Contagion Review

A recent movie, Contagion, brings up a number of variables which parents, community leaders, and pretty much every other mature adult should be aware of. Briefly, the science is quite good compared to most previous movies on the topic and the scenario is all-too-plausible. (My specialty is human virology and vaccine development.)



Woodcarving class info

Although these particular classes are not offered by Giants we wanted to pass along this information as a courtesy for a couple of Giants of the Earth Heritage Center members. Contact information is below. If you are a Giants of the Earth Heritage Center member, let us know of your activities that might be of interest to our community.

Else and Phillip are offering three, five day classes in 2012. Harley Refsal of Decorah, IA will teach a weekend class in his popular flat plane style figure carving at our studio in September. Spring Class: April 18th – 22nd, Wednesday through Sunday class by Phillip and Else. Fall Classes: September 10th -14th, class by Phillip and Else. September 14th, 15th, and 16th, weekend class by Harley Refsal. September 17th – 21st, class by Phillip and Else. Please contact us right away if you are interested in the September 17th-21st Fall Class. We have had a large demand and have had a waiting list. If you have already signed up for a class informally please confirm that you will be attending and send the class deposit ASAP. Thank you so much for helping! Where: Classes will be held at the Norsk Wood Works carving studio, which is located at Phillip and Else’s farmstead on county road H west of Barronett, Wisconsin. Cost: Tuition for each 5 day class offered by Else and Phillip will be $500.00 Tuition for Harley Refsal’s figure carving class will be $200.00 Half of tuition is due with registration. Class descriptions: Else and Phillip studied carving in Norway and are the authors of Treskjærerkunsten, the art of wood carving, and Lærebok I Treskjæring, the official woodcarving book for the school system in Norway. Under their business name, Norsk Wood Works, Ltd., they produce carvings and furniture which are delivered to buyers all over the US and in foreign countries. Each class will cover sharpening, wood selection, design and pattern selection, carving techniques, and finishing. Students can choose from a wide selection of carving patterns in acanthus, rococo, or dragon styles. The class will include people just beginning to carve as well as experienced carvers. Carving tools, wood and patterns will be available from Norsk Wood Works. Be sure to bring any tools you already have. Each student will receive a good deal of one to one instruction. You will be able to complete at least one reasonable project during the week you are in class. Class size is limited to 13 students. The class starts at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 5:00 pm. Harley Refsal is a retired Luther College professor and is the author of several figure carving and pattern books. Harley is well known for his figure carving and pleasant teaching style. He teaches several classes each year in this country as well as in Scandinavia. Tools, patterns, books, and carving blanks may be purchased from Harley at the class. Class size is limited to 15. This class runs Friday evening, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Plan to spend an enjoyable time in rural Wisconsin carving with a wonderful group of people in a pleasant atmosphere. We do our best to accommodate your individual needs. A simple lunch will be served each day at noon. For more information on our classes, feel free to email or phone us at 715-468-2780 or see our website at


New Year’s Wishes and Opportunities for Tax Deductions

Dear Valued Giants of the Earth Heritage Center Members,

We hope you all had a great Christmas and that your New Year’s is spent joyfully with friends and family. Since it is that time of the year when we reflect and resolve, we wanted to share with you some of our accomplishments and goals. With your support and our volunteers’ hard work this past year, we have taped, edited, and begun online and DVD distribution of oral video histories; taught community fine art and folk art classes; digitized community pictures; organized an extremely successful Uffda Fest; and grown our collaborative family tree, especially by using genetic genealogy. Our website and facebook pages have been viewed nearly ½ million times, providing genealogical resources and tips for tens of thousands. All this we have been able to accomplish with a very small budget, because our workers believe in the importance of our mission. With your support, we look forward to an even more productive 2012, as we are now beginning the new year with interns from Luther College.

Our workers are excited to serve our members and to preserve the experiences of our senior citizens. We believe that the wisdom they pass down can help us identify the root of the problems we face so that we can deal with it directly rather than being like one of the thousand in Thoreau’s famous quote:

“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil, to one who is striking at the root.”

As a Giants member, we know you want to strike at the root. Thus, we hope you will consider making a special donation or increasing your membership level before the end of 2011. To learn about giving opportunities that allow you to take advantage of Giants of the Earth Heritage Center’s tax-deductible 501(c)3 status, please visit our website. There, you will find many options to suit your donation or membership interests, including Heritage Center room naming opportunities. We also invite you to stop by our Heritage Center in Spring Grove, Minnesota and learn more about our big plans for 2012. Please visit our Giants of the Earth Heritage Center website at:

Happy New Year,

Johnathan Storlie

Giants of the Earth Heritage Center


Site Usage Statistics and Demographic

Celebrate with us the success of our enterprise.


7264 visitors to website last month!

2245 Giants FB active users this past month (FB insights)!
1705 FB active users this month (since started Nov 12)!

That makes a total of 11,214 monthly active users of our 3 sites.

Demographics show different appeal

Giants of the Earth Heritage Center users' age and gender. is reaching a younger group of users.

Exciting events are coming up! Currently we do not have family tree up on this website, but have been referring people to our tree on When our tree was up it drew 1000 visitors per month. We will be adding back our larger tree in January 2012 with lots of extra features. Stay tuned.



Garrison Keillor Luther College Sept 27

Reposted from various sources:

Garrison Keillor Tue, September 27 @Luther College Center for Faith and Life Garrison Keillor, the host and writer of the acclaimed “A Prairie Home Companion” public radio program, will highlight the Luther College Center Stage Series of professional performing arts events for 2011-12. Keillor will take the CSS stage in the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall on Tuesday evening, Sept. 27 to present “The Aura of Flora In Decorah with Garrison Keillor.” Subscription tickets for the CSS will go one sale in early June at the Luther College Box Office. A limited number of ticket subscriptions will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis through the Luther College Box Office. Subscription purchasers are assured tickets to the Keillor performance. Non-subscriber tickets will go on sale Sept. 2. “The Aura of Flora in Decorah with Garrison Keillor” is a special Sesquicentennial event for Luther College. Keillor will present a program, tailored to reflect the history and heritage of Luther in celebration of its 150th anniversary in 2011-12. The evening’s presentation by Keillor and will consist of light-hearted talk and story telling, accompanied by music by his pianist Rich Dworsky. Keillor is a well-loved Radio Hall of Fame inductee, winner of the Peabody Award and a National Humanities Medal. He is best known as the host and writer of “A Prairie Home Companion” and “The Writer’s Almanac,” heard on public radio stations across the country. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including “Lake Wobegon Days,” “The Book of Guys,” “Love Me” and “Homegrown Democrat.” Keillor was born in Anoka, Minn. in 1942 and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and daughter. He has two grandsons. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters and the Episcopal Church. Heard by millions of public radio listeners, Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” captures Midwestern hearts. His charm, clever wit, and intimate observations illuminate his signature storytelling on the air and in print. The performance is sponsored in part by Decorah Bank and Trust, and net proceeds will support the Luther College Sesquicentennial Fund Endowed Scholarship.


Huebner Challenge Exceeds Expectations

[progpress title=”Oral Histories & Genealogy: Dan Huebner matched each dollar we donated! We reached $50,000 thanks to: SG Assisted Living, Mike & Diane Schmidt, Bob Solum Memorial, Georgia Rosendahl, Karen Bingham, Sara Deters, JC Nerstad, Llewellyn Storlie Family, Dr. Jim & Karen Gray, Dan & Mary Ann Skifton Thurmer, Dr. Gary & Rosaaen Olson, Mark Ellingson, Dean Ellingson, Gordon & Barb Pitel, David & Gail Judisch, Mervin Dvergsten…” goal=”50000″ current=”50000″]