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The St. Paul February 2014 Volume 48 Number 2

Visit for expanded coverage!

Oberdorfer named West Sider of the Year Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer

Dakota County coalition takes stand against medical marijuana


ach year the West Side Community Organization (WSCO) recognizes outstanding people from the neighborhood for their leadership skills and efforts toward improving and advancing the quality of living on the West Side. At the group’s December meeting Don Oberdorfer was named 2013 West Sider of the Year, and had his name added to a long and distinguished list, including recent honorees Father Steve Adrian, Anne Hunt, Carol Swenson, Jon Kerr and Margaret “Grit” Youngquist. Oberdorfer moved to Winifred Street on the West Side 11 years ago to be closer to the Dodge Nature Center in West St. Paul, where he works as the farm director. His volunteer work on the West Side began when he started teaching English to immigrants at the Neighborhood House. “The Neighb” is such a hub for community activities

A Joint Effort Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer


Don Oberdorfer works as the farm director at Dodge Nature Center. that it wasn’t long before he was involved in other West Side organizations. He has served as a WSCO board member and on the West Side Safe Neighborhood Council.  When West Side Safe dissolved, Oberdorfer led the way in organizing communication between

numerous neighborhood block club leaders to ensure that updates and information on crime and safety would continue. Oberdorfer has a teaching degree in social studies, geography and history and a master’s degree in environmental geography. He start-

ed at Dodge Nature Center as a part-time naturalist. When the farm director left, Oberdorfer took over. Much to the delight of his West Side neighbors he has been sharing his knowledge

West Sider of the Year / Page 3

egalization of medical marijuana is on the docket for discussion and vote during the 2014 Minnesota Legislative session. If passed, House File (HF) 181 and Senate File (SF) 1641 would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to help relieve debilitating symptoms in patients suffering from cancer, AIDS and other illnesses. Currently, federal law prohibits the use of marijuana for any purpose. Already signed on in support of the bill are Rep. Carlos Mariani (DFL-St. Paul’s downtown and West Side) and Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL-West St. Paul, South St. Paul and Mendota Heights). Staunchly opposed to the bill is a coalition of state and county law enforcement and public health officials, including Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom, who is leading the charge to keep marijuana illegal in any form, be it medical or recreational. At a forum and news conference held in November at Thompson Park Activity Center in West St. Paul, the coalition presented its reasons for their opposition to legalization of the drug. They believe it increases the chance for use and abuse by others for non-medical purposes, which, in turn, may lead to more criminal activity, The coalition noted that the American Academy of Pediatrics

Medical Marijuana / Page 2

On the Move

Camacho says farewell to Neighborhood House Plans to see El Rio Vista ballpark project through to completion Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer


hen Armando Camacho stepped through the doors of St. Paul West Side’s Neighborhood House in 2008 as its president, he was returning to the organization that he credits with keeping him off the streets when he grew up in poverty on the West Side. Camacho is leaving Neighborhood House to take over as CEO and president of Opportunity Partners, a Twin Cities

nonprofit that helps 1,900 people with disabilities to live, learn and work more independently through employment, residential and training programs. “In five and a half years we have accomplished so much, both financially and for all of St. Paul,” said Camacho. Neighborhood House is the 116-year-old nonprofit renowned for assisting immigrants, refugees and low-income populations with refugee resettlement, access to food, healthcare, employment,

housing, English education classes, sports activities for youth, and more. It runs the largest single site food shelf in Ramsey County. “I am leaving at the right time,” Camacho said. “In May of 2008 I came in as an educator with no nonprofit experience. The board of directors took a calculated risk in hiring me.” At that time the nation was in the throes of the Great Recession and the number of people in need kept increasing while fund-

ing decreased. Use of the Neighborhood House food shelf skyrocketed as unemployment rose and many who had previously given to Neighborhood House now found themselves in need. Through first-hand experience, Camacho understood how vital Neighborhood House was to the community. He is credited by agency leaders with helping Neighborhood House navigate the pres-

Neighborhood House / Page 3

Armando Camacho

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Medical Marijuana from page 1

is opposed to legalization of They also pointed out medical marijuana because that marijuana smoke conit could affect the prevalence tains 50 to 70 percent more of use among adolescents. 1 1/20/14 carcinogenic hydrocarbons StPV-FiddlerJan2014_Layout than tobacco smoke and 400 chemicals, includNOW PLAYING ing most of the harmful Through Feb 22! substances found in tobacco smoke. According to the National Institutes of Health, someone who smokes five joints per week may be taking in as many cancer-causing chemicals as someone who smokes a full pack of cigarettes every day, and smoking one marijuana cigarette deposits almost Back after 20 years! four times more of these harmful chemicals into the Relive the lungs than a filtered cigaTradition! rette. While it’s been stated that medicinal marijuana is safe for treatment of multiple sclerosis and glaucoma, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America and America Glaucoma Society have not approved its treatment. The National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society and American Medical Association are also opposed 952-934-1525 to legalizing marijuana. CHANHASSENDT.COM


The Dakota County coalition believes there is no need to allow smoking of marijuana because Marinol, an FDA-approved drug that comes in pill form, has the same chemical ingredients as marijuana and is already available by prescription. The pill, they say, allows the accurate amount of the chemical THC to be delivered to patients, something smoked marijuana cannot do. Finally, the coalition insists it is not sound public policy for states to enact laws that go against federal laws. They site the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case, Gonzales v. Raich, which upheld the authority of federal authorities to enforce federal laws prohibiting the use of marijuana in California for medical purposes as authorized under California law.

Growing public support A growing trend in the state and the nation favors more leniency toward medicinal use of marijuana. A March 2013 poll conducted by Public Policy Polling of

Raleigh, N.C. showed that 65 percent of Minnesotans favor “changing the law in Minnesota to allow people with serious and terminal illnesses to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.” Already 18 states and the District of Columbia allow doctor-advised medical use of marijuana. Hansen said HF 181 has support from both parties. He understands there is a need to protect the public health and hopes testimony provided during legislative discussion will help Minnesota develop a model that provides for the needs of the patient and law enforcement. “I had the experience with my mother dying of cancer,” he said. “It was a very painful experience. There is evidence that medical marijuana will improve the quality of life as they are passing, and I support that. It is not a gateway for drugs when given for pain relief. Having it available is the humane thing to do.” Hansen explained that, under President Obama, the Federal Justice Department

has moved to not prosecute those who use marijuana for medical reasons, or the dispensaries that are operating in accordance with state licensing laws. According to a 2012 Rasmussen poll, 72 percent of Americans say that government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth, and 60 percent say the federal government should not enforce federal laws prohibiting the use of marijuana in states where it is legal. Last fall, voters in Colorado and Washington approved the personal use of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use.

Regulations If the legislation is passed, the Department of Health would issue medical marijuana ID cards, which would make it easy for police to verify that a patient is allowed to use medical marijuana. To qualify for an ID card, a patient with a qualifying condition would have to submit a physician’s written certification. Qualifying conditions include cancer, glaucoma,

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HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, Tourette Syndrome, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, and conditions causing severe pain or nausea, wasting syndrome, seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms. Strict regulations would be in place by the Department of Health in selecting locations for nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries and labs. Sparsely populated counties would have none, those with a population of 20,000 to 300,000 residents would have one, and the four most populated counties would have two or three. If the bill passes in Minnesota without support of the law enforcement community, Gov. Mark Dayton has said he will veto it. Although the official legislative debate has yet to begin, it is believed that at this time there is not enough support in both chambers to override a veto. “Anything can happen once a full debate takes place,” said Hansen. “The majority in the state are in favor of it, and it is an election year.”

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Neighborhood House from page 1

sures of the Recession while expanding services that were essential to so many during that time. Camacho said his goals coming to the job were to reconnect the West Side community to Neighborhood House, which some feared was being lost, to improve all programs, and to explore how Neighborhood House could expand and enhance its outreach. Camacho grew up on the West Side, which helped him more easily connect with the community members. Under his leadership, programming expanded into St. Paul’s East Side and other areas of St. Paul. For example, Neighborhood House took under its umbrella the struggling Francis Basket food shelf near the Sibley Plaza in Highland Park. Camacho also led the way for RESOURCE INC., a job training and job placement organization, moving to the Wellstone Center. His one regret is that he will leave before his pet project is completed —

the renovation of the playing fields at Neighborhood House that were so important to him during his youth. “I grew up learning English on the fields” said Camacho, who was born in Puerto Rico and came to the West Side at the age of six. Growing up, Camacho received support and encouragement from legendary Neighborhood House coaches Harry Gaston and Gilbert de la O. They helped him shape his dreams and guided him on the path to success. Now, he wants other youngsters in the community to have the same opportunity that he had through playing sports on the fields, which have deteriorated over the years to the point that visiting teams didn’t want to play at the Neighborhood House. For the last five years he has been pursuing the $2 million needed to upgrade the fields. Only $200,000 is left to reach the goal, he reported. The city of St. Paul

is considering funding the project, and the Minnesota Twins organization has stated its willingness to assist. Even after his departure, Camacho said he plans to see the project through and that it will be his biggest accomplishment. Camacho’s last day was January 10. Ed Kegle, director of finance, and Susan Rostkoski, director of donor relations, are acting as interim co-presidents. It is expected to take four to six months to find a new president. “I have been very blessed to have spent five and a half years here and I hope I made a difference,” Camacho said.

West Sider of the Year from page 1

of urban farming, gardening and animal care with many of them. He was the instructor for the “Backyard Chicken Keeping 101” courses at the Riverview Library. He worked with a group of retired men on constructing fences and clearing space for community garden projects at both Dunedin and Torre de San Miguel housing sites. Quite frequently he can be found working behind the scenes when he drops off plants or produce for the West Side Plant Exchange, the Stryk-

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er Community Garden or West Side Farmers’ Market. In addition to his service as a WSCO board member, committee chair, informal leader and class teacher, Oberdorfer also volunteers as a soccer coach in West St. Paul. Mentioned many times in the “West Sider of the Year” nomination form was Oberdorfer’s quiet, natural leadership abilities. He is described as “humble” and

“approachable” and frequently sought after as an adviser. The nomination form reads: “He offers insightful comments and helped a lot with building consensus toward a common goal. Don’s greatest gift is consensus building — he does a really amazing job of listening to people, then boiling issues down to key points. His leadership, compassion and empathy when relating to others has served as an example to us all.”

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Lady Hawks look to forge a new identity John E. Ahlstrom Staff Writer


ast March, the Humboldt High School girls basketball team advanced to the semi-finals in Section 4AA, and came within two victories of advancing to the state tournament for the first time in school history. That team was led by three gifted seniors – LaShay Holt, Danielle Hernandez and Santana Castillo. All three are now attending college. Castillo is enrolled at Dakota County Technical College. She is not competing in basketball, but she will play fast-pitch softball for the Blue Knights in the spring. Holt has emerged as a starter on the St. Catherine University (St. Paul) basketball team. Through 11 games, she is averaging 10.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per outing. She scored a seasonhigh 18 points in her first

start against the University of St. Mary’s in Winona on Jan. 9. Hernandez is also flourishing as a starter on the Northland Technical and Community College basketball team in Thief River Falls, Minn. She was the Minnesota College Athletic Conference (MCAC) Player of the Week during the second week of January, when she averaged 21.5 points per game while hitting 14 of 25 shots from the field and eight for eight from the free throw line in two Pioneer victories. Humboldt Head Coach Paul Richardson is understandably proud that his tri-captains from last year’s squad are continuing their athletic careers at college, but his focus has shifted to this year’s team. “It’s not easy to absorb the loss of three kids of that caliber,” said Richardson, “but we have two returning starters, and a few of

the kids who contributed in small doses last year are getting an opportunity to play significant minutes and are starting to blossom.” The two returning starters are juniors Shay Akis and Haley Greene. The 5’4” Akis is averaging 15 points per game and, despite her height, is a demon on the backboards. In addition to basketball, Akis also runs track and is the anchor person on the sprint relay teams. “She is extremely quick and is a leader on both ends of the court,” said Richardson. “She is fearless going to the bucket and knows how to finish at the rim.” Junior Haley Greene, a team co-captain, is a 5’11” post player who has filled a starting role since she was in ninth grade. She is the team’s leading scorer averaging 18 points per contest. She is also a member of the volleyball team and throws

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Leading the way for the Hawks are (left to right) senior Cierra Mendez and juniors Haley Greene and Shay Akis. shot-put in the spring. “Her game continues to grow,” said Richardson. “She has become stronger physically, and with her improved footwork, she has created a real inside presence. She has also developed an effective mid-range shot and has an unselfish knack of delivering the ball to an open teammate.” Senior Cierra Mendez

also serves as team captain. A 5’1” sparkplug, she is heady and non-stop at both ends of the court and, according to her coach, possesses “ridiculously” quick hands. Mendez also participates on the volleyball and softball teams at Humboldt. The other senior starter is 5’3” Alicea DeLoye-Romo, who is a virtual mirror image of Mendez in terms of

her energy and speed. “Our seniors are great role models and set the tone for the rest of the team,” said Richardson. “Our proactive defense is our strength, and Alicea and Cierra love to get ‘up in your grill’ and play tough on the defensive end.” Junior Keandra Stokes, 6’1”, is the team’s fifth starter. She is just now starting

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to expose what the coaching staff feels is a very bright upside. “She is a natural shotblocker and passes well off the high post and she will continue to improve as the season progresses,” said Richardson. Three sophomores – Amelia Franco, Pheonix Perez and Sera Navarro – round out the team’s eightperson rotation. All three

are gifted offensive players and each of them has scored in double digits at least once during the first half of the season. The Hawks are currently 3-7, but that is not as woeful as it appears considering that about 80 percent of last year’s scoring has, in effect, graduated. Last year’s role players have become this year’s “go-to” scorers. Patience and playing time are

indispensable in gaining the confidence required to take on that responsibility. “We have a ways to go,” Richardson conceded, “but we have a group that’s willing to put in the work. Our goal is to peak in March and make some noise in the post-season.” The head coach is again blessed with solid team leadership.

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“What we must continue to do is communicate with each other, on and off the court,” said Mendez. “Solid team camaraderie leads to good things.” Mendez has not made a college choice yet but she would like to become a neonatal nurse and also continue her softball career at the college level.

“As a team, we have to be willing to put in the time and effort to get better,” added Akis, who envisions for herself a career in sports medicine. “It takes a lot of dedication and practice to get to a point where you are comfortable playing this game.” Greene’s ultimate goal – as she starts the second half

of her junior year in high school – is to become a lawyer. If she is as smooth in the courtroom as she is on the basketball court, she is destined to succeed. “Basketball teaches you a lot of life’s lessons,” she said. “It is the ultimate team sport. It’s about commitment and character and that it is never okay to give up.”

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is nearly complete. In midto late- February, northbound and southbound traffic will be redirected to the new bridge and the old Lafayette Bridge will be demolished. The second phase will begin with the construction of the southbound bridge. Completion of the new set of bridges is scheduled for 2015. Kent Barnard, spokesperson for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, said he is pleased

Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer


riving on and off the Highway 52/Lafayette Bridge at its north end is like an obstacle course, with barriers, sharp turns and merging lanes. It’s all part of the bridge reconstruction process, with two bridges being built to replace the current one. The first phase of the project began in 2011 with construction of a new northbound bridge, which

with the progress on the project. He said the recent arctic blast of below zero temperatures slowed down the process a bit, as did the brief government shutdown last fall. Once completed, each of the new Lafayette Bridges (northbound and southbound) will provide two lanes of traffic as well as an auxiliary lane for entering and exiting. The project also includes changes and realignment of the

bridges over I-94. The radius for entering and exiting has been widened to avoid truck turnovers. The northbound bridge will include a pedestrian and bicycle crossing over the Mississippi River. Re-surfacing of the Hwy 52 bridges over Plato Boulevard and Eaton Street south of the Mississippi river was completed in the fall of 2011, along with repairs and resurfacing of the Highway 52 bridges

crossing Concord Street. Motorists will experience ramp closures during construction but Highway 52 will remain open for the full construction period. The ramp from eastbound I-94 to southbound Highway 52 is closed and is not expected to reopen until August 2015. Permanently closed: • Eastbound East Seventh Street ramp to westbound I-94

• Fifth Street: Closed east of Johns Street and no longer exists as a street. • Fourth Street: Closed to vehicles. Bicyclists have access to Bruce Vento Trail by way of Fourth Street. • Kittson Street north of Seventh Street no longer exists. • Kittson Street south of the Downtowner Car Wash and Holiday Station no longer exists.

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moko Tanno, soprano, is presented at noon, Friday, Feb. 21. Free. An evening concert is held at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 21. Tickets are $10.

Ricardo Kanji, baroque flute and recorder, will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 1. Tickets are $20, with discounts for students and seniors.

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With Two Eyeglasses Obbligato will perform at noon, Friday, Feb. 7. Venezuelan brothers Tulio Rondón, cello, and Carlos Paul Rondón, viola, will perform original duos and sonatas. Free. Flying Forms will perform the Complete Corelli Violin Sonatas at noon, Friday, Feb. 14. Free. An evening concert is held at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15. Tickets are $15, with discounts for students and seniors. A Grand Tour of Duos for Renaissance Lute, featuring Phillip Rukavina and Thomas Walker Jr., is presented at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 8. Tickets are $20, with discounts for students and seniors. Yukionna: A Song Cycle, performed by Mo-

Children’s Museum

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

“Native Voices: New England Tribal Families” is presented through May 11. Explore five thriving New England communities as they work to balance cultural traditions with life in a modern world. Tickets are $9.50. Explore the museum free of charge 9 a.m.-5 p.m. the third Sunday of each month.

Fitzgerald Theater

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

Josh Ritter with special guest Gregory Alan Isakov will perform at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 3. Tickets are $24-$39. Fire from Ice, a musical and variety entertainment event featuring local musicians, is presented at 7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 9. Tickets are $50$150.

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

“American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition” is presented through March 16. Spanning from the dawn of the temperance movement, through the Roaring ’20s, to the unprecedented repeal of a Constitutional Amendment, this exhibition brings the story of Prohibition vividly to life. “Then Now Wow” highlights Minnesota’s history in the prairies, forests and cities. Visitors will encounter multi-media exhibits, artifacts and images unique to Minnesota’s diverse population and historic events.

Maria de Barros will perform at 7:30 p.m., February 19 at the Ordway. Ongoing exhibits include “The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862,” “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation: The Depression, The War, The Boom,” “Grainland,” “Open House: If These Walls Could Talk” and “Weather Permitting.” Museum tickets are $11 for adults, $9 for seniors and college students, and $6 for children ages 6-17. The center offers free admission on Tuesdays, 5-8 p.m.

the remarkable story of an ordinary 13-year-old boy, Ronnie, who happened to be friends with two extraordinary men: his pen pal, baseball legend and civil rights advocate Jackie Robinson, and John F. Kennedy, the Democratic Senator from Massachusetts who was campaigning in Wisconsin where Ronnie’s father was a leader of the state Democratic Party. Tickets are $30-$40.

ary 12 in the North Gallery Art Space, featuring painters Peter Hinze and Michael Conroy. Free.

History Theatre

Landmark Center

Scottish Ramble - 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 16. Enjoy bagpipe music, dance competitions, food, lectures and traditional music. Tickets are $4-$6.

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

“The Incredible Season of Ronnie Rabinovitz” is presented February 2-23. This play tells





Page 8 - St. Paul Voice - February 2014

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

Landmark Literati Local author Paul Clifford Larson will discuss his book “Icy Pleasures” at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 1. The book explores how Minnesotans have embraced their frigid climate with winter carnivals and cold weather sports. Free. Courtroom Concerts - The Schubert Club will present a concert at noon, Thursday, Feb. 6, featuring David Kent Morgan, tenor, and Jenya Trubnikava, piano. Lorelei Ensemble will perform at noon, Thursday, Feb. 13, 20 and 27. All concerts are free. Urban Expedition Explore traditions and customs of Finland 1-3 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 9. Free.

The Rose Ensemble will present an academic lecture and demonstration at noon, Wednesday, Feb. 12. Israeli musicologist Yossi Maurey will discuss the mysterious origins of a 16th-century musical composition, and the Rose Ensemble will perform the piece. Free.

Wood turning demonstration - Noon, Sunday, Feb. 16 in the Gallery of Wood Art. Free. Faces of the First: Contemporary Civil War Portraits of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment is presented February 6-July 3 at the Ramsey County Historical Society Gallery. The exhibit consists of 12 original works of art and 12 reproductions of oil paintings by portrait artist Jay Wittenberg. Free. An opening reception with Wittenberg and members of the Civil War Commemorative Task Force & Re-enactors is held 6-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 6.

Ballet Tuesday - Saint Paul City Ballet will perform excerpts from their repertoire at noon, Tuesday, Feb. 11. Free.

Ordway Center

Art exhibit – A new exhibit is opening Febru-

Minnesota Opera presents “Macbeth”

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

S ample St. Paul through February 2. At the urging of his scheming wife, Macbeth murders the king to claim the crown. His desperate and deadly reign of terror devastates his country and hastens his doom in this masterwork based upon Shakespeare’s classic thriller. Tickets are $65-$200.

foot domed screen. The films are “Blue Planet,” “Great White Shark,” “Ring of Fire,” “Stomp’s World Beat” and “To the Limit.”

The Target World Music and Dance series begins at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7, with a performance by Rennie Harris Puremovement. Tickets are $16-$49. Ladysmith Black Mambazo will perform at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 9 ($16-$53), and Maria de Barros at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 19 ($16-$41).

Xcel Center

Gidon Kremer, one of the world’s leading violinists, will perform at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 8. Tickets are $15-$63.

Museum tickets are $13 for adults and $10 for children and seniors. Omnitheatre tickets are $9 and $8 respectively. 199 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul www.xcelenergycenter. com

Justin Timberlake - 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 9. Tickets are $47-$177. TobyMac - 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14. Tickets are $22-$42. Paul Simon and Sting - 8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 23. Tickets are $42-$252.

Zeitgeist concert honors The Saint Paul Chamlocal composers ber Orchestra will perform pieces by Mozart and Hindemith at 10:30 a.m. and 8 p.m., Friday, February 21 and 9 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22. Tickets are $12-$42.

Park Square Theatre

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

“The School for Lies” is presented through February 2. An off-color romantic spoof with anonymous love letters, false proposals, hidden identities and characters you can’t help rooting for. Tickets are $38-$58. “The Diary of Anne Frank” is presented February 11-May 9. Among eight Jews hiding in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, Anne Frank emerges as a lyrical and intensely gifted young woman. Be inspired by this timeless account of a girl whose imagination and hope would not be stifled by adversity. Daytime matinees only. Tickets are $38-$58.

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

Omnifest 2014 is held through February 28, featuring five films daily on the Omnitheater’s 90-

Zeitgeist will hold its annual Playing it Close to Home concert at 7:30 p.m., February 21-22 at Studio Z, 275 E. Fourth St., Suite 200, St. Paul, and 2 p.m., February 23 at Roseville High School. The concert features winning songs from the Eric Stokes Song Contest plus music by local composers Nathan Hanson and Viv Corringham. Tickets are $10 for Friday and Sunday performances, and $20 for the Saturday show, and can be purchased

Jewelry trunk show and soiree The Artist Mercantile, 24 W. 7 th Place St. Paul, is hosting a jewelry trunk show 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7, and 7-9 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 8. On Friday, participants may sample chocolate truffles. Saturday will highlight two different collage artists working in different mediums, as well as the second day of the jewelry trunk show, chocolate truffle samples and wine. The Artist Mercantile offers a wide variety of Minnesota made art.

Your community news and information source 308 Prince St., St. Paul. The show features art from elementary and middle school students in St. Paul. Hours are 5-8 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays, and 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays.

place noon-5 p.m. at the Landmark Center, 75 W. 5th St., followed by the Vulcan Victory Torchlight Parade. The parade starts at 5:30 p.m. and travels primarily along 5th St., from Union Depot to Rice Park.

Winter Carnival ends February 1

The overthrow of King Boreas is held on the steps of the James J. Hill Library, 80 4th St. W., immediately following the Torchlight Parade.

Closing events of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival are held Saturday, Feb. 1. Family Day events take


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Winter Jazz Break The Twin Cities Jazz Festival is hosting a Winter Jazz Break 7-11 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7 at the Saint Paul Hotel, featuring a free piano performance by JoAnn Funk in the lobby and a concert by Jon Weber in the Promenade Ballroom. The Twin Cities Jazz Festival will be held June 26-28 in and around Mears Park in St. Paul.

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Tucson Trunk Show and Winter Clearance Sat., Feb. 15 Valentine specials all week long

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Winter Carnival Kids Art Show The Winter Carnival Kids Art Show concludes Sunday, Feb. 2 at the AZ Gallery, located in the Northern Warehouse at

Also that evening is the Vulcan Victory Dance at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 11 E. Kellogg Blvd. ($15 in advance, $20 at the door) and a fireworks display. The fireworks begin after the overthrow of King Boreas and are launched from Raspberry Island near the Wabasha Street Bridge. For more information, visit www.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Mendota Heights

Highway 110 & Dodd Road Mendota Heights, MN 55118 St. Paul Voice - February 2014 - Page 9

B usiness Rivertown Market under new ownership

Your community news and information source

Enthusiasm trumps experience for couple who stepped forward to save downtown grocery store Bill Knight Contributor


olette and Matt Atana did not let a lack of training or experience in running a grocery store hold them back from purchasing the Rivertown Market in downtown St. Paul late last year. They jumped at the chance to save the market from going out of business and have been enjoying their new venture ever since. “We wanted to set up a business and found out the market was for sale, so we decided to take a chance,” said Yolette. “We do not have any background in (owning) a grocery store but will try very hard to make it work.”

The couple found the store when Matt was looking for an investment opportunity. “I have another business, in technology,” said Matt, a self-employed computer consultant. “(Although) the fundamentals of a small business are somewhat the same, the details are different, and those can be the deciding factor in success or failure.” Matt was born and raised in Cameroon, Africa, a country of about 20 million people located in west central Africa. After leaving Africa, he lived in France, Canada, and eventually moved to Minnesota in 1998. Prior to assuming ownership of the market, he

was instrumental in getting city and state licensing and inspections and working with vendors. Yolette, who is from Montreal, Canada, handles the day-to-day operations. Most of their customers are regulars who shop there nearly every day and know the store well. On one of the first days that Yolette was in the store by herself she was feeling a bit overwhelmed but was reassured after a conversation with a regular customer, who happens to live above the store. “She came in and gave me a hug, saying ‘I hope you succeed,’ and that was someone who doesn’t even know me,” she said, noting the friendliness she has

found in St. Paul compared to their suburban Minneapolis neighborhood where people “mostly keep to themselves.” In a matter of weeks she said many of their customers have become friends. “They want to have a conversation with us when they come in,” said Yolette. “They say, ‘Thank you for buying the store.’” The store has eight employees who, in addition to their regular duties, have helped the new owners get accustomed to the operation. Most of them worked for the previous owner, including Rose, who works in the dairy and meat departments and has been with the store since it opened 14

years ago. Matt is grateful for their assistance and acknowledges that many of them were skeptical when he and his wife purchased the store. “(The transition) is something I’m very proud of,” he said. “It’s not all about making money, but rather the people, and that is most important.” The new owners have a zeal to live out the slogan of the store. “To me, ‘We are your neighborhood grocery store,’ means when someone comes into the store they can feel like they have a relationship with us and the store,” said Matt. At Rivertown Market, he said, it’s easy to walk in and talk to

an owner or manager. With the pending arrival of the Lunds grocery store near Tenth and Robert, the new owners say their success will stem from their commitment to customer service. “We respect Lunds but think they are more of a high scale grocery store,” said Matt. “Lunds is somewhat of a franchise store. We want to get closer to our customers and better meet their needs.” Rivertown Market is located at 437 Wabasha St., St. Paul. Hours are 8 a.m.7p.m. Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 651-224-4828.

Thank you St. Croix Lutheran Grades 6-12, West St. Paul. -Kristen, M.D. -Jacob, Johns Hopkins University

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R iver Connections

Your community news and information source

REFLECTIONS From the Riverfront

Embracing winter in the river valley Tim Spitzack Editor


y dog Sadie is a wonderful walking companion. Regardless of the weather, she is always willing and eager to hike with me through the Mississippi River valley. During the week, we begin at 6 a.m. and hike the same two-mile route each day. On the weekends, we leave later in the day, vary our route and usually travel twice the distance. The only days she misses are the extreme cold ones, like the one in early January when, within a block from home, she started awkwardly dancing on three legs, as though walking across hot embers. I knew that some of the frigid snow of the -12 degree dawn had become wedged in the deep crevice between

her paw pads so we turned around and went home, and I reluctantly continued on without her. Sadie looks thicker this time of year, much like my own reflection in the mirror. Our need for exercise motivates me to walk all winter long. Some days these walks are painfully cold and all I notice is the bleak, frozen tundra in front of me. Other days they produce unexpected gifts. One treat occurred under the full moon of the winter solstice. It was a starry, cloudless night and the moon shone brightly on a blanket of new-fallen snow. It was queerly bright and the moonshine stretched our shadows before us like the mid-day sun. Steam puffed from my mouth as I laughed at the girth of my shadow, caused by many layers of clothing.

We chased our shadows the entire way home, energized by the moonlight. Winter can change the appearance of things, too, as evidenced by the stand of birch trees that we pass on one of our weekend routes. In the summertime they look like spires of ivory, standing tall and straight as matchsticks, but in the winter, with the snow in the foreground and the vast frozen river behind them, they lose their luster and more resemble coffee-stained teeth. Winter has a way of sneaking up on us. It arrives gaily in a whirlwind of sprinkles and glitter, skipping arm-in-arm with two close friends — Thanksgiving and Christmas. We gaze in childlike wonderment when snow drifts softly down from a cloudy sky

and covers the brown, barren earth. The onset of the season is brisk, refreshing, welcomed. The winter solstice arrives on December 21, ushering in the darkest day of the year. We stretch and yawn but hardly give the day a second thought because there’s too much to do to prepare for holiday feasting and gift-giving. Temperatures dip. More snow falls. We deal with it. Not long after we break our first New Year’s resolution we begin to see that winter has a dark side, a bitter side. January 11 is typically the coldest day of the year in our region. We shake and shiver and start to grumble. By now many of us have gained a few extra pounds from prior weeks of overindulging. It is not welcomed weight, but it does help insulate us from the cold. We put our heads down and trudge along. Our blood congeals. We spend nearly all of our time indoors. It snows. We dig out. More snow. More digging, and the pattern continues. The end of the month seems a million miles away.

February 4 is the midpoint of winter, 45 days behind us, 45 days to go. The countdown begins and we can see a ray of hope. The days get a bit longer, the temperature a little more bearable. We’ve re-mastered walking on snowy sidewalks and driving on icy streets. More of us return outside to hike or ski or skate. We find we can enjoy the season. Since the beginning of statehood, Minnesotans have been playing in the snow along the Mississippi River. In his book “Icy Pleasures,” local author Paul Clifford Larson recounts some of that fun surrounding the first St. Paul Winter Carnival. In those days, they cut blocks of ice from the river for an ice castle and built massive toboggan and sleigh runs on the bluffs, including a half-mile toboggan slide on Ramsey Hill, a 9-block run on Daytons Bluff and a 2,000-foot shoot on Crocus Hill that began with a steep 90 feet drop. People skated on the river, ice-fished the river, and raced sleighs on the river. Larson will discuss his book and Minnesotan’s

fascination with winter activities at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 1 at the Landmark Center. Today, people continue to turn out in droves for the Winter Carnival to run races, make art from snow and ice, and parade through cold and windy downtown streets. And to cap it off, they gather near the river at nighttime to watch as the sky is lit up like the Fourth of July. The culminating activities of this year’s winter carnival take place February 1. On February 22-23, people will gather near the Cathedral of Saint Paul to watch extreme skaters plow their way down a 400-meter, obstacle-laden track. This is the third year the Red Bull Crashed Ice event has been held in St. Paul. Over the past two years, more than 100,000 people have braved the elements to watch the race. It’s proof that we are still willing to embrace winter and to make the most of it, which is fortunate because March — the snowiest month of the year — is just around the corner.

ISD 197 announces school spelling bee champions The Optimist Club of West St. Paul conducted six consecutive school spelling bees at Henry Sibley High School on January 8. Each contest ended after only one person correctly responded in a round and then correctly spelled a word in the championship round. The first spelling bee was for Moreland Arts & Health Sciences Magnet

School. Nine-year-old Lucas Baumeister won by spelling insinuate. Fourthgrader Izzy Nachtscheim won the Somerset Elementary School Bee by spelling erstwhile. Gayathri Gajjela won the Pilot Knob STEM Magnet School contest by spelling introverted. Oslo Martin Risch won the Garlough Environmental

Magnet School Spelling Bee by spelling pariah. Nine-year-old Kira DuPaul won the Mendota Elementary School Spelling Bee by spelling bloviate. Eighth-grader Anna Dupont was a repeat winner in the Friendly Hills Middle School Spelling Bee. Anna, who correctly spelled intercessory in this year’s

championship round, advanced to the Minnesota Seven County Metro Area Regional Spelling Bee in 2012 and 2013. Abi Arganbright won the Heritage E-STEM Magnet School Spelling Bee by spelling focaccia. The Optimist Club of West St. Paul presented medallions to all 35

participants and trophies to each champion. All champions qualified to take an online spelling test. Up to 50 of the top scorers in the semifinals will advance to the 2014 Minnesota Seven County Metro Area Regional Spelling Bee, which will be held March 15. The Optimist Club of West St. Paul has

served West St. Paul and surrounding communities since 1971. Other club projects include the Optimist Essay Contest, Optimist Oratorical Contest and Operation Thank You. The club meets 5-6 p.m. the first and third Wednesday of each month at Dunham’s Food and Drink in West St. Paul Visitors are welcome.

Student notes

St. Paul was named to the dean’s list at St. Olaf College. Michelle Fischer of Mendota Heights and Amy Strafelda, Kassandra Baker, Matthew Burbage and Heather Hanson of West St. Paul were named to the dean’s list at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth.

volunteer group that seeks to promote and enhance the Wentworth Library and build community relationships.

4462’s membership from 42 to 92. The group meets

at 1 p.m., the first Wednesday of each month at the

West St. Paul Armory. For details, call 651-437-4481.

Lucy Leighton of West St. Paul was named to the president’s list at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. Andres Brown and Andrew Kempe of West St. Paul were named to the dean’s list at St. Cloud State University. The following were named to the dean’s list at Gustavus Adolphus College: Caitlin Fermoyle, Austen Hilding and Kyle Hilding of Mendota Heights and Briana Mork of West St. Paul. The following were named to the dean’s list at Marquette University Margaret Lynch, Erin Plunkett and Robert Reidell of Mendota Heights. Rebecca Gobel of West

Library book sale Friends of the Wentworth Library is hosting a mini book sale 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22, featuring used books for adults, children and teens. Donations of used books are being accepted. Proceeds benefit the Dakota County Wentworth Library, 199 E. Wentworth Ave., West St. Paul. The Friends of the Library is a

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St. Joseph’s band at MOA The varsity band at St. Joseph’s School of West St. Paul performed a holiday concert at the Rotunda of the Mall of America. The band consists of 51 students in grades 6-8. St. Joseph’s Prep, Junior Varsity and Varsity bands are under the direction of Laura Saumer.

VFW merger The St. Paul VFW RanView Post 6210 has merged with the West St. Paul VFW Post 4462, boosting Post

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N ews Briefs Ladies Morning Out at Riverview Women of all ages are invited to attend Ladies Morning Out at Riverview Baptist Church, 14 E. Moreland Ave., West St. Paul on Thursday mornings, beginning February 6 at 9:30 a.m. These meetings will include Bible studies on people in the Old Testament. Childcare is provided for preschoolers. For more information, call 651-4573831 or visit

Cerenity hosts Sweetheart Social Cerenity Senior Care – Humboldt is holding its annual Sweetheart Social 6-8:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7 at its 514 Humboldt Ave. location. The event will feature a social hour, Italian dinner, special desserts, live music and a silent auction. Tickets are $30 per person. To order tickets, visit www. CerenityHumboldtEvents. org or stop by the business office at the Cerenity 514 or 512 Humboldt Ave. locations. The Cerenity Sweetheart Social is hosted by the Heart of Humboldt, an

Your community news and information source employee group committed to enriching the lives of Cerenity residents and partnering with the community to provide education, services and support for all seniors on the West Side of St. Paul. For more information, call 651-220-1789 or email

Free GED prep classes South Suburban Adult Basic Education offers free classes to help adults age 16 and older learn English and prepare for the GED test. Classes are offered at various times and locations. Free childcare is available for some classes. To enroll or receive more information, call 651-457-9441 or visit South Suburban Adult Basic Education at 517 Marie Ave., South St. Paul.

Area legislators host town hall meetings State Senator Sandra Pappas and State Representatives Carlos Mariani are hosting a town hall meeting 10:30 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Wellstone

Center, 179 Robie St. E., St. Paul. The meeting offers an opportunity for residents to meet with their legislators to discuss the 2014 legislative session, emerging issues and to voice concerns.

St. Joseph’s open house St. Joseph’s School, 1138 Seminole Ave. West St. Paul, is hosting an open house 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Wednesday Jan. 29, featuring tours of the K-8 grade school and preschool facilities. For more information, call 651-457-8550 or visit

Nowak’s Liquor under new ownership West Side native Domingo Contreras and Javier Galeano are the new owners of Nowak’s Liquor, located at 1034 S. Robert St. in West St. Paul. The partners, who also own G & C Property Services, a landscaping company, purchased it from Isaac Suhyoun in late December. Suhyoun operated the store for the past 12 years. He purchased it from

Tim Nowak, who founded the store in 1979 at 900 S. Robert St. and moved it to the present location in 2000. The store features a wide variety of beer, wine and spirits. The new owners, who employ seven, plan to add more Minnesota craft beers to their current offerings. They are also looking forward to getting more involved in the community and increasing their online presence.

Nelson joins Science Museum West Sider Amy Nelson has been named director of individual giving at the Science Museum of Minnesota. She will lead the museum’s effort to secure private funds to support ongoing programs. Nelson, who has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the Minnesota State University – Moorhead, has 16 years of experience in fundraising, most recently as director of development at CaringBridge, a nonprofit social network that provides ways for people to care for each other during any type of health event.

Former WSP councilman acquitted On January 14, a Dakota County jury acquitted former West St. Paul City Council member Edward

Hansen of West St. Paul of one count of misconduct as a public official and one count of disorderly conduct, stemming from allegations that he interfered with a real estate transaction by threatening to block permits for a buyer who purchased a home next to his to use as rental property, and that he verbally attacked a general contractor who was working on a city redevelopment project next to his home. Hansen was elected to the council in 2010 and resigned in 2012.

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 651-4575597.

Program on ancestral research Lois Abromitis Mackin, a prominent Minnesota genealogist, will discuss some of the most useful tools for compiling and analyzing the value of evidence gathered in ancestral researching at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 20 at the Dakota County Historical Society, 130 Third Ave. N., South St. Paul. Mackin holds a Ph.D. in

history from Brown University and currently coordinates the Minnesota Genealogical Society’s educational courses. She also writes for the Minnesota Genealogist. The program is sponsored by the Dakota County Genealogical Society and is free and open to the public. For more information, call Dick at 651-248-9251.

Boy Scout breakfast Boy Scout Troop 288 is hosting a pancake breakfast 7 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 9 at the Church of St. Michael, 335 E. Hurley St., West St. Paul. The meal includes all-you-can-eat pancakes, plus sausage, juice, coffee and milk. Take-out is available. Cost is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for children age 12 and under, and $16 for families (parents and children age 12 and under).

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

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Page 12 - St. Paul Voice - February 2014

The Optimist Club of West St. Paul meets 5-6 p.m., the first and third Wednesday of each month at Dunham’s, 173 Lothenbach Ave., West St. Paul. Visitors and new members are welcome. For more information, contact Cheryl Bergstrom at or 651-4507391. The Rotary Club of West St. Paul/ Mendota Heights hosts a weekly meeting at 7:30 a.m., Wednesdays at Southview Country Club, 239 E. Mendota Rd., West St. Paul. Each meeting features breakfast and a guest speaker. For more information, visit The Kiwanis Club of West St. Paul hosts a weekly meeting at noon, Tuesdays at Dunham’s, 173 Lothenbach Ave., West St. Paul. Each meeting features lunch and a guest speaker. The Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce, which serves the cities of Eagan, Farmington, Lilydale, Mendota Heights, Mendota, Rosemount, Sunfish Lake and West St. Paul, hosts a monthly meeting called the “West Saint Paul/Mendota Heights Coffee Break” 8-9 a.m. the

last Tuesday of the month. This event is hosted at various chamber member businesses in West St. Paul and Mendota Heights. Each meeting allows an opportunity for networking and to learn more about the business hosting the event. For more information, visit or call 651452-9872. Veterans’ meetings - 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 651437-4481. American Legion Post 521 also hosts monthly meetings at the Armory. Meeting times are 7 p.m., the fourth Tuesday of each month. The Minnesota Aspergers/HFA Game Club meets at 6:30 p.m., the second and fourth Thursday of each month at Riverview Baptist Church, 14 E. Moreland Ave., West St. Paul. The club is designed to help youth ages 9-16 increase social and cognitive skills. For more information, contact Vicki at 651-552-7381 or Cost is $10, or $48 for six weeks. A parent support group is also available during the same time.

N ews Briefs

Your community news and information source

{ VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES } 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 Anders at 651-789-2524 or 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 David at 651-3062145 or at DARTS, a nonprofit organization in West St. Paul, has several volunteer opportunities to assist families and individuals with transportation and in-home services. For more information, call 651455-1560 or visit Guild Incorporated, a social service agency based on the West Side that serves people with mental illness, has a number of volunteer opportunities, including drivers, phone buddies and help with administrative tasks. For more information, contact 651-925-8456 or volunteer@ 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 651-6495984. Ramsey County Community Human Services has volunteer opportunities for people age 16 and older. For more infor-

mation, contact 651-266-4090 or 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 Jean Setley at 651-789-2479 or visit 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,, or visit Minnesota Literacy Council is seeking people to teach, tutor or assist in a classroom 2-3 hours per week to help adults reach their educational goals. Training and support are provided. For more information, contact Allison at 651-251-9110, or St. Paul Public Schools needs people to tutor elementary students 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 612-6177807 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. St. Paul Public Schools Foundation is seeking tutors to assist one hour a week at schools and community organizations throughout the city. Orientation and training are provided. For more information, contact Neighborhood House and Ellen Nikodym at ellen.nikodym@ or at 651-325-4205. The Minnesota Reading Corps is seeking reading tutors. 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 or call 1-866859-2825. 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 Gil Zamora at 651-470-7416.

Building Blocks Tutorial ALC needs volunteer tutors to work with students doing activities that support reading, math and writing skills. Tutors volunteer one or two days each week on Tuesdays or Thursdays, 3-5 p.m., at Riverview Elementary, 160 E. Isabel St. Volunteers must be age 16 or older. Orientation and training are provided. For more information, contact Jill Jackson, program director, at 651-228-1378 or buildingblocks@ Riverview Elementary needs volunteer tutors to assist students in grades kindergarten through fifth in math and reading, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Volunteers are asked to tutor at least one hour a week during the school year. Training, orientation and support are provided. To apply, contact Areanna Egleston at or call Riverview at 651-239-8665.

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C ommunity Columns Christine Shyne executive director

WSCO held it annual meeting Tuesday, Dec. 3 at the Harriet Island Pavilion. We would like to thank all the West Siders and friends who attended, contributed to and volunteered at the event. The evening included the announcement and award ceremony for West Sider of the Year 2013. Don Oberdorfer was honored for his community work and dedication to improving the quality of life on the

Health Access/ HIV and AIDS testing for Latinos and Asian Pacific Islanders A year ago Neighborhood House began providing free HIV tests to individuals of Latino or Asian descent to enhance its health education efforts for these populations. Our Health Access program — the only federally funded organization focusing on HIV/ STDs in Asian and Latino populations in Minnesota — works to increase access to condoms and HIV testing. Language and cultural barriers often prevent individuals from understanding the information that is being targeted to the general population, and in both the Latino and Asian communities there are strong taboos against discussing sex and disease. Our Health Access team has found that those most at-risk are often less likely to seek out information and testing. One recent example is that of a Latino man who came into the Health Access office to get tested for HIV. He shared with us the story of his nephew who had many questions about sexual health but did not feel comfortable talking

West Side. Congratulations Don! Thanks for all the wonderful work you do in the community. At the meeting, WSCO’s primary order of business was electing a new board of directors. The elections were a success and we are proud to welcome our leaders for 2014. We have already had our first meeting and this year is off to a great start. Elected to our executive officer positions

with anyone in his family. The nephew was engaging in risky behaviors and did not know where he could go for resources, nor did he understand the importance of getting tested. Fortunately, this young man’s uncle invited him to come to Neighborhood House, where he received the information he needed. After taking this brave step of coming to the office, he was able to take the necessary precautions to protect himself and others. We have also found that meeting the most at-risk people in their own environment is often a better way to reach them. The following encounter proves this: “$10? Poke me now,” chuckled a young man at Checker Bar, an Asian gathering spot in St. Paul. His face flashed in and out of the colorful strobe lights.

We reach over 37,500 homes & businesses in the St. Paul area, as well as the Hispanic market of the Twin Cities. Call 651-457-1177.

Your community news and information source were Rebecca Noecker as president, Frank Emanuelson as vice president, Benjamin Mike as treasurer and Nicholas Novacek Bundt as secretary. We have a mix of five new and 12 returning board members. Among our new members is Phillip Espinoza-Day, returning to the WSCO Board for his third term after many years away.  We all look forward to working together on issues that matter to the residents of the West Side. Just a few things on our minds for 2014 are planning for the Second Annual Art on the Ave., implementing a new transit advocacy leadership program with the generous support of Nexus Community Partners and Corridors of

Because the test only takes 15 minutes and a quick needle prick, we were able to enlighten this young man about the eight main STDs, transmission of diseases, partner communication, and healthy sexual behavior while he waited for the results. When the time was up, we discreetly told him his results and he was able to enjoy the night with his buddies. Although Neighborhood House does not provide medical care, it can provide counseling and treatment options in the event of a positive result. As we move forward into the second year of the HIV/ AIDS testing program, we will continue to find new ways to reach the most atrisk individuals. In addition to testing, Neighborhood House educates high-risk communities about reproductive health and safe sex, while working to decrease stigma and helping individuals understand their risks and take charge of their health. We serve immigrants and refugees from

Board members (Back row, left to right) Jocelyn Sweet, Phillip EspinozaDay, Tom Alvarado, Tess Rizzardi, Dan Martinez, Rebecca Noecker, Nicholas Novacek Bundt, Joe Gould, Jose Ruiz, Alicia Lucio, Frank Emanuelson. (Front row) Benjamin Mike, Nataly Sanchez, Kathy Larson, Monica Bryand, Elianne McMahon-Miller. Not pictured is Pablo Basques. Opportunity, continuing to grow the West Side Farmers’ Market, shape food access policies with the support of the Center for Prevention at

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and growing our block club work. For more information, contact

WSCO at 651-293-1708, stop by our office at 1 W. Water St., or visit www.

many parts of the world and our staff works to distribute information in an effective, culturally sensitive manner. If you have questions about the Neighborhood House Health Access programs, call 651-789-2500 or visit

cess. As always, our doors are open and we look forward to your visit. Rapid HIV tests performed by Neighborhood House staff are available free to individuals of Asian or Latino descent over the age of 13 and can be per-

formed in any location where the participant feels comfortable, including at Neighborhood House, in private rooms at community gathering locations, or in the participant’s home. All tests and results are kept completely confidential.


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St. Paul Voice - February 2014 - Page 15

B ack in Time February 1942: Adjusting to the war Don Morgan Contributor


ars are difficult for both soldiers and civilians alike. This was evident during World War II when people on the home front struggled to make adjustments in their lives to support the war effort. Seventy two years ago people in St. Paul were doing just that while dealing with some depressing war news. However, they still managed to sneak in a little fun.

Even though World War II had been underway in Europe and the Pacific for more than two years, in February 1942 the United States had been involved for only a few months. At that time, war news wasn’t very good for the United States and its allies. Germany occupied all of Western Europe and the Japanese seemed to be having their way in the Pacific. Only in Russia, where the Red Army began a counter offensive, was there any positive

news, if one could consider the horrors of the Russian front positive. That February, newspapers reported Americans being driven out of most of the Philippines, Germans occupying most of North Africa, and the total surrender of a huge British force at Singapore. In St. Paul, people were gearing up for an abbreviated Winter Carnival. The festival had been shortened to only a few days but managed to produce a decent ice palace. There was also a big

winter sale at the Emporium. Like other retailers that were mindful of the war, the store urged customers to buy only necessities. However, if a purchase was necessary, what better place to make it than at the Emporium white sale? Some purchases were curtailed as the first round of war-time rationing began. The first commodities to be restricted were gasoline, rubber, tin and sugar. Drivers in St. Paul got ration stickers to place

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Your community news and information source

on the windshields of their cars. The stickers — A for pleasure only, B for drive to work, C for drive at work and E for emergency — along with a periodic ration card allowed the driver to purchase a limited amount of gas. That amount became increasingly limited as the war went along. To cope with the gas shortage, people started car-pooling, not just for commuting but also for shopping, doctors’ visits, etc. Driving a car without a gas ration sticker resulted in being ticked by the police. Sugar ration books were distributed through public elementary schools, so anyone without a child in school had to go to a school to pick one up. February also saw the first big war bond sale in the Twin Cities. A full page in the Pioneer Press reminded people that longrange bombers using a polar route could hit Duluth as easily as New York. Also new that month was “war savings time.” The country would go on daylight savings time for the remainder of the war, resulting in some very dark February mornings. Optimists pointed out that the change would mean more time for golf come spring. The pessimists reminded them that golf balls would be hard to find because they are made of rubber. War plant workers would soon begin working 60-hour weeks so they wouldn’t have much time for golf anyway. Life on the home front was tense for the next few years. The Pioneer Press enhanced its readers’ knowledge of geography with a special Sunday section “War Book,” showing detailed maps of 13 war zones covering most of Europe and Asia. Those wishing to escape reality for a few hours could catch a movie like “Sergeant York” with Gary Cooper, “Sundown” with Gene Tierney, “How Green Was My Valley” with Maureen O’Hara and Roddy McDowall, “Tarzan’s Secret Treasure” with Johnny Weissmuller and “Sierra Sue” with Gene Autry. Most realized that life on the home front was manageable compared to what those in the Armed Forces were facing in combat zones, so they engaged

in a lot of morale-building activities. For example, the St. Paul Women’s’ Institute held its spring fashion show with a patriotic theme. In addition to bond sales between exhibits, the event featured cycling and gardening outfits that helped women remain stylish while on the road or in their Victory Gardens. Two popular radio show troupes came to St. Paul that month. The Major Bowes 1942 All Star Review played for a week at the Orpheum on Seventh. The program featured amateur entertainers competing for prizes and a chance at fame. It was essentially a radio precursor to TV reality shows like Star Search and American Idol. Few became big stars — even a young Frank Sinatra had been an unsuccessful contestant — but the winners got to go on tour to exhibit their talents. That year’s program included a one-legged man who was an expert at whistling, a woman with a deep baritone voice who sang Old Man River, a “singing impersonator,” an operatic tenor and a performer billed as a “xylophone marvel.” The show received excellent reviews in the Pioneer Press and played to full houses the entire week. Also that February were auditions for the popular radio show Quiz Kids. All week long parents took their children downtown to the Golden Rule to answer general knowledge questions for the chance at radio stardom. Three significant things happened at the end of that month: a new draft lottery began with reduced physical standards (men with false teeth or eyeglasses were eligible), the Army received authority to move Japanese Americans off the West Coast to internment camps, and a Japanese submarine that was located off the coast of southern California shelled a refinery. Years later, that event was the basis for the Spielberg comedy “1941,” even though it actually happened in 1942. The war would go on for another three-and-one-half years but during that time people in St. Paul had plenty of opportunites to mix their desire for victory and peace with efforts to keep their way of life intact on the home front.

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