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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WORTHINGTON -- Some of the subjects in Carolyn Johnson's paintings will be immediately recognizable to local folks: the Historic Dayton House, a scene from the Butterfield Threshing Bee, an old windmill flanked by the more modern version. But Carolyn doesn't live locally -- didn't even grow up in the area -- and after many years living in Utah now calls Stevens Point, Wis., home. Her ties to the region come through her husband, James Johnson, who is a native of the St. James area and is nephew to Etta and Dave Schroeder of rural Worthington.
WORTHINGTON -- Ponder, for a moment, the cheese that comes perched atop your Big Mac or Whopper, depending on personal preference for McDonald's or Burger King. It's a good possibility that the milk that goes into creating that ooey-gooey yellow slice of goodness came from cows that live on the outskirts of Worthington. Just south of the city, on Nobles County 57, lies Ocheda Dairy, an enterprise owned and operated by the Vander Kooi family -- Dave Vander Kooi and son Joe Vander Kooi.
WORTHINGTON -- When Richard and Marilyn Greve attended the recent "Family Gathering" event of the Minnesota Baptist Conference at their church, Indian Lake Baptist in rural Worthington, they didn't expect to be the focus of so much attention.
WORTHINGTON -- The tantalizing smell of sloppy joes -- along with some enthusiastic young people -- greeted the first diners to take advantage of the new Bread of Life feeding ministry Saturday afternoon at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Worthington. By the end of this inaugural event, which ran from 1 to 2:30 p.m., 44 diners had turned in meal tickets.
WORTHINGTON -- For more than 50 years, the character Linus in the Peanuts comic strip has been stubbornly toting around his blanket.
ROCHESTER -- Doug Lais is a diehard Vikings fan. However, it's not the Minnesota sports team that has engaged his fascination, but the Scandinavian warriors, merchants and pirates who plundered Europe and farther afield from the eighth through the 11th centuries. "Ever since I was a kid, my brother and I both loved the Vikings, their beautiful dragon ships, the helmets with the face guards.
WORTHINGTON -- Abstract and brightly colored sculptural pieces hang on the walls at the opposite ends of the gallery space at Minnesota West Community and Technical College.
WORTHINGTON -- Derek Ahlberg knew he'd be inspired to take lots of photographs during a trip to New Orleans. But he didn't realize the extent of the lingering devastation from Hurricane Katrina that plagues the city, or how what he witnessed there would impact his work. The images that he captured last spring are the centerpieces of an exhibit of Ahlberg's work currently on display at the Nobles County Art Center. "In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit along the north-central coast of the Gulf of Mexico," Ahlberg explains in the artist's statement that accompanies the exhibit.
WORTHINGTON -- Sometimes a book can have an astounding impact upon its reader. Such was the case for Christian singer Toby Waldowski. When he finished reading Janette Oke's best-selling novel, "Love Comes Softly," he was compelled to compose a musical based on it. "The book was written in 1979. It was her first book," detailed Waldowski during a recent phone interview. "It's based on a true story. Her grandmother told her this story when she was 7 years old, and she held it in her heart. "It's a homesteading story, about homesteading in the Midwest.
WORTHINGTON -- In the course of the last several months, the stack of books on the corner of my desk has grown so tall that it had to be made into two piles so as not to approach teetering height. Although I am not prone to making New Year's resolutions, it seemed prudent to tackle that accumulation of books in order to begin 2009 with a clean (or what passes for clean as far as my desk is concerned) slate. The bulk of the stack is cookbooks, with a couple of gardening tomes, a poetry anthology and suspense novel thrown in for good measure.