Stacy Bengs has been a photojournalist at the Red Wing Republican Eagle since 2010. She holds a bachelors degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota.
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Deep in his mind, Peter J. Miele conjures stories intertwining real life and fantasy. Call him what you want - a writer, musician or adventurer - any of those titles describes this mysterious, mischievous man of many thoughts. Best known as the mastermind behind the Trapman Comic series, Miele's obscurely interesting imagination first saw print in 1994.
The traditional Midsommer festival is a day centered on the summer solstice but more specifically refers to the European celebrations that occur. Locally, few communities participate in the international celebration of the year's longest day of sunlight. The village of Stockholm, Wis., is hands-down the leading celebratory community. The MidSommer Swedish Festival at the Stockholm Village Park is set for Saturday June 23.
The unofficial start of summer has begun. School's out, temperatures are rising, the trees are green and the small river communities are bustling again with tourists, motorcyclists, boaters and locals alike. Although the summer solstice falls on June 20, the season's uncanny ability to bring out the best festivals, jubilations and celebrations is now upon us. Take your pick of one or several of the jam-packed weekends full of summer entertainment.
Tunes and lawnchairs soon will fill Central Park as the Red Wing Arts Association kicks off its summer concert series Wednesday June 13. "This is the most concerts and most exciting series we have sponsored," Executive Director Dan Guida said. "Our opening act will be amazing." The series will begin with family pop overtures from Sinfonia, featuring soprano Maria Jette. The professional orchestra will stop in town as part of its Greater Minnesota Touring summer schedule. The concert will feature Broadway and movie tunes, as well as marches, polkas, rags and more.
Jesse Steberg has learned not to take things for granted. As the lead vocalist for the increasingly popular upper Midwest group Lost Highway, Steberg is a walking testament of living life to the fullest - even when the odds are not in your favor. Seven years ago, Steberg broke his neck while snowmobiling. The accident left the Wanamingo-native stunned and silenced.
Whoever said practice makes perfect was right -- at least in disc jockey John Underwood's case. Performing under the name DJ Epistêmê (eh-pis-TEE-mee) Underwood has taken his eclectic music library from the notes to the turntable, working as a solo DJ and with Minneapolis-based hip-hop group Option Two as well as collective ensemble Rapfam. The 2000 Red Wing High School graduate college-hopped until he landed at the University of Minnesota-Duluth where he started to take a real shot at pursuing a music career. "It didn't work to form bands with friends," Underwood recalls.
The average person gets a haircut 10 to 12 times a year. So most adults see their stylists more than they see their mother. And after all, who minds getting their hair washed? Stylist Lori Rother has been cutting, curling, highlighting, trimming, pinning, washing, drying and dying hair for almost 30 years. Born and raised in Red Wing, she always knew what she wanted to do. "I started working on my Barbies when I was a kid," Rother said with a laugh. "I gave them all bobs." Straight out of high school, she attended a beauty school in Rochester and came back to Red Wing.
BAY CITY, Wis. -- Old-fashioned hardware stores filled with nameless doodads and perplexing gadgets are of dwindling generation. The few remaining establishments scattered throughout towns and rural communities often serve as a common place to gather, socialize and, of course, talk tools. Bay City Hardware fits the model. But perhaps what makes this place unique is not what you buy, but who you buy it from -- store clerk Judy Albarado. The nearly 73-year-old remains a staple to the store and small-town community.
Cannon Falls is known as scenic river town - and for the musically inclined is a known hotspot for audio production and studio recording. Although the renowned Pachyderm Studio, where Nirvana recorded its last album, "In Utero," has sat solo for the last year - go-getters from the area did not let the soundless decibels stop the music. Brent Sigmeth and Jeff McCusker co-own a small recording studio, LittleBig Studio, in rural Cannon Falls. The two have known each other for years and when Pachyderm sat in silence, they took it upon themselves to ensure the music doesn't die.
Shoes. We all wear them. Heeled, flopped, tied, Velcro or slip-on, shoes are a basic wardrobe necessity. Take Lee Hazelwood's 1966 lyrics. "These boots are made for walkin'," he wrote. "And that's just what they'll do." The simple song, originally sung Nancy Sinatra, may not have been written about a certain type of boots, made in a certain town -- but before any boot can "start walkin'" someone needs to make them. Making boots is not a one-man job. Just ask Red Wing Shoe worker Craig Holst.