Good News: Puppet time, Frazee face masks, gymnastic coach

Think there’s nothing good in the news anymore? Think again. This community is packed with the good stuff. Here’s some of what happened this month.

Paula Jones Johnson, left, and Sara Jensen Fritz have been partners in puppetry for almost 20 years. (Submitted Photo)

Give 'em a hand

Roosevelt Elementary School counselor Paula Jones Johnson and school psychologist Sara Jensen Fritz have a fun solution up their sleeves for the distance-learning doldrums that some students might be feeling.

The two each perform with puppets in an online show called “The Kitty and Louis Show.” It stars Jensen Fritz as “Kitty” (who is, ironically, a mouse), and Jones Johnson as “Louis,” a friendly brown bear. Each episode is only a few minutes long, but the pair pack a lot of laughter and learning into a short amount of time. They banter, joke around and also tackle some tough subjects, all in creative and age-appropriate ways for kids in elementary and preschool.

“We’ll cover a mental health topic one time, and then do a fun one the next time, so it doesn’t get too heavy,” Jensen Fritz said.

“The Kitty and Louis Show” is available on the Seesaw educational app and on YouTube .


Joan Ketter, left, and Sherry Blaine organized the group of 17 women to make and donate more than 1,000 masks in the Frazee and Vergas communities. "I guess our thought throughout this process became that, if a person or group can sew for their own little corner of the world, then everyone will be covered," Blaine said. (Desiree Bauer / Tribune)

'Better Than Nothing'

At the end of March, Sherry Blaine made a self-quarantine to-do list as the coronavirus pandemic took off. "Sew something" was on it, she said. She reached out to Joan Ketter to see if she wanted to make face masks with her.

Blaine and Ketter are involved with Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Frazee.

"She (Joan) started calling a few people ... In a week or so, we had ladies making masks," Blaine said.

They were making the "basic, simple pattern" that they call the "BTN, Better Than Nothing face masks," Blaine said. When they started, it took the five ladies about 15 minutes to make one mask each. In a short period of time, they got quicker at making the masks and grew in numbers. At one point, 17 women were making the "Better Than Nothing" face masks.

"At this time (April 30), we’ve donated around 900 masks to mostly local Frazee entities, plus 140 for the at-risk members of our church," Blaine said. "When we’re done with the ones we have ready to go then we’re going to be done."

Leesa Lindgaard will be named the new head gymnastics coach at Detroit Lakes replacing Steve Zamzo. Lindgaard has coached in the Lakers and Minnesota Flyers programs the past nine years. Robert Williams / Tribune


Stick the landing

A very familiar face will be takeover the Detroit Lakes gymnastics team next season: Longtime assistant coach Leesa Lindgaard has been named the new head coach.

Lindgaard took last season off after nine years coaching with the program helping lead the Lakers to six years of section dominance and five consecutive state championships.

“I needed some extra time to hang out with my family and that was perfect; we had a wonderful season,” she said.

Lindgaard and her husband Joe have been married eight years and opened CrossFit Detroit Lakes the same year as their nuptials. They had plenty to keep them busy without gymnastics with the business and raising four children.

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