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

February, 2015
Habitat News Tribune
A Message from the Editor
Greetings and best wishes to you all from your humble editor. 

Take heart, for the month is February [at the time of this writing, that is, sorry about that] which means that spring should be just around the corner. Should, of course, is the operative word for Wisconsin, as recent years have demonstrated. Snow storm in May? Not off the table. But let us not grouse too much about the weather as short of packing everything up and making a break for the Mason Dixon line there is nothing one can do about it. Grit your teeth, bundle up, and forget the cold by reading about SCV-Habitat's latest news. 

Per ardua ad astra.
-John Thompson   
Eco Village Receives Even More National Acclaim 
Every year Habitat for Humanity International releases a "Shelter Report" regarding some facet of home-building. This year the Shelter Report focused on energy efficiency, and of course our Eco Village received a profile. The article discusses home-owner partner Sara Zugschwert and her Eco Village home, the most energy efficient domicile in the state of Wisconsin. The shelter report can be found in its entirety on the Habitat for Humanity International website, here; page 12 is the Eco Village profile.
Donate a Vehicle to SCV-Habitat and Help us Build Houses

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

Kelly Cain



Sarah Bruch
Vice President 

Don Richards

Bill Stokes

Carol Merriman

Peter Kilde

Heather Logelin

Roger Pavlis 

Joel Skinner

Joe Greatens

Maureen Otwell

Bill Richard

Dennis Schmidt:
Project Specialist
A Brush With Kindness
Joel Palmquist:
Construction Manager
Debbie Murtha:
Office Manager
Amy Henry:
Office Assistant
Andy Scheiderer:
ReStore Manager - New Richmond
Chris Otten:
Donation Supervisor - New Richmond
Jason Dale:
Pick-Up Coordinator
Brenda Berner:
ReStore Office Assistant - New Richmond

Sarah Rose:
ReStore Manager -River Falls

Paul Ritzinger:
Donation Supervisor - River Falls
John Thompson:
AmeriCorps VISTA/
E-Newsletter Editor
Spring Donation Drive at New Richmond ReStore
Our redoubtable New Richmond ReStore wants your help! With spring just around the corner the time is now for a donation drive. If you have quality new or gently used building materials, furniture, or working appliance please do consider bringing them to the ReStore as a tax deductible donation, or if your donations are too bulky to bring in yourself please call our Donation Pickup Hotline to schedule a pickup. Our ReStores thrive on new inventory, so get a jump start on your spring cleaning and donate today!

901B N. Knowles Ave. 
New Richmond, WI 54017 
Manager Andy Scheiderer's phone: 715-246-4441
Donation Pickup Hotline: 715-690-4984 
Two Home Dedications in January


Habitat for Humanity's raison d'Ítre is, first and foremost, to provide families in need with the structure, stability, self-assurance, and security that accompanies home ownership. We believe that a stable home possesses the ability to provide families and individuals with a sense of place, a sense of community, a sense that, though we may still be subject to the capricious whims of fate, we may nevertheless possess a modest yet decent, safe, and affordable domicile to call our own.


We at SCV-Habitat are proud to report that January saw the dedication ceremonies of two more homes in our nationally renowned Eco Village. The keys of houses 11 and 12 were turned over to their elated owners, amid thralls of family, friends, volunteers, and staff.


House 11: Mary Voje


Mary Voje is the mother of three. Two of her children have reached adulthood and have already taken flight and left the nest, but daughter Allison is ten years old and is still very much in need of the stability and assurance that is the product of decent, safe, affordable, and sustainable housing. Four years ago Mary and Allison found themselves living in a dwelling converted from a small office owned by Mary's brother. The domicile was in Mary's words,"well built and adorable," however Marry's issues stemmed from the converted office being a "very small living space and [with] only one bedroom it was getting smaller and smaller as Allison got older." With two bedroom apartments too expensive to rent, Mary found herself, like Odysseus of myth, caught between Scylla and Charybdis. But hark, SCV-Habitat was capable of steering Mary safely out of those turbulent and foreboding waters and into the serene tranquility of the Eco Village. 


"I have never been involved with an organization as incredible as this one. EVERYONE I have met here is so down to earth, so caring, so positive, so full of energy and INTEGRITY - I've never seen anything like it!  They enjoy their work and you can't help but to have fun working with them!"


- Mary Voje


House 12: Cori Fosmo


Cori Fosmo was the other honoree of the dedication ceremony. A full write-up on Cori will be forthcoming, but suffice it to say Cori - a Program Associate at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls - is positively ecstatic about moving into the Eco Village.


Of course, such a feat would certainly not be possible without the combined efforts of all of our volunteers, staff, organizational partners, donors, committee members, and Board of Directors. Thank you to everyone who has had a hand in making this momentous event possible, and congratulations to Mary Voje and Cori Fosmo - your hard work, industriousness, and dedication have paid dividends and your goal has come to fruition at last. 

Mary Voje (third from left) and Cori Fosmo (far right) at their groundbreaking ceremony.
Mary Voje (second from left in background) and daughter Allison (third from right in background) presented with Mary's birthday cake at her dedication, as the two joyous occasions serendipitously overlapped.
Students of Westside Elementary School presenting Cori Fosmo with her "welcome wagon" - assorted household supplies donated to each homeowner by Westside. Although the welcome wagon project is a school-wide endeavor, the school staff in attendance at this ceremony were Nancy Lindquist, Missy Murphy, Nathan McReynolds, and Principal Rita Humbert. Thank you to everyone at Westside for such a thoughtful and neighborly gift to our homeowner-partners.
Join our FAM Club!
St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity has a new website, and with said website we have a bevy of new features. One such feature is our Fifteen Dollars a Month Club (FAM Club). The FAM Club is an exciting and hassle-free way to support the continued development of decent, safe, affordable, and sustainable housing in Pierce and St. Croix Counties. When one signs up for the FAM Club our trusted banking partner, Bremer Bank, will handle a secure transfer of 15 dollars (or more) from your bank account to ours every month. Each month, for less than a couple meals at a restaurant, you can help provide a home for a local family in need. To sign up for the FAM club please email our Development Director Susan Capparelli, or contact the office and ask for Susan (715-425-5623). We at St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity would like to extend a very heartfelt and humble thank you to all of our donors for your beneficence, it is through your contributions that we may continue our righteous work.
Staff of the Month: Chris Otten

Chris Otten: Lumberjack. Wildland Firefighter. World Traveler. Outdoorsman. Workaholic. The legendary Chris Otten has many titles, but the one that we at St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity are most pleased with is New Richmond ReStore Donations Supervisor. Chris joined the SCV-Habitat family this winter. A close personal friend of the son of Andy Scheiderer, our New Richmond ReStore Manager and all around great guy, Chris came highly recommended. But this was no nepotistic hire, Chris immediately proved his mettle and his propensity for near superhuman levels of store organization, furniture moving, and handy-maning. Indeed, though Chris does not self-identify as a workaholic, he clearly possess Teddy Roosevelt's affinity for the "strenuous life." Observing Chris at work is akin to watching da Vinci sculpt or Robert Fripp work a fretboard - one observes the sensation of watching a master at work: purposeful and industrious with a phlegmatic ease and confidence. This Yamamoto Tsunetomo-esque commitment to excellence will certainly prove advantageous to Chris in his quest to become a search and rescue worker out west. But for the immediate future, we are fortunate to have Chris on board as our undauntable Donations Supervisor. Keep up the superlative work Chris. 


I will leave you now with a quote from Chris Otten's personal hero, which I believe perfectly encapsulates Chris Otten's philosophy of St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity and his place within our organization.

"Teamwork: Work together as if your life depends on it... IT DOES!" 

-Ron Swanson     

A Hello to Kings
Last month we bid adieu to three stalwart members of the SCV-Habitat Board of Directors, Joan Bartz, Rollie Johnson, and Dave Meier. All three served honorably and capably and we are disheartened to see them depart our venerated ranks. But, out of the ashes the phoenix will rise, and it is my pleasure to announce our newest board members: Kelly Cain, Bill Richard, and Maureen Otwell.  

Maureen Otwell has a long and storied history in the museum/public history field. She served as the Assistant Director for the Minnesota Historical Society Museum, supervising the Educational Services, Exhibitions, Public Relations and Marketing, Museum Collections, and Museum Evaluations departments. During her tenure, the Minnesota Historical Society received national acclaim and awards. Maureen also served as the Director for the Great River Road Interpretive Center in Prescott and the Principal in Otwell Museum Consulting, an independent museum management consulting service.   

Bill Richard comes to us with a significant background in information technology and management. Currently Bill holds a Senior Manager of IT Operations position with MoneyGram, and he has held a series of prestigious and diverse positions prior. Bill has served as the Director and Senior Manager of IT at United Health Group, Managing Partner at Creative Storage Solutions (a custom closet and wine cellar distributor), a variety of IT positions at HealthPartners, Unit Director of the Boys and Girls Club of St. Paul, and product advisory board member of Rockler Woodworking and Hardware.      

Finally, I would be remiss if I neglected to mention Joel Skinner. Joel joined our Board last year with nary a mention in the newsletter (sorry Joel). He hails from Elkhart, Indiana and decided to move up North after a trip to the majestic Boundary Waters. Joel attended school at Indiana University and the deliciously named Hamline University and has practiced intellectual property law in Hudson since 1993. Joel enjoys volunteering his time to "organizations that help with the basics like education, health care, food and water, and the like." Thus, in addition to serving on SCV-Habitat's Board of Directors Joel also volunteers with Rotary Club, the Hudson Community Foundation, Phipps Theater, the St. Croix Valley Bar Association, and a local Lake Association.    
Volunteer of the Month Kelly Cain
Hail to the chief! Our incoming president Kelly Cain is a true environmental pioneer. From an early age Kelly has cultivated a passion for environmental and sustainability issues. Kelly is the "founder and Executive Director of the St. Croix Institute and Emeritus Professor of Environmental Science, Management, and Land Use Planning at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls." The St. Croix Institute "provides a holistic systems approach to integrated entrepreneurial planning, design, development, and assessment of sustainable business and self-sufficient community models." In 2007, when Kelly joined the SCV-Habitat Board of Directors, the Eco Village was simply an idea being bandied about, but that idea received a Brobdingnagian ally when Kelly's St. Croix Institute became "intensely involved" with the planning and implementation of SCV-Habitat's visionary project. Kelly and wife Ruth, to borrow a phrase, "walk the talk" in their own lives by living sustainably

"on a 5-acre permaculture farm within an 80-acre intentional community" that they helped found in 1990. 

In the years ahead, SCV-Habitat will undoubtedly profit immeasurably from Kelly's vast insight into, and extensive experience with, all things green. Welcome aboard, Mr. President!

"It is my humble honor to now serve as Board President after so many others who have proceeded me, and to help support our affiliate's work in completion of [Eco Village 1] and the launch of [Eco Village 2]."


- Kelly Cain

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