Category Archives: Family

WAHS Providing Free Pet Supplies

With a return to work looming for many new pet owners, the Winona  Area Humane Society is doing everything they can to ensure newly adopted pets get to stay in their forever homes including support for pet owners such as free kennels, food, treats and other pet supplies.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began to shut down many facets of people’s everyday lives, people searched for something to fill their free time.  For some it was day trading, for others it was trying to bake the best loaf of sourdough, and for others it was adopting a pet.

Humane Society Facilities Manager Susie Marshall said, “We had up to twelve dogs at once when we typically have five.”

“They all come in from Arkansas or Texas since Winona doesn’t have a stray problem.”

Marshall said in her ten years of experience it was extremely rare to house more than five dogs.  The WAHS typically houses 50 cats at any given time, and saw that number drop as low as 19 during the peak of their pandemic adoption boom in summer of 2020.

“We previously were going to the Walmart distribution center in Tomah every quarter to six months to stock up on food for our animals, now we go every two months.” Marshall added.

The WAHS is offering free food, treats, leashes, cat litter and litter boxes to any owner who needs it and will give enough to stock for the entire winter, assuming they have the stock on hand.  They offer contact-free pickup and will load a cart of whatever amenities are needed and will try to keep the same brand across all items, just call in advance and leave a voicemail.

Supplies offered to pet owners by the WAHS.

Marshall predicts an influx of returned pets when normalcy returns.  “I see people return dogs even when they are home,” Marshall said.  “People aren’t as disciplined as they need to be kennel training, because ‘he looks so sad’ but then they come home to destroyed furniture.”

Some ways for owners to help the transitions for their pet is to not get to work super early, and conversely, coming straight home after, and if possible, during lunch.

Marshall said she swears by the phrase, “a tired dog is a good dog, a rested dog misbehaves” and walks her own dog for three miles every day regardless of the weather.

Winona State alumna Pam Leber, who now resides in Palatine, Illinois, with her husband, Mark, and daughter, Michala, adopted a dog during the pandemic after many phone calls, e-mails and google searches.

Michala, who recently graduated from DePaul University, was adamant having a dog would help with her anxiety, especially during quarantine.

“Michala had been asking since third grade, she did a presentation for us, but my husband didn’t want a dog because he’s allergic, so the dog needed to be hypoallergenic and it’s a lot of work and responsibility.” Pam Leber said. “But he really began to see being home during the pandemic how it affected her, and he started to get soft.”

It didn’t take much more convincing before the family drove to an Amish farm near LaPorte, Indiana, to look at a litter of five puppies, and after a short getting-to-know-you period with the dogs, one that had lurked in the back worked his way to Michala’s side, emblazoned with the name tag “Rebel.”

“Our last name spelled backwards; we took that as a sign” Pam Leber said.

Michala Leber with Bentley

With Michala still searching for post-graduation employment, the costs of supplies for newly renamed Bentley are split between her and her parents, who were fortunate enough to receive a hand-me-down cage and bed from a family friend.

A run to the pet store can sometimes cost more than $100. Pam Leber said she recognizes how hard the situation can become.

“We got a dog when I was 13 and we had to give it back because we were too scared at the time, now looking back, that would be heartbreaking,” Pam Leber said.  “You’ve given this dog a warm place and a loving home, do you want to give that up?  Do you have a friend or family member it can stay with?”

Susie Marshall is a former dog trainer and willing to answer all questions as well as share training tips via her email  The Winona Area Humane Society can be reached via voicemail at 507-452-3135.

Controversial CBD explained

CBD oil has seen an increase in popularity in recent years but not much is known about the new supplement. 

CBD stands for cannabidiol. It comes from the hemp plant which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. 

According to Island City Vapors, Harvard Medical School and other sources, despite popular belief, CBD cannot get a person high. 

According to the World Health Organization CBD also has no dependence or abuse potential. 

“To date, there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD,” the World Health Organization stated. 

Because of its close relationship with marijuana Katie Jensen, Winona State University health and wellness promotion coordinator said she believes CBD has been more popular. 

“I think that is why people are drawn to it a lot of the time,” Jensen said. “It’s almost like a forbidden fruit.”

One way of applying CBD for pain is through a balm like this one. Someone who uses this kind of product will rub the balm on the skin of the area that causes pain.

According to Harvard Medical School, CBD is legal on some level in all 50 states. The federal government puts CBD in the same class as marijuana but doesn’t enforce it regularly. 

In Minnesota, as of Jan. 1, 2020 products with CBD can be legally sold if conditions outlined in Minnesota Statue 151.72 are met. 

CBD products are sold now because products derived from hemp were removed from controlled substances laws which many took as an indication that selling CBD products is legal, according to a MinnPost article. 

The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy said selling CBD products is not legal, according to a MinnPost article but no enforcement ever happened. 

Harvard Medical School also stated the legality of CBD is expected to change because of a bipartisan consensus in Congress to make the hemp crop legal. That would make it hard to prohibit CBD. 

One major issue people have with CBD is the lack of research and information available. 

Jensen said when typing CBD into Google or other search engines what most likely will come up is companies marketing the product and stating CBD a miracle drug or a cure-all.

“There has been a lot of inflations of how good it can be for different people,” Jensen said. 

Research from Harvard Medical School showed the most effective use of CBD oil is for Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, which are some of the worst child epilepsy syndromes. 

The FDA approved Epidioles for these conditions which does contain CBD. 

The FDA does not regulate CBD overall, which is the same for supplements and vitamins people take every day. 

Another common use of CBD is for anxiety and insomnia. 

Studies have suggested that CBD helps with falling and staying asleep. 

There has also been research on CBD effects on chronic pain. 

Studies have shown that CBD oil can help with pain. This is one way of applying CBD for pain. When using this kind of CBD a person can roll it over wherever they are having pain or tension.

According to Harvard Medical School, the European Journal of Pain used an animal model to show that when CBD is applied to skin it can help lower arthritis pain and inflammation. 

“Another study demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat,” Harvard Medical School stated. 

For each of these conditions, there are options of how to take CBD. 

Someone who uses it has the option of ingesting, apply to skin, smoking, among others. 

An article on the Harvard Medical School website stated more human study needs to be done to know the true effects of CBD on pain and other conditions. 

Ben Rayburn, first-year Winona State student, said he uses CBD oil for his Tourettes and Asperger’s syndromes, anxiety and depression. 

He said he decided to use CBD oil because there is not any medication specifically for Tourettes and with his combination of health concerns it’s hard to find something that works. 

This is what a bottle of CBD oil looks like. It comes in a small jar with a dropper for usage. Prices on this product can vary based on its purity and grade.

Raybrun said he has tried every anti-psych, ADHD, and anxiety medication, each time getting strange side effects. 

He said he likes CBD oil because it’s easy to use and has helped with all of his conditions. 

“When I use it regularly like I am supposed to it really reduces my anxiety and my Tourettes goes down,” Raybrun said. “They are reduced by I would say a good 75 to 80% of what they normally would be.” 

Harvard Medical School and Jensen recommend talking to a doctor before using a CBD product. 

“If you decide to try CBD, talk with your doctor – if for no other reason than to make sure it won’t affect other medications you are taking,” Harvard Medical School stated.

Rayburn said he was told by Island City Vapors, a local shop that sells CBD products that if a medication reacts poorly to grapefruit CBD products are not recommended. He did not know why that was. 

Prices for CBD products range depending on the product, the seller and the quality. 

Rayburn said at Island City Vapors a bottle of CBD oil that lasts about a month is about $150.

The story behind Pickwick Mill

The Pickwick Mill in Pickwick, Minnesota, started in 1856 by Thomas Grant and Wilson Davis. 

The building started as a sawmill but was later converted to produce flour. It is the oldest flour mill found in Southeast Minnesota. 

The mill was a water-powered gristmill on Big Trout Creek. 

In 1917 the roof was damaged by a cyclone. When it was repaired they put a flat roof on instead of the gable roof. 

When the historical society took it over they returned the roof to the gable roof it originally had. 

The mill has several flights of stairs each with the names of people who have worked there.

Now the mill is still intact but is no longer used to make flour. It stands as a historic site and museum. 

George Johnson, of Rushford, Minnesota, visited the mill on Saturday, Oct. 5. He said he thought it was a beautiful historic place. 

Jeff Wershofen started working at the mill as a child because it was where there was adult supervision. 

Throughout the mill, there are flour bags hung. On the top floor of the mill, they have many strung together with other artifacts.

Wershofen described his experience at the mill as part of a perfect childhood. 

To find out more about Pickwick Mill and Wershofen’s experiences watch the following video.

Winona gets funky at the Levee

Rhythm @the River was attneded by people of Winona and the surrounding area on Sunday, Sept. 15, at Levee park. 

The event included dance lessons, live music, craft beer, and food trucks. 

Organizers spent between $12,000 and $15,000 to organize the event. 

Lee Gundersheimer, arts and culture coordinator at WINONArts said many sponsors believe in WINONArts and helped pay for the event, in addition to fundraising. 

Rhythm @ the River is an expanded 2018 version of “Swinging in the Streets.” 

Organizers said the event was moved to Levee Park and made it bigger because last year 400 people participated on Third Street.  

Molly Breitlow (left) helps a couple with their salsa turns. Breitlow and her husband taught both of the lessons at Rhythm @ the River.

Rhythm @ the River was created as a part of a series of events that WINONArts puts on according to Gunersheimer.

“The event is part of the Dance Plein Air events in WINONArts, the City’s initiative to bring as many folks together with the arts and through as many different art forms as possible, dance being one of them,” Gunersheimer said. 

Winona State Students Emma and Scout were on their way to study at Blue Heron and decided to see what was going on. 

The two got snow cones at one of the food trucks and sat down in the grassy area of the park to enjoy the music. 

“I really like the Spanish music,” Emma said. “I think we definitely would come to this again.” 

Golpe Tierra was the first band to perform during the night. They are from Madison Wis., and are an Afro Cuban Jazz and Salsa Band.

Rhythm @ the River was also the kick-off to Project FINE’s Welcome Week.

Welcome Week helps create a more welcoming community for immigrants and people who have relocated to Winona, according to Gunersheimer. 

Books and coloring in brewery

The Winona Public Library brought children books to Island City Brewery for the monthly Tales on Tap event.  

On Wednesday, April 3 the Public Library hosted Tales on Tap at Island City Brewery.  

Tales on Tap occurs on the first Wednesday of every month. The library started the event in January.  

Samantha TerBeest, Winona Public Library librarian begins Tales on Tap by mentioning upcoming events and introducing volunteer reader, Leslie Albers. Terbeest also told the room of brewery patrons to enjoy the coloring sheets and a meat and cheese tray.

According to Douglas Irwin, CEO of Island City Brewing Company the library hosts the event for no cost.  

Samantha TerBeest, librarian, said the event is a fun and relaxing time for those who attend.  

“The purpose is to provide adults with, one relaxation, and second, bring them back to childhood,” said TerBeest.  

Leslie Albers, volunteer reader, read three children’s book that went along with the theme of coloring.  

The books were The Day the Crayons Quit, The Day the Crayons Came Home, and Red: A Crayon’s Story. 

Along with the readings, the library provided coloring pages, coloring utensils and a plate of meat and cheese.  

There was also a chance to win an adult coloring book and coloring utensils.  

Albers has been reading since she was a child. In college, she and her roommates would read English detective books aloud to each other.  

This was Leslie Albers’s first time reading at a Tales on Tab event. The event however started in January 2019. The event occurs on the first Wednesday of every month. There is also a different theme each month.

Now she reads to her grand children 

“I have been gifted with the gift to gab,” said Albers.  

Because of that gift, Albers said she loves to be in front of a microphone. Especially, if she is reading something.  

She saw a poster in the library asking for volunteers to read.  

Albers said she did not even think before she volunteered to read at the event.  

There is not always an audience at Tales on Tab.  

On Wednesday there were three tables full of people. After the first book was read there were only a few people sitting at the bar. None of these people took the coloring sheets or participated in the drawing for a coloring book.  

TerBeest said some people find themselves at the brewery the same day the event is happening, and others mean to be there. 

“I was telling (Albers), people are not going to listen to you,” TerBeest said. “They are going to do their own thing. Like these guys over there and the guy behind us, they will listen sometimes.”  

Irwin said his staff has said the event is not very big.  

From what my staff is telling me, it seems like there wasn’t a big turn out for that event,” Irwin said.  

TerBeest said in February the library had a pajama contest at the Tales on Tab event that she believed to have a good turnout. The prize was a $10 Target gift card.  

As of now, the library is not planning on doing the Tales for Tab event over the summer months, according to TerBeest.  

TerBeest said those who play Book Bingo want to have Wednesday nights back for that event.  

TerBeest said the library may bring Tales on Tab back in the fall.  

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.


Dancescape is a Rewarding Stressor for Students and Faculty

Jenna Grochow Dancescape Interview

Adelle Vietor Dancescape Interview

The life of a dancer, despite popular belief, has never exactly been glamorous.

It’s hard work for little money and very strenuous on the body and mind.

The dancers and directors of Winona State University’s 2018 Dancescape agree and say they believe that the time spent is valuable.

Jenna Grochow, a production assistant, choreographer and dancer for Dancescape, said, “Dancescape is a really big time commitment. It gets stressful throughout the year and I have to sacrifice being with friends and going to other events because of it.”

The stress of spending six months working for one show can be tiring on the young college dancers and choreographers.

Dancescape’s Artistic Director, Gretchen Cohenour, said what the dancers go through reminds her of when she danced as a freelance professional in New York.

“It’s hard, worth it, but difficult,” Cohenour said. “When I danced, I also was a waitress and worked other odd jobs to make a living. That is what a lot of these dancers go through with school and part time jobs, however they can handle it and love to do it.”

The reward of a successful live show is what makes everything they do worth their commitment to the show.

Vietor dancing in front of a projected screen that she designed. This will be the first time dancescape has used this technology

Adelle Vietor; a WSU student, and choreographer and dancer for Dancescape, said it was meaningful time and energy in the end.

“I think it is worth it,” Vietor said. “At other universities, a lot of students don’t get this opportunity to be such a huge part of an experience.”

Vietor said she is most excited to get the feedback on her choreographed piece which is a piece that includes a projected video that goes with the dance.

A projector has never been used before in Dancescape and is something both Vietor and Cohenour are excited to see.

“We have some really talented student choreographers, and Adelle is one of them,” Cohenour said. “She is a graphic design major and she has made this digital projection, so it’s this beautiful round spherical background that multiplies and falls away and blooms and it’s just so wonderful.”

The excitement shows through all the dancers now that the live show is done and is a success, according to Vietor.

“Everything went so well,” Vietor said. “Every night we felt like there were so few mistakes, which is exactly what we want.”

In six to seven months from now, most of the dancers, except for the graduating seniors, will be gearing up to try out again for next year’s show.

The seniors have a quick turnaround, in just two months they will be on stage again, for the Senior Dance Recital at the end of April.

The senior dancers have been not only prepping for Dancescape but have also started to work on their routines for the Senior Dance Recital.

Pumpkin Carving Creations

Besides Christmas, Halloween is a kid’s favorite holiday, because you get to dress-up in costumes, scare friends and family, and carve pumpkins. Carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns is a popular Halloween tradition that originated hundreds of years ago in Ireland. Rachelle Tollefsrud, age 10, from Mabel, Minnesota demonstrates her carving skills of a pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern for Halloween.

Pumpkin Carving Audio Slide Show