All posts by Zach Bailey

Jacob Bleess and the Need for Speed

By Zach Bailey

As he left class on a cool, Friday afternoon last fall, Jacob Bleess knew the big day was finally upon him. He dropped his backpack off at home, grabbed his gear and began getting in the zone for later that evening.

He walked past the grandstands, ready for what that night might bring him. After putting on his gear, he took a couple slow breaths, then slid his helmet on. He took one last look at the packed grandstands.

Then he ignited the engine to his racecar.

Bleess, a senior business administration major from Chatfield, Minnesota, is one of hundreds of Winona State students who would consider themselves “nontraditional student-athletes.”

A nontraditional student-athlete is a student who participates in a sport that is not university sponsored, or is not a varsity level sport, such as club sports like rugby and hockey, or, in Bleess’ case, stock car racing.

Bleess was initially introduced to the fast-paced world of racing at the age of 10, when his father first got him into go-kart racing. After two years behind the wheel of a go-kart, Bleess began feeling the urge for more power, the need for speed.

Bleess moved out of the go-kart industry and hopped behind the wheel of a full-sized “B-Modified” stock car, four years before he would be legally allowed to climb behind the wheel of a full-sized car on the road. He continued to race his B-Mod for the next four years, then moved his way up to the top stock car class in the “A-Modified” division, where he has remained since.

Stock car racing, otherwise known as dirt track racing, is similar to NASCAR racing in which a pack of cars race counterclockwise around a track. The main difference between the two is swapping out the traditional asphalt of NASCAR to a mixture of dirt and clay, as well as the various body styles and build of the cars.

Bleess can be seen weekly throughout the April-October season at local tracks such as Mississippi Thunder Speedway in Fountain City, Wisconsin, and Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, Minnesota.

A majority of his races are in the area, but it is not uncommon for Bleess to go farther south for the racing series, traveling to places such as Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas, among others.

Even though a majority of the racing season takes place over the summer, the first and last couple of months do take place during the school year, which can make things difficult for Bleess.

“We go down south during the summer, but while in school we stay close to home so I can do my homework and go to class,” Bleess said. “All that fun stuff.”

Along with a few months of actual racing, the off-season can also be a busy time for Bleess, as he uses this time to swap parts on his car and make sure everything is ready to go come spring.

Though his racing schedule is more open than that of a traditional student-athlete, Bleess said there are conflicting schedules at certain times of the year.

“There are conflicts with school and racing, but school does come first,” Bleess said. “If it’s a big event, though, I go racing first, then do school work as needed.”

As a nontraditional student-athlete, there are many perks that Bleess and other athletes do not receive because their sport is not university sponsored.

Justin Loehr, the associate athletic director of the Student-Athlete Success Center, said that the main disadvantage to being a nontraditional student-athlete would be the resources the students do not have available to them.

Along with various sports scholarships, there are also other resources that nontraditional student-athletes could be missing out on, such as the Student-Athlete Success Center.

“[The Student-Athlete Success Center] helps student athletes in many ways,” Loehr said. “They hold weekly academic meetings with first-semester athletes, and athletes under the required GPA, as well as make referrals to tutoring services, access services and help with both career and major exploration.”

Along with the missing resources available, both agreed that there are other struggles to being a nontraditional student-athlete, such as professors’ reactions to missing class.

“It depends on the individual professor and how student communicates with them but being a part of a university-sponsored event helps (when missing class for a sport).”

Bleess had similar things to say about different professors’ willingness to mark him excused for missing class.

“I try not to skip class; school comes first,” Bleess said. “Some professors don’t mind (skipping class for racing), but some do.”

In the end, however, it is not all challenges.

“I don’t have weekly meetings to go to like a football player would. I mostly get to pick my own times to race and work on the car,” Bleess said. “I can do schoolwork whenever I want, and put in the amount of hours I want to put in. I can pick and choose which races to go to, and when to take a break from school to work on the car.”



Zach Bailey is a senior marketing and mass communication-journalism major from Winona, Minnesota. He is the editor-in-chief of the Winonan, the Winona State student newspaper, as well as a member of Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity. In his free time, he enjoys racing motorcycles, playing guitar, reading and watching movies. He hopes to one day work for the New York Times and become a published author.

Pieces of Winona’s Past

By Zach Bailey


The stairs creak with each step as Pieces of the Past owner, Cheri Peterson, walks down the stairs toward the basement office.

With each step, the temperature drops by a fraction of a degree as the smell of cold, damp air begins to flood the senses.

Peterson reaches the office, walks to the far end, and opens the large metal door separating the office from the rest of the building’s cellar.

She fumbles for the switch, and as she finally finds the chain and pulls it, light floods the room of the storage center.

She rounds the corner and takes a left, so that she is standing directly below the front room of the store.

“This is where most of the activity happens,” Peterson says, glancing across the scattered Christmas decorations and shelving units.

She pauses for a moment, taking in the view, then turns around and begins walking deeper into the building’s underbelly.

She reaches a thick, metal, sliding door at the far end of the room, and, showing the effort it took to open the door, explains that she does not enter this room often.

A rush of cold air passes by as the door finally slides open and the temperature drops another half-dozen degrees.

She walks into the open space, which houses only two pillars and an old vinyl sign. She is now standing under the back room of the store, where most employees and customers say they have experienced something… abnormal.

“Customers quite frequently say there’s something strange going on in the back half of the store, like someone was standing behind them,” Peterson says. “[I have even] had a customer send photographs of faces reflected in glass. Usually it’s feel but every once in a while, [customers/employees] get a sight [of something strange].”

Peterson quickly walks out of the room, takes one last look at the cellar, then closes the inch-thick metal door, not to open it again until the next curious ghost hunter wants to take a look.

Peterson first opened Pieces of the Past in downtown Winona in January 1995. The store, which began as a wooden furniture shop, made the transition to the home-decor side of sales after moving to the Second and Lafayette streets location in 2000, where they have been since.

This was where the strange happenings began.

The building that now houses Pieces of the Past was built in 1852 and plays quite a role in the haunting’s dark history.

The front half of the store is the oldest building in downtown Winona. The only brick structure downtown, it was the only building to survive the fire of 1856, which destroyed nearly all of downtown Winona, and most of Winona as a whole.

But according to Peterson, there’s more to the building’s history than just its age.

“We’ve found evidence that the building itself was tied to five different deaths,” Peterson said. “Before we moved in, the building had been a bar and brothel in the red-light district.”

Peterson recounted how after moving to their Second Street location, two men who had worked as bartenders in the building came in one day and told her stories of strange things they had seen while working.

The men told of pool balls rolling across the table by themselves and noises being heard when there were no customers around, but they ended with one story that stuck in Peterson’s mind.

“The two were working one night and had to walk downstairs to change a keg or grab something. As they were walking down the steps, they both paused, looked at each other, and said, ‘When we get upstairs, let’s both write down what we saw,’” Peterson said. “They got back upstairs, wrote down what they saw, and showed each other. Both had seen a woman in a pink dress walk past them on the stairway.”

According to Peterson and Haunted Places, a website that documents haunted locations across the nation, Pieces of the Past is home to at least five spirits. Ghosts include the woman from the story, who was apparently shot to death on one of the staircases, and a young girl the ghost hunters identified as “Carol.”

“I’ve caught glimpses of a girl in a yellow dress before. I’ll see her out of the corner of my eye, then when I turn to look she’s gone,” Peterson said. “There was even one time where I was downstairs in the office and I felt a tug on my pant leg. I turned around and there was nothing there, so I went back to my business. A few minutes later it happened again.”

Peterson isn’t the only current employee who has experienced things in the building.

“Some staff members have said they have been tapped on the shoulder or hear things like someone calling their name, or hearing someone say hello, all when no one else is [in the building],” Peterson said. “Employees will come in during the morning to find pictures out of place or find that things had fallen down overnight.”

Trianna Douglas, one of the current employees at Pieces of the Past, recently experienced what she believes to be something paranormal.

“I was here later in the day. Business had been steady but slowed down in the afternoon,” Douglas said. “I was standing up front all alone when I heard it.”




Off to her right, she began to hear footsteps walking toward her, moving down the stairs from the back section of the store, to the front section.




The footsteps stopped at the bottom of the stairs, less than 10 feet from the front desk, then she heard them walk back up the wheelchair ramp next to the stairs.




“For 20 minutes solid you could hear someone walking in circles,” Douglas said. “Up the ramp, then down the stairs.”

Though employees and customers alike have experienced things out of the ordinary, Peterson and staff do not believe there is any reason to be scared.

“Nothing has happened where it feels evil,” Peterson said. “There is no threatening feeling.”



Zach Bailey is a senior marketing and mass communication-journalism major from Winona, Minnesota. He is the editor-in-chief of the Winonan, the Winona State student newspaper, as well as a member of Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity. In his free time, he enjoys racing motorcycles, playing guitar, reading and watching movies. He hopes to one day work for the New York Times and become a published author.

“Robert A. DuFresne Performing Arts Center” dedication gathers community

A crowd of more than 50 people gathered on Winona State University’s campus on Monday, April 29, for the unveiling of the newly named “Robert A. DuFresne Performing Arts Center.”

Dufresne, who passed away in 2015, was president of Winona State from 1967-78, and was president during the construction of seven buildings on campus, including the PAC.

The dedication event began with various speakers, and was followed by refreshments in the PAC lobby.

University President Scott Olson spoke on the impact DuFresne had on the university as a whole, and on himself.

“He was a friend and mentor to me, and he was also a hero to me,” Olson said. “It’s entirely fitting that we gather here to remember Bob DuFresne and everything he meant to this university, and at last recognize what he meant to us.”

President Scott Olson speaks about the impact Robert DuFresne had on Winona State University at an unveiling event on Monday, April 29. The event was the official renaming ceremony of the building as the newly-named “Robert A. DuFresne Performing Arts Center.”

DuFresne’s wife and son, Barbara and Jeff DuFresne, also shared comments at the event.

Barbara DuFresne spoke mostly about her husband’s time as president of the university, as well as his time with Winona State after his presidency.

Jeff DuFresne focused on how fitting it was for the PAC to be named after his father, stating that he “was always a great supporter of the performing arts.”

Barb DuFresne, wife of Robert DuFresne, speaks about Robert DuFresne’s time as university president during the renaming ceremony of the “Robert A. DuFresne Performing Arts Center” on Monday, April 29.

The proposal for the name change, which had initially been brought up in December of 2017, was written by three former Winona State faculty members: Jim Reynolds, a retired sociology professor, Gary Evans, retired Vice President of University Advancement and George Bolon, a retired physics professor.

“This is a long overdue recognition, and entirely fitting honor,” Reynolds said. “This is a legacy that I think should be honored and celebrated.”

Bolon also spoke on how fitting it was for the PAC to be named after DuFresne, not only for his love of the performing arts, but also because the PAC was the first building to be constructed during DuFresne’s tenure as university president.

Bolon concluded his speech with thoughts about DuFresne.

“We are all better persons for having known Robert A. DuFresne,” Bolon said.

Following the speeches, the building was dedicated with the unveiling of a new sign by Olson, Reynolds and Barb DuFresne.

A crowd of more than 50 students, faculty and community members gather at the newly-named “Robert A. DuFresne Performing Arts Center” at the renaming ceremony on Monday, April 29.

Beno’s in Winona

By Zach Bailey

The bell above the door gave a little ring as Paul Lundquist, 14-year Winona resident, walked through the doors of Beno’s Deli’s quaint downtown location on a crisp fall afternoon. He turned and made his way over to the counter to order his usual, a Dutch Treat.

The counter worker looked up, gave a quick smile and greeted her new customer.

“No green stuff except a pickle, right, Paul?” the employee said.

Lundquist nodded and paid for his sandwich. He turned the corner and walked over to the row of booths set against the wall.

Admiring the fall decorations, he paused in front of the first booth, where a prop skeleton was seated, decked out in a fedora, coffee cup in hand, and copy of the “Winona Daily News” on the table in front of it. Lundquist gave a chuckle and made his way to a window seat, where two small pumpkins were seated on the ledge.

“It’s Beno’s,” Lundquist said after being asked why he first started eating here. “I came to town and everyone said I had to eat here; it’s just kind of a local institution.”

According to their official website, Beno’s Deli, which has been considered a Winona staple since its opening in 1984, was originally located in Lake City, Minnesota, with another located in Red Wing, Minnesota. Both were owned by Ron and Joan Shimbeno, where the name of “Beno’s” originally came from. After multiple years in business, both locations closed before Darlene Russell, a friend of the Shimbenos, opened the Winona location.

“The chain sandwich places are OK, but you don’t get the same quality and service [as at local restaurants],” Lundquist said. “It’s one of the benefits of eating and shopping local.”


Out of the three original locations, only the downtown Winona location was left — that is, until Corinne Loomis, who bought the store in 2014, took control of things.

Loomis, who had worked at Midtown Foods since 1998, with her final few years at the downtown location kitty-corner from Beno’s Deli, had been a fan of Beno’s while growing up and was able to watch the business move forward, as well as decide where she would like to take things.

“The clientele has changed a little, mostly people who work downtown, but lots of things have stayed the same,” Loomis said. “We still have the original menu from when the Winona location first opened, and we’ve tried to update the building by doing things like painting, but I like the old-time charm and history. I don’t want to make it ultra-modern; that’s not what Beno’s is.”

The one major change the business has gone through, however, is the recent addition of a second Winona location in the Winona Mall.

According to Loomis, the plans had been going off and on for about a year, and she had been approached by multiple customers that she should talk to the owner of the Winona Mall.

“I talked with [the owner of the Winona Mall] for months, then got the opinion of my husband, mom, and fellow workers and discussed if we could make it work,” Loomis said. “In the end, we decided to just do it.”

With the wheels turning to open their second location, different pieces started falling into place, as well as the appearance of new options.

Wine of the Bean, which had previously occupied the space in the Winona Mall now occupied by the new Beno’s Deli location, was open during the early morning hours each day. The downtown location of Beno’s, however, is known for being open only from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday-Saturday. With a new location also came the option of a new set of hours.

“Wine of the Bean opened early each day so that other employees in the mall could get coffee as their businesses were opening, so we decided to take over the coffee part and hours of the location and just incorporate sandwiches as well,” Loomis said.

The Winona Mall has been a location for the past decade that seems to have trouble keeping stores of all types for an extended period of time, but Loomis believes that Beno’s is there to stay.

“[Wine of the Bean] struggled with staffing and quick products. [The location] needed a well-established business that could get people in and out quickly,” Loomis said. “We tried being open later at the downtown location in the past, but it didn’t always work, so we decided to give it a whirl out here.”

Over 30 years, three buildings, and one new location since first opening its doors in Winona, Beno’s continues to be one of the local staples for a bite to eat.

“We’ve been around since 1984, so now we’re starting to get children and grandchildren of people who were here at the beginning,” Loomis said. “Alumni from Winona State come with kids and order the same thing they always used to get, and they all tell me how everything is ‘just how we remember it.’”

After having gone through the recent addition, Beno’s currently has no further plans for future location changes.

“Now we’re going to try to perfect what we’ve got,” Loomis said.




Zach Bailey is a senior marketing and mass communication-journalism major from Winona, Minnesota. He is currently the editor-in-chief of the Winonan, the Winona State student newspaper, as well as a member of Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity. In his free time, he enjoys racing motorcycles, playing guitar, reading and watching movies. He hopes to one day work for the New York Times and become a published author.

Fast Family Fun

By Zach Bailey


Nervous energy fills my body as I wake up to the rustling of last minute packing. The worst thing that could happen is that we forget something.

My father, sister and I double- and triple-check everything, then climb in the truck and make our way out of Winona.

After an hour and a half (though it seems like an eternity), we reach the open field in Mazeppa, Minnesota, our destination. We are the first to arrive.

The time is 7:06 a.m. Mist falls upon the dew-filled grass as the sound of crickets fills the air on this early morning in May of 2009.

We unpack and change as more and more people begin to drive in to the lot. Two hours later the day begins.

My time is coming up, and I know what I must do.

I climb on the machine that will lead me to straddle the line between safety and danger, calm and fear, going through life and truly living life.

The 30-second board goes up, signaling the amount of time until the race starts as I bring life to the engine of my 65cc Kawasaki motorcycle.


Every summer thousands of youth take part in different types of motorcycle races throughout the nation. These races include everything from motocross, which involves twists, turns and jumping over obstacles, to flat track, which involves sliding into corners at speeds of 40-120 mph.

Dan Bailey, my father and a lifelong motorsports enthusiast, is a personal supporter of youth in racing.

Bailey was first introduced to motorsports at a young age but was not initially on the motorcycle side of racing.

His father worked as a radio announcer in Dubuque, Iowa, and Madison, Wisconsin, where he began to cover events at the local county fairground dirt tracks. Through meeting people at the racetrack his father became friends with them and launched his career, which led to my father becoming involved in motorsports.

“When I was in second grade I saw a program on TV called ‘Wide World of Sports,’ where they covered a race from Millville, Minnesota, and it immediately made me think motorcycles were cool,” Bailey said. “Getting into stock car racing I became infatuated with motorsports, then in high school I saw a program on TNN called ‘Thursday Night Thunder,’ which was speedway motorcycle racing from Orange County Fairgrounds in Los Angeles. It was a cool combination of oval stock car track, but with motorcycles.”

From there, Bailey decided he one day wanted to make this a family affair.

“Then when we moved houses 13 years ago, I was looking for something we could do for fun together as a family, so I bought you the 70 [cc, child-sized motorcycle], Allie [my sister] the quad [four-wheeler], and me the 125 [cc, young adult-sized motorcycle] so we could do trail riding. Then we started getting involved in motocross racing and it exploded from there… Or, some would say, got out of control from there,” Bailey said with a laugh.


The gate drops on that cool, May morning, and I blast out of the gate.

My heart races as I follow one of my competitors down the start straight and into the first turn. All I can hear is the screaming of the small, 65cc cycles, and the continual pulsing in my eardrums caused by the mix of excitement and pure terror of what could happen.

I follow the other competitor through the twists and turns and the ups and downs of the first three laps, my eyes continually drawn to the bright orange of his rear fender. I follow close behind him at every straightaway and watch as he slowly pulls away through every turn.

A few turns before I reach the white flag (which signifies the last lap of the race), my rear tire slips out from under me. I feel myself begin to go over the handlebars, but I know that that will ruin my chances of finishing well during my first real race. With all my might I hold on and save myself from what could have been.

I regain control and race to the white flag.

One. More. Lap.


“Overall, I believe [youth in racing] is a positive thing,” Bailey said. “It broadens horizons and gives kids the chance to explore something new that is not common or typical. It’s a sport that is a little different and out on the fringe. There aren’t as many families in motorsports as in baseball or football.”

Bailey continued by saying that, along with being a different type of sport to be involved in, there were multiple other reasons as to why he brought his family into the world of motorcycle racing.

“One is it’s just fun. Second, I think it can be a true teacher for the realities of life. If you want to succeed you have to work hard at it. Just because you do it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be good or win,” Bailey said. “You have to learn about what you’re doing, learn about the motorcycle, the rules, and the concept of competition. Also, at a young age, it teaches kids good mind, hand and eye coordination. It’s kind of like playing an instrument. You have to do all these different things at the same time to successfully ride a motorcycle, and then push it to its limits.”

According to Philip Rispoli, founder of Coolskunk, which is a sports promotion organization and racing team, motorcycle racing is not a sport that kids should be thrown into nonchalantly.

“They need the right combination of parental support and the right rider attitude,” Rispoli stated in an interview with the American Motorcycle Association (AMA). “The parents must be committed to supporting the rider, and the rider needs that twinkle in the eye.”

Rispoli continued by stating that attitude is a key attribute to having a child enter the world of racing.

“If you end up with a world champion, great, but that’s not what this is about,” Rispoli stated. “We want to build a winner both on and off the track.”


I race past the white flag and grab a handful of throttle to clear one of the smaller jumps on the track, one of the few I’m not scared to do so.

Beneath me, out of the corner of my eye, I see a flash of orange off to the side of the track. By the time my tires hit the ground, the flash is already out of my memory. A passing thought which may as well stay forgotten.

Gaining more confidence with each turn, I slowly begin to race faster and jump farther. Finally, what seems like a lifetime from when the gate first dropped (even though it has been 10 minutes at most), I round the final corner and race through the checkered flag, not letting off the gas until I’m sure I’ve passed the finish line.

I ride back to the truck, climb off my metal steed, and begin to take off the seemingly hundreds of pounds of protective gear that I wear during each race.

Out of the corner of my eye I see my dad running up to me, thumbs raised and a huge grin across his face.

We high-five, hug and talk about how everything went and what I can improve for next time.

A motorcycle rides by in the background.

A flash of orange.

Memories flood back to me as I look over at my dad.

“Hey dad,” I say, simultaneously nervous and confused. “I think I passed the leader on the last lap.”


Though Bailey is a supporter of introducing people to motorcycles at a young age, he does understand that it has both its pros and cons.

“[Motorcycle racing] has similar pros to any other sport or community involvement. It encourages interaction with peers, helps people to socialize and interact with new people, as well as understand they can still be friends with people even though they might lose to them. Also, if someone becomes good at any sport, it teaches them to be gracious winners, not egotistical.” Bailey said. “On the other side, it can potentially be dangerous and it’s pretty expensive, there’s no denying that.”

As Bailey said, the one factor to keep in mind is the potential risk of having a child associated with motorcycle racing.

According to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics titled, “Youth motocross racing injuries severe despite required safety gear,” 85.7 percent of patients in a 2016 study were found to have been injured during a motocross competition. The patients, averaging 14 years in age, were all wearing the required safety equipment. Of those injured, just under three-quarters had received bone fractures or dislocations, and just under one-half were given concussions.

Even with the facts, however, Bailey plans on continuing racing as long as he and his family are healthy, able and having fun.


My dad smiles and pats me on the shoulder.

“You did well during that race,” he says, a bit of sadness creeping into his eyes. “But I’m sorry, Zach-Attack, I don’t think you won that race. Don’t worry, though, winning isn’t everything. All that matters is that you had a good time.”

I shrug it off, saying that he’s probably right. It does not matter, though; it was my first race and I had a good time, so I can successfully mark this off as a good day.

We go about the rest of our day at the track, I finish off the rest of my races, then as the sun slowly begins its falling action, marking the day as early afternoon, we begin to pack up and head to the main shed for trophies.

I walk up to the lady at the window, tell her my name and what classes I raced and wait in anticipation. She tells me it will just be a minute, so I take in the scene.

Off to my right, a father yells at one of the counter workers, wondering why his son does not receive a ribbon for participating. The kid elbows his dad, trying to say that it’s fine, he does not even want one, but the father pays no attention to him.

A tap on the shoulder startles me as I’m knocked out of my daze.

The lady at the window places a large, gold trophy in front of me. Scrolled on the front, “First Place.” I look at her, then my dad in confusion.

“You passed the leader on the last lap of this race,” the lady says, looking down at the scorer’s sheet. “This means you won.”



Zach Bailey is a senior marketing and mass communication-journalism major from Winona, Minnesota. He is currently the editor-in-chief of the Winonan, the Winona State student newspaper, as well as a member of Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity. In his free time, he enjoys racing motorcycles, playing guitar, reading and watching movies. He hopes to one day work for the New York Times and become a published author.


Students “Take Back the Night” in downtown Winona

By Zach Bailey and Nicole Girgen

Take Back the Night, an event dedicated to survivors of gender-based violence, was held by the women, gender, and sexuality studies senior capstone class at Winona State University on Tuesday, April 9.

The event was co-sponsored by the Women’s Resource Center and Winona State’s RE Initiative.

Though the event has been held on campus for multiple years, this year Take Back the Night underwent a series of changes to their typical program, including a move to downtown Winona’s Central Park.

Woolen Lover performs "I am here" at Take Back the Night
Local musician and artist Woolen Lover performs their song “I am here,” encouraging those at Take Back the Night to add their voices to the recording. The annual event was moved to Winona’s Central Park from Winona State’s campus to be more involved with the community.

Molly Sarbacker, a peer advocate and educator for RE Initiative on campus and three-year veteran of the event, explained the changes.

“By hosting it in the community, it gives community members an opportunity to be involved in this,” Sarbacker said. “We’re making it more community based, kind of the grown up version of what Take Back the Night used to be.”

Molly Sarbacker speaks to the marchers.
Winona State peer advocate and educator for RE Initiative, Molly Sarbacker, encourages the crowd to chant louder as the march passes several bars in downtown Winona on Tuesday, April 9.

Along with the change of location, this year’s event also discontinued the section where survivors share their stories.

“Last year was super emotional,” Sarbacker said. “In the past we have had the march, then everyone gathers in East Room and has ‘speak out,’ which gave anyone the opportunity to come forward and share their story. With all the emotions it brings a lot of triggers.”

According to Sarbacker, the class in charge of setting up the event decided to make this change in order to make the event more centered around healing rather than trauma.

Nathel Kaiyepu performs at Take Back the Night
Winona State senior Nathel Kaiyeepu performs a cover of “Chandelier” by Sia at Take Back the Night on Tuesday, April 9. The event focused on creating a healing atmosphere for survivors of sexual assault.

“It’s been a great healing space, giving survivors the chance to share their story in an inclusive survivor- and trauma-centered space,” Sarbacker said. “I’m excited to see the changes without so much storytelling. This is a great night, but emotional.”

The night began with a group of speakers who were given the chance to either tell their story, or speak in support of the event.

Sydney Radler, senior social work major and co-president of Full Spectrum, Winona State’s gender and sexuality alliance club, was one of the speakers to tell their story during Take Back the Night.

“This is my fourth Take Back the Night, and I’ve spoken every year,” Radler said. “Every year I don’t think I’m gonna speak, but something comes up in me and I have to.”

Radler spoke about shame and Take Back the Night’s impact on the LGBT community.

Following speakers and musicians who discussed topics like violence against indigenous women and the importance of men speaking out, the group marched along Main Street and through downtown Winona.

Participants of Take Back the Night begin the march through downtown Winona.
Students and community members begin the march around downtown Winona for the annual Take Back the Night event on Tuesday, April 9. The march is designed to help survivors reclaim parts of town that are typically unsafe after dark.

The marchers received mixed reactions from community members, some honked horns in support and shook hands as they passed, others shouted obscenities from apartment windows.

Take Back the Night 2019 is now in the past, but the group is hosting events through the next week, including a “Healthy Masculinity Panel” on April 23.

Mason Jar bar finishing final stages of reconstruction

By: Zach Bailey and Madelyn Swenson

The downtown Winona building that housed the Mason Jar bar is back under construction after almost entirely burning down four years ago.

Greg Karow, building official for the City of Winona, has been following the reconstruction process of the building at the corner of Third and Walnut streets since the fire occurred.

The building sits on the corner of Third and Walnut streets. It was originally built in 1888. Since it was built there have been three renovations on the building.

“At first we looked at the building and it was designated as a hazardous building. The only thing left standing was the exterior walls, free standing without support,” Karow said. “The owner wanted to rehab it, and it’s a historical building on the registry; that process kept running into delays and that’s why it sat there.”

Karow and Bert Kimman, property manager of Walnut Apartments, agreed a main concern was stability of the walls.

The fire had destroyed all of the internal building, leaving only the original brick on the outer layer untouched.

“I had seen movement, so they had a company brace it all up,” Karow said. “It is a very unique building because it was old, the outside walls were structurally not able to carry any load. The construction technique was to build a superstructure inside the building, so nothing sets on the outside walls, they’re just tied to the inside. They built a building inside of the shell.”

Kimman described the process as building a new building inside of old walls.

“All the columns are steel columns,” Kimman said. “It’s basically a steel frame inside the brick.”

Construction on the main structure has been completed. Now, windows and doors are being put in place.

“We have a lot of work to do on the outside yet,” Kimman said. “By no means is it close to done.”

A worker nails in the trim in one of the 21 apartments in the building.

According to Karow, construction is nearing the two-thirds or three-quarters mark of completion, with most of the work left to do being plumbing, drywall and mechanicals.

Karow said city inspection staff has visited the property 12 to 15 times.

“There is inspection criteria for any building that we’re able to get in,” Karow said. “We look at things in milestones before things can get covered up. Because of the unique character of the building, we’ve been down there consulting quite a bit.”

Though the building is now under construction, the possible future of this building was different two years ago.

In June 2017, the Winona City Council announced plans to begin the demolition process of the building, after it sat vacant for more than two years.

According to Karow, interest to “salvage the building due to its historic nature” was what ultimately saved the building from demolition.

Building owner, Chase Hoffman had been pushing for renovating the building at the time, but was not finishing paperwork and meeting deadlines on time, Karow said.

“Even with the bracing up it was still a very temporary situation,” Karow said. “From my perspective, I needed to push [Hoffman] off dead center, either you are or aren’t, here’s a drop dead date, what are you gonna do?”

After the city “saved the building” from demolition, plans began to be made for what the building would house in the future.

Kimman and Hoffman plan to make the first level a commercial space, with 21 apartments throughout the rest of the building. No plans have been made as to what will open in the commercial space.

Kimman said it will not be another bar or restaurant because they did not put in the vents needed for that kind of business. He said the space will most likely be some kind of retail.

The apartments will range in pricing from $400 to $950 a month. Kimman has a few tenants lined up for the leasing year starting June 2019.

Though the building is in the final stages of the renovation process, this is not the first time the building has been under construction during the building’s time in Winona.

Since being built in 1888 the building has had three editions. Originally the building was only about half the size it is currently.

As construction nears the end, Karow shared his thoughts on the process the building has gone through during construction.

“It’s been a very difficult path and has taken a long time to get this thing going,” Karow said. “Now that it’s moving forward we see light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a very unique building, this is a considerable step up. We’re not done, but we’re getting there.”

Lake City restaurant to open doors in Winona

Traveling from one river city to another, Lake City’s Nosh Restaurant will move to downtown Winona in three months.

Nosh first opened its doors in June 2004 in Wabasha, Minnesota. Greg Jaworski, owner of Nosh Restaurant, moved to their current Lake City, Minnesota location in April 2007.

With almost a dozen years experience in Lake City, the Jaworski family initially looked at the lot formerly occupied by Godfather’s Pizza in Winona, but finalized their plans to open their restaurant on the corner of Walnut and Second streets.

Construction continues on the soon-to-be Nosh location on the corner of Second and Walnut streets in Winona.

“We were approached by people from the city of Winona who had private investors behind them,” Jaworski said. “We loved the community in Lake City, but winters were too long, and when we were contacted we ended up deciding to make the move.”

Pat Mutter, executive director of Visit Winona, was one of the people involved in the process of bringing Nosh to Winona.

“I am part of a group that has been working on trying to talk to people about what kind of restaurant they want in town or what is missing and what’s needed,” Mutter said. “Nosh came about from checking with certain chefs and passing word along that we’re trying to get restaurants in town. It was great that it turned out that (Jaworski) was interested, and we were very happy to go along that path.”

Though Jaworski was initially approached to bring Nosh Restaurant to Winona, Mutter said Visit Winona does not always approach companies to relocate to Winona. Mutter continued by saying the mission of Visit Winona is to market and promote Winona as a destination.

“When we talk about great things in Winona, one thing we hear about is having more restaurants. We have a very good selection of casual restaurants in town, but we’re working with corporate businesses who are looking for places to bring their clients and more places you could actually sit down and have a different experience,” Mutter said.

Mutter said even though they are working on bringing more businesses to town, this does not mean they no longer care about current Winona businesses.

“We want to support restaurants in town, we just want to make and give value to customers to have as many choices and variety as possible,” Mutter said. “We don’t usually go out, but when we travel the question is always there, what kind of restaurants do they have? People are always looking for something local, and more variety is better for residents and people who come to town. The more choices we have, the more hope we have of them staying in town to eat.”

Mutter said one of the main reasons they approached Nosh was due to their current brand.

“Nosh has a great reputation, and it will be great to have them here as a destination restaurant,” Mutter said. “They are a known and popular product. They will bring loyal customers with them.”

With construction underway, Jaworski said they plan to open their Winona location in June, while keeping the Lake City location open until a few weeks before the Winona location opens.

In between closing the Wabasha location and opening the Lake City location, Jaworski said there was about a week when neither location was open. Jaworski said this time the transition might take a bit longer.

“We expect to be in Lake City until May, then shut down and take two or three weeks to prepare for Winona and do it correctly from day one,” Jaworski said. “The trip from Lake City to Winona is much longer than Wabasha to Lake City, so it will take us longer to move everything to this location than it did for the last move.”

With construction a few months from completion, Jaworski said not much will be changed, but certain aspects will be improved.

“It would be foolish to try to tweak what has been successful, changing wasn’t the aim of bringing Nosh here,” Jaworski said. “Continuity of our existing reputation will just shift to Winona. There will be slight tweaks, a larger grill, and focusing more on what’s trending, woodfire, smoke, fresh breads. There will be improvements, but I don’t like the word ‘changes.’”

An improvement to the bar area is one other aspect Jaworski is planning.

“We will be trying to take a more modern approach to the bar program,” Jaworski said. “We will be redesigning the bar, and hope to focus more on that and trends. Status quo is the goal.”

Along with slight changes to the restaurant itself, Jaworski described how the change in location will affect the environment of the business.

“It’s kind of interesting, Lake City is right on top of the Mississippi and the sailboat arena, all with a stunning view of the midwest,” Jaworski said. “The new location is more focused inward in Winona, there’s not a whole lot to look at, which will make what’s on the plate or in the glass more important. It will be challenging to be focused solely on what we’re providing as opposed to the benefit of the view.”

Tom Wynn, the business manager of Nosh, spoke about another one of the challenges Nosh might face when transitioning to Winona.

“I think one thing that’s going to be a challenge is workforce,” Wynn said. “Although we have a much broader pool here in Winona than Lake City, it’s still a challenge to find qualified servers and workers.”

It will not all be challenges, as Wynn also talked about aspects he is excited for during the move.

“There’s so much going on in downtown Winona, I think our timing is going to be excellent to take advantage of the new apartment buildings, Fastenal coming down, and I think we’re going to give Winona something that they’ve needed for years and years,” Wynn said.

Though the company will face challenges, Jaworski said he is excited for the new location.

“There’s more people to appeal to in Winona, there is a niche that isn’t quite being hit on,” Jaworski said. “We’re not fine dining, not trying to compete with Signatures, but we have a nicer feel than some of the existing restaurants, with an emphasis on locally-sourced food.”

Winona Ice Park brings climbers from across the midwest

For a region plagued by negative temperatures for nearly half the year, rock climbers in the Minnesota area needed to find some way to scratch the adrenaline-filled itch.

After multiple years on the west side of Winona, the ice park relocated next to Sugarloaf on the east side of town.

After multiple years on the west end of town, the Winona Ice Park begins its first year off the Sugarloaf Trailhead on the east end of town.

About 1.5 miles up the Sugarloaf Trailhead is a man-made wall of solid ice, spanning nearly 70 feet high and three times as wide.

Caleb Hammel, a recent Winona State University Mass Communication graduate, first climbed his way into the world of ice climbing two years ago.

Having been a rock climber for the past four years, when the city created their ice park during its first year, Hammel decided it might be fun to try.

Hammel heard of the ice wall through his work with Winona State’s Outdoor Education and Recreation Center (OERC) while he was still a student. With help from Eric Barnard, director of OERC, Hammel was introduced to the ice wall.

Though Barnard is not employed by the city, Hammel said Barnard has tried to promote things through the city.

“With him being an expert in the past, he wanted to bring students up (to the ice park),” Hammel said. “Winona State was starting to run trips up there to use a sweet resource of the city, so, as an employee, I was able to go up a lot with students and with (Barnard).”

The wall is free and open to the public for use, but visitors are on their own as far as gear needed. People scaling the wall can be seen wearing everything from the bare minimum of a belay device, helmet, ice picks and crampons (shoe spikes to dig into the ice), all the way to assorted pick cleaning gear, ice stakes and extra rope.

One climber begins his way up the ice at the Winona Ice Park.

Though the ice park may be newer to the Winona area, it is getting recognition throughout the region.

Hammel, who moved to Aspen, Colorado, after graduation, said he has heard people talking about the Winona Ice Park in his new hometown.

“All the way out here people are talking about it,” Hammel said. “People from Chicago who have heard about it travel to climb it, I can only imagine it will bring more people to town. There’s not a lot of places you can go and safely climb; it will put Winona on the map.”

Michael Sullivan, who has spent his free time for the last four years traveling across the region to different ice parks, is one of many who has made the near 3-hour drive from Madison, Wisconsin, to climb at the Winona Ice Park.

Sullivan first heard of the Winona Ice Park through a rock climbing podcast titled, “The Enormocast,” where Barnard was a guest on the show speaking about the park. As word of the park got around, a group of fellow climbers decided to make the trek to Winona.

“This park has a lot of potential,” Sullivan said. “It’s definitely taller and wider as a single ice wall than anything in Wisconsin that I’ve seen.”

Sullivan said the design of the wall was one of the main drawing points of the Winona Ice Park.

“Usually you’ll see an overhanging sandstone cliff and then a frozen waterfall will come off, so it’s mostly just big columns,” Sullivan said. “They’re really cool and fun to climb on, but it’s just the one so people have to compete for it, where this is just a big sheet where people can go wherever.”

Michael Sullivan, Madison, Wisconsin, nears the top of the ice as he climbs his way up the Winona Ice Wall.

For those that have enjoyed rock climbing in the past, Hammel said it’s a great activity to try, but is not exactly like the warm-weather alternative.

“The similarities between rock and ice climbing end at belay devices, harnesses and helmets,” Hammel said. “The ice is always changing. Rock climbing routes are similar, the rock won’t fall or melt, but with ice climbing it’s different every day. Conditions change, weather makes muscles more stiff and not able to do things.”

Though it is different than the more well-known sport of rock climbing, Hammel said he would recommend ice climbing to anyone that might be interested.

“It’s a great way to both mentally and physically push yourself,” Hammel said. “If you calm down and focus its unlike any other activity out there.”