Posted: February 14th, 2012 | Author: Julie | Filed under: Downtown, Lake Bemidji, Waterfront | No Comments »
What’s wrong with this picture?
Hello! No really, that is me. I know you can’t really see my face, but trust me, it’s me.
If you are down by the waterfront for any amount of time, especially in the summer you will see it over and over and over. People huddled at the feet of Paul Bunyan or Babe his Blue Ox and saying cheese while the one with the camera fumbles with the buttons, trying to get a shot. But did you know for all of these years you (and thousands of others) have been doing it incorrectly?
What? You say. Surely Not! You exclaim.
But, YES, I say. Indeed you are. Jon Heller and I (of First Light Photography/Jon Heller Photography)
have a quick lesson for you.
1) If your intent is to see your subject along with the roadside attraction then have the people stand in the foreground near you with the focus being them and keep the statues in the back.
This photo is not the finished result, rather it is showing you where the people in your photo should be placed. It feels awkward to be that far away from the statues, but you will see in he next pic that the end result is favorable.
2)The camera person steps up closer to the people posing (basically at the curb in this case)
for a final result like this:
See the difference?
3) Trust us
You still see the attraction (P&B) but now you can see the person as well.
If you want a picture of Paul and Babe take one. If you want a picture to show how tall he is compared to your 2 yr old, let the tike run up and hug his legs. But if you are trying to show off friends and family follow these steps.
Now you know!
Posted: November 30th, 2010 | Author: Julie | Filed under: Bemidji Regional Event Center, Uncategorized | 6 Comments »
Photography by Julie Saari
Bemidji Regional Event Center
An entrepreneur, a businessman, and a whiz in sales and marketing, Ryan Thomas represents “The Best of Bemidji”. Founder of The Best of Bemidji quarterly mail circular, he is a man about town. You can find him networking, stopping in on sales calls and checking out business opportunities around town. Or possibly stopping in for a cup of coffee which just might be his fuel. Confident, friendly, and outgoing are the first three words that come to mind when I think of Ryan.
Let’s see what you think of him:
I have a funny feeling that my “Bemidji story” is not unlike that of others.
I came through sheer apathy, but I stayed for the everything — the people, the nature and the culture. Oh, and definitely the hockey.
A very good friend, who graduated from high school one year earlier than me, came to Bemidji State and that was all I needed to apply there, too. Whether through a clerical error, or not, I was somehow admitted.
I also was admitted at my more “hometown” North Dakota State, but never bothered to apply for housing there until I heard they had no dorm space left. This despite the fact that my girlfriend was hellbent on attending NDSU, too. Oops.
So, I moved 100 miles from home to Bemidji, biding my time until I could transfer to NDSU. I kept saying this to myself up through my second junior year. After that, I’d lose too many credits to graduate college in a timely fashion.
After another year and a half of BSU, I left town to pursue a full time career in Brainerd. From there the plan was to put in a couple years, move up the career ladder to the Twin Cities, then conquer the world.
It was that simple.
Just shy of two years in Brainerd, I was wearing my welcome thin and there was an opportunity for career advancement back in Bemidji, so I veered a bit from the plan and came back.
I can honestly say Bemidji State hockey, which had just jumped up to Division I, was what sold me on returning.
I quickly burned bridges at the new job and was unemployed in short order. In my defense, though, telling one of your bosses to perform an impossible sex act on himself was not covered in the employee handbook.
A hasty job search unveiled (Trumpet fanfare, please) a job in the Cities. The night I left behind my beautiful wife, puppy and new home for this notch on the résumé, I cried like a baby the whole time.
That was my “A Ha!” moment. Bemidji was home. Not the flat, treeless Red River Valley. Not soulless Maple Grove North (Brainerd). But the place I’d spent my adult life trying to escape.
Sometimes you need to get kicked in the face to really open your eyes to all that you have.
My weekly commutes over the next few months showed me something: there’s no bumper-to-bumper stop and go traffic into the cities on Sunday nights and Monday mornings, but it’s a bloodbath getting out every Friday.
I’ll spare you the gory details, but yeah I found another job back home — Bemidji, in case you haven’t been paying attention — not at all in my field, but one I enjoy that let’s me commiserate with the best of Bemidji’s wide array of personalities.
Bemidji, thank you for everything.
PS That girlfriend of mine who went to NDSU? She moved up here for college and wisely married me. But that’s another story unto itself.
written by Ryan Thomas
Pics by Julie Saari
Posted: May 24th, 2010 | Author: Julie | Filed under: Downtown, Lake Bemidji, Waterfront | Tags: abuse, Bemidji, Minnesota, moving, strength, This is my town, woman's shelter | 3 Comments »
Lake Bemidji Waterfront
Strong is how I would describe Kathryn Lavelle. Brought here by an abusive man, ripped from the environment she knew and left here to survive on her own- now a single mother after escaping the clutches of yet another abusive relationship. In search for a ticket out of here Kathryn found instead a town that embraced her and helped her heal. She found a place that her life’s pain could be used to help others, she found a home. I will let her explain why Bemidji is her town
I was born on September 5th, 1967 from strong-New York born-half Irish-half Italian-church going-Catholic parents at St. Claire’s Hospital in a small New Jersey town called Denville. I lived in NJ until I was 9 years old and then my family moved to Maryland. I grew up in Maryland…Fallston to be exact…until I entered adulthood.
I attended Fallston High School, where the majority of my time was mostly spent skulking through enemy territory. Fallston was a lily white, somewhat affluent, mostly conservative community that seemed hell bent on showing me to my place and forcing me to stay in it. Let’s face it, at the time I was not pretty…I was not popular…I was not a cheerleader…I was never what you would call successful in school. I always felt out of place…as if I was supposed to be living somewhere else…some magical town or city where I could just be myself, breathe deep and be appreciated for my strengths and talents. I later attended Harford Community College only to eventually find myself great with child as they sometimes say, and I had to drop out after only half a year. I had become a statistic, just another one in my long life of statistics…teen pregnancy…sexual assault survivor…teen dating and domestic violence victim. I found myself a young, single parent living in Baltimore City, bartending week nights at a little motorcycle bar called The Loft so I could try and support my infant son. I eventually met and began dating a man from Minnesota when my son was about 3 years old, and we ended up following him back to his small hometown of Clearbrook. So that’s basically the extremely short, bottom line version of how I actually came to end up here in God’s Country, as some of the old timers are still inclined to call it. Before that point, I hadn’t ever given Minnesota a glancing thought…I’m not even sure I could have found it on a map because Geography was yet another school subject I definitely did not excel at (to the extreme chagrin of my father). My entire life’s game plan (from a 16 year olds perspective) was to hopefully graduate from high school…move to Florida where I’d help a friend’s grandma run her bed and breakfast…and write beautiful poetry to the majestic Sun as he slowly spread his amazing golden red and pink streams across the darkening sky. Talk about your culture shock when I finally ended up in Northern Minnesota…
Marriage number two didn’t fare so well…5 years in all…and I divorced the man we originally followed to Minnesota in the first place. I found myself with 3 kids by then, my two daughters Brianna and Mollie who were 3 and 4 years of age…and of course my son David who was 7 by that time. I was fully intending on moving back to Maryland with my tail tucked between my legs so I could hear family members say, “I told you so” for about the next 20 years. I moved out of our home in Clearbrook and got as far as Bemidji where I found a small trailer…REALLY small…in Northern Township. We signed the rental agreement, month to month, and then the children and I moved in. My plan was to work until I had just enough money to get bus tickets for me and the kids. Then we’d travel back to the East Coast so I could start from scratch yet again.
That was 14 years ago and I have lived in Minnesota a total of 19 years…5 years in Clearbrook and 14 years in Bemidji…almost half my life has been lived up here in the great Northland. You may be wondering then, why I never moved back to Baltimore. I didn’t move back because…when a place gets a hold of you…it gets into your blood, brain and bone. It sings to your spirit and says, “Where have you been? I’ve been waiting for you! Better late than never, girlfriend…better late than never!” I got as far as Bemidji and realized…almost as soon as the first box was unpacked…that I was here to stay…that this was HOME! And all of my best laid plans…my eventual escape from Minnesota back to the East Coast from whence I came…became thwarted by this wonderful, eccentric place of energy and possibilities. Bemidji had in fact gotten a hold of me. I would like to add that my Brooklyn born, Irish East Coast bred dad finally ended up following me here to Bemidji after a few visits, and has lived here now for about 7 years. All of my social activist tendencies have come from this man…and it’s been wonderful having him here to spend time with…where he has had the opportunity to watch his grandchildren grow…and now has that same opportunity with his great-grandchildren! And he too, has come to think of Bemidji as his home.
At this point in my life I consider B-town to be my one true hometown, because it was the one I had been waiting half my life to find. Bemidji was the place where I first found my stage legs, my performer’s heart and my singer’s voice. It was the place where I became trapped in an abusive 10 year marriage from hell (my 3rd one) and yet it was also the place that helped me use those horrific experiences to reach out and teach others so they could begin their own journey of healing. It was the place that showed me unbearable heartbreak, pain and sorrow and yet it was also the place that gave me renewed hope and finally…FINALLY…true and unconditional love! It is the place where my children grew up and my grandchildren now embark on their own journey of growing and learning. It is the place where I live and work and breathe and dance and count my abundant blessings. Bemidji is the lake, the land and the sky…coming together to form a more perfect union of township and rural living. Bemidji brought my husband Cody and I together and Bemidji is where we’ll grow old together…me probably a little faster than him since he’s 12 years younger…but together none the less!
I love so many things in, around and about Bemidji.
..I love the Diamond Point Park…I love the lake trail…I love Preachers Grove in Itasca State Park where Cody asked me to be his wife…I love Paul Bunyan Broadcasting where I am currently embarking on a new career as a part time weekend DJ…I love the Wild Hare Bistro and Coffee House because sometimes “you just wanna go where everyone knows your name”, and they even remember what your usual is when it’s too damn early in the morning for you to verbalize it! I love the smell of Harmony Coop and Sunrise Natural Foods, and the wonderful people who work there and lovingly share their wisdom and knowledge. I love having a pint of Guinness at Brigids Cross Irish Pub because it reminds me of the Cat’s Eye in Fells Point, Baltimore. I love being able to walk into my local bank where the tellers know my first name and they’re always letting me know how much they enjoyed the last play or performance I was in. I love how random people see me walking down the sidewalk and ask how my family is. This is the kind of magic you don’t get in a large city…the magic of people connecting on a personal and emotional level that we sometimes take for granted. There are subcultures within our fair city that are reminiscent of true M. Scott Peck communities, and for me these pockets of evolving humanity are essential for my survival as a true human being…to know that people care about me and for me and are working with me to make the world a better place. I like to think of myself as a true Bemidjian because so many people in this town know me…what I’m about… and they still don’t try to change who I am. What an empowering feeling that is! People who live here can be their own true selves, and that in itself is a wonderful gift. I feel I am accepted and in some cases even respected (I hope!) for my domestic violence experience and the work I do to bring education and empowerment to northern community members. In Bemidji I am most recognized as being the domestic violence outreach and education coordinator for Northwoods Coalition for Family Safety…but I am also known for many others things as well. Bemidji has never tried to keep me in a box, rather it has allowed me to experience life on many levels. I have been an actor…a writer…a poet and playwright…a singer…a friend…a wife…a mother and a grandmother…a social activist…and I am very content to live out the rest of my days here, growing and learning while weaving my life in and around the diverse seasons and landscapes of the area.
So to wrap up and bottom line my story…who am I? I am an aging hippie living with her younger husband in an Earth home in Northern Township with 6 cats, 2 dogs and a large corn snake. I am the proud mother of three amazing adults and two gorgeous grandbabies. I am a good someone to have in your corner if your back is up against the wall because I will fight hard for what’s right and just. I am the one who will stop and be late for work if an animal is hurt on the side of a road because I must get out and try to help it. I am the one with an overflowing full plate and a few more on the back burner thrown in for good measure. I am a loyal friend and a relentless foe. And I am…most certainly…a true and loyal fan of my adopted home town…better late than never…Bemidji Minnesota!!!
Written by Kathryn Anne Lavelle
pics by Julie Saari
Northwoods Coalition for Family Saftey’s website HERE