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Your Community News & Information Source December 2012 Volume 18 Number 12

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The Sights and Sounds of the Season ‘City sidewalks, busy sidewalks Dressed in holiday style In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas.’ ‘Silver Bells’

Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer


Photo by Justin Wohlrabe

A Christmas Eve skate is offered at WinterSkate rink, near the Landmark Center.


tanding on the corner of Sixth and St. Peter in downtown St. Paul in late December, it is impossible not to be enchanted by the charm of the city and to get caught up in the spirit of the holiday season. One can see the festive Christmas tree at Travelers Plaza and the soft glow

filtering out from the restaurants along brick-studded St. Peter Street, where patrons are talking, laughing and sharing stories. To the west are the castle-like Landmark Center and the magical Rice Park. Both provide a festive backdrop for the people at WinterSkate Park, who are dressed

St. Paul slashes $1 million from last year’s budget

warmly as they glide around and around on thin metal blades. From shopping and dining, to theater and other cultural events, there are many ways to enjoy the holidays in St. Paul. Our annual holiday event guide offers some timeless classics. Holiday Events / Page 6

ver the past several weeks city finance leaders have been crunching numbers for St. Paul’s proposed approximate $500 million 2013 budget, which is down $1 million from last year. Nearly half of the budget ($237 million) is directed toward the General Fund, which covers expenses related to the police and fire departments, parks and recreation, library and general government operations (i.e. mayor and city council, human resources, finance and other support services). Within the General Fund, wages and benefits account for 81 percent of all spending. Major revenue sources for the General Fund are property tax levies (33.7 percent), Local Government Aid (LGA) from the state of Minnesota (22.7 percent), franchise fees (11.4 percent), and other revenue aids and user fees (32.2 percent). City spending pressures and the availability of other funds, like state aid and local fees, often dictate the size of the property tax levy in any given year. Historically, St. Paul has been home to many tax-exempt educational, medical and state government institutions. Nearly a third of the city’s property has been exempted entirely from paying city property taxes. As a result, more than half of the city’s total local property tax levy falls on residential property. The 2013 proposed city property tax is $101.2 million, a 1.9 percent increase from 2012. Of the proposed levy, $99.4 million will fund city activities, $72.1 million will go to the city’s General Fund, $10 million for debt service, and $17.3 million will fund the St. Paul Library Agency. The city also levies taxes on behalf of the St. Paul Port Authority, whose proposed 2013 levy

Proposed city budget / Page 4


Lowertown churches buck national trend of declining membership Bill Knight Contributor


astors at two historic Lowertown churches said their congregations are happily out-of-step with some of the results of a new nationwide survey showing an increase in the number

of people who do not attend a church. The Rev. Bill Englund from First Baptist and the Rev. Dave Colby from Central Presbyterian say their congregations are growing. This is in contrast to a recent Pew Research Center study that says one in five adults — 20 per-

cent of the U.S. population — have no religious affiliation. That percentage is five points higher than just four years ago. The number is even higher — 33 percent — for adults under age 30. The study uses “religiously unaffiliated” to describe Americans who

say they are atheists, agnostics or have no particular religion (view the report at aspx). Despite several calls to two Lowertown Catholic churches, no one from those churches was available to comment for this article.

Englund said the report the people who are unaffilispeaks loudest to him in ated, 21 percent of them say talking about unaffiliated they pray every day.” adults who think of themColby said he is not surselves as religious or spiri- prised to see a rise in the tual. numbers of the unaffiliated. “Two thirds (of the un“For years we have seen affiliated) say they believe people say they are spiritual in God,” he said. “And it’s Church membership / pretty astounding that of Page 2

R eligion

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Church membership from page 1 but not religious,” he said. “It’s not that people are less in-tuned with a spiritual di-

mension to their lives, but they are more wary of organizations.”

The overwhelming majority of the “nons,” as the unaffiliated are called in the report, were brought up with a religious tradition. “So why didn’t they

stick?” Englund asked rhetorically. He said it could stem from a negative experience they had with a church early in their life, an experience that tells them, “This is

not where I belong.” Even though the numbers of those who attend a church has declined, 60 percent of those surveyed said religion is very important to them. That is intriguing to both Englund and Colby. “I believe that Christianity in America has been too-often hijacked by the Religious Right,” Colby said. He pointed to a survey showing that young adults in America believe Christianity is judgmental, hypocritical and homophobic. Englund said the unaffiliated want a church to be part of their life if there is a social connection with their beliefs. But only 12 percent are looking, he added.

Membership increases

Photo by James Ramsay,

Dulay Du leads a lesson at First Baptist Church in downtown St. Paul. The congregation serves a large number of immigrants from Burma.

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on Sunday. However, the congregation has a large influx of people from Burma, with nearly 240 attending its two other Sunday services. Englund explained that the Baptist Church has had missionaries in Burma for 200 years so many immigrants from that country were raised in the Baptist tradition. Burma, now called Myanmar by its leaders, is between India and Thailand. It is the second largest country in Southeast Asia. “They are convinced Christians,” he said. “They have absolutely transformed our congregation. “People find their values are affirmed and their kids can be raised properly (at a particular church), and they say that’s the biggest attraction,” he added. Both pastors said that marriage and family life tend to bring young adults back to the church. “People in their twenties have dropped away from church but when they get married and have kids they

“We’re growing,” Colby said of his congregation. “And we are growing younger, growing more diverse in terms of race, ethnicity and economically.” At First Baptist, the American-born population is shrinking in numbers. Only about 60 people in Church membership / that demographic attend, Page 3 primarily at its early service

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Indoors Farmers’ Holiday concert St. Paul Conservatory of Market to open The Farmers’ Market begins its winter season Saturday, Dec. 1 at Golden’s Deli in the Northwestern Building, 275 E. Fourth St., St. Paul. About 20 growers will be featured each Saturday morning through early spring.

Union Depot open house The Union Depot will hold an open house all day Saturday, Dec. 8 to allow visitors to tour the newly renovated multi-modal transit hub, see interactive displays and performances and exhibits by artists. Metro Transit will begin its city bus service from the terminal on December 8. About eight lines will be served there.

City Passport City Passport senior citizen center will hold its annual Christmas Eve party at 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 24 at the mezzanine level of the Alliance Bank Building, 55 E. Fifth St. The event will feature a religious service, Christmas carols and dinner. Reservations must be made by December 19 by calling 651-232-1301. Other events in December include: happy birthday party, 2 p.m., Monday, Dec. 10; blackjack, 2:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 17; trivia time, 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 19; writers’ group, 10:30 a.m., Friday, Dec. 21; current events discussion, 11 a.m., Friday, Dec. 21; ice cream float social, 1:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 21; healing sounds of music, 10:45 a.m., Friday, Dec. 14 and 28; blood pressure checks, 10 a.m., Mondays; and movies at 1 p.m. Thursdays.

Music will hold its annual holiday concert at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 11 at the McNally Auditorium at McNally Smith College of Music, 19 Exchange St. E., St. Paul. Band and choral selections will be performed by faculty and staff.

and crafts by local artists. The café is located in the Northern Warehouse building, 308 Prince St., St. Paul. Blues singer Willie Murphy will perform on December 7, and Tim O’Keefe and Mark Stillman will present a concert of accordion and percussion music on December 20.

McNally concerts

Central Library happenings

About 40 concerts will be performed throughout the downtown area in December by students at McNally Smith College of Music as part of the college’s Emerging Artists program. For concert information, visit

US Bank closes skyway branch US Bank has closed its branch office on the skyway level of Town Square. Customers are being directed to the main downtown office at US Bank Center, about two blocks away. The branch was opened in 2003. The loss of several businesses in the area contributed to the closure.

Financial firm relocates downtown Waddell and Reed have opened an office in the Securian Building at 401 Robert. Josepe DeZiel, branch manager, said the financial services firm moved from Arden Hills to downtown to increase its growth.

Events at the Black Dog Black Dog Café will host a holiday sale Friday night, December 7 and all day Saturday, Dec. 8, featuring art

Church membership from page 2 begin thinking ‘I had better go back to church, for the sake of the kids,’” said Englund.

Why attend? People are drawn to houses of worship for almost as many reasons as there are parishioners. “We crave a chance for silence in our crazy, chaotic world,” Colby said. “In many of our downtown churches there’s a majestic sanctuary. It’s something sacred that can be experienced

Your community news and information source

by Roger Fuller

in our minute-by-minute world of text messages and e-mail.” Englund said the new members at First Baptist have stayed because of its mission to the people of Burma. “You have to be comfortable and want to participate in (the mission of the church),” he said. “People say this is ‘my church’ because it is relevant and it has something to do with a heart issue, a core issue they have. And they get to

The Rose Ensemble will perform a concert at noon, Monday, Dec. 3 at the Central Library. The early music group will present a selection of early American carols, country dances, southern harmony hymns and Shaker spiritual songs. Books and Bars will feature a discussion of “Turn of Mind” by Alice LaPlante at 6:15 Tues., Dec. 18 at Amsterdam, Wabasha at Sixth. Author Patricia Hampl will read “Winter Dreams” at 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9. The short story served as a basis for the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel “The Great Gatsby.” Central Library History Book Club meets at 2 p.m. on Thursdays. The group will discuss “Louisa May Alcott” by Susan Cheever on November 29 and “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival” by Laura Hillenbrand on December 27.

Minnesota Museum of Minnesota Art Construction is underway for a temporary home for the Minnesota Museum of Minnesota Art, to be located on the ground level of the Pioneer Building at Fourth and Robert. The museum will remain there

express that through their faith.”

Outreach efforts Central Presbyterian offers a lunch every Wednesday, serving about 150 people. “It embodies, without being preachy, the best of Christian hospitality: the breaking of bread and being welcomed,” Colby said. First Baptist provides a Welcome Basket — a laundry basket filled with a variety of household items — to about 1,200 people a year.

until the former building is converted into 234 rental units for residents. The museum was previously located at Landmark Center and the Ramsey County Government Center West building but has been without a home for several years.

Craft show at St. Joseph Hospital St. Joseph Hospital will hold its annual Holiday Craft show 9 a.m.-5 p.m., December 19 and 20 in the 3M Education Center in the DePaul Tower at Tenth and St. Peter. The show features jewelry, scarves, quilts, toys and other items.

Lowry Lab The Perfectly Imperfect Studio production of “College Prep” is presented December 14-16 at the Lowry Lab Theatre at Fifth and St. Peter. The show is intended for high school students who plan to deal with college issues. “End of Life Festival” will be performed December 21-22. This play features comedic and improv skits that deal with the end of the world as predicted by the Mayan calendar.

CRC silent auction The annual silent auction of CapitolRiver Council/ District 17 will be held 4-6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 7. For more details, call 651-2210488 or visit

Schmidt Brewery plans The West Seventh Federation is seeking historic review approval of its plan to convert the historic Rathskeller building at the

Schmidt Brewery on West Seventh Street into office space. Two other properties on the Schmidt site — the bottle house and the brew house — are scheduled to be converted into 248 affordable housing units by Dominium Development Corporation.

Penumbra hosts benefit performances Penumbra Theatre will hold three benefit performances on the first three Mondays in December. The Penumbra, located at 270 North Kent St., St. Paul, suspended its programming for 2012-2013 due to financial problems. Local artists will sing classic blues and jazz numbers on December 3, holiday classics will be performed December 10, and the musical “Hot Chocolate” will be presented on December 17.

Highway reconstruction A $132 million reconstruction project of I-35E from University to Maryland avenues will begin next year and conclude in 2015. The partial interchange at I-35E and Pennsylvania will be replaced by a full interchange at Cayuga Street. The I-35E bridges over Cayuga street, Pennsylvania Avenue and the BNSF railroad tracks will be replaced.

University Avenue documentary A documentary portraying the last century of University Avenue will be aired at 8 p.m. December 18 and 28 on tpt2. “University Avenue: One Street, A Thousand Dreams,” a film cre-

ated by Peter Myers, traces the history of the avenue from a thriving commercial center to a place of Xrated activity, to its present situation as home to many immigrant-run businesses.

Mississippi Market helps fight childhood hunger St. Paul based Mississippi Market recently donated $1,214 to the No Kid Hungry Campaign, which seeks to end childhood hunger in America by connecting kids with the healthy food products. The market donated 1.5 percent of its sales on World Hunger Day, October 16, to fund the effort. An estimated 16 children in the United States do not have enough to eat daily. Mississippi Market Natural Foods Co-op has been consumer owned and operated since 1979. Over 40 percent of its food products comes from local growers and producers.

Postal Service to open new downtown branch The United States Postal Service plans to open a new downtown post office in early 2013. Located on the ground level of the US Bank Center at Fifth and Robert, this office will replace the branch at the Hamm Building and the window service at the post office on Kellogg Boulevard. This office will not have direct skyway access. Customers can reach the US Bank Center by skyway but they must go to the ground level and go outside to enter the branch.

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C ity Government

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Proposed city budget from page 1 is $1.8 million. Todd Hurley, director of St. Paul’s Finance Department, explained that although commercial and industrial properties lost some of their value for 2013, they didn’t experience as much of a decrease as residential property. That, combined with an increase in apartment values, has shifted the tax base toward commercial and apartment properties and away from homeowners. If approved, owners of St. Paul homes in the 2013 median price range of $137,700 will see the amount of taxes they’ll pay drop from $47 per month in 2012 to $43 in 2013. Hurley also reported that

the city successfully negotiated reducing premium costs with local health care providers, which resulted in a significant savings of more than $3 million in city health care benefits for 2013. The city’s ace in the hole was its “Journey Well” healthy living program, which motivates employees to take action to remain healthy. Hurley said insurance companies look favorably upon this kind of program. The city has been working hard to cut costs and save pennies in putting the budget together. It is especially necessary now because during the 2012 special Legislative session

the legislature permanently reduced LGA for St. Paul to $50.3 million, which represents a $12.2 million reduction from the 2011 certified amount. The city uses its Fund Balance to guard against the uncertainty of LGA. According to city policy, the fund balance cannot drop below 15 percent of the proposed budget. Hurley said the city uses the funds as a savings account of sorts to draw from for cash flow while waiting for revenue, such as LGA, that the city receives only twice a year. This fund would also be the one used for cleanup and recovery if a natural disaster were to hit St. Paul. “There are so many financial uncertainties right now,” said Hurley. “As

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property values decline so does the ability to generate revenue from property taxes. There is only so much in services that can be cut.” Adding to the increase in the budget are personnel costs, significant investments in technology, infrastructure improvements and development projects in the city. The mayor’s “Rebuild Saint Paul” program is an action plan to get development projects into groundbreaking mode across the city, with the potential to create 3,000 new jobs, thereby helping to revitalize the city. The clamor of construction projects can be heard on the streets of downtown St. Paul. A combination of bonding, city, state, federal and private funds is being used to finance the projects. Some of these include:

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The Lofts at Farmers’ Market - Opened this year in Lowertown. Features 58 units of market-rate housing and 2,000 square feet of retail space at the southwest corner of Fifth and Wall Streets. The Penfield - This posh apartment building at Tenth and Minnesota streets is now under construction. The new six-story development will include 256 market-rate apartments and a 30,000-square-foot Lunds full-service grocery store. Cossetta’s Alimentari This three-level structure at 211 W. Seventh St. is now open. It is one block from the Xcel Center and connects to the existing Cossetta’s restaurant. It includes a food emporium with Italian food, a bakery, meat market and take-out meals. Layfayette Bridge - A new bridge is currently under construction. The existing bridge will be replaced with one northbound bridge and one southbound bridge. Roadway connec-

tions are being improved to local streets and I-94 at the north end of the new bridges. A pedestrian and bicycle lane is part of the plan. Central Corridor and streetscape improvements - In conjunction with light rail transit construction and design, the city is funding upgrades along the Central Corridor that include improved street lights and enhanced sidewalk treatments such as boulevard pavers and trees. West Side Flats Apartments - This long-awaited project at Wabasha and Fillmore streets is slated for construction in the area immediately south of the Wabasha Street Bridge. It was recently given the green light by the city council, which approved a development deal with Sherman Associates. Start of construction is yet to be determined but design plans call for 178 affordable and market-rate housing units with 11,500 square feet of restaurant and retail/office space.

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H oliday Events

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Holiday classics

continued from page 1

Visit Rice Park A stroll through Rice Park, located at West Fifth and Market streets in downtown St. Paul, is sure to get you in the holiday mood. A towering Christmas tree sparkling with 15,000 lights is the signature attraction. Also featured throughout the park are nutcracker figures, angel statues and other holiday décor. Across the street is the WinterSkate outdoor skating rink. Bring your own skates and skate for free or rent skates for $2. A warming house, hot chocolate and snacks help keep patrons toasty warm and well-fed. The rink is open through Feb. 3, 2013. Skating is offered 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon.-Thurs.; 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri-Sat.; and 11 a.m.9 p.m., Sun. A Christmas Eve Skate is offered 11 a.m.-4 p.m., December 24, and a New Year’s Eve Skate 11 a.m.-11 p.m., December 31. The rink is closed December 25 and January 1. For more information, visit www.wellsfargowinterskate. com or call 651-291-5608.

Elaborate lighting displays are featured at Phalen Park in St. Paul.

Take a holiday light tour There are numerous lighting displays in neighborhoods throughout St. Paul but few match the elaborate creations at St. Paul’s Phalen Park, 1615 Phalen Dr. E., St. Paul. Through January 1, 2013, this park is transformed into a wonderland of lights 5:30-10 p.m. nightly, featuring more than 50  holiday sculptures and

animated displays. Cost is $8 per vehicle Sun.-Thurs., and $10 per vehicle Fri. and Sat. and on the holidays. Enhance your experience by purchasing “Holiday Lights Christmas CD Vol. 4,” featuring holiday music performed by some of the Twin Cities’ finest musicians. The CD is available for $10 at all Kowalski’s Markets and at Phalen Park during the tour, and includes a complimentary ve-

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hicle pass for the light tour. This event is sponsored by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers to raise money for local charities. Proceeds support Second Harvest Heartland, the Union Gospel Mission, St. Paul Parks Conservancy and UnderConstruction, a program that helps youth explore career opportunities in the construction field. For more information, visit

Numerous festive entertainment options abound in December. Here are a few St. Paul favorites: “It’s A Wonderful Life A Live Radio Play” - Actors present a 1946 radio broadcast of “It’s A Wonderful Life” in the famous Promenade Ballroom of the Saint Paul Hotel, 350 Market St., St. Paul. Matinee shows feature a three-course lunch and the evening shows include a three-course dinner. Performances are held on select dates December 1223. Cost is $60 for matinees and $75 for evening performances. For more information, call 651-228-3860 or visit, search special events. “The Classic Nutcracker” - Ballet Minnesota is presenting “The Classic Nutcracker” December 1416 at The O’Shaughnessy Auditorium at St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul. Performances are at 7:30 p.m., December 14 and 15, and 2 p.m., December 15 and 16. Andrew Rist, Ballet Minnesota’s artistic director, has taken ten of the 53 psalms in Handel’s Messiah and choreographed stories within the overarching theme of affirm-

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ing faith, and transformed Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue for the dance stage. Tickets are $30-$44, with discounts for seniors and students. For more information, contact Ballet Minnesota at 651222-7919,, or visit A Victorian Christmas at the Ramsey House - Experience the sights, sounds and tastes of a Victorian Christmas 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Wednesdays-Saturdays, and noon-3:30 p.m., Sundays at the Alexander Ramsey House, 265 S. Exchange St., St. Paul. Visitors can step back in time to the Christmas season of 1875 and taste homemade cookies fresh from the wood burning stove, listen to popular holiday music of the era played on the family’s Steinway piano and view original family ornaments and Christmas gifts. Discover how the Ramsey family and their friends, neighbors and servants prepared for and celebrated the Christmas season. Christmas gift items are available in the Carriage House gift store. The house is closed Christmas Day. Cost is $11 for adults, $9 for seniors and college students, and $7 for ages 6-17. Reservations are recommended. For more information, call 651-296-8760, or visit sites/arh/. Hill House holiday tours are offered 1-3:30 p.m., December 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23. The bustle and excitement of a Victorian Christmas are brought to life as the servants of the James J. Hill House prepare for the holidays. Costumed actors portray people who worked for the Hill family in their mansion at 240 Summit Ave., St. Paul. The script is based on letters and oral histories of people who worked for the Hill family


H oliday Events during the first decade of the 20th century. Tours begin every 30 minutes. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students and $8 for ages 6-17. For more information, call 651-2972555 or visit www.mnhs. org/places/sites/jjhh/.


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Downtown St. Paul Voice - December 2012 - Page 7

S ample St. Paul

Your community news and information source

On the Town Artists’ Quarter

408 St. Peter St., St. Paul 651-292-1359

The Artists’ Quarter offers live entertainment throughout the month, including jazz bands and poetry nights.

Children’s Museum

10 W. Seventh St. St. Paul 651-225-6000

“The Amazing Castle” is presented through January 27, 2013. The Amazing Castle transports visitors back in time to a fanciful medieval village that provides engaging opportunities for problem-solving, storytelling and imaginative play.

“Ball-o-rama” is presented through January 6, 2013. Children will use interactive, handson experimentation to uncover the mystery behind roller coasters and ski jumps while exploring energy, momentum, gravity and other concepts of physics. Tickets are $9.50. Explore the museum free of charge 9 a.m.-5 p.m. the third Sunday of each month.

Fitzgerald Theatre

10 E. Exchange St. St. Paul 651-290-1200 http://fitzgeraldtheater.

The New Standards’ Holiday Show is presented at 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec.

8, and 2 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9. The charismatic trio of John Munson, Chan Poling and Steve Roehm help ring in the season with songs from their sprawling and witty songbook and many familiar holiday classics. Tickets are $22-$35. Graham Parker & the Rumour will perform at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 19. Parker is one of the most successful singer/songwriters to emerge from England’s pub rock scene of the 1970s. Tickets are $37.

History Center 345 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul 651-259-3000

“Then Now Wow” This new exhibit, the

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Page 8 - Downtown St. Paul Voice - December 2012

“Elf The Broadway Musical” opens December 5 at the Ordway Center. largest ever at the History Center, highlights Minnesota’s history in the prairies, forests and cities. Visitors will encounter multi-media exhibits, artifacts and images unique to Minnesota’s diverse population and historic events. Ongoing exhibits include “The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862,” “Minnesota’s Greatest Gen-

eration: The Depression, The War, The Boom,” “Grainland,” “Open House: If These Walls Could Talk” and “Weather Permitting.” Museum tickets are $11 for adults, $9 for seniors and college students, and $6 for children ages 6-17. The center offers free admission on Tuesdays, 5-8 p.m.

History Theatre

30 E. Tenth St., St. Paul 651-292-4323

“Christmas of Swing” is presented through December 23. It’s Christmas Eve of 1944 and The Andrews Sisters are preparing to lift the spirits of the troops on the front lines with the help of their pals Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Abbott and Costel-

S ample St. Paul lo and Santa. “Christmas of Swing” is a joyful celebration of music, family, and patriotism featuring actual letters from WWII soldiers and swing versions of holiday songs, including “Let It Snow,” “Christmas in Killarney” and “Mele Kalikimmaka.” Tickets are $32-$40 with discounts for seniors and students.

Landmark Center

75 W. 5th St., St. Paul 651-292-3225

Santa’s Workshop is presented at 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9. Free. The 34th Annual Old Fashioned Holiday Bazaar is presented 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 29 and Friday, Nov. 30, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1. The bazaar features 75 booths of unique handcrafted gift items by local artists. Items include jewelry, wreaths, paintings, woven and wearable art, handmade lotions, soaps and more. Admission is $4. Ages 12 and under are free. The PipJazz Holiday Show presented at 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9, featuring guest artist Jason Richards. The event is hosted by singer Pippi Ardennia. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. For more information, visit Peter Ostroushko will present his annual holiday show at 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 21. The Emmy Award-winning composer and multi-instrumentalist is celebrating the release of his 3-CD collection “Mando Chronicles” and will be performing a mix of bluegrass, classical and folk styles. A cocktail hours begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door and includes admission to the cocktail hour. “Living La Vida: Mexican-Americans in Ramsey County” is presented through December 31 at the Ramsey County Historical Society exhibit space. This free exhibit tells the story of how the Mexican-American community grew in Ramsey County and the many contributions it has made to St. Paul, particularly the West Side neighborhood. For more information, visit

Ordway Center 345 Washington St. St. Paul 651-224-4222

“Elf The Broadway Musical” is presented December 5-30. This production is a humorous tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity and help New Yorkers remember the true meaning of Christmas. Tickets are $27-$100.

Park Square Theatre

20 W. 7th Place, St. Paul 651-291-7005 www.parksquaretheatre. org

“Two Pianos Four Hands” is presented December 5-30. Two talented pianists play multiple roles, zinging sidesplitting one-liners as they switch back and forth between characters — from a petrified student to an irritable parent, to quirky music teachers and a conservatory snob.  One jumps in where the other leaves off, all while performing Bach, Mozart, Billy Joel and more on two grand pianos. Tickets are $38-$58.

Your community news and information source an Egyptian tomb and authentic art and artifacts from the daily life and funerary culture of ancient Egypt. “Tornado Alley” is presented in the Omnitheatre. This film takes viewers on an epic chase through the “severe weather capital of the world.” Narrated by Bill Paxton, it follows Storm Chasers star Sean Casey and the scientists of VORTEX2, the largest tornado-research project ever assembled, on separate missions to encounter one of nature’s most awe-inspiring events — the birth of a tornado. Museum tickets are $13 for adults and $10 for children and seniors. Omnitheater tickets are $8 and $7 respectively.

Xcel Center

199 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul www.xcelenergycenter. com

“Disney on Ice 100 Years of Magic” is presented December 6-9. Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and their friends from “Mulan,” “The Lion King,” “Pinocchio,” “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles” and “Toy Story” take to the ice for a grand celebration that features more than 60 Disney

stars, a sing-along score of award-winning Disney music, stunning choreography, elaborate sets and beautiful costumes. Tickets are $18-$69.

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Science Museum of Minnesota 120 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul 651-221-9444

“Lost Egypt” is featured at the Science Museum through January 1, 2013. This hands-on exhibit offers a glimpse of the science and technology that modern archaeologists use to reconstruct life in ancient times. It features an authentic human mummy, as well as animal mummies, scans, forensic facial reconstruction and life-size rapid prototypes, displaying a mummy in various stages of “unwrapping.” It also features a recreation of

Downtown St. Paul Voice - December 2012 - Page 9

R iver Connections

Your community news and information source

Every mile is a memory The 72 miles of the Mississippi River that flow through the Twin Cities hold a treasure trove of memories for past and future residents alike. This corridor was designated as the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) on November 18, 1988. In celebration of the approaching 25th anniversary of MNRRA, we are publishing a series of articles that explore how the corridor has changed over the past quarter-century and how it continues to strengthen our relationship with the river and improve our quality of life.

Walking in one man’s legacy Tim Spitzack Editor


’m standing on a small spit of land at the far western edge of Harriet Island Regional Park and am surrounded by the legacy of a man whom I have never met nor will ever have the opportunity to meet. A plaque in front of me pays homage to the man: Tom Kelley, whom many credit as being the pioneer of riverfront renewal efforts in the Twin Cities. As I gaze intermittently at the plaque, my surroundings and the river softly lapping at the shoreline, I marvel at the thought of what can happen when one man

dares to dream big dreams. Kelley, who passed away in 2007, is remembered as an advocate who worked tirelessly to preserve the river corridor in the Twin Cities for future generations. His words, inscribed on the plaque, aptly sum up his beliefs about the river: “It’s one big river. It belongs to everybody.” I can imagine him standing in this same spot over 25 years ago, undoubtedly thinking thoughts much different than mine today. At that time the water was a murky brown and still filled with much industrial pollution. Today the river is odor-free and cleaner than it’s been in decades. A re-

port released this fall shows that pollution is down considerably and that game fish, mussels and bald eagles have rebounded significantly. The landscape around him in those days was also in need of help. Now, invasive vegetation has been removed from the park and native trees and shrubbery, many planted from 1999 to 2009 during the renovation of Harriet Island, are thriving. Nearby is a massive cottonwood tree that has bore witness to the rise, fall and rebirth of this park. The tree has so much girth that it would take six average-sized men clasping their hands together to encompass it. If Kelley were alive today I am sure he would be thrilled with the renaissance

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of the MNRRA corridor, particularly with what has occurred at Harriet Island Regional Park. This park truly is the poster child for recreational riverfront development. It 1988, it was a rather scrubby park with a chain link fence separating it from the river. Today it features picnic shelters, a restored pavilion, a riverfront trail, a great lawn, public dock, band shells and more. Thousands visit the park each year to ride the Padelford Riverboats. They were not here 25 years ago. People are also able to see a play on the Centennial showboat or spend a romantic evening on the river at the Covington Inn Bed and Breakfast, two other unique amenities that were absent when MNRRA was formed. Kelley spent his early career as a journalist in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and the Twin Cities. However, he felt called to a life of public service so he let his early ambitions expire and dove into government

work, where he served at the state, county and city levels. In 1966, he was appointed Ramsey County auditor and quickly began to use his influence to bring about change along the riverfront. He went on serve as county executive for Ramsey County and city administrator for the city of St. Paul. In addition, he was a commissioner on the Mississippi River Corridor Commission, which established the framework for MNRRA. After he retired in 1984, the area I’m now standing in was named Kelley’s Landing in his honor. It was eventually renamed Kelley’s Overlook. It’s a special spot for Kelley’s family and friends. After his death, his ashes were sprinkled in the river just upstream from the overlook. While it’s important to honor the legacy that Kelley helped create, it’s also vital to remember that numerous others were involved in the process in the early

days, and that many others are still planning and working to bring about more improvements in the MNRRA corridor. Some 20 municipalities are linked together by the Mississippi River and continue to develop their portion of the riverfront as well. Today, the Mill City Museum and Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis are examples of increased cultural amenities on the riverfront. From the confluence of the Crow River at the northern end of the corridor to where the Vermillion River enters it at the southern boundary, more parks are being developed every year, more miles of trails are being paved and more access points and interpretive sites are being created. Every mile of the MNRRA corridor offers a memory in the making for those who choose to explore it. For tips on doing so, contact the National Park Service at 651-290-4160 or and request a copy of the “Mississippi River Companion.”

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B ack in Time

Your community news and information source

December 1922:

Capitol Curve increases downtown accessibility Don Morgan Contributor


hese days there is much debate over transportation. Every method has its supporters and opponents who haggle over new systems: where they should be built, who should foot the bill and if we should we be putting money into roads or rail lines. Ninety years ago this month folks in St. Paul thought they had solved one of their own transportation problems when they dedicated a new roadway. They also did some Christmas shopping and filled movie houses to see silent films at their pre-talkies peak. December in Minnesota means winter and the 1922 season started right on schedule. The first of the month saw the first storm of the season with snow, high winds and a thirty-five -degree temperature drop in just a few hours. November had been downright balmy with temps in the forties. Temps during the first few days of December could hardly get out of the single digits. The cold, however, didn’t stop Christmas shoppers from pouring into downtown. The hot items for home entertainment that year were phonographs, and shoppers headed down-

town to find the model right for them. There were several phonograph stores near Sixth and St. Peter, the site of the then new Hamm building. Brunswick had a popular phono and record store right across Sixth that sold hit records, such as “April Showers” and “Toot, Toot, Tootsie (Good Bye),” both by Al Jolson, and “Hot Lips” by Paul Whiteman. Dueling department stores — the Golden Rule and the Emporium — faced each other across the intersection of Seventh and Robert Streets. The Golden Rule featured the Victor Victrola, while the Emporium handled the Columbia Graphophone. Which model one purchased depended on the type of music one liked. Victor was the leader in classical and opera recordings. Columbia specialized in popular tunes and early jazz. All the phonographs had wind-up spring motors and large sound horns concealed in the cabinets. Deals were good as phonograph companies were competing against the new medium

of radio and were eager to move their products. One of the reasons that phonographs were so popular was that the other big entertainment option of the day — movies — were still silent. Playing that month were silent film classics “Sherlock Holmes” with John Barrymore (considered lost until an old negative was found in the 1970s), “The Old Homestead” (its tornado scene was considered definitive until Dorothy went to Oz in 1939), “The Loves of Pharaoh” (precursor to many Cleopatra movies) and “Silver Wings” (early John Ford adventure about aerial dogfights, now lost). How did all those people get downtown? Many went by car and the big news that month was the dedication of the new auto rightof-way known as Capitol Curve. At that time, the U.S. highway system was still a few years in the future and the Interstate system wasn’t in the national consciousness. St. Paul in 1922 was a stop on a loose road system called the National

Parks Highway, which went from Chicago to Seattle via Milwaukee and the Twin Cities, roughly the route of today’s interstates 90 and 94. It was only two lanes but it was paved the entire way, which was convenient because many roads outside of cities were not. Like older highways today, the highway went down the main drag of small towns but tended to wander and get lost in larger cities. Planners in St. Paul looked for a way to get traffic smoothly across the city and over the river to the warehouse center of South St. Paul. The interconnection of Robert Street and University Avenue seemed to be the solution. The streets were widened, a new overpass carried Cedar over University, and Robert Street was merged with University in a graceful curve to the south, right between what was then Mechanic Arts High School and St. Paul’s Hospital. Capitol Curve was so called because it was just one block from the Capitol

and it was a curve. The new project had its grand opening on Saturday, Dec. 9. And grand it was, too. Shop windows and storefronts were decked out with flags and bunting all along the route from the Midway to Concord Street. Civic groups from both sides of town organized marching bands and built parade floats, that moved toward the new Cedar overpass from each direction. Squads of Boy Scouts wigwagged signals on the floats’ progress, so both groups reached the bridge at the same time. Under the bridge was a ribbon-cutting and 21-gun salute to notify the entire city that the new route was open. The new road was seen as a far-reaching benefit to the entire city. It made the retail center of St. Paul more accessible to outlying neighborhoods and united businesses from the Midway to South St. Paul. Downtown store owners were happy because many more autos and streetcars would run

right past their doors. This time likely marked the peak of the golden age of retail in downtown St. Paul. Ninety years later heavy auto traffic downtown doesn’t seem like such a blessing and a lot fewer people go downtown to shop. When the Interstate came through downtown many of those streets got jumbled up or cut off altogether. Robert Street north of what’s now Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard is isolated and quiet. Capitol Curve still connects Robert and University but there is not much point in driving there because University is now impassable due to light rail construction. Taking that drive now you would never know how significant it was 90 years ago. The Cedar Street overpass still goes right by the Capitol and over University. The 1922 dedication plaque on the bridge’s east walkway is all that remains of that big celebration.

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Downtown St. Paul Voice - December 2012 - Page 11

Destination: Downtown & Lowertown A Guide to Shopping, Services and Entertainment A9























H15 H16

H4 K12






















N 1


















Downtown and Lowertown Businesses Directory



Visit these locations and receive a discount or special offer at those listed with a star ! Artists, Art Galleries and Organizations

American Association of Woodturners Gallery of Wood Art H4 • 222 Landmark Center, 75 5th Street West, 55102 • (651) 484-9094 Big Table Studio I6 375 Wabasha Street North, 55102 (651) 222-6428 • A working Design and Print Studio – Gallery • Retail • Classes. Hosko Gallery and Custom Picture Framing K14 400 North Robert Street, Suite 250 55101 (Securian Center, in the Skyway) • (651) 222-4767 “Your Best Source for St. Paulthemed art and most affordable custom framing.” Master Framers L17 262 East 4th Street, 55101 (651) 291-8820


Professional Services

Atlas Staffing F14 189 7th Place East, 55101 (651) 222-5894 “Providing the BEST employees.” Red E Print Inc. I10 101 E. 5th Street, Suite 211, 55101 • (651) 224-2307

Auto Services

Rent-A-Car D14 *166Budget 7th Street East, 55101

(651) 222-8562 • $10.00 off a weekend rental with mention of this directory. Avis/Budget Rent-A-Car 425 Rice Street, (inside Sears Auto Center) 55103 (not shown on map) (651) 222-8792 • $10.00 off a weekend rental with mention of this directory. Lancer Service Auto Care E18 270 East 8th Street, 55101 (651) 224-0267 “Defining the future of auto care… unlike any other.”


Churches and Spiritual Organizations

Church of St. Louis, King of France A9 • 506 Cedar Street, 55101 (651) 224-3379 SUNDAY MASSES 5PM (Sat. Vigil) Sunday at 7AM, 9:15, 11AM (with choir) and 12:30PM. Central Presbyterian Church B9 500 Cedar Street (at Exchange) (651) 224-4728 • Sunday Worship at 10:30 am Christmas Eve at 4 and 10:30 pm Free parking; see website. First Baptist Church of St. Paul A16 • 499 Wacouta Street, 55101 (651) 222-0718 Sundays at 10am.

Health Care

Proactive Healthcare Physical Medicine I10 101 East 5th Street, Suite 227, 55101 (651) 778-0080


St. Paul Preparatory School I13 380 Jackson Street, Suite 100, 55101 • (651) 288-4606 An international high school. School of Rock G19 417 Broadway Street, 55101 (651) 292-1917 “Inspiring kids to rock on stage and in life.”

Restaurants and Music Bin Wine Bar H15 400 Sibley, Suite 150, 55101 (651) 224-WINE (9463) “Poetry by the glass; over 20 varietals.”

Retail Stores


Heimie’s Haberdashery H5 400 St. Peter Street, 55102 (651) 224-2354 • We do quality alterations on New Years’ attire: bring garments in early to avoid the rush. Capitol Guitars D13 191 East 7th Street, 55101 (651) 225-8888 Map base courtesy of the Capitol River Council

The Bulldog H16 237 E. Sixth Street, 55101 (651) 221-0750 Four Inns J11 101 5th Street East, 55101 (651) 291-7939


Produced by the Downtown St. Paul Voice | To add your business to this map, call 651.457.1177

Page 12 - Downtown St. Paul Voice - December 2012




DTN Dec 2012