Category: Chapter News

A Tribute to Kerry Lund and Gene Kasmar

By Kristine Lund

My mom, Kerry Lund, and her life partner, Gene Kasmar, are no longer with us in their embodied forms. They spent their last years in Oklahoma City, having left Minnesota to escape the snow. They also left behind their activist life, focusing more on gardening and traveling. Although Kerry and Gene left the Midwest in 1997, Humanists of Minnesota was an important part of their activist lives.

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May 2021: Annual Meeting Reviews Past Year, Elects Board Members, Votes on Bylaws

HumanistsMN members met for an online annual meeting in May.  They elected a new Board of Directors, voted on proposed changes to the HMN bylaws, and reviewed the last fiscal year’s activities and finances.
Our organization had many accomplishments last year, including a record-high membership, strong programming despite the pandemic (thanks especially to Program Coordinator Audrey Kingstrom), a healthy budget, and vibrant social-action and community-service programs.

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HMN Elects New Board Officers, At-Large Members

HumanistsMN members elected four officers and four at-large members to the  Board of Directors at the May annual meeting, including Harlan Garbell to his second term as President.

They also elected Ellie Haylund Vice President, John Walker Treasurer,  Mitch Thompson Secretary, and Dave Guell, Nick Haylund, Suzanne Perry, and Jerry Smith to at-large positions. Dave …

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New Member Spotlight: Frank Sachs

Joined HumanistsMN: January 2021.

Profession/Residence: I was an educator for 46 years, the bulk of them spent working for The Blake School in Minneapolis as the Director of College Counseling and a member of the Social Studies Department. I most recently taught AP U.S. Government and Politics, U.S. Constitutional Law, and a variety of American History electives.

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I Remember Suzie

By Paul Heffron

The message was not unexpected: Suzie had died. A combination of diseases together took her from us. Suzanne Leavitt, a longtime member of our humanist organization, was known to her family and friends as Suzie. I remember her with love and admiration. She and her husband, Curt Leavitt, were best of friends to my wife, Peg, and me. She was one of those persons who lifted your spirit. Her presence brought more smiles, laughter, and energy, and enlivened conversation all around. To say we will miss her is a big understatement.

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HumanistsMN Financial Report

The HumanistsMN board has agreed to publish regular financial reports in this newsletter. This report covers the first seven months of our fiscal year (June to December 2020).

Income: $7,106.  Same period in 2019: $8,721.  (Decrease of 19 percent.)
Expenses: $1,588. Same period in 2019: $7,827. (Decrease of 80 percent.)
Net Income: $5,518. Same period in 2019:  $893. (Increase of 518 percent.)
Total Assets: $44,993 (savings, checking and investments). No liabilities.

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New Member Spotlight: Alfred (Alfy) Wolfram

Joined HumanistsMN: November 2020

Profession/Residence: I began my professional career as a teacher of American history, speech, and theater in high school. After a decade, with a wife and new baby to support, I decided to go into business. I spent 23 years in insurance and investments. However, all the while I only wanted to realize my desire and need to be an actor.

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New Member Spotlight: Asmaa Radwan (Our First International Member)

Joined HumanistsMN:  September 2020.

Profession/Residence: I am a student in Arabic literature, working to be a writer in the near future. I live in Egypt.

How she discovered us:  I discovered HumanistsMN through an American friend who invited me to a Secular Saturday gathering. This was after we had a discussion about religion and the importance of making change to solve existing problems.

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I Remember Vern

By Paul Heffron

I learned in late September from a Facebook posting by HumanistsMN member Steve Petersen that Vern Young had died on March 31 at age 93. Vern probably died in a health care center and evidently no one did an obituary. I couldn’t find one and neither could Steve. I met Vern sometime during the 1990s when he came to a Minnesota Atheists meeting for the first time. He said he’d been an atheist for a long time but had kept it to himself and was very happy he could now be open about it and be part of an atheist group.

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New Member Spotlight: Candee Schlicht

Joined HumanistsMN: April 2020, shortly after meetings went online.

Profession/Residence: I am a software consultant specializing in web development. I live in Eden Prairie and have worked for several companies in Minneapolis and the western suburbs.

How she discovered us: I  had been visiting the website for a while before joining a meeting on mindful creativity.

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New Member Spotlight: Drew Bekius

Joined HumanistsMN: I moved to the Twin Cities from Chicago in October 2018 and started getting active in the local humanist community soon thereafter. Joined HumanistsMN in July 2020.

Profession/Residence: A former evangelical pastor, I served in nonprofit leadership roles and in personal coaching for a little over 20 years. I now work as a financial adviser to nonprofits and other high-impact professionals. I’ve also written a couple books and live with my two teenage daughters in St. Louis Park.

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I Remember Otto 

By Paul Heffron

Otto Link, a longtime HumanistsMN member, died in May in California. For inspiration by the life of an outstanding humanist, I encourage you to read the obituary just published in the StarTribune. I remember Otto in the many conversations we had at meetings, Winter Solstice parties, banquets, and picnics.

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HumanistsMN Elects Four Board Members

HumanistsMN elected four people to fill two-year, at-large positions on the Board of Directors at the annual meeting on May 11.  Seth Engman, Christine Retkwa, and Marcy Woodruff were reelected to their second terms and John Walker won his first term.

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HumanistsMN Moves to Online Gatherings

By Audrey Kingstrom

HumanistsMN has gone viral! Well, in a manner of speaking. As most of you know by now, in this era of social distancing,  we have stopped meeting in person and are offering a good share of our programming online.

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Paying Your Dues Just Got Easier

HumanistsMN has worked hard to keep your annual membership dues affordable and easy to pay. We have now introduced two options to make payments even easier and more affordable. For all HMN members (excluding Student and Trial members): If you pay your annual dues online, you can now choose to have your membership automatically renewed on your anniversary date each year. No more having to add this to your “to do” list, trying to remember to do it, and filling in all the details again!

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