From the Editor

Three months ago, the world was a very different place. One Thursday in February, we spent a perfectly normal afternoon gathering merchandise from local shops and fitting models for our Retail Therapy story. We spent a couple of busy hours dressing, primping, posing and shooting for a "Spring Fashion Forecast." At the end, I tried to fix my bangs before sitting for my editor's photo. Our April/May issue, themed "Heroes," was just about a wrap.

Two weeks later, everything changed. Colleges were closed and students were sent home. Events were canceled through March, then April. Then the schools closed, employees had to work from home and life as we knew it was turned upside down.

Our April/May issue followed a similar pattern. At first, we didn't think anything would change-our staff can easily work from home. Then our Community Calendar shrank till it disappeared. Stories featuring events and now-closed businesses had to be reworked. Then our distribution points closed, one by one. Our magazine production, which normally runs like clockwork, was turned upside down.

We have a saying at Coulee Region Women that has always served us well: When in doubt, hit "pause." And so we did. Crossing our fingers that the world would look different in a month or two, we set aside the issue formerly known as April/May and made plans to release it as June/July in a hopefully healed world.

Then, like you, we turned inward. We stayed close to our families, shared inspiration and generally laid low. We shepherded children through their studies, took care of our loved ones, caught up on projects-and never once lost sight of the plan to be back on the stands before long.

The "Heroes" issue you now hold is proof that Coulee Region Women is-and has always been-here for our community. We've always been grateful to our readers, our advertisers and our talented sales and creative teams who ensure that each issue comes out, like clockwork, every time. But now, that gratitude is even more deeply and broadly felt, accompanied by amazement at how women step up to support our community.

Our heroines range from mask-making sewists to teachers who-on extremely short notice-transformed classrooms into distance learning. They are the health professionals who care for those who are sick and protect others from illness. They provide meals to schoolchildren and the hungry. They are grocery-store workers and restaurateurs. They are businesswomen who found canny ways to keep customers engaged, and they are everyone who asked us, "You are still publishing June/July, right?"

They are the mental health workers who assured us it was normal to feel overwhelmed, anxious and completely lost during this time. They are the bosses and co-workers who showed us grace when we had hard days. And they are everyone who assured us that together we would get through this, however and whenever that may be.

Three months ago, the world was a very different place, and for all we've been through-and have yet to go through-we are taking change in stride. The bangs I have always struggled with have grown out now. My new office mates very much keep me on my toes. But all in all, we're so thankful to be here, and to have you-our community-with us, too.

Betty Christiansen



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What is inside this month's issue:

Hometown Heroine
Emilee Nottestad steps up as Sparta Chief of Police.

A Higher Standard
Women in the National Guard serve our country at home and abroad.

Heroes & Homes
Foster parents open their homes and their hearts to kids and families in crisis.

Healthy Living
Life Goes On
Live organ donors offer life and hope, often to people they don't even know.

A Gem in the Valley
A home's redesign makes it glow even brighter.

The Fat Porcupine Noodle Bar is a restaurant for community and the individual.

Pet Projects
Superhuman Service
Capable Canines service dogs lend a hand-or paw.

Arts & Entertainment
Cherish the Ladies
The La Crosse Symphony Orchestra celebrates the anniversary of women's right to vote.

Big Sisters, Everyday Heroes
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides caring support that can change lives.

Author Danielle Trussoni explains how family influences fiction.

Retail Therapy
Plan for a printy mix, with showers of flowers.


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