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RIP: Mr. Demers 1940 – 2021 💜

Posted February 29, 2024

Earlier this week, I came across a picture of my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Fox. Decided to fire up Duck Duck Go and see if I could find any information on what happened to her after Randolph Heights. Since online search in 2024 is terrible, couldn’t find anything. Just for kicks, I decided to search for my favorite high school teacher, Mr. Demers. Unfortunately, I found his obituary from 2021:

Richard Demers, Age 81, of Nashua, NH Died Thursday August 20, 2021 at Langdon Place after having faced the ravages of Alzheimer’s over the past several years. Born May 7, 1940 in Somersworth, NH, he was son of the late Ernest and Florence (Perreault) Demers and was predeceased by one son, Leonard, one sister, Pauline and one brother, Edward. Richard was a former high school history teacher for the St. Paul Public School System in Minnesota. He also served in the United States Army and Air Force National Guard. A vibrant man, Richard lived a connected life to his community – be it in the North Woods of MN at his beloved Woman Lake, the East Side of St Paul, or his daughter’s NH porch. He loved gardening (grew all of his own vegetables), fishing from his 1970 little green boat, snow mobiling with the old guys, travel (without a cell phone or credit card), long walks with his German Shepherds, reading history, DQ hot fudge sundaes, an provocative debate over a good cup of coffee, the Boston Red Sox, and most especially his four grandchildren. Survivors include Nicole Gates (daughter) and her husband Chuck, Louis Demers (son), Louise Ader (sister), and Isabelle and Jackson Gates and Deacon and Dominic Demers (grandchildren). SERVICES: There are no visiting hours. A private graveside service will be held at Forest Glade Cemetery in Somersworth, NH at the convenience of the family. The Davis Funeral Home, 1 Lock St., Nashua, NH 03064 is in charge of arrangements. davisfuneralhomenh.com (603) 883-3401. Published by Pioneer Press on Aug. 24, 2021.

How ironic that the person that instilled my love of history had so many things written here that I never learned until now. We all knew he lived on the East Side and had a son named Louis, but DQ hot fudge sundaes? Boston Red Sox? Woman Lake? Oh, to have another provocative debate now with the inventor of the OTE.

Speaking of opportunities to excel, so many great comments on the legacy.com page from former Saint Paul Central students:

Mr. Demers did for me what ever teacher hopes they can do--he changed my life. He was the first person who made me feel like a scholar. (I can still hear him starting each class with, "Good morning, scholars!" in his Boston accent.) I went on to get my Ph.D. and write many books, and it all started with the confidence he gave me during a crucial time in my life. My only regret is that I never told him thank you while he was still alive. Thank you, Mr. Demers!

What a beautiful tribute to Mr. Demers. I think I took every single class he taught--he made me a better stu-dent, and he is most certainly one of the people who inspired the way I teach today. I remember more of the work I did in his classes than in most of the MANY classes I had since then. He was a smart, funny, caring teacher and I am grateful that he gave that to us as students. My condolences on your loss, Demers family.

The impact Mr. Demers had on me and so many is in-delible. We were not students, but "scholars." Tests were "opportunities to excel." His lectures were vivid, enrapturing, and a bit irreverent. What stays with me the most is that he expected excellence. He never treated us as precious or fragile; we had brilliance within us, certainly beyond what many of us thought possible. We had to work to reveal it. His teaching reminds me to this day that each one of us will reveal our brilliance to those who believe in us. Rest in peace, Mr. Demers. Your spirit is alive within so many of us.

The best compliment he gave on essays was Nice - if you got a nice you were over the moon. The worst was Unfortunate. An unfortunate made you want the ground to swallow you up. He graded on a curve (people loved or HATED that, but it sometimes helped all of us when he gave a particularly difficult essay test and we all bombed it) and gave out exactly one A+ per class. The fact that I got the A+ in Western Civ my senior year is probably my proudest high school accomplishment. Rest in peace, scholar.

I took every history class I could with him, including an independent study I did on the history of classical music (with him serving as advisor). American Experience. Ancient Civilizations. Western Civilizations. All wonderful. All highly impactful on my life and the person I’ve become. He taught me about the Harvard Book and I almost went there because of him.

Writing notes in the borders of the history books he had us read led to my marriage to Demers classmate Colleen, who commented to me after seeing this news, “I cannot fathom that vast intellect being ravaged by Alzheimer’s disease. Heartbreaking.”

After seeing what that horrible disease did to my grandmother, my sincere condolences go out to his family. Please know that Mr. Demers positively impacted many, many lives of students in Minnesota and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to be one of his scholars.


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Time Machine albums

Pic posted February 29, 2024

Some albums just magically transport me back to another time in my life – here are a few samples from Prince, Sting, Suzanne Vega and Tom Petty


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🫡 Page updates: about and résumé

Posted February 19, 2024

A few more things off the to do list: the about page has been re-written, added Target Center to the résumé page (and uploaded a new PDF version) and consolidated the navigation menu to Home, About, Lists and Search.

Also hibernated my LinkedIn account for now…


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NO JOKE ⛷️

Pic posted February 19, 2024

Back bowl at Schweitzer – year unknown


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🫡 Under the weather 🤧

Posted February 12, 2024

I think I caught a cold during the Disney On Ice run – it was chilly in the building and well, thousands of trolls everywhere. Still love this old Simpsons graphic from back in the day. Ready for this to be over so I can get back into the regular swing of things…


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The fortune cookie is right

Pic posted February 9, 2024

Also happy to find Earl’s at the local gas station


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🫡 Time Management

Posted February 2, 2024

All the gurus like to talk about time management, but here are my personal top seven:

  • Time is precious – use it wisely
  • Prioritize and make time for what is important
  • Sometimes you need to do nothing
  • Keep work and personal as balanced as possible
  • Acknowledge some tasks need the right environment to happen
  • You can be productive all times of the day, but remember to sleep
  • iCloud Notes are great for to do lists across devices, but I also love notepads and Flair markers

Thanks for coming to my TED Talk…


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Hello, February 2024

Pic posted February 1, 2024

It’s felt more like April this week – also still waiting for our first bird buddies to visit the new feeder


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HAPPY OLIVER DAY! 🇬🇧

Pic posted January 27, 2024

Took delivery today in Golden Valley 🏁


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🫡 Top 7 things I’ve stopped doing in 2024

Posted January 26, 2024

  • Wear my Apple Watch all the time
  • Posting to social media
  • Read online comments
  • Click on any links about politics
  • Subscribe to Amazon Prime & Creative Cloud
  • Allow notifications on my iPhone
  • Answer calls from unknown callers

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🫡 #MyFirstMac

Posted January 24, 2024

Everyone on my Mastodon feed is talking about the 40th anniversary of the Mac today and which machine was their first. My first direct experience with one was the original form factor version (not sure the specific model – probably an SE) that was owned by my college hockey player roommate at the University of North Dakota in 1987.

The first one I actually owned personally was a Performa 405 from 1993 that I’m pretty sure my parents bought at Sears, of all places (also weird to think my first Apple IIc was purchased at Daytons). The fuel department at Northwest Airlines was my first professional job working with Macs, which included a lot of Quadra 700s and PowerBooks. Many, many more from this list in the years since then…

It’s been a fun ride – thanks, Cupertino!

P.S. – still looking for a good promotional photo of that 405…


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State Fair Benches, NO MOR

Posted January 21, 2024

It’s no secret our family loves the Minnesota State Fair. I’ve still managed to go every year of my life, and realized the same is true for my daughters too. One of the long-time items on my bucket list was to “Sit on a Kingsbury Bench at the State Fair,” which up to this point involved a $2500 donation to the Minnesota State Fair Foundation.

Given the large financial commitment, I’ve had it pretty low on my list of priorities. There is a yellow “Dave and Colleen” bench from a different family (pictured above), and my aunt and uncle got a green bench a few years ago for their grandchildren that usually ends up on Machinery Hill.

Last week, someone on Mastodon mentioned that the program was going to end this year because they don’t have enough storage space to add more. I hadn’t read anything on the news and the fair did not email us about it (which they are usually really good about). When I checked the foundation website, it did say the program was ending soon and to get your orders in quickly.

I talked it over with Colleen the next day and we decided we should just do it (and agreed on a yellow “Kingsbury” bench). When I went back to place the order, that page now unfortunately said “…after 15-plus years, we have ended the recognition bench and table program. All bench and table donations made as of January 17, 2024 will be honored.” I emailed the foundation right away and received this response:

Unfortunately, we are completely sold out. We will not have a waitlist as the way that we were able to keep the opportunity fair we only accepted submissions with all information and that were fully funded. Our apologies, but stay tuned in future years for more recognition opportunities on the fairgrounds.

I’m no marketing genius, but it seems to me that if you are a non-profit trying to raise money, you should probably figure out a way to take it from people that want to give it to you. It’s fine if you need to end a program for logistical reasons, but the way this program ended doesn’t seem like it was done in a manner that would optimize the financial success of the foundation.

I still love the fair, but it will be hard to hear any future fundraising requests without thinking about how the end of the bench program was managed. Maybe the other Dave and Colleen will share theirs with us…


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🫡 Apple Watch Update

Posted January 20, 2024

It’s been three weeks now since I stopped wearing my Apple Watch daily. My physical health is holding steady, as I still try to get on the treadmill to walk semi-regularly in this cold weather. My mental health, however, is vastly improved without the stress and anxiety of closing the damn rings. I still use the watch during workouts, but otherwise happy to leave it on the charger for the time being…


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The best TV shows of all time

Posted January 7, 2024

The Sopranos 25th anniversary story I linked to this week made me think, what are my favorite TV shows of all time? I asked Colleen this question and she had no difficulty coming up with her top 7: The Wire, The Sopranos, Charlies Angels, The Carol Burnett Show, Looney Tunes, Sesame Street and RuPaul’s Drag Race (with an honorable mention to The Flip Wilson Show). Me? I have trouble narrowing down my top 7 shows on HBO, let alone of all time.

Let’s start with HBO. I *loved* all of these shows: The Sopranos, The Wire, Game of Thrones, Deadwood, Treme, Entourage, Big Little Lies, True Blood, The White Lotus, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Barry, The Larry Sanders Show, Six Feet Under, The Last of Us, The Righteous Gemstones and Westworld. More than one needs to come out of this group, for sure.

When I look back at the shows that were popular while growing up in the 70s and 80s, there are some personal favorites that jump out to me: M*A*S*H, WKRP in Cincinnati, The Muppet Show, The Dukes of Hazzard, The Brady Bunch, Welcome Back, Kotter, The Love Boat, Hawaii Five-O, Hogan’s Heroes and Gilligan’s Island. Animated favorites included The Scooby-Doo Show, The Flintstones, Tom and Jerry, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Looney Tunes and The Jetsons.

Shows my mom liked that I watched a lot include The Rockford Files, The Carol Burnett Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Quincy, M.E., The Streets of San Francisco and Magnum, P.I. Of course there were the channel two PBS shows she let my brother and I watch: Sesame Street, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, The Electric Company and 3-2-1 Contact. Also loved staying up late until she got home from work, so Johnny Carson and David Letterman were both huge influences.

Launched in late 1989, The Simpsons started a string of “modern” animated series that influenced a ton of shows I’ve watched since: Futurama, Disenchantment, South Park, Beavis & Butthead, King of the Hill, The Critic, Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy and Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist (tried to like BoJack Horseman, but that one just never clicked with me).

I’ve had a long love of British television, starting with Monty Python’s Flying Circus and continuing with shows like Red Dwarf, Blackadder, Mr. Bean, Father Ted, The Vicar of Dibley, The Benny Hill Show, The IT Crowd, The Office, Ballykissangel, The Young Ones, Da Ali G Show, Coupling, Absolutely Fabulous, Derek and Black Mirror. The last few years, I’ve watched Downton Abbey, Poldark, All Creatures Great and Small and Annika – loved them all.

Before the rise of the streaming services, there were a string of very solid network shows we watched regularly: In Living Color, the original CSI, Twin Peaks, The X-Files, The Wonder Years, Modern Family, The Office, Community, Scrubs, Arrested Development, Survivor and Saturday Night Live (the last two we still watch regularly). There are a bunch of shows that I believe were produced by various cable networks that were also stellar: Mad Men, Portlandia, Letterkenny, Kids in the Hall, Schitt’s Creek, Kim’s Convenience, The Killing and Bosch.

Showtime produced Dexter, Weeds and Yellowjackets. FX did Fargo, Sons of Anarchy, Nip/Tuck, Justified, Dave and What We Do in the Shadows. Hulu has Only Murders in the Building, Reservation Dogs, The Bear and The Patient. Disney Plus has the great Star Wars spin-offs: The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett and Andor. Apple TV has Ted Lasso, Slow Horses and The Morning Show.

Lastly, there is the original king of the streamers, Netflix. Looking at this list, their history is nearly on par with HBO: Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Beef, Lupin, The Queen’s Gambit, I Think You Should Leave, Peaky Blinders, Stranger Things, Ozark, The Crown, Wednesday, Squid Game, Orange is the New Black, Narcos, The Politician, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Bloodline, Emily in Paris and Lilyhammer.

If I’ve learned anything from this little exercise, it’s that I’ve watched *a lot* of television during my lifetime. Thanks to all the talented creators for many, many hours of entertainment – bravo!

P.S. – I will continue to ponder a top 7 list, but wow is that hard…


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Minnesota State Park 2024 Quest

Posted January 7, 2024

I read someone on Mastodon talking about a goal of visiting all 88 Texas state parks in the next few years and thought that would be fun to do in Minnesota with Oliver (and the Minnesota State Parks custom license plate).

Minnesota has 66 state parks, plus nine state recreation areas, nine state waysides and 23 state trails. I’ve been to a bunch of these already, but I could revisit the eight on the North Shore alone every week and be happy.

Quest set:

Afton • Banning • Bear Head • Beaver Creek Valley • Big Stone Lake • Blue Mounds • Buffalo River • Camden • Carley • Cascade River • Charles A. Lindbergh • Crow Wing • Father Hennepin • Flandrau • Forestville/Mystery Cave • Fort Ridgely • Fort Snelling • Franz Jevne • Frontenac • George H. Crosby Manitou • Glacial Lakes • Glendalough • Gooseberry Falls • Grand Portage • Great River Bluffs • Hayes Lake • Hill-Annex Mine • Interstate • Itasca • Jay Cooke • John A. Latsch • Judge C.R. Magney • Kilen Woods • Lac qui Parle • Lake Bemidji • Lake Bronson • Lake Carlos • Lake Louise • Lake Maria • Lake Shetek • Lake Vermilion • Maplewood • McCarthy Beach • Mille Lacs Kathio • Minneopa • Monson Lake • Moose Lake • Myre-Big Island • Nerstrand-Big Woods • Old Mill • Rice Lake • St. Croix • Sakatah Lake • Savanna Portage • Scenic • Schoolcraft • Sibley • Soudan Underground Mine • Split Rock Creek • Split Rock Lighthouse • Temperance River • Tettegouche • Whitewater • Wild River • William O’Brien • Zippel Bay


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An Apple Watch Reckoning

Posted January 2, 2024

The patent infringement craziness has certainly made a big impact on the current Apple Watch market. Looking back through the 7 Minute Miles archives, it appears I’ve been an Apple Watch user now for nearly seven years. My longest move streak during the pandemic was almost 1200 days. Closing my rings and earning awards has been a daily goal. I’d planned on eventually replacing my old Series 5 with an Ultra 2 (temporarily unbanned, pictured above). And yet…

Today my wrist is naked.

My latest move streak ended due to illness and the last few days have felt freeing, as I wasn’t worried about closing the damn rings. So as I start the first week of 2024, I thought I’d try leaving the watch on the charger and see what happens. So far I’ve tried to check on the time a half dozen times, but like having app notifications just on my phone again. Would definitely want to wear it to track workouts (like I used to do with my Garmin) and I do like the always on safety features like fall detection and heart rate monitoring.

Hmm… 🤔


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🫡 40 Years of Motoring

Posted December 30, 2023

As I wait for Oliver to make it across the Atlantic, I realized as I was driving home this week that next month with mark forty years since I got my learner’s permit to drive. A few observations:

  • Mr. Toad isn’t the only one with a mania for motor cars
  • Only two moving violations – one in Florida and one in Wisconsin
  • My first used car was a Dodge Colt
  • Other makes we’ve owned: Oldsmobile, Toyota, Honda (many times) & BMW/Mini
  • My parents loved Volkswagens, but I’ve never purchased one
  • The new Mini will likely be my last gas engine, manual transmission car
  • It’s really a miracle that so many drivers get so many places daily without more accidents

Be safe and motor on…


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Top 7 dates in DK history

Posted December 26, 2023

It’s the time of year when people start looking back at best of lists and pondering resolutions for the coming year. I thought maybe I’d go at this a little differently today: what are the most important days of my life (so far)? A few of these are no brainers, but narrowing it down to seven was tougher than I thought. So out of the 20,064 days up to this point, here are the top seven I picked:

  • 01/19/1969 – a Sunday in Lawton, Oklahoma (high: 46F, low: 35F). Baby DK born in the Fort Sill army hospital.
  • 12/14/1991 – a Saturday in Saint Paul, Minnesota (high: 21F, low: 10F). Married Colleen at City Hall.
  • 10/08/1995 – a Sunday in Saint Paul, Minnesota (high: 59F, low: 35F). Finished Twin Cities Marathon in 4:42:52 – my first of 27 marathons.
  • [Date Redacted] – a Tuesday in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Kid one was born.
  • [Date Redacted] – a Friday in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Kid two was born.
  • 02/04/2018 – a Sunday in Minneapolis, Minnesota (high: 1F, low: -2F). Career highlight – successfully hosted Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium.
  • 10/8/2018 – a Monday in Minneapolis, Minnesota (high: 54F, low: 47F). Survived an aneurysm on the stadium train platform.

Seize the day! Wishing everyone a safe and prosperous 2024…


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🫡 Two Year Anniversary

Posted December 22, 2023

Yesterday marked two years in the “new” house and I can’t believe how many walls still don’t have any pictures on them (and how many other items remain on the house to do list). No pressure, though – love the place…


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🫡 Being social, part III

Posted December 15, 2023

Just went back and re-read my Art of Being Social post from July and the September update post after thinking about the changes I’m now pondering:

  • Pause regular reading of Bluesky and LinkedIn
  • Further prune my Mastodon follow list
  • Remove my concert videos from YouTube and only host here
  • Review my paid subscriptions and RSS feeds

The volume of reading has just been too much lately – need to find a better balance, with less noise…


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End of 2023 brain dump

Posted December 8, 2023

Haven’t done one of these in a while – let’s give it a go:

  • I like being busy almost as much as I like relaxing, but the scales have definitely not been balanced lately ⚖️
  • The Timberwolves are extremely fun to follow this year #WolvesBack 🏀
  • Looking forward to my surprise (and very short) anniversary trip next week ✈️
  • Planning a return to Twins spring training in ’24 ⚾️
  • The extended ’23 Minnesota golf season was super fun ⛳️
  • Future golf wishes: fewer carts, faster play and less music 🚫🎶
  • Speaking of music, still *way* too many talkers at shows 🚫🗣️
  • Need to remember I have a Lifetime Fitness card in my Apple Wallet now 🏋️
  • Would like my running mileage in 2024 to surpass 2023 (Milk Run, Get in Gear, TC 10 Mile and prep for Disney?) 🏃‍♂️
  • Getting pretty dang excited for the arrival of Oliver 🇬🇧
  • Grateful for my awesome family and circle of friends and colleagues 💜
  • The tech wishlist is growing: new watch, fancy headphones, new home office computer 🧐
  • Really need to backup and update my AWS cloud environment ☁️
  • Should probably start crossing off more ski areas from the list while I can still ski ⛷️
  • Can’t wait for Chef McKee’s new stuff to open 👨‍🍳
  • Like both Mastodon and Bluesky, but I give up on staying current with the feeds 🐘
  • Still not very proficient with the clown app, but it gave me free fries today 🍟

Bring it on, 2024!


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Soon to be in the England queue?

Pic posted November 9, 2023

The latest Mini process has started…


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Thankful 💜

Pic posted October 25, 2023

Walking by this building gives me all the feels


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Now we are ready to roll

Pic posted October 10, 2023

Are naked laptops really laptops?


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Five Years of Bonus Time

Posted October 8, 2023

Hurray! Today marks bonus birthday number FIVE after the big brain experience on the U.S. Bank Stadium train platform in 2018 (here are links to the previous bonus time posts: year one, year two, year three and year four). The whole episode now seems so distant – very happy to have this history here (and still so, so thankful to everyone involved).

Everything health-wise continues to be good – don’t need to go back for any follow-up for another two years and my eyesight has evolved to the point where I can even play golf again without glasses. I do still tend to wear them while driving at night, but that’s about it. My old TBI eye specialist has moved on, so I started seeing the regular family eye doctor this year. He said my prescription has changed slightly, but gave me the option to hold off on a new order.

Feeling more fit since I started a real training plan for the recently cancelled TC 10 Mile and the activity logs for the past year have all been active. Didn’t bike as much this year, but played more golf and logged more real running miles. Bought some actual hiking shoes this year and spent a lot of time at nearby Afton State Park (and almost signed up for the Afton 25K – hope to do that next year, along with Get in Gear and the Milk Run). Still throw my name in the annual London Marathon drawing, but have never been picked. Disney 2025?

Speaking of Florida, we attended our first ever spring training games in Fort Myers this year and had a great time. My brother and his wife drove over from Orlando for some of the games, which was wonderful. Not a lot of other travel this year, but we continued to cross new restaurants off the list, went to a lot of Twins and Saints games and had a good year of concerts (Smashing Pumpkins, Jerry Harrison, Muse, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Cure, Duran Duran, Pearl Jam and Peter Gabriel, among others).

And speaking of concerts, I’ve recently returned to the sports and entertainment world in a newly created technology role at Target Center. I’m excited to learn a new league and learn how arenas operate compared to stadiums. While there are a lot more events, the technology infrastructure is smaller and it will be a fun challenge to optimize the operation. Also excited about the Life Time Fitness facilities in the basement of the building – what a great thing to have for Minnesota winter workouts.

Go Wolves! 🏀


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