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2018 South Winneshiek graduate Felicity Taylor, now a math education major and wrestler for McKendree University in Illinois, competes in the 2021 Olympic team trials, following her collegiate national championship win. Taylor also qualified for and competed in the U23 World Team trials /2021 Photo courtesy Jim Thrall – www.MatFocus.com

many of whom she has wrestled before. “I go into it wanting to get back some close matches I’ve lost in the past,” she explains. Just having the prime-time experience will steel her nerves in future trials, she reasons. “I did not think I would be an athlete in college, let alone win a national title,” Felicity says, as though she’s still surprised. But those who know her determination might roll their eyes. Originally a gymnast and a runner, she tried out in eighth grade to be a wrestling cheerleader, having tagged along to follow her older brother’s career.

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Winter 2021-22 / iloveinspired.com

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Felicity Taylor / Photo courtesy Jim Thrall – www.MatFocus.com

“I didn’t make the squad, and that shock is what did it,” she says. “I became focused on making the team as a wrestler instead, especially when I heard rumors that I wouldn’t even make it through a practice. I thought, ‘I do backflips on a 4-inch beam. And you don’t think I have what it takes?’” Now years in the making, Felicity credits her success to her family, coaches, and small-town Driftless community. “If I had been anywhere else – any bigger school – I might not have had the chance I got,” she says. “They saw immediately that I was in it for the right reasons – to challenge myself and to improve – and they believed in me. It’s been awesome to give some recognition back by continuing to compete.” A big part of Felicity’s legacy is her influence on younger wrestlers coming to the sport now, Naomi says. “When I was in sixth grade, I saw Felicity wrestle, and she was just...” (Naomi sits back, grasping at the right accolade) “...amazing. I thought, ‘I’m going to do that.’” Seeing young women tear up the mat helps their parents shrug off skepticism, too, Melissa says of watching Naomi, who was state champion at 145 pounds in 2021 and who competes widely yearround. “I admit, I am NOT the quiet, calm mother in the stands,” Melissa says. “But often, it’s not the wrestlers themselves who take issue with ‘wrestling a girl’ or whether it’s ‘ladylike’ to be an aggressive athlete – it’s the adults. ‘Fragile masculinity’ is a thing. But kids are self-absorbed in the way only kids can be – they only know what’s right in front of them, and with every passing year, they forget about the time before girls wrestled, too. They’re just wrestlers, all of them.” Decorah, for its part, prioritizes having one team, not two separated by gender. “In our first year, Fullhart took the girls’ team to a dual at a school with a notoriously tough boys’ team but no girls’ team, so we went just to warm up with the boys and support the team,” Mairi Sessions explains. “At the end, some of our opponents refused to shake our hands, as though we shouldn’t be there. But I think that was the point. We were there, and we can’t be ignored. We’re a team that is actually close. These are very cool people to be around.” When it comes to wrestling and weight, coaches Matt and Paige explain that emphasis is on nutrition and maximizing each athlete’s potential. Continued on next page

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Naomi, who cross-trains as a swimmer for DHS, competes in freestyle club wrestling tournaments year-round. / Photo courtesy Melissa Simon

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“Unlike other sports – especially women’s sports – where the norm is to all look the same and where there’s some societal expectation of conformity, we actually need all shapes and sizes for the roster, from 106 pounds to 285,” Paige explains. And as girls get strong, Matt adds, the concept of ‘cutting weight’ often goes out the window. “More often, it’s difficult for girls just to maintain (not lose pounds). We talk a lot about making sure they’re drinking enough water and getting enough sleep. Once you figure out nutrition and how your weight works, you’re on your way to peak performance, and those are skills that will serve you for the rest of your life.”

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Decorah’s girls’ wrestlers watch a teammate on the mat. Decorah is one of more than 50 schools statewide to petition the Iowa Girls Athletic Union to sanction girls’ wrestling. / Photo courtesy Melissa Simon


On the wider stage, Decorah is among several Northeast Iowa communities that have formidable girls teams, including Osage, MFLMarmac, and Waverly-Shell Rock, which hosted the firstever girls’ state tournament in January 2019 (sponsored by the boys’ athletic union). And at the administrative level, support is building to sanction girls’ wrestling statewide, spear-headed by club wrestling organizations and champions within each school district. Charlotte Bailey Charlotte Bailey, women’s director at Iowa USA Wrestling and founder and coach at Female Elite Wrestling (FEW), a nonprofit and sanctioned USA Wrestling club in Iowa City, is arguably among Iowa’s strongest supporters of girls’ wrestling. She and her coach-husband George founded FEW to support girls’ development as wrestlers, advocate for equity in the sport, and assist athletes with access to national and international competition. “My daughter, Jasmine, wrestled,” the former gymnastics coach explains, “and yes, she was out for her high school team with a great coach, but her real opportunity in the sport was in freestyle wrestling – Olympic style – in the off-season, to prepare for college and a shot at Team USA. That led me to be more involved.’ “At the time (2011-14), there was a huge gap in opportunities for the female wrestler,” Charlotte says. “There were places where Jasmine was not welcome, and people went out of their way to dodge competing with her. I wanted to help change the culture and create a space where girls and young women had more opportunity, and in particular, opportunity to compete against other girls. FEW was founded to connect people across the state and provide practices for girls, led by women, with the goal of competing as a team. By creating all-girls wrestling divisions and stand-alone tournaments, FEW made it so girls new to wrestling or trying it out, didn’t have to go to a big national tournament nine hours away by car and spend three days in a hotel in order to wrestle their first match against a girl. We bring the opportunity to wrestle girls here.” Continued on next page

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Charlotte’s decade-plus of advocacy has since earned her induction to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and propelled individual FEW wrestlers to national and international recognition. She’s also at the nexus of efforts to shepherd girls’ wrestling in the schools. The Iowa Girls Athletic Union required a total of 50 high schools (or 15 percent of schools in the state) to submit a letter of commitment to the Iowa Wrestling Coaches & Officials Association (IWCOA) declaring support for their own high school program. Now that the quota has been met (as of October 30, 2021), an advisory group will work through regulatory details and scheduling to make sure what they’re proposing works for the schools that have already committed. Then the union could approve the sanctioning of girls’ wrestling and create a timeline for it to become official. “Where wrestling really grows and thrives across the country, is inside schools,” Charlotte concludes, “where the high school coaching staff can be there with those girls, in their corner. These athletes want to rep their schools, wear their school colors, and represent in championship competition. Recognition as a sanctioned sport makes all the difference in the world.” For the athletes, stepping onto the mat as an individual, backed by an enthusiastic team, is profoundly validating, Naomi Simon explains. “We put in the time, learning to control emotions and just wrestle to the best of our ability. I gain a lot of self-confidence from it,” she says, “and my teammates do, too.” Kristine Kopperud is a writer/editor, SBDC small business counselor, and end-of-life doula collaborating on a clearinghouse for informed and inspiring end-oflife care in the Driftless (a website! Soon!). When not cleaning her floors to avoid looming deadlines, she’s usually at the riding barn, watching her daughter’s horse lessons. Read more at kristinekopperud.contently.com.

HOW TO SUPPORT GIRLS’ WRESTLING IN IOWA!

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• Follow your local team. • Attend a meet. BONUS: Decorah High School is hosting a Girls’ Wrestling Tournament December 3, 2021! • Track the progress of #sanctionIowa and find resources for starting a girls program at femaleelitewrestling.org • Ask your state representatives to advance House Resolution 7 “urging the Iowa High School Girls Athletic Union to sanction girls wrestling as a high school sport.”


For win IOWA GIRLS’ WRESTLING BY THE NUMBERS*

Female wrestlers on Iowa high school teams

Iowa Wrestling Coaches & Officials Association girls’ state tournament numbers

2014: 36

(impacted by a snowstorm)

2015: 43 2016: 67

Year Athletes 2019 87 2020 350 2021 457

Schools 32 95 124

(impacted by COVID-19 & quarantine)

2017: 93 2018: 93

Ogden & Independence, IA added girls’ divisions, spurring growth in 2019. 12 Iowa schools offered girls’ divisions this year, and the season ended with the first Iowa Wrestling Coaches & Officials Association girls’ state championship at Waverly Shell-Rock.

2019: 188 2020: 566 2021: 660

MORE THAN 100 COLLEGES NATIONWIDE HAVE WOMEN’S WRESTLING PROGRAMS. In Iowa, colleges have slowly started adding women’s wrestling programs, with a big uptick in recent years: Waldorf 2010 Grand View 2019 Iowa Wesleyan 2020 William Penn 2020 Indian Hills 2020 Design by Inspire(d)

Just announced in 2021!

Iowa Western 2021 Iowa Central 2022 Simpson 2022 Wartburg 2022 University of Iowa 2023

*Source: Trackwrestling data by school, including weight, hydration, and academic eligibility


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PASS THE SUNFLOWER, PLEASE. BY CRAIG THOMPSON ARTWORK BY MARY THOMPSON

I

magine spending a January night outdoors with bare legs, no socks, and a thin feather quilt for warmth. By morning you’ve burned every gram of body fat trying to stay warm and the only order of business is finding enough food to endure the next night. Such is life for small birds during Driftless winters.

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Artwork by Mary Thompson

Our season of scarcity is a high stakes venture for chickadees, nuthatches, and a host of others. Long nights and plunging temperatures test their mettle. Biologists studying the winter food habits of kinglets (tiny, olive green songbirds) revealed they found just enough food during the day – typically spider and insect eggs – to make it through the night. Their quest for survival started anew with the rise of each cold, white sun. Over millions of years, only the toughest of birds survived the vicissitudes of long winters. The advent of bird feeding changed everything for our feathered friends, tipping the frosty scale in their favor. Henry David Thoreau, 19th century philosopher and naturalist, is widely recognized as the “first” bird feeder. Not one for complicated efforts, in 1854, Thoreau threw corn out an open window and enjoyed watching Blue Jays, chickadees, and a variety of furry creatures stop by for a bite. Little did he realize his generosity would launch a veritable bird-feeding craze 100 years hence (he may have unwittingly set the stage for drive-up windows, too). By 1920, commercial feeders had become widely available. Today, 50 million Americans are avid bird feeders, offering almost a billion pounds of seed a year using a dazzling variety of feeders. Does it matter? It does if you’re a hungry bird. Easy access to high calorie food takes the punch out of single digit temperatures, contributing to increased winter survival for “feeder” birds. Widespread feeding has also enabled range expansions for some species. Originally a “southern bird,” the Northern Cardinal arrived in Wisconsin in the early 1900s. By 1980, a sunflower-fueled expansion pushed the red bird into the Badger State’s northern tier of counties.

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The benefits of feeding extend beyond birds. Wild bird feeding is a portal to nature. Inexpensive and entertaining, it allows us to put away our phones, step off the information treadmill, and view life through the lens of a feathery friend. By reducing stress and fostering meaningful connections to nature, feeding birds is good for our mental health. But that doesn’t mean all is rosy in the bird-feeding world. By concentrating birds, feeders can spread disease. Poor feeder placement facilitates window collisions, a significant source of bird mortality in North America. They may also make birds susceptible to predation by hawks. Not to worry! You can experience the joys of successful bird feeding by following these tips.

SEED SELECTION Black oil sunflower is the seed of choice. Tasty and high in fat, it is the potato chip of the bird world. No one can eat just one. Safflower is always a hit, although more expensive. Goldfinches and redpolls (an Arctic finch and occasional winter visitor) are fond of Nyjer (thistle) seed. Ground dwellers like Mourning Doves and juncos prefer white millet scattered across the lawn or under trees and shrubs. Avoid generic mixes that include ingredients (milo, red millet) birds don’t eat. Suet. Simply irresistible to woodpeckers. Suet feeders should be mounted on or adjacent to trees to enable woodpeckers to dodge hungry hawks. Feeding pure suet (not including ingredients like fruit or seed) is preferred.

FEEDER PLACEMENT Feeders sprouting from the middle of a lawn will quickly become outdoor diners for hawks. Give birds a chance to escape by locating feeders near dense shrubs or a brush pile. As a bonus, well-placed feeders are likely to attract a greater variety of species.

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FEEDER HYGIENE Clean feeders every couple of weeks with a 10 percent bleach solution. Rinse thoroughly before setting them out to dry. Clean up spilled seed and hulls below feeders as needed to diminish the likelihood of attracting pests.

WATER Consider a birdbath with a heating element. Clean feathers provide better winter insulation. Watching a titmouse bath when the mercury is below zero is nothing short of breathtaking. Winter is the perfect season to experience the outdoors from your favorite indoor perch. So what are you waiting for? Fill those feeders, brew a cup of tea, and pull up a comfy chair. It’s time to go Zen with your backyard birds. Mary Thompson has degrees in Fine Arts and Education. She has delighted in the creative arts since her first box of crayons. A dyed in the wool people person, she teaches art lessons to adventurous adults using a variety of media. Craig Thompson is a professional biologist with a penchant for birds dating back to a time when gas was $0.86 cents a gallon. He prefers salted sunflower seeds.

iloveinspired.com \ Winter 2021-22

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Go you!

yes

no

Do you have koselig gear?

What the heck is koselig (koosh-lee)? It’s a Norwegian word/concept most closely translated as cozy & warm.

Is it above -10 out there?

yes

no

no

no

yes

Are you under the weather?

yes

Have you been outside yet today?

Are you feeling full of energy?

?

SHOULD inside I STAY OR SHOULD I GO outside


57

outside!

Put on your favorite tunes and dance it out in your kitchen!

Woot!

yes

Enjoy the fresh air and embrace another Scandinavian concept: frilufsliv, i.e. “open-air living.” It’s all about celebrating time outdoors, no matter the weather, for both your mental and physical wellbeing. Plus, the outdoors often leaves you feeling even more energetic!

GO

yes

Awesome!

no

um...

inside!

yes

Feel like tackling a project?

no

Grab a book or queue up a show, make a warm cup of tea or coffee, and relax! Remember: Rest is productive, and a vital part of being alive!

STAY

Spend some time making your house koselig!

Ha!

Feel like dancing?

no

Aw. Get well soon!


GO

outside!

Did the “Should I Stay Inside or Should I Go Outside” Flow Chart lead you out into the world, and now you’re looking for some activities?! Well, you’re in luck! There are lots of fun things going on in the Driftless this winter (some inside, some outside). Happy winter planning!

MAKE A SNOWMAN! GETTING ACTIVE! BREWING UP A GOOD TIME…

Our local establishments have a great winter lineup for weekly activities to keep you as social as you care to be – always worth checking ahead to confirm specific dates.

Let’s get moving this winter with these fun activities! Barneløpet – One of our favorite winter family activities is the

Toppling Goliath, Decorah

Taproom Bingo - Tuesdays at 6 pm Taproom Trivia - Sundays at 2 pm More info for each of these at www.tgbrews.com/events

annual Vesterheim / Sons of Norway Barneløpet Kids (3-13)crosscountry ski! Join in the fun Saturday, February 5, 2022 at the Decorah Community Prairie, 9:30 am onsite registration. Skiers must provide their own skis. (Check Decorah Bicycles for rental options!) It’s a great event for the entire family, complete with medals for all participants, as well as hot chocolate and homemade cookies by the fire afterwards. vesterheim.org

Impact Coffee, Decorah - Trivia every Thursday at 8 pm

Centerville Curling – Just north of La Crosse near a crossroads of

Pulpit Rock Brewing, Decorah – Bingo every third Wednesday of

the month (check Fbook!), & check out their amazing new outdoor “igloo” structures for super cozy winter sipping!

Convergence CiderWorks, Decorah – Sunday Social + live music & events regularly – check Fbook for weekly schedules. Empty Nest, Waukon – Mark your calendars for New Year’s Eve dinner theatre (Dec 31) and the annual “blind tasting” event February 18-20. Pivo Brewing, Calmar – check Fbook for regular events like trivia and bingo, plus creative classes and more!

Trempealeau County is the Centerville Curling Club. Check out one of the greatest ice sports, with leagues, “learn to” sessions, and “bonspiels”! centervillecurlingclub.com

Kickapoo Reserve – If you’re looking for an outdoor winter wonderland escape in the woods, check out the Kickapoo Valley Reserve, just outside of La Farge, Wisconsin (Viroqua area). Events include the Winter Festival on January 8, and additional monthly organized hikes. Details at: kvr.state.wi.us We are also lucky to have multiple ski and snow areas within a day’s drive of the region, including Mt. La Crosse Ski & Snowboard area, Whitetail Ridge Ski, Board, and Tube Area at Fort McCoy (Sparta, WI), Sundown Mtn. near Dubuque, Welch Village outside of Red Wing, MN, and Afton Alps near Hastings, MN. Round up the fam and take advantage of “Learn to” opportunities as well as discount days/ evenings and more.

GO SLEDDING!

TRY SNOWSHOEING! SIT IN THE SUNSHINE!

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Winter 2021-22 / iloveinspired.com


GO ON A WALK! WINTER GALLERIES! THE ARTS

Thank goodness the Arts don’t take the winter months off – in fact, these are some of the best months to take in exhibits and shows! Luther Center Stage Series, Decorah

Right In the Eye (Multimedia Cinema / Concert) – Friday, February 25, 2022 Goitse (Irish Music) – Saturday, March 12, 2022 The Brubeck Brothers Quartet (Jazz) – Friday, April 1, 2022 The Okee Dokee Brothers (Family Show) – 2pm, Saturday, April 23, 2022

OFF 2022 – Oneota Film Festival, Decorah

The Oneota Film Festival is back March 3-6, 2022. Mark your calendars and keep an eye on upcoming announcements this winter for featured films and opportunities to connect. www.oneotafilmfestival.org

ArtHaus – Decorah’s home for the arts is a spectacular

place to focus your creative energy through the colder (or any!) months. From open studio hours (with amazing included resources and equipment!), ceramics painting for the whole family, classes in pottery, painting, and so much more. Check out the schedule and dive in! www.arthausdecorah.org

Oneota Valley Community Orchestra – Join in for

“Prairescapes”, Sunday, February 27 at 3 pm at the Decorah High School Auditorium, including special guest Benjamin Yates on Trombone.

La Crosse Community Theatre – Whether you’re

a seasoned theatre fan, or have never visited the (gorgeous!) Weber Center in downtown La Crosse, you’d be in for a treat to catch a LCT show this winter. From “The Sound of Music” to “The Mountaintop” – and more! Check the schedule and grab your tickets for a perfect mid-winter’s escape. lacrossetheatre.org

New Minowa – Join Decorah’s New Minowa Players

for “Matilda” this January – based on the Roald Dahl story of a little girl with astonishing wit, intelligence and psychokinetic powers! Details and tickets: www.newminowaplayers.org

Englert Theatre – The Englert in Iowa City continues to

be one of our favorite regional spaces to see live music and events. With extensive renovations over the past two years, this gem is ready to welcome crowds back – catch the likes of Son Volt, Kaki King, Dirty Dozen Brass Band with Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas, Watkins Family Hour, Bettye Lavette, Bonnie Prince Billy, and more – right in the heart of Iowa City. Tickets and more englert.org

GATHER AROUND A FIREPIT!

Take in one of our great Driftless museums /galleries on a chilly winter day! Vesterheim – vesterheim.org “An Artist’s Journey: Carl Homstad 50 Years

“Innovators and Inventors” – with special Live online opportunities – check website for updates – and while you are there, look over the incredible offerings of the Vesterheim Folk Art School!

MN Marine Art Museum – mmam.org

Opening January 7 - Eric Mueller, Reset 2021: Minneapolis-based photographer takes a look back at 2021, through a photo-a-day exhibition. Opening January 28 - Cloth as Community: Hmong Textiles in America features Hmong flower cloth (or paj ntaub), reveal the radical upheaval of the Hmong refugee experience. Don’t miss the MMAM and Winona Symphony Orchestra’s “Water Music” series either – next performance in the gallery January 13 – “Bach at Sea”

Lanesboro Arts Presents – www.lanesboroarts.org

15th annual Holiday Sing Along with Dan Chouinard, Friday December 17, 7:30 pm, St. Mane Theatre “Dappled: Growing Up With Shadow & Light” Ceramic sculptures by Kordula Coleman – through December 10, 2021

Rochester Art Center – www.rochesterartcenter.org

“Homecoming Queen” – 4,000-square-foot exhibition that invites visitors to explore the wonderful world of Utica Queen, star of Season 13 “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” “Dometo Esse” – The voice of the average woman going through the COVID-19 pandemic by speaking to the ways she strives to conquer invisibility behind a common mask.

Pump House La Crosse – www.thepumphouse.org

Through January 8, 2022: Daniel McConnell: “Some Place Good & Deep” Visual Art + Poetry Whitney Lea Sage: “Land/Marks of Absence” Painting + Sculpture January 12 – February 26, 2022: David Montegue: “Movement. Balance. Change.” Mobile Sculptures Caitlin Bradford: “Blue Sky Research” Oil Paintings

African American Museum of Iowa, Cedar Rapids – www.blackiowa.org

“Mapping Exclusion – Redlining in Iowa” “Endless Possibilities “ – Permanent Exhibit of Iowa’s African American History

Dubuque Art Museum – www.dbqart.org

Through February 6, 2022: The Trees: Dubuque Camera Club Annual Exhibition Vietnam: The Real War – Photographs of the AP. Opening February 19: Art Nouveau Innovation: Danish Porcelain from an American Collector

MAKE A SNOW FORT! iloveinspired.com \ Winter 2021-22

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Kiva Iowa makes it easy to support small businesses with community-funded loans

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Winter 2021-22 / iloveinspired.com


personal, affordable style BY RENEE BRINCKS

L

aunching a small business requires serious legwork, from conducting market research and writing a business plan to choosing a name and location. Then, there’s the challenge of finding the money to make things happen. “Unless your company is a certain size or has a certain amount of revenue, it can be difficult to access funding,” says Kaitlin Byers, who helps entrepreneurs secure investments as Kiva Iowa’s capital access manager. “If you’re a woman, a person of color, or someone with low credit or no credit score, it’s more difficult. In some cases, it’s not even an option.” Kiva Iowa, a community-based microloan program introduced in June 2021, brings an innovative funding option to new and established entrepreneurs across the Hawkeye State. Approved business owners can secure zero-interest, no-fee loans of $1,000 to $15,000, with repayment terms extending up to 36 months. Community members, in turn, can support homegrown companies by lending as little as $25. “It’s similar to a GoFundMe, but with no fees. Everything the lender gives goes directly to the business. And, it’s not a donation. It is a loan. The loan repayment rate is 97 percent across the board, which gives you a sense of how well our vetting works and how successful these individuals are at the end of the process,” Byers says. Kiva Iowa is a partnership between San Francisco-based Kiva, a nonprofit that helps individuals lend money to companies and causes around the globe, and the New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative (NewBoCo). Named for the Cedar Rapids neighborhood it calls home, NewBoCo promotes entrepreneurship, innovation, and technical education in Iowa. The Iowa loan program is Kiva’s first statewide partnership. It grew out of NewBoCo’s efforts to help earlystage companies expand in Iowa cities and towns. “Ultimately, we wanted to provide resources not just for fast-growth startups, but also for main street businesses, mom-and-pop shops, and anybody else we might be missing. This program is a nice way to reach that subset of entrepreneurs, both locally in eastern Iowa and across the state,” Byers says.

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BUY OUR BOOK! Go around the world in 372 pages (46 countries, 6 continents) LIVE VICARIOUSLY, BE INSPIRED. Makes a great gift! To order a signed copy, email wardjackybudweg@yahoo.com. Copies can also be purchased from Dragonfly Books in Decorah & Amazon.

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BUILDING

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Sustainable Beautiful Efficient Continued on next page

David J. Wadsworth • 563.419.0390 • wadsworthconstruction.com iloveinspired.com \ Winter 2021-22

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+

How does it work?

STEP 1: APPLICATION

Start a loan application. Good applications have: • A clear business story • A great photo • A strong online presence

STEP 2: (1-15 DAYS)

Private fundraising period • Gather 10-40 friends to each lend as little as $25 • Prove your own community trusts you, before borrowing from the Kiva community

MORE THAN A LOAN: 0% interest Loans up to $15,000

STEP 3: (1-30 DAYS)

Public fundraising period • Your application is live on Kiva’s platform • Visible to 1.7 million lenders from the global Kiva community

STEP 4: REPAYMENT • Funds disbursed within 5 days of fully funding • 1st repayment due 30 days after disbursal • Regular monthly repayments thereafter Apply at newbo.co/kiva

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Winter 2021-22 / iloveinspired.com

Terms up to 36 months Gain exposure to 1.6 million potential customers and champions for your business Connect with individual lenders looking at make a positive impact by supporting small businesses


Decorah ­

Kaitlin Byers, Kiva Iowa’s capital access manager. / Courtesy photo

FOR BORROWERS AND LENDERS: THE BASICS

To participate in the Kiva Iowa program, entrepreneurs start by applying at newbo.co/kiva. The process, which typically takes 30 to 60 minutes, includes basic questions about the business and its finances. Applicants also upload a photo, share the story behind their product or service, and provide links to a relevant business website or social media profiles. Kiva Iowa applicants must be at least 18 years old and based in Iowa. While credit scores and past bankruptcies don’t disqualify applicants, entrepreneurs can’t be in active foreclosure or bankruptcy when they apply. Loans must be used for business purposes, and they’re not available for federally illegal activities or multi-level marketing operations. Team members from NewBoCo and Kiva review all completed applications, and Kiva determines the loan size and terms for businesses that get approved. Once approved, borrowers begin a 15day private fundraising period. During that time, they invite friends, family members, clients, and community members to pledge a loan of at least $25. Businesses must gather between 10 and 40 initial loans, depending on the total Kiva investment. “The private fundraising period is where borrowers say, ‘I believe in this business, and I’ve built a community around it,’” Byers says. “Before opening a campaign to 2 million global lenders, we want to make sure our borrowers have local endorsements.” Borrowers’ stories then go live on the Kiva website. For 30 days, lenders worldwide can learn about the business and extend loans of $25 or more. “Lenders might find a new mobile barbershop, or a great woodworking company looking to upgrade equipment, or a local restaurant that was hit hard during COVID-19. There’s a wide variety of businesses that people can view and support at any given time,” Byers says. Once lender pledges meet the Kiva-approved loan amount, borrowers receive the money via PayPal within five days. They start monthly repayments 30 days later, with no interest and no added fees. Loan repayment periods vary from a few months to three years. Lenders receive an alert once their investment has been paid back, and they’re invited to support additional businesses. Continued on next page

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A THRIFT STORE FOR EVERYONE!

“I’m constantly recycling the dollars in my own lending profile,” Byers says. “That’s why this works so nicely. Every lender on the Kiva platform has revolving loans that they can give to other businesses as past borrowers finish repayments.” Kiva borrowers in the U.S. have a 95 percent chance of being fully funded. If they fall short of their public funding goal, they’re welcome to reapply.

MAKING AN IMPACT IN IOWA

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Kiva Iowa is working with Small Business Development Centers, accelerator programs, and entrepreneurial service organizations in Iowa to reach business owners without access to traditional capital. In its first 10 weeks of operation, the program received applications from 13 zip codes across the state. More than 60 percent of those submissions came from women, and 26 percent of all early applicants identified as Black, Afro-Caribbean, African or AfricanAmerican. Another five percent were Latin or Hispanic American. To date, applicants include ventures such as a gluten-free bakery, a business selling specialty hair care products, an organization that provides tax services for immigrants, and other operations. “We’re in the early stages of marketing this, and we’re already getting tons of applications. Clearly, there is a need,” Byers says. “Crowdfunded loans fill a critical gap. Some individuals don’t feel comfortable walking into a bank, let alone being rejected by a traditional lender. This program helps them build confidence. It’s that first step on the financing ladder.” As it helps borrowers succeed, Kiva Iowa also strengthens community ties. “There’s the social impact piece, where you’re doing something good in your pocket of Iowa. You might even travel across the state to check out a new business that you read about on Kiva,” Byers says. “You’re also building rapport with these business owners. You’re getting their updates. You’re invested in a more impactful way than just going to buy a burger or a product here or there. It feels like you’re a part of their growth and their story.” Renee Brincks supports small businesses whenever possible – especially if they sell books, beer, ice cream, or pizza. Read more of her work at reneebrincks.com.

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TO SUPPORT IOWA BUSINESSES

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Want to direct your end-of-year giving toward local businesses? Ready to support the startups bringing new goods, services, and jobs to Iowa? You can build your Kiva Iowa lending profile with as little as $25! To search small businesses and start supporting entrepreneurs, visit kiva. org/lend.

Winter 2021-22 / iloveinspired.com

TO APPLY FOR FUNDING Looking to launch or expand your own business? Visit newbo.co/kiva to learn about Kiva Iowa, or to start the application process.


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CELEBRATING 25 YEARS IN DECORAH!

Jessica Pfohl Paisley raised $8,500 through Kiva Iowa. / Courtesy photo

"Serving you from day one." – Market President Rick Burras & Vice President Rhonda Schnitzler

KIVA IOWA SMALL BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT

Kiva Iowa’s first success story is Jessica Pfohl Paisley, founder of the Dubuque-based publication Amidst. The print and digital magazine covers art, culture, design, and fashion in 12 Midwest states, with a corresponding online community that connects regional artists, makers, and creative minds. In August 2021, Pfohl Paisley’s Kiva Iowa campaign raised $8,500 to support the magazine’s first print run. She reached her private fundraising goal in three days and completed the public phase just two weeks later. “I posted about this on my personal social media a couple times, but the Kiva community took care of about 75 percent of my fundraising. Kiva reaches a global audience, and a lot of people who read my story decided to contribute. The crowd-lending concept really works,” she says. Could Kiva Iowa funding be right for your small business? Here, Pfohl Paisley shares three pieces of advice for entrepreneurs interested in applying. 1. Do your research. “Be prepared. See what other entrepreneurs have posted on their Kiva profiles. Think carefully about the wording and the photo that you use. You have to communicate your goals really clearly.” 2. Engage your audience. “Utilize your network. It’s a hard thing to do, sometimes, but people want to support you and they don’t know how unless you put it out there. I wasn’t comfortable doing that right away, but once I did, we met our funding goal almost overnight.” 3. Encourage others to pay it forward. “When people I knew wanted to invest in this project, I suggested they get involved through a Kiva loan. They’ll get that investment back, and they can repurpose their money by supporting another company down the road.”

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PROBITUARY – A NOTICE OF LIFE!

Irma P. Johnson

Interviewed by daughter Kathy Johnson

M

y mom has always been a role model for me and continues to be at the age of 96. We are mother and daughter but also good friends. I admire her routine of reading the newspaper, completing the daily crossword puzzle, exercising, voting in every election, keeping in touch with family and friends through phone calls and email, and playing scrabble games with friends on the computer. She is the mother of three children, five grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. Growing up, friends were always welcomed at our house and her home remains the place friends are warmly invited in for a visit and a cup of coffee. What was it like growing up in the 1930s? Those were Depression Years and I was in grade school in Tripoli, Iowa, where I was born in 1925. Everyone was poor together. Everyone pulled together, stretched pennies, had big gardens, and helped each other. I remember the many childhood diseases that prevailed because we had no vaccines and isolation was the prescribed treatment. Chicken pox, measles, mumps, polio, and whooping cough were the diseases from which I recovered. I escaped small pox and scarlet fever. Tell me about your school years and work life. I graduated from Tripoli High School in 1943 and all the boys in class went immediately into the armed services. I went off to college at Iowa State Teachers College (now UNI). Waves and Air Corps cadets were also being trained on campus so we were housed four students in a room built for two. I had decided to major in “Food and Nutrition: Dietetics” and transferred to Iowa State University for my last two years. An internship at the University of Michigan Hospital was followed by my first job at University Hospital in Iowa City. That’s where I met Gene Johnson through a mutual friend in 1951. We were married in 1952 and went on to live in La Porte City for 14 years where Gene taught English in high school and where our three children; Barbara, Kathy, and Jack were born. In 1966 we moved to Decorah and I was able to work in my own profession as Hospital Dietitian at Winneshiek County Memorial Hospital for 20 years. My favorite time of day was the hour after noon trays were served and I would visit patients as they ate, checking likes and dislikes and always trying to teach the value of good nutrition, especially two cups of milk per day. I practiced what I preached and believe good nutrition and good genes have contributed to my long life. What’s the best advice your parents gave you? I don’t remember them giving me advice. They showed me by example that honesty was the best policy and The Golden Rule was the one to live by. Irma with her Cyclone-loving kids: Jack, Barbara and Kathy.

What’s hard about being 96 years old? Losing some mobility and missing friends.

What has brought you pleasure throughout your life? Music has always been a large part of my life. I began piano lessons at age five, cornet lessons in seventh grade, and eventually pipe organ lessons in college, thanks to a grandmother who offered to pay for them. I enjoyed teaching piano lessons to eight students in La Porte City for my “egg” money. Family vacations provide lots of good memories. Sometimes we rented a fold down camper and especially enjoyed state and national parks, presidential libraries, state capitol buildings and museums. I enjoyed looking for my German relatives and especially enjoyed a two-week river cruise on the Rhine and Danube Rivers from Amsterdam to Budapest. In later years I aimed to visit all 50 states and I did. What would you want to have if stranded on a deserted island? Dark chocolate, water, two decks of cards, and three bridge players. What have been important constants throughout your life? Family, books, music, friends, volunteering and traveling.

Do you know someone you’d love to interview for this page? Let us know! aryn@iloveinspired.com

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