Meredith Holt is a features/business reporter for The Forum who covers topics in health, mental health, social issues, women's issues, arts and entertainment, food and more. She also writes a column on health and wellness, body image and media representation. She was a copy editor/page designer for six years prior to joining the features team in March 2012.
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FARGO — Ziva is ready to work. She eagerly lifts her front right paw to allow her handler, Nate Dutt, to slip on her harness. Once she receives her orders, she's off, her attached bell ringing wildly. The little Belgian Malinois zigzags through a designated area of Island Park downtown, lying down next to each item she finds, proudly awaiting her reward.
FARGO — Cheryl Heller believes the pace of change can be accelerated with the right language. For Ben Hecht, it starts with individual behavioral change. For Lissa Rankin, it's found through connection. "Xcellerate," the theme of the seventh annual TEDxFargo event, held Thursday, July 21, at the Fargo Civic Center, was a common thread throughout the day's sessions. Nearly 2,000 people listened as 25 speakers from diverse backgrounds shared their ideas for accelerating different types of change.
FARGO — When Jordan Regan returned to Fargo after spending 10 years away, he was disappointed that his hometown had lost a step or two. The swing dance group he grew up with, Fargo Swings!, disbanded after an instructor's injury. Regan recalls taking lessons downtown at the Avalon, on the heels of the swing dance revival of the late 1990s with hits from groups like Cherry Poppin' Daddies, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Squirrel Nut Zippers. "That's how anyone who's millennial-aged remembers swing dancing in Fargo," he says.
DILWORTH — When Julie Dykema and her siblings were kids, they were tasked with picking every bean and pea from the garden before they could go to the family's lake cabin on Upper Cormorant for the weekend. "I used to say, 'I'm never having a garden as long as I live,' " she recalls. Now Dykema, 55, is eating her words along with her fresh veggies. Her big, bountiful garden, which neighbors her dad's between their homes just off of Main Street in Dilworth, is hard to miss.
FARGO — I love macaroni and cheese, and I love Cheetos, but I do not love them together. Burger King's latest "Frankenfood" combines mac and cheese and Cheetos in their new side Mac n' Cheetos, selling for $2.49 at most locations. The same company testing Whopper Dogs and Whopperitos decided it'd be a good idea to coat a wad of bland mac and cheese in fried Cheeto powder.
MOORHEAD — Greta Myers has loved horses since she was a little girl growing up on a grain farm in Herman. Now she makes a living sharing her passion with others on her own farm here. Myers, 46, runs 3 Gems Tack & Stables on the 45-acre property she shares with her husband, James. She offers boarding, lessons, camps and more. You can even "rent" a horse or pony. The ponies greet visitors with curious nuzzles in their outdoor pen while Myers talked about her business.
DORSET, Minn. — The tiny, unincorporated village of Dorset only has a handful of actual residents, but from May through September, more than 100 employees converge to bring its strip of shops and eateries to life for thousands of tourists from all over the Midwest and beyond.
BENSON, Minn. — Tyson Cluever recently did something she never imagined she'd do — deftly maneuver a kayak through the whitewater rapids of the Klickitat River in southern Washington. The 32-year-old Benson woman's hard-earned status as a brain-cancer survivor gave her the opportunity to go on a free, weeklong trip organized by First Descents, a nonprofit that offers outdoor adventures to young cancer fighters.
WALKER, Minn. — Steve Krogen and Shay Fortier had both dreamt of becoming resort owners, but they "needed a little push." Unfortunately, that push came as a shove when they both lost their jobs in the corporate world. The Moorhead natives, who went to school together, had recently reconnected after losing touch and were in the middle of a whirlwind romance when they got the news in 2001.
FARGO — Partway through his cooking career, Native American chef Sean Sherman realized that besides powwows and frybread, Native American cooking wasn't well represented in the culinary world. "I could see there was so much more to it, especially knowing the landscapes and the plants," the 42-year-old Minneapolis man says. "It really set me off on a journey to learn as much about it as I could."