Ana Larramendi, shamanic practitioner


Through her private practice, the Hollow Bone, Ana Larramendi uses the ancient traditions of shamanism to heal her clients.

Larramendi was 28 in 1989 when she began her journey toward becoming a shamanic practitioner. She spent three days fasting in the California desert to develop her natural psychic powers.

“It changed my life,” she says. “It was a very profound spiritual experience for me, and it just shifted every way that I looked at things in my life.”

During her typically three- to four-hour sessions, Larramendi repairs her client’s “soul-loss.” She describes this spiritual disassociation as a reaction to trauma. “The more fragile we are, the more it shows that there has been a lot of fragmenting of our wholeness.”

— Melissa Howison

Jared Mehre, legislative aide


As a legislative aide to Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee), Jared Mehre gets to watch history happen.

Mehre, 20, grew up on a dairy farm in Greenbush, Wisconsin. His high school class had 30 students. He says he is excited to reach out and visit constituents in Goyke’s district, one of the poorest in the state.

He says he wanted to intern for a lawmaker from an urban area because he would like to become more familiar with the perspective of people who live in cities. Rep. Goyke and his chief of staff have made plans to visit Jared’s family’s dairy farm. He says he’s excited to give them the farm tour.

Who would he like to meet in the Capitol?

Rep. Fred Risser, a Democrat who has represented his Madison district since the early 1960s.

“I’m going to walk into his office one day and say, ‘Excuse me Mr. Risser, will you take a picture with me?'”

— Sarah Eucalano

Kyle French, UW-Madison football player


Kyle French, a junior at UW-Madison, has helped the Badgers football team make three consecutive appearances at the Rose Bowl.

“Being a member of the football program has been an incredible experience,” says French, the starting kicker. “I wasn’t expecting to go to the Rose Bowl in each of my first three years, but the success of the program has been great for the university and the city.”

French, 20, a personal finance and economics double major, says he enjoys the pressure that comes with being able to decide a game with a field goal.

“I still haven’t kicked a last second, game winning field goal, but when that opportunity comes, it will make all the practice I’ve done worthwhile.”

— David Richie

Ted Ballweg, chili farmer


On a drizzly morning in April, local chili farmer Ted Ballweg donned his coat and prepared to leave for the DaneCounty Farmers’ Market, his Saturday ritual for over 30 years.

“I have traveled all over the world, but my roots and family are here,” says Ballweg, 58. “I feel attached to the people and the land.”

A lifelong Wisconsin resident and second-generation DaneCounty farmer, Ballweg and his wife created Savory Accents, a family-run chili production company.

“I have a hobby of growing chili peppers. I grow 17 varieties, and when we travel I find new types,” says Ballweg. He grows aji peppers from Peru, the Trinidad scorpion pepper from Trinidad, and the Scotch bonnet pepper from Jamaica.

“I like that I get to see the things that I grow in the soil find their way to community plates,” Ballweg says.

— Ade Afolayan

Carlos Gacharna, glassblower intern


Inside Studio Paran you’ll find Carlos Gacharna helping his boss, Richard Jones, by the furnace. Gacharna, 20, an intern at the studio, is a sophomore at UW-Madison studying ceramics.

“I started blowing glass here in February,” says Gacharna. “You get a real perspective of what it means to be a working artist. With ceramics, you throw pots for two or three hours. I came here and realized if you’re trying to do glassblowing for a living, you’re here six to eight hours a day.”

Gacharna was born in Bogota, Colombia, and moved to the United States with his parents in 1999. He is also a Spanish GED instructor at the LatinoAcademy and a translator for Jewish Social Services. But he says that glassblowing is his most satisfying activity.

“It’s a physical contribution to the world. You’re not just sitting there writing an essay that has no point. It feels very validating.”

— Elizabeth Hallbeck

Jim Germain, tattoo artist


Tattoo artist Jim Germain enjoys being asked to create a tattoo that will put his artistic abilities to the test. But his favorite part of the job is interacting with all types of people.

“You never know what people might open up about when put in a high-stress situation like getting a tattoo,” says Germain, 40. “I hear and see a lot of interesting stuff on the job. Maybe more than I need to.”

— Ali Krolicki

Izcel Gonzalez, office manager


Like many immigrants, Izcel Gonzalez moved to the United States looking for a better life. A native of Toluca, Mexico, she has lived in Madison for 15 years.

Gonzalez, 22, says it was challenging moving to the U.S., where she knew no one and didn’t speak the language. But she nevertheless learned how to speak English fluently and feels blessed to be able to work and go to school — something immigrants often struggle to do. She is a senior at EdgewoodCollege and works as the office manager for Wisconsin Financial Services, which provides financial and legal aid services.

Gonzalez manages her time with three planners: one for work, a second for homework and exams, and a third for her personal life.

“I can be fun at times,” she says, “but I can also be very boring, since I work a lot and go to school at the same time.”

— Oscar A. Reyes

Jim Hagerty, job seeker


Long lines of job hunters pass the time under the fluorescent lights of the Dane County Job Center, but 48-year-old Jim Hagerty is undeterred. He wants to cook again after working as a warehouse shipping manager for 13 years.

“I went to cooking school at MATC. I grew up cooking,” says Hagerty. But after the restaurant he worked at shut down, he was forced to look for whatever steady employment he could find.

“I got hired as an operating injection molder,” he says. “A month later, I was in charge of shipping, receiving and warehouse. It was a real small company.”
The company recently changed hands, and he lost his job. His marriage also ended around the same time.

Despite these misfortunes, Hagerty is maintaining a positive outlook. He expounds on his philosophy of cooking: “Nothing fancy. Just good old-fashioned American food that’s edible grub and fills your belly at a fair price,” Hagerty says.

— Brendan Caven

Deanna Hoppe, roller derby skater


The playful uniforms, fast pace and fierce competition attract people to a Mad Rollin’ Dolls bout. “It’s like football but amped up,” says 38-year-old skater Deanna Hoppe, whose derby name is “Hoppe Go Lucky.”

Hoppe, who is a mother, says skating gives her “a good opportunity to get out and be social and get some exercise, while doing something fun and exciting.” She likes the creative nicknames and eccentric apparel that are part of the game.

“Yes we’re a part of a team,” she says. “But we’re allowed to have some individuality.”

— Ashley Reum

Len Roosmalen, coin collector


Tucked away in a cozy room in the lower level of the HilldaleShopping Center is Jim’s Coins. The sign says the store offers “Free appraisals of coins, bullion, and jewelry,” but that’s selling it short. There’s much more history to be found here. And perhaps no one knows the history or coin industry better than 83-year-old Len Roosmalen.

Roosmalen happened upon the rare coin profession by accident. In 1968, he injured his back in a parachute jump. With plenty of down time as he recovered, he began investing in the business.

“I got really heavily involved in the regular coins at first,” Roosmalen says. “Later I got into the mistake coins that they make.”

Jim’s Coins started out as Len’s Coins and Stamps, but he sold the store to James Essence in 2003. Roosmalen still works at the shop, though, as does his daughter and grandson.

Taking a certain pride in errors issued by the United States government, Roosmalen has designated a section of the glass display case for misfits. Some are chipped, clipped, or misshapen. Abraham Lincoln’s face is distorted on an indented penny. These are Roosmalen’s favorites of the entire collection.

Roosmalen is a nationally prominent member of the coin-collecting community and has seen some big sales over the course of 50 years in the industry.

“We just sold a nickel that was worth $30,000,” Roosmalen says. “That was rare.”

— Ben Vincent

Kim Nguyen, cart worker at Natural Juice


“My family, my country and my mom.”

These are the reasons Kim Nguyen opened her Natural Juice cart more than 10 years ago. Nguyen says people in her native Vietnam enjoy blending fruits, juices and sweet flavors. Her cart offers many kinds of smoothies, as well as fresh fruit and some Vietnamese dishes.

Nguyen’s favorite smoothie is “Mango Tango,” which combines mangos, bananas, orange juice and pineapple juice. The “Mix & Match” option is popular among her customers.

“My customers like all of my different designs for smoothies,” says Nguyen, who has been a Madison resident for 20 years.

— Alexandra Loengo

Jeri Yoh-Seeger, flower designer


The store opens at 8 a.m., but she has to be there early. There is work to be done.

Jeri Yoh-Seeger, a designer at George’s Flowers, must prep the flowers in the workroom at the back of the store before they can be displayed out front each day.

“There’s a lot that goes into it before we can even use the flowers,” says Yoh-Seeger, 42.

George’s Flowers gets flowers from all over the world. Because they come tightly packaged without water, Yoh-Seeger and other designers must process, rehydrate and strip them of excess greens and leaves before a sale.

“You get to see and work with all of this,” she says, admiring the flowers in the shop.
Nothing pleases Yoh-Seeger more than a call back from an appreciative customer, thanking her for the perfect display.

“Just knowing that they are really happy and that you have been able to make them happy, that’s nice.”

— Jesse Clark

Amanda Schmidt, Green Cab account manager


Amanda Schmidt, account manager at Green Cab of Madison, says the taxi business has always been a big part of her life.

“My great-grandfather was one of the cofounders of Badger Cab,” says Schmidt, 26, a lifelong Madison resident. “He sold out of that in the ’70s, and then it was always in the back of my family’s mind to get back into public transportation.”

In the 1980s the Schmidt family opened a limousine company. After selling the limos they used the proceeds to open Green Cab in 2010.

Schmidt does everything from handling the dispatch schedule to opening accounts for businesses that want to pay for rides for customers, like hotels and school districts. She says Green Cab’s unique business formula allows the company to reduce costs to customers.

“When we opened a cab company we really wanted to do something different,” she says. “We’re zone-based, which means we don’t have meters in our cabs. So you’re going to pay a flat rate every time you get in the cab.”

— Nick Whalen

Nathan Clarke, owner of Mad Urban Bees


If it seems like there have been more bees in downtown Madison lately, it may be the handiwork of Nathan Clarke, who opened Mad Urban Bees about a year ago. Homeowners volunteer their backyards for his hives, and they get a cut of the honey he harvests.

“Honey is healthy,” Clarke says, “and mine is about as local as you can get.”

Clarke’s honey can be purchased online at and at a number of local businesses. The honey’s taste is affected by the season and the types of nearby flowers, among other things.

“I taste the honey from each batch to find out which ones have similar flavors,” Clarke says. “A certain batch might taste a little bit minty because the bees got into a patch of creeping charlie.”

— Carolyn Nave