Posts Categorized: News

Aase Haugen 100th Anniversary!


This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Aase Haugen Home, or Aase Haugen Senior Services as it is now known. What was created out of one woman’s humble and trying Norwegian immigrant life has served so many over the past Century in NE Iowa. In 1915, Aase Haugen donated 240 acres of family farm as the location for the original home. She had taken care of her entire extended family throughout her life, never marrying or having children, and found herself alone in her final years. Her hope was to provide something else for others – a community to be at peace in.

Aase1From the Home’s original location on the rail line just west of Decorah (now the Schwarz family South Bear School), to the current locations on Decorah’s West side and the Vennehjem Active 55+ Community, this organization has touched thousands of lives in our region.

A wonderful history of Aase Haugen has recently been rekindled on the website with more to come.

To Celebrate the Centennial, many events have been planned including:

– A concert and presentation on Norwegian composer (and former Aase resident) Theodora Cormonton. March 28th at 7pm and March 29th at 1:30pm in the Decorah Lutheran Sanctuary.

– April 12 – Traditional Hoilday Easter Dinner with Aase Haugen residents, family, friends, and staff. 11:30am. (reserve ahead at 563-382-6521)

– May 18 – Aase Haugen Centennial Golf Scramble

– May 25 – Memorial Day Service at the original Aase Haugen Cemetery with a reception following at Vennehjem

– June 30 – Centennial Dedication Ceremony and Family Picnic at the original Aase Haugen Home.

Find out more at or by calling 563-382-6521

Making A Scene Pt. 5 – Bob Holtan and KDEC Radio

Bob Holtan – KDEC Radio

This is Part 5 of a series on inspiring individuals who help bring live entertainment to NE Iowa and the Driftless Region. Read the other interviews by clicking here.

BobHoltanKDEC FM 100.5 and KDEC AM 1240 have long been a part of the Decorah Community. Since the mid-90s, the stations have been run by Bob & Colleen Holtan, along with their daughter Jeni (and David) Grouws. KDEC was inducted to the 2014 Iowa Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and will be throwing a Wink-I Pepsi Party and sock hop with Mike Munson and The Old Fashioneds on Saturday, March 28 at the Hotel Winneshiek. Bob Holtan’s roots in helping make shows happen runs deep in the upper Midwest, and more than a bit of that has rubbed off on daughter / KDEC Morning show host / talented performer Jeni Grouws who has spun the pieces together for the March 28 party! Bob was also responsible for the ever famous Menard’s Jingle – but that’s a whole other story!

I(d): How long have you been involved in helping present events? How did you get into it?

BH: I got into show promotion as a radio station manager at WAXX in Eau Claire Wisconsin in 1976. I promoted Country music shows mainly (the list of artists runs about 100) in Eau Claire, Marshalltown & Fargo for our FM Country stations, but in addition also promoted several oldies shows in Marshalltown for KFJB AM and Standards shows (Glen Miller Band, Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey Band, Buddy Rich Big Band, etc) in Eau Claire and Fargo.
I began with a Conway Twitty, Barbara Mandrell and Waylon Jennings Show in Eau Claire in 1976, when my then-boss, who had been promoting the station shows, moved to a new TV job in Austin Texas and I had to pick up the pieces. It was a great success, and I was hooked.

I(d): Do you have a most “exciting” live moment from an event?

BH: Lots and lots of them. Maybe the best moment was 1991 when I booked Brooks & Dunn in Fargo. I contracted them for $3500 in the spring, and when they got to the show in the fall they were on their third #1 Country song and were commanding a price of over $50,000. The Civic Center held 3000, and we fudged a bit so nearly 3400 fans could get in. The atmosphere was electric! It was the first time I found scalpers at one of our shows.
Maybe the worst moment was when I had to come out on stage in the middle of his performance to tell Country singer Johnny Rodriguez to quit singing to his piano player and turn around to face the audience or he wouldn’t be getting paid. It worked. He got his money and I never booked him again.
Another good & bad moment: I came out on the stage at UW-Eau Claire to introduce Johnny Cash. I was blinded by the spotlight and decided to walk directly out on a proscenium stage to the microphone, taking the shortest direct route. I stepped out onto thin air, dropped 6 feet, but landed right and bounced back up onto the stage before the audience quit gasping.

I(d): If you could present 1 show with anyone in the world, past or present, whom would it be andBobH_Colleen why?

BH: Tough question. Probably ABBA, since my wife continues to play their greatest hits cd after 20 years of it. We saw them on their final U.S. Tour in, I think 1979 at the St. Paul Civic Center. Of today’s artists, maybe Van Morrison. He’s still making great music 47 years after Brown Eyed Girl.

I(d): What are you most excited about in the near future?

BH: The KDEC Sock Hop will be a really fun night. It’ll be a thank you show for fans, particularly of our AM station, following the station’s induction in the Iowa Rock & Roll Hall of Fame over the 2014 Labor Day Weekend.

I(d): You’re at the show! Front Row, or standing in the wings?

BH: I always stood in the wings at my shows. The fans deserve all the best seats. It’s also a great way to see the artists perform: from the side, close by. I especially recall the show in Eau Claire when Dolly Parton was on-stage…



Making a Scene Pt. 4 – Steve Harm / The Warehouse, La Crosse

Part four in our series “Making a Scene”, features Steve Harm and The Warehouse in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Here at Inspire(d), we do all we can to support live music in our region. Check out the links at the end of this article to the first three parts of this series, and remember, as our friend Byron says, “Live Music only happens once, you have to be there…”

Interview by Benji Nichols

All Photos with huge thanks to Bob Good


Since 1992 The Warehouse in La Crosse has provided an alcohol-free venue for thousands of cutting-edge touring acts like the All-American Rejects, Everclear, Mudvayne, Descendents, Static-X, Frank Black, Fall Out Boy, the Dead Milkmen, Veruca Salt, and many more. Over the years there have been many hands to help run the venue, but one person has kept the door at the bottom of the 49 steps on Pearl Street open: Steve Harm. Self-proclaimed “in-house talent buyer, soundman, poster-maker, and soda expert,” Harm has accomplished something in the past 20+ years that few others have. In fact, the Warehouse is one of the longest-running all-ages alcohol-free venues in Warehouse_Logothe country. There are plans in process for the venue to become a 501c3 organization so The Warehouse Alliance can help promote and provide events, shows, workshops, classes, and learning opportunities to the greater Driftless Region. But like many things, the clock is ticking – the pressures of bills and real estate development continue to threaten the existence of this regional rock & roll resource. Fractured Atlas, a NYC based arts advocacy organization, has recently accepted the Warehouse Alliance as a fiscal sponsorship project, so if you’d like to help, your donations are tax deductible – check out more and find a schedule at

Warehouse_SteveHow’d you get into presenting events?

I first started presenting shows when I was 15, in my first band. Obviously young bands have to scramble to find places to play, and it just fell on me to find the room and make the arrangements. That was 1979.

Do you have a most “exciting” live moment?

After a 10-year hiatus, DESCENDENTS did their first show as a reunited band here in La Crosse at the Warehouse. Rolling Stone magazine sent a photographer and a writer. That was pretty exciting, watching a Rolling Stone photographer getting squashed in the front (we have no barricade) while trying to take usable shots (that was the film days – he had to make the shots count, not like digital photographers with their spray and pray), the band on stage after a decade, and people from all over the US who had come to the show going crazy.

If you could present one show with anyone in the world – past or present – who would it be, and why?

I would love to do a Depeche Mode show at the La Crosse Center. They’re one of my top three favorite bands, and I have seen them around 20 times in the past 28 years. I’d love to see them and not have to leave town, for once!

Warehouse_68What are you excited about in the near future?

We are really hoping to be able to expand our offerings here at the Warehouse, with expanded daytime hours, internship, a studio, and more. That hinges on getting our non-profit status. Our recent partnership with Fractured Atlas arts organization enables donations to be tax deductible, just like contributions to the Boys & Girls Club, Pump House, or Community Theater in our city.  (Details at

You can see the latest updates, show schedule, make a donation, and more at

You can also see Part I of this series featuring Tanya Gertz & the Luther College Center Stage Series, Part II featuring “Shameless” James Ronan, and Part III featuring Tom Fassbender of the Boats & Bluegrass festival.

Thank you for supporting live music!