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April 2013 Volume 10 Number 4

Visit www.stpaulpublishing.com for expanded coverage!

Service above Self SSP woman receives Rotary’s humanitarian award Bill Knight Contributor

More People Movers Needed

New study explores streetcars, rapid bus transit and light rail to meet transportation needs of southeast metro

Ista, a lifelong South St. Paul resident, has reJodelle ceived the local Rotary Club’s Humanitarian award.

She is recognized as someone who has touched the lives of hundreds if not thousands of people, everyone from grade school kids to senior citizens. This is the third year the South St. Paul Rotary Club has sponsored the community-wide award, called Service to Others: Humanitarian Recognition. “Service to others is a well-known phrase associated with Rotary International,” said Joe Gullerud, who heads up the Club’s search committee. “It simply involves putting the interests of others ahead of your own.” Ista has a similar and simple definition. “It’s just something that you can do to help someone,” she said. “It’s kind of important that you do act because you might be the only person aware of a problem.” John Laliberte, one of many who submitted a letter of support for her nomination, said he has known Ista since the early 1990s when they both were at Kaposia Education Center. Ista was the Restorative Justice Guide. In his letter, he wrote “(Ista) worked with all of our children in numerous ways. Jodelle was a grandma who listened to happy, sad, heart-wrenching stories of student family life.” Linda Klosowsky, who was Laliberte’s secretary at the center and has known her for many years, echoed his remarks. “She was genuinely concerned about a kid who, for example, didn’t have outdoor clothes to wear in the winter. So she took her own money to buy them a jacket,” she said. Although Ista, 78, had a long and varied career, she is quick with one phrase to sum up her work. Humanitarian Award / Page 3

Photo by James Ramsay, jamesramsayphotography.com

Any new mode of transportation would link to the newly renovated Union Depot in St. Paul.

Study explores adding streetcars or rapid bus transit to Concord Street. Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer

T

he effects of a long, cold and snowy winter have created an interest-

ing phenomenon on Smith Avenue in St. Paul. Visible beneath the many potholes that pock the avenue are the remnants of a mass transportation project from days

of yore: the rails of streetcars that once busily clacked up and down the avenue. Interestingly, streetcars are one of several options being considered to handle the long-range transportation needs of the region. Transportation planners say

a new system must be in place by 2030 to handle the increasing number of vehicles and congestion that will result from population and business growth, and

Transit Study / Page 2

A high-flying success Fleming Field has $47 million economic impact to the community Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer

W

hen you think of Fleming Field you likely think of small jets and airplanes taking off and landing on the runways at the southern city limits of South St. Paul. But Fleming

Field is much more than an airbus transportation hub. It is also home to nearly 300 full-time employees who work at 19 aviation-related businesses on the 240-acre site. All contribute an estimated $47 million in economic impact to the community. That’s a significant

financial boon for the city, which manages the airport on a $1.4 million budget. Fleming Field is home to 272 aircraft housed in 94 hangars. It’s also a field trip destination for daycare through college students. They visit the airport to see vintage aircraft at the

Commemorative Air ForceMinnesota Wing aviation museum, and learn how the “War Birds” contributed to the country’s success in World War II. College students from the University of Minnesota-Mankato and Metropolitan State University also visit as part of their

coursework in Aviation Studies. Fleming Field also houses the Minnesota Civil Air Patrol, the Minnesota Seaplane Pilots Association, Twin Cities Aero Historians, and a 48-member flying club from Prescott, Wisc. The bustling airport is managed by Glenn

Burke, who proudly claims that “no one in the state comes close to us as an urban area airport.” With 50,000 take-offs and landings each year, Fleming Field is ranked eighth in the state in terms Fleming Field / Page 4


T ransportation Transit Study from page 1

suburban development. Dakota County is working with the city of St. Paul on the Robert Street Transitway Alternatives Analysis, now in its preliminary phase. What is happening is similar to what was done for the Hiawatha and Central Corridor light rail lines. Public hearings are being held and committees are being formed to design an efficient and effective transit system within Dakota County and St. Paul to meet forecasted needs of residents and businesses. The earliest estimate for any type of redesign to begin is at least 10 years down the road. The study area starts at the Union Depot in downtown St. Paul and runs as far south as Rosemount. Interstate 35E and the Mississippi River form the east/west boundaries of the study area. Cities in the study are St. Paul’s West Side and downtown, South St. Paul, West St. Paul, Sunfish Lake, Mendota Heights, Eagan, Inver Grove Heights, Lilydale and Rosemount.

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Forecasted growth Dakota County and parts of St. Paul are at the forefront of regional growth. Population and employment projections indicate that Dakota County will grow faster than the regional average through 2030. The Lowertown neighborhood in downtown St. Paul is one of the metro’s fastest growing neighborhoods. The metro’s greatest concentration of people who don’t own a vehicle reside in downtown St. Paul and South St. Paul, so access to regional mass transportation for these folks is critical. Downtown St. Paul serves as a key access point to the Twin Cities regional transit system. The Union Depot multi-modal transportation hub in downtown St. Paul was renovated to provide connections to the light rail transit Central Corridor (Green Line) and regional transit systems, including city and regional busses. Jefferson Bus Lines is now operating at the Depot, and Amtrak is relocating its station there as well. Currently, Robert Street

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from downtown St. Paul to Mendota Road in West St. Paul is the only highway in the study area that has regular bus service to and from St. Paul. The Minnesota Valley Transit Authority provides express service to the southern and western portions of the study area, with routes to downtown St. Paul, but little or no service is provided in the southern third of the study area.

Highways identified for new modes of mass transit Planners are trying to determine which arterial roads have the highest need for new or additional transit. Their criteria are based on the number of residents near a corridor who don’t have a vehicle, current ridership levels of mass transportation and the potential for new riders in the area, as well as corridors that are close to destination sites such as hospitals, clinics and colleges. Highways identified for new modes of mass transit include: Robert Street south to Mendota Road and the Northern

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Page 2 - South St. Paul Voice - April 2013

Dakota County Service Center (streetcars and bus rapid transit); Highway 52 to Inver Hills Community College (light rail and a dedicated lane for highway bus rapid transit); and Concord Street to Interstate 494 (bus rapid transit and streetcars). Service extensions are being considered in the southern sector of the study area from the Northern Dakota County Service Center near Mendota Road and Robert Street in West St. Paul to Dakota County Technical College and on to the northern portion of Akron Avenue in Rosemount. Other highways being analyzed include Hwy. 110, Hwy. 55, I-35E and I-494.

Robert Street redevelopment Today, the spotlight is on Robert Street. Development of the Robert Street Transitway Alternatives Analysis study is still years away but construction of the city of West St. Paul’s current Robert Street project, which includes medians, landscaping, new light fixtures and general upgrading to the street, is expected to start next year. If streetcars are being considered as part of the long-range plan along Robert Street, will that change the direction

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the city is taking with its Robert Street project? West St. Paul City Engineer Matt Saam said no. He said cars can travel with streetcars in the same lane of traffic, just as they do with busses. Unlike light rail, which needs its own lane, streetcars operate like busses and move in mixed traffic. “The concept is kind of cool and unique,” he said. “We used to have streetcars running all over St. Paul and Minneapolis back in the 1930s and ’40s. Medians that are being discussed for Robert Street wouldn’t affect streetcar traffic. Tracks would need to be laid, but that’s years down the road.” Streetcars are charming but expensive. They cost $15-$25 million per mile to build, according to Joe Morneau, Dakota County’s project manager for the Robert Street Transitway Alternatives Analysis study. “The cost for streetcars is considerably higher than a bus rapid transit option but may have a more positive impact on land use/development and higher ridership,” he said.

part of the study area has the highest concentration of residents without vehicles. “Since Minneapolis and St. Paul are looking at streetcars, so is Dakota County, and Concord Street is where they may fit,” said John Sachi, South St. Paul city engineer. Sachi sees streetcars as a way to generate economic development in South St. Paul. “We still have to look at cost benefit options but light rail on University Avenue will have a very significant impact on economic development as it goes into the heart of the commercial district,” he said. “What if that happened in South St. Paul along Concord Street? Whatever they decide, it will have a positive impact, whether it is relieving congestion or spurring economic development.” South St. Paul has begun a process to redefine the north Concord Street corridor area. The plan includes streetscaping, sidewalks/ trails, removal of billboards, underground utilities and buffering from railroad tracks.

Concord Street

Finding the funds

Concord Street in South St. Paul is also being considered for streetcar and bus rapid transit. Both Concord Street and Robert Street riders would stop at a transit hub near Neighborhood House on St. Paul’s West Side. From there, routes would connect them with downtown St. Paul. This Siding • Roofing Soffit • Fascia Windows • Doors • Gutters Since 1962

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Before funding sources can be found for the Robert Street Transitway Alternatives study area, a tangible plan must be formed. For projects of this size the federal government has a history of covering up to half the cost. The rest would be raised through state and local sources. A sales tax increase with money raised directed to transit is being discussed at the State Capital this session. If funds can be secured, project redesign could begin as early as six years from now.

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P eople

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Photo by James Ramsay, jamesramsayphotography.com

Jodelle Ista, pictured in front of a peace quilt at Kaposia Education Center, was recognized for her humanitarian efforts in restorative justice and other acts of kindness that benefit the entire community.

Humanitarian Award from page 1

“Restorative justice,” she said. “Working with kids

to help them make better choices and for them to

learn to apologize to each other in a proper way.” Essentially, she helped kids take ownership of their behavior.

“Just saying ‘I’m sorry,’ is sort of a way to get out of taking responsibility and not really addressing what has happened,” she added.

“Whereas if a kid says ‘I’m sorry that I hit you,’ then they understand, and that is a whole different philosophy on having kids be responsible for their behavior.” Karen Dipple, who met Ista at the former First United Methodist Church in South St. Paul, knows another side of her. “The biggest impact was her work with the elderly and the youth in our congregation and throughout the South St. Paul community,” she wrote in a letter supporting Ista’s nomination. Ista videotaped Sunday services and delivered the tapes along with communion to shut-in members of the congregation. When the church closed in 2011, Dipple and Ista joined the First Presbyterian Church. The Rotarians solicited names of nominees from members of their club and from other community organizations. Gullerud said they received nine nominations, but that Ista’s stood out from the others. “The phrase we attached to her nomination was that

of a community activist because so much of what she has done spoke to the greater good of this community,” said Gullerud. “Rather than just targeting one cause or one organization, she tried to better the environment of the community.” Ista joins last year’s winner, Don Roberts, and the first recipient of the award, Gerry Reynolds. She will be recognized April 26 at a banquet at the Southview Country Club. Ista will also receive $1,000 to donate to a charity of her choice, and will receive the Paul Harris Fellowship Award, which is the highest honor awarded by Rotary. Paul Harris is the founder of Rotary International.

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T ransportation Fleming Field from page 1

of aircraft activity. In 1997 the City built a state-of-theart terminal with a spacious lobby filled with comfortable chairs, floor-to-ceiling windows, and an ambiance of aviation history created from oversized models of airplanes hanging from the ceiling and “flying” in all directions. The terminal is equipped with free Wi-Fi internet access, a full-service flight planning room, an observation room for visitors, and a large private meeting room. Eighteen percent of the air traffic is business-related, and it’s not unusual for a business owner from out-state Minnesota to reserve the meeting room, fly in for a meet ing, and then fly out again. “Those who travel want to get in and out of airports fast,” said Burke. “They come to South St. Paul for the location. It’s close to everything.” It also offers a variety of services to airplane owners. Several full-service maintenance shops operate on site, including Wipaire, which is well-known in the aviation

industry as a manufacturer of seaplane float products. It has 200 full-time employees at Fleming Field alone and is also a full service aircraft repair/modification facility. Housed in the Wipaire Hangar is Lake and Air Pilot Shop, which specializes in Seaplane products and accessories and carries a full range of standard aviation supplies, including maps, headsets and books. Abtec Helicopters also operates out of Fleming Field, providing television, motion picture and aerial photography services for TV stations, real estate agencies, utility inspectors and more. Ballistics Recovery Systems (BRS) specializes in parachute deployment systems for a range of general aviation aircraft, most notably the Cirrus SR 20 & 22 aircraft. BRS has 75 employees and annual sales of approximately $9.2 million. Sierra Hotel Aero, Inc. operates out of a 7,200-square-foot facility that houses equipment to manufacture and repair sheet metal parts used on both military and civilian aircraft. It can accommo-

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Photos by James Ramsay, jamesramsayphotography.com

Jeffery Chambers is one of nearly 300 people who work at Fleming Field in South St. Paul. date most general aviation aircraft for modifications and repairs.

Recreational pilots Fleming Field is used extensively by recreational pilots, who contribute a significant amount of revenue to the airport. Owning an airplane is an expensive hobby. The average cost per hour to rent a plane is $100. Getting a private pilot’s license is costly as well, around $10,000. It allows the pilot to fly an aircraft anywhere in the United States. Pilots may also earn

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a “Sport Pilot” license, costing between $4,000 and $6,000. This license allows them to fly a two-seat plane within 200 miles of their home airport during daylight hours. Safety seminars are offered twice a month at Fleming Field on a variety of topics, including maintenance, insurance and flying in extreme weather.

McMorrow Park issues Last fall a South St. Paul Airport Advisory Board was formed to help guide airport development. The board includes two nonpilots from South St. Paul and Inver Grove Heights and airport stakeholders: one representative from the Commemorative Air Force, two airport hangar owners/renters, two members of the Fleming Field Aviation Association, and two businesses owners. They

are currently dealing with a Federal Aviation Administration safety zone regulation that prohibits people from congregating near the runway. This means that the 32 parking spots near McMorrow Park and the community garden adjacent to the airport may have to be relocated. “For soccer games I know those parking spaces are needed,” said Burke. “The cost to relocate parking places will be around $2,000. The community garden, you’re talking a lot more.” Like around $75,000. Burke said the City’s Parks and Recreation department has found a site near the public boat launch for the garden space, but the dirt isn’t so great for gardening so topsoil would have to be brought in. The garden would also have to be fenced in to keep deer out and it would require a wa-

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ter line for irrigation. Burke said the City is asking the FAA to pay the relocation fees, but he doesn’t expect that will happen. “Neighbors near the airport can expect public hearings to discuss the matter,” he said. “The park board and city council will have the final say.”

Airport history Fleming Field Airport was built in 1939 and was first used by a flying club. In 1942 the U.S. Navy purchased the land and existing hangars for a training base and spent $1 million on improvements, including a control tower, which has since been removed, and an additional hangar. When World War II ended, so did the Navy’s need for the airport. The city of South St. Paul acquired the land on the condition that it continue to be used as an airport. The city began operating the airport in 1946 for general aviation. In the 1970s it started leasing space for private hangars. The city built the first of its own hangars in 1978. The airport was named in honor of Captain Richard E. Fleming of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, a native of St. Paul and graduate of St. Thomas Academy and the University of Minnesota. Fleming received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery and heroics as a flight officer in a bombing squadron in the Pacific during World War II.


S ports Making a Splash

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A record setting season for the Boys Swim and Diving Team John E. Ahlstrom Staff Writer

T

he South St. Paul boys swimming and diving team enjoyed its finest season in the eight-year tenure of head coach Matt Danielson. “We’ve had some very competitive teams over the years but these kids made it a team mission to assault the record books,” said Danielson. No fewer than six team records were shattered, including the 200 individual medley (IM), the all-purpose event that consists of one lap in each of the four major disciplines – backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke and freestyle. The record had withstood the test of time since 1979, when James Kochendorfer set the standard with a time of 2 minutes, 5.2 seconds. Along with other school records, Kochendorfer’s time has graced the poolside wall at the Central Square Community Center. Joe Tonda made it his mission to break the record during his senior season, and he did so on February 21 with the new record of 2 minutes, 4.13 seconds. Not surprisingly, in the aftermath of his accomplishment – in yet another example of the sort of mutual respect that links Packer athletes from different generations – Tonda received a congratulatory message from Kochendorfer. In a community where

the options for kids seeking to participate in competitive athletics is so often narrowed down to those steeped in tradition, Danielson has always faced the “numbers” challenge. “It is not a difficult task to get young kids in the pool but keeping them there is not so easy,” he said. Nevertheless, Danielson had 16 quality student-athletes on his varsity roster: Oliver Nordie, 7th grade. Like many of his teammates, Nordie is a former hockey player turned swimmer. “He’s very versatile and specializes in the sprints,” said Danielson. “He has great stroke mechanics and a very bright future.” Tyler Cook, 7th grade. Cook started the season as a freestyle swimmer, got an itch to try out the diving board and ended the season as a diver. Noah Shannon, 8th grade. Going against the grain of most young swimmers, Shannon has embraced the long distance events. “He earned All-Section and is on a fast track to develop into another Joe Rowan,” said Danielson, referring to his senior record holder. Thomas Barth, 9th grade. Barth is another long distance swimmer who continues to mature in the pool and will give the squad depth in those disciplines. Nick Ricci, sophomore. Ricci is a gifted freestyle sprinter and was a member

of the 200 freestyle relay team. “He has improved in leaps and bounds,” said Danielson. Issa Aboud, junior. Aboud decided early in the season to concentrate on the spring board. Under the guidance of diving coach Joe Conway, Aboud worked diligently to master the six dives required to compete. “With his work ethic and natural athletic talent, he not only put points on the board, but actually finished first in a couple of our meets,” said Danielson. Noah Herzfeld, junior. Herzfeld is in his first year with the team. He is a sprinter and qualified for the sectionals in the 50 freestyle. Ben Holst, junior. Holst is a Simley transfer who specialized in the breaststroke early on and by midseason was also competing in the butterfly. Austin Bernier, senior. Bernier is a special story. He earned his spurs competing in the Special Olympics, but is now a part of the Packer swimming and diving team. “He has come a long way,” said assistant coach Jenna Nace. “At the start of the season he repelled the idea of putting his head under water, but my midseason he was executing underwater turns.” Nathan Finken, senior. Finken has been a team member for six seasons and is a four-year letterman. He was All-Section in the 200

Submitted photo

Cody Dilger was part of two relay teams that set school records. freestyle and the 500 freestyle. Justin Hingst, senior. Like Finken, Hingst has competed since seventh grade. “He has been our most versatile swimmer,” said Danielson. “At some juncture during the course of his career, I believe he competed in every event.” Aindriu Griffin, senior. Another six-year veteran of the team, Griffin swam the breast stroke on the recordbreaking 200 medley relay team that earned a berth in the state tournament. Cody Dilger, senior. A 3-year letter winner, Dilger switched from diving to sprinting during his sophomore season. It was a good decision. He qualified for the state tournament in the 50 freestyle and was part of the two relay teams that set school records. Joe Rowan, senior. A five-year member of the team, Rowan was the section champion in the 500

freestyle and a member of the record-breaking 400 freestyle relay team that advanced to the state tournament. He is the school record holder in the 200 and 500 freestyle. Co-captain Sam Frid, senior. Another former hockey player, Frid joined the team as an eighth grader. A two-year captain and freestyle sprint specialist, he was a part of the recordbreaking 200 medley relay team and anchored the 400 freestyle team. “He is a great competitor who swims year round,” said Danielson. “His passion is chasing the opposition down.” Co-captain Joe Tonda, senior. Tonda was section champion in the 200 IM and the 100 backstroke and represented the Packers in four events at the state tournament. “He is the perfect example of how hard work pays off,” said Danielson. “He had been eyeing that indi-

vidual medley record since he was in ninth grade and he was not to be denied.” The best finish for the contingent that represented South St. Paul was a ninth place finish by Joe Rowan in the 500 freestyle. Joe Tonda finished in 12th place in both the 200 IM and in the 100 backstroke. Danielson was extremely proud of his team’s effort. “We may have started a little slow in the preliminaries, but as the meet wore on some of our kids swam personal bests and as a team we clearly left everything we had in the pool.” Key members of the team will graduate, but that does little to derail Danielson’s enthusiasm. “We have some great kids coming back and we will welcome another new crop of kids as well,” he said. “We will work hard and compete, and maybe adorn the poolside wall with a new record or two along the way.”

Preston Woods finishes runner-up at state John E. Ahlstrom Staff Writer

T

he South St. Paul High School wrestling team finished second to Simley in the Section 4AA team competition on February 16 and, one week later, six members of the squad finished in either first or second place in the individual competition, thus earning a trip to the state tournament at the Xcel Center in St. Paul. The Packer representatives included Ryan Duffy (120 lbs), Andy Jackson (138), Mike Mason (145), Hayden Cameron (182), Jose Brito (220) and Preston Woods (285). It was Woods’ second appearance at the state tournament and the third visit by senior co-

captain Andy Jackson. Woods was the only member of the team to earn a medal and he did so in dramatic fashion. Entering the tournament, he carried a 30-4 record and was ranked fifth in the state in his weight class. He opened the competition by pinning Kevin Kneisl of Delano. In his quarter-final match, Woods beat Fairmont’s Colton Hines (ranked third in the state) 3-2 in quadruple overtime. He duplicated that exact scenario in his semi-final bout against Evan Bain of Lewiston. The 3-2 quadruple overtime victory earned Woods a spot in the finals. “Preston came into the competition with a high level of confidence and

fortunately he was in great shape,” said Coach Don Nihart. Woods faced KassonMantorville’s Sam Stoll in the championship match and was pinned in the first period. Stoll, the fourth ranked heavyweight in the nation and first ranked in the state, finished the season with an unblemished 49-0 record. Preston Woods, a junior, earned a silver medal for himself and recognition for his school. “There is cause for considerable optimism,” said Nihart. “With the exception of Andy Jackson, all of our state tournament representatives return next season.”

Photo by Jenni Cameron

Woods was the Packers’ sole medal winner at the state tournament. South St. Paul Voice - April 2013 - Page 5


S ample St. Paul

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On the Town Artists’ Quarter

408 St. Peter St., St. Paul 651-292-1359 www.artistsquarter.com

The Artists’ Quarter offers live entertainment throughout the month, including jazz bands and poetry nights.

Children’s Museum

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

“Secrets of Circles” is presented through May 12. This exhibit gives children first-hand experiences with circle-related technologies, including pulleys, gears and measuring devices, such as compasses and turnstiles. “Dora and Diego” is presented through September 22. Children and

families are invited to the enchanting world of Dora the Explorer, her animal-rescuing cousin Diego, and their friends Boots and Baby Jaguar. Participants may explore Isa’s Flowery Garden, help Tico gather nuts, join the Pirate Piggies’ crew as they set sail, and search for baby animals in the Rainforest Maze.

April 4 at the Cathedral of St. Paul. Tickets are $40-$65.

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

Wits Series - Comedian Kristen Schaal and singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright will perform at 8 p.m., Friday, April 12. Wainwright will also give a solo performance at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 13. Tickets are $39-$49. Comedian Tig Notaro and Canadian singersongwriter Kathleen Edwards will perform at 8 p.m., Friday, April 19. Comedian Michael Ian

Fitzgerald Theatre

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

The Choir of King’s College will perform at 7:45 p.m., Thursday,

Michael Nesmith will perform at 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 5. Nesmith, former member of The Monkees, has made his mark on popular culture as a songwriter, performer, author, film producer and actor. Tickets are $37.50-$39.50

“To Kill a Mockingbird” opens April 2 at Park Square Theatre. Black and Pop singer A.C. Newman will perform at 8 p.m., Thursday, April 25. Tickets for all Wits performances are $32-$42.

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

“Minnesota and the Civil War” is presented through September 8. The intense divide be-

tween North and South in the 1850s turned to war in 1861, and Minnesotans were the first in the Union to respond to the call. Discover the people who mourned, made sacrifices and weighed every possibility and outcome of the tragic war. “Then Now Wow” This new exhibit, the largest ever at the History Center, highlights Minnesota’s history in the prairies, forests and cit-

ies. Visitors will encounter multi-media exhibits, artifacts and images unique to Minnesota’s diverse population and historic events. Ongoing exhibits include “The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862,” “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation: The Depression, The War, The Boom,” “Grainland,” “Open House: If These Walls Could Talk” and “Weather Permitting.” Museum

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Page 6 - South St. Paul Voice - April 2013

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S ample St. Paul 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.

History Theatre

30 E. Tenth St., St. Paul 651-292-4323 www.historytheatre.com

“This Side of Paradise” is presented April 20-May 19. This play is a jazzy remembrance of the glamorous and tumultuous love of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his muse Zelda. Tickets are $32$40, with discounts for students and seniors.

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

Theater Latté Da is presenting “The Light in the Piazza” through April 7. Based on a novella by Elizabeth Spencer, this romantic tale revolves around Margaret Johnson, a wealthy Southern woman, and her curiously innocent daughter, Clara, who spend a sum-

Your community news and information source

mer together in Florence. When Clara falls in love with Fabrizio, a young Italian man, Margaret is forced to reconsider not only Clara’s future but her own deep-seated hopes and regrets as well. Tickets are $19-$44. “Broadway Songbook: the Words and Music of Cole Porter” is presented April 19-28. Tickets are $20-$30.

Park Square Theatre

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

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is presented through April 2-May 17. The summer of 1935 is

a hot one in Maycomb, Ala. Eight-year-old Scout watches her father stand up against the town’s anger when he defends a young black man accused of raping a white woman. Tickets are $25. “Stick Fly” is presented April 26-May 19. It’s a relaxing weekend on Martha’s Vineyard… until the baggage gets unpacked. Two sons of a financially privileged African-American family bring their girlfriends home to meet their parents, only to find that Dad is the only one in residence. As family secrets unravel and sibling rivalries flare, class distinctions rise to the surface. Tickets are $25.

120 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul 651-221-9444 www.smm.org

“BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life” is presented through May 5. This presentation uses real human specimens, including 20 full-body plastinates, to follow human development across the life cycle from conception to old age. Tickets are $27 for adults and $19 for children and seniors.

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children’S area

• Fishing Skills • Archery • Dr. Jumbo Kids Fitness Class • Bouncy Castle • Orienteering Course • Story Telling

environmental action Summit

• Protecting the Earth We Share • Clean Water & Your Watershed

• Rights of Mother Earth • Green Your Home & Save Money • Food Justice & Sovereignty • Screening of Film Bitter Seeds with film maker Micha X. Peled • Variety of local food vendors • Panel on Food Justice & Sovereignty • Food and Gardening Workshops

Mother Earth Fest Mother Earth Fest, an intercultural festival designed to inspire action

Bring your appetite & join us

11:30 AM- 5 PM

$15 full meal | $8 half meal

for a healthy and sustainable earth, will take place 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, April 20 at the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Center, 179 E. Robie St., St. Paul. This free event will feature eco-friendly activities for all ages and more than 100 informational exhibitors and community vendors.

Talk to your neighbors, then talk to me.

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20 in the Omnitheatre. Museum tickets are $13 for adults and $10 for children and seniors. Omnitheater tickets are $9 and $8 respectively.

“Tornado Alley” is presented through June

Sunday, April 14

SuStainability Science Fair

• Animals and Nature • The Bat Lady • Raptor Center (Eagles) • Meet local native animals • Animal Habits, Diets & More • Arts & Crafts • Drawing Nature • Self Expression • Exploring Identity • Painting Recycling Bins • Outdoor Action • Geocaching

Science Museum

• Right to Know GMO • Traditional Folk Arts • Wooden Spoon Making • Turning Bowls • Felting • Spinning and Knitting • Working with hand tools • Art Activities With Local Artists

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• 179 robie St reet east • Saint Paul, • All Abilities Dance • Yoga • Meditation Room • Chanting • Open Meditation • Guided Meditation • Body Work Room • Shiatsu • Global Somatics • Craniosacral

bike village

• Bike Tune Up Station • Repair Class

green village: vendorS and exhibitorS

• Clean Energy • Good Food From Great Cultures

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• Green Your Home • Arts & Crafts • Artisan Work • Eco Businesses and Groups

culture & entertainment

• Danza Mexica Cuauhtémoc • Little Thunderbirds Drum & Dance Group • MN Bright Star Hmong Dance Group • Mitch Walking Elk • Point of Contact, Hip Hop Artists • Tou Saiko Lee & Spoken Remedy • Ancestor Energy • Malia Burkhart, Singer

good green FUN! • everything iS Free and oPen to the Public!!! • motherearthfest.org

South St. Paul Voice - April 2013 - Page 7


N ews Briefs Library events For more information on library events, call 651-5543240 or visit www.southstpaul.org/library. Book Discussions April’s title is “Heading Out to Wonderful” by Robert Goolrick. Charlie Beale is searching for his little piece of heaven in Brownsburg, Va., as he arrives with a suitcase full of money and a set of knives. He becomes the town’s expert butcher and begins to win over people with his charm. Then he sees Sylvan Glass, the young wife of the town’s wealthiest man, and things begin to unravel. The Wednesday discussion is held at 1 p.m., April 10, and the Thursday discussion at 7 p.m., April 11. Information packets are available at the library’s front desk and at www. southstpaul.org/library under Adult Book Discussions. Chocolate Bliss - Diet and lifestyle coach Mary Langfield Neaton is hosting an interactive workshop 6:30-8 p.m., Monday, April 1. The event will highlight the health benefits and his-

Your community news and information source tory of chocolate. Participants will sample naturally sweetened, organic chocolates. Registration is required. Hair and Makeup Workshop - Salon owner Shannon Swanson will give a presentation 6:30-8 p.m., Monday, April 15 on hair and makeup trends for 2013, including tips and tricks that are easy to do at home. Registration is required. eBook Basics - Learn more about downloading free eBooks from the library at these informational sessions, held Thursday, April 4: session 1: iPad, 1:302:15 p.m.; session 2: Kindle, 2:15-3 p.m.; session 3: Nook, Kobo, Sony and others, 3-3:45 p.m. If you are unsure which session is right for you, call Honora at 651-554-3243. Registration is required. Spring Book Sale - The library’s annual spring book sale takes place April 29May 4, featuring materials for children and adults. A $1 bag sale is featured the entire week. Inventory is replenished during the week.

Story Times - Story times for ages one and under are offered at 6:30 p.m. each Monday in April. Family story times are held at 10:15 a.m., each Tuesday in April. These events include books, music, rhymes and more. Some story times may be followed by a short craft project. Music and Movement is held at 10:15 and 11 a.m. each Wednesday in April for ages five and under. The event includes music, dance and books. Registration is required. Teen Writing Club Teens age 12-18 are invited to join the Teen Writing Club to practice writing skills, learn new techniques, read what other teen writers are working on, and hear helpful comments on their own writing. The group meets at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 3.

Class of 1978 reunion South St. Paul High School class of 1978 is having its 35-year reunion at 7 p.m., Friday, June 28 at Croatian Hall. To RSVP,

contact ssp1978@sambernard.com.

Summer programs The South St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department is accepting registrations for summer programs, including summer playgrounds, day camps, preschool programs, youth trips, outdoor swimming lessons and more. The Summer Edition 1 brochure was mailed to every household in South St. Paul in late March. The publication and online registration is also available at www.southstpaul.org. For more information, call 651306-3690.

Fare for All Express Fare for All Express will be held 4-6 p.m., Tuesday, April 2, at Central Square Community Center, 100 Seventh Ave. N. Fare for All Express is a program of the Emergency Foodshelf Network that partners with organizations around the Twin Cities metro area. It is a cooperative food buying program that allows people

to save up to 50 percent 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 a food shelf. For more information, call 651-306-3690 or visit www.southstpaul.org.

Park shelters and pavilion reservations The South St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department is accepting reservations for its three facilities that are available for rent for picnics or special events. Rentals available daily May 5-Oct. 14 include the shelter at Lorraine Park and the shelter and pavilion at Kaposia Park. All other public picnic facilities are available on a first come, first served basis. For more information, call 651-306-3690.

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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 in the city to run, recreate and train without a leash. Users must have a permit to use the park. Cost is $20 for residents and $30 for non-residents. The fee supports maintenance and development of the park, which is open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. For more information, visit www.southstpaul.org or call 651-306-3690.

Jaycees host shopping expo The South St. Paul Jaycees are hosting a spring shopping expo 10:30 a.m.2:30 p.m., Sunday, April 7 at Church of St. Patrick’s, 3535 E. 72nd St., Inver Grove Heights. This free event will feature over 30 in-home businesses and arts and crafts vendors, a silent auction and refreshments.

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School Choice Directory Academia Cesar Chavez 1800 Ames Ave., St. Paul 651-778-2940 www.cesarchavezschool.com Academic Arts High School 60 E. Marie Ave., West St. Paul 651-457-7427 www.academic-arts.org

Community of Peace Academy K-12 471 E. Magnolia Ave., St. Paul 651-776-5151 www.cpa.charter.k12.mn.us St. Paul City School PreK-8 260 Edmund Ave., St. Paul 651-225-9177 www.stpaulcityschool.org

Visit www.stpaulpublishing.com/schoolchoice.html for a link to explore these schools and for tips on how to choose a school that best fits your student's and family's needs.

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Page 8 - South St. Paul Voice - April 2013

Lo


R iver Connections

Your community news and information source

Every mile is a memory The 72 miles of Mississippi River that flow through the Twin Cities hold a treasure trove of memories in the making. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area this November, we are publishing a series of articles that explore life in the corridor and the many amenities it offers. Read the series at www.stpaulpublishing.com/mississippiriver.html.

Noteworthy viewpoints of the river Tim Spitzack Editor

A

few years ago the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers uncovered an album of photographs of the Mississippi River that today is valued at $4.5 million. The remarkable collection was taken by Henry Peter Bosse, who documented the Corps work along the Upper Mississippi from 1883 to 1892. The images show the Corps in action as it reshaped the river for commercial navigation, but several of them also capture scenic vistas that have since been significantly altered by modern development or have disappeared altogether from the landscape. One of my favorite Bosse images was taken in 1891, in Nininger Township near Hastings. It shows a man sitting in a grassy meadow atop a steep bluff. He is dressed in slacks, white shirt and suspenders, and top hat, and his hands are grasping his knees as he gazes out across the river, which spreads out wide before him before disappearing into the horizon. The man isn’t identified, yet we can relate to him and imagine what he is experiencing at that moment in time. Who among us who loves the river hasn’t sat contentedly on a scenic vista and stared at the river? Such overlooks offer a sanctuary at which we can pause, reflect and contemplate life. The National Park Service recognizes the value of scenic overlooks and is working to preserve more of them in the MNRRA corridor. As part of its Visual Resource Protection Plan, the Park Service has recently solicited public comments on favorite scenic viewpoints in the corridor. Nearly 100 people have weighed in on their favorites. If given the chance, people are quick to share their opinions. It’s an ageold habit of celebrating the

places we love. In a chapter in “Life on the Mississippi” entitled Legends and Scenery, Mark Twain recounts a conversation with an old man who bragged incessantly about the scenery on the Upper Mississippi, sometimes “slamming in a three-ton word” to illustrate his point. Twain said he was glad to hear his description of the scenery, “for it assisted my appreciation of what I saw of it.” The National Park Service’s map of MNRRA has seven scenic overlooks denoted by a simple black dot. I decided to visit each of them to note their significance and see if any are worthy of a three-ton word. Cloquet Scenic Overlook – Located in Dayton at the northern end of the corridor, this overlook has limited views of the river, but what you can see of it is beautiful and wild. Looking through a mixture of pines and hardwoods, you can see the river as it wraps around Cloquet Island. Graffiti on the handrail summed up one viewer’s opinion. It said, “Minnesota is nice,” and had an arrow pointing toward the river. Coon Rapids Dam Overlook – I nearly omitted visiting this location because it was on a dam site, but I’m glad I went because it offers a unique opportunity to stand in the middle of the river. Looking upstream, the river is placid and tranquil. Looking downstream over the railing one can see the powerful flow of water thundering over the dam. It spills out near Coon Island, which is said to have some of the most wild and diverse habitat in the entire corridor. Stone Bridge Arch Overlook – This overlook is the most urban and historic. Here the river is engulfed within the city of Minneapolis. Its banks are lined with remnants of the city’s industrialist past as the milling center of the world, as well as its present day commerce. At St. Anthony Falls you can also get a close-up look at the first lock on the river.

Mississippi River Gorge Overlook – Located near Summit and Mississippi River boulevards in St. Paul, this overlook offers the best vista of the beautiful gorge. Looking at the river and surrounding landscape from this vantage point it’s impossible to tell that you are just minutes from both downtowns of the Twin Cities. A bonus of this overlook is that it is close to Shadow Falls, a picturesque waterfall that carves a deep ravine toward the river. Vento View Overlook – This overlook was named in honor of the late Bruce Vento, a U.S. Congressman from Minnesota who was instrumental in initiating a study that ultimately led to the creation of MNRAA. The trailhead is located near the entrance of Cherokee Regional Park, near Hwy. 13 and Annapolis. From there, it’s a short hike through the wooded bluff line to reach the secluded overlook. Vento’s View overlooks Pickerel Lake and offers an encompassing panoramic view of the river valley, including the skylines of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Mounds Park Overlook – This overlook offers the best view of the river as part of our overall transportation network, as well as St.

Paul’s skyline. Looking out, one can see all forms of competing transportation methods, including auto and truck traffic, airplanes taking off and landing at nearby Holman Field, freight trains, and barges on the river. Spring Lake Park Overlook – This overlook is located in Spring Lake Park Reserve near Hastings. To reach it you walk along a paved path high atop the bluff that offers sweeping views of the river around Grey Cloud Island. The view at the overlook is partially obstructed by trees. However, gaps in the tree line allow you to see upstream and down. This is one of the best overlooks for those seeking solitude. It is impossible to say which of the overlooks is the most scenic, for each has its own unique attributes and interprets a different aspect of the river. I conclude that each is — warning: threeton word ahead — splendiferous in its own way. It’s a worthy goal of the Park Service to establish more overlooks in the corridor and I look forward to viewing the river from them as they are established. To suggest a location to the Park Service, mail your submission to: Mississippi National River

Reflections from the Riverfront

and Recreation Area, 111 Kellogg Blvd. E., Suite 105, St. Paul, MN 55101, or provide input and view other submissions at https:// mymississippiview.crowdmap.com/main.

Bosse Collection Bosse’s photographs have been digitized by the Minnesota Historical Society and may be viewed at http://reflections.mndigital.org/cdm/landingpage/ collection/army/

V.F.W. POST 295 South St. Paul • 651-455-1505 www.vfwpost295.org Live Music in April April 5 ....................................... Scarlet County (Country) April 6 ........................... Jonah and the Whales, $5 cover April 12 ..............................................2 Mile Final (Country) April 13 ................................... High Brow and the Shades April 16 .....................River City Jazz Orchestra, 7-10 pm April 19 ................................................Iron Horse (Country) April 20 ............................................ Uncle Chuck, $8 cover April 26 ..............................Tim Sigler (Country), $8 cover April 27 ..................... Devon Worley (Country), $5 cover Food & Drink Specials New Mon-Wed Happy Hour - Discounts on all beer, rail, call & wine, 9-12 pm New Breakfast Special - Every Sunday, 9 am-1 pm, $4.50 Breakfast, $3.25 Mimosas & Screwdrivers, $4.25 Bloody Marys Sundays - Build your own Bloodys @ Happy Hour prices, 10 am-5 pm; Open Mic, 7-10 pm Mon - Fri - 11 am-2 pm $1 small domestic tap beer , $1 Corn Dogs; NEW Happy hour, 3-6 pm Tues - $2 Burger Night; 2nd Tuesday Turtle Lake Casino Trip, 9 am, $5, get two free drinks upon return Wed - Bar Bingo at 7 p.m. $1.25 State Fair Corn Dogs Thurs - Chicken wing night, 5 for $3, Karaoke 8 pm-close; Ladies & Gentlemen Night, 9 pm-close; discount on all drinks and beer Fri -Lipstick and Nail Polish Night drink special, $2 Bud Light long neck bottles, $2.25 Bacardi drinks, 9 pm to midnight Fri - Sat - Live music, 9 pm-1 am; open until 2 am. Sat - Jalapeno Popper Night $4 , 7-10 pm, Mega Tacos $3 and meat raffle, noon-4 pm Lic. # 00052 Live music, 9 pm-1 am Burger Kitchen - open Tues-Sat, 5-10 pm Bomb specials - $3.25, all day, every day

Hall rental & special packages available for fundraisers. South St. Paul Voice - April 2013 - Page 9


C ommunity Columns

Your community news and information source

Task force receives Star of the North award On Monday, Mar. 11, the South St. Paul Mayor’s Youth Task Force received a Star of the North Congressional Award from U.S. Congressman John Kline. The award recognizes extraordinary acts of service and random acts of kindness of Minnesotans in the 2nd District. What a great evening for us! “We are blessed in Minnesota to be surrounded by so many selfless individuals who are willing to step up to address the needs they see in our communities and beyond,” said Congressman Kline. “These ‘Stars of the North’ have given far more than they have received — volunteering, offering a helping hand, reaching out to a neighbor to ask, ‘what can I do for you?’ ” The mission of the task force is to find things for youth to do in the community. In addition to organizing and hosting activities and events for youth and families in South St. Paul, the task force works on community service projects, such as the South St. Paul All Community Food Drive in March, Fill the Backpack Campaign in August and the Hat and Mitten Drive in December. Food Drive: Last year, over 21,000 pounds of non-perishable food items were collected and donated throughout the community in March. Our thanks to everyone who contributed to the food drive. We could not have done it alone. Working together as a community we were able to

Jennifer L. Gale, president

The River Heights Chamber of Commerce, which represents the business community in South St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights and the surrounding area, is hosting the Golf Classic on Monday, May 20 at Southview Country Club. This scramble format fundraising tournament is open to the public. Come support local businesses by participating, sponsoring or donating goods or services for the silent auction. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m., followed by a barbeque lunch. Golfing begins at 1 p.m. The banquet starts at 6:30 p.m. and features a silent auction. Cost is $155, with $20 for the Tourney Passport. Tickets for the banquet alone are $25. The money raised at the tournament will be used to advocate for issues that impact local business. Two important aspects of membership are lobbying and representation. An integral part of our activity is ensuring that the views of the

surpass our goal and make a significant donation to Neighbors, Inc. The 2013 food drive, entitled “What Will You Bring to the Table,” is currently underway. Many residents, community organizations and businesses are participating and donating to the food drive. It is not too late to contribute. For a listing of drop-off locations, visit www.southstpaul.org, click on Mayor’s Youth Task Force. Fill the Backpack Campaign: Last year over 200 backpacks were filled and distributed to the schools in South St. Paul for students in need. Partnering with the community makes this campaign work. Each spring, the task force receives a generous donation from Mizpah Lodge #191 to purchase the backpacks. In August, the task force asks organizations, groups and individuals to donate school supplies for the backpacks. Once the supplies start arriving, task force members fill the backpacks and distribute them to the schools. This year’s campaign begins on August 6. Hat and Mitten Drive: We help organize this drive as part of South St. Paul’s annual Holiday tree lighting event. Each year, participants bring hundreds of hats and mittens to decorate the tree before it is lit. After the event, the items are donated to Neighbors, Inc., to warm the heads and hands of youth in South St. Paul. Our thanks to everyone who donates to these campaigns. We cannot do it alone. We proudly accepted the Star of the North Congressional Award on behalf of the city of South St. Paul.

business community are articulated to elected politicians. At the local level, we are the only business organization that truly represents and supports private sector interests. We do this by hosting business breakfasts, legislative breakfasts, Business Day at the Capitol, local issues meetings and congressional visits to Washington D.C. The Chamber also works in partnership with other organizations to help build a stronger, more effective small business team. Some of our partners are city, county and state government, Dakota County Technical College, Dakota County Workforce Center, Inver Hills Community College, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Progress Plus, Economic Development Partnership and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. For more information, contact the Chamber at 651-4512266 or visit our Facebook and Twitter sites.

Preschool & Kindergarten Open House: Thurs., April 4, 5-7 pm

Community of Sain s

Summer activities and safety fair

• Pre-K - 8th PaulGrade Saints’ Mudonna, and at the Veterans Memorial • Academic American Red Cross Community Center, 8055 theExcellence Preschool site mascot. They may BeeonSafe Barbara Ave., Inver •Grove Strong Catholic Identity also explore an ambulance, Heights. This free • event • Tuition Assistance The Early Childhood is geared toward families police car, Available fire truck, school learn call MADD. Family Education Program and children in elementary Tobus andmore, a car from visit of theRegional South St. Catholic Paul and School In addition,or children may school or younger. Par-651-457-2510 www.communityofsaints.org Inver 337 Grove EastHeights Hurley public Street, West St. Paul ticipants may visit with fire practice emergency proceschools is hosting the 23rd fighters, nurses and other dures with staff from the the parishes of OurasLady of Guadalupe, annual summer Sponsored activities bysafety Inver Grove Heights Fire specialists, well St. John Vianney, St. Matthew's, and St. and safety fair 5:30-7:30 as Sparky the Fire Dog, Michael. Department in the Safe Esp.m., Thursday, April 4 Smokey the Bear, the St. cape House and have fun

in the Fire Safety Hopper. Several organizations will have registration information for summer programs, including swimming pools, library programs, scouting, community education classes and activities, park and recreation programs, and nature and gardening programs. In addition, information will be available on nutrition, fire safety, water and boating safety, car seats and more.

Preschool openings

Preschool & Kindergarten Open House: Thurs., April 4, 5-7 pm

Community of Sain s Regional Catholic School

337 East Hurley Street, West St. Paul

Pre-K - 8th Grade • Academic Excellence • Preschool on site • Strong Catholic Identity • Tuition Assistance Available To learn more, call 651-457-2510 or visit www.communityofsaints.org

Sponsored by the parishes of Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. John Vianney, St. Matthew's, and St. Michael. Page 10 - South St. Paul Voice - April 2013

The South St. Paul Community Preschool Program is accepting registrations for classes that begin in September. Classes for children who will be age three or older on September 1 are offered two, three or four half days per week at Kid Connections and Lincoln Center. For enrollment and registration information, call 651-457-9418 or visit www.ssppreschool.tridistrictce.org.

SSP Board of Education seeks building bond On March 11, the South St. Paul Board of Education unanimously approved a recommendation to place a building bond vote on the May 21 ballot. The 20year, $26.6 million bond would be used to fund major building projects and deferred maintenance. The tax impact on an average South St. Paul home valued at $142,000 would be less than $7 per month. Funds are needed for: • Site improvements and facility maintenance, including repairing aging roofs, heating and ventilation systems, repurposing underutilized classrooms and updating student activities facilities. • Relieving overcrowding in the elementary schools. This includes an addition of early childhood and kindergarten classrooms and relocating

the 6th grade to a separate middle school wing of the Secondary Building. • Addressing districtwide safety and security needs, including incorporating additional cameras and facility modifications and upgrading the communications and wireless infrastructure. • Reducing district rental costs and eliminating lease payments by relocating out of the Family Connections site and purchasing the District office. The bond request is the result of a year-long, comprehensive review by the Facilities Committee, a group of community members, district staff, and representatives from ICS Consulting, Wold Architects, Springsted and Ehlers’s financial consultants. According to the board, it has been 13 years since voters last passed a building bond for the South St. Paul School District.


C ommunity Columns

Your community news and information source

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

On April 11, Neighbors will hold its 41st annual meeting and volunteer recognition dinner. It’s fitting to do it this month because April is National Volunteer Appreciation month, a time to tell volunteers how much they are appreciated. National Volunteer Appreciation Week began in 1974 with an executive order signed by President Richard Nixon. If I’m doing the math correctly, this means that Neighbors has been formally thanking its volunteers through our annual event longer than there has been an official week or month set aside for that purpose. This speaks to how important volunteers are to Neighbors, and how deeply we value them. For

us, volunteers are not just in our DNA, they are our DNA. From our beginning in January of 1972 it has been volunteers who have made everything we have ever done possible. Many nonprofit organizations begin with a small group of people sitting around a table discussing a way to develop a solution to a problem. These same people then volunteer to do the work of the organization they created. If they are successful and grow, they reach a point where they have to hire staff to take on some of the work, such as answering the phone, handling correspondence, filling out forms, organizing staffing for programs, etc. When many organizations reach

Tiny Tots and Little Tykes, Inc. Preschool and Child Care Center

Located at St. Croix Lutheran School/1200 Oakdale Ave., WSP

this crossroad they opt to follow the “paid staff” model and hire staff to do the work of the organization and rely less on volunteers. When Neighbors reached that crossroad, it made a different choice. Although we have had paid staff since 1975, we have maintained our focus on having volunteers serve on the front lines to deliver our services. It is the function of our paid staff to make sure the work is organized properly and our volunteers have the tools and support they need to serve our neighbors. As the organization has grown in both size and scope, our number of paid staff has also grown; there is just a lot more organizing that is needed to make sure all the “I”s are dotted and the “T”s are crossed. It’s not enough to pay bills just once a month, now bills get paid almost every day. It’s not enough to have a couple of board members review our financials at the end of the year, now we have to have a full audit every year. And so on. But as the number of staff people has increased so has

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from selflessly doing something for another person, especially when that other person is a stranger. That is what happens at Neighbors for our volunteers each day, and that’s what makes this such a fun place to be. On April 11, we will once again pause to formally thank our volunteers. They won’t all be present; the room only holds so many people. But when we say thank you to those present

the number of volunteers. We have 14 staff, several of them working part time for the equivalent of 12 fulltime employees. Last year we had 1,100 volunteers who collectively provided us with the equivalent work of over 17 full-time employees. One of the great joys of working at this incredible organization is the opportunity to come to work each day knowing that I will be surrounded by these wonderful volunteers. They always have smiles on their faces and always look forward to their time at Neighbors. They obviously love what they do and take great pride, enjoyment and satisfaction from their work. Most of them can’t wait to come back the next time. Regardless of your personal or religious background, most holy books tell us to love our neighbors. What they don’t tell us is just how good it feels to follow that direction; just how much personal joy one gets

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we are saying it to all 1,100 of our volunteers. And if it’s the first time all year they’ve heard us say “thank you,” then shame on us. It’s something we try to say to our volunteers every day.

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B ack in Time

Your community news and information source

James Thompson was first African American at Kaposia Lois Glewwe Contributor

L

ocal residents don’t always think of Minnesota as home to several African slaves in the earliest years of the area that became the Minnesota Territory in 1849. The historical record, however, provides information on many slaves who were brought to Fort Snelling and other government outposts by officers soon after the fort opened in 1819. One of those slaves was James Thompson. He was among the earliest residents at Kaposia Village in today’s South St. Paul. Thompson was born a slave in America in 1799. His first owner was George Monroe, a nephew of President James Monroe. The family located in Kentucky, and at some point Thompson was given to John Culbertson as payment for a debt. Culbertson, a government sutler, or supply agent, brought Thompson to Fort Snelling in 1827, and then sold him to Captain George Day. According to some stories, it was

at this time that Thompson married a Dakota woman from the nearby village of Chief Cloud Man. Shortly after, Captain Day was relocated to Prairie du Chien, Wisc. It was at Prairie du Chien that Thompson met the Rev. Alfred Brunson, a Methodist missionary who came west with his wife Eunice in 1836. Brunson wanted to establish a mission at Little Crow’s Kaposia village. However, he did not know the Dakota language and needed a translator. Thompson, who learned to speak Dakota from his wife, approached Brunson and asked him to purchase him so that he could return to the area around Fort Snelling and be reunited with his wife. He offered to serve the new mission as an interpreter. Brunson, an avid abolitionist, immediately sent letters to his sympathetic friends in the East and raised $1,200 to purchase Thompson from Col. Day. As soon as the funds arrived, Brunson finalized the sale and freed Thompson at Fort Snelling. Thompson’s

wife had adopted the Christian name Mary Thompson and moved with him to Kaposia in May 1837. Thompson immediately went to work building a log house that served as home to the Brunsons, as well as the location for a school and mission. He assisted Brunson in his efforts to teach the Dakota people to speak English while David King oversaw the farming operations. In the fall of 1839, Rev. Brunson was forced to return east because of illness. He was replaced by Rev. Benjamin Kavanaugh. James and Mary Thompson are listed as attending classes at Kaposia in his 1840 school. Kavanaugh and Dakota Chief Big Thunder did not get along and Kavanaugh soon moved across the Mississippi River to Red Rock, present day Newport. He apparently released Thompson from his obligations and James and Mary moved to Pig’s Eye Landing, which later became the city of St. Paul. Thompson worked as a carpenter on many buildings in the rap-

idly growing community. In 1849, he helped build the Market Street Episcopal Church in St. Paul and donated 2,000 feet of timber, 1,500 shingles and a piece of property that he owned. He is also said to be the builder and operator of the first ferry between downtown St. Paul and what became West St. Paul on the other side of the river. The Thompsons had at least two children, George and Sarah. After the Dakota people were removed from the area near the Mississippi River under the Treaty of 1851, the Thompsons moved to a farm near the Lower Sioux Agency on the Minnesota River, near Redwood Falls. They were there when the U.S. Dakota War broke out in August 1862. Mary and their children remained with the Dakota while James headed for Fort Ridgley, afraid for his personal safety. The family survived the war and may have returned to St. Paul. James Thompson died in 1884 and is noted as the only African American member of the Old Settlers Association of St. Paul.

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James Thompson, a freed African American slave, built this log cabin in 1837 at Kaposia Village, present-day South St. Paul. The cabin served as the home and mission of the Rev. Alfred Brunson until 1840, when several sources indicate it was moved across the river to the Village of Red Rock by Brunson’s successor, the Rev. Benjamin Kavanaugh. After several subsequent moves, the structure is now on the grounds of the Newport United Methodist Church, across the river from old Kaposia.

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Editor’s Note: Last month’s history column focused on Helen Hastings Sibley, Henry Sibley’s daughter with a Dakota woman. The information about Helen is from a new book by Bruce Kohn called “Dakota’s Child, Governor’s Daughter.” The book is available from the Friends of the Sibley Historic Site, www.sibley-friends. org/store.

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