Western Political Philosophy


March 10th
           Lincoln’s Children

February 9th 
           Recent Developments in the generation of electricity in Minnesota

January 13th
           The Dakota Wars

November 12th
           Mississippi Headwaters:The Business Case for Conservation 

October 8

           The Mysterious Edgar Allen Poe-American Literary Icon or Dipsomaniac

September 10
           Reforming the Criminal Justice System 

August 13
           China’s Rise, Emerging Tech and the Challenge to U.S. Interests and Democracy

July 9th

           Radicalism on the Cuyuna Iron Range: Searching for economic justice

June 11th
           The most magical bird in the world: the Common Loon. 

May 10th &17
           Two Fridays with Robert Jahnke

May 14th
How the progressive Republican Party changed

April 9th 
           Self Healing Communities Project in Brainerd Area

Mar. 12th
           The Civil War from a Minnesota perspective by David Gray
           Click here for suggested recommended readings on the topic

Feb. 12th
           A journey through Oman

Jan. 8th
           “Those Amazing Dragonflies” by John Arthur


Nov. 19
           Great Decisions Session 8: Global Health: Progress and Challenges

Nov. 13
Old Forests, Woodpeckers, and Wildlife that Depend on Them

Oct. 15
           Great Decisions Session 7: South Africa’s Fragile Democracy
Oct. 9
           Education for Minnesota’s Native Americans

Sept. 17
           Great Decisions Session 6: U.S. Global Engagement and the Military

Sept. 11
“Big Two–Hearted River” A Discussion with Jack Hickerson
August 28th Field Trip
Field Trip visit to the USDA US Forest Service Research “SPRUCE” Experiment

August 14 
      The Great Flu Epidemic Hits Rural Minnesota, 1918-1920

July 10
           Tom Hanson: Diplomacy Update --
What is “Pax Americana” (Latin for "American Peace”)?

June 18
Great Decisions:  Session 5--Turkey A Partner In Crisis
June 12
Life Experiences: Alan Page


May 11 & 18
           Special Course: Elderquest Film Series-Year 10
May 21
           Great Decisions: Session 4--Media and Foreign Policy 

May 8
           Anecdotes and Insights: Working in Kuwait           

April 16
Great Decisions: Session 3-China and America: the New Geopolitical Equation 

The History, Science and Politics of UFOs

March 19
Great Decisions: Session 2--Russia’s Foreign Policy
March 13
           For Peat’s Sake

February 19
           Great Decisions: Session 1--The Waning of Pax Americana

February 13
           Crosby Police Chief Coughlin: Crimes & Drugs

January 10
            The Face of Aging in Minnesota


November 20            
             Great Decisions: #8: Challenges of Nuclear Weapons

November 14
              Central Lakes College: Assessing the Future of CLC

Oct.16 and 17th (overnight at Ruttgers, Bay Lake)
              Western Political Philosophy: The Great Debate

October 16
              Great Decisions: #7: Prospects for Afghanistan and Pakistan

October 10
           Wild and Free Rehabilitation Program

September 18
           Great Decisions: #6 Latin America’s Political Pendulum

September 12
           Winter Dreams, A Discussion

August 8
           U.S. Foreign Policy: Will Threatened Nations “Push Back”?

July 11
           Mining Our History: Why Did the Union Win the Civil War?

June 19
             Great Decisions: #5 Geopolitics of Energy

June 13
            Norway’s Untold Stories: Life During World War II

May 9
            Crow Wing Energize Movement: Creating a Healthier Community

April 17
             Great Decisions: #3 - South  China Sea

April 11
             Stories The Battlefields Tell

March 20
              Great Decisions: #2 - Trade

March 17
              Camp RipleyTour of the Minnesota Military Museum at Camp Ripley

March 14
              Crafting Stories with Truth and Fiction

February 20
              Great Decisions: #1 European Union

February 14
              The Future of Water Quality in Minnesota

January 10
               The Evolution of Breezy Point: Myths and Facts


November 21
               Great Decisions: #8  Cuba and the United States

November 8
                 On Guard: Scams and Fraud

October 28
                Night of Fine Dining: Ruttger’s Bay Lake Resort

October 17     
                Great Decisions: # 7   Climate Geopolitics

October 17 &18
                 Western Political Philosophy - Churchill: The Life of Leadership

October 11
                 Election 2016: Putting It in Perspective

September 13
“The Dead” by James Joyce

September 1

               Great Decisions: # 6  The United Nations Post-2015

August 9
              What’s in Your Water? Preserving Water Resources

July 12
              The Widening Economic Inequality in Minnesota

July 12

              Civil Conservation Corps in Minnesota: Hard Work and a Good Deal!

June 20
               Great Decisions #5 The Koreas

June 14
                    Wild Rice: Culture and Conversations

May 6, 13, and 20th
                    Elder Quest Film Series

May 16th
                     Great Decisions #4         Migration

May 10th
                     Healthy You—Healthy Community

April 26th
                    Special Program: How is U.S. Foreign Policy Impacting the 2016 Presidential Election? -

April 18th
                      Great Decisions #3   The Future of Kurdistan

April 12th
                      Frederick Weyerhaeuser and the American West - .

March 8th
                      Loons and Environmental Disasters -

March 21
                      Great Decisions #2   The Rise of ISIS

February 9th
                     Northland Arboretum in Brainerd: Past, Present, Future

February 15th
                     Great Decisions #1   The Middle East

January 12th
                     GERD and Obesity


November 16th 
                      Great Decisions #8 -- Brazil's Metamorphosis

October 13th.
                      Polar Bears by Steve Kohl

October 19th  
                      Great Decisions #7  –Human Trafficking in the 21st Century

September 8th.
                       The Bear, by Faulkner (A novella Part of the Big Woods) by Jack Hickerson.

September 21st
                       Great Decisions #6 Syria's Refugee Crisis

September 29th and 30th
                       Special Course (Seminar) Session – Western Political Philosophy -- by Merritt Marquardt.

Tuesday, August 11th
                      The Perfect Firestorm (Upper Minnesota)

Tuesday, July 28th
                      Special Class Session –Mothers Club in Haiti

Tuesday, July 14th
                      Understanding Islam

Tuesday, June 9
                      At the Center of Life: Women and Education on the Iron Range

Monday, June 15
                      Great Decisions: Session 5—U.S. Policy Toward Africa

Monday, May 18
                      Great Decisions: Session 4—India Changes Course

Tuesday, May 12
                      Estate Planning Requirements & Avoiding the Scams

Thursday, April 30, Fridays, May 8, 15 Elderquest
                       Enjoy films featuring mature adults with their challenges and successes.

Monday, April 20
                       Great Decisions: Session 3—Sectarianism in the Middle East

Tuesday, April 14
                       What Tocqueville Foretold: a Despotic Democracy

Tuesday, March 17
                       Minnesota Lost Towns

Monday, March 16
                       Great Decisions: Session 2—Privacy in the Digital Age

Tuesday, March 10
                       Curiosity about a World-Changer    

Monday, February 16,
                       Great Decisions: Session 1—Russia and the Near Abroad

Tuesday, February 10
                        Stories Battlefields Tell

Tuesday, January 13
                        African Safari Adventure

Tuesday January 20th
                        The State of U.S. Foreign Policy: Perspectives


Tuesday, Nov. 11
                         Minnesota’s Lost Towns

Tuesday, Nov.18
                         How Technology, Politics and Terrorism are Changing Privacy In our World

Friday, Oct. 24, Night of Fine Dining at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Resort

Tuesday, Oct 14
                        Let’s Talk Turkey -- That’s WILD turkeys…Dan Zimmerman, local representative of the National Wild Turkey Federation, will share little known facts about the habitat, biology & unique behaviors of these wild birds.

Tuesday-Wednesday, Sept. 23-24
                         Western Political Philosophy: Year 10

Tuesday, Sept. 9
                         Western American Literature Series -- The Monkey Wrench Gang is Edward Abbey’s most famous fiction. Jack Hickerson, PhD, Literature Professor Emeritus, Southwest State, will lead discussion of this entertaining book.

Tuesday, Aug. 12
                          An Afternoon with the Sutter Brothers: Poetry, Music, Songs and Stories

Tuesday, July 15
                          Crimea and Ukraine

Tuesday, February 11
The Value of Art and the Artist in Our Communities

Tuesday, January 14, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Extreme Trails and Easy Walks in Crosby/Ironton

Monday, January 20, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
The State of U.S. Foreign Policy: Perspectives

Tuesday, March 11, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
                            Long Lake Conservation Center: Teaching the Interdependence of Humans and the Environment

Tuesday, April 8, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
                            Bike across the U.S.A. with Me On May 17th, 2012, in record-breaking heat, Ed Dallas & two companions mounted their bikes in Bar Harbor, Maine, and headed into a 3500-mile bicycle journey to Anacortes, Washington.

Monday, April 15, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Great Decisions: Session 3--Turkey

Tuesday, April 22, 1:30-3:30 P.M.
Nature in Action

Tuesday, May 13, 1:30-3:30
Stormy Weather in North Central Minnesota

Monday, May 19, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Great Decisions: Session 4—Energy Independence

Tuesday, June 10, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Inside Hollywood…The Dark and Dirty History of Old Time Hollywood

Monday, June 16, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Great Decisions: Session 5-- Food & Climate

Summer/Fall 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 1:30-3:30 pm.
Making Sense of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Monday, November 18, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Great Decisions: Session 8-Threat Assessment

Tuesday, October 8, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
The Oranges are Sweet, a Story about an
Extraordinary Man and WWII Pilot

Tues.-Wed., October 15-16, at Ruttgers Bay Lake Resort
Western Political Philosophy: Political &
Personal Dilemmas Resulting in the
Emancipation Proclamation at Gettysburg

Monday, October 21, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Great Decisions: Session 7-China in Africa

Tuesday, September 10, 1:30-3:30 pm Western American Literature Part IV:
MY ANTONIA, by Willa Cather

Read and discuss Cather’s well-crafted novel that depicts small town and frontier prairie life in early Nebraska. Two transplants, a young Bohemian girl (Antonia) and even younger boy (Jim Burden) from Virginia are featured in this acclaimed novel. Books free at for Kindle users. Paperbacks available at August event.

Moderator: Jack Hickerson, Literature Professor Emeritus


Monday, September 16, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Great Decisions: Session 6-Iran

Tuesday, August 20, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Ironton: Small Town/Big History

Hear about the historical contributions of Ironton from Laura and knowledgeable longtime residents.  (click here for photos)

Laura Ukura-Leir, Ironton City Council member, local historian


Tuesday, August 13, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

An In Depth Look at Morocco

Dr. Schaefer Davis will present a view of Morocco from first hand knowledge of this diverse culture.  She will also take you on a visual geographic tour of major urban areas, the mountains and the Mediterranean, emphasizing the role of women and socio-economic and political issues.

Dr. Susan Schaefer Davis, Researcher for World Bank and USAID, former Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco.


Tuesday, July 9, 1:30-4:00 p.m. (including reception)

Recent Findings: Industrial Archeological History
of the Cuyuna Lakes Area

Hear the story of the Cuyuna Range through places and events that made the region distinctive and important. Sutherland and his research team of local community members will share their documentation of 876 standing buildings at least 50 years old as well as oral history interviews conducted by local volunteers.

Fred Sutherland, Industrial Archaeologist, Michigan Tech U.


Monday, June 24, 2:30-4:00 p.m
at the new Milford Mine Memorial Park canopy

The Milford Mine Disaster

Many who grew up in our area have never fully understood what happened at one of our country’s largest mining disasters at the Milford Mine. It took place just a few miles north of Crosby.

Forty one (41) miners tragically died in February 5, 1924. To learn more about this historic event from uniquely qualified people – come to this special Unlimited Learning program.

June 25th 1:30-3:30 PM

Crosby's Communist Mayor: Karl Emil Nygard: A True Story

Karl Emil Nygard, was the son of Swedish speaking immigrants from Finland and in 1932 became the first Communist mayor in the United States, when elected to head the Village council of Crosby


June 26th 6:00-8:00 PM, Crosby, Serpent Lake Park

Music in the Park: Minnesota Legacy Chorale

The Minnesota Legacy Chorale, led by Sarah Aamodt will perform a medley of favorites at Music in the Park,Thursday,June 26th,Serpent Lake, Crosby. Bring the family and folding chairs or blankets. Co-sponsored by Unlimited Learning and Cuyuna Lakes Area Chamber. All ages,free to everyone.

The Legacy Chorale, led by Sarah Aamodt is in its 11th season and consists of 58 auditioned singers from 15 area communities: Aitkin, Baxter, Brainerd, Breezy Point, Crosby, Crosslake, Deerwood, East Gull Lake, Garrison, Hackensack, Little Falls, Merrifield, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Pillager.   This volunteer chorale is one of our north country treasures.  They will perform a medley of favorites at Music in the Park, Crosby from Celtic songs ,Patriotic tunes heralding the upcoming Fourth of July, Pop, and Broadway…something for everyone. 

For more information about the Legacy Chorale of Greater Minnesota — including performance dates, times and venues, auditions and special events, visit

Cuyuna Lakes Area Chamber


Winter/Spring 2013

Minnesota Gangsters
Learn about the Great Brainerd Bank Robbery of the 1930s and gangsters like Alvin Karpis, Dillinger, the Barkers, Homer Vanmeter, & others who delivered booze to local resorts from Breezy Point and shipped the rest to Chicago. Presented by Alan Bohme, local historian, former chemistry and physics teacher, and son of one-time band leader at Breezy Point

U.S. Foreign Policy Perspective
The State of U.S. Foreign Relations: What is happening in the world, and what are the implications for the U.S and our foreign policy? This special kickoff meeting for the Great Decisions Program features a nationally acclaimed expert and speaker. Presented by Tom Hanson, Consultant, Former U.S. Foreign Service Officer

Kensington Runestone: A Hoax or Evidence of
Early European Explorers?
Examine new information about the 1898 discovery of script chiseled into a 200 lb rock in Kensington, MN. Watch a DVD and hear from two enthusiasts about recent developments unearthed by forensic archeology, geology, and historical review, and decide for yourself.Presented by Julian Grev, former history teacher, and Milo Oppegard, former physics teacher

How do we choose to live in a world with 7 billion people & growing? Consider how we can strengthen community & deepen our connections to others in a time of phenomenal change and fragmentation? Presented by David O’Fallon, President of the Minnesota Humanities Center

A Discussion and Paintings of Ojibwa,
Dakota, Explorers and Voyageurs
Through his evocative paintings and fascinating storytelling, Mr. Perrizo will present an earlier time in our region, portraying the lives of important Ojibwa, Dakota, explorers and voyageurs who lived in or near our lakes region of Minnesota. Presented by Robert Hughes Perrizo, Artist and Narrator

Mission: To provide quality and broad-based learning opportunities for the Lakes Area residents with emphasis on mature adults.