People Stories

Of all the amazing things that make up our region, the most amazing of all are the people! Of all the things we want to write about, our highest priority is to write about the folks doing creative things. Let us introduce you to just a few of your neighbors in these Greater Mankato Area people stories!

Photo by Don Lipps - Michael Cimino Mural on the side of Whimsy and Weathered - Mankato, MN

A Little Whimsy, A Little Weathered – Old Town Shop Enjoys Success

Mother and daughter team, Denise David and Jes Tano, talk about their shop, Whimsy and Weathered in Old Town Mankato and the need for expansion just three years after launch.
Submitted Photo - Offerings from Najwa's Catering in Mankato, MN

Mankato Staple – Najwa Massad & Najwa’s Catering

Najwa Massad has come a long way - from Lebanon, to running several successful business, to becoming the mayor of Mankato. Beneath it all is a heart that beats with a love for family, her community, and hospitality.
Photo by Rachael Jeager - Some of Sister Mary Ann Osborne's woodcarving tools

Sister Mary Ann Osborne – Crafting Peace and Hope

Sister Mary Ann Osborne, SSND, expresses hope and peace through her craft of wood carving.
Snake Oil

One-Woman Show – Historical Reenactor Susan Hynes

You'll find Susan Hynes at all sorts of southern Minnesota events recreating all sorts of historically accurate characters.
Blacksmith forge

Takara Olson – Fire forged

Very few people know what they want to do at a young age. Takara Olson knew she wanted to be a blacksmith and that's exactly what she's doing.
Photo by Kyle Zeiszler - Dana Sikkila riding on Project Bike in Minneapolis

A Talk With 410 Project Director Dana Sikkila – What’s Next For Project Bike?

Even though Dana Sikkila has peddled her last mile on Project Bike, Project Bike is far from over. Grace Brandt chats with Dana to discuss what's next including a full-length documentary and an exhibit at Minneapolis St. Paul Airport.
Submitted Photo - Lonesome Ron Affolter

Lonesome Ron – The King of the Valley Yodelers

Lonesome Ron Affolter, The King of the Valley Yodelers, is at the center of a large number of history and old west driven events. In the unlikely event that you haven't met him, Grace Brandt provides an introduction.
Antique vintage typewriter, Royal Quiet Deluxe

Mankato Man – The Many Hats of Mike Lagerquist

Mike Lagerquist has been an active part of the Greater Mankato Area arts and culture scene for many years. MankatoLIFE is proud to announce that he'll be joining the team as a regular contributor.
Photo courtesy of Bob Kreuzer - The North Mankato Lift Station, nicked named "Gilligan's Island," surrounded by sandbags to hold back Minnesota River flood waters as the waters were beginning to recede.

Gilligan’s Island, Bob Kreuzer, and the Flood of 1965

During the Mankato and North Mankato Flood of 1965, workers manned shifts twenty feet below ground while sandbagging teams above made an island for the Mankato and North Mankato history books.
Submitted photo - Finished ceramics from ARTifact - Mankato MN

Cultivating Creativity at ARTifact

Kim Ruby founded ARTifact in Mankato to provide a place for people to gather together around creativity.