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Twin Cities Podcast
55 minutes | Nov 3, 2019
44: Award-Winning Filmmaker Cy Dodson
Cy Dodson is an award-winning filmmaker and the owner of production company Triumph Pictures, LCC where he specializes in documentary style marketing. Cy’s most recent documentary Beneath the Ink was a hit on the film festival circuit winning dozens of awards. The Emmy Nominated and Academy Qualified film profiles Billy Joe White and his tattoo shop that covers up racist imagery. Beneath the Ink is a timely look at hate and racism in the western foothills of this Appalachian region that reveals heartfelt stories of change and redemption. His past two films with My Last Breath and The Ragman - A Hobo's Story Untold garnered a total of 7 Film Festival Awards and a Midwest Regional Emmy for Best Documentary.
64 minutes | Oct 1, 2019
#43 Rubén Rosario of the Pioneer Press
Rubén Rosario is an award-winning columnist for the Pioneer Press. He came to the Twin Cities in 1991 after spending 11 years at the New York Daily News. Rubén talks about his early days as a young reporter in New York covering crime and going undercover for a story about the 1980’s crack epidemic. This was a wide-ranging conversation that covered 9/11, the proposed End-of-Life Option Act in Minnesota, his cancer diagnosis, advice to young journalists, and his Puerto Rican roots.
74 minutes | Sep 20, 2019
#42: Mary Mack and Tim Harmston
Mary Mack and Tim Harmston are comedians that happen to be married. Mary is a self-described folk humorist who is a favorite on radio shows and podcasts, including Marc Maron's WTF Podcast and New York's 2 Dope Queens. Her voice has also been heard in the cult favorite Aqua Teen Hunger Force on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. She had her national TV debut on Comedy Central's Live at Gotham and NBC's Last Comic Standing and has appeared on TBS' Conan and NBC's Last Call with Carson Daly. In 2003, Tim won Acme Comedy Company’s Funniest Person in the Twin Cities competition and has worked in some of the best clubs and theaters from Los Angeles to New York City. He has made TV appearances on Late Show with David Letterman, Comedy Central, and NBC’s Last Comic Standing.
86 minutes | Sep 6, 2019
#41: Brandon Schuh
Brandon Schuh is an entrepreneur and the host of Risk Radio. Risk Radio is an interview style podcast examining what is new in the insurance and risk management world along with changes & disruption. Brandon is a commercial insurance producer and risk management advisor for Christensen Group. Prior to working for CG - Brandon spent six years working for Hays Group Inc - which was one of the nation's largest insurance brokerages - now a division of Brown & Brown. Enjoy!
50 minutes | Aug 13, 2019
#40: Master of Keys - Nathan Barclay
Nathan Barclay is a pianist with intellectual disabilities. He began playing the piano when he was five years old and without ever reading sheet music he learned to memorize and play songs by ear. Master of Keys is Nathan’s piano playing name and fans of his can find him at the St. Paul Menards on Saturday afternoons performing for customers. He also entertains at a local senior center and is available for hired gigs. Nathan is a shining example about the potential that people with disabilities have in our society. Enjoy!
63 minutes | Apr 26, 2019
#39: Uncovering Media Bias Using Algorithms - John Long
John Long is on a mission to lessen the political divide in the United States with his mobile news app Gnomi. Gnomi offers transparent, simple and clear slant grading of top news articles. John employs a proprietary grading system that combines human graders, algorithms and machine learning to produce an objective and true slant on news articles. He hopes this new found transparency in news media will provide citizens with a better understanding of current issues, lessen the political divide amongst those with different views and produce a feeling of safety for all to voice their opinions. Enjoy!
72 minutes | Feb 23, 2019
#38: The Poverty of Love with James Falvey
Thirty three percent of older US adults describe themselves as chronically lonely. James Falvey is helping to change that in the Twin Cities. James is the executive director of Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly (LBFE) Minneapolis, a non-profit that is part of a national network of volunteer-based organizations committed to relieving isolation and loneliness among the elderly. The organization was founded by a French nobleman Armand Marquiset in 1946 after World War II. He was dedicated to serve isolated and lonely older adults who had lost their families in the war. Today, LBFE has a chapter in nine countries throughout the world and seven in the United States. Enjoy!
45 minutes | Jan 29, 2019
#37: Andrew Yang is Running for President
Andrew Yang is running for president of the United States in 2020 as a democrat. His core message centers around the idea of universal basic income (UBI) which would provide every U.S. adult citizen with $1,000 per month. Andrew has served as the CEO, cofounder, or executive for several technology and education companies and was one of the first candidates to announce his bid for the White House. In the interview, Andrew details the urgent need for UBI and promotes his plan, which he calls the Freedom Dividend, as a way to help offset the forthcoming negative effects caused by automation and artificial intelligence. His recent book, The War on Normal People, acts as a wake up call to radically rewrite our social contract and reimagine our economic future. He is a fascinating person with bold ideas. This episode is worth a listen. Enjoy!
59 minutes | Jan 6, 2019
#36: Fred Melo of the Pioneer Press
Fred Melo is a reporter for the Pioneer Press. He covers St. Paul including the mayor’s office, city council, and anything else Fred finds newsworthy. The Boston native began working for the paper in 2005 by covering crime in Dakota county. In the episode, Fred talks about the hidden gems of St. Paul, big stories over the years, and his role of being a citizen and a reporter living in St. Paul. We also talk about the state of the Pioneer Press. During his tenure at the paper, Fred has witnessed a sharp decline of staff members due to cuts by ownership, a common theme for many publications across the nation. Enjoy!
70 minutes | Dec 23, 2018
#35: Erin Rufledt - Living the Questions
Erin Rufledt is the founder of Luminary Lab, a brand strategy company that helps businesses of all sizes craft compelling stories. She has worked with all types of clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies, global humanitarian organizations and leading nonprofits. In 2015, Erin traveled the world living in 12 different cities over the course of 12 months and aptly dubbed her adventure the 12 Places Project. In the interview, we talk about the thrilling and unsettling feeling of life on the road. We also discuss how to navigate life’s big questions. And she’s from the jump rope capital of the world! Enjoy!
72 minutes | Oct 14, 2018
#34: National Anthem Pro Stephanie Varone
Stephanie Varone is a recording artist well-known for her powerful National Anthem performances. The Kansas City native has performed for the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, as well as most pro teams in the Twin Cities. The singer, songwriter gained notoriety with her self-titled album that combined an earthy old school sound with a love for country, pop, classic rock, and soulful blues. In addition, Stephanie continues to draw in crowds as the edgy lead singer for "Starlette's Web", which pays tribute to women in pop, rock, and country from the 80's to today. Enjoy!
95 minutes | Sep 25, 2018
#33: What is Humanism?
Audrey Kingstrom is the President of the Humanists of Minnesota. In this wide-ranging conversation, Audrey details the core tenants of humanism and the small but many differences between similar non-religious groups. Audrey talks about the importance for science-based discussions, living an ethical life, an emphasis on nature, and so much more. Enjoy!
93 minutes | Sep 11, 2018
#32: Healing Sierra Leone with Hindolo Pokawa
Hindolo Pokawa is the founder and executive director of Sierra Leone Foundation for New Democracy, a non-profit dedicated to healing and rebuilding communities of Sierra Leone that is much needed after the country’s civil war. As a child in Sierra Leone, Hindolo experienced the brutal violence, economic destruction, and social disintegration of civil war. After finishing high school as an adult in Zimbabwe, where he fled once the war escalated, he later entered the United States on a student visa and earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Global Studies, with a Minor in African-African American Studies, focusing on Peace and Governance. Today, Hindolo’s role has been to build local communities’ capacity to see themselves as part of the solution to socio-economic problems, producers of knowledge, and agents of change. Enjoy! Hindolo's Favorites in the Twin Cities Favorite Meal Under $15: Ghandi Mahal and Breaking Bread Cafe Favorite Public Space: The Wedge Table and the Seward Co-op Favorite Annual Event: Walk For A Child and Mayday Parade How would you describe the Twin Cities: “A melting pot.” State of the Union Message: “The United States has been a great place for me and I would like to give back. And the best way I would like to give is to create an opportunity where we can set aside our differences and a non-adversarial approach can become the basis for our engagement. And the Sierra Leone Foundation for New Democracy needs your support."
55 minutes | Aug 10, 2018
#31: Feeding 10 Billion People by 2050 with Fred Haberman
Fred Haberman has been working to take the organic food movement mainstream for more than 20 years. In our conversation, we talk about that state of that movement and the pressing challenge to sustainably feed 10 billion people by 2050. Along with his wife Sarah, the duo started a full-service marketing agency where they tell the stories of pioneers who are making a difference in the world. His agency has worked with some of the top brands in the country including, Organic Valley, Annie's, Earthbound Farm, Daiya, Volvo, Allina Health, Boston Scientific, and many more. Fred also discusses his newer company called Urban Organics that applies the practice of aquaponics to produce many types of vegetables and fish. Oh, did I mention he is the founder of the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships that takes place annually in Minneapolis? This guy is endlessly fascinating. Enjoy! FRED'S FAVORITES IN THE TWIN CITIES FAVORITE MEAL UNDER $15: Cossetta: Sausage Pizza FAVORITE PUBLIC SPACE: The lakes in Minneapolis FAVORITE ANNUAL EVENT: U.S. Pond Hockey Championships HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE TWIN CITIES: “If you like the outdoors, and you love biking, and you like a good food scene, it's extraordinary. I love it." MOST FASCINATING PERSON YOU KNOW: Bob Sheehy, CEO of Bright Health STATE OF THE UNION MESSAGE: “We have to begin thinking about and solving immediately for how we are going to sustainably feed 10 billion by 2050."
68 minutes | Jul 31, 2018
#30: The Duke Pieper Story
Duke Pieper was a youth hockey phenom who seemed destined for a long career on the ice. On the night of his first high school varsity game as a freshman, Duke suffered a cavernous hemangioma, better known as a brain bleed, and was ultimately given a 5 percent change to live. In his compelling book, I'm Alive: Courage, Hope, and a Miracle, Duke recounts his difficult and courageous struggle to survive, battling months of paralysis, multiple surgeries, massive nerve damage, and countless other setbacks. During our conversation, Duke opens up about the difficulty of giving up the sport he loves, living with physical limitations, and his plans for the future. Be sure to check out what Duke is up to by visiting the Pieper Hope and Courage Foundation. Enjoy! DUKE'S FAVORITES IN THE TWIN CITIES FAVORITE MEAL UNDER $15: Republic: Burger & Fries FAVORITE PUBLIC SPACE: Rosland Park (Edina) & Public Hockey Rinks FAVORITE ANNUAL EVENT: Fourth of July HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE TWIN CITIES: “It's the state of hockey. People love their hockey around here." MOST FASCINATING PERSON YOU KNOW: My father STATE OF THE UNION MESSAGE: “If you can get your mind right and get the right attitude, you can overcome anything and do whatever you want to do in your life."
56 minutes | May 24, 2018
#29: Gender Differences in Public Relations
Amelia Reigstad is a public relations practitioner and newly-minted faculty member at the University of Minnesota. She developed Crosspoint Communications, a full service consultancy agency from a grassroots level in 2007 and taught a variety of public relations and communications courses at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, the University of Victoria, and the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Amelia is currently completing her Ph.D in media and communications and recently published her initial findings of a study that explores gender differences in the public relations industry. We dedicated most of our conversation to the key learnings of this fascinating study. Enjoy! SOME TOPICS DISCUSSED: Her transition from the PR world to academia Running her own consultancy business Differences in communication styles of men & women The concept of Performativity Gender vs. personality Negative stereotypes of a PR practitioners Work-life balance for mothers A table of diverse minds Competition among female colleagues AMELIA'S FAVORITES IN THE TWIN CITIES FAVORITE MEAL UNDER $15: Washington Square Grill: Mango Martini (& maybe some french fries) FAVORITE PUBLIC SPACE: White Bear Lake FAVORITE ANNUAL EVENT: MN State Fair HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE TWIN CITIES? “I would describe the Twin Cities as culturally sound in wide variety of ways. I couldn’t have chosen a better place to move to outside of Canada.” STATE OF THE UNION MESSAGE “I really feel the US has a lot to learn in regards to how other countries do things."
62 minutes | Apr 13, 2018
#28: Jumping Without a Safety Net - Lori Myren-Manbeck
“Most of us want kindness. We start there.” Lori Myren-Manbeck is the founder and CEO of Inclusivi-tee, a subscription-based t-shirt company that donates to “forward-focused” non-profit organizations. Lori holds a PhD in Geriatric Psychology and has enjoyed a fulfilling career providing care to vulnerable individuals. Today, Lori’s passion for “taking care of each other” has never been stronger. In November of 2016, Lori noticed a deeper level of concern about the environment and social inequality. She quickly decided she had to do more. Equipped with little business experience, Lori established her non-profit and has faced a bittersweet challenge ever sense. The entrepreneur talks about taking the biggest risk of her life, and despite years of trying to hide from the world, she is now out front leading with her heart. Enjoy! Editor's Note: The audio introduction states that Inclusivi-tee donates 100% of its profits, and the business model did commence this way. However, they recently shifted to 50% as part of their learning process. TOPICS MENTIONED: Raising $25,000 on Kickstarter Planned Parenthood criticism Her experiences with the United Church of Christ Feeling invisible in her youth Documentary - Word of Honour: Reclaiming Mandela’s Promise Spirituality and shared consciousness. 2016 U.S. Presidential Election Common ground is shared kindness 2017: A year of saying yes LORI'S FAVORITES IN THE TWIN CITIES FAVORITE MEAL UNDER $15: Qdoba (nachos and queso dip) FAVORITE PUBLIC SPACE: Lake Riley FAVORITE ANNUAL EVENT: Bayfront Blues Festival MOST FASCINATING PERSON YOU KNOW? Nancy Chakrin HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE TWIN CITIES? “Wonderful place for art, culture, and theatre. You can always find something unique and fun to do.” STATE OF THE UNION MESSAGE “It is imperative that we continue to watch out for each other and take care of each other."
87 minutes | Feb 9, 2018
#27: Duty-Bound Journalism With Chris Serres
“You cant do this work from a desk.” Chris Serres is a reporter for the Star Tribune covering social services and issues affecting society’s most vulnerable populations. In the interview, we discuss his reporting on individuals with mental illness and the elderly. More specifically, we explore his eye-opening work that exposed statewide injustices happening to these two groups and their families. His 2015 series of articles, titled “A Matter of Dignity,” explored Minnesota’s archaic and dehumanizing healthcare system for those with mental illness. In honor of their work, Chris and his colleagues were named finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting. More recently, Chris penned a five-part series that took a deep look at Minnesota’s elderly care industry called “Left to Suffer.” What he found was an alarming number of crimes committed against senior citizens and thousands of allegations receiving little to no attention from state authorities. Our conversation focused primarily on these two projects, however we discuss several journalism-related topics. Among those include Chris’ approach to immersing himself in the lives of his subjects, current shortfalls of media, giving people hope, and much more. Enjoy! Topics mentioned: Ageism Journalism building communities MN Consumer Workgroup Report on Elder Abuse Differences between nursing homes and assisted living facilities Care giving being undervalued “Freedom is an endless conversation.” Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee and Walker Evans Unconventional interview settings Finding new ways to tell stories Shaming people to do the right thing The Twin Cities bubble CHRIS' FAVORITES RELATED TO THE TWIN CITIES Favorite Meal Under $15: Taco Taxi Favorite Public Space: Minneapolis Institute of Art Favorite Annual Event: St. Paul Winter Carnival Half Marathon How would you describe the Twin Cities? "There are a lot of opportunities to meet people and expand your horizons, but you have to take advantage of it." State of the Union Message “I'm a big believer that you can make life whatever you want. Recognize your own potential and ignore those that think you can’t achieve it.”
85 minutes | Jan 27, 2018
#26: New Look at Women's Health with Dr. Beth Westie
“The scariest part of the journey is before you actually start.” Dr. Beth Westie is the founder and creator of the 12 Week Female Fat Solution. She has made it her mission to change the way women view their health. Alongside my wife and special co-host, Sara Gove, we have a wide-ranging conversation with this fascinating entrepreneur who is full of passion, charisma, and knowledge. Dr. Beth talks about her mission to educate women about the nuisances of the female body and how that affects their health differently than men. She explains that most of the information about diet and nutrition in circulation today has been based on the male body, and that women have been left without a proper roadmap. Dr. Beth addresses the frustration a lot of women feel in trying to live a healthy lifestyle. We also explore the challenges that Dr. Beth has faced in charting this new path. For many years, she ran a successful chiropractic medicine practice, but when she realized “the pull” toward this new area of women’s health was too powerful to ignore, she sold her practice. This decision tested old friendships she had in the industry, but it also dared her to live a more fulfilling life. And if you’re interested in goat farming, we got you covered. Enjoy! Topics mentioned or discussed: Importance of eating protein during breakfast Burn Boot Camp in Eden Prairie Eastern medicine The exclusion of women from medicinal research The calorie myth Inches over pounds The Minnesota Vixen Ashwagandha and other adaptogens Dr. Beth's YouTube Channel BETH'S FAVORITES RELATED TO THE TWIN CITIES Favorite Meal Under $15: The Wind Mill Cafe (omelet, hash browns, & coffee) Favorite Public Space: Minnesota River Favorite Annual Event? MN State Fair How would you describe the Twin Cities? "Lots of art, history, culture, great food, nicest people ever, almost to a fault." State of the Union Message “Find your passion and follow that to no end.”
86 minutes | Dec 28, 2017
#25: From Africa to America - The Basil Ajuo Story
“We grew up in a community where people were dying every day.” In this episode of Twin Cities Podcast, Mike welcomes Basil Aujo to speak about his incredible journey from Cameroon, Africa to Minnesota. Basil talks about the realities of growing up in a poor African village with limited resources and little access to healthcare. Basil was raised by his grandmother who preached the importance of education and community service. Those two pillars serve as a framework for the inspiring life Basil has created for himself in the Twin Cities. In 2016, MN Governor Mark Dayton appointed Basil to the Minnesota State Board of Trustees where he holds a leadership position and represents the student voice. He is also the chairman and executive director of a non-profit called the International Institute for Caring, where he focuses on education, human rights, immigration, and mental health, among other challenging issues. This is a remarkable story about opportunity, vision, and serving others. Enjoy! TOPICS MENTIONED OR DISCUSSED: Education as an investment The impact of AIDS in Cameroon Serving in the Red Cross at age 11 Basil’s first TV images of the U.S. Fear of the Cameroon government Depression and isolation North Hennepin Community College Metro State University Basil’s vision for the future Non-profit success stories BASIL'S FAVORITES IN THE TWIN CITIES Favorite Meal under $15 MamaTi's Favorite Public Space: Downtown Minneapolis How would you describe the Twin Cities? "I like to use my eyes when I'm downtown. I would tell them about buildings, roads, and shopping. The Twin Cities is a real place for business" State of the Union Message “Building confidence in immigrants is an investment in our nation.”
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