When a letter that she wrote was published in her hometown newspaper when she was a kid, Tesha M. Christensen was hooked. “I had gotten my first glimpse into the power of the printed word. I wanted more,” recalled Christensen. “I saw how newspapers could be used to generate change in their communities, and how they could inform and engage people.”
She started her own paper and later wrote for her college newspaper, The Clarion. Shortly after earning her bachelor’s degree in English from Bethel University, she got a full-time job at her hometown newspaper, The STAR in Cambridge, Minn. – the same newspaper that printed her letter to the editor when she was a child. Christensen worked as the assistant editor and special sections editor of her hometown newspaper for 10 years, serving two counties and a circulation of 21,000 with a twice weekly newspaper. Over the years, Christensen covered a range of topics in Isanti and Chisago counties, from school board levies to new county parks to crime news. “I wrote about what new businesses were coming to town, local musicians, and rodeo shows, and a story about one local resident who saved the life of another,” Christensen recalled. “I love the ever-changing nature of this business, and how I learn something new with each story I write.”
In 2012, Tesha started writing for the Longfellow Nokomis Messenger and Midway Como Frogtown Monitor after moving to South Minneapolis. She purchased the newspapers in 2019 when the longtime owners (Cal deRuyter and Tim Nelson) retired, and started her own business, TMC Publications CO.
A lifelong learner, Christensen believes in the importance of the local newspaper to collect the stories of the neighborhood it serves. In the past she’s written for Northstar Media, the Isanti County News, ECM Publishers/Adams Publishing Group, Twin Cities Daily Planet, RedCurrent and The Alley newspaper in the Phillips neighborhood of south Minneapolis.
She enjoys connecting with journalism students. “I love journalism, and I am passionate about sharing journalism with kids and young adults,” stated Christensen. “They are the future, and it’s so exciting to hear their ideas.” She taught journalism classes at Anoka-Ramsey Community College from 2006 to 2012, and taught for one year at Planet Homeschool, a homeschool co-op in St. Anthony, where she helped launch a school newspaper written by the middle and high school students. At TMC Publications CO, she works to partner with local schools looking for internship opportunities.
Christensen appreciates connecting people through neighborhood news and seeks to make it relevant, trustworthy and local.
Christensen has served on a variety of committees and boards over the years, and is a co-founder of Team Yarn - Head Huggers (teamyarn.blogspot.com), a small non-profit dedicated to making and donating hats, shawls and lapghans to those battling cancer and other serious illnesses.
She lives with her two children and their two cats in a house with a big garden and a Little Free Library.
Contact Tesha M. Christensen at 612-345-9998 or tesha@SWconnector.com.
Chloe Peter is a Hopkins resident who graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from Bethel University in May 2022. "I have known that I wanted to be a journalist since I was 12 years old and visited the 'Women of Vision' exhibit, a gathering of work from women photographers, at the National Geographic Museum in Washington D.C.," she said. "Even though I am newer to the world of journalism, I am eager to learn and to amplify voices and truth." In her spare time, she enjoys reading and playing with her German Shepherd puppy, Smokey, hiking, and cooking (and eating) new foods.
Denis Woulfe graduated from Hamline University in English and has taken additional courses from St. Thomas University in business communications and Century College in technical communications. He currently serves on the Annual Fund Board at Hamline. While still at Hamline as a senior, he began working for what was the Midway Como Monitor as an intern, and loved the business so much that he never left. He has worked on both the editorial and advertising sides of the operation, and relishes the opportunity to work with area businesses on developing marketing plans and finding solutions to reaching their audience.
Contact him at 612-345-9998 or
Suzie Marty believes in buying local and shopping local. She has held various positions over the years that promote local artists and tourism, including as an art buyer for Love from Minnesota Company, artisan manager at St. Croix Promotions and Retail, and docent at MIA. She is the owner of Everett & Charlie, a Linden Hills art gallery where art meets experience. It features only Minnesota artists. The gallery at 2720 W. 43rd Street is named for her grandsons, who were two and four the year she opened in 2018. In 2021, Everett & Charlie was voted “Minnesota’s Best Art Gallery” by readers of Star Tribune. The gallery includes paintings, screen-printing, photography, pottery, glass, jewelry, textiles and leather, sculpture and woodwork, and it offers a calendar of openings, trunk shows, artists’ talks and workshops, demonstrations and live music.
Marty has been known to proudly display a “sold to a forever home” sign on spoken-for pieces, demonstrating her thoughtful approach and pride in finding a good home for her “art babies.” She said, “I can oftentimes predict which colors and forms people will be drawn to. I look for signals that connect people to their colors.”
She earned her bachelor of science in art education at St. Cloud State University. She sold advertising for the Southwest Journal, and is a sales representative for the Southwest Connector. She will be writing a regular arts column. Contact her at 612-345-9998 or ads@SWconnector.com.
Sandra Mikulsky has worked at a variety of sales positions, including 15 years for the Star Tribune. She earned her bachelor of science from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and a certificate in French fluency from the Université du Québec à Montréal. She’s been a long-time South Minneapolis resident, and has been involved in things like co-founding a glass arts studio and tutoring at Anishinable Academy. She also worked for the Food Building at Mill City Farmers Market this year. Mikulsky appreciates the community building going on in South Minneapolis, and likes being part of it. Contact her at 612-260-7967 or ads@LongfellowNokomisMessenger.com.
Bjorn Willms joined on to be our circulation manager in 2021 after years of working in the culinary industry. He still enjoys cooking good food and exploring the Twin Cities. When he is not working with the paper, Bjorn makes and sells handmade soaps, creates art and cares for two cats he recently adopted. Originally from Montana and now living in St. Paul, he likes hiking, fishing and camping, as well as good coffee and crossword puzzles.
Contact him at 612-235-7197
Cindy Hollister worked in IT Services for 40 years, and retired five years ago to spend more time traveling, wine-tasting, and gardening. She runs an occassional artisan boutique with her sister. She joined TMC Publications CO in 2021 to help with the expansion into Minneapolis’ southwest neighborhood, and will work part-time handling billing and as an executive assistant.
Contact her at 612-235-4104
In his more than 20 years of experience, Mexico City graphic artist Andoni Aldasoro has redesigned magazines and newspapers in Mexico, Canada and the United States. His desire to collaborate with significant media has led him to seek small newspapers, with deep roots and commitment to community.
Aldasoro created the initial design for the Southwest Connector. In 2021, he redesigned Le Franco, the only French-speaking newspaper in the province of Alberta, Canada.
He studied graphic design and later specialized in publication design strategy. In this field, he won the Merit Award from the Society of Publication Designers in 2005.
Aldasoro is a dedicated reader, publications enthusiast, music lover, husband of an excellent photographer and father of a little purple whirlwind.
His restless spirit has also led him to grasp the pen and the camera. When he immersed himself in travel writing, he won three national awards in Mexico. When he indulged in fiction, his short stories were published in Mexico, Argentina and Spain.
Aldasoro can be found planning the next redesign and drinking coffee (with cream and no sugar, please). More at www.andonialdasoro.com