Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at http://lagniappe.areavoices.com/.
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WILMONT -- Jim and Joan Joens are hosting a party Friday -- a big party. There will be a guest of honor and perhaps as many as 800 people in attendance. The Joens family farm, located just east of Wilmont on Minnesota 266, will be the site for the Diocese of Winona's Harvest Mass, an annual gathering that will be presided over by Bishop Bernard Harrington. "It might be at Jim Joens' place, but it's a church event, a community event," emphasized Jim. "You don't have to be Catholic to attend.
WORTHINGTON -- Whether they've lived at Okabena Towers for 30 years, 15 years, five years or even just a few months, all the residents consider themselves family. And almost the entire clan joined together Monday to celebrate the senior living facility's 30th year with a luncheon. Okabena Towers, 212 12th St., opened for occupancy in October 1978. Two of its original residents, Frances DeGroot and Grace Stoever, still live there.
WORTHINGTON -- This year's King Turkey sports a borrowed theme and recycled artwork -- and yet it's a total original. The button depicts two crowned turkeys, small outlines of the states of Minnesota and Texas and some other unique touches thrown in. "The theme is a little different this year," explained 2008 King Turkey Day President Paul Larson.
WORTHINGTON -- Two miniature horses patiently stood beside Raymond Griffin's trailer late Saturday afternoon. Named Spikey and Smokey, the diminutive equines awaited their opportunity to perform with Griffin Saturday night during the Grand River Rodeo. Nearby, in a cage, rested an even smaller, but much more disconcerting, member of Griffin's entourage -- a skunk.
Confession: We traveled all the way to the Land of Yoopers and never tasted a pasty (audible gasp!). Yep, husband Bryan and I are recently returned from Michigan's Upper Peninsula (its residents proudly call themselves Yoopers), where we traversed in our Jeep Wrangler, a la open air most of the time, along the tree-lined highways and a few side roads. In previous years, since a Jeep is really only built for two occupants, such ventures have been a one-couple affair, but this time around we were joined by our friends and recent Jeep enthusiasts Steve and Mary Brake of rural Wilmont.
WORTHINGTON -- The most recent Census figures reveal the average American family has two children. That means Scot and Kristin Spittle's family is way above average. The Spittles currently have five children and -- call them crazy, they've heard it before -- are actively seeking to adopt two more children. "We're already doing the crazies," said Kristin with a laugh, "we might as well have a couple more." The Spittles road to a big family began and will most likely end with adoption. "We were experiencing infertility," explained Kristin about early attempts to have a family.
JACKSON -- Summer is typically a time of dwindling church attendance, a time when pews are often more empty than full, due to family vacations and other seasonal activities. But there's one church in Jackson that's seen a steady increase in church attendance on Sunday nights, even though the church has been defunct for more than 10 years. The former Delafield Lutheran Church, originally located near Wilder but now situated at the Fort Belmont complex in Jackson, is the site of Worship, Word and Watermelon -- a series of non-denominational summer worship services.
WORTHINGTON -- Schafer's Health Center in downtown Worthington has a new owner, but not a new name. Amanda Walljasper has chosen to honor the tradition started by Karl and Irma Schafer by keeping their name on the storefront. "Karl and Irma were very established and have a solid reputation and loyal customers," Walljasper said. "The Schafer family has been wonderful to work with, and Irma has been a great teacher.
WORTHINGTON -- Sanford Regional Hospital Worthington has announced plans to update its surgical services area. Up to $3 million will be available from the Sanford Health system to improve and remodel the area, according to SRHW Chief Executive Officer Lynn Olson. "Improving privacy is a priority, as well as recovery space for outpatients to meet current standards," Olson said Wednesday. "We want to make it as current as it can be.