Page 1

NOVEMBER 2017

FINDING COOL IN EAU CLAIRE PAGE 20

HERBS AS MEDICINE PAGE 16

HIRING A GERIATRIC CARE MANAGER PAGE 18

MAKE YOUR OWN LEFSE!

s u a l C . r M radition t y a d i l o eloved h nneapolis b a h t i rs joy w chman’s in Mi e v i l e d a Santa ear at B PAGE 34 y y r e v e

PAGE 32


Contents

20

EAU CLAIRE: A HAVEN FOR HIP

Artsy, affordable, fascinating and fun, Eau Claire is your next weekend getaway.

⊳⊳ Eau Claire’s self-guided sculpture walk features 42 sidewalk creations.

GOOD START

GOOD HEALTH

FROM THE EDITOR

HOUSING

8 Santa delivers joy with a beloved holiday tradition every year in Minneapolis.

26 Aurora on France is easy to find and is connected to Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina.

MY TURN

10 I'm working to change my wiring to adopt an attitude of gratitude in my daily life.

FINANCE

MEMORIES

30 November is an ideal time to take a close look at where you stand with your finances.

12 In my time, I've witnessed a number of loved ones' births and deaths.

MINNESOTA HISTORY 14 Hubert Humphrey's battle for the presidency left Minnesotans torn over who to choose.

6 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age

GOOD LIVING

WELLNESS

16 Herbal remedies can potentially address a constellation of maladies, including cancer.

CAREGIVING

18 Hiring a geriatric care manager can be a lifesaver for you — and your loved ones.

IN THE KITCHEN

32 Lefse king Gary Legwold of Minneapolis shares his recipe for tasty homemade lefse.

28

HOUSING RESOURCES


NOVEMBER

“I didn’t want to move, but I’m glad I did. I’ve got some great friends here.”

34 ON THE COVER Dynamic duo: Every year, more than 13,000 Minnesotans visit Bachman’s to see the Minneapolis store’s free holiday play, starring Santa (Mike Mann) and his sidekick elf, Albert (Kevin Dutcher).

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48

CAN’T-MISS CALENDAR

44

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FROM THE EDITOR Volume 36 / Issue 11 PUBLISHER

Janis Hall jhall@mngoodage.com

CO-PUBLISHER AND SALES MANAGER

Terry Gahan 612-436-4360 tgahan@mngoodage.com

EDITOR

Sarah Jackson 612-436-4385 editor@mngoodage.com

CONTRIBUTORS

Jamie Crowson, Wendell Fowler Matt Gulbransen, Carol Hall, Julie Kendrick Gary Legwold, Kari Logan, Dave Nimmer Lauren Peck, Carla Waldemar

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Valerie Moe

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Dani Cunningham Kaitlin Ungs

CLIENT SERVICES

Delaney Patterson 612-436-5070 dpatterson@mngoodage.com

CIRCULATION

Marlo Johnson distribution@mngoodage.com

40,000 copies of Minnesota Good Age are distributed to homes and businesses metro-wide. Minnesota Good Age (ISSN 2333-3197) is published monthly by Minnesota Premier Publications. Minnesota Good Age, 1115 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403 © 2017 Minnesota Premier Publications, Inc. Subscriptions are $12 per year.

8 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age

Pure joy BY SARAH JACKSON

D

o you believe in Santa Claus? I do, of course. I know he’s up there at the North Pole right now, magically creating toys for all little boys and girls around the world with help from elves, reindeer and holiday magic. I also believe in the incredible power of the Christmas spirit. And nowhere have I seen it shine brighter than at Bachman’s on Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis, where the Twin Cities’ most famous local Santa, Mike Mann, has spent Photo by Tracy Walsh the past 10 years bringing joy to families tracywalshphoto.com every holiday season. I mean, just look at him. Is there a better Cover Star than Santa himself? I promise you’ll love his story, including how he came to be a local institution — along with his indispensable, beloved, charming and hilarious elf, Albert (Kevin Dutcher), a local thespian, playwright and 24-year veteran of Bachman’s holiday play. These guys give up their holiday-season weekends to perform for — and engage in endless photos ops with — thousands of children and families, including many who have built entire family traditions around the Santa-and-Albert phenomenon. “We look forward to it every year,” Dutcher said. “There aren’t many other jobs that allow you to feel such waves of love from people of all ages. I want to do this for as long as I can.” As for Mann, who is a storyteller by trade: “I’ve reached an age where I could easily retire if I wanted to, but I don’t fish and I don’t golf — I tell stories. People look for deeper meaning in their life when they retire, but my work already provides me with great meaning.” To meet Mann — especially when he’s in costume — is to meet Santa himself (even though his proverbial bowl full of jelly isn’t real). He has a twinkle in his eye and kindness in his heart. And Albert is the perfect foil for a legend so large. He’s silly, but also smart and as warm and caring as Mr. Claus. I’m so honored and delighted to have them both in our magazine. As I write this, it’s the night before the first snowfall of the season in our fair Twin Cities. And I’m finding getting in the holiday spirit easier than ever.


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MY TURN

Keep on the sunny side BY DAVE NIMMER

I

n this month of Thanksgiving, I’m reminding myself that I seem to do better when I have an attitude of gratitude, rather than a head full of dreadful, especially in this part of my life. When someone asked my father how it was going, Dad would usually reply, “There’s always room for improvement.” My father was a fine man who taught me good stuff. Now I’m old enough and wise enough to change the wiring a bit to allow for a brighter day and a lighter mood. It begins with thankfulness, and in 2017, I’ve got a good start on my gratitude list.

Our towns First of all, I’m glad I’m living in Minnesota, which I think is a place of general enlightenment and concern about the human condition. Our highway rest stops are still open; most of our rivers are cleaner than they used to be; and we are more diverse than we ever were. And — in spite of some troubling exceptions — we’re offering our immigrant newcomers hospitality and opportunity. Our Twin Cities still seem vital, viable and vibrant. Minneapolis is growing, primarily due to an influx of residents to downtown, many coming from the suburbs, where they had grass to cut and sidewalks to shovel. St. Paul continues to provide some of the most livable neighborhoods anywhere in the country, from Highland Park to St. Anthony Park. As an old police reporter, I’m grateful for the cities’ chiefs of police, Medaria 10 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age

Arradondo in Minneapolis, and most especially, Todd Axtell in St. Paul, who’s had the courage and candor to publicly apologize for what he thought was an officer’s excessive use of force. On the other hand, he’s forcefully backed his cops in their battle against rising gun violence.

Woods and wetlands In some of the suburbs, including Woodbury where I live, I’m grateful for the foresight of planners, who set aside plenty of open space, including wetlands and woods that allow me to feel like I’m walking in the wild only a few blocks from my townhome off Radio Drive. On evenings in spring, I can hear the tiny frogs and watch the wood ducks. One of the latest gems I've discovered is Battle Creek Regional Park, with its rolling hills, open meadows and wooded bowers.

Joyful noise While the parks provide peace and quiet, the music scene in the Twin Cities is lively and lovely, from the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra at the Ordway in St. Paul to the Minnesota Orchestra and Bunker’s blues bar in Minneapolis. These are great music towns, and you can hear it in church pews or on bench seats at the Minnesota Zoo. And Lord knows we seniors need to be surrounded by joyful noise.

Honesty and free coffee I’m also grateful for some recent experiences with businesses and institutions that, although they fall short of joyful, have been thoughtful and helpful. I took my Accord into Inver Grove Honda for what I thought might be an expensive repair to the undercarriage after hitting a big chuckhole. The service techs said it wasn’t a big deal and that, no, I didn’t


These are great music towns, and you can hear it in church pews or on bench seats at the Minnesota Zoo. Lord knows we seniors need to be surrounded by joyful noise. need new tires. They sent me on my way with a modest repair bill, a freshly washed and waxed car and a free cup of dark roast coffee. Meanwhile, I know of the trouble that’s plaguing Wells Fargo and the recent hits to its customer relations. But in my visits to the bank lately, I’ve been impressed by the friendly greeters, smiling tellers and fast-moving lines. If I seem hopelessly Pollyannaish, let me temper my gratitude with a little grumpiness: I’m not excited about the Super Bowl coming to town, not in the least. Its benefits are inflated, its drawbacks are underestimated and the arrogance of the NFL makes Donald Trump seem humble.

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Minnesota Good Age / November 2017 / 11


MEMORIES

Life, death, joy, sorrow BY CAROL HALL

S

ix years ago this month I lost my husband, Earl, to lung cancer. It was tough for him, and — as his sole caregiver — it was tough for me. There’d been so many “moments” during our 25-year marriage, so many wonderful memories, and his end came slowly and with some pain. I fumbled, trying to explain to others how the loss of Earl affected me. Then someone — I’ve forgotten who — said it perfectly: “Your joy is your sorrow.” Yes. That was it. That was exactly how I felt. Those five words covered it all. And they brought to mind other like comments I’d heard through the years. During the early 1970s, I attended a University of Minnesota history class taught by the beloved and eccentric professor David Noble. (He often lectured costumed 12 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age

as a historical figure, and even adopted corresponding accents: Teddy Roosevelt comes to mind.) In teaching Intellectual History of the 20th Century, Noble covered the women’s liberation movement, which was well under way, delving into its roots, its reasons, the advent of Ms. Magazine, the strides women were making throughout the world and the great changes they wrought. His final summation: “Women have moved from place to space!” Mercury 7 astronaut Gus Grissom disliked public speaking. When he was asked to address the employees of General Dynamics, who built the Atlas rockets used for the mission, Grissom stood before the assemblage and simply said, “Do good work!” My ears always tune in to succinct state-

ments like these. Why? I’m allowed only 500 words for this column! I’ve trained myself to say a lot in just a few words. Indeed, for my purposes, less is more. It’s been easy. I come from a family of storytellers. To properly tell a tale, it’s important to use as few words as possible; to wander off and include unnecessary detail is to lose your audience. My dad was particularly good at this. He often kept our family entranced with his WWI experiences — although leaving out the carnage. He knew the words to war songs — It’s A Long Way to Tipperary, Over There, Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag, Mademoiselle from Armentieres — and even sang them. Listening to him was a history lesson, complete with gestures and emotion.


I’ve lived long enough to have witnessed — up close and personal — a number of loved ones’ births and deaths. In some cases, the birthing was difficult, and the death lingering and tragic. My eldest sister inherited his gift. It was passed along to her son and daughter, each who lovingly insist that, “Mom never let the facts stand in the way of a good story!” Even their offspring have acquired this shred of DNA. Our family gatherings are never boring! I’ve lived long enough to have witnessed — up close and personal — a number of loved ones’ births and deaths. In some cases the birthing was difficult, and the death lingering and tragic, the worst being a close family member who lay in a coma for a month before her children made the agonizing decision to remove life support. Amazingly, someone penned the perfect words even for this: “It’s a struggle to be born, and it’s a struggle to die.” Carol Hall lives in Woodbury. She’s a longtime freelance writer, a University of Minnesota graduate and a former Northwest Airlines stewardess. Send comments and questions to chall@mngoodage.com.

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MINNESOTA HISTORY

A battle for the presidency BY LAUREN PECK

T

he presidential election of 1968 was a riveting, close race at the ballot box between Richard Nixon on the GOP ticket and Minnesotan Hubert Humphrey for the Democrats. And the process of getting to Election Day on Nov. 5 was long and complicated for one of Minnesota’s most famous politicians. Humphrey, a former mayor of Minneapolis and U.S. senator, had been vice president for incumbent President Lyndon B. Johnson since 1965. At first, all signs seems to point to Johnson and Humphrey running for reelection. But by the end of 1967, some half a million U.S. soldiers were fighting in the Vietnam War, and support for Johnson was dropping while antiwar sentiment skyrocketed. By October 1967, Johnson’s approval rating was a record low — 31 percent. A month later, another Minnesotan — Sen. Eugene McCarthy — announced he would challenge Johnson for the Democratic ticket with opposition to Vietnam as his primary platform. In March 1968, New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy also entered the Democratic race, arguing against the war. Within a few weeks, Johnson announced that he wouldn’t seek reelection. With two antiwar contenders for the Democratic ticket, Humphrey entered the race representing the administration. Many Minnesotans found themselves caught between Humphrey and McCarthy. As one state legislator said, “In no other state were Democrats so torn and trou14 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age

⊳⊳ Hubert Humphrey, a former mayor of Minneapolis, U.S. senator and vice president under Lyndon B. Johnson, ran for president in 1968. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

bled as they were in Minnesota, where they were compelled to choose between two of their leaders — men whom they respected as shapers and leaders of the DFL Party.”

Splitting from Johnson Humphrey struggled to distance himself from Johnson’s shadow throughout the campaign, particularly on Vietnam. When the vice president drafted a potential statement announcing his support for halting bombing in North Vietnam — a split from Johnson’s tactics — the president strongly objected.

Humphrey later said of the moment, “If I announced this, he’d destroy me for the presidency.” After Kennedy was assassinated in

DIVE INTO 1968

Visitors to the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul can learn more about this presidential election and many other events of this era in The 1968 Exhibit, opening Dec. 23 to mark the 50th anniversary of this pivotal year. Learn more at minnesotahistorycenter.org.


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June, the Democratic ticket narrowed to McCarthy versus Humphrey. Going into the Democratic National Convention, about 75 percent of Minnesota’s delegates were for Humphrey with a quarter for McCarthy. At the convention, the national party battled over what its position should be on Vietnam. On the floor, peace supporters sang We Shall Overcome and chanted: “Stop the war!” Outside, antiwar protesters clashed with Chicago police, resulting in more than 600 arrests. In the end, Humphrey claimed the nomination, and the party narrowly agreed 1,567 to 1,041 to back Johnson’s war policies. Throughout September, Humphrey’s campaign lagged some 15 points behind Nixon, and he was frequently met by antiwar protesters and hecklers. McCarthy also refused to endorse Humphrey unless he officially broke with Johnson on Vietnam. On Sept. 30, the vice president finally decided it was time to make a televised speech announcing that, if he was elected, he would halt bombing in North Vietnam. “If I am president, I owe it to this nation to bring our men and resources in Vietnam back to America, where we need them so badly,” he said.

Reaching peace The announcement garnered a positive reaction, and Humphrey started gaining in the polls and crowds grew at his campaign speeches. In October, news broke that Vietnam peace talks were progressing, and on Oct. 31, Johnson halted all bombing in North Vietnam. The end of the war seemed in reach, which helped Humphrey continue to gain ground. McCarthy even offered a lastminute endorsement.

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The final Gallup poll was tight — with Nixon pulling 42 percent of the vote, and Humphrey close behind with 40 percent. Independent George Wallace held 14 percent. Other polls put Humphrey in the lead. It was too close to call. But when the final results came in, Humphrey’s late surge wasn’t enough to win the presidency. Nixon snagged 43.4 percent of the popular vote compared to Humphrey’s 42.7 percent. And the electoral vote margin was wider — 301–191.

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Looking back Analysts disagree on what exactly went wrong for the vice president. If Humphrey had stepped away from Johnson’s policies earlier, could he have won the presidency? Is McCarthy to blame for holding back his endorsement — and the support of the antiwar side of the Democrats — until the end of the election? There isn’t a clear answer, but Humphrey’s loss marked a notable shift in national politics. After Nixon’s election in 1968, the presidency would stay Republicancontrolled for more than 20 years — with the exception of Jimmy Carter’s one term — until the election of Bill Clinton in 1992.

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WELLNESS

The power of herbal remedies BY WENDELL FOWLER

I

n an awakening world, there appears to be a surging desire to return to Mother Nature for healing. And indeed, herbal medicine has the power to prevent and treat disease, and to create whole health. What’s old is new again as Americans reconnect with traditional ways to renew, revitalize and restore the body, mind and soul — rather than pharmaceutical drugs, which warn of dire side effects. Often dismissed as quackery in the U.S., herbal remedies are deeply rooted in medical history. As early as 3000 BC, ancient Chinese and Egyptian writings describe medicinal uses for plants. Ancient doctors methodically collected information about herbs and developed distinct pharmacopoeias to treat a variety of ailments. Nearly 80 percent of the world today uses botanicals — herbal teas, tinctures, elixirs, essential oils and supplements made with leaves, seeds, berries, roots, bark or flowers — for some aspect of primary health care. America? Not so much.

Fighting disease But that’s changing. From mint to marijuana, there are hundreds of botanicals that serve many vital medicinal and health purposes. Potent medical plants you’re likely to find in the wildernesses or even your own backyard can be anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-cancer, antiseptic and antibacterial — or expectorants, fever 16 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age

DEEP ROOTS: PLANTS AS MEDICINE

reducers or antihistamines. In the U.S., more than 1,500 botanicals are sold as dietary supplements. Topselling plants include echinacea, lavender, frankincense, turmeric, peppermint, garlic, goldenseal, ginseng, Reishi and Maitake mushrooms, ginkgo biloba, saw palmetto, aloe, valerian, green tea, ephedra, calendula and cranberry. Herbal remedies can address a constellation of maladies such as allergies, inflammation, asthma, eczema, premenstrual syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, menopausal symptoms, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome and even cancer. Health-care practitioners of various disciplines often recommend herbs as a gentler, more natural ways to address a wide variety of largely preventable medical conditions.

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Addressing health problems Calming chamomile tea treats anxiety, cramping and muscle pain. Echinacea, from the coneflower, was used centuries ago by the Native Americans; today many take echinacea to help fight off colds as it can boost one’s immune response. Ginkgo biloba reportedly improves circulation and brain activity. Ginseng has been used for thousands of years as a natural energy booster. St. John’s wort is an herbal alternative to prescription medications for relieving anxiety and depression. Herbal remedies can support the immune system, build stronger bones, speed-bump aging, encourage hair and nail growth or keep hair from losing its color. Marigold (calendula) has been employed medicinally for centuries to treat conjunctivitis, blepharitis, eczema, gastritis, minor burns, warts, sprains and other minor wounds, cramps, coughs and snake bites. Today even scientists are recognizing the power agents in some essential oils. Calendula’s concentrated flavonoids, they say, can act as antioxidants, which can protect cells from damage caused by oxidation, which can in turn cause cancerous cells to shut down. Talk to your doctor — or homeopath or functional medicine practitioner or even chiropractor — about how powerful herbal medicines might help you. And before taking any supplement, find out if it can interact with any illnesses you have, therapies you’re undergoing or any other drugs you may be taking. Wendell Fowler is a chef, a syndicated food columnist and the author of Eat Right Now: The End of Mindless Eating.

Minnesota Good Age / November 2017 / 17


CAREGIVING

What’s a geriatric care manager? BY KARI LOGAN

“Y

ou don’t know what you don’t know.” These are the words that repeated in my head while I was caring for my elderly parents. If I didn’t ask the right questions, I didn’t get the answers I needed. But I didn’t always know what questions to ask — and not asking them was costing me time and money. I needed an advocate. Fortunately — thanks to a couple decades working as a communications specialist within the senior services market — I had the resources to find what I needed. I had written about eldercare, educated the public and promoted senior services across print, broadcast and digital channels, encouraging caregivers to reach out for help and support. Now it was my turn to practice what I preached: It was time for me to hire a geriatric care manager. A lot of people are unaware of geriatric care managers and the services they provide. A few years prior to my time of crisis, I met Deborah Dolan, a gerontologist, geriatric care manager and owner of Senior Life Transitions, LLC (now retired). Her knowledge of Medicare, Medicaid, senior housing and care services was exceptional. And she had a notable track record for helping aging seniors and their adult children navigate through health-care organizations and eldercare-service

18 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age

▲▲Thanks to the help and support provided by our geriatric care manager, I could focus on bringing the family together to provide love and support, along with savoring every moment we had with my father, Norman Eklund, pictured with my daughter (his granddaughter), Britt Logan.

systems to find the resources they needed. Deborah became my advocate. The most important thing she taught me was to recognize the love, sacrifice and support I was giving my parents. When in crisis-care situations, it’s easy to feel like an incompetent failure because you’re jumping the hurdles of care management blindfolded, with no applicable experience on your resume. Amid my chaos, Deborah saw the love in my heart and respect for my parents and pointed out that it was admirable. Her acknowledgement completely changed my perception of how I was

caring for my parents. It took me from feeling incompetent and depleted to realizing that I was giving instinctively, driven by love and honor. This would become the driving force for every move and decision I made over the next few years. The decisions I made about my parents’ care were always difficult, but they were made easier with Deborah’s help. I interviewed her for this article with a focus on the most important issues for me. I hope the information makes managing care of an elderly parent, relative or friend a little easier for you:


Q: Why is it important for a caregiver to acknowledge their value above their competency?

A: Caregiving is physically and emotionally draining, and it’s magnified by feelings of incompetency. Care is an admirable gift of love. And because YOU know your parent or loved one’s history better than any doctor every could, it makes YOU the expert. Always trust your instincts and your devotion when making decisions. Share information with doctors, nurses and social workers to let them know your loved one’s wishes. Rely on your care manager to lead the tough conversations, so you can remain in your loving position.

Q: What’s the biggest mistake families make when it comes to eldercare?

A: Families make financial and estate plans, but they don’t typically put an aging plan together for later-in-life or end-of-life decisions. Families can end up reacting to crisis — instead of being proactive by talking about things beforehand. Having tough conversations when a crisis isn’t in the works, allows for more thoughtful decisions about preferences regarding lifestyle, finances, spirituality, health care and housing. Just like health-care providers strive to “treat the whole person,” the same is necessary with eldercare, so your loved ones can age with grace, support and access to the things that are important to them.

Q: Knowing the facts on Medicare coverage and transitional care can save you thousands of dollars. What do caregivers need to know?

A: One of the most important Medicare issues is “observation” verses “admission” to hospitals. A three-night “admitted” hospital stay is necessary to qualify for additional

therapies and care to be paid for by Medicare. If your loved one is placed in a room under observation, he or she isn’t technically fully admitted to the hospital. This isn’t a time to sit back and hope for the best. Push for admission. Also, if you feel your loved one is being discharged from the hospital too soon — because he or she need additional therapies within a transitional care unit before returning home — talk to the social worker assigned to your case. Ask questions, discuss the discharge order, push for an extra night in the hospital and file an appeal, if necessary. A social worker can also help you find a transitional care facility in preparation for discharge.

Q: How can families prepare to cover expenses while respecting legacy wishes?

A: Quality eldercare is costly and can quickly wipe out one’s financial resources. Talk to an elder law attorney, even if you don’t think you have any money. A home is the biggest asset most people have, so if you wish for it to be part of your legacy plan, you’ll have to find out how to protect the property as part of your estate. Some people end up forced to sell their homes and other assets to help pay for care. Transferring property ownership to your children is an option to prevent you from having to sell property to pay for care. Currently, a property transfer of that type must be done seven years prior to needing financial assistance, but the rule can change, so check the status before moving forward.

Q: When is Medicaid a consideration? A: Currently in Minnesota, when income and other qualifying financial resources total less than $3,000, Medicaid becomes an option for supplementary care costs. Again, this is an example of why families

The most important thing Deborah taught me is to recognize the love, sacrifice and support that I was giving my parents. need to look ahead, have conversations and create a plan, so they’re not left scrambling at the last minute to find money to cover needed care. This is another important topic to discuss with an eldercare attorney. You can also gather information via the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP at health.state.mn.us/ship) or call the Senior Linkage Line (800-333-2433 or seniorlinkageline.com), a free state-wide information and assistance service provided by six area agencies on aging that cover all 87 counties in Minnesota. To learn more about geriatric care manager services, visit Care Options Network at careoptionsnetwork.org to access a list of senior care services and the network's Senior Care Guidebook. The cost of hiring a geriatric care manager can range from $50 to $200 per hour, with $100 being the most common. For more than 25 years, Kari Logan has helped Minnesotans find the words to educate, promote and inspire readers across multiple industries, state government and non-profit organizations. She lives in Falcon Heights with her husband, Ian, and is the proud mother of a daughter, Britt, who is following in her writing and public relations footsteps.

Minnesota Good Age / November 2017 / 19


TRAVEL


A haven for artists Pretty, affordable, fascinating and fun, Eau Claire is leading Wisconsin’s art, food and music renaissance By Carla Waldemar

⊳ Phoenix Park is a public space at the confluence of the Chippewa and the Eau Claire rivers. Photo courtesy of Visit Eau Claire Minnesota Good Age / November 2017 / 21


Save the Date

A haven for artists

Great Northern Union Chorus Presents

December 9 & 10, 2017

North Heights Lutheran Church

1700 West Highway 96, Arden Hills, MN 55112 For tickets, call (612) 235-3662 or visit www.gnusings.com

Saturday Dec. 9 3 & 7 p.m.

Sunday Dec. 10 3 p.m.

www.gnusings.com

22 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age Great Northern Union Chorus GA 1117 V3.indd 1

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W

isconsin boasts its share of quaint little towns worth stopping by for a quick brat and beer when out on a leaf-peeping weekend. Eau Claire is not one of them. Not any longer. Once you catch the infectious vibe of the small city (population 67,000) 90-some miles east of Minneapolis, you’ll be hooked for the weekend. True, during the ’80s, Eau Clarie's youngsters spent their graduation checks on the fastest tickets to Austin or Portland to join the ranks of hip. Today those folks are moving back to Eau Claire to catch the wave of its new-born creative spirit. It’s leading the Wisconsin Renaissance as magnet for artists of all flavors. And that’s no accident.


⊳⊳ Unique art, music and more await shoppers in Eau Claire, thanks to a renaissance among locals and newcomers. Photo courtesy of Visit Eau Claire

attracting smart new hires with nothing to do outside the cubicle but snooze.

MIXING IT UP

“Today, it’s a disruptive town. ‘Alternative’ is positive,” said Greg Johnson, one of a triumvirate of visionary entrepreneurs who helped turn the downward spiral up. They eavesdropped on the plight of Mayo, which operates a clinic here, and JAMF Software: Both had trouble

In response, Johnson launched Artisan Forge in a former trucking facility to pull lonely, fragmented artists together in collaborative studios alongside a sales gallery and a performance space. Today it’s a center for talent and a booster of citywide cultural attractions. Classes are offered in every medium imaginable, including pottery, metalwork for women and glassblowing, to name a few. “We discovered there were 40 glassblowers in town. Who knew?” said artist Ed Dubick, who relocated here with his wife, Kendra. More studios are in the works at the Artisan Forge, too, along with a new a coffeehouse. Nick Meyer is another one of those making things happen. He publishes Volume One, the city’s arts/entertainment paper, housed above a shop he fittingly named The Local Store, sourcing all things witty and Wisconsin. A year ago, Meyer, along with other Eau Claire entrepreneurs, converted a ho-hum hostelry into The Oxbow

Hotel, a hipster’s haven, tricked out with an art gallery and a restaurant/bar with live local jazz. Every guest room features a record player with a cache of vinyl LPs.

FESTIVALS AND BEER FLIGHTS That record collection was curated by a third man who’s been instrumental in the turnaround — local musician Justin Vernon of the indie-folk band Bon Iver. He’s a major player in one of Eau Claire’s six sizable annual music festivals — Eaux Claires, with upwards of 15,000 in attendance. It doesn’t hurt to have the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire music department in cahoots, which each year partners with Eau Claire Jazz, Inc., to host one of the largest jazz festivals in the country. (The U boasts five jazz bands, a polka band and a harp choir.) The U is collaborating with city, state and private funders to build a new venue, the Confluence Arts Center, to open on the riverbank in 2018. Speaking of riverbanks, where the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers ramble, so do more than 30 miles of popular biking/hiking trails (in the city limits alone) that pass a lively farmers

Minnesota Good Age / November 2017 / 23


Booth Manor Residence For Seniors 62+ • 1 Bedrooms • Based on Income • Utilities Included • Service Coordinator • Resident Activities & Programs • Community Room • Smoke-Free Building

A haven for artists

1421 Yale Place, Mpls

612-338-6313

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12/6/13 10:14 AM

Downtown Eau Clarie’s Baroque sculpture made its debut in 2016. Photo courtesy of Visit Eau Claire

Health of America Insurance GA 1117 12.indd 1

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market and craft breweries such as Brewing Projekt. (Flights of three cost $4. Take that, big cities!) Lazy Monk — another brewery, which launched in 2010 — favors OPENINGS IN ASSISTED traditional-style lagers in a Germanstyle setting. “No TVs, no Muzak: This is a place for meeting friends,” said owner Teresa Frank. CONTACT 651-578-0676 The young maverick behind Infinity KIM www.oak-meadows.org Beverages opened his winery/distillery in 2010 (at age 23) to produce products Oak Meadows GA 1117 12.indd 1 10/3/17 3:33 PM “you won’t find anywhere else.” And that is? Vodka made from sugar beets and apples, rather than the usual grain and potatoes. Another young couple runs Autumn Harvest Winery, where apples share the glory with grapes. Pick your own Honeycrisps, put together a picnic (cheese and sausage available) and sit awhile to listen to live music. Located in Oakdale, MN

24 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age

The valley’s fabled bike trails (70 miles in all) spurred another wily youngster to launch Shift, a new bike shop turned coffeehouse. Revival Records, stocking 25,000 LP albums “from ABBA to Zappa,” represents the marriage of passion and vision of young Billy Siegel. Down the street, a couple of veteran entrepreneurs figured out how to keep their Micon Downtown Budget Cinema movie theater abreast of the times. They remodeled the interior with club seating for drinking beer and eating pizza during shows. (Tickets are $4, big spenders.) You won’t find tired-saying T-shirts and tacky coasters shopping here.

PLAN YOUR TRIP

To satisfy your inner rebel, consult visiteauclaire.com.


Step into Tangled Up in Hue for another dose of local talent in the form of artisan-crafted antler jewelry, crocheted cacti, felted vases, bicycle-spoke bracelets and more. (Men, if you’re not enchanted, head over to the new model train store down the street, instead of yawning.) Approach nearby Antiques Emporium with a U-Haul: If you collect it, they’ve got it. Janet Carson Gallery showcases a cleverly curated handful of artists. Back at The Local Store, you’ll also find Wisconsin everything: Drink Wisconsinably bottle openers, roadmap blankets, loon cookie cutters, plus CDs and books by local authors. Nearby you’ll find Red’s Mercantile, which introduced Eau Claire to

stylish women’s duds when owner Becca Cooke, who’d fled to California, returned to her invigorated home town.

DINING AND KINDNESS The city’s self-guided sculpture walk, meanwhile, features 42 sidewalk creations to admire. Which calls for a cuppa, right? Rest your feet at ECDC (homemade pastries, too, including dangerously delicious macarons). It’s housed in the Lismore Hotel, boasting a cool bar called Dive, atop the former rooftop swimming pool. Back on ground level stands the town’s most inventive kitchen, The Informalist, where espresso-chili-

▲ The Oxbow Hotel and The Lakely in Eau Claire includes an art gallery and a restaurant/bar, now offering a delightful weekend brunch. Photo courtesy of The Oxbow Hotel & The Lakely

rubbed pork belly with pickled-ramp pesto and a fried green tomato Benedict are stars on the menu, which includes wood-fired pizzas, too. Mona Lisa’s is the go-to for carefully executed Italian fare. Owner Lisa Aspenson did “local” before anyone else got the message, in dishes like osso buco, pork tenderloin with fig chutney; gnocchi with autumn veggies; wild-mushroom ravioli; and all breeds of pizza. When a burger craving hits, steer to Classic Garage. You’ll spot it by the pink Cadillac the owner, Rick Payton, parks by the pumps. His baby-blue Caddie sits just inside, another sexy advertisement for his Fifties menu, served on Formica tabletops. Payton is one of those Austin émigrés who settled in Eau Claire, as did four of his acquaintances when he spread the word. “People are kind and respectful here,” he notes. “Coming from Texas, it was kind of unsettling.” Unsettling, yes indeed. Alternative, too. And as exuberantly disruptive as those more-famous capitals of cool. Carla Waldemar is an award-winning food/travel/arts writer. She edits the annual Zagat Survey of Twin Cities restaurants and writes food and travel articles for publications around the globe. She lives in Uptown.

Minnesota Good Age / November 2017 / 25


HOUSING

Bridging the gaps BY SARAH JACKSON

A

urora on France is easy to find. It’s conveniently located near Crosstown and France Avenue in Edina and sits a stone’s throw from Southdale Center. It also has a skyway that attaches it to Fairview Southdale Hospital. Despite its proximity to a well-known medical center, however, this year-old community is no nursing home. (Few retirement communities are these days.) Aurora on France offers independent living, assisted living and memory care, plus enhanced care (24-hour health-care services in a homelike setting for long or short stays) as well as a Transitional Care Unit (known as a TCU), geared toward recently discharged patients who need short-term rehabilitation and/or skillednursing care. Another option is Stay By the Day care. This three-day-minimum housing option — offered in the assisted living and memory care apartments at the community — is geared toward (a) folks who may be discharged from transitional care, but who aren’t ready to go home; (b) people who are interested checking out the community without a full commitment; or (c) caregivers who are looking for respite care for their loved ones. Stay By the Day apartments are fully furnished. Each one includes a kitchen, private bathroom with a shower, linens, individual climate controls, utilities, cable, wireless Internet and an emergency call pendant. Daily rent includes three meals

26 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age

▲▲The Aurora on France retirement community has a skyway that leads to Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina near Southdale Center.

per day, housekeeping, laundry, access to personal care staff and nursing. It also includes full access to all building amenities and programs happening in the community. A nurse completes a complimentary assessment prior to each Stay By the Day visit to determine personal care needs and preferences. “Patients discharged from Transitional Care Units may not be ready to go home,

so coming to the Stay By the Day suites lets them recuperate even more — in a safe, familiar place,” said Erin Hilligan, Ebenezer’s corporate director of skilled services. “Families love that there's a place for them to prepare to go home. It’s a cornerstone of care within the Ebenezer system that makes their quality of care and life great.” 


62+ Independent Living

AURORA ON FRANCE

5015 35th Avenue South, Minneapolis www.NokomisSquare.com

WHERE: 6500 France Ave. S.,

Edina

We’re ideally located in a comfortable Minneapolis neighborhood.

OPENING DATE: December 2016 AGES WELCOME: 55 and older

Call to schedule your tour today!

NUMBER OF UNITS: 88 senior

living apartments (studios, 1 and 2 bedrooms), a memory care neighborhood with 33 apartments (studios and semi-private suites) and eight care suites (studios and semi-private). There’s also a 54-room Transitional Care Unit, providing short-term therapy and medical care for individuals after hospital stays.

COST RANGE: Rent ranges

from $3,350 to $5,750 a month and includes utilities, wireless Internet, cable, weekly housekeeping along and emergency pendants and pulls to access personal-care staff 24 hours a day. Memory care rent ranges from $6,250 to $8,875 a month and includes medication management/administration, personal care, three meals a day, enrichment programming and other activities.

PROPERTY OWNER: Aurora Investments is the property owner with operations handled by Minneapolisbased Ebenezer Management Services in conjunction with Volunteers of America. OTHER FACILITIES IN MINNESOTA: Aurora on France is one of Ebenezer’s four communities offering Transitional Care Unit services. Martin Luther Care Center in Bloomington, Ridges Care Center in Burnsville and Meadows on Fairview in Wyoming, Minn., also offer the option.

INFO: 952-848-8888 or auroraonfrance.com

selling a home shouldn’t be. ▲ Residents at But Aurora on France enjoy access to chef-prepared meals, served We are here to help you & your Equal Housing Opportunity restaurant style. Photos courtesy of family with your next move. Aurora on France

612.721.5077

Amenities

Where does your home stand in today’s market?

Nokomis Square GA 0214 12.indd 1

⊲ Spacious, bright, individually climate controlled apartments with full kitchens and washers/dryers ⊲ Weekly housekeeping and one load of laundry a week ⊲ Fitness room, movie theater, meditation room, reading nook and fireplace lounge ⊲ Access to chef-prepared meals, served restaurant style ⊲ Scheduled group transportation, enriching activities and wellness programs ⊲ Community room, bistro and two private dining rooms for parties and events ⊲ Two guest suites ⊲ Underground heated parking and on-site storage units ⊲ Outdoor patio with two fireplaces ⊲ Beauty/barber shop ⊲ Concierge services ⊲ Secure skyway access to Fairview Southdale Hospital ⊲ Pet friendly and smoke free. Do you know of a new or interesting senior housing facility in the Twin Cities that might make a good Housing Spotlight? Write Minnesota Good Age editor Sarah Jackson at editor@ mngoodage.com with the subject line HOUSING SPOTLIGHT.

1/15/14 4:37 PM

Check your current home value and how it compares to your neighborhood. edinapropertysource.smarthomeprice.com

Mary Frances Miller mfmiller@cbburnet.com

952-300-7874

Minnesota Good Age / November 2017 / 27

Miller M Frances GA 1017 V4.indd 1

9/6/17 12:22 PM


HOUSING RESOURCES

•MEMORY CARE •ASSISTED LIVING •INDEPENDENT HOUSING •LONG TERM CARE •NEW CONSTRUCTION

AUGUSTANA CARE OF MINNEAPOLIS ••••

Our full continuum of care offers everything from independent living to skilled nursing, all on one campus! We offer in-home care, restaurant-style dining, a bank, pharmacy, grocery store, coffee shop, beauty shop, medical clinic, fitness center, and more! 1007 E 14th St, Minneapolis 1510 11th Ave S, Minneapolis 612-238-5555 minneapoliscampus.org

CITY OF SOUTH ST. PAUL, HOUSING DIVISION •

families, seniors, and individuals with disabilities since 1971. 1080 Montreal Ave, St. Paul 651-291-1750 commonbond.org/findhousing

GRAMERCY PARK COOPERATIVE AT LAKESHORE DRIVE •

Distinctive Senior Living Community for 62 & better. Great location. Carefree living. 1, 2 & 3 BR spacious units. Pet friendly. Many activities & amenities. Call today for a tour! 6711 Lake Shore Dr, Richfield 612-861-1378 gramercylakeshore.com

The City of South St. Paul operates 296 one bedroom public housing apartments for residents aged 50+. Rent is based on 30% of tenant’s income. All utilities paid, on-site caretaker, security, after-hours answering service, community room, resident activities, laundry facilities. Call today for an appointment. 125 3rd Ave N, South St. Paul 651-554-3270 mostrow@sspmn.org

LYNGBLOMSTEN •••

COMMONBOND COMMUNITIES ••

NOKOMIS SQUARE COOPERATIVE •

CommonBond builds stable homes, strong futures, and vibrant communities. As the largest nonprofit provider of affordable homes in the Upper Midwest, CommonBond has been building and sustaining homes with services to

28 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age

Lyngblomsten is a Christian nonprofit organization serving older adults and their families. A continuum of care offers: independent housing with assisted living services, full range of 24-hour skilled nursing options including short and long-term care, and community services and resources. 1415 Almond Ave, St. Paul 651-646-2941 lyngblomsten.org

Nokomis Square Cooperative is a member owned and operated housing and lifestyle choice for individuals 62 plus. We’re situated between Lake Nokomis and Minnehaha Park in South Minneapolis. Concrete and steel construction and experienced maintenance staff provide a

carefree, well-kept environment. 5015 35th Ave S, Minneapolis 612-721-5077 nokomissquare.com

OAK MEADOWS •••

Award winning Oak Meadows has an 18 year track record of providing excellent service and care to seniors and their families. We offer 48 assisted, 12 memory care and 62 independent apartments. Lifesprk provides 24/7 on-site homecare. 8131–8133 4th St N, Oakdale 651-578-0676 oak-meadows.org

THE RESIDENCE AT NORTH RIDGE ••••

We offer the perfect mix of care, services and living options to ensure wellness and enrichment. Assisted Living, Independent Living, Adult Day Programs, Comprehensive Rehab Programs, Outpatient Rehab Therapy, On-site Child Care Program. Memory Care coming in early 2017. To learn more, please give us a call! 5500 Boone Ave N, New Hope 763-592-3000 theresidenceatnorthridge.com

SALVATION ARMY BOOTH MANOR •

Conveniently located across from Loring Park, this 21-story high rise, with 154 one-


ADVERTISER LISTINGS

bedroom apartments is designed for seniors 62 years of age or better, offering many services and amenities. It also combines the convenience of being near downtown with the serenity of the great outdoors. 1421 Yale Place, Minneapolis 612-338-6313 salvationarmynorth. org/community/booth-manor

The wide range of services and care options at The Residence at North Ridge is one of the reasons we’re considered one of the best senior housing facilities in the community. Assisted Living Independent Living • Adult Day Program • Comprehensive Rehab Program

Outpatient Therapy Rehab On-site Child Care Program • Assisted Living Memory Care available in 2017

To learn more about how The Residence at North Ridge’s commitment to best practices and quality care can benefit you or your loved one, give us a call at 763-592-3000. 5500 Boone Ave N New Hope, MN 55428 Licensed by the state of Minnesota as a Housing with Services establishment and a Comprehensive Home Care agency. Residence at North Ridge GA 0516 H6.indd 1

4/21/16 2:38 PM

Community + Connection + Independence = Vibrante

ST. BENEDICT’S SENIOR COMMUNITY •••

Convenience, independence and lifestyle are important aspects when choosing a senior community. Whether it's simplifying your life to make more time for activities, or needing assistance with everyday tasks, our campuses in St. Cloud, Monticello, and Sartell offer choices for vital aging. Sartell: Chateau Waters NOW OPEN 960 19th St S Sartell 320-654-2352 chateauwaters.com St. Cloud: 1810 Minnesota Blvd SE St. Cloud 320-203-2747 centracare.com/sbsc Monticello: 1301 E 7th St Monticello 763-295-4051 centracare.com/sbscmont

Vibrante is a shared living community where women don’t have to age alone: staying vibrant, healthy, engaged... contributing to the greater good. If you’re age 55 or older and want to enjoy the company of like-minded women in a private, home environment, Vibrante is the place for you.

al Information se u o H n e p O Th 12/7 4–7 pm! Engaged Living. Thriving Women. | vibranteliving.com Vibrante Living GA 1117 H4.indd 1

Call Roxanne at 612.816.6940 to explore living in this luxurious, newly-remodeled four-bedroom home with Lake Nokomis views, complete with concierge services.

10/16/17 9:02 AM

Minnesota Good Age / November 2017 / 29


FINANCE

Year-end financial planning BY MATT GULBRANSEN

B

efore we sing “should auld acquaintance be forgot,” we must not forget our finances! The final few months of the year are an important time to review your financial picture and make sure you have a plan for 2018 and beyond. The month of December can be like a whirlwind with all the holiday festivities. I recommend you start now, so you can enjoy the last month of the year. Consider these smart money moves:

Prep for tax season The tax-filing season opens in January, and there’s a lot you can do ahead of time to get ready. The first step is getting organized. Prepare folders for all your income, expenses, deductions and investments. You can break your deductions down by category by creating, for example, sections for medical, charity and business. You can even do a dry run on your taxes so you have a better idea of your tax situation. By 30 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age

doing that dry run before the new year, you’re giving yourself time to take action if you’re not happy with what you find.

If you don’t have a budget, now is the time to set one. You may also want to set up a meeting with your financial professional

Reduce your tax bill

for an annual review. This is especially important for anyone approaching retirement, to make any necessary adjustments.

There are several steps you can take before the end of the year to reduce your tax bill. Look for any payments you can make early, like your January mortgage payment. If you can make it in December, you can deduct the interest on the current year. Bump up your contributions in your 401(k) at work, so more of your income is tax-deferred. Be charitable! Donations made to charities in 2017 may be deductible on this year’s taxes.

Set your 2018 financial plan Take a comprehensive look at your finances. Did you have any unnecessary expenses in 2017 that you can cut next year? Can you increase your savings in 2018?

Convert to a Roth IRA You may want to consider converting some of your money from a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA. You don’t get up-front tax breaks on a Roth IRA. However, your withdrawals are made taxfree as long as you’re older than 59½. Remember: Roth IRAs are subject to what’s called the five-year rule; you can’t withdraw your earnings tax-free until five years after the tax year you make your first contribution. No matter when you make a conversion in 2017, the clock is set back to Jan. 1, 2017. And that’s good news: That means if you make a conversion in November or


Roth IRAs are subject to what’s called the five-year rule; you can’t withdraw your earnings tax-free until five years after the tax year you make your first contribution. December, it’s like getting a free year! You’ll be able to start withdrawing your earnings tax-free a full year earlier than if you wait until next January.

Check your insurance Life insurance always seems to be a daunting topic because it means talking about what happens to your finances when you pass away. But it’s important to remember life insurance takes care of your family, helping ensure your loved ones will be financially secure even when you’re not around. A good rule is to get enough coverage for 10 to 15 times your current salary. In addition to making sure you have coverage, now is a good time to check that your beneficiaries are up to date. You may need to adjust them if there were any major life changes, such as births, deaths, marriages or divorces this year. Matt Gulbransen is the president of Callahan Financial Planning in Woodbury, Minn., and holds an Accredited Wealth Management Advisor designation. Learn more at cfpcorp.net.

HELP US BRING JOY TO ISOLATED SENIORS WITH YOUR GIFT!

Gifts for Seniors provides donated gifts and life-affirming personal contact during the winter holidays and year round to isolated seniors in the Twin Cities metro area with the critical support of volunteers, donors, and community partners – people like you.

HOW TO HELP Host a Gift Barrel • Organize a Gift Drive Individual Shopping • Find us on AmazonSmile

GIFT IDEAS Cardigans • Slacks • Shirts • Blouses • Sweats • Fleece Nightwear • Robes • Socks • No-skid slippers • Hats • Scarves Mittens • Towel sets • Small appliances • Clocks (big numbers) Sheet sets • Blankets • Pillows • Dishes • Flatware CD or DVD players • Books • Music • Movies • Puzzles Personal care sets • Grocery gift cards • Cash donations Feel free to use this list for shopping ideas! We only accept new, unwrapped gift items.

giftsforseniors.org | 612-379-3205 info@giftsforseniors.org Gifts for Seniors GA 2-3.indd 2

9/22/172017 10:29/AM Minnesota Good Age / November 31


IN THE KITCHEN

D N U O R ! P U L BY GARY

EGWOLD

I’ve been blessed — and compelled — to write two books on lefse. When I wrote The Last Word on Lefse, I fretted that the grand old practice of lefse making was dying. Now, 25 years later in Keep On Rolling, I traveled the Lefse Trail (13 stops in six states) to assess the State of the Lefse Union — and I found it to be vibrant. Lefse makers abound, and when they gather at family lefse fests during the holidays to make this tender flatbread, it’s a blast. If you’re eager to learn to make potato lefse and carry on this Scandinavian tradition, here’s my recipe. Enjoy! 32 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age

POTATO LEFSE INGREDIENTS

3 cups potatoes (about 8 medium-size potatoes), russets preferred, never red potatoes 5 tablespoons melted butter (salted) ½ teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon powdered sugar ¼ cup whipping cream 1¼ to 1½ cups flour to mix with dough, extra for spreading on rolling surface and rolling pin Makes about 10 rounds


DIRECTIONS

Boil your spuds with the skins on. When potatoes are done, peel them and mash them. Rice the potatoes — twice is nice. Put 3 packed cups riced potatoes in a mixing bowl. Dissolve salt and sugar into melted butter, and pour into the bowl with the potatoes. Add cream and mix thoroughly. Cover the dough with a paper towel and let cool. Most lefse makers cool the dough overnight in a refrigerator, but some don’t (and roll with slightly warm dough). Knead the flour into the dough with your hands just before you roll it into lefse rounds. The dough should feel slightly moist and sticky. Shape 1/3 cup of dough into a lefse patty, taking care that there are no cracks in the edges. Roll the patty on a lightly floured pastry cloth, using a lefse rolling pin covered with a lightly floured rolling pin sock. (The pastry cloth and sock help prevent the round from sticking, as does turning the round over when rolled to about half the intended size.)* Go easy on the flour — too much flour makes tough lefse — and go light on the pin to make your round see-through thin. Roll until the round has a 10-inch diameter, lifting your pin at the edges so the edges don’t get too thin and crisp on the grill. Use a lefse turning stick to lift the round onto the grill.* Grill the round. You can use a skillet, but it’s best to use an electric lefse grill set at 450 to 500 degrees. When bubbles form, flip your round. Under cook side A to retain moisture in your lefse. Make side B your “show” side by grilling until beautiful brown spots appear. Cool and stack the rounds under a dish towel. Stacking softens sections of rounds that might have turned out too dry. Eat plain or with butter and sugar and cinnamon — or as sandwich wrap. *If you need lefse-making gear, check out Ingebretsen’s on Lake Street in Minneapolis, which also offers lefse lessons. Gary Legwold of Minneapolis is also the author of The Last Word on Lefse, The Last Word on Lutefisk and The Last Toast to Lutefisk! (lefseking.com)


Photo by Tracy Walsh


s ' a t n a S y r o t s This holiday season, storyteller Mike Mann of Minneapolis will take on his 10th year as the famous Bachman’s Santa BY JULIE KENDRICK

Minnesota Good Age / November 2017 / 35


s ' a t n Sa y stor

▲ Every year, more than 13,000 Minnesotans visit Bachman’s to see the Minneapolis store’s free holiday play, starring Santa (Mike Mann) and his sidekick elf, Albert (Kevin Dutcher). Photo by Tracy Walsh

36 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age

Psst:

Want to know the real truth about Santa and his favorite elf? Rumor has it they’re often seen around town — especially in December — in the company of Minneapolis storyteller Mike Mann, 68, and St. Paul actor Kevin Dutcher, 56. If you want to check it out for yourself, head to the Lyndale Avenue location of Bachman’s, the family-owned floral, gift and garden center. In Bachman’s colorful poinsettia-filled greenhouse, you can see the 33rd-annual production of the store’s holiday play. This year’s all-new show — Albert’s Super Power — runs from Nov. 18 through Dec. 17. More than 13,000 Minnesotans see the free play every year. Although Mr. Claus and his employees were not available for comment, Mann and Dutcher agreed to sit down for an interview. They talked about the rich tradition of the show, the power of storytelling in children’s lives, and why neither one of them ever, ever gets sick of Christmas.


Becoming Santa

Once upon a time, Mann was asked by the 50th and France business association to be Santa. “I turned the job down,” he said. “I just wasn’t comfortable with the commercialization that was associated with the role of Santa. Then a friend suggested, ‘Go see how they do it at Bachman’s.’” So he attended a performance by Dutcher and Dick Holmberg — the previous Bachman’s Santa, who retired about 10 years ago and passed away last year. “They were fleshing out the story in such a unique way,” Mann said, “so I went back and said I’d take the job at 50th and France.” During that stint, Santa told stories during carriage rides, and children were asked to get into the spirit of the season by bringing gifts for the St. Joseph’s Home for Children. Mann followed up that successful gig with a stint at Nordstrom at the Mall of America, where, for a time, he held the traditional Santa-on-the-lapposing-for-photos role. But in an example of classic storytelling come to life, one day something unexpected happened — a power failure. In the dim light of the now-dark Nordstrom store, there was no way to have a photo taken with Santa. Armed with nothing more than his imagination and ability to capture a crowd’s attention, Mann started sharing North Pole stories with the restless holiday crowd. In a scene right out of Miracle on 34th Street, a supervisor from the Nordstrom Chicago office happened to see the potential chaos turned into calm through the power of Mann’s captivating storytelling. Impressed, she insisted that from then on, the Nordstrom Santa would tell stories.

Minnesota Good Age / November 2017 / 37


s ' a t n a S story

“They’re at a magical age where they understand the full story of Santa and the truth behind it.”

The true meaning of Christmas

And so it went, storytelling Christmas after storytelling Christmas. Mann was very happy with his job, until one year a salesperson at Nordstrom mentioned that the Santa at Bachman’s was retiring. “I beat a trail there as quickly as I could,” Mann said, remembering the quality of the performance he had witnessed years earlier. “It was the only place that could get me to leave Nordstrom.” This year will be Mann’s 10th season as Santa at Bachman’s, which encourages free U-take photos with Santa immediately following each play performance. Mann loves that the entire event is free, not just the photos. “This play,” he said, “is Bachman’s gift to the community.”

The backstory

As he grew more interested in the power of storytelling as a vital part of the human experience, Mann starting volunteering at the nonprofit National Institute on Media and the Family, headed by David Walsh, the founder of Mind Positive Parenting and an author of bestselling books on parenting. Mann was the institute’s in-house storyteller, and also did training and public speaking for the organization. “Mike relates so well with kids for a very simple reason — he loves them,” Walsh said. “He doesn’t play the role of Santa because it’s a job. He does it as a vocation to bring joy to children and to teach them the importance of family, sharing and relationships as the important values underlying the holiday season. His sensitivity comes through, which is why so many children feel at ease in his presence. Mike uses his role of Santa to embody the true meaning of Christmas.”

Santa’s elf Mann, who lives in South Minneapolis with his wife of 39 years, Vicki, is a relative newcomer to the Santa scene. While Santa certainly pulls off some impressive feats every Dec. 24, For 24 years, he was a baker at Woulett Bakery. Inspired to begin he doesn’t do it alone. Mann is quick to point out that his “helper,” telling stories at home during one of his children’s "Turn Off the TV" Albert, is much more than just another member of the elf crew. weeks at school, Mann soon found he had a passion for narratives. “Kevin has taught me a great deal about performing on stage, and In 1996, he quit his job and started a business telling stories in he is the comic genius of this team,” Mann said. “I have a grasp elementary schools and preschools. of the power of story and the And he's still at it today. understanding of child devel“Those preschoolers are opment, but Kevin knows Santa’s people,” he said. “They’re how to be funny, how to act Celebrate the season with Santa and Albert with a new holiday play, Albert’s Super Power. Stay the most honest audience you’ll on stage and how to make to take pictures with Santa and Albert. Bring your ever have, because if you don’t sure everyone is having fun.” own camera. Seating is first come, first serve. engage them, they’ll go find someDutcher, who lives in the When: Saturdays and Sundays Nov. 18–Dec. 17. thing else to do.” Como Park neighborhood Where: Bachman’s Floral, Gift & Garden, Mann’s Mike the Baker perforof St. Paul, has been playing 6010 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis mances are booked year-round Albert for 24 years. Cost: Free at area schools, making him A graduate of Iowa State Info: bachmans.com or 612-861-7663 a rockstar among the 5-andUniversity, he’s made a younger set. (Learn more at full-time living as a theater storymann.com.) professional since moving to The father of four adult children the Twin Cities in 1984. He’s (Jennifer, Laura, John and Timothy), Mann is also a grandfather an artist-in-residence at Horace Mann Elementary School and the of four, all of whom refer to him as Grandpa Santa. director of theater arts for the Spring Lake Park school district. “The youngest grandkids are 9-year-old twins,” he said. He also appears in theatrical productions around the metro

See Santa!

38 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age


There aren’t many other jobs that allow you to feel such waves of love from people of all ages. I want to do this for as long as I can. — Albert the Elf (Kevin Dutcher)

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s ' a t n a S story — most recently Idiot’s Delight at the Park Square Theatre in St. Paul. He and his wife, Libby, have been married for 15 years. He is the father of three children — Ben, 25, Charlotte, 13 and Theo, 7. “Theo is an important consultant for us as we’re writing and rehearsing each year’s play,” Dutcher said. “We depend on his initial reactions and we know he’ll always give us an honest response.” Describing Theo as “firm believer,” Dutcher reports that his son is still thrilled when Mann shows up at their house for rehearsals: “He sidles right up to him and gives him the most adoring looks.” Dutcher relishes the opportunity to pen a brand-new play for each year’s production. “There is a mythology we get to add onto, and that mythology becomes part of our audiences’ ‘Santa story,’” he said. His character of Albert is childlike, and Santa often has to help him figure out how to make generous choices. “We want children to see Albert and emulate the way he learns to approach life with a generosity of heart and spirit.” Dutcher said.

holiday play, and plans to attend this year. Wermerskirchen said: “Santa and Albert work so well together, and the Bachman’s experience is one of a kind.”

Not acting at all

Minneapolis resident Amy Mimick said attending Bachman’s holiday play has become the official holiday kickoff for her family. In 2008, the family was living in Orleans, France, but made plans to return to Minneapolis for Christmas in time to catch the last holiday play performance of the season. “My son, Ben, was 3 years old, and this was a big Christmas for him, because he finally got the concept of what going to see Santa meant,” Mimick said. “On the way home, we experienced weatherrelated delays, and Ben broke down sobbing in the airport at the thought that he might miss Santa and Albert.” When they finally arrived in Minneapolis — at around 1 a.m. on the day of the last performance — they went home to sleep a few hours, and then made it to the show with the grandparents “and one happy boy in tow,” Mimick said, adding that Santa and Albert aren’t mere actors: They’re so much more. “Those two men are genuine, loving and truly dedicated to making their shows and interactions magical for children and adults alike,” she said “Santa’s gentle touch with the babies,

One family’s story

Laura Wermerskirchen, 60, makes the annual trip from Shakopee to see the holiday play at the Bachman’s on Lyndale with her family. Originally a beloved tradition with her husband and children, it’s become an intergenerational outing with the addition of their grandchildren — Maggie, 5, Vinny, 2 and Walter, 1. “Mike is the Santa that our children knew as they were growing up,” she said. “The day we to go see him has always been special. One year, my daughter, Erin, told the family she was expecting a baby at the event.” (See the top-left photo on the facing page.) The family tradition has continued despite last year’s death of her husband, Dan, whom she describes as “the only UPS man in the world who loved Christmas.” Knowing he was gravely ill, the family contacted Bachman’s to ask if Mann might be willing to make an in-home visit. Mann readily agreed, and the date for the visit was set for a Friday in early November, but Dan died just two days before. Resolutely, the family still made the annual trip to see the 40 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age

▲ Shakopee resident Laura Wermerskirchen (center) makes a trip every year to Bachman’s to see Santa and Albert with her children and grandchildren, including Maggie, 5, Vinny, 2 and Walter, 1.


Thousands of children are photographed with Santa every year at Bachman’s on Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis.


s ' a t n Sa y stor

⊳ Santa will arrive at Bachman's on Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis on a reindeer-drawn sleigh at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 18. Photo by Tracy Walsh

Mann began a commitment to exercise after a prostate cancer diagnosis in 2008. “I thought, ‘If my lifespan is limited, I should do what I want to do.’ I was inspired by my youngest child, Tim, who was doing triathlons. I would see him go out for a run and want to go along, so I did.” These days, he’s enjoying good health. “My PSAs are coming back normal, and I’ve been declared cancer-free,” he said. “I think the exercise helped.” Mann’s fitness regimen left him with a problem: How could he simulate the body size needed for an authentic Santa-sized performance? The answer came from his wife, Vicki. “She created body suits for me,” he confessed. “They’re made of lightweight material, look very natural and add about 150 pounds to my frame.” Even if the fat is fake, rest assured: That beard is the real thing. “I keep it all year long, but I start letting it grow long around July 1,” Mann said.

The Bachman’s touch

his laugh, the beard, the flannel suit, his innocence — it all adds up to make the experience special. Albert’s enthusiasm, humor, musical and magical talents make him a perfect sidekick for Santa. They are a true team.”

Slim Santa

While Santa is well-known as a guy of girth (with a belly that shakes “like bowl full of jelly”), Mann is actually a svelte sort. “I’m a dedicated runner, and I get in about 20 miles a week, usually along the West River Road,” he said. In fact, Mann took fifth place in the 2015 10k road race at the National Senior Olympics, and competes in the City of Lakes half-marathon. He consults with an endurance coach and can often be found working out at the Midtown YWCA. 42 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age

Karen Bachman Thull, director of Bachman’s marketing and corporate communications — and the great-great granddaughter of founder Henry Bachman, Sr. — said Mann and Dutcher, in every performance, bring the magic of Christmas to life. “They create a very personal experience in a way that lets them have conversations with kids who feel comfortable revealing their hopes and dreams to them,” Bachman Thull said. “They create a story with a moral and spread holiday cheer and magic. That’s uncommon in this day and age — and that’s why the play is a tradition we cherish.” Even with a grueling schedule of weekend performances, neither man ever gets tired of Christmas. “We look forward to it every year,” Dutcher said. “There aren’t many other jobs that allow you to feel such waves of love from people of all ages. I want to do this for as long as I can.” As for Mann: “I’ve reached an age where I could easily retire if I wanted to, but I don’t fish and I don’t golf — I tell stories,” he said. “People look for deeper meaning in their life when they retire, but my work already provides me with great meaning.” Julie Kendrick is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter @KendrickWorks.


Brain teasers SUDOKU

WORD SEARCH Home Sweet Home

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44 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age

ANSWERS

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TRIVIA 1. Master bath

Source: George A. Moore


TRIVIA Housing 1. Which room — besides the kitchen — do home buyers find most important in a new home? 2. Between 2010 and 2013, it was quite popular for seniors to move to Austin, Denver, Portland and what other metro area? 3. According to color trend experts, what color paint is most popular for interior walls in 2017? Sources: ssa.gov, brookings.edu, thespruce.com

SUDOKU WORD SCRAMBLE Jockey, Syzygy, Jinxed CROSSWORD

ANSWERS Minnesota Good Age / November 2017 / 45

CRYTPOGRAM A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.


Crossword

68 From boat to beach 69 Island strings 70 Pre-deal wager 71 Poker player, e.g. 72 ’60s hallucinogen 73 Enjoys 23-Across

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1 Press (down), as pipe bowl ash 5 Life-saving proc. 8 Collect $200 in Monopoly 14 Top poker pair 15 Feel remorse for 16 Brewpub fixture 17 Palestine, to many 19 Soccer game shout 20 St. plagued by wildfires in 2017 21 Leaves out 23 Colorado resort 24 Other side in a fight 26 Monterey County seat 28 Slam-dance area 30 Spontaneous notion 33 Classic Ford 36 One of eight Eng. kings 37 Cola, e.g. 46 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age

38 Actress Longoria 39 Vienna’s country: Abbr. 41 Gobble up 43 Do sales work (for) 44 Baseball glove 46 Baseball throw 48 Multi-room accommodations 50 Praiseful verses 51 What “blows no good” 53 More geeky 55 V-shaped carving 59 Happy expression 61 “Six __ a-laying ... ” 63 Yokohama yes 64 Descartes’ “I think” 66 “Spring forward” partner (a reminder for November 5th) ... and what the last word of each answer to a starred clue can literally have

1 Nevada border lake 2 Bit of a squirrel’s stash 3 Messy fight 4 Future therapist’s maj. 5 Study at the last minute 6 Say “You’re grounded” to, say 7 Administrative complications 8 Kung __ chicken 9 Edgar __ Poe 10 Up-and-down playground fixtures 11 Jam on the brakes 12 More than a breeze 13 Ready for customers 18 Common Jesuit school name 22 Playground fixture 25 Sra., on the Seine 27 Formal “My bad” 29 Dumb 31 Camille’s concept 32 Route providers 33 Note to the staff 34 Exiled Roman poet 35 Regular dinner-and-a-movie evening 40 Former MLB commissioner Bud 42 Way under a river 45 “Cats” poet 47 Full of joy 49 About-to-be spouse’s words 52 Inflicts, as havoc 54 Nostalgically trendy 56 Say “Much obliged” to 57 Desert plants 58 Walks with backpacks 59 Picket line violator 60 Jazzman Allison 62 Word with bob or dog 65 Poetic “above” 67 Eng. majors’ degrees


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CAN’T-MISS CALENDAR NOVEMBER

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL CRYSTAL

→→It’s the world’s favorite circus troupe on ice, telling the story of Crystal and her quest to fulfill her destiny. Specifically created for arenas, this state-of-the-art production combines top-notch skating and sliding, acrobatic feats and remarkable costumes, lighting and music. When: Nov. 9–12 Where: Target Center, Minneapolis Cost: $57–$111 Info: target.centerminneapolis.com and cirquedusoleil.com

NOV. 1­–DEC. 23

NOV. 4

NOV. 4–FEB. 24

→→It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas for the Looney Lutherans, offering a full program full of parody songs, audience participation, original numbers and comedic sketches.

→→Margery Williams’ classic tale of a well-worn stuffed rabbit is brought to life through music, dance and narration.

→→See dozens of model railroads dusted with snow and decorated with holiday lights.

HOLD THE LUTEFISK

When: Nov. 1­–Dec. 23 Where: Plymouth Playhouse, Plymouth Cost: Tickets start at $29. Info: thelooneylutherans.com 48 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age

THE VELVETEEN RABBIT

When: 1:30 p.m. Nov. 4 Where: Northrup, Minneapolis Cost: Tickets start at $30. Info: northrop.umn.edu

NIGHT TRAINS When: 6–9 p.m. Saturdays Nov. 4–Feb. 24 Where: Twin City Model Railroad Museum, 668 Transfer Road, Suite 8, St. Paul Cost: Admission is $15 for ages 5 and older with discounts for groups of three or more (free for ages 4 and younger). Info: tcmrm.org


NOV. 10–12

MINNEAPOLIS HOLIDAY BOUTIQUE → The inaugural boutique held last year was so well attended that organizers have moved the event to a stadium to hold a collection of 200 vendors and artisan designers offering the latest styles, trends, jewelry, gifts, children’s items and gourmet foods.

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When: Nov. 10–12 Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis Call for an appointment 651-554-3270 Cost: $10 online and $12 at the door; ages 12 and younger can attend for free. 10/25/17 Roban, 1:01 PM James GA 1116 12.indd Info: minneapolisholidayboutique.com South St Paul HRA GA 1117 12.indd 5

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NOV. 14–DEC. 30

A CHRISTMAS CAROL → This perennial favorite hits the stage for its 43rd year, following Ebenezer Scrooge, who greets each Christmas with a “bah humbug,” until he is visited one Christmas Eve by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. When: Nov. 14–Dec. 30 Where: Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis Cost: Tickets for Nov. 14–19 start at $15. Beginning Nov. 22, tickets start at $29. Info: guthrietheater.org

NOV. 15–MARCH 31

SIGHTS, SOUNDS, SOUL → This new exhibit features icons of the Minneapolis Sound and the African American community in the 1970s and ’80s — including Prince, Jimmy Jam and more — as captured by photographer Charles Chamblis.

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10/13/17 4:26 PM

When: Nov. 15–March 31 Where: Mill Commons, Mill City Museum, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: millcitymuseum.org

NOV. 21–JAN. 7

GINGERBREAD WONDERLAND → This third-annual multi-generational exhibit features elaborately decorated gingerbread houses, including iconic Twin Cities buildings, created by community members and professional bakers — and judged Minnesota Good Age / November 2017 / 49


CAN’T-MISS CALENDAR

ROCKY MOUNTAIN EXPRESS

→→Through a rugged, untamed wilderness, a courageous crew took on a seemingly impossible task — building a railway that would connect remote towns across the Canadian continent. Viewers of this film take a virtual seat aboard an early 20th-century steam engine and explore one of the greatest engineering feats in modern history, including aerial footage of the breathtaking Canadian Rockies. When: Through March 1 Where: Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul Cost: Film admission is $8.95–$9.95 for ages 4 and older (free for ages 3 and younger). Info: smm.org

by local food critics. Wanna bake? Pick up a free gingerbread house kit from Norway House. Kits are first come, first serve and are available starting Oct. 24. Drop off your contributions between Nov. 7–17. When: Nov. 21–Jan. 7 Where: Norway House, Minneapolis Cost: Free for participating bakers (and ages 12 and younger) and $5 for ages 13 and older. Info: More details, gingerbread recipes and patterns are available at norwayhouse.org.

NOV. 24–DEC. 23

HOLIDAZZLE

→→The Minneapolis Downtown Council and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will again bring the city’s annual holiday celebration to Loring Park. Enjoy food, drinks, movie nights, carriage rides, shopping, fireworks and visits from Santa.

50 / November 2017 / Minnesota Good Age

When: Thursdays–Sundays Nov. 24–Dec. 23. See fireworks at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 24, Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23. Where: Loring Park, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: holidazzle.com

DEC. 1–3, 8–10

EUROPEAN CHRISTMAS MARKET →→Meander through decorated booths modeled after German Christkindlmarkts, featuring the work of local crafters and artisans, along with performances by carolers, dancers, musicians, plus visits from Santa and his reindeer. When: Dec. 1–3, 8–10 Where: Union Depot, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: stpaulchristmasmarket.com

DEC. 7–31

ANNIE

→→It’s a hard-knock life for Annie and the other orphans of Depression-era New York City, under the patronage of the wretched and scheming Miss Hannigan at the Hudson Street Orphanage. One day, Annie’s life is changed forever when Grace, the beautiful assistant of the enigmatic millionaire Oscar (Daddy) Warbucks comes to ask for an orphan to stay at his mansion for the Christmas holidays. When: Dec. 7–31 Where: Orpheum Theatre, St. Paul Cost: Tickets start at $47 (for partial view). For a 15 percent discount on any Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 7:30 p.m. shows, or Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m. shows, use the online discount code GRP15OFF, courtesy of Grandycamp.info. Info: ordway.org


November 2017  
November 2017  
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