We talked to and about some women of distinction on the Talk of the Town. Find out who in the audio below!
KTOE & Talk of the Town spoke to John Thavis, Mankato native who has lived in the Vatican for 30 years, working as a reporter. He is the author of the book "The Vatican Diairies: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the power, personalities and Politics at the Heart of the Roman Catholic Church," which came out on February 25th. It was perfect timing, as Pope Benedict announced that "he's leaving at the end of the month" Thavis shares his unique perspective on the first resignation of a pope in around 600 years.
Listen to the interview here
Folks have asked me about my experience in the inaugural "Dancing with the Mankato Stars" -- a hugely successful fundraiser for the local chapter of the Red Cross. So -- here's the story. My boss Jo Bailey asked if I'd be interested. I said I'd be interested... and before long, lo and behold, I found myself REHEARSING. And REHEARSING some more. 13 well-known Mankato folks had been paired with 13 professional dancers to put on this first-ever local event. My partner was Dani Moritko, who teaches at Dance Express (and also works a day job at MTU Onsite Energy.) (There are photos on Facebook of our performance.) Dani is a bundle of energy and a super choreographer, but she faced new challenges with a guy who's not as graceful as he once might have been. Anyway, we rehearsed every Sunday afternoon starting in early January, right up to the final Sunday before the February 23rd performance. I also ran through my steps daily at home. We wanted to do well, and the competition was tough -- including Paul Finocchiaro, the choreographer in the MSU Theater Department.
Performance day arrived, and we had a three-hour rehearsal. Then the crowds started to arrive -- some said it was the biggest crowd ever at the venerable Kato Ballroom, and fortunately the weather cooperated. The excitement was intense. A drawing determined Dani and I would go first -- tough to score well from that position, as judges have to be careful with their early scoring. But our dance went well, and we said, let's just have fun. When the evening was concluded, the best dance score went to Kate Cox and her partner, Eddie Rodriguez, a veteran Las Vegas pro. Paul and his partner, Sarah Person, won the overall dance-plus-fundraising competition.
The best part of all was -- we raised 45-thousand dollars, more than double the original goal, for the local Red Cross chapter. Chapter head Bob Meyer told me backstage, 2012 had depleted their funds badly, and they really needed this infusion of funds. It seemed the crowd-- judging from the cheering -- really enjoyed the evening. I saw so many people I knew, not only in our section, but in other dancers' sections as well.
I want to thank EVERYONE who donated, who gave so generously! I have to think, with the success of this initial effort, it will be repeated next year. Who knows, if they ask me and if I take enough chondroitin and aspirin, maybe I'll still be agile enough to give it a go again next year.