The Free Press, Mankato, MN

July 7, 2013

Riverfront venue kudo deserved

The Mankato Free Press

---- — Thumbs up to the Vetter Stone Amphitheater in Mankato‚Äôs Riverfront Park.

The amphitheater was recently was named a top outdoor stage for concert goers in or near the Twin Cities.

The stage was ranked fourth in a Top 10 listing by Star Tribune columnist Chris Riemenschneider.

The honor confirms what area residents who've attended an event at the park already know. The tiered seating made of local Kasota stone, the expansive grassy area, the layout of the park and its beautiful site along the Minnesota River combine for a great music and events venue.

Community shines with family support

Thumbs up to all who have shown support for the family of Alyssa Sandeen recently and over the years.

Her story has become well-known to many in Mankato. She received a heart transplant when she was just 8-years old and another more recently. All appears to be going well.

Although one can expect family and relatives of the Sandeen family to always be supportive in those trying times, the Mankato community as a whole has really joined in this support. After Alyssa received her transplant, some 50 friends and family showed up to visit her almost immediately. There are many other examples of support from the community to the family.

The Sandeens have come to realize this and made public their gratitude time and again through Facebook postings and calls to local media to update the community.

It may not be unusual that such support is given to a family, but it does seem unusual in how far the support goes into the community.

Editorial Board

Food Shelf collection showed success

Thank you to all who donated non-perishable food items and cash donations to the St. Peter Area Chapter of Thrivent Financials for Lutherans Food Shelf Collection Project during the St. Peter Old Fashioned 4th of July parade.

Our many volunteers collected 415 pounds of food and we raised $831.80 in cash donations. In addition, the St. Peter Area Chapter of Thrivent will be providing supplemental funding of $1,000 so a total of $1,831.80 will be donated to the St. Peter and New Ulm Food shelves.

Look for us next year and we hope that our project will be an even bigger success in the future. Thank you for your generosity!

Nancy Thorkelson

St. Peter Area Chapter Vice President

Winona theater offer summer fun

Thumbs up to Winona's summer arts events.

If it weren't for the admirable offerings of the Highland Summer Theatre at Minnesota State University, the theater scene here would be empty. Likewise live concerts.

We used to have the Minnesota Valley Sommerfest for 17 summers, and the Minnesota Orchesta Sommerfest up in Minneapolis, but sadly these are no more. However, we would like to let readers of The Free Press know of a wonderful opportunity.

Winona has a fabulous Shakespeare Festival, now in its 10th season. We have just seen "King Henry V" and "Twelfth Night." Google them at: "Great River Shakespeare Festival" to see their website with delightful videos.This is equity theater with a great educational outreach.

Winona is also host to the Minnesota Beethoven Festival, a series of 10 performances by various artists in July. Check out the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, where the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation, benefactor to many events in Mankato and St. Peter, supported marine artists, featuring the work of 100 contemporary artists from across America. On July 20 there is a Family Fest, free admission, craft projects, even fishing in the Mississippi with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

It's a Christmas treat in July.

Sara and John McKay

St. Peter