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.



Paddle, Peddle, Run! Rochester Eco-Tri coming August 14

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Written by Emily Watkins

0004Imagine kayaking across beautiful Lake Zumbro, mountain biking and then running through the trails of Camp Victory—all in a morning. That’s the plan on August 14, the date of the Rochester Eco-Tri.

    In a standard triathlon, participants swim, bike and run their way to the finish line. The Eco-Tri is 4.5 miles of kayaking, 7 miles of mountain biking and 3.1 miles of trail running.


Three-and-a-half years ago, Ann Peterson got walloped with a knell of a diagnosis: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease as crippling and incurable now as it was 70 years ago when it killed Lou Gehrig. The life expectancy for an ALS patient averages two to five years from the time of diagnosis.

    Ann, her husband Eric, and their children, Erin, 9, and triplets Elizabeth, Devin, and Joshua, 5, live in Millville. Before ALS forced her very early retirement, Ann worked at Mayo Clinic as an online operations specialist. Before ALS usurped her hobbies, she enjoyed photography, card-making, gardening, cooking and baking.

    But ALS can’t subdue Ann’s valor. “She has an amazing and courageous determination to participate in life to the fullest,” says her friend Melinda Otto. “The most important thing to know about Ann is that although ALS has made her a prisoner of her body, she remains the same caring, thoughtful, intelligent, creative Ann that she has always been.”

    Ann belongs to Southern Minnesota Mothers of Multiples (MOMs) whose website she edits. A year ago when fire destroyed the house of MOMs member Jodi VanPelt, Ann, via computer, organized help and ordered supplies. “She shows Christ’s love and compassion in everything she does,” Jodi says.

    “ALS is a terrible disease, and Ann has gracefully challenged it,” says Kristi Ruen of MOMs. She, Jodi, Melinda, and Ann share a bond: all are triplets’ MOMs.

    The day Ann learned she has ALS, she started a journal. Her entry November 18, 2009, describes the ordeal of ALS and proves the indestructibility of her spirit.


0006Her clinic was in tip-top shape, having been remodeled and updated in 2005. Then the September 2010 flood hit. Dr. Sarah Mehrkens of Zumbro Falls Veterinary Clinic reflects on the disaster last fall.

    “A 28-foot crest was predicted, so ‘just in case,’ we loaded three trucks with as much as we could and removed it from the clinic; electronic equipment, medications and the surgery table were saved. We also moved things from the bottom cabinets to the top.”


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.


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