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Giving back ... Paying it forward and giving back are popular catch phrases these days, as people strive to be better citizens of the community in which they live and work. “Pay it forward” is an expression describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor; it is the opposite of payback, which is done after the fact. As for giving back, Albert Einstein once said: “It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.” There are any number of ways people can “pay it forward” and give back to the community. One group of women, through the Willmar Chapter of Minnesota Business and Professional Women, are doing that through a mentorship program. Currently there are five women actively mentoring young girls, grades five through nine. The program pairs women with young girls identified as those who may benefit from an adult presence outside their home environment. Often the changes can be life-changing for those involved. While not everything we do to give back or pay it forward is life-changing, rest assured the little things we all do everyday can make a difference: brighten someone’s day, put another meal on the table for those in need through helping out with the local food shelf, help cleanup our environment for tomorrow’s generation through Adopt-A-Highway or other similar efforts, and the list goes on. So as we enjoy the summer and all its beauty around us, let’s all try and remember to give back a little or pay it forward for those coming behind us. And, speaking of summer, it’s a season many enjoy spending time in their gardens. Fairy houses are another popular trend for your yard or garden, and our DIY guru, Jen Anfinson, offers her tips for creating your very own fairy garden. Summer is also a tasty time. Foodie Anne Polta offers some tips and mouth-watering recipes on taking advantage of the early summer greens. And, our spirits guy, Ron Skjong, gives us a bit of an inside look at Glacial Ridge Winery near Spicer. Think about it, a nice refreshing — FRESH — salad and an accompanying glass of wine. Does it get any better? We also have tips on cleaning off your coffee table and shelves of extra books, and more. So, enjoy your days as we move into summer, and remember to leave it a better place for you having visited. If you have a topic you’d like to see in Live it!, send your story idea to liveit@wctrib. com. We love to hear from our readers. You can also “like” us on Facebook or send us a tweet @Liveitmag. Life in west central Minnesota … it really is a beautiful thing …

Live it!

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Sharon Bomstad Live it! Editor

g Manat tio lhbearaivfreoitmmyaogu.

We w et us @l Twe eit@wc ook eb l liv emai t us on fac ox 839, i s ! it B vi Live 56201. e t i r or w lmar MN ry ideas, Wil come sto ore. m el We w ments and m co Watch for our next issue, out Aug. 12, 2016 May we publish your letter?

On the preschool feature in the April/May issue: We love Mrs. Borstad! We’ve had her 5 years in a row and have been so blessed by her! — Karyssa Zaeska-Christianson, via Facebook

Thanks for doing the article. We’ve gotten a lot of comments on it from other parents at the school. — Melissa Scheele

On the CrossFit feature in the February/March issue: Thank you for including us in your magazine. It’s a honor. — Dr. Jon Haefner, via Facebook

So cool!!! Thanks for the photoshopping :) love it!!!!! — Andrea Swenson, via text message

Way to go Andrea! — Becky Reiter, via Facebook

Thank you Live it! for featuring crossfit in your magazine. Outstanding articles! And of course content about crossfit attila. — Crossfit Attila, from their Facebook page

Zditor’s note: We love to hear from our readers. “Like” us on Facebook, send us a tweet with your comments or even a new story idea, or email us at Watch for the next issue due out Aug. 12, 2016.

Live it! Magazine 3


Can’t Live without it!

A publication of the West Central Tribune


Sharon Bomstad Magazine Editor

Dan Burdett

Magazine Writer/Social Media To contact Live it! call 320-235-1150 or email

Writing & photography Dan Burdett Anne Polta Kenzie Tenney Jen Anfinson Gregory Harp

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To advertise, call 320-214-4317 fax 320-235-6769 or email a listed consultant.


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2208 W. Trott Ave., Willmar MN 56201 Volume 5, Issue 3

Copyright Š 2016 West Central Tribune Live it! magazine All rights reserved. Although some parts of this publication may be reproduced and reprinted, we require that prior permission be obtained.

Cover Story


Helping girls succeed

April 2016, Volume 5, Issue 3




BPW program heads them in right direction


Mentor benefits for girls & mentees


Q&A: Paying it forward, giving back


Hate buying a swimsuit? This may help

16 Let your creative juices flow; have fun! 18


Student loans got you down?


What we hear from our readers

14 STYLE IT! The ins/outs of shopping for beachwear 16 DO-IT-YOURSELF Fairy houses with personal touch 18 MONEY MATTERS Student loan considerations 21 EAT IT!


Summer salads go green

24 SPIRITS Mentor helped in wine-making 25 READ IT! Spring/summer cleaning of books 26

GET IT! Summer musical, home/outdoor needs

27 LIFE HAPPENS Stop negative influences 28 WHAT’S HAPPENING? Mark your calendars now



6 Live it! Magazine


For young girls, mentoring program offers steps in the right direction By Dan Burdett Photography By Gregory Harp

Live it! Magazine 7

Why consider being a mentor? was created by the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs, which is comprised of representatives from 19 federal agencies that support programs and services focusing on issues affecting youth. It says the supportive relationships formed between mentors and mentees is both immediate and long-term. Here are some of the benefits lists for both parties.

Benefits for youth ✏ Increased high school graduation rates ✏ Lower high school dropout rates ✏ Healthier relationships and lifestyle choices ✏ Better attitude about school ✏ Higher college enrollment rates and higher educational aspirations ✏ Enhanced self-esteem and self-confidence ✏ Improved behavior, both at home and at school ✏ Stronger relationships with parents, teachers and peers ✏ Improved interpersonal skills ✏ Decreased likelihood of initiating drug and alcohol use

Benefits for mentors ✏ Increased self-esteem ✏ A sense of accomplishment ✏ Creation of networks of volunteers ✏ Insight into childhood, adolescence and young adulthood ✏ Increased patience and improved supervisory skills

Women and mentorship According to research from a study conducted by Catalyst in 2012, 65 percent of women who have been mentored will go on to become mentors themselves. The same study revealed 63 percent of women never had a formal mentor. The majority of women (75 percent) who participated in the study also reported the time investment associated with being a mentor most affects their decision on whether to ultimately accept mentorships.


A friend in your corner

Alayna Ritz is so small she practically goes unnoticed, just another face in a crowd. But the moment words flow from her mouth, she instantly grabs your attention. She is feisty and honest, quick-witted and self-deprecating, impervious and sensitive, sometimes seemingly in one elongated and vigorous breath. Her indelible narrative offers a glimpse at an old soul and a perspective far beyond her 16 years. She is a student at Willmar’s Area Learning Center and is employed as an aide for vulnerable adults. It’s a rung on the ladder to nursing school. She hopes to be working full time in the medical field by age 25. She lives with her mom, Amy. But it’s temporary. Amy recently suffered a series of strokes and is unable to work. She will soon move in with family while she rehabs. Alayna will move in with friends. She’s taking it in stride.

Been through worse.

A friend, a mentor “Been through worse,” Alayna says, on this mild April day over coffee in a second-floor nook at LuLu Beans in Willmar. Amy sits next to her daughter, her eyes fixated on her. Julie Asmus sits on the other side of the table, perpetually grinning and nursing a warm drink. Julie is a former police officer, long respected within the ranks of the force and the community she served. There was a time Alayna and Julie may have met under different circumstances, a time when the tumult lighting up Alayna’s then-muddled brain threatened to derail any semblance of a future she had. She was angry at a drunk father. She was anxious over her parents’ divorce. She felt hatred for classmates who’d ridicule her plight. “Let’s just put it this way,” Alayna says. “I could have made some bad choices. Drugs and alcohol. All that. It could have been a struggle. ... But I met Julie.” Minnesota Business and Professional Women (BPW) is an organization looking to expand networking opportunities for women across the state. Thus, its members wear many hats: they are educators, fundraisers, entrepreneurs, mentors. It’s the latter that singularly intrigues Julie.

For more than two decades she has been involved with BPW’s Willmar chapter and its mentoring program. The program pairs women with young girls identified by aides within area school districts as those who may benefit from an adult presence outside their home environment. The program brought Julie and Alayna together more than seven years ago, when Alayna was 9, and has allowed Julie and other female mentors to craft relationships with dozens of girls from across the area. Through the program, the mentors connect with and spend one-on-one time with the girls each week. They often talk over the phone or meet for lunch or a soft drink. The program is lengthy — the girls attend from fifth through ninth grades — and the mentors attempt to use this time to impart attributes the girls can carry with them through teendom and into adulthood: empathy, volunteerism, teamwork, etiquette, friendship and valuing one’s self, to list but a few. “We deal with the subjects that impact their lives,” Julie says. “One recent example was the lockdown at the (Willmar) senior high. That incident allowed us to form a discussion with the girls on what they would do if they witness a fight, if they were the victim of a fight, how they would report a fight. It provided us with an excellent teachable moment on just how to react in a real-life situation.”

Live it! Magazine 9

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A life less ordinary

A few years ago, Alayna’s uncle was diagnosed with cancer. They shared a close bond, one that grew stronger as he began chemotherapy treatments. When he died, Alayna was distraught. Julie was faithful in her support. “She just took me under her wing,” Alayna said. “I just liked being around her. Just being with her and having that release helped tons.” It has been two years since Alayna completed the mentoring program, but she continues to carry its lessons with her.

Three women of varying ages reside at the group home where Alayna is employed. She folds their laundry and makes them supper. She likes to engage them with banter. She wants them to know she cares. It gives her perspective, she says. When she’s not working, she listens to country music and hip-hop, and has an affinity for hockey. Those moments keep her grounded, she says. She’s also fostering a relationship with a young man with Southern roots and whose parlance, she jokes, is perhaps starting to rub off on her. “People always ask me if I’m Southern. I dunno know why,” she says, using an exaggerated pronunciation of “why” for comedic effect. Then comes a sardonic smirk. In many ways, Alayna, that wit is your best friend, wouldn’t you say? “Yeah … ” she says with a laugh. “Look, I feel like without this program I would be very mad ... a mad, mad child. I’d say judgmental. Dad wasn’t around. He was just John to me. I had struggles with my brother. My mum was and is my No. 1. But the program taught me to be more accepting of that stuff. I understand things better now. Stuff is never as bad as it could be. You can just laugh stuff off. And it helps Julie is such a happy person. She’s kinda contagious.” Alayna says her brother is still finding his way. Amy is assured Alayna has found hers. “It’s hard to explain,” Amy says when quizzed on how being a mentee has shaped Alayna. “I think it comes down to her being able to be part of something she ordinarily may not have been able to be a part of. And her grasp on the fact she was able to be a part of it is big, too. I’m so thankful she had that opportunity.” For more on the mentoring program, please see the Q&A on Page 12. Dan Burdett is the lead writer for Live it! Magazine. You can email Dan at or follow him on Twitter @danburdett1

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The girls also gather monthly for a joint group recreation or diversion. Those activities are as varied as clearing area roadsides of trash and debris through the Adopt-A-Highway program, attending a theatrical performance that may have women’s issues as a central theme or simply gathering for a night of bowling or a communal meal. During April’s activity, the group gathered in a kitchen in the lower floor of Building 1802 on the MinnWest Technology Campus in Willmar. There, they attended a food preparation and cooking session conducted by Willmar-based nutritionist Julie Rote. Sophie Guerra, an 11-year-old with long dark bangs and a carefree disposition, was on hand with her mentor, Nancy Welch. Sophie is from a broken home and has been active in the program for about five months. Nancy, too, is a relative newbie to the program but says its impact on Sophie is already evident. “She’s more outgoing,” Nancy says. “ … more polite and at ease. More comfortable in a group environment.” “... And I feel like I’m being a better person,” Sophie adds. It’s music to Julie’s ears. “Ultimately, you want to know the program makes a difference,” she says.


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Live it! Magazine 11


Story and photo By Dan Burdett

Pay it forward

Mentoring program looks to give girls tools to give back


For more than two decades, Julie Asmus has been involved with the Willmar chapter of the Minnesota Business and Professional Women, specifically its mentoring program. An avenue to help guide girls through those intermittently angst-laden pre-teen and teenage years, the program pairs the girls with an adult female mentor. There are currently five active mentors in the

12 Live it! Magazine

program. The mentees remain in the program from grades 5-9. Julie believes the experience can be life-changing for those involved and we wanted to find out why. So we recently sat down with Julie to pick her brain on the virtues of mentorship and its lasting impact. Here’s what she had to say:

Live it!: So please tell me a little about what you do. Julie Asmus: Business and Professional Women is an organization of women who provide networking and education opportunities. We have a scholarship program. We’ve adopted a room at Safe Avenues (women’s shelter.) We recognize an employer and employee of the year. And we support legislation that centers on women’s issues. And then one of our programs is the mentoring of young girls. Live it!: And how do you determine and achieve these mentoring goals? JA: We’re based around The Search Institute’s 40 developmental assets. They’ve determined 40 key areas as skills young people need to grow up healthy. And so much of it has to do with experiences and opportunities and relationships. So as one example, every month we have a group activity with the girls and their mentors. It could be a fun activity or a civic activity. We also have one-on-one time with them. So with our activities we attempt to work on developmental assets that strengthen the girls and teach them to give back to others, but also how to work with others. We also focus on social competencies that simply help them learn how to socialize with other girls and adults. Live it!: So, just to digress ever so slightly … are these young ladies at risk? JA: Well … no. Not really. You could say some of the girls are at-risk, but not in the traditional sense. Sometimes they come from single-parent homes. Sometimes they come from large families. Sometimes it could be a family that’s financially disadvantaged. We have child guides in the school system who identify kids they think would simply benefit from some individual time with an adult or from participating in activities they wouldn’t ordinarily have the opportunity to participate in. Live it!: So what changes do you ultimately see in these young women from the time they begin the mentoring program to the time they end it? JA: Oh, I would say the biggest thing is the relationships they have with the adult mentors. Not only the

“I would hope they value themselves.” one-on-one relationship they have with their individual mentor, but they really end up with a whole network of mentors. Over the three or four years they’re with the program, the girls really get to know all of the adult mentors. It’s not just one adult they connect with. It becomes a network of women they know support them and care about their success. That’s the biggest change I see. Live it!: Obviously there’s more than a single element, but if you had to impart just one thing on these young ladies, what do you hope that is? JA: I would hope they value themselves. Our three main goals are: graduate from high school, don’t do drugs and don’t get pregnant. So, to me, if they value themselves — respect themselves — that encapsulates all of that. If they value themselves, they will graduate from high school because they want a better life. If they value themselves, they’ll find good relationships. So, yeah … just valuing themselves. Live it!: So how do you hope these young ladies use the skills they learn with others? JA: I hope they understand they have the ability to pay it forward. One of our girls right now has a brother who is deployed to Kuwait, so we write cards and send care packages to him. It’s a way to give back. We want them to know the world is bigger than just us. The Willmar Chapter meets the third Tuesday of every month, generally at The Oaks at Eagle Creek. Meetings begin casually at 5 p.m. and the business portion of the meeting, along with a short program, begins at 5:30 p.m. If you would like to check it out (your first meeting dinner is free), contact Jane Vikse at For more information on Minnesota Business and Professional Women, visit



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Live it! Magazine 13

e l y t S


Tips for heading to the beach


Winter is finally over and the warm sun kissing our skin is a wonderful feeling! What some of us don’t feel so wonderful about is swimsuit season. We’ve all been there. Well, most of us have been there. We agonize over finding the perfect suit that will flatter our figure and turn heads. But searching for your summer bathing suit doesn’t have to be difficult or depressing.

By Kenzie Tenney

14 Live it! Magazine

Here are a few tips and tricks to consider when choosing the swimsuit for your shape, but the most important tip is confidence. Embracing your body and feeling confident in your own skin is the best tip, trick or advice anyone could give you! So get out there — it’s time to flaunt that figure! Happy shopping!

APPLE Attributes: You have a rounder figure, carrying weight in your middle To smooth and conceal your tummy, gathered fabrics like shirring or wrapping works wonders to hide bulges! Retro high-waisted suits are incredibly hot right now and will cover your lower abdomen nicely.

ATHLETIC Attributes: You have a straighter frame with few curves Choose a style that will compliment your frame and play up your curves. Choose a suit with less coverage — this will allude to more shape. To add shape, lean toward suits with busy prints and patterns, small tie-side bottoms or cutout one-pieces.

PEAR Attributes: You have curvy hips and thighs + a small bust When it comes to the perfect suit for your pear shape, the key is balance. Balancing the right amount of coverage for your bottom and drawing the eye up. Try plunging necklines, padding and halters for added cleavage. To draw the eye up, mix a busy or bold printed top with a solid bottom.

CURVY Attributes: You have curvy hips and thighs + a large bust Your hour-glass shape requires a bit more support. Look for suits with underwire, molded cups and thick, adjustable straps. If you want to avoid too much focus on your chest, skip embellishments and ruffles and opt for a more solid print.

Kenzie Tenney is a freelance writer for Live it! Magazine.

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! t i o-

D urself yo Think small ... really small


By Jen Anfinson

Whether you have just turned 3 or 103, it is easy to get lost in the world of miniature scale when you decide to make a fairy house. Though you can easily find items for this endeavor in many shops and nurseries these days, do not think that your fairies wouldn’t just love your broken watch and some pinecones as their treasures. Think big ... I mean, small!

Step 1

Gather your materials: a vessel for your fairy’s house and other items for the inside of the structure. Dump out your junk drawer and use your imagination. An old jewelry box, bird cage, clay pot or hole in a tree makes a great fairy house. A shell becomes a lampshade and little matchboxes are wonderful beds!

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Make your fairy’s furniture and such. I have a box for tiny little “things” that will work for miniature furniture, much of it recyclables ....twisty ties, buttons, broken pens, nuts and bolts, old jewelry. Try to assemble your furniture without glue (especially if it will be outside) and imagine what they will need and want: a bed, a comfy place to hang out, a bubble bath, a swing ...

Step 2

Step 3

Assemble your fairy house. Pretend you are decorating your own home — make it cozy! Add wall art (perhaps a postage stamp), rugs and shiny things. Position your furniture in room groupings. Never glue your furniture down, as you will want to check and see how it’s looking and possibly move things around. If things are a mess since you checked on it last, you may have had a visitor!

Step 4

Find a place, tucked away, for your fairy house to reside. I like to stick them in my landscaping, under a big bush. Fairies do not want to be discovered, so your spot must be hidden a bit.

Step 5

Enjoy adding to your fairy house, changing things up and looking at things in a new, miniature way!

Jen Anfinson creates jewelry and other handmade items from her studio in Paynesville, and teaches DIY classes all over the state. For more information on upcoming classes, check out Jen Anfinson Studio on Facebook.

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- Money Matters -

Repaying your student loans By Matthew Lilleberg You vaguely remember signing a form every year at college registration time. Now that you’ve graduated, it’s all become painfully clear — those forms were promissory notes detailing your student loan obligations. Your loans aren’t going away, and you’ll want to repay them as quickly as possible. So whether you have a small sum or a small fortune to pay off, it’s helpful to brush up on some student loan basics.

First, remember the grace period

After you graduate, you’ll probably have a lot to think about — deciding where to live, finding a job, renting an apartment. Fortunately, you don’t have to add student loans to your list, at least not right away. Thanks to the grace period built into most student loans, you’ll likely get anywhere from six to nine months before you need to start repaying your loans. This gives you some breathing room to get financially settled.

Understand your repayment options

Gone are the days when your only repayment option consisted of fixed, equal payments spread over a 10-year term. Though this is certainly one option — and typically the fastest way to pay off your loans — it’s not the only option. Because of the growing number of students who require student loans to finance their education and the ever increasing amount of their debt, the federal government offers several flexible repayment plans to help students manage this large financial responsibility. (Private student lenders may or may not offer the following plans — check with your lender.) ✏ Standard repayment plan: This is the original repayment plan. With a standard plan, you generally pay a fixed amount each month for up to 10 years. ✏ Graduated repayment plan: With a graduated plan, your payments start out low in the early years of the loan but increase in later years (the term is still 10 years). This plan is tailored to individuals with relatively low current incomes (e.g., recent college graduates) who expect their incomes to increase in the future. However, you’ll ultimately pay more for your loan than you would under the standard plan, because more interest accumulates in the early years of the plan when your outstanding loan balance is higher.

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✏ Extended repayment plan: With an extended plan, you extend the time you have to repay your loan, usually from 12 to 30 years, depending on the loan amount. Your fixed monthly payment is lower than it would be under the standard plan, but again, you’ll ultimately pay more for your loan because of the interest that accumulates under the longer repayment period. Note: Many lenders allow you to combine an extended plan with a graduated plan. ✏ Income-based repayment plan: With an income-based repayment (IBR) plan, your monthly loan payment is based on your annual discretionary income. The federal government offers a PAYE plan (Pay As You Earn) and a REPAYE plan (Revised Pay as You Earn). Generally, undergraduate borrowers who qualify will pay 10% of their discretionary income toward their student loans each month, and after 20 years of on time payments, the remaining balance may be forgiven (payments may be forgiven after 10 years for those in certain public interest jobs and after 25 years for graduate school borrowers). For more information, visit the federal government’s student aid website at ✏ Loan consolidation: Loan consolidation is technically not a repayment option, but it does overlap. With loan consolidation, you combine several student loans into one loan, sometimes at a lower interest rate. Thus, you can write one check each month. You need to apply for loan consolidation, and different lenders have different rules about which loans qualify for consolidation. However, with most loan consolidations, you can choose an extended repayment and/or a graduated repayment plan in addition to a standard repayment plan. To pick the best repayment option, you’ll need to determine the amount of discretionary income that you have to put toward your student loan each month. This, in turn, requires you to make a budget and track income and expenses. In addition to inquiring about repayment options, ask whether your lender offers any special discounts for prompt loan repayment. For example, some lenders may shave a percentage point off your interest rate if you allow them to directly debit your checking account each month. Or, they may waive some monthly payments after receiving on-time payments for a certain length of time.

Consider a deferment, forbearance or loan cancellation if you can’t pay At times, you may find it financially difficult or impossible to repay your student loan. The worst thing you can do is ignore your payments (and your lender) completely. The best thing you can do is contact your lender and apply for a deferment, forbearance, or cancellation of your loan.

Deferment With a deferment, your lender grants you a temporary reprieve from repaying your student loan based on a specific condition, such as unemployment, temporary disability, military service, or a return to graduate school on a full-time basis. For federal loans, the federal government pays the interest that accrues during the deferment

period, so your loan balance won’t increase. A deferment usually lasts six months, and you are limited in the total number of deferments you can take over the life of the loan.

Forbearance With a forbearance, your lender grants you permission to reduce or stop your loan payments for a certain period of time at its discretion (one common reason is economic hardship). However, interest continues to accrue, even on federal loans. Like a deferment, a forbearance usually lasts six months, and the total number allowed over the life of the loan is limited.

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Live it! Magazine 19

Cancellation With a cancellation, your loan is permanently wiped off your list of financial obligations. It’s not easy to qualify for a cancellation, though. Situations when this may be allowed are the death or permanent total disability of the borrower, or if the borrower takes a job teaching needy populations in certain geographic areas. Typically, student loans can’t be discharged in bankruptcy. Remember, these things are never automatic. You’ll need to fill out the appropriate application from your lender, attach any supporting documentation, and follow up to make sure that your application has been processed correctly.

Keep track of your paperwork

If your idea of organization is stuffing your random assortment of student loan papers into your sock drawer, or not keeping them all, think again. Repaying your student loans is a serious matter, and you’ll need to stay on top of it. It’s important to keep accurate, accessible records. Open a file folder for each loan, and file any accompanying paperwork there, such as copies of promissory notes, coupon booklets, correspondence from your lender, deferment and/or forbearance paperwork, and notes of any phone calls.


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20 Live it! Magazine

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Investigate the student loan interest deduction

On the bright side, you might be able to deduct some or all of the student loan interest you pay on your federal tax return. In 2016, if you’re a single filer with a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) under $65,000 or a joint filer with a MAGI under $130,000, you can deduct up to $2,500 of student loan interest that you pay during the year. A partial deduction is available to single filers with a MAGI between $65,000 and $80,000 and joint filers with a MAGI between $130,000 and $160,000. There are a couple of hurdles, though. You must have incurred the loans when you were at least a half-time student, and you can’t take the deduction if you’re claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return. If you paid $600 or more of interest to a single lender on a qualified student loan during the year, you should receive Form 1098-E at tax time from your lender, showing the amount of student loan interest you’ve paid for the year. For more information, see IRS Publication 970.

Matthew Lilleberg is a financial adviser with C&A Financial Advisors in Willmar.

! t i t a E

By Anne Polta

Go green


There’s no better time for going green than early summer, when many of the season’s best leafy greens are at their peak and waiting to be tossed into a healthy flavorful salad. Once upon a time American consumers had to satisfy their salad cravings with a

Anne Polta may be reached at or follow her on Twitter @AnnePolta

with the leaves of summer

limited menu of options. Not anymore. The greens available these days are as plentiful in variety as they are in versatility. Here’s a primer on many of the most familiar greens, along with some that may be lesser known but worthy of inclusion on your next salad plate.

Live it! Magazine 21



Butterhead lettuce

Looseleaf lettuce

Also known as rocket. Long narrow leaves with a peppery taste. Leaves are indented when mature; baby leaves are smooth-edged or slightly serrated. Soft, smooth-textured and mildly sweet. Boston and Bibb are the most common varieties.

Broad, ruffled dark green leaves, sometimes with a purple tinge. Can be eaten raw but is also often cooked. Mild cabbage-like flavor. Large ruffled leaves, mild flavor. Comes in green and red-leaf varieties.


A round head of crisp crunchy leaves with a sharp, bitter flavor. Most often sold as green cabbage or the red Savoy variety.


Small, round dark-green leaves. Mildly sweet. Also known as lamb’s lettuce.

Salad Greens



Butterhead Lettuce







Iceberg Lettuce


Leaf Lettuce



Large deep-green wrinkled leaves with a beet-like taste. Must be cooked before eating. Also known as Swiss chard.


Small round leaves with a fibrous stem. Distinctive peppery taste. The most popular variety is watercress; others include upland cress and curly cress.


Creamy oval leaves, satiny texture and mild bitterness. Their scoop-like shape makes them ideal for serving with a dip.






Large, leafy and crisp; mildly bitter.


Small curly leaves with crunchy stems and distinctive pale green, yellow and white coloring. Slightly bitter.

Iceberg lettuce

One of the most widely available head lettuce types sold at U.S. supermarkets. Crunchy with a mild taste.

22 Live it! Magazine



A mix of small baby greens, often sold as spring greens. Traditional mesclun contains chervil, arugula, leaf lettuces and endive in equal amounts. Mixes also can include other young greens.


Also known as Japanese greens. Bright green with jagged edges similar to an oak leaf. Pungent in flavor but not overpowering.


Indented leaves resemble those of an oak tree. Tender texture and mild flavor.


Easy to recognize for its red-purple coloring and white veins. Bitter when eaten raw, sweet when cooked. Also known as red chicory.


Large curly leaves with a thick crunchy center rib and slightly bitter taste. The go-to lettuce for a classic Caesar salad.


Bright green oval leaves. Baby spinach leaves are smaller and more tender. The flavor is mild and neutral, pairing well with a variety of dressings.

Homemade Croutons You can buy croutons by the box and skip the extra work, but it’s fun — and easy — to make your own. These can be added as a garnish to almost any leafy green salad. For variation, use sourdough bread or a rustic country loaf. Store unused croutons in an airtight container. 1 loaf of day-old French bread Olive oil Coarse salt Freshly ground pepper Seasonings to taste. Options include any or a combination of the following: red pepper flakes, dried oregano, dried parsley, grated Parmesan cheese, 1 to 2 cloves of minced garlic. Cut bread into cubes and place in large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, add salt, pepper and seasonings and toss well. Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes at 400 degrees F. until golden and crisp.

Minimalist Salad for One or Two This is inspired by a salad my oldest brother often makes. It can be scaled up or down depending on your needs — larger for a stand-alone meal, perhaps accompanied by a light soup or sandwich, or smaller as a prelude to an elegant dinner. Handful of mixed greens such as frisee, radicchio, oakleaf lettuce, etc. Craisins Pine nuts Parmesan shavings, removed from a block of Parmesan cheese with a vegetable parer Place greens on a plate and scatter with remaining ingredients; toss lightly. Drizzle with vinaigrette to taste.

Mustard and Red Wine Vinaigrette 1 cup dry red wine 7 tablespoons red wine vinegar 3 tablespoons chopped shallots or green onions 2 bay leaves 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard ½ cup safflower oil ½ cup olive oil Combine wine, 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar, bay leaves and shallots in a small heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, stirring occasionally. Pour reduction into medium bowl; cool. Discard bay leaves. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and mustard into reduction. Gradually whisk in both oils. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 1½ cups.

Live it! Magazine 23

- Spirits! -

Mentoring leads to experience By Ron Skjong I can’t get the “dirt” out of my blood. It isn’t that I’m such a great — not even a good — gardener but, in the spring time, the call of the earth screams to me. I can’t wait to feel the warm dirt, to smell its earthy scent and to see its potential come to fruition in flowers and vegetables. My parents led me to this love of the earth but they also stressed that experience is the best teacher. This thought of “experience is the best teacher” came back to me in a recent interview with Ron Wothe — owner of Glacial Ridge Winery — and I share his thoughts with you. RS — When and why did you decide to make wine? Ron — It all started about nine years ago. The winery business was beginning to make its way into central Minnesota. We needed to expand our own business and Kim and I decided to make it a winery. RS — Who influenced you — who is your mentor? Ron — A dear friend, chemist and fellow wine lover. He has made many award-winning wines and has been doing it for a long time. RS — What formal education do you have for vino culture? Ron — I have actually had no formal training — I’ve been learning from my chemist over the years. RS — What lessons have you learned from making wine? Ron — SANITIZE, SANITIZE, SANITIZE! It really makes all the difference when making wine. RS — Why do you continue to make wine? Ron — What does everyone say? “It pays the bills?” Honestly, it’s FUN, FUN, FUN! There is something spe-

24 Live it! Magazine

cial about the wine industry. You meet some great and fun people. Whether it be our patrons or our fellow wine makers, everyone provides something special to this business that makes the business special and unique. RS — What is your favorite wine? Ron — My favorite wine is a dry red — like our LeRoy Merlot or our Handsome Bastard Syrah. RS — How do you continue to refine and improve your wine-making skills? Ron — When it comes to refining and improving wine, there is nothing better than experience. It really has been my best teacher over the years. RS — What goals have you set for yourself for the next three to five years? Ron — The most important goal for us at Glacial Ridge Winery is to continue to be a leader in making great-tasting wine. I expect all of us have our mentors/ teachers but I also believe the biggest part of learning comes when the mentor stops teaching and we have to just ... do it. Glacial Ridge Winery has a number of great-tasting wines awaiting us when we take that break from just ... doing it. Whether you enjoy Glacial Ridge’s fruity Riesling (Lake Whisper) or the complex taste and medium body of LeRoy Merlot, there is something for everyone. And, as we sip our favorite Glacial Ridge wine, let’s lift our wine glasses in salute to those mentors/teachers who surround us each day and offer them a heartfelt and humble — Thank You! P.S. In case you missed it, another local winery, Hinterland Vineyards near Clara City was featured in my column in the last issue (April/May) of Live it! Magazine. As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon. Cheers! Ron Skjong writes primarily about the wonderful world of wine but likes to explore various spirits and beers, too. He is married and has four grown children. While stationed in Germany, he was introduced to German wines and from that introduction, a lifelong pursuit developed to find that perfect bottle of wine.

- Read it! -

Spring clean your bookshelves By Syrena Maranell If you are anything like me, there are stacks of books throughout your house, something to read in every room and let’s face it, a bit of a book mess. So this year when you spring (or summer) clean your house, don’t forget your book collection. The first step is to give yourself some time. This might take more than a minute or two, especially if you have to caress each cover and lovingly run your finger across the print in each book. Turn on your Google Play to “Spring Cleaning Jams,” and get to work. Give your books a quick once over. If there are any titles you know you can get rid of, start a pile. Think of it like you are packing for a move, and ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” Then, go with your gut. Next, further organize your books into more piles. My piles are: keep, sell and donate. Don’t get discouraged already. Follow these guidelines to get your books to their proper home.

Books to keep:

✏ You read it and loved it ✏ You read it and will read it again ✏ It looks nice and you want to keep it for decoration ✏ It reminds you of something good ✏ It’s a book that you want to lend to your friends and family ✏ Signed copies

Books to get rid of:

✏ Be real — you are never going to read it ✏ You read it and you didn’t like it ✏ The movie was better ✏ You read it and will more than likely never read it again

What to do with the books you no longer need:

I’m always looking for extra money, so the first option I look at is selling. Selling books online through Amazon (or any other online bookseller) is pretty painless, but you have to decide if it will be time well spent, especially for books worth less than $10. Consignment is another possibility for those books. Donating your books is also a great idea. The library takes donations of books that are in good condition and sells any titles that it does not add to the collection.

on their website

Other donation possibilities include: ✏ Your friends and family ✏ Goodwill ✏ The Salvation Army ✏ New2You Thrift Store ✏ AAUW annual used book sale ✏ – schedule a free pickup

If you are headed to the Cities: ✏ Better World Books has multiple drop box locations (all books welcome; good condition please!) ✏ MN Literacy Council accepts used children’s books in good condition Now your books are happy and your house looks great, but how do keep the books from piling up again? Borrow books from the library. If you love it, you can always buy your very own copy to keep. Another option is to read eBooks. The library has 2 eBooks collections to choose from, Ebooks MN and Overdrive. Both are free and available 24/7/365 from Syrena Maranell is Adult Services Librarian at the Willmar Public Library. For more information on these books, swing by the Willmar Public Library. The librarians are there to help you find your new favorite author. Check out the library’s blog at turningpages.areavoices.

Live it! Magazine 25


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26 Live it! Magazine

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- Life Happens -

Media’s negativity detrimental By Claudette Larson, LICSW I sometimes get asked who I enjoy working with more, men or women, boys or girls? As a therapist, I know a loaded question when I get one. The truth is, both genders have their highlights. There is something to be said for having been an adolescent or teenage girl and having that experience to fall back on. Although I vaguely remember that time, there is evidence my life didn’t start at 40. Go figure. Being an adolescent and teenage girl was rough at times. It feels much rougher now. If I was having a hard time at school with other girls, I got to shut it out at home. With internet and cell phones, it comes right in the door with you. Let’s be honest, girls can be cruel and creative creatures. Girls also have incredible influence over one another. Even better, media has incredible influence over our girls and extends their power like evil superheroes gone mad.

As parents, you have not just the obligation but it would make your life infinitely more bearable if you are tuned in to your daughter’s use of media-television, cell phone and internet and kept a close eye to what she watches, reads and exchanges with others. Ask yourself these key questions: * Is it leading her to feeling good about herself and others? * Is it leading her to see the best in herself and others? * Is it setting your daughter up to see herself as enough just the way she is? If the answer is yes, then breathe a sigh of relief. If the answer is “not so much,” take a deep breath, remind yourself who is the boss and shut it off. She’ll love you for it later. Claudette Larson of New London is a licensed independent clinical social worker with 15 years of experience helping individuals, couples and families work on personal growth and positive real-life solutions.


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Live it! Magazine 27

k c e h it!out C What’s happenin’ ?

Summer 2016

City celebrations Spicer


June 8-11 Town and Country Days, grand parade 7 p.m. Wednesday.

July 2-4 Independence Day celebration, grand parade 10 a.m. July 4th with fireworks at dusk.

July 16 Kid Day celebration, parade 10 a.m. Saturday.


Prairie’s Edge Casino


June 10-11 Kandi is Dandy Days, parade 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

Renville June 10-12 Sugar Beet Days, grand parade 3 p.m. Saturday.

Montevideo June 15-19 Fiesta Days, grand day parade 1 p.m. Sunday.

Bird Island June 15-19 Island Days, regatta parade 3 p.m. Saturday.

Atwater June 16-18 Festival Days, grand parade 3:20 p.m. Saturday.

Willmar June 22-26 Willmar Fests, grand day parade 10:30 a.m. Saturday with fireworks at 10 p.m.

Granite Falls June 23-25 Western Fest, grand parade 1 p.m. Saturday.

Dawson June 23-26 Riverfest, grand parade 2 p.m. Sunday.

Madison June 27-July 4 Summerfest, grand parade 2 p.m. July 4th with fireworks at dusk.

Maynard June 27-July 4 Fourth of July, parade at 11 a.m. July 4th with fireworks at dusk.

Starbuck June 29-July 3 Heritage Days, grand parade 6 p.m. Saturday, fireworks at 10 p.m.

28 Live it! Magazine

July 3 Family Fun Night, begins at 6 p.m. with food, music and fireworks show at dusk.

Terrace July 4 Fourth of July, old-fashioned family fun beginning at 5 p.m.

Paynesville July 4 Independence Celebration, boat parade 2 p.m. Lake Koronis with fireworks at dusk.

Danube July 6-10 Fun Days, grand parade 2 p.m. Saturday.

Litchfield July 7-10 Watercade, grand parade 6 p.m. Saturday.

Clara City July 8-9 Prairie Fest Days, grand parade 4 p.m. Saturday.

Brooten July 8-10 Bonanza Valley Days, parade 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Blomkest July 9 Appreciation Day, parade 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

New London July 13-17 Water Days, grand parade 11 a.m. Saturday.

Sacred Heart July 14-17 Summerfest, grand parade 6 p.m. Friday.

Cosmos July 15-17 Space Festival, grand parade 2 p.m. Sunday.

Glenwood July 26-31 Waterama, lighted pontoon parade at dusk Saturday, parade 1 p.m. Sunday.

Olivia July 26-31 Corn Capital Days, grand parade 3 p.m. Saturday.

Kerkhoven July 29-31 Town and Country Days, grand parade 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

Lake Lillian Aug. 5-7 Fun Days, parade 4 p.m. Saturday.

Pennock Aug. 6 Pennock Fun Day, parade 11 a.m. Saturday.

New London Aug. 9-13 30th annual New London to New Brighton Antique Car Run Saturday features cars from 1915 and earlier; country tours Wednesday, Thursday and Friday leaving from New London daily; run to New Brighton on Saturday.

Starbuck Aug. 12-13 Dragon Boat Racing, co-ed races on Lake Minnewaska; boats provided.

Bechyn Aug. 14 25th annual Czech Heritage Festival with ethnic foods, music, folk dancers, children activities.

Forest City Aug. 20-21 Stockade Rendezvous, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Raymond Aug. 27 Harvest Fest, parade 1 p.m. Saturday.

Music concerts and more Café Corti Every Thursday Willmar, 6 to 7 p.m., Café Corti, 913 Business 71 N.; free music concerts by different individuals and groups, followed by sing-along with house band.

Glacial Ridge Winery Every Thursday Spicer, 6:30 to 8:30 pm., Glacial Ridge Winery, state Highway 23 between New London and Spicer; free music concerts by different individuals and groups.

Hinterland Vineyards Every Friday Clara City, 7 to 9 p.m., Hinterland Vineyards and Winery, 3060 120th Ave. S.E., free music concert by different individuals and groups.

Concerts in the Park June 8, 15, 22, 29, July 6 Willmar, 7:30 p.m., Rice Park, free concert by Prairie Winds Concert Band.

Cassie and the Bobs June 11 New London, 7 p.m., Little Theatre; $15 tickets available at The Giving Tree Children’s Boutique and It’s About Hair, both in New London, and at the door, if available.

Riverside Market June 11, July 9, Aug. 13 Granite Falls, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., downtown along the Minnesota River; music, crafts, art, vintage and more.

Pioneerland Band Festival June 14 Benson, 6:30 p.m., 28th annual Flag Day parade, featuring 15 high school marching bands.

Danube Historical Society June 14, 28, July 7, 26, Aug. 2 Danube, 7 p.m., bandstand by the water tower; free music concert; bring a lawn chair or blanket; freewill donation; sponsored by the Danube Historical Society.

Musical Festival

Little Theatre

July 15-16 Atwater, Freedom Ridge; South Goes North music and camping festival.

Aug. 4-6, 11-13 New London, Thursday through Saturdays, 7 p.m., Little Theatre; performance of “Those Crazy Ladies in the House on the Corner”; tickets available at The Giving Tree Children’s Boutique and It’s About Hair, both in New London, and at the door, if available.

Music Festival Aug. 20 New London, noon to 6 p.m., Neer Park; family friendly day of eclectic live music, food and a kidzone,

Misc. Little Crow Water Ski Show June through August New London, 7:30 p.m., Neer Park, June 3, 10, 17, 24; July 1, 2, 8, 15, 22; 7 p.m., Aug. 5, 6, 19 and 26; 320-354-5684.

Midweek Farmers Market Every Wednesday Willmar, noon to 5:30 p.m., Kandi Mall east side parking lot, high-quality produce available, all grown within 100 miles of Willmar.

Becker Market Every Thursday Willmar, 2 to 6 p.m., 313 Fourth Street, downtown, on the sidewalk and inside The Hub; a multicultural market of farmers, growers, producers, artisans and entertainment.

Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall July 1-4 Willmar, open 24 hours, Robbins Island, east of the Lions Shelter; opening ceremony 7 p.m. July 1, closing ceremony each night at 9 p.m.

Ladies Night Out … in the Woods Aug. 5-7 Spicer, 7 p.m. Friday through noon Sunday, Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center; weekend backpacking trips covers basic outdoor skills; hiking five to seven miles carrying your gear; women sixth grade and up; 320-354-5894.

The Barn Theatre Aug. 10-13, 15-19 Willmar, 7:30 p.m., The Barn Theatre, 321 Fourth St. S.W.; performance of “Laughter on the 23rd Floor”; for tickets call 320-235-9500 or visit

Dances Ballroom dancing June 12, July 17, Aug. 14 Glenwood, 4 to 8 p.m., Lakeside Ballroom; summer dances open to all; music by Myron Sommerfeld, Velvet Brass, Tuxedo Junction; $15 per person, $10 ages 17-30; no jeans or shorts.

Polka Fest July 1-3 Bird Island, Island Ballroom; 27 hours of dancing on large wooden dance floor; 320-365-9997.

Wacipi Aug. 5-7 Granite Falls, Upper Sioux Community Pezihutazzi Oyate Traditional Wacipi, warmup dances 7 p.m. Friday, grand entries at 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

County fairs Redwood Falls July 13-17 Redwood County Fair

Glenwood July 20-23 Pope County Fair


Monroe Crossing


June 18 New London, 7 p.m., Little Theatre; $15 tickets available at The Giving Tree Children’s Boutique and It’s About Hair, both in New London, and at the door, if available, for $18.

July 27-31 Chippewa County Fair

The Barn Theatre


Appleton ’52 Wing June 21, 28, July 5, 12, 19, 26, Aug. 2 Appleton, 7 p.m., Riverview Park bandstand; free music concerts, bring a lawn chair or blanket; sponsored by the Appleton ’52 Wing Restoration Committee.

Okee Dokee July 2 Spicer, 10:30 a.m., Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center, 12718 10th St. N.E.; bring a lawn chair or blanket, free.

Music in the Park July 10, 17, 24, 31, Aug. 7, 14 Spicer, 4 to 6 p.m., City Park observation deck, free concert by various group.

June 9-15, 22-26 Willmar, 7:30 p.m. weekdays and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sundays, The Barn Theatre, 321 Fourth St. S.W.; performance of “Mary Poppins”; for tickets call 320235-9500 or visit

Studio Hop

July 30-Aug. 2 Meeker County Fair

Bird Island Aug. 10-12 Renville County Fair

June 17-18 Local artists will have their studios open 4 to 9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in the Willmar, Spicer and New London areas;


Little Theatre


June 23-25, June 30-July 2 New London, Thursday through Saturdays, 7 p.m., Little Theatre; performance of “You Can’t Take it With You”; tickets available at The Giving Tree Children’s Boutique and It’s About Hair, both in New London, and at the door, if available.

Aug. 10-14 Stevens County Fair

Aug. 10-13 Kandiyohi County Fair

Appleton Aug. 17-21 Swift County Fair

To list your late-summer or fall event, email

Live it! Magazine 29


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June/July issue of Live it! Magazine  
June/July issue of Live it! Magazine