Happy Holidays!

Tara Bitzan, Chicz Editor

Tara Bitzan, Chicz Editor

Thanks for all the wonderful feedback you sent us after our first issue of Chicz hit the stands in October! We knew we loved the magazine, but we were thrilled to learn that you loved it too! Not only did you send us your appreciation, but you also sent us your fabulous ideas to feature in upcoming issues.

A few of you even got so caught up with the new magazine that you sent us articles, and we’re happy to say, we printed them! A special welcome to contributing writer Amanda Herzog, a 7th grader who felt she had something to offer the “young chicz” in the area.

We’re already at work on your winter issue and would love your input. Please send us a note about what you think of Chicz or share your ideas with us.

In the meantime, enjoy every minute of the holiday season. Don’t get so caught up in the “to do’s” that you miss out on the real joys of the season – time with loved ones. My wish for you is that this time is unhurried, unharried and heartwarming.

Merry Christmas!
Tara Bitzan
Chicz Editor 

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5 myths about self-protection

By Lori Mork

ThinkstockPhotos-57300098While researching women’s self-defense for this issue, I came across several interesting articles and blogs that caught me off guard.
All pointed out that the biggest obstacle women face is having certain beliefs about what to do in a dangerous situation that can ultimately be life-threatening. These were the common themes in all my research:

Myth 1. Reason with your attacker. If someone is going to pull a knife on you and demand your purse, you need to believe they aren’t interested in talking.
There’s probably no way to reason with someone like this. Attackers don’t play by the same rules, so you can’t either.

Myth 2. Scream for help if you’re attacked. This may seem like the most natural action to take, but you only have about five seconds to act during a violent attack. Mistakes happen when you hesitate. The safest self-defense technique is to cause an injury. Don’t hesitate to act and give that person time to recover and continue the attack. And, if your attacker hesitates or makes a mistake, take advantage so that you can survive.
Myth 3. You need to cause pain. In a violent situation, causing an injury is far more important that just causing pain. You need to make certain your attacker can’t follow through with his plan. Pain only lasts seconds and is not enough time for you to escape, and defense without injury is useless.
If you’re in danger, you need to put all your weight into a single strike instead of punching and kicking.
Think of this analogy; You are facing an attacker and have a big bag of rocks. If you throw a single rock, his reaction is probably, “Ouch.” But if you swing the whole sack and hit him in the head, he’ll be out cold.
That’s the difference between punching and striking.
Myth 4. Women who survive are fearless. Fear is the first reaction in any violent situation. Your adrenaline kicks in and your heart rate speeds up. You can’t avoid those reactions and you don’t want to. This is the fight-or-flight survival instinct.
Knowing how to defend yourself doesn’t make the fear go away, but confidence in your ability makes it controllable.

Myth 5. Focus on blocking attacks. As difficult as it sounds, in a threatening situation, don’t worry about what your attacker is going to do; make him worry about what you will do. Many self-protection classes teach you to react to an attacker, but this can make you hesitate and lose focus, leaving you unable to act first.

Lori Mork of Lowry is a mother, grandmother and dabbler in all things food, photography and decor related.

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DIY: Chalk paint and quick fix

By Alyssa Stern

VANITY CChalk paint has become my newest and favorite DIY medium. It’s an easy medium where you don’t need to sand your project before painting. It provides for a full coverage without having to do multiple coats. You can layer the paint and sand off parts of the first layer. There are white waxes to lighten the paint or clear waxes to seal your project.
You can use whatever type of paint brush you like for projects using chalk paint. However, I wouldn’t recommend using a paint roller. The paint is too thick and doesn’t apply well with a roller. Chalk paint is different than chalkboard paint. With chalk paint you can’t write with chalk on the project. You can find chalk paint at any craft store: Joann Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, Craft’s Direct, etc.
Decide what color you want to use and get started. The possibilities are endless!

Quick fix

I recently purchased a home and have taken on the task of a few DIY projects. The linoleum floor in my main bathroom was from the 1970s, but being on a budget, I needed a quick fix before I could find a more permanent solution to flooring.
I was watching Rehab Addict and she painted tiles. I figured I might be able to paint my linoleum. I searched Pinterest to find out some options.

TSP (Trisodium Phosphate) – degreaser – you can find this at Menards or Ace Hardware. You can purchase it premixed or in a powder form and mix the solution yourself
Sander – I used 100 grit. You just need a fine grit to take the shine off the linoleum
Exterior Paint – find a color of an exterior paint you like. Depending on the square footage of your room you may be able to purchase a sample size jar of paint. Less expensive and not a lot of waste.
Paint Tray
Roller – I used a smaller roller because of the size of my bathroom
Painters Tape

Begin by taping off the trim in the room where you plan on painting the floor. Sweep or use a light cleaner on the floor before using the TSP. Spray the TSP on the floor and follow directions on the packaging. Wipe up the TSP.
Next, use a sander with a fine grit sandpaper and sand the entire area of the floor. Use a wet cloth to wipe up any particles left from sanding the linoleum.
Grab your paint and start in the farthest corner from the door. Once completed, you will need to allow the floor to dry for a full 24 hours. It may seem like it’s dry after about 12 hours, but if you walk on it, you will leave footprints (I did this).
Because you’ve used an exterior paint that is resistant to water, clean-up is a breeze and you have transformed your space. Enjoy the success of your DIY project.

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He sez … she sez: Opposites attract


By Brandon and Amy Chaffins

AmyAndBrandon_cAmy: Opposites attract, right? It’s painfully true in our marriage. Brandon and I are extreme opposites. I’m an introvert, he’s an extrovert. I prefer a veggie sub sandwich, he prefers the carnivore’s special. I was nerdy and awkward in high school; he was the hunky athlete who made everyone laugh. Allow us to share a few other examples…


Brandon: It baffles my mind how much Amy can sleep. It’s nothing for her to sleep 10 hours and even take a nap the next day! Sheesh! I can blaze through the day on five hours of sleep with no nap. If I were to take a nap, I would be up all night.

Amy: Not only can he survive on a few hours of sleep but my husband can sleep anywhere, anytime. I’ve concluded that it’s the sweet, soothing sound of my voice – or a romance movie – that can knock him out instantly.


Amy: I’m usually a pessimist.

Brandon: Uff… no kidding. Her glass is half-empty for sure, whereas I am definitely a glass is half-full kind a guy. For example, the other day, I washed the outside of our big picture windows. They were spotless; I nearly used a half-bottle of glass cleaner and a whole roll of paper towels. Then, here comes my little dark-cloud petunia and I couldn’t help point out my handy work. You know what Amy said? “The windows are too clean and the poor birds are gonna fly into them now.” What a buzz kill!


Amy: When it comes to reading books, I enjoy non-fiction, meaningful, soul-searching, earth-connecting reads.

Brandon: I like lots of pictures.


Amy: I like neutral colors and I’m particular about things coordinating and matching. I love earth tones.

Brandon: Why oh why does EVERYTHING have to either match or color coordinate? I will never be an interior decorator, no doubt. Heck there’s even special pillows for all sorts of situations. Pillows are a whole other topic I could go into. Ask Amy how many pillows are on the guest bed.  I will give you a hint…. it rhymes with schmeventeen. I see nothing wrong with bright splashy colors when it comes to home decor either. Amy wins out even after I suggest…“try something with a little color.” It’s shades of browns and tans at my house.


Brandon: Working out has been a big part of my life for about 25 years. I still hit the gym three days a week. Whenever I try to get Amy to exercise, it’s like pulling teeth. Every single time after she’s done though she admits she feels good. See, I am right on occasion!!!

Amy: I hate exercise.

Brandon: Despite our differences, I really am fond of the gal. She’s the yin to my yang the chocolate to my vanilla, the sour to my sweet (I bet she would argue who is the sour and who is the sweet). At the end of the day, we take the half-full and half-empty glasses and pour them into the one glass… ah…. a full glass! There isn’t a thing that life brings our way that we can’t take care of together. After only 12 years of marriage, there certainly have been some wing-dingers; some not so serious and some quite life-changing. I think that without such an opposite influence in my life, I would probably still be wandering looking for “the one.”

Amy: Alright, Romeo, what did you buy? What do you want?

Brandon: There’s my glass half-empty gal!! Until next time fellas, keep the faith!

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Hunting safety

By Lori Mork

ThinkstockPhotos-87666929Since hunting involves the use of firearms, knives and arrows, hunters need to be prepared for their venture into the woods or wetlands. Accidents such as drowning, hypothermia, getting lost and falls from tree stands are just a few of the dangers and can be serious.
To learn how to plan hunts in advance to avoid accidents and injuries, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a free online hunter education course at www.hunterexam.com/usa/minnesota/ that’s a good reference for all hunters.
The DNR suggests that all hunters should take an advanced hunter education class to learn the latest hunting techniques, as well as pointers for avoiding serious injury or death. Below are seven DNR suggestions for a successful and safe hunt:
• Get a detailed map of the area you plan to hunt and review it before leaving. Carry it with you into the field as a reference.
• Know how to use a compass and make sure to carry one. Know ahead of time what direction you need to head in case you get lost or disoriented.
• Carry a simple survivor kit and be prepared for an unplanned overnight stay in the field. Minnesota weather changes quickly and can leave you stranded. Your survival kit should include a rope, knife, water, waterproof matches, emergency shelter and first aid supplies.
• If you are hunting on the water, wear a life vest.
• Know your physical limitations and those of your hunting party. Don’t push past those limits.
• If hunting from a tree stand, use a fall restraint device.
• ALWAYS let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.

Information from www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/tips/safety


  1. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded. This is the cardinal rule of firearm safety. Many firearm incidents occur when a person assumes the firearm they are holding is not loaded. Every single time you pick up a firearm treat it as if it were loaded. Open the action and check to see whether ammunition is present. When another hunter hands you a firearm, do not accept it unless the firearm is unloaded and the action is open and visible.
  2.  Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. It is your responsibility to always control the muzzle of your firearm and ensure it is pointed in a safe direction. This rule should be followed at ALL times, even if the firearm is unloaded or in a protective case. If you remember and obey this rule, you will not have to worry about hurting any person or damaging property.
  3. Be sure of your target, in front and in back. Making good decisions is part of being a safe hunter. Always identify the target and ensure it is legal and ethical to shoot before your finger goes into the trigger guard and onto the trigger. Take care not to mistake another hunter for a game animal. Always remember that once the trigger is pulled, you cannot call back that bullet. Be sure there is no one in front of or behind the animal that the bullet might hit. Always have a good backstop, such as a dirt mound to stop the bullet. NEVER shoot toward the top of a hill. You cannot be certain about what’s on the other side.

Information from the the MN DNR and www2.huntercourse.com/minnesota/study

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Avoiding bike theft

By Jessica Peterson

bike -87612200The cool breeze blowing across your face, the smell of freshly cut grass, the sounds of birds chirping, there is nothing quite like experiencing your community on a bicycle. Unfortunately, at some point you’ll need to get off your bike and find some parking. So, how do you safely park and be confident that your bicycle will be ready and waiting for your next ride? Consider these tips for bicycle security.

Choosing a good bicycle lock goes a long way toward ensuring your bike’s security. There are many on the market to choose from, but the best lock for your money is typically what’s called a U-lock. A U-lock provides a strong antitheft device because it can withstand many chisels, hammers and the like. The U-lock also locks using a key rather than a combination lock that can be easily deciphered. Consider a U-lock if you live in a high crime area. If you want to keep the honest people honest, a cable or chain lock will do.

Thanks to an awareness of the needs of cyclists over the past 10 years, bicycle parking in many cities has become easier to find. A top-notch bicycle rack is one that maintains two points of contact with the bicycle. Two points of contact will allow you to lean your bicycle against the rack and lock it upright. Take special care to place your lock through the frame and rear wheel of your bicycle while securing it to the rack.

Since the possibility of a stolen bicycle does exist, take steps beforehand to make sure that you have the highest chance of getting it back. Stop in at your local law enforcement office to have your bicycle registered as soon as possible. This is a simple process that involves recording the serial number on your bicycle and in some instances an engraving on the bicycle’s frame that identifies it as yours. If it does end up in the hands of law enforcement, there is a good chance you will be reunited.

Jessica Peterson is a health educator with Horizon Public Health. The Mission of Horizon Public Health is to enhance the health and the well-being of all who live, work and play in the five-county Horizon community.

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Best walleye recipes

By Lori Mork

ThinkstockPhotos-friedfish56570184According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, walleye is the most sought-after fish in Minnesota.
Walleye lovers are always looking for a great recipe to showcase the thick white fillets, whether it is baked, broiled, fried or grilled.
Here are some of the best recipes for walleye, according to the Fishing in Minnesota blog. I’ve prepared the Gunflint Walleye in the past and it’s a special treat for those who prefer not to fry their fish. The recipe comes from the Gunflint Lodge on the Gunflint Trail north of Grand Marais in northern Minnesota.

Pecan-crusted walleye

1 egg
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. ground paprika
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch salt
1 cup ground pecan meal (or crushed pecans)
4 (4 ounce) fillets walleye
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Beat the egg with the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt until evenly mixed. Spread the pecan meal into a shallow dish. Dip the walleye fillets into the egg mixture, then press into the pecan flour.
Heat the butter and vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the walleye fillets into the pan. Cook until golden brown on both sides and the fish flakes easily with a fork, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Crispy baked walleye

2 eggs
1 Tbsp. water
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup instant mashed potatoes
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. seasoned salt
4 (4 oz.) walleye fillets
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet.
Beat the eggs and water together in a bowl until smooth; set aside. Combine the bread crumbs, potato flakes, and Parmesan cheese in a separate bowl with the seasoned salt until evenly mixed. Dip the walleye fillets into the beaten egg, then press into the bread crumb mixture. Place onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven until the fish is opaque in the center and flakes easily with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes.

Gunflint walleye

1/4 cup butter
2-3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1-2 tsp, fresh lemon juice
2-1/2 lbs. boneless skinless walleye fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
Green onion (optional)
Spray a 15x10x1 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In small saucepan, melt butter and stir in garlic and lemon juice. Rinse fillets. Cut into 6 servings, if necessary.
Place fillets in a single layer in baking pan. Brush with garlic-lemon butter; season lightly with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle fish with Romano cheese and cover with bread crumbs. Drizzle the fish with any remaining garlic-lemon butter. (Fish may be prepared to this point, covered and refrigerated up to 1 hour.)
Bake in 450 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until flakes easily. Transfer fillets to warm serving platter and garnish with green onion.

Fried cheesy walleye nuggets

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1-1/2 tsp. minced fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. dill weed
1/4 tsp. pepper
1-1/2 cups flaked cooked fish
Oil for deep-fat frying
Tartar sauce, optional
In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Stir in the fish. Roll into 1-in. balls.
In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 375 degrees. Fry fish nuggets, a few at a time, until golden brown on both sides; drain on paper towels. Serve with tartar sauce if desired.

Batter up walleye

1 cup biscuit/baking mix
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning
1-1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
Oil for frying
1 lb. walleye fillets, skin removed
Lemon wedges

In shallow bowl, mix the first six ingredients. Place milk in a separate shallow bowl. In an electric skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil to 375 degrees.
In batches, dip fish in milk, then coat with baking mix mixture; fry for 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

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How to fish: a parody

By Jessica Sly

Jess sleeping in boatJig as you might, do your attempts at landing those Hall of Famers often turn into the ones that got away?
Look no further. I’ve been fishing all my life, and I’ve found sure-fire ways to snag those bad boys. No more will you have to watch as they flick their tails in mocking laughter, leaving you empty-hooked and minnowless.
These techniques take practice and concentration to master. You will be challenged. You will be frustrated. You may even want to give up, but stick to it. Once you get them down, it’ll be like shooting fish in a barrel.

  1. Sleep. Location is key. I’ve found that the bow is the sweet spot. Try it on your back or maybe your side. Now let your line down and wait. It’s OK to let your rod rest on the side of the boat. Some fish are more enticed by this. You might even find success by snoozing in your chair. Each person’s technique is different, so you’ll have to experiment.
  2. 2. Eat. The messier, the better. Open a bag of chips or take long swigs from your water bottle. Just make sure to set your rod down. The moment you stuff your face, food in hand, fish will sense it and scoop up your bait. At this point, don’t worry about cleanliness. Fling those chips like you just don’t care and reel in your prize!
  3. Find excuses to quit. If you’re in the doldrums of fish-catching and your fishing partner is vulnerable, drop a hint that you’d like to quit. Do you really need to pee? Is Netflix calling your name? The moment your partner agrees, BAM! Instant fish.
  4. Refuse to take off your own fish. Fish appreciate someone who knows what she wants, so insist that your fishing partner take them off for you. Trust me. Fish will wait until the moment your partner readies a rod and then jump on your line. Sadly, your partner won’t spend very much time fishing, but you will be the envy of the lake.


Disclaimer: While these techniques have worked for me in the past, I am not liable if you don’t find success or – let’s be honest – simply fail at fishing.

Jessica Sly of Alexandria is a writer/proofreader and has a passion for art of all kinds, whether it be music, writing, drawing or Disney.

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Getting our daughters outdoors

By Eric Morken

MorkenEric0315cMy daughter, Aubree, was less than 2 years old when she started handing me my arrows as I practiced shooting my bow in the backyard in preparation for deer season.
The arrows were tipped with field points. No broadheads, so I wasn’t being a negligent father. Her interest in watching me shoot could mean nothing in the long run, but maybe it’s the start of a lifelong passion.
I see more and more dads giving their daughters that opportunity by introducing them to the same outdoor activities that boys have long been introduced to at a young age. It’s great for families, and great for the future of shooting sports.
Local sportsmen’s groups like Douglas County Pheasants Forever and the Viking Sportsmen have made a priority of getting girls in the outdoors through events like their Youth Outdoor Activity Day in late August. They also host a parent/daughter night at the Alexandria Shooting Park.
Events like this are a great opportunity, but what we do as parents plays the biggest role in how well our kids take to the outdoors. I was about 6 years old when I sat in a deer stand with my dad for the first time.
I still remember countless hunts for the simple joy of being in the outdoors with him. The thrill of seeing a duck take flight or a buck coming through the woods kept me up at nights before the opener.
That anticipation is still what I feel every time I sit in a bow stand or release our yellow lab, Ole, into the field for a pheasant hunt. I have no doubt that I would not have that kind of passion if it weren’t for those early years with my dad.
That’s when I learned to associate hunting with more than just harvesting an animal. It takes a while before that sets in, but as adults we realize it’s about
being with friends and family and watching wildlife – all the things that are cliché, but so true about hunting.
Aubree already is showing signs of developing that same passion. She handed me an arrow the last time I was practicing in the back yard and said, ‘You hunting, daddy?’ I smiled and told her not yet, and asked if she was going to hunt with me someday.
“Yeah,” she said before taking a while to think about things. “But not yet. I’m too little. When I’m bigger.”
I hope she’s right. As a dad, I can’t imagine many things more enjoyable than sharing a passion for the outdoors with my daughter.

Eric Morken of Alexandria is a husband, father, sports editor and outdoor enthusiast.

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Safety leave offers help to abuse victims

By Tom Jacobson

ThinkstockPhotos-86513195For victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault and stalking, seeking help is sometimes the most difficult first step toward safety and justice. Adding to the struggle is the reality that taking that step sometimes means committing time during the workday to seek help. Consequently, the fear of missing work has often been an obstacle to reporting those crimes, participating in the legal process, or otherwise seeking or providing help. For many Minnesota employees, there is a new tool to help them get over that hurdle: safety leave.
Safety leave was authorized under the Women’s Economic Security Act, which was signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton in 2014. Under this law, covered employers must allow eligible workers to use their personal sick leave for safety leave. “Safety leave” is defined as time away from work for the purpose of providing or receiving assistance because of sexual assault, domestic abuse or stalking. Safety leave may be used for assistance to the employee or the employee’s child, adult child, spouse, sibling, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, or stepparent.
Because of this law, many employees now have a right to use sick leave benefits to take time off to seek or provide help to themselves and some family members when they are suffering from the devastating impacts of these crimes.
However, the law has limitations. For example, it does not require employers to provide sick leave. But, when they do, they must allow employees to use it for safety leave and for such reasonable times as may be necessary. Also, only employers with 21 or more employees at one or more sites are covered by this law.
Also, not all employees are eligible for safety leave. To be eligible, an employee must work for their employer for at least 12 months prior to the request for time off, and during that time, the employee must have worked at least half time.

The fear of missing work should not prevent victims of domestic abuse, sexual assault and stalking from seeking help and justice. Safety leave is a new tool to make it easier for them to do so.

Tom Jacobson is an attorney with the Swenson Lervick Law Firm in Alexandria. Certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association as a labor and employment law specialist, he has been advising workers and employers for more than 25 years. This article is for general information purposes and is not legal advice.

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Born into a life of public service

Swanson’s goal is to keep people safe

By Tara Bitzan

Swanson_faded 081115_5291cBecky Swanson of Alexandria said public service was in her blood, so it wasn’t surprising that she chose a career in law enforcement.
As an on-the-road officer and later as a firearms instructor in the law enforcement program at Alexandria Technical and Community College (ATCC), Swanson has faced challenges as a woman in a male-dominated career.
But she hasn’t regretted her career choice and strongly believes in the work she does.

How did your upbringing affect your career choice? I grew up in Hastings in a public safety family of sorts. My dad was a deputy sheriff for 30 years, retiring at rank of commander. He specialized in child abuse crimes. Back then, it wasn’t unusual to wake up and find random kids sitting at our table. Our home served as a temporary stop until they could be placed in foster homes.
My mom was a critical care nurse for St. Paul Ramsey Hospital, now Regions. She passed away suddenly in 1991 and Regions has a scholarship fund in her name. She played one of the largest roles in shaping my ideas around respectfully serving others.
I knew early on I wanted to be a police officer. My dad did his best to sway my career choice knowing the challenges female officers could face. He encouraged me to be an attorney because I was a “fast talker.” This skill became my number-one tool on the road.

And you married an officer? My husband Todd has been a state trooper for 26 years. We met in St. Paul while I was working as a Dakota County Ranger. As a young rookie trooper, he now admits that he felt there was “no place for women in law enforcement.” But through road experience, he says he learned quickly his perceptions were wrong. Todd has been my biggest supporter over the years. He graduated from ATCC, which had a huge influence on our move to this area in 2000.

Are there challenges to being married to an officer? There are challenges being married in general! But yes, rotating shifts, weekends, holidays and missing out on family events were challenging with two of us working the road. We had to be creative and protective of our time.
Also, being involved in an emergency response field means you will be impacted by trauma. If not managed appropriately, it can and will come home.
Are your children following in your footsteps? My son Alec attended skills at ATCC and had me as a firearms instructor! He obtained his criminal justice degree at Winona State University. He was recently hired as a police officer with the city of Alexandria.
My daughter Brooke just graduated from Alexandria Area High School. I’m not sure where she’ll end up, but I do know there is public service in her blood. For now she’s focusing on a behavioral science major and law enforcement minor.

What is the most challenging thing you’ve encountered in your career? When I was working the road it was finding balance with family and two-cop schedules. Also, personal perception and bias with some of the young adolescent attitudes about women in law enforcement. I’ve learned to appreciate the challenge as an opportunity to change their minds.
Working as their firearms instructor allows me to not only demonstrate the skills necessary to do the job but indirectly show young men that women can not only do it, but do it well. Equally as important is sending the message to women that they can do it if it’s really what they want.
But I take very seriously that the common goal is survival regardless of gender.

Is law enforcement still a male-dominated field? Women serve roughly 10 percent of the market (9,303 licensed male to 1,273 licensed female officers in Minnesota). Police departments should reflect the communities they serve. Female officers can contribute the same service requirements as males and their presence offers a much needed balance on a variety of calls.

What are the challenges for women in law enforcement? Individual perception and personal bias around what women can or cannot do from partners and administrations to the citizens they serve. This occupation certainly isn’t for everyone regardless of gender. A properly trained female officer can stand up to the same challenges male counterparts face. As an officer, one must understand individual strengths and weaknesses and be willing to work as a member of the team.

What has been the greatest reward? Working with the student who thinks “I can’t do this” and having them not only meet but exceed their expectations is what keeps me coming back. I also enjoy working with students who already have a healthy confidence level and pushing them beyond their comfort level.
I take their firearms training very seriously because it could one day save their lives or the lives of others. It’s a critical skill not to be taken lightly.

• Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice/sociology from Bemidji State University.
• Master’s degree in human services/criminal justice leadership
from Concordia College, St. Paul.
• Dakota County Sheriff’s Office, park ranger and later correctional
officer, patrolling West St. Paul, Eagan, Apple Valley to Cannon Falls.
• Department of Public Safety, police officer/paramedic, co-anchored
Public Safety Information Program, taught DARE in elementary schools.
• Alexandria Technical and Community College, law enforcement
instructor, 2000 to the present.

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