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April 2014 Volume 11 Number 4

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Police chief shows off his crime fighting machine Mary Diedrick Hanson Staff Writer


outh St. Paul’s Ford Explorer Utility Police Interceptor may not be as classy as the Aston Martin DB5 that James Bond used to battle his enemies, but its many high-tech gizmos and gadgets would surely impress even Bond himself. The latest gadget that has Police Chief Bill Messerich beaming is the automatic license plate reader (ATPL) attached to the roof of the Interceptor. The mechanism detects the license plate of every vehicle that crosses its path and automatically checks each one for being stolen, having a driver with a warrant, and for missing persons. It can run 500 plates through its database each minute and will beep out a signal and take a photo of the license plate and vehicle when it detects a problem. Messerich would like to have one on every car and at fixed locations, but

it’s costly, with a price tag slightly exceeding $18,000, including training and maintenance. The South St. Paul Police Department purchased its reader with a grant from the Minnesota Department of Commerce Division of Insurance Fraud. “It’s proving to be invaluable,” said Messerich. He recalled a recent incident when the reader detected a stolen vehicle and flashed a picture of it on the police vehicle’s computer screen. The officer immediately sped after the vehicle and apprehended four burglary suspects from Apple Valley.

SSP Relay for Life kick off and resource fair

Relay for Life of South St. Paul will host a Resource Fair 6-8 p.m., Thursday, March 27 at Central Square Community Center, 100 7th Ave. N., South St. Paul. The event is free and will feature resources for caregivers and survivors, a “purple couch” video diary for attendees, the chance to win Twins tickets and other prizes, and a short program which begins at 6:45 p.m. Relay for Life of the South St. Paul Area will be held August 8 at Fleming Field Airport in South St. Paul. It is celebrating its 10th Anniversary and is expected to reach its $1 million fundraising milestone. Relay for Life of South St. Paul includes the communities of Inver Grove Heights and West St. Paul. For more information, visit

Preschool registration

High tech crime fighting / Page 2

Top: South St. Paul Police Chief Bill Messerich amidst the high tech gear found in today’s police vehicles. Left: The department’s new license plate reader.

The South St. Paul Community Preschool Program is accepting registrations for preschool classes that start in September. Community Preschool is for children who will be age three or four by September 1. Kid Connections, 1541 Fifth Ave. S., has openings for three-year-olds on Mondays and Wednesdays in the morning or afternoon. Kaposia Education Center, 1225 First Ave. S., has openings for four-year-olds two afternoons a week and also half days Monday through Friday. Lincoln Center, 357 Ninth Ave. N., has openings for three-year-olds and four-year-olds two afternoons a week, and openings for four-year-olds four afternoons a week and five half days in the morning or afternoon. For more information, call 651-457-9418.


City celebrates achievements during annual State of the City address Mary Diedrick Hanson Staff Writer

“We’re Glad You Asked” was the theme of South St. Paul’s 2014 State of the City address, held in mid February at City Hall. Always on the lookout for creative ways to deliver the annual event, a number of residents had been videotaped asking questions, and those segments

were played as part of the presentation. For example, Steve Mankowski, owner of Southview 66, inquired about property taxes, and Clara Rosen asked if there were any new programs at the South St. Paul Library and with Parks and Recreation. Council members and Mayor Beth Baumann answered the questions during the meeting. Here are the highlights.


More than 8,100 children participated in library events last year, an increase of 55 percent over 2012. The library offered 380 programs for children, teens and adults. Local residents enthusiastically responded to a library-sponsored art contest in which participants were asked to draw their interpretation of a story, folktale or book. Of the 36 entries, 11 were

chosen for display in the children’s section of the library.

Parks and Recreation The $10 million Revitalization Recreation Referendum passed, paving the way for improvements at Kaposia Landing, McMorrow Park and Wakota Ice Arena, where about 500,000 people combined participated in an event,

game or lesson last year. Over 15,000 patrons visited the City’s two swimming pools. Due to federal aviation regulations, the Community Garden next to Fleming Field must be moved. It will be relocated near the City compost site near the Mississippi River.

Property taxes Property taxes will not increase this year for sever-

al reasons, including Local Government Aid (LGA) from the state increasing to $626,000 and the city saving nearly $37,000 through the elimination of sales tax on city-made purchases. A new formula for LGA in 2013 should make budgeting easier in upcoming years. In 2005, 29 percent of city revenue came from LGA. By 2012 it

State of the City / Page 3

C ity Government

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High tech crime fighting from page 1

“If not for the license plate reader they never would have been stopped,” said Messerich. “It lets the officer keep his eyes on other things. Having a license plate reader is like having another officer in the car. It assists officers in working more efficiently and effectively.” Thanks to the new device

and other high tech gadgets in the Interceptor, the long arm of the law is able to reach even farther into South St. Paul. Officers can instantly access information through a laptop computer and print out data on a Bluetooth printer, including reports of traffic infractions, arrest warrants and photos of missing people.

A GPS tracking device also lets dispatch know where officers are at all times, and a multi-channel 800 MHz satellite radio connects them to a statewide system. Just 10 years ago squad cars were outfitted with an Electron Com Digicom mobile data terminal (MDT) 870, which relied on radio signals to relay messages to a state database to run license plate checks. Messerich said the towering bluffs around the city often made it diffi-

A Challenging Education for a Diverse Population


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cult to send or receive radio signals. The vehicle also includes five cameras. One faces out the front window, one out the back and three face inside the vehicle. Another tool in this package is a handheld rapid fingerprint detector wand that allows an officer to scan the index fingers of a suspect and send the image to a fingerprint database. In addition to all the snazzy gadgets, each police

vehicle is designed with an advanced brake and suspension systems, a beefy battery, and four-wheel drive. The Interceptor has more room for prisoners and cargo. The back seats are plastic, which eliminates the possibility of hiding evidence behind cushions. What’s the cost per vehicle? “Just over $26,000,” said Messerich. “This is before we put any equipment in or on the vehicle.”

The Department has 16 vehicles in its fleet: ten are marked cars and five are SUVs. Messerich plans on getting two more SUVs next summer. He said the life span of a police vehicle is about four years. The Interceptor has been on the road for 18 months and already has 50,000 miles on it. “And they aren’t easy miles either,” said Messerich.

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“I’m sorry, I must have misplaced your paperwork.” “Your credit report isn’t back.” “Your income hasn’t been verified yet.” Don’t be fooled by excuses. What appears to be a delay could be discrimination. According to the federal Fair Housing Act, it’s illegal to consider race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability or family status in rental, sales, lending or homeowner’s insurance decisions. Under the Minnesota Human Rights Law, it’s also illegal to discriminate based on one’s creed, sexual or affectional orientation, marital status or receipt of public assistance. If you suspect unfair housing practices, visit or call the HUD Hotline 1-800-669-9777, 1-800-927-9275 (TTY), or MN Dept. of Human Rights at 651-296-5663. Sponsored by the Dakota County CDA and the US Dept of HUD

The South St. Paul Voice is published monthly and distributed to 8,500 homes and high traffic businesses in South St. Paul. Publisher & Editor: Tim Spitzack Copy Editor: Leslie Martin Reporter: Mary Diedrick Hansen Advertising Manager: John E. Ahlstrom Contributors: Lois Glewwe Home Delivery: Independent Delivery Service Bulk Delivery: SC Distribution 651-285-1119

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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 2012. All rights reserved in compliance of Federal Copyright Act of 1978.

Page 2 - South St. Paul Voice - April 2014

Growing with You... Thanks for patronizing South St. Paul businesses! The growth of our businesses and our community depends on you.

Dakota Premium Foods 425 S. Concord 455-6611 • Jodee Paape & Associates, LLC 100 BridgePoint Dr. Ste. 120 455-4621 • Thompson Trucks and Parts, Inc. 316 Malden St. 455-9300 • Metzen Realty 412 Southview Blvd. 455-2214 • Mayor Beth Baumann

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451-4030 • Southview 66 Steve Mankowski On the Road Again President 725 Southview Blvd. 457-2774 • State Farm Christopher Kisch 625 Southview Blvd. South St. Paul 651-455-9700

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State of the City from page 1

had dropped to 6 percent. In 2014 it is projected to make up 15 percent of the revenue. In 2011, South St. Paul relied on local taxes to bring in 64 percent of its revenue. In 2014 it will drop to 56 percent. Of the total tax collected, 80 percent is residential property tax.

Economic Development To lower residential property taxes, the City is on a mission to attract more businesses in and around the BridgePointe Business Park. To date, Interstate Partners, a real estate property management firm, has filled up Building Number One at the business park and will break ground for a second 104,000-squarefoot building this spring. Other projects in 2013 included the construction of a new hangar at Fleming Field and two major industrial building renovations at Dakota Bulk and Cemstone, valued at $3.6

million. Thirty-eight commercial alterations valued at $3.5 million were also undertaken. The South St. Paul City Council and Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) approved the creation of the Downtown Redevelopment Project Area, centered around Southview Boulevard from Second Avenue to 14th Avenue. The objective is to initiate planning, stop deterioration and obtain funding for redevelopment. More than 100 residents, business owners and employees have attended meetings to discuss ideas for the area. Several programs are in place to help small business owners and entrepreneurs get started in South St. Paul. “Open to Business” assists with financial management, business plan assistance and real estate analysis. The Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers has a consultant available the second Wednesday of each month at City Hall. Assistance with business re-

tention and expansion was provided through “Grow Minnesota” and South St. Paul Future, Inc. a private, for-profit development corporation that offers fixed asset loans of up to $50,000 to businesses looking to build or expand in the city.

Housing In January 2014, the HRA reduced the interest rate of 6 percent to 0 percent for home improvement projects through its Home Improvement Loan program. Last year there were 1,400 home update permits and 700 building permits, totaling more than $12 million. A code enforcement officer has been hired to work 16 hours a week during the spring and summer months, when significantly more complaints are received. That position was eliminated in 2011 due to budget cuts. As a result, the City operated on a complaint system for response, resulting in fewer than half of the complaints being resolved. Foreclosures are trending down and pending foreclo-

sure filings have dropped by nearly half. The City issued 8,000 rental housing licenses last year. The City’s rental licensing program is designed to preserve existing housing stock, maintain property values, work toward eliminating substandard and deteriorating rental housing and maintain a quality living environment for residents.

was selected to lead the department. He succeeded former chief John Ehret. In 2013, the department responded to 1,241 fire-related calls and 4,215 medical calls in the South St. Paul and West St. Paul area, a 9 percent increase in medical calls. South Metro also renewed its ambulance transport collaboration contract with HealthEast for two years.

South Metro Fire Community New Fire Chief Mike Groups Pott, a veteran of the South Metro Fire Department,

More than 44,500 pounds of non-perishable

food was donated to South St. Paul’s Neighbors Inc. thanks to the generosity of residents and support from local clubs, businesses and organizations. The Farmers’ Market, which was held last summer in the Wakota Federal Credit Union parking lot, will return on Wednesday afternoons starting July 2. South St. Paul Mayor’s Youth Task Force received a Star of the North Award from Congressman John Kline for its work in the community.

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

West Side Summit K-4 charter school 497 Humboldt Ave., St. Paul 651-200-4543 St. Paul City School PreK-8 260 Edmund Ave., St. Paul 651-225-9177

Visit 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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South St. Paul Voice - April 2014 - Page 3

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Dance Team places fifth at the state tournament John E. Ahlstrom Staff Writer


enior captains Josi Hendrickson, Abbey Luhrs and Kendall Corty have been on the South St. Paul High School Varsity Dance Team roster since they were in seventh grade. In 2009 and 2010, as seventh and eighth graders, they got a taste of the excitement and adrenalin rush that accompanies participation in the state tournament. It was their mutual goal entering their final season to lead a rather young and inexperienced team to the apex of their sport one last time. On February 8, the Packers traveled to Austin, Minn. to participate in the Section 1AA tournament. The squad rose to the occasion, finishing second in the Jazz competition and becoming one of three teams from their section to earn a trip to the state tournament. The Girls Dance State Tournament was held February 14-15 at the Target Center in Minneapolis. In the preliminary competition that narrowed the field from 12 teams to six, the Packers finished fourth. They danced to a fifth place finish – earning medals in the process – in the championship round. “It was an appropriate exclamation point to our season,” said head coach Tara Martin. “At the conclusion of the conference

meet in December, we set our sights on qualifying for the state tournament. We received great leadership from our seniors, and all of the kids worked hard, stayed focused and accepted the challenge.” Martin took the reins as head coach in 2010 after a one-year stint as the junior varsity coach. She was a member of the Faribault High School Emeralds dance team as a student and her interest and passion for the sport has never waned. She is blessed with two able assistants – Crystal Roob and Natalie Patrick. For Hendrickson, Luhrs and Corty, the state tournament appearance was the perfect way to end their high school careers. “I couldn’t exaggerate how gratifying it is to perform at that level in front of so many people,” said Luhrs. “It was such a sense of accomplishment. It meant that all of the hard work that we had put in all those years truly paid off.” The Jazz team that performed at the state tournament consisted of 11 members: four seniors, two juniors, three sophomores and two eighth graders. “During our summer workouts we worked very hard at bonding as a team,” said Hendrickson. “It wasn’t easy considering our age differences, but in the end it worked. I have never been on a team as close as this one.”

All Are Welcome!

Grace Lutheran Church • WELS 149 8th Ave. S., South St. Paul 651-451-1035 Pastor Thomas Hartwig

Maundy Thursday Services 4:30 & 7:00 p.m.

Good Friday Services

Service of Seven Words - 4:30 p.m. Tenebrae Service - 7:00 p.m.

Easter Sunday

Sunrise Service - 6:30 a.m. Festival Services - 8:30 & 10:30 a.m. Page 4 - South St. Paul Voice - April 2014

As a seasoned — substitute “old” if you wish! — sports reporter, I admit I was embarrassed by my lack of knowledge about competitive dance until a very patient coach schooled me with a half-hour of instruction on the subject a few years ago. I have since dubbed it Dance Team 101. Let me share some of what I learned. There are two categories of dance in high school competition. High Kick

features very structured dance formations and the high intensity kicks reminiscent of the famed Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. Jazz, on the other hand, is generally composed of fewer dancers, has less structure and incorporates ballet and other more sophisticated maneuvers. Most high school teams in Minnesota, including South St. Paul, participate in both disciplines. The dance season begins

in earnest during the last week of October. For most schools, tryouts occur six months earlier – in April of the preceding school year. Those who don’t make the team in April have the summer and a portion of the fall to work on their craft, and some get a second opportunity to earn a spot on the team. Many casual observers are guided by the colossal misconception that those who compete in dance work at it rather casually – as if it were more of a hobby than athletic competition. Nothing could be further from the truth. If a dancer wishes to compete at the varsity level, the notions of apathy, self-interest and nonchalance must be checked at the gymnasium door. “We expect our kids to stay in shape and work out on a regular basis during the off-season,” said Martin. Once the season starts, we practice two-anda-half hours a day, Monday through Friday, either from 3:30-6 in the afternoon or 5-7:30 in the evening depending upon the availability of the gymnasium. We also practice on Saturday mornings if we are gearing up for a major competition.” Hendrickson and Luhrs have been dancing since the age of two. For them,

dedication to their sport is a year-round activity. In addition to organizing regular summer workouts with their teammates that included 10-15 minute runs, squats, crunches and other exercises, both of them also played on a soccer team. (Because dance and soccer are both fall activities, they were not able to play soccer on the high school team.) Luhr belongs to a fitness center and does 40-minute runs outdoors or on a treadmill, and numerous weight exercises several times a week. Hendrickson competes in the high jump and the triple jump on the South St. Paul Girls Track Team. Like their teammates, they are athletes in every sense of the word. All three team captains are headed to college. Hendrickson will attend Hamline University in St. Paul and will compete on the track team. Luhrs has enrolled at Miami of Ohio and has already sent a tape to the school in her effort to become a part of the school’s dance team. Corty will attend the University of Minnesota. The Gopher dance team has won the NCAA National Championship five years running. Don’t discount the possibility of Corty bringing some South St. Paul Packer flavor to that squad.

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Packers send a record nine wrestlers to the state tournament John E. Ahlstrom Staff Writer


he South St. Paul Wrestling Team capped off another successful season when the squad qualified a record nine wrestlers for the state tournament at the Section 4AA meet at Minnehaha Academy on February 21-22. All 14 team members finished in fourth place or higher. The sectional champion and runner-up in each weight class moved on to the state tournament. The Packer entrants included Lorenzo Dias (106 lbs), Trevor Oberg (120), Curt Palodichuk (126), Ryan Duffy (132), John Rankin (145), Marcos Perez (152), Hayden Cameron (182), Paxton Woods (220) and Jose Brito (285). In addition, head coach Don Nihart, in his 11th season at the helm of the Packer wrestling program, was named the Section 4AA Coach of the Year. His team finished the regular season with a dual meet record of 19-4, including a 5-2 record in the Classic Suburban Conference. The team finished runner-up to eventual AA State Champion, Simley, in the sectional team competition that was held – most of it anyway – at the South St. Paul High School gymnasium on February 15. Near the conclusion of the semifinal matches, a transformer outside of the gym blew up leaving the building without electrical power. The athletes, coaches, officials and fans hung around in the darkness for about an hour before the decision was made to move the championship match between Simley and South St. Paul a few miles down the road to Simley High School. Because the Spartans were hosting a gymnastics meet in the main gym,

Photo by Jenni Cameron

Participating at State were, back row, left to right: Coach Jose Trevino, Jose Brito, Paxton Woods, Curt Palodichuk, Ryan Duffy, Hayden Cameron and Coach Don Nihart. Front row: Lorenzo Dias, Trevor Oberg, Marcos Perez and John Rankin. the wrestlers – and their loyal legion of fans who had braved the elements and made the transfer as well – were squeezed into a smaller gym. The home team proved victorious. The state tournament, staged at the Xcel Center in downtown St. Paul, February 27-March 1, turned out to be anti-climatic for the Packer faithful. All nine wrestlers lost their opening round matches and only Palodichuk made it through the wrestle-backs and into the second day of the competition. It was the first time in a decade that the Packers did not go home with at least one individual medal. “We are about the only state tournament left that does not seed the individual portion of our event and I think that is unfortunate,” said Nihart. “We don’t like to make excuses, but the brackets were not set up very favorably for our kids.” Senior Preston Woods,

who finished as state runner-up in the 285-pound class last year, did not wrestle this year. He is currently working out in anticipation of playing football at the University of Northern Iowa next fall and has bulked up to over 300 pounds. Another senior, Hayden Cameron, who was also a state qualifier in 2013, blew out his Achilles tendon during the football season and was unable to wrestle until the sectional qualifying. To his credit, he earned a return trip to the Xcel Center.

Nihart is looking forward to the future. The Packers won the consolation championship at the ninth grade state tournament in February and five of the nine state

qualifiers will return next fall. “We lose six seniors and they will be missed,” said Nihart, “but our program has a lot of depth and our

numbers continue to grow. The kids will spend a lot of time in the weight room the next several months and we look forward to getting after it again next November.”

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S ample St. Paul

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On the Town The Baroque Room

275 E. 4th St., #280 St. Paul 651-705-6772

The Schumann Piano Quartert and Quintet will perform at 8 p.m., Friday, April 25. Tickets are $15 with a $5 discount for seniors and students.

Saint Paul Conservatory of Music will present a free coffee concert at noon, Wednesday, April 2.

through May 26. Children will go face-toface with the prehistoric world and meet dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes.

Joseph Jones, baroque bassoon, will perform at 4 p.m., Saturday, April 26. Tickets are $10 with a $5 discount for seniors and students.

Tickets are $9.95. Explore the museum free of charge 9 a.m.-5 p.m. the third Sunday of each month.

Fitzgerald Theater

Children’s Concert Museum

Lunchtime Series – The following free noontime concerts are held in April: Flying Forms - Music for One will perform Friday, April 4, and Joseph Jones, baroque bassoon, and Tami Morse, harpsichord, will perform Friday, April 25.

Flying Forms - Music for One will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 5. Tickets are $15 with a $5 discount for seniors and students.

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

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

“Native Voices: New England Tribal Families” is presented through May 11. Explore five thriving New England communities as they work to balance cultural traditions with life in a modern world. Dinosaurs: Land of Fire and Ice is presented

The wits series presents comedian Kristen Schaal and indie rock band Typhoon at 8 p.m., Friday, April 4. Tickets are $35-$45.

their new album “The Hardest Part of Leaving.” Tickets are $25.

April 18. Tickets $35-$45.

Pert Near Sandstone will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 12. The concert will feature past works and selections from

The wits series presents comedian Bobcat Goldthwait and singersongwriter Matt Nathanson at 8 p.m., Friday,

History Center

The Blue Man Group will perform at the Ordway April 29-May 4.



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651-455-2202 or 651-455-2203 100 7th Ave. S., South St. Paul Page 6 - South St. Paul Voice - April 2014

“Then Now Wow” highlights Minnesota’s history in the prairies, forests and cities. Visitors will encounter multi-media exhibits, artifacts and images unique to Minnesota’s diverse population and historic events.


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S ample St. Paul Ongoing exhibits include “The U.S.-Dakota War of 1862,” “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation: The Depression, The War, The Boom,” “Grainland,” “Open House: If These Walls Could Talk” and “Weather Permitting.” Museum tickets are $11 for adults, $9 for seniors and college students, and $6 for children ages 6-17. The center offers free admission on Tuesdays, 5-8 p.m.

History Theatre

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

Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” is presented through April 6. Based on the quintessential book about the Vietnam experience, “The Things They Carried” is the powerful telling of Tim O’Brien’s personal journey from his innocent years in a small town in western Minnesota, to the jungles of Vietnam as a young American soldier, and back again. Tickets are $32-$40, with discounts for seniors and students. “Lonely Soldiers: Women at War in Iraq” is presented through April 6. This play by award-winning author Helen Benedict is based on interviews with soldiers stationed on the front lines in Iraq. Tickets are $32-$40, with discounts for seniors and students.

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

The Schubert Club will present a free concert

at noon, Thursday, April 3, featuring Mark Bilyeu and friends. Uncle Sam History Conversations lecture series, 10:30 a.m., Saturday, April 5. Melanie Gabbert-Gatchell, adjunct faculty at Southwest State University and member of the Granite Falls Historical Society, will present the private face of Congressman Andrew Volstead, who authored the Prohibition legislation. Free. BandWidth 2014, a showcase of community bands from around Minnesota, is presented noon-5:30 p.m., Sunday, April 6. This free concert will feature Sousa marches, show tunes, Big Band arrangements and other classic pieces from the concert band repertoire.  The Saint Paul City Ballet will present a free performance at noon, Tuesday, April 8, featuring excerpts from the company’s repertoire.  Students from the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists will present a free concert at 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 8. Matt Slocum Trio and Phil Hey Quartet will perform at 8 p.m., Wednesday, April 9 and Thursday, April 10 in the F.K. Weyerhaeuser Auditorium. Tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the door. To order tickets, visit https://mattslocumfriends-april9.eventbrite. com. The Schubert Club will present a free concert at noon, Thursday, April 10, featuring Charanga Tropical.

Your community news and information source Cocktails With Culture is held 5-7 p.m. in the Galleria Space. This free event features woodturning demonstrations and musical performances. Urban Expedition Minnesota Landmarks and the Senegales MN Association will present a free program on Senegal 1-3 p.m., Sunday, April 13. The Schubert Club will present a free concert at noon, Thursday, April 17, featuring Pavia Winds - Music of The Schubert Club Composer Mentorship Apprentices.

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

The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra with the Miró Quartet will perform at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 3; 10:30 a.m., Friday, April 4; and 8 p.m., Saturday, April 5. Tickets are $12-$42. The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra will present Orchestravaganza!, a family concert, at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m., Saturday, April 5. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

A “Palace of Jazz Performance,” concert is presented 7-9 p.m., Thursday, April 17 in the F. K. Weyerhaeuser Auditorium. Tickets are $20$30. To purchase tickets, call 651-552-9501 or visit

Minnesota Opera will present The Magic Flute April 12-27. Tickets are $45-$200.

The American Association of Woodturners will present a free wood turning demonstration at noon, Sunday, April 20 in the Gallery of Wood Art.

The Blue Man Group will perform April 29May 4. Tickets are $33$125.

The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra will perform works by Haydn, Stravinsky and Kernis April 24-26. Tickets are $12-$42.

Park Square The Schubert Club Theatre

will present a free concert at noon, Thursday, April 24, featuring music of Edie Hill.

A Live at the Museum concert is presented at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 24. Pianist Stephanie Wendt will play music of three Swedish composers from three centuries. Tickets are $12-$16. The Wild Goose Chase Cloggers will perform at 4 p.m., Sunday, April 27. Free.

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

“The Diary of Anne Frank” is presented through May 9. Among eight Jews hiding in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, Anne Frank emerges as a lyrical and intensely gifted young woman. Be inspired by this timeless account of a girl whose imagination and hope would not be stifled by

adversity. Daytime matinees only. Tickets are $38-$58. “Cyrano” is presented through April 6. An unabashed romance set in the 1640s, with a swashbuckling hero, a case of hidden identity and a passionate love story. Tickets are $38-$58. “Behind the Eye” is presented April 25-May 18. This is a gripping play about the remarkable life of Lee Miller, an acclaimed World War II photographer who covered the front lines, as well as the London Blitz and the horror of Dachau. Tickets are $38$58.

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

“Ultimate Dinosaurs” is presented through August 24. This exhibit features 20 dinosaur specimens from unusual locations in the Southern Hemisphere. “Dinosaurs Alive” is featured in the Omnitheatre. The film follows preeminent paleontologists as they uncover evidence that the descendants of dinosaurs still walk or fly among us.

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Museum tickets are $13 for adults and $10 for children and seniors. Omnitheatre tickets are $8 and $7 respectively. There is an additional charge of $8 for adults or $2 for children and seniors to view “Ultimate Dinosaurs.”

Zeitgeist Early Music Festival Zeitgeist chamber ensemble is presenting its 4th Annual Early Music Festival at 7:30 p.m., April 10-12, and 2 p.m., April 13 at Studio Z, 275 E. Fourth St., Suite 200, St. Paul. The event will recognize the contributions of legendary composer George Crumb. Guest artists in this year’s festival include Carrie Henneman Shaw, soprano, Alyssa Anderson, soprano, Charles Asch, cello, Nicholas Gaudette, contrabass, Kirsten Whitston, cello, Jeff Lambert, guitar, Marc Levine, violin, Jane Garvin, flute, Jill Dawe, piano, and Erik Barsness and David Birrow, percussion. Tickets are $10-$20 and can be purchased at

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South St. Paul Voice - April 2014 - Page 7



R iver Connections

Your community news and information source

REFLECTIONS From the Riverfront

In the footsteps of the faithful Tim Spitzack Editor


t’s a grey March afternoon and I am standing on the riverbank in Harriet Island Regional Park gazing up at the Cathedral of Saint Paul, which is perched majestically on one of St. Paul’s fabled seven hills. With its 120-foot wide copper dome rising over 300 feet into the air, it’s an imposing and impressive structure that dominates a gap in the city’s western skyline. The sight and sound of movement is all around me, intrusive noises caused by traffic, sirens, machinery. But amidst it all, I hear something spe-

cial coming from the Cathedral, the peal of the bells. Deep, rich tones emanate from the bell tower, riding the breeze toward me and reverberating throughout the river valley. It’s a comforting sound that reminds all who hear it to pause and reflect. Church bells have been used since the first century to remind the faithful to take time from their busy day to stop and pray, and to announce the beginning of a service. Historically, bells were rung at 6 a.m., noon and 6 p.m., beckoning people to recite the Lord’s Prayer. The Cathedral of Saint Paul rings its bells

every quarter hour from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, and until 8 p.m. on Saturdays. Longer peals happen at noon and 6 p.m., and on Sundays before each Mass. The sound has me thinking of the people who followed a Call to this area, and the impact they made on this community. It started with Father Lucien Galtier, who came to the hardscrabble village of Pigs Eye in 1840 to minister to French Canadians who were living there at the time. In 1841, he built a small log chapel on the bluff in what is today Kellogg Park near Robert and Kellogg, and dedicated it to Saint Paul. He quickly

petitioned for the village to be renamed for the patron saint as well. Over a period of 74 years, his burgeoning congregation moved three times before finally building the present-day Cathedral. Archbishop John Ireland celebrated the first Mass there on March 28, 1915, Palm Sunday. The Catholic community in St. Paul is renowned for its social outreach, especially the Dorothy Day Center that is operated by Catholic Charities. The center provides hot meals, temporary housing, mental health services and medical care to several thousands of homeless people each year. Not far behind Father Galtier was Harriet Bishop, who traveled to St. Paul on the Mississippi River by steamboat. She arrived in 1847 to start the first school and Sunday School. That Sunday School evolved into a congregation — the First Baptist Church of St. Paul — that is still active today. Its social ministries include providing temporary shelter for families in need, resettlement, housing and

transportation services to refugees from Burma who are living in St. Paul, and a variety of projects with other organizations, including the Dorothy Day Center, Naomi Family Center, Martha’s Closet, Listening House and SafeZone. One of the city’s most notable early African Americans was the Rev. Robert Hickman, a slave from Missouri who helped a group of people in that state escape slavery in 1863. The band of believers traveled upriver on a raft. Along the harrowing journey, they were spotted by a benevolent steamboat captain, who towed them to St. Paul. Shortly after arriving, they formed the Pilgrim Baptist Church, which is still meeting today. The congregation commemorated their inaugural service with a baptismal service on the shores of the Mississippi River. The Jewish community has made its mark on people in the city as well. In 1897, the women of Mount Zion Temple founded a settlement house on the West Side — the Neighborhood

House — to assist Russian Jewish immigrants. Today, that organization continues to offer social services to immigrants, refugees and low-income people, including a food shelf that serves hundreds of people each day. I look at the river, still encased in ice, and am reminded of the Native Americans who lived on and cared for this land for many centuries. About four miles up stream is Pike Island, located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. This is a sacred site for The Mdewakanton Dakota, who consider it to be their Garden of Eden. I turn around to return to my car and see a large cottonwood tree along the trail with a deep crevice in it. I can see writing within the six-inch wide fissure so I step closer to get a better look. Enscribed in thick black ink are the words “Lord Jesus Saves.” It appears the faithful are still making their mark along the river in more ways than one.

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N ews Briefs Annual Easter egg hunt South St. Paul’s annual Giant Egg Hunt is held at 10 a.m., Saturday, April 19 at Kaposia Park, located near Butler and Hwy. 52. Youth ages 1 to 8 are invited to hunt for candy and prizes in age-specific areas. The event also includes a visit from the Easter Bunny. This event is co-sponsored by South St. Paul Parks and Recreation and the South St. Paul Lions Club. In case of inclement weather, visit for event updates.

Gymnastics programs Central Square Community Center is offering a spring gymnastics program for all skill levels beginning the week of April 5. For more information, call the Parks and Recreation Office at 651-306-3690.  Open gym gymnastics is offered 1-3 p.m. on Saturdays, April 12-May 17. Fee is $6/session. This is not an organized class but it is fully supervised.  Parents must sign a waiver for their children to participate.

Fare for All Express Fare for All Express will be held 4-6 p.m., Tuesday, April 8 at Central Square Community Center, 100 7th Ave. N. Fare for All Express is a cooperative foodbuying program that allows people to save as much as 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 651-3063690 or visit

Passes on sale for disc golf and outdoor pools The Kaposia Park Disc Golf Course at Kaposia Park operates on a pay-toplay format. Users must purchase a $5 daily pass or an annual pass, which costs $30 for residents and $40 for non-residents. There is no charge for students

Your community news and information source age 14 and under with a student ID. 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. For more information or to check the status of the course, call 651-306-3690 or visit www.southstpaul. org.

Community gardens for rent The South St. Paul Parks and  Recreation  Department is renting 15-by20-foot community garden plots at its new location at 682 Verderosa Ave., near the City’s compost site. Rental rates are  $20, or $15 for ages 55 and over.  Non-residents may register April 1 for $30.  For more information or to register, call 651-306-3690 or visit Central Square Community Center, 100 7th Ave. N., South St. Paul.

Spring break event at CSCC A spring break event is offered 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Tuesday, April 1 at Central Square Community Center, 100 7th Ave. N, featuring a recently released kids’ movie shown on a big inflatable movie screen, popcorn, a pizza lunch and swimming in the Central Square Pool. Cost is $23. Pre-registration is required.

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 maintenance and development of the park. For more information, visit or call 651-306-3690.

facilities are available on a first come, first served basis. For more information, call 651-306-3690.

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

and beverages are provided. A donation of $1 is suggested. The “Active Times” newsletter with a listing of activities is available at the Senior Center reception desk and at A subscription is also available for $6. For more information, call the Senior Center at 651-306-3693.

Student Notes Andrew Miller was named to the dean’s list at Northern Michigan University. Jesse Poznikowich was named to the dean’s list at the University of Iowa.

Senior Center activities

Activities and Safety Fair

The South St. Paul Senior Center, located at the Central Square Community Center, 100 7th Ave. N., offers many programs, trips and activities for adults age 55 and over. Ongoing activities include: Dancing and Social Hour - Offered 1-2:30 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of each month. This event features music and refreshments. There is no fee, but donations are accepted at the door. Penny Bingo - Offered at 1 p.m. the first Monday of each month. Afternoon at the Movies and Movie Classics - Afternoon at the Movies (new releases) and Movie Classics are shown at 1 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month and third Tuesday of each month, respectively. Snacks

The 24th Annual Summer Activities and Safety Fair will be held 5:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 10 at the Veterans Memorial Community Center, 8055 Barbara Ave., Inver Grove Heights. The fair will feature information on summer activities and ways to keep children safe. Families with children may visit with firefighters, nurses and other specialists, meet Smokey the Bear and view a demonstration by the police canine unit. They will also be able to learn about fire, water, boat, car seat and child safety, explore an ambulance, police car, fire truck, school bus, and a car from MADD, practice emergency procedures in the Safe Escape House and have fun in the Fire Safety Hopper with the Inver Grove Heights Fire

Department. Several organizations will have registration information for summer programs, including swimming pools, library programs, scouting, adult and youth Community Education classes and activities, Parks and Recreation programs, nature and garden programs, nutrition and more. The event is free and is sponsored by the Early Childhood Family Education Program of the Inver Grove Heights and South St. Paul public schools.

SSP Garden Club program and plant sale The South St. Paul Garden Club will host a free program on hydrangeas at 7 p.m., Monday, April 7 at V.F.W. Post #295, 111 S. Concord Exch., South St. Paul. The speaker is Dennis Bostrom, a retired teacher who is credited with developing the famous Endless Summer Hydrangea,

a long-blooming blue or pink variation of the classic hydrangea. Today, Endless Summer has evolved into dozens of varieties that are hardy in Minnesota. The garden club will host its 23rd Annual Plant Sale 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday, May 16, and 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday, May 17 at the Alleva garden, located on the corner of Third Street and 21st Avenue North in South St. Paul. Hundreds of locally grown perennials will be for sale below retail prices and gardeners will be available to answer questions and provide design advice. A portion of the proceeds is given each year to the Dodge Nature Center Fund of the South St. Paul Educational Foundation. The Club will also present a Community Garden Tour 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday, June 29, featuring several area gardens that will be open to the public. For more information, call Lois at 651457-3403.


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2/13/14 1:52 PM

C ommunity Columns

Neighbors, Inc. By John Kemp Executive Director


suppose if you love cold weather and snow you’ve reveled in the winter of 2013-2014. If you are one of those people, you’re probably sad that spring has finally arrived, ushering in the promise of warmer temperatures and (hopefully) the end of the snow season. But for those of us who can barely tolerate cold weather and snow, it has been a long, miserable win-

ter and the onset of Spring is a long-awaited and highly celebrated occasion. Beyond making many of us miserable, however, the dreadful winter weather created some difficult issues for us at Neighbors, especially in the early months of 2014. First, it took its toll on people. One of our staff fell on the ice in January and wound up with a cracked tibia and a broken ankle,

Jennifer L. Gale, president

Award winners The River Heights Chamber of Commerce presented Safe-Way Bus Company with the Chamber’s 2014 Business of the Year Award, and Rollin Glewwe of Roadware, Inc.,

with the Chamber’s Forrest Glewwe Visions of Excellence Award. Both awards were presented at the River Heights Chamber of Commerce and Progress Plus 111th annual meeting on February 20 at Mendakota


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Your community news and information source which required surgery to repair. Another slipped on the ice in February and injured a knee, which also may require surgery. Furthermore, one day in late February while returning to work from a lunch meeting, two of us were broadsided by a pickup truck that was sliding on the ice and was unable to stop for a red light. Fortunately, nobody was injured. However, the car was pretty banged up and was out of commission for several weeks. The Clothes Closet was closed for five days in January and February due to inclement weather, which is more closures than we have experienced in the past 10 winters combined. That’s significant for a couple of reasons. First, it meant there

were five days we were not available to assist people who were in need of clothing. Equally important, it also meant we had five days of lost income, which helps support our other programs. Schools throughout the area were also closed for several days due to the extreme cold and snow. This meant that many low income families suddenly had to figure out how to provide food for their children on those days since they were not able to access the free and reduced meal programs at their schools. The extreme weather also made it much more difficult for families who were short of food to get to Neighbors to receive assistance. Thus, there was a decrease in the number

of families served in February 2014 compared to February 2013. Finally, the bad weather also made it more difficult for people to donate to the food shelf. As a result, our food shelf was running out of items that we rarely, if ever, run out of. For those of us who do not enjoy snow and cold weather, the coming of April brings many reasons to celebrate, and with luck we’ll have seven or eight months before the next Minnesota winter sets in. That’s seven or eight months we won’t have to worry about falling on the ice, or sliding off the road or into someone else. We won’t have to worry about shoveling snow out of our driveways and off our sidewalks. However, the best

part is that people in need of assistance will be able to get to Neighbors to receive it. The Clothes Closet won’t have to close abruptly because the volunteers who work there are unable to get out of their homes, and the flow of food donations will likely pick up and return to normal levels. Perhaps best of all, people will be in better moods. Have you ever noticed how much better you feel when all of a sudden its 50 degrees outside and the sun is shining? Attitudes change, and the way we talk and behave with others changes. Our “Minnesota Nice” quotient goes up, and that’s always a good thing. And, of course, the golf courses reopen, but we won’t talk about that.

Country Club in Mendota Heights. The Business of the Year Award is given to an organization that has demonstrated a commitment to excellence in service, business ethics, friendliness and business operations. Safe-Way Bus Company has been a family-owned business since 1970. Owners Dan, Jane and Tom Stiles are thankful to their parents, Worth and Mary Stiles, who started the business and got it to the point where they could take it over and continue to facilitate its growth and profitability. “We are incredibly honored and humbled to re-

ceive this award from our Chamber and business community,” said Jane. “We credit our parents for teaching us how to be good business leaders, community-minded citizens and entrepreneurs, all while remaining grounded in family, faith and community.” Since 1987, the Forrest Glewwe Visions of Excellence Award has been given to an individual whose contributions have made a lasting impression on the community. Kelton Glewwe, of Roadware, Inc., presented the award to his father, Rollin Glewwe, at the annual meeting. Rollin, 80, has lived in South St. Paul his entire life and has made

an impact not only in his family, business and local community, but in the state as well. Rollin Glewwe encompasses everything this award represents: the principles of entrepreneurship, ethics and corporate citizenship. For more details about these award winners, watch the videos at www.YouTube. com/riverheightschamber. Save the date for the Small Business Award Luncheon and Trade Show, held April 17 at Southview Country Club. For more details, visit

visit the spectacular Cliffs of Moher — towering 700 feet above the Atlantic, one of the top visited destinations in Ireland — and travel to the Blarney Castle, where they may dare to kiss the legendary Blarney Stone. They will also take a horsedrawn carriage ride through Killarney National Park and tour the Muckross House and Gardens to see how Ireland’s wealthiest families lived in the Victorian era. Austria and Germany, featuring Oktoberfest (nine days, beginning September 22) - Travelers will visit many of the Alpine region’s most scenic and historic sites while enjoying the convenience of spending seven nights in one hotel in the historic city of Innsbruck. The trip includes Oktoberfest in Munich, a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle, built by “mad” King Ludwig and reminiscent of a fairy tale, a wine-tasting trip to Meran, Italy, a visit to Salzburg, setting for “The Sound of Music” and the birthplace of Mozart, and an excursion to the top of the Hintertux Glacier via cable car. For more information on either trip, contact Jennifer Gale at the River Heights Chamber at 651-451-2266.

Sanimax Is Hiring! We’re looking for skilled Laborers and Utility Drivers to join us at our South Saint Paul manufacturing facility! Our Plant Utility Laborers: • Provide coverage for any area of the plant operation • Have the opportunity to learn all the plant production functions • Help to maintain a safe and clean working environment for everyone Our Utility Drivers: • Move trailers within the Sanimax premise to deliver new material and prep trucks for their next route • Help unload raw materials from the trailers for processing. • Clean and sanitize the trailers and prepare them for their next delivery. Both roles have competitive pay and benefits packages! For more details please go to or phone our hotline 1-855-4-SANIMAX Apply to these roles by email or fax. Please indicate your interest in either the “Plant Utility, SSP” or “Utility Driver, SSP” in your application. By Email: By Fax: 1-888-497-8615

Travel with the Chamber If you’re wishing to take a vacation this year, consider these amazing opportunities offered through the River Heights Chamber of Commerce and Chamber Explorations. You do not have to be a chamber member to participate. Treasures of Ireland (nine days, beginning April 21) - This trip features stops in the capital city of Dublin to explore St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the esteemed Trinity College and the Old Jameson Whiskey Distillery, and Limerick, where travelers will be treated to a medieval banquet at the Bunratty Castle. Participants will

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irs es

C ommunity Columns

Your community news and information source


E V E N T S Call 651-554-3240 or visit

Book Discussions April’s title is “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou, a stunning autobiography of her childhood as she and her brother Bailey are sent to live with her grandmother and uncle in Arkansas. Amidst heartbreak, rape, racism and murder, Maya develops a love of learning and discovers that she can break away from her destructive past, setting her spirit free. The Wednesday discussion will be held at 1 p.m., April 9 and the Thursday discussion at 7 p.m., April 10. Information packets are available at the library’s front desk or at www.southstpaul. org/library under Programs & Services.


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Social Networking Basics - A class on blogs, Facebook, Twitter and more is offered 6:30-7:30 p.m., Monday, April 7. Participants must have basic internet knowledge. Registration is required. Job Resources @ the Library - A class on jobseeking resources available through the library is offered 6:30-7:30 p.m., Monday, April 28. Registration is required. Spring Book Sale - The library’s annual Spring Book Sale is April 14-19, featuring a $1 bag sale the entire week. The stock of books is replenished throughout the sale. Rock, Rattle, and Rhyme is offered 6:15-

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e took a poll at our last meeting and decided that we have had enough of winter and are ready for summer. So as the snow is going down and the temperature is going up, task force members are hard at work planning summer events. Here are a few to mark on your calendar. The Mississippi River Beautification Project This is a great way to kick off the summer and give back to the community. On Thursday, May 15, we will assist with the city-wide effort to beautify the Mississippi River banks. The entire community is invited to join us to clean up the river banks, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Spiral Bridge at Grand and Hardman. The city of South St. Paul will supply gloves and gar-

bage bags if you supply the muscle, and then will host an ice cream social for participants afterwards. We’ll have the annual “coolest” and “creepiest” contest during the event. Swimming Under the Stars - Back by popular demand, Swimming Under the Stars parties will return to Northview Pool on Wednesdays, starting June 18 and continuing through the swimming season. Swimming, music, games and prizes will be offered 8-10 p.m. There is a $2 suggested donation for youth. As always, parents get in for free. The 3rd Annual Water Balloon Dodge Ball Tournament - We’re still working out the details on this popular event. Stay tuned.

7 p.m., each Monday in April, and 3:30-4:15 p.m. each Wednesday. This program is for children age three and younger and their caregivers. It features rhymes, songs, sign language, books, and play time designed to enhance early literacy and socialization skills. ECFE staff will be available to provide child development information and weigh babies. Family story time is offered at 10:15 a.m., Tuesdays, April 8, 15, 22 and 29. This 30-minute program includes books, music, rhymes and more. Some story times may be followed by a short craft project (supplies provided). Little Learners, a club for 3-5-year-olds and their caregivers, is offered 10:3011:15 a.m., Wednesdays, April 9, 16, 23 and 30. Some weeks feature music and movement, others focus art or science projects. All meetings include stories, hands-on exploration and lots of fun. Registration is required. Read to Rover - All ages are invited to read to a therapy-trained dog 10:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. the first Saturday of the month. Reading to dogs is fun and

helps build reading skills, confidence and fluency. Contact the library to reserve a spot for the next visit on Saturday, April 5. Spring Special - Celebrate spring with creative activities and games 10:30 a.m.-noon, Tuesday, April 1. All ages. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Party - Youth ages 6-12 are invited to enjoy games and activities based on the popular book series 10-3011:30 a.m., Thursday, April 3. Registration is required. Author visit - David LaRochelle, author and illustrator of 14 books for children and young adults, will discuss his creative process through interactive storytelling and drawing at 1 p.m., Thursday, April 17. Messy Art Club - Youth ages 6-12 are invited to make art projects 1-2 p.m., Friday, April 18. The Teen Writing Club will meet 3:30-4:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 2. This club offers teens ages 12-18 a chance to practice creative writing skills, learn new techniques, read what other teen writers are working on and hear helpful comments on their writing.

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the backpacks, Mizpah Lodge #191 will host the annual taco feed 4:30-7:30 p.m., Friday, April 25, at the Croatian Hall. Task force members will assist with the event. Come join us for some great tacos while helping out a great cause. We are always looking for new ideas. If you are a youth in grade 5-12 and have an idea that you would like incorporated into the community, the task force wants to hear from you. For more information and a registration form to become a member, visit www. 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.

Krista Cook poses next to her artwork, “In the Woods.” This and other artwork created by local artists last summer is being used to replace faded art prints in the library’s children’s area. A new artist will be featured each month. A video showcasing the contest and the artists is available at http://vimeo. com/75405262.

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South St. Paul Sings - In July, we are partnering with the South St. Paul Public Library and Minnesota Sings to find people ages 15-25 to represent the city of South St. Paul in a statewide vocal competition. Minnesota Sings is looking for up to 60 cities to participate. Each community is asked to host a contest and select one individual to participate at a competition in St. Paul this September. More than $4,500 in prizes will be awarded at the competition. Fill the Backpack Campaign - This annual campaign will kick off August 5 during South St. Paul’s Night to Unite. Our goal is to fill more than 200 backpacks with school supplies. To assist with funding

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South St. Paul Voice - April 2014 - Page 11

B ack in Time The South End Story Lois Glewwe Contributor


ver the past few months, this column has focused on the history of South St. Paul by looking at how and why its distinctive neighborhoods developed. From the river flats of Messer Street to the bluffs of the far north end, residential areas and neighborhood schools were often built whenever one of the city’s many major ravines cut an impassable barrier from the river to the bluffs. The deepest, widest and most dramatic of those ravines is today’s I-494 and Highway 110 corridor. In its early days it was known as the Church Street ravine and it extended all the way from Mendota to the Mississippi River. From the 1880s until the first decade of the 20th century, large truck farms dominated the land that extended south from Church Street to Inver Grove Heights. It wasn’t until the 1920s, however, that some of those farmers

began selling off property for sporadic residential development. Realizing that the area would ultimately attract new builders and buyers, the city of South St. Paul opened Washington School on First and Dale streets in September 1929. With the building of the school, landowners and contractors like Matt Krech and Sam Buron began to intensify the expansion of housing by building tiny bungalows — often of nearly identical design — on hundreds of flat 40-foot lots. Young couples were able to buy these homes for $4,000-$5,000 and began moving into the area in the 1930s. A huge increase in construction followed World War II and returning servicemen snatched up the modest homes as soon as they were ready for occupancy. During the 20 years between the two World Wars, the early residents of the neighborhood realized that the Church Street ravine cut them off from many city services. There was no

public transportation, sewer or water — many homes still had outhouses and no running water. Streetcars ran far below the neighborhood on Concord Street and bus service ended on the north side of Church Street at Fifth Avenue. Anyone going further south had to cross the Church Street ravine to get home. In the 1940s, the Rechtzigels began providing South End service on their little blue and white jitney buses. The South End Community Club, originally formed as a loose-knit social club, eventually moved into political activities and finally elected a councilman from their neighborhood. Clarence Anderson took office in 1939. One of the most significant developments in the South End was the opening of an airstrip in 1939 on the southern border of South St. Paul. The following year the modest landing site was expanded into an airport, dedicated on September 29, 1940. The U.S. Navy purchased the airport by

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South St. Paul’s South End neighborhood extends south from I-494 to the border of Inver Grove Heights. It includes Fleming Field Airport, which was a full-time training site for the U.S. Navy during World War II before it was turned back to the city in 1946. The South End was inaccessible from the north because of the massive Church Street ravine that divided the city. South End kids attended Washington School, located on the site of today’s Kaposia Education Center, and had their first introduction to students from neighborhoods to the north when they began seventh grade. January 1941 and invested more than $1 million to expand its facilities, including building eight large hangars, two large barracks, a control tower, power house, apron and runway. Flight training operations were held there throughout World War II, bringing the sound of roaring planes overhead 24 hours a day to the South End neighborhood. Despite the proximity of the expanded airport, the South End remained isolated in many ways from


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the center of the city. Many people recall the anxiety and excitement they experienced when they had to leave their neighborhood when they were old enough for seventh grade and travel all the way to South St. Paul Junior High School. Others remember that they were often teased with comments, such as “You guys live so far south, you’ve got race riots,” a comment that today would be considered racist. Also, the extremely small size of many of the homes, coupled with a propensity for South End families to have elaborate religious shrines or unusual homemade sculptures in their yards, often prompted critical comments from their more conservative neighbors to the north.

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The jokes and criticism only deepened the loyalty South End residents felt for their distinct neighborhood. Many families have seen three and four generations of their children remain in the South End, where the small bungalows continue to be popular with first-time homebuyers. Today, Willenbring’s dairy farm, Nechville’s Grocery, Hjort’s Foods and many other neighborhood landmarks are gone but the neighborhood is still home to Fleming Field Airport and to Kaposia Education Center, which replaced the old Washington School. South End kids still enjoy living in a close-knit neighborhood where they often know all of the other kids on their block, where they can walk to school, and where they still see and hear planes take off and land every day at Fleming Field.

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Call Julie or Kica today for information! 651-451-1498 375 Marie Ave. E. West St. Paul Page 12 - South St. Paul Voice - April 2014

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