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Shafin Khan / By SHAFIN KHAN skhan@wasecacountynews.com 

Gabby Rodriguez was the star for the girls soccer team this past Friday as she scored four goals and helped assist another. (Photos by Shafin Khan/Waseca County News)


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New Hope Board and Lodge offers transitional housing to women in Waseca

WASECA — New Hope Board and Lodge is looking to fill a service gap in Waseca.

It is a residential service for female adults 18 and older with a mental illness diagnosis or dual disorders such as chemical and alcohol dependency.

This lodging service is new to town and currently has one resident in the house that has a capacity of nine.

“We came to Waseca to expand on what we do,” co-owner Kody Schendel said. “We did a lot of research on a good area that we think would be beneficial to the recovery community. Waseca already has a male house (Alex’s House) and they also have a female with children house which is the Bethlehem Inn and so we saw a need for just a women’s only house and that’s why we started this.”

Schendel and Heather Paulson are the owners of New Hope Board and Lodge in Waseca along with two other male houses in Mankato.

“It’s (the home) really central in Waseca for us,” Paulson said. “I mean we have Walmart down the street, gas stations, the courthouse, the hospital you know the House of Hope and some of the residents won’t have their driver’s licenses so it might be biking or walking, so we had to take all of that into account when we were trying to find a place for the house.”

Creating a home

After finding the right location, they wanted to give the house a home feel. Schendel and Paulson wanted the residents to feel comfortable in the New Hope Board and Lodge and to feel that they could be themselves. Though they want residents to feel at home there are still rules they must follow in order to be there.

“Stability, organization and accountability are huge in our houses,” Schendel said.

There are no employees placed at the home 24/7, but Schendel and Paulson drop by at any time and there are 24/7 surveillance cameras all around the house. This is to give the residents more freedom.

New Hope Board and Lodge is considered temporary housing for people to transition through. Schendel said from experience a resident stays for about six months.

No violent offenders will be residing at the New Hope Board and Lodge, but if there are problems or rules are broken residents can be removed from the house.

If they are not willing to follow the rules or are not a good fit to the home, the resident is given a 30-day eviction notice. If the resident has a physical altercation or fails a drug or alcohol test then she is removed immediately.

In the process of being removed, the resident’s team consisting of her case worker, financial worker and family are notified.

“The neighbors, we want them to feel safe as wel. It’s not a bad thing what we’re doing,” Paulson said.

“They’re people just like we are, and treat them like a neighbor, because that’s what everyone is at the end of the day,” Schendel said. “So I don’t want everybody to feel like they should be treated different or that the women here are any different because they’re not…”

Minnesota guidelines

This transitional housing follows strict Minnesota guidelines as far as house requirements and requirements of who is allowed to live in the house. When looking for a spot in Waseca they looked at several locations because there are certain criteria that the house has to meet.

“There are a lot of requirements, you can’t just go pick a house. There are requirements,” Schendel said. “We looked at multiple houses and they all have to meet criteria and our own criteria. We wanted something that was roomy and to feel homey and there are state requirements that limit the type of house you can purchase...It’s not very easy and it takes months to go through all of it.”

Referrals

After finding the right house Paulson and Schendel take referrals from every county in Minnesota. They have also been working with local entities Drug Court and House of Hope for referrals.

“We get referrals from outpatient and inpatient programs, the House of Hope is actually one of our biggest referral programs over in Mankato and so in February the House of Hope expanded over to Waseca and we kind of saw it as an opportunity to grow with them,” Paulson said.

Funding

In order to be referred, the applicant must be eligible to receive Housing Support.

All 87 counties in Minnesota allocate funds for housing support from the State of Minnesota and the county that the resident resided in prior to moving to the New Hope Board and Lodge covers the funds.

The taxpayers of Waseca County are not directly responsible for this cover if the residents are from another county.

“We didn’t come to Waseca expecting money or for the residents to pay. That’s not how the program works,” Schendel said. “It’s all allocated through the State and it’s through the counties and it’s not necessarily through this (Waseca) county…”

Process to open

in Waseca

In order to start New Hope Board and Lodge in Waseca, Schendel and Paulson had to do an interview with Minnesota Prairie County Alliance.

“We’re working with the city to provide this house as a resource to people in recovery,” Paulson said.

Once in contact with MNPrairie they came and toured the New Hope Board and Lodge houses in Mankato to get to know Schendel and Paulson and what the business is all about. MNPrairie had to approve of New Hope Board and Lodge after extensive interviews on the business in order for the house to come to Waseca.

“We went and worked through the channels that we needed to go through to get to where we are,” Schendel said.

Since opening in Waseca Schendel and Paulson have been networking with organizations in town to provide sober networking events or groups for the residents to partake in.

“We just want everyone to know that we are here to help,” Schendel said. “We didn’t come here asking for anything from anybody in town, we just want to help people and we thought Waseca would be a welcoming place with all of the resources to have a successful home here to do it. As time goes on, everybody will see that the program works, that every woman that comes through this house is going to do their best, going to get better and we want the community to support that and understand that.”


News
spotlight
Soil Health night held at Farmamerica

Farmamerica held its first-ever Soil Health Night for the public August 22.

During this event, people were able to learn about the strip till cover crop effort that is being done at Farmamerica along with viewing a rainfall simulation and a tour of the test crops.

Soil health, soil quality, is defined as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals and humans according to the packet from the event.

“This was the first effort to introduce farmers in the area to soil health and to get the individuals together,” Farmamerica Site Manager Gene Kuntz said.

For the rainfall simulation five different test soil samples were taken from the ground of nearby farm land.

Each were given a different condition of compaction or cover crop for the soil. There was a conventional plot from a soybean field, strip till with cover crop, no till soybeans with cover crop, CRP and managed pasture samples.

The rainfall simulator was turned on over these five samples and the demonstrators Dan Nath and Dean Thomas let one inch of water fall before turning it off. While the water was falling people were supposed to be watching how it hit the soil surface and to see what each sample had for water infiltration and run off.

After doing two cycles of one inch of water, the samples were taken out of the containers and flipped over to see how much water infiltration each sample had. The goal was to have an even wet bottom on the soil sample and it should be easy to break apart.

The conventional soybean sample had no cover crop and was fairly dry on the bottom and had a lot of dark run off. The more run off in the bucket the more money the farmer is losing.

“If water’s not going all the way through, then you’ve got problems,” Dean Thomas said.

After the rainfall simulator, the group moved inside the farm shop at Farmamerica to learn about soil health from Kuntz. Representatives from the soil and water conservation district and from the Cannon River Water Partnership to speak as well.

Kuntz spoke of two things that he thinks are ways to improve soil health and they are to reduce tillage and to use cover crops on fields.

“This is a learning thing for me,” attendee Mark Bosacker said. “Our canoe club supports in the efforts to help clean up the river so we’re interested. I’m interested I got involved with the watershed district talking about the erosion on the rivers when those big rains so we’re kind of the customer, people that recreate on the water, rivers and lakes and just trying to give our support of our recreational community.”

At Farmamerica there are 15 acres of test fields of corn and soybeans for the strip till cover crop effort, which is a five year effort in the second year.

A trial plot of 96-day corn using strip till and cover crops to try to improve soil health was planted and shown to the group of attendees. The rows are 60 inches wide for corn with cover crops between rows. Most farmers in the area do rows 30 inches wide.

One of the cover crops Kuntz spoke about were radishes that are planted between the corn on one of the test plots as a cover crop.

Another test plot is five and a half acres of Liberty Link Soybeans that Kuntz is working to get 100 bushels an acre from. A normal soybean crop gives between 50 to 60 bushels an acre.

The soybeans have been well cared for and growing so much so that they are not able to see where the rows are anymore.

Kuntz mentioned that when they were starting the process to grow 100 bushels an acre for soybeans they threw everything but the kitchen sink at the crop.

The tour of the corn and soybean fields concluded the Soil Health Night.


Bailey Grubish / By BAILEY GRUBISH bgrubish@wasecacountynews.com 

Jessica Freitag is moving her business Lush Cakes into the previous Dairy Queen building on the south end of Waseca off of Highway 13.


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spotlight
JWP welcomes new secondary Principal Grant Hanson

JANESVILLE — Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton will be starting the 2019/2020 school year with a new high school principal.

Grant Hanson, coming from Mankato, is the new JWP principal.

Originally from South Dakota, Hanson graduated with his undergraduate degree in art education from South Dakota State University and his master’s in education leadership and a specialist degree in education leadership with K-12 administration licensure from Minnesota State University, Mankato in Spring of 2019. Since graduating Hanson feels ready to serve in his first administrative position.

“l want the kids to be here. Let’s get rolling,” Hanson said. “I want to get up and rolling. All this prep work is really good and important, but I’m excited to get everybody here and see how this system operates and get to know it and the kids.”

Hanson was hired in mid-July after previous high school principal Andy Krause accepted a new assistant principal position in Mankato.

“Grant demonstrated a strong commitment to student success and a collaborative leadership style during the hiring process,” JWP School District Superintendent Kurt Stumpf said. “Grant brings a wealth of instructional leadership experiences through his work as a classroom teacher and continuous improvement coach. I am excited for our students, staff and community to work with such an outstanding leader.”

Just months after graduating with his master’s degree in May 2019, Hanson was hired at JWP for the open principal position.

“This opportunity came up and I thought I might as well go for it and it’ll be a great opportunity for me to learn and challenge myself and grow as a leader and there’s obviously a lot of added responsibility but I look forward to it,” Hanson said. “There’s a great team in this office. They are all awesome. They’re willing for me to come up to them constantly to ask questions...I’m not here necessarily to mix things up and rock the boat. I really want to take the time to learn the culture here, what are the things we do well what are our strengths and as we continue to move forward what do we need to do better and how can I support them in that.”

Hanson is ready for school to start to meet all of the students and get to know the staff better so he can learn the culture of the school. He emphasized that relationships are something that he values.

“I hope to be out and in the classrooms and connecting with teachers and students as much as possible,” Hanson said. “I have a high value on meaningful and positive relationships and so I hope to establish those from day one and I’ve tried already, but once students and staff are all here making sure I’m connecting with everybody and letting them know that they’re valued and finding out what those needs are then giving them opportunities to have a voice in our system.”

Hanson has held many different positions in numerous locations involved with education prior to JWP. He started his first full-time teaching job at a school in North Carolina, where he stayed for two years.

Once moving to Mankato, he worked at East High School in different roles before being a part-time art teacher. While he was teaching at East High School he was also working at Washington Elementary and Futures part-time. He did this until he became a full-time teacher at East in 2012/2013.

Since starting at JWP he said that he has felt welcomed by the staff, who have all been willing to answer his questions. In his training Hanson was able to learn about the initiatives and programs that are run at JWP, such as personalized learning.

“The work the district has done and specifically around personalized learning in the high school, it’s all really good work and I agree with it wholeheartedly,” Hanson said. “I want to make sure they feel supported in that.”