Thursday, September 27, 2007

Family Weekend Sept. 28-30 features many events

Family Weekend Sept. 28-30 will feature the Fall Frolic, the Red & White baseball/softball games, music and theatre events, inflatable games, volleyball and soccer games, a performance by the “Oldie Moldie All-Stars,” and a full schedule of many other family activities.

The 20th annual Fall Frolic 5K fun run/walk will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, near the Toner Student Center. Registration will be held from 8 to 9:30 a.m. in the Toner Student Center. Faculty, staff and students race for free but need to pre-register to get a T-shirt. Participants will enjoy a scenic run through Saint Mary’s bluffs and can pre-register by calling Ext. 1581.

For more information or a schedule of family weekend events, go to

Theatre, music events highlight Family Weekend Sept. 28-30

A full slate of events await parents and students during Saint Mary’s annual Family Weekend Sept. 28-30. In addition, the public is invited to enjoy the talents of SMU students during theatre, jazz, and band and chorus events.

• The weather is cooling off but the jazz is heating up at Saint Mary’s. Two student groups led by Dr. John Paulson will kick off the year with a concert at 6 p.m. today, Friday, Sept. 28, in Figliulo Recital Hall. Tickets are $6, $4 for students and seniors. The 18-piece Jazz Ensemble and six-piece Jazz Combo I will perform from 6 to 7 p.m., and two Jazz Workshop Combos, directed by Dr. Paulson and Eric Heukeshoven, will play for a reception following the concert in the Toner Student Center Lounge.

Jazz Combo I will start off the concert playing selections from their repertoire of recognizable jazz standards like “Stolen Moments” by Oliver Nelson. Featured soloists include Sam Courtier on guitar, Matt Clementz on trumpet and Tony Freeman on tenor sax.

The big band will perform tunes like Bryan Kid’s arrangement “Sister Sadie” by Horace Silver, and “Round Midnight” by Thelonius Monk, featuring sophomore Vanessa Grams on alto sax. Also included in their set will be the recognizable “Cold Duck Time” by Eddie Harris, arranged by Mark Taylor.

• The SMU Concert Band and SMU choirs will perform 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, in Page Theatre. Tickets are $6, $4 for students and seniors. The Concert Band — under the direction of Dr. Janet Heukeshoven — is a 77-member ensemble made up of SMU students and community musicians. The band performs a wide variety of traditional and modern wind band literature. Saturday’s concert will include the “National Anthem,” arranged by Bowles; Vaughan Williams’ “English Folk Song Suite”; Eric Whitacre’s “October”; and Hardiman’s “Lord of the Dance,” arranged by Saucedo. The “English Folk Song Suite” contains three movements, the march, “Seventeen Come Sunday”; the intermezzo, “My Bonnie Boy”; and the march, “Folk Songs from Somerset.”

The Saint Mary’s Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and Women’s Choir will perform a number of choral works, from the Renaissance to Gospel music, and in several languages including Latin and Iroquois. The Concert Choir (65 voices) and Chamber Singers (24 voices) are directed by Dr. Patrick O’Shea, and the Women’s Choir (23 voices) is directed by faculty member Peter Schleif.

• The SMU Department of Theatre Arts will stage “Art” 7:30 p.m. today, Sept. 28; Saturday, Sept. 29; and Monday, Oct. 1; as well as 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30. Written by Yasmina Reza, and directed by Dr. Stephen Bouler, “Art,” is a humorous and honest examination of modern friendship. The audience should be advised that “Art” contains strong language.

Reza demonstrates through comic relief what it means to be a friend. When an art lover buys a very expensive white painting (with white stripes), his best friend goes ballistic. A third friend enters the scene acting as a mediator. Reza humorously examines both subjects with the use of three characters: the man who bought the painting and the two friends who come to see it. Tickets for the performance — to be held in Page Theatre — are $8, $6 for students and seniors.

To order tickets for any of these Family Weekend events — or to learn more about any upcoming productions at SMU — contact the Performance Center Box Office at Ext. 1715 during business hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, or order online at

TheatreworksUSA to perform ‘Charlotte’s Web’ Oct. 5 at SMU

The Page Series will stage the familiar classic “Charlotte’s Web.”

The Page Series and TheatreworksUSA will stage the familiar children’s story, “Charlotte’s Web,” on Friday, Oct. 5. The timeless story of a friendship between a pig and a spider will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Page Theatre.

Since 1961, TheatreworksUSA — America’s largest not-for-profit theatre for young and family audiences — has entertained more than 78 million people in 49 states and Canada.

Tickets are $6, and are available by calling the SMU Box Office, Ext. 1715, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or online at

Saint Teresa Institute to co-sponsor Walk for Thought

The Saint Teresa Leadership and Service Institute for Women and the Brain Injury Association of Minnesota are sponsoring a Walk for Thought fundraiser Saturday, Oct. 6, at Lake Winona.

The sixth annual Walk for Thought raises public awareness about brain injury and funding to support those affected by brain injury.

Registration and check-in for the Winona walk starts at 9 a.m. at the walk tent in the Kmart parking lot. The walk will begin at 10 a.m. To register online or for more information, go to

Benefit for SMU faculty, staff flood victims set for Oct. 28

Mark your calendars for a fun-filled evening of music, food and festive bidding that will raise money for the SMU faculty and staff who have suffered severe damage due to the August flood. Several of our own SMU community members have lost their homes and many — if not all — of their personal belongings. Come and support them!

The event, “A Recipe for Relief,” will be held 6 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28, in the dining room. All faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the university are invited to attend. Admission will be $25 or $15 for students.

Several celebrity SMU “chefs” will be preparing a huge variety of tasty hors d’oeuvres, and the master chef himself, Brother Chancellor Louis DeThomasis, will give out a special recipe — as well as a live (and lively!) demonstration of how to prepare it. Many secret recipes will be revealed.

Come and enjoy music by our own talented musicians, including Eric Heukeshoven, Dr. John Paulson and students, as well as Chris Kendall, and peruse items in a silent auction. We’re hoping the time and talents of our SMU community will fill our display tables.

Some auction items donated so far include homemade jewelry, a guided canoe trip, a dinner from Gary Diomandes, a ticket basket from the SMU box office and much more! If you would like to donate an auction item, please contact Deb Nahrgang at Ext. 6966 or Nikki Richmond at Ext. 1634.

More cleanup opportunities

Volunteer Services is organizing a cleanup from 1 to 4 p.m. today to provide relief to families affected by the flood.

If you would like to volunteer, contact Katie LaPlant at Ext. 6936 or A form has been created at to help her better place you where you are most needed.

SMU community members share flood stories

This is the third in a series of stories of SMU faculty and staff who have suffered serious damage because of recent flooding. We hope that these stories bring to light how many people, in how many areas, were deeply affected. Please continue to keep everyone who is fighting to put their lives back together in your prayers.
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Robin Thelen has been through two floods in Stockton. The August 2007 flood brought over two feet of water and several inches of mud.

Thelen discovered thick mold on her bedroom walls.

Two feet of water destroyed the main floor of Thelen’s home.

Robin Thelen

Robin Thelen keeps photos of her flood-ravished house in an album labeled “Home Sweet Home.” In between photos of thick mold growing on her walls and her family tearing apart sheetrock, she stuck a vacation picture of a brightly colored flower floating on lillypads.

She said she just had to put “something pretty” in there — a little bit of sunshine amidst all the rain.

Though it’s not a label Thelen would have chosen for herself, she’s is an expert flood survivor.

She’s has done it all before.

When the 1991 flood swept through her home, she lost a lot of her precious photographs.

Thelen knew it would happen again. In her mind, it wasn’t “if” the town would flood, but “when.” In preparation, she moved her photos and important paperwork upstairs. In some ways, she was prepared.

But last time, the flood wasn’t this bad.

All that’s left of Thelen’s home of the past 18 years is a shell. Caution tape surrounds the center of the home so no one falls through the rotted floorboards. Two feet of water and ankle-deep mud destroyed most everything on the first floor and garage.

“It’s just stuff,” she said. “But it’s what makes your house a home. It’s your sanctuary; it’s where your love is built.”

When she talks about her loss, Thelen struggles to hold back tears. Photos of her 3-year-old grandson Mason hammering at sheetrock, and memories of the many people who have helped her, bring smiles to her face.

During both floods, Thelen has been grateful she wasn’t home during the evacuation.

In 1991, she was at the Winona County Fair, picking up her kids’ 4-H projects.

The weekend of Aug. 18-19, she and Tom White, also from the maintenance department, were camping. By 6 a.m. Sunday morning, she awoke to several panicked cell phone messages, including one from her daughter, Jessica.

“She was crying,” Thelen said, “She said, ‘Mom, it’s like the ’91 flood. The house is just as bad, worse. Where are you? People are dying.”

Thelen and White quickly packed and drove back to Stockton. “It was only four hours, but it was the longest drive. All I could think about was what I was coming home to,” she said.

By the time they arrived, her family (including Jessica, who lives in the Twin Cities, and Tony, a freshman at SMU) had already started hauling her personal belongings out on the front lawn and scraping up mud.

“When I walked into the house, it was like, ‘Where do I begin?’ and ‘Here we go again,’ ” Thelen said.

But, instinctively, her family dove right into what needed to be done – throwing furniture and belongings outside first, and then tearing out sheetrock, insulation, flooring and subfloors.

It’s been a difficult year for her family, but Thelen is proud of how they pull together in a time of crisis.

Thelen’s son, Gary, who lives in Dover, Minn., was in a serious combining accident shortly before the flood; half of his body was crushed by an industrial pea picker. He is slowly recovering and lucky to be alive.

Even Thelen’s cat is a survivor. Jessica found her mother’s cat, Cloe, muddy and scared and hiding under the bed after the flood.

The question now remains whether Thelen should try to rebuild in Stockton; she asks herself how many times she thinks she can go through the hard work and the heartache.

“I’m afraid to stay there, but I don’t know what else to do,” she said. “I like the community. This flood has brought us closer together. We are all helping each other and are really concerned for each other, even more than during the last flood. I think in 1991, we were all just so shocked. Now we’re giving each other hugs and praying for each other.”

Thelen knows of eight to 12 other families in town who are selling out. Thelen could have the city buy her out as well.

“It’s not as easy as you’d think to just pick up and leave,” she said. “I’ve not only cried for myself, but I’ve cried for my neighbors. I mourn for what they’ve gone through.”

Thelen is staying with White in Wisconsin and has received her FEMA money, but she knows she cannot simply fix her existing home.

She hopes to have definite answers by spring – whether or not there will be grants available to help her re-build. Right now she is getting quotes and estimates and doing research.

Thelen keeps all of her paperwork neatly filed away.

“I’m always so organized and in control,” she said. “This is God telling me, ‘You never did have control.’ I have nothing left to hold on to, all I can do is get closer to God and hold onto Him.

“Things will work out. I’ll just take it one day at a time and count my blessings.”

First Let’s Do Lunch raised $380

This year’s first Let’s Do Lunch, hosted by the Department of Athletics and Student Development, raised just over $380 for faculty and staff who have lost their homes or had significant flood damage.

Jeans for a Cause raises $190

Last Friday’s Jeans for a Cause raised $190 for SMU flood victims.

Game warden to present next biology seminar

The next biology seminar is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4, in Room 112 Hoffman Hall. Thomas Hemker, a game warden for the State of Minnesota, will speak on “The Career of a Game Warden/Common Fish and Game Violations.” Everyone is welcome to attend. Refreshments will be served.

Office of Development, Alumni Relations open house is Oct. 4

The Office of Development and Alumni Relations will have an open house at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4. Come and tour the newly remodeled suite and enjoy refreshments while visiting with staff members. The suite is located in the basement of Heffron Hall #60, directly below the President's Office.

Lukic to speak on ‘Maxima’ and Gravitation today

Dr. Milan Lukic of the Mathematics Department will demonstrate several features of “Maxima” while solving an interesting question about gravitation at 12:30 p.m. today, Sept. 28, in Room 301 Hoffman Hall. Bring a lunch; beverages will be provided.

“Maxima” is a computer algebra system (CAS) that is a powerful tool for solving mathematical problems. Similar to other commercial CAS systems like “Mathematica,” “Maple,” and “Derive,” “Maxima” can help solve problems analytically, numerically, or graphically. “Maxima” is a descendant of the very first CAS, “Macsyma,” which was developed at MIT in the late ’60s to early ’70s. Unlike its costly commercial counterparts, “Maxima” is available as a free download from the Internet.

SMU student’s art hanging in Smithsonian

Holly Schuh, a SMU senior from Altura, Minn., received the Award of Excellence and $2,000 for her acrylic on canvas, “Pause,” in the “Driven” exhibit, currently on display at the Smithsonian’s Ripley Center.

“Driven,” is an exhibition highlighting the works of emerging artists with disabilities. The exhibit opened Sept. 15 and features the works of 15 finalists, chosen from 204 applicants, ranging in age from 16 to 25. The exhibition closes Dec. 31.

Schuh aims to portray the emotions of human struggles through the representation of the human figure. Inspired by a mission trip to India and an intense awareness of humanitarian issues, Schuh links art, humanity and human figures in works that emote without words. Schuh said she has changed as an artist after she began exhibiting symptoms of hereditary neuropathy with pressure-point palsies, a rare, slowly progressive hereditary neuromuscular disorder that makes an individual very susceptible to nerve injury from pressure, stretch or repetitive use.

This year’s assignment challenged artists to illustrate the motivational force behind their personal vision — what moves them to create art. The exhibition is a collaboration between VSA arts and Volkswagen of America Inc.

SMU junior receives Young Woman Award

Each year the Women in Business Committee recognizes Winona-area outstanding women in the areas of business, land and home, education and government, as well as an outstanding young woman.

Angela Buck, a junior at SMU, was named this year’s Outstanding Young Woman. This award is presented to a young woman who has demonstrated leadership qualities in community involvement, academic achievement, extracurricular activities, etc.; or who gives freely of her time and talent to make a difference in the Winona area.

Buck was nominated for her work with the Student Service Office, for her academic excellence, and for her many campus involvements, including Random Acts of Kindness, directing religion classes for middle school students, helping with the Taylor Richmond Benefit, and many leadership positions.

Ann Merchlewitz, vice president and general counsel, will give the keynote presentation at the award luncheon, where Buck will be honored. The event will be held 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at Visions Event Center. Tickets can be purchased until Oct. 5 at Image Copy Print, Pendleton’s, Merchants Bank downtown, and Winona National Bank.

Tour of flood damage planned for Sept. 29

A Red Cross fund raising event that includes a geologic field trip titled "The Force and Effect of Deluge and Flash Flood in Changing Landscapes of the Whitewater and Garvin Brook Watersheds" is planned for tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 29. The trip will include a bus tour starting in St Charles, a walking tour to view the damage in the closed Whitewater State Park and Crystal Springs Trout Hatchery and a trip through the Whitewater and Garvin Brook valleys including Minnesota City and Stockton.

This guided trip is planned for 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is hosted by the engineering consulting firm, McGhie & Betts Environmental Services, the Minnesota Trout Association and the MNDNR State Parks and Fisheries.

Participants are asked for a generous, tax-deductible donation to the American Red Cross. All of the proceeds will be given to the Red Cross to support flood relief efforts in Minnesota and Wisconsin. McGhie & Betts and the Minnesota Trout Association will provide transportation and lunch and a geologic guidebook with maps and articles about this earthchanging event. Project Partners will lead a guided tour including DNR naturalists and fisheries biologists, geologists, meteorologists, engineers, hydrologist and ecologists. For this special fund raising effort, the DNR will open the park only to tour participants; do not try to go to the park and gain entry on your own.

For information, contact Jeffrey Broberg at or (507) 289-3919.

Silent art auction ends Oct. 5

Winona artist Monta May displays “Communion Circle: 1-10,” part of the dual show with Carol Faber, “Interstices” and “Images of Nature,” on display through Oct. 5 at Saint Mary’s University.

A silent auction of works by Monta May, on display in the Lillian Davis Hogan Gallery, will be open through Oct. 5, the duration of the exhibition.

Three of her works, “Red Bowl Ritual,” a canteen gourd; “Bee Garden,” and “From the Beginning,” encaustics on wood, are being auctioned. All proceeds from the auction of these works, as well as 5 percent of the sale price of May’s other exhibited works, will support arts education and programming at Saint Mary’s through the Friends of the School of the Arts.

Colleges Against Cancer/Relay for Life Kick Off is Oct. 1

The SMU Chapter of Colleges Against Cancer group, in conjunction with the American Cancer Society, is holding their "Kick Off" meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, in the President’s Room. Their goal is to help raise awareness through advocacy, education, survivorship, and the Relay For Life.

For more information, contact Kim Riley at or Christie Brunette at

An update from Nairobi

From Father Michael Kirwen, director of the Maryknoll Institute for African Studies in Nairobi, Kenya:

The unique MIASMU educational method requires that for every hour of class, students accompanied by their field assistants, do an hour of professionally supervised field research. This research is written up and handed in to the lecturer for review on a weekly basis.

A typical field research event is as follows: A Luhyia woman student with her Embu field assistant did an interview regarding contemporary African cultures with a photojournalist Muslim man of Yao and Giriama descent in his studio in central Nairobi. He said, “African culture has not died and never will. It is who we are and despite the influences of Western culture, we continue to be who we are and thus our culture lives on.”

He then went on to explain how greetings are very important in African cultures as a universal sign of peace. He further said that greetings include inquiry and knowledge of the health of one’s family, his/her animals, crops, etc., news on the illness or death of a member of the community and the happenings in the family and/or community.

Upcoming events for internships, study abroad

A resumé workshop will be held 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, in Saint Mary’s Hall, Room 132.

The study abroad deadline for the Montpellier, France, spring program is Oct. 1 and the Florence, Italy, program deadline is Oct. 5.

John Paulson jazz events

The John Paulson Trio performs 7 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at Canadian Honker Restaurant in Rochester, Minn.

WSU celebrates homecoming, sesquicentennial this weekend

Winona State University celebrates its 2007 homecoming Saturday, Sept. 29, and kicks off an 18-month long celebration of its Sesquicentennial.

The homecoming parade begins at 10 a.m. and travels along Huff Street. Immediately following the parade, participants and all community members are invited to attend WSU’s Sesquicentennial Community Picnic in the main courtyard of the WSU campus from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The picnic lunch is free and open to the public and will include music and other surprises. The homecoming football game starts at 1 p.m. on Maxwell Field at Alltel Stadium. After the game, the WSU Warrior Club hosts its 15th annual sports auction at 4 p.m., in the Kryzsko Commons Solarium.