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January 2010 Volume 16 Number 1

Your Community News & Information Source

City has plans to fill ‘hole in the ground’ in Lowertown

Lending a hand to fight hunger Page 2

Bill Knight Contributing Writer

A

new year brings many new things, and 2010 will likely see a development that will fill a huge hole in the ground at the corner of 5th and Wall streets in Lowertown. The hole is the result of a mixed-use project began in 2007 to build an indoor farmers’ market, parking ramp and housing. It stalled following a legal dispute over financing. Since the ground-breaking, then-developer Sweeney Development and contractor Flannery Construction slashed away at their differences with dueling lawsuits. The city of St. Paul stepped in to help make peace and ended up taking on a new role as project developer. Al Carlson, director of housing in St. Paul’s office of Planning and Economic Development, said the city is planning almost the same project as was proposed in 2007. It will be a six-story, $12.5 million structure located at 298-5th St., just across the street from the outdoor Farmers’ Market. The ground level commercial and retail space will be sandwiched between an underground 40-car parking ramp and above four floors of housing, with 48 market-rate rental units. The earlier

Preparations underway for the ‘Coolest Celebration on Earth’ Page 4

New plans have emerged for the property at 5th and Wall streets.

plans included only condos. The announcement that the project is moving forward again is being met with enthusiasm. “It’s all positive,” said John Mannillo, a real estate developer in talking about reactions he hears to the proposed indoor market. “Businesses are welcoming (the project) and thinking that more is better,” said Kim Hyres, chair of the Capitol River Council, the district planning council for downtown St. Paul. “I hope eventually that there will be a good mix of owned and rented homes, but a downtown, by its very nature, will always have a higher percentage of rental units.”

Farmers’ Market in question

A potentially larger question is the role of the Farmers’ Market. Uncertain right now is whether the 150-year-old market will make the short, kitty-corner trip to be an indoor, year around operation. “At this time we cannot make any representations that the first floor commercial (space) would be designated for an indoor market,” said Carlson. “We’d love to see that possibility, but we’re not counting on it.” Key to this project is financing, which city officials hope will come from some relatively new federal Build American Bonds. These bonds offer a lower interest rate than the city can get in the

private market and have a 35 percent tax credit on the interest paid each year. That money comes back to the city as a cash payment from the federal government. “You can take that (money), which is a substantial amount, to basically fill the gaps,” Carlson said. Some of it will likely go to Flannery Construction, which did not get paid for the work it did in 2007. “They will be recognized for the work that they have completed,” said Carlson. Unlike the financing for the earlier project, which included money from a variety of sources,

Farmers’ Market / Page 2

Sample St. Paul Event Guide Page 6


N ews Briefs Farmers’ Market from page 1 the bonds will be St. Paul’s only funding source. “In order to meet (the requirements of the bonds) we, from the city’s perspective, are not going to solicit any other additional funds or any additional city funds,” he added.

Defining developments in Lowertown

Mannillo calls Lowertown “the hottest part of the city” in terms of development, due, in part, to the attraction of Mears Park and the Farmers’ Market. Several new restaurant owners have told Mannillo they came to Lowertown because of the park. “They (the park and market) are ‘people places’ where people want to live and where they want to work, and so they have become successful,” he said. “The only piece missing is that hole in the ground.”

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The Downtown St. Paul Voice is published monthly and delivered to every apartment, condominium and skyway drop in St. Paul’s historic urban village, as well as other locations throughout downtown St. Paul.

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Page 2 - Downtown St. Paul Voice - January 2010

Your community news and information source

Home Tour nominations

The nomination and application deadline for the 2010 Minneapolis & St. Paul Home Tour is Jan. 21. Homeowners and home improvement professionals are encouraged to nominate homes for the Tour, held April 24-25. Energy efficient and historically-sensitive remodels and expansions get special notice. Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) and the city of St. Paul Planning and Economic Development Department manage the tour, which is now in its 23rd year. For more information, contact Natalie Fedie at 651-266-6549, natalie.fedie@ci.stpaul. mn.us, or Margo Ashmore at 612-673-5103, link@nrp.org. The application form is available at www.MSPHomeTour. com under “nominate.”

Ramsey County HHW waste site

Ramsey County’s household hazardous waste collection site at Bay West is open yearround. The site, located near the State Capitol at 5 Empire Drive in St. Paul, is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays, through March. Drop-off is free for residents of Ramsey, Washington, Dakota, Hennepin, Anoka and Carver counties. Must have a photo I.D. If you drop off an old mercury thermometer you can receive a new digital thermometer for free. You may also receive a free, reusable 2.5-gallon con-

Lending a hand to fight hunger

To help fight the growing hunger problem in the Twin Cities, members of the NFC Foundation and Nash Finch in the Twin Cities packed 8,000 pounds of donated food into 400 grocery bags in December, and distributed them to families at two area food shelves, including Keystone Community Services on Rice Street in St. Paul. Local food shelves are seeing a 40 percent increase in demand over last year. To donate or learn more about helping the Keystone food shelf, visit www.keystonecommunityservices.org. The most needed items are canned meat, rice, dried beans, pasta, cooking oil, sugar, boxed dinners, macaroni and cheese, canned soup, sugar and baking mixes.

tainer to hold used motor oil. Items accepted include, but are not limited to, aerosol cans (no empty cans), paint (no empty or dry cans), antifreeze, paint stripper and thinner, batteries, fluorescent lights, used motor oil and oil filters, gasoline, kerosene, weed killer, weed and feed, products with mercury, such as thermometers and wood preservatives. Appliances and electronics are not accepted. For more information, call the Ramsey County Recycling and Disposal Hotline at 651633-EASY (3279) or visit www.co.ramsey.mn.us/ ph (click on Home and Yard and then HHW Information and Collection Sites).

Ordway hosts open house

In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the Ordway center for Performing Arts is hosting an open house 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun., Jan. 17. This free event will feature live performances by The Minnesota Opera, The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and The Schubert Club, and artifacts from Ordway founders, artists and staff. Participants may also take a backstage tour and enjoy free refreshments. The Ordway Center is located at 345 Washington St., St. Paul.

Saturday Live at Central Library

The popular Saturday Live program offers

weekly performances at 11:15 a.m. in January at the St. Paul Public Central Library, 90 W. Fourth St., St. Paul. These free literacy-based programs are geared toward children and caregivers to promote the joy of reading. January performances include: • Sat., Jan. 2 - Schiffelly Puppets play “Willie Wonka and the Mystery of the Neverlasting Slobsnaucer” • Jan. 9 - Wendy’s Wiggle, Jiggle and Jam music program • Jan.16 - Sea animals from the Underwater Adventures Aquarium • Jan. 23 - Bill the Juggler • Jan. 30 - The Magic of Brian Richards

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F uller Files New liquor store planned

Mike Lokowich, owner of the Bulldog restaurant at Sixth and Wacouta, plans to open Vines and Steins off-sale liquor store at 266 E. Seventh St. The store will feature high-end wines and imported beers and an adjoining cheese shop. The store has met the approval of CapitolRiver Council/District 17.

CCP organizes holiday lights

Capitol City Partnership (CCP) has taken over the Christmas season lighting in downtown parks. Sarah Fossen of CCP said the organization has contributed to the project in past years but decided to take it over this season because a non-profit organization can negotiate better terms for labor and purchases than the city. The lighting includes trees along downtown streets and in Mears Park, Rice Park, Landmark Plaza and Kellogg Park. The lit figures of reindeer and other animals in Mears Park are provided by the Friends of Mears Park.

First Friday event bumped back

The First Friday social for January will be held 4-6 p.m., Fri., Jan. 8, at Loto restaurant in Galtier Plaza. This event is always held the first Friday of the month but was moved back one week due to the New Year’s Day holiday. First Fridays are sponsored by CapitolRiverCouncil/District 17 to provide a way for downtown residents to get acquainted.

CRC supports banners

Your community news and information source

by Roger Fuller

CapitolRiverCouncil/ District 17 voted to support the use of temporary banners on the parking ramp of St. Joseph’s Hospital. Kimberly Morgan of St. Joseph’s said the banners have a life span of 90 days and either advertise a service provided by the hospital or an award received.

Bike Walk plan

The Bike Walk Central Corridor Action Plan has a framework for cyclists and pedestrians in the downtown area and along the LRT route. The downtown priorities include expanding the western sidewalk on Kellogg, creating shared bus and bike lanes and increasing bike capacity on Jackson. Bike parking at LRT stations is also included in the plan.

A & T relocates

The A & T convenience store has moved from the ground level of the US Bank building to the ground level of the Endicott building at 142 E. Fifth St. The store moved because the landlord had another use for the space. A & T, which has been in business for about six years, has more product space at its new location.

New wine bar coming soon

The Bin Wine Bar, owned by Lowertown resident Rebecca Illingworth, is scheduled to open soon on the ground level of the Park Square Court building, 400 Sibley. It will occupy space that formerly housed Insty Print shop, The bar will also serve sandwiches and light fare but will not have a full kitchen.

Zeitgeist hosts CD release concert

Zeitgeist will perform a concert at 8 p.m., Jan. 14-16, to celebrate its new CD called “In Bone Colored Light.” The concert will be held at the Zeitgeist studio at 275 E. Fourth St. and will feature a decade of work written for group members Heather Barringer, Patti Cudd, Shannon Wettstein and Pat O’Keefe.

New deli to open in January

D. Brian’s deli is scheduled to open a new location in January on the first floor at 180 E. Fifth St. building (formerly the First Trust building).

It will replace the Great Northern Bistro, which closed in October. The food will be prepared on site. D. Brian’s also operates a deli on the skyway level of Town Square.

City Passport events

The January schedule of events for the City Passport senior citizen center, located on the mezzanine level of the Alliance Bank building, includes an accordion singalong at 10:30 a.m., Fri., Jan. 8, an ice cream float social at 1:30 p.m., Fri., Jan. 8, a current affairs discussion at 11 a.m., Fri., Jan. 15, a Scrabble tournament at noon, Tues., Jan. 19, a ladies tea at 2:30 p.m., Mon., Jan. 25, a quilting group at 9 a.m. each Monday, and a yarn, loom and crochet group at 2 p.m. each Tuesday. The movie schedule for Thursdays at 1 p.m. includes “The Fifth Element” on Jan. 7, “Frequency” on Jan. 14, “Lara Croft Tomb Raider” on Jan. 21, and “Proof ” on Jan. 28.

New park name discussed

The Pedro Luggage site at Tenth and Robert may become Pedro Park, named in honor of the Pedro family, which donated its land to the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department. The company closed in 2008 after being in business for nearly a century.

Central Library events

The Central Library will present a concert by the Rose Ensemble at noon, Wed., Jan. 27, in the third floor magazine room. • The Central Library book club will discuss “The Pleasure of My Company,” a novella by Steve Martin, at 10:30 a.m., Thurs., Jan. 14. • A program on the Winter Carnival Treasure Hunt will be presented at 2 p.m., Sun., Jan. 17. • The History Book Club will present a program on “Theodore

Roosevelt, the Wilderness Warrior” at noon, Thurs., Jan. 21. • A photo exhibit, “America the Beautiful: The Monumental Landscape,” by Clyde Butcher, will open at 7 p.m., Thurs., Jan. 28 and run through April 15. Exhibits will be at both the Central Library and the James J. Hill Library.

ies, cakes, pot pies, sausage rolls and quiche. Jerabek’s also accept catering orders, which are prepared at the bakery’s main location on the West Side and picked up at the downtown store. Spangler eventually plans to have a cake decorator at the downtown location.

Bakery opens in Alliance Bank Food Court

Minnesota Sinfonia has moved its January concert to First Covenant

Sinfonia concert

Church due to a scheduling conflict at the Metro State University auditorium. The concert, held at 7:30 p.m., Fri,, Jan, 15, will feature violinist Erin Keefe who will play the Violin Concerto 2 in G Minor by Max Bruch. Other selections include “Reverie” by Debussy and Symphony No. 104, The London Symphony, by Haydn.

Jerabek’s Bakery has opened a new location in the Alliance Bank Food Court. Russell Spangler, co-owner, said selections include pastries, cook-

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A rts & Culture

Your community news and information source

Winter Carnival Preview

Get ready for the ‘Coolest Celebration on Earth’ Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer

S

o what’s a little snow? What’s a little below zero temperature? It just means ponds freeze up faster for skating and the snow is deeper for snowmobiling and skiing. We love it! In St. Paul we have the “Coolest Celebration on Earth” — our Winter Carnival — where we bask in festivities associated with this frosty time of year. The 124th St. Paul Winter Carnival will take place Jan. 21-31 at locations throughout downtown St. Paul and surrounding areas. For more detailed information on the following events, visit www.winter-carnival. com. All events are free, open to the public and held in the city of St. Paul, unless noted.

Pre-Carnival events: • The Klondike Kate Contest, 6:30 p.m., Jan. 6 , Prom Center, 484 Inwood Ave N., Oakdale. Tickets required. • “The Hunt is On: Winter Carnival Treasure Hunt History and Tips,” 2-3 p.m., Jan. 17, St. Paul Public Library. Improve your chance of locating the Winter Carnival medallion by attending this free lecture by librarian James Moriarity. Highlights of this year’s 11-day event include: • Ice Carving - Multi Block Competition, Rice Park. The ever-popular carving begins at 9 a.m. Thurs., Jan. 21, and ends at 9 a.m., Sat., Jan. 23. Viewing through Jan. 31.

• Snow Sculpture Competition at the State Fairgrounds. Begins at 9 a.m., Jan. 21, and ends at 9 a.m., Sat., Jan. 23. Viewing through Jan. 31. • Royal Coronation and Reception, St. Paul RiverCentre, 6 p.m., Jan. 21. Visit www.wintercarnival.com for tickets, which are required for the social and dinner. The coronation and reception are open to the public, space permitting. • Ice Carving - Single Block Competition, Rice Park, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Sun., Jan. 24. Viewing through Jan. 31. Photo by Peter Worth

Fri., Jan. 22 • Senior Royalty Coronation 3 p.m., Wellstone Center, 179 E. Robie St. • NEW: Moon Glow Pedestrian Parade, 5:30 p.m. – the public kick-

The popular ice carving begins in Rice Park at 9 a.m. Thurs., Jan. 21 and ends at 9 a.m., Sat., Jan. 23. Viewing through Jan. 31.

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A rts & Culture nesota St. Visit www. winter-carnival.com to purchase required tickets.

Sat., Jan. 23 • NEW: Hot Air Balloon lift-offs will take place a half-hour before sunrise and sunset. Visit www.winter-carnival. com for location. • Securian Frozen 5K and Half Marathon, 7:30 a.m., downtown at 6th and Jackson • Vulcan Coming Out Party, 10 a.m., State Fairgrounds, near snow sculptures. • Sleigh & Cutter Festival, 11 a.m., Phalen Golf Course. View some of the most ornate and antique sleighs from the Midwest. • “Bear-ly” Open Golf Tournament, 11 a.m. on White Bear Lake. Register at www.winter-carnival.com. • NEW: Rugby and LaCrosse exhibition, 11 a.m., McMurray Fields. • The King Boreas Grande Day Parade, 2 p.m., downtown, starting at 5th and Wacouta. • NEW: St. Paul Winter Carnival Beer Dabbler, 3:30-7:30 p.m., Mears Park. There will be 40 different beers to sample at this inaugural event. Embrace winter by enjoying a cold one outside. Visit www.wintercarnival.com for required tickets. Must be age 21 or older to participate.

Sun., Jan. 24 • Hot Time in the Park with the Vulcans, noon-2 p.m., State Fairgrounds, near snow sculptures. • NEW: St. Paul Winter Carnival Kids’ Day and Parade, 2-4 p.m., Rice Park and Landmark Center Cortile. Activities for kids. Kids may decorate their own sleds and join a parade around Rice Park.

Fri., Jan. 29 • Hot Time in the Park with the Vulcans, 11 a.m., State Fairgrounds, featuring fire truck rides, a snow maze and more. • NEW: Minnesota Kite Association Frosty Fingers Fly. 11 a.m., Lake Phalen. • NEW: “History on

Your community news and information source Ice: Winter Carnival Ice Palaces,” a lecture by historian Bob Olson, 2 p.m., Landmark Center, Room 430. • NEW: St. Paul Winter Carnival Has Talent Finals, Crowne Plaza Hotel, 11 E. Kellogg Ave. Time to be determined. • Vulcan Victory Torchlight Parade, 5:30 p.m., downtown starting at 5th and Wacouta. • Overthrow of Boreas. See the Vulcans overtake the Royal Family on the steps of the St. Paul Public Library, immediately following the parade. • NEW: Carnival Fireworks off the banks of the Mississippi, right after the overthrow event. • Vulcan Victory Dance, 8 p.m., Crowne Plaza Hotel. Visit www. winter-carnival.com for required tickets. • NEW: St. Paul Winter Carnival ice fishing contest, noon, on White Bear Lake. Visit www. winter-carnival.com for registration form.

Multi-day events • Historical Society celebrates Winter Carnival, Ramsey County Historical Society (Landmark Center), showcase of Winter Carnival costumes, buttons, photos, programs and more; runs through Feb. 12. • NEW: Inaugural St. Paul Winter Carnival juried art show at the Black Dog Café, 308 E. Prince St. in Lowertown. Artists have been asked to envision the Winter Carnival and all of its fun and frivolity, from royalty to parades to ice carvings. Opens Jan. 4. Opening reception at 6 p.m., Jan. 8; closing reception at 6 p.m., Jan. 29. Show open through Jan. 30. • Jan. 8-9, 15-16: NEW: St. Paul Winter Carnival Has Talent Preliminaries. Visit www. winter-carnival.com for registration form. • Jan. 16-17: Snow block building for the snow sculpture competition, State Fairgrounds. • Jan. 16-31: Winter Carnival memorabilia display presented by the

Ramsey County Historical Society and the St. Paul Public Library. • Jan. 21- 31: Public ice skating at the Landmark Ice Rink, 5th and Washington. • Jan. 21-31: The Great Winter Carnival Scavenger Hunt. • Jan. 25-28: 3M St. Paul Education Day, Science Museum, school activity. • Jan. 22-29: NEW: Broomball Challenges - Corporate Broomball Challenge begins at noon daily; Happy Hour Broomball Challenge starts daily at 5 p.m., both at Landmark Ice Rink. Watch your favorite team compete for the St. Paul Winter Carnival Cup. • Jan. 22-30: St. Paul Elementary Art Display, A-Z Gallery in Lowertown, 308 E. Prince St. • Jan. 22-24: Mixed Curling Bonspiel, St. Paul Curling Club, 470 Selby Ave. • Jan. 30-31: Fire and Ice Sailboat Racing, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Phalen Lake. • Jan. 22-24: Fire and Ice Boys Hockey – Pee Wee Tournament, Fairgrounds Coliseum. • Jan. 23-24: Saintly City Cat Show, St. Paul RiverCentre. • Jan. 23-24: Gotta Go Gotta Throw disc golf tournament, Como Park. • Jan. 23-24: Orchid Show at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park. • Jan. 23-24: An “autonomous” bus presented by the Institute of Navigation, University of Minnesota. Located near Rice Park on 5th Street. • Jan. 23 and 30: NEW: Memorial Blood Drive in Rice Park, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. daily. • Jan. 29-30: Family Days, Landmark Center and Rice Park. Variety of entertainment, including a giant saber-toothed tiger slide. Friday, 4-8 p.m., Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. • Jan. 29-30: Winter Carnival Memorabilia Display and Sale, Landmark Center Cortile. Fri., 4-8 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

• Jan. 29-31: Fire & Ice Girls Hockey Tournament, State Fairgrounds Coliseum. • Jan. 30-31: Family Day “Green” events, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Lake Phalen. Variety of events, including Minnesota Kite Association members flying the largest kites in the state, on Lake Phalen.

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Downtown St. Paul Voice - January 2010 - Page 5

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S ample St. Paul Ordway Center for Performing Arts “Beauty and the Beast” is presented through Jan. 3, at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts, 345 Washington St., St. Paul. This Disney classic tells the tale of a hideous beast that is transformed into an enchanted prince through the power of a young woman’s love. Experience the joy in an enchanted new production created just for the Ordway. See Belle and all your favorite characters come to life onstage. Tickets are $27-$75. For more information, call the box office at 651-224-4222.

History Theatre “Sister Kenny’s Children” is presented Jan. 23-Feb. 14, at the History Theatre, 30 E. 10th St., St. Paul. This new play is a powerful retelling of how Sister Elizabeth Kenny battled adversity to make her ground-breaking therapies the standard in polio treatment. Tickets are $25-$30 for adults, $22-$28 for seniors and $10 for children.

Your community news and information source

For more information, call the box office at 651-2924323.

Children’s Museum

“Out on a Limb” is presented through Jan. 24, at the Minnesota Children’s Museum, 10 W. Seventh St., St. Paul. Visitors may explore the natural world in this original, interactive exhibition that encourages them to hear the sounds of the forest, use leaves to make beautiful art, and build big and little structures from bark and limbs. The exhibits also provide practice with the physical skills of climbing and balancing. Tickets are $8.95. For more information, call 651-225-6000.

Xcel Energy Center

Country music star Brad Paisley, with special guests Miranda Lambert and Justin Moore, will perform at 7:30 p.m., Sat., Jan. 16, at the Xcel Center, 199 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. Tickets are $39.75-$59.75 “The World’s Toughest Rodeo” is presented Jan.

29-30, featuring bullriding, bareback, saddle bronc and barrel racing exhibitions, and more. Randy Houser will perform Saturday night for the “Party On The Dirt,” following the rodeo. Tickets are $17-$80 for adults and half price for children age 12 and under.

Park Square Theatre

“Rock ’n’ Roll” is presented Jan. 15-Feb. 7, at Park Square Theatre, 20 W. 7th Place, St. Paul. Spanning two countries and three generations, the music of revolution, protest, liberation and emotional survival proves that love, and rock ’n’ roll, remain. Tickets are $36-$40 for adults, $31-$35 for seniors, and $15 for age 30 and under. For more information, call 651-291-7005.

Science Museum of Minnesota “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition” is presented at the Science Museum through Jan. 3. This compelling exhibition takes visitors

back in time to 1912 and tells a story of tremendous human drama. It brings to life the heroism and humanity of the passengers and crew through passenger stories, amazingly detailed room re-creations, and authentic artifacts recovered from the RMS Titanic, all in one of the largest exhibitions the Science Museum has ever hosted. Featured in the Omnitheater is “Titanica.” This giant screen film allows you to take a journey to the bottom of the North Atlantic to explore the famous shipwreck. See stunning images of the Titanic as she now lies on the ocean floor contrasted with exquisitely-preserved archival photographs of the ship in all her splendor. Hear moving commentary from Eva Hart who, as a seven-yearold girl, survived the tragic night but lost her father. Omnifest 2010, a giant screen film festival, is presented Jan. 29-Mar. 11, at the Omnitheater. The featured films are “Africa’s Elephant Kingdom,” “Into the Deep,” “Van Gogh: Brush

Photo by Scott Pakudaitis

“Sister Kenny’s Children” is presented Jan. 23-Feb. 14, at the History Theatre, 30 E. 10th St., St. Paul.

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S ample St. Paul with Genius,” “The Greatest Places,” and “Ski to the Max.” Tickets are $8 for adults and $7 for children. Museum tickets are $23 for adults and $18 for seniors ages 60 and older and children ages 4-12, or $29 and $24 respectively with admission to “Titanica.” The Science Museum is located at 120 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. For more information, visit www. smm.org, or call 651221-9444.

Minnesota History Center “Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World” is presented through July 4, at the Minnesota History Center, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. You know about Benjamin Franklin’s famous experiment with a kite, a key and some lightning, but did you also know about his rebellious youth? That he pioneered wind surfing and invented swim fins? That he helped found the

nation’s first hospital, was an environmentalist and charted the Gulf Stream to assist in ocean travel? In many ways Benjamin Franklin is the founding father nobody knows – misunderstood because of the sheer breadth and diversity of his accomplishments. Discover the many ways Franklin has affected our world today in this new exhibit. “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation: The Depression, The War, The Boom” - This exhibit features more than 6,000-square-feet of artifacts, interactive displays and innovative multimedia experiences that reveal the lives and stories of the men and women who came of age during the Depression and World War II, and who went on to create the phenomenal postwar boom. The exhibition features first-person narratives in recorded interviews, images, film and audio. “MN 150”- Meet 150

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Your community news and information source people, places, events and things that have sparked significant change within Minnesota and beyond. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and college students, and $5 for children ages 6-17. The Center offers free admission on Tuesdays from 5-8 p.m. For more information, call 651259-3000 or visit www. mnhs.org.

Lowry Theatre “Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad!” is presented Jan. 14-April 26 at the Lowry Theatre, 16 W. 5 th St., St. Paul. Comedy and drama collide in this romantic comedy about two lonely, single parents who meet and fall in love while watching their kids play hockey. Tickets are $14.50-$27.50 and can be ordered by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800982-2787. For more information, call the box office at 651-227-2464.

Artists’ Quarter

The Artists’ Quarter, located in the Historic Hamm Building at 7th Place and St. Peter in downtown St. Paul, offers live entertainment throughout the month, including jazz bands, poetry nights and the popular B-3 organ night, held at 9 p.m. every Tuesday. For a complete schedule of events, call 651-292-1359 or visit www.artistsquarter.com.

“The World’s Toughest Rodeo” is presented Jan. 29-30, at the Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, featuring bull riding, bareback, saddle bronc and barrel racing and more. Copyright 2009 Toughest Cowboy LLC.

Looking for new customers or employees? We can help! Our newspaper group reaches: • 16,500 homes and businesses in St. Paul, West St. Paul, Mendota Heights, Lilydale and Sunfish Lake. • 4,000 homes and businesses in downtown St. Paul • 8,500 homes and businesses in South St. Paul • The Hispanic audience of the Twin Cities — the fastest growing demographic population in the region For more information, call 651-457-1177 or visit www.stpaulpublishing.com Display Advertising Employment Advertising Pre-printed Inserts Website Advertising Downtown St. Paul Voice - January 2010 - Page 7


B ack in Time

Your community news and information source

January 1959: exhibition basketball and teen idols Don Morgan Contributor

T

he music tastes of young people often change quickly. What’s hot and hip one day can become stale the next. It has always been hard for adults to appreciate what appeals to teen-age audiences. In January 1959, Winter Carnival organizers made a play for the teen audience but failed to see what else was happening right in their own town. St. Paulites also worried over some Cold War trends, saw the beginning of a classic trend in American autos, and turned out for a great basketball exhibition. A couple of things were new that year, including a government in Cuba. Fidel Castro’s forces took Havana just after New Year’s and speculation was high as to how the successful revolution would play out. For the

moment, Castro enjoyed a lot of Middle American support and “Castro costumes” (fatigues, beard and cigar) were popular at a lot of New Year’s parties in St. Paul. It didn’t take long for that perception to change. A development closer to home was the new Chevrolet. Auto styles for the early ’60s were long and low, and 1959 was the first year the Chevrolet Impala was a truly separate product line. At nearly 18 feet long and with classic gull-wing fins, tear-drop taillights and a big V-8 engine, the Impala was distinctive enough that the papers began running notices of prominent locals who were spotted in one. Not everyone went along with the trend, though. That month also saw the opening of a new Volkswagen dealership on University Avenue. Anyone who wanted to turn up

his nose at the Detroit automakers could get a French-made Simca. However, it was difficult to navigate January snow drifts in that car, not to mention get spare parts.

Wilt comes to town

In town that month was a classic show with a new look. The Harlem Globetrotters, which had been around since the late 1920s, was formed as a refuge for AfricanAmerican basketball players who were banned from most organized leagues, but evolved into an entertainment show of on-court comedy and basketball skills. The team had played in St. Paul before but in 1959 had a new feature attraction — 22-year-old basketball star Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt was the LaBron James of his day. He could have moved easily into the top professional

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About 2,000 people showed up for one of the city’s all-time entertainment bargains. For $1.25 they saw and danced to a 3-hour show headlined by future rock and roll hall of famers Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and Dion DiMucci. ranks after graduating from his Philadelphia high school, but in those days the NBA would not sign a player whose college class had not yet graduated, so Chamberlain set off to play college basketball. An excellent student whom every coach wanted, he chose the University of Kansas. He led the Jayhawks to the NCAA finals his first year of varsity play and was also a top track and field athlete. By the end of his junior year he was tired of facing stall tactics and sagging defenses so he left school and looked for something else to occupy his time while he awaited the next year’s NBA draft. He quickly signed to play a year for the Globetrotters. His marketability gave him leverage in negotiations, and management was forced to pay $50,000 for his services, which turned out to be a bargain. The St. Paul Auditorium on Fifth Street (where the Ordway is today) seated about 9,000. It was sold out for the Globetrotters’ game against their house “stooge team,” that year called the Hawaii 50th Staters in honor of the newest

state in the union. Wilt scored 28 points, many on thunderous dunks, and proved an able hand at the team’s on-court gags. His team added another victory to its long string. Interest was so high that over 2,000 were turned away at the door.

Teen idols

With basketball over, folks in St. Paul turned their attention to the Winter Carnival. That year’s program included an American Idollike “Search for Talent,” sponsored by the Pioneer Press. Included in the program was a dance party for teenagers at the St. Paul Hotel, featuring ballroom dancing, a few cha-chas and music by the Ray Komischke quintet. The host was TV actor Ronnie Burns. He was billed as “Idol of the Teenagers,” but probably would have disagreed with that description. The 23-year-old son of long-time performers George Burns and Gracie Allen mostly appeared in his father’s productions. He was neither a singer nor a musician and did not like rock and roll music, but he was a smooth host and the dance was a success, with about 500

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young people turning out on a frigidly cold night. Other young people who did like rock and roll had their own party two nights earlier at the Winter Dance Party tour at the Prom Ballroom on University Avenue. This event was not connected to the Winter Carnival. About 2,000 people showed up for one of the city’s all-time entertainment bargains. For $1.25 they saw and danced to a 3-hour show headlined by future rock ’n’ roll Hall of Famers Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and Dion DiMucci. Probably none of those fans wished he or she was listening to Ray Komischke instead. The show with these real teen idols went completely unnoticed by the local press. Fidel Castro and the Chevy Impala are still around, and both are showing their age a little. Wilt Chamberlain left the Globetrotters after one year, signed with the Philadelphia Warriors of the NBA, and turned out to be even better than anticipated. In his first season, he won the NBA scoring, rebounding, Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards. He played for 14 seasons and anchored two championship teams. Ronnie Burns continued as an actor into the early ’60s and then retired to a long and successful career as a developer. He died in 2007. Buddy Holly was not so lucky. He, Valens and others died just five days after their gig at the Prom when their plane crashed in an Iowa cornfield. Everyone at that show probably remembers the night the real teen idols played St. Paul.


DTN Jan 10