Sep/Oct
2015

Squash Blossom Farm: Where Farm Life Is as Wholesome as the Food, Art and Music

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Written by By Trish Amundson, Photography by Dawn Sanborn Photography

On summer Sunday afternoons, Roger Nelson and Susan Waughtal welcome visitors to their rural 10 acres of permaculture paradise—an enterprise that’s a sustainable ecosystem. The couple shares their land with tail-wagging dogs, a few cattle, 60 to 70 chickens of different breeds, honeybees and a pond of fish. Moreover, they share fresh food, local music and creative art with the local community.

Learning as They Grow

The couple moved to the property in 2008, despite having no farming background. With shared dreams and expertise—as an architect and artist—the sustainable farmstead known as Squash Blossom Farm began growing, repurposing and flourishing in a variety of ways, opening to the public in 2010.

 

 

 

When Vivian Bearing, an uncompromising professor of seventeenth-century literature, is diagnosed with stage-four metastatic ovarian cancer, she responds with her indomitable wit. 

Margaret Edson’s Pulitzer-winning play “Wit” has been performed at theatres and hospitals nationwide, including Abbott Northwestern Hospital, where Executive Director of the Rochester Civic Theatre Gregory Stavrou worked with Edson during this staged reading of the show. Stavrou hopes that the Rochester community finds this full production enjoyable and an opportunity to increase dialogue about caring for those with life-threatening illnesses. 

Science vs. Medicine 

As artistic director for the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute in the 1990s, Stavrou experienced first-hand the need for kindness in the midst of cancer treatment. In this time of remarkable life-saving innovations, Stavrou says it is crucial for medical professionals to remember why they do this. Though science is undoubtedly important, medicine should respond to the needs of the whole person, not simply their illness.

 

Sep/Oct
2015

Local Banned Books: A surefire way to have a book read

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Written by By Catherine H. Armstrong

Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) designates a week in September to highlight awareness of banned and challenged books. This year, Sunday, September 27 through Saturday, October 3 is Banned Book Week.

Banning Books

Banned books can be a conundrum for parents. While parents reserve the right to decide appropriate reading material for their own children, many question whether it’s appropriate to dictate to all children based on the opinions of a few. And there’s no doubt that removing books from library shelves is nothing short of censoring the reading for all.

“When books are removed from school libraries, students lose out on differing opinions and access to information,” says Rochester parent and former elementary school teacher Kathleen Murphy. “That being said, it is a parent’s right to monitor what is right for their own child but not for other people’s children.”

 

Jul/Aug
2015

HOT Topics in Politics: Women Representing Rochester

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Written by By Anne Scherer

In the midst of the ever-changing world of politics, heated discussions sometimes take place. State Representatives Kim Norton and Tina Liebling and Senator Carla Nelson represent our local community on the state level, sharing their knowledge and voices in St. Paul, Minnesota. These women have had an impact in legislative decisions in their years of service.

Senator Carla Nelson is committed to encouraging women to pursue public office and empowering women who currently serve in office. “Our government will be richer and better with a wide spectrum of diverse women in elected offices,” she says.

Representative Kim Norton says, “Women are of critical value in the political system, just as they are in the business world or in the familial framework.” Women offer ways of thinking that help balance and improve decision-making. 

 

Jul/Aug
2015

Local Author Thomas Canan: Where There’s Will There’s a Way

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Written by By Catherine H. Armstrong

Two words should never have to be used in the same sentence: cancer and children. Unfortunately, we too often see these words paired together. One local parent has turned the pain of his son’s cancer journey into a beautiful tribute, memorializing a vibrant young man who was taken long before his time.

In his recent memoir, “Where There’s Will There’s a Way,” Thomas Canan brings to life the tenacious and loving spirit of his son, Will, whose nearly nine-year battle with cancer ended prematurely in October 2012.

 

Jul/Aug
2015

Vexed by Texts: A Cautionary Tale

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Written by By C.G. Worrell

You’re cruising down Broadway when your cell phone bleeps with a new text. Your brain starts racing: Did Billy forget his lunch? Does Sally need a ride? Or is it a juicy tidbit from Cousin Marge? You wait until the next red light before grabbing the phone. That’s good enough, right?

Wrong. Under Minnesota’s “No Texting” law, it is illegal for drivers to read, compose or send texts and emails, as well as access the web, while the vehicle is in motion or part of traffic—this includes sitting at a red light or stopped in traffic. 

 

May/Jun
2015

A Nomad Girl: Raises her children in Rochester

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Written by By Habibo A. Haji, R.N., Photography By Mike Hardwick Photography

I was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, where it is always sunny and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Given up by my mother at the age of 6 months, I went to live with my grandmother in a remote, primitive village. As a toddler, while grandmother grazed the sheep and goats in the grasslands, I was left to stay in the hut by myself. We slept on the dirt floor. 

 

This year’s Mother’s Day celebration is especially meaningful to Jennifer Schwertfeger and her family, as they mark the 10th year since the birth of their middle daughter, Grace. Born prematurely and nicknamed “Amazing Grace” by healthcare workers and family members, Grace spent the first year of her life as a resident of Mayo Clinic’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Saint Marys Hospital. 

 

May/Jun
2015

Rochester’s Own: Historical Places of Faith

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Written by By Debi Neville

What is Rochester’s oldest building in continuous use for the same purpose? If you are playing Rochester trivia, you may score points with the answer to this question:

 

Mar/Apr
2015

Surviving Tsunami Waves: Resilience through Narrative

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Written by By Anne Scherer

On March 11, 2011, an earthquake and tsunami hit Tohoku, Japan, ending the lives of 19,000 people and devastating the landscape and livelihood of those who survived. Tohoku survivors are healing through community engagement in art and sharing. On March 11-20, their art and voices will be seen and heard in Rochester at an event called “Surviving Tsunami Waves.”

In the spring of 2011 Yuko Taniguchi, professor of writing at the University of Minnesota-Rochester, was overcome by grief at news of the tsunami. Yuko and Japanese friends in the United States organized various fundraising events. 

 

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