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Newsleader St. Joseph
Friday, Jan. 10 2014 Volume 25, Issue 2 Est. 1989
Town Crier St. John’s Prep hosts Discovery Day
Families interested in learning about the innovative curriculum and other opportunities at St. John’s Prep are encouraged to attend the upcoming Discovery Day on Friday, Jan. 17. Students currently in grades 5-11 are welcome to attend classes, meet the teachers and students and experience what it’s like to be a part of the St. John’s Prep community. Parents are also invited to attend an information session with administrators of the school. Registration for Discovery Day is required. For more information, visit www.sjprep.net or call 320-363-3321.
St. Joseph Lions host buffet Jan. 17
St. Joseph Lions will host a chicken and ham buffet from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17 in the El Paso Club, St. Joseph. There will also be a meat raffle, silent auction, winter raffle and bake sale.
GRRL reading program in full swing through Feb. 22
Between the holidays and the spring thaw stretches a period of dark nights and cold days that may be the best reading time of the year. You can make it even better by taking part in Great River Regional Library’s Winter Reading Program. The program is in full swing at all 32 library locations and ends Saturday, Feb. 22. The program is for adults and teens in sixth-grade or older. Its theme is “Make Tracks to Your Library.” For more information, visit www.thenewsleaders. com and click on Criers.
Kids Fighting Hunger sets Jan. 20 event
A Kids Fighting Hunger packaging event will be held Monday, Jan. 20 at Salem Lutheran Church, 90 Riverside Drive SE, St. Cloud. In addition to food packaging, educational breakout sessions will be available to allow volunteers to learn about hunger. Volunteers can sign up for two-hour shifts, individually or in groups and can be as young as 6, if accompanied by a parent. A suggested donation is asked to help cover the cost of ingredients used for packaging meals. For more information on this and other United Way volunteer opportunites, visit www.thenewsleaders. com and click on Criers. For additional criers, visit www.thenewsleaders.com and click on Criers.
Poet Marwitz respects cold weather by Cori Hilsgen firstname.lastname@example.org
My Cold Footsteps Speak
St. Joseph resident and poet Will Marwitz has a great deal of respect for cold weather – the kind we have been experiencing this week. Both Marwitz’s father and brother died in cold weather. His father was 85 and had been out walking when he tripped and fell on ice. His brother was 52 when he slipped from a ladder and fell. Both were alone at the time and were not discovered until they had frozen to death. “I have great respect for the weather,” Marwitz said. Marwitz, 73, is a semiretired educator who has published two books of poetry: “Turning the Cup,” published in 2010, and “The Light Within,” published in 2012. Both books were published by Northstar Press and contain about 60-65 pages of poetry. Some of his poetry has appeared in the St. Cloud Times newspaper and Minnesota Moments magazine. Marwitz earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees
by Will Marwitz from his book “Turning the Cup.”
I have world-of-work to enjoin As I awaken from my alarm and body clock jarring my head. Oh, to stay in bed! No, I must tug into layers of cloth, contributed photos
St. Joseph resident Will Marwitz has written two books of poetry.
from Bemidji State University. He taught English, including creative writing, speech; and he directed plays in Warroad, Ada and Pipestone and then went on to do some teaching at community colleges and universities. He spent 40 years teaching full-time and 10 years doing part-time adjunct work. Marwitz currently supervises student teachers at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University. He was already interested in writing poetry when he was in college and published some poetry in the college magazine, but he didn’t actually start writing prolifically until recent years. Poet • page 3
Shove white feet into hide-bound boots. Outside, my cold footsteps speak while crunching into snow, Breath crystallizes into foggy glow As sewer exhales white vapors from tunnel belly below. My black frost-sheeted car sleeps along billowy white curb Like a bear burrowed into raw protecting cave hide. Grasping steering wheel, I insert key to avoid plodding To my coffee hole and conversation and breakfast laughter. My engine snorts in irritation, grumbling, rumbling, Separating from his dream-filled hibernation. Again, I turn brassy-cold key; Engine releases a disgruntled snort. About to let this critter expire, I turn my hopeless key one more time – A spark, a fire! Old Black rolls over in awkward protest, Agrees and surrenders to sunrise and me As we lumber toward morning café steaming with fried eggs, toast and Joe. Some regulars brag, others complain – fifty below. I only know the cold of this ring-spun surly son of a sun-dog day. It’s here, by ovens and griddles I want to stay.
Cofell-Hammer to perform at ‘Local Roots’ concert by Dennis Dalman email@example.com
It’s a rare writer who would pen a song that includes a chorus sung by rotten-food items, but Dave Cofell of St. Joseph is just such a writer. Almost anything can spark a song in his head, including the time a friend had to leave New Orleans in a heckuva hurry when Hurricane Katrina came howling in. The friend left food in his fridge – food that quickly rotted. Right away, Cofell decided to write about the man’s dilemma and the fate of the abandoned food by including the chorus sung by rotting-food items. People will have a chance to hear that tune, “The Fridge Song” during the latest “Local Roots” concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11 at the Paramount Theatre in St. Cloud. Cofell and his friend and musical colleague, Adam Hammer, will perform as a duo a concert of all-original songs. Both are songwriters who have been honored as a duo for three
consecutive years (20011-13) as “Best Original Music” by the annual “Best of Central Minnesota” poll. Tickets are available at www.paramountarts.org. Joining the duo at the Paramount show will be Jeff Engholm, bass player from St. Joseph; and drummer Bennett Velline, the 12-year-old grandson of rock-pop legend Bobby Vee. Another star act that night will be “Harper’s Chord,” a bluegrass-folk-country blues band comprising lead singer Jill Moore and seasoned musicians Roger Fink and Paul Drinkwine – all long-time performers from the St. Cloud area. Their latest CD collection is called “Natural Bridge.” Cofell and Hammer also have their own CDs, which have received warm reviews Concert • page 5 photo by Graham Burnett
Adam Hammer (left) and Dave Cofell rehearse at Rockhouse Productions in St. Joseph to prepare for their upcoming Paramount Theatre show.
St. Joseph Newsleader • www.thenewsleaders.com
Friday, Jan. 10, 2014
Kennedy Community School sixth- through eighth-grade basketball team members delivered teddy bears Dec. 19 to children at the cancer center at St. Cloud Hospital. Coach Kimmy Isaak said she lost her mother to cancer last year and wanted the kids to feel how great it is to give back. Team members include the following: (front row) Liz Wolff; (middle row, left to right): Kaitlyn Hoes, Eryka Jansen, Larissa Mattkins, Mataya Ganley, Payton Isaak, Greta Neigum, Sofia Gohmann, Asher Smith, Haley Joos and Jenna Robideaux, (back row) Coach Kimmy Isaak, Ang Stolt, Hanna Haeg, Shay Hilbrands, Paige Bierschbach, Taysha Grinnell, Karley Essington, Madison Klaphake, Lilly Burrett, Hope Hartwig and Anna Penticuff.
If any readers have tips concerning crimes, they should call the St. Joseph Police Department at 320-363-8250 or Tri-County Crime Stoppers at 320-255-1301 or access its tip site at www.tricountycrimestoppers.org. Crime Stoppers offers rewards up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for crimes. Dec. 10 6:26 p.m. Unwanted. Sixth Avenue SE. Officers dispatched for man yelling and pounding on outside of residence door. Upon arrival officer met with a female who stated the man left when she said they were calling the police. She stated she did not feel threatened and did not believe the individual would come back. She just wanted a report filed on the incident. She was advised to call if the suspect attempts to make any further contact. 6:29 p.m. Structure fire. First Avenue NW. Responded to a possible house fire. Upon arrival, officer met with complainant who stated she was short of breath. Gold Cross was on scene and verified the woman as OK, just excited about the situation. Officer allowed her into his squad to keep
warm while fire/rescue inspected the house. Fire department determined the smell and smoke she saw was from her refrigerator. 6:46 p.m. Disorderly. Iris Lane E. Officer responded for juvenile problem. Upon arrival officer met with grandmother who stated her grandson was throwing things downstairs and yelling while he was packing his belongings. Grandson stated he was upset his grandmother did a background check on his girlfriend. Both parties agreed to find a day and time that would work for both parties and to have police stand by while he packed his belongings to move. Grandson’s mother arrived to pick him up and they left without incident. Dec. 11 3:01 p.m. Stolen vehicle. Elm Street E. Complainant stated he has the snow removal account for Coborn’s. He stated he left his bobcat trailer parked in the Coborn’s lot on Dec. 10. He returned at approximately 12:45 p.m. Dec. 11 and saw his trailer had been stolen. He checked with Coborn’s and they do not have cameras in the lot. No suspects. Trailer entered as stolen.
Dec. 12 2:57 p.m. Assist person. 11th Avenue S. Caller’s 5-year-old daughter goes to Kennedy and was supposed to go to Kidstop. She didn’t show up. Mother thought she may have taken the bus to her old daycare. Officer checked the daycare, but she never showed. Officer arrived at Kennedy and staff stated they had just located the child on the playground and had already called her mother. 4:54 p.m. Harassment. 10th Avenue SE. Officer spoke with complainant who showed him two letters she had received. She had also received roses on Dec. 10. Letter she received was sexually explicit. She requested officer to contact letter writer and advise him to cease all contact with her. Dec. 14 2:09 p.m. Harassment. Morningside Loop. Complainant stated when some friends came over to help her move, the neighbor from across the street came over and harassed them about gutting the house and bringing down the property value. She stated the house is in foreclosure. Officer spoke with the neighbor who admitted the harassment. He was advised to have no future contact
Members of the Kennedy Colts Honor Choir (Emily Anderson, Gavin Buersken, Paige Cox, Parker Cox, Jan-Rose Davis, Gabbie Frank, Isabelle Hoeschen, Sophie Houghton, Haley Joos, Courtney Larson, Kallie Larson, Katie Lygre, Faith Mercader, Anna Penticuff, Lydia Peters, Caitlin Popp, Zach Schiltz, Mallory Schneider, Maison Zimmer and directed by Kristen Mattick), perform in a collaboration fundraiser concert series with the Minnesota Center Chorale community choir, directed by Jody Martinson, Dec. 13 and 14 in the Great Hall at St. John’s University. The fundraiser consisted of a dinner, silent auction, concert and dessert reception. The title of the Cabaret concert was “In Midnight’s Silence.” The concert consisted of Christmas carols sung in German, Polish, Latin and English. The Kennedy Colts Honor Choir sang two songs alone, Snow is Falling/Still, Still, Still and Venite Adoremus (Joy to the World) and two songs with MCC, Shepherd’s Echo Carol and We Wish You a Merry Christmas. The Honor Choir was well received by the audience and MCC members. Their next performance, “Night of the Stars,” which is sponsored by the Local Education and Activities Foundation, will be held Feb. 21 and 22 at the Paramount in downtown St. Cloud.
or he could be charged with disorderly conduct.
Dec. 15 12:12 p.m. Suspicious activity. Ash Street W. Female reported a vehicle with no markings pulled up to a blue post office box and removed all the mail. Officer checked and found the post box to be secure and no signs of tampering. Will confirm with postmaster on Monday. Dec. 16 2:34 p.m. Threat. College Avenue S. Complainant stated he received a call from his girlfriend who said her son was freaking out, slamming things around and punching holes in walls. He re-
quested an officer be sent to the residence. Son claimed boyfriend was sending him threatening texts. They were advised to cool down and not get physical at any point and to call with any issues. 5:54 p.m. Building fire. Minnesota Street E. Arrived on scene at restaurant and did not observe smoke or flames. One ceiling sprinkler was activated and spraying water throughout the entire kitchen. An employee hit the activated sprinkler head allowing water to spray straight down. The St. Joseph fire department arrived shortly after while the manager was able to shut the water valve off. Firefighters assisted cleaning the water from the floor.
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Friday, Jan. 10, 2014
Poet from front page His writing hours are in the early morning. He often gets up around 5:30 a.m., puts on a pot of coffee and writes. “Sometimes I write for onehalf hour and sometimes I write for a couple of hours,” Marwitz said. “As a writer, you write and rewrite and rewrite.” Marwitz said sometimes his writing flows really easily and other times he struggles with it. One of his poems, “Alone,” he started in college and put away. He was never really satisfied with it until he pulled it out in recent years, reworked it and finally finished it. Marwitz and his wife, Mylla, moved to the St. Joseph
St. Joseph Newsleader • www.thenewsleaders.com area nine years ago. Mylla had taught history in Sauk Rapids years ago so they were familiar with the area and also have friends and family here. He said they are glad they moved here. “We like it here,” Marwitz said. “There are so many things to do, and there are a lot of cultural events and really good entertainment.” Mylla is one of his critics and offers suggestions for his writing. “Some I take and some I don’t,” Marwitz said. “She’s a gentle critic.” The Marwitzes have three daughters and one son. One daughter is a lawyer and the other children are teachers. They have six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. Marwitz’s hobbies include walking and hiking. He and
Mylla enjoy visiting the state parks. Marwitz also enjoys reading. He said he feels fortunate he has remained healthy and is able to continue to work and enjoy his hobbies. Mar-
witz’s years of teaching and directing plays were very busy years. He said he is glad he has had career opportunities, such as his current position at the colleges, to continue to work part-time.
3 Both poetry books are available at Cold Spring Bakery in Cold Spring, and “Turning the Cup” is available at Barnes and Noble in St. Cloud and The Local Blend in St. Joseph.
Frigid temps cause cancellations by Cori Hilsgen email@example.com
Temperatures in the central Minnesota area dropped to dangerously cold levels last weekend due to a northern cold air mass. The National Weather Service issued early warnings about the “dangerous and historic cold-air outbreak” which lasted from Saturday evening until Tuesday noon. Windchill warnings issued covered 20
states. Local wind chills dropped to 50- to 60-degrees-below zero. At 50-degrees-below-zero temperatures, frostbite can occur in five minutes. The cold streak was compared to a six-day stretch in 1996 when temperatures stayed at 20-degrees-below zero or colder every morning. Gov. Mark Dayton ordered a statewide closing of schools Monday. Area colleges, churches and other ac-
tivities were also cancelled. Early warnings and cancellations allowed many people to make other childcare arrangements for Monday. The St. Cloud School District 742 and many other regional schools and events were also canceled Tuesday. Concerns were expressed for the area’s homeless population and pets that normally stay outside. Many shelters remained open to offer additional help.
St. Joseph Newsleader • www.thenewsleaders.com
Friday, Jan. 10, 2014
Monastery archives getting back to routine after flood restoration
At left: Sister Kara Hennes hands a box up the steps to Sister Dorothy Manuel when moving boxes from the one-day storage area to temporary storage spaces. At right: Sister Owen Lindblad’s workspace was one area of the archives department that was flooded. by Cori Hilsgen firstname.lastname@example.org
This past June, the St. Benedict’s Monastery oratory and archives flooded. Prioress Sister Michaela Hedican noticed the problem when she went to the oratory to pray at about 4:30 a.m. on June 21. She notified physical plant assistant director, Chris Eisenbacher, who came with his crew to help. The monastery maintenance crew and ServiceMaster came
early in the morning to clean up all the water. As soon as they were given the OK to enter the area, many other people also pitched in to help. The damage was extensive and included water and mud on the floor, and soaked and broken ceiling tiles which fell on equipment or dripped water in many areas. Monastery archivist Sr. Mariterese Woida said various teams of nuns and lay staff worked hard to salvage, carry, organize and direct to try to rescue as
much as they could of the past 150 years of history of the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict. Food service director Becky Terwey helped vacuum up water and provided a snack cart for the workers. Lunch and coffee were also provided for helpers. The Midwest Art Conservation Center in Minneapolis, of which the department is a member, was contacted for advice. They advised documents be spread out to dry and extra items be put in the freezer if
they didn’t have room to spread them all out. Many carts and empty spaces were used to move materials that were in danger of getting wet. Wet materials were moved into a large room where tables were set up and covered with clean newsprint so items could be spread out. Some things were put in the dining rooms and other things were put on carts and put into the freezer until the nuns had the space and time to deal with those things. Other tables were set up in the living quarters’ empty bedrooms which had air conditioners and fans to store dry boxes. On June 22 things were moved out of the dining rooms to some of the “set up” spaces. Because of storm damage, the tunnel, which had been flooded, was not available for use. The nuns formed a brigade and handed things up to the sidewall to be loaded onto carts and moved. The Development and Communications departments offered to share space and vacated two offices for the archives department to use. That allowed the archives department to work from the two offices until
they could move back into their office space again. During the restoration time period, whenever information was needed, the nuns had to search a variety of rooms for the information they needed until helpful volunteers Pat Royer and Cleo O’Boyle inventoried the items to make it easier to find information. “It was great having the list so we would know which room to go to in order to find the exact materials needed,” Woida said. Woida said they are very grateful for all of the volunteers. “A wonderful group of volunteers has been reporting regularly to help move things back and now to process items and find their proper storage place,” Woida said. “Volunteers also kept up with their other regular tasks as much as they were able, especially if they were able to do them on computers. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.” Some of the restoration work required for the archives department included replacing the wall board at the base of all of the walls, replacing ceiling tiles and refinishing the ceilings, replacing new carpeting, rewiring and other things. What made the salvage and restoration of the archives even more interesting and challenging was the department is adding the holding of archives from the two monasteries that recently merged with them. Those include St. Bede’s Monastery from Eau Claire, Wis. and Mount St. Benedict’s from Ogden, Utah. Woida said the department began moving items back to the archives in October and moved their offices back in November. Phones and computers are once again connected, but there are still many things that need to be processed. Besides Woida, 11 other nuns and 13 volunteers also serve in the archives department.
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St. Joseph Newsleader • www.thenewsleaders.com
Friday, Jan. 10, 2014
Concert from front page and frequent radio play. Cofell’s CD is entitled “No Substitute (For You).” Hammer’s is entitled “Broken Like You.” Cofell was raised in Collegeville, the youngest sibling of seven children. His father headed the Education Department of St. John’s University and his mother is a botanist. Cofell has played instruments almost before he could walk. As a child, he never watched television as his parents did not own one, so instead he read a lot of books and learned how to play any instrument that came his way, including banjo, recorder and marimba. He currently plays guitar, harmonica and kazoo. Cofell estimates he has written about 300 songs, so far. Many of the songs come from personal experience, but others are just imaginative lyrical riffs that just come to him, seemingly out of nowhere. “After I quit a job one time, I turned that experience into a train song – about trains, about leaving,” he said. “I’ve written a lot of songs with weather in them – the seasons, rain, snow, fog.” Many people are familiar with Cofell and Hammer as the hosts of Open Mic Night at The Local Blend coffee house in downtown St. Joseph. He and Hammer play about 150 gigs far and wide every year. Cofell also teaches guitar at Ham’s Music in St. Cloud and also teaches Quan Li K’an, a form of martial arts for self defense and safety. But his first true love has always been music. “I try to play more from the heart than the head,” he noted. “Things that are really important to me. My genres are just about anything – blues, folk, jazz, rhythm and blues. Adam (Hammer) and I teamed up about five years ago. We have different styles, but we complement each other well in performance. My songs tend to be
more serious and melancholy than Adam’s.” Hammer, who grew up in Henning and has lived in Sartell for four years, was raised in a family brimming with musical talent and playing an instrument and singing was as natural, to him, as breathing. He’s played guitar since age 12. “I like to play progressive folk and blues and tend toward the more modern folk style,” he said. “Dave goes more for traditional folk and blues, but our two styles overlap nicely.” At the Paramount show, the duo will play only original tunes, alternating between one by Dave and one by Adam, although both join in on most of the songs. One of Hammer’s crowd-pleasers is a song called “Underwater Love Song,” a tune about skinny-dipping he wrote for the “Songwriters’ Challenge” series at The Local Blend. The challenge was to write a song about skinny-dipping, and the song came to Hammer just out of the blue, seemingly without effort in just 20 minutest. He describes it as a “tongue-in-cheek sweet little love song.” Hammer said he and Cofell are very pleased about how the Paramount Theatre saw fit to feature so much local talent in its periodic “Local Roots” concerts, including the upcoming one. “I really love these concerts because they put the focus on local music, especially on lo-
photo by Graham Burnett
Jeff Engholm, a bass player from St. Joseph, (middle background) and 12-year-old Bennett Velline (right) join Adam Hammer (left) and Dave Cofell during a rehearsal for their upcoming show at the Paramount Theatre. cal original music. We’ve often played small gigs here and there, but to be in a big theater like the Paramount is just incredible.” Hammer is also glad to share the stage with “Harper’s Chord,” a band he’s guestplayed with many times. Ham-
mer added he is also happy to have drummer Bennett Velline back him and Cofell. “Bennett just turned 12, and he’s just an incredible drummer,” Hammer said. Like Cofell, Hammer too has a day job. He works at St. Cloud State University in media
Computer skills Adults who need help learning basic computer operations may sign up for Basic Computer and Internet Help from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Jan. 14 at the Al Ringsmuth Public Library, Waite Park. An experienced volunteer will provide assistance in setting up an
email account, doing a basic web search or using Word software. Advanced registration is required.
Teen movie night
p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14 at the Al Ringsmuth Public Library, Waite Park. The film is rated PG 13 and the attendance age limit is 13 to 17. Popcorn provided.
Watch the film based on the book “The Hunger Games” by Susanne Collins during Teen Movie Night from 6-8:30
For more information on this and other library happenings, call 320-253-9359.
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relations and publications. He graduated from SCSU in 2005 with a degree in mass communications. He was managing editor for the SCSU Chronicle newspaper and also wrote entertainment news for the St. Cloud Times.
Waite Park library offers basic computer skills, teen movie night
Call with questions or for an application.
St. Joseph Newsleader • www.thenewsleaders.com
Friday, Jan. 10, 2014
Opinion Our View
Newspapers look forward to more story ideas in 2014
We hope our readers enjoyed a trip down Memory Lane last week when we published some of the many highlights in our 2013 Year in Review for both the St. Joseph and Sartell Newsleaders. The reporters who compiled those summaries were both amazed by how many good changes and how many interesting people contributed to life in those two cities, both of which showed dynamic, positive growth in virtually every way – from infrastructure development to new housing, from academic achievements to cultural innovations, from local sports triumphs to successful farmers’ markets. What is also amazing is how many people in those cities did so many interesting things in 2013. They were the subjects of so many feature stories in both Newsleaders throughout the year. And in 2014, our newspaper staff hopes to do even more interesting human-interest stories. Most of those stories come from people who tell us about them through phone calls, emails or postal mail. Most often such news sources are teachers, parents, co-workers, friends, neighbors or relatives of people they know who are particularly interesting or who have done or are about to do something noteworthy: a fascinating trip, earning an award, doing a fundraiser, helping raise awareness about an issue and virtually every other kind of human endeavor. We ask our good and loyal readers to keep those kinds of story ideas coming strong in 2014. We also ask those readers to remember the following two tips when submitting story ideas: 1. This is the most important tip: Be sure to include the telephone number of the person you would like us to interview for a story, as well as your own telephone number. It’s not enough to suggest we interview, say, Betty Jones. That is because the phone number for Betty Jones, most likely, will be impossible to find in a telephone book – first of all because Jones is probably her husband’s last name and Betty’s name won’t be listed alongside her husband’s in a phone book; and second, because as many as one in three people have cell phones, not land phones, and thus do not have their names listed in phone books. Many potentially interesting stories had to be dropped by the Newsleaders because we did not receive enough information (mainly a lack of phone numbers) to pursue the stories. 2. Tell us briefly why the person is interesting or why this story would be a good one to write for the newspaper. It’s also helpful to tell us if the person is from St. Joseph, St. Stephen or Sartell. That is because people have to be residents of one of those cities or connected in some way to them before we will do stories about them. Our readers like us to keep our local papers local, stories and people specific to each city. Always remember, if there are any questions, feel free to call the Newsleader office at 320-3637741. Or email your story idea or send questions via email to email@example.com We look forward to hearing more good story ideas from you in 2014, and our reporters are eager to begin covering another great year in our respective cities.
Fairness and ethics
Newsleader staff members have the responsibility to report news fairly and accurately and are accountable to the public. Readers who feel we’ve fallen short of these standards are urged to call the Newsleader office at 363-7741. If matters cannot be resolved locally, readers are encouraged to take complaints to the Minnesota News Council, an independent agency designed to improve relationships between the public and the media and resolve conflicts. The council office may be reached at 612-341-9357.
2014 should bring minimum-wage boosts It’s good to see what appears to be a renewed commitment to the topic of income inequality throughout this nation, including a passionate vow by newly elected Gov. Bill DeBlasio in New York City. President Barack Obama and Pope Francis also weighed in on the topic. The president said “ . . . a dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility” is “the defining challenge of our time.” In a forceful emphasis, the pope said income inequality is leading to a “new tyranny” and criticized worldwide faith in “trickle-down” economics, claiming such a belief “expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.” It’s heartening to know so many leaders – president, pope and many in the U.S. Congress – are bringing the income-gap to the forefront of pressing issues that must be resolved. For a welcome change, so many seem to be on the same page. Polls of the American people also show a deep concern for inequality, with all polls indicating a majority (as many as 70 percent in some polls) favoring an immediate raise in the national minimum wage. Let us hope big advances toward closing the income-equality gap occur in this new year, 2014. Statistics glaringly indicate just how long overdue is the problem of lopsided incomes. All people should care deeply about this issue because in one way or another it affects all of
Dennis Dalman Editor us. For example, many people working hard in substandard, low-wage jobs simply do not make enough money even to cover such basic necessities as rent, food, utilities, gasoline – not to mention car-repair bills or medical emergencies. As a result, many of those people must depend upon forms of social-help programs funded by the taxpayers. It’s such good news to hear repeatedly the national economy is recovering from the abysmal recession that began in 2008. Every day we’re told the stock market has scored record highs, which is good, indeed. But it’s discouraging those gains are not realized by the overwhelming numbers of the American middle class, the working class and the working poor. Stock-market gains benefit mainly the upper 1 percent. Corporations whose profits are soaring are generally not plowing those gains into job-creation. In other words, benefits are rarely if ever “trickling down” in the form of rewarding jobs and livable wages. That is what is most crucial in solving the income-inequality gap: decent jobs and livable wages. It’s both absurd and cruel to proclaim, as some grinches do, that some-
one can make it on the minimum wage in today’s world. The current federal minimum wage, adjusted for inflation, is $7.25 an hour for nonexempt employees. Adjusted for inflation, that wage is equivalent to the minimum wage of the 1960s. State by state, the minimum wage varies. In Minnesota, it is $6.15 for large employers and $5.25 an hour for small employers. That’s because there are categories of exemptions from the federal minimum wage for some kinds of workers, such as workers with disabilities, full-time students and workers under age 20. Fortunately, most enlightened, progressive Minnesota employers pay a wage well above those minimum amounts. Lessening the income gap so all workers enjoy a good wage is not an easy challenge, especially when people opposed will continue to call wage-boosting efforts “class warfare,” an ironic accusation if ever there was one. However, there is hope as more and more people pressure their elected leaders to vote for an increase (at least $10) in minimum wages. That will be a good start. Such an increase is so long-overdue the unjust delay ought to be considered a national disgrace. So let’s make 2014 a truly Happy New Year for all Americans. Let’s tell our legislators to do the right thing: Vote for a substantial mininum-wage increase.
Letter to editor
I t c o u l d b e wo rs e, I c o u l d b e m ayo r Mayor Rick Schultz “When the burdens of the presidency seem unusually heavy, I always remind myself it could be worse. I could be a mayor.” -- President Lyndon Johnson Serving as Mayor of St. Joseph is one of the great honors of my life so far. St. Joseph is an incredible community and being mayor gives me a unique insight into a town that has more vitality than cities many times its size. Representing St. Joseph may be the best job that I may ever hold. As one might guess, serving as mayor of St. Joseph, while a great job, is not easy even in the simplest of times. We are a vocal, engaged and committed community. There
is also a notable increased passion and engagement of residents with the city. Our residents have an expectation of needing to be more involved, to know more and have continued say and debate on issues which affect the entire community. All expect to see and be heard by our representatives. There are not many residents who are shy about telling their mayor what they think in City Council chambers, the supermarket, through email or anywhere at any time for that matter. We expect our mayor to be a grievance counselor, liaison, cheerleader, facilitator, policy-maker, spokesperson and the public face for our community. As we leave 2013, I recognize there is much work ahead.
I’ve said before - we do more together than alone. St. Joseph is a community where people care for one another. It is a great strength of our city. It is a strength we must draw upon in deciding what services we want, how best to deliver them, and how to pay for them, while meeting our existing obligations. Cities across Minnesota, particularly older cities, like St. Joseph, face structural challenges in the years ahead. To meet these challenges, we must grow our economic base and deliver services in new, creative and collaborative ways. We must build our future by working together. Thank you for allowing me the privilege to serve as your mayor.
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Friday, Jan. 10, 2014 Friday, Jan. 10 Blood drive, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., American Red Cross, 1301 W. St.. Germain St., St. Cloud. 1-800-7332767. Saturday, Jan. 11 Sartell Farmers’ Winter Market, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Sartell City Hall, 125 Pinecone Road N. 55+ Driver Improvement program (four-hour refresher course), 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Miller Auto Plaza Community Room, 2930 2nd St. S., St. Cloud, 1-888-234-1294. Local Roots Series Concert, 7:30 p.m., Adam Hammer and Dave Cofell along with Harper’s Chord. Paramount Theatre, 913 West St. Germain St., St. Cloud, 320-2595463. Saturday, Jan. 12 Ben Dirkes benefit breakfast, silent auction and bake sale, 8 a.m.noon, St. Augustine Church parish hall, 442 2nd St. SE, St. Cloud.
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Monday, Jan. 13 Blood drive, noon-6 p.m., American Red Cross, 1301 W. St.. Germain St., St. Cloud. 1-800-7332767. Writers Group for adults. 6:308 p.m., Al Ringsmuth Public Library, 253 N. 5th Ave., Waite Park. 320-253-9359.
Tuesday, Jan. 14 Blood drive, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., American Red Cross, 1301 W. St.. Germain St., St. Cloud. 1-800-7332767. Basic Computer and Internet Help, 11 a.m.-noon, Al Ringsmuth Public Library, 253 N. 5th Ave., Waite Park. Advanced registration required. 320-253-9359. Sartell Chamber of Commerce, 11:45 a.m., City Hall. 320253-2171. Teen Movie Night, 6-8:30 p.m., wath the PG-13 film based on the book “The Hunger Games,” Al Ringsmuth Public Library, 253 N. 5th Ave., Waite Park. 320-253-
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Wednesday, Jan. 15 First-Time Homebuyer Education, 8 a.m.-5 p.m, Home Stretch workshop, participants will receive a completion certificate. Call Trista at 320-258-0681 to register. Liberty Savings Bank, downtown St. Cloud. www.cmhp,.net Car seat clinic, 3-6 p.m, certified technicians check the safety and fit of your car seat in your car. Free service. Gold Cross Ambulance garage, 2800 7th St. N., St. Cloud. 320-656-7021. Thursday, Jan. 16 Coffee and Conversation, a senior discussion group, 9 a.m., Country Manor, Sartell. Blood drive, noon-6 p.m., American Red Cross, 1301 W. St.. Germain St., St. Cloud. 1-800-7332767.
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Evening Book Club for adults, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Al Ringsmuth Public Library, 253 N. 5th Ave., Waite Park. Newcomers welcome. 320253-9359. St. Joseph City Council, 7 p.m., City Hall. 320-363-7201.
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St. Joseph Newsleader • www.thenewsleaders.com
Friday, Jan. 10, 2014
‘Home Stretch’ takes guesswork out of first-time home-buying by Dennis Dalman email@example.com
Registration for the Home Stretch course must be done by Tuesday, Jan. 14. M a n y There is a fee for the Home p e o p l e Stretch workshop, but those thinking who bring someone else will of buyreceive a discount, and the ing their person brought along will also first home receive a discount. All attendhave no ees will also be automatically idea what registered to receive a gift card. a thicket contributed photo Home Stretch is a program of chal- Jason Krebsbach that began in 1995 by the Cenlenges and is one of the tral Minnesota Housing Partnerglitches the founders of the ship. The workshop prepares process can “Home Stretch” people for what to expect when workshop for buying their first home. The become. first-time homeThat is topics covered include the imwhy the buyers. portance of credit scores, quali“Home Stretch” workshop was fying for a mortgage, the entire developed – to guide first-time buying process, how best to buyers through the exciting but shop for a home, the closchallenging steps that lead to ing process, government loans, home ownership. down payments, cost-assisA “Home Stretch” one-day tance programs and even the workshop is slated from 8 a.m.- basics of home maintenance. 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15 at Those who complete the oneLiberty Savings Bank at 111 7th day workshop will receive a Ave. S. in downtown St. Cloud. certificate of completion, which Registration is required. To is a requirement for some of the register, call Trista at 320-258- home-buying programs avail0681 or register online at www. able for first-time buyers. cmhp.net. For those who want Jason Krebsbach is commuto check out an online course, nity-development director for similar to Home Stretch, there the CMHP, which is a nonis a link on that site about -profit organization that pro“Framework” and how to reg- vides affordable-housing serister for it. vices to central Minnesota and
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which also coordinates the Home Stretch program. Buying a home, Krebsbach said, is a serious process, not like going out to buy a flatscreen TV or even a car. “Buying a house is one of the biggest events in your life so it’s best to be as prepared as possible,” Krebsbach said. There are many Home Stretch workshops held throughout central Minnesota. The typical workshop has about five to eight enrollees, although before the housing slump hit five years ago, that number was much higher, as many as two dozen or more, Krebsbach noted. However, the smaller number of enrollees is ideal because it allows for lots of personal interaction between instructors and enrollees and more time for one-on-one help. Those who cannot attend the Jan. 15 Home Stretch might consider enrolling for the twopart upcoming evening workshop, which will take place from 5-9 p.m. on two evenings, Feb. 25 and Feb. 27. For more information about that work-
shop, call Trista at 320-2680681. Krebsbach said even if people don’t plan to shop for their first home until a year or more from now, it’s a good thing to take a Home Stretch workshop as soon as possible. Learning the ins and outs of home-buying as early as possible is a big boost to success as it will allow people to plan more wisely and get things in order, such as credit scores, before the active process of home-buying begins. Such preparations give people the vital facts needed and help them become thoroughly knowledgeable about home-buying. People can learn a methodical process instead of having to learn all of it in stray bits and pieces, Krebsbach noted. Another step Krebsbach recommends is for people thinking of buying their first home to make an appointment with a CMHP home-ownership counselor to review one’s financial situation. The service is free. Krebsbach said he loves his job.
The Central Minnesota Housing Partnership helps firsttime home-buyers prepare for the challenging but exciting adventure in purchasing a home. “I like to help people we can assist,” he said. “It feels good to help them realize their dreams. I helped start the Home Stretch workshop and taught it myself for a year. It was fun and interesting, and I met a lot of people from different backgrounds. They learned what they need to do in purchasing a home. And it was good, when I’d do follow-ups with them, to hear they did close on their house sale and that things were going well for them.”