Ssp jan 2018

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South St. Paul Arts & Entertainment

River Stories

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Volume 15 | Number 1

Police department adds staff, technology to increase safety Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer

Your Community News & Information Source

January 2018

Rising to the occasion

Culinary arts students raise dough for community causes


olicing in the twenty-first century continues to change and South St. Paul Police Chief Bill Messerich is working hard to ensure his department is staying ahead of the curve. To do that, the department is purchasing 21 body cameras to be used by patrol staff and school resource officers. It is also hiring additional clerical staff to help manage the videos, transcripts and other details associated with the cameras. Although police departments are not required to have body cameras, many residents have requested the department use them to provide for greater transparency. Officers favor them because the videos provide evidence for prosecuting cases, and serve as visual proof if an officer is accused of improper behavior. Messerich said his department is researching the different types of cameras available to find one that best meets its needs. He wants cameras that trigger automatically when officers respond to a call so officers don’t have to worry about turning them on, and ones with a strong battery that will last throughout a patrol officer’s 12-hour shift. The cameras must also be compatible with the patrol car dashboard cameras, which automatically activate when the siren is turned on or when the car reaches a certain speed. Other desirable features include an easy way to share the videos with prosecutors,

Public safety / Page 3

MidWestOne set to open new bank Ryan Funes Contributor


Students in the culinary arts program at South St. Paul Secondary made and delivered 1,200 rolls and 11 dozen cookies during the holidays. Jenny Felton Contributor


he holiday season was a bit brighter – and tastier – this year thanks to the work of more than 200 students who spent countless hours making fresh-baked goods for the community. That included 1,200 rolls delivered free to senior citizens, and 11 dozen cookies that were gobbled up at the community’s holiday tree lighting ceremony.

The students are part of the Culinary Arts program at South St. Paul Secondary, taught by Lynsee Mattson, who was recently named 2018 Teacher of the Year by the Minnesota Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. Mattson, who has taught Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) classes at South St. Paul Secondary for three years, applied for and received a grant to support the students’ efforts to spread holiday cheer. Culinary Arts / Page 2

t’s out with the old, in with the new for MidWestOne, which is putting the final touches on its new bank building at 930 Southview Blvd. The new 2-story, 7,000-square-foot building will have three lanes for drive thru service, and more privacy space inside, which was one of the primary reasons the bank decided to build new rather than remodel its current building, located just across the street. “It had a lot to do with the current condition of our existing building,” said MidWestOne branch president Todd Howland. “It became a need to upgrade this building or make something new.” He said the new building will have all the amenities of a modern bank. All banking services will take place at the current location until the new building is completed. After that, the old building will be put up for sale. Deborah Engfer, branch manager of the new location, is thrilled to see the new building take shape. “When customers come in they will feel a much nicer and welcoming atmosphere,” she said. Staying on Southview Boulevard was important to the bank to maintain its community ties. “We’ve had very strong community support for a long time, so we MidWestOne / Page 3

Coach Palmquist and Lady Packers close in on historic milestone John E. Ahlstrom Staff Writer


n December 19, the South St. Paul High School Girls Hockey Team defeated Mahtomedi 6-0 to improve its season to 9-3 and solidify its status as the #7 ranked team in the state in Class A. The victory was the 487th in the 24year history of the program and has the Packers on the precipice of a milestone of

historic proportions: the first team in the history of girls high school hockey in Minnesota to register 500 victories. Just as remarkable, Dave Palmquist, who has been behind the bench for all 666 games the Lady Packers have played, will become the first girls hockey coach to record 500 victories. With a career record of 487-155-24, he remains humble and grateful for the opportunity to lead the pro-

gram he has championed since 1994. “It continues to be a privilege to work on a daily basis with the caliber of players in our program,” said Palmquist. “We don’t stand head and shoulders above many teams and we’ve certainly incurred our share of losses, but we continue to be blessed with quality student-athletes who love to come to the rink, work hard and compete.”

Last year’s squad rebounded from the school’s only losing season (11-152) in its history by compiling a record of 13-11-3. When asked to assess last year’s season, Palmquist responded with mixed emotions. “We approach every year with high expectations and our goal is to win championships. In that regard, we came up a little short,” he said. “We struggled some to

score goals and our season ended with a disappointing 4-3 loss in the sectional semi-finals. But we were a young team and our kids played with the same Packer pride and determination as those who have brought home championship banners.” As usual, a hefty portion of this year’s schedule will be played against 2A competition. The annual Kaposia Classic, which the Packers

have hosted for more than two decades (held this year December 26-28), will feature six 2A teams, including #3 Hill-Murray and #8 Elk River. “Our kids love to compete against the best,” said Palmquist. “Our primary concern is peaking for the post-season in February, and we believe the best way to do that is to play against Girls hockey / Page 4

C ommunity Culinary Arts

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from page 1

Eight classes comprising 220 students participated in Intro to Culinary Arts and Culinary Arts 1, and all students took part in the Bake for Good program, sponsored by King Arthur’s Flour. That company provided 100 pounds of flour and 50 packets of yeast for the rolls, and recipe booklets and dough scrapers as gifts to the students. Mattson said this is the first year her classes have participated in the program but that they are one of the program’s largest groups. The students, many of whom had never baked from scratch before, dedicated four days to generate the gifts. They mixed the dough, kneaded it and placed it in refrigerators to rise. Afterward, they divided the dough, shaped the rolls and baked them. It was a joint effort, with the


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students continuing each other’s work in the baking process throughout the day. Mattson said the project benefited from having all eight classes working together on the project. After the students created and packaged around 1,200 rolls, they devoted three days to delivering them to area churches and senior housing complexes. It began on November 16, when students delivered 200 rolls to Luther Memorial Church for its second annual Thanksgiving dinner. The Reverend Patrick Joiner said afterward that the students seemed excited about “something special that they had put their time and energy into.” It is clear to Joiner, a new member of the community, that the youth involvement and overwhelming amount of positive feedback exempli-

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fies how a community is at its best when it works together. A vast majority of the rolls – about 1,000 – were delivered to the Jon Carroll and Nan McKay senior high-rises. Each student in Intro to Culinary Arts spent their class time making the 10-minute walk to the buildings and hand-delivering the gifts. On each door they placed a bag with three rolls, jelly packets and a special note. Mattson said the students were proud to participate in the program and that it helped instill in them a desire to give back to the community. Deb Griffith, South St. Paul’s community affairs liaison, believes the program helped empower the students. “Youth are taking charge in the community and stepping up and enjoying it,” said Griffith, adding that the program exposed the students to the older

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Alexis O’Donnell and Sydney O’Donnell prepare for delivery day. generation, and also reminded the senior citizens that they are valued in the community. On November 26, students produced 11 dozen sugar cookies for South St. Paul’s annual tree lighting ceremony. Griffith said the donation is a prime example

of how a bartering system can benefit a community. “It’s about how the community groups and organizations, the school and the city can put their resources together to make something easier for someone else,” she said. Looking ahead, Mattson and Griffith are eager



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to combine their efforts on similar programs to enrich the community. In regard to the Bake for Good program, Mattson intends to reapply for the grant for years to come. “The rolls are here for good,” she said.

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C ommunity Public safety from page 1 and redaction software for privacy protection. Messerich said the only vendor meeting his requirements thus far is Taser. If that firm is selected the City will have to pay approximately $40,000 annually to cover equipment, maintenance, on-going replacement and upgrades. Taser has a trial program that will provide the cameras and storage free for one year, and it is expected the City will begin the trial program in the coming months. The South St. Paul Police Department has hired two more patrol officers to ensure that at least three officers are on duty during the day. This is expected to reduce response time and increase officer safety. It will also allow for “proactive” policing, such as attending community events and meetings. The Department has applied for a U.S. Department of Justice grant to help fund these positions. Currently, the police department has 28 officers.

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Of those, 19 are assigned to patrol. As a result of time off, training, court appearances and other issues, the department often finds itself with just two patrol officers on the street during the day, and three at night. Messerich said their workload keeps growing. From 2015-2016 the number of calls for service increased by 1,100. Officers responded to 22,659 calls, which is equivalent to more than 1,000 calls per patrol officer. In comparison, a similar sized department in Dakota County responded to approximately 600 calls for service per patrol officer. These statistics do not include calls that require two officers, something that happens more frequently these days. The increase in calls over the last three years has added to the workload of the clerical support group, which has remained at three full-time clerks and one part-time clerk for the past 15 years. In 2016 clerical

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staff processed more than 5,000 records per clerical position. By comparison, similar sized departments in Dakota County process approximately 3,600 records per clerical position. Messerich said it has become a struggle to keep pace with the increased workload. He also expects the increased use of technology in his department will demand more attention from South St. Paul’s lone information technology administrator. The police department joined the Dakota County Electronic Crimes Unit in 2015. The unit provides expertise in analyzing data stored on electronic devices to assist investigators in prosecuting cases. Messerich said the fees for this service will likely increase significantly in the coming years. In addition, the Department is short on office space and storage space for equipment and uniforms for its volunteer Police Reserves and Explorer programs. A staff member from 360 Communities who works with victims of domestic violence is currently working out of a file room.

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S ports Girls hockey

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from page 1

good competition.” Most hockey coaches, all the way from peewees to those fighting to someday hoist the Stanley Cup, emphasize that winning is most easily achieved with great goaltending. Palmquist is squarely in that corner. “We want our goaltender to be the best player on our team,” he said. Senior captain and 3-year starter Kaity McKenzie fits the bill. She has already signed a Division I Letter of Intent to play at Cornell University next season, and Palmquist compares her favorably with the great goaltenders he has coached in the past. She will be backed by sophomore Ashlie Buchan. “At six-foot-two-inches, Kaity has great net coverage and her work ethic and leadership qualities are second to none,” said Palmquist. “She’s our backbone.” The number one tandem

on defense for the second consecutive year is senior captain Brooke Deering and her sister Makenna Deering, a ninth grader. Both play on the penalty kill and the power play and the pairing has already contributed six goals and 17 assists. “They are playing at a very high level,” said Palmquist. “Brooke is as steady as a rock and plays with poise and McKenna is all about heart and physicality.” The number two defensive tandem includes sophomore Byrnn Sexauer and eighth grader Lillie Ramirez. “They are small in stature but they are a very effective pairing,” said Palmquist. “Brynn is smart and has a great feel for the game, while Lillie is a silky-smooth skater and keeps everybody loose with her sense of humor.” Others expected to see action on defense include

Photo by Chad Emery

Senior captain Kaity McKenzie, who has been the varsity goalie for three years, signed a Letter of Intent to play NCAA Division I hockey at Cornell University next season. sophomore Lillie Kirchner, who has recovered from a concussion she suffered playing soccer, and eighth grader Ella Rohrer, who ac-

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cording to Palmquist is a fast learner and is already deserving of playing time. The first line is centered by ninth grader Ella Reynolds, who earned All-Conference laurels last year. Her left wing is senior captain and 4-year varsity member

Mackenna Emery. Right wing is junior Savannah Lenarz. Emery already has 11 goals and eight assists this season and Reynolds has added seven goals and leads the team in assists with 10. “Ella is a marvelous puck

handler and sees the ice,” said Palmquist. “Mackenna is a seasoned veteran and is having a standout season, and Savannah complements both of them with her quickness and speed.” The second line is anchored by sophomore Gab-

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S ports

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by Madigan. She is flanked by senior Avery Newton and junior Clair Lehmann. The three have combined for seven goals and five assists. “Gabby is a hard worker and a natural goal scorer and is on our power play first unit,” said Palmquist. “Avery can really shoot the puck, and Clair has blazing speed and plays an important role on our penalty kill.” Also expected to contribute on offense are sev-

enth grader Gabby Ogren, eighth grader Ashley Jerikovsky, ninth grader Justice Rambaum and juniors Kate Klaustermeier and Bauston Lenarz. “This is the best top to bottom talent we have had for several years,” said Palmquist. “All of these kids have earned ice time and we are confident that any one of them can step in if needed on the first or the second line without a big drop off.”

What becomes clear after spending some time with Palmquist is that his passion and enthusiasm for the game – including all of the daily preparation and devotion it requires – has not waned one iota. “I’m still having a blast,” he said. “It’s impossible to not get excited and motivated when you are around these great kids.”

Season prediction: The varsity roster includes seven kids in grades 7-9 and four sophomores, a clear sign that the youth “feeder system” in South St. Paul is fully intact and the program is on an upward arc. St. Paul United will once again be the Packers’ primary nemesis in Section 4A. United won an early season encounter with the

Packers 3-0, but the shots on goal were even. The Packers will continue to mature, exact revenge in the section final and make their 15th trip to the state tournament.

Senior captain and 4-year varsity member Mackenna Emery is leading the team in goals. Photo by Chad Emery

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S ample St. Paul

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Fitzgerald Theater

of Adventure” with filmmaker Bryan Smith on March 8 and “Standing at the Water’s Edge” with photojournalist Cristina Mittermeier on April 19. $30-$40.

National Geographic Live!, 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 18. Cameraman Bob

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Poole will present “Nature Roars Back,” the first in a four-part speaker series that showcases the world through the eyes of explorers, filmmakers and photographers. “Into the Arctic Kingdom” with photographer/filmmaker Florian Schulz is presented February 8, “The Lens

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“The 1968 Exhibit,” through January 21. The year 1968 was turbulent,

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with the Vietnam War, protests, assassinations. peace signs, love-ins and psychedelic rock. Those experiences created a unique sense of identity for the people living through them. “Renewing What They Gave Us: Native American Artists in Residence,” through April 22. This exhibit features original beadwork, birch bark and textile artwork by five contemporary American Indian artists. “AMVETS Post #5: Photographs by Xavier Tavera,” through April 22. The exhibit includes 35 large-scale, color portraits of Mexican and Mexican-American war

veterans from VFW Post #5 on St. Paul’s West Side. Tavera created the images


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S ample St. Paul pression, The War, The Boom,” “Grainland,” “Open House: If These Walls Could Talk,” and “Weather Permitting.” Museum tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and college students, and $6 for children ages 5-17. The center offers free admission on Tuesdays, 3-8 p.m.

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The Schubert Club is hosting free concerts at noon each Thursday in January in Room 317. Minnesota Boychoir will perform a free concert at 1 and 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 7 in the Musser Cortile. Saint Paul Ballet performance, noon, Tuesday, Jan. 9. Free. Sounds of Mexico will perform a free concert at 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 11 in Room 205. A free woodturning demonstration is held noon-3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 21 in the Gallery of Wood Art.

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Urban Expedition, 1-3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 21 in the Musser Cortile. This free program explores the culture of Bulgaria and features crafts, animals, dancing and music. St. Paul Civic Symphony will perform a free concert at 2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 28 in the Musser Cortile. A Taiko drumming presentation will be held at noon, Tuesday, Jan. 30 in Room 317.

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zart’s Piano Concertos 20 and 25 with Jeremy Denk January 5-7; Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with Steven Copes January 12-13; and Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony, 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 20. $12-$50 for all performances. One Voice Mixed Chorus presents “Sanctuary” January 19 and 21. $30$50. Spectrum Dance Theatre presents “A Rap on Race” at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 13. $18-$39. Minnesota Opera presents “Dead Man Walking” January 27-February 3. $25-$165.

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South St. Paul Voice - January 2018 - Page 7

C ommunity

The year 2017 is in the books. For the task force, it was a year of excitement, growth, partnerships and change. We began the year working with a new mayor and have enjoyed working alongside Mayor Jimmy Francis. Here’s a look at our year: In February, we hosted the Youth Summit for Lin-

Your community news and information source

coln Center Ambassadors, the Kaposia Education Center Student Council, and Kids Choice participants. More than 60 youth learned leadership skills and ways to work together. Plans are underway for the 2018 Summit. In March, the task force led the charge for the citywide food drive. The theme

was South St. Paul Neighbor to Neighbor. Teaming up with several community groups, churches, schools and businesses, the drive collected more than 56,000 pounds of nonperishable food items for Neighbors, Inc. We surpassed our goal of 55,075 pounds thanks to the generosity of community members. Cadence Sundly, our South St. Paul Mayor for the Day and current task force member, helped with the presentation to the city council. The task force also participated in a variety of activities for the Discover Together South St. Paul program, a new initiative held in partnership with Dakota County. In April, we assisted with the Annual Mizpah Lodge #191 Taco Feed fundraiser for the Fill the Backpack campaign. More than 500 tasty tacos were devoured, and all proceeds were used to purchase 200-plus backpacks and school supplies for South St. Paul students. Thanks to Mizpah Lodge

and everyone else who donated to this worthy cause. June was an extra busy month. The task force marched in the Kaposia Days Parade and, as the last unit, collected a trunk full of garbage left behind from parade attendees. We were able to recycle much of it instead of throwing it in the trash. The next morning, we hosted the Kaposia Days Children’s Parade, themed as Parade of Champions and featuring adorable floats, cereal characters and children’s games. We also filled nearly 4,000 water balloons for the Annual Water Balloon Dodgeball Tournament at Central Square. In addition, we facilitated Swimming Under the Stars on Wednesdays, assisted at the South St. Paul Farmers’ Market, with Art aRound Town, and at the city’s annual campout, hosted by the South St. Paul Jaycees and the Parks and Recreation Department. Along with Troop 95, we helped campers make and

decorate birdhouses to take home. We also formed intergenerational friendships with the residents at John Carroll and Nan McKay senior buildings. In July, task force members helped teach youth about vegetables at the farmers’ market and assisted 30 students at a cooking school conducted by Friendchip Farms. Mini chefs learned to make walk and talk salads and salsa canoes using items from the market. In August, we filled and distributed backpacks for the Fill the Backpack campaign and took part in Swimming Under the Stars and events at the farmers’ market. In October, we hosted the Halloween Skate and the Great Halloween Get Together, both of which were well attended. In November more than 20 task force members attended WE DAY MN at the Xcel Energy Center, along with 18,000 students

from across the state. We also helped serve and bus tables at the annual South St. Paul senior citizens Thanksgiving dinner. It is a favorite event for many and we always have a great turn out. It’s great to see the intergenerational relationships and conversations that take place there. We rounded out the year by helping with the Annual Tree Lighting event, a book wrapping party for the Every Child Should Receive a New Book this Holiday Season program, and the Annual Santa and Frosty Skate at the Doug Woog Arena. It was a successful and busy year and we are already looking forward to creating new activities, partnerships and friendships in 2018. Happy New Year! For more information on the South St. Paul Mayor’s Youth Task, contact Deb Griffith, community affairs liaison, at 651-554-3230 or deb.

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Page 8 - South St. Paul Voice - January 2018

Thank you for your business. We look forward to serving you in 2018 and beyond. Thompson Trucks and Parts, Inc. 316 Malden St. 455-9300 • MidWestOne Bank 835 Southview Blvd. 451-2133 • Metzen Realty and Associates Co. 412 Southview Blvd. 455-2214 • Midwest Fabrics 1226 S. Concord 451-6289

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C ommunity Parks and Rec field trips South St. Paul Parks and Recreation is hosting a field trip 9:15 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 27 to Drkula’s 32 Bowl in Inver Grove Heights for bowling, followed by viewing the movie “Ferdinand” at the AMC Theater. Cost is $25.

Your community news and information source Participants should bring a bag lunch. Another trip is held 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 28 for snow tubing at Wild Mountain Winter Recreation Area in Taylors Falls, Minn. Bring a bag lunch and warm clothing. Cost is $25. For more information, call 651-3666200 or visit

Neighbors, Inc. Charlie Thompson President & CEO

As we welcome the New Year, I want to reflect on something I learned in 2017: my daughter is afraid of trains. Last July my family moved to Minnesota and we spent the month living with my parents in Lake City. The kids had a lot of fun hanging out with Nana and Grandpa. They spent time playing by Lake Pepin, visiting cousins and taking swimming lessons. They really enjoyed the days, but


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A message from our Board chair My name is Brenda Dietrich and I am co-owner of Hardline Concrete & Masonry, Inc. As the elected chairperson of the 2018 Board of Directors of the River Heights Chamber of Commerce, I’d like to invite you into the River Heights Chamber, and I

thank you for being a part of our business community. My priority is to strengthen the local business community and enhance our influence in local and state policy decisions. The River Heights Chamber has been

Fare for All Express Fare for All Express will be held 4-6 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 23 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 grocer-

ies by purchasing “express packages.” No advance payment or pre-registration is needed and there is no limit to the number of packages that can be purchased each month. Participation does not affect eligibility to receive assistance from a food shelf. For more information, call 651-366-6200 or visit

A Royal Ball South St. Paul Parks and Recreation is hosting a Royal Ball 3-5 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 11 at the Historic Exchange Building, 200 Concord Exch. N., South St. Paul. The event will feature crafts, games, a meetand-greet with a prince and

princesses, DJ, refreshments and dancing. Participants are encouraged to dress in a royal costume. Cost is $20 and registration is required by Feb. 5. To register or receive more information, call 651-366-6200 or visit

the nights proved to be more complicated. Lake City is a town of about 5,000 people located 75 miles downriver from here. It has two stoplights, a large marina and train tracks that run about four blocks from my parents’ home. The trains run day and night, and this proved to be more than my daughter could handle. Each night when the train blew its whistle, she would wake up crying and wanting her mommy (and sometimes dad). In a hysterical voice she would cry out, “The train, Mommy, the train.” This would happen several times throughout the night, every night, for a month. When we moved to our townhouse in Inver Grove Heights, the shorter commute was not our biggest relief. It was getting a good night’s sleep. The train no longer woke her up, or so we thought. In recent nights she has been waking up again, and again a train is the culprit. It is much quieter but, alas, her two-and-a-half year-old ears hear much better than mine. We have tried consoling her and taking her down by the tracks to show her the trains passing by. She doesn’t get upset there. However, in the dead of night when she hears

that train a comin’ she wakes up in hysterics. In my opinion, my daughter’s fear of trains is completely irrational. She hears something, it startles her and she reacts in a way that doesn’t make sense to a casual observer. As her parent, it’s frustrating when she keeps coming back night after night and doesn’t understand that the train won’t hurt her. But here’s the thing: no matter how many times she cries out and needs us, we will be there to support and comfort her. Everyone has “trains” in their lives – things that trigger worry, fear or anxiety. Unfortunately, not everyone has a network of support to help comfort them. For people in poverty, this is often the case. Life becomes overwhelming and they have nobody to turn to for support. That is where Neighbors comes in. We are here to help, and as we enter the New Year that won’t change. Whether you are a client, volunteer, Clothes Closet customer, donor, partner or employee, you are a part of our community and we are grateful for you. If you’re not connected with Neighbors, we hope you will resolve to join us in supporting each other in 2018.

for the chance to win weekly prizes, including gift cards, books, mugs and more. Also, play Grand Prize Bingo for the chance to win a $50 Cherokee Tavern gift card. Registration packets will be available January 2 at the library. Book bingo for adults, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 22. Join this grown-ups-only event for the chance to win free books and DVDs. Snacks will be provided. Book discussion groups – “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” by Jonas Jonasson is the title discussed in January. Discussions are held 1-2:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 10, and 7-8:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 11. Rock, Rattle and Rhyme, 6:15 p.m., Monday, Jan. 22 and 29. Ages birth to 3 are invited to enjoy rhymes, songs, sign language, books and play time that teaches early literacy and socialization skills. Storytime for ages 2-6, 10:15 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 23 and 30. Participants will read, write, sing, play and enjoy stories and activities that develop early literacy skills. Stories at Lawshe Memorial Museum, 10:15 a.m.,

Tuesday, Jan. 16. The Dakota County Historical Society and South St. Paul Public Library are collaborating for a special storytime for ages 2-6. Homeschool Meetup, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Friday, Jan. 5. Homeschooling families will meet to discuss educational ideas and materials. WonderWorks, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Friday, Jan. 12 and 26. Explore topics in science, technology, engineering and math through hands-on play, experimentation and books. Registration is required. Ages 3-6. Maker Mornings, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 4, 18 and 31. Create, build and tinker in a relaxed and playful atmosphere. Ages 3-6. Same or Different?, 10:15-11 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 9. Join the Story Man from England for funny stories about confusion and identity. Ages 2-8. Crazy 8s Math Club, 4-5 p.m., Wednesday, January 17, 24 and 31. Youth in grades 3-5 are invited to take part in crazy activities that make math fun. This eight-week club is for kids of all math abilities. Space is limited.

instrumental in building business relationships and advocating for free enterprise in the political arena. The Chamber’s mission is to aggressively promote the interests of the business community. Being a member of the River Heights Chamber of Commerce means you have a voice in local and state policy decisions, and you have access to a powerful network of business leaders. • We drive advocacy, economic development and programming initiatives. • We bring the local business perspective to the community and to our local and state leaders. • We strive to serve the

leled opportunities to connect with peers, current and prospective clients, and partners up and down our supply chains to keep lines of communication open. To me, the River Heights Chamber stands out as our region’s premier business resource and advocacy organization. Whether you are new to our Chamber, have been a seasoned member, or are just seeing us for the first time, I encourage you to reach out to the Chamber staff and leaders to get involved and let your voice be heard to make our organization and business community even more viable for the future.

business community as a one-stop resource. • We promote government transparency and fewer mandates to ensure a thriving marketplace. In 2009, I joined my husband Jon as co-owner of Hardline Concrete & Masonry and together we cemented our niche in the industry. We were humbled to receive the River Heights Chamber’s 2017 Small Business of the Year award and continue to value relationships and customers we have gained throughout our membership in the River Heights Chamber of Commerce. Membership in the Chamber provides unparal-

Brenda Dietrich 2018 chairperson of the River Heights Chamber of Commerce Board and co-owner of Hardline Concrete & Masonry, Inc.

Thank you for investing in a strong, local business community.

South St. Paul Voice - January 2018 - Page 9

R iver Connections

Your community news and information source

New collaborative art project records sacred connections with the Mississippi River Tim Spitzack Editor


woman and her husband who is battling Alzheimer’s walk slowly down the hallway of the memory care unit at the Minnesota Veterans Home to gaze upon the Mississippi River as it tumbles over Lock and Dam #1 near the Ford Parkway Bridge. They view this scene often because it boosts her strength and gives her courage to travel down this difficult journey with her spouse. Another woman finds herself walking along the river at Crosby Farm Regional Park in St. Paul when she experiences deep grief. She was there following the miscarriage of her first child, after the loss of her beloved grandmother, and on other occasions. A young pastor suffering spiritual exhaustion is walking along the river at Hidden Falls Regional

Park when a thunderstorm rolls in and catches him by surprise. The sky opens up and pelts him with rain, followed by hail. He lifts his head and hands toward heaven and shouts, “OK God, I quit! I can’t do it anymore. Why don’t you just take me home now!” These are among the stories featured in a new collaborative art project designed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Friends of the Mississippi River, a St. Paul-based nonprofit that engages people in protecting and restoring the Mississippi River and its watershed in the Twin Cities region. Beginning in mid-January, 25 stories will be featured at https://fmr. org/river-stories-map. Each gives a glimpse into transformational or sacred experiences people have had while visiting the river in the Twin Cities, and the organizers hope to add many more stories throughout

year. I learned of the project when organizer Michael Bischoff asked me to participate. Anyone may contribute by visiting the website. Bischoff has his own deep connection with the river. For the past year he has visited it daily in his quest to find healing while fighting brain cancer. Guessing he is not the only one who visits


the river for solace and reflection, he began finding others to share their stories. He approached FMR with the idea of publishing the stories and the organization was excited to feature them as part of its anniversary celebration. Bischoff, a husband and father of two teenagers, started having intense headaches in the fall of 2015. He visited a few doctors and each said the pain likely

stemmed from a sinus infection or migraines. He eventually saw a neurologist, who ordered an MRI. That scan revealed a tumor the size of a golf ball in the middle of his brain. The next day Bischoff started a CaringBridge page to keep friends updated on his condition. He made daily posts and quickly discovered that writing about the process was therapeutic for him. He and his wife Jenny, a photographer and graphic designer, eventually created the book “Don’t Postpone Joy: Adventures with Brain Cancer.” Bischoff underwent chemotherapy, radiation, three surgeries and experimental treatments, but none was successful. He credits his visits to the river with helping him defy the odds and for allowing him more time with his wife, son and daughter. “I won’t say that I’m cured, but my cancer hasn’t grown since my visits [to the river], and I’ve physically felt good since then,”

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he said. “I’m at peace and more relaxed.” He reflected on his experience in a recent post on CaringBridge: “When I go to the river, I try to notice what inside of me is connecting with what I see, hear, and touch outside of me, where the outer and inner landscapes meet....Most times at the river I don’t have big insights, just a growing companionship with the river, like my companionship with Jenny, which feels like a gentle eroding of that which separates me from belonging to life.” People have found spiritual connections along the river for centuries. For the Mdewakanton Dakota, the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers is a sacred site and was a burial ground. In 1840, Father Lucien Galtier came to the area now called St. Paul – then a village named Pig’s Eye – to minister to French Canadians living here at that time. A year later he built a small log chapel on the bluff and dedicated it to his patron saint, the Apostle Paul. Galtier was also responsible for efforts that resulted in renaming the village as St. Paul.

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South St. Paul Voice - January 2018 - Page 11

B ack in Time

Your community news and information source

Holy Rollers

Former roller rink floor at St. John Vianney quietly slips into the past Lois Glewwe Contributor


n Election Day 2017, I voted at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in South St. Paul and made an amazing discovery. While there, my niece Lou Ann Goossens asked me if I wanted to see the floor in the sanctuary before it was torn up and replaced with carpeting. That space was once a roller rink. Like most people, I had never seen the shiny black tile floor free from the pews, altar and other church furnishings. It was fascinating to be drawn back in time and view the huge room with nothing in it but that amazing floor. Many South St. Paul residents likely have no idea that the community had a roller rink, much less that the floor has been preserved for 67 years. In 1950, the parish began planning for a

new building to replace its small chapel at 17th Avenue North and Bromley. To help pay for the new church, the ground level floor was designed as a public roller rink. Leonard Reising built the rink for $27,000, and he and his wife Ruth were its first managers; Eleanora and Ott Ayde took over that role some time later. The cost to skate was 25 cents for children and 50 cents for adults. In 1996, Tom and Mary Kaliszewski compiled a 50year history of St. John Vianney. It included the following information about the rink: “Remembrances of Eleanora Ayde include the children calling them ‘Mom and Dad,’ instructing the children they could not smoke on the premises even though the children complained that their mother let them smoke, and shar-

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ing a laugh with a young priest from the West Seventh area of town when he got in for a children’s price ticket instead of paying the adult price. Of particular note is that the black tile used on the floor for skating is the same tile presently on the floor in the church and hall.” The history includes a copy of a financial statement from 1955, when the new church and school building was completed, but there is no income or expense entry identified for the rink. The rink closed when the church took over the space for worship. The parish installed the pews, altar, communion rail and other elements of the sanctuary space over the rink floor. Several longtime city residents have fond memories of skating at the rink, although I’ve not been able

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Photo courtesy of St. John Vianney Catholic Church

From 1950-1955, the lower level floor of St. John Vianney Catholic Church served as a public roller rink. The dapper man skating in a suit is John O’Donnell, former South St. Paul City Recorder. to find anyone who remembers how the traditional roller rink organ music was created since there was apparently never an actual organ there. It’s always been interesting to me that the location of the St. John Vianney Roller Rink was not far from South St. Paul’s earliest roller rink, the Highland Roller Rink, which was on Bryant Avenue near St. John Vianney’s original chapel. The rink attracted visitors from across the Twin Cities before it burned to the ground in the early 1900s. Lucile Ellingson, wife of longtime South St. Paul High School principal Lourn Ellingson, shared her memories of that rink in 1987 for the “South St. Paul Centennial History” book. Her father, Gustav Stapf, built and operated the Highland Roller Rink, and music was provided

Photo courtesy of Lou Ann Goossens

In 2017, the church floor was cleared of all pews and furnishings so the old asbestos tile could be removed and replaced with carpeting. The floor is pictured before removal of the shiny black tiles. by Halvar Klovstad and his son John. There is only one known photo of it. It was taken from the bluff above 10th Avenue North and shows the Highland Roller Rink building in the background.

By the time this issue of the South St. Paul Voice is published, the original roller rink floor at St. John Vianney will be no more, but the happy memories of when skates ruled the floor will roll on forever.

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Page 12 - South St. Paul Voice - January 2018

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