Latest News in 2012

Past Newsletters
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
October 2010

August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
March 2010
February 2010

We are always looking for interesting stories to add to the monthly ASF Newsletter!
If you have any Scandinavia-related news/events stories that we can add to our monthly newsletter, please submit your written content and pictures to Susanne Nagy via email


We would like to know if we could find a few volunteers from our membership as the Board performs many tasks. We would love to have your help!

We would also like help with publishing our newsletter, This task can be broken down into several tasks to share so no one is stuck with full responsibility.

Would you like to write Birthday Cards and get well cards to members?

Would you be willing to call on other Scandinavian friends to become members?

» North-way Woods, A visit to Norway By Ibrahim Ibn Salma 10/29/12
» Paul and Cheryl Wright welcomed their new grandson
» Scandinavian t-shirts
» Helle Scharing-Todd Art Project Event
» A Visit to Denmark
» Sahyun Genealogical Library
» A Poem
» ASFSB pleased to welcome Paul Halme as honorary member
» American Scandinavian Foundation awards annual scholarships
» Wooden horses of Sweden
» Danish Emigration Archives to Celebrate 80th Anniversary in July
» Helle Scharing-Todd Art Project
» New ASF Board members
» By the People, For the People
» New Application Process for Danish Passports
» Letter from ASF member Courtlin Stoker writing from South Africa

North-way Woods, A visit to Norway By Ibrahim Ibn Salma 10/29/12

A journey back in time,
Massive trees left and right,
Stretching their branches skyward,
Reaching for the sun that seldom shows its face,
With rocks happy to reflect its mighty rays,

Hills would make their home for moose and deer,
White houses cling to steep slopes;
Tumbledown shacks cower in their shadow,

Nature is always ready for nature callings,
With berries and mushrooms so wild.

When the mist clears and the curtain drops,
Souls engulfed in a red, white and blue shroud
Love blossoming in the house of

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Paul and Cheryl Wright welcomed their new grandson

Paul and Cheryl Wright welcomed their new grandson, Tobias Henry Matthews, to parents Laurie and Mark Matthews and two-year old sister, Alia, on 12-10-12, at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura, California.

He weighed a healthy 8 lbs. 1 oz, and 21 in” in length.

Of course, Paul is already dreaming that there may be a “NEW FUTURE BREWER IN THE FAMILY.” What a glorious Christmas Blessing for the Matthews/Wright families. 


Big Sister

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Scandinavian t-shirts

ASF member Liv Anna Beltran has created fun Scandinavian T-shirts. Look for them at the ASF Christmas party on December 1st. Christmas party invitation flyers coming your way soon.








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Helle Scharing-Todd Art Project Event

On Saturday, October 20th, Danish Artist, Helle Scharling-Todd, opened up her lovely home to us. She talked of her childhood growing up around nature, meeting her husband, traveling, raising her 3 children and her inpiration for her art.

Helle has so many different art styles...painting, italian glass mosiacs, stained glass, glass infusion, glass sand blasting, and cut steel sculptures. In asking about which style she likes most, her answer was that there was not a favorite style and likes to create her art depending on her mood at that time. Her current creations are glass sculptures blasted with sand.

After the talk and studio visit a group of us went to Nature's Grill for a wonderful lunch and more good times!

Thank you Helle!

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A Visit to Denmark

Last spring my friend Michelle Michaelson of Montecito received an invitation to attend a greatnephew’s confirmation ceremony to be held … Denmark. Michelle had never visited Denmark, and it didn’t take much urging for her to decide to make the trip.

The ceremony was held in the town of Hundested, about 45 miles from Copenhagen, and Michelle was welcomed with the warmest of Danish hospitality and appreciation for making the trip for the ceremony. On her return home she wanted to share her interest and enthusiasm in her Danish experience with her granddaughter Kate. This resulted in a Danish day for Mrs. Rodriguez’s 2nd grade classroom at Canalino School in Carpinteria. The children all received a Danish flag, and she also brought them the popular "flødeboller " (a Danish confection cream ball) for a treat. As you can see from the accompanying picture, the children were very enthusiastic, and asked many great questions for Michelle to answer. Mrs. Rodriguez is in the center with Kate facing on the right.

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Sahyun Genealogical Library

Cindy Holland and Heidi Poley provided ASF members an opportunity to visit Santa Barbara's exciting research library, the Sahyun Genealogical Library, preceded by interesting presentations by Anita Lundgren and Dr. Jeffrey W. Krause. Dr.Krause had many helpful hints to assist anyone on the journey to find their roots, while Ms. Ludgren showed us the results of her many years of research. A Q. and A. session followed with some members sharing their own genealogical experiences and finds. Library assistants were available to help anyone with queries or problems.

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A poem
By Ibrahim Ibn Salma

Liv Anna Beltran's friend recently released a book of poems. This poem is written by Ibrahim Ibn Salma(07/24/2011)
Norway Massacre
A dimly lit beam hovered,
Confounded to why
It lost its glow,
Imagination gone wrong,
Looking for an answer
To the very soul of its existence,
Witnessing a scarlet flow of innocence,
Once longed for placidity
And now is no more,
What has fate planned?
Cruelty? suffering?

Peacefulness shattered,
Tears keep flowing,
Drowning the answer,
Testing the courage to keep

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ASFSB pleased to welcome Paul Halme as honorary member
By Evelyne Houdek

Santa Ynez Valley lawyer Paul Halme has long been an honorary member of the American Scandinavian Foundation of Santa Barbara, having guided us through the legal hurdles of initially setting up our Scholarship Fund. Paul and his wife Susan were featured in this Spring’s issue of the publication “Inside Santa Ynez Valley” citing his Finnish heritage and their ownership of the. Danish Mill Bakery in Solvang.

The Halmes and their family of 4 children have lived in Santa Ynez since1988 in a remodeled Scandinavian barn-style house, filled with art and artifacts gathered from extensive traveling through the years. Paul serves as chair of the Paloheimo Foundation, a philanthropic body set up by a prominent Finnish family. His grandparents returned to Finland after emigrating to the US, but his father returned for college, and Paul was born in Massachusetts but retained his parents’ Finnish language and culture. This eventually led to his friendship with the Paloheimos, and resulted in their chosing him to handle the estate.

In 2000 the Finnish government named him Knight, First Class, of the Order of the Lion of Finland, and in March of this year he was further recognized in becoming Commander of the Order of the Lion of Finland, the country‘s third highest honor. To quote Paul, “I’m interested in understanding cultural backgrounds and people, because we are all the same. We’re all people.”

We of ASFSB are pleased to have him as an honorary member

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American Scandinavian Foundation awards annual scholarships
By Evelyne Houdek

  Right to Left: Kristin Van Der Kar Carpinteria (renewal), Gabriel Burdick Dos Pueblos High School, Alexander Shirokow-Louden Laguna Blanca

Three Santa Barbara area students were honored with $2500 scholarships each, awarded by the American Scandinavian Foundation at their annual Scholarship luncheon on May 5 held at the Santa Barbara City College Hospitality Department dining room. Members and guests were introduced to recipients Gabriel Burdick, graduate of Dos Pueblos High School, Alexander Shirokow-Louden, enrolled at Laguna Blanca, and Kristin Van Der Kar of Carpinteria, whose scholarship was a renewal from last year. Representing the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, Colette Hadley followed the buffet lunch with a brief history of the association between the Foundation and ASFSB through the years of administering its Scholarship funds. The Mission Statement of ASFSB is to promote international understanding by Preserving and sharing Scandinavian heritage and culture with the community, and maintains a web site at Kristin is the daughter of Chris and Sally Van Der Kar of Carpinteria.

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Wooden horses of Sweden
By Evelyne Houdek

  Jean Perry, who came appropriately adorned with Dala horse earrings and necklace.

Members who attended the ASFSB meeting on Saturday, April 21 at Samarkand were treated to an interesting afternoon learning about the Dala wooden horses of Sweden. Bonnie Hains, PHD brought her collection of horses from Thousand Oaks,along with a Power Point presentation to prove that a passing fancy can easily turn into a passion and desire to learn more.

Her acquisition of her first horse did just that,and she now makes regular trips to Sweden and corresponds with many of the artists who create the horses in various sizes and colors in small towns and villages.

Light refreshments were served , and Ms.Hains graciously answered questions and allowed us to examine her collection after her presentation.

Bonnie Hains
Bonnie Hains and Heidi Poley, Program Chair

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Danish Emigration Archives to Celebrate 80th Anniversary in July
By Evelyne Houdek

In July 1932 the long anticipated opening of the Danish Emigration Archives officially took place in Aalborg, Denmark , officially starting its work of documenting information about Danes who had left Denmark through the years to start a new life elsewhere.

Now 80 years later the Archive is being updated through the project Digital Migration, to become a fully digitalized collection available online. The creation of the collection is the result of a huge amount of work on the part of archivists, employees, volunteers, Danish emigrants, and others, and will reflect the many different fates and motives for emigration through the years.

Plans are underway for an ASFSB program in the fall on Scandinavian emigration. If you are interested in doing a little research, you can contact the archive at to help you get started.

Information from The Danish Pioneer

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Helle Scharing-Todd Art Project

I am proposing a mosaic mural titled, "Wall play",for the Adult Center, N. Ventura Avenue. The project consists of 5 steel framed pieces size:3.5' x 3-4', The forms of the pieces are formed like sculptures. The mural is intended for the Westside of the building, a relative contemporary white building. The mural will be visible by anyone driving down the Avenue. The building does not have any art at the moment, so a mosaic mural would provide a colorful emblem for the building with it's white walls. Description of the proposed work: The pieces are unevenly formed like sculptures, and the negative space (the wall) is part of the project. The themes go from left to right, a yellow/green piece, dealing with the past, (a Chumash Indian design), and elementary small lines, circles and triangles, to the next piece, orange red, with humans in various positions, to the next that deals with human habitat, and the last piece, land and sea, with a moon in the middle. The last piece deals with the dark universe and solar systems. The design has been approved by the arts council, Ventura and the Westside Community. The work would be visible by thousands every day that pass down the street.


More information:

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New ASF Board members
By Lilli Tragos

Mary Harris is Executive Director of Santa Ynez Valley Hotel Association, which promotes the 32 unique lodging establishments in the Santa Ynez Valley, and cooperates with valley and county tourism organizations in promoting the Valley. Mary spent a year living in Denmark as an American Field Service exchange student, and has continued her association with Scandinavia since then, including a period as Chairman of the Board of Scandinavian Seminar. She is involved with three Danish-American organizations in Solvang, Dania, Rebild National Park Society-Solvang Chapter, and Danish Sisterhood. Mary is working closely with the Copenhagen Hospitality College in launching a new program of training culinary students in Solvang, including intern placements in valley restaurants, with visa support sponsored by ASF in New York. A resident of Santa Ynez since 2007, Mary moved to sunny California after working on the east coast for many years as an academic administrator and fundraiser. She also managed two academic and conference centers, in Talloires, France and Essex, Massachusetts. She has two grown sons, Brett and Scott, working respectively in Washington DC and Las Vegas. Mary is excited to be involved with ASFSB, with particular interest in the scholarship program.

Cindy Holland although without direct Scandinavian ancestry can claim Norwegian heritage via her husband and daughters (as well as a possible connection from Viking raids on Scotland and England). She is currently on the program committee, and brings substantial experience from other organizations, previously serving as Project Manager at Self-Esteem Seminars and Chicken Soup for the Soul Enterprises, Membership Chairman and Horse Show Secretary for the Santa Barbara Riding Club, on the PTA Executive Board and advisory council for the Santa Barbara High School District’s GATE program, Girl Scout leader, and President of the Ohio Valley Quilters’ Guild. Cindy has received an Honorary Service Award from the California Congress of Parents, Teachers and Students, and the Santa Barbara Riding Club’s Obern Hoffliger Service Award. Cindy is also a member of the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society, Vice-President of Thorleaf Research, Inc., and an honors graduate of the University of Colorado-Boulder.

At the same meeting the following officers were elected for one year:
Ellen Zissler as president
Brooke Van Der Kar as vice-president
Heidi Poley as treasurer
Melitta Haslund as secretary

Directors to serve one more year:
Peter Haslund
Art Kvaas
Heidi Poley
Lilli Tragos
Brooke Van Der Kar
Melitta Haslund

Directors to serve two more years are:
Glen Neikirk
Einar Hovind
Ellen Zissler
Mary Harris
Cindy Holland.

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By the People, For the People
By Evelyne Houdek

With our news filled with election information, It was interesting to read in the News of Norway (fall/winter issue) in the article "by the people,for the people" of the new voting equipment now in use in Norway.

With the introduction of new standard voting booths, ballot boxes, voting information, signage and ballot slips, Norway became the first country in the world to implement a single nationwide standard for polling equipment. The universal uncomlicated system can be used by all, including people in wheelchairs and those with vision impairments and other special needs. Even the ballot paper is designed so the voter intuitively understands how it should be folded.

Norway is a country that prides itself on its inclusiveness and on its respect for the democratic process, and the new voting system helps ensure that Norwegian democracy is accessible and comprehensible to all.

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New Application Process for Danish Passports
By Evelyne Houdek

Member Lilli Tragos maintains a subscription to The Danish Pioneer, the oldest Danish newspaper in the USA, published since 1872. I have volunteered to check each issue for articles that may be especially interesting to our Danish members.

An important article in a recent issue caught my eye. As of January 1, 2012 a new application process for Danish Passports has taken effect. New passports must contain Digital photos, fingerprints,and signatures.

Fingerprints inclusion has been introduced as part of combat against terrorism, human trade, illegal immigration and other crime. From January 1, 2012 it will only be possible to apply for a Danish passport in the United States by personal appearance and at three locations:

The Danish Consulate General in New York:
The DanishConsulate General in Chicago:
Innovation Center Denmark, Silicon Valley.CA:

It is also a possibility to get a new passport at the Civil Service Centre in any municipality in denmark if you are visiting but residing abroad.

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Letter from ASF member Courtlin Stoker writing from South Africa
By Courtlin Stoker

Dear ASF,
South Africa has been amazing. I spent the first month in Cape Town where I worked with Congolese refugees. It was great to talk to them about eh DRC and show them pictures. I volunteered at a place called NETwork. I ended up designing the computer literacy program. It was funny because at first I thought I didnt' know nything about computes thenI realized how fortunate I was even with basic knowledge. The last month I spent with my exchange friend. I was lucky enought to go on a safari! :)

Sending my love from Africa.


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