0002On July 19, Taran Schneider will receive the National Military Family Association’s 2011 Volunteer Corps Service Award in recognition of her service with military families in her community.

    “Her leadership and passion help her community to not just recognize the service and sacrifice of military families but also help support and meet the needs of military families,” said Christina Jumper, volunteer services director for the National Military Family Association.    


100 0790From atop her home’s scenic perch on a hill overlooking the valleys and bluffs near Lanesboro, Minn., artist Barbara Keith works alone in her studio, carefully transforming sheets of glass into stunning mosaics. As her creations take shape, birds emerge to fly through the sky, women dance, cats crouch and birch trees cast long shadows on snow.


MHP-2038copyAs the “streets of London” buzz at the Mayowood Stone Barn for “The Spirit of Christmas Past: A Christmas Carol,” produced by Words Players Theatre, Kelly Rae Kirkpatrick, Kathy Kuhlmann, Rebecca Ohnstad and Ava Sunnarborg will be four of the behind-the-scene characters. Their supporting roles are different, but what they share is an undisputed enthusiasm for the theatre.


scarves2copyMy former coworker Vera was the first to show me that scarves weren’t just a utilitarian neck warmer on a snowy day. They were fashion. An older woman with a youthful figure and bright coral lips, she embodied ‘80s fashion chic. She was always in style, pairing exotically patterned shawl scarves with sweater dresses, and narrow band scarves with square-shouldered suit jackets.



Poetry by Michelle Fimon

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Written by Michelle Fimon

Dew Point

Sky awakens along side hardened ribbon
as travelers pass one another
unaware of stories sewn a few feet away.
Heavy quilts of green line the view
on a highway that stretches from sleep.
Miles and miles of grasses, patchwork fields,
woven with browns of all hues,
chestnut to that nearing charcoal
– the darkest earth of all.



On the Mat - Life lessons in 30 days of yoga

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Written by Marlene Petersen

0023This spring, my friend Michelle and I decided to do yoga for 30 consecutive days. Our motivation: she, a veteran yoga instructor, was opening her own studio and wanted to teach in her new space; I wished to be in better shape before my 40th birthday. So, we set the day and time to begin, Saturday, June 25, 2011, 6:30 a.m.


0014“I think the problem is her attitude.”
   “She needs to be held accountable.”
   “If she’d just try harder.”

    She is my daughter, Elizabeth. She has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia. These statements have been made by me, my husband and school personnel, all (or at least mostly all) with the best of intentions.



Adjusting to life after deployment

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Written by Anna Matetic

0021“Traffic lights and signs didn’t really mean a lot to me when I came back,” said Jason Schweitzer, “because they didn’t really mean anything when I was in Iraq.”

    First Sergeant Jason Schweitzer served in Iraq with the 2-135th Infantry Battalion, Minnesota Army National Guard. To many, traffic and road construction aren’t a big obstacle. But considering that many roads
in Iraq are torn up with barricades everywhere, traffic and construction are just one more thing soldiers have to readjust to upon their return.



Dr. Jack

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Written by Bob Freund

drjack bedSitting in her high chair after lunch time, Savannah Mielke lets out a little squeal when she spots Dr. Jack entering her hospital room. “She’s 20 months old and she adores Jack,” her mother, Autumn Mielke, of Rochester, explains.

   Dr. Jack doesn’t arrive with a clipboard and a list of medical degrees behind his name. Patients instead are taken with his impeccable pedigree—full-blooded miniature pinscher—and his engaging bedside manner. It often includes jumping into the patient’s bed and nuzzling on command.



Help and Hearts for Japan

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Written by Trish Amundson

japanHow can I help?” is what many people asked after hearing the news of the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11. In the wake of the devastation, Rochester area community members and organizations are giving of their time, energy, financial resources—and their hearts—to help the people in Japan.



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