Five stories from KFAI's 10,000 Fresh Voices series:
1. Chocolat Celeste
Produced by Elena Erofeeva & Michael Milligan
After years working on the road and managing a corporate staff of thousands, Mary Leonard decided to shift her focus and manifest her dream of becoming a chocolatier. Her risk paid off. After less than a year in business Chocolat Celeste was awarded for being one of the ten best emerging chocolatiers in America. KFAI producers Elena Erofeeva and Michael Mulligan went to the St. Paul shop to talk to Mary and sample the confections.
2. Nice Girls, Mean Bags
Produced by Todd Melby
"This is what happens when Minnesota nice goes wrong." That's how Meghan McDonald-Heisserer describes the company she started with Christina Nguyen. Called "Maybe You Should Die," the Minneapolis firm sells handmade "Mean Bags" with nasty insults, cards written from the point-of-view of stalkers, kinky cards for lovers and cards that celebrate failure. Says Christine, "We take it to the extreme." KFAI's Todd Melby takes a closer look at this unusual business venture.
3. Sculptor Rabi Sanfo
Produced by Dixie Treichel
Rabi Sanfo, a Burkina Faso native, immigrated to Minneapolis in 2004. Since then, he has put his welding background to use by creating metal sculptures. Although his artistic techniques have evolved over the years, the core theme of his work remains: to share the history and culture of his native Burkina Faso. Sanfo has received numerous awards at juried exhibits and art festivals. He also supports local organizations by donating his work to fund-raising events. Sanfo lives and works in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. "The shapes of my sculptures, furniture and decorative objects are inspired by words, stories, fables and situations that come into my mind, and my culture. By the magic of bending, grinding and welding, I try to give these inspirations a form, an expression and a touch of life so when I get lost in a deep contemplation, I feel like they are living."
4. Harriet Alexander Nature Center
Produced by Maria Almli
Harriet Alexander was a bit of a recluse, so it was quite a surprise when the elderly Roseville, Minnesota, resident left a quarter of a million dollars to the Central Park Foundation after she died. In 1990 the Harriet Alexander Nature Center was built in her honor. Nestled on 52 acres of marsh, woodland and prairie, the Center is a natural respite that offers programs to groups from preschoolers to seniors. KFAI producer Maria Almli paid a visit.
5. University of Minnesota's Experiment Station is a Factory of Innovation
Produced by Michelle Bruch
From "Honeycrisp" apples to "Sven" and "Ole" roses, the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station is a factory of innovation. Headquartered at the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus, the Experiment Station supports 400 research projects in a single year. KFAI's Michelle Bruch highlights a few of the experiments underway.