Tracy Briggs is a former TV anchor/radio host currently working as a features writer and video host for Forum Communications.
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SEATTLE — Professional organizer Melissa Schmalenberger has uncovered many unusual things in her years of helping people get their acts together. Cluttered drawers full of kitchen utensils that "maybe I'll use someday" or closet shelves packed with jeans someone swears they'll fit into again. But one item is particularly common amongst the disorganized: books on how to organize. "I can't tell you the number of times I'll find organizing books," Schmalenberger says with a laugh. "They have good intentions, but they've maybe read 20 pages."
DULUTH — Scandinavia is known for many things — cross-country skiing, wool sweaters, blond hair and ABBA. But, perhaps unfairly, the foods of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland are stereotyped as slightly uninspired, white and bland. "It's not bland!" says Beatrice Ojakangas. "Maybe it's the way we've started to prepare it lately, but it's real, natural, good food, and it is so tasty."
FARGO — With the Fargo Marathon just two weeks away, the streets are full of people trying to get in those last minute training runs. Despite the long distances they run, avid runners might tell you it can be relaxing and stress relieving. However, some runners — especially women — can find themselves harassed or fearing for their safety. According to a 2016 survey by Runner's World Magazine, 43 percent of women have experienced harassment during training compared to just four percent for men. While much of the harassment is verbal, it can sometimes turn violent.
FARGO — Americans have been decorating Easter eggs the same way since the electric light bulb was in its infancy. It was 1880 when a druggist in Newark, N.J., created a way to dye Easter eggs using little tablets combined with water and vinegar.
FARGO — What do you suppose is the No. 1 question people ask The National Onion Association? (Besides of course, "Seriously, there's something called The National Onion Association?") The answer is: "How can I cut an onion without crying?" There seems to be about 2 million answers for that. That's the number that comes up when you plug that question into Google. Solutions range from "wear goggles" to "run water" to "keep a piece of bread in your mouth." (Carbs are the solution for everything, aren't they?)
FARGO — When you're talking about St. Patrick's Day cuisine, most likely the staples come to mind: corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, Irish soda bread and, of course, green beer. But how often do you hear about dessert? Everyone knows the Irish are a fun-loving people so why wouldn't they enjoy something sweet after dinner? If you're looking for something sweet to serve your lads and lassies, here are five favorite recipes from "The Great Indoors with Tracy Briggs." Homemade Irish Cream
WEST FARGO — Justin Vega sits in the barber chair covered in a cloak looking both excited and a little nervous. "Are you ready for this?" asks Men's Hairhouse Stylist Destiny Ose. "As ready as I'll ever be," he replies. As tentative as Vega sounds, he says he's been looking forward to getting his hair cut after a long, two-year wait. The operations coordinator at Noridian Healthcare Solutions normally wears his hair closely cropped, but in 2016 he decided to grow it out to donate to charity.
FARGO — It's quiet on weekday mornings at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Fargo. Five people — four women and one man — sit quietly at a table drinking coffee, nibbling on cookies and talking the way only the best of friends do. "Bob is our one man. We'd like to get more, but no one else comes," says one woman. "Yeah, so I get stuck making the coffee," Bob replies. "But you're so good at it," replies another woman.
Let me start by saying, I'm proud to be from the Midwest. I'm sensitive to the comments about this being "flyover" country and always like to point out to whomever is listening that our region often ranks highest in the nation in many important areas like livability, job growth and graduation rates. We have a lot to brag about, but what I want to say to the people of my home region is this: "For the love of God, people, Jell-O is not real salad."
SEATTLE — When we called Melissa Schmalenberger, she was drinking a cup of tea, wrapped in a cozy blanket while gazing at the Seattle skyline from her new apartment. It was a relaxing morning in a new place — a far cry from the last few months. "This has been the most stressful four months of my life," she says as she begins to tell her story.