Thursday, October 11, 2007

TheatreworksUSA to bring favorite children’s story to life Oct. 19

The Saint Mary’s Page Series and TheatreworksUSA will stage the comical children’s story, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” on Friday, Oct. 19. The hilarious musical will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Page Theatre.

This timeless story begins with Alexander waking up with gum in his hair, and then he trips on a skateboard, and then he accidentally drops his sweater in the sink – and all this before breakfast!
Alexander’s day continues to go downhill as he gets smushed in the car on the way to school and his teacher dislikes his drawing of an invisible castle. There’s no dessert for lunch, there’s lima beans for dinner, and there’s kissing on TV.

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

Make it dinner and a show

Pre-show dinners to Page Theatre presentations are provided by Chartwells Catering. Dinner will be served in the Toner Student Center. Adult dinners cost $20 and include chicken, beef, and vegetarian options, along with beverages and dessert. Bottles of wine may be purchased for an extra fee. Children’s dinners cost $12 and include mac-n-cheese or chicken fingers with sides, beverages, and dessert. Orders will be accepted up to three days prior to the event; order online or by phone.

SMU exhibit examines cultural, social forces through paintings, audio

"Samiha" - encaustic painting by Michal Sagar

"Hinda" - encaustic painting by Michal Sagar

Minneapolis artists Michal Sagar and Francisca de Beurges Rosenthal will present a thought-provoking and inspiring exhibit titled, “Branches: A Contemporary Convivencia” from Oct. 14 through Nov. 10 at Saint Mary’s.

The show, which includes encaustic on wood by Sagar and an audio installation by de Beurges Rosenthal, explores a poetic interplay of social and cultural forces between Jews, Muslims and Christians. Specifically, the two focus on where human tensions interact with the natural world, leaving their imprint on each other.

Sagar has created portraits of Jews, Muslims and Christians — from their home countries and from the U.S. — to understand what separates us and what binds us together. Their memorable faces are captured in encaustic paintings on wooden panels.

De Beurges Rosenthal interviewed some of the people depicted in Sagar’s beautiful, yet haunting, pieces. An audio installation from these interviews accompanies the paintings. One of de Beurges Rosenthal’s earlier sculpture and voice pieces, “Sh’ma” was first seen at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in 1996. This installation depicted the issues of the Holocaust and the silence produced by trauma. In her ongoing work, de Beurges Rosenthal gives voices to those often encouraged to keep silent.

“Branches” will be on display in the Lillian Davis Hogan Galleries from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. An opening reception is planned for 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information, call Ext. 1652.

SMU community members share flood stories

This is the fifth 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.
• • • • • • • • • • •

Russ and Lynda Sobotta were in the process of moving into their new home in Sunny Acres three weeks before the flood. Most of their belongings weren’t yet unpacked.

The Sobottas had to purchase two new washers and dryers within two months.

Russ Sobotta
Saint Teresa grounds foreman
and maintenance engineer

Russ Sobotta was watching floodwaters rush by his Sunny Acres home in Minnesota City during the early morning hours of Sunday, Aug. 19. Through the flurry of excitement and activity, he noticed that one of this neighbor’s homes was still dark.

Afraid that the couple was asleep and in danger, Sobotta quickly called them.

“I said, ‘If you guys are sleeping, you need to wake up right now and get dressed. We’re being evacuated. We’re flooding; look out your window, ’ ” he said.

Sobotta’s phone call came just in time. The couple, who had been asleep, ran to the basement, where their 18-month-old granddaughter was sleeping. By the time they reached her, floodwaters were already approaching her playpen.

“He figures that if I wouldn’t have called, his granddaughter would have been dead,” Sobotta said. “He cries and talks about it all the time.”

But Sobotta shies away from being labeled a hero. “Our neighbors were noticing (that the house was dark) and talking about it too. I may have made the phone call, but they deserve just as much of the credit.”

Sobotta had been up since 3:30 a.m. when his wife Lynda heard fire trucks cruising the neighborhood. He turned on the scanner and heard Stockton was evacuating. And then he heard a call for boats to Sunny Acres.

“I thought, ‘Boats to Sunny Acres; why do they need boats in Sunny Acres? I live in Sunny Acres.’ ”

Outside, he heard his neighbor — several months pregnant — call out to him for help; water was quickly rising in their home. “We kicked the fence down and got them up on our deck,” Sobotta said.

From their deck, the group watched cars and steps floating by in what Sobotta said looked like a river running down the street. It was then, at 5 a.m., just prior to being evacuated into boats, that everyone introduced themselves.

“We hadn’t even met these people yet,” Sobotta said. “We hadn’t been there long enough to meet our neighbors.”

Russ and Lynda had only moved into their new split-level home three weeks prior to the flood. In one of the saddest ironies, most of their belongings were still in boxes in the basement.

“We hadn’t even unpacked yet,” he said. “It all went into the dumpster. The only things we salvaged were things that were up high or that floated in a plastic tote. Our cardboard boxes were sitting on the basement floor where all the water and mud was.”

Sobotta estimates they had 2 feet of water and sewer backup and a few inches of mud on their bottom level. “We had to shovel it out pail by pail,” he said, leafing through a stack of photos. One photo contains his roll-top desk, which warped and had to be sawed in half with a chainsaw and put into the dumpster, along with all of their records and tax information.

Another shows a large pile of furniture discarded at the curb.

“It was a finished basement, but now it’s unfinished,” he said. “It is not going to be put back together for a long time. Many things won’t be replaced, because we can’t afford to replace them. We never even got a chance to use the furnace.”

But, Sobotta constantly counts his blessings: he said he is fortunate that his wife, and his German shepherd, Lexi, are safe; that they still have a home; and that his son, Jason ’04, has a successful new job.

He said they are fortunate because their home was higher on the lot, and their windows held out the majority of the water. Some of their neighbors weren’t as lucky. Out of 45 homes, he estimates only 12 families have moved back into neighborhood.

And they’re fortunate they’ve got a new furnace in the house as the temperatures are dropping. The couple received only $6,000 from FEMA and did not have flood insurance.

Six thousand dollars isn’t much when faced with reconstruction costs, as well as the costs associated with replacing all their belongings, including the furnace, air conditioner, hot water heater and washer and dryer.

“My wife is spoiled,” Sobotta said, laughing, “She got two new washer and dryer combos in two months. I get her a brand new pair every month.”

They’re fortunate to still be laughing.

“We’ve had a number of other bumps in the road,” Sobotta says, explaining that Lynda has recently battled breast cancer. She had been unable to work for a year and a half because of complications during treatment.

Sobotta never stops smiling, even when he explains that their previous home in Pickwick stayed perfectly dry.

But he admits that he misses his set of electric drums. He’s played for 15 or 16 years, and got a lot of joy out of his instruments.

But for now, it’s all about priorities. Replacing his drums isn’t at the top of his list.

“Maybe someday,” he says.

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 like walleye strips, bruschetta, ham-filled cream puffs, truffles, stuffed tomatoes and caramelized onion crispy bacon pizzettes. 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. SMU student jazz combos will be joined by Eric Heukeshoven and Dr. John Paulson. Additionally Chris Kendall will perform folk music. A silent auction will complete the evening.

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, a large santa basket, a Starbucks coffee basket, certificates for fresh- baked cinnamon rolls, a personal perennial garden at your home and much more! If you would like to donate an auction item, please contact Katie LaPlant at Ext. 6936 or Nikki Richmond at Ext. 1634.

Babysitting services will be provided. For tickets, go to the Student Services window or contact LaPlant.

SMU to host Japanese celebration, events Oct. 20

Winona will welcome a delegation from Misato (Winona’s sister city in Japan) in October.

A “Culture Fest” — free and open to the public — will be held Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Toner Student Center. The event, which will run from 2 to 3 p.m., will include booth displays and demonstrations featuring Shodo, the art of drawing unique characters; Ikebana, art formed with flowers; Kimono, a traditional Japanese dress; and Sado, a tea ceremony.

These events will be followed by Japanese dancers and Taiko drummers from 3 to 4:15 p.m. in Page Theatre. The dancers will perform an original form of “Nihon Buyo,” which features the use of bamboo props and a beating rhythm. “Senrai,” a group of young Japanese musicians, will share their talents using the traditional instruments of Taiko drums.
A banquet begins at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 20 in the Hiawatha Room, located on SMU’s Saint Teresa campus. Admission is $18 per person, and tickets are available at City Hall, 457-8234. The event features the Gate City Jazz Band from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., as well as the International Dancers of Winona and Native American hoop dancer Jackie Bird.

On Sunday, Oct. 21, the Culture Fest will be repeated at WSU’s Kryzsko Commons. Exhibits run 1 to 2 p.m., with performances from 2 to 3:15 p.m.

Get set to scream at annual Saint Mary's Walk of Horror

This year’s Saint Mary’s University Walk of Horror is again guaranteed to give you goosebumps. New scares are planned around every corner.

The 11th annual hair-raising fundraiser for the SMU Cardinal fastpitch softball team will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 19-20 and 26, 27 and 31 in the SMU bluffs. Walkers are asked to meet on the lighted path between the SMU baseball and softball fields, where the haunted walk will begin.

Groups are then escorted through the dark bluffs surrounding the SMU campus for approximately 20 minutes.

The cost is $5 for adults, $4 for students with ID, and $4 for children 12 and younger. Tickets are available at the gate.

SMU head fastpitch softball coach Jen Miller said the event is fun for all ages. The scare level is toned down for younger children and turned up for groups bold enough to face their fears. Last year more than 1,000 brave souls took SMU’s Walk of Horror.

Proceeds from this event will be used for the softball team’s spring trip to California for a tournament. For more information, contact Miller at Ext. 6923.

Halloween Fun Night is Oct. 29 at Saint Mary’s

Elementary and preschool children from the Winona area are invited to attend the seventh annual Saint Mary’s University Halloween Fun Night from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29.

Young trick-or-treaters should start out the evening at the Hall of Fame Room, where face-painting, a coloring station, bucket toss and other fun games will be offered, and the Cardinal mascot will greet pint-sized ghosts and goblins.

From there, SMU students will lead groups of trick-or-treaters through the residence halls of the university, where they can go door to door for candy.

Last year more than 600 youth participated in this free, safe and fun event, sponsored by the Office of Residence Life.

Donations of candy or money can be dropped off through Oct. 29 in the Student Development Office or call Ext. 1409 for a candy pickup.

SMU hosts High School Challenge competitions

The Saint Mary’s High School Challenge returns for another season of fun competition at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, in the World Room. The 2007-08 season marks the 37th year of the longest running, locally produced television program showcasing Eastern Minnesota, Western Wisconsin, and Northeast Iowa high school students in an educational forum.

High School Challenge is a contest in which high schools compete to correctly answer questions dealing with high school subjects, general information and current events.
Thirty-two teams compete in winner and consolation bracket tournaments. High school students receive scholarships to Saint

Participating high schools this Saturday are: La Crescent, Winona Senior High, Lewiston, Bangor, West Salem, De Soto, Alma Center Lincoln, Logan, Black River Falls and Seneca. Come and cheer on these teams.

For more information, contact Nicole Witt Gerdes at Ext. 1761 or

SMU students to perform, study in London first semester

Saint Mary’s theatre majors will stage “The Shadow Box” Oct. 17-20 at London’s New Wimbledon Studio. Qualified theatre majors at Saint Mary’s are studying theatre in London, England, this semester through the Stefanni√© Val√©ncia Kierlin Theatre in London Program.

SMU volunteers hard at work over October break

SMU students will be volunteering over October break in the Winona area to help families affected by the flood.

Additionally, a group of students will volunteer at the San Miguel Middle School in Chicago, Ill.

Next Let’s Do Lunch has Halloween theme

This next Let’s Do Lunch, hosted by Student Services, is planned for Wednesday, Oct. 31. Proceeds will go to faculty and staff who have lost their homes or had significant flood damage.

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.

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.

SMU Chemistry Night planned for Oct. 25 & Nov. 1

Several area high school juniors and seniors (and their teachers) will be learning the importance of chemistry in everyday life via hands-on activities 5 to 9 p.m. Oct. 25 and Nov. 1 during Chemistry Nights at Saint Mary’s.

Chemistry Night, sponsored by the SMU Department of Chemistry and the La Crosse-Winona Local Section of the American Chemical Society, is an annual event to help students explore the discipline of chemistry and appreciate the positive role chemistry plays in the world.

Students will be distributed into small teams and will work with instrumentation in the SMU Department of Chemistry, under the guidance of chemistry majors.

For more information, contact Dr. James Vogel at Ext. 1558.

Upcoming events for internships, study abroad

The fourth annual Government Fair will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 22, in the Great Hall, Coffman Memorial Union, at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Government agencies meet with students and alumni from 27 participating Minnesota 4-year colleges and universities.

Pre-registration is required, stop by Saint Mary's Hall, Room 136 to register for this event or call Ext. 6996. The registration period ends today. For more information, contact Jackie Baker at Ext. 6695.

The studying abroad application for Mexico City, Mexico, is Oct. 15.

‘Spirit of the Heartland’ to feature SMU Oct. 13-16

The history and profile of Saint Mary’s University is the subject of a locally produced episode of “Spirit of the Heartland.”

Joyce Woodworth hosts the production that will air beginning Saturday, Oct. 13, at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 7 p.m. on HBC Channel 25.

The program will air at those same times on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday of next week as well.

Red Cross Blood Drive scheduled for Oct. 22, 23

Blood donations will be taken in the Hall of Fame Room from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22, and Tuesday, Oct. 23. The blood drive is sponsored by Sigma Alpha Iota.

Sign up in the Toner Student Center lobby during lunch. You can register for a time slot up until Oct. 19.

Blue Angel auditions begin Oct. 19

Blue Angel is an annual variety show put on by the brothers of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Auditions are open to anyone who wants to get an act together and audition. This is a good chance for students to get out and show their musical talents.

Sign-ups for audition times will be posted next week on the door to the Phi Mu Alpha Room, Toner Student Center Room 16. Auditions are on Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 20.

The dates for the show are Nov. 2 and 3. For more information concerning Blue Angel, contact Rick McCoy at Ext. 7124.

Grace Place fundraiser concert is Oct. 21 at SMU

The Savin’ Grace Concert, a fundraiser for Grace Place in Winona, will be held 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at Figliulo Recital Hall. It is the mission of Grace Place to provide Christian guidance, support and encouragement for women with unplanned pregnancies and for families experiencing brokenness and change

May to perform at arts center’s 3rd Thursday event Oct. 18

Monta May, director of web communication, will read her essays on transformation, transition, and transcendence during the Winona Arts Center’s 3rd Thursday event Oct. 18. The event is planned for 7 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday at the center, located at 5th and Franklin streets. Admission is a $3 to $5 sliding entrance fee. May regularly writes about art, life, death and transformation in her online journal, “Always Swimming Upstream” at

Open-mike showtime follows May's performance. Community members are invited to bring images, tales, and songs that brought them to a different place, a different space, or a different sense of being. Bring your poems and stories to this special open mike. You’re invited to read from original work or any favorite work.

SMU biology alum presents at biology seminar Oct. 18

Theresa Miller, a graduate student at Marquette University and an SMU biology alum, will present a seminar on 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, in Room 112, Hoffman Hall. Miller’s topic will be “Expression and Functional Characterization of conz-1, a Putative Floral Regulator.” Everyone is welcome to attend. Refreshments will be served.

Jazz event calendar

Swing Inc., including Eric Heukeshoven, will perform at 8 to 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, at Waterfront Restaurant, La Crosse, Wis.

The John Paulson with Miles Johnston Quartet performs 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Canadian Honker in Rochester; and the John Paulson Trio performs 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday Oct. 20, at Michael’s Restaurant in Rochester.

Windley-Daoust publishes article on Amish shooting

Susan Windley-Daoust, assistant professor of theology, published an article titled “Anger Management: Looking back on the Amish school shooting” in Godspy, an online magazine. The article is a theological reflection and cultural critique on how Americans understand anger as good, evil, inevitable or a luxury.

As the magazine defines itself: “Godspy is an online magazine for Catholics and other seekers. From politics to the arts, science to the economy, sexuality to ecology, Godspy explores the ideas and experiences that reveal God's presence in the world.”

The article may be found at

Career Fair 2007 is Oct. 24

Career Fair 2007 — sponsored by WSU Career Services, Saint Mary’s University and Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical — will be held noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, at WSU’s McCown Gym.

Career Fair 2007 is an informal opportunity for all students, first year through graduate level, to gather information about a variety of career
fields. Employers and graduate schools who attend the fair are available to discuss career information, internship requirements and graduate school entrance requirements.

Over 120 employers and graduate schools (including SMU) are registered to attend this year.

All students, faculty and staff are invited to attend.

For more information, call 457-5340 or e-mail:

P&D cohort member quoted in ‘Chronicle of Higher Education’

One of SMU’s Philanthropy and Development students from cohort 15, Wendy Zufelt-Baxter, is quoted in the article “The Care and Feeding of Top Fund Raisers” in the Oct. 12 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education, and she mentions the SMU program.

Rushford Area Society for the Arts presents Floodapalooza

A celebration for the flood victims of Rushford and the surrounding area titled, “How to Talk Minnesotan” will be held 1 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at the Rushford-Peterson High School gymnasium.

There will be no charge for the event, but donations will be accepted. All proceeds will go to flood victims through the fund at the Associated Bank of Rushford. There will be brats and pop for a small charge and all profits will also go to the flood fund.

Judy Myers, theatre department, will direct the Southeast Minnesota Showtune Choir in “Rain Medley, Patriotic medley and tunes you’ve loved forever.”

Winona’s Poet Laureate named

The City of Winona Fine Arts Commission has announced that James Armstrong, an assistant professor at Winona State University, has been named Winona Poet Laureate. There will be a reception honoring Armstrong at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22, at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. At the reception, Armstrong will be awarded a crown of laurels, and receive a plaque.

Through his position, Armstrong will promote poetry through teaching, writing newspaper columns, and incorporating poetry into community events. The Winona Poet Laureate is a two-year position with a $1,200 stipend.