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March 2013 Volume 10 Number 3

Visit www.stpaulpublishing.com for expanded coverage!

South Metro Fire in state of flux

Fire chief retires and department loses contract with HealthEast Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer

John E. Ahlstrom Staff Writer

A

fter a long and distinguished career beginning as a firefighter and ending with six years as chief of the South Metro Fire Department, John Ehret has retired. Ehret started in 1983 as a firefighter with the West St. Paul Fire Department, where he was promoted to fire inspector, assistant chief and fire chief. In 2001, he graduated from the University of Cincinnati with honors, receiving a degree in fire protection. In 2006 he graduated from the four-year National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer program. That same year he was named “Officer of the Year” by the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs, and was appointed as the first fire chief of the newly formed South Metro Fire Department, which serves West St. Paul and South St. Paul. “John was an excellent fire chief,” said Linda McMillin, assistant chief and fire marshal and interim fire chief. “He put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into his job and that, along with the hard work of the rest of the department, has made it what it is today.”

Suffocating team defense defines the Packers’ girls basketball team

K

Dave Wright, South Metro Fire board member and West St. Paul city councilman, also had accolades for Ehret. “John gave his heart and soul to the fire department,” Wright said. “Most people will never understand and appreciate the number of hours he put into the merger. He did the heavy lifting. It was a remarkable feat accomplished in getting the South Metro Fire Department on firm footing for moving forward. His retiring is bittersweet because he

was a good chief and good friend.” The merger of the West St. Paul and South St. Paul departments was instigated for efficiency and cost savings but it was a complicated and delicate endeavor. Ehret was in charge of 38 firefighters and reported to a board of directors of city council members from both cities. Under his leadership, the department became responsible for operating in an 11-square-mile area serving about 40,000 people. It responds to approxi-

mately 5,000 calls each year — 1,300 fire-related and 3,700 medical-related. Personnel are trained to deal with hazardous materials and providing basic life safety transport, technical rescue and water rescue, fire prevention inspections, investigations and public education. According to Wright, a successor should be chosen by early March. The board of directors started with a pool of 20 applicants and

South Metro / Page 3

ristin Johnson, a 1999 alumnus of South St. Paul High School, is in her fourth season as head coach of the school’s girls basketball team. When she assumed that role in 2009, she inherited the task of revitalizing a program that had been struggling for relevancy for most of a decade. Her goal, she said, was “to do all in my power to return the program to respectability.” During her first two seasons, the team finished a combined 17-38 (1-27 in the Classic Suburban Conference). But all of that futility and disappointment was put in the rearview mirror by a high energy breakthrough season in 2011-12. Fueled by the high scoring antics of the Garibay twins, Makenzie and Mikayla, and solid contributions of two other seniors, Kayla Peterson and Marisa Meyer, the 2011-12 Packers finished 19-9, losing narrowly to perennial power Hill-Murray in the sectional semi-finals. Coach Johnson admitted that she had never been more anxious about an upcoming season than she was last November. “We were coming off a great year,” she said. “We all know that success breeds greater expectations.” She also knew that her 2012-13 squad would have to address the reality that the team had lost more than 40 points per game to graduation. The new season would require that the kids who routinely passed up shots last year would have to approach the game with a whole new mindset. “We knew that we would not score as many points as we did last year, and we emphasized from the start that we would need a more balanced offensive attack if we were going to be successful,” said Johnson. The team has responded. Senior captains Shammara Christian and Alicia Sethre each average more than 10 points per game and juniors Lexi Swanson and Tori Poole are not far behind.

Girls basketball / Page 10

The city is on a mission to improve services, safety and quality of life Mary Diedrick Hansen Staff Writer

D

uring South St. Paul’s annual State of the City Address, held Feb. 5 at City Hall, a “Mission Possible” theme wound its way through the hour-long presentation. The presenta-

tion started with a whimsical take-off on the “Mission Impossible” television show and subsequent movies. The mission that Mayor Beth Baumann and the city council have vowed to accept is to reduce property taxes, increase economic development, maintain and

improve public safety and improve the quality of life in the city.

Mission #1: Property Taxes In 2008 property taxes provided 55 percent of the city’s budget. In 2013 that

number is expected to rise to 63 percent. Despite inflation and rising health care costs for employees, the budget has remained steady over the last 10 years at around $11 million. The city is seeking other sources of revenue to keep from raising property taxes,

such as attracting new commercial businesses to the city. Unfortunately, the recent Recession put the brakes on some economic development. It also had a distressing effect on the amount of Local Government Aid (LGA) South St. Paul received from the state

of Minnesota. In 2011, the South St. Paul City Council committed itself to eliminating all reliance on LGA. In 2012 the budget was $11.3 million but LGA dropped to $83,000,

Mission Possible / Page 2


B usiness Mission Possible from page 1 supplying just six percent of the revenue. The city expects to get some assistance from the State this year. If it does, that money will be placed in a capital improvement fund to pay for projects around the city, not for operational expenses.

Mission #2: Economic Development Signs of an economic recovery are beginning to appear. St. Paul Stockyards, LLC started construction

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Page 2 - South St. Paul Voice - March 2013

Over the last 15 years an extra $116,000 has been added to city coffers through the program. In 2012 residential building permits totaled 816, the highest since 2004. This shows that residents are maintaining and upgrading their homes and investing in their neighborhoods. Rental property owners are also doing their part. The number of violation notices the city sent to owners of the 720 rental properties in South St. Paul has decreased from 146 in 2008 when the program started to 75 in 2012.

Mission #3 Public Safety Bill Messerich is now at the helm of the Police department. Former chief Danny Vujovich retired in June. The police responded to 22,087 calls in 2012. Calls have been steadily rising over the last several years, but so have arrest rates, from 1,624 in 2009 to 3,289 in 2012. Officers are being trained in crime scene processing to aid in

getting more convictions. The city now offers an explorers’ program for young men and women interested in law enforcement, and has two resource officers at the schools. In addition, a crime prevention officer will be trained to offer security advice to homeowners and businesses. The newest member of the department is Sammy the police dog. Sammy is certified as both a patrol dog and a narcotics detector dog. South Metro Fire Department hopes to have a new fire chief in place by early March. John Ehret retired February 1 after serving six years as chief. In 2012 the department responded to 1,269 fire-related calls and 3,760 medical emergency calls. These numbers have remained fairly consistent over the years.

Mission #4: Quality of Life South St. Paul Parks and Recreation received a Minnesota Recreation and Park Association Award of Excellence in the “Sponsorship

and Partnership” category for the 2011 Citywide camp-out event. It also received a $10,000 grant from the Minnesota Twins Community fund to replace ball field dugouts. A residential survey is being conducted to gauge interest in a park referendum to gain funds for the development of Kaposia Landing, converting McMorrow Field to flat fields, new tennis courts to replace the ones being lost at McMorrow Park, installation of a splash pool, and mechanical upgrades, improved locker rooms and a second floor training facility at Wakota Arena. The city is working with Ramsey and Dakota counties in applying for a federal grant to complete the offstreet trail connection of the Riverfront Trail. The last stretch of trail that needs to be connected is from Kaposia Landing in South St. Paul to Harriet Island in St. Paul. Once this is accomplished, the trail will be linked to the entire Twin Cities metro trail system.

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P ublic Safety from page 1 whittled it down to six. Final candidates are expected to go through an extensive round of interviews on March 5, with a new chief being named at the end of that process.

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ments was more of a challenge than this will be. It’s too early to tell about the ramifications of the $240,000. What comes first is the residents’ care and safety.” South Metro board president Dan Neiderkorn and State Sen. Dave Metzen are pursuing more discussions with HealthEast officials to address the situation.

‘The arrangement was designed to augment the services of HealthEast and has been in place for years,’ said Wright. ‘It’s not a fatal blow but it is a challenge. Merging the two departments was more of a challenge than this will be.’

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A tidy transition had been expected for the new chief, but not anymore. Without

forewarning, HealthEast announced plans to terminate its shared ambulance service contract with the department at the end of 2013. The contract has annually provided $240,000 to the department’s $4 million budget. Last year South Metro responded to 1,000 calls and received $240 from HealthEast for transport costs for each call. HealthEast contracted with the South Metro department’s Emergency Medical

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N ews Briefs Student Notes Madeline Matthews was named to the dean’s list at Drake University. Stacy Ellerbusch and Jacob Jensen were named to the dean’s list at the College of St. Scholastica. Corey Lemay was named to the dean’s list at Marquette University. Sarah Freiling, Mary Hanson, Courtney Severson, Maryanne Morris and Alyzabeth Outcelt were named to the dean’s list at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Shannon Banaszewski, Katelyn Matheny and Phillip Jelinek graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Cody Morse was named to the dean’s list at Wisconsin Lutheran College. Allison Dippel was named to the dean’s list at Luther College. Kathryn Milbert was named to the dean’s list at Creighton University. Jenna Kaliszewski graduated from Bethel University, St. Paul

Your community news and information source

Music benefit for new garden Music lovers, gardeners and dessert lovers are invited to a special event to raise money for a new community garden in South St. Paul. Harmonic Relief is hosting a free-will offering concert at 2 p.m., Sunday, Mar. 3 at First Presbyterian Church, 535 20th Ave. N., South St. Paul. Proceeds will be used for fencing and maintenance of a new community garden that will open this spring next to the church. The concert will include many popular songs, including “One,” “Dancing Queen,” “Let Me Entertain You,” “A Lot of Living,” “Ticket to Ride” and “Love Potion #9.” After the concert, guests are invited to stay for dessert and refreshments and talk with members of the community garden organizing committee and Dakota County Master Gardeners. They may also register for a garden plot and for gardening classes that will be held this spring and summer at the garden site, and receive educational materials on

gardening practices. A portion of the produce raised at this garden will be donated to Neighbors, Inc.

Library happenings For more information on library events, call 651-5543240 or visit www.southstpaul.org/library. Book discussions “Plainsong” by Kent Haruf is the novel discussed in March. Set in Holt, Col., a rural area near Denver, the lives of a lonely father, bullied sons, bachelor farmers and a pregnant teenager come together in quiet homage to the power of smalltown life. The Wednesday discussion will be held at 1 p.m., March 13 and the Thursday discussion at 7 p.m., March 14. Information packets are available at the library’s front desk and at www.southstpaul.org/ library under Adult Book Discussions. Story times - Story times for ages one and under are offered at 6:30 p.m. each Monday in March. Family story times are held at 10:15 a.m., Tuesday, Mar. 5, 12

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and 19. These events include books, music, rhymes and more. Some story times may be followed by a short craft project. Music and Movement is held at 10:15 and 11 a.m. each Wednesday in March for ages five and under. The event includes music, dance and books. Registration is required. Teen Writing Club Teens age 12-18 are invited to join the Teen Writing Club to practice writing skills, learn new techniques, read what other teen writers are working on, and hear helpful comments on their own writing. The group meets at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, Mar. 6. Game Night - Level Up Games will present a game night at the library 5-7 p.m., Friday, Mar. 22. The company will also offer a demonstration of Ticket to Ride, a popular, familyfriendly game, 1-3 p.m., Thursday, Mar. 28. Internet Basics - A class that provides instruction on navigating a web browser, exploring the library’s website and using the internet is offered at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Mar. 4. Registration is required. Needle Felted Applique - A class on needle felting is offered at 6 p.m., Thursday, Mar. 21. It will cover the basics of this technique of using a barbed needle to “paint” with wool fiber on other fabrics. Online registration is required. iPad Basics - Instruction is offered 1:30-3:30 p.m., Tuesday, Mar. 26 on the basics of using an iPad, including navigation, using apps and basic troubleshooting. Attendees should bring their own iPad. Online registration is required. Spring Special - Games, activities, crafts, stories, music and fun for all ages

is offered 10-11:30 a.m., Tuesday, Mar. 26. Participants have the chance to win prizes at the baby duck pond, make fluffy lamb art, plant seeds and more.

Ecumenical Crosswalk The South St. Paul clergy group is hosting the ecumenical Crosswalk on Good Friday, March 29. The walk begins at noon at First Presbyterian and will travel to various locations in South St. Paul, including St. John Vianney and Clark Memorial United Church of Christ. The final stop will be at Neighbors, Inc., followed by refreshments at 2 p.m.

Name change for Cerenity SSP Effective March 1, Vista Prairie Communities will manage Cerenity Residence-South St. Paul under the name of River Heights Assisted Living, LLC. Vista Prairie Communities is the original and current owner of the assisted living facility, located at 744 19th Ave. N. The complex was built in 2000 and has 60 assisted living apartments ranging in size from studio to two bedrooms.  Sixteen of these apartments are for residents of the memory care program. Respite care also is available for people who need medical attention or supervised care. To schedule a tour, call 651-326-6502. Vista Prairie Communities owns 17 facilities that provide low-income housing, senior assisted living, independent living, memory care housing and skilled nursing care. They are located in Minnesota, Iowa, Ohio, Texas and Georgia. For more information, visit www.vistaprairie.org.

Maya art and textile exhibit First Presbyterian Church of South St. Paul, 535 20th Ave. N., is hosting an art exhibit through March 31, featuring the work of Richard Nelson. This 35-year retrospective photography and textile exhibit consists of color and sepia images, weavings and garments from indigenous highland Guatemala, with a focus on native back-strap weaving and costume as cultural identity. A special portion of the exhibit will document the world famous “Semana Santa” (Holy week) celebration held annually in Antigua, Guatemala. Semana Santa commemorates the Passion, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For more information, call 651-451-6223.

Rose specialist to speak at garden club David Zlesak, assistant professor of horticulture at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, is the guest speaker at the March meeting of the South St. Paul Garden Club, held at 7 p.m., Monday, Mar. 4, in the lower level of the V.F.W., 111 S. Concord Exchange, South St. Paul. Zlesak is a specialist in creating new cultivars of roses for northern climates. The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information, call Lois at 651-457-3403.

Fare for All Express Fare for All Express will be held 4-6 p.m., Tuesday, Mar. 5, at Central Square Community Center, 100 7th Ave. N. Fare for All Express is a program of the Emergency Foodshelf Network that partners with

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

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

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

Page 4 - South St. Paul Voice - March 2013

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N ews Briefs organizations around the Twin Cities metro area. It is a cooperative food buying program that allows people to save up to 50 percent on monthly groceries by purchasing “express packages.” No advance payment or pre-registration is needed to purchase packages and there is no limit to the number of packages that can be purchased each month. Fare For All is open to everyone. There are no income-based requirements for participation. Participation does not affect eligibility to receive assistance from a food shelf. For more information, call 651-306-3690 or visit www.southstpaul.org.

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

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 6.3acre fenced parcel offers dogs and their owners the only legal area to run, recreate and train without a leash

Your community news and information source 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 ongoing maintenance and development of the park, which is open 6 a.m.-10 p.m. For more information, visit www.southstpaul.org or call 651-306-3690.

vited to hunt for candy and prizes in age-specific areas and visit the Easter Bunny. This event is co-sponsored by South St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department and the South St. Paul Lions Club.

Floats and Flicks A Floats and Flicks party is offered 6-8 p.m., Friday, Mar. 22 at the Central Square Community Center pool, 100 Seventh Ave. N. All ages are invited to watch a movie on a big screen while floating in the pool. Cost is $3.25.  For more information, call 651306-3690.

Youth spring break trip South St. Paul Parks and Recreation is offering a youth spring break trip Tuesday, Mar. 26 to Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America. Cost is $30 for five hours of unlimited rides, lunch and transportation. Chaperones are provided. Participants may bring extra money for snacks and game tokens. The trip departs at 9:15 a.m. from Central Square Community Center, 100 7th Ave. N., and returns at 3:35 p.m. 

Annual Easter egg hunt South St. Paul’s annual Giant Egg Hunt is held at 10 a.m., Saturday, Mar. 30 at Kaposia Park, located near Butler and Hwy. 52. Youth ages 1 to 8 are in-

softball leagues are hosting organizational meetings in March. The meeting for the men’s league is at 7 p.m., Monday, Mar. 11 at the Croatian Hall, 445 Second Ave. S., South St. Paul, and the meeting for the women’s and co-rec leagues is at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Mar. 13 at Drkula’s, 6710 Cahill Ave., Inver Grove Heights. Teams interested in participating should contact the league director at 651-4551725.

Swimming and gymnastics lessons

New memoir on SSP released Scott Wright, retired University of St. Thomas history professor and deacon at St. John Vianney parish in South St. Paul, has published a book about growing up in South St. Paul in the 1940s and early 1950s. “Of Snapping Turtles and Packing Plants” combines history, fiction and memoir. Wright lived in South St. Paul from 1942 to 1954 and began writing the book after he was assigned as a deacon at St. John Vianney parish in 2007. For more information, visit www. scottwrightmindfulnesspress.com.

Adult softball registration South St. Paul’s adult

Online registrations for Winter Session 2 swimming and gymnastics lessons begin at 8 a.m., Wed., Mar. 13. In-person registrations will be accepted beginning March 14 at Central Square Community Center, 100 7th Ave. N., South St. Paul. Swimming lessons begin the week of March 19 and include levels ranging from infant/toddler to level 6.  Classes are offered for a variety of levels. Costs range from $37 to $107. For online registration, visit www. southstpaul.org (follow instructions on the Parks and Recreation page), or call 651-306-3690 for more information.

Parks and Rec programs The Parks and Recreation Department Summer Brochure will be mailed to every household in South St. Paul in late March, and will also

All Are Welcome!

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

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

Good Friday Service

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

Easter Sunday

Sunrise Service - 6:30 a.m. Festival Service - 8:30 & 10: 30 a.m.

be available at www.southstpaul.org. The publication will feature a large variety of summer programs for all ages, including summer playgrounds, day camps, pre-school programs, youth trips, outdoor swimming lessons and more.

and unused make-up products. For more information, visit www.everaftergowns. org, www.sspjaycees.org, or contact Savannah sleyde@ tayloredtoyou.

SSP Jaycees collecting prom dresses

The South St. Paul Parks and  Recreation  Department is renting 15-by20-foot community garden plots at the west end of McMorrow Field,  200 South St. Rental rates are $20 for adults and $15 for ages 55 and over.  Previous garden plot renters have priority sign-up March 1-10. All others residents may register March 11. Non-residents may register April 1 for $30.  For more information or to register, call 306-3690 or visit Central Square Community Center, 100 Seventh Ave. N, South St. Paul.

The South St. Paul Jaycees are collecting donations of formal attire and accessories through March 1 for Ever After Gowns, a Twin Cities based nonprofit organization that provides apparel for underprivileged young women to attend prom. Ever After Gowns collects, cleans and stores the donations and also organizes a grand boutique. Items needed include formal gowns sizes 0-16+, jewelry, shoes, shawls, purses,

Community gardens for rent

V.F.W. POST 295 South St. Paul • 651-455-1505 www.vfwpost295.org Live Music in March March 1 .................................... Scarlet County (Country) March 2 .............................The White Sidewalls, $5 cover March 8 ..................................... Killer Hayseeds (Country) March 9 ..................................... The Big Twang (Country) March 15 ...........................Tim Sigler (Country), $8 cover March 16 ............................... Sterns County 17 (Country) March 19 ..................River City Jazz Orchestra, 7-10 pm March 22 ....................................... Jug (Country), $5 cover March 23 ........................................Georgia Clay (Country) March 29 ... Bill Travers & Southwood (Country), $5 cover March 30 .......................................... American Roadhouse

St. Patricks Day Corned Beef & Cabbage Sunday, March 17 | Noon until gone

Food & Drink Specials VFW Famous Fish Fry - Every Friday, lunch 11 am-1pm, dinner 5-8 pm New Mon-Wed Happy Hour - Discounts on all beer, rail, call & wine, 9-12 pm New Breakfast Special - Every Sunday, 9 am-1 pm, $4.50 Breakfast, $3 Mimosas & Screwdrivers, $4 Bloody Marys Sundays - Build your own Bloodys @ Happy Hour prices, 10 am-5 pm; Travelin' Moburys live music, 7-10 pm, Bean Bag Tournament, 1-3 pm Mon - Fri - 11 am-2 pm $1 small domestic tap beer , $1 Corn Dogs; NEW Happy hour, 3-6 pm Tues - $2 Burger Night; 2nd Tuesday Turtle Lake Casino Trip, 9 am, $5, get two free drinks upon return Wed - Bar Bingo at 7 p.m. $1.25 State Fair Corn Dogs Thurs - Chicken wing night, 5 for $3, Karaoke 8 pm-close; Ladies & Gentlemen Night, 9 pm-close; discount on all drinks and beer Fri -Lipstick and Nail Polish Night drink special, $1.75 Miller Lite long neck bottles, $2 Bacardi Limon drinks, 9 pm to midnight Fri - Sat - Live music, 9 pm-1 am; open until 2 am. Sat - Jalapeno Popper Night $4 , 7-10 pm, Mega Tacos $3 and meat raffle, noon-4 pm Lic. # 00052 Live music, 9 pm-1 am Burger Kitchen - open Tues-Sat, 5-10 pm Bomb specials - $3, all day, every day

Hall rental & special packages available for fundraisers. South St. Paul Voice - March 2013 - Page 5


S ample St. Paul

Your community news and information source

On the Town Artists’ Quarter

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

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

Children’s Museum

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

“Dora and Diego” is presented through September 22. Children and

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families are invited to the enchanting world of Dora the Explorer, her animal-rescuing cousin Diego, and their friends Boots and Baby Jaguar. Participants may explore Isa’s Flowery Garden, help Tico gather nuts, join the Pirate Piggies’ crew as they set sail, and search for baby animals in the Rainforest Maze. Tickets are $9.50. Explore the museum free of charge 9 a.m.-5 p.m. the third Sunday of each month.

Fitzgerald Theatre

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

Photo by George Byron Griffiths

Kathleen Humphrey and Jessica Fredrickson star in Theater Latté Da’s production of “The Light in the Piazza,” presented March 14-April 7 at the Ordway McKnight Theatre. “A Prairie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor is presented at 4:45 p.m., Saturday, Mar. 2. Join Keillor and the Prairie Home gang for two hours of live radio fun. Tickets are $32$48.

Gaelic Storm will perform at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Mar. 9. Gaelic Storm blends indie-folk and world grooves with Celtic tradition. Tickets are $30-$32.

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March 2, 1:00-3:00 pM Humanities Center, 987 E. Ivy Ave., Saint Paul March 6, 5:00-7:00 pM Highland Park Library, Hillcrest Recreation Center, 1978 Ford Pkwy., Saint Paul March 11, 5:00-7:00 pM St. Anthony Park Library, 2245 Como Ave., Saint Paul

March 14, 5:00-7:00 pM CoCo, 400 S. 4th St., Suite 4, Minneapolis March 16, 1:00-3:00 pM Gordon Parks High School, 1212 University Ave. W., Saint Paul March 19, 5:00-7:00 pM James J. Hill Library, 80 4th St. W., Saint Paul March 21, 5:00-7:00 pM El Burrito Mercado, 175 Cesar Chavez St., Suite 2, Saint Paul

Great Big Sea will present its 20th anniversary tour at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Mar. 19. Great Big Sea is best known for performing energetic rock interpretations rooted in the melodies,


S ample St. Paul rhythms and timbres of Newfoundland traditional music. Tickets are $37.50.

Landmark Center

Low and members of Trampled By Turtles will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, Mar. 23. This show will celebrate the 20-year history of the band and the release of their new album, “The Invisible Way.” Low was formed in Duluth in 1993. Trampled By Turtles, also popular in the Duluth music scene, celebrates its 10 th anniversary this year. Tickets are $27.50.

Rose Ensemble will perform a free concert at 4 p.m., Sunday, Mar. 3.

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

“Minnesota and the Civil War” opens March 2. The intense divide between North and South in the 1850s turned to war in 1861, and Minnesotans were the first in the Union to respond to the call. Discover the people who mourned, made sacrifices and weighed every possibility and outcome of the tragic war. “Then Now Wow,” the largest exhibit ever at the History Center, 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. 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

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

“Courting Harry” is presented March 2-24. Justice Harry Blackmun and Chief Justice Warren Burger look back on a friendship that started in St. Paul and carried them to the Supreme Court of the United States. Tickets are $32-$40, with discounts for students and seniors.

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

A St. Patrick’s Day Celebration is held 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, Mar. 16. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for kids and seniors. Irish Day of Dance is presented 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, Mar. 17. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for kids and seniors. Bruce Henry will perform at 4 p.m., Sun., March 10 at PipJazz Sundays. The event is hosted by singer Pippi Ardennia. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. For more information, visit www.pipjazz.com.

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

Theater Latté Da presents “The Light in the Piazza” March 14-April 7. Based on a novella by Elizabeth Spencer, this romantic tale revolves around Margaret Johnson, a wealthy Southern woman, and her curiously innocent daughter, Clara, who spend a summer together in Florence. When Clara falls in love with Fabrizio, a young Italian man, Margaret is forced to reconsider not only Clara’s future, but her own deep-seated hopes and regrets as well. Tickets are $19-$44.

Park Square Theatre

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

“Or” is presented through March 17. A comedic romp set in 1666 Restoration England, complete with secret agents, cross-dressing, rhyming couplets and lovers hiding in cupboards. Performance contains adult sexual themes and language. Tickets are $25.

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

“BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life” is

Your community news and information source presented through May 5. This presentation uses real human specimens, including 20 full-body plastinates, to follow human development across the life cycle from conception to old age. Tickets are $27 for adults and $19 for children and seniors.

Omnitheater tickets are $9 and $8 respectively.

Xcel Center

Rock & The Twisted Brown Trucker Band will perform at 8 p.m., Friday, Mar. 15. Tickets are $67-$87.

Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band and Kid

P!nk will perform at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Mar. 19. Tickets are $39.50$99.50.

199 W. Kellogg Blvd. St. Paul www.xcelenergycenter.com

Rihanna will present her Diamonds World Tour at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Mar. 24. Tickets are $39.50-$125.

“Tornado Alley” “is presented through June 20 in the Omnitheatre. This film takes viewers on an epic chase through the “severe weather capital of the world.” Narrated by Bill Paxton, it follows Storm Chasers star Sean Casey and the scientists of VORTEX2, the largest tornado research project ever assembled, on separate missions to encounter one of nature’s most awe-inspiring events — the birth of a tornado. Museum tickets are $13 for adults and $10 for children and seniors.

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Phone: 651-450-9373 Fax: 651-450-9214 Toll Free: 1-888-450-9373 South St. Paul Voice - March 2013 - Page 7


R iver Connections

Your community news and information source

Every mile is a memory

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

Romancing the River Tim Spitzack Editor

I

n late March the first towboats of the season will be slowly pushing barges into the St. Paul harbor. Watching the vessels maneuver around the river bends and through the locks is a favorite pastime for many in the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. I enjoy this as well and have often wondered what it would be like to live aboard one of the tows. One has two options to experience this: hire on as a deckhand or visit the Covington Inn, a floating bed and breakfast moored at Harriet Island Regional Park. After reading the job description of a deckhand from one of the local tow companies I decided the lifestyle is not overly appealing. A deckhand spends much of his time doing dull maintenance duties, inside and out. Inside, they are required to clean the living quarters of the captain, pilot and engineer, including making their beds and cleaning their bathrooms,

and they also help clean the galley, wash dishes and dirty linens and take out the trash. The Covington Inn, on the other hand, boasts that it treats its customers like a tow company VIP. Each of its four unique private staterooms has a comfortable bed, a private bath, fireplace, nautical fixtures, antiques and historic art. Innkeeper Liz Miller takes care of all the housekeeping chores and serves up a delicious gourmet breakfast for her guests. The Covington was built in 1946 and was used for 30 years to push barges along a 1,000-mile stretch of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. In 1976, members of the River Valley Preservation Company found it in dry-dock in Louisiana and made arrangements to purchase it and bring it to St. Paul for restoration. In 1995, it became one of the country’s first floating bed and breakfast venues. Miller has owned it for nine years. Two weeks before Valentine’s Day, I called to reserve a room for my wife and me.

I was hoping to book the Pilot House, a two-room suite on the upper deck with a 360-degree view, but it was taken, as were the Mate’s Quarters and the Master’s Quarters. The Riverview Suite, a private room below deck, was available so I quickly snatched it up. Our evening began by visiting three neighboring establishments. First we visited the new Tap Room at the Summit Brewery, 910 Montreal Circle, St. Paul, located on the bluff overlooking the river. The Tap Room, which has an outdoor patio for summer use, serves a line-up of Summit beers every Friday, 3-8 p.m. We were hoping to get a pint of Winter Ale, but they were out. The bartender said this seasonal favorite is a hot seller. Rather than be disappointed, I took it as a good sign that spring is on its way. On tap were Maibock, a spring seasonal, and 8 to 10 other beers. We each ordered a flight so we could sample four varieties, and found a seat at the long rows of lunchroom style tables. The crowd was lively and eclectic, featuring a mix of nearly every

demographic category you can imagine: age, gender, race, etc. A deejay was spinning vinyl on a turntable and patrons were engaged in conversation or in one of the games they pulled off a shelf, such as backgammon, cards and Guess Who. About halfway through our flight I saw Mark Stutrud enter and start mingling with the crowd. Stutrud founded the company in 1986 and continues to direct its future. He had his coat on, his briefcase draped over his shoulder and a beer in hand. It looked like he just punched out and was spending time with his friends before going home. From there, we went to Mancini’s Steakhouse on West Seventh Street. Mancini’s is one of the oldest family-owned restaurants in the MNRRA corridor, established in 1948. This St. Paul dining institution is known for its mouthwatering steaks and lobsters that are charbroiled to perfection over open hearth charcoal pits. Mancini’s holds the aura of supper clubs of days of yore. We waited nearly 45 minutes

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Page 8 - South St. Paul Voice - March 2013

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Reflections from the Riverfront

for our table, but we were able to do so in a comfortable booth in the lounge. The steaks were worth the wait and we agreed they were likely the best we’d ever had. On our way back to the Covington, we stopped at Candyland in downtown St. Paul. While much of St. Paul goes dark after 5 p.m., this business does not. It is open until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and until 9 p.m. on Sunday. Candyland opened in 1932 on Wabasha Street under the name “Flavocorn,” selling unique varieties of popcorn. It has changed hands twice, in 1938 and then in 1981 when current owners Doug and Brenda Lamb purchased it. Once you visit the store it’s difficult to choose which treat to purchase. The tantalizing scent of popcorn first tempts your senses, but then you see the handmade chocolates drying on nearby cooling racks. Soon, their aroma wafts around you and clouds your judgment. We purchased a half dozen different chocolate creations and took them back to the Covington to savor with a bottle of wine that we purchased this fall from one of the wineries on the Great River Wine Trail in southern Minnesota. The chocolate and wine were a delight and we enjoyed them in our cozy suite while gazing at a warm, glowing fire, the lights of the city visible through our portholes. We raised our glasses and toasted a wonderful

evening. The next morning, we lingered aboard the boat. Breakfast was served at 9 a.m. in the main salon, which features dining tables, comfortable furniture, a small library with books on the river, and awesome views of the river and the St. Paul skyline. We chatted with the other guests and with Miller, who kept glancing out the windows to watch the eagles, her favorite part of living on the river. We joined her in watching them soar over head and swoop down to the river’s surface looking for their own breakfast. The responsibilities of our day lay before us but they seemed far away and insignificant as we leisurely sipped coffee while gazing at the river in its quiet, frozen form.

Rates and packages For a virtual tour of the Covington’s four suites, visit www.covingtoninn.com/ suites.htm. Each stateroom has a private bath, deck access, a fireplace, air conditioning and housekeeping service. The rooms do not have a television. Rates are $180-$235 April 1-October 31 and $160-$195 during the winter season. The Covington offers a romance package with flowers, truffles and wine, a summer theater package with tickets to the nearby Centennial Showboat, and a Padelford riverboat ride package offered May-October.


H ome Improvement Your guide to hiring a contractor S pring is just around the corner, which means many are planning home improvement projects. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) offers the following tips when selecting a contractor. NARI, the only independent association dedicated to the remodeling industry, is a not-for-profit trade association that represents professional remodeling contractors, product manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, trade publications, utilities and lending institutions. For more information on NARI, visit www.nariremodelers.com, or call 800-611-6274.

Proper planning Depending on your needs and the size of your remodeling project, there are several options for you to explore before finalizing your plans. Think your remodeling project through from start to finish. Careful planning of your home improvement projects will enable you to update your home, increase the value of your investment and customize your living space, all for a lot less than the cost of a new home. • Look over your property carefully. What repairs are needed? What improvements would you like to make? Think about your future needs. Professional remodeling contractors can help in your planning by outlining options and discussing the improvements you can make within your budget. • Be sure to review your homeowner’s insurance policy and make adjustments for the added value of the work being done. • Finding a qualified professional remodeling contractor doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Following these guidelines will make the selection process easier, and you will be better prepared to make an informed decision that best suits your needs. • Employ a contractor with an established business in your area. Local firms can be checked through references from past customers in your community. Many states, but not all, require contractors to be licensed and/or bonded. Contact your state or local licensing agencies to ensure the contractor meets all requirements. • Check with the govern-

ment Consumer Affairs Office and the Better Business Bureau to ensure there is no adverse file on record for the contractor. • Ask to see a copy of the contractor’s certification of insurance for the name of his or her insurance agency to verify coverage. Most states require a contractor to carry workers’ compensation, property damage and personal liability insurance. • Make sure the contractor’s insurance coverage meets all the minimum requirements. If you solicit bids from several different contractors, be sure they are bidding on the same scope and quality of work. Discuss variations in bids and beware of any bid that is much lower than the others. • Be sure the contract includes the contractor’s name, address, phone and license number (if applicable). • A contract should include details about what the contractor will and will not do. • A detailed list of materials for the project should be included in your contract, with information such as size, color, model, brand name and product. The contract should include approximate start and completion dates. • Study the design plans carefully. Insist that you approve them and that they are identified in your written contract before any work begins. Known as the “Right of Recision,” federal law requires a contractor to give you written notice of your right to, without penalty, cancel a contract within three business days of signing it, provided it was solicited at some place other than the contractor’s place of business or appropriate trade premises. • Make sure financial terms are understood and spelled out in the contract. The total price, payment schedule and any cancellation penalty should be clear. A warranty covering materials and workmanship for a minimum of one year should be written into the contract. The warranty must be identified as either “full” or “limited.” The name and address of the party who will honor the warranty (contractor, distributor or manufacturer) must be identified. Make sure the time period for the warranty is specified. • A binding arbitration

clause is also a good inclusion in the event a disagreement occurs. Arbitration may enable you to resolve disputes without costly litigation. • Thoroughly review the entire contract and be certain you understand it before signing it. • Consider the scope of the project and make sure all items you’ve requested are included. If you do not see a specific item in the contract, consider it not included. • Never sign an incomplete contract. Always keep a copy of the final document for your records.

Design and function Design and function should be foremost in your mind if you’re thinking of adding a room or converting an existing room. Give thought to details such as: where you want electrical outlets, telephone jacks and cable hook-ups located; the type of lighting required; current and future storage needs. These details will help your remodel better suit your needs and lifestyle. A professional remodeler should be consulted about design and function of any remodeling project. He or she can also help you with time and money-saving hints.

Types of contractors • The General Contractor - Many home improvements may not require professional design services and can be handled by an experienced remodeling contractor. Again, be sure to deal with a professional. Even small jobs need careful planning, as their successful completion is important to you. • The Design/Build Contractor - Design/build is a concept developed to benefit the homeowner with remodeling projects by providing both quality design and construction services within the same company. A design/build contractor will be able to see your project through from start to finish, keeping design, engineering and budget in mind. • The Architect - Major remodeling projects require construction drawings to define contracts and permits procurement. If your professional remodeler does

Your community news and information source

not provide design services, you can use a professionally trained architect. It is best to work with an architect experienced in remodeling, as they are more sensitive to the special challenges that remodeling represents.

Financing Various financing plans are available to homeowners. Among the most popular is the equity line of credit that bases the loan amount on the equity in your home. Loans are available through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) specifically for home improvements, and can be obtained through many lending institutions. The FHA, however, requires that the lender approve the contractor. The FHA does not guarantee the contractor’s work. Some institutions allow you to borrow against the anticipated equity in your home once your remodeling project is complete.

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S ports

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Girls basketball from page 1

Photo by Dan Grevas Photography, www.dangrevasphoto.com

Senior Alicia Sethre soars for two versus Como Park.

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The cornerstone of Johnson’s coaching philosophy is team defense. “We teach aggressive, inyour-face defense,” she said. “It fuels everything that we do and I have been blessed the past two years with kids who have eagerly bought in to that concept.” Full court pressure defense is the team’s signature – as is a lack of team height. Among the seven players who make up the team’s primary player rotation, only Swanson, at 5’10,” is taller than 5’8.” Four players are 5’5” or less. But none of them lack for sheer athleticism. Christian, the starting point guard, is the defensive catalyst. “She is our floor leader and she is relentless,” said Johnson. Christian is averaging a remarkable 7.1 steals per game. Three of Johnson’s defensive stalwarts starred on the Packer girls soccer team that finished third in the 2012 state tournament. Sethre was the team’s goalie, senior Maggie Belde was the lynch pin of the defense and Poole was the leading goal scorer. “They have transferred all of that speed, athleticism and stamina to the basketball court,” said Johnson. The three of them have combined to average nine steals per game. Ninthgrader Elise Barnes, who starts alongside Christian and Poole in the backcourt,

also has a “motor that won’t quit,” said Johnson. The seventh member of the player rotation is junior Alexandra Ojekwe. “She has spent some quality time in the weight room,” said Johnson. “She is very strong and athletic and fits in perfectly with the system we have installed.” The success of the team’s defensive approach is reflected in the overall statistics. The Packers currently rank third in the state in fewest points allowed per game – a paltry 42.4 points per outing. “Defense is our obvious strength,” said Johnson. “If you can keep your opponent to around forty points per game, you put yourself in position to win a lot of basketball games.” As we go to press, the Packers are 6-6 in the Classic Suburban Conference (they finished 7-7 in 2012) and are 12-10 overall. Johnson anticipates that South St. Paul will be the #4 seed in the sectional playoffs, behind Simley, Hill-Murray and St. Paul Como Park. The Packers came within ten points of Hill-Murray and Simley and lost to Como by four. “What that tells me is that we are competing with them,” said Johnson. “If we can successfully convert on four or five additional possessions, we can win.” Johnson is effusive in her praise of her senior leadership, especially her two captains. Christian is in her fourth season as the starting

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point guard. “She played through the lean times and has played a major role in turning our program around. She leads with her work ethic on the court,” said Johnson. Leadership comes naturally for Sethre. She was one of the captains of the championship soccer team and will also captain the golf team in the spring. “She keeps me grounded,” said Johnson. “Her commitment to improving her game, her competitive instincts and her sense of humor rub off on all of us and make her very special.” Added Sethre, “We came into this season a bit unsure of what we could accomplish but we knew we could play good defense. As the season has worn on, others have started to contribute on the offensive end. We have become increasingly confident and trusting in one another and we always play to the last whistle.” It may be a bit premature to conclude that the girls basketball program is about to challenge the girls hockey program as the premier winter sport at South St. Paul High School. After all, the ice hockey sextet just earned its twelfth state tournament berth in the past 19 seasons. But there are signs that the two teams cannot only coexist, but that both can be successful. “The youth association remains very active and the seventh and eighth grade numbers are up,” said Johnson. There are even rumors that there are a couple of kids in the system that have a chance to grow to six feet tall. A true center patrolling the “paint” for the Packers? Now, that is an eventuality that would serve to make the program’s transformation complete. 195 s. robert st. st. Paul

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C ommunity Columns

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What will you bring to the table? Did you know that March is Minnesota Food Share month? The South St. Paul Mayor’s Youth Task Force is challenging you to get involved in our “What Will You Bring to the Table?” Food Drive, March 17-31. The task force is encouraging everyone to contribute to this community-wide food drive to benefit the food shelf at Neighbors, Inc. Our goal is to collect 15,000 pounds of nonperishable items. For the past few years the task force has partnered with South St. Paul Public Schools and local businesses on a community-wide food drive and they have always been very successful. Last year our goal was 12,500 pounds. We chose this amount because the City’s 125th Birthday celebration. Not only did the community help us reach this goal, residents helped us exceed it by donating over 22,000 pounds of nonperishable food items. Way to go South St. Paul! This year the task force is working with the schools, community organizations and the business community. We are looking for community partners to collect non-perishable food items at meetings, in their neighborhoods, at sporting events, etc. At the April 1 city council meeting, Mayor Beth Baumann will present trophies to those who collected the most poundage. She will also recognize the person who

found the most creative way to collect food. The task force is waiting to hear if it will receive a GenerationOn grant to help facilitate the food drive. The grant will allow us to roll out new and fun ideas for residents, businesses and organizations to get involved. Watch for further details. John Kemp, executive director of Neighbors, said he is thrilled that the task force is hosting the food drive. We chose March because it is Minnesota FoodShare Month, a time for individuals, corporations and the entire community to come together to focus on the hard facts and the tragic stories of hunger in our midst. In 2012, Neighbors, Inc. distributed over 600,000 pounds of food to families in need. This represents an increase of 60 percent in the past two years. We need everyone in South St. Paul to get involved. Our community has just over 20,100 residents. If every resident donated just one pound of food, we will far exceed our goal of 15,000 pounds. If your business, organization or family would like to get involved in the food drive, contact Deb Griffith at 651-554-3230 or deb.griffith@southstpaul.org. We hope that you take part in our challenge. We can make a difference if we all do a small part in the drive. What will you bring to the table?

Free small business consulting for area businesses, entrepreneurs

Jennifer L. Gale, president

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

I have been writing a monthly column for this newspaper for several years. I enjoy the opportunity because I was trained as a journalist and spent the first part of my professional life in the newspaper business. However, I never know if anyone is actually reading the column unless, as occasionally happens, someone says, “I saw your column in the newspaper the other day.” In all the time that I have been doing this I have only received two emails and one phone call regarding my column that were negative. They were in response to political issues I addressed, which I don’t do very often. The first came during the presidential campaign of 2008. I remember being absolutely aghast at the amount of money that was being spent on the presidential race,and at how much money party partisans were willing to give to the campaign coffers for the opportunity to be in the same room as one of the candidates. I had read an article about a fundraiser being held in the Twin Cities by the Democratic Party. The cheapest price to attend was $10,000 and the

Starting or growing a small business isn’t easy, and hiring a trusted advisor to help get a business off the ground is usually very expensive. To encourage small business growth, the cities of South St. Paul and Inver Grove Heights, along with many of their Dakota County neighbors, are offering free, one-on-one small business consulting to current small businesses and entrepreneurial residents. The cities are providing a certified “Open to Business” consultant to offer free consulting services in each community. The program is made possible through a cost-saving partnership with the Dakota County Community Development Association, the River Heights Chamber of Commerce, Progress Plus Economic Development Foundation and the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD). A consultant will be at South St. Paul City Hall, 125 Third Ave. N., 9-11 a.m., the second Wednesday of each month; and at Inver Grove Heights City Hall, 8150 Barbara Ave., 9-11 a.m., the third Tuesday of each month. This service is free to all South St. Paul and Inver Grove Heights

businesses and residents. The consultant will be available for walk-in appointments to help plan and work through small business challenges, such as accounting and record keeping, business acquisition and start-up, business plan development, cash flow, financial and business analysis, loan packaging, networking, operations, strategic planning and commercial real estate analysis. In addition, “Open to Business” advisors can assist entrepreneurs in identifying their borrowing needs and financing options. Direct financing and loans are available through the program. “Open to Business” consultants are provided by the MCCD and are serving the Dakota County cities of Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, Farmington, Hastings, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville, Rosemount, South St. Paul and West St. Paul. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Laurie Crow, business advisor, at 952-484-3107 or lcrow@mccdmn.org, or visit www.opentobusinessmn.org.

event was expected to be sold out. I know what a $10,000 gift would do for an organization like Neighbors and I was appalled at how many people were willing to spend this kind of money to be in the same room as a presidential candidate so I wrote a column about it. I referenced the Democratic Party in the Twin Cities because it was fresh in people’s minds, but the column could have been about the Republican Party as well. My point wasn’t about this being a Democratic or a Republican issue, it was about the unconscionable amounts of money being spent on party politics while people are going to bed hungry, sleeping in their cars and eating their meals in “soup kitchens” because they can’t find employment and government-funded programs are drying up. Sure enough, I got an email castigating me for being too hard on the Democrats and allowing my Republican leanings to show through. Fast forward to the beginning of 2013. My January column, which hit people’s homes just before Christmas, was about the pending Democratic takeover of Minnesota’s state government. In my column I cited some of the ways the Republicans treated Democrats when they took over two years earlier and urged the Democrats, now that they were regaining power, to not respond in kind. If there is ever going to be any hope of bipartisan action to solve our state’s rather massive fiscal problems, I said, one side has to start treating the other side with respect. Please, I begged, let this happen now. Again, I didn’t think of this as being pro-Democrat or anti-Republican. It was intended to urge people on both sides of the aisle to work together for the benefit of all Minnesotans. Lo and behold, I got my second email, and then a week or two later a phone call. Both were kindly written or spoken, but both gently chided me

for being too hard on the Republicans and allowing my Democratic leanings to show through. Every experience is a learning opportunity, and something my caller said resonated very strongly with me. In his opinion, my January column would have been better suited on an op-ed page than in a “message from a nonprofit leader” column. In hindsight, I think he’s correct. So the next time I get hot under the collar about something that happens in Washington, or in St. Paul, I’ll take a step back and ask myself if it’s something I should write about in a column, in op-ed space, or if it’s something I should just leave alone.

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B ack in Time

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Reflections on the life of Henry Sibley’s Dakota daughter Lois Glewwe Contributor

O

ne of the most interesting and controversial people who ever lived in the area around the Kaposia Indian village, in what is now South St. Paul,

was Helen Hastings Sibley. Helen’s father was Henry Sibley, Minnesota’s first state governor. Her mother was Tashinahohindoway, or Red Blanket Woman, the daughter of a Mdewakanton Dakota leader known as Bad Hail.

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Sibley came to Fort Snelling and took charge of the trading post at Mendota in October 1834. He was 23 years old and unmarried. Like many of his fur trader colleagues, he entered into a relationship with a Dakota woman. Helen was born at Sibley’s house in Mendota on August 28, 1841 and was baptized by Father Augustin Ravoux at the Church of St. Peter a few weeks later. Sibley’s relationship with Red Blanket Woman apparently ended when Helen was born but the future governor kept track of Helen and cared for her during her entire life. On May 2, 1843, Sibley married Sarah Steele, a white woman who was the sister of Franklin Steele, Sibley’s friend and one of the most powerful real estate investors in early Minnesota. From the beginning, Sarah Sibley was aware of Helen’s existence but refused to acknowledge her in any way. In 1847, when Helen was six years old, Sibley brought her to board with William and Martha Brown at Red

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Rock (now Newport) on the east side of the Mississippi River, south of the Kaposia village site. Some historical accounts indicate that Helen’s Dakota mother had died by this time, while others imply that she married a Dakota man and was deeply depressed when Sibley took Helen away. Helen arrived at the Browns’ speaking French and Dakota, and possibly some English. Her education was begun in English and she became part of the Methodist community at Red Rock, where Martha and William Brown had met and were married in 1841. The Browns were paid $8 a week for Helen’s room and board. Dr. Thomas Williamson, who established a Presbyterian mission for the Dakota people at Kaposia in 1846, charged the Browns $1 for medicine for Helen in October 1847, and on May 19, 1848, he submitted a bill for $5 for setting her fractured forearm. William Brown subsequently submitted a bill to Henry

Sibley for $8.50 for two pair of shoes, 12 yards of gingham and six yards of alpaca for Helen. In 1851, when Helen was ten years old, William and Martha sold their farm at Red Rock and moved across the river to the new white settlement that was growing up around the Kaposia village. Under the terms of the Treaty of 1851, the Dakota were preparing to be removed from the village and relocated to two reservations in western Minnesota. It isn’t known exactly where the Browns lived; one account indicates they were in West St. Paul, which at that time included all of Kaposia and the area that became South St. Paul. By 1854, the Browns moved to St. Paul. Their first house burned down and they moved to 145 E. Fifth St. between Robert and Jackson Streets. Helen studied music, attended singing and dancing school and became a young leader at the Jackson Street Methodist Church. Sibley paid William Brown for a melodeon (a small organ) for

Helen on her 14th birthday, and $95 for her board and clothing. Helen was known as a very pretty and popular young woman. Sibley grew very fond of her and visited her often at the Browns’ St. Paul home. He also paid for her to go to a finishing school in the east. Helen’s promising young life ended in tragedy. She married Sylvester Sawyer, a physician, on November 3, 1859, and they established themselves in Raymond, Wisc. Ten months later, on September 4, 1860, Helen gave birth to a daughter, Helen Mary Sawyer. Both Helen and the baby got scarlet fever. Helen died on September 6, 1860, and the baby passed on September 14. Sylvester Sawyer was devastated at the loss of his family, and the Browns and Henry Sibley wrote often of their grief at the loss of the beautiful young Helen who had begun her life with her Dakota family and ended her days as the wife of the town physician in Wisconsin.

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South St. Paul Voice March 2013  

South St. Paul Voice March 2013