0029April Showers Bring Wildflowers - How a paint-your-own ceramics business brought one mother and daughter closer

Vicki Hiley and Vanessa Hyde are a mother-daughter business team that revels in creativity and spontaneity, which is perfect for their business: a paint-your-own ceramics studio.

    In fact, the business, Wildflower Ceramics, started quite spontaneously in August 2011 when Vicki had one week to decide whether to turn her ceramics hobby into a full-time business. After buying the store, Vicki asked her daughter, Vanessa, to come help. “It’s kind of how we are,” explains Vicki. “One gets into something and the other comes along.”


0005Opening the doors of Four Daughters Vineyard and Winery in Spring Valley in December 2011, was a dream come true for Vicky Vogt and her family, including her four daughters, Shawn, Erin, Kristin and Justine, for whom the vineyard is named.

Years in the Making

The dream of owning a vineyard and tools to make it come true came from years filled with a variety of experiences, from staying home to raise four daughters, to several in-home businesses, including furniture upholstery and custom sewing.

    When Vicky got married, she quit college because “that was the thing to do” then. She and her husband, Gary, both from southeastern Minnesota, raised their girls one mile down the road from Gary’s family’s farm in Spring Valley. They have farmed the land, where the winery now sits, for the last 20 years. Today, two of Vicky’s daughters and their husbands are actively involved in the six-acre vineyard and winery near Highway 63 and 16 in Mower County.



A Song for Sendai

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Written by Alison Rentschler

0041Just 15 days after last year’s earthquake and tsunami hit Sendai, Japan, the Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra gathered together to play for its people whose lives, homes and livelihoods were lost. In a temple, near Sendai Station, they played Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, a pathos-filled lament also played at President Kennedy’s funeral.

    Since then, the Sendai philharmonic has played all over northern Japan, despite the ravaged region, little to no funds, an obliterated concert schedule and destroyed concert halls.

    They play in quartets and all together. They play in shelters and schools. They play because music, for them, is more than just entertainment. It is hope.



Pet Q & A - Mar/Apr 2012

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Written by Sara Reusche


Q My adolescent Labrador gets plenty of exercise every day, but she never seems satisfied. What can I do to keep her calm?

A Physical exercise is important for dogs, and most dogs need 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise (exercise that makes them pant) a day. However, mental exercise is also very important to keep dogs happy and healthy. Mental exercise is anything that encourages your dog to think and problem solve. Consider how tired you would be after doing half an hour of calculus compared to half an hour of walking: thinking is hard work!



Devoted Hearts Conference 2012: Knowing God

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Written by Amy Brase

0029What’s one thing that you should absolutely do with your mom, sisters or girlfriends at least once? Attend a women’s conference! Chances are, you’ll be hooked and want to do it every year. It’s just that fun.

    A team of women from various backgrounds and walks of life is hosting the ever-popular Devoted Hearts Conference in Rochester. Five other churches—Christ Community Church, Calvary Evangelical, Hope Summit, Rochester Covenant and Celebration Church in Byron—have joined with Autumn Ridge to offer an amazing local conference for Southeast Minnesota women.


0043"It’s Girl Scout cookie time!” Those familiar words send people scrambling to get their fix of the popular once-a-year treats. But although many may think of cookies when they think of Girl Scouts, for 100 years the organization has reached far beyond satisfying a sweet tooth. Celebrating its centennial in 2012, Girl Scouts has long been dedicated to helping girls develop the skills they need to become leaders.



Pet Q & A

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Written by Sara Reusche


Q My dog has never really been around little kids. The other day we met a toddler when we were out walking. I said he could pet her because her tail was wagging, but then she snapped at him! Now I’m worried because she’s unpredictable. What can I do?


0025In addition to granite countertops and mahogany hardwood floors, there’s another trend in the building industry: women as leaders. Two local women are leading the Rochester Area Builders, Southeastern Minnesota’s professional organization for the building industry.


0013Keeping up with the motto “We Have a Class for That!” demands adaptability and versatility. The Center for Business and Workforce Education (BWE) at Rochester Community and Technical College has both.

    BWE designs and delivers employee training programs for area businesses. What kinds of training? A full sweep. “You bring us the topic; we’ll find the class,” says Abbey Hellickson, M.Ed., workforce development specialist. “BWE will adapt to businesses’ specific needs.”


0005"Enter to Grow in Wisdom” is carved into the front of Rochester Public Library. “Whether you enter through the library building or through the library website, I encourage you to use your library to become informed, engaged, enlightened and entertained,” says director Audrey Betcher on rochesterpubliclibrary.org. Here are three ways to do so.


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