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About me:  First-time father at forty-something, forest-dwelling, Finnish sauna fanatic, emergency physician, ED Medical Director, ultrasonographer, professor, student, photographerfilmmakerauthor, localism entrepreneur, and real estate developer. Led team that created and manages the Viroqua Public Market, an award-winning adaptive reuse of a historic Viroqua, Wisconsin landmark building and home of the Rooted Spoon eatery.  

Infatuated with the region where I reside, the "Driftless Area", a unique and mysterious zone in SW Wisconsin never bulldozed by glaciers - resulting in an ancient, undisturbed lands of artisan spring-fed streams, foggy valleys and magestic rocky bluffs covered in prehistoric oak savannas. A real-world Middle Earth. A destination sanctuary bioregion with an abundance of water, sustenance, energy, connectivity and cooperation. Arguably the richest soil on the planet and notably, mostly controlled by interconnected families.  A geographic locale with an optimal balance of wet and dry, warm and cold, individual and collective, allowing us to not only survive but thrive as the Earth inevitably churns into its next version.

I have playful recurrent dream: This enchanting zone of land, is like an Arc!  And we, the people of this Driftless Nation, venture together upon the waters of a world-wide calamitous flood, on 2,000 year mission to foster collective bliss. 


      And thus healing is not a destination, but daily practice.




Next big adventure - spearheading an eco-housing cooperative here in Viroqua.  Skinny: design and develop all local material, intact-tree, timber-frame, Earth-burmed homes set into edible garden landscapes on the undeveloped lands of Viroqua.  


Owned by a cooperative of shareholders, where one share equals one vote equals one home.  Furthermore, we cooperate in a variety of side-gigs, like AirBNB innkeeping, destination micro-weddings and events, utilizing otherwise unused vacancies in or homes!   So, a housing and business development cooperative company....  Neat, eh?   



F E A T U R E D   F I L M S


Music Video Short: Work & Wisdom



Music Video: Elephant Love (version 1)

Original works by the band Soul Music



F E A T U R E D   P H O T O G R A P H Y

An assortment of my photography our beloved Driftless Area and beyond.... 


Magical Partial bright

half Moonlit night 

 not so distant coulee

Peer into forest Might

that animal eyes I see?


 don't think so


 shadowing moon on

Magical Partial bright   

gravel drive  bends

To Stretch of tall grass

moment of midnight 

Beginning and ends


Woody mist 

From Your campfire douse 

Lingers about

its Stellar radience 

like old time moviehouse

The oak trees aloft

'top of the ridge 

whisper loudly 

it's blowing almost harshly

 While deep 

in this groove

 it's nearly all calm

  and nothing's asleep


Then fireflys,

My God, the fireflies!

There's you and moon and me

 displaying cryptic lightcodes

Comprised of shadows 


  And eyes !


Optimo is now Rooted Spoon!

Optimo is now Rooted Spoon!

 "Rooted Spoon Culinary is happy to invite you to share in our passion for good food and great community at our new Kitchen Table event space. Look here for upcoming events such as community brunches and special dinners as well as workshops, music, art openings and film showings. Rooted Spoon Culinary offers a distinct style of catering featuring seasonal menus that highlight locally sourced and sustainably produced ingredients. We proudly support our local economy and showcase the renowned, high quality food of the Driftless Region by purchasing directly from area farmers, butchers and food artisans. Our menus are custom designed to fit both the season and our client’s taste with food that is hand-crafted from scratch. We offer both off-site catering and on-site events at our event space ‘Kitchen Table’, located in beautiful downtown Viroqua, Wisconsin in the historic Main Street Station. Our philosophy is that the best food is fresh, in season, and locally produced. Let us bring our dedication to quality and love of good food to your private dinner, wedding, party, or any other special occasion"


Optimo closing, to relaunch as new eatery....

Dear friends: As you may have heard, yes, Optimo Restaurant - as we know it - has closed. 

In a way our restaurant, owned and overseen by my family, was overwhelmed with its own success. It is both a time to reflect on what our team has accomplished and prepare for what will come next. 

Our passionate team - dishwashers, servers assistants, servers, managers, bakers, line and prep chefs - led by General Manager Erin Ford and Executive Chef Christine Russell (as well as previously Chef Dave Teghtmeyer and Chef Frank Wildingway) - graciously served 25,000 scratch-made meals, catered numerous events and weddings and created many a great memory. 

Nonetheless, our family realized in order for the restaurant to be blissful and prosper for decades, management and ownership responsibilities must be transferred to a family better equipped to see this happen.

Joining the noteworthy dining scene in ones hometown is a responsibility we do not take lightly. Quite frankly however, we discovered that this responsibility was more than my family and I could handle without undue sacrifice and strife. In order to maintain family sanity, if you will, we simply had to cease attempting to manage what we could not manage.

This is not so much a closing, but an evolution, a beginning as well as an end. The result of everyones efforts will be something even better.

OUR CURRENT AND FUTURE GOALS: We will of course continue to run Main Street Station (home to the Winter Viroqua Farmer's Market, VIVA Art Gallery, Bramble Bookstore, Woodhookers Antiques and over 100+ other home town merchants). Furthermore, we pledge to help create a new well-run, farm-to-table eatery in downtown Viroqua (this time, owned and operated by another area family, tba).

Excitingly, we are actively brainstorming with several different local, premiere restaurateurs - all enthusiastic about taking over the Optimo space. All with working business plans.

Heartfelt thanks to our team, our town, our patrons, our farmers and suppliers and my family for all the good eats and wonderful times. 

Please watch for and support a new restaurant coming to Main Street Station in 2012.


Hope & Action - The Vision of Dr. Yunis

If you're looking for a more hopeful perspective on the problems of societal disparities, I suggest you check out the engaging film, Bonsai People. We screened it yesterday at Optimo Farm Market Cafe | with filmmaker Holly Mosher - part of the Driftless Film Festival. A humble yet highly effective movie about Noble Peace Prize winner Dr. Yunis, who's helping millions of Bangladesh women, help themselves, through social businesses, microcredit and mentorship. Lessons we could learn here, for our own issues. Capitalism (and access to capital) not just for male elite, but also rural, impoverished women. The film will be on PBS in the spring. We have DVDs for sale at the Viroqua Public Market. We'll have an encore screening soon too.

My Book - Hands Upon The Dying

I wrote a little book about my experiences at an inner city trauma center as an assistant professor, emergency physician.  A collection of reflective poetry, B&W photography and short stories. 

Available for purchase/preview here.