BY NIKKI MEYER
Grain bins are a common sight in our area. Some are used for holding grain, and some have outlived that purpose and sit empty or are used for storage. One special grain bin at the home of Darin and Val Pesta, however, has been re-imagined into something completely different: the Let’s Stay Home bin boutique.
How does a grain bin get transformed into a space for shoppers? Val Pesta explained, “I was working at MCW and our daughter, Kait was volunteering there also. She started to have some health concerns and was having a lot of absent seizures that we had to address. I decided to leave my wonderful job and amazing friends to just stay home with Kait. She needed me with her.”
Fortunately doctors were able to get Kait’s health issues under control, however Val still knew that she needed to be available. “Staying with her was my number one priority,” Val said. “But,” she continued, “we needed something to do.”
“My niece, Taylor came up with the name. It stuck...and was perfect for us.”
Even before Kait’s health issues had started Val was busy having fun selling women’s clothing from the “loft” on the second story of their farmhouse. She utilizes Facebook Live videos to give shoppers regular virtual shopping experiences. The practice continued as Let’s Stay Home was born.
“Our customers were great,” Val said, “but we wanted more space for them to come out, visit and try the clothes on.”
She noted that the property has other buildings, but that they were all too old to be useful for what she envisioned. Then she thought about the grain bins they used for storage. Their metal construction was sturdy and weather-proof. “That was the answer and what we decided to use.”
Val contacted her former brother-in-law Paul Haga. “If anyone could do this challenge, it was Paul!” Taylor, who is also Paul’s daughter, designed the setup, and in only three weeks her dad brought it to life. “He created a wonderful little boutique and it is exactly what we wanted,” Val said. The bin came complete with Val’s one request—two dressing rooms.
The Pesta’s goal was to have their first open house before Christmas, which they accomplished thanks to the help of a dedicated crew. “Darin should get a husband of the year award,” said Val. “Especially this year. I broke my arm in January and he and Kait have had to do all of the hard work in the boutique. My daughter-in-law, Henni, and Kait tagged every piece of clothing. My daughter Cortnee came to help this last weekend, too.”
The grain bin boutique opened its doors for the first time on December 2.
On the outside, the bin still looks like a bin, with the exception of a new door and window. Stepping inside shoppers are greeted with the smell of coffee, a fun atmosphere and handcrafted love. “I love the rustic, raw farmhouse feel,” Val shared.
The walls of the boutique contain a number of bars for displaying regular and plus-sized women’s clothing, along with a few kids’ clothes for the “Me and Mini Me” wardrobes. The boutique also stocks some candles, Mix.o.logie perfume in both men’s and women’s scents, LipSense cosmetics, Enso silicone rings, handcrafted jewelry, and Cello pull-on jeans. “Those are our best sellers!,” said Val.
The “handcrafted love” is an important part of the boutique. “Kait makes all of the pillows in the boutique and she is loving doing those. She has also received a few special requests from customers.” Paul’s participation in the bin continues also. “[He] and [his partner] Amy also make wonderful items that we sell in the Bin. They are both very creative.”
This coming weekend the bin will add yet another local vendor—Kenna’s Krafts, run by McKenna Taylor of Trimont. “She makes adorable, hand crafted earrings. We are excited to add her beauties.”
Right now the bin is open one or two weekends a month. Val said the live shows on Wednesdays will continue for those who aren’t able to make the trip out. Items can be purchased from the shows and then shipped to the buyer.
This coming weekend, February 22-24, 2019, the bin will be open on Friday from 5-8 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. assuming the weather cooperates. Shoppers can also make appointments to visit the boutique outside of the open houses.
Val said the goal of Let’s Stay Home is “to carry fresh, cute and affordable styles for our area.” Though they are little, “and we like it that way,” Val does hope to continue to expand parts of the boutique. “So many people have talents! In our area those can be hard to display. We hope to add on to the other grain bin and make the boutique bigger and add more items, such as more home goods and upcycled furniture.”
You can find the Let’s Stay Home Boutique on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/letsstayhomeboutique/ The bin is located at the Pesta’s home 2836 240th St. Truman.
BY NIKKI MEYER
Connie (Miller) Meier first moved to Truman when she was nine years old. She grew up on a farm in Fraiser Township before her parents, Loren “Happy” and Gladys (who later married Ernie Leimer after Happy passed), purchased the Coast to Coast store, in 1969.
After graduating from Truman High School, Connie went on to Mankato State University and then Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff pursuing a degree in Business Education. She soon learned, however, that teaching Business in a classroom full of high school students might not be the right career path for her.
“I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of having to teach steno—I was more into accounting and business law,” Meier said. About that same time many small town schools were closing and Meier said the job market was shrinking.
“I wasn’t sure what I was going to do if I wasn’t going to teach. I took a break from college and got a job at Bank Midwest as a teller.” Fortunately for her, Bank Midwest helped employees pay for college tuition. Meier took advantage of the benefit and enrolled in night classes through MSU, taking business classes in Fairmont.
Meier earned her degree in accounting in 1989 and her CPA license in 1990. She began working for Al Zeitz and Craig Deist at their CPA firm while she finished her school. In total she spent 20 years at the firm, plus an additional five years with Craig after the firm was sold to AgStar Financial Services and he worked for them.
Most recently Meier worked for Steve Piece until his passing, and then with her daughter, Sara, when she took over the business.
Then, last August, Meier decided she was ready to be her own boss. “So far I am really enjoying it,” she said. “I have a lot of skill and experience to offer my clients, and I appreciate reaping the rewards of that expertise.”
One of the aspects of her new business that Meier appreciates most is getting to know her clients. In a previously held position, Meier said, “a lot of clients just dropped off their information, and whoever got to it first did the return. I much prefer getting to know my client’s individual tax situation so that I can offer them advice rather that just prepare the returns.”
Though Meier has been on her own since August, she’s finally getting ready to settle down in a new office. Though she’s been grateful for the extra flexibility she’s had to deal with some family situations, she is ready to take on tax season ‘full steam ahead.’
Now that it’s tax season and I need to meet with a lot more clients, Ameriprise has generously offered me the use of an office in their new building at 1961 Stella St. in Fairmont.” She notes to be careful when looking for the building, though. One side has a Stella St. address, and the other side has an Albion Ave. address.
While Meier does all of the typical tax season preparations that income-earners need, she also offers tax planning services. “I’ve developed a particular knack for working with farmers. They are one business that has a lot of options as far as when to sell their grain or livestock, and prepaying expenses. I do quite a bit of tax planning for farmers in November or early December after the crops are in.”
Meier also offers payroll services. “For some clients I actually prepare the payroll check and/or direct deposit, and for others I just do the quarterly reports and W-2’s,” she said.
Part-time small business accounting, which involves “posting deposits, checks, and debits and reconciling the bank statement” is another area in which Meier is proficient.
While many of Meier’s clients followed her when she struck out on her own, she is still looking to see her business expand. She notes, however, that, “I don’t want it to get so large that I don’t know my clients. I want to know who my clients are, what their goals are, and try to help them achieve those goals through tax planning.”
Connie is married to Lonnie Meier. They make their home in “the old Bock place” just north of Truman on Highway 15. Connie can be reached at 507-848-0720 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For now she is available in her office by appointment only.
Walter, a not quite two-year-old St. Bernard owned by Laurie and Brad Sherman, makes a visit with some students at Truman Public School. Laurie works at the school and has been bringing Walter in regularly over the past school year, training him as a therapy and comfort dog.
BY NIKKI MEYER
"I've known Walter ever since he was born," said Kayla Graplar, an 8th grade student at Truman Public School (TPS). "He is adorable. He is kind. He is loving... He helps kids that need help. I wish he could be here every day."
"It's like he knows when somebody's sad or when somebody needs him," agreed special education teacher Tina Raske.
When Laurie Sherman first brought Walter, her St. Bernard, to school he was small enough to carry around. Sherman, the Title 1 Math teacher at TPS, also helps coach track and field. She'd bring her puppy with her to practice, and occasionally he came to school for special events like the elementary Track and Field day.
And, of course, most everyone who met him fell in love with him. Students would ask Sherman to see him, to pet him, to hold him, and to have their picture taken with him. "The kids were always asking to have their pictures taken with him. So I figured they'd probably like to see them," Sherman said, referencing a section of wall outside the cafeteria that is lined with pictures of Walter and the students at school.
Sherman didn't start out with the intent of owning and training a therapy dog. When she brought Walter home in the spring of 2016 he joined Whiskey, a nine-year-old St. Bernard.
"I kind of learned from the first one," Sherman said. Whiskey wasn't as good with other people and animals as she would have liked. She said she wished she'd done more training with him. So when they brought home Walter, that was her goal—to get him more exposure to others.
The students at TPS were more than happy to help Sherman socialize Walter.
"It was Mrs. Shellum's idea," Sherman said, explaining how Walter came to be a regular part of the school. No longer a puppy—weighing in at solid 130 lbs, Walter now spends all day at school on Wednesdays and Fridays. Sherman logs his visits, and soon she will apply for his official Therapy Dog designation. Walter will also have to pass a skills test as part of the process.
Sherman and Raske have adjoining rooms on the Specialty Floor at TPS. On the days he goes to school, Walter is able to move freely between the two rooms. Sherman takes him out for a walk at lunch, and also takes him to visit various classrooms during the day. "I try to get to the elementary rooms especially. The kids love to just lay on him."
And that's what Walter is especially good at—being warm and fluffy and still and available. Walter exudes calm, a special trait for a dog that won't be two years old until March. He also seems to have a sort of sixth sense.
"It's like he knows what somebody's sad or needs him," Raske said. "At 7:30 this morning I came in and walked in the room and he was laying on the floor and he knew my day hadn't started out well and he was right there. There's lots of other days when I walk in the room that he lifts his head and he looks at me and he lays back down. But today, he knew was one of those days."
Raske continued, "It's the same way with kids. He senses when kids need him. We've had kids that really struggle with their emotions and getting their emotions under control and all it takes is for Ms. Sherman one time to bring Walter up next to the student and from then on it's like [Walter] can sense that about them."
When a student is struggling and Walter is around Raske said, "he'll get his nose in there to get their attention to try to bring them back down."
Sherman plans to continue to bring Walter to school on a regular basis. She has also contacted someone at Heartland Senior Living about the possibility of bringing Walter for visits this coming summer.
Sherman is happy with the way things have turned out with Walter. She feels he has been a great resource to have for the students at school. "We have kids that will say, 'I need a hug from Walter to make my day better.' It's really special."
Truman Opts to Adjust Ordinances Concerning Accessory Buildings: Jason Werner Given Nod of Approval from Neighbors, City for New Garage
BY NIKKI MEYER
The Truman City Council, and Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Committee, has spent the past two months trying to figure out how to handle a request from resident Jason Werner to construct a garage on a piece of property he recently purchased on the west edge of town, near the Community Building.
Werner, who purchased the property from Carl Vogt, approached then City Clerk Monte Rohman with his intention of constructing a garage in which he would want to make reclaimed wood furniture. Understanding his intention was to run a small business out of the building, Rohman directed Werner to submit an Application for Consideration for a Zoning Request—in essence, changing the zoning of his land from Residential to Commercial.
Neighboring property owners were notified of the request and hearings—a necessary act which opened Pandora’s box, so to speak. Many neighbors did not like the idea of staring at a commercial garage from their homes, and Curtis and Debbie Meyer went to far as to pay for an assessment, which indicated that the rezoning would lower their property value, something the couple was adamantly opposed to.
During the process of deciding what to do, the City Council indicated that spot rezoning—changing the zoning type in a property that would make it different than any other type around it—was something the City stayed away from and that perhaps a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) might be the route to go. A CUP would fall under the jurisdiction of the P&Z Committee,
to which it was referred.
At the first P&Z meeting, many residents were in attendance, however a large portion of the P&Z Committee was not. Attendees exchanged heated words, Vogt offered to buy the property back, and Werner expressed that he was willing to work with conditions on the size and placement of his the garage he wanted to build.
P&Z Chairman Jake Ebert decided it would be best to revisit the matter when the entire committee was present, and after consulting with City Attorney Jim Wilson.
The Committee met with Wilson on Monday, January 28, 2019 prior to the CUP hearing later that evening. Wilson stated that the request didn’t qualify for a CUP. Truman Zoning Ordinance 4.6.h states: No accessory building shall be constructed or developed on a lot prior to the time of construction of the principal building to which it is an accessory building except by conditional use permit. The CUP referred to in the ordinance would be for a building to go up, such as to house materials, while the principal building, or house, is being constructed. Werner has no plans for a principal building.
Furthermore, when a CUP is granted it is generally with the understanding that if the conditions laid out are not met that the CUP can be revoked. Wilson gave the example of granting a CUP for someone to run a commercial bait shop out of a residential garage. If the owner does not continue to meet the conditions laid out in the CUP, their permission to run the bait shop is revoked. However, if permission is granted to erect and use a building assuming certain conditions are met, it wouldn’t be possible for the City to later revoke permission except by tearing down the building.
At the conclusion of the workshop, City Councilor Kathy Hendricksen stated, “I just think with all the facts we have before us that it’s...”
“We have no choice,” finished Mayor and P&Z member Lynne Brownlee.
“You hate to discourage people to do something, but if we chop off two toes to save one, it ain’t gonna work,” said City Councilor Brian Nickerson.
The P&Z Committee convened the hearing later, and Ebert asked both the other P&Z members and residents in attendance if they had anything to share. Mark Durkee, whose property abuts Werner’s new lot, stated he and wife Margaret had, “talked about it. We’d heard rumors about what was going to be there, it if was going to be commercial or if there was going to be a big building... and we found out for sure now that Jason would like to get a double garage in there and we decided we’re less concerned about that. We all gotta be good neighbors, too.”
Werner brought up a petition that had been raised, stating he had talked to a number of people and “when they realized what I was really trying to do they had a different light on things.”
Curtis Meyer reiterated his concern with his property value going down if the area was rezoned. The P&Z Committee stated rezoning was not an option.
Werner stated that he just wanted to “put up a 1000’ foot garage, residential style—just like a garage anywhere else in town.”
“I think we all agree we can live with a garage,” C Meyer stated.
During the meeting it was realized that part of the problem was that Werner had never been asked to formally submit a CUP application. Once the rezoning idea was negated, the council moved straight into considering a CUP without getting an application for one.
The City last issued a CUP to Prairieland, which was originally done in 1990, also without a formal application at the time, according to what City Administrator Bethanie Ekstrom has been able to uncover. Prairieland must reapply for the permit on a yearly basis.
While a CUP application would have required Werner to specify items such as, such as: Location of Lot buildings, Dimensions of proposed structure, Dimensions of site, Proposed setbacks, Distances between any proposed structures, Other information that may be helpful; Werner had indicated during the process that he was willing to modify his plans as necessary in order to make the building possible.
By the end of the hearing, the Committee had a general consensus from the group that they felt Werner should be given permission to construct the building. However, the Committee had no viable options to do it under the current city code. Several attendees, including Ebert, stated they had been in a similar position to Werner, wanting to build a garage in town yet being unable to under the current code.
It was then put to the Committee to change the code, allowing Werner and others to erect a garage. One concern, however, was the limited availability of buildable lots in town. Allowing residents to begin putting up garages on available lots would further inhibit new homes in town.
A member in attendance suggested the code be revised to allow for garages so long as it was done in a way that would still allow for a house or other livable space (such as above the garage) to be constructed on the lot in the future. The option would make more lots available without completely taking away the possibility of a residence.
The council liked the suggestion and told Werner they would work with Wilson to have the code redone within 30 days.
Fairmont Chamber Ambassadors commemorate the opening of The Shepherd's In Soup Kitchen at the Pioneer Parsonage, 304 E. Blue Earth Ave. in Fairmont.
BY NIKKI MEYER
The mission statement for The Shepherd’s In Soup Kitchen is To provide nourishment for the body, food for the soul, words for eternal life, and hope for a future. For founder Curtis Moeckel, the creation of that statement, and the desire behind it, has been years in the making.
“When people think of a soup kitchen they think of the homeless and those in great need,” said Moeckel. While “it’s there for that,” what Moeckel really wants to provide for people is “a hand up, not a handout.” Moeckle conceived of the idea for a soup kitchen several years ago after serving on the board of Heaven’s Table Food Shelf. While he got the ball rolling, he said he now feels more like a “lightning rod”—someone to connect needs and solutions.
Several years ago, Moeckel was praying and asked the Lord, “What can I do?” He said the response he heard was, “Open a soup kitchen.” He thought about it a lot, looked for possible locations, but the idea didn’t really go anywhere until finally, at the point of desperation, Moeckel decided that the only way it would go somewhere was if he took action. He started to get serious about forming his vision of what his soup kitchen would be like.
Then at the end of last August, Moeckel was on Facebook and saw a church in Faribault was closing its doors. It had 90 chairs which were to be auctioned off. He thought someday I’m going to need 90 chairs, but also wondered where am I going to put them? He figured that if God provided the chairs he’d also provide a place to store them.
He reached out to a representative at the church at 10:30 on a Friday morning. Bidding was to start at noon, and there was no way he could be there in time. He offered up the $180 he had saved for the project, which was accepted, and then contacted a friend who was able to go and pay for the chairs. “John,” he said to his friend on the phone, “I need you to be my hands and feet for a little while.”
When ckel got the call from his friend John confirming the deal had been squared away, John had some unexpected news. “I had to make an executive decision,” Moeckel recalls hearing over the phone. In addition to 90 chairs, John and his wife had agreed to also purchase and donate the 20 matching tables, along with some highback chairs and tables. “I finally took a step of action and it felt like God said, Ok, now I’ll take a step of action.” Moeckel said.
Finding himself the new owner of a lot of chairs and tables, he also found himself with a transportation problem. Everything had to be cleared out of the building the next day. Moeckel called around looking for a trailer, anticipating it would take several trips to haul everything.
Then he got another phone call. The woman he had spoken to at the church said someone was hosting a backyard wedding and wanted to rent all of the tables and chairs. Suddenly Moeckel had an extra week to work out a transportation plan.
While looking for a trailer, Moeckel spoke with his friend Dahmon Gullord, who is the manager of the Five Lakes Centre in Fairmont. Gullord asked where he was going to store everything, then offered up a space Moeckel could use.
When it was time to pick everything up, Moeckel was able to find a trailer that be able to haul everything in one trip. The woman, Nicole Miller, who had rented the items for the wedding, asked him what he was going to use them for. When he explained his vision for a soup kitchen, and to someday work with foster care and adoption services, she said she wanted to be a part of launching the kitchen. Miller currently has two adopted children and is fostering two more. “Everything just felt like confirmation that I was on the right path,” Moeckel said.
Down to Business
With tables and chairs marked off his list, Moeckel felt it was time to start working on some of the other pieces necessary to make his vision a reality. He formed a board of directors who shared his vision, and they hammered out the mission statement, incorporated the business, applied for 501c3 non-profit status and, finally, woked on a date for serving the first meal. The only problem was, they still didn’t have a location.
After doing some reasearch, the group found the Martin County Historical Society’s parsonage on Blue Earth Ave. The society agreed to let Moeckel use the space for free as a gesture of good will. Finally, with all of the details squared away, Moeckel and a team of volunteers served their first meal on December 29.
More Than Just a Meal
“Everybody has needs,” Moeckel said. “Some have a need to give and some have a need to receive. When you put those two things together, you have solutions.” That is Moeckel’s true vision for his occasional soup kitchen.
“A guy that came to the soup kitchen who is dealing with some health issues with his brother and is having a hard time financially...he said I don’t necessarily need another meal I just need people who can help me find the path that I need to be walking on so I can better my life.” When he heard that, Moeckel thought This is exactly the guy we’re creating this for.
Moeckel sees a great need in Fairmont. He said there are activities and place for senior citizens to go and activities and places for youth to go, yet “there’s a whole group of people between the ages of like 25 and 55—there’s really no place [for them]” Except a bar. “I’ve come to find out there are a lot of people in the area that are single parents... who have a job that can barely pay their bills. They’re living check to check. They can’t just call up one of their friends and say Hey, let’s go have a night on the town. By the time you do that, you’ve spent $50-$75 bucks. There are a lot of people, a lot of people who can’t do that.”
Moeckel sees that group of people as being one he can really serve. “I want to create this place where people can get a free meal and gather, hang out and have fellowship.”
Moeckel chose the name The Shepherd’s In to show that he wanted his soup kitchen to be a place where Jesus, the “good shepherd”, was present. He has selected Bible verses in prominent places at each of the meals. He cited Isaiah 55:11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. “I don’t know what the purpose is and it’s not my business. My business is to make it available and God will take care of it from there.” Moeckel said, along with, “I just want to introduce people to my best friend.”
To Give is to Receive
Moeckel said that as more people find out about his project, more continue to ask how they can help.
“When people think of a soup kitchen they think of the homeless and those in great need... It is there for that but it’s also designed to give believers a place to flesh out their faith... I’m in church with all my church people, but I never really felt like I was doing anything. So this—I have all these people have contacted me and said What can we do? We want to get involved, we want to help you and the reason they want to do this is they have the same desire I do. They want to do something in the name of Jesus to give back because they’ve been given to.”
Hope for the Future
Moekel hopes that everyone who visits The Shepherd’s In will leave not only full of food, but full of hope. “I want to be able to create hope for a future, that... having come to the soup kitchen I want them to leave with the idea that they have hope. So many people today don’t have hope—they’re almost hopeless.” And that, in essence, sums up Moeckel’s mission. “I figured one person at a time we’ll try to create hope for a future.”
The Shepherd’s In Soup Kitchen will host its next meal on Saturday, February 9 from noon - 2:00 p.m. in the Historical Society’s Pioneer Parsonage at 304 E. Blue Earth Ave. in Fairmont. You can find more information on The Shepherd’s In Facebook page or by calling (507) 236-5362. Rides may be available.
“Sister Love” The 2018-19 Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman/Martin Luther Jaguars have six sets of sisters involved in the program this year. Front L-R: Kianna Preston, Kia Preston, Kambria Steinhaus, Lydia Steinhaus, Sierra Geistfeld, Mallery Geistfeld, and Mariah Geistfeld. Back L-R: Jayme Balcom, Jenna Balcom, Eden Studer, Lydia Studer, Rachel Stauter, Emily Stauter, and foreign exchange student “sisters” Ayuka Tamura and Maii Petchvorakul. The sisters were all smiles for the photo op. Tamura and Petchvorakul are staying with retired head coach Rick Uttech. The Uttech’s have hosted 11 exchange students over the years.
BY NEAL MEYER
This past week your Granada- Huntley-East Chain /Truman/Martin Luther lady Jaguars faced a pair of worthy adversaries in the 6-6 St. Clair Cyclones and the 14-1 AA Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Knights. Against the Cyclones the Jags fell 53-41, and against the Knights they had their claws clipped 75-41.
The Jaguars were at home in Northrop for parents’ night on Friday facing the Cyclones. The Jags opened with a fast start, going a 6-0 run. However, the offense disappeared for the remainder of the half as the Jags could only muster four more points in the remaining 16 minutes. As the teams headed into the locker room the Jags were down 24-10.
In the second half the Jaguars showed up to play and outscored the Cyclones 31-27, but the first-half deficit was too much to overcome. Head coach TJ Pytleski said, “[It was a] tough loss on Friday night against St. Clair. We only scored two points in the last 11 minutes of the first half. We were getting good looks at the basket, the shots just wouldn’t fall. The girls did turn it up in the second half, we scored 31 points but couldn’t climb back from the halftime deficit. We also did a better job on defense limiting them to only six field goals in the second half.”
Senior Rachel Stauter led the Jags with a 13-point, 12-rebound double-double, and added seven steals and two blocked shots. Sophomore Michaela Petrowiak netted six and grabbed four rebounds. Juniors Jayme Balcom, Abby Calkins, Samantha Moeller, and Lydia Steinhaus, and senior Lydia Studer each score four.
Against the Knights the Jags came into the game knowing it would take a small miracle to come away with a win. LCWM has been playing outstanding basketball. Currently 14-1, the Knights only loss was a 3-point thriller against the 12-3 AA Waterville-Elysian-Morristown Buccaneers. The Knights soundly defeated the visiting Jaguars 75-41.
Pytleski said, “We knew Monday’s game against LCWM would be a challenge. They only have one loss and get after it on both ends of the court. We talked about using this game as a test for us to slow down and run our offense and work on talking more on defense as they set a lot of screens and drive to the basket. I felt we did a better job being patient with our offense then we have in the past and found open girls for good shots. We reduced our turnovers also, which is something we need to continue to work on.”
Hitting double digits again was Stauter. She netted 10 points to go with seven rebounds. Studer put up eight, senior Sierra Geistfeld six, and Balcom and Calkins each added four. Balcom led the Jags with three assists, Calkins with a pair of steals, and sophomore Kaelynn Meixell had the Jags' lone blocked shot.
Currently the Jaguars are 3-10 overall, with a 3-4 Section record, and a 0-4 Conference record. This upcoming week the Jaguars will travel to Nicollet on Thursday, January 17th to face the 2-12 Nicollet-Loyola Raiders at 7:15 p.m. Then on Monday, January 21st they will be on the road to Blue Earth to challenge the 7-5 AA Buccaneers at 7:15 p.m. They will wrap up the week at home in Northrop on Tuesday, January 22nd taking the court with the 2-10 Madelia Blackhawks. Good luck lady Jags!
Jaguars Take Three in a Row with Wins over Rebels, Wildcats and Clippers —Off to Best Start in Jaguar History
BY NEAL MEYER
Your Truman/Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain Jaguars moved to 7-4 this past week by overtaking the 7-4 United South Central Rebels 61-47, defeating the 2-7 Heron Lake-Okabena Wildcats 66-57, and narrowly escaping with a 57-54 three-point win over the 2-8 Cleveland Clippers.
The USC game was the final game for the Jags in the Blue Earth Tournament. In opening round action the Jags lost to the Jackson County Central Huskies 91-64. But since that time have been on a roll.
Against the Wildcats head coach Adam Walker said, “We jumped out early with a 13-0 lead thanks to a [sophomore] Matt Heckman three-pointer and great inside presence from [senior] Paxton Gravlin and [freshman] Adam Heckman. [Sophomore] Owen Wolter added a three-pointer and a couple buckets as well, and [sophomore] Cael Jaskulke scored two straight baskets to push the lead to 28-11 with about five minutes to play.”
Walker continued, “We played great defensively for the first 15 minutes of the game but two straight three-point plays by HL-O cut the lead down to 10 and eventually eight at the half 35-27.
"HL-O started the second half the way they ended the first half and eventually tied the game at 38. They created a lot of turnovers in order to claw back into the game.
"With the score tied about half way through the second half, [senior] Isaac Johnson kicked it into high gear scoring a game-high 13 second-half points all on two-pointers that were mostly in transition to ignite the Jags back into a 10-point lead. [Junior] Cayden Fischer added a couple buckets of his own and the Jaguar defense began to clamp down on HL-O, holding them to only eight points in the last six minutes. A Heckman and Wolter then iced the game from the free throw line and the Jags pulled out the rugged win in Okabena 66-57 for their second in a row away from home.
"It was great to get that win as our Conference schedule really starts to heat up in January. We have a very busy schedule with a lot of road games upcoming so every win is important.”
Johnson led the Jags with a team-high 17 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Gravlin followed that with 11 points, a team-high seven rebounds and three assists. A Heckman scored seven to go with five rebounds, three assists, and a ridiculous team-high seven blocked shots. M Heckman scored seven and added four boards, four assists and three steals. Jaskulke put up eight, grabbed four rebounds and stuffed three Wildcats. Wolter netted 11 to go with three boards and a team-high five assists.
The Jags were back on the road on Monday to challenge the Clippers. Walker said, “Monday night in Cleveland the Jags jumped out early! A Heckman dominated early with a three-pointer and a three-point play to score our first six points, and then continued his performance with 14 of our first 24 points. Wolter contributed a three of his own to help build a 24-11 lead with six minutes left in the first half. Our last two games have seen us come out of the gates early in dominating fashion. The lead would not grow any further however as Cleveland caught fire with a couple three-pointers and the halftime score found the Jags in front 29-22.”
Walker continued, “Six straight points by Cleveland to start the second half would find the Jags up only one point and eventually tied at 36. Cleveland would never take the lead in the second half as the game went back and forth with yet another surge out of the Jags to build a lead up to eight at 45-37 with four minutes left. Cleveland would not go away however and would bury two threes in a row and cut the lead to two before Gravlin knocked down a huge three-pointer to stop the momentum. Fischer and Wolter made a pair of free throws down the stretch which would build the lead to five with 30 seconds left in the game. Cleveland's press gave us some trouble as we committed two straight turnovers and a desperation three by Cleveland went in to cut the lead to two with seven seconds left. A Heckman made 1-of-2 from the line and a last second three fell short for Cleveland as the Jags escaped a tough environment 57-54.”
A Heckman dominated against the Clippers with team-highs in scoring, rebounding, and blocked shots. He put up 23 points to go with six boards and a pair of blocked shots. Wolter put up 11, added a pair of assists and rebounds, and swiped a team-high five steals. M Heckman scored four, grabbed four boards and dished out a team-high five assists, and Gravlin hit double digits with 10 points and added four boards and a pair of assists.
Walker wrapped up his comments by saying, “Monday games are tough, especially on the road against a Conference opponent, and for us to only give Cleveland one lead during the game at 10 seconds in and not give it back is a testament to our group. It's not always pretty but we scrap and claw and make plays when we need to! I am very proud of their efforts tonight! Two straight games now we built big leads early and allowed teams to hang around. We easily could have faltered on the road, but we work hard and to be as inexperienced as we were coming into the season, I'm so proud of the guys for continuing to battle. Our record is now 7-4 and two of our losses came at the hands of a very good Jackson team, so I am very happy with where we are sitting right now.”
As a collective of Truman, Martin Luther, and Granada-Huntley-East Chain, this is the best record the team has had 11 games into any season played thus far. The last time Truman opened a season 7-4 was in the 2010-11 season. The Jaguars are currently 7-4 overall, 4-2 in the Section, and 2-0 in the Conference.
The Jaguars will be at home this Thursday, January 10th in Northrop to face the 3-7 Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton Bulldogs. Game time set for 7:15 p.m. On Monday, January 14th the team will be on the road to take on the 1-9 Fulda Raiders at 7:15 p.m. To wrap up the weeks’ play the Jags will be on the road on Tuesday, January 15th to face the 3-4 AA Martin County West Mavericks at 7:15 p.m. Good luck Jags!
Healthy Habits for a Happy New Year
At Burtis Chiropractic Center we like to hear New Year’s resolutions that center around healthy living. However, these goals can be hard to stick with for more than a few weeks. As the only Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner in the area, I have the knowledge and tools to help you make and stick to your New Year’s resolutions! Maybe it’s something as simple as taking a daily multivitamin and making monthly wellness visits to your chiropractor. If you really want to get your body back on track, think about getting a blood draw at our office to give you the inside knowledge on how to bring some balance back into your body and life.
Here is some advice for anyone that has trouble with New Year’s resolutions: create healthy habits for yourself, not restrictions. Small steps in the right direction are a lot easier to stick with than completely changing parts of your lifestyle.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean extreme diets. If you get in the habit of eating healthier by changing a few things, your body will start to get used to it and your cravings will change. For example, if you cut back your sugar intake, your body will start to crave it less and less. (Don’t go for ‘sugar-free’ sweeteners like nutrasweet, aspartame, sorbitol, etc. They can actually cause digestive problems and weight gain by confusing your gut bacteria.) A similar thing happens with water intake. If you drink more water, your body will start to crave it. You will also see numerous other benefits that come with proper water consumption such as brighter and healthier skin, more regular digestive system function, and improved energy. Try to start cooking more meals at home. When you cook at home with quality ingredients, you can make healthy meals the whole family can enjoy.
Another healthy habit you can work on is your sleep schedule. Getting your body and mind used to a regular sleep schedule will improve energy, mood, and overall improve your daily life. Going to bed and waking up within about half an hour of the same time every day is a good goal to make. We have great supplements that have helped lots of people solve their problems with sleep, whether it’s falling asleep or staying asleep.
Exercising is a goal that a lot of people set for the new year. These kinds of goals can often be overwhelming or hard to stick with after a while. If you want to integrate physical exercise into your life, start small. Start by going to the gym three times a week to ease yourself into it. If you don’t want to go to the gym, try something you can do at home. Go for a walk every night before or after dinner, or do yoga in the mornings. Try a few different things until you find something that works for you!
Mental health is another thing that is important to focus on. Simple things like taking some time to meditate, starting and ending your day in prayer, or giving back to others are easy ways to bring some joy and focus into your daily life. Challenge yourself to take a day or even a week without social media. Allow yourself to be present with the world and people around you and declutter your life from unnecessary distractions. Make a habit of eating dinner at the table with the whole family with no phones present to distract you. For people with more serious mental health concerns, consider getting a blood draw at our office to assess your blood chemistry. If there are neurotransmitter imbalances certain supplements can help with this situation. The supplements are all natural and can often restore balance without the side effects of prescription medications.
If you make the right goals for yourself and approach them with the right attitude, your New Year will be off to a healthy start.
Reset Your Life
It’s that time of the year again, a time when people start thinking about changing their lifestyle and becoming healthier, losing some unwanted weight, and resetting their life.
My name is C.J. Johnson, and I am the owner and director of fitness and personal training at Cutting Edge Fitness in Fairmont. This will be my 11th new year as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. In my time in a gym I have seen the general trend of “new year’s resolution” clients come in and out. According to Forbes Magazine, 48 percent of all New Years resolutions are fitness related. They also reported that only eight percent of those people achieved their resolution. In another study done by a group of health clubs, most people lose motivation and quit working toward their resolution by February.
This is where I come in. As a trainer/strength coach, my job is based on progression. Progression is defined as the process of developing or moving gradually towards a more advanced state. The word that I really focus in on is “gradually.” Everything to do with body composition change is gradual. Notice, I didn’t say weight loss, I said body composition change. Weight loss is a false description used in the fitness community because it is not an accurate calculation of what actually is happening in the body when we eat correctly and exercise. Numerous methods of “diet and exercise” can help you lose weight, but we use a very specific method to create real change in the body.
What do I mean by body composition change? Body composition is made up of numerous substances of mass in your body to create your total body weight. These things include water, skeletal muscle mass, dry lean mass, and body fat. These are the things we look at to make sure you are losing weight in the right areas (body fat), and gaining mass in the right areas (skeletal muscle mass), to promote a positive body composition change and to improve overall health and appearance. On site, we use a state of the art machine called an InBody 570 to measure all body composition. This allows us to create your meal plans and workouts 100 percent personalized to your body’s needs and goals.
Our goal at Cutting Edge Fitness is to help you along the way, and to make sure you are progressing appropriately according to your short term goals and long term goals. If you are thinking about starting your journey to a healthier lifestyle, contact us and we can get you on the right track. Have a happy and healthy New Year!
BY NIKKI MEYER
There is no doubt that social media has radically transformed the way we live. You can now learn almost anything about anyone anywhere. You can also be inspired and learn how to make just about anything from anyone anywhere. That’s exactly what happened to Truman resident Calli Rode.
“I was just scrolling through Facebook and I saw videos of people decorating cookies. I thought I could do that. I’m going to do that. Let’s do that. Why not?” And that’s exactly what she started doing.
Calli said she’s always enjoyed baking cookies. Though an accountant for A&E Construction in Mankato by day, her new side business is also a fun hobby she can enjoy at home with her young daughter, Kambria, who willingly helps Calli test out her recipes and dispose of any extra cookies.
Calli’s adventure began in July of this year. After her initial thoughts of I wish we had something around here like that were followed up with Why don’t I do it?, Calli started doing her research. She tested out recipes, looking for the perfect sugar cookie to use as her base. She needed one that would be firm enough and hold up well, but also taste delicious. After she perfected that first recipe, she began experimenting with others such as chocolate chip and pumpkin spice.
She also needed to find the right types of icing—the star of the cookie. “I mainly use a royal icing. It dries hard, but not too hard. It has a nice soft crunch.”
One she figured out her recipes, she had to learn how to actually make the gorgeous-looking cookies she’d seen in the videos. “There was a lot of reading. Reading up on the techniques on how to do it... What works, what doesn’t work. I did a lot of reading about other people’s experiences.”
Then there was the practice. Creating a gorgeous-looking cookie is no easy feat, and Calli’s cookies show off a wide variety of techniques. First, the cookie needs a base layer—an even coating of icing that goes all the way to the edge of the cookie without running down the sides. Sometimes the base layer is a single color or several single colors, and other times getting the desired colors on the base layer takes a little more effort. “Thin icing similar to honey consistency for the base of the cookie. You start with outlining it first and then fill it in,” Callie said. She has done leaf cookies with a beautiful base of marbled reds, yellows and oranges. She’s also done snow-white mittens with a delicate gray zig-zag pattern running along the tops, a multi-colored feathers on a turkey's tail—a feat which is accomplished with the help of a toothpick and must be done quickly before the icing sets too firmly.
Other cookies require a textured base layer, such as to create the ridges in a pumpkin.
Once the base layer has been created, it needs to dry before Calli can add any additional layers. And that happens after Calli first makes the dough, chills the dough, rolls it out and cuts the shapes, bakes the cookies, and then cools the cookies enough to decorate them. The entire process takes a few days, depending on how complex the decorations are and how many layers are required.
After the base layer is dry, the cookie is ready for any additional icing it may need. “I use a thicker, toothpaste consistency for writing and details, and a very thick icing that holds it shape for flowers and leaves,” Calli stated. “For swirls and things like that, one way to make them is to paint or splatter thinned down food coloring or use an edible food paint on the cookie.” Her attention to detail is impeccable.
Calli has been slowly, or not so slowly, building her library of tools. She quickly bought a large 100-piece cookie cutter set that offered a wide variety of options, and she’s been adding more as customer requests necessitate them. “I feel like if somebody wants a cookie shape that I don’t have, I need to get it.” Of course, as any hobbyist knows, the temptation to grow the tools of your trade as fast as possible is very real. Calli laughed, “Sometimes, it’s like, Let’s buy all the cutters! ...They’re only $5!” Calli also shared that, while she hasn’t done it yet, it’s also very easy to find companies who will make a custom cutter with a 3D printer.
Part of her decorating arsenal also includes a projector. “I can use a cookie trick—it’s a mini projector that projects the image on the cookie and then you use that as a guide... On cookies where I’m doing a logo and they need to look exactly like the logo it’s best to have that kind of guide to make sure every one is the same.” Other times she is able to simply free-hand her decorations, still achieving a beautiful uniform look.
There is no uniform process for ordering cookies, Calli said. Sometimes customers bring her a picture and ask if she can replicate it, and other times they just give her a general theme and tell her to go for it. “If they want a specific thing, I’ll let them know what I’m capable of. But if they tell me Do whatever you want, that’s also really cool because I get to do something fun and original.”
She also works with customers to determine their budget and then maps out their cookies accordingly. “They are kind of expensive because of the amount of labor and time that goes into them. If you want something simple that would be a lower budget, but if you want something higher we can do that too. We talk about theme, quantity and budget.” Her base price is $24 a dozen. The sets that take her eight hours to complete have a higher price tag.
While the extra income is nice, Calli said that her time making cookies is also much-needed personal time. “I think it’s kind of relaxing. You’re just in your own little world and I’m only focusing on one thing. I’m not worrying about the laundry or whatever comes next.” She does limit the number of cookies she’ll make in a week, however, as she knows life—namely her daughter—still requires her time and attention. “I’m still a single parent working full-time. Any more than four to six dozen a week and I start to go a little crazy.” Calli also noted that she is limited in how many cookies she can sell out of her house based on Minnesota Cottage Laws.
To see more of Calli’s amazing cook creations, visit her Calli’s Cookies page on Facebook. You can also email her at email@example.com for more information on ordering.
The Brummond family together after receiving the news that they will be traveling to Paris.
BY NIKKI MEYER
On December 1, 2018 Holly Brummond posted on her Facebook page: As some great friends blessed me with kind words and gifts today it got me thinking about how grateful I am! I don’t think a day has gone by since my first diagnosis, 4 years 8 months and 1 day ago, that I haven’t had a vast array of things to be thankful for! One of the greatest gifts God has given me is the ability to take in the bad news and then move on to enjoying every minute I can with those around me that I love! (And that’s a whole lotta people).
When she posted that, Holly had no idea of one of the gifts that was yet to come.
Profinium began their Achieving Dreams Together program as a way to lend a helping hand to those who could use one, especially at Christmas time. The financial institution partners with generous
local businesses, and together they are able to impact those nominated by creating life changing moments. In the first two years more than 300 nominations were received and over $50,000 was awarded.
This year, Profinium took things to the next level.
“We had 18 people nominate [Holly],” said Nicole Krumwiede, business banking assistant at Profinium in Truman. Having just completed their third annual Achieving Dreams Together program, Profinium has not had another person receive as many nominations as Holly did. “People were still nominating [her] after the deadline.” Krumwiede stated.
Holly was called and asked to come in to the bank at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 13 under the guise of needing to sign some paperwork. When she arrived, she got more than she bargained for.
Krumwiede met her in the lobby and explained why she was really there. “You were brought in today because a whole big group of people care about you. Have you heard of the Achieving Dreams program before?” Krumwiede asked Brummond. “I nominated someone for it once,” Brummond responded, eyeing the tv camera just a few feet away. As nearly a dozen people emerged from the break room, Holly was told that she had been nominated and chosen.
“Our heart goes out to you,” said Dawn Hendricksen, a family friend. “It’s been a long, long time. You need to have enjoyment and memories. There’s a lot of love here for you.”
“I feel that. Every day I feel that,” Brummond said through tears. “I’m so blessed.”
“One of the reasons I nominated Holly is that through her entire journey she has been brave. So brave that she has never asked for anything for herself,” said co-worker Tami West-Lobato. “She hasn’t asked for time off, people to work her shift, people to take care of things for her—she’s done it all her own and she’s done it with John and Ainsley in mind. And others! She cares for others all the time and never really herself, so she so deserves this. And through it all she’s maintained her faith.”
Finally, Krumwiede got to tell Holly exactly what she was receiving. “We are sending you, your husband John, and your daughter Ainsley to Paris for five days and four nights.”
“I don’t know what to say because I don’t feel like I do anything to deserve all the support I get,” Brummond managed through tears, “and I get so much support. I feel loved and blessed every day. Cancer sucks, but it’s brought so many good things to my life. I hope you all know how much I love and appreciate you.”
Holly’s 14-year-old daughter Ainsley and her husband John were among the supporters present for the announcement. “They are what I live for. They are what I live for every day. What I fight for. It means a lot.”
One of Holly’s biggest goals at this point is making all the memories she possibly can with her daughter. She has dreamed of going to Paris with Ainsley and John for a long time.“I told John that we are going to Paris,” Holly stated. The diagnosis of ovaian cancer that she first received almost five years ago has taken a turn for the worst and in November was deemed terminal. “Even if we have to put it on a credit card and pay for it with my life insurance, we’re going.”
Profinium, in partnership with their employees—especially those at the Truman location, will be taking care of all of the family’s travel and lodging expenses. And, thanks to the Travel and Cruise Center in Mankato, the family will get to visit all of the world-class sites in Paris, including places like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. It will truly be the trip of a lifetime, and one that will help a special family achieve their dream.
Holly concluded in her December 1 Facebook post: I just want to thank you all for each day that I feel your love and support! I often hear “you always have a smile on your face.” Well, first of all I don’t always have a smile but it’s hard not to smile when you are surrounded by love! I don’t know what God has in store and I pray that the timeline my oncologist guessed is wrong or that a miracle happens but what I do know is that with the time I have left (however many months or years that may be) I am so thankful to be given a community that lifts me up and fills me with love! Merry Christmas my friends and may you all be as blessed as I am!