Statewide Adverstising

Elizabeth Reishus

Don’t mix religion and politics

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

France’s lower house of parliament has passed a ban on wearing full face veils in public. In June, Indonesian women wearing jeans had their pants confiscated and were ordered to don long skirts.

Why are governments telling people what to wear or not wear?

In both cases, the question of what to wear or not to wear is intertwined with religion. The Indonesian women who were told to wear skirts were in a predominantly Muslim area. The veils addressed in the French law are also commonly worn by Muslim women. (It is not just Islam that has rules about what to wear. Many religions have dress codes. It just happens these two examples include Muslim women.)

The better question is: Why is government telling religion what to do and why is religion telling government what to do?

Remember the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ads? “You’ve got your chocolate in my peanut butter.” “You’ve got your peanut butter in my chocolate.” In the end, they decide they like the combination. What works for candy does not work for government and religion.

Please note: I am not saying that government should operate without morals or values. I am saying government and religion need to be separate.

I don’t want churches fixing the roads, running the courts or overseeing the safety of our food.

Likewise, I don’t want governments telling us what to eat, what to pray and what to wear.

Leader of the Band

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

I had a great time standing in the rain on the morning of July 4th and listening to the sounds of the Blooming Prairie High School Jazz band perform under the direction of Ross Reishus. My dad explained that since the BPHS band is so small, my brother never really knows which instrument or part he may end up playing.

After the concert, we went into the school to dry off.  My family was amused by the list taped up in the band room. It was entitled, “You might be a band geek.” The best part, is that over the past year, the list has grown as the students add to it.

In the afternoon, the rain cleared, and we watched my brother’s students march in the parade. They wore tee shirts that say “If you need some excitement…Go play in the street.”
When the parade was over, a rock band of graduates of BPHS performed. They have been writing their own songs since high school. During their performance they acknowledged the guidance Mr. Reishus provided them. (I was not there at that moment, but I was told later.)

That’s when it hit me. My brother has touched so many lives.
My brother turns 43 this week. He has two beautiful, dear step-children, but not any children of his own. However, he has helped raise many children.

I was part of the first generation raised by Ross. He was the activities director in our home. He did puppet shows. Would draw “maps” to drive the Matchbox cars on. He could turn a card board box into the cockpit of a Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper with scissors, tape and markers.  And, no surprise, he made us musical instruments out of construction paper and household items so we could “play” and lip sync to our records. Four Reishus kids, four Monkees… you do the math.

Ross is a born teacher, and I am glad he followed his calling. People read what I write most weeks, but soon toss it in the recycling bin. What my brother does stays with his students for life.

Summer resolutions

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Some people make new year’s resolutions. Not me, I make summer resolutions. This summer my goals include: growing more veggies in my garden; exercising regularly at the Gaylord Pool and walking to work every day.

My sister and daughter planted peas, beans and carrots. I am not sure if the leaf lettuce is voluntary or if it was planted this year.  My husband has planted a few more hardy vegetables this week. He also grows sprouts and micro green indoors.

So far, my contribution to the gardening process has been simply to weed and put netting over the strawberries.

After three years, we finally have strawberries to pick regularly, but I can’t take credit for that success. They just keep growing on their own.

I have been going to the Gaylord pool every morning—except Tuesdays when I attend Sertoma meetings at 7 a.m.

It may sound crazy, but exercising in an outdoor pool from 6 – 7 a.m. makes the rest of my day run better. On Tuesdays, I should go to the evening workout, but so far, that has not happened.

Walking to work is better for my health, my checkbook and the environment. However, I always seem to be short of time, so I drive to work.

Since Monday was the first official day of summer, I shouldn’t be too hard on myself, I still have three months to work on my goals.

Maybe there is one small thing you can do to be more healthy this summer. Pick something small, and take baby steps.

Fresh food!

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

It’s Farmers’ Market season again, and I am quite excited. I can’t think of a more tasty way to stimulate the local economy than to buy fruits and veggies right from the grower.

Fresh food has more nutrients, fewer or no additives, and great taste. I love to eat, so I love to support the people who grow food!

Gaylord’s Farmer’s Market is Wednesday afternoons beginning at 3 p.m. and located at the corner of Main and 5th Street. (I had just started typing this column when Crysal Bock called to let us know the market will open Wed., June 16th.) Those with a sweet tooth, may be pleased to find jams and jellies, honey and baked goods are available, too.

If you don’t live near Gaylord or want to see what else the wide world of Minnesota agriculture has to offer, you can check the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s website at and find all kinds of information. You can even order a state-wide directory of farms and families participating the Minnesota Grown program.

Looking for gift idea? Put together a Minnesota grown basket. The Minnesota Grown directory can tell you where to find cheese, wine, wool, candles, wild rice and maple syrup.

Supporting local farmers, eating great food, what could be better?

Mind Your Health

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

This past week friends from my high school were shocked and saddened by the news that a fellow Warroad High School graduate had committed suicide. While I did not know this person, she was a relative and friend of one of my close friends.

Warroad, like the towns in Sibley County, is a small, close-knit community in which many people are related. A death like this touches everyone.

Ironically, we are just now heading into May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month. Now seems a good time to remind readers that mental illness is not a character flaw, a sign of weakness, nor a sin.

Disorders of the brain—like other physical disorders—are real and can be treated or managed with the help of doctors, nurses, therapists and pharmacists. Depression is perhaps the more widely talked about mental illness and yet is still misunderstood by many. Untreated depression can lead to suicide.

When I was a child, in Sunday school I was taught that suicide was a sin and it could not be forgiven. I don’t know if churches today still teach that. But I do know that saying suicide is a sin is like saying diabetic coma is a sin. It is not a sin. It is the tragic end to an unmanaged disorder.

If you see a friend suffering, don’t tell them to “snap out of it.” Offer to help. Offer to take them to the clinic. Or just take them for a walk.

If you suspect you are suffering from a mental illness, call for help today. You are not alone. You will find a world of support is waiting to help.

New neighbors

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

There is a turf war going on in my neighborhood, and it has pitted brother against brother. It cuts across color barriers. It involves blacks, browns, and reds. I am referring, of course, to the birds in my yard.

One morning a couple of male robins appeared to be fighting. They swooped through the air, one chasing the other like he meant business. Maybe they weren’t really fighting, but it didn’t look like a friendly game of “chase.”

I have birds of varying colors and sizes that look to my yard for food and shelter. I am happy to share what I have. I admit, I don’t know much about birds, but I like to watch them from my window.

My younger brother—who has been a birder ever since I can remember—is rather jealous of the number of birds that frequently congregate in my yard and trees.

Bird watching is new to me. I don’t really have the eye-sight for it. My afore mentioned brother has better than average vision—at one point it was tested at 15/20. However, given that the view is right outside my window, it seems wrong to waste the opportunity to learn something new.

The most exciting find this year is that the cardinals are back.

Last year, they had a baby, but I think a cat made a meal of it. One day baby was in the nest and the next, it was gone. A neighborhood cat had stalked the cardinals early last summer, so he knew it was just a matter of time before lunch was served.

This year, the cardinals are a little higher and right outside my kitchen window. I have even managed to get a few pictures of mother cardinal. Father keeps lookout perched on the clothesline post. I feel this strange excitement when I see them. I am honored they have chosen much shrubbery to call their home. I hope this year’s baby survives.

The cardinals’ return reminds me that life is fragile, and, yet, enduring.

Celebrate Easter, naturally

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Recently, I took my girls to the 4-H annual Cabin Fever Day at GSL High School. They attended a science session and an art session. Some of the experiments and projects lead me to start thinking about coloring Easter eggs. I have always wanted to try using natural ingredients to make my own dyes.

I found an article by Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D., on that had information on making dyes with things you may have in your kitchen.

Some ingredients can be used cold, with others, she suggests boiling the eggs in water, vinegar and the dye material for 15 minutes. The cold method will have to be soaked overnight in the refrigerator. Eggs soaked in purple grape juice will become lavender.

Violet blue eggs can be produced by using the boiling method with a small quantity of red onions skins. Hibiscus tea and red wine will also work for violet dye. Canned blueberries can be used for blue eggs, of course, so can boiled red cabbage.

Boiled spinach leaves work for green and boiled yellow apple skins work for yellow-green.

Boiled orange or lemon peels carrot tops, celery seed, ground cumin, ground turmeric, chamomile tea or green tea all dye eggs yellow.

For orange, try boiled yellow onion skins, cooked carrots, chili powder or paprika.

Fruits and vegetables can dye eggs, just like the stain cloths. beets, cranberries, raspberries, beet juice, red onions skins (boiled), canned cherries with juice, pomegranate juice and raspberries produce shades of red and pink.

Last year, we used farm-fresh eggs in various shades. It was lots of fun because, we never knew for certain how the eggs would come out looking.

Now, go out there and get creative, naturally.

Support for a New Pool

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

When I first saw the plans for the new aquatic center, I thought, “Wow, that seems like a bit much.” But after speaking with a member of the pool task force, I have changed my mind.

There is no doubt in my mind, we need a new pool. The state says our pool doesn’t meet basic standards for a public pool. We need to spend $1.5 million to just meet codes.
I understand the concerns about the cost of the new plan, but I think it is a worthwhile investment.

Healthy kids and healthy communities are important!

Nearly every day, I see or read another news story about the issue of obesity in America.   Our sedentary lifestyle is killing us softly.

For years, the Gaylord Pool has been a source for summer fitness. Anyone from age 1 to 100 can benefit from the programs at the pool. (No excuses that it is too hot to exercise!)
The pool may only be open for 12 weeks, but we make the most of those weeks. If you doubt me, talk to the men and women who are at the Gaylord Pool at 6 a.m. swimming and water walking as the fog rises off the water.

For the last two summers, I have joined other brave souls who get up at dawn and head to the pool for early morning laps or water aerobics. Some of these folks are teens, some are grandparents. Like me, some have health issues that make traditional land exercise difficult if not impossible. Some are there because early morning exercise fits their schedule. We are all there because the pool helps us enjoy healthier lives.

Our pool facility, like all our lives, needs room for exercise, learning and play.

Politics potpourri

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Pardon this split personality of this column. I had two ideas bouncing around my brain, and they both get a little time this week.

Come Together, Right Now

The day after Minnesota held caucuses, I read a headline that said that the Greens and Independents believe this is their time to shine.

I hope it’s true.

I hope members of many so-called “third parties” are taken seriously. I think it would be good for all of us.

With only two major parties, politics and government have become polarized. “Left or right” has become “us or them,” and even, “right or wrong.”
Well, to coin a phrase: there’s more than two ways to skin a cat.
The more voices, the more ideas, the more faces at the table, the better!
We need to move beyond simple bi-partisanship to multi-partisanship.

This land is our land

I offer my thanks to Governor Pawlenty for his effort to preserve the shores of Lake Vermilion for use as a state park.
I’m not a fan of the Governor. I have not agreed with many things he has done and I don’t agree with most of what he says.

However, I am grateful to the Governor for negotiating on behalf of the State to buy about 3,000 undeveloped acres near Lake Vermilion, including five miles of waterfront, wetlands, hardwood and softwood forests from U.S. Steel.
Given the State’s financial woes, I surprised that the Governor is considering spending money on this project. The governor and I agree that preserving

Lake Vermilion for all of us to enjoy—not just the elite who can afford lake homes—is worth the effort and the cost.
All together now (With apologies to Mr. Guthrie):
This land is your land.
This land is my land.
From from Cook and Orr to Tower-Soudan.
From the hardwood forest to the natural wetlands.
This land was made for you and me.

Time to Book It

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

February is, among other things, “I Love to Read” month. Take some time this month to read with someone you love.

When my children were pre-school aged, we attended ECFE classes together. It was at these classes that I was told about the importance of reading to children. Children who are read to regularly started school with a markedly higher vocabulary.

I was especially nervous about my children becoming good readers, because I struggled with reading. I love to read, but I am not a fast reader.
Fortunately,  most children’s books have big print and small words. Even I can read them easily!

Even now that my children are older, I read to my children each night. Currently, I am reading “Pugsley,” a book about a pug puppy to my youngest child. My second grader and I are reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “The Long Winter.” The second Hardy Boys book, “The House on the Cliff” is the latest selection of my fourth grader. The most recent book my sixth grader chose is “A Picture of Dorian Gray,” but he’s not sure he likes it. We’re looking into some other options.

I admit after reading a half hour to each child, I don’t have much time to read to myself, but it is so fun to read to them. I get to re-live childhood moments with familiar stories like the Little House books and discover new adventures—like when we read Harry Potter. (The series took us exactly one year to the day to finish!)

After we finished the first Hardy Boys book, I told my son I now understand why my brother and sister were driven to read all the Hardy Boys mysteries.
The cold weather we are having is a great excuse to stay indoors and read!

If you can’t afford to buy books, borrow them from a library. The Gaylord Public Library has a new Web site, complete with an online catalog. It can be found at

If books aren’t what you like, read a magazine, a newspaper or the side of a cereal box.
Get ready, get set, read!