In this Issue:

  • Waconia Resident Spotlight on Betty Jacobson
  • Festival of Trees Wrap Up
  • Chaska Resident Spotlight on Darlene Rosenwinkle
  • Festival of Trees Summary
  • Meet Auburn's Newest Chaplain, the Reverend Matthew Strickler
  • Waconia Staff Highlight on Jenny Mader
  • Thanksgiving Dinner Pictures
  • "SNF Appreciation Week" in Chaska
  • An update on COVID and the Flu Season
  • "It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas"
  • December Activities
  • The Pastor's Corner with Reverend Cathy Kowley
  • Staff Anniversaries and Birthdays
  • AHS Family Notifications
  • A Christmas Memory...try not to laugh!

Waconia Resident Spotlight on Leona "Betty" Jacobson

Leona "Betty Jacobson

Meet Leona "Betty" Jacobson, speed skater, and resident at Auburn Meadows. Betty grew up in South Minneapolis about 6 blocks from Minnehaha Regional Park. At the age of 12 Betty taught herself how to skate and started speed skating. Once she started speed skating, winter quickly became her favorite season. Betty would skate as fast as she could, “I could go pretty fast and I just loved it”. She would speed skate down Minnehaha Creek and said it was such a beautiful area. Betty took to the ice every winter for about 5 years. She said, “If my balance was better, I would like to try skating again.”

Betty married her kind and thoughtful husband when she was 24 and they had 3 wonderful children. “God has blessed me in many ways. I am blessed with a wonderful family and great friends. I have a lot to be thankful for.” she said.

The Festival of Trees 2022 ~ A Huge Success!

The 2022 Festival of Trees, "Starry Night", took place on November 17th at the beautiful Bavaria Downs in Chaska. Guests enjoyed a delicious dinner catered by D'Amico & Sons, wonderful fellowship and the opportunity to bid on both silent and live auction items. Our live auction items were so popular that two of them were offered and sold twice!

We are very happy to say that we met and exceeded our financial goals for the event! Donated funds will go to the life enrichment of our residents and staff here at Auburn Homes & Services including new heating carts that will bring our assisted living residents in Auburn Courts hot and delicious meals.

Special thank you to all who attended and to our committee who work tirelessly for mopnths to make this event a success: Bob Kuhlman, Connie Kraus, Michelle Kraus, Kathy Fredrich, Krista Buesgens, Carmen Geisinger, Josh McKibben and Michelle Yelich.

We'll see you again in 2023!

Some of the beautiful trees on display at the event.

Guests pose in front of one of uniquely decorated trees.

The tables were decorated in blues and silvers following the theme of a "Starry Night".

Marc Huebner, left, owner of "The Noble Lion" in Waconia, auctioned off not one, but two gourmet dinners to be prepared by him in the winners homes!

Chaska Resident Spotlight on Darlene Rosenwinkle

Darlene Rosenwinkle, Auburn Manor resident, was never a painter prior to being a resident and could have never imagined taking a painting class; in fact, the first painting class she took was at Manor and it has become an activity she loves and looks forward to everyday. She credits Therapeutic Recreation Assistant, Kaitlin McGee, for inspiring her to paint and to try other crafts like jewelry making.

Darlene paints with acrylics on canvas and gets her ideas of what to paint from magazines, calendars and photographs that are given to her. She is currently working on a painting of a tiger and her next project will be to paint two barns that she was given photos of from a friend.

She signs her paintings with her artist name of "Daralee"; she's entered her art pieces in the Carver County Fair and has won several ribbons for their beauty and artistry.

We all look forward to Darlene's next work of art!

Photos of the two barns that Darlene plans to paint next.

A few of Darlene's paintings that have won ribbons at the Carver County Fair

Auburn Welcomes New Chaplain,

Reverend Matthew Strickler

The Reverend Matthew Strickler, who prefers to go by “Pastor Matty,” joined Auburn Homes & Services’ Chaplaincy staff on November 1, 2022. Supervised by Director of Chaplaincy, the Reverend Cathy Kolwey, Pastor Matty will primarily serve the Manor and Courts facilities in Chaska, but will be active in Waconia as well.

Pastor Matty comes to us after a stint as Sabbatical Interim Pastor at University Baptist Church in the Dinkytown neighborhood of Minneapolis. University Baptist is also the church where Matty was ordained as a minister of the American Baptist denomination (ABCUSA). Matty is also endorsed for chaplaincy by the ABCUSA’s Home Mission Society.

In addition to church work, Matty completed a year-long clinical training residency in chaplaincy at a hospital in Clearwater, Florida and worked for 6 ½ years as a home hospice chaplain for the Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Matty has always, “felt called specifically to chaplaincy,” and is, “grateful to God for the opportunity to continue to live into that call here at Auburn.”

Matty earned a Master of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (UTS) and was awarded the Clyde J. Steckel Prize for excellence in the study of Pastoral Care by UTS in 2014. There, Matty also earned honors in Preaching and Worship courses.

Matty grew up in Rochester, Minnesota, grandson of a UCC minister. In addition to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Florida, Matty has also called New York City home. Currently, Matty resides in Minneapolis with his two cats, Lucy & Ethel and is looking forward to officiating his oldest nephew’s wedding in St. Paul next summer.

Reverend Matthew "Matty" Strickler

Waconia Staff Spotlight on Jenny Mader

Name: Jenny Mader

Job Title: Staffing Coordinator

Key Responsibilities: Coordinate staffing schedules and assisting the nursing department

Family: Husband Blake, Daughter Nova, Son Brody

Favorite Past-time: Camping with family and Friends.

Favorite Travel Destination: The North Shore of Lake Superior!

When I retire I hope to: Travel and Relax

"I started working at Auburn Meadows as a Care Attendant in December 2012. I have loved working with and getting to know all the Residents and their families! I enjoy visiting with the residents and hearing all their stories!"

Thanksgiving Dinner

Residents on both our Chaska and Waconia campuses enjoyed delicious Thanksgiving dinners prepared by our chefs that included the traditional turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries and, of course, pumpkin pie.

Skilled Nursing Appreciation Week

During the week of November 13th through November 19th, the staff of Auburn Manor celebrated an appreciation week for their hard work, dedication and commitment to serving our residents with integrity and compassion. The week included several games with cash prizes including Auburn Manor's version of "The Price is Right" and "Card Sharks" as well as a medallion hunt, trivia quiz, nacho bar party and everyone's favorite, the opportunity to grab as much cash as possible in the "Cash Cube".

We are truly blessed to have such an amazing staff and hope they enjoyed their week of fun and games!

COVID and Flu Season

December is historically a month when communicable diseases spread through senior living facilities. Many factors contribute to this issue. This year is unfolding as expected with COVID and newer cases of influenza A this season.

AHS follows both MDH and CDC guidelines on prevention, surveillance, vaccination, testing and following treatment options for our residents. We also follow internal policies on infection control, monitoring, testing and reporting. Our Marketing team continues to update families and loved ones via email communication as cases arise. If you would like to be added to the communication emails please call or email Michelle Yelich,, (952)361-5076.

Similar to previous years, we ask visitors to refrain from visiting or bringing their loved ones home if there is illness in your home. Please be vigilant about protecting your loved ones and their neighbors at AHS. Follow posted signs when precautions need to be followed such as wearing masks when entering the buildings or rooms.

Always notify the nursing team if your loved one has symptoms. We have options for testing and coordinate with providers on vaccines, testing, and treatment options including antivirals and over the counter medications to treat the symptoms associated with diseases. 

Please help the AHS team serve our residents by keeping everyone healthy this holiday season. Stay up to date on verified websites, use preventative measures to stop the spread of communicable diseases, continue to be wise about visits and contact during visits, and spread holiday cheer to our amazing and devoted staff!

Merry Christmas and let us make it a Happy New Year!

Erin Kramer

Assisted Living Director of Home Care

"It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas..."

The halls are being decked with boughs of holly, the stockings are being hung and the trees are being decorated with ornaments and garland ~ it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas here at Auburn Homes & Services!

We have an amazing group of volunteers and staff that work hard each year at this time to bring the joy of the holidays to life here at Auburn for our residents and employees alike and this year is no exception. The residents are helping as well as they are making center pieces, crafts, decorating their doors and they love to help with trimming the trees.

The decorating has started and soon will be done, transforming our halls, gathering areas and dining rooms into a Christmas wonderland!

December. What a glorious month for celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, decorating the Christmas tree, spending time with families and friends, attending holiday parties and counting our many blessings. Our residents enjoy all of these special events along with the following fun activities of making Christmas crafts, attending Christmas luncheons, singing Christmas Carols, the annual delivery of poinsettias by the Waconia Lions, going on holiday lights tours, cheering on the home team at Vikings football parties, Christmas worship and so much more!

Check out your resident's December's Activities Calendar to see which ones are available to them by clicking on the appropriate link below:

Auburn Home, Auburn Meadows, 

Auburn Manor, Auburn Courts

The Pastor's Corner with Reverend Cathy Kowley

Presents… or Presence?

Dear Auburn family and friends,

Advent is upon us. The season where we wait with anticipation for the coming of Christmas. I’ve read recently that there has been a recent trend in holiday gift-giving: people are less likely to buy ‘stuff,” and are turning more towards giving “experiences.” So, instead of clothes, kitchen gadgets, or tools, we are now giving things like weekend excursions, tickets to sporting events or concerts, or restaurant coupons. (Don’t tell my son, but he is getting lift tickets for snowboarding and tickets to a basketball game at The Barn). These gifts help us to experience life together.

I have to say, I love this trend.

What I love about this mode of gift giving is that it reminds us that what is important in life is the presence of our loved ones. When we share in experiences together, we spend quality time together and build memories with family and friends. It makes the gift about being present to our own life and being present to those we care for.

What I also love about this trend, is that it reminds us of the true gift of Christmas – the gift of presence. It reminds us that God so loved the world that God wanted to experience humanity with us. This is the gift of the birth of Jesus – God’s presence would come to Earth be a part of the human experience. That is why at Christmas we call God Immanuel – because Immanuel means “God With Us.” It’s not about the presents of the season, it’s about the presence of Christ in the world.

As we move through the Advent season anticipating the gift of Christmas coming once again, may we each take some time to reflect on God’s constant presence in our lives, and on the blessing of presence that we have with one another in these days ahead.

May your month be filled with all the joy, hope, peace, and love of the holiday season, and may you be blessed with the gift of Immanuel (God With Us) once again.

Blessings and peace,

Rev. Cathy M. Kolwey

“…for God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son…” John 3: 16

New this month and going forward, we are including the names of our staff members that are celebrating work anniversaries and birthdays for the month. Please wish these employees a hearty "thank you" for their services or a very "happy birthday"!

Work Anniversaries:

Melissa Sebald, Auburn Courtyard, 6 Years

Lisa Panning, Auburn Meadows, 8 Years

Kelli Dressel Auburn Meadows, 7 Years

Julie Hafemann Auburn Meadows, 6 Years

Madelyn Traver Auburn Meadows, 5 Years


Curtis Engels, Business Office Merarie Cedergren, Courts Chepkirui Serem, Courts

Debbie Banda, Courts

Jazlyn Vargas-Robles, Courts Monica McGlynn, Courts Brandon Gonzalez, Courts Paul Walters, Courts

Roma Pokibro, Courts

Karmel Vollmer, Home

Kim Kirscht, Home

Aimee Craighead, Home

Christine Huber, Home Alexandra Molnau, Home

Karla Willock, Home

Ava Eckhoff, Home

Molly Westin, Manor

Nicole Becker, Manor

Ruth Megeto, Manor

Cindy Sanchez, Manor Victoria Pletsch, Manor Miriam Saldivar, Manor Natalie Roth, Manor

Alyssa Pester, Manor

Ana Vences Alpizar, Manor Nam Dang, Manor

Theresa Boon, Meadows

Carson Anderson, Meadows Sydney Tomes, Meadows

Grace Reis, Meadows

Jessica Hoese, Meadows

AHS Family Notifications

Auburn Courts Families:

If you are a family member of Auburn Courts and interested in forming a family council, please reach out to Scott Moe at (952)361-03o4.

Auburn Meadows Families:

If you are a family member of Auburn Meadows and interested in forming a family council, please reach out to Mary Krant at (952) 442-6604.

Family councils are family led groups that provide peer support with the goal of improving communication, quality of care and supporting one another.

Please consider gifting a needed item this holiday season for our residents at our Amazon "Smile" page; percentage of all purchases gets donated back to AHS.

Click on this link to view items:

A Christmas Memory...try NOT to laugh!

Verda, a resident in Auburn Courts, shared a funny memory she has while watching a staff member decorate a tree:

Many years ago when she was a young mother with three boys, she worked at a restaurant during the day while her husband often worked evenings. One Christmas Eve, she and another woman had to work up until 3pm due to the holiday parties and crowd.

They were exhausted when they got done; their manager complimented them on their hard work and invited them to have a complimentary cocktail in the restaurant's lounge. Well, three cocktails later, Verda went home and her boys asked if they could put up the tree and decorate it. She said, "of course", and busied herself with the task of setting up their artificial tree. Once the tree was up, they all enjoyed their time together decorating it, however, when they were done, one of her boys said, "mom, it doesn't look right, somethings wrong". Verda stood back and looked at it and boy-oh-boy was there something wrong! she had set up the tree upside-down!

They all laughed and agreed they were too tired to fix it that evening; Verda laughs while she thinks about the upside down tree AND her husband's reaction to it when he got home from work later that night!

"Merry Christmas!"

~ Verda

Auburn Homes & Services

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