Welcome to July!

Erik Flesch & Sara Lomasz Flesch

Happy birthday to us!

This issue of Voice of the River Valley marks the 15th anniversary of the magazine’s founding. As we reach another milestone in Voice’s life cycle — an extra special milestone considering we’re still printing a free magazine in rural southwestern Wisconsin despite a global pandemic — we appreciate all the more the story behind the gorgeous amaryllis photographed by Rick Graves that graces this month’s cover.

The plant’s owner, Sue Steinmann of Arena, shared the following: “[The amaryllis] was originally a single bulb my niece sent my parents for Christmas at least 20 years ago. I have let the plant increase in size rather than divide the bulbs, and, left on its own flowering cycle rather than forcing it for winter holiday blooming, it blooms like clockwork on May 22 every year, giving us a grand show of beauty for a month! Not only that, but it has a delicately sweet fragrance and makes a great cut flower. What a gift from Mother Nature!”

This photo by Paul Zillgitt accompanies this month’s Garden Blitz column by Patrice Peltier.

Blooming like clockwork is exactly how we’d describe Voice of the River Valley, which continues to come to life each month thanks to the contributors and advertisers who breathe new life into its pages and the distributors and subscribers who keep it moving near and far.  

When Mary Friedel-Hunt and her husband, Bill, founded Voice in 2006, it was a community-supported all-volunteer labor of love for them. It has remained a community-supported all-volunteer labor of love for us since we began stewarding the publication in 2012. As we celebrate the start of our new year, we’re in good company with the voices of Mary Friedel-Hunt, Steve Fuller, Doris Green, Heather Harris, John Heasley, Jennifer Moore-Kerr, Patrice Peltier, and Kathy Steffen. 

As you enjoy this month’s content, please consider supporting this month’s advertisers (see p. 3), whose financial support makes the printing of these pages possible. We’re grateful as always to distribution volunteers Joni and Rick Graves, Linda Kelen, Mark McCauley, Brian Richter and Nick Schweitzer. 

Whether you enjoy this month’s issue in print or online, we wish you happy reading.