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Your Community News & Information Source January 2014 Volume 20 Number 1

Visit www.stpaulpublishing.com for expanded coverage!

Remembering our past. Embracing our future. This series features interviews with longtime Lowertown residents to get their impressions on how the neighborhood has changed during its renaissance years, and to discover their hopes for its future.

Siblings feed the heart and soul of Lowertown’s art community

Historic Lowertown icons coming to a restaurant near you Bill Knight Contributor

Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer

T

O

f the three Remke siblings — Andy, Stacy and Sara — it seems Stacy was the persuasive ringleader who talked her siblings into launching the Black Dog Café coffee and wine bar in 1998 in Lowertown. She had been traveling in the state of Washington and came home raving about the coffee/wine shops she had seen there, adding that it would be fun to open one in the Twin Cities. All three had some restaurant experience but Stacy claimed in a recent interview that hers doesn’t count because she was “the world’s worst waitress.” When the entrepreneurial spirit came alive in all three, Stacy was working as a social worker, Sara as the

Andy, Stacy and Sara Remke have weathered many storms and remain optimistic about the future of their business and Lowertown itself. building manager for the Rossmor building in downtown St. Paul, and Andy was Sergeant of Arms at the State Capitol. Stacy already had a name for their future coffee bar: “Black Dog,” in homage to Conrad, her beloved canine. The trio looked for a location in

Minneapolis, then around Seven Corners on West Seventh Street in St. Paul. “It was moving real slow,” said Sara. “Then we heard that a coffee house called Copernicus on the corner of Fourth and Broadway in St. Paul had closed. I drove by, called the number listed

on the sign and within a week a lease was signed.”   They soon discovered that the former coffee shop had a notorious reputation among local high school kids. Not wanting to go Black Dog Café / Page 2

Winter Carnival kicks off January 23 T he 128th Saint Paul Winter Carnival will swing into gear at 6 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 23 with the Moon Glow Pedestrian Parade. The public is invited to gather at the Securian Building, 401 Robert St., and walk to Rice Park. Other events for the Carnival include, but are not limited to, the following. For specific details, visit www. winter-carnival.com.

Friday, Jan. 24 Royal Coronation Dinner at the RiverCentre, 175

Coasting around history

W. Kellogg Blvd. The dinner is a ticketed event. Social starts at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m., program at 8 p.m. The program is free with a 2014 Winter Carnival Button.   Saturday, Jan. 25 Securian Winter Run Half Marathon, 10K and 5K - 7 a.m. registration, 9 a.m. start. Begins at Sixth and Jackson. Xcel Energy Educational Green Day - 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Rice Park, 109 4th St. W.

Wells Fargo Jigsaw Puzzle Contest - 9 a.m., Landmark Center, 75 W. 5th St. Registration required. King Boreas Grande Day Parade,  presented by Preferred One  - 2 p.m. start, route is along West 7th Street, from Smith Avenue to Rice Park Winter Carnival Kid’s Day - 2-6 p.m., Landmark Center, 75 W. 5th St.  Winter Carnival Beer Dabbler 3:30-7:30 p.m., Minnesota State Fair Grounds, 1265 N. Snelling Ave. Attendees must be age

21 or older. $35 in advance; $45 at the gate. Visit www. thebeerdabbler.com.   Jan. 25 and 26 Autonomous Snow Plow Competition - 9 a.m., Rice Park, 109 4th St. W. Visit www.autosnowplow.com. Winter Carnival Disk Festival - 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Como Park, North Lexington Parkway and Horton Avenue. Visit www.gottagogottathrow.com.  

he next time you visit a Lowertown bar or restaurant, take a close look at the coaster under your drink. That’s right. Pick up your drink and examine that lowly, wet, easily discarded piece of cardboard that never gets any respect. On it you may see a familiar scene: a sketch of Mears Park, the Union Depot or the Farmers’ Market. Springboard for the Arts, a Lowertown-based group that helps artists market their work, is the catalyst behind a new series of drink coasters that depict Lowertown landmarks. They sent a request for proposals last summer to find artists and received interest from more than a dozen. Springboard commissioned the work of four for the project: Lisa-Marie Greenly, Roberta Avidor, Ken Avidor and John Miller. “(We were) thinking of a fun way to get artists and their work out there, getting it to people coming to Lowertown,” said Andy Sturdevant, artist resources director at Springboard. “Plus, every restaurant and bar needs coasters.” Springboard has printed 10,000 coasters and is distributing them through six bars and restaurants in Lowertown. Here is a look at the artists and their work. Coaster Art / Page 4

Sunday, Jan. 26 Snow Park at the Fair 11 a.m.-3 p.m., State Fairgrounds, 1265 N. Snelling Ave. Visit www.stpaulvulcans.org.   Saturday, Feb. 1 Winter Carnival Family Day - Noon-5 p.m., Landmark Center, 75 W. 5th St. Vulcan Victory Torchlight Parade, presented by Metropolitan State University - 5:30 p.m. start, primarily along 5th St., from Union Depot to Rice Park. Overthrow of King

Boreas - Immediately following the Torchlight Parade, on the steps of the James J. Hill Library, 90 4th St. W. Saint Paul Winter Carnival Fireworks - Immediately following the overthrow of King Boreas, launched from Raspberry Island near the Wabasha Street Bridge. Vulcan Victory Dance - Immediately following the overthrow of Boreas, Crowne Plaza Hotel, 11 E. Kellogg Blvd. $15 in advance, $20 at the door.


B usiness Black Dog Cafe from page 1

into details, Sara simply said that the first year the Black Dog was open for business the landlord wouldn’t let them serve alcohol. They also noticed that it was like a ghost town in Lowertown, with few businesses and residents. “We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into,” said Sara. But their space looked promising with its high ceilings, north and west walls lined with windows, hardwood floors and more space than the typical coffee shop.  Their learning curve started slow, with coffee vendors training them in on how to make a variety of specialty brews. By year two, they added beer and wine to the menu, which created confusion for some patrons. “Are you a coffee shop or a bar?” they asked. “We’re both!” became their mantra. “The first two years we didn’t have enough experience, and there was not enough of a population

Your community news and information source base in Lowertown,” said Sara. “We realized we had to take charge and forge our own identity. The eclectic atmosphere of the restaurant defied any label. It’s not a bar, not a coffee shop. It’s something unusual. We created our own identity, became more of ourselves, and it drew people.”   It wasn’t part of their business plan to add food to their already apparently confusing Lowertown cafe but patrons were asking for it. Andy took over the kitchen and started with a simple breakfast menu of pastries and donuts. Soon he was making sandwiches as part of a lunch menu, and eventually stocked the shelves with ingredients for soups, salads and pizza. He also added waffles, yogurt and granola to the breakfast menu.

The kitchen table A big butcher block table located just inside the entryway quickly became a meeting place for Lowertown artists. They described it as their beloved “kitchen table,” where they could gather around to talk, work,

sip java or enjoy a bowl of soup, and encourage each other in their work. Noticing that the nearby Farmers’ Market was attracting thousands of people during the summer, the three siblings decided to capitalize on that potential customer base. They stood outside with free samples of coffee and brownies, and urged Farmers’ Market customers to stop by. To attract larger crowds, Sara became an entertainment and event planner and invited bands to perform on occasion, then more frequently as word spread. The St. Paul Almanac started using the Black Dog as its gathering spot for poetry readings. Next, the entrepreneurs invited artists to use the walls as a gallery, with new art on display each month. The Black Dog began participating in the Art Crawl as a venue for art work, and as the Crawl grew, so did the visibility of the Black Dog. “Artists need a lot of support on how to be business people,” said Sara. “Last year it was nice to see new collaborations of artists

forming to support each other. Lowertown First Fridays, another artist-led event, is helping. Sometimes artists are timid about asking for help. What I see is that what’s good for the artist is good for us, what’s good for us is good for the artists. Businesses can help each other. We let them sell their artwork from our sidewalk during the Farmers’ Market. I like the street life atmosphere that is created. It has a kind of a European feel to it.” Now the Black Dog caters to early morning coffee patrons, the lunch crowd, artists who hang out at the big wooden table in the afternoon, and the evening crowd that comes for a glass of wine or beer and to listen to music. “We are an urban neighborhood,” said Sara. “The problem is that we have a ‘government downtown,’ which means government employees get in their cars and leave town after work. Evenings and holidays are very quiet around here. Having people move into Lowertown helps the most.”

LRT and stadium: ‘Bring it on’ By 2005, more condos and apartment complexes were popping up in Lowertown and the number of residents in the city’s artists’ haven began to climb. Things were starting to look even better, but then came light rail construction. “It was catastrophic,” said Sara. “The streets were blocked off for two years. We somehow survived, and now we are looking forward to the start of light rail. Bring it on. Bring people down here! Let’s see what happens. It’s good for commerce, safety and makes for a more interesting neighborhood.” She pointed out that the Lowertown Jazz Festival adds more life to the neighborhood and that new restaurants like the Barrio and the Bull Dog are bringing in more people, which in the long run is good for her business. “But it’s a very fine line,” she said. “They are competition, but no one can go to the same place to eat every day. We hope to reap the

rewards  of the growth. I am feeling rather optimistic right now. Anything that brings vitality and energy brings more people. We are looking forward to the new baseball stadium. If Lowertown can handle five thousand people at the Farmers’ Market on the weekend then we can handle a baseball stadium of seven thousand people.” When others ask if she is an artist, Sara says, “This is my art: all the events that take place under this roof. It takes a lot of creativity to devise new  ways to entertain our loyal customers.” The Black Dog Café coffee and wine bar, located at 308 Prince St., features a variety of affordable wines from around the world, local and regional craft beers, locally roasted coffee and espresso, homemade soups, salsa, baked items, and salads and sandwiches with organic and/or locally grown produce. The Black Dog offers a regular schedule of live music, and a daily happy hour, 4 p.m.-7 p.m., seven days a week.

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N ews Briefs

Your community news and information source

{ THE FULLER FILES } Art, music and other events Country music artist Rachel Roberts will perform at 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 17 at the Minnesota Museum of American Art (MMAA), located on the first floor of the Pioneer Building at Fourth and Robert. Repetition and Ritual, an exhibition of 15 fiber artists, is featured through January 19 at the MMAA. The exhibit features art in weaving, knitting, crochet, embroidery and needlework. The Artists’ Quarter, located at 408 St. Peter St. in the Hamm Building, is featuring a jam session of various artists Friday, Dec. 27 and Saturday, Dec. 28. Carole Martin and Friends will perform on Tuesday, Dec. 31. This will be the final show at the Artists Quarter, which is closing permanently. Books and Bars will feature a discussion of “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle”

by Hauki Murakami at 6:15 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 21 at Amsterdam Bar and Hall at Sixth and Wabasha. The Rose Ensemble will perform at 12:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 27 at the Central Library, 90 W. Fourth St. Minnesota Sinfonia will feature violinist Arnaud Sussmann at its Winter Concert, held at 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 10 at Johnson High School, 1349 Arcade. He will perform Concerto in D major by Wolfgang Mozart. Other selections include Sympohony No. 1 in C minor by Felix Mendelssohn and Aid and Comfort by Julie Stenberg. St. Paul Preparatory School will present the theatrical production of “Aladdin” at 6 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 16 in the third floor theater in Cray Plaza at Fifth and Jackson. The Black Dog Café, 308 Prince St., will host a Be Home by Ten event 6-9 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 31, featuring jazz music and appetizers.

downtown news by Roger Fuller

The St. Paul Conservatory of Music will host a coffee concert at noon, Wednesday, Jan. 8 at the St. Paul Athletic Club, 340 Cedar St., featuring The New String Fling, with Wendy Tanger Foster on violin and Greg Byers on cello and bass. The Union Depot hosts a game night 4-8 p.m. each Wednesday and yoga at 9 a.m. each Saturday. The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild will hold at beer sampling event Tuesday, Jan. 31.

Rivertown Market under new ownership Matt and Yolette Atana recently purchased the Rivertown Market grocery store on Wabasha, near Seventh Place. The couple lives in Savage, and Matt runs an IT consulting firm. Neither has experience operating a grocery but became interested in the property when they learned it was for sale. The store was established in

2000 by Gene and Harriet Will. The Atanas plan to retain all fare and services, including the deli. They will face competition from Lunds, once it opens in the Penfield building near Tenth and Robert.

Mississippi Market plans third location The Mississippi Market natural food coop, which operates stores at 622 Selby Ave. and 1500 West Seventh St., is planning to open a third location in St. Paul. The coop is purchasing vacant land east of downtown at 740 E. Seventh St. and hopes to build a 15,600 square foot full service natural food store in 2015.

City Passport events City Passport senior citizen center, located on the mezzanine level of the Alliance Bank building at 55 E. Fifth St., is hosting the following activities in January:

movies at 1 p.m., Thursday, Jan,. 9; trivia time at 10:30 a.m.; Wednesday, Jan. 15; writers group at 10:30 a.m.; Friday, Jan. 17; current events discussion at 11 a.m., Friday, Jan. 17; Black Jack at 2:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 20; ice cream float social at 1:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 24; Healing Sounds at 10:45 p.m. on the second and fourth Friday; Passport Stages at 1 p.m. each Tuesday; and acupuncture at 9:30 a.m. each Tuesday.

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The Friends of Mears Park are trying to raise $10,000 to receive a matching grant from the Lowertown Future Fund to pay for holiday lights and decorations in the park. The city of St. Paul lights the trees on the boulevard but the interior lights and decorations are provided by Friends of Mears Park, a volunteer group. John Manillo, spokesman for the group, said he expects that donations from local property owners and other sources will cover the costs for the lights and decorations.

The indoor St. Paul Farmers’ Market, located at Golden’s Deli, 275 E. Fourth St., features 25 growers during the winter months. Fare includes honey, bread, coffee, jelly, jam, meat, salsa and more. Also, tabout 10 food trucks will be parked across the street offering meats and cheeses. The market is open 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturdays. Patrons may park in the spaces at the outdoor market.

Co-owners Josh Lor and Fue Yang have opened Sushi Sushi in the food court of the Alliance Bank building at 55 E. Fifth St. The restaurant offers raw and cooked fish, including smoked eel, salmon and lobster, and a variety of fillings, toppings and sauces.

Decorations in Mears Park

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A rts

Your community news and information source

Coaster Art from page 1

Roberta Avidor In September, Avidor looked long and hard for the perfect spot to enjoy the Concrete and Grass Festival, held in Mears Park. Finding it, she set up her chair in the middle of the crowd, slightly to the side of the stage, and took out her pen and pad. In addition to listening to the music, she was there to sketch the park, the musicians and the people for the coaster project. It was a wonderful way to meet people, she said, “especially after they have heard the music and had a beverage or two. “People will come up to talk while I’m drawing so it’s a wonderful way to meet someone. When I do a drawing, I warm up (sketching) for a couple hours be-

fore I go out, such as when I was doing the coaster.” With this artwork, she had to keep in mind that her finished product would be reproduced on something much smaller than

what was on her sketch pad. Avidor, 59, says doing art on-site can be challenging. “I had to do it right on the spot and people were in motion so you have to rely on your memory,” she said.

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Ken Avidor Ken Avidor, who has been sketching for five years, likes creating art that showcases various types of architecture, which is why he chose the Union Depot for his coaster design. Calling his art “a stylized panorama of the Union Depot,” he said it’s like looking through a fish-eye lens to see the depot and surrounding area. “It shows the future of this LRT stop,” he said. “There’re a bride and bridegroom because there are a lot of weddings at the depot, a jazz musician, and, of course, the ubiquitous dog walker.” Avidor, who does all of his art on-site, enjoys meeting people while he is sketching. “I enjoy it when people ask questions,” he said. “Sometimes they can give me some insight (on the scene) with observations, so it becomes almost a collaborative thing.” Avidor, 58, is a commercial artist. He and his wife,

the artist Roberta Avidor, moved to the depot a year ago. He wants his art to depict what frequently happens around where they live. “For me, sketching is a lot about editing,” he said. “You can’t get everything (in the sketch) but it’s getting the essentials in there.” Avidor is grateful for the

opportunity to have his art on something that people can look at, pick up and hold. “For me, to have the wet rings of a glass on my artwork is just wonderful,” he said. “That’s greater than any critical accolade, knowing that people are appreciating my art in bars and restaurants in Lowertown.”

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A rts

Your community news and information source Lisa-Marie Greenly Greenly, who heard about the competition through her membership in various artists’ groups, had no trouble deciding what to draw. She chose Mears Park. “It’s just a little piece of wonderful, right there in the middle of Lowertown,” she said. Greenly, 48, enjoys being around nature so she walks through different parts of the park each day on her way to the St. Paul Neighborhood Network, where she works in the control

room making sure television programs get on the air as scheduled. “Mears Park is restful to me,” she said. “I’m drawn to it, listening to the quiet water. And then there’re the music events, which are just the opposite, so you can go there and get something dynamic or something peaceful.” Her next decision was finding the right part of the park to sketch. “I walked into it and used an artist’s eye to see what

would make a good composition,” she said. “I was trying to find what spoke to me and I found one sweet spot.” Greenly took several photographs of the water near the southwest corner of the park and worked from them to create her art. “The sketch was almost easy,” she said. “It only took me about an hour. It just flowed out.” She sent her sketch to Springboard and said she was on pins and needles

waiting for them to respond. “When I learned I was one of the four selected then I was just dancing around,” she said with a hearty laugh.

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S ample St. Paul

Your community news and information source

On the Town Children’s Museum

Tickets are $9.50. Explore the museum free of charge 9 a.m.-5 p.m. the third Sunday of each month.

“Blue Man GroupMaking Waves,” is presented through January 12. Dance, sing and move your way through this hands-on exhibit based on the Blue Man Group. Invent your own instrument with PVC tubes, rock out on a Theramin organ and experiment with patterns on a sand drum.

Fitzgerald Theater

10 W. Seventh St. St. Paul 651-225-6000 www.mcm.org

“Creativity Jam” is presented through January 20. Invent, tinker, hack, design or make something cool in this constantly changing exhibit that is designed to spark creative thinking, collaboration and imagination.

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

“A Prairie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor and the gang is presented at 4:45 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 18 and 25. Tickets are $32-$48.

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

“American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of

Prohibition” is presented through March 16, 2014. Spanning from the dawn of the temperance movement, through the Roaring ’20s, to the unprecedented repeal of a Constitutional amendment, this exhibition brings the story of Prohibition vividly to life. “Then Now Wow” 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 Generation: The Depression, The War, The Boom,” “Grainland,” “Open House: If These Walls

Photo by Petronella Ytsma

“The School for Lies” opens January 10 at Park Square Theatre. 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.

Landmark Center 75 W. 5th St., St. Paul 651-292-3225 www.landmarkcenter. org

The Minnesota Boychoir Winter Concert is held at 1 and 3:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 5. Free. The Saint Paul Civic Symphony Requiem Concert is held at 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 26. Free. Artaria Spring Quartet will perform at 1 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 2, 9, 16 and 23 as part of the Courtroom Concert series hosted by the

Schubert Club. Free. International Novelty Gamelan will perform Thursday, Jan. 9 as part of the Cocktails with Culture concert series hosted by the Schubert Club. These free happy hour events, 5-7 p.m., feature live music and woodturning demonstrations in the second floor galleries. 

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S ample St. Paul Ordway Center 345 Washington St. St. Paul 651-224-4222 www.ordway.org

“Broadway Songbook: George Gershwin” is presented January 3-5. The Songbook team will offer an intimate look into the stories behind the songs of George Gershwin. Tickets are $30-$35. Minnesota Opera presents “Macbeth” January 25-February 2. At the urging of his scheming wife, Macbeth murders the king to claim the crown. His desperate and deadly reign of terror devastates his country

Your community news and information source

and hastens his doom in this masterwork based on Shakespeare’s classic thriller. Tickets are $65$200.

Park Square Theatre

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

“The School for Lies,” is presented January 10-February 2. An off-color romantic spoof with anonymous love letters, false proposals, hidden identities and characters you can’t help rooting for. Tickets are $38-$58.

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

“Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” is presented through January 5. This exhibit explores ancient Maya society through the eyes of powerful kings and queens and the farmers, artisans, administrators and craftsmen who supported the elite. It features numerous artifacts and interactive exhibits. Tickets are $21 for adults

and $12 for students and seniors, or $28 and $19 with admission to the Omnitheatre. “Mystery of the Maya” is presented in the Omnitheatre. Take a journey back in time with the explorers who unearthed this majestic ancient civilization in the jungles of Central America in the early 19th century. Filmed on location at sacred sites throughout the Maya regions, it features reenactments of the archaeological expeditions that uncovered what we know about the Maya

and showcases some of their most remarkable achievements in mathematics, writing, astronomy and calendrics. Omnifest 2014 is held January 9-February 28, featuring five films daily on the Omnitheater’s 90foot domed screen. The films are “Blue Planet,” “Great White Shark,” “Ring of Fire,” “Stomp’s World Beat,” and “To the Limit.” Museum tickets are $13 for adults and $10 for children and seniors. Omnitheatre tickets are $9 and $8 respectively.

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Jason Aldean will perform at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 17, with special guests Florida Georgia Line and Tyler Farr. Tickets are $29.75-$59.75. World’s Toughest Rodeo will be held at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 31 and Saturday, Feb. 1. Tickets start at $17 for adults and $9.50 for children age 12 and under.

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E ducation School Shopping

Your community news and information source

SPPS to host parent information fair January 11

P

arents shopping for a school in Independent School District (ISD) 625 in St. Paul can learn about the many choices available to them at the Parent Information Fair, held at noon, Saturday, Jan. 11 at the St. Paul RiverCentre. The event is free. All St. Paul public schools, as well as many charter, private and parochial schools will be represented. The fair will also offer information on early childhood education, English language learner programs, services for gifted students, special education and more. Interpreters will be available in Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Vietnamese, Khmer (Cambodian), Laotian, Oromo, Amharic and American Sign Language. The St. Paul Schools application deadline for all grades is Saturday, Feb. 15. Here are some tips provided by St. Paul Public Schools to help you choose a school. How do I find the right school for my child? Start by making a list of what you want for your child. Will you provide transportation or will your child take a bus? Do you want your child to attend a school close to home or closer to your work? Does your child have special language and educational needs? Do you want to enroll your child in a specialized learning program, such as science/technology, arts, environment, or in a language-immersion school? Consider your child’s learning style. Is it logical, mathematical, methodical, creative, artistic or to-

be-determined? Does your child like to learn in groups or independently? Ask about teaching styles and class sizes. Along with the school’s curriculum, you will want to know about school policies and services. For example, how does the school handle students who misbehave? What security measures are in place? What is the policy on school absences? Does the school have a dress code? What extra-curricular activities and after-school programs are available? Keep in mind that admission processes can vary. Some schools require a test or an interview, a transcript from a previous school, recommendations or other information. It’s never too early to begin the admissions process to make sure you meet all the deadlines.

its charter is the school? How are students enrolled? Is this the permanent location for the school? If not, will the school be moving to another location in the near future? Who is the charter holder, or the group that created the school? How does the school select its teachers? Are the teachers certified?

Charter schools

Thinking about a parochial school? Additional questions about tuition and payment plans should be considered. Is there a sliding scale for tuition based on parish/church affiliation or family income? Are there other fees and expenses for room and board, uniforms, books, transportation, lab and computer, activities? What scholarships and loans are available? Are students or their parents required to be of a particular faith? Does the school have a policy on student participation in religious instruction and worship? Does the school have the same schedule as the local public school?

Charter schools fill a niche between private and public schools. A private group can get a charter to run their own school, giving them independence to try new forms of teaching and experiment with what they believe is the best way to teach their students. If academic performance lags behind comparable public schools, the charter is pulled and the school is closed. Questions to ask specifically of charter schools: Why was this school created? What teaching methodology does it embrace? Does the school have a specific focus? What is the academic progress, as measured according to its charter requirements? How long into

Magnet Schools  Magnet schools are different from private/parochial and charter schools in that they remain part of the public school administrative system. What distinguishes them from other public schools is that magnets usually have alternative modes of instruction and a focus that is taught in all classes within the curriculum.

Parochial schools

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Area Charter Schools Academic Arts High School (7-12) Sponsor: Audubon Center of the North Wood 60 E. Marie Ave., West St. Paul 651-457-7427 River’s Edge Academy (9-12) Sponsor: Audubon Society of the North Wood 188 W. Plato Blvd. St. Paul 651-234-0150 Dakota County Area Learning School North Intermediate School District 917 150 E. Marie Ave. West St. Paul 651 332-5570 West Side Summit (K-4) 497 Humboldt Ave. St. Paul 651-200-4543

Area Public and Magnet Schools Cherokee Heights Elementary (Pre-K-6) Community School 694 Charlton St. St. Paul 651-293-8610 Riverview Elementary (K-6) Dual Immersion magnet program 160 Isabel St. St. Paul 651-293-8665

Humboldt Secondary School (7-12) Environmental magnet program 30 E. Baker St. St. Paul 651-293-8600 Creative Arts High School 65 E. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul 651-292-3480 Open World Learning Community (6-12 magnet school) 30 E. Baker St. St. Paul Henry Sibley High School (9-12) 1897 Delaware Ave. Mendota Heights 651-403-7100 Garlough Environmental Magnet School (K-4) 1740 Charlton St. West St. Paul 651-403-8100 Moreland Academy Arts and Health Sciences Magnet (K-4) 217 W. Moreland Ave. West St. Paul, 651-403-8000 Somerset Heights Elementary (K-4) 1355 Dodd Rd. Mendota Heights 651-403-8200 Mendota Elementary (K-4) 1979 Summit Lane Mendota Heights 651-403-8000

Friendly Hills Middle School (5-8) 701 Mendota Heights Rd. Mendota Heights 651-403-7600 Heritage E-STEM Middle School (5-8) 121 W. Butler Ave. West St. Paul 651-403-7400

Area Parochial schools Saint Thomas Academy (7-12) 949 Mendota Heights Rd. Mendota Heights 651-454-4570 Convent of the Visitation School (PreK-6, and 7-12, all-girls) 2455 Visitation Dr. Mendota Heights 651-683-1700 St. Croix Lutheran (6-12) 1200 Oakdale Ave. West St. Paul 651-455-1521 Crown of Life Lutheran School (Pre-K-8) 115 W. Crusader Ave. West St. Paul 651-451-3832 St. Joseph’s Catholic School (Pre-K-8) 1138 Seminole Ave. West St. Paul 651-457-8550 Community of Saints School (K-8) 337 E. Hurley St. West St. Paul 651-457-2510


Celebrating 60 Years... When Lambert Motz, founder of Plaza TV and Appliance, started selling color televisions his customers were shelling out over $1,100 for a 15”-screen model. That’s remarkable, considering a new car that year cost $1,850, not to mention the fact that there weren’t even that many shows being broadcast in color at the time. Today, Plaza sells a 60” plasma for roughly the same price. My how times have changed. Plaza TV and Appliance — now owned by Motz’s children: Dave, Scott and Tammey — has seen many changes over the years but one thing has remained constant: they have always innovated to meet the needs of their customers. Lambert started Plaza TV with his wife Erdine in 1953 at 258 Pleasant Ave. in St. Paul, near where United Hospital is today.

The couple built the business, which they “started on a dime” and established a large customer base during its first 17 years. At that time they were met with their first challenge. They had to relocate due to the construction of United Hospital. In 1970, Lambert found a suitable site at 936 S. Robert St. in West St. Paul. It was then that he started selling appliances and changed the name to Plaza TV & Appliance. Sales were so goodhe had to look for a larger location a few years later. He found one not far away. The former Schlukebier grocery store at 946 S. Robert St. was available so Lambert purchased it for the new home of his growing business. It has been located at that site ever since.

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However, while the address is the same, the building is not. In 1994, it was demolished to make way for a new, 6,000-square-foot store that allows the staff to display more than 300 name-brand TVs and appliances. To further expand his market, Lambert purchased Gene’s Appliance and TV in Maplewood in 1985. In 2005, they relocated that store to 1918 Beam Ave., near the Maplewood Mall. Plaza TV & Appliance continues to be a family affair. Dave serves as president, Scott is vice-president and appliance service manager and Tammey is the treasurer and office manager. Her husband, Brian Nowacki, is the general manager and appliance buyer. Today, Plaza sells high-quality TVs and

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Downtown St. Paul Voice - January 2014 - Page 9


R iver Connections

Your community news and information source

REFLECTIONS From the Riverfront

Thoughts of a first snow Tim Spitzack Editor

I

welcomed December with a walk along the Mississippi River. It was an enjoyable hike and I was surprised at how much of the river was visible through the forest with the leaves now underfoot rather than

overhead, but something was missing. December never looks right to me until she’s wearing her wedding gown. I wished for snow and the next day my wish was granted. It was a Monday afternoon and the sky slowly turned gray. Suddenly, the snow that was predicted

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for the northern part of our state dipped down to greet us. It started with small flakes but quickly turned to the wet, fluffy ones that seem as big as your fist, the kind that make school kids giddy with excitement. Through my office window, I watched it float down and was reminded of the many times I sat chained to a school desk watching a similar scene, longing to be out in it, making tracks, rolling it into balls, throwing it at friends. A boyish grin cornered my lips as I put on my scarf and jacket and headed for Harriet Island to celebrate the first significant snowfall of the season. The paved path along the river was slippery and slushy and held each footprint as I

made my way to the Great Stairs to get closer to the river’s edge. A gaggle of nearly 100 Canada geese waddled around and serenaded me as I walked by. I looked up at the sky and flakes crashed on my warm cheeks and quickly melted, looking like tears of joy, or tears wept for a summer long past. I caught a flake on my tongue effortlessly, instinctively. By the time I reached the bottom step, visibility was down to a quarter-mile. The Smith Avenue High Bridge looked like an ethereal serpent jumping over the river, and the skyline was cloaked in mystery. The river was the color of slate and ice fanned out 20 to 30 feet from the bank. Ice floes were slowly moving down river, trying to grasp hands in solidarity. I knew it wouldn’t be long until the river would crawl beneath its winter blanket and rest. Observing the river during a heavy snowfall makes the mighty waterway feel as timeless as it is. Across the river, the street lamps and tail lights of evening commuters on Shepa-

rd Road looked like a string of Christmas lights. Barely visible were the holiday lights dangling on the trees in Kellogg Park. Missing from that park is the giant Salvation Army kettle that for many years served as a proud testament to the benevolence of the people of the city. The kettle made me think of the less fortunate, who are undoubtedly not feeling the same excitement that I am over this snowfall. A few blocks away, Rice Park and the city’s cultural corridor is decked out in holiday magic, and a few blocks farther is St. Paul’s island of misfit toys, the Dorothy Day Center. A task force has been busy working to find a new location for the center. I can understand the reasoning behind the effort. I experienced it firsthand this summer while entertaining an out-of-town guest. While eating a fine meal on the patio of a popular restaurant, my friend commented on the number of bums on the benches in Rice Park and vagrants meandering near us on Seventh Place.

I couldn’t help but think these people tarnished the image of the city. Today, standing in the snow, my judgment is more sober. I can see past their mental illness, their addictions or whatever else plagues them and I see them for what they are: human beings, someone’s son or daughter. I think of the many times I’ve turned a cold shoulder to them on the street. I rarely offer my pocket change when asked, skeptical of what it will be used for. I reassure myself that my charitable donations throughout the year provide the services they need to get a hand up. Yet, I always feel like I should do more. Even though donations help provide a warm meal and a temporary place to stay, they do little to build the dignity of those on the street. I wonder what it would mean to them if I would look them in the eye, give them a smile, or extend my hand and offer a kind word. Perhaps the bigger question is, what would it mean to me?

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B ack in Time

Your community news and information source

January 1922

A Winter Carnival revival, funds for Palestine and a scandalous silent film Don Morgan Contributor

T

hings were lively in the Capitol City 92 years ago. While some St. Paulites were celebrating the New Year and the end of wartime regulations, others were working to get the Winter Carnival back on track, and some were visiting movie theaters to see a film that was scandalous for its time. That January, Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover announced that wartime regulations and post-war deflation were over and that happy times were ahead. He was right. That year marked the start of an eight year economic boom. Apart from a bitter argument with the St. Paul Railway Company over

the elimination of a downtown free-fare zone, everything seemed to be working out just fine. January 16 marked the second anniversary of Prohibition. The Pioneer Press, in conjunction with The New York Herald, began a series of articles analyzing the economic, social, practical and legal results of the Eighteenth Amendment, and the enforcing Volstead Act. It turned out that downtown New Year’s Eve celebrations had been something of a test case of the law’s effectiveness. According to The Pioneer Press, 20 people who “knew no eighteenth amendment” were jailed. During the first week of the year, the “purity squad” raided a soft drink parlor on Seventh Street and

seized over 1,000 gallons of wine and 500 gallons of moonshine whiskey. When not reporting the news, staff at The Pioneer Press was hard at work trying to resurrect the Winter Carnival, which had been dormant since the country’s entry into World War I. That month the paper promoted a parade, button sales and a beauty contest, which hinted at a movie audition for the winner. Readers were urged to send in photos of candidates for the “most beautiful young lady in the city.” The audition hook caught people’s attention because silent films were approaching their peak in popularity. Opening that month was a great silent spectacle, “The

Queen of Sheba,” featuring Betty Blythe in the title role and Fritz Leiber as King Solomon. It promised “spectacle, romance and drama,” not to mention a chariot race with women drivers, “massive oriental settings,” “hundreds of beautiful women” and “bizarre barbaric costuming.” “Scanty” was perhaps a better adjective for the costumes. Blythe remarked in an interview that she had more than a dozen outfits for the movie and that even if she wore them all at the same time she still would have gotten cold. The movie packed theaters every night for its one-week run downtown. There were a few serious events that month, including activities for a group from the Palestine Foundation Fund who arrived in the city as part of a nationwide tour to urge support and raise funds for their dream of “a foundation upon which the Jewish people can build Palestine and relieve the persecution of their brothers and sisters in Eastern Europe.” Heading the group was Vladimir Jabotinsky, a native of Russia. Jabotinsky had been exiled from his country for Zionist activity and fighting for Jewish civil rights. He was a war veteran of the British Army in the Middle East and had become a leading proponent of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

The group was well re- films. If it could be found ceived in St. Paul. They were and restored it would offer a greeted at the Union Depot fascinating glimpse of “preby local Jewish leaders then code” Hollywood. Studios attended a reception hosted soon began a trend toward by the governor at the State “stricter moral standards” for Capitol, followed by a din- movies that eventually led to ner at the St. Paul Hotel. showing married couples in The next night a large crowd twin beds only. gathered at the Metropolitan Vladimir Jabotinsky Opera House on Sixth Street remained a committed to hear speeches from the Zionist all his life but delegates. Over $20,000 was never lived to see the modraised for their cause. ern state of Israel. He died in On the heels of the Zi- 1940 at the age of 59. Origionist was a violinist. As Ja- nally buried in New York botinsky was leaving town, City, his body was moved to 21-year-old violin sensation a cemetery in Jerusalem in Jascha Heifetz arrived for 1964. a one-night engagement, Jascha Heifetz was a leadsponsored by the Schubert ing violin performer and Club. Heifetz performed teacher until his death in at the People’s Church on 1987. His extensive classical Pleasant Avenue, which had recordings are still big sellers. an auditorium famous in Carnival boosters tried the Midwest for its excellent hard but weren’t able to oracoustics. Heifetz, whose ganize a successful Winter Lithuanian Jewish family Carnival that year. It would fled Russia to avoid persecu- be another 15 years before tion, played to a full house the Carnival started to rise of about 3,500. The perfor- again. However, the beauty mance featured selections contest drew much interfrom Chopin, Brahms and est. In a style unthinkable Dvorak and finished with today due to privacy and Handel’s Violin Sonata in security concerns, the home D minor. The Pioneer Press addresses of all 40 entrants called it magnificent. It was were printed in the paper. an early example of a mar- The interviews of the finalketing synergy familiar to ists and the selection of the musicians today, known as winner attracted a big crowd the record tour. Dyer Broth- to the Capitol Theater in ers Music on Fifth Street had the Hamm building. The all of his performance selec- winner, a 19-year-old from tions available in its listening the city’s west end, became rooms. a queen without much of a “The Queen of Sheba” is Carnival to reign over. one of the great lost silent HumboldtAd:Layout 1 10/18/11 4:04 PM Page 1

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