Category Archives: Cover Stories

Desire Mapping

Bring Back Who You Were Before the World Told You Who You Should Be

In 2014, Danielle LaPorte wrote a book that caught the attention of so many women, even Oprah noticed. The book, “The Desire Map,” suggests we are setting goals in the wrong order. Instead of creating to-do lists, completing our tasks and hoping to feel accomplished, Desire Mapping recommends we first figure out how we want to feel. By repositioning our feelings to the top of our priority list, LaPorte claims decisions will be less stressful to make, it will be easier to say no and we can all be a little more open-minded and optimistic. Simply put, Desire Mapping is a method for framing your life around your desires. 


Heather Ritenour-Sampson is the owner of Yoga Tribe, a boutique urban yoga studio located in heart of downtown Rochester. “I discovered the Desire Map process when working with a business coach from California,” Ritenour-Sampson explains. “When my coaching began, I couldn’t even say what I really wanted for my life. As a wife and mother, I felt like my primary role was to make sure everyone else was happy, not to focus on myself. I also didn’t believe what I wanted mattered, because I couldn’t have it anyway.” 

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This entry was posted in Cover Stories on January 1, 2018 by Scott Brue.

A Hunger for Food Meets a Hunger to Help

Local organization rescues excess food from area businesses for those in need.

Community Food Response (CFR) is feeding the hungry in Rochester. Week after week, many families come on foot, by bike and bus, to receive bread, fresh produce and prepared food that would otherwise go to waste. The need to feed the hungry—and CFR’s vital service—continue to grow.


One in nine Minnesotans struggle with hunger, and one in six children do not have enough food to eat. Yet one-third of food is wasted. Locally, one in three Rochester school children qualify for free or reduced school lunches. Many people do not have enough food to lead healthy and active lives. They go to bed hungry, and they wake up hungry. Their refrigerators and cupboards are bare, and finances are low, so putting a decent meal on the table becomes a struggle. Rochester is not immune to the challenges of hunger. 

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This entry was posted in Cover Stories on November 1, 2017 by Scott Brue.

Women & Spirituality Conference: First Time in Rochester

The Women and Spirituality Conference is a multi-faith, educational, healing event that brings together diverse spiritual traditions to create an atmosphere of shared spiritual growth. 

With 90 exhibitors and 84 speakers in the 2017 program, participants can explore religious traditions in a nonjudgmental, supportive environment. After 35 years at the University of Minnesota-Mankato, this year, the conference will be held in Rochester. Highlighted are the local women who will combine spirituality, art and community into the two-day conference, running September 16-17 at the newly renovated Mayo Civic Center.


Terri Allred, Women and Spirituality Conference producer, begins, “I sent the intention into the universe to do more work in the spiritual realm of my life and utilize my master’s degree in feminist theology. At that time, I was already producing an international belly dance event in San Francisco, as well as helping produce local events like ROCKchester and the World Festival. Literally the next day, a friend contacted me about this amazing conference looking for a new producer. Just two days later, I was in Mankato talking about details. The rest is history.”

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This entry was posted in Cover Stories on September 5, 2017 by Scott Brue.

Sara Pennington: Dancing Queen of Peace Plaza

If you’re energized by group fitness and love being outdoors, Zumba® on the Plaza is the thing for you. 

Back for its fifth summer, you can join Zumba on the Plaza on Mondays at 5:30 p.m. “It’s a fun workout,” says founder, Sara Pennington. “And it’s gotten bigger every year.”


The first year, Zumba on the Plaza was held during the lunch hour. A smattering of people attended, but many let Pennington know they’d prefer an evening session instead. The next year, Pennington changed things up by scheduling the class at 5:30 p.m., and that’s when it really took off.

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This entry was posted in Cover Stories on July 3, 2017 by Scott Brue.

Fare with Flair: Mother and Daughter Restaurant Owners Share Love of Fun Fare

At the tender age of 9, Lindsay Zubay got her first taste of the restaurant business. She worked alongside her mother, father and two brothers at Newt’s, a long-time Rochester burger staple. Lindsay delivered food to customers’ tables. 

“I hated it,” she says, laughing. “The tables were numbered and, as a kid, I couldn’t always figure out where the food was supposed to go.” 

Now, two decades later, Lindsay is co-owner with her brother, Jason, and chef Justin Schoville of Rochester’s trendy new eatery, Porch, where they serve “urban farm fare that feeds your soul, as well as fills your stomach.”


LeeAnn Zubay is a staple herself in the Rochester restaurant scene. She is the owner and creative mind behind the successful ZZest Cafe & Bar, located on 16th Street Southwest, as well as the ZZest Lunch Counter and Market, which operate in the First Avenue Food Court in the downtown skyway. 

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This entry was posted in Cover Stories on April 25, 2017 by Scott Brue.

To Be Seventeen Again: Celebrating Eryn Fjelsted’s 17th Birthday

Do you remember turning 17? Where did you live? Where did you go to school? Who were your friends? What were your hopes and dreams? What advice would you give your 17 year-old self today?


Rochester Women magazine helped Eryn Fjelsted celebrate her 17th birthday on Tuesday, February 7 with a makeover, pizza party and photo shoot at Pasquale’s Neighborhood Pizzeria. Imagine that kind of treatment for your 17th birthday party! 

Eryn and her mom, Cindy Fjelstad, went to Hair Studio 52 + Day Spa to get ready for the party. Jade at Hair Studio 52 added color and highlights to Cindy’s professional hairstyle. Lizzie Albrecht trimmed and highlighted Eryn’s hair to give her an easy wash-and-wear hair style for her busy, hockey-girl lifestyle. Her natural Norwegian blonde hair goes well with her light blue dress from Camy Couture. Her tall boots looked stunning on her long legs. Only a 17 year-old could get away with wearing a short dress, as if Paris runway model, on a chilly winter day in Minnesota. Teens don’t seem to have the same desire (or need) to be warm as their mothers.

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This entry was posted in Cover Stories on March 7, 2017 by Scott Brue.

Against the Grain: Women Working in Architecture, Carpentry and Civil Engineering

It’s no secret that the construction industry primarily consists of men. In fact, only 3 percent of construction workers today are women. But even with prominent workplace barriers like wage disparities, real and perceived bias and a general lack of respect for their abilities, women are becoming an increasingly recognized force in the construction industry—and they are encouraging young women to consider following in their steps.


According to the National Science Foundation, women make up half of the college-educated workforce in the United States but represent a mere 29 percent of science and engineering jobs. Although the number of women in science and engineering jobs has risen significantly in the past two decades, the gap between genders has narrowed only modestly.

Vanessa Hines works as a civil engineer for Widseth Smith Nolting and is hoping to see the gender gap continue to close. She has worked in the construction industry for about six years. “When I first started, I would walk into a meeting and scan the room,” Vanessa recalls. “I was typically the youngest and the only woman.” While it made her self-conscious at the time, Vanessa’s gotten over it. “I try to keep in mind that I am able and capable,” she explains, “and that is why I have the job I do.” 

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This entry was posted in Cover Stories on January 5, 2017 by Scott Brue.

Staying Faithful in Love & Music: Country Music Singer Debbie Anthony

Over 27 years ago, Debbie Anthony met the man who would become her greatest fan and her greatest supporter—her husband, Mitch. Introduced to one another by her brother, Debbie and Mitch started their relationship by talking on the phone, and three days later, they met at a local restaurant.

“We stayed there all night and talked. In fact, we were so focused on each other that we didn’t even touch our food!” she says. Debbie and Mitch eloped 13 days later and have been together ever since. Today, Debbie’s life is still centered on what touches her heart the most—her love for music and her husband, Mitch.


Debbie has always loved to sing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music from North Central University, in addition to a degree in psychology from Winona State University and two-thirds of a master’s degree at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. 

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This entry was posted in Cover Stories on November 2, 2016 by Scott Brue.

Bringing the Community into Rochester Public Schools

Academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement are integrated at community school, which is “both a place and set of partnerships between the school and other community resources,” according to “Community schools offer a personalized curriculum that emphasizes real-world learning and community problem solving. Schools become centers of the community.”

Community schools are catching on across the country. In Rochester, Riverside Central Elementary School and Gage Elementary School are taking part in a two-year pilot partnership to become full-service community schools. They offer a range of services and opportunities for children and their families that promote school readiness, consistent attendance, student health and family engagement. Assessments—and lessons learned—provide valuable insights to identify and address needs and deliver educational excellence that will stand the test of time.

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This entry was posted in Cover Stories on August 26, 2016 by Scott Brue.

Ballerina Michaelene Karlen: Dreams Come True

Local girl Michaelene Karlen dances as a professional ballerina on the New York stage and promotes natural wellbeing through organic, holistic skin care that reaches beyond the stage.

Pretty pink tutus, silky pointe shoes, sparkling tiaras—these are what little girls dream of, and for Michaelene Karlen, these dreams came true. With focused dedication, practice, physical stamina and natural dancing ability, Michaelene is living her dream as a contemporary ballet dancer who stays fit by taking care of herself from the inside out.

Embracing Her Calling

Michaelene is from the greater Rochester area, a 2012 graduate of Kasson-Mantorville High School. “I grew up as an only child and have a very strong relationship with my parents,” she says. “My mom drove me hours each day to attend dance classes in Minneapolis and pursue my passion for ballet and other forms of dance. Being a professional dancer was something I always knew was my calling.”

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This entry was posted in Cover Stories on June 27, 2016 by Scott Brue.