Page 1

May 2011 Volume 8 Number 5

IN THIS ISSUE... • • • •

South St. Paul author writes a love story, 63 years in the making Page 4

People.......................................... page 4 News Briefs.................................. page 5 Sample St. Paul............................ page 6 Back in Time.. ............................ page 12

How safe is our city? A comprehensive look at public safety issues in South St. Paul

Sample St. Paul Event Guide Page 6

South St. Paul Police Sergeant David Hughes demonstrates the latest technology the department uses to track and apprehend criminals. He has been with the force for 18 years.

Riding the Rails in Old South St. Paul Page 12

Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer


rom hideaway gangsters to runaway cattle, from drug dealers to identity theft, the South St. Paul Police Department has seen it all. Today, as criminals have become more sophisticated with their unsavory exploits, the department has also gotten more sophisticated in thwarting them. For example, they now use high-tech computers in their squad cars to pull up vast amounts

of information on a suspect, either before or during pursuit. The software allows officers to do many things on site, including viewing driver’s license pictures and getting real time fingerprint identification. Here is a look at the most prevalent crimes in the city.

Illegal drugs

According to 2010 Dakota County crime statistics, illegal drug offenses made up the largest category of cases charged by

the Dakota County Attorney’s Office. South St. Paul reflected county figures with the most felony charges in the city coming from 36 illegal drug incidents in 2010, up from 27 in 2009. “Drug use is at the root of much of what we encounter,” said South St. Paul Police Lieutenant Phillip Oeffling. “We certainly are seeing more incidents in which social media is involved. “Identity theft continues to be a popular trend and is the crime of choice

of those involved with illegal drugs.” Methamphetamine continues to be the top illegal drug in Dakota County, followed by marijuana, cocaine and prescription drugs. A collaboration of Dakota County organizations recently developed drug abuse prevention materials regarding prescription and over the counter medications to educate the public about the dan-

Public Safety / Page 2

P ublic Safety Public Safety from page 1

gers involved. The organizations included the County Attorney’s office, Sheriff ’s Department, Drug Task Force, Public Health and County Environmental Management.

Domestic violence

Crime data show that domestic violence is the greatest cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States. Felony-level crimes related to domestic violence could involve terroristic threats, where the offender threatens the victim, stalking, harassment and assault. In South St. Paul the number of felony domestic assaults, including strangulation, in 2009 (28) outnumbered drug related crimes (27). Likewise, related felony crimes included stalking (22) and terroristic threats (13). By 2010 domestic assaults dropped

Your community news and information source to 7, stalking to 11 and terroristic threats to 10. Domestic violence statistics, however, have always been difficult to assess, since many victims are reluctant to report the crimes for various reasons. Oeffling believes that a law passed in 2005 which makes it a felony to strangle or attempt to strangle someone during a domestic violence struggle, enables the courts to more easily send offenders to jail and provide greater protection to the victims. He also believes that the stress of job loss or financial problems can trigger bad behavior, leading to domestic violence.


Gangs remain a concern in South St. Paul. “We have noticed a distinct increase in the number of gang related activities in the past few years,” said Oeffling. “Those incidents range

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from minor graffiti to significant assaults. We are centrally located with many access points, which makes it easier for that element to find us. Unfortunately, gang activity is not uncommon throughout the area. In general, those engaged in criminal activity have become more mobile and we often find ourselves arresting or looking for suspects who do not live in South St. Paul.”

Healthy Youth Coalition and the Mayor’s Youth Task Force seem to be working in helping to change the attitudes of South St. Paul youth regarding underage drinking, smoking and drug use.

‘Eyes and ears’

The South St. Paul Police Department needs city residents to be the “eyes and ears” of law enforcement. To encourage them to get involved, officers visit schools, give presentations at community events, and reach Other crimes out to residents, young The number of peo- and old, to educate and ple charged with felony urge them to call if somecrimes in South St. Paul thing seems wrong in dropped from 177 in their neighborhood. The 2009 to 150 in 2010. As mantra of law enforcenoted, a drop in domestic ment officials is that citiJuvenile violence violence reports, stalking zen participation is vital “The majority of our and terroristic threats ac- to keeping crime in check juvenile charges in 2010 counted for much of the in a community. Knowwere related to disorderly decline. In 2009 there ing your neighbor is key conduct, followed closely were 16 tax related felony to recognizing if someby theft and assault relat- charges in South St. Paul, thing is amiss. That’s ed cases,” said Oeffling. while there were none in why neighborhood block “Only three charges were 2010. What have risen clubs are so valuable. related to possession or in 2010 are sex-related “Knowing your neighconsumption of alcohol crimes – 20, compared to bor’s routine, vehicles, or marijuana, which is 4 in 2009. Burglary rose and acquaintances certhe most frequent charge from 11 in 2009 to 18 in tainly helps alert you if resulting from underage 2010. Assaults were also something seems unusual parties.” up in 2010, with 18 com- which, hopefully, results Oeffling believes that pared to 10 in 2009. in a call to our office,” intervention programs “Although there are al- said Oeffling. “We do like South St. Paul’s ways exceptions, the ma- participate in Night to jority of people we arrest Unite, and currently have typically have some sort two officers deployed of criminal history and in the schools. We also are known to us or other have a very active Police law enforcement agen- Reserve unit and have cies,” said Oeffling.  “It conducted a Citizen’s depends on the circum- Academy for the last two stances, but the majority years. When City Hall of theft related cases typi- was renovated recently, cally are random, while we added a satellite office assaults usually involve to be used by State Patrol known victims. Our goal Troopers.  This arrangeis to get them into cus- ment has resulted in an tody sooner rather than increased police presence later. Once they complete in South St. Paul without the terms of their conse- adding to our staffing quences, they are free to level.” move about and enjoy the Last year they also addAd for SSP Voice:Ad we for SSP Voice 10/30/09 Page 1 Dakota freedoms all share.” ed2:24 thePM Northern Crime Blog to their tool chest for fighting crime.

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Reporting Guide


1643 So. Robert St., West St. Paul, MN 55118 Phone: (651) 457-1177 The South St. Paul Voice assumes no responsibility for the opinions expressed by contributors and for the validity of claims or items reported. Copyright South St. Paul Voice 2010. All rights reserved in compliance of Federal Copyright Act of 1978.

Citizens can log on and check out photos of local criminals. Law Enforcement officials are looking for help in identifying those in the photos. To check it out, do an online search for: Northern Dakota County Crime Blog. Crime reporting practices in South St. Paul seem to be working, and Oeffling says this may be in part because his officers have fostered a positive relationship with citizens so they have confidence and trust in the police force. In spite of the high tech nature of crime fighting today, the police still enjoy telling the stories of the past. “All kidding aside, a half ton cow presents definite public safety problems,” said Oeffling. He recalled how years ago, four dozen cattle escaped and he and another officer were the only ones available to monitor the runaways, which had made it as far as the industrial park. “The industrial park was under construction at the time and the cows simply circled a large pile of dirt for about 30 minutes until the packing plant employees arrived. They are not the smartest animals,” he remarked.

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Internet Safety Tips for Kids

• Spend more time with real-life friends than virtual friends • Tell an adult if someone online harasses you or wants to talk about sex • Cut off contact with anyone who pressures you for your personal information (name, age, size, photo, address, family information) • Be careful of strangers who try to turn you against your family while promising to be your best friend (they may send you gifts and give you lots of compliments) • Do not exchange pictures with strangers • Do not open e-mails/instant messages or download attachments from people you don’t know • Do not fill out your information to win free stuff • Do not go to meet someone you don’t already know in real life • Do not post personal information of any kind on a personal website or blog • Tell children that people aren’t always who they seem to be, online and even in real life. Sometimes they change and do mean things. Critical thinking about what we upload and download is the best protection. • “Sexting” is illegal. It is the exchange of sexually explicit messages or pictures, usually between cell phones. If you get a sext message and send it on, you can be charged with child pornography. The person who sent it to you can be charged with child pornography, too. If you post or send an inappropriate picture of yourself, it will be online forever.

Public Safety from page 2

neighbors know your concerns so they can provide information or confirmation of what is occurring as well. Block clubs are a good way to keep people informed and to hear police perspective of what’s happening in the neighborhood. Things to note about a crime: date, time, location, street address of the building or house, general description Suspect: Note the race, sex, age, height, weight, hair color, complexion, dress and other distinguisihng features, such as a limp, beard, etc. Surroundings: Note important features at or near the location of house, apartment, building or corner, such as litter, abandoned cars, other suspicious activity, dogs, guns, etc. Vehicle: Make and condition of vehicle, color, license number ,. 2 or 4 door

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P eople South St. Paul author writes a love story, 63 years in the making Bill Knight Contributing Writer


ven though Jim Murr is 86-years-old and long retired from his career as a plumber, the South St. Paul native is launching a new career as an author. His recently released book is a love story, but not the type that might first come to mind. Murr will be signing his book at 3 p.m., Sat., May 7, at the South St. Paul Library. Murr has mixed lots of common-sense advice with a can-do attitude and the love a husband has for his wife to chronicle the years he provided in-home health care for Jean Murr as she struggled with Alzheimer’s. They had been married 63 years when she died in October 2009. Murr, with a low-key sense of humor, says he gets kidded by his coffeedrinking friends about being an author. The book is titled, “Remembering Jean’s Greatest Gift. Living Happily at Home with Alzheimer’s,”

although Murr says, it’s “...just the love story of a great old couple.” Readers meet a young Jean Hinkle growing up in Illinois, her first date with Murr and their years together raising a family of three children in South St. Paul. The book and their lives change dramatically, however, when she is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s by Mayo Clinic doctors in 2001. “So we went to work on it,” he said of how they coped with Alzheimer’s for the next nine years, “living a day at a time. I was determined that she was not going into a nursing home, if I could stay healthy to keep her at home.” Part of this attitude comes out in stories Murr tells from his career as a plumber. Some of his commercial accounts were nursing homes where, on a work break, he would have a chance to talk with the residents living there. “Some people at a home would ask me, ‘Did you come here to

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Family and friends pitch in

In his book Murr gives a lot of credit to a supporting family and a small group of caregivers he hired who came into his home. His son, also named Jim, is a South St. Paul plumber who has carried on his dad’s business. Daughters Susan Murr and Kathleen Alexander were nick named the “flying squad” by their father. “If their mother fell down, for example, I’d call them and they’d be right there to help,” he said. Murr said Susan took time out of her busy schedule and stayed with her parents for extended periods to get her mother back on her feet. “Kathleen would bring her family and food, typically on a Sunday morning, and we’d have a

Top: Jim Murr chats with attendees at the “Meeting of the Minds” Dementia Conference, held Mar. 19 in St. Paul. pleasant get-together with family and neighbors,” he said. Murr sprinkles the book with tips and suggestions for someone who may be a caregiver. Networking with several health care professionals, for example, helped him immensely. “If you get the right support, you can care for someone at home,” he said. “It’s possible to do if people are committed enough to do it.”

Murr is proud to point out an unexpected benefit for home health care providers. “There is no guilt in this family,” he said. “We have no remorse, no guilt. And that is so huge after she passed away and our lives have gone on.” He maintains that the care a patient receives is much better in a home setting, “...and the care of the caregiver is so much better also,” he said. “I feel guilty about

Left: Jean Murr, taken just 3 weeks before her passing. not feeling guilty.” Murr said most people find reasons for excusing themselves from offering to care for another. “Then they lose contact with a family member or a loved one,” he said. The book is available at and other outlets.

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N ews Briefs

Your community news and information source

Library happenings nated for the Man BookFor more information on the following library events, call 651-5543240 or visit Mariachi performance – Mariachi Flor y Canto, a 9-piece Mariachi band, will perform at 6:30 p.m., Thurs., May 12, at the Dakota County Historical Society, located next door to the library. The band includes vocals, trumpets and special mariachi instruments such as the mandolin-like vihuela and the guitarrón. Book discussions – “Digging to America” by Anne Tyler is the title discussed in May. In this novel two couples meet at an airport where they are waiting for their new Korean daughters. From then on an unusual friendship develops, based on their lives as parents of adoptees, and cultural differences flourish. Tyler, originally from Minneapolis, was nomi-

er International Prize for Literature. The Wednesday discussion will be at 1 p.m., May 25, and the Thursday discussion at 7 p.m., May 26. This is one week later than usual meeting dates. Information packets are available at the library’s front desk and at www.southstpaul. org/library under Adult Book Discussions. Free computer help – The library is offering free assistance with basic computer questions and applications 10-11:30 a.m., Wed., May 18, including e-mail, social networking, MS Word and more. Author visit – Author Jim Murr will visit the library at 3 p.m., Sat., May 7 to discuss his new book, “Remembering Jean’s Greatest Gift: Living Happily at Home with Alzheimer’s.” Drawing on his own experiences, Murr will share his ideas on providing care for loved ones at home.

Simple Steps walking program

Simple Steps in Dakota County begins May 1. This free program offers participants the opportunity to find new places to walk in Dakota County and enter to win prizes. Register at (search for “Simple Steps”) or call 651-554-6100 for more information.

Citywide Camp-out

In honor of National Get Outdoors Day, the South St. Paul Jaycees have teamed up with the South St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department to offer an overnight camping experience in Lorraine Park Sat., June 11. The event will include activities for all ages, including a flashlight scavenger hunt and a community bonfire. Cost is $5/tent to pre-register, or $10/tent the day of the event. Registrations are accepted at Central Square Commu-

nity Center, 100 Seventh Ave. N., South St. Paul. For more information, visit

Passes on sale for disc golf and outdoor pools

The Kaposia Park Disc Golf Course at Kaposia Park operates on a payto-play format. Users must purchase a daily pass or an annual pass, which costs $30 for residents and $40 for nonresidents. Passes are sold on-site during the disc golf season and also at the Parks and Recreation office, 100 7th Ave. N., South St. Paul. Season passes are on sale for South St. Paul’s two outdoor pools: Splash Pool at Lorraine Park and Northview Pool. The pools will be open June 11 through Aug. 21. Cost for residents is $32 for the first pass in a household and $21 for each additional pass. Non-resident fees are $42, and $31 for ad-

ditional passes within the household. Daily admission is $3.50. Annual passes and daily admission coupon books are available at the Parks and Recreation office at Central Square Community Center, 100 7th Ave. N., South St. Paul.  For more information, call 651306-3690 or visit www.

Park shelter reservations

The South St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department is accepting reservations for its picnic and special events facilities. Lorraine Park has a shelter, and Kaposia Park has a shelter and a pavilion for rent. All other public picnic facilities are available on a first come, first served basis. Rentals are available 8 a.m.-10 p.m., daily, May 7-Oct. 16. For availability and rental information, call 651-306-3690.

Off-leash dog area permits

Permits are now available for the Kaposia Landing Off-Leash Dog Area, located at 800 Bryant Ave., South St. Paul. This 6.3-acre fenced parcel offers dogs and their owners the only legal area to run, recreate and train without a leash in the city. Users must have a permit to use the park. Cost is $20 for residents and $30 for non-residents. The fee supports on-going maintenance and development of the park. For more information, visit or call 651-306-3690.

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S ample St. Paul Xcel Energy Center Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band will perform at 7:30 p.m., Thurs., May 12, at the Xcel Energy Center, 199 West Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul. Tickets are $69. Country superstar Tim McGraw and his “Emotional Traffic Tour,” with special guests Luke Bryan and The Band Perry, will perform at 7 p.m., Sat., May 14. Tickets are $29.75-$74.75.

Science Museum “Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs” is featured through Sept. 5. The exhibit, which features more than 100 artifacts of the treasures of King Tut, explores the time of the pharaohs and what scientists have recently discovered regarding the unexpected death of King Tut. To complement the exhibit, the Omnintheatre is featuring “Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs.” In the late

19th century, 40 royal mummies, including 12 Kings of Egypt, were discovered together in the same tomb. Today, scientists continue to explore the process of ancient Egyptian mummification using modern technology. See the first modern mummification in the Egyptian style since the time of the pharaohs, and find out what mysteries scientists hope to unravel by studying ancient DNA. Weekday tickets are $25 for adults and $16 for children ages 4-12 and $23 for seniors age 60 and older, or $30, $18 and $29 respectively on the weekend. Price includes all Science Museum exhibits. Museum tickets are $11 for adults and $8.50 for children ages 4-12 and seniors age 60 and older, or $17 and $14.50 respectively with admission to the Omnitheater. Omnitheater tickets alone are $8/$7. The Science Museum is located at 120 W. Kellogg Blvd. For more

Your community news and information source information, visit www. or call 651-2219444.

Ordway Center for Performing Arts

“Next to Normal” is presented May 10-22, at the Ordway Center, 345 Washington St., St. Paul. From the director of Rent, this Tony Awardand Pulitzer Prize-winning rock musical is an emotional powerhouse of a musical about a family trying to take care of themselves and each other. Tickets are $27$80. For more information, call 651-224-4222 or visit

History Theatre “Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story” is presented April 30-May 22. Part biography, part rock ’n’ roll concert, this is the musical retelling of the life and times of Buddy Holly, from his meteoric rise to stardom to the unforgettable concert in Clear Lake, Iowa. The show features nearly two

dozen hit songs, including “Peggy Sue,” “Oh Boy!” “Rave On” and “That’ll Be the Day.” Tickets are $28-$32 for adults, $25-$30 for seniors, $15 for students and $10 for 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, except February. The format features 12 acts per night, including theater, film, dance, improv, visual arts, folk and opera. The next performance is May 4. Tickets are $20. The History Theatre is located at 30 E. Tenth St., St. Paul. For more information, call the box office at 651-292-4323.

Children’s Museum “LEGO Castle Adventure” is featured through Sept. 11. Visitors help design a new castle for the king and queen using one of the greatest building materials of all time: LEGO bricks. Visi-

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History Center

“Opus” plays May 6-29 at Park Square Theatre. inside of the royal castle, test their fortress designs with a catapult, spot a dragon and climb a battlement wall. “Framed: Step into Art” is presented through May 15. Enter the framework of famous paintings and experience art as never before. View original and famous parodies of Mona Lisa, and create your own version of

Mona Lisa’s enigmatic expression by putting your face in a cutout version of the painting. Participants may also create their own wall mural with chalk and their own art gallery by arranging works of art in frames. Tickets are $8.95. The museum is located at 10 W. Seventh St., St. Paul. For more information, call 651-225-6000.

“Discover the Real George Washington: New Views from Mount Vernon” is presented through May 29, at the Minnesota History Center, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. Learn about George Washington as a young surveyor, dauntless warrior, entrepreneur and presidential first. This new traveling exhibit from Mount Vernon features forensic models of Washington at ages 19, 45 and 57, short films by the History Channel, computer interactive segments, portraits and decorative arts, period weapons and personal artifacts, including the only surviving

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full set of Washington’s dentures. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and college students, and $5 for children ages 6-17. The center offers free admission on Tuesdays, 5-8 p.m. For more information, call 651-259-3000 or visit

Park Square Theatre

“Opus” is presented May 6-29. A celebrated string quartet has their backs against a wall on the eve of their White

House debut. They’ve had to replace their violist with gifted, inexperienced Grace, who’s never played Beethoven’s difficult Opus 131. “Opus” explores the power and pettiness of collaboration…and what a girl has do to play with the big boys. Tickets are $20-$60. Discounts are available for age 30 and under and age 62 and older. The theater is located in the Historic Hamm Building, 20 W. 7th Place, St.

Artists’ Quarter

The Artists’ Quarter, located in the Historic Hamm Building in downtown St. Paul, offers live entertainment throughout the month, including jazz bands, poetry nights and the popular B-3 organ night, held at 9 p.m. every Tuesday. For a complete schedule of events, call 651-2921359 or visit

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701 Concord St. South, South St. Paul 651-455-3600 South St. Paul Voice - May 2011 - Page 7

N ews Briefs Summer program registration

The South St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department is now accepting registrations for summer programs, including summer playgrounds, Thursday special youth field trips, day camps, pre-school programs, outdoor swimming lessons and more. A brochure will be available in mid May at For more information, call the Parks and Recreation Department at 651-306-3690.

Fare for All Express

Fare For All Express will be held 4-6 p.m., Tues., May 3 and 31, at Central Square Community Center, 100 7th Ave. N. Fare for All Express is a program of the Emergency Foodshelf Network that partners with organizations around the Twin Cities metro area, including South St. Paul Central Square Community Center. It is a cooperative food buying pro-

Your community news and information source gram that buys food in bulk directly from wholesalers and passes the savings on to participants. The program can result in a 50 percent savings on monthly groceries by purchasing “express packages.” No advance payment or pre-registration is needed to purchase packages and there is no limit to the number of packages that can be purchased each month. Fare For All is open to everyone! There are no income-based requirements for participation. Participation does not affect eligibility to receive assistance from the foodshelf. For more information call the community center at 651-306-3690 or visit www.southstpaul. org.

Volunteer opportunities • Minnesota Literacy Council - Volunteers are needed to tutor adult learners, assist in an adult classroom and teach basic English and GED classes.

Page 8 - South St. Paul Voice - May 2011

For more information, contact Allison at 651645-2277, ext 219, or • 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 fulltime members). For more information or to apply online, visit 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 volunteer@ or call 651-306-2145. • Volunteers of America is looking for volunteers age 55 and over to assist children who are struggling with home-

work and reading. Time commitment ranges from 3-12 hours a week. To volunteer or receive more information, contact Gil Zamora at 651-4707416. • DARTS has several volunteer opportunities to assist families and individuals with transportation and in-home services. For more information, contact 651455-1560 or www.dart1. org.

HHW collection

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

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon run

Participants and sponsors are needed for the third annual Beyond the Yellow Ribbon of South St. Paul 5k/10k fun run/ walk, held Sun., June 12 at the North Urban Regional Trail in South St Paul. Organizers are hoping 400 people will participate to help celebrate South St Paul becoming a Yellow Ribbon City. Beyond the Yellow Ribbon is a program that supports local troops, from deployment to the time they come home and reintegrate into the community. Services and activities include sending care packages, hosting a Christmas Party for the service member’s families, date nights, babysitting clinics, marriage and grief counseling courses, and other events to help families reconnect. Sponsorships range from $150 to $2,000. For more information, contact Deb

Callahan at 651-5529237 or

PCU offers free rabies vaccination vouchers for South St. Paul clinic

Postal Credit Union’s (PCU) West St. Paul branch is offering free rabies vaccination vouchers for South St. Paul’s Annual Dog and Cat Vaccination Clinic, held 12:30-2 p.m., Sat., May 7 at the South St. Paul Fire Department. The vouchers can be obtained at Postal Credit Union, 1725 S. Robert St., West St. Paul, while supplies  last.  Pets must be on a leash or in a pet carrier. Pet owners can also obtain a dog or cat license for their pet at the clinic. For license fees or further information on the South St. Paul clinic, call 651-554-3200. For more information about PCU, call 651-770-7000 or visit www.postalcu. org.

N ews Briefs South St. Paul Choralettes concert

The South St. Paul Choralettes will perform at 3:30 p.m., Sun., May 1 at Bethesda Lutheran Church, 2855 47th Street E., Inver Grove Heights. The event will feature singing and dancing, a children’s choir and a dinner. A free-will offering will be taken. For more information, call 651-451-2400.

Highground Memorial fundraiser

Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 639 of South St. Paul is seeking cash and merchandise donations for its fundraiser, which will be held 2-5:30 p.m., Sat., Oct. 15, at Buggs’ Place, 925 N. Concord Exchange. The event will feature food, a silent auction, pull tabs and more. Proceeds will

Your community news and information source benefit the Highground Memorial, which honors veterans of all wars. The Chapter is also hosting a 140-mile Poker Run Ride through the St. Croix Valley to raise funds for the memorial. The ride begins at noon, Aug. 27 at Buggs’ Place. The event will feature three stops, poker, raffles and other specials. For more information on either event, contact John Lynch at 651-459-1310 or lynch0319@gmail. com.

Garden club plant sale

The South St. Paul Garden will present its 20th Annual Plant Sale 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Fri., May 6, and 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Sat., May 7, at 2024 Third St. N., South St. Paul. Garden club members donate hundreds of locally grown perennials that are offered

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for sale from $2 to $8. Gardeners are available to answer questions and advise buyers on growing, planting and design tips. Proceeds support the South St. Paul Educational Foundation Dodge Nature Center Fund, which makes it possible for elementary school teachers to take classes to the nature center each year. For more information, contact Becky at 651-455-5301 or Nancy at 651-497-7958..

Student notes

Jabari Jones of SouthSt. Paul High School was one of five high school seniors in Minnesota and 800 seniors nationwide to win a scholarship through the National Achievement Scholarship Program.

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C ommunity Columns

Your community news and information source

Summer is just around the corner and the South St. Paul Mayor’s Youth Task Force has a variety of activities, events and community service projects planned for the coming months. Here are just a few. Play Ball Minnesota Twins Youth Baseball/Softball Clinic will take place 10 a.m., Sat., May 7, at Vet’s Field, 1400 Third St. N. In case of rain, the event will be moved to South St. Paul High School PAC, 700 Second St. N. The clinic is free and is open to all 6-16-year-old girls and boys. The clinic is divided

Back in Time from page 12

Street and no lines were ever built in the residential neighborhoods to the west. Charles Clark attempted to address that situation with his illfated monorail, built in 1888, but his venture was unsuccessful. It wasn’t until Jan. 18, 1936, that bus transportation began

in South St. Paul. Service was limited to travel from St. Paul to destinations along Concord Street. In 1944 local entrepreneur Anton Rechtzigel founded the South & West Transit Company, or the Jitney Bus Company as its passengers came to call it. The

into two sessions. The first session runs 10-11:30 a.m. and is geared for 6-9-year-olds. The second session runs 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and is for 10-16-year-olds. The clinics are designed to teach baseball fundamentals, including hitting, fielding and throwing, while also providing participants with positive messages about staying in school and away from drugs and alcohol. No pre-registration is required. Simply register the morning of the clinic. The clinic is part of the “There is Something to Do” in South St. Paul and is supported by the South St. Paul Mayor’s Youth Task Force and the Minnesota Twins Community Fund. Speaking of baseball, the task force will host a Community Night Out at the Saint Paul Saints game on Wed., June 15. This will be the official start of the summer activities for the Task Force. More details will be provided in this column next month, and also at Let’s fill the stands! Wednesday nights during the summer will feature many fun activities, including Swimming under the Stars at Northview Pool, participating in the Annual Kaposia Days Parade and the Annual Mayor’s Food Drive, four clinics to learn different kinds of line dances (made possible through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council), and assisting Neighbors, Inc. with a campaign called Hunger Does Not Take the Summer Off. Also, look for mini-golf events, activities during the Farmers’ Market, filming more episodes of FYI – For Youth Information, and much more. The task force is always looking for additional

members and invites you to get involved. For more information and a registration form, visit and click on the SSP Mayor’s Youth Task Force, or contact Deb Griffith, community affairs liaison, at 651-554-3230 or deb.griffith@southstpaul. org. The South St. Paul All City Garage Sale is June 23-25. Registration forms are available at City Hall, Central Square, the South St. Paul Library, and at All proceeds from registration fees help fund community programming, so if you are thinking of having a garage sale, this is a perfect time to have one and to help fund community events. To register, complete the All City Garage Sale Form at, located on the Community Events Calendar under June 23, 24 or 25. Registration forms are due June 14. For more information, contact Deb Griffith, community affairs liaison at 651-554-3230 or And finally, a huge thank you to everyone who donated food and money to the You “CAN” make a Difference Food Drive.  Over 2,300 pounds of non perishable food items were collected during March and donated to Neighbors, Inc., which received an additional incentive allocation from Minnesota Food Share. A special “Way to Go!” goes to Kaposia Education Center, which collected nearly 1,800 pounds of the non-perishable food items.

brightly painted blue and white “jitneys” brought public transportation to all of South St. Paul’s neighborhoods and also had several West St. Paul routes. Tokens could be purchased for use by regular riders with fares of 10 to 15 cents. As the post-World War II veterans returned home from the war they ushered in one of the

with modern new busses. The last streetcar trip was commemorated on Mar. 19, 1952, with a final ride on a streetcar celebrated by prominent area businessmen, who then returned on a shiny new bus, making its charter run into South St. Paul. The removal of the tracks soon led to the widening of Concord Street and the installa-

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greatest economic booms in American history. The 1950s brought prosperity and possibility to all. Houses sprang up for enterprising young families throughout the city and the community wanted everything to be new and modern. It wasn’t long before a move was afoot to replace the streetcars and their old track systems

tion of new street lights that led some to refer to the new Concord shopping district as South St. Paul’s “Great White Way.” It was only a matter of time before South St. Paul residents, like so many urban dwellers in the Twin Cities, began to abandon their long-held support of public transit in favor of owning their own automobile.

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C ommunity Columns

Neighbors, Inc. By John Kemp Executive Director of Neighbors, Inc.

I heard a man speak recently who was a member of a service organization. He spoke about what he called “rock star moments,” those times in his long experience with this organization when he was most proud to be part of the organization. He recited the story of one of his friends and fellow members of this group who was diagnosed with a fatal illness, and how the members of the organization rallied around him and his family to help out with food, respite care, fellowship and friendship right up to the time of the man’s death.

He spoke of how moved he had been at witnessing this organization becoming a family through this experience, and how the entire organizational family had willingly contributed their time and resources to help this man’s family through a difficult time. This, he said, was truly a “rock star moment.” As I listened, I thought about how those of us who work at Neighbors, staff and volunteers alike, are given the opportunity to experience these rock star moments every day. After all, coming together to help people through

Jennifer L. Gale, president

Commercial real estate market turnaround

This year is shaping up to be a time to act if your business is looking to expand or relocate. The commercial real estate market is coming back and that means great deals for those looking to buy a building or lease new or more space. Both South St. Paul and Inver Grove Heights have lots to offer, whether you are looking for office, retail or industrial space. Check out the Progress Plus website for a complete inventory of available space at Several market reports suggest that landlords, weary of too few deals and too little cash flow,

are ready to deal. That is good news for businesses that are operating in less-than-ideal locations. With financing more readily available for capital investments, businesses can improve their operations by relocating into newer, upgraded buildings. On the retail side, some national retailers are scouting locations again and we are seeing some new businesses looking to open in the Progress Hamland Construction Plus region. Since lease Concrete/Masonry rates are so Specialists affordable and Patiosthere are still lots of Retaining Wallsmost developvacancies, Driveways & Steps ment Sidewalksis expected to be Garage slabs user-driven, with few Block walls Foundations new construction projColored Concrete ects in 2011. The lack of and more... development is expected FREE ESTIMATES to continue until the 651-319-3515 demand for retail space

Your community news and information source difficult times is exactly what we are all about. Recently we received a note from a woman who came to our food shelf. She told us that asking for assistance was one of the hardest things she had ever done, and how she had almost turned and run down the stairs. She went on to say how much she appreciated the kindness and compassion she had been shown by the employee who worked with her, and how important the help she received had been to her and her family. That was a “rock star” moment. We made transportation arrangements for a client who had suffered a stroke to be able to participate in an intensive, all-day, week-long therapy program at the Mayo Clinic. A few weeks after her therapy ended one of our volunteer drivers picked her up to take her to a local medical appointment. She told him

that before she began the therapy her doctors had been talking about how she might have to look for an assisted living facility. Now, after the program, her doctors were talking about when she might be able to return to work. That was a rock star moment. Over the last several years we have become increasingly aware of the growing number of people in our community who, either because of age, illness or infirmity, find themselves less and less able to remain independent or to access their community without some kind of help. Many of these people do not have family living close by and for whatever reason their own circle of friends and acquaintances are not able to regularly help. To address this issue we are beginning a new “Friends and Neighbors” program in which we will work with people

who need some extra assistance to find someone in the community who is willing to volunteer in this capacity. For some people it may be a weekly trip to the grocery store and the pharmacy. For others it may be someone who can help them pay their bills on a weekly basis. Still others may just want someone to visit once in a while to play cards or read with them. We don’t know all the requests we’ll get, and won’t know until we begin the program, but we do know that a program like this may be what allows some people to stay in their own home and continue to be part of their community. Neighbors had a program like this for most of the ’80s and the first half of the ’90s. At its zenith it matched 300 people, some of whom continue to see each other on a regular basis 15 years after the pro-

gram ended. We know from talking with some of these people that their participation in the program was a series of rock star moments. We look forward to making these moments available to a new generation of volunteers and participants. If a program like this is of interest to you or someone you know, either as a recipient of service or as a volunteer, please contact Shari Hansen at shari@ or 651 306-2149. Get ready for your own rock star moments!

Rummage sale

Neighbors is hosting its Spring Rummage Sale 10 a.m.-4 p.m., May 4-5, at 218 13th Ave. S. The sale will feature clothing, furniture, household items, small appliances, toys, books, collectibles, cds and more. Proceeds will benefit our programs.

picks up and vacant spaces are filled. Progress Plus is the Economic Development Foundation of the River Heights Chamber of Commerce and is a non-profit public/private partnership designed to accommodate development in Inver Grove Heights and South St. Paul. Progress Plus works closely with city officials and business leaders to facilitate the economic development process, and helps companies that are looking to expand or relocate with everything from finding appropriate space and connecting with training programs for workers, to attracting financing. For more information, visit www. or call 651-451-2266. HAMLAND CONSTRUCTION Concrete & Masonry Specialists


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South St. Paul Voice - May 2011 - Page 11

B ack in Time

Your community news and information source

Riding the Rails in Old South St. Paul Lois Glewwe Contributor


outh St. Paul’s public transit system has been an important part of the community story since the late 1880s. As today’s cities debate the merits of light rail, it’s interesting to remember that in the decades before rampant ownership of automobiles, use of trains, streetcars and other forms of urban transportation was very much

part of life. One of the earliest forms of rail transportation that served South St. Paul was commonly known as the “Stickney Motor.” Operated by the Chicago Great Western Railway, the little steam engine had three small cars and ran from St. Paul to Inver Grove Heights from the 1890s to 1905. Passengers would purchase a “Commutation Ticket,” good for ten rides, with several farms

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in Inver Grove Township designated as official stops on the route. The tracks ran alongside the passenger and freight trains that roared into the South St. Paul depot, then located just below Concord Street, south of Grand. By 1899, the City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting the speed of trains passing through the city as more than 16 trains a day pulled into the South St. Paul station. In 1915 the

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South St. Paul Railroad Depot was moved to the east side of North Concord in the 200 block. It was May 15, 1905, when the City approved the first franchise to bring streetcars to Concord Street. The Minneapolis and St. Paul Suburban Railway Company was hired to construct, equip, maintain and operate street railway lines on South St. Paul streets. There was a grand celebration when the tracks were open for operation on July 2, 1905, the 18th anniversary of South St. Paul’s founding. The streetcars soon replaced the old Stickney Motor system, extending service from St. Paul to Hastings by 1913 via the Southern Streetcar Company. The southern system ran on its own track on the far side of the railroad to Hastings until closing operations in 1928. The standard tracks

Chamber of Commerce members, business owners, city officials and others gathered on Concord Street in South St. Paul on Mar. 19, 1952 to commemorate the last streetcar to provide transportation to the city. The cars, which had been in use since 1905, were replaced by busses. The tracks were torn up and overhead lines removed. In this photo, a group of riders has taken a trip out of the city on the streetcar and now board the new bus to make their grand entrance back into the center of town. of the South St. Paul lines ran as far south as the Moose Lodge in Inver Grove Heights where the cars were turned around at a little green building by Barron’s Store on the curve into the city. In the early years, the fare was 12 cents from St.

Paul to Inver Grove; 25 cents from Inver Grove Heights to Hastings, and 40 cents from St. Paul to Hastings. Streetcars and rail lines were limited to Concord

Back in Time / Page 10

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SSP May 2011  

IN THIS ISSUE... Public Safety / Page 2 Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer Illegal drugs South St. Paul Police Sergeant David Hughes demonstr...

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