Lavender Magazine 752

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LAVENDER MARCH 21-APRIL 3, 2024 4 ISSUE 752 March 21-April 3, 2024 CONTENTS OUR LAVENDER 8 From the Editor 9 A Word in Edgewise OUR SCENE 10 Chanhassen Dinner Theatre Welcomes Monet Sabel as Carole King in “Beautiful” 26 North Shore Feature: Rediscovering The Gitchi-Gami State Trail OUR LIVES 30 Senior Living: An Ally’s Call To Action - The LGBTQ+ Elders with (Dis)abilities Demands Collective Liberation OUR RESOURCES 32 Community Connection 33 The Network 12 26 ON THE COVER Monet Sabel. Photo by Dan Norman 26: Photo reprinted with Permission, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 12: Photo courtesy of BigStock/pdb1, 24: Photo courtesy of Dominique Leach, 30: Photo courtesy of BigStock/Prostock-studio. Midwest Travel Issue 12 Hello, Columbus 16 Border Crossing: Explore Wisconsin This Spring And Summer – A Journey Through Its Cities 18 Improving Our Experience At MSP 20 Why You Should Visit St. Louis Park 24 A Smokin’ Good Time in Chicago - Lexington Betty Smokehouse 30 24
Show off your true colors in St. Pete/Clearwater. Home to America’s Best Beaches, gayborhoods like the Grand Central District, the super LGBTQ-friendly town of Gulfport and St. Pete Pride, Florida’s largest pride festival. Let’s shine—plan a getaway at LET’S BE OURSELVES.


Managing Editor Randy Stern 612-461-8723

Editorial Assistant Linda Raines 612-436-4660

Editor Emeritus Ethan Boatner

Editorial Associate George Holdgrafer

Contributors Lakey Bridge, Buer Carlie, Natasha DeLion, Alyssa Homeier, Terrance Griep, Elise Maren, Jen PeeblesHampton, Linda Raines, Gabrielle Reeder, Alexander Reed, Gabrielle Reeder, Madison Roth, Jamez L. Smith, Susan Swavely, Carla Waldemar, Todd P. Walker, Emma Walytka, Spencer White


Vice President of Sales & Advertising

Barry Leavitt 612-436-4690

Account Executives

Nathan Johnson 612-436-4695

Richard Kranz 612-436-4675

Francis McLean 612-217-1776

Advertising Associate George Holdgrafer

Sales & Event Administration

Linda Raines 612-436-4660

National Sales Representatives

Rivendell Media 212-242-6863


Creative/Digital Director Mike Hnida 612-436-4679

Photographer Sophia Hantzes


Publisher Lavender Media, Inc.

President & CEO Stephen Rocheford 612-436-4665

Chief Financial Officer Doug Starkebaum 612-436-4664

Administrative Assistant Michael Winikoff 612-436-4660

Distribution Metro Periodical Partners 612-281-3249

Founders George Holdgrafer, Stephen Rocheford

Inspiration Steven W. Anderson (1954-1994), Timothy J. Lee (1968-2002), Russell Berg (1957-2005), Kathryn Rocheford (1914-2006), Jonathan Halverson (1974-2010), Adam Houghtaling (1984-2012), Walker Pearce (1946-2013), Tim Campbell (1939-2015), John Townsend (1959-2019)

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Lavender Advertising Entire contents copyright 2024. All rights reserved. Publication of the name or photograph of any person, organization, or business in this magazine does not reflect upon one’s sexual orientation whatsoever. Lavender Magazine reserves the right to refuse any advertising. This issue of Lavender® Magazine is available free of charge during the time period published on the cover. Pickup at one of our distribution sites is limited to one copy per person. Letters are subject to editing for grammar, punctuation, space, and libel. They should be no more than 300 words. Letters must include name, address, and phone number. Unsigned letters will not be published. Priority will be given to letters that refer to material previously published in Lavender Magazine. Submit letters to Lavender Magazine, Letters to the Editor, 5100 Eden Ave, Suite 107, Edina, MN 55436 or e-mail For our Privacy Policy, go to privacy-policy Lavender 2016 Magazine of the Year Volume 29, Issue 752 • March 21-April 3, 2024 LAVENDER MARCH 21-APRIL 3, 2024 6 lawyers you know. Locally sourced advocacy and advice from 612.339.7121 Custody & Parenting Time • Child Support Dissolution • Spousal Maintenance Complex Valuation • Domestic Partnership Adoption • Third Party Custody • Appeals DREAM V ISION PLAN Relational Financial Planning Roya Moltaji, CFP ® , ChFC ® , CASL TM , CAP ® , BFA TM Financial Planner, Financial Services Representative 100 S 5th St, Suite 2300, Minneapolis MN 55402 952-769-2126 WWW.ROYAMOLTAJI.COM California Insurance License # 0L09841 Securities and investment advisory services offered through qualified registered representatives of MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. Roya, LLC is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC, or its affiliated companies. OSJ Office: (612) 333-1413 CRN202503-2101396 Celebrating 20 Years in Business! Call Roya today at

The Road Beckons

Our Minnesota life begins with winter. The dreaded cold with piles of snow and sheets of ice…

Wait a minute! Didn’t we experience a Super El Niño? Only a few days of below freezing temperatures and a few other days of snow… and that’s it!

I’m sure we’ll get the statistics from WCCOTV’s Mike Augustyniak or KSTP-TV’s Matt Serwe, but I’m certain that’s what our winter felt like.

It was good enough for a drive down to Chicago to do some work down there this past February. It was mostly sunny all the way down from Minnesota into the South Loop. Although, the temperatures certainly dropped on the way home.

Granted, it was a clear drive. No precipitation nor major road incidents. No drama.

Let’s think about the last time you traveled anywhere. How was it?

Was it the time of your life? Did you accomplish anything while you were away? Was the destination everything you dreamed of?

Or, did you encounter any problems? Lost luggage? A disturbance by a fellow traveler? Drama?

We certainly went through a lot these past few years. I know I have. If you read this column over these past two years, then you know that I dealt with some health issues that have categorized me as a disabled person. I even talked about how being disabled has changed the way I travel.

Has it prevented me from going anywhere? Not really. Nor should it prevent you from trav-

eling if you are a fellow disabled LGBTQ+ person.

I just want to get that out of the way. From here, it’s all uplifting.

We, as a culture, love to travel. Your social media posts show it. That sunny disposition at some desirable spot somewhere on this globe – and the reactions you got from those posts.

Reactions ranging from support to jealousy. We know you ignore the latter variety. Good for you! Live your best life – and don’t forget to pay your bills from your latest adventures!

On another tangent, yes, the cost of travel is up since the COVID-19 Pandemic. You can still get deals, but they are now few and far between.

What you’re about to read is our annual Midwest Travel issue. To concentrate on localized travel across the region we call home. To provide options on not just getting there – but, being there.

If you’re going to be there, get ready to get going. No matter how you do so, the road beckons. 

Photo by Randy Stern

Irwin and Beckett: Kinetic Semantics at Play

Don’t let March 24th slip by without having experienced Bill Irwin’s one-clown Guthrie performance, On Beckett. Full-on aficionado or only a sketchily recall of no-show Godot, you’ll be riveted the full 81 minutes.

Tony Award winner Irwin (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) trained at the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Clown College and played prodigiously from Broadway to Sesame Street; co-starred with Nathan Lane…and Elmo. With slither-and-slide, rubber-bandy physicality Irwin leads his Guthrie audience to deep Beckett waters coaxing them to drink–or sip.

Irwin, he confesses in full disclosure, has been in thrall to Beckett for some five decades, has been quoted as saying “Waiting for Godot has been a spine through my life. I can’t escape it.” There is always more to glean from Beckett’s words, and concerning On Beckett Irwin confides that his “baggy pants comedy and Samuel Beckett’s writing…just seem to connect.”

Beckett, Irwin reminds us, born in 1906, was of the first generation raised in the shadowy flickerings of silent films, a new world encompassing vaudeville, slapstick, broad comedy, chases, and pratfalls. Beckett and family attended the variety theater, outings that emerged in Beckett’s later

precision concerning stage direction, costuming, and physical “business.” Beckett made his first–and only–visit to America in 1964 to collaborate with silent film star Buster Keaton on Beckett’s sole filmscript, Film

Beckett left Ireland for France–Paris specifically–and wrote a great percentage of his work originally in French. Many feel his experiences in the resistance during WWII–having to flee Paris to escape arrest–contributed to the tenor of his works.

Irwin’s On Beckett segues between recitation/performance of Beckett’s writing, including excerpts from Texts for Nothing, The Unnamable, Watt, and Waiting for Godot (whence my urgings of paragraph one) and personal comments. Hearing Irwin utter aloud texts he’s spoken on stage for decades ignites a spark, a glimmer of their meaning and promise. Whether I understood each passage or not, they came alive with motion and a meaning “precise but undefinable” that Beckett’s language conveys.

This precision of Beckett’s language, the necessary accuracy of its delivery, clarified Irwin’s sly aside referring to the vigilance of Beckett’s estate and the swiftness of its retributive sword: until the master’s words slip into public domain, they’re to

be delivered in the same number and order as they were written.

During the performance, as Irwin recites or explains the importance of bowler hats, dons baggy–then baggier–pants, then, lays an Ariadne’s thread from a Beckett phrase to words of Dante’s and Milton’s and on through William Styron’s Darkness Visible; he is in near constant motion–what one author titled an article, “The Zany Labor of the ‘Physical Intellect’”

Irwin’s deliverance of part of his three-page speech as noosed slave Lucky–performed in the 1988 Lincoln Center Theater production of Waiting for Godot– is like witnessing Sasquatch break the fourth wall, squared and cubed by the knowledge that the characters Estragon and Vlaimir, attempting to physically stifle him, were played by Steve Martin and Robin Williams, respectively. Muses Irwin, “I can still see Robin Williams flying towards me in midair.”

My take-home epiphany was that while I may not ever fathom Beckett–even Irwin doesn’t make that claim–Irwin’s spoken cadences of Beckett’s words unlocked the possibility of luring them within my ken.

Don’t forget: Till March 24, McGuire Proscenium Stage 

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Chanhassen Dinner Theatre Welcomes

Monet Sabel as Carole King in “Beautiful”

Chanhassen Dinner Theatre has officially opened its spring and summer show: Beautiful: A Carole King Musical. The initial run of Beautiful on Broadway opened at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre in 2014 and continued through 2019. In that time, it has gained a reputation as a fun show brimming with beloved music.

I had the opportunity to speak with Monet Sabel, who is fresh off a couple different productions of Beautiful and is currently Chanhassen Dinner Theatre’s Carole King. Her enthusiasm for and experience with the role and the show itself is both infectious and impressive. I left our conversation certain that this will be another enjoyable iteration of an empowering production.

Beautiful follows Carole King throughout her career in the style of most jukebox musicals. It utilizes some of her most beloved songs to tell the story of her personal and professional life. “Jukebox musicals are a fun way to get audiences to the theater because they already know the songs,” says Sabel. “That is overwhelmingly my main goal. I want people to come and see theater.”

Early on in our conversation Sabel pointed out that “even if you don’t know Carole King, these songs are classics for a reason.” King often

wrote music for other musicians over the course of her career. Because of this, even people who think they are unfamiliar with Carole King will find several familiar favorites in this show.

“There are so many songs that we know and love that [Carole] has written,” says Sabel. “I always say get ready for the surprises.” Sabel mentions Kylie Minogue’s Locomotion as an example of a song that might not be intuitively attributed to King. Similarly, hits like You’ve Got a Friend, Some Kind of Wonderful, and (You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman are all a part of King’s repertoire and therefore a part of the show.

Of course, Beautiful also resonates with fans who are familiar with Carole King and who love her as a person and a musician. “The show itself is a wonderful story about one woman’s resilience and talent and navigating her life through this time when women still didn’t really have a voice of their own,” says Sabel. “[Her life] is parallelled in her music. The way she, in the second act, sings all of her songs from Tapestry is really a cathartic journey to go on with this amazing songwriter.”

Carole King’s career as a singer-songwriter spans decades and has undeniably left a mark on the industry. King is known for her heartfelt lyrics and catchy melodies. Her journey from a young, aspiring songwriter to who she is today through a jukebox musical like Beautiful allows audiences to rediscover her music and gain insight into the woman behind the songs.


The show has a lot of depth to offer, according to Sabel. “I have never spent so much time digging into a catalogue of show. It’s so personal,” Sabel says. “Every time I can learn something new about her and myself…Wherever I am in my personal life. It unlocks something new every time I do it…And I never get tired of this music.”

Sabel has been drawn to Beautiful since she graduated college. “I was obsessed…I really wanted to be in it in some capacity,” she says. The reasons for its pull were multifaceted. “I did always love Carole King…my grandmother was the first one to show me Tapestry,” she muses, “but I also think…Beautiful was the first show where it was a funkier sound [than the stereotypical Broadway musical]. Jessie Mueller was doing amazing things with her voice to emulate this singer of the 70s. It felt very different and accessible, and I was like ‘that’s how I like to sing.’” Sabel is quick to concede that the musical stylings of Broadway shows has diversified a lot in the last decade, but Beautiful remained a dream production of hers.

Sabel auditioned for the show over and over again – to the point where she says her friends gently suggested that she stop trying. She didn’t, and since she landed a spot in the 2021 Broadway tour she has been consistently working on the show in various roles and on various productions. Most recently she was working on another production of Beautiful in California.

Her recent experience with the musical has given her a deep familiarity with Beautiful and has only strengthened her attachment to it. That 2021 tour was especially impactful for a variety of reasons. “It was a gift [to be on that tour] in so many ways,” Sabel explains. “First, just the payoff of finally being cast in the show. And then going on my first tour with a lot of veterans of the show…our Carole and Cynthia had been in the original Broadway cast…It was also the first show back after the pandemic for a lot of theaters, so people were just excited to be there – especially for such an uplifting show.”

When I ask Sabel if there is anything she wants to make sure is communicated about the show to potential theater goers her response is immediate. “I hope my enthusiasm has shone through,” she says. “Carole King is the reason why we have great singers today.”

Sabel has spent the last several years immersed in the intricate layers of King’s life and music and she continuously finds new depths to explore. Her ongoing journey of self-discovery intertwined with the portrayal of a music icon invites the audience to embark on this journey alongside

“You will be inspired,” she says.

Beautiful opened on March 1 and runs through September of 2024. Tickets are available by phone through the box office or at the website listed below. 

Beautiful: A Carole King Musical

Running now through September

Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, Chanhassen, MN

Hello, Columbus

Spend half an hour with a local historian—especially if he boasts the gift of gab (Cue in Ohio native Doug Motz, one-time owner of a gay bookstore and partyplanner extraordinaire) and you become an instant insider in the city you’re visiting—in this case, Columbus: the state’s vibrant capitol.

“From the outset,” Doug instructs, “it was a planned city—a transportation hub with a great university. It depended on friendliness. It’s a blue bubble in a sea of red which celebrates an open gay lifestyle.”

I basked in that friendliness vibe at the iconic ’20-s style Hotel LeVeque, anchoring downtown’s main drag and overlooking its riverfront, paved with inviting walking paths. Case in point: the front-desk surprised me with coffee delivered to my room after I’d moaned about Starbucks’ closure on a Sunday night. Another evening, when starvation set in at 6 o’clock, long before my 8 PM dinner reservation, a gift dish of mac & cheese arrived. Later, Monica, the concierge, alerted me to a moving Holocaust Memorial on the grounds of the nearby State Capitol that I might otherwise have missed. The night I dined at The Keep—the hotel’s restaurant—with friends who had to rush to a theater performance, its host provided (gratis) an after-dinner drink and invited me to linger.

By morning, it’s off to the Worthington ‘hood, waving to the city’s namesake statue frozen mid-conquest on the capitol grounds as we sped

by. Breakfast at Joya’s (you’ll spot it by the long line snaking down the sidewalk) celebrates the Bengali food of its owner, who left medical school, to his parents’ astonishment, to launch a career as a chef instead. It won him a James Beard nomination and me a heaping plate of Not Pad Thai—an addictively delicious tangle of rice noodles mined with char siu pork, then blanketed with an omelet and zingy chili crisp.

After peeks into the neighborhood’s sweet parade of indie shops, we sped to Hills Market, a gourmand’s treasury of elite purchases for your pantry, to meet Rezi and Sharareh Beyegan, a lesbian couple who fled their native Iran in 2013, moments before the police made good on their threat to kill them. Now they’re safe (and married) in welcoming Columbus, cooking their splendidly tender kebabs in their market kitchen called Charmy’s Persian Taste.

(T to B) Cityscape of Columbus. Photo courtesy of BigStock/CEW. The Hotel LeVeque. Photo courtesy of BigStock/Susan Montgomery
Continued on page 14
Tue-Sat 11-6 Sun Closed Mon

Got a taste for humor, too? You’ll find it at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum, on the Ohio U campus, where comic-strip godfather Milton Caniff, creator of the classic strip “Terry and the Pirates,” went to school. Not only can visitors follow the evolution of Caniff’s own work, complete with editor’s corrections, but those of cartoonists whose works collector Ireland amassed: View Pogo, Dick Tracy, Captain America, Peanuts—even the way-off-the-wall Mad Magazine collection. (Here’s one cartoon for you: A couple of Martians emerge from their flying saucer and greet a local: “No, we don’t need your leader. We just need gas.”

Laughed all the way to dinner. Tonight we enjoyed it at Guild House, a room of understated chic and superior service devised by local restaurateur Cameron Mitchell. This one’s a winner, starting with the slice of pink grapefruit on the rim of my Buffalo Trace cocktail spritzed with grapefruit juice. Do. Not. Miss the sweet potato rolls, no matter what your carb -counting conscience tries to tell you. Then proceed, perhaps, to the ricotta gnocchi tossed with fava beans, baby carrots and earthy mushrooms, a promise of spring. Proceed with sea bass in lobster broth mined with veggies and chili oil. Or the raisin-and-caper-clad salmon Romanesco. Or how about the pork couched with sour-apple cabbage and poached apricots? You get the idea: You can’t go wrong.

Think we could never eat again? Think again. Sunday brunch at Fox in the Snow in the gaycentral German Village neighborhood, delivered us into the hands of a pastry maker from heaven before a visit to the National Veterans Memorial and Museum. It’s a moving journey through key moments in veterans’ lives via personal accounts as we follow a timeline designed to bridge the gap between us civilians and those who valiantly served their country.

We steered next to Parsons Avenue to poke into Two Dollar Radio, a bookstore-cum-coffeehouse launched by a feisty indie publisher to showcase “voices too loud to ignore,” including many LGBTQ and BIPOC writers with their vital messages.

From flights of books to flights of beer, and the place is Wolf’s Ridge Brewing Company. My trio of sips included Daybreak, a coffee-vanilla cream ale; Office Party, an Imperial pastry stout; and Top Shelf Dire Wolf, an Imperial stout, my fave.

Fortified, we steered back to German Village, all tidy bricks patrolled by ardent dog-walkers, to ring the bell at Keny Gallery, an elite private gallery in one of those dressed-for-success brick homes, where it represents often-overshadowed American women masters such as Alice Schille. We’ll see more of her later at the city’s Art Museum, along with works of local Black Outsider artist Eljah Pierce, whose paintings I’ll snatch up when I win the lottery. Duff Lindsay’s Lindsay Gallery, in the Short North stretch of town, also salutes another trove of Elijah’s bold, and personal carved, then painted works, along with more Outsider art at Insider trading prices. How about the black-on-white street scene composed, the artist indicates, of “spit and soot”?

Then it’s on to the Columbus Art Museum itself (free on Sundays), to revel in the works of still more Outsiders (the photography of Diane Arbus and Cindy Sherman, for example) as well as mighty mainstreamers, from Edward Hopper to Dale Chihuly; from Cezanne to Degas to Renoir and Monet.

Dinner in German Village’s classic standby, Barcelona, provided a largesse of tapas and paellas on the menu as well as unique entrees such as our plate’s composition of quick-seared scallops partnered with bits of bacon, mushrooms, baby limas, dates (the secret sauce at work), chilies and lots-lots-lots of cream.

Final day (sob!) before Delta’s nonstop home, starting with breakfast at Katerina’s Too to inhale her “world-famous” pancake batter balls, plus a hefty breakfast sandwich off her “Latin leaning” menu with its “Southern slant.” We spend that morning blending in with inthe-know locals, trolling the boulevards for diamonds on the rough set out as trash. My companion’s find: a wrought-iron bistro table set, for free; mine, a snarky book on bad happenings in good operas. We next braked for a bricks-and-mortar thrifters’ paradise called Flower Child (find your velvet smoking jacket, sassy silk bow ties, kitchenware from the Forties).

“Goodbye Columbus,” intoned that 1969 film’s college football hero as he moved away after graduation. But look at all he missed! To say hello to Columbus, chart your stay by logging onto 


German Village (plus Short North)

Is the city’s gay magnet. Lesbians flock to the part of the city called Clintonville, anchored by the hangout named Slammer’s, where beer and pizza reign.


Parades as a dance club, packing the crowds for over a decade.

Club Diversity

Famed for its martinis as well as a popular piano bar, boasts a chill and relaxing vibe.


Carries through with its military theme, backed by karaoke nights.

to R) The Veteran’s Memorial Museum, Short North Arts District. Photos courtesy of BigStock/pdb1

Self-directed services—funded by Medical Assistance waivers—offer individuals who want to stay in their homes and communities the ability to receive care from a family member, friend or other person they trust.

In Minnesota, hiring paid caregivers and managing the administrative tasks involved, like paperwork, payroll and financial reporting, requires the services of a professional Financial Management Service (FMS). PICS has served as an FMS provider for more than 20 years.

“The key value of PICS is the freedom for participants to direct their own services that best fit their needs,” said Alaina Ericksen, PICS’ senior director. “Our services empower individuals to live their best lives, supported by caregivers they know and trust.”

In addition to choosing caregivers and setting their schedules, selfdirected services offer more flexibility in setting caregiver wages. Funding to buy goods and services, like home modifications for increased accessibility, is another benefit.

Contact us today to get started.

Your Choices. Our Support. | 651.967.5060 PICS services: CDCS | CSG | IHS | Private Pay PICS is a subsidiary of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. Self-Directed Home Care Services: Offering Minnesota Families Choice
supports individuals with disabilities and older adults.
Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55409

Border Crossing Explore Wisconsin This Spring And Summer – A Journey Through Its Cities

Wisconsin unfurls a panorama of varied landscapes and cultural richness, inviting travelers to delve into its unique cities and natural splendors. From the bloom-dusted cherry orchards of Door County to the Titletown streets echoing with the legacy of the Green Bay Packers, the state presents a kaleidoscope of experiences. These narratives not only celebrate Wisconsin’s picturesque beauty and communal vibrancy but also pay homage to the deep-seated American traditions woven into the fabric of each locale. As the seasons transition from the rejuvenating freshness of spring to the lively abundance of summer, Wisconsin stands as a testament to exploration, promising adventures that resonate with the spirit of discovery.

Door County: A Symphony of Nature and Tradition

Door County, often celebrated as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” is a place where natural beauty meets rich tradition. Spring ushers in a delicate display of cherry blossoms, transforming the peninsula into a blush-tinted paradise, while summer brings the warmth of community gatherings and the savory delight of fish boils—a local culinary tradition that unites visitors and residents around steaming pots of fresh, local fish, corn, potatoes, and onions, cooked over an open fire of course with a piece of Door County cherry pie for dessert. The peninsula’s lighthouses stand as historic sentinels, guiding explorers through scenic landscapes and into cozy towns brimming with art, culture, and the welcoming spirit of the Midwest. Consider joining a guided cherry picking tour in the lush orchards, a perfect family activity or a serene solo adventure. Summer evenings beckon with outdoor concerts at the Door Community Auditorium, where local and visiting artists perform under the stars.

Eat: Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant, where the charm of goats grazing on the roof complements the authentic Swedish dishes served below in the restaurant.

Play: Biking through Peninsula State Park, where trails offer magnificent views of the shoreline, dense forests, and historic landmarks.

Stay: White Gull Inn, where guests are enveloped in the warmth of Door County’s hospitality and the legendary fish boil becomes a memorable feast.

Lake Geneva: Where Elegance Meets the Waters

Lake Geneva captivates with its blend of natural beauty and Gilded Age glamor. The spring and summer seasons highlight the crystal-clear lake, bordered by historic mansions and lush gardens,

remnants of the city’s past as a haven for Chicago’s elite. Visitors are drawn to the lake for boating, swimming. The bustling downtown area, with its boutiques, galleries, and cafes, pulses with the life of a community that cherishes its picturesque setting and rich history. Lake Geneva shines in the summer with activities that blend leisure and luxury. Beyond boating and swimming in its clear waters, visitors can enjoy zip-lining through lush forests, golfing on championship courses, or attending the Lake Geneva Wine Festival.

Eat: Barrique Wine & Brew Bar, a cozy spot perfect for unwinding with a selection of fine wines and craft beers.

Play: Embark on the Lake Geneva Cruise Lines Mail Boat Tour, a unique tradition where mail is delivered to lakeside properties in a display of nautical skill and local lore.

Stay: Maxwell Mansion, offering guests a taste of historical luxury with modern comforts, nestled in the heart of this tranquil yet dynamic city.

Elkhart Lake: A Retreat of Natural Splendor

Elkhart Lake, renowned for its clear, springfed waters, is a sanctuary of tranquility and beauty. This small village, with its charming resorts and rich racing history at Road America, provides a unique blend of relaxation and excitement. Summer in Elkhart Lake is a time for water sports, culinary exploration, and indulging in the wellness and luxury of resort life. The springfed lake is perfect for paddleboarding and kayaking, while the Road America racetrack hosts exciting events like the IndyCar Series. Culinary enthusiasts can explore the farmers’ market or participate in cooking classes that highlight local produce. The community’s commitment to preserving the natural beauty of the lake and its surroundings makes it an idyllic summer paradise for those seeking to rejuvenate in the embrace of nature.

Eat: The Shore Club & Tiki Bar, where dining by the water’s edge is complemented by dishes that showcase local flavors and ingredients.

Play: Feel the thrill of speed at Road America, a venue that juxtaposes the village’s serene setting with the excitement of motorsport.

Stay: Osthoff Resort, a haven of luxury and relaxation that mirrors the clear, peaceful waters of Elkhart Lake.

Kopka. Historic Lambeau Field. Photo courtesy of BigStock/actionsports

(Clockwise) Fish Creek, Door County. Photo courtesy of BigStock/Melissa Kopka. Bayfield, Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of BigStock/Melissa

Green Bay: The Home of the Green Bay Packers the Heart of Titletown

Green Bay, a city synonymous with football, is steeped in the legacy of the Packers and the fervent spirit of its fans. Known affectionately as Titletown, the city wears its green and gold with pride, especially in the streets named after Packers legends and the community gatherings that celebrate every game. Beyond the gridiron, Green Bay’s natural beauty, from the banks of the Fox River to the expanses of Green Bay itself, invites exploration and outdoor activity, while the city’s cultural institutions and historic sites offer a glimpse into the area’s rich past and vibrant present. During the summer months visitors can enjoy riverfront concerts, explore the Green Bay Botanical Garden in full bloom, or participate in the Packers’ training camp.

Eat: Badger State Brewing Company, where the craft beer scene is infused with the indomitable spirit of Green Bay.

Play: Tour Lambeau Field and the Packers Hall of Fame, immersing yourself in the history and heart of the Green Bay Packers.

Stay: Whether choosing the historic charm of Astor House B&B or the contemporary elegance of Lodge Kohler, guests are guaranteed a stay that captures the essence of Green Bay’s warm hospitality.

Bayfield: A Gateway to Natural Wonders

Bayfield, perched on the shores of Lake Superior, serves as the gateway to the Apostle Islands, where the natural world is both a sanctuary and a playground. This small town is a nexus of art, culture, and outdoor adventure, inviting visitors to explore its galleries, partake in water-based activities, and discover the local culinary scene that celebrates the bounty of the lake and surrounding farms. Bayfield is the launchpad for summer adventures in the Apostle Islands. Kayaking through sea caves, sailing on Lake Superior, and hiking on the mainland offer unparalleled encounters with natural beauty.

Eat: The Copper Trout, where the menu’s focus on fresh, local ingredients offers a taste of Bayfield’s rich culinary landscape.

Play: Engage with nature and creativity at Wild Rice Retreat, where yoga, wellness and artistic expression are nurtured by the serene beauty of the surroundings.

Stay: St. James Social, a modern boutique hotel that places guests at the heart of Bayfield’s charm and natural beauty.

Wisconsin’s Invitation: Discover the Unique Charm of Its Cities When Planning your Summer Travels

Let Wisconsin enchant you this summer with its landscapes that stretch from the shores of Lake Superior to the heart of Titletown, each offering a unique chapter in the state’s ongoing story. It’s a place where every visit builds memories, every landscape inspires wonder, and every tradition deepens the sense of curiosity. Embrace the opportunity to write your own Wisconsin story where the charm of its landscapes and the inviting spirit of its communities await to be discovered. 


Improving Our Experience At MSP

It is a well-known fact that Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is our primary port of call for air travel in this region. We count as part of the millions of passengers who fly in or out of there every year.

The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) operates this 3,400-acre hub for our travel adventures, replete with three primary runways for 17 airlines flying to over 150 destinations direct on three continents. In 2023, MSP welcomed 34,770,800 passengers either flying in, out, or connecting from one flight to another. The airport is also home to 86,000 employees that help generate $15.9 million of business revenue for the region.

While it was ranked as the 19th busiest airport in the U.S.A. for passenger movement, it is also among the top airports in the country. It was recently awarded the Airport Council International’s ASQ Awards for Customer Experience – the best among all airports around the world. In addition, it was named to one of Cirium’s 2023 On-Time Performance Awards – the first U.S.A. airport named to this distinction since 2011.

With these awards and accolades it has received, MSP is always innovating and transforming. It is a good airport, but MAC has been pushing its envelope to make it an even better place to fly into and out of.

Since 2016, the airport has undergone a multi-year modernization program to create a better airport. So far, there have been improvements in the pre-security area at Terminal 1. According to Jeff Lea, the Manager of Strategic Communication with the Metropolitan Airports Commission, those improvements include “all new ticket counters and baggage delivery systems for outbound flights and expanded security lanes at the north and south checkpoints. Terrazzo flooring, brighter and more sustainable lighting, and more convenient seating has been added on multiple levels.”

On the Arrivals Level at Terminal 1, there are all new baggage carousels with 10 larger claim devices which are now in operation. Lea mentioned that “one more new baggage carousel will be open later in 2024.”

All photos credit: Metropolitan Airports Commission

A huge addition to MSP’s Terminal 1 is the new Silver Ramp, adding 5,000 parking spaces to the airport. This also houses the new Rental Car Center and Ground Transportation Center. Additionally, it also provides a convenient connection to Metro Transit’s Light Rail Blue Line from this transportation hub. The other big feature of the Silver Ramp is the 56-feet tall escalator reaching the highest level for rental cars – which Lea points out that it’s “the tallest escalator in Minnesota.”

Terminal 2 saw the start of the MSP Reserve program, which allows you to reserve your time to go through security. “The service


enhances the travel experience by giving passengers more certainty at one of the busiest congestion points in the airport journey,” said Scott Skramstad, the MAC’s director of terminal and landside operations. “Reserving a time to transit through the security checkpoint is simple and free, and we expect it will streamline and expedite the screening process for passengers.”

Along Post Road, you will notice that the old taxi holding area has become a new Cell Phone Lot, which is closer to Terminal 1 than the smaller lot down the road. “This is another way to enhance the customer experience, meeting the growing demand for free, safe, and convenient spaces for drivers to wait before picking up passengers,” said Brian Ryks, CEO of the MAC. “The lots help reduce traffic congestion near the terminals because they eliminate the need for drivers to circle the airport before their party arrives at the pick-up zones.”

MSP has seen a huge growth in using app-based rideshare services to and from the airport. – around “2,900 ride requests per day in the past 12 months,” according to Lea. To make things easier, they have moved the Lyft/Uber to a completely sheltered area across from Terminal 1. The capacity for rideshare vehicles was increased to 50 spaces.

The next step at the MSP is what they call the Airport Modernization Program, which calls for the total revamp of 75 gates in Terminal 1 for Delta Airlines. As the largest air carrier at MSP, Delta is prime to utilize its hub at the airport by bringing a modern look and feel for better connections and origin customers. Ryks said that “It’s another major investment to create brighter, more modern spaces that complement MSP’s award-winning customer service.” Lea also stated that the revamp of the renovations of the Delta gates “should not impact operations, with much of the work occurring during overnight hours.”

As a bonus, there are now three Delta Sky Clubs across the airport. That brings the number of premium airline lounges to five across Terminal 1.

Serving our community is important with MSP providing a growing number of destinations for us to fly direct to. That includes serving a growing number of international passengers flying in and out of the airport. In 2024, passengers will now fly to 31 destinations outside of the U.S.A., with new services being added to meet the demand of its passengers. Delta and Aer Lingus will resume service to Dublin, Ireland this year, while Lufthansa will begin service to Frankfurt becoming the 18th and newest carrier to serve MSP. Canadian airline WestJet will add Regina, Saskatchewan to its growing number of flights out of this airport.

This year will also see further expansion in domestic flights as well. Over at Terminal 2, locally based Sun Country Airlines continues to add new destinations to its schedule. This year, they will service Monterey, California – bringing travelers to one of the most beautiful parts of that state. While it will be the longest flight to fly in and out of Monterey Regional Airport, passengers will appreciate not having to go through San Jose or San Francisco just to get down there.

“The new international and domestic flights give Minnesotans more destinations and more frequent flight options, some on multiple carriers, to meet the demand for business, leisure and personal travel,” explained Lea.

The airport is not just about flights. It is about making the most of your time before you board. Both Terminal 1 and 2 offer its share of dining and shopping for passengers either flying out or connecting at MSP. Lea points out that MSP “has been chosen as the best airport in North American for six out the last seven years by Airports Council International through its global

passenger satisfaction survey program. It was also honored by J.D. Power as the number one mega airport in the country in 2022. The Wall Street Journal ranked MSP the #2 large airport in its annual U.S. rankings last year.”

Everywhere you go in both terminals, there are plenty of food options available – ranging from national chains to local favorites. That includes local Chef Justin Sutherland’s Northern Soul, found in the Terminal 1 Mall – where all concourses connect from the pre-security area. If you have a hankering for southern style fried chicken before your flight, there is one local option available to get you ready for departure.

While the airport serves our state and community at its best, MSP and MAC both believe it could achieve more. The COVID-19 Pandemic threw air travel into a tailspin due to travel restrictions imposed during that period. The last full year of travel prior to the pandemic –2019 – saw MSP serve an all-time high of 39.5 million passengers.

Lea assures us that to start a great trip at MSP means “being prepared to allow enough time to arrive or park, check-in and get through security. There will be certain times of the day through March and April with higher than normal volume of travelers transiting through MSP.”

What’s the best tip in making your time at MSP well worth the trip? Lea summed it up here: “If you’re flying out, pre-book your parking and arrive early to get through the checkin and security processes. If someone is flying out of Terminal 1, they can check the wait times on the giant display boards at either end of the terminal (north and south checkpoints). Since both access all Terminal 1 gates, passengers can choose the shorter line and get to their gate faster.”

When you’re ready to fly, MSP is ready to start your trip by being one of the best airports to fly out of – and back.

For more information, log on to mspairport. com 

Chef Justin Sutherland of Northern Soul

Why You Should Visit St. Louis Park

A community rich in culture, restaurants, breweries, distilleries and attractions, filled with venues, nature parks, free parking and walkable neighborhoods could be called a utopia. Trish Foster, marketing director for Discover St. Louis Park, would simply call it home.

Located just west of downtown Minneapolis resides the hospitable community of St. Louis Park, an area that offers “big city amenities and charming walkable neighborhoods” according to Foster.

Just about 19 years ago, Foster settled down in the city. The amiable residents, outstanding school system, and its close relation to the metro were just a few of the wonderful things that made it a special place. It was clear that it was a great area to raise a family.

Foster soon found herself filling the role for the non-profit organization Discover St. Louis Park. In this position, she finds joy in being the voice behind the city, sharing all there is to love about her home.

“When this job posting came up, I’m like, this is the perfect role to be in because it’s representing my community in such a positive way, and it’s also a lot of fun to talk about all our cool restaurants, and our attractions, and the hotels, and everything we have to offer visitors,” Foster said.

And, after hearing all there is to do and experience in St. Louis Park, it is easy to understand her enthusiasm.

Since its establishment in 1886, St. Louis Park has grown into a diverse community with an abundance of opportunity. Boasting preeminent schools, plentiful nature parks, and a bustling art scene, the city has the capacity to fill many needs. It can be the perfect location to raise a family, stop for a weekend, or come to visit when one desires a break from life in the big city.

Due to its prime location, one can find a broad range of things to do. For more urban activities, one can enjoy window shopping the boutiques or enjoying a tasty meal at a local restaurant. If one craves time in beautiful nature, one can find comfort in one of the 51 parks. Foster encourages anyone and everyone to come visit.

“We have such a wonderful, culture rich community. I mean it is such a welcoming community…there are so many different groups here,” Foster said.

(Clockwise) Photo by Dallas Smith. West End. Photo by Discover St Louis Park. Aerial view of a festival. Photo by Discover St Louis Park.

From the West End’s lively restaurants and fulfilling activities, to the countless classes that are offered, there is always something to enjoy. Foster speaks about the new 3D illusion museum, Canvas Convergence, that allows participants to take free, unique photos in front of delightful street art. She also touches on one of her personal favorites, the Westwood Hills Nature Center.

Because of its close distance to the twin cities, many do not expect St. Louis Park to house one of the most accessible and beautiful nature parks around. Described as a “hidden gem” by Foster, The Westwood Hills Nature Center provides a peaceful environment for one to destress. There are numerous trails for one to wander through and immerse themselves in wildlife. In addition to walking the trails, one can stop in to one of the classes that are offered. Foster says that regardless of the season, the nature center is a wonderful place to come see.

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“Westwood Hills Nature Center is this eco-friendly, one hundred percent sustainable nature preserve with over three miles of trails. There’s a lake they stock it with fish so you can go fishing in the summer, you can go canoeing there’s canoes you can rent. In the winter, when we have snow, you can go snowshoeing because they have snow shoes that you can check out as well,” Foster said.

The nature center is also accessible to those with physical disabilities, meaning anyone and everyone can enjoy the peaceful woodland creatures and tranquil environment. People are encouraged to host events such as weddings or graduations at the center. The nature center provides an exceptional backdrop for one’s favorite moments.

No matter the time of year one can make many memories within the inviting city of St. Louis Park. It is a place where nature lovers and city dwellers band together to make a rich environment for any and everyone.

That said, if one wishes to plan the perfect trip, the Discover St. Louis Park website details their upcoming events. Some events that one can look forward to include:

Lions Club Egg Hunt, The ROC, St. Louis Park | March 30, 2024

Kiwanis Club Kite Fly, Louisiana Oak Park, St. Louis Park | April 27, 2024

Minneapolis Vintage Market, The ROC, St. Louis Park | May 11, 2024

If one plans on attending one of these events, or just wants to come for a weekend and needs lodging, St. Louis Park has many hotels to choose from. Even more, the hotels provide free parking and easy access to all the perks that the city has to offer.

St. Louis Park is one of those few special places that truly accommodate everyone. If you are from the area and want a pleasant break from routine life, consider making a visit for a day or a weekend. If you are coming from a distance and want a taste of some of the wonders of the city within a tight knit community, keep St. Louis Park in mind.

For more information regarding the city and the events, log on to their website: 

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Yeti at Canvas Convergence. Photo by Chris Carlson
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A Smokin’ Good Time in Chicago Lexington Betty Smokehouse

If you’re out and about exploring in Chicago, you definitely want to see all the best sights and do all the most quintessentially Chicago activities. And that includes, of course, dining at some of their iconic Chicago-style restaurants. After all, so much of a place’s culture and community revolve around the type of food they make.

To get the full Chicago experience, you definitely have to treat yourself to some one-of-a-kind Chicago meals. After you’ve visited The Bean in Millennium Park, seen a game at Wrigley Field, and wandered through the Art Institute of Chicago, you absolutely must try Lexington Betty Smokehouse. Rated the “best BBQ in Chicago” by “Good Morning America,” Lexington Betty Smokehouse is a Black LGBTQ+ woman-owned ‘Chicago Style’ BBQ joint run by none other than famed Chicago pitmaster and Food Network Star, Dominique Leach. And it’s a can’t-miss barbeque experience.

A lot of love goes into this locally-owned BBQ spot. Lexington Betty Smokehouse is named for Leach’s grandmother, Betty King of Lexington, Mississippi, who, according to the Lexington Betty’s website, “filled the house with flavorful aromas of home-cooked meals” which would later inspire and flavor Leach’s own cooking. Leach’s cooking inspiration didn’t stop at fond childhood memories, however. She took her love for food, and perfected the art of cooking in some of the most prestigious kitchens in Chicago.

Leach is now a classically trained chef and a nationally recognized pitmaster. She learned to hone her skills under “the direction of chef icons such as James Beard award-winning owner/chef Tony Mantuano and Executive Chef Sarah Grueneberg (Monteverde) at Michelin starred Italian restaurant Spiaggia, as well as with award-winning author and chef Raghavan Lyer at The Art Institute Museum,” according to Lexington Betty’s website. Her passion and love, along with her dedication to the craft of cooking and her hard work are evident in every aspect of her restaurant.

It’s part of what makes Lexington Betty Smokehouse such an unmissable Chicago experience.

After working in some of the most high-end and respected restaurants in the city, Leach branched out and created a catering company with her wife, Tanisha, in 2016. From there, they launched their food truck, which they named the iconic: Lexington Betty Smokehouse, and the beloved BBQ joint was born. It wasn’t until later that they got a full brick-and-mortar location for Lexington Betty in the Historic Pullman section of the city’s South Side, but by then, Leach’s soulful Chicago style BBQ was already a huge hit all over the city.

With so much talent and soul poured into her incredible menu, it’s not hard to believe that Leach’s food became truly famous throughout Chicago. According to Lexington Betty’s website, “Her expertise and soulful food would earn her a spot on The Food Network’s show ‘CHOPPED’ and as a judge/contestant on Food Network Canada ‘FIRE MASTERS,’ [as well as] recognition as the ‘Best Barbecue in Chicago’ by ‘Good Morning America.’” Leach’s “CHOPPED” episode was called “Playing with Fire,” and aired in 2021.

Lexington Betty Smokehouse has a mouth-watering menu that consists of deliciously unique Chicago style BBQ. You won’t be able to find BBQ this good anywhere else in Chicago! The menu consists of scrumptious starters like loaded nachos, loaded fries, and grilled jerk shrimp. Then, for the main course you can get a BBQ platter, with main options including brisket, smoked chicken, pulled pork, smoked chicken wings, brisket mac and cheese, or pulled pork mac and cheese. Top it off with a soulful side or two, like Lexington Betty’s collard greens, gouda mac and cheese, brisket baked beans, candy yams, seasoned fries, slaw, or corn muffin.

Photos courtesy of Dominique Leach

Not feeling a platter? That’s okay! Lexington Betty also has yummy sandwiches like the salmon burger, brisket sandwich or pulled pork sandwich and some incredibly delectable Wagyu dogs, like the original, if you want to go classic, or the Mexican style, with pico de gallo, avocado salsa, and jalapeños. You can also get a Wagyu steak dog Chicago style… it is Chicago after all! And if you’re vegan or vegetarian and this menu looks awfully meat-heavy to you, don’t worry. Lexington Betty Smokehouse has two delicious vegan options on their menu as well. And finish your meal with a little something sweet: a nice bowl of banana pudding.

LGBTQ+ travelers headed to spend some time in the Windy City can also feel good about getting a meal at a locally-owned shop that supports a fellow member of the LGBTQ+ community. Having the representation of an LGBTQ+ Black woman owning and running her own restaurant is crucial, especially today. Just like they note on Lexington Betty’s website, “Chef Leach and her wife’s hard work and persistence in a male-dominated industry have helped them to carve out a name for themselves in the culinary world in Chicago and beyond.” The couple’s hard work has truly earned them a spot among the great restaurant scene of Chicago.

If you’re planning a trip to Chicago and looking for amazing things to add to your Chicago Bucket list, make sure Lexington Betty Smokehouse has a spot at the top! Grab an absolutely delicious meal in Chicago and support local Black LGBTQ+ owned businesses while you’re at it by stopping at Lexington Betty Smokehouse. It’s a win-win! 

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Dominique Leach and wife Tanisha.

Rediscovering The Gitchi-Gami State Trail

The thing about state trails is this. They look so darn simple – those ten-foot paved paths that lead you away from busy highways and roads and into the natural beauty of Minnesota. Whether you bike, wheelchair, ski or walk, the trails feel at your disposal, as though they always existed. All 1,526 statewide miles of them, which includes 35 miles of the Gitchi-Gami State Trail.

But the path to trailhood isn’t all that simple. The slowly expanding Gitchi-Gami State Trail is a good example of the way citizen activism ignites with state and federal legislators and state agency staff. The result: a lifelong amenity that encourages better health for users, promotes their safety, attracts tourists, and opens eyes to the natural, preserved beauty of northern Minnesota and a great lake.

Trail Background

Bruce and Sheryl Martinson of Schroeder, Minnesota, know well the complicated evolution of a state trail, and they know the health benefits of using a state trail. Bruce is the board president of the Gitchi-Gami Trail Association and former owner of the Superior Ridge Resort in Schroeder.

In the late 1980s, a group of resort owners including Bruce thought there had to be a way to get bikers, hikers, and runners away from busy

Trunk Highway 61 North that runs parallel to the North Shore.

“We were on a learning curve,” he said. “Things took longer than anyone planned – we thought the trail would be completed by now.” At this time, 35 miles of the planned 86-mile trail are complete, and work on several segments will start this summer.

Early on, long-time, influential Iron Range Congressman Jim Oberstar championed the creation of trails and highway construction, and secured funding for the first phases of the Gitchi-Gami Trail in the early 2000s.

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“Oberstar left office and things slowed down and now we rely on state bonding for funding,” Bruce said. The Association provided the catalyst for trail development, setting into motion cooperation with the state Department of Transportation which had added a trail to its development plans for the highway in the 1990s. Staff from the Department of Natural Resource Parks and Trails (PAT) Division also became involved early. Members of the Trail Association and state agencies worked to identify the trail location, its amenities, and funding sources.

Current projects

“The intent of the state trail system and development is always community connections,” said Kent Skaar, PAT consultant. As a literal example of that, a trail visitor could take a bike ride on the Gitchi-Gami Trail from Gooseberry Falls State Park to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park to the cities of Beaver Bay and Silver Bay for a total of 17.6 miles. Along the way, you might stop for lunch, followed by bird watching, photography, and agate collecting.

Kent said that the Gitchi-Gami Trail is unique because of its location and topography. Areas of solid rock present challenges, of course. But progress continues. This summer work on a mile-long segment to Lutsen from Ski Hill Road on the Poplar River will be completed. A portion of a segment at Two Harbors will be constructed this summer. Segments in Tofte, Lutsen and Silver Bay are in the design stage.

Healing exercise and new vistas

Trail use by the public can become personal in nature. In November of 2017, Bruce Martinson’s wife, Sheryl, was in a vehicle crash on Hwy. 61 and suffered extensive injuries. She was 58. After hospital and nursing home stays to receive physical therapy and gain strength,

Sheryl started to walk the Gitchi-Gami Trail in 2018. Walks, prayers, and therapy helped Sheryl to recover. Today the couple often use e-bikes on the trail.

Jenna Udenberg of Two Harbors has used a manual wheelchair since she was eight and in 2020, added an electric scooter attachment.

“It has been a godsend,” she said. “A day on the trail is better than any day without it!” Jenna loves the spectacular views along the “Gitch” with its winding curves, variations in hills, and of course, views of a gorgeous Lake Superior.

Another attraction? The kindness of trail users. People on bikes or in wheelchairs provide eye contact and are likely to strike up a conversation, she said. The trail assumed special importance during the peak of the COVID pandemic.

“Being outdoors with my non-disabled friends in a space where I could be independent, not having others breathing down on me, and going for 12 miles was life changing,” she said. The sheer freedom of movement prompted her to attach a second battery to her chair so now she can travel 24 to 30 miles at a time.

Another thing about state trails is this. They belong to you, to all Minnesotans. They are yours for the taking and their use changes lives. For a listing of Minnesota state trails, go to 

(Clockwise) Photo byJenna Udenberg. Photos reprinted with Permission, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

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An Ally’s Call To Action

The LGBTQ+ Elders with (Dis)abilities Demands Collective Liberation

In a world that often dismisses and marginalizes those who defy the narrow confines of “white, cis, straight, male, able-bodied” norms, the LGBTQ+ community living with disabilities faces an arduous uphill journey toward recognition, meaningful support, and equitable access to quality care. The statistics are sobering: a staggering 36% of LGBTQ+ adults self-reported having a disability, a significantly higher percentage compared to 24% of their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts. Yet, this richly diverse community – a kaleidoscope of identities, experiences, and resilience – frequently finds itself lacking reliable support systems to navigate the compounding challenges they encounter.

Terri Wilder, a tireless HIV/Aging Policy Advocate with Sage Advocacy & Services for

LGBTQ+ Elders, bears witness to these harsh realities. “If one thing goes wrong in terms of my income, if they go up on my rent, even a couple of dollars, I’m that close to being homeless because I’m so sick I can’t work,” she shares, recounting the precarious situation of a trans man she knows in Minneapolis. Diagnosed with the debilitating Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/ CFS), he relies heavily on a fragile patchwork of public assistance programs – a lifeline that could unravel at any moment, leaving him on the brink of homelessness.

In the Upper Midwest region, the obstacles faced by LGBTQ+ individuals with disabilities are further exacerbated by a confluence of factors, including geographic isolation, limited ac-

cess to specialized healthcare facilities, and the insidious undercurrent of ongoing discrimination. “You’ve got the intersection of kind of potential homophobia, transphobia, biphobia that can happen naturally in healthcare systems,” Wilder elucidates. “And then it intersects with maybe a disease that people don’t believe is real.”

Amidst this landscape of marginalization and adversity, a powerful framework emerges: “disability justice” – a conceptual bedrock forged by Black and Brown queer visionaries. As Wilder articulates, this paradigm shift offers a transformative lens through which to comprehend and confront the intricate web of intersectional issues. “Collective liberation means nobody or mind can be left behind. That

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Lyric Arts Main Street Stage

Theater with character. Comedies, musicals, & dramas in a professional, intimate setting where all are welcomed. 420 E. Main St. Anoka, MN 55303 (763) 422-1838

Minnesota Opera

World-class opera draws you into a synthesis of beauty; breathtaking music, stunning costumes & extraordinary sets. Performances at the Ordway Music Theater - 345 Washington St., St. Paul, MN 55102 (612) 333-6669

Minnesota Orchestra

Led by Music Director Designate Thomas Søndergård, the Minnesota Orchestra, one of America’s leading symphony orchestras.

1111 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 371-5656, (800) 292-4141

Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus

An award-winning chorus building community through music and offers entertainment worth coming out for! 1430 W. 28th St., Ste. B Minneapolis, MN 55408 (612) 339-SONG (7664)


All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church

A welcoming, inclusive, safe place to explore and discover God’s love for ALL God’s children.

3100 Park Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55407 (612) 824-2673

Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church

Everyone is welcome at Hennepin Church! Vibrant Worship. Authentic Community. Bold Outreach. 511 Groveland Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 871-5303

Plymouth Congregational Church

Many Hearts, One Song; Many Hands, One Church. Find us on Facebook and Twitter. 1900 Nicollet Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 871-7400

St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral

An inclusive and affirming community transforming lives through God’s love. 519 Oak Grove St. Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 870-7800

Westminster Presbyterian Church

An open and affirming congregation, welcoming persons of all sexual orientations, gender expressions and identities.

1200 Marquette Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403 (612) 332-3421


Friends & Co

Fostering meaningful connections for older adults for 50+ years. Offering quick drop-in chat line, phone & visiting companionship services.

2550 University Ave. W., Ste. 260-S St. Paul, MN 55114 (612) 721-1400

Senior Community Services

Providing non-medical services that meet the changing needs of older adults & support their caregivers.

10201 Wayzata Blvd., Ste. 335 Minnetonka, MN 55305 (952) 541-1019


Lutheran Social Service of MN

Serving all Minnesotans with personcentered services that promote full and abundant lives. | 612-642-5990 | 800-582-5260

Adoption & Foster Care |

Behavioral Health | 612-879-5320

Host Homes |

Supported Decision-Making | 888-806-6844

Therapeutic Foster Care | 612-751-9395


Discover St. Louis Park

Minnesota’s Sweet Spot! Visit us for exceptional dining, attractions, shopping, hotels and event space.

1660 Hwy 100 S., Ste. 501 St. Louis Park, MN 55416 (952) 426-4047

Discover Stillwater

Get away to Stillwater for delicious dining, fun shops, and unique nightlife in this charming rivertown!


The Bridge for Youth

Emergency shelter, crisis intervention, and resources for youth currently or at risk of experiencing homelessness.

1111 W. 22nd St. Minneapolis, MN 55405 (612) 377-8800 or text (612) 400-7233

LAVENDERMAGAZINE.COM 33 THE NETWORK Josh Kelly LGBTQIA+ Realtor® 612.219.2211 Locally Owned & Operated Since 1950 Estimates 7am-4:30pm ROOFING WINDOWS SIDING PRE-PLAN SPECIALIS TS E A M S We d o g o o d w o r k f o r n i c e p e o p l e ! #728 SNOW/ICE DAM WIZARDS

only moving together can we accomplish the revolution that we require.”

At the core of disability justice resides the principle of “collective access,” an ethos that amplifies the insights and participation of every community member, irrespective of their diverse disabilities and multifaceted identities. “Let’s not put each other against each other. Let’s work together so we can move forward together so that we’re all free,” Wilder urges, her words a rallying cry for unity and solidarity.

On the frontlines of this arduous battle, organizations like SAGE, where Wilder tirelessly advocates, are championing pioneering policies designed to safeguard the rights and dignity of LGBTQ+ individuals and those living with HIV in long-term care settings. “We just passed one in New York. And in Minnesota, where I live, we’re working to pass one in the state of Minnesota,” Wilder reveals, referring to the LGBTQ+ and HIV Long-Term Care Bill of Rights – a landmark initiative aimed at shielding these vulnerable communities from the pernicious specter of discrimination within care facilities. Moreover, these groundbreaking measures mandate comprehensive training for staff, equipping them with the cultural humility and competence requisite to provide compassionate, affirming care.

Yet, the road ahead is arduous, and the stakes are high. As the disabled community continues its unrelenting crusade for recognition, respect, and equitable access to quality care, Wilder’s impassioned words reverberate as a resounding clarion call: “We have to support each other. Like I can have ME/CFS and fight for the rights of people with long COVID. I can have ME/CFS and fight for the rights of people with HIV or autism, because this is about collective liberation.”

In this era of unprecedented challenges and heightened visibility, the LGBTQ+ community with disabilities stands united, their resilience fortified by a shared understanding that true progress can only be achieved through an unwavering commitment to intersectional advocacy and an uncompromising pursuit of justice for all. As they navigate the complexities of their lived experiences, these trailblazers embody the essence of “disability justice” – a radical re-envisioning of a world where every voice is amplified, every identity is celebrated, and every human being is granted the fundamental right to thrive.

For these fierce advocates, the path toward collective liberation is not a solitary journey but a symphony of diverse narratives, interwoven by the threads of empathy, solidarity, and an indomitable spirit that refuses to be silenced or subjugated. In this crucible of struggle, they

forge ahead, their voices echoing through the hallways of power and the corridors of society, demanding a world where dignity, equity, and justice are not mere ideals but tangible realities – a world where the mantra “nothing about us without us” is not just a slogan but a resolute call to action.

Their clarion calls reverberate across intersections, amplifying the stories that have been muffled, the perspectives that have been marginalized. With every stride, they dismantle the archaic notions that have pigeonholed their existence, shattering the confines of narrow stereotypes and asserting their multidimensional humanity. In this symphony, each voice carries its unique timbre, weaving a rich tapestry that celebrates the diversity within their ranks – a resounding rebuke to the monolithic narratives that have long obscured their truths.

Yet, their quest transcends mere representation; it is a fervent pursuit of substantive change, a relentless campaign to dismantle the systemic barriers that have obstructed their paths to self-determination and fulfillment. Through their collective resilience, they forge new paradigms, crafting blueprints for inclusive communities where every individual can access the care, support, and affirmation they deserve, free from the shackles of discrimination and marginalization. 

Lavender 2024 Pride Edition To reserve ad space, call 612-436-4660 Available in print, online, and on Lavender is distributed at more than 430 sites, including around all major Pride events. Make sure your Business, Organization or Event is part of Deadline: May 10, 2024 Published: May 30, 2024

life. at your summit.

In those crucial moments following an injury, the immediate attention of a skilled orthopedic professional can make all the difference in getting you back to your goals and ambitions. We are always ready with the right treatments at the right time to get you back to living life at your summit as quickly as possible.


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