Save the date: National Night Out is Aug. 1

By Evie Swanson – Heart of Hutch Connect Committee

During a recent trip to the grocery store, I ran into a neighbor and we had a brief, friendly chat. As I walked away at the conclusion of our visit, I couldn’t help but think that neighbor and I just spent more time visiting with each other at the store than we have for a number of months in our own neighborhood. What’s wrong with that picture?

Fortunately, we live in a community where at least once a year we have a great opportunity to reconnect with neighbors we may or may not visit with on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, our community has an exceptionally high rate of participation in National Night Out, which is every year on the first Tuesday in August. This year’s event will be Tuesday, Aug. 1.

National Night Out began throughout the United States and Canada in 1984. This event is not only a good opportunity to socialize and connect with those in our neighborhoods, but it is meant to increase awareness of police programs, fire protection and other emergency services. It helps build relationships among citizens and peace officers and others who are there to protect and serve.

Our local parties have been well-attended and supported in recent years. Twenty-five neighborhoods hosted parties last year and enjoyed getting together to eat, visit and enjoy various activities, including visits from emergency personnel who stopped by to explain their work.

Plan to attend and enjoy the party in your neighborhood this year. If you are interested in hosting or helping to organize a party for your area, check the Heart of Hutch website at For more information, you may call Bonnie Fimon at 320-587-6962, Eric Kilian at 320-234-4483 or Evie Swanson at 320-587-8424.

Hello Summer!

In about a month there will be approximately 3,400 students out of school for the summer. It will be a summer that is longer than usual due to the Hutchinson High School remodeling project. This year, students will have 111 days of summer. Thank goodness the old saying, “there is much in Hutch,” is true. Here are a few ideas to keep our kids and the adults entertained over the beautiful summer days we have.  [Read more…]

Tip: 5 simple steps to be your best at any age

Author: Kay Johnson

They say you’re only as young as you feel, and if you’re an older American, the ability to feel young a little while longer is always appealing. Having a youthful state of mind goes a long way toward accomplishing this goal, but you can’t ignore the importance of solid physical health.

To improve your physical and mental health and prove age is just a number, apply these five tips from Mayo Clinic today. 

  • Find the perfect interval. If you’ve never participated in high-intensity interval training before, here’s a compelling reason to start. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic found high-intensity aerobic exercise actually reversed some cellular aspects of aging. The research also found that the exercise improved muscle proteins, enlarged muscles and increased energy levels.
  • The benefit of brain games. A sharp mind is every bit as important as a healthy body, and exercising your brain can be a lot of fun. Spend time learning new things on the internet, enroll in a class for that craft you’ve always wanted to master, go out with friends, or sit down and play a board game.
  • Supplementing your health. Health supplements should never completely replace whole food offerings, but they may offer you real health value as well. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, supplements may be ideal for vegans and vegetarians or those who consume less than 1,600 calories per day. People with a condition affecting the way their body absorbs nutrients and those who have had surgery on their digestive tract should also speak with their doctor about supplements that may improve their overall health.
  • The importance of sleep. A good night’s sleep offers health benefits at any age, but getting enough rest can be more difficult as you get older. To get a better night’s sleep, review your medications with your doctor to see if anything is impacting your rest. You should also try to limit your daytime napping (just 10 to 20 minutes per day is best) and avoid alcohol, caffeine or even water within a couple hours before bedtime.
  • Focus on your sexual health. This topic may not be as widely discussed as your physical or mental health, but it is no less important. Men should talk to their doctors about their lessening testosterone levels, which drop about 1 percent per year after age 30. Women may experience a similar drop in estrogen levels as well and should consult their doctor for treatment options. Don’t be shy about discussing sexual health issues with your doctor.

By incorporating some of these tips from the experts at Mayo Clinic, you’ll make sure the best years of your life are still to come. You can learn more about improving your health at any age through the advice offered in Mayo Clinic on Healthy Aging, or


Source: Brandpoint

5 Winter Survival Tips for Beating Cabin Fever

Yes, it’s still winter.

Call it cabin fever, winter doldrums or winter blues, it is significantly different from the more serious seasonal affective disorder or SAD but still affects our emotional well-being. Dr. Mark Frye from the Mayo Clinic’s Psychology and Psychiatry Department reminds us that a healthy lifestyle strategy is especially helpful during these winter months. Here are a few simple steps from Frye that we can all do.

1. Get plenty of exercise. Depending on the weather, that may mean finding an indoor spot to walk such as the Hutch Mall or the Hutchinson Recreation Center gym. Check out the wealth of opportunities to exercise listed in the Leader’s Fitness Connection, too.

2. Get outside especially when sunny. Try out snowshoeing by renting a pair of snowshoes from Hutchinson Parks and Rec for $5 for a couple of hours. If it’s one of our colder days, that may mean just a quick walk around the block.

3. Take breaks during the day. Frye suggests looking for a spot near a window. Now might be the time for that quick walk outside.

4. Open window shades. OK, that seems really obvious as a way to fight cabin fever but it’s easy to overlook when you’re having a down day.

5. Keep social in Hutchinson. During any given week, there are a variety of activities to enjoy. Check out the calendars of events put out by the Heart of Hutch website, Hutchinson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, the Hutchinson Leader, KDUZ Radio and HCVN television station. Call that friend or relative you’ve been meaning to connect with. They may be experiencing the blahs as well and you may be just the bright spot they needed in their day.

Contributed by Mary Henke, Connect Committee Volunteer


The Positive Effects of a Family Meal Together

Andrew Larson, a Therapist at NorthStar Counseling Center in Hutchinson, likes to share advice from Dr. Bill Doherty, an authority on marriage and families.

“As parents we often worry if we are doing enough to give our children the best opportunity to succeed in life,” Larson said. “According to Dr. Doherty and other research, by simply having a family meal once a day your child is more likely to have better grades and make many more healthy life choices.”585410f138b0d_image


Eating together as a family can make a positive difference in children’s lives, Larson said. Studies have also shown that students not only have more successes if they regularly have meals with their families but that they want more family time.

One national study found that mealtime together as a family is a stronger indicator of academic success and well-being of teenagers than school homework completion or participation in sports, art or religious activities. The frequency of family meals is also important. Having dinner as a family at least four times a week is the greatest indicator of reduced alcohol and drug use, early sexual activity and suicide.


What have students said about family time? In a study of children age 9 to 13, only one third said they spend time with their family. The barriers they cited were their parents’ busy schedules and their own busy schedules. In another study, teenagers were asked about their worries or concerns. Their top worries were not having enough time with their parents and their education. Although they might not always show it, teenagers want more family time and having meal times together is an important way to provide it.


To learn more, attend Larson’s presentation, “Take Back Your Family,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, at the Hutchinson Middle School auditorium, 1365 South Grade Road S.W., Hutchinson. To register, call the Community Education office at 320-587-2975.

Take Back Your Family Time

Daily lives for children have changed drastically over the past generation. Children used to have lots of free time. They were often outside playing. However, two national studies completed less than 20 years apart show some amazing statistics regarding children’s lives today:

  • Children age 3 to 12 have 12 hours less unstructured play time per week.
  • The time children spend “on the sideline” watching siblings play sports has doubled.
  • Children spend 50 percent more time studying even though there is no evidence that homework for children younger than 13 contributes to learning.
  • Religious participation for children has declined by 40 percent.
  • Time spent just talking as a family has “fallen off the radar” — the average family has zero!
  • Children also spend more time watching TV but the amount of time watching TV as a family has declined by 25 percent. This may be because 28 percent of preschoolers and two-thirds of teenagers have a TV in their bedrooms.

We live in a fast-paced world. We have a “speed-up” society of FedEx, faxes, email and Instagram. Our culture has become one of commitment to individual activities instead of family activities. Childhood used to revolve around the family while the family now revolves around children’s individual activities. Both parents and children’s schedules are so busy that neither has time for family meals together. However, studies have shown how important it is to have family meals together. Having four or more dinners together as a family per week is the greatest indicator of:

  • academic success;
  • healthy psychological adjustment of teenagers; and a
  • decrease in alcohol and drug use, early sexual activity and suicide

Interested in more information? Check your Winter Community Education Brochure or our calendar. Andrew Larson, Marriage and Family Therapist at NorthStar Counseling Center will engage parents of children all ages to “Take Back Your Family Time” on Jan. 19.

Information for this article was obtained from Take Back Your Family Time presented by Dr. Bill Doherty, director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the University of Minnesota.


Under a Flaming Sky by Daniel James Brown

Are you reading with us?

It’s that time of year.  The perfect time to grab a book for yourself (or someone else), find a comfortable spot on the couch and participate in our One Book, One Community.

This year’s read is Under a Flaming Sky: the Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894 by Daniel James Brown.

“It was a fire so vast that its tendrils licked the faces of people who sought refuge in lakes, so fast that it overcame people who tried to flee on trains, and so hot that it created plasma clouds that draped themselves like jellyfish over the roofs of the little town before the houses burst into flames.”

— From “Under a Flaming Sky,” by Daniel James Brown

Read more about One Book, One Community and the scheduled events to exapnd your reading experience.


Neighborhood Connections

Some of us may recall a rural childhood where neighbors getting together with neighbors was a fairly common occurrence. [Read more…]

National Night Out Locations 2016

Connect with your neighborhood on August 2nd for this national celebration!  See listing below to find out where the closest party is and say hello!

NNOThe following list of National Night Out parties was compiled by Heart of Hutch and Sgt. Eric Kilian. A few other parties are planned but organizers asked that they not be listed here invitations have been sent out in those neighborhoods.

*locations and details are current as of 7/26/16. 



Who’s invited: Friends and residents of Century Court Townhomes

Location: Century Court Playground

Time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Contact: Kelli Johnson or Joanne Harfiel at 320-234-7243

Bring: A lawn chair. Root beer floats will be provided.



Who’s invited: All neighborhood residents

Location: 830 and 840 Cleveland Ave. S.W.

Time: Potluck beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Contact: Bonnie Ackland-Fimon at 320-587-6962

Bring: A dish to pass and a chair. Organizers will supply plates, napkins, utensils, lemonade and tables.



Who’s invited: Residents who live in the immediate neighborhood, along Eighth and Ninth avenues southwest, Mahogany Court Southwest, Roberts Street Southwest and Lakewood Drive Southwest

Location: Eighth Avenue Southwest between Lakewood Drive Southwest and Roberts Street Southwest

Time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Contact: Jenelle Stiras at 320-234-6944 or 320-484-9115

Bring: Lawn chairs, and children should bring their bicycles and tricycles. Freezees will be served.



Who’s invited: Anyone who wishes to attend

Location: The church is at 450 Fifth Ave. S.W.

Time: 4:30 p.m. to dusk

Contact: Grace Lutheran at 320-587-3051

Bring: Water soakers, shields and buckets for a water fight. All food will be provided. Many games and prizes.



Who’s invited: Immediate neighborhood residents

Location: 740 Graham St. S.W.

Time: 6 p.m. to whenever the last person goes home.

Contact: Brian Duscher at 320-223-1197, or Tina Drey at 763-221-4529.

Bring: Something you would like to grill and a dish to share and your own beverage. Activities include air hockey, ping pong, and kids riding their bikes as well as yard games. Neighborhood residents who want to help or provide anything additional should call one of the two contact people.



Who’s invited: People in the Island View Heights association

Location: Gazebo on Prairie View Drive S.W.

Time: Starts at 5:30 p.m., potluck dinner served at 6 p.m.

Contact: Betty Braun at or 320-587-3423, or Sue Boske at 320-587-8330

Bring: A dish to pass and a chair. Plates, utensils and beverages will be provided.



Who’s invited: Residents of the Meadows Townhouse Association

Location: 832 Greensview Court N.W.

Time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Contact: Ken Schuts at 952-221-2778

Bring: A dish to pass and a lawn chair. Paper plates, utensils and beverages will be provided.



Who’s invited: Neighborhood residents

Location: Northwoods Park Shelter

Time: 5 to whenever

Contact: Mavis Schwanke at 320-587-2058 or

Bring: A dish to pass. Pulled pork, beverages, plates and utensils will be provided. Games and prizes for the kids.



Who’s invited: Residents of Park Towers

Location: Park Towers community room

Time: 4 to 4:30 p.m.

Contact: Lorri Olson at

Bring: Nothing. Turkey sandwiches, beans and potato chips will be served.



Who’s invited: Residents of Rolling Oaks Lane

Location: Driveway at 1245 Rolling Oaks Lane

Time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Contact: Tammy Lauer at 320-583-2567

Bring: A dish to pass and a lawn chair.



Who’s invited: Residents of the immediate neighborhood

Location: Hayden Avenue, between Lake Street Southwest and Fischer Street Southwest

Time: 6 p.m.

Contact: Amanda Sundblad at 320-587-9107

Bring: A dish to pass, meat to grill and chairs.



Who’s invited: Residents of neighborhood

Location: Lions Park West on Sunset Street

Time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Contact: Toni Fischer at 320-552-3977

Bring: A dish to pass, beverage, chairs and utensils.



Who’s invited: Residents of Echo Manor Apartments and Twin Oaks Townhomes

Location: Between the B and C buildings of Twin Oaks Townhomes at 1035 Texas Ave.

Time: 5 to 7 p.m.

Contact: Janis Rannow at Twin Oaks Townhomes at 320-587-7505

Bring: A chair. Taco in a bag and beverages will be served. Lots of games and prizes for the kids, and a great chance to get to know your neighbors.



Who’s invited: Residents of the immediate neighborhood

Location: VFW Park

Time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Contact: John Paulson at 507-276-1994

Bring: Nothing. Ice cream cones, juice, drinks and water will be served along with entertainment/activities. Plenty of picnic tables for seating.



Who’s invited: Residents of Valley View Apartments

Location: 215 Fourth Ave. N.E.

Time: 4 to 7 p.m.

Contact: Heather Moore at 320-587-7610

Bring: A side dish to pass. Hot dogs and sloppy joes will be served. A slip n’ slide will be available for the kids.



Who’s invited: Anyone who wishes to attend

Location: Gazebo on Oakwood Court

Time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Contact: Sandy Lennes at 320-455-0257 or Letty Bernhagen at 320-587-6508

Bring: A dish to pass and chairs. Tables, utensils and coffee will be provided.



Who’s invited: Residents of the immediate neighborhood

Location: Elks Park near 1300 Sherwood St. S.E.

Time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Contact: Diane Neubarth at 320-587-0847

Bring: A chair. Popcorn, chips and iced tea will be provided.



Who’s invited: Anyone who wishes to attend

Location: The parking lot of Bethlehem United Methodist Church, 665 Miller Ave. S.W.

Time: 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Contact: Cindy Christenson at 320-587-6881

Bring: Nothing. Root beer floats will be served. Games and live music are planned.



Who’s invited: Residents of Deer Park Apartments

Location: Park and community building at 309 North High Drive N.W.

Time: 5 to 7 p.m.

Contact: Janis Rannow at 320-587-7505

Bring: A lawn chair. Tacos in a bag and beverages will be served.



Who’s invited: Residents of the immediate neighborhood

Location: 705 Tyler St. S.W.

Time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Contact: Lynne and Jeff Bennin at 320-583-5437

Bring: A lawn chair and beverage. Food and root beer floats will be provided. Games are planned for the kids.



Who’s invited: Residents of the immediate neighborhood.

Location: 866 Hunter St. S.W.

Time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Contact: Mandy Sturges at 320-234-7310

Bring: A lawn chair. Root beer floats will be served.



Who’s invited: Residents of the immediate neighborhood

Location: Hidden Circle

Time: 6 p.m.

Contact: Becky Felling at 320-587-3309

Bring: A dish to pass, utensils and a chair.



Who’s invited: Friends and neighbors

Location: 979 Hillcrest Rd. N.E.

Time: 6 to 8 p.m.

Contact: Diane or Kon Sorensen at 320-583-8802

Bring: A chair and a dish to share. Plates and utensils will be provided.



Who’s invited: Residents of Ottawa Avenue and Calgary Lane

Location: Corner of Ottawa Avenue and Calgary Lane

Time: 4:30 to 7 p.m.

Contact: Bill Arndt at 320-587-6882

Bring: A chair. Root beer floats will be served.



Who’s invited: Residents of the 1200 block and 1300 corner of Heritage Avenue, Birdie Court and Birdie Circle

Location: 1270 Heritage Ave. N.W.

Time: 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Contact: Michelle Kiefer at 507-430-2280, Leann Gallagher at 320-583-8198 or Lori Ankrum at 507-384-2133

Bring: A dish to pass, beverage and chair. Plates and utensils will be provided. Yard games and music are planned weather permitting. Donations will be accepted for the Heart of Minnesota Animal Shelter.

Heart of Hutch

Heart of Hutch