Here are the Minnesota AP Member Exchange Features for Sept. 8-10:



MANKATO, Minn. — Nearing a year since Beyond the Brink sober house opened in Mankato, its organizers are brainstorming additional ways to help people in recovery. The nonprofit quickly reached its six-woman capacity once it opened in October 2017. At least 10 more women are on the organization's waiting list. Founder Brandy Brink said the sober house's first year has exceeded her expectations, to the point the nonprofit's board is exploring further support services in the region. By Brian Arola, Mankato Free Press. SENT IN ADVANCE: 799 words, photo.


ST. PAUL, Minn. — Mindy Mejia's new psychological thriller, "Leave No Trace," has been called "brutal, devastating, and utterly riveting." Mejia, 39, lives in Apple Valley with her husband, Philip, their son and daughter, and three orange cats. Her two previous books — "The Dragon Keeper" and "Everything You Want Me to Be" — were well received nationally but she's not as well-known as she should be in Minnesota, where she set her new book. "Leave No Trace" is the story of Maya Stark, a 23-year-old assistant language therapist working in Duluth's Congdon Psychiatric Facility, where she had been a patient. By Mary Ann Grossmann, St. Paul Pioneer Press. SENT IN ADVANCE: 1192 words, photo.



MINNEAPOLIS — Lindsey Smith, 36, a geriatric nurse practitioner from Minneapolis, was in the Middle East three years ago to learn about hospice care for the Muslim population. She initially wanted to pursue culturally sensitive care. But her experience took her on a different path. It was a complete lifestyle change prompted by what she witnessed abroad: the largest refugee crisis on record. Smith is now leading a medical mission trip to Bosnia Sept. 10. It will be her fifth mission trip since that visit to the Middle East three years ago. By Riham Feshir, Minnesota Public Radio News. SENT IN ADVANCE: 1057 words.


AUSTIN, Minn. — A shimmering, blue and purple tail can sometimes be spotted rippling in bodies of water in and around Austin. That's Mermaid Luna Belle. But out of the water, her name is Hope McAlister, 25, of Austin. A professional mermaid, McAlister dons a silicon mermaid tail and performs to bring the fairy tale to life. By Katie Lauer, Post Bulletin. SENT IN ADVANCE: 443 words, photo.

The AP, Minneapolis