Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: RWD#01 – Aryn Henning Nichols, Inspire(d) Media

Show Number One!


Welcome to Rhymes With Decorah, a project of Inspire(d) Media and companion to Inspire(d) Magazine. We’ll be using this platform to feature the positive stories of our region, explore big challenges from across the upper midwest, and talk with folks who are working to make their communities stronger. Stories about communities you Love – By people you trust = Rhymes with Decorah.

There didn’t seem to be a better way to kick off the podcast party than with a fun conversation between Benji (that’s me!) and Founder + Editor-in-Chief of Inspire(d), Aryn Henning Nichols. We’ll be jumping on the podcast periodically, when a new issue of the magazine comes out, or when we have something exciting to talk about. In this episode, Aryn takes us back to the early days of Inspire(d), catches up on the amazing Goldman Sachs 10K Small Businesses program that she Off-fishally(!) just completed, and more. 

30 minutes to make your day more fun – thanks for listening, and a huge thanks to Aryn for being Guest #1. Also a huge thanks to drummer and Decorah’n Mr. Nick Zielinski for the amazing music and beats heard on this podcast. Find Nick on Instagram at @indicative_of_drumming

Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: RWD#02 Stephanie Fromm, WCDI (Winneshiek County Development Inc.)

One of our goals of “Rhymes With Decorah” is to highlight people and organizations in our region that are tackling the challenges of our times. When we talk with folks on a state level, the same challenges come up – housing, jobs, workforce, broadband, education – and child care.


Stephanie Fromm is a Decorah “boomerang” who returned to Winneshiek County in 2015 to become the Executive Director of Winneshiek County Development and Tourism, or as many know it (WCDI Winneshiek County Development Inc.)

One of the first challenges that she and her Husband (and Decorah teacher, Zach Fromm) realized was that of an acute shortage of Child Care in Winneshiek County. As part of our interview with Stephanie, you can hear how her first hand experiences helped shape one of WCDI’s major economic development initiatives – the Sunflower Child Development and Discovery Center.


This new facility is in final planning and fundraising stages (as of June 2022) with real estate and bidding processes in place. Once completed, the project will offer up “state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor child development and play areas that encourage learning through high quality care, creative design, shared services, and innovative STEAM learning spaces.” Pledge a donation to the Decorah Discovery Center to the project, or check out a fantastic video about this project.

Child Care isn’t the only thing that Stephanie and WCDI do though (far from it!). Hear all about what WCDI does and why economic development matters for Winneshiek County and NE Iowa, and how she was appointed to the Governor’s Growing Iowa Task Force in 2021!

Many thanks to Stephanie for being on RWD, and for all of her work, as well as the work of many partners and board members that help make NE Iowa the amazing place it is.


“Rhymes With Decorah” is a companion project of Inspire(d) Media.

Original music heard in this podcast performed and recorded by Nick Zielinski of Decorah. Find him on Instagram @indicative_of_drumming

Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: RWD#03 Decorah Public Library Crew Summer 2022!

DPL_LOGO.jpgIf there is an entity (or entities) in our region that Aryn and I both get truly excited about, it would be LIBRARIES! Yes – we are that geeky! It might seem obvious that public libraries are incredible resources – windows to the world, amongst other things, that serve every sector and demographic of a region. But libraries provide so much more than books and reading material. Who better than to talk libraries with than our friendly, local Decorah Public Library staff!? 




Join us as we catch up with three of the Decorah Public LIbrary staff, talk about the summer ahead, the challenges of recent years, all of the fantastic amenities of the DPL, and how to support the library!

Rhymes With Decorah #03

On this episode:

Kristen Torresdal, DPL Library Director

Rachael Button, DPL Children’s & Young Adult Librarian

Zach Row-Heyveld, DPL Administrative Coordinator



Rhymes With Decorah is a companion podcast project of Inspire(d) Media. Find our quarterly magazine on stands across the Driftless Region or visit us at: https://www.iloveinspired.com/

Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: RWD#04 Driftless Yoga Festival – Laree Schouweiler


Diversity, rural Iowa, and yoga are words that are sometimes not thought of in the same sentence. But we’re here to share a story that doesn’t just dabble into diversity, but an event that has been honored as the 2022 winner of the Iowa Tourism Award for Outstanding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – The Driftless Yoga Festival!


We remember the moment well from almost a decade ago – hearing about someone that was opening a spinning and yoga studio here in Decorah, and being so excited to have this option landing here in our small town. Laree Schouweiler (she/her), was the founder of ReeFuel in 2013, steadily growing a crew of teachers and a studio following. But it was the studio setting that taught Laree just what the inequalities of the modern yoga world are – and she wanted to find another path. This led to the first Driftless Yoga Festival in the summer of 2019 in Decorah. 

Three babies, a studio, and a pandemic later, it was a trip to Asheville to participate in Michelle Cassandra Johnson’s (she/her) Skill in Action Training that has led to the latest version of the Driftless Yoga Festival. (Read the whole story here!)

This year’s Fest will be June 23-26, 2022 at Will Baker Park in Decorah. Everyone is welcome to explore immersions, yoga classes, and workshops centered on yoga, equity, and nature – all in a beautiful setting. Passes are available on a sliding scale system with a limited amount of scholarships available. Find all of the info online at: www.driftlessyogafestival.com


Rhymes With Decorah is a companion project of Inspire(d) Media, hosted by Benji Nichols. Find out more at www.iloveinspired.com


Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: RWD#05 Helping Services – Carson Eggland


On episode 5 of Rhymes with Decorah we talk with Carson Eggland, Executive Director of Helping Services for Youth & Family.

Since 1973, Helping Services has been a resource for Iowans to turn to for help. Originally set up as a crisis-line service, the organization has broadened it’s scope over the years to provide services to clients of all ages – ranging from new parents, to youth mentors and mentoring, to substance and drug use prevention, and domestic abuse resources.

Helping Services for Youth & Families serves 8 counties in northeast Iowa. They are here to help your friends, family, and neighbors find resources in difficult and challenging times – focusing on promoting positive solutions in our communities.

Previous to Carson and his Wife Chauncy moving to Decorah, he spent 12 years working at the Ronald McDonald house of Iowa City, assisting thousands of families and children in need while receiving medical care. These days the Eggland Family has grown, and is on the run – literally some days! Catch them on the trails or out for a neighborhood walk.

Thank you to Carson and amazing staff of Helping Services for all that they provide in our region!


Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: RW#09 Crater Trail Run – Scott Searcy


In 2012 Scott & Kelly Searcy found their way back to NE Iowa, chasing pursuits in using their passion to help guide people to better lives through exercise. That would eventually lead to their business, Body Logics, but it was in those earlier years of exploration that Scott discovered Decorah’s extensive soft trail (single track) system. He also found a love for trail running, and helping others experience this awesome local resource. He got involved in the trails community, met up with several volunteers who were involved with Decorah Human Powered Trails, and found a love for spending time running in the woods.

Kelly and Scott also have 4 amazing daughters, so when the NE Iowa Montessori school was looking for a new fundraising project in 2014, the Searcy Family brought the idea of a trail race to the table. That was the beginning of The Crater Trail Run – a highly anticipated annual race for endurance runners from across the mid-west and beyond. Although the event has grown over the years, the community vibe stands strong – with a 1 mile kids race, a 5k and 10k option, as well as a 25k and 50k option. The event is now even recognized as part of the No Coast Trail Series – a loosely organized annual circuit of trail running events across Iowa.


Check out our conversation, and also how this event supports NE Iowa Montessori, Decorah Human Powered Trails, and Decorah Parks & Recreation.

Also a big shout out to the Decorah Hatchery for being one of the major prize sponsors of the Crater Trail Run. Stop by and say “howdy” to the fantastic crew at the Decorah Hatchery for all of your outdoor gear needs!


Rhymes With Decorah is a companion project of Inspire(d) Media.

Original music heard in this podcast performed and recorded by Nick Zielinski of Decorah. Find him on Instagram @indicative_of_drumming

Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: RWD#06 Jessica Rilling – Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce


On episode 6 of Rhymes With Decorah we welcome special guest and Executive Director of the Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce, Jessica Rilling! 

Jessica and her husband Justin are both NE Iowa “Boomerangs” (as we like to call them), having graduated from ISU, followed pursuits across the state, and returned to the Decorah Area in late 2020. Most recently, Jessica served as Executive Director for the Iowa Valley RC&D (Resource Conservation & Development), before finding the opportunity that would help bring her family back to NE Iowa – The Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce.


In 2024 the Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce will celebrate its 100th year in existence, providing support and promotion of businesses across Decorah and beyond. The Chamber is a trusted resource in the local business community for advocacy, collaboration, and education.

We talk programs and programming new and old with Jessica, recent awards and accolades that our town has seen, the power of great board members, and much more.

Many thanks to Jessica for being on RWD, and for all of her work, as well as the work of many members and partners of the Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce who help make Decorah the great place it is


“Rhymes With Decorah” is a companion project of Inspire(d) Media.

Original music heard in this podcast performed and recorded by Nick Zielinski of Decorah. Find him on Instagram @indicative_of_drumming



Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: RWD#07 Goldman Sachs 10K Small Businesses – Jacki Boldt


On Episode #07 of Rhymes With Decorah we welcome Jacki Boldt, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Iowa Executive Director, alongside Inspire(d)’s Aryn Henning Nichols. 

Jacki-Boldt.jpgJacki is the Executive Director for 10,000 Small Businesses Iowa and has been at Des Moines Area Community College since 2008. She joined DMACC Business Resources as a Business Consultant in 2012 where she currently works with clients in Polk county on workforce development and employee training initiatives.



Decorah was represented in a big way this spring (2022) at the Goldman Sachs Iowa 10,000 Small Businesses program.


Aryn Henning Nichols, of Inspire(d) Media, and Lisa Lantz, of The Getup, were both selected from a pool of entrepreneurs across the state for Cohort 7 of “10Ksb”. These two women each have a vision for their businesses that they have both explored and refined through the intensive 12-week growth-focused program.

Designed by Babson College, the nation’s top-ranked entrepreneurship school, the 10,000 Small Businesses curriculum focuses on practical business skills that can immediately be applied by small business owners, including negotiation, marketing, and employee management. Participants develop an actionable growth plan for their business with the help of advisors and a network of like-minded entrepreneurs. 

Des Moines Area Community College and Iowa’s entire community college system partners with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses to offer Iowans access to the program, providing scholars with greater access to education, capital, and business support services. To date, more than 10,000 business owners have graduated from the program across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Inspire(d) Media, founded in 2007, publishes Inspire(d) Magazine each quarter, featuring positive news about the great people, places, and things in the Driftless Region of NE Iowa, SE Minnesota, and SW Wisconsin. Inspire(d)’s mission is to connect communities, build regional pride, and inspire readers through it’s “experiment in positive news.”

The Getup, founded in 2018, offers high-quality and affordable secondhand clothing and gear for the entire family – newborn to adult. Customers can shop at their brick and mortar in downtown Decorah, or from anywhere through their online store thegetupdecorah.com. The Getup’s mission fosters community and sustainability through local outreach and by emphasizing a circular economy rather than a one-way track to the landfill.

Find out more about both of these businesses, as well as the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative on this episode – as well as at the following links – and keep your eyes open for updates from both of these awesome female Iowa entrepreneurs!






“Rhymes With Decorah” is a companion project of Inspire(d) Media.

Original music heard in this podcast performed and recorded by Nick Zielinski of Decorah. Find him on Instagram @indicative_of_drumming


Rhymes With Decorah Podcast: RWD#08 NE Iowa RCD – Resource Conservation and Development


Rhymes With Decorah #08 Features Josh Dansdill and Jared Nielsen from Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D).

NE IA RC&D works with partners from throughout our region to explore natural resource based economic development opportunities while at the same time protecting and enhancing natural resources. Their mission is to recognize opportunities and provide leadership to make Northeast Iowa a vibrant, place-based model for the nation!


The organization of about a dozen people uses a bottom-up approach to economic development and natural resource enhancement that involves and empowers citizens rather than a top-down approach that dictates solutions. Northeast Iowa RC&D stands beside partners, first empowering them and recognizing their talents, gifts and knowledge, and then providing expertise.

Check out our fun conversation about recent projects, what RC&D does, and where things are headed for future projects in NE Iowa!


Josh_D.jpg Jared_N.jpg


“Rhymes With Decorah” is a companion project of Inspire(d) Media.

Original music heard in this podcast performed and recorded by Nick Zielinski of Decorah. Find him on Instagram @indicative_of_drumming

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