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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • New Reporter Hopes to Make a Name for Herself

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  • Though she was content managing the marketing side of Cutting Edge Fitness in Fairmont and working daily with her boyfriend, Owner C.J. Johnson, Marissa Hennen decided late this summer that she wanted to forge her own identity, which launched her into the field of journalism. “I really liked doing the marketing, and it was great to run the business with him, but I wanted my own identity--my own job,” Hennen said. She also wanted a profession closer in nature to her degree in public relations. “This (job) sounded perfect, and it was very similar to the public relations and writing classes I had in college,” she said. “I'm a people person, and I'm really looking forward to getting to know everyone in St. James.” Hennen is originally from Borup, Minn., a tiny town about 30 minutes from Moorhead, but she currently resides in Fairmont. Johnson has owned and operated the Cutting Edge Fitness there since October 2012. Though she eventually wound up with a degree in public relations from St. Cloud State University, she began in television broadcasting and did work for the campus T.V. station. After graduation, she followed Johnson to Iowa, where the two worked at Cutting Edge Fitness prior to moving into the Fairmont location. “The MC Fitness there was failing, and we turned it around,” said Hennen, 24. “People identified both of us together (with that business); now, they'll see me.” Though moving into a new city and having to learn all the names and faces can see daunting, Hennen is undeterred. “We had to get to know everybody when we moved to Fairmont,” she said. “I really loved seeing everybody everyday at the gym, sitting down with them for 20 minutes and talking.” Perhaps the main draw luring her into this reporting position was the opportunity to cover sports. In high school, she had a hand in virtually everything, from volleyball and softball, to basketball and dance. Her best sport was basketball, where she played the small forward position. Perhaps because the team was highly successful during her tenure, she also said it was her favorite sport. “We lacked height, but we were fast,” she said. “We went to state three years, because we had a great group of girls who had all played together since we were eight or nine.” Hennen is also a physical fitness enthusiast, and she devoted her first column in the Plaindealer to the subject. Even her recent pregnancy--she gave birth to a boy named Camden in early November--didn't dissuade her from trips to the gym. “I love to lift, and I worked out up until the day I had Camden,” she said. “The doctor said it was ok as long as I stayed within certain guidelines, and it made bouncing back so much easier--I'm almost back to my pre-pregnancy weight already.” For someone so devoted to diet and health, Hennen is certainly in the right state. In the 2013 America's Health Rankings, by the United Health Foundation, Minnesota ranked third, trailing only Vermont and Hawaii. Hennen and Johnson are avid golfers--belonging to the country club in Fairmont--and “big Vikings fans,” she said. “I'm forced to watch football because of C.J., but I don't hate it nearly as much as I did at the beginning--and I have a fantasy team, so I have to watch.” She did admit parting with Camden and sending him to day care for the first time December 11 was an emotionally exacting experience. “I had five weeks (with him), and I didn't think it would be hard to leave,” she said. “I thought it would be a break, but it wasn't easy.” Ryan Anderson can be reached at randerson@stjamesnews.com
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