Monday, February 29, 2016

[art] i fact

La Crosse's Pump House was packed for their opening Gala night for ARTifact, a collaborative effort with the Pump House Regional Arts Center, La Crosse County Historical Society, and the Public and Policy History Department at UW-L. City historical pieces were interpreted by area artists.  
Interested artists  presented portfolios applying for the opportunity to interpret an historical artifact and once chosen the 15 were assigned an artifact with a 3-month completion time. Their results were nothing less than "AWSM."

Starting at the opposite side of the gallery room working backwards like a salmon swimming upstream, I moved amidst the people and works, reading descriptions until the crowd bottle necked. I have to admit I was willing to endure the bumping into folks to hear reactions to the artifacts and their artists' interpretations. 

Cigar box inspires Black Rose by Sarah Pederson
Each artifact had a description accompanied with the contemporary piece and its new title. Some pieces even had headsets with recorded explanations. A return trip before April 17th will be a must to study the pieces more in detail.

Included in the show was a mosaic 'Harvesting the River' by mosaic artist Ingvild Herfindahl reminding us of the area's important button trade. 

Kathleen Hawkes's 'Heartbeat' inkjet print imitated the rhythmic beats and repetition of a Ho Chunk drum while 3-D paper artist Martha Shwem created a paper mobile timeline of the paper fastener.

Sometimes it's the unplanned like lighting that enhances one's handiwork. The shadows cast on Jonathan Eimer's la crosse sticks (far left); one forged and the other carved from wood were exquisite.  Jonathan's work received an honorable mention. BTW Eimer is a fine arts degree grad and works as a locomotive engineer with BNSF Railway.

 Jill Rippe's A Visual Journey,
 A Look into  My Eyes
An Imperial #6 camera inspired an oversized mosaic bust by food scientist Jill Rippe. A sign encouraged the viewer to look into the bust's visor which was a kaleidoscope with a myriad of mirror pieces refracting as does the camera's lens.

Prestan Lawing's wood cut of the blacksmith emphasizes the numerous blows and action it must have taken for the metal forging of the knife pictured to the right.  Tong Khai pictured here (l) demonstrates this age old forging tradition at the Hmong Cultural Center.

La Crosse entrepreneur Giles  Montague also started La Crosse Cracker and Candy Factory in 1894. Printmaker Ben Alberti translated the booming industry of its time in his woodcut "Abundance." 
Abundance woodcut by Ben Alberti, printmaker

The fur muff had a lot more intimacy and Freudian connotation than I realized as when a woman had her hands inside it, it meant she was unavailable. Who knew? Brad Nichols, UW-L Professor of Metalsmithing created a 'status' jewelry piece yet it also represented the bonding and inequality of the sexes "just as the fur traders trapped the animals to make the muff." 
Pictured below Gussie's wedding dress, its contemporary counterpart was a fabric collage interpreted by public school (elementary-university) art teacher Marcia Thompson. I apologize for darkening the photo to enable seeing the intricacies of both pieces as Thompson's piece is much lighter and more delicate. Sorry.


Kim Vaughter's,  La Crosse painter and fabric artist, had the antique trunk being opened in a different time with whimsical creatures investigating its contents. Titled  The Ones Who Could Not Resist Will Be the Prettiest of All.  This trunk originally made by George Herken who ended up  manufacturing trunks and patenting a luggage label in the 1930's in La Crosse. 

Community, Family and Faith
Many church ladies participated in creating quilts as fundraisers. Such was the case in this 'signature' quilt by the Norwegian Evangelical Church where members paid 10 cents to have their names included on the quilt. Fiber sculptor, Kate Vinson, created the fabric church as the connecting thread to the community of these Norwegian families. 

The bottles to the left of the print are from the late 1800's to mid 1900's bottled within were soda waters, not beer. Surprise. Roger Boulay, Gallery and Art Collections Coordinator at Winona State uses photography to represent the bottles with an inkjet print.

Unmentionables by Misha Bolstad, UW-L graphic design prof
Leona's 3 in 1 undergarment, was light weight and easily washable. The open crotch suggested femininity and actually afforded its wearer modesty when needing to use the facilities. Hmmm. Modern colorful crotchless lingerie perhaps gives the viewer a different perspective. 

Lisa Lenarz's  "Cloth of International Friendship"was the overall 'winning' interpretation of traditional Hmong hemp pleated ceremonial skirt. 

A formal narrative painting recreates the area's socio cultural  1980's Friendship Program. Actually one of  my Show and Tell group  regifted his parents's ceremonial garb from the Hmong community to the La Crosse Historic society. Kewl indeed.
Ariel polishing her remarks

Somebody had to initiate and implement this ingeneous collaborative effort and it was the brainchild of UW-L's Canadian Ariel Beaujot. With the help of students, her colleagues and our community this exhibit came to fruition.  Kudos to you all and Thank you for showing the importance remembering a community's history through art.
* Additional 2016 presentations THE PUMP HOUSE REGIONAL ARTS Behind (art)i fact will take    place Sundays at 2pm :
 March 6, April 3 and 10th , and 17th

Friday, February 26, 2016


FOTO FRIDAY: When you live in a place with brutal winter weather, one appreciates any day above freezing. In the End of the Rainbow Valley the indicators include not only noises like bird song, the hooting of owls/ honking of the cranes but also melting snow which means a very muddy road. The frost isn't out of the ground yet but mud season has begun.

"In town" the most apparent sign is the line at the very busy car wash with 2 lines of 10 cars each backed out to the street. One knows we all have survived winter.  There's hope that Spring is not far off.

What are some of your obvious signs spring is coming? Do share.

Speaking of sharing last week's FOTO FRIDAY: NEW HOME NEEDED is on its way to a new home. It could also come to your home too if you let me know.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


I have lost more than one acquaintance by confronting them on racist remarks. My defense is that we all can make racist remarks but it doesn't mean we can't correct those racist words. After reading the following HUFFPOST BLACK VOICES article by Ali Owens, I knew it had to be shared. If we could even approach these four statements differently, it would be a start towards creating dialogue. 

Kudos to the author, Ali Owens, for her succinct article entitled: 4 Problematic Statements White People Make about Race. Read on.

"February is Black History Month - and along with it comes the inevitable onslaught of facepalm-worthy comments on the Internet from certain white people. These usually start with "I'm not racist, but..." and end, ironically, with something inherently racist. ("I'm not racist, but slavery ended a long time ago - get over it already, black people!" "I'm not racist, but why don't we have a White History Month?" Utterly cringe-inducing.) 
Below are some of the most common problematic statements - and what you can say (or not say) instead.
1. "I Don't See Color."
On the surface, this might seem like a harmless statement affirming that race doesn't matter to you one way or another. But what it's really doing is claiming that all of us are the same - which isn't true. Because even though we are all human and are all made of the same stuff, it is our responsibility to acknowledge that, since we do exist within a societal system of racism, the color of our skin can and does dictate the way each of us experiences life. 
To state that there is no difference between a white person and a black person is to completely erase the black person's experience of oppression in today's society - and that's not helpful. 
What to say instead: "Though I believe every human deserves equal rights, I recognize that people of color have had very different experiences of life than I have, due to the struggles they have endured based on the color of their skin."
2. "All Lives Matter."
Technically, yes - all lives do matter, and if you were to say this as a stand-alone statement, you'd be correct. However, the problem is that most of the time, this statement is uttered as a rebuttal to the unfortunately controversial Black Lives Matter movement. 
Here's why it's problematic: by responding to a pro-black statement with an all-inclusive statement, you are effectively derailing the conversation and turning it into something it's not. By pretending that pro-black equates to anti-white, you are taking a discussion about empowering a marginalized group and making it about you
Look, everyone already knows that white lives matter; that wasn't ever called into question, because our society is set up to recognize white people as the cultural norm. People of color, on the other hand, are most definitely not the norm, and they need these shoutouts. They need the social momentum that the Black Lives Matter movement is gathering. They need a platform upon which to discuss these issues. Would you respond to someone trying to raise awareness about paraplegia-inducing spinal cord injuries by asking, "But what about the people who can walk?" Enough. Just stop.
What to say instead: "Yes, black lives matter." And leave it at that. No 'but's.
3. "If racism is still a problem, how come we have a black president?"
This is basically an assumption that just because conditions have improved for the black community over the course of several hundred years, no one has any right to complain about the status quo. And that is utterly ridiculous
It's equivalent to time traveling back to the 1950's and telling the people fighting to end segregation to quit bitching already, because slavery has already been outlawed - isn't that good enough? 
While there's no denying that we've made a lot of headway since the back-of-the-bus days, there is also no denying that systemic racism still exists in modern society. All you have to do to see it is open your eyes, look past your own privilege, and listen to what the marginalized groups of people have been trying to tell you all along. 
Oppression is a spectrum - not an either-or. Just because we have a black president and some high-profile black celebrities and cultural icons does not mean racism is over - and it does not give you license to discount the stories of black folks who have spent their entire lives experiencing racism in its many forms. 
We have absolutely no business telling oppressed people what's "good enough" in terms of their equality. After all, the level of racism in this country won't be "good enough" until it's gone.
What to say instead: Nothing - listen instead of speaking. People of color have something to say, and until you can hear it without writing it off because their experience of life doesn't match your own, you have nothing of value to contribute to this conversation.
4. "Reverse racism is real."
No, it's not - and here's why. Look at it as an equation: racism = prejudice + power. While it's true that anyone can hold a set of prejudices against anyone else, racism specifically implies oppression - and white people as a whole are not oppressed. 
Prejudice generalizes; it makes judgments that are often premature or unjust. Racism, on the other hand, is a whole system of oppression - a cultural ideology that begins from a position of privilege. 
Race-related societal privilege is something black people simply do not have. Therefore, reverse racism is nothing but a myth, created by white people who are unwilling to examine their own privilege - privilege society has afforded them simply because of the color of their skin. 
To recap, because this is very, very important: black people can be prejudiced against white people, but they cannot be racist toward white people. Say it with me - reverse racism is not a thing.
What to say instead: Nothing. There is no good way to say this, because the statement is false and inherently damaging. 
Happy Black History Month - let's keep the spotlight where it belongs and instead use our resources to make strides in the fight against racism."

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Call it what you may but we are guilty. Guilty of the continuation of a society that sells its whiteness, those on the top of the hierarchy don't have to  try to control/police those beneath them as those on the bottom already have the effects of having internalized self-hatred. 

The controversial documentary DARK GIRLS explores the roots of world prejudices of dark skinned women with regard to classism, racism and self esteem. 

Picture a little girl about 8 years old dressed in one of her favorite dresses, hair neatly pulled back with a bobby. A beautiful shining dark skinned countenance being asked why she doesn't like a compliment of someone saying she's a pretty black girl. It's obvious this question makes her uncomfortable. She hesitates, and from this very first scene the viewer senses her pain as she answers "because I don't like to be called black." The racism we hear is an attitude ingrained in Black American culture.

This film DARK GIRLS is divided into History, The Impact, Family, Men: On Women, Women: On Men, Global, The Media and Healing.

There are many powerful messages in the telling of the story of  Dark Girls. As the African proverb states "Until the lion has a historian, the hunter will always be a hero." If not confronted this  degradation and perpetuation of stereotypes will continue. And as the film ends may we all understand a little bit better the importance of the individual embracing who they are. "Rise, dark girl, rise."

*Both NETFLIX and Amazon Prime have this 2011 documentary 
'Just found this link on youtube to watch: DARK GIRLS

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


In honor of Black History Month, I Shall Not Be Silent, the third movie of the Civil Rights series was shown about Joachim Prinz, a German-American Rabbi who is known for sermonizing about injustice and racism from his U.S. pulpit, something he had learned about firsthand in his native Berlin during the rise of Hitler. 

Actually Prinz jokes he had been raised in a non observant Jewish family in Germany where the prayer book was only taken out when there was a thunderstorm. Yet, when his Mother at 36, passed away, Prinz insisted on saying Kaddish, the traditional prayer for praising G-d. After the mourning period ended, Prinz knew he had found his religious identity and decided to be a Rabbi.

In 1926 at age 24 Prinz was offered the pulpit in the largest synagogue in Berlin and became its beloved head Rabbi. By 1936   Prinz knew the climate was not good for the Jews so he urged his congregants to flee Germany and go to Israel. He, on the other hand, stayed and was arrested many times for sermons preaching the evils of Nazism using scripture. In fact, he jokes having kept a packed suitcase with him. Eventually Prinz was 'asked' to leave the country (translated-expelled) by the Gestapo. Prinz accepted a prominent U.S. Rabbi's invitation to come to the States where after being an itinerant Rabbi for a while, accepted a rabbinical position at a large Newark, N.J. synagogue.

What Prinz observed in the US in its treatment of Blacks was similar to what he had seen in Germany against the Jews. When he traveled in the South he saw how the Blacks were segregated and didn't have the right to vote. He was appalled. 
He started writing letters to Eisenhower about the injustice,  bigotry and hatred.
Through his involvement in the American Jewish Congress he became a leader in the Civil Rights Movement and met Reverend King.

 Prinz and Martin Luther King, Jr. marched together in the '63 March for Jobs and Freedom and he delivered his speech before Dr. King.  
Rabbi Prinz delivering his speech before MLK in '63
Prinz's message resounded as he had seen what happens when people lose their freedom and when others are silent about that injustice. "America," he said, "shouldn't be a nation of onlookers, the most important thing is to not be silent."

Prinz's stance on Civil Rights and Zionism were not always popular with everybody but he preached about loving everybody, not necessarily 'liking' them. Religion should not be confined to the Sabbath but to living it each day. 

We all shall be thankful for people like Joachim Prinz and remember to not be silent whenever we see injustice...

*Sisters of Selma in which 9 nuns will recount how being part of the Civil Rights movement as African American and White Catholic nuns changed their lives. Showing time and discussion will be: Sunday Feb the 28th at 3pm in the Roncalli Newman Center,  1732 State St in La Crosse WI. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016


I was so bummed when I had to be out of town when La Crosse Soup hosted the 2016 Soup Summit. I did the very next best thing and shared my ticket with Natureman. 

Soup Summit 2016's goals were:
"*celebrate, explore, inspire, and improve La Crosse.
*celebrate and connect local innovators, fun-pushers,    and doers
*meet, inspire, and be inspired by some of the nation's top urban pioneers 
*train other communities on how to start a SOUP of their own
*set the stage for an even bigger year of SOUP in 2016
*and most importantly, a day to, have fun and make new friends
*an event for dreamers and doers only"

Unfortunately, Natureman could only attend the Saturday afternoon session called 'ideation.' But I have to admit he joined the right group. You may ask,"Why?" Well his group came up with the winning pitch of the brainstorming session to make La Crosse AWSM in 2016. Crowd funding in its purest form serves as 'seed money' for the idea's implementation.

What is it? A Souper Club. An offshoot of La Crosse Soup to continue community building on a smaller scale, creating connections with our neighbors at small (8-10 people) potluck gatherings of folks who don't know each other from our community.

So this past Thursday nine of us met to 'pot luck and plan' the  specifics of how the idea of Souper Club would be implemented including also the whens and with whom. 
The idea is to invite someone you don't know very well and then that person extends the invite to another who in turn invites another. If they are couples that already makes 10 which is ideal. Each attendee signs up to bring an item to share at the Souper Club gathering whether it be an entree, vegetable, dessert or beverage to feed 4/6 folks. The evening's host would fill in missing items if necessary, utilizing some of the project's "seed" money.

The goal is to create conversation and connections. Then, hopefully some of the attendees will also offer to host another Souper Club night the following month. You can imagine the domino effect... There was talk of larger park picnics, ice cream socials,etc... for which the seed money can be used for bringing neighbors together.

What can be better than breaking bread and meeting new people? I love win win propositions, don't you?

Kudos to the La Crosse Summit 2016 for sponsoring another way to build community!

Love this recent UpWorthy article :We Should Break Bread Together




Saturday, February 20, 2016


Yesterday I was late to exercise class, a very rare occurrence. They say accidents happen within five miles of home but it wasn't me that had an accident. 
En route to town this past week I had been observing 2 immature red tailed hawk siblings enjoying a roadkill deer carcass roadside.  

Smack dab in the middle of the road staring me down, was one of those hawks. Apparently the poor fellow had suffered the same demise as the deer and smacked into a vehicle on the last curve of the county highway.

Of course, I pulled over and put on my flashers. The wind was something fierce and the injured bird's right wing was all distended unnaturally with down feathers just blowing in the wind. His stance didn't change. I had the next town's sign in sight but I knew exactly where you lose cell reception and I was out of range but I tried my phone just in case, no bars. Frustrating to say the least as I know there are just a couple of folks now in our area who do bird rehab and they just happen to live about 10 miles away. Drats, if I left the bird someone would surely plow right over him.

What could I do? I observed a car stopped, observing me at the intersecting county road and I approached the vehicle. An elderly fellow opened his window and I explained I didn't have cell service, did he by chance have a phone to call for some help? Nope, he didn't and wasn't heading that way. OK, it was what it was. Not everybody wants to be involved...

In a way the timing was a double edged sword because there was morning work traffic (translated: seeing 'other' vehicles) so I flagged down the next vehicle, a telephone truck. I asked the driver if he had reception, well luck still wasn't with me as the fellow's cell was at home charging. I said, "You've got to be kidding, a phone company employee with no phone, but could he do me a favor and call these bird rehab folks from the nearby Kwik Trip?" He took down the info and off he went. 

I played direction cop for maybe a half a dozen cars in the next half hour making drivers go into the opposite lane. Finally, I got the injured bird to hop over to the side snow bank out of traffic's way. Whew. 

The phone guy was kind enough to return to let me know he had left a message on the rehab folks's machine. He also said one of the town's road crew had placed a call to the Game Warden/DNR.

 After thanking him, the upcoming town's road truck drove up and filled me in. He said he felt the same way and couldn't leave an animal suffering either and they were waiting for a return call from the Warden. His phone rang and his work cohort said the Warden/DNR wouldn't be out for the bird but to contact the Bird Sanctuary. There you have it. He didn't have leather gloves to approach the bird to capture him but
he said he would keep an eye on the bird and sent me on my way.

Well, I emailed my other friend that helps in animal rehab as soon as I had reception. Later that day after not seeing the hawk upon my return home in my email box was a message stating the 2 contacted friends had indeed picked up the bird about 10 minutes after I left.  

I wish I had a happy ending to the story but it turns out the hawk's right wing was broken in 3 places. To relieve the excruciating pain, the hawk had to be euthanized. Sad, yes but glad he's not suffering any longer than necessary. It's just the way it is out here in the country, sometimes it's Nature and sometimes it's Man that  interferes with life...  Do me a favor next time you hit something,  stop, OK? AND how about a donation for the folks that do animal rehab. They operate on a shoestring...

Friday, February 19, 2016


FOTO FRIDAY is this year's winter puzzle which needs a new home. Natureman started it much earlier than I deemed necessary and I refused to even look at it much less touch it before the first snow. His progress was minimal and dust starting gathering soooo after one of my trips back South since I wanted it finished, I helped. Anyhow it's a 1000 piece puzzle (no pieces missing this year) completed in time for the thaw.

Interested? It can be yours. Just drop me a line and I will mail  to you. 

So did you have a winter project? DO tell.

Last week's FOTO FRIDAY:FOODIE  Anything to add?

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Living in an area settled by Germans and Norwegians we have something on our grocery shelves that you just might not find on yours. We have "lefse," the Norwegian tortilla. Friend Margaret posted a charming insightful 2008 article from the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel and it is full of information and quotes that I am sharing in its entirety.  The article written by Karen Herzog is part of the Vanishing Wisconsin series. Enjoy. 

*Remember this is not a recent article so don't run to the church event as this year the event was held in December and the price went up a whole dollar for adults. If you go to their website you can see their calendar of events.


Labor of lefse keeps tradition rolling 

Factories pick up where Norwegian grandmas left off

Blair - It's not the smell of traditional Norwegian lefse-making that first strikes visitors to the Countryside Lefse factory.
It's the sound - the thump, thump, thump of women whomping rolling pins across potato dough, followed by the synchronized flipping of tortilla-like flatbread on hot griddles. It's a dizzying holiday production that dates back decades, if not centuries, in Norwegian communities such as this one halfway between La Crosse and Eau Claire.
What has changed over time is who makes the lefse each fall, after the potato harvest. It used to be Norwegian mothers and grandmothers stooped over kitchen counters in home kitchens. Today, small companies such as Countryside Lefse carry on the tradition for those who don't have time to make their own lefse.
Even some Lutheran churches that have hosted annual lutefisk dinners longer than anyone can remember now buy lefse because they can't recruit enough members to roll, bake and pass the lefse-turning stick from generation to generation.
A few lefse-makers at Countryside Lefse are Norwegian, and proud of it. Others admit they didn't know what lefse was until they started rolling and baking it. Regardless of ethnic background, they take their labor-intensive craft seriously.
"Every one of them has a unique style, like baseball players," said the mostly Norwegian owner, Marshall Olson, who runs Countryside Lefse with his wife, Amy.
Some rollers wield the rolling pin with measured oomph, while others - such as Lori Mutterer - throw their whole body into it. She can roll 85 to 100 lefse rounds per hour - each 18 inches in diameter and randomly measured by tape measure for quality control.
"During the busy season, my arms get sore, especially the first couple hours of a shift," Mutterer said. "By the time I get home, my body's just drained."

'It's all about the feel'

A full-blooded Norwegian, Mutterer grew up eating her own mother's lefse, slathered with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. "We weren't allowed in the kitchen; it was my mom's space," Mutterer said. "I'll ask her now for a recipe, and she says it's all about the feel. The recipe is in her head. She just turned 86, and she still makes lefse."
Mutterer's arms may get tired, but imagine how Sharon Seifert's feet feel after eight hours in perpetual motion, walking back and forth along a 14- to 16-foot griddle, flipping one lefse after another with a special lefse stick.
"The hardest part of my job is making sure it doesn't burn," said Seifert, who has thought about wearing a pedometer, but doesn't really want to know how many miles she clocks a day.
Seifert is Danish and German, and didn't know what lefse was until she started working here three years ago. Now she helps serve lefse at the annual First Lutheran Church lutefisk dinner in Blair, which features her employer's lefse. At home, Seifert enjoys lefse as a wrap for hot dogs.
Peggy Baker has worn out many pairs of shoes dashing along the lefse griddle, turning lefse. "On Fridays, I soak my feet," she said. "I know how fast these women roll because my feet tell me."
Darlene Wagner is the fastest. She used to roll 140 lefse per hour, but at age 58 has slowed to 100. 
"Your shoes get so full of flour and you can't get it out," Baker said. "When I get off work, I shake my clothes outside and beat my shoes together. I've also walked into the grocery store and people will say I smell like burnt toast."
The town of Blair used to be 100% Norwegian. Not anymore, though Countryside Lefse still flavors the town and ramps up production in November and December to meet local and regional holiday demand. The company employs 30 at peak season.
Other lefse factories around the Midwest may make lefse with machines and instant potatoes. Not this one.
"You have to use real potatoes, and roll it out by hand," said Marshall Olson, whose father started Countryside Lefse in 1965.

New life for old potatoes

Lefse originated in frugal times. Norwegians traditionally ate a lot of potatoes, especially in fall and winter. They would rice or mash the leftover potatoes to make lefse bread.
Many Norwegians believe lefse helped sustain the Vikings on long sea voyages. But potatoes weren't introduced to Norway until 250 years ago, according to the Web site of a competing lefse company, Lefse Time in Fountain City, west of Blair.
Norway's devastating potato famine in the mid-1800s prompted many Norwegians to immigrate to the United States. They brought along family recipes, griddles, mashers and rolling pins.
The basic recipe of mashed or riced potatoes, flour and salt has many subtle twists, depending on the family. Some lefse-makers add milk, heavy cream, shortening, butter or sugar. Noted American foodie James Beard used corn syrup, buttermilk and cardamom. It also varies in thickness from a cake-like bread to a thick, hearty flatbread, to a thin, almost tortilla-like bread.
Countryside Lefse's recipe begins with russet potatoes from west-central and northern Wisconsin. Salt is added to taste, along with soybean oil, nonfat dry milk and water to adjust for moisture in the potatoes. Countryside Lefse rolls lefse for several private labels, including Hungry Troll, Grandma Ruth's, Mrs. Jerry's and Olsen's (not to be confused with Mrs. Olson's of Minnesota).
In the Milwaukee area, Woodman's in Oak Creek carries the Hungry Troll brand.
Thin lefse often is served loaded with butter, cinnamon sugar, brown sugar or lingonberry jelly, and then rolled up like a crepe. 
Some fill it with eggs, sausage and cheese for a breakfast burrito. Others spread peanut butter and jelly, or a thin layer of peanut butter and sugar, before rolling it.

Blair roots span 40 years

Countryside Lefse started in the basement of a drive-in, and then moved to a bigger building in downtown Blair in the late 1960s to keep up with demand as women shifted to jobs outside the home. The downtown location, destroyed by fire five years ago, was replaced by a new lefse plant at the edge of town.
The company produces lefse year-round for grocery stores and west-central Wisconsin restaurants such as Norske Nook, which specializes in home-style pies and Scandinavian cooking. The Norske Nook uses lefse for its Swedish meatball wraps at restaurants in Osseo, Rice Lake and Hayward.
If you attend a Lutheran church lutefisk dinner, you may roll lutefisk (lye-soaked cod) inside your lefse.
But only if you want to.

Now that you know how it's made . . .  

If you've been craving the lefse you grew up with, or would like to try it for the first time, here's your chance.
St. Olaf Lutheran Church, one of the oldest Norwegian Lutheran churches in Wisconsin, is hosting its annual lutefisk dinner and bake sale Wednesday from 2 to 7 p.m. Cost is $14 for adults and $7 for children ages 5 to 10.
The country church is in the Town of Ashippun, about two miles from where Washington, Waukesha and Dodge counties intersect. 
The dinner includes steamed lutefisk (cod) with melted butter, "St. Olaf's famous Swedish meatballs," mashed potatoes and gravy, rutabagas, festive cranberry salad, fruit soup, green beans, beets and lefse rolled and baked by church members. Homemade Scandinavian and holiday cookies round out the meal, along with rolls, coffee and milk.
"We've had the lutefisk dinner here for more than 50 years," said member Elaine Monis, part of the church's lefse-making team that included people of all ages. "We try to duplicate an ethnic Norwegian holiday meal. We usually serve 600 to 700 people."
The church is on Roosevelt Road and Highway O, north of Oconomowoc and south of Hartford.
For more information on the dinner, check out the church Web

About Karen Herzog
author thumbnail
Karen Herzog covers higher education. She also has covered public health and was part of a national award-winning team that took on Milwaukee's infant mortality crisis.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


A description of the Panther Party is complex as many individuals had different experiences within it.  It was a revolutionary time. Rage was everywhere.  In 1966 Oakland was dealing with a same sense of purpose and volatile relationship between police and blacks. Anyone could carry a firearm right to bear arms on public property as long as the arms were visible. The Panthers's armed Vanguard maintained a legal distance observing the police doing their job. The protest moved from LA to the capitol in Sacramento. 

The 10-point Panther Platform included wants of:  freedom, decent housing fit for the shelter of human beings, education, immediate end of police brutality, employment, welfare and health. This should sound really familiar to us considering the recent Black Lives Matter campaign. The objective was to dismantle oppressive capitalism. There was no time to screen members as the party grew way too quickly and cities wanted their own local chapter of the Black Panthers. It was a mixed bag of key players.

An urban look evolved with black leather jackets and the slogan of   'Black is beautiful' along with the progressiveness of black militants with natural afros and dashikis and a different portrayal of "self." There was a new swagger within the African American community. 

'White' privilege felt threatened especially J. Edgar Hoover, head of the government intelligence service, who saw the Panthers as the nation's #1 terrorist threat. His mission was to have a counter intelligence program against its members with instructions to 'neutralize' by: 
1)Preventing a rise of a messiah in the party
2)Preventing groups from gaining responsibility
3)Causing problems (i.e. discrediting individuals)
4) Recruiting informants 

Yet, the face we tend to forget were the non threatening programs initiated during this period of unrest such as the Free Breakfast program cooked by Black Panthers which served some 20 thousand children weekly and 'free' clinics.

'Panther Pads' existed where members lived together, forming a community of whatever had to be done to take care of each other. There was crisis and chaos after the outright murder of Bobby Hutton, age 17, who surrendered after an explosion in the house where he was.

In '69 Nixon was elected with a platform to crack down, to repress without restriction, to enforce law. "Justice is incidental with law and order."  The FBI manipulated the police with untruths calling the Panthers terrorists, and raided and bombed Panther headquarters. Not enough funds were available to defend and give the jailed legal help. Unable to post bail for 2 years, fundraising was held amidst the protests and fancy fundraisers were also held to have monies for legal representation. Finally the New York 21 received a victory of 156 not guilty verdicts.

Bobby Seale, co leader of the Panthers was arrested for an incendiary speech in '69 and chose to represent himself during the trial yet he his mouth was taped and he was tied down like a slave. Afterwards Bobby Seale ran for mayor and created momentum with his stump speeches. With the help of other Panther chapters voter registration was upped from 20 to 50 thousand. Although it wasn't enough to win the run off election, it was a victory nonetheless. Seale has remained an activist.

Eldridge Cleaver, author of 'Soul on Ice' made the party credible,"If a man like Malcolm X could change and repudiate racism, if I myself and other former Muslims can change, if young whites can change, then there is hope for America."Yet, he was uncontrollable and caused dissension within the leadership.  Eldridge, a fugitive from the justice system, sought refuge in both Cuba and Algeria. Eventually he returned to the U.S. and became a born again Christian and Reagan supporter.
Huey Newton was charged with the Oct 28 1967 shooting of an officer and the movement to 'Free Huey' ensued. In 1970, he was finally re-tried and freed and continued to work for the survival of the Breakfast Feed the children and the Sickle Cell Anemia programs.  Sadly Newton suffered from mental issues, surrounding himself with ex-convicts and became known for his abusive ways.  He was killed in a drug related incident in '89.

Fred Hampton became the spokesman for the Panthers. "You can jail revolutionaries but you can't stop a revolution." His voice was for racial unity, joining various groups by class and building a broad base coalition. Unfortunately it was his body guard who was an informant. In December of ' 69 the FBI attacked the 21 year old Hampton's apartment with no warning nor implementation of tear gas but rather a submachine gun riddling Hampton and his apartment with bullets. The government had a corner on violence. The city of Chicago later would pay a large monetary settlement to Hampton's family.

4 days later in LA the Panthers prepared themselves knowing something was going to happen. The LA SWAT team would raid its headquarters. The media was notified and the nation saw what was happening first hand.

After the LA raid, the Panthers began to fall apart with no cohesiveness. The chanting of 'Power to the People' can never be forgotten by those who not only lived through those turbulent times but by those who now continue the struggle for equality. Let us not forget why Black Lives Matter in our white privilege society.

Link to the song :FREEDOM (1995) 

Various Artists - Freedom (Theme From Panther) [Dallas' Vocal Rap Mix] 2009