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The St. Paul February 2012 Volume 46 Number 2

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Winter Carnival Preview

Plans are heating up for the ‘Coolest Celebration on Earth’ Join the fun Jan. 26-Feb. 5 Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer

The St. Paul Winter Carnival, dubbed “the coolest celebration on earth,” is filled with thrills and chills and wild escapades that send environmentalists and meteorologists into a tizzy. Their concern is over King Boreas and his brothers who reign over the four winds. Will they keep St. Paul locked in winter for the year, or will the sootcovered Vulcans overthrow Boreas and his blustery brothers, as they have for the last 125 years, and usher in warm spring breezes and days of sunshine? The outcome will be known at the torchlight

Winter Carnival / Page 2

WSP Royalty earns awards

Photo by James Ramsay

Klondike Kate 2003 Kimberly Tsoukalas, top center, gets the party started on Jan. 11 at the Klondike Kate contest, held at the Prom Center in Oakdale. Peggy Sweeney Junkin (right) from Inver Grove Heights was named 2012 Klondike Kate. Photo by Christine Wisch

The West St. Paul Days Royalty has had a busy year, and their reign is not over yet. This month they will attend Winter Carnival events in their quest to promote the West St. Paul Days celebration and serve as ambassadors of the city of West St. Paul. Over the summer and fall, the Royalty attended nearly two dozen parades, read to children at local libraries, delivered Christmas baskets of food, held a pancake breakfast and car wash, and made appearances at several community events. Queen Kristina Abbas said her crew made an impressive showing with their parade floats, garnering three awards. They received the Mayor’s Choice award at Cottage Grove’s Strawberry Festival for their Mexican Fiesta themed float. All candidates sported sombreros and mustaches. Next, they earned third place in the Royalty Division at Northfield’s Jesse James Days. This float had a Wild West theme, and the girls again wore mustaches. During Anoka’s Halloween Parade, they earned second place for their Candyland themed float. This year’s court is Queen Kristina Abbas, Princesses Sophie Shafer, Amber Neubauer, Karena Evans, and Junior Miss Selena Piñeda-Martinez.

Budget cuts hit library system Downtown and West Side branches will see little impact Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer


udget cuts made under the city of St. Paul’s 2012 budget will have little impact on the Downtown Central Library at 90 Fourth St. and the West Side’s Riverview Library at

1 E. George St. Beginning Jan. 30, on Saturdays, the Riverview Library will open a half-hour later at 11:30 a.m., and close a half-hour earlier, at 5 p.m. Hours of operation remain the same at the Central Library but have been adjusted somewhat. The new hours are noon-8 p.m., Mon.; 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tues.-Fri.; 11 a.m. -5 p.m. Sat.; 1-5 p.m. Sun. No employees were cut at either branch. Systemwide, the equivalent of five employees lost their

jobs and branch hours per week were reduced from 691 to 657. “It’s unfortunate losing employees and hours, but it’s a difficult situation for the city,” said Sherri Savage, acting manager for St. Paul Public Library. “We didn’t lose as many as we thought.” An original proposal would have reduced total operating hours per week to 645 and cut staff by the equivalent of 12 full time employees. Strong advo-

cacy from Friends of the St. Paul Public Library at City Hall helped prevent deeper cuts. The city adjusted its 2012 adopted budget when it found $1.4 million from tax increment financing (TIF) revenue, and funds from bond refinancing and other sources. “Library use has been steady and Internet and computer use remains high,” said Savage. “We provide access to people, especially those in workforce development. People come

here for trusted information and professional help in navigating the system.”

Library receives grant for workforce training The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library recently received a $468,000 grant on behalf of the St. Paul Public Library from the Otto Bremer Foundation to assist those seeking workforce training. The grant will allow the librar-

ies to provide even more resources and assistance to the unemployed, especially those dealing with cultural or language challenges. The grant will also allow for additional computer classes in multiple languages, as well as an expanded work/study program to enhance job search and digital literacy services. The Library’s mobile car, equipped with 10 laptops and printers, will visit community sites more

Library / Page 6

A rts & Culture

Your community news and information source

Winter Carnival from page 1

parade on Sat., Feb. 4. The 10-day event that celebrates ice and snow and frosty noses is jam-packed with fun festival events, many of which are held outside in the brisk winter air. Among the highlights are the crowning of the Queen of the Snows, ice carving contests, the torchlight parade, a sassy cabaret singer named Klondike Kate, and a medallion treasure hunt. The St. Paul Winter Carnival was recently named the fourth best Winter Carnival in the world, according to National Geographic Traveler magazine’s list of top 10 worldwide winter carnivals. It’s not surprising. St. Paul has been thumbing its nose at sub-zero temperatures since 1886, when a New York reporter the previous year described St. Paul in the wintertime as “another Siberia, unfit for human habitation.” Offended by the remark, the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce decided to prove that

the city was not only habitable but also hospitable and filled with residents who enjoyed cavorting happily in the frosty climate. Thus, the St. Paul Winter Carnival was born. Today, the event attracts 350,000 visitors a year and brings in an estimate $3.5-$5 million to the city of St. Paul and the state of Minnesota. Some of the highlights are listed below. Because of the lack of snow, the popular snow sculpture competition and sled dog races have been canceled. Events and times are subject to change. For more information, visit

Treasure hunt The Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt dates back to 1952 when Daniel Ridder, then publisher of the Pioneer Press, decided to hide a small treasure chest, and print daily clues to its whereabouts in the newspaper. It was an immediate

success, and the tradition continues today. Clues are posted at the Pioneer Press building at 11:05 p.m. each night, and published in the paper the following day.

9 p.m., Rice Park, 109 4th St. W. • Moon Glow Pedestrian Parade, 5-9:30 p.m., Securian Building, 401 Robert St. to Rice Park

Jan. 26 – Feb. 4

Fri., Jan. 27

• Winter Carnival Children’s Art Show, AZ Gallery, 308 Prince St. • AZ Gallery Juried Art Show, Black Dog Café, 308 Prince St. • Memories on Ice: The History of Carnival Ice Wall, Rice Park, 109 4th St. W. • Winter Carnival Ice Palaces display, Landmark Center, 75 W. 5th St. • Wells Fargo Winter Skate, 5th Street and Washington, $2 skate rental, free open skate • Music in Rice Park, noon-2 p.m. (subject to change), 109 4th St. W.

• Royal Coronation, 6-11 p.m., St. Paul River Centre, Grand Ballroom, 175 W. Kellogg Blvd.

Thurs., Jan. 26 • Multi-block Ice Carving Competition, 9 a.m.-

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Sat., Jan. 28 • Vulcan Coming Out, 10-11 a.m., Raspberry Island. Fun for the kids. • Winter Carnival Orchid Show, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Marjorie McNeely Conservatory (Como Park), 1225 Estabrook Dr. • 27th Annual Securian Winter Run Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, 7:30 a.m.-noon, 6th and Jackson; 7:30 a.m. registration, 9 a.m. start. Register at • Wells Fargo Jigsaw Puzzle Contest, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Landmark Center, 75 W. 5th St. • King Boreas Grande Day Parade, 2 p.m. start. Smith Avenue to Rice Park along West 7th Street • Winter Carnival Beer Dabbler, 4-8 p.m., Farmers Market, 250 5th St. E. Must be 21 years old; $30 in advance, $40 at the door. • Royal Family Day Roller Skating, 5-8 p.m., Saints North Roller Rink, 1818 Gervais Ct., Maplewood. • Deepwinter Bonfire, 5:30-10 p.m., McNally Smith College of Music and History Theatre. Music, dancers, food and drinks. • Klondike Kate Carnival Cabaret, 7-9 p.m.,

Landmark Center, 75 W. 5th St. • Rock the Palace II, 7 p.m.-12 a.m., Crowne Plaza Hotel, 11 E. Kellogg Blvd.

Jan. 28 & Jan. 29 • Autonomous Snow Plow Competition Display, all day at Rice Park, 109 4th St. W. • Fire and Ice Boys PeeWee Hockey Tournament, State Fairgrounds Coliseum, 1750 Como Ave. Ticketed event. 10-12-year-old division teams compete in the fourth annual Fire and Ice competition. Check for times. • Saintly City Cat Show, Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., St. Paul River Centre, 175 W. Kellogg Blvd. • Winter Carnival Disk Festival, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Como Park, N. Lexington Pkwy. and Horton Ave. For more information, visit www.gottagogottathrow. com • Winter Carnival Mixed Curling Bonspiel, 10 a.m.2 p.m., St. Paul Curling Club, 470 Selby Ave.

Sun., Jan. 29 • Individual Ice Carving Competition, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Rice Park, 109 4th St. W. • Vulcan’s Fun Day in the Snow, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., State Fairgrounds, 1265 Snelling Ave. N. Enjoy fire truck rides, a snow maze, food, entertainment and more. Free. • Winter Carnival Snow Snake Competition, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Rice Park, 109 4th St. W.

Kindergarteners Students moving to a middle school Students moving to a junior high Students entering Grade 9 Students changing schools Students new to SPPS in any grade


Page 2 - St. Paul Voice - February 2012

The St. Paul Voice is published monthly and delivered to 16,500 homes and businesses in West St. Paul, the West Side, Mendota Heights, Lilydale & Sunfish Lake.

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1643 So. Robert St., West St. Paul, MN 55118 Phone: (651) 457-1177 The St. Paul Voice assumes no responsibility for the opinions expressed by contributors and for the validity of claims or items reported. Copyright St. Paul Voice 2012. All rights reserved in compliance of Federal Copyright Act of 1978.

• Winter Carnival Kid’s Day, 2-4 p.m., Landmark Center, 75 W. 5th St. • Vulcan vs. Guard Hockey Game, 5:15 p.m.7:15 p.m., Vadnais Heights Sports Center, 1490 County Road E East

Mon., Jan. 30 • Titan Dinner, 6-8:30 p.m., visit for RSVP, ticket and location information.

Wed., Feb. 1 • Winter Carnival Card Tournament, noon-4 p.m., North Dale Recreation Center, 1414 Albans St. N. • West Wind Dinner, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Southview Country Club, West St. Paul • Barrage in the Garage: Klinker vs. Ferty, 5-7 p.m., O’Gara’s Garage, 164 N. Snelling Avenue.

Thurs., Feb. 2 • It’s So Cool It’s Hot Drag Show, $10, Lowry Theatre, 12 W. 5th St. Visit for show time.

Fri., Feb. 3 • Ashes Swing, Minnesota Music Café, 499 Payne Avenue. Visit for time.

Sat., Feb. 4 • Family Day Events, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Landmark Center, 75 W. 5th St. • Torchlight Parade, 5:30-7 p.m., Lowertown to Rice Park along 5th Street. • Fireworks, 7:30-7:45 p.m., Raspberry Island. • Overthrow of Boreas, 7:30 -8 p.m., St. Paul Public Library, 90 W. 4th St. • Vulcan Victory Dance, 7:30-11:30 p.m., Crowne Plaza Hotel, 11 E. Kellogg Blvd. $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

N ews Briefs

Your community news and information source

Farnham leaves big shoes to fill at RCHS


‘Carbone’s in the Community’ Jerry Carbone, owner of Carbone’s Pizza in West St. Paul, recently presented a $1,000 check to Garlough Environmental Magnet School in West St. Paul. The funds were made available through the franchise’s “Carbone’s in the Community” school grant program. Accepting the award was teacher Anne Bolsem, who applied for the grant. The money will be used to purchase Playaways (individual listening devices with stories recorded on them) for the school.

wenty years ago Priscilla Farnham embarked on an ambitious first project in her new role as executive director of the Ramsey County Historical Society (RCHS). She organized an exhibit to show the historic photographs of Henry Peter Bosse, a draughtsman and cartographer for the Army Corps of Engineers who took 300 photographs of the Mississippi River Valley between 1883 and 1892. He printed the photos as blue-tinted cyanotypes and bound them into albums, one of which was hidden away on a dredge barge for 50 years. That album was discovered in 1989 and appraised in 2011 at $4.5 million. The exhibit brought national attention to the society and put Farnham on a path to organizing many other projects that built awareness of the Society. She retired Dec. 31, 2011 and is leaving big shoes to fill. John Lindley, the So-

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ciety’s editor, will serve as interim executive director until a new director is appointed. Paul Verret, RCHS board chair, praised Farnham for her leadership, particularly her work on expanding the Society’s programs and the expansion of the Gibbs Museum and Heritage Apple Orchard, as well as overseeing Ramsey County History, the Society’s quarterly magazine. Farnham became executive director in 1992. At that time, the Gibbs farm, one of the last pioneer farms in Ramsey County, consisted of the original farmhouse on about one acre, and a portion of the barn. She oversaw the expansion of the property, now called the Gibbs Museum of Pioneer and Dakota Life, to more than eight acres, including gardens, prairie, Dakota structures, and a rare heritage orchard, with trees grown from seed-

lines dating to the 1700s. The site attracts 35,000 visitors a year. Although the farm is the society’s most well-known attraction, the RCHS also maintains extensive historical collections, including 350,000 historic St. Paul building permits that assist homeowners researching the history of their houses. It also publishes books of historical interest.


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St. Paul Voice - February 2012 - Page 3

B usiness

Your community news and information source

Fischerville Coffehouse, Bella Boutique under new ownership Mendota Heights couple purchases both businesses Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer


endota Heights residents Bob and Susan Engelhart have purchased the two charming shops located in the city’s only building on the National Historical Registry, the Fischer General Store at 2150 Dodd Rd., just south of Hwy 110. Susan called the acquisition of Fischerville Coffeehouse and Bella Boutique a “dream come true.” It was while stopping in for a cup of fresh-brewed java at the coffee shop a few

years ago that Bob became inspired to buy the place. “Bob was the instigator,” said Susan Engelhart. “He was a regular at Fischerville and one morning he was in early and just started shoveling the walks. That’s when he thought, ‘I would love to own this place.’ I had a strong interest in the retail side, so last spring we approached the owners and it fell together quickly. We are having so much fun.” The couple is quickly learning about the coffee industry and plans to travel to Portland, Ore., where Engelhart said “they live and breathe coffee…and have big coffee shows.” “Coffee is an art,” said Engelhart. “It smells so good, and we want it to

look beautiful, too. We are crazy about a good product and great coffee.” The product line at Bella Boutique features clothing, purses, watches, jewelry and more. Before Engelhart took over, the store carried a prescribed line of franchise products, but that has changed. Engelhart said she is stocking items her customers are asking for, even turning to local artists for unique fashions. She has also introduced a successful new line of jewelry made by a designer whose motherin-law lives in Mendota Heights. Engelhart has some retail and restaurant experience, but much of her career has been in home health care. For the past ten years she

Susan Engelhart at Bella Boutique. has been director and coowner with her brother of Visiting Angels Home Care in St. Louis Park. As a registered nurse, she supervises the company’s home healthcare aides. However, she is

slowly cutting back on her hours there and enthusiastically taking on more hours at Bella and Fischerville. “It was time to infuse a little something else in my life,” said Engelhart. “Home

health care can be very challenging. I can tap into the creative side of me with Bella and Fischerville. We are having so much fun.”

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B usiness Granny Donuts celebrates milestone anniversary Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer


he success of Granny Donuts, 1555 South Robert St., is West St. Paul’s very own David and Goliath Story. It’s the story of a small family-owned donut shop taking on the corporate bakeries of Cub Foods, Rainbow and SuperAmerica, and not only surviving but thriving. So much so that the Granny Donuts brand has become known far and wide. Granny’s was recently named “Best Late Night Eatery” by Minneapolis/St. Paul magazine, just one of many awards it has received over the years for its delicious donuts. This February, Xuan To and his wife Que Banh are celebrating 25 years of owning and operating the shop. Some of the questions being pondered at the shop recently include: how many millions of donuts have they made over that time, and how many taste buds have been delighted by their melt-in-your-mouth products. The answer, said To with a chuckle, is “too many to figure out.”

Those who know the couple understand that their success stems from a lot of hard work, dedication to turning out a great product and insistence on outstanding customer service. To keep costs down the couple does all the work themselves. They have no employees, although lately two of their sons have been in on the weekends to lend a hand. Word of mouth has helped them build a loyal customer base of regulars from all over the metro area. Granny’s even has a following nationwide. Metro area residents who have moved away are known to request the delivery of Granny donuts. For example, one West St. Paul family moved to Germany and requested that visiting friends bring them Granny’s apple fritters. Also, it’s not unusual for late night shift managers to call in orders of 5-10 dozen to be picked up in the middle of the night, which leads some people to ask if another shop should be opened. “Too much work,” said To. “We stay small and stay the best one! We make the best that we can and people come back.”

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The future of Granny’s The long-term future of the business is uncertain. To doesn’t expect his four children to take over the business since they are all successfully employed in other careers. Besides, he said the kids say, “no vacation, no way!” The only time To and Bahn have taken off in the last 25 years was to attend ceremonies for their daughter. The first time was when she graduated from optometry school and the second was when she got married. This July, they plan to take off two days for their son’s wedding. Now that they are both in their 60s, To said they are starting to slow down a bit. Their kids are telling them they should quit the business, to which To replies, “What I do at home?” However, he admitted that they may cut back to half days eventually. The success story of Granny’s is also an American Dream story come true. To served as a captain in the South Vietnamese Army. He and his wife knew they could not live under communism, so in the mid-


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1970s after the fall of South Vietnam, they and their two oldest children, just babies at the time, made a daring escape. To made arrangements to pilot a boat to take his family and 300 other political refugees out of the country. It took three days to get the group to Ma-

laysia. From there the family moved to Casper, Wyo., where they were sponsored by a Catholic congregation and a relative. They arrived in the United States with literally $1 to their name, so they started working right away. To worked at a warehouse and Bahn at a

bakery. Eight years later To’s brother, who was living in Minnesota, told him about a good business opportunity in West St. Paul. With Bahn’s support and encouragement, the couple packed their belongings and moved their family to Minnesota, and the rest is history.

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Bring us one item or a houseful. We accept it all! St. Paul Voice - February 2012 - Page 5

P eople

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WSP man named Prince of the West Winds Lives out childhood dream of being a cowboy Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer

All hail the Prince of the West Winds! Who is it that mysterious man with the cowboy hat and sidearm? It’s none other than West St. Paul’s Dave Wenda who, along with promoting the city of St. Paul as part of the 2012 Winter Carnival Royal family, will also be promoting West St. Paul as presi-

dent of the West St. Paul Days celebration. He expects a busy year promoting both organizations, which will require lots of calendar consulting and coordination. He will attend 300 events as “Prince of the West Winds” and put in 12-hour days during the 10-day Winter Carnival celebration, Jan. 26-Feb. 5. From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. he will appear at Carnival events, as well as stop off at nursing homes, hospitals and schools to “knight deserving subjects.” As Prince of the West Winds, Wenda gets to


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dress like a cowboy, which fulfills a childhood fantasy. “I’ve wanted to be a cowboy since I was six years old,” said Wenda, with a boyish grin. “I always considered cowboys as the ‘Knights of the Round Table’ of the west. I live my life that way, helping people out.” Roy Rogers was his childhood hero. Wenda first crossed paths with the Winter Carnival organization in 2006. His daughter Kaitlin was crowned Miss West St. Paul that year and he pulled the West St. Paul Days Royalty float at the parades

in April 2011, have been a big hit, according to Savage. During the first month, 467 eBooks were checked out. By December 2011, that number climbed to 3,483, with the total number of downloads for 2011 at 15,532. After library users check out an eBook, it can be sent to an electronic device or a computer and transferred to a variety of

eReaders, including the Barnes & Noble NOOK, Sony Reader and many others. The eBooks can also be downloaded on mobile devices, such as Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad, and Windows Mobile devices. Titles automatically expire at the end of the lending period so there are no late fees associated with the program. Links to free

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she attended. Winter Carnival Royalty attended many of the same events, and it was there that he met and became good friends with Art Blakey, 2006 Prince of the West Winds, and Roger Cruz, 2005 Prince of the West Winds. This year, the time was finally right for him to apply for the 2012 position. “As Prince of the West Winds I will be an actor, meeting people and spreading joy,” said an enthusiastic Wenda. The active and energetic Wenda works as a data and communication technician at the University of Minnesota.


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N ews Briefs

Your community news and information source

Donation to boost reading program at West Side Boys & Girls Club $2,925.30 to the club, as well as a new floor hockey set. They also joined Hardeman and club participants for a polar bear-themed party. “We had a fabulous time,” said Hardeman. “Volunteers were in the arts and craft room making polar bears with the kids. They helped prepare the meal, and then there was a floor hockey demonstration in the gym. The mascot from the Wild was there to play with the kids.” Hardeman said he feels blessed to have such a good relationship with Coca-Cola and its volunteers, who last year also helped build

Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer

John Hardeman, branch director of the West Side Boys & Girls Club, had no idea that a fundraiser had taken place late last year at a Minnesota Wild Game. Imagine his surprise when he learned that his club would receive nearly $3,000 from the fundraiser, which donated $1 from each sale of a rally towel to his club. The fundraiser was organized through employees at Coca-Cola. In mid-December, representatives from CocaCola and the Minnesota Wild delivered a check for

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a fence and garden at the club. He plans to use the donation to boost the educational segment of its K-2 program to help kids become better readers. The West Side Boys & Girls Club provides a wide range of programs and opportunities that promote respect, healthy lifestyles, positive relationships and character in the youth they serve. Membership dues are $5 per year and must be accompanied with a signed parental consent form. For more information, call 651222-2212, or visit the club at 291 Belvidere St. E., St. Paul.

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St. Paul Voice - February 2012 - Page 7

S ample St. Paul 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.

Your community news and information source

Children’s Museum

Day” and the tropical island of “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” Storyland engages visitors in early literature adventures. “Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body” is featured through May 13. Based on the best-selling book “Grossology” by Sylvia Branzei, the exhibit helps harness kids’ natural curiosity about themselves and their bodies by teaching them about how the fascinating human body functions.

10 W. Seventh St. St. Paul 651-225-6000 “Storyland: A Trip Through Childhood Favorites” is featured through Feb. 5. This exhibit brings children and adults into the world of seven beloved picture books. From the gardens of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” to the urban snowscape of “The Snowy

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History Center 345 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul 651-259-3000 “1968” is presented through Feb. 20. The year 1968 was a year of extremes: of comedy and tragedy, of love and hate, of leaders being gunned down, of violence on the front lines and on the home front, of graceful athletes and pow-


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Nothing’s cooler than kilts in February. Everything Scottish is featured Feb. 18-19 at the Scottish Ramble at the Landmark Center. erful protests, and of the promise of law and order. In one single year America saw it all and the highlights of that year are featured in this exhibit. Other exhibits include: “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation: The Depression, The War, The Boom,” “Open House: If These Walls Could Talk,” “Weather Permitting,” “Grainland,” and “Home Place Minnesota.” 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.

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30 E. Tenth St., St. Paul 651-292-4323 “1968: The Year That Rocked the World” is presented through Feb. 19. The History Theatre brings some of the most explosive events and personalities of 1968 to the stage: the war in Vietnam, the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sen. Robert Kennedy, the Mexico Olympics, Lyndon B. Johnson and Hubert H. Humphrey, the election of Richard Nixon, and even the Apollo 8 mission broadcast on Christmas Eve. These events are surrounded by the unforgettable music of the era and pop culture that entertained and reflected on a world in chaos. Tickets are $34-$38 for adults; discounts for seniors and children. Sample Night Live, a

sampling of local productions, is featured at the History Theatre at 7 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month. The format features 12 acts per night, including theater, film, dance, improv, visual arts, folk and opera. The next performance is Feb. 1. Tickets are $20.

Landmark Center 75 W. 5th St., St. Paul • St. Paul City Ballet will perform at 1 p.m., Sun., Feb. 12. • Scottish Ramble is featured Feb. 18-19. Enjoy bagpipe music, dance competitions, shopping, informative lectures and traditional music. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat.; noon-5 p.m., Sun. Tickets are $5 adults and $3 for kids and seniors. • Rose Ensemble, an internationally award-winning choir, will present a free concert at 4 p.m., Sun., Feb. 26. • Winter Carnival: Family Day events are featured Sun., Feb. 4 in the Musser Cortile; 9-5 p.m.; FREE. • Ballet Tuesday - St. Paul City Ballet offers a free ballet program at noon, Tues., Feb. 14. For more information, call 651-6901588. • Courtroom Concert The Schubert Club hosts a free Courtroom Concert series at noon each Thursday in February, except Feb. 2. This month’s concerts will celebrate early music. For more information, call 651292-3267.

S ample St. Paul Park Square Theatre 20 W. 7th Place St. Paul 651-291-7005 www.parksquaretheatre. org “Ragtime The Musical” is presented through Feb. 19. It’s 1906 and the air is filled with syncopated new music. A WASP family living the good life, a Jewish artist bent on achieving success, and a handsome black piano man courting the woman he loves find their

lives colliding against the backdrop of “the American Century.” Tickets are $38$68.

Science Museum 120 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul 651-221-9444 “Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship” opens Feb. 18. Don your pirate hat and climb aboard a recreation of a pirate ship. Learn to tie knots

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Your community news and information source and hoist a pirate flag. Explore what life was like on a real pirate ship and see more than 200 artifacts from North America’s only authenticated pirate shipwreck. Tickets are $29 for adults and $26 for children and seniors. “Under the Sea” opens Sat., Feb. 18 in the Omni theatre. Take a giant screen journey to some of the most exotic and isolated undersea locations on Earth, including South Australia, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Coral Triangle islands

of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. You’ll come faceto-face with some of the most mysterious and stunning creatures of the sea. Museum tickets are $11 for adults and $8.50 for children and seniors. Omnitheater tickets are $8 and $7 respectively.

Fitzgerald Theatre 10 E. Exchange St. St. Paul 651-290-1200 http://fitzgeraldtheater. “A Prairie Home Companion” is presented at 4:45 p.m., Feb. 4, 11 and 18. Join Garrison Keillor and the entire “Prairie Home” gang for two hours of live radio fun. Tickets are $32-$48.

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perience all the excitement and awkwardness of love as Mimi, a Parisian temptress, goes on a blind date with a different man every night—plucked right out of the audience. Tickets are $40-$45. Mu Performing Arts: Mu Daiko will perform Feb. 9-19. This Twin Cities-based drum ensemble brings its signature blend of tradition and innovation to the Ordway with familiar favorites and original compositions.

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St. Paul Voice - February 2012 - Page 9

N ews Briefs

Your community news and information source

ISD 197 selects superintendent search firm

input sessions to develop a candidate profile, establish criteria of desirable qualities of the new superintendent, conduct a search for appropriate applicants, produce a diverse pool of qualified candidates to the board, and complete other tasks necessary to select and hire the new superintendent. Acting as interim superintendent is Tom Nelson, who has more than 40 years of experience in public edu-

The Independent School District 197 board approved on a 6-0 vote to hire School Exec Connect to conduct the search for its next superintendent. The group was one of five consulting firms that submitted a proposal to the board. School Exec Connect will organize board, staff and community

cation. He was hired this summer after former superintendent Jay Haugen resigned in July to take a similar position with the Farmington School District.

Sustainability program helps reduce District 197 utility costs Independent School District 197’s LIVEGREEN

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program has made a substantial impact on the district’s operating budget. According to district officials, $1.5 million has been saved in utility costs since 2003 by recycling, composting, using green cleaners, reducing diesel emissions, using less paper, and updating engineering controls. Three years ago only 30 percent of all district waste was recycled. Today, nearly 60 percent is either composted or recycled, which has reduced the amount of times trash had to be collected. Each school in District 197 has a LIVEGREEN Club to support these ef-

forts, and each school has earned the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Award for demonstrating energy efficiency. In addition, the district was named an Energy Star Leader for demonstrating a 30 percent improvement in 2010. Only one other district in Minnesota earned this recognition.

Student Notes Rachael Peltier of Mendota Heights graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Caitlin Fermoyle of Men-

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dota Heights and Briana Mork of West St. Paul were named to the dean’s list at Gustavus Adolphus College. Alexandra Gustafson of West St. Paul was named to the dean’s list at Northwestern College in St. Paul. Jimena Escoto, Amy Finsky and Andrea Undis of West St. Paul were named to the dean’s list at St. Cloud State University. Anna Thul, Amanda Graff, John Traxler and Madison Smith of Mendota Heights were named to the dean’s list at Marquette University.

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(651) 406-5401 • River Bluffs Center is also home to the following businesses: Joke Joint Comedy Club

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N ews Briefs

Your community news and information source

West Sider hosts art show at Cherokee Park United Collected works of Ernesto ‘Neto’ Ybarra are presented through Mar. 30, at Cherokee Park United Church, 371 W. Baker St., St. Paul. Ybarra was born on the West Side and grew up with a strong connection to his Mexican heritage. After traveling through Mexico with local hip-hop group Los Nativos, he returned with an appreciation for the bright colors and the traditional appeal of the Mexican culture. Inspired

Republican 39A Caucuses District 39A Republicans will host a precinct caucus at 7 p.m., Tues., Feb. 7, at Friendly Hills School, 701 Mendota Heights Rd., Mendota Heights. Participants will discuss candidates and resolutions and also elect delegates to the District 39A convention.

Community Calendar • The Optimist Club The Optimist Club of West St. Paul meets 5-6 p.m., the first and third Wednesday of each month at West Side Lanes, 1625 South Robert St., West St. Paul. Visitors and new members are welcome. For more information, contact Cheryl Bergstrom at ckbergstrom@ or 651-4507391. • Veterans’ meetings - The Riverview-West St. Paul VFW Post 4462 hosts monthly meetings at 1 p.m., the first Wednesday of each month, at the West St. Paul Armory. For more information, call 651-437-4481. American Legion Post 521 also hosts monthly meetings at the Armory. Meeting

by Mayan codices and everyday scenes, Ybarra’s latest paintings take on an ancient essence while still incorporating modern subject matter. Through his art, he attempts to capture the colors of Mexico and speak of Mesoamerica and the continuing ideals of Mexican cultures and indigenous peoples of the Americas. He continues to live, paint and work on the West Side.

times are 7 p.m., the fourth Tuesday of each month. • Rotary Club - The West St. Paul/Mendota Heights Rotary Club hosts a weekly meeting at 7:30 a.m., Wednesdays, at Southview Country Club, 239 E. Mendota Road, West St. Paul. Each meeting features breakfast and a guest speaker. For more information, visit • Kiwanis Club - The Kiwanis Club of West St. Paul hosts a weekly meeting at noon, Tuesdays, at West Side Lanes, 1625 S. Robert St., West St. Paul. Each meeting features lunch and a guest speaker. • Chamber of Commerce - The Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce, which serves West St. Paul, Mendota Heights, Eagan, Rosemount and Farmington, hosts a monthly meeting called “The Buzz,” at 7:30 a.m., the first Thursday of each month, at DARTS, 1645 Marthaler Lane, West St. Paul. Each meeting features networking, a guest speaker and refreshments. For more information, call 651-452-9872 or visit

HHW collection Ramsey County’s household hazardous waste collection site at Bay West, located near the State Capitol at 5 Empire Dr. in St. Paul, is open year-round. Dropoff is free for residents of Ramsey, Washington, Dakota, Hennepin, Anoka and Carver counties with a photo I.D. For hours of operation and more information, call the Ramsey County Recycling & Disposal Hotline at 651-633-EASY (3279) or visit ph.

Flag disposal American Legion Challenger Post 521 has a collection box in the vestibule at the West St. Paul Municipal Center, 1616 Humboldt Ave., for American flags that are torn, frayed or discolored. For more information on flag disposal or on the Challenger Post, call John Ertel at 651-457-5597.

Free workplace English classes South Suburban Adult Basic Education (ABE) offers Workplace English classes to adults ages 18 and older who want to enter

Vessey Academy closes abruptly Citing financial difficulties and declining enrollment, Vessey Leadership Academy, a public, tuition free charter high school located in West St. Paul, abruptly ceased operations in late December. The school had students from 13 districts around the Twin Cities and used a curriculum based on knowledge, leadership, discipline and character development through programs such as the Junior Reserves Officers Training Corps. Because the school leased space and

had no real collateral, it was unable to obtain bank financing to keep the school afloat. The school board made its final decision to close on Dec. 23 and students and families were notified that they had to remove all personal belongings from the school by Jan. 3. The closure created a hardship on its students and families, who had to find a new school to finish out the year. Vessey will transfer all educational records to the students’ school district of residence.

the workforce and wish to improve their English language and job search skills. The classes are free and open to residents of ISD 197. To enroll or receive more information, call 651-457-9441.

ing, transitional care, and inpatient and outpatient therapy available at Cerenity Residence-Humboldt, light refreshments and door prizes. For more information, call 651-220-1700.

Homework Center

Ladies Morning Out program

The Student Homework and Activity Center at the Riverview Library, 1 E. George St., St. Paul, is open 3-7 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays, 3-5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 12:30-4 p.m., Saturdays. Volunteer tutors are available. The center includes computers, printers, reference books and school supplies. For more information, call 651-292-6626.

Women of all ages are invited to participate in the Ladies Morning Out program, held 9:30-11 a.m., Thursdays, beginning Feb. 9, at the Riverview Baptist Church, 14 E. Moreland Ave., West St. Paul. The program includes coffee, fellowship, discussion topics and Bible studies on “Survey of the New Testament” and “The Study of the Early Church in the Book of Acts.” Childcare is provided for preschool aged children. For more information, call the church at 651-457-3831 or visit

Cerenity Residence open house Cerenity Residence – Humboldt, 514 Humboldt., St. Paul, is hosting an open house 3-4:30 p.m., Tues., Feb. 7. The event will feature tours of the newly remodeled memory care floors, free blood pressure and balance checks, information on assisted liv-

All-Conference musicians from Henry Sibley Seventeen students from Henry Sibley High School have been named All-Conference musicians in the

Classic Suburban Conference. These students were selected based on their musical abilities and leadership at Henry Sibley. The students are: Michael Bahrke, Matt Foman, Sara Durenberger, P.J. Gannon, Anna Lacek, Kirsten Haukness, Erik Olson, Jack O’Leary, Tamar Rosenberg, Li’at Paradise, Darren Ryan, Sarah Records, Elliott Stern, Mark Rosno, Hannah Tkach, Brett Wills and Ellen Wilson.

Pancake Breakfast St. Michael’s Church of West St. Paul - Boy Scout Troop 288 is hosting a pancake breakfast 7 a.m.12:30 p.m., Sun., Feb. 12 in the school cafeteria, 335 E. Hurley St., West St. Paul. The meal includes sausage, juice, milk, coffee and all-you-can-eat pancakes. Dine-in and take-out are available. Cost is $6 for adults, $3 for children age 12 and under and senior citizens, and $16 for families (parents and children age 12 and under).  For more information, call 651457-2334 or visit

Volunteer opportunities • Ramsey County Community Human Services has volunteer opportunities for people age 18 and older. For more information, contact 651-266-4090 or • Minnesota Literacy Council - Volunteers are needed to tutor adult learners, assist in an adult classroom and teach basic English and GED classes. For more information, contact Allison at 651-645-2277, ext 219, or • St. Paul Public Schools - Volunteers are needed to tutor elementary students in the St. Paul Public schools in reading and math. Under the guidance of a classroom teacher, volunteers assist students one-on-one or in small groups. For more information, contact Connie at 612617-7807 or Volunteers age 55 and older are eligible for free supplemental insurance, mileage reimbursement and other benefits through the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), sponsored by Volunteers of America of Minnesota. • The Minnesota Reading Corps is seeking reading tu-

tors. The program provides free, one-on-one tutoring to children age three through third grade. Minnesota Reading Corps members receive a living stipend, reimbursement for college (up to $5,350) and health insurance (for full-time members). For more information or to apply, visit www. or call 1-866-859-2825. • Neighbors, Inc., a social service agency serving Northern Dakota County, has a number of volunteer opportunities to assist local residents. For more information, contact 651-306-2145 or • 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 3-12 hours a week. To volunteer or receive more information, contact Gil Zamora at 651-470-7416. • DARTS, a nonprofit organization in West St. Paul, has several volunteer opportunities to assist families and individuals with transportation and in-home services. Especially needed are volunteers to help older homeowners remove snow from their sidewalks and driveways. For more infor-

mation, contact 651-455-1560 or visit • St. Paul Senior Chore Service is looking for senior clients age 60 and over, as well as volunteers to help these clients with basic home and outdoor projects. For more information, call 651-649-5984. • Big Brothers Big Sisters - Big Brothers Big Sisters is looking for men, especially Latinos, to become mentors for St. Paul boys aged 7-12. Volunteers are asked to commit just a few hours a month. To volunteer, contact Jean Setley at 651-789-2479 or visit • Building Blocks Tutorial ALC, held at Cherokee Park United Church, 371 W. Baker St., St. Paul, needs volunteer tutors to work one-on-one with primary grade students doing activities that support reading, math and writing skills. Tutors volunteer one or two days each week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays, 3-5 p.m. Volunteers must be age sixteen or older. Orientation and training are provided. For more information, contact Jill Jackson, program director, at 651-228-1378 or St. Paul Voice - February 2012 - Page 11

R iver Connections Reflections from the Riverfront Tim Spitzack Editor

Same bench, same time, new musings Editor’s note: this is the third of a 12-part series where I am spending 30 minutes in the same place along the Mississippi River each month to contemplate life in our river town.

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must admit, when I embarked on this project a few months ago one of the first images that came to mind was a cold bench in the middle of a wind-swept park blanketed with snow. At that time I already envisioned what I would be wearing on this visit: long underwear, layers of clothing under a thick winter jacket, heavy socks and winter boots, and possibly a fleece facemask to protect my cheeks from the icy wind. Today serves as a reminder of why I shouldn’t worry about things I have no control over, and to expect the unexpected. It is 44 degrees and sunny, weather more reminiscent of a fall day rather than one in the heart of winter. It brings to mind the classic scene in “White Christmas” when Bing and Danny step off the train in Vermont, bundled from head to toe, and are greeted by warm, sunny weather and a brown landscape. Most people, however, aren’t complaining about the weather. The only people that are undoubtedly frustrated are the folks that are organizing the Winter Carnival, which takes place Jan. 26-Feb. 5. It’s hard to motivate people to celebrate our ability to embrace winter when we’re running around without coats, and it’s difficult to thumb our nose at people like that New York reporter from 126 years ago who called St. Paul “another Siberia, unfit


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for human habitation in the winter.” The river is still open and flowing freely. There are a few gulls soaring overhead, which is an odd sight. I don’t think I’ve ever seen sea gulls here in January. I’m sitting near the site where ferries used to transport people and product across the river before bridges. I can’t imagine the amount of patience they had in those days to wait for a ferry to cross from the West Side into downtown St. Paul. Now, we have four bridges along a mile-and-a-half of St. Paul riverfront and we get frustrated if we have to wait for a red light. The river means many things to many people. To some, it’s a barrier that separates people and neighborhoods. To others, it’s a ribbon of highway that leads to the sea. It also defines communities. For example, the people who live on the West Side have a tradition of living with the river, especially in the pre-floodwall days when it encroached on their homes in the springtime. It’s a close-knit community and many of its residents refer to themselves as being “from St. Paul” only when they are outside of the Twin Cities. If they are in the shadow of St. Paul’s skyline, they proudly call themselves West Siders. To my left, the riverfront trail through Harriet Island is paved with bricks, many of which have names and messages inscribed on them. They were installed during the renovation of the park that began in the late 1990s. I get up and look more closely at the line of bricks near my bench. They speak of community—one brick memorializes early settlers of St. Paul, another one a local congregation, and yet another one a St.

Paul police officer. Many bricks contain family names of mixed ancestry. The one from Kristi and Dennis is stamped with a special date, undoubtedly something monumental like the day of their first date, their wedding day or the birth of a child. Another brick has seven sets of initials, all ending with the letter W; a big, close family, no doubt. Bob and Linda’s paver pledges “Now and Forever,” while Ginny and Bill remind us that “Life is a Dance.” I read recently that a “not-to-be-missed Metro Mississippi adventure” is to walk over the Smith Avenue High Bridge. As I left the park, I decided to do just that. I’ve driven across the bridge hundreds of times but have never walked across it. I exited the park on Water Street, snaked my way up the bluff on Ohio Street, and turned right on Cherokee Avenue to reach a small park at the foot of the bridge. A group of people from the Cherokee Garden Club recognize the importance of this place and help beautify it each year by planting a flower garden here. Near the park is a sign that shows a sketch of the former High Bridge, which was imploded on Feb. 25, 1985, and a sketch of the current bridge, which was completed in 1987. The sign is cracked and faded from withstanding 25 years of weather atop the bluff. The bridge is named after Robert Smith, a longtime St. Paul mayor who served in the late 1800s and early 1900s. On the walkway, the view of the river and the skyline is stunning, and iconic St. Paul. In one sweeping view you can see the First National Bank sign, the domes of the Cathedral and the Capitol, the mansions on

the bluff and the Landmark Brewery sign. I peer over the railing and see a hubcap in the weeds below some power lines. It reminds me of a remarkable accident that happened here on Jan. 22, 1962. According to a newspaper article, a car veered off the High Bridge, landed upside down on a telephone line, sprung back up into the air, and landed upright with no passenger injuries. If the account is true, can you imagine the experience? What a ride! Halfway across the bridge I stop and look over the edge to get a full view of the river, some 160 feet below. It’s a majestic site to behold. Standing there with a gusty wind at my back, I couldn’t help but think of the distraught people who have used this bridge to end their lives. The thought saddened me so I said a quick prayer for those of us who struggle that way, that they can find hope. Once across the bridge I saw the huge, green chair that welcomes people to the West Seventh neighborhood, or Uptown. I smiled when I saw it because I immediately knew what I had to do to complete this urban adventure. I walked through a sandy area around the chair and crawled under the chair’s large arm to climb aboard. The seat was filled with sand, so I am not the first in recent days to be on it. I brushed away the sand from the middle plank and sat down and took in the view of the High Bridge and a small portion of the river. Sitting there I laughed at myself. I felt small, like a child. In the park near the chair is a pole inscribed in four languages: “May Peace Prevail on Earth.” Yes, may it be so. HANDYMAN, HAULERS, MOVERS & MORE SERVICES

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Page 12 - St. Paul Voice - February 2012




Ca co


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S ports Humboldt girls basketball enters new era

Your community news and information source

John E. Ahlstrom Staff Writer

It was six seasons ago that the Humboldt High School girls basketball program embarked on its road to relevancy. Led by the three Hicks sisters, a couple of LaRocque siblings and a few other talented young ladies – nearly all of whom had been nurtured and developed by the very proactive West Side youth athletic program – the squad became a force in the St. Paul City Conference. There have been some changes. Open up the sports section in 2012 and for the first time since 2005 you will not detect a single Hicks or LaRocque in a Humboldt box score. But while the names on the scorecard may have changed, the direction and quality of the program have not. Paul Richardson, a native of Northfield, Minn., and a 2004 graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, teaches English at Humboldt and is in his second season as the team’s head coach. Last year’s team advanced to the sectional semi-finals and he admits that “some of us thought we should have gone even further.” Of his current squad, he said, “Overall, we do not have the athleticism that we had last year and we do not

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have a lot of depth, but we are very well balanced and we have developed solid team chemistry.” The lone seniors in the starting lineup are guards Marissa Franco and Leticia Hernandez. “Both of them are passionate and fearless, and both of them provide great senior leadership,” said Richardson. The center is 5’11” freshman Haley Greene. According to Richardson, she possesses all of the tools to develop into a very special player. Danielle Hernandez (no relation to Leticia) is one of the starting forwards. “Danielle has never worked as hard or been as focused as she is this year and it is paying off,” said Richardson. “She is helping out on the boards and in the scoring column.” The other starting forward is junior LaShay Holt. Holt has not only emerged as the best player on the Humboldt team but she is putting up numbers that would suggest she is on her way to becoming the best player in the St. Paul City Conference. Her story is a special one. Holt was born in Minneapolis, grew up in Maplewood and now lives in the Battle Creek area of St. Paul. She was encouraged to attend Humboldt High School, and she enrolled

as an eighth grader in the fall of 2008. She had never played basketball before, but a couple of classmates convinced her to try out. She stayed on the team less than a month. “I played one game and I hated it,” said Holt. “It wasn’t for me.” She did run track in the spring of her eighth grade year. She did the hurdles, ran sprints and was on the relay teams and did very well. Certainly, the speed and athleticism that she demonstrated on the track have contributed mightily to her recent success on the basketball court. Holt was again urged by friends to try out for the basketball team when she was in the ninth grade. She acquiesced but reluctantly. “I cried when they put me on the varsity rather than the JV team, and I just quit going to practice,” she said. Her mother would have none of that. “When she found out I was not going to practice, she told me that when I commit to something, I have to stay with it, so I went back to the team,” said Holt. She played in one game. As a sophomore, her attitude changed. She credits MERRIAM PARK


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two of her teammates, Briana McDonough and Theresa Larocque, who were senior co-captains, for her new approach to the game. “They were my inspiration and my mentors,” she said. “I owe so much to both of them.” Holt did not put up big numbers last season. At 5’9,” she was the team’s starting center. “I scored mostly on ‘put-backs’ on offensive rebounds,” she said. However, she did capture the attention of Coach Richardson in a big way, especially during a game against St. Paul Highland Park. “I was looking at the stats book after the game,” said Richardson. “I knew that LaShay had been a monster LaShay Holt on the boards that night but I was stunned when I Richardson. dling skills have improved saw that she had snared 30 For the first time in her dramatically and she has rebounds – 15 in each half. short career, she worked on added the three-point shot I actually went to the high her game during the sum- to her repertoire. And not school league website to see mer months. She played so incidentally she carries a if it was some kind of state almost every day — mostly 3.3 GPA in the classroom. record.” alone — on an outdoor Holt’s explanation for It was not, but that does court near her Battle Creek her sudden success and not lessen the significance home. such eye-opening statistics of such an accomplishment Over the course of 14 is grounded in simplicity in Holt’s first full season of games this season, Holt is but is utterly profound in competitive basketball. averaging 21.2 points and its relevance: “I figured out “She is a strong and te- an astounding 17 rebounds that if I play harder than nacious defender and she per game. According to anyone else, good things will not be denied when she Richardson, her ball han- will happen.” goes after a rebound,” said Bilingual Childcare Education Center Community of Peace Academy K-12 18 months to age 10 471 E. Magnolia Ave., St. Paul 1514 Englewood Ave., St. Paul 651-776-5151 651-644-2405 St. Paul City School PreK-8 Academic Arts High School 260 Edmund Ave., St. Paul 60 E. Marie Ave., West St. Paul 651-225-9177 Cleaning done on site 651-457-7427 651-457-2909 Please present coupon with incoming order Not valid with other offers. Expires 2/29/2012. 984 Visit So. Smith Ave. West St. Paul Camelot Cleaners, 984 So. Smith (Smith at Dodd Rd.) for a link to explore these schools and forWest tips on choose St. how Paul •to 651-457-2909 Hours: Mon.-Fri. 7-7, Sat 8-4. a school that best fits your student's and family's needs.

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C ommunity

Your community news and information source

Building healthy families and healthy communities Every day I find another reason to be inspired by the people who come to Neighborhood House. Although many of our participants face incredible challenges, they work very hard to become self-sufficient members of our community, who can in turn help others. One example that comes to mind is Amy, a recent immigrant to the United States and the mother of two young boys. When she first came to Minnesota three years ago Amy was isolated and feeling lost in her new country. Her husband was working long hours at two jobs, earning minimum wage to support their family. Amy spoke very little English and was home alone most of the time. She rarely left the house, and her sons had no interaction with other children.

Unfortunately, this situation is not unusual for many immigrant families. Without connections in the community or a common language and culture, it is easy for new Americans to slip through the cracks. This has a devastating impact on the entire family. Immigrant families tend to be disadvantaged in three areas: economic stability, access to healthcare, and early education from birth to age six, which is critical to a child’s long-term success. The reasons for this are many. Parents may be unfamiliar with American norms for child development and school expectations. If they do not speak English well, they often have difficulty accessing mainstream services and resources. Many parents have heard inaccurate stories about Child Protective Services and are unwilling to seek help, fearing that their children will be taken away. As a result, early intervention doesn’t happen to prevent minor problems from escalating. This is the reason Neighborhood House’s Family Support and Education program exists. We help immigrants develop the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to thrive in their new country, and to address the needs of their entire family. Family Support and Education creates a positive, nurturing environment for children and their parents/caregivers so that parents like Amy can ensure their children’s healthy development and success. Amy found Neighborhood House through her neighbor, a former participant who told her about Together Time. Together Time is a Neighborhood House class that children under age five attend with their parents/caregivers.

These classes promote school readiness by teaching ageappropriate English language and educational and social skills through stories, circle time, games and singing. The first time Amy and her sons went to Together Time, they all loved it! The family began attending regularly and our staff provided Amy with support and information about positive parenting, as well as home visits and other assistance. Today, Amy feels at home in the community she’s found at Neighborhood House. She still attends Together Time with her younger son. Her older son is getting ready for kindergarten in September and has moved on to Skills for School, where he is enjoying coloring with new friends and learning his numbers and letters. Amy is a member of Circle of Parents/Caregivers, a support group that meets independently once a month to receive parent education. She is also a student herself, taking computer and financial literacy classes through our adult education program. Amy’s success has led her to become a resource for many newcomers. She provides transportation to Neighborhood House for those who need it and has taken a very active role in promoting and attending school readiness information sessions. So can you see why I am inspired? With just a little help, families who are struggling can make changes to their own lives and then help others. For more information on how Neighborhood House helps families ensure their children’s healthy development and success, visit

Comments and opinions are building along with the Penfield apartments Off-again, onagain project draws much reaction from downtowners Bill Knight Contributor

The long-delayed and debated Penfield apartment complex may soon become a reality. Maybe. The proposed six-story building overlooking I-94 will take up a square block between Robert and Minnesota and 10th and 11th streets. It will house 256 market-rate apartments and feature a 30,000-squarefoot Lunds grocery store. A spokesman from the Mayor’s office can smoothly reel off a series of wellrehearsed talking points about this $55 million project that is being developed by the city of St. Paul. Meanwhile, in the heart of the Lowertown artists’ community, the conversation centers on topics closer to home, and on the streets of St. Paul opinions about the Penfield span the horizon.

From city hall “The mayor believes this is a catalytic project,” said spokesman Joe Campbell. “He believes it will spur

additional investments in downtown St. Paul and be a destination for folks seeking market-rate apartments along the light rail, plus bring a long-sought grocery store to the downtown.” The next move is to get financing in place. The city has applied to the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to underwrite the mortgage, but Campbell said he is unsure how long the approval process will take. “This is a catalytic project for this area,” said Campbell. “Sometimes the government needs to step in, and we believe this project will lead to additional private involvements in this area.” He also said the city has examined the project closely to avoid pitfalls. “There is risk in any developmental project,” he said. “The city has gone above and beyond to ensure the most minimal risk possible.”

Closer to home In the heart of Lowertown, artists are certainly aware of the Penfield project but many believe it will have relatively little impact in Lowertown, which is bounded on the north at Jackson and 6th streets, according to Justin E. A.

Page 14 - St. Paul Voice - February 2012

Busch, president of the Northern Warehouse Artists’ Cooperative. What artists are most concerned with, he said, is the fear that they will get “gentrified out,” the process of market rate housing squeezing out affordable housing units. “We don’t want (only) poor people living in this neighborhood, but at the same time we don’t want a catch-all approach where we will throw in anything that anyone could possibly want,” said Busch, a composer and teacher. He added that artists frequently lament the fact that the new Farmers’ Market Flats complex in Lowertown will be more market-rate housing. “We don’t really need

(market-rate housing). We need affordable housing for artists,” he said. The main thing that makes people here roll their eyes is the Lunds store, said Busch. “I mean it’s not where most artists do their grocery shopping. You can spend $50 and get a lot more at other stores.” He described Lowertown as an urban village, “not something that is an urban suburb with nothing but high-priced sports bars.” Through it all, however, Busch found some humor and a positive spin on the Penfield project. “In our building there are plenty of artists who say anything that keeps the city from spending money on

a baseball stadium in Lowertown is probably a good thing,” he said.

On the street Ed Coleman, who has been with the downtown Spectacle Shoppe for 10 years, says he is ok with the city acting in the role of a developer, although he knows it is a controversial subject. “I’ve always been in favor of it. Anything to support downtown and improve it, then I’m for it,” he said. Coleman said there are some parallels between the Penfield and the light rail project. “There is always regression before progression,” he said, citing the pain of living with torn up streets

from the light rail construction project. “But in a couple of years it will be a nice place. Traffic and the light rail will be up and running and people will tend to forget about the disruption. People are saying that the Penfield construction will be disruptive, but it will end up a good deal for the city.” He said that at a recent downtown Rotary Club meeting, members were split about 50-50 on the city acting as a developer on this project. Nonetheless, Coleman supports it and the proposed Lunds grocery store. “Being a resident, I think that would be great because (the other stores) are not that big,” he said. “But both are trying.”

C ommunity

Your community news and information source

Elena Gaarder executive director

Since WSCO changed its logo a few months ago people have been asking me, “what’s with the hummingbird?” The hummingbird has significance for the organization and community in a number of ways. For some, it represents the “warrior spirit,” as referenced by the Aztec and Tiano

indigenous peoples of the United States. The West Side has been and continues to be a strong and resilient community, filled with residents who fight for what they believe is best for the neighborhood. For others, the hummingbird represents a connection to the environment, as referenced by the Hopi and Zuni tribes. For the past several decades WSCO has been committed to environmental justice, and our work in the future will maintain this commitment. Currently, we are participating in a project that will map environmental justice indicators in the neighborhood, looking at ways to increase the number of households that actively reduce energy consumption. WSCO is promoting waste and toxicity reduction through workshops conducted at Bluff Park Homes, Torre De San Miguel and Dunedin Terrace. There are also efforts underway to increase urban agriculture in the neighborhood. Also, the Environmental

Justice committee is in the process of developing a plan for 2012 and is looking for new members to join them. The next committee meeting will be held at 7 p.m., Thurs., Feb. 2, at the new WSCO office at 1 W. Water St., St. Paul. Other events in February include an open house, which will include tours of the new space and a presentation on the final draft of the 10-year West Side Community Plan. This will be the public’s last chance to provide input on the plan before it is presented to the St. Paul Planning Commission. The Open House will take place 6:30-8:30 p.m., Wed., Feb. 29, at WSCO, 1 W. Water St. Please join us in celebrating our new location and the countless hours of work that volunteers have contributed to the development of a new plan for the West Side.




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