St. Cloud Skate Plaza

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St. Cloud Skate Plaza brings the opportunity for skateboarding at one of the best skateparks on the planet. Located at Heritage Park off of 33rd Avenue South, on the Metro Bus Line, the St. Cloud Skate Plaza is free to the public and is open from sunrise to sunset. Kids all ages are welcome to skateboard at The Plaza, and numerous events – from local to the national level – are held every year, including skate camps to help beginners further develop their skill set.

The grand opening of The St. Cloud Skate Plaza was in 2010, after the community of St. Cloud came together to raise money for a skatepark. They received significant donations from the Tony Hawk Foundation, St. Cloud Optimist Club, Bernick’s Pepsi, and other local businesses; as well as support from the City of St. Cloud and the State of Minnesota to fulfill the funding that was needed to build The Plaza. Constructed of concrete, The Plaza offers one of the smoothest places to ride in the state. It is 25,000 square feet and offers many features; such as rails, ledges, quarter pipes, kickers, ramps and more. Suitable for riders of all ages and abilities from beginner to advanced – all in a safe environment.

The St Cloud Skate Plaza is located in Heritage Park, 225 33rd Ave So., St Cloud, MN 56301. St Cloud Park Ordinances apply to the Plaza.

Information provided by The Youth Shelter Supply

Imagination Library

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United Way of Central Minnesota is committed to helping children and youth achieve their potential because 85% of brain development happens before age 3. Reading with your child, starting at birth, will help them gain a better understanding of the world and early reading skills.

Imagination Library is a program of United Way of Central Minnesota in partnership with the Dollywood Foundation to encourage children to develop a love of reading and better prepare them for kindergarten. The program provides a new, FREE, age appropriate book to every child at their home each month until their 5th birthday. Eligible children must have a parent or guardian who lives in the United Way of Central Minnesota service area. To learn more about United Way’s service area, visit

Since the program began 10 years ago, more than one million books have been mailed locally. That is more than the Great River Regional Library (32 library locations) has in circulation. One parent said, “We sit and read instead of watching television.” A recent study completed with local Imagination Library parents revealed that 94% of parents noted that their children ask to be read to more due to the program.

To enroll your child, you can either print out a form at and mail to the United Way of Central Minnesota office or complete the online form. Please notify United Way of Central Minnesota anytime your address changes in order to continue receiving books. After registering, the first book takes about eight to ten weeks to arrive.

The program is funded locally by individual donations from parents, other community members, corporate gifts, and special grants. A child can be sponsored for $30 per year. Last year, more than 10,400 children received Imagination Library books in Central Minnesota. Help us spread the word about this program by informing your employer that businesses can also donate to help support Imagination Library.

To learn additional ways you can prepare your child for their future success visit and click on Read. Talk. Play. Together Everyday.

For more information regarding early learning/early literacy, please contact: United Way of Central Minnesota at (320) 223-7992, or


Bumbledee’s Selection & Downtown Location

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By mary macdonell belisle, wording for you

The buzz of appreciative customer voices is music to Dee Holsinger’s ears. Visitors to her Bumbledee’s shop have replaced those of her former music students, heard over 35 years as
an instructor to middle and high school students at ROCORI in Cold Spring. Relocating to downtown St. Cloud after her retirement in 2010 was an opportunity for Dee to pursue her second dream: to run her own shop, catering to tourists. This bubbly businesswoman loves downtown and her “shop of shops,” an art, boutique, and antiques’ enterprise on St. Germain Street.

Dee appreciates downtown for many reasons. Tourists are number one. She’s welcomed visitors from overseas and from every state in the union. Many folks have families in the St. Cloud area, and exploring Bumbledee’s provides them an enjoyable activity. The downtown has some of the best food establishments and unique shopping experiences around, notes Dee. Also, many downtown businesses owners are women, providing Dee retail colleagues to converse with and compare notes. Foot traffic is good, although she’d like to see more convention attendees from River’s Edge Convention Center. Dee is pleased her place is an attraction for the antiques’ lovers driving from the Twin Cities’ northern suburbs as well, many
of them repeat customers.

Bumbledee’s, owned by Dee and her husband Tom, is a draw. Dee knows she markets the best vintage jewelry in the city (her specialty), and the largest inventory of antique lighting, through a vendor relationship, backed with 40 years of experience. In fact, Bumbledees taps the expertise of 30 antiques dealers who stock her shop. They specialize in furniture, kitchenware, garden items, toys, artwork, glassware, crystal, quilts, etc. Each oversees her/his own inventory, handling the dusting as well. When asked how many pieces she carries in total inventory, Dee laughs and says, “I don’t have a clue.” Suffice it to say, “LOTS!”

Dee appreciates art and creativity, personally choosing each item displayed at Bumbledees. “When I find something that sells, I stick with it,” she says of her business sense.

Tom and Dee’s decision to lease their building seven years ago continues to bring joy. The building was originally a dry goods store, then, a J.C. Penney’s. The couple lovingly (and with plenty of “elbow grease”) restored the tin ceiling, maple floors (originally, painted red), and the
brick wall. They love the look, and every nook and cranny filled with their wonderful assortment of art and antiques.

Still, what Dee loves most about Bumbledee’s is the variety of people who visit with her downtown and make their selections from her diverse collections. “I feel bad when a customer wants something one day and comes back the next day to find that the item is not here,” confesses Dee. So, stop in to visit Dee (and Tom) and meet Penny Lane, their golden-doodle best friend, who keeps watch at the till. But if you see an item you want, better snatch it up, quickly, or you’ll be singing a sad song when another patron walks away with the treasure!
711 W St. Germain | 320.257.3387 |

Why the Y?

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First, welcome to the area! Because of you, our community is growing stronger and more vibrant! And because of that, our area YMCA is undergoing a growth stage as well! We are excited to have you join us as we grow into a new facility. A new, larger community center that will bring kids, families and community members together to celebrate youth development, healthy living and social responsibility!

Second, let me introduce you to the our YMCA: The Y is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring access to quality facilities and programs, regardless of a family or child’s ability to pay. A cornerstone of the Y’s success is the fact that we aim to enrich all members of the St. Cloud community regardless of gender, age, race, religion and economic status. To date, this year we have provided more than $200,000 in financial assistance with the help of our generous community!

And finally, we are all about families and our community! Our programs and activities serve all ages with the mission to build strong kids, healthy families and an energetic community.

Here are just a few ways you can get strong with the YMCA:

•  Family Fitness: Exercising as a family sets the foundation for lifelong health. Taking walks together, playing a game of basketball, even hitting the poolfor water fun is a great way to get fit as a family!

•  Youth Sports: The YMCA prides itself in offering youth sport programs that help develop the skills needed to go on to become a competitive athlete!

We offer flag football, soccer, volleyball, basketball and more! Parents are encouraged to be involved as volunteer coaches working side by side with their kids!

•  Group Exercise Classes & Rainbow Room: While mom and dad get fit in one of our many Group Exercise classes, kids can stay active playing in our two-story jungle gym! Kids 10 years and older are welcome to join their parents in the Group Exercise classes!

•  Swim Team: Perfect your technique, get a great work out in and build endurance. The Gator Swim Team is for ages 6-18 and our Masters Swim team are for our adult swimmers.

•  Volunteering: The YMCA offers many volunteer opportunities for families and individuals. From our fitness events to fundraising, you can make a difference in our growing community!

For more information on the St. Cloud Area YMCA, check out our web site at or stop by for a tour! Welcome to the community!


Newcomer Service Guide to Finding Quality Childcare

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Whenever you move, there is a great deal on your plate. Our mission at Newcomer Service is to help new movers make the transition as simple and painless as possible. Many issues will require your attention. You may be dealing with packing and unpacking or learning your way around. Perhaps you have a new job to get accustomed to, or must adapt to a new way of life. Many of the details are rather simple such as changing your address at the post office or having your driver’s license updated. Other details can be much more important. We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you find the best quality daycare for your children. Even if your move was only across town, the childcare provider you choose has an enormous responsibility, and it is critical that you are comfortable and confident with your decision. The Saint Cloud Area has a number of exceptional options to choose from. This guide is far from all-encompassing. However, hopefully it will serve as a starting point to meeting your family’s childcare needs.

Start Early; Make a Plan, Ask Questions

Time may not be a luxury you have, however, the sooner you start your childcare search, the more relaxed and comfortable you are likely to be. Before seeking out providers, make a list of the things most important to you. Do you require daycare during special hours, do you have a strict budget, and are there amenities or features you aren’t willing to sacrifice. Understand what you need and want, and develop your list into questions that can quickly narrow down your search.

Find out Policies, Practices and Methods

Everyone has different opinions regarding the nurturing, discipline, and education of their children. Make sure that the childcare provider you choose aligns with your own. Ask about a typical day, nutrition options, how they handle negative behaviors and interactions, and what activities occur. Discuss any special needs your child may have and how the provider intends to adapt to them. Having a childcare provider on the same page as your family will help to ensure a positive experience and healthy environment for all.

Consider Safety, Location, Comfort, and Staff

Check the location of the provider and determine if they are in a convenient location. Is it a safe neighborhood? Does the home or facility have a fence and is it childproofed? Is the location comfortable, clean, and well organized? Do they have enough staff to meet the needs of all the children attending? Ask about safety issues including first aid and CPR. Is the provider licensed? If your child takes medication, know the policies involved. In short, pay attention to the little details to make sure it is a place that you believe your child will be protected.

Go With Your Gut

In the end, you will likely have a feeling whether or not a particular childcare option is right for you. Trust your feelings and don’t second guess yourself. If you have concerns, be sure to address them and receive satisfactory responses. Contact as many childcare options as you need to find the best one for your children. We have worked with many childcare providers over the years, and below is a short list of a few we trust to get you started. Check out their websites for more information, or to ask them any questions you may have. All would be happy to help you.

The Wild Bird Center

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One of the most common questions I am asked at the store is “How can I attract birds to my back yard?” There are a number of things you can do to accomplish this.  For many the easiest thing you can do is add a bird feeder. You will be surprised of how many different birds you can attract with a simple seed feeder. I would recommend a tube feeder with a tray to start. Many birds that will not come to a tube feeder will come to one with a tray because they like to feed from a platform and a tray provides this.  Place the feeder in an area where you can enjoy viewing and it’s accessible to fill.  Keep in mind birds like to retreat to cover if they feel threated so having a tree or shrub nearby can be helpful. If your feeder is close to a window, it is a good idea to put some window alert decals on the outside of the window. This helps birds realize there is a window there so they won’t fly into it.  Multiple feeders will attract more birds as you can provide different seed and presentation options. It is important to have fresh seed as birds do not like stale seed. Black oil sunflower, golden safflower, sunflower hearts, nyjer, and peanuts are favorites. However, not all birds eat seed so feeding nectar, jelly and mealworms can attract humming birds, orioles, and bluebirds. Suet is a favorite of woodpeckers, chickadees and nuthatches so I would add suet to your feeding station if possible.

Adding a water feature to you back yard is another way to attract birds. Birdbaths, misters and drippers are favorites of birds. A water wiggler added to a birdbath helps keep the water clean and free of mosquito eggs and larvae. Birds like the moving water as they know it is clean. Dripper’s add a constant drip to a birdbath which helps to keep the water clean. Clean water is not always easy to find so keeping your birdbath full with clean fresh water can be a bird magnet. Birds prefer a shallow bath rather that a deep one so keep this in mind when setting up a birdbath. If your backyard is pretty open adding some trees and shrubbery for bird habit can be helpful. Not only do trees and shrubbery provide cover for birds, it also provides places for birds to nest and raise a family.  Planting flowers such as canna lily, columbine, and zinnias among others will help attract hummingbirds as they visit the flowers for nectar.

Making your backyard safe by keeping out predators and artificial threats makes your yard welcoming to birds. Having a field guide will help you identify your back yard visitors when you are wondering what bird you are looking at. I have found bird watching is very enjoyable, brings me closer to nature and helps relieve stress. My hope is that you too will find much enjoyment bringing these beautiful creatures into your backyard.

Tom Tingblad

“Beauty & Strength, Women of Africa” Mosaic

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Lee Ann Goerss, teaching artist

This mosaic grouping was created during my second year as a Teaching Artist with students from Hands Across the World (HAW). My initial ideas for the mosaic centered on the natural elements of the African continent. During the research process, I came across a photograph of a Somali woman dressed in hot pink. She was striking. Immediately my whole mindset changed, as I was remembering the women from my first class at HAW. In the creative process, my concept was changing from panels representing the place to panels representing the people…the heart of any country. As an Artist, my art has always been about symbolism. My card line is under the name ‘Sarang’s Song’, Art with a Message. The emotion behind this mosaic grouping is the commonality found in ‘sisterhood’ and respect for another person’s journey.

Each panel has its own message:
Women in Pink – Strength | Women Grouping – Sisterhood | Tree – Roots
Butterfly – Evolvement | Woman & Child – Motherhood | Head – Beauty
Sometimes visual images have the ability to convey what words cannot. My hope
is that this mosaic grouping will have a thoughtful influence on diverse culture.
— Lee Ann Goerss, Artist

This organization is funded, in part, by United Arts of Central Minnesota. This organization is funded, in part, by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Central Minnesota Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.


Paramount Center for the Arts: a gem in the crown of downtown

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There’s a “Big Picture” vision for the Paramount that goes far beyond the frame of the stage’s Proscenium arch, a vision sometimes eclipsed by the glare of marquee lights on an opening night, but there, nevertheless. That vision is to become an all-encompassing arts venue, offering outstanding theatrical performances, arts education programming, outreach, and support to local performing and visual artists.

The Paramount is more than a rescued and restored movie house from the 1920’s. It has risen from the ashes of the 1985 fire to morph into the Paramount Center for the Arts. The new name and new logo, created in 2016, further reflect what the organization is and what it does, said Executive Director Bob Johnson. There has been much progress¬––thanks to the community’s enthusiastic support—however, more opportunities are waiting in the wings.

“We are really looking forward to the next decade of ‘new,”said Performing Arts Director Laurie Johnson.

“This is a very exciting time.”

Theatrical Performances

In 2004, the Center produced five shows and 15 others were staged by groups renting the theater. By comparison, in 2016 there were 150 Paramount presents/rental shows for a total of 237 days of events. The goal is to increase these numbers. Currently the Center is home to a dozen performing organizations that perform once or twice per year, including: the Minnesota Dance Ensemble (the only professional modern dance company outside of the Twin Cities), GREAT Theater (the only community theater in central Minnesota), and the St. Cloud Municipal Band (oldest municipal band in the country).

Arts Education

The Center maintains a roster of paid teaching artists who offer on-site classes in beading, calligraphy, clay, mosaics, drawing and painting, stained glass, weaving, watercolor, and wood-turning. Arts camp for educators and kids’ summer art camps are also enjoyed by the community.

Artist Opportunities

Artists may take advantage of teaching opportunities, art competitions, art displays and exhibitions, such as “Essential Art” and the High School Art Competition through Visual Arts Minnesota. The may sell their art in the Gift Gallery as well.

Community Outreach

Teaching artists work with area schools to reinforce learning, such as using beading and weaving to communicate math concepts, like the use of decimals. They also work in clay with the elderly of St. Benedicts’ and Good Shepherd communities. The Center would like to expand the number of constituencies it serves, noted Bob Johnson.

Look to the Future

As the Paramount Center for the Arts sees more participation from community members, the hope is the 90,000 patrons who are currently drawn to the downtown by its offering will grow to 120,000, benefiting the community from an economic and livability standpoint, said Bob Johnson.

To accomplish this, the Paramount Center for the Arts is working to secure more space—more studio space for lease to artists, rehearsal space for performers, a permanent art gallery, and a black box theater that would be an intimate venue for smaller and experimental shows.

Paramount Center for the Arts | 913 West Saint Germain | 320.259.5463 |

Owner’s Spirit Guides feature of histori restaurant

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By mary macdonell belisle, wording for you
People savor experiences—in memories that can be called to mind and stories that can be shared. These often center around a meal, and a random smell will typically trigger thoughts of days gone by. A whiff of wood smoke. Sigh of a special BBQ sauce. Waft of an aged whiskey.
Anton’s Restaurant has been the site of good food, good spirits, and good times since 1920 when a rustic log cabin was erected, operating as a speakeasy. The place was called “Bricky’s,” part of the Woodland Lodge, a small cabin resort. Its structure and history still speak volumes
today, with the entrance boasting an original still used to make Minnesota 13 moonshine during Prohibition. However, it is the spirit of owner Anton “Tony” Gaetz, who passed away last year, that pervades the place. Many a first date and family celebration have unfolded in this one-of-a-kind supper club, now owned and operated by Tony and his wife Lorraine’s five children.

“My Dad was always creating memories for people, simply because of who he was,” says Betzy Gaetz. A gregarious, big-hearted man, Anton scooted among patrons’ tables, saying hello and sharing stories. Whenever he was inspired to make a menu or décor change, “you just let him do it,” laughs Betzy. She tells of his decision to put a roof over the outdoor brick patio to make a four-season dining area. The structure was erected so swiftly that it overhung the outdoor umbrellas, still covering the tables. A live tree that obstructed the roof wasn’t a problem, either; Tony simple hacked off the top of it. The ceiling-high “stump” continued to sprout leaves for the next two years!

The covered-wagon awnings over the booths were Tony’s whimsical idea. His are the humorous license plates on the wall––G Y NOT, PLATE, SNOT NA (Anton’s spelled backwards). A gold sign over the bar reads “Police Headquarters.” (Tony loved gold paint.) Anton’s features an eclectic mix of speakeasy, western, and river décor, notes Betzy. The artifacts harken to Prohibition and the early 20th century, and the cabin section of Anton’s is the original structure.

In keeping with the speakeasy theme, creative menu offerings include: Moonshine Sirloin, Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie, and Drunkin’ Chicken, just returned after a 20-year hiatus.

The giant popovers are notorious. Here’s the story: Tony really wanted the recipe for the giant popovers his friend served at his supper club in Walker, Minn. The two made a trade; Anton’s got the recipe and the friend got permission to use the covered-wagon idea for his restaurant decor. Thus far, the competition has not duplicated this famous menu side, served with honey butter.

Tony’s 40-year-old recipe for BBQ ribs and secret sauce are also secure with the family.

Co-owners Betzy, Dan, Dave, Nancy, and Toni plan to keep all of these secrets and follow in their father’s footsteps with regard to the philosophy of offering memorable food, brew, and experience. The family remains true to their father’s vision, guided by Tony’s spirit.

2001 Frontage Road N, Waite Park, MN
320.253.3611 |

Reused and Recycled: The Benefit of Local Resellers

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by Jason Grabinger

Many of us love taking a day to cruise around town visiting garage sales. In fact, it could be considered a favorite pastime of many local residents. However, garage sales are hard to find during the colder months. Fortunately, Saint Cloud is home to numerous stores that sell reused or revamped furniture, household items, clothing, and so much more year round. Some of these are local business ventures, and others are operated to benefit non-profit organizations. Either way, shopping at these stores is a way to buy quality products at a phenomenal value and benefitting the local economy or the mission of local non-profits while doing it.

For those who are seeking unique items and antiques, stores such as Rusty Pick, Bumbledee’s, Gypsy Lea’s, Restore, Habitat for Humanity, Savers, Wacosa, Salvage Sisters, and others are a great choice. It is fun to browse and witness the creativity and quality products available to enhance any décor. For those who are looking for fun DIY projects, or simply want to stretch their dollars as far as possible, stores including Saver’s, Wacosa Thrift Store, and others are ripe for the picking. Shopping with these organizations is also a great way to support local causes. Donations are also welcomed and are a win for all involved. The stores have more merchandise to sell, with profits going towards their mission, you feel good, and can even use donations as a write off on your taxes. For those remodeling or building, there is even a used store that caters to you. Habitat for Humanity Restore is an excellent place to find lightly used or new items from doors and windows to cabinets and fixtures, and so much more.

By shopping for reused and recycled items, the benefits reach far beyond our own convenience and value. It reaches even beyond providing needed funding to important organizations and causes. Recycling and reusing is exceptionally important to our environment and sustainability. It reduces waste in our landfills, and the waste of products with a lot more life in them. In addition, these stores boost the local economy and keep dollars flowing and working right here at home. The stores provide employment opportunities, and some even provide jobs for individuals with special needs, teaching them to care for themselves.

Saint Cloud and the surrounding area is fortunate to have a good number of resellers to choose from, and you never know what treasures you may find. Whether you need a new wardrobe, furniture for your home, tools, or any other need, give our local resellers a try. The good that comes from it is powerful.

The Frieze of the Prophets

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The stained glass windows on the east side of First Presbyterian Church, St. Cloud, are copies of a John Singer Sargent oil painting, “The Frieze of the Prophets.” Sargent (1856-1925) born in Italy to American parents, spent most of his life in Europe and lived in London for many years. He established a reputation as a portrait painter of celebrities and fashionable people. Critics considered his portraits technically excellent but subjects often complained about his depiction of them. He later abandoned portrait painting and began architectural decoration. From 1895 to 1916 he painted a series of murals for the Boston Public Library showing scenes of Judaism and Christianity. The “Frieze of the Prophets” occupies the entire north wall of the exhibit. Moses stands in the center of the other Prophets holding tablets symbolizing the foundation of religion. The names appear in Hebrew and English. Sargent hoped the murals would be pleasing to the eye. The frieze became enormously popular. The Boston Library included some of the paintings in an illustrated catalogue, “The Copley Prints. ”In 1901 a church in Maine asked to use the Prophets in stained glass windows. The idea soon spread to other churches. The First Presbyterian Church installed the windows, copies of five of the 19 Prophets in the mural, in 1917 when they constructed their present building. Other Christian symbols surround the images of the Prophets. Guests are welcomed to view these windows at the First Presbyterian Church.

The Frieze of the Prophets
340 5th Ave So., St. Cloud, MN 56301 | 320.251.8277 |

The Good Earth Food Coop

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Local and organic foods fit for a community

Honey. Grains. Organic produce. Free-range poultry. Grass-fed beef. Fresh-baked whole grain bread. The Good Earth Food Coop has a history of bringing nutritious foods and nutritional products to its members and the greater St. Cloud community over the years. In 1971, the cooperative opened in Christ Church/Newman Center at St. Cloud State University, and few years later, it moved to East St. Germain Street. Finally, in 1994, food the cooperative relocated to Centennial Plaza on Veterans Drive where it’s been in operation for over 20 years. Today, membership participation is at an all-time high of 3,000 individuals/families. If you’re interested, a lifetime membership costs $100. For that, you receive so much.

Mission: Nutrition

Members of the Good Earth Food Coop are committed to helping themselves and others stay healthy by eating and using healthful products that are grown organically and sustainably. The coop works with local and regional producers to also ensure the health of the land and environment as well. “Every dollar we spend in the community goes back into the local economy,” said Dawn Johnson, Produce Manager, who buys from 14 Minnesota producers. “Anywhere from 75 to 85 percent of our produce is local in the summertime. In the winter, the percentage drops, but we offer root vegetables like onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, potatoes, and others.”

Supportive of sustainable, organic, and local agriculture

Johnson purchases produce from the Central Minnesota Sustainability Project, and has also donated plants to the group. “Last year, we bought more from them than ever before,” said Johnson. Luke Salisbury, Bulk Manager, has been with the Coop for eight years. He buys flour from Swany White Flour Mill in Freeport and Whole Grain Milling in Welcome, just northwest of Fairmont in southern Minnesota. Of his 15 local/regional vendors, most grow the grain themselves, or cultivate the honey, maple syrup, and wild rice. Other items on the menu come from regional vendors. Eggs and poultry come from the Larry Schultz Organic Farm in Owatonna. Thousand Hills Cattle Co. in Cannon Falls provides grass fed beef items. Artisan breads and rustic pastries come from Fred’s Bread in Eden Prairie. “We know our customers by name or member number, so they can come and talk to us whenever they have a question about pricing or a suggestion about a product they’d like to see us stock,” said Salisbury. “Our prices are pretty comparable to a regular grocery store. We try to match prices on organics whenever we can.”

Member Perks

First, you receive discounts on purchases: 5% one-time monthly discount, 10% discount on pre-ordered cases (bulk), monthly specials, finally, use your own cloth bags for shopping to receive a .05 cent token per bag which will be collected by the Coop on a monthly basis, and the value donated to charity. Shop “Member Super Sunday,” and receive 10% off an order of $100 or more. Second, monthly “Owner Deals,” posted on the website. Third, products are clearly labeled: green tags denote local items; orange tags indicate gluten free products; red tags highlight monthly specials. “One of the most important member perks is the ability to vote for the Board of Directors and to run for the Board as well, and thus, help govern the future of the Co-op,” adds Salisbury. If you haven’t explored this local, member-owned gem, do so today!

Brew Pubs Provide Local Flavor

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By Caitlin Hogan

Craft beers have been fast gaining popularity in the United States over the past decade and the Greater St. Cloud area is fortunate to have several of its own local brew pubs creating these one-of-a-kind flavorful beers and sought-out social hangouts. Craft breweries are inherently innovative with brewers spending months, and sometimes years, to develop their own blend of flavors and ingredients, resulting in a beer distinctively their own. Taprooms act as the showcase for these carefully crafted brews, so the atmosphere is just as unique as the handcrafted beers they feature. “The space pays homage to St. Cloud featuring reclaimed wood and barn tin, St. Cloud brick, and a bar top that was a bowling alley lane in its previous life,” Co-Founder Nick Barth said of St. Cloud’s newest brewery, Beaver Island Brewing Co. in downtown St. Cloud, which opened in February 2015.

A Social Experience

Taprooms are a reflection of the founder’s personalities and often display the inspiration behind the establishment. They are a place to discover the history, flavor combinations and story behind the brewery’s finest creations as well as discover your own craft beer preferences. Barth describes the taproom atmosphere as “a relaxed environment where there are no TVs but great conversation and plenty of board games. We call it a social experiment gone right!” Beaver Island earned the “People’s Choice” at the 2015 St. Cloud Craft Beer Tour. The bartenders in these establishments have a passion for high-quality and flavorful beers and are an integral part of the social atmosphere of the taproom with their knowledge and willingness to share each beer’s story. Often times patrons meet and even sometimes served by the person who brewed the beer they’re drinking. Third Street Brewhouse, located just outside of St. Cloud in Cold Spring, is known for creating the area’s first local craft beer in 2012 and opened a taproom in 2013. “The atmosphere is intimate, chill and relaxed,” said Krista Amundson, Third Street’s public relations and marketing coordinator of Third Street Brewhouse. “While sitting at one of the tables in the taproom, you’re able to view the brewing tanks where we brew all of our beer. On Friday evenings in the summer, you can sit on the patio and listen to live music.” Third Street has added several seasonal beers to the year-round lineup and its beers can now be found in more than 350 bars.

Beer to Go, Too

In addition to the standard pint of beer, flights with 5-ounce samples of four different beers to enjoy on site and 64-ounce containers called growlers to transport beer off-site. “The taproom offers flights, pints of our beer, BIBCo Merchandise, and growlers,” Barth said. “Growlers allow our guests to enjoy their favorite BIBCo beer at home or on the lake.” Although taprooms typically do not offer food, they frequently welcome patrons to order in from local establishments and food trucks can often be found on-site. Opening this coming fall is Bad Habit Brewing, the first brewery to open in St. Joseph in over 100 years. This taproom will feature the brewery’s handcrafted beer as well as homemade soda. These local treasures are among 50 craft breweries of their kind in Minnesota. Tours are often available upon request or by appointment.

St. John’s Pottery

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by Jason Grabinger

Whether you are an artist yourself, or simply appreciate the art of others, Saint John’s Pottery in Collegeville, MN is a jewel waiting to be discovered. For over 35 years, Saint John’s Pottery has been living out the Benedictine values and traditions, fulfilling Saint John’s University’s dedication to integrating art and life. Students, apprentices, and visiting artists are engaged by Artist in Residence, Richard Bresnahan. However, the public is welcome to visit the gallery, purchase handcrafted pottery, and experience the magic in the process to create true works of art through guided studio tours. Richard Bresnahan is a master potter who has directed pottery at Saint John’s University since 1979. Having studied art at Saint John’s himself, Bresnahan also studied in Japan. He works to provide mentorship to artists, teach art courses, and provide lectures and exhibits across the globe. Bresnahan also designed and operates the Johanna Kiln, which is a sight to see in itself as the largest wood-fired kiln in North America. His art has been prominently displayed in museums, and is considered one of the premier artists in our area. Saint John’s Pottery is a phenomenal place to visit for people of all ages and cultures. Along with seeing local art at its best, a trip to Saint John’s Pottery will enlighten you in many ways. You will learn how art relates to the preservation of our environment, see the link between work and worship, and enjoy the celebration of diverse cultures. The methods for creating pottery are also an interesting and valuable process to experience. The studio tours will show you firsthand the cycles of clay processing, glaze development, and the preparation and firing of the famed Johanna Kiln. Saint John’s Pottery is just minutes from Saint Cloud, and is an excellent demonstration of how wonderful and diverse our local area is. Visitors are welcome on weekdays from 1:15 to 4:30 PM, and Saturdays from 10 AM to 4:30 PM. For more information, you can visit their website at, or give them a call at (320) 363-2930. You will not want to miss experiencing the wonder waiting for you at Saint John’s Pottery.

Trisko Jewelry Sculptures – Wearable Sculptures

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Creating jewelry images as “Wearable Sculpture” allows me to concentrate first on creating a intriguing form, and then adapting it to wearability. By designing each ring as a unique sculpture, I am able to eliminate the circular form typically used to make rings, and thereby create an ergonomically correct design, which balances the ring on the finger without turning or tipping. The intellectual underpinnings of my work are a Master’s Degree in Sculpture and Metals as well as a degree in Mathematics, enabling my work to reflect an architectural quality, with pieces often standing as sculptures-in-the-round. Most of my jewelry pieces are the result of the “loss wax” method, which enables them to be polished to a more graphic finish and eliminates the solder joints and seams that often appear in fabricated pieces during polishing. I lap most pieces to maintain sleek, sharp lines, and pay close attention to detail and perfection in each piece I create. None of the my work is molded. Rather, each design requires a separate wax model and casting. In fact, some pieces utilize several wax components, which are then cast, polished, and assembled. Often, these finished pieces are modular units with strategic alignments that allow my creations to become additive and subtractive sculptures.

My unique images are available in 14K and 18K white or yellow gold. Complementing my work are beautifully individually selected gemstones, custom cut or carefully sorted for size in order to make the math “work” in my architectural style of design. Each finished piece is then copyrighted, marked “14K or “18K”, and stamped “Trisko.”

Robert C. Trisko

GREAT Theatre: As Good As Broadway

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by Jason Grabinger

Since 1998 when Dennis Whipple began GREAT Theatre, the community has benefitted greatly from the exceptional quality shows put on by dedicated actors, directors, and crewmembers each season. What began as a children’s theatre had blossomed into an organization performing a vast range of shows to entertain and enlighten the entire family. GREAT’s mission is to bind the community together through shared theater experiences, and they have a vision to ensure everyone in the Central Minnesota community will have access to the transformative power of the arts. GREAT Theatre has enjoyed wonderful success, and it is all due to the dedication of volunteers and the support of our community. Saint Cloud and the surrounding area is passionate about the arts, and has helped GREAT to build their World Headquarters in Waite Park. The GREAT Theatre World Headquarters is the first of its kind in MN, featuring rehearsal halls, a scene shop, a costume shop, and an administrative office. GREAT is also working on building a learning lab to share the magic of live theatre with people of all ages. Performing over 120 shows and counting, you can find GREAT Productions performing at phenomenal local venues including the majestic Paramount Theatre in downtown Saint Cloud, the Stephen B. Humphrey Theater on the campus of Saint John’s University, and other wonderful venues. The shows, thanks to the passion and talent of hundreds of volunteers are often compared to Broadway shows, and each season offers something new for the entire family. GREAT Theatre is passionate about our community and is an active participant in the betterment of our cities and the residents of them. GREAT is a proud member of United Arts of Central Minnesota. GREAT actors often share their talent and skill for local causes, and weekly summer camps for children of varied ages introduce the wonder of live theatre early. These camps, along with GREAT shows build confidence and encourage people to achieve their dreams. Whether you are interested in seeing a show, volunteering your time behind the scenes, or would love to audition for a role, more information is available on GREAT’s website at You can also reach them by phone at (320) 258-2728. We are fortunate to have such a quality community theatre in our area, and checking out all that GREAT Theatre has to offer is certainly worthwhile.

Great River Educational Arts Theatre
710 Sundial Drive Waite Park, MN

Grasshopper Chapel

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This chapel in Cold Spring, Minnesota, stands testimony to a miracle that happened in 1877. Crop failures due to Rocky Mountain Locust infestations  occurred in 1873, 1874, 1875, and 1876.
Each year the hoppers ate everything in sight, laid their eggs, and flew away to torment another place. When the eggs hatched, the hatchlings could not fly for 5-7 weeks.  During these weeks, they marched across the Midwest, searching for food. When mature, they laid their eggs and flew away. The cycle repeated.
The grasshoppers settled like a huge teardrop across Central North America, from the prairies of Canada down to Dallas, TX. Flour mills closed, farmers starved and governments were desperate.  The economy crumbled. Many folks packed up and left.
A Catholic priest in Cold Spring gathered his struggling flock. He said that if they would build a chapel and hold an extra weekly service for 15 years, God would deliver them from the locusts. It seemed impossible– but they obeyed.
At the same time, Governor Pillsbury called for a day of prayer and fasting to ask God for deliverance from the Rocky Mountain Locusts.
In 1877 the grasshoppers flew away without laying their eggs. Some credit divine intervention. Others think a late April snowstorm disrupted their cycle. For whatever reason, the grasshoppers left and have been extinct ever since.  The Grasshopper Chapel in Cold Spring remains.
It’s a beautiful spot. You’d enjoy a road trip to see it for yourself.

Candace Simar is a writer and poet from Pequot Lakes, Minnesota, in the heart of Lake Country. As a life-long Minnesotan, the grandchild of immigrants, Candace nurtures a passion for Minnesota History. Website:


STRIDE Academy

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STRIDE (Students and Teachers Reaching Individual Dreams through Education) Academy began over a decade ago as a thought written on a napkin in the basement of Amy Dvorak (former board member). Countless planning meetings took place with Dale and Dory Beutel (founders and former director) Liz Bergan (former board member) and Rassier’s. Eventually a building was secured and recruitment started.

When I was hired, in the summer of 2005, STRIDE was located in an office in Waite Park. Staff was hired and asked to start right away with registering students and testing them in reading and math there. We patiently waited for our building to be completed while training as a team on the campus of SCSU. We started the 2005-2006 school year with students in grades K-5. We originally planned to house only

K-4, but had many parents requesting fifth grade. So at the very last minute the decision to add fifth grade was made. We were full to capacity and even had waiting lists for most grades.

 STRIDE Academy Charter School was started by the Beutel’s, and a few others an educational option for our community. I believe STRIDE was, and still is, the best school option around. At STRIDE we level in math and reading, and we cap our enrollment so as not to overpopulate the classrooms. We require a dress code, and participate in community service learning projects by grade level. We learn and live The 7 Habits, require families to volunteer 30 hours a year, and we operate on a year round schedule. For these reasons and many more STRIDE Academy is THE best option for children in Central Minnesota.

At STRIDE our mission is to provide educational experiences for all children, promoting a strong foundation in all core academic areas. Using researched based curriculum, students will excel academically through real-life educational experiences in a challenging, caring, and student-centered environment. By meeting each student’s unique educational, emotional and social needs, students will be empowered to become responsible life-long learners and leaders.

In the last decade I’ve been able to see STRIDE grow from a K-5 school to K-8. We now have 95 staff members, 700 students, and we recently became one campus again after having an elementary and middle school for the last few years. It feels good to be back together in one place. We have also been chosen as an official Leader in Me School, which allows for the integration of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People into our daily routine. We are the only Leader In Me school in Central Minnesota. This is truly an honor and one we plan to uphold proudly.

Since STRIDE Academy is its own district our school board ultimately makes the decisions, along with our sponsor (Friends of Education). We at STRIDE are held to the same standards as the public schools so parents can feel good about choosing STRIDE over the neighboring community schools.

I am proud to be a teacher at STRIDE Academy, proud my own children do or

gone to STRIDE and extremely proud to have helped shape some of the best individuals while teaching here. We have a motto we like to say and that is “Live, Love, Learn, Leave a Legacy”. STRIDE has left a lasting legacy on students here in Central Minnesota.

Angela Schmitz,

Teacher and Parent

Assumption Chapel, Cold Springs, Minnesota.

Copyright © Bonnie Underwood. 
Not to be used for any reason without my written permission.

Grasshopper Chapel

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This chapel in Cold Spring, Minnesota, stands testimony to a miracle that hap-pened in 1877. Crop failures due to Rocky Mountain Locust infestations occurred in 1873, 1874, 1875, and 1876.

Each year the hoppers ate everything in sight, laid their eggs, and flew away to torment another place. When the eggs hatched, the hatchlings could not fly for 5-7 weeks. During these weeks, they marched across the Midwest, searching for food. When mature, they laid their eggs and flew away. The cycle repeated.

The grasshoppers settled like a huge teardrop across Central North America, from the prairies of Canada down to Dallas, TX. Flour mills closed, farmers starved and governments were desperate. The economy crumbled. Many folks packed up and left.

A Catholic priest in Cold Spring gathered his strug-gling flock. He said that if they would build a chapel and hold an extra weekly service for 15 years, God would deliver them from the locusts. It seemed impossible–but they obeyed.

At the same time, Governor Pillsbury called for a day of prayer and fasting to ask God for deliverance from the Rocky Mountain Locusts.

In 1877 the grasshoppers flew away without laying their eggs. Some credit divine intervention. Others think a late April snowstorm disrupted their cycle. For whatever reason, the grasshoppers left and have been extinct ever since. The Grasshopper Chapel in Cold Spring remains.

It’s a beautiful spot. You’d enjoy a road trip to see it for yourself.

The Paper Collector

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Art gallery and custom framing

Kate Evens is the familiar face of The Paper Collector, located in downtown St. Cloud. The shop’s primary focus is the art gallery and custom framing services. However, as the name suggests,

the business also sells antique paper items.

The mix of The Paper Collector’s inventory is impressive, and it might give customers insight into the personalities of the proprietors who operate the gallery/antique store. Everywhere one looks, in every display or cozy nook, there are treasures

from years gone by to today’s contemporary interests.

Artwork from local and regional artists
Prints from major publishers, abstract to traditional renderings
Greeting cards and pottery from the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict (Kate is a “Benny.”)
Antique paper: advertisements, postcards, plat maps, trade cards, books, sheet music, and magazines
Vintage photography

Almost all of the art the shop features is from local artists, says Kate. Customers also appreciate the quality of the custom framing. Today, Kate’s daughter, Cath, handles the framing as Kate offers her expert consultation.

“Choosing the right style of matting and frames can enhance the art,” says Cath. “However, the wrong combination of mat and frame can take the focus away from the art, putting too much importance on the framing.”

The Paper Collector’s selection of frames features several frame companies, each with its distinctive look. Frame styles range from contemporary colored lacquer or metal frames to gilded antique frames. Specialty frames might display embossed dragons, or be made of birch bark, or possibly, shell. Customers find the sheer number of styles from which to choose––numbering over 2,000––is truly impressive.

“Everyday items can be framed, not just art,” says Cath. Sports jerseys, trip souvenirs, and photo collages are the most common items she’s framed. However, occasionally, Kate and Cath are asked to frame an unusual piece. These have included a violin, military medals, wedding gowns, shark teeth, and a jeweled necklace.

The Paper Collector routinely participates in St. Cloud’s Downtown Art Crawls, and both Kate and Cath welcome the crowds that come.

“People like to come to look at everything,” says Kate. “Downtown is really the place to browse and to shop. People get a better feel of ‘customer service’ when store owners know your name, are personable, and build relationships… We have the greatest customers!”

Many of their customers have been with them since the shop’s opening. In 1984, Kate established The Paper Collector on Fifth Avenue, to expand her longtime interest in art and antiques. She moved the store a year-and-a-half later to its present location, just across from the Stearns County Court House.

Stop in and say, “Hello” during the Art Crawl, when you’ve got a framing project, or simply to view the treasures of this unique shop––The Paper Collector.