Two Rochester women were among the top finishers in the recent Miss Minnesota Pageant.

Emily Kallis, the reigning Miss Olmsted County, and Kate Wilson, Miss Rochester, were crowned in the local Rochester/Olmsted County pageant in January.

They both made the top 11 in the Miss Minnesota pageant, held June 14 in Eden Prairie, and Wilson made the top 5 and was second runner-up to Miss Minnesota Savannah Cole, of Brainerd. Wilson received about $3,000 in scholarship money.

This was Kallis' third time competing for Miss Minnesota — she previously competed in 2011 and 2013 — and this year, for her talent performance, she did a lyrical dance to "I Was Here," by Beyonce.

She recently graduated from Bethel University and works for Radio Disney in the Twin Cities. She is a freelance photographer.

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Wilson was "Miss Grand Forks" and competed for Miss North Dakota in 2012, where she was a finalist and named "Miss Photogenic." She also competed for Miss North Dakota USA in 2013 and placed in the top five, third runner-up.

This was Wilson's first pageant in Minnesota. She is a 2009 graduate of John Marshall High School and a student at the University of North Dakota. Her talent performance was Irish clogging to Ronan Hardiman's "Cry of the Celts," from "Lord of the Dance."

"This is huge news," said Jillayne Mertens-Baker, executive director of the Miss Rochester/Olmsted Pageant. "We haven't had a pageant in 17 years, and our first year back, both of our contestants made top 11. I'm very proud of both of them. They are amazing ladies that represented southeastern Minnesota so well at Miss Minnesota. It just goes to show how many talented girls we have in our area and how we need this opportunity for them."

To learn more about next year's Rochester/Olmsted County pageant, to be held in January, visit the pageant's Facebook page.

subhead: Trading in white coat for a hard hat

When you think of doctors, you usually think of white coats, not construction hats. Dr. Narayan Kissoon, a resident in neurology at Mayo Clinic, proves they can wear both.

Kissoon, along with others from his department, spent a day volunteering with Rochester Area Habitat for Humanity.

"Our program director, Dr. Jones, encouraged us to be more involved with the community," Kissoon said, "and we are trying to do an event each quarter. We don't want this to be a one-time thing. We are trying to give back to the community that we serve, and that should never stop."

For this quarter, one classmate suggested Habitat for Humanity, so they picked a date and organized volunteers throughout the neurology department — the group had eight people participate, including an administrative assistant, some residents, some fellows and a physicians assistant. They worked in two groups for four-hour increments to help build a home in Kasson.

The team worked from the foundation of the garage, setting up studs and putting up frames and the sides of the garage, and setting up scaffolding for others to work on the upper floors. The site manager coordinated them and delegated jobs based on their strengths. Kissoon's strength?

"Precision — I'm kind of particular," he said with a laugh. "Someone needed to use a power saw and cut two-by-fours to size for the framing, and they had to be exact lengths, and since I'm precise ...

"The whole day was a great experience," Kissoon said. "One of the best parts was working with the family. Part of this is the family participates for about 600 hours, and we got to learn about the family we were helping build this home for. They were a very nice and thoughtful family, and it was wonderful to be able to put a 'face' to it.

"Some of us are already looking at dates to try to do it again if we can coordinate that," Kissoon said.

For more information on Rochester Area Habitat for Humanity, check out