Dtn jan 2018

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Downtown St. Paul Arts & Entertainment

Heeling for Healing

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Volume 24 | Number 1

CRC director reflects on the past year and sets goals for the new one

Your Community News & Information Source

January 2018

Winter market pops up in new location

Collaborative art project records sacred connections with the mighty Mississippi Tim Spitzack Editor

George Derringer Contributor


he CapitolRiver Council (CRC) wants to amplify the voices of people who live and work in downtown St. Paul, and find ways to more effectively influence elected officials, said Jon Fure, executive director of CRC, one of 17 district councils in the city that engage residents in planning and addressing neighborhood concerns, ranging from land use to crime prevention. This past year was busy for the CRC and its director, who will reach the end of his first year in January. One big project was Pedro Park, where the CRC pushed hard to have the old public safety annex building torn down to enlarge the park at Robert and 10th streets. Despite CRC’s efforts, the City Council voted 4-3 in November to approve then-Mayor Chris Coleman’s plan to sell the building to Ackerberg Group, which plans to redevelop it into office space. That decision, Fure said, is contrary to what is in the city’s own comprehensive plan for that property. City Council member Rebecca Noecker, who represents downtown, cast one of the “no” votes. In 2017, the Council hired two part-time staffers: Tabitha Benci DeRango as its engagement program CRC / Page 4


Anderson Witherell is set to sample the cuisine at Octo Fishbar. Leslie Martin Staff Writer


he buzz is that the new home of the winter St. Paul Farmers’ Market – the Market House – is the hippest, most happening spot in town. Set in the historic building along with four businesses that comprise the Market Collaborative, the market has entered a new era. With temps in the upper 50s and sunshine to spare, the highly anticipated

opening day of the newly relocated winter market drew an estimated 2,000 customers on December 2. Although four walls and a roof weren’t essential that particular day, most vendors have been moved indoors to the Market House, 289 E. Fifth St., literally steps from the outdoor site, to protect vendors and customers alike from the inevitable winter elements. “This year we’re making strides to do everything right,” said Market Manager Winter Market / Page 2

woman and her husband who is battling Alzheimer’s walk slowly down the hallway of the memory care unit at the Minnesota Veterans Home to gaze upon the Mississippi River as it tumbles over Lock and Dam #1 near the Ford Parkway Bridge. They view this scene often because it boosts her strength and gives her courage to travel down this difficult journey with her spouse. Another woman finds herself walking along the river at Crosby Farm Regional Park in St. Paul when she experiences deep grief. She was there following the miscarriage of her first child, after the loss of her beloved grandmother, and on other occasions. A young pastor suffering spiritual exhaustion is walking along the river at Hidden Falls Regional Park when a thunderstorm rolls in and catches him by surprise. The sky opens up and pelts him with rain, followed by hail. He lifts his head and hands toward heaven and shouts, “OK God, I quit! I can’t do it anymore. Why don’t you just take me home now!” These are among the stories featured in a new collaborative art project designed to coincide with River stories / Page 5

Retiring MNHS director reflects on our ‘shared story’ MaiThao Xiong Contributor


man who feels blessed and privileged to be doing what he loves is leaving the top post at the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS). Stephen Elliott, director and chief executive officer, is retiring on June 1. During his tenure, he spearheaded several programs that helped bridge our col-

lective past for diverse communities. “Being able to connect the people and community to an understanding that we all have a shared history was what I enjoyed the most,” said Elliott. “Communities and their stories affect each other. History is not compartmentalized. We have a shared story.” Elliott spent his entire career promoting history,

education and encouraging people and communities to tell their stories. He served the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Virginia in multiple roles for 28 years, including vice president of education, administration and planning. He was executive director of The First Freedom Center, also in Virginia, from 2000-2005, and president and chief executive officer of the New

York State Historical Association and The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., from 2005-2011. Elliott came to the MNHS on April 1, 2011. Established in 1849, the Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution that collects, preserves, and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites,

educational programs, and book publishing. According to the MNHS website, it is one of the largest historical societies in the country. One of Elliott’s priorities at MNHS was to provide a platform for people of all walks of life to share their stories, and under his direction the Society hosted an array of cultural exhibits, including “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans

Shape the Nation,” “The U.S. Dakota War of 1862,” and “Minnesota and the Civil War.” In the works is an anthology focused on Somali youth. “Inclusion of diverse stories has to be intentional, planned and focused. It needs to be a priority,” said Elliott. “[History] is complicated, and complicated is Stephen Elliott/ Page 4

B usiness Winter Market

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from page 1

David Kotsonas. “Get the word out about the winter market, make Lowertown more active, see more community people” and offer another alternative to hibernating. Kotsonas became manager at the end of last year’s winter market, after six years of running the Rochester Farmers’ Market. The market had been held for decades at Golden’s Deli, which closed in September. Jim Golden, who said he wanted to return to the basics of selling bagels, sold the property to a Lowertown resident who created Biergarten Germania, which is scheduled to open in January. Golden’s famous sandwiches will return at the summer market. On its second Saturday, samples abounded, including cave-aged goat cheese, smoked salmon and gingerinfused apple juice. Upstairs, shoppers can peruse the fresh meats and fish for sale and have them prepared immediately by a St. Paul chef – a different one

each week – then dine while sipping a beverage from the bar. The entrance is on Fifth Street, just across the street from the outdoor market, with a handicap entry around the corner on Broadway. Half a flight down on the garden level, as many as 20 vendors offer their wares, depending on the week. The vendors include such longtime faves as Kappers’ Big Red Barn (milk, cream, cheese curds, ice cream), Dave and Mary Falk’s Love Tree Farms (regional cheese), Groveland Confections (chocolates), Wolf Honey Farm (honey and candles), Douville Bakery (crusty Cuban bread, blueberry sour cream coffee cake, pies), Star Prairie Trout Farm, and returning after a few years’ absence, Chef Earl’s BBQ (sauces and rubs). Offerings also include jams, jellies, maple syrup, salsas, baked goods, curries, spices and fresh greens grown indoors. Those who enjoy the el-

ement of surprise will be pleased with the new setup. The pleasantly lighted downstairs has table after table of goods. Because the mix changes from week to week, it’s impossible to know what delights await. Some of the winter market stalwarts chose to remain outdoors. Patrons may amble outside in the usual market space on Fifth Street for breads and cinnamon rolls, potatoes and root vegetables, Natasha’s frozen and ready-to-eat pierogis, and through February, apples. Providing protein-rich foods are Gilbertson’s Farm, Callister Farm, Amor Pork, Farm on Wheels and Bar 5. The collaborative theme behind the Market House has brought new opportunities to the market’s farmers/growers/producers, customers and the capital city’s restaurants. Remarkably, it all came together by a confluence of events and happenstance. “We had been in conversations about moving into the Union Depot,” Kotsonas said. “They really wanted us there and we really wanted to be there. It

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Doug Bigwood of Almanac Fish scoops up a customer’s next meal, to be prepared at Octo Fishbar, most likely by Chef Tim McKee. would have been a wonderful, beautiful space with a wow factor, connection to skyways and space to grow.” However, the Depot had contractual terms preventing outside businesses from bringing in ready-to-eat foods. Another sticking point was that it couldn’t accommodate all the vendors, specifically the meat vendors who sell in bulk. “No one is going to come inside, buy a side of beef, then walk it out to their car,” Kotsonas said.

With the Depot in doubt, Kotsonas strolled into the Market House one day and chatted with the folks at Almanac Fish, who mentioned it would be cool to see the winter market there. Kotsonas tucked the idea away, but one day soon after, he happened to run into Tim McKee, renowned James Beard award-winning chef, restaurateur, and most important, founder and owner of Market House Collaborative. The two hit it off, discovered that the

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space made sense, and the deal was sealed. The Market Collaborative includes McKee’s 90seat Octo Fishbar restaurant and bar, located in the former Heartland space, and a bright and airy setting for the Salty Tart Bakery and Café, bringing the creations of James Beard-nominated pastry chef Michele Gayer to this side of the river. It’s best to get there early because the lines can get long, with people craving caramel apple Danish, lemon me-

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B usiness ringue tarts, crepes or ham and cheese croissants. In addition to offering breads, pastries, cakes and other baked goods Salty Tart supplies the restaurant with whatever it needs for sandwiches, desserts and specialty recipes. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow natural light to pour into the generous space where the other businesses – Almanac Fish and Peterson Craftsman Meats – face each other from opposite walls. The collaborative, which opened in October, will be joined by Birch’s Taproom in the coming year. “One of the original reasons I loved that space is its positioning near the St. Paul Farmers’ Market,” said McKee. “I’ve always loved the St. Paul Farmers’ Market. I thought of this as being a year-round extension of the market.” While collecting fresh produce, it makes sense, he said, that the next step would be to go and get some quality fish or steak. For example, if you’re interested in peel-and-eat shrimp or steamed lobster or a do-it-yourself poke kit, the seafood guys at Alma-

Your community news and information source nac Fish will accommodate your every wish. “There are a lot of things we can do that normal fish markets can’t,” McKee said. The same goes for the butcher shop. “If you are interested in something you saw on the Octo menu but you prefer, say, a ribeye, give it to your server and we’ll prepare it for you. Buy some razor clams, give them to your server and the chef will do something excellent with them.” To enhance your experience, get to know the expression, “pop-up,” as in “pop-up restaurant within a restaurant,” as Kotsonas calls it. Others are calling it “pop-up lunch” or “pop-up chef.” The magic happens during market hours only. The chef of the week will prepare a unique menu, in addition to preparing your protein as you like it. “I worked out a calendar that, every week during the indoor season of the winter market, I’ve got a different restaurant doing a cameo – whatever they want to showcase,“ McKee said. “It’s completely dependent on the chef as to what it will be.”

The first restaurant featured was Parlour St. Paul, which presented its famed Parlour Burger. The second week, Chef Thomas Boehmer of Revival offered up Korean chili pork shoulder and barbecue brisket. When Almanac Fish has its turn, expect a paella pop-up. Menu items start at around $12, and Octo’s full bar is open during market hours, offering beer, wine, coffee, bloody marys, the works. Kotsonas plans for local musicians or DJs to serenade with “mostly low-key tasteful acoustic” sounds. The crowd was steady but not overwhelming on the second Saturday, a bitter, biting winter day about 40 degrees colder than opening day. The restaurant was nearly full. At the bar sat Anderson Witherell, of St. Paul, who handles marketing for Almanac Fish. He was sipping a beer and, based on rave reviews he’d overheard, encouraging diners to order the barbecue brisket. “Not the lobster?” someone asked. “I just had a pound and

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a half of lobster,” he said, “and I’m sitting here waiting to regain my appetite to try the brisket.”

Market manager in the groove Kotsonas travelled long and far before landing in St. Paul as the manager of the Farmers’ Market. The Minneapolis native toured for many years as an indie rock musician. While living in Portland, Ore., he happened to learn a considerable amount about local food programs and movements. That knowledge – and his artist’s ability to “put on a show with little or no money” – helped him land the farmers’ market gig in Rochester after he returned to Minnesota for family reasons. To his surprise, he won the Star Tribune’s “Best Farmers’ Market in Minnesota” in 2014, which he “didn’t even know was a thing,” he said. “I had been driving up to Minneapolis twice a week for my family and social life, and it was time for me to move up here,” he said. “Eventually the St. Paul

Farmers’ Market position opened and I applied.” The move was seamless. The Rochester and St. Paul markets share some vendors, and Kotsonas serves on the board of directors for the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association. “The St. Paul Farmers’ Market is a really big machine,” he said. “I am working to get up to speed. It’s going pretty well. I am lucky to be surrounded by a kind and helpful staff and well-seasoned vendors.” The winter market is open 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays through April 21. Some vendors accept credit cards but it’s best to bring cash or purchase Farmers’ Market tokens in demoninations of $5. These restaurants will provide pop-up chefs over the next few weeks: • Dec. 30: Handsome Hog • Jan. 6: The Lexington • Jan. 13: Fitzgerald’s • Jan. 20: Brasa • Jan. 27: Mancini’s For a complete list of vendors, visit www.stpaulfarmersmarket.com.

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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P eople CRC from page 1

manager and Renee Skoglund as the Street Team program manager. Fure expects the new staff will help grow what he calls “authentic engagement” of downtown residents and workers. “Tabitha has been meeting with residents in the buildings, starting conversations about quality of life and ways to convey concerns to officials,” said Fure. “For example, one woman told her there is not much for toddlers here, and we’re

Your community news and information source looking into that. “We’re taking directions from people and workers here,” he added. “Unlike some nonprofits with a stated goal, we get our direction from the people.” Perhaps flying in the face of the current culture with many people surrounding themselves almost exclusively with people who share their opinions, Fure said the CRC is “a forum for all – residents, building owners, whomever – to talk about issues from different points of view.” Volunteers are welcome, he said, including Street

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Team volunteers who do things as simple as helping people find their way around downtown, or even finding a restroom. “It’s a pilot project,” Fure said. “We are open to ideas.” Another hot issue is the skyway system, and the CRC continues to monitor the concerns of residents and businesses about problems that occur, particularly late at night. To gauge opinions rightly, CRC program managers are meeting with people who don’t – or can’t – attend CRC board meetings. “We go to them at times and locations convenient to them,” Fure said. “The strength of our organization is our board of directors. We have a community of people, from local residents and organizations, people who live in different parts of the city, and some who may not live downtown but who genuinely care about making downtown a good place to live, work and visit.” For more information on CRC, visit www.capitolrivercouncil.org.

Stephen Elliott from page 1

good. It makes history richer and more interesting.” After hearing many stories, Elliott formed a vision to strengthen the organization’s mission and broaden the Society’s audience. To accomplish that, he hired staff from diverse communities to develop partnerships, and established two new departments: Inclusion and Community Engagement and Native American Initiatives. “We were able to work with many different communities, some we’ve never worked with before,” Elliott said. Following the “We Are Hmong Minnesota” exhibit, he saw the relationship between the Society and the Hmong community become stronger, thus broadening the audience for future projects. He hopes MNHS will continue in this direction after he retires.

Stephen Elliott The search for Elliot’s successor is underway, and the Society’s board of directors expects to name a new director and CEO by April. Elliot said he will be available to assist the new

director but has faith that MNHS staff will provide that person with the same excellent support he received when he first stepped into the role.

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A rts & Culture River stories

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the 25th anniversary of Friends of the Mississippi River, a St. Paul-based nonprofit that engages people in protecting and restoring the Mississippi River and its watershed in the Twin Cities region. Beginning in mid-January, 25 stories will be featured at https:// fmr.org/river-stories-map. Each gives a glimpse into transformational or sacred experiences people have had while visiting the river in the Twin Cities, and the organizers hope to add many more stories throughout year. I learned of the project when organizer Michael Bischoff asked me to participate. Anyone may contribute by visiting the website. Bischoff has his own deep connection with the river. For the past year he has visited it daily in his quest to

find healing while fighting brain cancer. Guessing he is not the only one who visits the river for solace and reflection, he began finding others to share their stories. He approached FMR with the idea of publishing the stories and the organization was excited to feature them as part of its anniversary celebration. Bischoff, a husband and father of two teenagers, started having intense headaches in the fall of 2015. He visited a few doctors and each said the pain likely stemmed from a sinus infection or migraines. He eventually saw a neurologist, who ordered an MRI. That scan revealed a tumor the size of a golf ball in the

middle of his brain. The next day Bischoff started a CaringBridge page to keep friends updated on his condition. He made daily posts and quickly discovered that writing about the process was therapeutic for him.

He and his wife Jenny, a photographer and graphic designer, eventually created the book “Don’t Postpone Joy: Adventures with Brain Cancer.” Bischoff underwent chemotherapy, radiation, three


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er, like my companionship with Jenny, which feels like a gentle eroding of that which separates me from belonging to life.” People have found spiritual connections along the river for centuries. For the Mdewakanton Dakota, the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers is a sacred site and was a burial ground. In 1840, Father Lucien Galtier came to the area now called St. Paul – then a village named Pig’s Eye – to minister to French Canadians living here at that time. A year later he built a small log chapel on the bluff and dedicated it to his patron saint, the Apostle Paul. Galtier was also responsible for efforts that resulted in renaming the village as St. Paul.

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surgeries and experimental treatments, but none was successful. He credits his visits to the river with helping him defy the odds and for allowing him more time with his wife, son and daughter. “I won’t say that I’m cured, but my cancer hasn’t grown since my visits [to the river], and I’ve physically felt good since then,” he said. “I’m at peace and more relaxed.” He reflected on his experience in a recent post on CaringBridge: “When I go to the river, I try to notice what inside of me is connecting with what I see, hear, and touch outside of me, where the outer and inner landscapes meet....Most times at the river I don’t have big insights, just a growing companionship with the riv-

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Omnifest 2018, held January 5-March 1 at the Science Museum of Minnesota, features five films: “Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees,” “Journey Into Amazing Caves” (pictured above), “Rocky Mountain Express,” “The Magic of Flight” and “Wolves.”

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

“The 1968 Exhibit,” through January 21. The year 1968 was turbulent, with the Vietnam War, protests, assassinations. peace signs, love-ins and psychedelic rock. Those experiences created a unique sense of identity for the people living through them. “Renewing What They Gave Us: Native American Artists in Residence,” through April 22. This exhibit features original beadwork, birch bark and textile artwork by five contemporary American Indian artists. “AMVETS Post #5: Photographs by Xavier Tavera,” through April 22. The exhibit includes 35 large-scale, color portraits of Mexican and Mexican-American war veterans from VFW Post #5 on St. Paul’s West Side. Tavera created the images to document veterans who fought in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Ongoing: “Then Now Wow,” “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation: The Depression, The War, The Boom,” “Grainland,” “Open House: If These Walls Could Talk,” and “Weather Permitting.” Museum tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and college students, and $6 for children ages 5-17. The center offers free admission on Tuesdays, 3-8 p.m.

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


The Schubert Club is hosting free concerts at noon each Thursday in January in Room 317. Minnesota Boychoir will perform a free concert at 1 and 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 7 in the Musser Cortile. Saint Paul Ballet performance, noon, Tuesday, Jan. 9. Free. Sounds of Mexico will perform a free concert at 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 11 in Room 205. A free woodturning demonstration is held noon-3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 21 in the Gallery of Wood Art.

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Urban Expedition, 1-3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 21 in the Musser Cortile. This free program explores the culture of Bulgaria and features crafts, animals, dancing and music. St. Paul Civic Symphony will perform a free concert at 2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 28 in the Musser Cortile. A Taiko drumming presentation will be held at noon, Tuesday, Jan. 30 in Room 317.

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

St. Paul Chamber Orchestra will perform Mozart’s Piano Concertos 20 and 25 with Jeremy Denk January 5-7; Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with Steven Copes January 12-13; and Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony, 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 20. $12-$50 for all performances. One Voice Mixed Chorus presents “Sanctuary” January 19 and 21. $30$50. Spectrum Dance Theatre presents “A Rap on Race” at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 13. $18-$39. Minnesota Opera presents “Dead Man Walking” January 27-February 3. $25-$165.

Palace Theatre

17 W. 7th Place, St. Paul 612-388-8388 www.palacestpaul.com

Concerts: Big Head Todd and the Monsters, 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 13 ($37.50-$80); BØRNS, 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 24 ($30-$35); First Aid Kit, 8 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 30 ($30-$50).

Park Square Theatre

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


“Dot,” through January 7. The holidays are always a wild family affair at the Shealy house, but this year, as Dot struggles to hold on to her memory, her adult children grapple with how to balance care for their mother and care for themselves. $25-$60. “Cardboard Piano,” showing January 19-February 18. In Northern

Uganda, the daughter of an American missionary and a local teenage girl steal into a candlelit church to exchange vows in a secret wedding ceremony. But an escalating civil war encroaches on their fragile union and they cannot escape its reach. $25-$60.

Omnifest 2018, held January 5-March 1, features five films: “Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees,” “Journey Into Amazing Caves,” “Rocky Mountain Express,” “The Magic of Flight” and “Wolves.”

Museum tickets are $18.95 for adults and $12.95 for children and seniors. Omnitheater tickets are $9.95 and $8.95 respectively.

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Cinch World’s Toughest Rodeo is presented January 5-6 (from $8) and The Killers will perform at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 17 (from $25).

Roy Wilkins Auditorium

199 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul 651-265-4800 www.theroy.org

42nd Annual Saintly City Cat Club Championship and Household Pet Cat Show, January 27-28. Exotic and well-known breeds will compete for the titles of “Best Cat” and “King” and “Queen” cats. $4; discounts for seniors and children.

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

“Sportsology” - Explore the role of physiology, physics and nutrition in sports, and challenge your friends to a race, jumping competition and more. The Cardboard Engineering Gallery, January 13-March 15. This new 3,500-square-foot gallery allows participants to use cardboard to create forts, creatures, mazes and more.

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Downtown St. Paul Voice - January 2018 - Page 7

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{ THE FULLER FILES } Ice palace coming to Rice Park Organizers of the St. Paul Winter Carnival recently announced plans to build a 70-foot high ice palace in Rice Park as part of an extended St. Paul Winter Carnival, held January 25-February 10, 2018 to coincide with Super Bowl LII activities. The palace will be a free attraction and is made possible by individual and corporate donations. Originally, the Saint Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation, organizer of the Carnival, planned to build a $5 million ice palace near the State Capitol but came up short of funding. The Foundation is still seeking additional sponsorship for the Rice Park palace by selling blocks of ice to individuals and organizations. Prices start at $25. For more information, visit www.wintercarnival.com. Dubbed the People’s Ice Palace, the structure will be built on the south side of Rice Park and be connected

to other ice displays and ice carvings that are traditionally part of the Winter Carnival. The palace was designed by the Cunningham Group and will have several towers. People will not be able to go inside, and the final height will be determined by how much money is raised. The ice is coming from Green Lake in Spicer, Minn., and construction is expected to begin in early January.

Three leave CRC board Three prominent members of CapitolRiver Council who were re-elected in July have resigned. They are John Manillo, past chair, Chris Thomforde, past chair-elect, and Bill Hanley, who produces a quarterly Downtown Live public affairs program on St. Paul Neighborhood Network. Four additional members representing downtown organizations have been appointed. They are Nick Cusick, Visit St. Paul; Brett Greenfield, Building Own-

downtown news by Roger Fuller

ers and Managers Organization; Jennifer Hensley, Minnesota Museum of American Art; and Bill Huepenbecker, Minnesota Wild.

Coming and going Parlour St. Paul has opened at 267 W. 7th St. near the Xcel Energy Center. Operated by the original Parlour Bar in the North Loop of Minneapolis, the bar has a dining counter, central lounge and cocktail bar. The menu includes burgers, chili dogs and braised chicken. The St. Paul Airport will have a full service restaurant open by Super Bowl weekend. It has been without a restaurant since 1999, when the last one closed after flooding. Hundreds of private planes are expected to visit the airport during Super Bowl week. First Avenue is taking over the Wild Tymes bar at Seventh Place and St. Peter and will rename and remodel it. The bar will also

serve as a ticket outlet for shows at the Palace Theatre, which is located next door and managed by First Avenue. GNC health food store located on the skyway level of the Alliance Bank building has closed. The nearest GNC is in the Signal Hills Center in West St. Paul. The former Pioneer Press building at 345 Cedar has been sold to Real Estate Equities for about $8 million. The eight-story 160,000-square-foot building will be converted into 143 units of affordable housing. Rents are expected to be about $949 for a studio to $1,086 for a two bedroom unit. Jaime Tincher has been named deputy mayor by newly-elected St. Paul mayor Melvin Carter. She previously served as chief of staff for Governor Mark Dayton for four years.

CRC explores concert series CapitolRiver Council/ District 17 is considering a



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Page 8 - Downtown St. Paul Voice - January 2018

Sliding into the Super Bowl A 40-foot-long snow slide will be installed at CHS Field as part of the events in St. Paul during Super Bowl week. It will be open January 25 to February 10.

United hospital expands ER services United Hospital has expanded its emergency room services to include six new care spaces, a welcome desk,

larger triage areas and expanded mental health facilities. The improvements are expected to reduce waiting times. Nearly 150 people seek care at the emergency room daily. The $1.4 million project was funded by the Peter J. King Family Foundation.

Grants for art projects The St. Paul Knight Arts Challenge has awarded $1.29 million to 29 projects in St. Paul, including Nautilus Music Theatre, which received $53,000 to produce a new opera on dementia and memory loss. Penumbra Theatre received $35,000 for a stage performance of tales of dignity and strife from Minnesota’s global citizens; Public Art St. Paul $55,000 for programming at Western Sculpture Park; Warming House $20,000 to connect city residents with the Mississippi River; and St. Paul Almanac $50,000 for a touring installation of poetry and art.

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proposal to replace the former Music at Mears with a CRC-owned organization which would manage about a dozen concerts in Mears Park on Thursday nights in the summer. CRC decided to discontinue being the fiscal agent for the Music at Mears organization. Adam Azra’el would be hired as contractor. He is treasurer of CRC and made many critical comments about the practices of Music in Mears. Azra’el would remain on the board but would not vote on financial matters concerning the concerts.

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One couple’s journey moves from competition to compassion Ginny Contreras Sawyer Contributor


ogs have always been part of Mary Langula’s life but at age 21, after receiving a debilitating health diagnosis, she discovered just how important they were to her. As she struggled to adapt to her new circumstances, her dog Colonel Benjimin brought her much comfort. He accompanied her on an emotional and physical journey that led to her becoming an expert dog trainer and winner of obedience competitions nationwide. Today, she uses her prize-winning dogs to improve the quality of life for others. Her diagnosis came as a surprise. It was 1968 and she had a promising career ahead of her as a commercial artist. She had just married Gary Langula, the third generation owner of the former Langula Hardware store in West St. Paul. One month after their wedding, her doctor told her she had multiple sclerosis

(MS). During the next year, as doctors worked to find the right balance of medications to control the disease, she was often tired, lonely and mostly housebound because of diminishing vision in her right eye. She thought a dog might cheer her up. She and Gary shared a duplex with his parents but her father-in-law was not a fan of dogs. He said she could get one as long as it didn’t bark. When Mary discovered the basenji breed, which is physically incapable of barking, her father-in-law couldn’t object. “Colonel Benjimin was a companion that made me happy,” she said. He also gave her a reason to keep fighting her condition. She went on to become a dog trainer and today holds the highest title in dog obedience with a basenji – Utility Dog Excellence II. This is the educational equivalent of earning multiple doctorates in a given field. Doctors had told her she wouldn’t be able to get around without a wheel-

Mary Langula and Vixen perform tricks for Vernen Fors, a Purple Heart recipient.

chair but Mary has always insisted on using a cane. When she enters the show ring she has a lead in one hand and a beautifully carved cane of diamond willow in the other. But that’s Mary for you – determined, always pushing herself, not accepting her limitations. In 2007, Mary decided to try her hand at dog therapy, and she and Gary began visiting local healthcare facilities, including Walker Methodist, Good Samaritan Society and Woodland Heights. Colonel Benji, as they affectionately called him, has since passed away. Now Vixen and Zorro, their current “kids,” join them. The dogs are trained to bow their heads and turn their paws to mimic prayer, and to wave goodbye, all to the delight of the patients and long-term residents. A visit has no time frame. Sometimes patients just sit and stroke the dogs and talk with them. “[The dogs] put their whole heart and soul into it,” said Gary. “For every one hour of work, they sleep for two hours at home.” The basenji breed, also known as the African barkless, is a trickster dog, supremely intelligent and intuitive, but infamous for possessing the temperament of a two-year-old child. In other words, it’s a breed not known for its naturally obedient nature, and to tire out a Basenji is no small feat. These dogs can leap 5-foot fences and move at high speeds. Gary clocked one of theirs running 57 mph for two consecutive miles. He also said that they have zero rabbits, zero squirrels

Gary and Mary Langula and their dogs Zorro and Vixen recently visited with Peggy Bateman and Vernen Fors at the Good Samaritan Society. and zero blue jays in their backyard. It’s unusual for a basenji to be a therapy dog. Their inherent willfulness and high energy don’t make them the best candidates for health care facilities. On the other hand, patients quickly become attached to their playful personalities and emotional intuitiveness. While on the job, the Langulas must keep their dogs focused and well-behaved. Therapy dogs can’t be startled or distracted by bells or alarms, or people getting around in wheelchairs. A dog must pass a series of tests designed by the organization Therapy Dogs International (TDI) and can’t begin training until it is at least a year old. Even then, many dogs lack the maturity to complete the training, which includes

such tasks as walking tight circles around a plate of hotdogs without breaking stride. “You don’t control a basenji, you win their confidence,” said Gary. Certain techniques such as speaking in a low voice or looking them directly in the eyes when giving commands are helpful, but it’s more about anticipating their wants and needs before it even occurs to them. “[At the facility] you have to sense they’re tired and get them home before they meltdown,” he said. The Langulas and their dogs make approximately 500 visits per year, visiting with about 2,600 individuals. They often make extra rounds on holidays, including Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, making a point to see patients who don’t have frequent visitors. And

they do all this for free. “We get paid in smiles,” said Mary. For the Langulas, the dogs are their family, and they want to share with others the abundance of happiness the dogs have brought to their lives. Like proud parents, Mary pulls out photo after photo, while Gary reminisces about the dogs’ youthful shenanigans. In their 49 years of marriage, they have taken care of many basenjis, and each one has added something special to their lives. As Mary and Gary age, they are experiencing their own share of health problems. Yet their dogs keep them going. Despite their ailments, they don’t think of themselves. Rather they continue in their mission to make others happy.

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St. Paul Publishing Company | www.stpaulpublishing.com | 651-457-1177 Downtown St. Paul Voice - January 2018 - Page 9

N ews Briefs

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Neighborhood House in St. Paul is looking for volunteers to assist in the food shelf, with tutoring, youth services and other areas. For more information, contact Vanessa Edwards at 651-789-2524 or vedwards@neighb.org. Neighbors, Inc., a social service agency serving northern Dakota County, has a number of volunteer opportunities to assist local residents, including work with the food shelf and thrift store. For more information, contact Mandy at 651-3062145 or at volunteer@neighborsmn.org. DARTS, a nonprofit organization serving seniors in Dakota County, offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for all ages. To volunteer, contact Jen at 651234-2254, jen.myers@darts1.org or visit www.darts1.org/volunteer. Dakota County offers volunteer positions in community corrections, environmental resources, the Historical Society, library, parks, public health, the sheriff’s office and social services. For more information, call 651-438-4435 or visit www. co.dakota.mn.us/Government/Jobs/Volunteering/Pages/default.aspx Dodge Nature Center, a nonprofit environmental education center in West St. Paul, is seeking volunteers age 16 and over to assist with community events, land management and environmental education. For more information, call 651-4554531 or visit www.dodgenaturecenter.org.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is looking for men, especially Latinos, to mentor boys ages 7-12 in St. Paul. Volunteers are asked to commit just a few hours a month. To volunteer, call 651-789-2400 or visit www.bigstwincities.org. CommonBond Communities seeks volunteers to assist children and teens with their academic skills, homework and discovering post-secondary school and career opportunities. For more information, visit commonbond.org/volunteer or contact volunteerservices@commonbond.org or 651-290-6226. Cerenity Senior Care–Humboldt is seeking volunteers to transport residents to activities. It also needs Spanish-speaking volunteers to assist with one-onone visits. Volunteers may work weekly, monthly or at a special event. Located on the West Side, the Cerenity Residence at 514 Humboldt provides assisted living, memory care and transitional care, and the Cerenity Care Center at 512 Humboldt provides nursing care. To volunteer, contact 651-220-1789, HumboldtVolunteer@bhshealth.org, or visit www.cerenityseniorcare.org/volunteer. St. Paul Public Schools is seeking volunteer tutors to assist students oneon-one or in small groups. Flexible day, evening or weekend hours. To volunteer, contact Jyni Koschak at 952-945-4162 or jkoschak@voamn.org.


The St. Paul Public Schools Foundation is seeking volunteer tutors to serve at a variety of community organizations. For more information please contact Nora Robinson at nora. robinson@sppsfoundation.org or at 651325-4244. Volunteers of America is looking for volunteers age 55 and over to assist children who are struggling with homework and reading. Time commitment ranges from three to 12 hours a week. To volunteer or receive more information, contact Jyni Koschak at 952-945-4162 or jkoschak@ voamn.org. Minnesota Reading, Math Corps is seeking tutors to serve in St. Paul public schools. Tutors commit to 11 months of service, during which they earn a biweekly living allowance of $526 (fulltime) and an education award of up to $5,645 to help pay for education. Fulltime tutors may also receive health insurance. For more information or to apply, visit visit www.MinnesotaReadingCorps. org, www.MinnesotaMathCorps.org, or contact 866-859-2825. Rebuilding Together Twin Cities is looking for Safe at Home volunteers to provide home safety and accessibility modifications for low-income older adult or disabled homeowners in St. Paul and Dakota County. For more information,

call 651-776-4273, email volunteerservices@rebuildingtogether-twincities.org. or visit http://rebuildingtogether-twincities.org. Ramsey County Community Human Services has volunteer opportunities for people age 16 and older. For more information, contact 651-266-4090 or humanservicesvolunteer@co.ramsey.mn.us. Science Museum of Minnesota is seeking volunteers to assist with visitor services and exhibits. Apply at smm.org/ volunteer or call 651-221-9453 for more information. YMCA in West St. Paul - The YMCA offers several volunteer opportunities, including youth sports coaches, member services and Kids Stuff staff. For more information, call 651-457-0048 or visit www.ymcamn.org/weststpaul.

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Downtown St. Paul Voice - January 2018 - Page 11

N ews Briefs

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{ CALENDAR OF EVENTS } Black Dog Café, 308 Prince St., will present Will Schmidt on January 4 and Selby Avenue Syncopates on January 19. St. Paul Conservatory of Music will present a concert at noon, Wednesday, Jan. 10 at the University Club, 420 Summit. Ave. Subtext Book Store, 6 W. 5th St., will present David Housewright, author of “Darkness: Sing Me a

Song,” at 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 11. George Latimer Central Library Book Club will discuss “The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to his White Mother” by James McBride at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 11 at the library, 90 W. Fourth St. AZ Gallery, 308 Prince St., will hold a Winter Carnival Art Show January 11 to February 18 featuring

about 60 local artists. A Minnesota Sinfonia concert featuring violinist Rachel Lee Priday will be held at 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 12 at Metro State University, 700 E. 7th St. The Dream Songs Project Promises & Interludes is presented at 7:30 p.m., Friday, January 19 at Studio Z, 275 E. Fourth St. Books and Bars will present a discussion of “Before

the Fall” by Noah Hawley at 6:15 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 2 at Amsterdam Bar and Hall, Sixth and Wabasha. Baroque Room, 275 E. 4th St., will present “An Elegant Dialogue: Basso Continuo and Strings” at 7 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 13. “For the Love of Bass “is presented at noon, Friday, Jan. 19, and 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 20. Red Bull St. Paul Crashed Ice will be held January 19-20. Skaters will descend a 1,410-foot-long

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