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2018 Raffle Jewelry

Buy a $10 raffle ticket to have a chance to win one of these three pieces of jewelry.





Registration for Wit, Wisdom & Wine 2018 is now open!

Cost is $85.00 per person and $95.00 after January 15th.



2018 Wit Wine & Wisdom Speaker List

Happier (and Less Stressed) You – Dr. Richa Sood, MD, MSc, FACP, NCMP

Dr. Richa SoodDESCRIPTION: We will take a back-stage tour of the human brain to help us understand the brain mechanisms that deplete our vitality every single day. Based on this knowledge, we will learn simple, practical, insightful and fun practices that can engage the appropriate brain networks to help us build our resilience, improve focus, enhance happiness and deepen relationships.  The program being shared today is evidence-based.  It has been tested in multiple clinical trials, with the results showing consistent and significant improvement in stress, anxiety, resilience, mindfulness, happiness, and positive health behaviors.

BIO: Dr. Sood is an internist at the Women’s Health Clinic at Mayo Clinic.  She is a Women’s health specialist and a certified menopause practitioner.   She also has a Masters in Clinical Research from Mayo Graduate School of Medicine.  She is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic, Rochester MN.

She did her ob-gyn residency in India, her Internal Medicine residency training from the University of Nevada and her Women’s health fellowship from Mayo Clinic, Rochester MN. 

Dr. Sood’s primary areas of interest include well being of midlife women’s.  She is particularly interested in menopausal issues, hormone therapy counseling, sexual health concerns, survivorship issues after breast and GYN cancers, and stress management and resiliency enhancement for women.  She has published in several peer-reviewed journals in her areas of interest, and frequently gives presentations on these topics.  In her clinical practice at the Women’s Health Clinic, she offers consults to women for midlife health concerns and provides stress management consultations.

One Year and One Week – Tim Penny

Tim PennyDESCRIPTION: On January 27, it will be a year and a week since the inauguration of our nation’s 45th President. That gives us now enough time to reflect on the factors and forces that led to President Trump’s electoral victory, the reasons for the evident rural/urban political divide, the aims and effect of the so-called “resistance” movement, the political and policy changes that have ensued to date and what yet may come.

BIO: Timothy (Tim) Penny represented Minnesota’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1982-1994. While in Congress, Penny served on the Education and Labor, Agriculture and Veterans’ Affairs committees. He chaired the Subcommittee on Veterans’ Education and Training and the Foreign Agriculture and Hunger Subcommittee. Throughout his congressional career, Penny placed an emphasis on budget issues. He chaired the Democratic Budget Group as well as the Porkbusters Coalition.

Penny was named as Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s (SMIF) President/CEO April 2007. SMIF’s key interests include early childhood and entrepreneur development. Prior to joining SMIF, Penny was a Senior Counselor at Himle Horner, a Twin Cities-based public affairs firm, and a senior fellow at the Humphrey Institute.

Penny was also a member of the Minnesota State Senate from 1976-82 where he served as vice-chair of the Transportation and Finance committees.

Penny has co-authored three books: Common Cents; The 15 Biggest Lies in Politics; and Payment Due. Born and raised on a farm in southeastern Minnesota, Penny received his B.A. in political science from Winona State University

Cooking With Kay: Spinning Homemade Mayonnaise into Super Sauces - Kay Hocker

Kay HockerDESCRIPTION: Homemade mayonnaise is easy and useful. Learn how to turn this simple sauce into Aioli, Remoulade, Sriracha and Chipotle sauces. Taste them all. Take away the recipes and ideas for how to use them. Demonstration and tasting!

BIO: Kay Hocker is originally from Ames, Iowa – relocating to Rochester, Minnesota in 1984. Kay took off for a little less than one year during her college undergraduate years to study dance with the Bill Evans Dance Company of Seattle. She holds a B.S. in Dance from Iowa State University, a M.A. in Management and a M.A. in Health & Human Services Administration from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. Kay worked in the corporate retail sector on many levels (manager, district manager, regional recruiter) for the multi-national BGI corporation (Waldenbooks and Borders Books), for a little over 25 years, ending her career with BGI as a corporate trainer and was involved in the roll-out of BGI’s initial diversity training efforts. She volunteered for one year at the Diversity Council, was Education Director for four years and was the Executive Director of the Diversity Council for ten years. Kay has served on a number of local Boards and committees in a variety of capacities as well as chaired several large-scale collaborative efforts. Kay began working at Minnesota Public Radio in July of 2015 as a Regional Manager. Major responsibilities are audience growth and development and the promotion of the three MPR services: Classical MPR, News and The Current.

Kay enjoys cooking and reading, and is trying to find time to garden. She and her husband Jon Veer enjoy wilderness canoeing and camping, and are avid winter campers.

Reids on the Road: How Two Retirees are Traveling the World on a Shoestring Budget - Karmen and George Reid

Reids On The RoadDESCRIPTION: Karmen and George Reid retired from Mayo Clinic in 2013, sold their house and all their household possessions, and squeezed into a pop-up trailer to live life on the road. Since then, they have upgraded to an Airstream travel trailer, and have traversed most of North America in their RV. While not "glamping", they provide house and pet-sitting services all over the world, which takes them to quaint villages and unusual destinations. This presentation will highlight their travels and provide information about how to travel the world on a modest budget.

BIOS: Karmen Reid was Director of Employee Compensation (Human Resources) at Mayo Clinic from 2000-2013. She was an active member of Rotary International, focusing on its international programs. She has lived in Spain, Mexico, Germany, Taiwan and Japan, and has a serious case of the travel bug.

George Reid is a retired Registered Nurse from Mayo Clinic. In a former life, he was a golf course designer in Japan, where he met his wife, Karmen. They share a love for travel, gourmet foods, brewpubs, wines and exotic adventures, balancing their champagne tastes on a beer budget! 

The Resilience of a Somalia Shepherd Girl – Habibo Haji, RN-BSN

Habibo HajiDESCRIPTION: From growing up as a shepherd girl in the dessert of Somalia to making her way to becoming a bestselling author and Registered Nurse at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, Habibo will share her extraordinary story of resilience that came from her personal journey and maintaining an attitude of gratitude.

BIO: From shepherd girl in the dessert of Somalia to a bestselling author and Registered Nurse at Mayo Clinic, Habibo’s extraordinary story of how she went from struggling nomad and refugee to working at the number medical facility in the world. Habibo has helped people transformed their lives to be the best version of themselves. Habibo helps people realize struggles and hardship can be harnessed to build resilience and positive outlook in life.



Madeline Van ErtHolistic Empowerment: From Service to Pageantry. The Importance of Having an Opportunity to Examine Passion and our Potential – Madeline Van Ert

DESCRIPTION:  We are all born with great potential, but without encouragement it may never surface. Madeline discusses the discovery of self through many different mediums, and how empowering individuality allows us to see things differently, to come up with unique solutions, and to solve problems in new ways. 

BIO: Madeline is passionate about program development and community partnership. Her dedication to serve and the impact of her programs have earned recognition across the state of Minnesota. A former Miss Minnesota, Madeline has been honored to receive the United Way/KTTC 10 Who Make a Difference Award and the Dale Earnhardt Legend Leadership Award.

What is a Zumbro? Six Views of the River - John Weiss

DESCRIPTION: Come along with John Weiss as he gives several perspectives oWeissn the Zumbro River; fishing it, to camping along it, to being a Citizens Stream Monitor. While all of Rochester lives near it few, he fears, know enough about it. See how one branch begins as a tiny stream in a state park, and how it grows to become part of the main channel. See what kinds of issues confront it. You will even learn how the river got its name (Hint - its root is the same as a famous river of northern Minnesota).

BIO: John Weiss was born and raised in Brainerd. He attended Crosier Seminary in Onamia, studying to be a Catholic priest. He graduated from Crosier High School and spent a year of junior college there until leaving the seminary, He attended St. John’s University where he majored in English and Humanities; he also played soccer and rugby. After graduating, he got a job as a sports writer for the Sun Newspaper chain in the Twin Cities. He left there in November, 1975 and came to the Rochester Post-Bulletin where he was the business writer and later became the outdoors writer. He enjoyed going into the smaller towns and back roads because that is where he found people who interested him.

More than 10 years ago, he began a column called Back Roads about small towns and rural areas. Often, he would just see a picture as he drove past and would take it, then write a story, reversing the usual order of story first, picture second. All the while, he continued to hunt and fish, writing the outdoors column for more than 40 years. He also likes to hike, cam, take pictures and is an avid reader.

John has been a Citizens Stream Monitor for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for about 15 years, monitoring the Zumbro River at Oxbow Park and Genoa 25-30 times a summer. Soon after he started, he was asked to take water samples to Olmsted County for nitrate testing; his is the longest continuous sample in the county and is finally showing disturbing trends.

As a reporter, he has received three to four dozen state or national awards either individually or as part of a team. He has been married 42 years to Debbie; they have three children and two grandchildren.

Tessa LeungOld World versus New World Wines: Where Does Your Palate Lie? (2 part series)– Tessa Leung, GRBC and Tessa’s Office

DESCRIPTION: Have you ever wondered what the difference is between California and French Chardonnay? Does Cabernet from Washington really taste different than Cabernet from Bordeaux? How do I even begin to decipher where to look on a restaurant wine list and find something new that I will fall in love with? Join us as we explore the world of wine by regions, and compare and contrast single varietals and blends to help decipher the intricacies of what you are tasting and why.

This is a two-part class over both sessions. Attendees will register and attend Class One on Whites and Class Two on Reds. Sixteen different wines will be sampled, most in the $45-100 price point. An additional fee of $40 covers wines for both classes, and an engraved WWW keepsake collector glass for each participant. Class is limited to first 40 registrants.

BIO: Tessa Leung is a founding partner of Grand Rounds Brewing Company (GRBC) and their CEO. She started her working life as a nurse, but quickly realized that making food, teaching about wine and brewing beer was much more fun. Inspired by her Grandma “Jewelbox,” a business owner and baker in St. Charles, MN, Tessa has launched restaurants, a brewing company, a wine shop, and two catering companies over the past 12 years and has 1,000 more ideas she’ll continue to pursue. Unless the job of “World Ambassador of Champagne” becomes available. In that case, she's hitting the road! Guided by her mom’s advice to always be honest, remember that everyone deserves a fair shake and work hard, Tessa gives 110% to operating GRBC and training and mentoring its staff. On the rare occasion that she’s not at GRBC, Tessa and her husband, Nelson, enjoy cooking and eating (of course!) and exploring the world with Cortado, the duck-eating, cheese-loving, world-traveling wonder pup.


 2018 Jewelry Raffle

This year's raffle features three beautiful pieces donated by Hight & Randall, Personal Jewelers.  The winner has the choice of one jewelry piece.  Raffle tickets are $10 each and may be purchased in advance by check or at the door.