Author: Mollee Francisco

Last Catch of the Day by MarySue Kroeger MarySue Krueger has always had a love of art, but it took her teenage children being … well, teenagers … to put her on the path to making a career out of it. The longtime Eden Prairie resident creates watercolor paintings of dogs, cats, horses, bunnies, etc., capturing each animal’s individual spirit for their adoring pet parents. MarySue Krueger is an Eden Prairie-based artist specializing in watercolor paintings of pets. Photo courtesy of MarySue Krueger “Even as a little girl, I loved drawing and coloring,” said Krueger. She spent a year studying…

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Hawaii is known for its delicious cuisine — fresh pineapples, savory pork, and colorful poke bowls — but for Matt Rosen of Eden Prairie, it was one fateful bite of a Hawaiian shortbread cookie that changed his life forever. “I absolutely fell in love with shortbread cookies,” he said. Rosen’s head-over-heels tumble in 2017 has since turned into a full-fledged business venture. He is now known as Sergeant Shortbread, offering up one life-changing bite of shortbread after another at farmers markets and local festivals throughout the southwest metro. Baking frenzy After Rosen’s first bite of shortbread, reality quickly set in.…

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Genevieve Gellerman performs with Circus Juventas. Photos courtesy of Circus Juventas Genevieve Gellerman caught her first glimpse of Circus Juventas at the tender age of 8. Watching a friend perform in a show, Gellerman found herself entranced by everything happening in front of her. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this looks like so much fun,'” she said. Not long after, Gellerman signed up for her first circus class. Almost a decade later, the Eden Prairie teenager is now performing in her first Circus Juventas summer show: “Excalibur.” “Excalibur” tells the legendary tale of King Arthur through acrobatic and aerial acts.…

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Eden Prairie resident Mindy Peterson’s podcast, Enhance Life with Music, has become a platform where she explores “a holistic look at the power of music in our everyday lives.” Photo by Meghan Doll Enhancing a dinner party with music, what your musical preferences say about your personality and how music can affect patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia — Mindy Peterson has delved into all of these topics over the last five years with her podcast: Enhance Life with Music. “I really do believe music makes our lives better,” said Peterson. The Eden Prairie resident launched her music-themed podcast in 2019.…

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From left: Michelle Barber portrays Princess Dragomiroff, Andrew May as Hercule Poirot and Eden Prairie native Jane Froiland as Greta Ohlsson in the Guthrie Theatre’s rendition of “Murder on the Orient Express.” Photo courtesy of the Guthrie Theatre Jane Froiland can trace her love of performing all the way back to Sharon Papic’s second grade class at Eden Prairie’s Eden Lake Elementary. Jane Froiland “I had a very generous teacher who let me perform skits,” recalled Froiland. Froiland took advantage of Papic’s generosity and performed as often as possible. Soon, other kids were asking to get involved and Froiland found…

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Avaneesa Iyer may have just reached double digits in age, but the Eden Prairie resident — who goes by Ava — already has two world records to her name. Last summer, Ava became the Kids World Record holder for both the longest hair among girls 7-9 years old and the longest tree pose among any gender 7-9 years old. Kids World Records (KWR) is a website that tracks accomplishments among children between the ages of 4 and 16. KWR provides a platform for kids to explore their interests with enthusiasm and creativity while working towards a concrete goal. “We believe…

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When Giang Nguyen decided he was ready to marry Elizabeth Leppert, he knew that the proposal would need to include two things: a Miniature Schnauzer puppy and a return to the place where they met. It took more than a year of planning (mostly due to the puppy), but 24 years after first laying eyes on Leppert, Nguyen got down on one knee on the grounds of Eden Prairie’s Oak Point Elementary School. Elizabeth Leppert and Giang Nguyen first met in Dianna Kelley’s fifth grade class. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Leppert and Giang Nguyen Leppert said yes, but didn’t immediately…

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At Department 56, it all begins with a story: A young couple celebrating the purchase of their first home, an iconic toy store ready to amaze and delight customers with a magical experience, a little boy who simply wants a Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle for Christmas. These are the stories that Christmas village collectors can’t get enough of, and many of these stories originate at the Department 56 headquarters in Eden Prairie. Each year, Department 56 adds a few pieces to each of its four core Christmas villages. Photo by Mollee Francisco “Every house has…

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As Florida braces to potentially be hit by a rare November hurricane, Eden Prairie Fire Chief Scott Gerber is still processing his recent trip to Florida to help with response efforts following the massive and destructive Category 4 Hurricane Ian. In late September, Gerber was deployed to DeSoto County, north of Fort Myers, as part of the Minnesota All Hazards Incident Management Team. “This is state-to-state mutual aid,” explained Gerber. Scott Gerber (center) addresses a team of volunteers at an emergency management center in DeSoto County, Florida. “The state has great resources, great people to deploy,” he noted, adding that…

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Blake Sorensen didn’t start a business to make money. He started a business to solve a problem. Four years later, that business — Blake’s Seed Based — is taking off and making life easier, and tastier, in the process. Blake Sorensen played football at Eden Prairie High School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Photo courtesy of Blake Sorensen Sorensen, now 34, was just two years old when his parents discovered he had a nut allergy. “I’ve grown up my entire life avoiding certain snacks,” he said. So when the 2007 Eden Prairie High School grad was tasked with solving one…

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