Learning center offers everything from ghost hunting to salsa dancing

Published 6:48 am Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Write your memoir. Learn to dance the salsa. Hunt a ghost. Quit smoking. Get in shape. Save money.

These are not New Year’s resolutions — but, they could be. These are lessons taught at the Community Learning Center (CLC).

Online registration for community education courses opened this week. There are a variety of popular, familiar classes and a few brand new options.

“We try to reach out to a broad demographic. There are classes for different age groups, and for various interests,” said community education coordinator Teri Wermager.

Bath Salts, Body Scrubs, Lip Balm & Lotions is a novel one-day course that teaches students how to make and package the products by hand. Supplies are provided but students will learn where to purchase them for another go. This course is taught by Mary Cronin of Namarya Soap. The class costs $28 and is held Tuesday, Feb. 23 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Another new class that Wermager predicts to be a hit is Control Your Emotions the Mars-Venus Way. Pharmacist Scott Cody shows students what men and women need in their diet for optimum brain chemistry. Students will learn how nutrition and brain chemicals effect the brain and emotions. This course is $9 and will be held Thursday, April 29 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. “It has been very popular in the cities,” Wermager said.

The Family Historian: Writing Your Own Family History is being offered in part again by the Mower County Historical Society. Dustin Heckman teaches research methods, how to search online and how to write an oral history. This course is $38 and is held Tuesdays Feb. 2-23 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Minnesota Starwatch — Friday Night Under the Stars returns this winter after not being offered for a couple of years. WCCO meteorologist Mike Lynch shows families the constellations. Students will use reflecting telescopes and a brand new astronomical camera telescope system. This class is for ages 6 and up. It’s $20 per person or $35 per family. Folks should also bring lawn chairs to the class, held under the skies of Austin, Friday, Feb. 19 from 7 to 9 p.m.

For those who prefer something a little more spooky, Ghost Hunting 101 and 102 will be offered again. Graduates of 102 will have the option to go on a live, on-location ghost hunt next term.

“These classes have had so much interest. We have to keep building onto them,” Wermager said.

The courses are taught by Nick Larson who shares information about paranormal investigation and procedures and techniques. 101 is $15 and is held Monday, Feb. 1 from 7 to 9 p.m. 102 is $20 and is held Monday, Feb. 8 from 7 to 9 p.m. The course catalog says no tools are needed, except for an open mind.

Open-minded, brave students might also be interested in Beginning Red Hot Salsa, taught by Aaron Clarey.

“Salsa is a huge trend right now, so we’re hoping it catches on here,” Wermager said.

The three-hour workshop is for couples or singles, who will learn the basics and turns such as “The Cuddle” and “The Spin Out.” Dramatic dips will also be part of the routine. The workshop is $20 for singles and $35 for couples. It will be Saturday, March 6 from 2 to 5 p.m.

Hypnosis sessions might be that extra nudge for those attempting trying resolutions — like losing weight or quitting smoking. Hypnosis — Weight Loss, Healthy Eating and Hypnosis — Stop Smoking/Chewing Tobacco are two classes taught by Dr. Mary Fischer. Students are awake and aware while hypnotized, according to the course brochure. Both sessions are $55 and are Tuesday, March 9 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Also on the course catalog are car workshops, cooking classes, home economics, computer training, crafts and gardening as well as day trips.

The complete catalog is available at Online registration is now open at www.austin.k12.mn.us, under the Community Learning Center link. Registration is possible online, by calling 460-1700, or by mail or in person at 912 First Ave. NE.

Registration is open until the class start date, but Wermager warns that classes get canceled if not enough people sign-up in advance.