Archive | November, 2013


High-powered soccer squad brings Como Park first state title

Posted on 14 November 2013 by robwas66


A packed gym of students, faculty and fans celebrated the Cougars’ recent Class A boys soccer championship from earlier in the day at the Metrodome on Thursday, October 31. The Cougars (19-0-3) scored two late goals to beat the Hill-Murray Pioneers 2-1 for the school’s first-ever state title. Above, the Cougars pose with the hardware from their state title.


The Como Park high school boys soccer team brought the Como Park area a celebration it had never seen – a pep fest for a high school state team championship.

“I feel like it brought the community together more,” Cougars sophomore midfielder Israel Guzman said.

A packed gym of students, faculty and fans celebrated the Cougars’ recent Class A boys soccer championship from earlier in the day at the Metrodome on Thurs., Oct. 31. The Cougars (19-0-3) scored two late goals to beat the Hill-Murray Pioneers 2-1 for the school’s first-ever state title.

“It just brings a lot of joy to me to see my players who have worked so hard to be so happy,” Cougars coach Erick Erickson said. “I love them all like sons, and I’m proud of them. They give everything they got, and they always have.”

The Cougar soccer family simply exploded at state with the rapidly growing fan support. A bus full of fans came to watch the Cougars edge once-unbeaten Waseca (17-1-1) 2-1 in the quarterfinals at Saint Louis Park on Oct. 23. Erickson studied the Blue Jays thoroughly from scouting reports and had his team execute a game plan to beat them.

Five buses of fans showed up for the Cougars first game at the dome in semifinals when senior forward Seik Seik had two goals in a 2-1 win over Sartell-Saint Stephen on Oct. 28. He scored his firstComoSoccer2 at 5:22 into the first half, and junior midfielder Will Kidd assisted on Seik’s second goal at 42:03. Though not a go-to goal-scorer, Seik had three of the Cougars’ four goals at the dome.

“He’s more opportunistic,” Kidd said. “He takes what he gets.”

The Cougars adjusted well to playing in the dome and on astro turf. They played only three games previously on turf. Prior to the games they held practices at Evan McMurray fields, which also has turf.

Fan support swelled to 15 buses full and around a 1,000 fans total to cheer on the Cougars in the state finals on Oct. 31. The Cougars and Pioneers had a scoreless battle going deep into the second half, and Cougars had only three shots on goal in the first half.

After the Pioneers tested Cougars senior goalkeeper Doug McCune-Zierath with three shots in a five-minutes span, Thor Will broke the tie at 65:59 with an unassisted goal. Seik padded the lead with a goal on the assist from junior midfielder Diriye Abdikarin at 73:29. Despite the closeness of the game, every player on the Cougars rosters played.

“There’s a lot of trust,” Erickson said. “We had every player contribute in the heat of competition.”

The Cougars had a team loaded with depth, tenacity and diversity. They used their whole bench in five of 22 games during the season.

“They’re ready to come off the bench do whatever needed,” Kidd said.

During the regular season, the Cougars won many close games including two overtime games on back to back days. In the second one, the Cougars trailed 1-0 until the final 30 seconds when Abdikarin knotted the game on a pass from Kidd.

“Those back-to-back overtime victories at home made the team believe they could win in any circumstance,” Erickson said.

The Cougars had a target on their back for much of the season as the No. 1 or No. 2-ranked team in Class A after the first week of competition. They started the season at No. 5. Regardless, they went unbeaten through the regular season in a tough Saint Paul City Conference and won their second consecutive conference title.

“We don’t talk about rankings,” Guzman said. “Rankings really doesn’t matter, it’s the heart you put into a game that counts.”

Playing in a new section for the section tournament with six of the top 10 teams in the state did not phase the Cougars. They knocked off No. 6 Minneapolis Washburn 2-1 and No. 4 Blake 2-0, allowing two goals for the entire tournament.

“There was some question about could we advance through the section again,” Erickson said. “But that’s again where our focus on one game at a time really helped the game.”

ComoSoccer3Roster changes also provided a challenge for the Cougars. Only five starters returned from the 2012 team, which reached the state quarterfinals and graduated 10 seniors. McCune-Zierath took over as the goalkeeper. Senior captains Ba Blue Moo and Zach Lee took the lead on defense, which helped the Cougars allow 0.8 goals per game.

“Those two played huge roles in organizing our defense, getting that back line on the same page,” Erickson said.

Senior Jonah Lerquin played outside right back for the first time. Will moved to defense after spending most of his soccer playing days at midfield.

“These guys moved unselfishly wherever they were needed to help the team,” Erickson said.

They also missed senior captain defender Yang Yeng, who had still been recovering from an ACL tear. He made the most of his senior season from the sideline, however, by being an assistant-coach-like support for his team. He helped players develop their skills.

“I couldn’t play, but I’m proud to be part of the team,” Yeng said.

This team had plenty of diversity with players from seven different countries. They speak seven different languages, and some of them are still taking English as a second language.

“We’re like one big family,” Guzman said.


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First Avenue takes the reins at Turf Club

First Avenue takes the reins at Turf Club

Posted on 14 November 2013 by robwas66


First Avenue general manager Nate Kranz at the Turf Club bar. First Ave. is now managing the iconic St. Paul music club and will assume ownership around the end of the year. (Photo by Jill Boogren)


The legendary First Avenue began managing operations at the Turf Club (1601 University Ave.) in October and will assume ownership of it at the end of the year. Featuring local and national acts from country to metal, pop to indie rock, the iconic Turf Club is a mainstay in the local music scene.

“We’re just super excited, and every day we’ve been real busy getting everything going,” said General Manager Nate Kranz. “I’m really excited for the future of the place, excited we had this opportunity. I’m extremely proud we were able to make this happen.”

The Turf is one of his favorite places to hang out. What makes this club, with origins as a two-steppin’ country bar, so enticing is hard to pin down. “I wish I knew what it was that I love about it so much. To me it’s got a special character that’s hard to describe,” he said.

From a promoter’s perspective — First Ave. has been putting on shows regularly at the Turf for over a decade — Kranz said it’s an awesome place to put on shows. “The sound is good, sight lines are good, the audience likes being there… and most importantly, the band walks in the room and they love it. They have a great time, and it makes us look good.”

Sarah “SlayraH” Lawson, guitarist for God Came From Space, said her bandmates (also in Dumpster Juice) and she have all had bands play at the Turf over the years. One thing she appreciates is that the Turf Club – like First Ave. and 7th St. Entry — is a music club first, not a place that just happens to have bands.

It’s an important distinction from, say, the neighborhood bowling alley. “The shoe guy that sells bowling stuff isn’t running sound that night,” Lawson said. “[At a music venue] you’re finally there being appreciated for what you do.”

Host of The Current and Wonderground Radio Programmer Barb Abney is excited with the news. She recalls a Retribution Gospel Choir concert that “blew her mind” by playing a three-song set that lasted over an hour.

Abney also held her 40th birthday concert there with The Invincible Kids, Maudlin, The Alarmists, and Solid Gold singer Zach Coulter DJ’ing between sets with Ryan Olson (Polica, GAYNGS). She thinks First Ave. will bring an added element of organization to the venue.

The deal comes with the full blessing of present owner Tom Scanlon, who also owns The Dubliner Pub on University Ave. “I haven’t flinched in entrusting the club to First Avenue and I’m excited to see its continued success,” he said in a press statement.

Lawson said there was no hint of a changeover when they played there in September and figures the transition will be fairly seamless. One major value she sees First Ave. bringing is help with promotions. “Bands don’t have a lot of money, they need all the help promoting they can get,” she said.

Green sign on the green line

It’s fitting that a club housed in a 1937 Greyhound bus depot, as First Avenue is, will now connect to the “Best Remnant of the 40’s” situated on the coming green line. Music fans will now be able to step off the rail at the Snelling Ave. station and walk right in the front door – a definite factor in First Ave.’s decision to buy.

“It’s not just a total love of the club, the light rail played a part of it,” said Kranz. As a Minneapolis resident, he’s had to decide whether he was going to a show at the Turf, weighing having just one or two beers and driving home against potentially having to pay a hefty cab fare.

“Now it’s going to be easier for peoplTurfClub2e who live in Minneapolis, also people in downtown St. Paul. It’s gonna be a lot more convenient,” he said. “I gotta get excited when I drive down University and see it’s going to be an eight-minute ride for students from the U of M.”

For anyone worried about the Turf losing its character, First Ave. offered this reassurance in their press statement: “As a venue with our own rich and distinct history, we recognize the importance of embracing and maintaining what makes the Turf Club a gem of the Twin Cities. While we plan to keep the charm of the club, we will also be investing significantly in improvements to the venue.”

Kranz said they’ll spend the next few months learning the ropes, getting to know the neighborhood (Checkerboard Pizza is “a long, guilty pleasure” of his), then begin remodeling next year. “Not changing anything, just making it better,” he said. “We wanna make the Turf Club the best possible 300-person room you can have, because the music is great, the beer is cold… it’s a place where you wanna hang out.”

They plan to put in a kitchen, like The Depot Tavern at First Ave., but with a different menu. “We’ll play around with some things we feel reflect the vibe of the place and also what people of the neighborhood want to do.” The Clown Lounge in the basement will stay.

One of Kranz’s favorite shows at the club is one of the first he put on there, a concert with Ryan Adams. Arriving for an afternoon soundcheck Adams took a look at the room and wrote a song right there. He performed the song (“Firecracker”) that evening, and it ended up on his next album. After the show Adams had a couple drinks then sat at the piano and played for another 45 minutes downstairs. Lucinda Williams was there.

“Everything about that night was so perfect,” said Kranz. “I was able to look out and see the look on people’s faces. I hope we have that a billion more times.”

Asked whether they plan to add stars to the building, Kranz laughed and said they talked about adding band names to horseshoes, but it was only a joke. “Unless we do it, and then I guess it wasn’t a joke.”

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St. Paul considers private management of Como Golf Course

Posted on 14 November 2013 by robwas66



St. Paul is considering partnering with a private company to run Como and Phalen golf courses starting next year.

It’s a move the golfers at Como have mixed feelings about.

“Members have concerns about how a private manager would work with the Men’s Club,” said Como Men’s League Board Member Gary Ketchel. Among the questions are: will the condition of the course remain is it is, or will new managers cut corners maintaining the grounds to save money? “Like any change there will always be apprehension and there is plenty of that here,” Ketchel said.

“Others feel like it could be just what Como needs to remain viable and be here for future generations,” he added.

Como Women’s League Club President Kathy Zieman questions how the city is going to save money by going with an outside management company.

“By contracting out the operation and management of Phalen and Como, the city will shift the risk and expenses to a private vendor,” explained city employee Brad Meyer.

In addition to removing the risk of loss, the city would also ask for a share of the profits. Plus, the city intends to ask vendors to make their own private investment into the required capital needs at the courses.

“Without this private vendor option, the city would be required to start subsidizing golf from the general fund for almost $1 million a year to keep the courses open (which is not a core value of the city),” pointed out Meyer. “This subsidizing would almost certainly impact other hard hit areas of the Parks and Recreation budget (like recreation centers) or require the courses to close, which is not something the department would like to pursue.”


Over the last 5 plus years, expenses at the city’s four golf courses have exceeded revenues by at least $600,000 annually (including more than a $1 million this year), according Meyer.

This year, Como is expected to lose $300,000. The number of people playing golf has gone down. This year was especially difficult at Como because the course opened a month later due to poor weather conditions. Golf rounds have decreased almost 27% since 2005, according to St. Paul Special Services Manager Susie Odegard.

“After reviewing the current marketplace and the experience of other municipalities, going out to the marketplace is the only option that will allow for continued services at the courses,” said Odegard.

“Losing $600,000 plus for more than 5 years is not sustainable. Ramsey County was in a similar situation, but now after a few years of operating within this model, the risk of loss is gone, and opportunities for profit are exponentially better,” said Meyer. “We are hopeful that we can experience a similar trajectory.”


Ketchel pointed out that privatization of municipal courses is a growing trend in the industry. “In the old days, when golf was very popular, municipalities with golf courses made money almost by accident,” he observed.

Ketchel’s opinion is that the government is inherently weak when it comes to running enterprise-type operations. “This is where private management partnerships can help,” said Ketchel.

“Private management will tweak the current business model to identify and maximize all the profit potential pieces of the golf course. These things may include looking at rate structure, staffing issues, food service potential, clothing and equipment sales, advertising, etc.”

According to Ketchel, in recent years there has been a lapse in clubhouse services, such as a fully stocked Pro Shop and restaurant choices. “A private manager would most likely focus on these things not only for a profit potential, but also as services that attract golfers to the course,” he said. “Tee time sales could be improved by managing pricing better to fill open tee times at traditionally slow times of the day. Private management might do a better job of attracting and negotiating golf tournaments and leagues.”


Members from the city’s parks and recreation department met with league members and local residents on Oct. 28 to discuss the Request for Proposals (RFP) process the city intends to use to solicit vendors.

“It was promised that this group would be involved in RFP reviewing and subsequent contract negotiation process,” said Ketchel. “I think this was well received by most at the meeting.”

“Input from the district councils and neighbors will be encouraged throughout the process, and we fully expect to continue active dialogues even after a vendor begins operating the courses,” said Meyer.

St. Paul will continue to operate the successful existing winter activity programs at the courses, including cross-country ski trails and the Alpine sports program that offers ski and snowboard activities.

The city intends to reassign the 20 or so affected staff to available positions at the Highland golf course or generally within the Parks Department. The private vendor may also opt to hire some of the displaced workers.

Personally, Ketchel isn’t concerned that this would be bad for the Como Golf Course. “At its worst the city would show no gains in profitability,” Ketchel said.

“But keep in mind that no management company is going to bid on this unless they feel strongly that they can profit. Hopefully the city will do a good job vetting any company that bids on this RFP.”

During a vote on Nov. 6, City Council members agreed to solicit RFPs on a 4-3 vote. “We’re spending too much now for what we’re getting,” said District 4 City Council Member Russ Stark.

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Midway: a hoppin’ new brew destination

Posted on 13 November 2013 by robwas66


Get in the Bin: Co-owner Sandy Boss Febbo serves beer in the unique taproom at Bang Brewing (2320 Capp Rd., So. St. Anthony Park). The bin was conceived by Alchemy Architects (856 Raymond Ave.) and houses the only 100% organic brewery in the region. Hamline-Midway resident Isaac Everhart (in bike helmet) is enjoying a Minn, a mild ale. The taproom is open Fridays 5-10pm and Saturdays 12noon-5pm.(Photo by Jill Boogren)


Surly Brewing Co. broke ground in October on their new brewery at 520 Malcolm Ave. SE, just west of Hwy 280 in Minneapolis. It marks a huge leap forward for the brewery and “Surly Nation,” the fans who helped give rise to Minnesota’s – and now the Midway’s — burgeoning beer scene.

Members of the Surly family raise their glasses to celebrate the groundbreaking at the Malcolm-Midway location of their new “destination brewery,” coming in late 2014. (Photo by Jill Boogren)

“Everything that’s happened at Surly has all happened with the support of the community, its fans,” said Surly founder and president Omar Ansari.

The idea for a “destination brewery” – with a 300-person beer hall, beer garden, restaurant, and event center — began fermenting in 2010. But first Surly had to get past a prohibition-era law preventing brewers from selling pints of their own beer on premises. Thanks to the outpouring of support from craft beer lovers, the Minnesota legislature passed the “Surly law” in 2011 allowing taproom licenses.

Surly chose the 8.3 acre Malcolm Midway site because it was large enough to accommodate a near quadrupling of production – to 100,000 barrels a year — but also because it’s close to transit, bike routes and the light rail line. “We just wanted to be in a spot where people had options to get here and back,” said Ansari.

Surly expects to be open by this time next year with head brewer Todd Haug at the helm.

They’ll be in good company, as new breweries crop up in the Midway — each breaking its own new ground.

You can’t miss Bang Brewing (2320 Capp Rd.), which husband and wife team Jay and Sandy Boss Febbo opened in September. Housed in a metal grain bin, the brewery is built for maximum efficiency. Its circular design and flexible use space is perfect for production flow, said Sandy. “We’re able to do all this in 1,300 square feet.”

Bang is the only 100% organic brewery in the region. “Others do one organic beer out of, like, 15,” said Hamline-Midway resident Isaac Everhart, who rode his bike there for a tasting one Saturday afternoon. “This is all organic. It takes a lot of dedication to do that.”

They have two brews on tap so far: Neat, a very pale ale, and Minn, a mild. Jay’s the lead brewer, “but we’ve done every batch together,” said Sandy.

To round things out, the Boss Febbos have planted barley on the land outside the bin. They’re rebuilding the soil so they can ultimately harvest quality organic grain. While it won’t yield enough to feed their production, they’d like to find a homebrewer to use it.

“I love to garden,” said Sandy. “Now we get to farm and brew. And those days, when we’re out there hand broadcasting the seeds, are so cool.”

The location is perfect for the Boss Febbos, who wanted to be able to bike from their home in Mac-Groveland. They’re also “huge fans” of mass transit. “Jay and I have shared a car for over a decade. We ride bikes, we both have Nice Ride keys, and we ride the bus and trains,” said Sandy. “I can’t wait for [the green line] to open.”

Taproom hours are 5-10pm Fridays and 12noon-5pm Saturdays. Growlers are available.


Owner and brewer Deb Loch (at left) and co-owner Jill Pavlak are opening Urban Growler Brewing Company at 2325 Endicott St. in St. Anthony Park in early 2014. Theirs will be the first women-owned and women-brewed brewery in the Midwest. Their “Plow to Pint” series will use ingredients from local farmers. Founding members will receive their first pint for free for life. (Photo by Jill Boogren)

Next door in a beautiful brick building (once home to St. Paul’s municipal horses), Urban Growler Brewing Company (2325 Endicott St.) will be opening in 2014 as a packaging brewery with a taproom, beer garden, and kitchen. Co-owners Jill Pavlak and Deb Loch believe UGBC is the first women-owned AND women-brewed brewery in the Midwest.

Their flagship beer is a Graffiti Rye IPA. Their “Plow to Pint” series will feature beers made with seasonal ingredients, such as wild rice, pumpkin, blueberry, and rhubarb, provided by local urban farmers. “That’s where we’ll have interesting ideas and twists,” said head brewer Loch.

Pavlak said they’ve already been asked by a community gardener in St. Anthony Park what they should plant. This neighborhood connection is exactly what they’d hoped for. “The whole reason we wanted to do this was to involve the community, bring people together,” she said.

They want to draw more women, too, by paying attention to what appeals to women. Some taprooms have few beers under 7% alcohol, said Loch, so she’ll offer a breadth of flavors in a drinkable range. But lighter in alcohol doesn’t mean lighter in flavor, she said. “Women like beer that tastes good, too.”

When Pavlak visits taprooms she’s either freezing or uncomfortable. So UGBC will be warmer and have more comfortable seating. They plan to serve food with beer pairings as well.

Like the Boss Febbos, Pavlak and Loch hail from Mac-Groveland and wanted to be close to light rail and bike paths. They’re grateful for the supportive brewing community. “It only helps all of us, and it really will bring people into this area,” said Loch.

Named for the fire-eating antics of founders Dane Breimhorst and Thom Foss, Burning Brothers Brewing is the only dedicated gluten-free brewery in the Midwest.

After head brewer Breim­horst was diagnosed with Celiac, a gluten intolerance, he was determined to make a really good gluten-free beer. He entered competitions, receiving feedback from the judges that his was a “good solid beer.”

This was the “highest compliment ever,” said Breimhorst. Especially since they didn’t tell anyone it was gluten free beforehand.

Being gluten free means no wheat, barley, rye or spelt is used. Instead Breimhorst uses sorghum, buckwheat and millet, and has even tried quinoa.


Owner and brewer Dane Breimhorst (at left) and co-owner Thom Foss at Burning Brothers Brewing, 1750 Thomas Ave., the only 100% gluten-free brewery in the Midwest, expected to open by the end of this year.  (Photo by Jill Boogren)

Burning Brothers will be a canning facility, with some seasonal bottles and growler sales. St. Paul is its primary market, with priority going to restaurants like Brasa, which is committed to providing a gluten-free dining experience.

For now, the only place to get Burning Brothers beer on draft will be in their taproom. Because it’s gluten free, they need to guarantee their beer is always on a tap line that will never be used for a beer containing gluten.

Breimhorst and Foss had to blaze their own trail by lobbying the City of St. Paul to allow taprooms to operate in a mixed use neighborhood — a measure that passed handily and went into effect in July. Neighbors have already told them they can’t wait for them to open.

Burning Brothers expects to begin canning their Pyro American Pale Ale by the end of this year, with their “no frills” taproom quick to follow.


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Daily Diner Frogtown serves up a big stack of food, assistance

Posted on 13 November 2013 by robwas66


The Daily Diner Frogtown looks out over University Avenue. (Photo by Jan Willms)

There’s a new place in town, at 615 University Ave. It has tempting fare, such as a big chunk of meatloaf, covered with caramel­ized onions, beef gravy and featuring a Scotch egg in the center, or cheesy Parmesan hash browns or a catfish sandwich on a hoagie roll.

But the Daily Diner Frogtown does more than serve up a mouthwatering menu. It provides a place for individuals who may have been down on their luck to get back on track while learning about careers in the food industry.

The Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities (UGMTC), which started in St. Paul in 1902 and has dedicated itself to helping the poor, the homeless and the addicted, is the sponsor of the training program offered at the Daily Diner Frogtown.

“A few years ago, we started dreaming a little bit,” said Gail Gisi, director of communication and adult education at UGMTC. “The Mission has a really comprehensive education and career development program already. We help individuals get their GED, write resumes and practice interviewing, but we offered no on-the-job training.”

Ken Peterson, executive director of UGMTC, added that they wanted to help prepare people who may be hard to employ to go out and get a job.

Peterson said there is easy entry into the food industry, and UGMTC could develop a needed public restaurant while at the same time providing a vocational program, Our Daily Bread, for qualified trainees. “The trainees could learn how to cook, be a hostess or server or prep cook,” Gisi said. “There are a lot of potential careers they could move into.”

The restaurant opened its doors Apr. 15 of this year. It operates with a full professional staff and currently has two trainees, Henry Wallace and Jonathan Sasada, learning the skills of the trade.

Nick Gisi, Gail’s husband and director of men’s programs for UGMTC, has a background of serving as manager of Perkins for 25 years, as well as working with other restaurants. Bringing this combination of experience with UGMTC and the hospitality industry, he has served as project manager for the Daily Diner Frogtown and as interim general manager to get the restaurant up and running.

Both Gisis have a long history with UGMTC. Gail has been with the Mission for 19 years and Nick for 10.

“We both started as volunteers,” Gail Gisi explained. “We just fell in love with the work of the organization and the people it serves. It is so fulfilling to be part of easing suffering in our community and seeing people’s lives changed in really significant ways.”

Regarding the restaurant, Nick Gisi explained that both trainees work 40 hours a week in a 12-week training program. “They are trained in every area of the restaurant, from front to back,” he said. “They also attend Serv-Safe training and become certified in that.”

He said they are taken to food shows and other restaurants. He is in the process now of partnering with other restaurants so that upon completion of their training, Henry and Jonathan will be able to do a 40-hour internship. “It will offer them another perspective of how other restaurants are run,” Nick Gisi said. “These two are our guinea pigs,” he added, with a smile.

The trainees have already gone through several programs at UGMTC before they begin at Daily Diner Frogtown.

“We do a curriculum with them, working on soft skills that help such as attitude and goal-setting, where to look for a job and what job will fit their strengths and personality,” Nick Gisi related.

“What I like most is meeting people,” emphasized trainee Wallace. “Everything about this job offers a different perspective.”

He said that while working as a server, it helps for him to have also learned about preparing the food so that he can explain the ingredients of a dish to the customer.

“It’s hardest when we get a rush,” he said, “but my coworkers have not let me get lost in the shuffle. We work well together. Our teamwork is fantastic.”

Mike Olinger, who has just started as the new general manager, agreed that everyone at the restaurant works well together. Olinger, who retired from 27 years at Unisys, taught as a substitute teacher for a couple years and then managed Sonic Drive-in five years, said this opportunity presented itself to him and intrigued him.

“I’ve spent my whole life focused on people, and I really like the program offered here, where we can help those who need it make a life for themselves.”

The Board of Directors for the restaurant, called the Fresh Start Board, is composed of people from the food industry. Board members include a chef who has written a cookbook, restaurant owners, and people from the hospitality and restaurant design field.

The restaurant is filled with work by local artists, including a mosaic by Lori Greene, owner of Mosaic on a Stick at 1564 LaFond Ave.; counter and ceiling art by Seitu Jones; bold and colorful paintings by Eric Pearson and a black and white mural depicting Frogtown.

It is kitty corner from the Rondo Library, with the windows of the restaurant forming a semi-circle that looks out upon University Ave.

Although admitting the area in the past may have not had a sterling reputation, Gail Gisi said she is hoping that will change.

“There are a lot of great businesses here, and also some wonderful neighborhood history, with Rondo and Frogtown,” Gail Gisi said. Photos in the restaurant reflect some of that history.

“This community is really committed to growth,” she said. “And we want to be a part of the community.”

“We’re expecting the light rail will impact the number of people coming into the restaurant,” Gail Gisi said. “The business right now really fluctuates, but we are hoping to get the word out.”

Reflecting back on the trainees, Gail Gisi said they are expecting 15-20 a year will graduate from the program.

“Whoever hires them will be hiring a good employee, clean and sober with good work skills,” she said. She said that UGMTC will not just help the participants find a job, but will follow them for three years, making sure the job is a good fit.

“Our mission is to change people’s lives.”


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Local dance troupe opens 10th year

Posted on 13 November 2013 by robwas66

Local dance troupe TU Dance (2121 University W., St. Paul) will open their 10th Season with performances at the Minneapolis Cowles Center, Goodale Theater. The program features world premiere works by New York choreographers Dwight Rhoden and Gregory Dolbashian; the Minnesota premier of Alonzo King’s evocative and shimmering duet Rasa, set to an original score by tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain; and signature work by TU Dance’s own Uri Sands. Performances will be Nov. 15 and 16 at 8pm and Nov. 17 at 2pm. Tickets are $30-$32 and can be obtained from the Goodale Theater Box Office: 612.206.3600 or online at www.thecowlescenter.org.

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Seven scouts achieve Eagle Scout status

Posted on 13 November 2013 by robwas66

Eagle11_13_IOCSeven young men from Boy Scout troop 9243, chartered by Jehovah Lutheran Church, will receive Eagle Scout awards in December. The troop is in the North Star District of Boy Scouts of America. The Eagle Scout award is the highest achievement that a Boy Scout can receive. In order to obtain this award, the young men must complete many merit badges including community and world citizenship, outdoor activities, emergency preparedness, personal fitness, camping and more.

Recipients are Jared Bluhm, attending the University of Minnesota; Jacob Goodale, working at Lund’s and planning to attend St. Paul College; Kaiden Hanan-Parker, in the Army National Guard and planning to attend Concordia University in St. Paul; Connor Heck, attending Concordia University in Mequon, WI.; David Kolar, attending St. Paul College; Derek Murray, attending Minnesota State University in Moorhead; and Matthew Westpfahl, attending St. Paul College.

Their leaders have included Brian Kruchowski, Jeff Strasser and Sandy Kolar at the Cub Scout level; and Jerry Gagner, Debbie Gagner and Sean Murray at the Boy Scout level. Jerry Gagner, who has devoted more than 37 years to the Boy Scouts of America, has helped more than 20 percent of Scouts under his direction achieve Eagle Scout status, compared with a national average of 7 percent.

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Ginkgo to host annual art/craft fair

Posted on 13 November 2013 by robwas66

Ginkgo11_13_IOCGinkgo Coffeehouse will host its 11th annual Holiday Art and Craft Fair on Sat., Dec. 7, from 9am -5 pm. Artists present their own wares, giving you a chance to meet talented artists and learn more about how they make things. This year’s event includes handmade glass beads and jewelry, mosaics, metal sculpture, chain maille jewelry, needle felted items, hand stamped dish towels, and much more!

For more information, visit our web site, www.ginkgo coffee.com, e-mail kathy@ginkgocoffee.com or call 651-645-2647.


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A Pioneer Christmas at the Gibbs Museum

Posted on 13 November 2013 by robwas66

HollyBorder11_13_IOCCelebrate a 1800s Minnesota Christmas of Pioneer and Dakotah Life at the Gibbs Museum on Sat., Dec. 7, 10am-2pm! Reservations are required – please call the Gibbs Museum at 651-646-8629.

Visitors will have the opportunity to travel back in time and experience a real Pioneer Christmas, including a bonfire, making corn husk angels, and visiting with the animals in the White Barn. Actors will be portraying friends of the Gibbs family in costumes of the era, and the buildings will be decorated in an authentic manner. Create your own very special Pioneer Christmas memories with your family, memories that will last for decades to come.

Activities include:

• The 2-hour program includes both indoor and outdoor activities, visitors are urged to dress warmly and appropriately for the weather.

• Sod House in 1849. Visit the original “soddy” house that Jane and Heman Gibbs first lived in, and discover how Christmas was celebrated during their first winters on the Minnesota prairie.

• Main House, Original Room in 1859. Celebrate Christmas in the one original room that the whole Gibbs family lived in.

• Parlor, Main House in 1869. As the family grew, so did the house. See how the Gibbs created Christmas in their new Victorian-era parlor with a re-enactor portraying Mary Lake, a teacher who lived with the family.

• Main House Kitchen in 1879. Actors in period costumes will be preparing authentic holiday foods of the times, portraying carefully researched real-life characters, friends of the Gibbs family.

• White Barn. Visit the animals, and see a sleigh from the era, that families used to get around in the snow.

• One Room Schoolhouse. Make a corn husk angel like the one on the Gibbs family tree to take home and decorate your own tree.

• Dakota Village. Enjoy a roaring bonfire and hot chocolate with marshmallows in the Dakota Village, a reproduction of how Jane’s Dakota friends lived during the time.

• Gift Shop. The Gift Shop will be open with great gifts, old-time style toys and games, and ornaments.

Tickets are $10 adults, $9 for seniors, and $7 for children. Ramsey County Historical Society members receive a 10% discount off of ticket prices. Reservations are timed so that small groups can experience the intimate family atmosphere, please reserve for a specific time

The Gibbs Museum of Pioneer & Dakotah Life is located on the corner of Larpenteur and Cleveland Aves in Falcon Heights. Our free parking lot for museum guests is located on Cleveland Avenue just north of the intersection of Larpenteur and Cleveland Avenues.

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Save the date for holiday band concert

Posted on 13 November 2013 by robwas66

HolidayConcert11_13_IOCThe Lex-Ham Community Band will perform a free concert of Christmas/Hanukkah music at 7:30pm, Dec. 15 at the Buetow Auditorium, Concordia University-St Paul, 310 N. Hamline Ave. Come and be ready to hear some great music and to sing holiday carols. See www.LexHamArts.org/band for more information about the ensemble and how you can get involved.

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