Tag Archives: Women

Pick a Veggie, Pick a Winner – It’s Farmers Market Week!

If you’re the sort that plans ahead when you make your regular trek to the farmers’ market, here’s something to add to this week’s list – August 2-8 is the 16th annual Farmers Market Celebration (http://www.agriview.com/news/business/celebrate-national-farmers-market-week/article_071c18c9-d25d-5bc1-9570-b547f6d234b3.html

For farmers market regulars the celebration features a lively web-based contest to identify “the cream of the crop, the best of America’s farmers markets.” Before you restock the larder, take time to cast your vote for your favorite market at http://markets.farmland.org/?_ga=1.57656936.354048519.1438709167

Though shoppers may have their own enthusiastic responses, the Farmers Market Coalition answers the “Why” of farmers markets with a great graphic that depicts the ways in which farmers markets stimulate local economics, preserve farmland and rural livelihoods, increase access to fresh food, and support healthy communities. (http://farmersmarketcoalition.org/programs/national-farmers-market-week/) Lots of data to support the economic and health benefits of growing, buying and eating local!

The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/women-infants-and-children-wic) is a key player in the Farmers Market Celebration. Through the agency’s WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program — affectionately known as FMNP (http://www.fns.usda.gov/fmnp/wic-farmers-market-nutrition-program-fmnp) WIC participants are able to access locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs that promote the well-being and health of families. Last year 1.6 million WIC participants received FMNP benefits which surpassed $14.1 million in total revenue for participating farmers and farmers markets. Participants in the FMNP also receive nutrition education including how to best select, store and prepare the fresh fruits and vegetables purchased with FMNP benefits.

Since it’s already mid-week you may have visited your nearby farmers market already – if so, fix yourself a bowl of fresh fruit and relax while you cast your vote for the farmer who grew and marketed the nutritious treat. If you’re a weekend shopper, wish your vendor a happy Farmers Market Week and be sure to get her name right so you can later cast an informed vote for your favorite local grower.




MNopedia – An Evolving Encyclopedia of All Things Minnesota

Charles Van Doren once observed that “Because the world is radically new, the ideal encyclopedia should be radical too.”  MNopedia, the digital encyclopedia of all things Minnesota – significant people, places, and events – deserves the “radical” appellation on several scores.

A production of the Minnesota Historical Society and funded by a Legacy Amendment Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund grant, MNopedia is a work-in-progress.

The call is out for Minnesota scholars, librarians, teachers, history buffs and people with good memories to critique the Beta version of the resource that is currently available online. The whole production process is interactive.  Readers are actually encouraged to let editors know what else they would like to know about the publication’s content and format.

The technology itself is a matter of public discussion.  For example, editors write that “the Minnesota Historical Society has chosen to put MNopedia content into a flexible, standards-based database that’s query-able via APL. As a result, MNopedia content eventually can be used beyond this browser-readable Web site – in mobile apps, audience- or situation-specific products, as a component in other Web projects, in print publications, and more, whether these products are created by the Minnesota Historical Society or by other individuals or entities.”  Radical, huh.

Discussing their timeline, editors indicate that they are now in an “expanding” phase where they will “continue building on what we’ve learned from users and expand MNopedia.  We’ll add new features and consider new ways to deliver content. We’ll also explore content partnerships with other organizations, find more experts to contribute, and integrate new articles.”

The initiative to find more experts and integrate new articles involves a call for input.  Editors maintain “that’s what ‘beta’ is all about, after all…testing, improving and expanding a small working model.”  The MNopedia team invites ideas on eras and topics to cover next, features to add, contributors and more.

Presently the eras covered in the MNopedia begin before European contact, i.e. pre-1585, and continue through the new global age, 1980-present.  Topics included are African Americans, Agriculture, American Indians, Architecture, The Arts, Business and Industry, Cities and Towns, Education, Environment, Health and Medicine, Immigration, Labor, Politics, Religion and Belief, Sports and Recreation, Technology, Transportation, War and Conflict, and Women.

Predictably, several of my arbitrary searches dead ended.  Others led me to great articles by serious scholars who write for readers who thirst for good information,well written and comprehensible to mere mortals.

A check of recently added articles led me to an article on the early history of the Minneapolis Waterworks, another on the Origins of the School Safety Patrol (first in the nation) and a very helpful piece on the Mennonites of Mountain Lake.  Each was concise, readable and full of stuff about which I had wondered but never known.

Though “radical” may an overstatement – and politically problematic –  MNopedia is definitely not your grandparent’s encyclopedia.



Bonnie Watkins To Leave ED Position at Minnesota Women’s Consortium

Bonnie Watkins, long-time Executive Director of the Minnesota Women’s Consortium, announced today that she is leaving her position January 2` “right after our fabulous Celebration32 party on January 26.”  Watkins’ plan is “to take up once again a past career as freelance writer.”


Watkins has actually worked with MWC for much longer than her nine years as ED.  For 23 years prior to that she was a committed volunteer who played a major role in shaping and Consortium under the direction of her predecessors.


In her message to MWC members and friends Watkins writes, “I believe the Consortium is strong and ready to move forward, thanks to all of you.”  Details about the next steps for Watkins and for MWC will be forthcoming.



“Miss Representation” Explores Media Bias

“Miss Representation” is the next in the 2011 Women’s Human Rights Film Series sponsored by the Advocates for Human Rights in collaboration with The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library and Metropolitan State University.  The film is set for Wednesday, November 9, 7:00 p.m. at Metro State Founder’s Hall Auditorium, 700 East Seventh Street, St. Paul.


The film “uncovers a glaring reality in our society…how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in influential positions in America.”  It challenges the media’s limiting and often disparaging portrayals of women.  Included in the story are stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with influential women from Condoleezza Rice to Gloria Steinem.  The promotion material promises that “the film accumulates startling facts and statistics that will leave the audience shaken and armed with a new perspective.”


All of the films in the series are free and open to the public.  Sign language interpretation and other accommodations are available with advance notice.


Contact The Friends at friends@thefriends.org or 651 222 3242.  More information at www.thefriends.org.


Red Wing AAUW hosts premiere of documentary “Women Making Change”

Women Making Change, premiering this weekend in Red Wing, will make a change by telling the tale.  The documentary recounts the story of Minnesota women who have made a difference in the political arena.  The opening event is Saturday, September 24, 7:00 p.m. at the historic Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing, home of the key producer, former legislator Sandy Wollschlager.  The film and the event are sponsored by the Red Wing Branch of the American Association of University Women along with local sources including the Red Wing Area Fund, Husom & Rose Photographics., and the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Based on Goodhue County as a microcosm the film recounts the experiences of Minnesota women who have made change.  The Red Wing/Goodhue County area has elected women from both major political parties to state office;  it has also the home of the Prairie Island Indian Community which has elected women to leadership positions.

Those interviewed for the documentary include Audrey Bennett, President of the Prairie Island Tribal Council; State Representative Laura Brod; Lieutenant Governor Joanell Dyrstad; Secretary of State Joan Anderson Growe; Speaker of the House, Margaret Anderson Kelliher; policy analyst Hue Nguyen; U of M Professor Kathryn Pearson; Star Tribune political news editor Lori Sturdevant; community activist Linda Thielbar;  State Representatives Kathy Tingelstad; and Sandy Wollschlager.  The elected officials included in the documentary are no longer in office.

The evening’s event will feature several people who were involved in the project as well as a slide show of Goodhue County women in politics over the decade.  Top that off with music by the Hot Flashes offering music of the 50’s, 60’s and beyond, door prizes and a reception.

Twin Cities Public Television, producer of the documentary, will broadcast Women Making Change statewide after the premiere.

Tickets for the premiere are $15, $10 for students, available through the Red Wing Arts Association Depot Gallery or through AAUW members – or call 651 388 6478.

The REALLY big news in Windom Park is great good news relating to civic action and hazardous waste abatement.  Thanks to a cadre of Northeast residents, in particular four indomitable women, working with local officials and regulators, Interplastic Corporation has agreed to a $15,000 civil penalty and $263,800 in facility improvements for alleged hazardous waste violations.

Minneapolis Interplastic has operated in the residential Northeast neighborhood, near Johnson and Broadway, since 1969.  ( This is the befuddling cross section where drivers are probably more attentive to steering their way through the remnants of the abandoned Interstate 335 than to the industrial polluters.) With sites throughout the nation, including an affected site in Vadnais Heights, the company identifies itself as “an industry leader in thermoset resin, gel coat and colorant research, design and development.”

Interplastic Corporation is regulated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency which initiated enforcement action after hazardous waste compliance inspections by Hennepin County staff at the Minneapolis plant in September 2008 and March 2009 and by MPCA staff at the Vadnais Heights plant in mid-March 2009.  The charges against Interplastic and the changes already in place are spelled out in detail at the MPCA website.  There is also a good article and a photo of the four women by Randy Furst in the September 8 Star Tribune.

Meanwhile, residents of Northeast anticipate cleaner air, while the intrepid women who pushed for change have no doubt moved on to the next challenge facing the neighborhood.  They will be reporting to the community at the next meeting of Windom Park Citizens in Action, Tuesday, September 20, at the community center in Pillsbury School

First Person + Third Person = Second Person (FP+TP=SP)

My foment of the moment concerns personhood – my personal reflections on moving from “I” to “She” – as in when

  • The clerk asks my young colleague “What does she  think?” of the lumpy garment I’m not going to buy anyway since she obviously doesn’t know I’m there.” .  or
  • A stranger asks my adult son, “Would she mind if we…” when I’d be quite able to express my own opinion of their ridiculous idea, or
  • A casual companion inquires of a younger friend  “Did she know (x)?”  — which I probably did and wouldn’t admit if I did.

Yes, one option is to shop, eat, live, and otherwise do everything alone – the problem is that the unaccompanied TP can expect to be ignored altogether.  Alone or with others, the negative impact of categorization as an invisible Third Person (TP) does not sit well with this functioning, if aging, First Person (FP).  This attitude is exacerbated by the fact that TP status almost universally to grey-haired women, seldom to silver haired men.

For all my long life I have known women who exuded FP-ness well into their senior years.  They were vital parents and relatives, colleagues, and friends.    When the clerk or waitress nodded to my diminutive mother and asked me what she wanted, I bristled while my mom, the customer, glowered  in righteous FP defiance – and did not darken that door again. A commanding presence 5-footer my mother could quell a student uprising with a withering glance.  She and her friends were FPs long after their allotted time.

Today’s  FPs would re-rank them as de-facto TPs.  After all, thee FP’s have marinated all their lives in a tempero- and ego-centric environment ruled by “I”, “me” “mine” and “now.”

Eons ago, when we TP’s were in high school we learned about the Malthusian Theory.  I recall calculating at the time that my generation would need thinning out by war or pestilence.  The clear alternative, euthanasia, seemed in my youth an inevitable possibility for my generation   Now I reflect that relegation to TP non-status is a socially acceptable form of euthanasia – out of sight, out of mind.

When children need attention they act out, an appropriate model for TPers, I’ve concluded.  Though some folks, even English majors, find his message morbid, Dylan Thomas inspires me to embrace the liberating anonymity of Third Personhood when he writes for his father and for TPs of generations to come:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Sounds good to me.  And so I intend to rage against all manner of atrocities, including at random:

  • pig-headed elected officials who can’t think for themselves, much less the voters
  • rude bus riders
  • opinion leaders who aver that the cost of war has nothing to do with the cost of Medicare  the pompous media who ignore, distort, or fail to check the facts
  • traffickers- drugs, children, and more
  • religious leaders who distort history while they prey hapless laity
  • game-playing education institutions that rob but do not teach
  • polluters
  • those who deny global warning
  • individuals and institutions that fail to nurture the children and youth who will soon enough take the place of today’s FP’s
  • anything else that denies full humanity to others.

My hope is not so much as to rave and rage but to channel the energy.  My eyes aren’t so good anymore, but I still have a vision.  That vision rests on the hope that the FP/TP world will dissolve into a robust Second Person world of “we” and “us” and “our”.  Awareness of language is a necessary if insufficient first step in the right direction.


Women of the Polanie Club Share the Polish Heritage for Eighty Decades and More

Of the scores of clubs and organizations that have donated their priceless archives to the James K. Hosmer Special Collections at the Minneapolis Central Library none collected and preserved the record more thoroughly than the Polanie Club.  Known well by Polish Americans everywhere and by residents of Northeast Minneapolis in particular, the Polanie Club is mighty force committed to preserving – and sharing – all that is good about Polish culture.

The Polanie Club  became a reality in October 1927 when a dozen young women of Polish descent gathered for a social club and welcome home to a friend who had just returned from Poland, “full of enthusiasm” to share what she had learned.  The young women agreed to a common purpose,  shaped a collective vision and a shared mission: to preserve their Polish heritage – the history, language, art, music and cuisine of their native land.  The fledgling group called themselves the Polanie Club, “polanie” meaning “people of the prairie.”  From the outside the Club served as a resource, providing Polish national clothing, exhibits, recipes, and a library open to the community.  In the   1930’s the Club sponsored Polish language classes at the U of M and at two public high schools.

Nearly a half century after the formation of the Polanie Club the publication  Northeast: A history described the women and the early days of the club they shaped:

Each was beginning her career as wife, mother, teacher, social worker, lawyer, musician or University student.  Even the Depression years, which followed, were gay times at the Club…The group celebrated each other’s birthdays, engagements, graduation, scholarship awards, and new babies, but never lost sight of its main purpose, to enhance understanding of Polish culture.  This was largely due to the influence of Monica Krawczyk.  (from notes found in the Polanie Club file housed at the James K. Hosmer Special Collections, Minneapolis Central Library)

The unidentified author of this article reminds the reader that the Polanie Club grew at a time when many Polish Americans were changing their names by dropping the RZ-SC-CA combination that native Americans found difficult.

Over the years the Polanie Club continued to meet in members’ homes where they enjoyed comraderie and a monthly gourmet dinner.  Though they ardently supported the defense effort, they held firm to their commitment to preserving the Polish culture.  Wartime programs included “The Music of Poland”(1939), Musical Education in Poland”, and “Poland, a Songland of the World from Music and Youth,”  Later programs featured “Polish Folklore” and” “Polish Women Authors” among a long list of serious discussions of Polish culture, talks often presented by noted scholars and artists.

At these monthly meetings, the women reviewed their many projects and pondered how best to promulgate Polish culture in this country.  Focus on writing and publishing, they agreed, was the best way to spread the word.

Their first publishing venture was launched in 1942 with a collection of the lyrics of 110 Polish songs, Piesni Ludowe. On their 15th anniversary they published Victoria Janda’s collection of poems entitled “Star Hunger”.  That was followed two years later by the poet’s “Walls of Space.”  In 1948 the Polanie Club published its premiere best seller, a cookbook entitled Treasured Polish Recipes for Americans, illustrated by Stanley Legun, a Northeast Minneapolis artist.

The presses were kept busy with Polish publications – poetry, short stories and, in 1957, a compilation of over 300 songs – music and words.  This major work, entitled Treasured Polish Songs with English Translations was illustrated by Maria Werten and translated by Polanie members.

A major event for the Polanie Club came in 1966 when the organization sponsored the Annual Convention of the American Council of Polish Cultural Clubs (now known as the American Council for Polish Culture.)   The conference, held at the University of Minnesota, celebrated the Polish Millennium with a program of distinguished lecturers on the theme, “Poland through a Thousand Years”  The Polanie Club also supported the Polish American Cultural Institute of Minnesota in hosting the 1996 ACPC convention, held in Minneapolis.

The following year, in 1967, the Club celebrated their fortieth anniversary. In that year four members of the great (Josepha Contoski, Cecily Helgesen, Rose Polski Anderson and Marie Sokolowski), received research grants for study in Poland.  Their experiences and the realia with which they returned to the Twin Cities launched Polonie on a more formal exhibition program.  The Club had long supplied Polish costumes and memorabilia for local projects.  Now the Exhibit Committee, armed with the materials brought back by the grant recipients, extended the program of displays – for which they soon began to receive acclamation and awards.

In 1977 members of the Polanie Club celebrated their 50th anniversary in style with a Red and White Ball at the Holiday Inn on the Nicollet Mall.   They also expanded their publications list.  Treasured Polish Folk Rhymes, Songs and Games was translated into English then published in both languages.

Over the years the list grew.  In 1983 Polanie published Bocheck in Poland: A children’s story about the white stork, the fairytale bird of the old world, by Joseph Contoski.  In the late 1980’s the Club diversified their publications later with a 1989 cassette of Polish Christmas Carols and later a CD of Christmas carols created my piano virtuoso Bonnie Frels.

Let it not be written that Polanie Club members look only to the past – one of the most active programs of today’s Polanie is the scholarship program for post-secondary education.  Minnesotans of Polish-American descent are eligible for stipends to attend the post-secondary institution of their choice.  Since the inception of the program in 2000 tens of thousands of scholarships have been awarded.

When the American Council for Polish Culture met again in Minneapolis in 2003 Polanie  seized the opportunity of the organization’s lifetime when they were called upon to conduct national wide auditions for the Marcella Kochanska Sembrich Vocal Competitions.  The winner performed in concerts at both Hamline and Universities, events that offered hundreds of Twin Citians an opportunity experience the beauty of Polish culture.

A delightful tradition of Polanie is the annual Wigilia celebration, a Polish Christmas tradition kept alive in this community.  Wigilia, meaning “watchful vigil,” is hosted by Polanie during Advent, offering Minnesotans a chance to prepare for the Nativity in a celebratory but reflective gathering feature Polish food, live performances and an altogether “magical evening.”

At this writing, members of the Polanie Club are working feverishly on preparations for the Twin Cities Polish Festival 2011, August 13-14 on the banks of the Mississippi near St. Anthony Main.  The event itself is a celebration of Polish culture featuring a Chopin Celebration, a Polish film festival, an exhibit of the works of Joseph Conrad, Polish jazz and folk music and dance – along with fabulous food and great exhibits where visitors can learn about the Twin Cities Polish community, including the Polanie Club.  Don’t miss it!


v    In truth, having lived in Northeast Minneapolis fewer than thirty years, I am a newbie.  Learning about the women of the Polanie Club expands my understanding and appreciation of my neighborhood.  My profound thanks to those who have maintained the record, everyone who kept the minutes, clipped the newspapers, and preserved the reports.

v    It is worthy of note that the files are replete with the individual names of Polanie members and their roles in the Club.  Though I would love to have been able to attribute some of this credit, there were just too many women to name!

v    Most of the publications of Polanie are still available.  Check the Polanie publications on line.  If you don’t find the title you want there, check Amazon.  My google search was successful in finding virtually all of the titles new or used and at reasonable cost.

v    This piece was written for my blog, whimsically, if accurately, known as Poking Around with Mary.  That is what I do, poke around  – around my neighborhood, the city, libraries, parks, coffee shops, and any other sites or gatherings that catch my eye.  I also search online a range of interests, including a current passion to learn about and draw attention to threats to open government.  When I’m not poking around, I write about what I have learned.  If you’re interested you might take time to poke around the blog where you’ll find past posts on related issues including a piece on last year’s Polish Festival and several pieces of what’s happening in Northeast Minneapolis  You will find an easy subscription link online.

Minneapolis – City of Lakes, Learners, Clubs and Their Records

Busy bibliophiles and lifelong learners trying to squeeze in a quick read or a weekly study club take note – you are joining generations of intellectually curious and engaged Minneapolitans who shared the pleasure of a good read or a deep thought with friends and neighbors.

Discovering the Collection:  Consider the scores of boxes that cram the shelves of the Clubs & Organizations Collection in the James K. Hosmer Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library.  The collection reveals much of the city’s history through the largely unpublished legacy of neighborhood and professional groups that thrived in an earlier day.  Within the hundreds of archival boxes are the scrapbooks, directories, minutes, ledgers, programs, letters and ephemera that tell the story of the city’s social, learning and professional organizations dating from the mid-nineteenth century.

Best of all, library staff and supporters have created a beautifully annotated index of the contents of those boxes.  The indispensable guide provides a thumbnail sketch of each organization and an inventory of the treasures buried in the archives.

Perusing the Online Inventory:  The good news is that the well annotated index is available online where you can learn a good deal about the club before you attack the original files.  The index provides an overview of nearly 200 organizations, their mission, officers, membership, years of operation, what they read and discussed, where they met, and anything else you could have ever wanted to know about the famed study and social groups of an earlier time – the roots of which live on in this city of reading groups, neighborhood councils, ethnic gatherings and just plain clubs of every conceivable stripe.

These snippets from the files what your curiosity to dig deeper:

  • The Prospect Park Study Club, founded in the tradition of other Federation of Womens Clubs, discussed current interest and academic topics, with programs presented by club members.  The five (huge) boxes cover the Study Club’s doings from 1896 to 2001.
  • Or consider the Ramblers, folks who liked to travel and to discuss the “topography, art, literature, and music of different cultures.  Those files cover 1896 to 1949.
  • No surprise, the Saturday Lunch Club, 1927-1952, was an all-male upscale club founded by Stiles P. Jones (1862-1920), a prominent Twin Cities newsman.  The five boxes of club records list the membership which includes many familiar names while the list of speakers includes some of the nation’s most prominent leaders – W.E.B.DuBois, Clarence Darrow, William Jennings Bryan, Louis D.  Is it any wonder the city created a reputation for engagement and big picture thinking?

Active Minneapolitans didn’t think deep thoughts all the time, though – The collection includes the files of the Kennel Club, the Apollo Club (1895), the first male chorus, the Hostesses, founded in 1898 to make arrangements for a Ball, with the idea of making them a permanent social event each winter, and then there is the Lake Harriet Yacht Club, founded “to promote the physical and mental culture and the social interests of members.”

On a personal note, one issue that strikes me at first blush is that the majority of the files reflect the stories of women’s clubs – the question in my mind is whether there were more women who wanted to read good literature, discuss history, world affairs or social concerns — or did these women just keep their files in better order?

You can bury yourself for untold hours in the online inventory online – I know from experience.  If you don’t have a home computer, your neighborhood library offers a good option.  You’ll laugh, you’ll learn, and you’ll develop a keen appreciation of intellectual and social vitality that shaped today’s cultural, social, political, and recreational profile.

Exploring the Collection:  When you’ve focused on clubs that call out for further study, you’ll pine to dig into those file boxes and folders.  The James K. Hosmer Special Collection is housed in elegant and temperature controlled splendor at the Minneapolis Central Library, 4th floor, behind the ornate carved arched entryway. (the archway was transported originally from the late lamented Library at 10th Hennepin from whence it has migrated over time to its present site in this ultra-21st Century setting.)

And then the fun begins!

  • First and always, call ahead  (612 657-8200)  to give staff time to pull the files you seek – it seems like magic but in fact it’s the result of a skilled and extraordinarily committed staff that runs miles to gather the files from their secure location.
  • Assuming you called ahead, you’ll find materials waiting for you – in this case, archival boxes filled with files maintained by the club in their day or a sheaf of envelopes filled with carefully dated clippings and photos – always a delightful surprise.
  • Then marinate your mind in the stories that leap from the often hand-written notes, membership lists, minutes, and other treasures that divulge the stories of the club about which you want to learn more.
  • If you need a coffee break (1st floor) or have to leave the Library, tell staff and your materials will be waiting for you next trip (assuming it’s soon.)
  • If you need photocopies, you’ll find a low cost and efficient copier that takes coins and even gives change.  If you want to scan something, talk with staff.  Tip:  you will need to copy anything you want to take with you – nothing in the Special Collections Library circulates.
  • Suggestion:  Leave yourself time to browse the stacks.  Though what’s on the open stacks is a smidgeon of the archives’ holdings there are unexpected finds.  If you’re interested in Minneapolis clubs you’ll want to peruse the shelves of the Minneapolis Collection.

My personal hopes:

1) That this small snippet whets your mental appetite to learn more about the history of this city – the neighborhood leaders,  special interest proponents, ethnic groups,  readers and writers, politicians and good government advocates, education supporters and others who took time and made the effort to think big thoughts about their era and about the future.

2) That I can and do make time to plumb the depths of many of these energetic organizations.  My plan is to start with learning all I can about the Polanie Club, a social club founded in 1927 and still going strong today.  The Club was established by twelve young women who wanted to learn more about, share and preserve their Polish culture.  Polanie, meaning ‘people of the plains, aptly describes their interest in the Polish language, literature, music, food, history, art, folklore and more.  The Polanie Club has played a significant role in preserving the Polish legacy which is so much a part of my adopted Northeast neighborhood.  I can’t wait to learn more and to visit the incredible Twin Cities Polish Festival again this year – it’s August 13-14 on the Mississippi Riverfront!

3) That readers will focus on a club that peaks their fancy, check the online inventory, explore the files, interpret and employ 21st Century tools to share the stories with 21st Century Minneapolitans.




Chautauqua Series at St Kate’s Tackles Ideas that Tickle the Mind

Come August, the human brain starts drifting off course – it needs some exercise, some fun, some attention!  Give your frazzled mind a break by letting it dip into the deep well of learning opportunities that will burst forth during the ten days of the Summer Chautauqua on the lush green campus of St. Catherine University.

Thoughts of the Chautauqua conjure images of sunshine, leisurely learning for the sake of learning itself, and spending time with others who share the delight of marinating in new ideas.

The SCY Chautauqua series begins with a grand kick-off on Wednesday, August 3, 7:00-9:00 at Coeur de Catherine, aka the student union.  All are welcome (adults $10, children $5) for a gala celebration of summer and learning.  Musicians of the Irish ensemble Barra with dance caller Ann Wiberg will host a ceili, a traditional Irish gathering focused on fun (see, you’ve already learned a new word….)

Let the learning begin!  Need a techno update?  There’s a class on working magic with your digital camera, or another on staying sane with social media or a session on the future of the book (which no doubt includes a touch of technology…)  Or is Poetry in the Parlor more your style?  Acquaint – or reacquaint — yourself with the work of Mary Virginia Micka or Cass Dalglish.  If you are the writer, Elaine Weimar Wagner and Mary Desjarlais will explore their experiences in a session called I Got My Book Published, You Can Too.

Are your social concerns in need of an informed airing?  Try Racism in Minnesota or a session on youth bullying or Genocide and Our Response or a session on Pakistan offered by Nancy Parlin.  Explore the resources of the CSU campus (Ade Bethune: Beyond the Catholic Worker or a session on the Artwork of SCU) or of the area (An Insider’s Look into the St. Paul Union Depot Restoration Project.)  There are sessions on health and nutrition, golf and Zomba fitness, a short golf game clinic and a Latino spin with sessions on the Argentine tango and salsa (the dance, not the sauce.)  Joan Mitchell will talk about Women of the Bible and Vera Chester will explore the topic of Asian Wisdom for Aging Minnesotans.

Some sessions, including a series of podcasts and the Poetry in the Parlor readings) are free.  Others are low-cost ($20 for a single class down to $12 for 8+ classes.)

All of the details about the Chautauqua series – schedule, registration form (pre-reg required), parking, map and more) are available on the web , call 651 690 6666 or email alumnae@stkate.edu.

So, give your mind a chance to flex its considerable muscles with a fresh take on a new topic or a chance to polish the sheen on some of those stray thoughts that flit past on a summer day!  You’ll find ideas, fresh air, flowers and friends waiting for you on the SCU campus in early August.