Friday, November 6, 2009

Discovery Health Channel as a joint venture between Winfrey and Discovery Communications.

UPDATE: Here's What CBS Is Saying About Oprah
EXCLUSIVE: One of the biggest questions in the TV biz has been when, and even if, Oprah Winfrey would give up her daytime syndicated talk show to focus on OWN, her long delayed Oprah Winfrey Network in 70 million homes that was supposed to launch in place of the Discovery Health Channel as a joint venture between Winfrey and Discovery Communications.
Read More Here

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The nearest cultural mecca to us is unquestionably Minneapolis-St.-Paul

The nearest cultural mecca to us is unquestionably Minneapolis-St.-Paul, and
in particular Minneapolis. When we travel to sporting or cultural events,
chances are that's where we will go. After all, they have the Mall of
America, which if it isn't still the biggest mall in the world is certainly
well known worldwide. There are, of course, the Vikings, Twins, Timberwolves and Wild
for major league professional sports. There are more good restaurants on
the street corners that used to be neighborhood business districts than there
are in all of Fargo-Moorhead.
Read More Here

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Meet Women From Fargo

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Fargo area woman oh what a night...Minnepolis

For a romantic evening in Beautiful Downtown Minneapolis
Click here

The Van Dusen Center
1900 Lasalle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Many of us will experience at least a temporary disability. Accidents will happen and you could find yourself using a wheelchair or walker. As we mature and grow older, getting around our home becomes more difficult. Then we ask "How can I get up those steps or through that narrow door?" Planning for this comes from far sighted homeowners, builders and remodelers who anticipate our limitations and changing needs.

Traditional home builders have never really considered the needs of those who are disabled or elderly, and that can make life really hard to deal with at times. We understand these difficulties (our owner went through them!), and we want to help you make your life a little easier and more productive. That's why we offer handicap accessible remodeling and accessibility modifications in Houston, Texas. We have the solutions to your home accessibility needs and modifications to enhance and improve the safety and accessibility in your home.

Move or Improve in Fargo?

Most of us would choose to live and retire in our own home rather than move to a nursing home or assisted living center. Your home can be remodeled and modified to accommodate your needs and physical capabilities and conditions. Your house can become more accessible with a few minor home modifications.

Wheelchair accessible house plans:

What makes a home handicap and wheelchair accessible? It's the ability to enter and move around without any of the obstacles such as steps and narrow doors. The bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchen are wheelchair accessible. Everyone's needs are a little different, so you'll have to make a few changes to any plan to suit your individual requirements and physical limitations.

Read More Here at

Monday, February 23, 2009

Shannon Gephart has been elected president of the board of directors for the Fargo Area Dollars for Scholars chapter

Shannon Gephart has been elected president of the board of directors for the Fargo Area Dollars for Scholars chapter.

Gephart is a trust product specialist at Alerus Financial, Fargo. She joined the board of directors in 2004.

Officers appointed by the board include Todd Bollinger, treasurer, Cass County Electric; Erica Kranz, secretary, Dawson Insurance; and Justin Grams, annual Phone-A-Thon chairwoman, North Dakota State University.

Elected to the board of directors: Jeremy Ellsworth, Microsoft; Ryan Bohnsack, Wells Fargo Bank; Ben Clapp, Minnesota State University Moorhead; Jon Norstog, U.S. Bank; Kim Peterson, Lillestol Research; and Lisa Cossette, Wells Fargo Bank.

Representing Fargo high schools: Steve Scott, North; Jason Baumgartner, South; Peggy Peterson, Oak Grove; Melissa Anderson, Shanley; and Allen Petersen, Woodrow Wilso

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Fargo Women in Business: Kathy Hawken

Kathy Hawken
Born: Fargo, ND, 1947
Education: AA- Stephens College, BS-University of Missouri—Speech Therapy and Special Education, graduate work
Vocation: North Dakota Republican Representative, District 46, House since 1997
Community Volunteering: YMCA NDSU board of directors, Gethsemane Episcopal Cathedral, Rotary, Fargo Moorhead Junior League, Fargo Public School Foundation board of directors
On success, “Being content with what you do and how you act so that you don’t regret the actions you’ve taken in life.”

Kathy Hawken is living her dream. As a representative in the North Dakota House she is fulfilling an aspiration she has had since high school—to serve as an elected official.

Kathy’s mother was very involved within grass roots politics and a young Kathy soon had it in her blood. Early on, Kathy worked along side her mother stuffing envelopes for Republican Party efforts. Eventually, Kathy became a ‘Nixon Dolly’, a ‘Goldwater Girl’ and she was active in teenage GOP and college GOP organizations.

Her political interests and sense of serving kept gaining momentum and Kathy decided in high school that one day she would run for office. She started college in broadcast journalism and political science to prepare for her political future.

It was during college that a political science professor became one of Kathy’s biggest political inspirations. Even though she never shared Dr. Schmidlien’s political views, Kathy said he taught her to think—challenging her to look at her beliefs and to decide if she was really a Republican on her own or because her parents were. Dr. Schmidlien ended up helping Kathy to solidify her political convictions.

However, Kathy’s dreams of running for office did not happen until much later. During the 1970’s women did not have many choices in front of them. Women married young and the attitude was that a woman (now a fulltime wife and mother) should have something to fall back on in case something happened to her husband and she had to work. So, Kathy followed her parents’ strong recommendation, switched her major to education and became a teacher to have a safe employable skill to use in case of emergency.

Kathy taught for years, worked in the family business and she and her husband Harry raised two children. Kathy’s political aspirations never faded and starting in the 1980’s she served 12 years on the Fargo Public Schools board of directors and was elected to represent North Dakota’s district 47 in the House of Representatives in 1995.

Kathy said that attaining her goal of becoming an elected state official was not that difficult to achieve. During her campaigns she said that the support from people was truly humbling. She said the difficult part is actually serving in the legislature because there are only 24 women out of a total of 94 representatives and only a few women serve in committee chair positions.

In the legislature, Kathy said that there is not overt discrimination against women but that a segment feels women should be home taking care of her husband and children. She finds this very disappointing but adds that she also has many supportive male colleagues in the House.

The schedule is very intense for Kathy when the House is in session in Bismarck. She stays at the Doublewood Inn while working and it has become a second home to her. She moves in with personal items and family photos and settles in for the session. Kathy starts out most days swimming in the motel pool. By 7-7:30 am she is at the capital attending committee meetings. Lunch time includes caucusing, working on bills and answering messages. The afternoons are spent in session. Most evenings Kathy has a function to attend.

North Dakota representatives do not have a staff to help them but Kathy said that the state’s lobbing arm is very helpful to them and helps to provide her with accurate information and are good people who can help when needed. Kathy said she knows a lot about education but that it is just a sliver of the issues that affect North Dakotans. Truly an advocate for others, she is very concerned about other concerns that face women and children of our state.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Fargo Woman: Linda Coates, Fargo Government

Linda Coates
Born: Jamestown, ND, 1956
Education: B.A., B.S. and M.S. degrees in music and education, Minnesota State University Moorhead.
Vocation: Deputy Mayor, Fargo City Commission member since 2004.
Community Volunteering: City commission duties include serving as a liaison to many local groups and organizations.
On leadership, “A leader is someone who makes positive change happen through their commitment to a vision and inspiring the best efforts of others.”

The first time running for a political office, Linda was the top vote getter when she was elected to the Fargo City Commission in 2004. At the time Linda said that everything about it and process of getting there was new to her.

Linda was always interested in local, state and national political issues but not necessarily in running for an office. However, the seeds of campaigning were planted and started to grow when Linda was invited to attend sessions sponsored by North Dakota officials Conrad, Dorgan and Pomeroy to encourage people to get involved in their local governments.

A bit later Arlette Preston and Jean Rayl (long active in local politics) encouraged Linda to run for the Fargo City Commission and then she was asked to launch a campaign for office. Linda took a hard look and asked herself and others many questions before making her final decision to run for office. She ultimately decided that it was a duty and an honor to run. “It’s really important to have balanced representation along with the diversity and view points of different perspectives,” Linda said, “I needed to run as one woman.”

Now, having served on the commission for nearly four years, Linda said that the experience has been extremely rewarding and that she has learned a lot from it. It has been a good fit for her after spending large amounts of time employed and volunteering in local nonprofit organizations. As a city commissioner, Linda said that she likes to be able to serve the community in this way.

In Fargo city government each of the commissioners has a portfolio of areas that they are involved in on behalf of citizens. Linda’s commissioner responsibilities include serving as the liaison to the planning department and her ccommittee liaisons duties are to the Metropolitan Council of Governments, Renaissance Zone, Community Development, Cass County Planning, and Metro Area Transit Coordinating Board. She also serves as a board member liaison to Planning, Board of Adjustment, Library, and Native American Commission board of directors.

Linda said that serving as a city commissioner is hard work and that no matter what you do, some people will find fault with the efforts. Linda strives to focus on the job and the work at hand and understands that people get very passionate about their views. She said that most people respect the strengths of others’ convictions and the vigor it takes to be “out there” engaging in the conversations that it takes to make things better.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Fargo Health Care: When health care becomes a lifelong expense

Author: Karson Keely

Fargo, ND - The percentage of people with health insurance through their employers — traditionally the way most people get coverage — is continuing to shrink, raising anxiety among workers and invigorating a debate about whether insurance should be tied to jobs.

Many of those who get their coverage through their jobs are becoming less secure that those benefits will always be there.
The debate about fundamental changes in health insurance comes as a declining percentage of employers are offering coverage. That’s fueling concern among consumers and employees such as Angela Reece who says the system isn’t “patient-friendly” and is slowly becoming one of the rising numbers of people — particularly those with health problems — struggling to get or utilize insurance.

Angela recently suffered a mild heart attack after attending her daughter’s choir concert on December 11, 2007. Angela walked her parents to their car, picked up her two children from the front of Carl Ben and drove home. The thirty-six-year-old recalls feeling “stressed out” after leaving work that day, but nothing that she felt was too serious. After arriving home, Angela felt a deep pain like she had never felt before.

“It felt like an elephant was stepping on my chest and a vice grip was tightening on my head.”

Her children dialed 9-11 and help arrived. At this point in the article it is important to understand Angela’s medical history in order to understand her state of mind.

In the past 13 years, Angela has had her gall-bladder and cervix cancer cells removed, a biopsy for breast cancer, delivered two children via C-section and has been diagnosed with high blood pressure, thus dealing with the snowballing ailments, prescriptions and costs pertaining to having high blood pressure. Angela also had to be treated for severe carpel tunnel which required over a year of medical treatment. She was granted only partial coverage because her employer stated clerical duties were not in the job description. Her job at that time was a director for a local non-profit.

Over the course of 13 years, Angela has racked up quite a bit of hospital bills – and has dealt with quite a few insurance, hospital and collection representatives. This would explain her unusual behavior the night she suffered a heart attack.

When help arrived they recommended she be rushed to the hospital. Angela began to cry. Her tears were followed with pleas for alternative transportation to the hospital. Angela said her only thought was how much the ambulance ride was going to cost. Angela then disclosed to The Business Journal that she has been paying between $50 and $250-per-month towards her medical bills for the past 13 years – in addition she has received a little over $50,000 from her parents in medical financial assistance.

Eventually Angela “came to her senses” and was loaded into the ambulance and taken to the hospital.

Angela was right about one thing – it was going to cost her. The bill arrived two days after the night of her ride, $641 out of pocket and $900 total bill. She was even charged for three separate failed IV attempts.

“They tried three times to get the IV in and failed, yet I was billed three separate IV charges.” Angela said.

When the ambulance pulled into MeritCare, Angela said she couldn’t believe it because her “provider is at Dakota Clinic/Innovis.” The dollar signs kept tallying higher and higher in her head.

The next morning, the doctor said he wanted to keep her for a couple of days and Angela broke down into tears again. She had officially given up trying to get out of medical debt. She knew she would be paying at least $250 dollars on top of her $500 monthly co-pay for the rest of her life. Angela pays $500 a month for health insurance which is an 80/20 plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield ND.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fargo Area Woman: MaryJane Nipstad

Education: B.S. Business Administration with minors in Finance and Marketing, MSUM
Business: Vice President-Client Services, BlackRidgeBANK
Community Volunteering: Board Member Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley, United Way of Cass Clay, YWCA of Cass Clay

It is hard to imagine MaryJane in work clothes laboring in a hay field during the hot final days of summer. MaryJane did just that. Most people do not know that she grew up on a cattle farm in central North Dakota, started driving tractor at age 15 and spent her summers in the hay field cutting and baling hay. MaryJane said,” I feel my work ethic and determination came from my experiences growing up on a farm.”

MaryJane’s work ethic, determination and perseverance have been key attributes during her college years, first employment and today as a bank executive. While in college, MaryJane not only had her major area of study but also tacked on two rigorous minors - all while working two to three jobs which added up to fulltime employment.

After college, MaryJane joined Community First which then bought out by Bank of the West in 2004. She was with Bank of the West for two years and then joined the executive management of BlackRidgeBANK which was started by former executives with Community First.

Now as the BlackRidge VP of Client Services and working in a male dominated industry, MaryJane strives to work quickly and efficiently and to work proactively with male co-workers. She mentioned that theirs is a quickly changing industry especially since banks have a strong on-line presence and take advantage of the latest technical opportunities to streamline client services.

MaryJane also needs to respond rapidly to banking rules and regulations that can change quickly. MaryJane said that she enjoys being employed in a smaller company because she can move projects along faster and more efficiently than if she was with a very large bank.....

Fargo Area Woman: Jill Henning

Jill Henning Transitions: New Office
Born: Adrian, MN
Education: B.S Communication’s Studies, MSUM
Business: State Farm Insurance, Agent
Volunteering: Singer, Hope Lutheran Church worship band, south campus
On leadership, “Someone who sets good examples in everything they do – at work, with peers, at church. It also means you’re helping your team and clients to grow and reach their goals.”
Favorite quote, “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” - Vince Lombardi

Lives, family, homes are central to all of us and Jill is honored to take on the great responsibility needed to protect people’s most important assets through her position as a State Farm Insurance agent. Jill’s position requires her to be involved in the community through each client and fulfills her career desire to interact with her local neighbors.

While working as an intern and later in operations at Microsoft in Fargo, Jill started missing the person-to-person contact and the sense of community that a local employment position could provide to her. Jill looked for a new career opportunity and transitioned from a job that had global impact (with people she may have not met face-to-face) to one of a local contact and service.

As Jill completed the rigorous State Farm hands-on training and licensure requirements January through September of this year, an agent position opened up in Fargo and Jill stepped in to become the only female agent in Fargo. Jill opened her State Farm office located at 2511 Kirsten Lane, Fargo in October 1 and employs several people. Jill said,”It’s ideal to be located in Fargo.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fargo Woman in Focus Mary Johnson

Women in Business: Mary Johnson, CPA, Banking

Mary Johnson, CPA
Born: Coronado, CA, 1957, grew up in Kindred, ND
Education: B.S. Physical Education and minor in Accounting, Concordia 1979
Business: President & CEO, Union State Bank since 1998
Community Volunteering: Vocational Training Center Board of Directors, Bethany Homes, Inc. Board of Directors, non-profit and civic boards, professional organizations, first female member of Lake Agassiz Kiwanis

Once out of college, this Concordia phy ed major fully intended on teaching and falling back on the accounting profession if needed. Mary did not teach and her career path led directly to the accounting profession which she found to be a better match for her. Out of college, she joined Charles Bailly & Co. where she practiced accounting for four and a half years.

Mary went on to gain a variety of professional experience. After practicing accounting, Mary moved on to positions in commercial lending at First Bank and US Bank. Eventually, she worked for Lutheran Health Systems advising business entities with their financial planning, challenges and business growth. From Charles Bailly & Co and beyond, Mary has utilized her keen accounting and analytical skills to serve clients in the business world.

When asked what her favorite employment was before her current position at Union State Bank, Mary said it was as a commercial lender at First Bank. Another favorite was working with the healthcare companies through Lutheran Health Systems.

Now years later, Mary said maturity and experience have greatly added to her business perspective in banking and have developed her keen sense of problem solving and resilience to steadily accomplish business goals for Union State Bank.

Mary is proud of Union State Bank’s niche in the locally competitive business of banking. Mary and her staff pride themselves on their unique style of friendliness and personal service. Walking in to Union State Bank, you immediately feel a comfort combined with the business atmosphere—a neighborhood feel with staff knowing customers’ names, and the business of relationship building—easy accessed advice and services to meet people’s banking needs.

Behind the front counters, Union State Bank is very aware of trends in banking. Mary pointed out that electronic capabilities are opening up numerous client service possibilities and that competition is coming from non banking entities such as mortgage companies. And, because of customer internet usage, they also strive to build non- traditional ways of maintaining distant banking relationships.

Mary feels that her biggest career obstacle was not having a pre-ordained career path—that she did not set out to be a bank president. She happened to find out that she loved banking because it meant coming up with solutions for people every day. She added that sometimes it is better to be a woman in banking because she can feel a two-way trust building with clients and it is comfortable to say,” Let’s find a solution.”

Her business inspiration comes from several people. Her husband says ‘you can do anything – you’re capable.’ Mary also lists several others that are encouraging to her in business. Mary said that Dr. Hamilton, chair of the Union State Bank board of directors is very empowering, intelligent and forward thinking about their business and Mary is quick to mention Nick Hammerstein and Pam Anderson, both of Fargo, who she serves with on local nonprofit boards.

A normal work day for Mary includes many phone calls and finding solutions one-on-one or in small group situations. Sharp and focused, Mary takes on issues and quickly finds solutions for both customers and employees.

All in all, Mary is a commercial lender, works to match staff objectives to the needs and growth of the bank, meets compliance issues and consults to bank customers. Mary is continually learning by reading trade journals and internet information, working with vendors and taking part in educational offerings through Eide Bailly.

Mary’s plans for the bank are to position the bank to continue to grow and to be careful not to try to be all things to all people and lose their effective business niche. When Mary joined Union Sate Bank as president & CEO nine years ago the bank’s assets were $18,500 and today they are at $50 million. Clearly, she is doing it right.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fargo Women: Turn us on" billboard, talks about life as a model.

Fargo Women: Turn us on" billboard, talks about life as a model.
Melissa Duerr, model from the "Turn us on" billboard, talks about life as a model.
Wahpeton, ND - On any given day, drivers winding through Fargo may pass a number of billboards without giving them a single thought, but life-long residents of Wahpeton will surely recognize the new one featuring the blond-haired and blue-eyed Melissa Duerr.

The 2002 Wahpeton High School graduate headed to Fargo to work as a booking agent at Academie Agencie and never turned back. She credits those first years at the agency for helping her realize the importance of being its top model and giving her the necessary steps she needed.

At 19, Duerr learned the ropes of the modeling industry as a booker, scheduling all of the appointments for models."All of the knowledge I learned behind the scenes helped me build my career as a model," she said. "As a booking agent, I realized how certain qualities are important, as far as just being reliable and committed. So I guess that's how I got interested in modeling."

After realizing that she wanted to pursue a career in modeling, she spent one year at the Salon Professional Academy, a cosmetology school in Fargo.

"There's no client that never needs to hire a makeup artist, and I just did it myself," she said. "It all works together."

Then Duerr started teaching a runway instruction class at the agency, doing hair and make-up for the photo shoots. It wasn't too long before she began work as a full-time hair stylist and makeup artist at Hair Success in North Fargo, and this year she added to the busy roster by teaching a class on wardrobe, which covers the basics on incorporating personal style with the rules of fashion.

As she juggles regular work with modeling, days can get long. On an average morning, Duerr is ready to work from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. as a model or teaching a class, and then from 2:30-9 p.m. she heads to her station at Hair Success.

"It gets pretty busy, but it's fun," she said. "I enjoy it."

Modeling jobs usually arrive at the last minute, and Duerr will get a call only a day or two before the job will begin. One of her first shoots was for a promotional bit in Las Vegas called "Hotwalkers", and would be featured in various gambling spots around the city. She was nervous.

"I did whatever I possibly could, but I was so nervous because I didn't know how the pics would turn out," she said. "But when I saw them I was surprised, because the pics were actually phenomenal. I guess you just have to try your best and put everything into it."

At the shoot, Duerr met CarriDee English, the Fargo native who went on to win Season 8 of Bravo's America's Next Top Model. The two became close friends for awhile, "but I haven't heard from her since," she laughed.

Duerr has been seen in spreads for Microsoft Magazine and the The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, as well as being featured annually in the KFYR Bismarck and KVLY Bridal show. One year she attended the International Model and Talent Convention in New York City, which gathers all of the agents and models around the world in one setting. Duerr found a surprising perk at this particular event.

"I got an opportunity to judge a makeup competition for thousands of models, and I was sitting next to the this lady who just happened to be the makeup artist from Seinfeld," she laughed. "Here's little me from Fargo, but they all said I was welcome to judge. It's kind of funny, I just happened to be at the right place at the right time."

Fargo Women

Fargo Woman

Fargo Women: ND foreclosures second lowest in nation

Fargo, ND - North Dakota had the second lowest foreclosure rate in the nation in october, according to, which tracks foreclosures nationally and state by state.

In the first half of 2007, North Dakota had the third lowest foreclosure rate, slightly higher than South Dakota and Vermont.

Tim Karsky, commissioner of the North Dakota Department of Financial Institutions, which regulates state charter banks, credit unions and money brokers, among others, said there don't seem to be a lot of the troubled sub-prime mortgages out there.

"We know they're being made," he said. "We've got some companies that specialize in making loans and helping people make loans that have less than average credit."

But he said the real estate market is still healthy enough to help people get out of those loans if they need to.

And, unlike a few of the troubled states, the number of lenders in North Dakota continues to grow:As of Aug. 31, 404 lenders were licensed in North Dakota this year, compared to 394 last year, said Bob Entringer, assistant commissioner.

That's compared to 381 as of Aug. 31 in 2005.

"We have some of the companies that have taken bankruptcy and have surrendered their licenses," Karsky said. "There's still companies getting into the market. For some of them, they still see an opportunity to make loans."

Joe Sheehan, a mortgage broker with Heartland Mortgage Co., agreed with the assessment that North Dakota borrowers aren't in trouble.

He said the state has had a lot of responsible lenders taking borrowers' situations into account before handing out home loans.

"We never had the risky loans in our market," he said. "Probably the worst loans that anyone did was interest-only."

Which, in turn, bodes well for the real estate market.

"Analyzing national real estate activity is like asking for a national weather forecast; it will vary in different areas and parts of the country. Like the weather, real estate is local,"said John VanMiddlesworth, former president of the Bismarck-Mandan Board of Realtors, in a release. "Real estate continues to prove to be a smart investment, and interest rates are favorable for consumers. The real estate market here is good."

Fargo Woman: Women in Business

Connie Stevens, M.Ed., LAC

Born: Valley City, ND, 1949

Education: Valley City State University—B.S. Education, NDSU—Masters in Education, guidance and counseling emphasis

Business: Clinical Director – ShareHouse/Sister’s Path/Robinson Recovery Center, Fargo

Community and Professional Volunteering: Valley City nursing home, professional organizations

On leadership, “A good leader leads by example and sets a direction that you want to follow. They have integrity, assertiveness, and diplomacy and can delegate.”

“I believe in people when they don’t believe in themselves.”
- Connie Stevens

Believing in someone’s actions and potential can be difficult even in the best of circumstances. Our community is fortunate to have a professional such as Connie Stevens overseeing programming which works with people in the throws of addiction that may well have shattered their lives. At their lowest point, people need to know that someone still has faith in them and their future.

Connie is the clinical director for ShareHouse/Sister’s Path/Robinson Recovery Center. “I feel very privileged to do what I’m doing – it’s been rewarding,” Connie said, “It’s rewarding to watch people re-claim their lives.”

Beginning in 1975, ShareHouse has provided a continuum of chemical dependency treatment, prevention and educational services to those affected by the disease of addiction, their families and communities. Sister’s Path provides housing for homeless and addictive people along with supportive services and the Robinson program provides counseling and recovery services for people addicted to Methamphetamines.

As the clinical director for these programs she oversees all clinical teams and services which provide treatment to people suffering and recovering from addition.

A typical day for Connie starts with checking messages and emails and making sure that the staff is in place handling clients’’ care. She does “flash staffing” by meeting with her staff to hear how the night before went with clients who live on-site. Weekly, Connie holds supervisory meetings and is always working on program planning.

Another part of Connie’s job is to network in the community and speak to area organizations and service groups. She attends workshops, reads professional magazines, newsletters, attends national conferences and takes part in continuing education. Through her educational and networking efforts, Connie said sees first hand what is going on in the country as far as addiction treatment and feels that North Dakota is a head of the rest of the country because of the high caliber treatment it offers.

Connie attended Valley City State University (VCSU) then transferred to NDSU. She returned to VCSU and received her B.S. in Education. After graduation, she taught phy ed and coached at Fargo South High School for three years. Then she moved to Minot where she taught for several years and then started her family.

In 1990, Connie and her family moved to Fargo. After 10 years of being home with her three children and now as a single parent, Connie returned to school and received her Master’s in Guidance and Counseling. She said it was a challenge to be in school, have three children to raise and balance the family finances to get all of this accomplished.

As time went on, she did her college internship with the St. John’s Genesis program in child chemical dependency. She was offered her first job there and remained at Genesis for four years. Later, Connie went to Lutheran Social Services of ND and worked for two years at Luther Hall group home as an addiction and family counselor.

As inpatient facilities began closing and more outpatient programs started she joined Drake Counseling Center in Fargo counseling families whose kids were addressing and recovering from addiction. The area of family and child counseling is a passion of Connie’s and she served in the role for five years. She moved on to the clinical director position at Drake, which she held for four years before moving to ShareHouse.

Summarizing her reasons to move to ShareHouse Connie said that it was time for a professional change and to form a new professional vision for herself. She has now been at ShareHouse for two years and loves what she does. She said that she enjoys working for a larger and non profit organization.

At ShareHouse through treatment, they deal with the whole person including the spiritual side of the individual. Connie said that spiritual awareness can play a large role in a person’s recovery from addictions. And, this former teacher is still teaching as she mentions that education is a part of an individual’s treatment program.

Connie shared that it is a privilege to be a part of people’s journey through and recovery from addiction. As a professional working in this field, she said many times there is not immediate gratification when working with a patient but, that years later, perhaps, a parent will stop her on the street and thank her for how she helped their child – that their child recovered and is now a healthy, contributing adult.

Connie sees Meth use rising and points out that their organization is the first treatment facility to offer Meth recovery programs in the state. In the past, Connie said that treatments for all addictions tended to be more “cookie cutter” but now individualized treatment plans are becoming the norm. ShareHouse also does programming that is gender specific – women working with women and men working with men to address personal issues.

After a person has suffered through years of addiction, received help and has emerged whole by re-claiming their life through counseling and treatment, great comfort can be taken from Connie’s favorite saying,” It’s not the years in your life; it’s the life in your years.”
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Graphic Design Fargo Moorhead

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fargo Women: Google GOD? From Their Mouths Google GOD? From Their Mouths of Google.

Ask George Orwells "GOOGLE"
“When asked about Google’s future, he talks about the targeted personalization of search results: ‘The goal is to enable Google users to be able to ask questions such as ‘What shall I do tomorrow?’ and ‘What job shall I take?

23-Year-Old Mark Zuckerberg Has Google Sweating

“Owen Van Natta, Facebook’s chief operating officer, said a visit to will uncover all the product recommendations one might want but the value can be limited in the anonymity of the people posting the reviews. On the other hand, if you take your online activities and put them through the filter of the people you know well, those actions take on greater meaning.”

Wikipedia ranks first for online news

“According to Nielsen//NetRatings, the encyclopedia site Wikipedia is the top news and information destination on the Internet, gaining 20 million unique monthly users in the past year.”

Google: You ain’t seen nothin’ yet

“Search engine giant Google Inc. has been putting together a massive cable network to provide customers around the world with telecommunications services ranging from broadband Internet to home and mobile phones.”


Fargo Area Women: Valley Women Must Focus on Retirement Income.

Fargo Media: His message is for all the women out there in the Fargo Moorhead Area: Whether or not you are the breadwinner in your household, preparing for retirement should be extremely important to you! One item of planning that must be considered is the financial situation of a surviving spouse and what can be done to prepare for a potential shortfall.

Women survive their spouses more often then men. The Administration on Aging estimates that seven of ten women will outlive their husbands, [1] highlighting the need for retirement planning even more.

Unfortunately, women are often at a disadvantage when it comes to resources available for retirement. The average woman spends nearly 15 years away from the workforce, while the average man will be away for 1.6 years. This translates into lower benefits from company pensions, 401(k) plans and Social Security.

Various estimates indicate expenses after the death of a husband will be 80 percent of what they had been when he was alive. Unfortunately, a widow’s income may likely be much less than what will be needed to cover expenses. Of all elderly persons with income below the poverty level, over 70 percent are women. [2] More than half were much better off financially before their husbands died.

Less time in the workforce may also mean that fewer women qualify for health benefits. This can put an even greater burden on their retirement income. It is imperative for women to start saving now for their retirement, which can be accomplished through several savings vehicles. It is equally important to protect your nest egg through adequate life insurance coverage and insurance options should your health care needs change. Adequate planning for retirement and surviving a spouse can be a deciding factor in living comfortably.

Taking the time to examine the household finances and planning carefully will help to ensure there are adequate means of support for either spouse during the golden years. Talk to a qualified individual about your retirement needs to prepare for and enjoy a comfortable retirement in Fargo Moorhead.

Fargo Women: Profiles: Jill St. John

Jill St. John

Born: Sioux Falls, SD, 1966

Education: High school graduate

Business: Professional Voice Services

Community volunteering: Started Cares for Kids radio-a-thon in 1999 to benefit MeritCare Foundation, children’s school, Nativity Catholic Church

On leadership, “A leader is someone who adapts creatively to all individuals they are leading toward success rather than making people conform to their ‘one and only way,’”

Jill’s first job was in radio as a 16 year old and just a few years later she took an on-air position at Lite Rock in Fargo after graduating from high school. She lived and worked in Fargo from 1984 to 1991 and then returned in 1999. In between, she moved as needed when her husband attended graduate school and then for other opportunities. Jill and her family lived in Milwaukee, WI, Minneapolis and St. Cloud, MN, before returning to Fargo. In Milwaukee, Jill was on an oldies morning radio show, on mornings at KDWB in Minneapolis/St.Paul and also was a copywriter for the station. Jill and her husband decided to return to this area to raise their children; Hannah who is ten and Adam who is eight.

By 2001, and in commercial radio for 21 years, Jill felt changes coming with the advent of corporate radio ownership and decided to go on her own with a new business. That year she started Professional Voice Services and, by 2002, was very busy with clients who needed voice work. She is currently the voice of Northern Home Furniture, Park Company Realty, Hector International Airport and Sunmart commercials, is the voice on Lexli Skin Care products infomercials (which air around the world), Microsoft software tutorials, and documentary narrations such as “House of Babies” which is airing on the Discovery Health channel across the world.

Talents that serve Jill well in her profession include the knack for sight reading that she says comes from her years of reading news right off the news wire live on-air. This skill enables Jill to cut voice-overs (the voice in commercials) the first time though for a 30 or 60 second commercial without making a mistake. She can also read long copy (such as a script) for hours without taking a break, not making a mistake and yet can speak more than 190 words per minute.

Most people do not know that Jill is from a radio family – her brother is WDAY’s Scott Hennen and she has a sister who is also in radio. People may also not know that Jill almost pursued a different career when her high school art teacher encouraged her to apply for a scholarship to attend the Boston Institute of Art. Instead she applied and was hired at “Lite 105” (which became Lite Rock 105) right after high school graduation. With Jill’s interest in the arts, it is not surprising to learn that Jill dabbles in photography and enjoys painting when she has the time.

A typical day for Jill includes being on call to clients who need short advertising copy scripts quickly read and taped, working for contract clients, and then reading for 15 minutes up to five hours straight in a studio for a project. It is unusual, but at times Jill has read for eight hours continually on a project. She drives from studio to studio in Fargo-Moorhead during the day depending on which client she is working for while making sure she has time to devote to her children and their activities.

Exciting trends are currently taking place in the voice profession and Jill said that they are closely related to changes in technology. She said that audio books are becoming popular again with people listening to material on MP3 players and I Pods and creates a market for books to be read out loud and recorded. Tutorials for software are also creating a large need for professional voices to narrate instructions. Jill adds that the industry is at a very exciting point because of broadband capabilities to move voice through the internet.

All change is opportunity to her and Jill has chosen to look at professional obstacles in this way. While adapting to industry changes, Jill strives to keep learning by reading many professional magazines, including Business Week, continuing to network with friends in the industry and working to keep up with what technology can offer to the delivery of voice.

Jill’s inspiration comes from several women; Maryann Philips of Video Arts Studio in Fargo and her ability to be successful even as the production industry drastically changed, her late Grandmother Bertha who raised fifteen children (without modern conveniences) and Jill’s mother Jeanette who became an independent career sales woman at a time when it was very difficult for a woman to get established in a career. Jill stresses that her mother continually inspires her because her mother gets more successful in business every year.

Jill’s favorite quote is one that describes to her the responsibility of being on-air in radio: A broadcast channel news director said to a producer, it must be nice to be the smartest person in the room … to always know what’s best for people,” To which the producer replied, “No – it’s awful.” Jill underscores the meaning of this exchange by saying that being on-air in radio is sometimes a burden and sometimes good.
So, the next time you are listening to your radio, watching TV or following a Microsoft software tutorial, it is very likely that you are listening to the distinctive and successful voice of Jill St. John.