"A world where everyone has a decent place to live..."

August 2014
Habitat News
A Special Thank You to James Brown
No, not the prolific funk pioneer who electrified audiences worldwide in the 60s and 70s - rest in peace, Godfather of Soul - the James Brown we would like to thank is a highly generous soul who recently donated $13,000 worth of building materials to our River Falls ReStore, including some beautiful Andersen windows that have yet to be sold. It is through the largess of good people like Mr. Brown that SCV Habitat can continue unabated with our mission to help eliminate poverty housing in the St. Croix Valley. In the immortal words of James Brown's namesake, "the pantry is big enough for everyone, you gotta take some...and leave some." Trust me when I say that we feel good about James Brown. 
Above: Not the James Brown discussed in this article.
A Message from the Editor
Greetings and best wishes to you all from your humble editor. Regrettably this message must begin with an apology. Some of you may recall reading about a Joe Greateus in last month's E-newsletter. Since that newsletter was sent out to you fine folks I have come to realize that Joe's last name is actually Greatens. The culprit for this embarrassing and unfortunate oversight has been traced to none other than sloppy handwriting on my behalf. This is not the first time I have been sabotaged by my atrocious penmanship, and sadly, if trends continue, it seems this may be far from the last. So to you, Joe Greatens, and to all of you faithful readers I would like to extend my sincerest apologies for that faux pas. I will do my level best to make sure such blunders do not appear in subsequent iterations of this newsletter. 

While we are on the subject of sour news, we here at SCV Habitat would like to extend our best wishes to an injured comrade. Andy Scheiderer, our New Richmond ReStore manager and all around great guy, is convalescing from a nerve injury, and we would like to wish him an expeditious and absolute recovery. Andy is an exemplary manager, a skilled craftsman, and always an absolute pleasure to interact with. Feel better champ.  

Towards the bottom of this newsletter there is a piece that explores, in part, a philosophical notion by 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Just so there is no confusion, I would like to state outright and forcefully that neither myself, nor anyone at St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity, is endorsing any philosophical ideas from Mr. Nietzsche; rather I simply wished to explore one particular subset of Nietzschean philosophy as an interesting and slightly goofy thought experiment. For I wish this newsletter to be as intellectually stimulating and entertaining as possible. So from time to time I may briefly explore a philosophical or historical topic I find to be at least tangentially related to something that happened at SCV Habitat, and I would like to make clear that any such mention is not an endorsement of any kind. Habitat for Humanity is, and always has been, an ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to fighting substandard housing.     
Finally, I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to those who offered words of praise for my first edition of the Habitat E-newsletter. Concerned, was I, that my verbose and turgid prose - my default writing style contrived in the grueling crucible of graduate school - would come off as pretentious and alienating. I do sincerely hope that this is not the case, and the kind words I have received seem to suggest that I have nothing to fear. With that said, I am always open to, and appreciative of, constructive criticism. For it is through criticism that we receive the foundation upon which we build our self improvements. As such is the case, you may, if you are so inclined, direct comments, questions, concerns, critiques, or corrections regarding this newsletter to john.thompson@scvhabitat.org. Thank you for reading, and thank you for your support.    

Per ardua ad astra.
-John Thompson   
 
Papa Murphy's Bake N' Build
Papa Murphy's Pizza is coming to River Falls, and they are bringing a little charity with their pizza. During "Spirit Week" - October 6th through 10th - Papa Murphy's will be accepting coupon vouchers for a $5.00 large pizza. For each $5.00 pizza sold during Spirit Week Papa Murphy's will donate $5.00 to SCV Habitat. We will be handing these vouchers out at the River Falls ReStore and at our office at 166 East Elm Street. We will let you know when those vouchers become available, and in the meantime feel free to stop by our ReStore or our office to pick up a different Papa Murphy's coupon card, complements of the house, as Lloyd the Bartender would say. We will let you know when the coupons become available, so keep your eyes and ears open for that announcement, and make sure to stop by Papa Murphy's on the week of October 6th and get yourselves some delicious, ready-to-bake pizza. 
Schwan's Fundraiser
Help us build homes through Schwan's! For every purchase, Schwan's will donate 20% in support of our campaign. 
Click here for more information 

Board of Directors
2013-2014

Dave Meier

President

 

Carol Merriman
Vice President 

Don Richards
Secretary

Bill Stokes
Treasurer

Directors
Joan Bartz

Sarah Bruch

Kelly Cain

Rollie Johnson

Peter Kilde

Heather Logelin

Roger Pavlis 

Joel Skinner

 

Staff
Dennis Schmidt:
Project Specialist
 
Joel Palmquist:
Construction Manager
 
Debbie Murtha:
Office Manager
 
Amy Henry:
Office Assistant
  
Andy Scheiderer:
ReStore Manager - New Richmond
 
Vincent Solorio:
Donation Supervisor 
 
Jason Dale:
Pick-Up Coordinator
 
Brenda Berner:
ReStore Office Assistant

Sarah Rose:
ReStore Manager -River Falls
 
John Thompson:
AmeriCorps VISTA/
E-Newsletter Editor

Paul Capparelli:
Summer Construction VISTA

River Falls ReStore: 

"A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step." 

- Laozi

In my previous newsletter I claimed St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity to be "perhaps the most ambitious Habitat affiliate around." These were not idle words. Subsequent to the typing of those superlatives our second ReStore took its first flight, on untried yet determined wings, out of the nest to soar ever upward towards a profitable and resplendent future. Let us examine now the fledgling efforts of this noble aspiration.
The above photograph elucidates the progress we have made with our new ReStore better than all of my purple prose could ever hope to accomplish. Legions of steadfast and unwavering souls have labored like Hercules to make this grand undertaking an unmitigated success. I am pleased to say that the ReStore, despite being open for only a short while, has already born witness to a cavalcade of intrigued customers and some truly substantial sales, including two glorious camping chairs and a brand new kitchen knife to none other than your humble editor. In fact, the ReStore has already reached a level of self sufficiency that seemed to be light years away only last month. 

Sarah Rose remains resolutely and capably at the helms like a benevolent Wolf Larson, and much like Jack London's indomitable sea captain Sarah is now the leader of a regular crew of her own - though certainly the morale of Sarah's volunteers is infinity higher than those aboard Larson's infamous Ghost. We are still, however, looking for dependable and industrious volunteers to help process, repair, clean, display, and move merchandise. If you are interested give Sarah a call or an email at 715-629-7748; sarah.rose@scvhabitat.org.    

Also of note, Andy Scheiderer, performed some much needed carpentry work at the River Falls ReStore. And of course the Jason Dale-Paul Capparelli-John Thompson pickup team/resident stooges continue unabated with their exemplary work, running into all sorts of colorful and fascinating folks as they make their rounds picking up donations for ReStore. Finally, Jason Dale deserves additional accolades for his brilliant organizational efforts at the River Falls ReStore.

We still have a veritable menagerie of wares to sell at an outstanding price, and our selection is ever-changing and grows by the week. So if you need high quality building materials or furniture but don't want to pay retail price come on down to 109 W Cedar Street, right next to Jensen Automotive.    

Of course, another SCV Habitat program joined its ReStore brother in its inaugural flight this month. Our A Brush With Kindness project made its debut on the first of August in Hudson. As of this writing the project is still ongoing, so look for a special A Brush With Kindness edition of this newsletter later this month.
Staff of the Month: Amy Henry 
When meeting Amy Henry, inevitably the first thing one will notice about this esteemed colleague of mine is her folksy Wisconsin charm. Indeed, Amy is always a delight to interact with, so it was my great pleasure to have interviewed her for this distinguished newsletter. Amy's pleasant personality undoubtedly proved to be beneficial to her in her previous vocation as a small business owner. Indeed, for eight years Amy co-owned and operated Henry's Bar and Grill in Chetek, WI with her husband, Chris. Amy also has experience in the clerical and financial fields which are certainly a boon to her here as she was hired by SCV Habitat last year to look after the bookkeeping - accounts payable/receivable, bill entering, reconciling mortgages, and the like. But as Amy elucidated in her interview, her actual responsibilities are dynamic and multifarious. In fact, the fluid and varied nature of the job is both a delectation and an obstruction for Amy. Her love of SCV Habitat - both its mission of helping people help themselves through efficient, affordable housing, and its office full of lovably idiosyncratic and eclectic folks - keeps Amy content and fulfilled. And in the end, what more could one want from a job?   
Volunteer of the Month: Workforce Resources
As mentioned in my previous newsletter, the good folks at St. Croix County Workforce Resources were instrumental in the development of our River Falls ReStore. This month, let us examine more closely Workforce Resources and the young yet worldly and professional Ben Spafford who made such a splendiferous feat possible. I had the good fortune of sitting down with Ben and an upstanding young man named Mike Weidell - a member of the Workforce Resources team who has done multiple tours of duty in the River Falls ReStore - to talk a little bit about the program.   

I was informed by our friend Ben Spafford that Workforce Resources is a state funded organization dedicated to helping community members better prepare themselves for the workforce. Workforce Resources helps out in a variety of ways, including interview assistance, job courses, internship acquisition, career counseling, and youth programs that help young people learn about blue-collar careers and community service. 

Ben is a man of 20 who attends North Central University in Minneapolis, where he is majoring in Business and Youth Development. He first got involved with Workforce Resources his senior year of high school when he served as their Media Specialist. 

Mike Weidell is going to be a senior at River Falls High School, and he first heard about Workforce Resources through his teachers who thought the program would be a good fit for Mike.

Both of my subjects spoke very highly of the program. Ben, although a bit trepidatious about his young age, has valued highly the leadership experience and responsibility inherent in such a position, and his zeal for helping people find and realize their passion was readily apparent. Mike feels as though he has benefited from the knowledge, responsibility, and work experience he has cultivated through Workforce Resources. 

So to Ben Spafford, Mike Weidell, and all of the members of Workforce Resources who have dedicated their time and labor to our noble ReStore, I would like to extend my thanks on behalf of everyone here at St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity.

"Thus the dream becomes not one man's dream alone, 
But a community dream. 
Not my dream alone, but our dream. 
Not my world alone, 
But your world and my world, 
Belonging to all the hands who build."

- Langston Hughes 
The Workforce Resources crew poses during a productive day at the ReStore.
Ramblin' Men (and Women)
Perhaps you have seen them rumbling down the interstate, the behemoths of the road, traveling in phalanx like Hannibal's elephants of antiquity. Caravanners - the folks you see trundling along in their RVs and motor homes, always on the prowl to destinations unknown. "Who are these mysterious travelers of the road," you may have mused to yourself at one point or another. In fact, so curious are caravanners that they have made their way into the realms of popular culture. Master of horror Stephen King recently made caravanners an integral facet of his sequel to The Shining, imagining a certain sect of caravanners as a race of nomadic, bloodthirsty vampiric creatures who travel from town to town preying upon the innocent. 

We here at SCV Habitat know the truth about caravanners. Caravanners are Care-A-Vanners in our parlance - dedicated and hardworking people who travel via mobile home to Habitat builds all over North America. In contrast to the malicious image Mr. King has imagined, Care-A-Vanners are people who hold honorable and beneficent ideals - dedicated to uplifting not just their own communities, but communities all over this great land. 

Cunning and intelligent people, Care-A-Vanners - like migratory birds - change locations with the seasons. While the rest of us either languish in the unforgiving southern heat or enter into a state of near hibernation in any building sufficiently heated enough to escape the frigid northern winter, Care-A-Vanners follow the seasons to avoid either extreme. Wisconsin in August, Florida in January - we should all be so lucky. 

But ask any Care-A-Vanner, and they will likely tell you that escaping temperature extremes is not their primary motivation. Indeed, from the vantage point of your humble editor, Care-A-Vanners are devoutly dedicated to Habitat's mission of mitigating poverty housing conditions, and we are so very fortunate to have the support of these Dickey Betts-esque volunteers.  

Your humble editor was only on the construction site for a very short while, but the sense of accomplishment by the end of the second week was palpable and readily apparent. The Care-A-Vanners had worked with feverish, determined intensity on our Eco Village, by all accounts putting up siding with the ease of Paul Bunyan felling a swath of the Northwoods with his mighty ax. Morale, already certainly high, was buoyed even further by local caterer Amy Field and her daughter Kathryn. I had heard tell of Amy's legendary chicken salad, but there are not enough superlatives in the English language to describe how truly delectable and satiating it was. 

So to the following amicable and industrious nomads and semi-nomads we at SCV Habitat would like to express our unbending gratitude:
Tom and Peggy Wilcox of South Padre Island, TX
Loren and Donna Burkett of Lombard, IL
Carl and Arletta Schaffer of Alpine, CA
Ron and Jean Gratz of Livingston, TX
John and Joanne Mills of Lake Crystal, MN

And to Chuck and Judy Sambs, staunch and devoted volunteers, for coordinating this noble and profitable endeavor. 

And to Amy and Kathryn Field for their toothsome feasts. 

And finally, none of this, of course, would be possible without our stalwart and intrepid site supervisor Joel Palmquist, who week after week strides about with the Eco Village on his capable shoulders like Atlas of myth.    
Care-A-Vanners at Lunch.
Progress.
Thus Spoke Extreme Panel 
There have been many breathtaking and remarkable feats in human history: the extravagant step pyramids of Mesoamerica, the conquest of Eurasia by the invincible Mongol legions of Genghis Khan, famed swordsman Miyamoto Musashi never, in his life, losing a duel - the list goes on and on. According to German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, humans are driven to accomplish awe-inspiring feats and strive for astonishing heights due to an inborn trait within the human psyche. Nietzsche referred to this yearning for greatness and achievement as the "will to power" - humanity's primary driving force.

Nietzsche's "will to power" was certainly on display at the Eco Village when Extreme Panel claimed they could build a house - from panels to roof - in one day. Such a feat may seem like a true Gordian knot, but like Alexander the Great, Extreme Panel cut swiftly and decisively through the impossible knot. Exemplary planning, stick-to-itiveness, and some serious elbow grease won eternal glory for Extreme Panel even when faced with inhospitable weather conditions. Well done, Extreme Panel. Truly your legend will immortalize you in the pantheon of extraordinary blitz builds.
Nietzsche would certainly call this group ‹bermenschen.
Farewell, Comrade!
Paul Capparelli, the plucky and industrious young AmeriCorps VISTA intern we were so fortunate to have work with us this summer, is leaving this month. Paul is college-bound, heading down to La Crosse, WI to study accounting at Viterbo University. It is a bittersweet departure as we will certainly miss Paul's understated charm, zest for life, and zany antics around the office, but we also realize that Paul is off to accomplish great things and undergo many invaluable life experiences. Shine on, you crazy diamond! You will be missed.
The Man, the Myth, the Legend:





St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity
116 E. Elm Street
River Falls, WI 54022