Go Ramsey Mapping Portal
New Medicine Collection Program Debuts
Curbside Plastics Recycling to Expand
Health Care Booklet Available for Seniors
Creative Collaboration Enriches Lives
Community Health: Winding Road of Recovery
Home Repair and Improvement Funds Available
Ramsey County Opens New Mental and Chemical Health Facility
Lady Griot Conjures Up Magic of the Blues
The Dragons are Singing Tonight
Remembering the Holocaust Concentration Camp Terezin
In-store Composting at Mississippi Market
St. Paul Second in the Nation in NNO Excellence
St. Paul Winter Carnival Named Among the Best
Minnesota Launches Website on Health Reform

Creative Collaboration Enriches Lives
Cerenity Senior Care and Northern Clay Center Work Together

by Jerry Rothstein[IMAGE]

Cerenity Senior Care is a leading provider of elder care services in the East Metro, formed as a partnership among HealthEast, the Benedictine Health System and Clement Manor (Milwaukee). Community Reporter spoke with Paula Mielke, Marketing and Public Relations Director, specifically about Cerenity Care Center and Cerenity Residence-Humboldt, two facilities that provide many levels of care on the West Side.

[IMAGE]The Cerenity Care Center (512 Humboldt) with 125 beds offers skilled nursing care as well as specialized memory care program adapted to individual resident needs. The Cerenity Residence (514 Humboldt) has three levels of care. Assisted living with 107 units supports those who need assistance with normal daily activities (meals, housekeeping and personal care, for example). Of these beds, 41 are dedicated to “memory care.” The Transitional Care Unit (TCU) has 30 private rooms for patients who are not ready to return home after a hospital stay. They receive rehabilitation services that may include skilled nursing care and physical, occupational and speech therapies.

There is a great emphasis at Cerenity to provide residents with a sense of community, comfort and enrichment. Arts and crafts are a big part of this effort. One of the Recreation Therapists has an art degree and teaches an acrylic painting class, and a recent collaboration with Northern Clay Center provided six weeks of classes for 14 Memory Care and 24 Care Center residents.

Northern Clay Center (NCC) Director Sarah Millfelt was introduced to Cerenity-Humboldt when her father was a patient in the TCU. A four-year Wallace Foundation Excellence Award Grant in 2008 allowed NCC to expand their programs directed at adults 55 and older. In addition they received a 2012 Arts Learning Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board (funded in part by the arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota in November 2008).

[IMAGE]Northern Clay began by training Cerenity’s Recreation Therapy staff, which then joined NCC staff in offering the classes. The program was uniquely designed to meet specific needs identified by Cerenity, including providing residents with experiences that improved their social and motor skills, allowed for their creative energy to take new forms, and resulted in tangible works — “keepers.” NCC took the residents’ work back to their center for firing, as well.

Millfelt commented, “Working with clay was a new experience for many participants and it helped to engage them in a new way, particularly those who had been inactive or isolated. [Behavioral changes included] an increase in socialization with their peers, increased attention span, and an improved level of focus and concentration.”

Northern Clay Center’s mission is the advancement of the ceramic arts through education, exhibitions, sales, classes and workshops, and providing studio space and grants for artists. It is located at 2424 E. Franklin, Minneapolis. Information is available at 612-339-8007 or see

(pictured above) Working together with clay. Lois Kavanaugh works with Grace O’Donell. Ruth Morgan shows her creation.

Open House
February 7, 3-4:30 pm
Cerenity Residence, 514 Humboldt
Tours and information about assisted living, transitional care and inpatient and outpatient therapies available. Free blood pressure and balance checks, light refreshments and door prizes are included.
Info: 651-220-1700 or visit

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Community Health: Winding Road of Recovery [IMAGE]

by Gary Smolik

Falling off the wagon is a phrase that conjures a comical image. As if a disheveled inebriated individual tumbling of the back of an open trailer is a mere moment of mischievous joy; a minor slip off the back end of reality.

But for individuals battling substance abuse, a minor slip — read relapse — can lead to a major fall into a turbulent abyss.

I learned this first-hand from the stories of struggling addicts when a friend asked me to participate as a support person during his stay at a Minneapolis inpatient treatment facility during the spring of 1981.

For him, after multiple attempts, treatment took hold and he remains in recovery and sober to this day — I think.

I say “think” because right now, I’m not so sure.

The other day, I off-handedly said, “How come you never mention your meetings anymore?” The meetings provided inspiration, support, time for reflection, and a secure place to pursue serenity. He fed off (his words) the camaraderie and returned the favor by his willing participation within the circles of sharing.

His response to my question sent sirens wailing in my head: “I don’t need that sh**! Don’t ask me about it.”

I shuddered from the defiant words and then thought in AA terms: “Let it go.”

But the question of relapse continued to fester. So I picked up the telephone and called Dan Cain, the head honcho and media gatekeeper at RS Eden chemical abuse treatment facilities.

RS Eden has been in business since 1971. According to their brochure RS Eden are “Old Hands at New Beginnings.” The mission statement claims that RS Eden provides recovery, accountability and support services to facilitate individual, family and community movement from nonproductive behavior to responsible, self-sufficient lifestyles.

Following our brief conversation, Cain provided me with the name and number for Neal D. When contacted, Neal D. was kind enough to offer his recent relapse story as a means of shedding light on a dark situation.

Neal is a 43 year-old single man. He owns a painting contracting company and spends every other weekend with his seven-year-old daughter. He sobered up in 1994 with aid and assistance from the programs and professionals at RS Eden. His slow transformation from in-patient to supportive housing to moving out on his own created what Neal described as “a strong foundation.”

On the question of relapse he said, “It seems everyone in recovery is faced with what I like to call a ticking time bomb. My particular bomb was sparked by a divorce. The relapse was situational, as it is for most. I drank for three days. I don’t think anyone actually sees a relapse coming on, but we do know there are signs and in most cases those signs are ignored. The question is: when do I get back on track and headed in the right direction?” Three friends approached Neal on day three of his binge and helped send him in the right direction.

Of the many unique opportunities offered by RS Eden for those in need of sobriety one in particular, Fresh Grounds, typifies the multi-faceted approach RS Eden has helped develop.

Fresh Grounds is more than a cof[IMAGE]fee house serving up good eats and hot beverages [See accompanying article. Ed.] It is a jobs training site for at-risk youth. It is the collaborative effort of RS Eden and more than a dozen public, private and government organizations. RS Eden owns and operates the facility and also provides affordable housing, along with social services, within the building.

Another bromide might apply as well: Idle hands are the devil’s workshop. Like Neal D. and his painting business, the employees at Fresh Grounds have work expectations and related responsibilities to fulfill to keep their heads, hearts and hands active in the pursuit of self-sufficient sobriety. One hundred percent of Fresh Grounds profit goes into the training programs.

The spiritual aspect of recovery is crucial according to Neal D. “The only repercussion of my relapse was another DUI. I was fortunate, as I was remanded to perform 80 hours of community service. This was because I had been doing so well over the ten years; I was making good choices and surrounded myself with healthy friends. I had all the tools I needed; I just needed to start using all the tools. All we really have is a daily maintenance program contingent upon a spiritual life,” Neal said summing up his experience.

The thought occurs to me as I write this: Neal D. could easily veer off course and walk into a bar or liquor store instead of a job site; tick … tick … tick. The same can be said for my friend.

I hope my friend hasn’t fallen of the wagon. I hope he doesn’t dismiss the trouble-bearing signs. I hope the time bomb remains mute and he seeks out a meeting or two. Sobriety saved his life. He has a career and a place to call home. He stands to lose himself and the foundation on which he has built his life. There’s nothing comical about it.

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Home Repair and Improvement Funds Available [IMAGE]

Ramsey County residents are eligible for low-cost home improvement loans through grants administered by Community Neighborhood Housing Services (CNHS), a St. Paul-based NeighborWorks Home Ownership Center, which provides construction management in addition to financing. A variety of programs is available, meeting the needs of households with incomes up to 120% of area median income as determined by HUD, currently $100,800 for a family of four. Interest rates are currently below 2%.

The financing can be used for projects such as furnace repair or replacement, plumbing upgrades or repairs, roofing, storm windows, insulation, structural repairs, and additional bedrooms. Grants may also be available for emergency repairs.

Homeowners interested contact Community NHS at 651-292-8710. Income, equity, and credit restrictions may apply. Funds are available on a first come, first served basis and a waiting list is not maintained.

CNHS is a community based nonprofit organization located in Saint Paul, MN. Specializing in foreclosure prevention, home improvement loans, and new homeowner education, CNHS serves the seven-county metro area with special program emphasis in the city of St. Paul. The organization currently provides services in English and in Hmong. More information is available at

The Saint Paul Survey Project is Complete The Saint Paul Survey Project, consisting of a new historic context report for “Neighborhoods at the Edge of the Walking City,” and an historic resources inventory of three target neighborhoods — Payne-Phalen, Thomas-Dale and a portion of West Seventh Street, has recently been completed. The project is the most ambitious survey work completed in Saint Paul in over 27 years. This is a significant resource, prepared by the historic consulting firm Mead & Hunt, which fills a void in the city’s previous inventory work. The three-partner organizations (Historic Saint Paul, Saint Paul Heritage Preservation Commission, and the Ramsey County Historical Society) are eager to share the results with the community.
An immediate and tangible potential use for the information garnered through this survey will be to aid the City of Saint Paul, Heritage Preservation Commission, and community development organizations with determinations related to the acquisition, rehabilitation and/or demolition of properties funded with $18 million from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), a federally funded program to combat the negative impacts of the foreclosure and vacant housing crisis facing many urban areas, and to assist in prioritizing future designations by the City Council.

The Saint Paul Survey Project was supported through the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund created with passage of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. The grants are awarded to support projects of enduring value for the cause of history and historic preservation across the state. In addition, as part of a series of strategic investments by the City of Saint Paul into Invest Saint Paul areas, its Department of Planning and Economic Development contributed matching funds to support project implementation.

Project documents include a Fact Sheet and two final reports: a context study on Neighborhoods at the Edge of the Walking City and the Final Report with maps. These documents can be accessed from the City’s website at

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Ramsey County Opens New Mental and Chemical Health Facility

The comprehensive mental and chemical health facility at 402 University Avenue combines mental and chemical health crisis treatment into one building, and will save time, money and lives.

“This new facility is part of Ramsey County’s ongoing drive to provide better, coordinated services in the most cost-effective way possible,” said Ramsey County Commissioner Rafael Ortega. “Our workers have received people in terrible distress and found shelter, stabilized medicines, and put together treatment plans. But until now we have needed to piece together different services in different places and sometimes only be able to treat one problem when there were others that were just as urgent. This was inefficient and potentially dangerous. We listened to what both real people and research have to tell us and redesigned services to better fit the community’s needs. At every level of public and private life, we are looking for efficiency and innovation.”

The new building houses a new detoxification facility, with enhanced access to mental health care; access to chemical health assessment and treatment; and “Urgent Care” services for Adult Mental Health.

For information on any County initiatives e-mail Art Coulson at or call 651-266-8017.

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Lady Griot Conjures Up Magic of the Blues [IMAGE]

Griot (GREE-OH) is a West African word for storyteller. Jacquie “Lady Griot” Maddix is a Griot and blues storyteller. Accompanied by Jack Taylor on bass and Karl Petersen on guitar, she will appear at the West Seventh Community Center February 3 at 5 p.m.

Cosponsored by the St. Paul Public Library, the performance introduces the power of original voice to teach and move any community.

Since the earliest years of folklore, West African strumming praise-singers have been studied by western researchers. In modern times, this African region continues to be animated by the rich voices of praise-singing women, whose poetry and song draw from detailed knowledge of the lineages of neighboring families, a talent for improvisation on ancient poetry, themes and rhythms, and an ability to bring a crowd into chanting and dancing communion in the space of a few poetic bars. With a voice that rises above the others in the community, LadyJ Griot animates the moment at hand with her expertise in bending breath, windpipe, resonance, poetry and dramatic flair.

What exactly is the Blues? Veteran radio and television personality, Jacquie Maddix, can tell you. For 23 years, LadyJ has broadcast, produced and showcased the Blues on radio, television and on stage. Since 2002, she has educated, entertained and informed audiences about the Blues as an emcee and performer at various venues around the state of Minnesota at numerous clubs and festivals. Ms. Maddix now presents a unique way to preserve this vital facet of African-American culture. Using live music and the story-telling tradition, she connects the audience to the history of the Blues, showing the link between many of the religio-spiritual references found in the music to the ancient African tribal practices that the slaves carried with them from the old country to the New World.

Let Lady Griot “work the roots” and take you on a musical journey to help you form your own answer to the essence of the Blues. Is the Blues really only about a good woman losing her man after five long years? Is the Blues about healing the sick and raising the dead? Does the Blues really tell you how to get your Mojo working? LadyJ Griot says yes, yes, it does. The Blues tells you all that and much more. You only have to listen to the Blues with feelin’ and let LadyJ Griot conjure up the magic of the Blues for you! You will be spellbound!

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The Dragons are Singing Tonight [IMAGE]

TigerLion Arts, Minnesota BoyChoir, Puppet Farm Arts and Circus Juventas Collaborate

TigerLion Arts collaborating with the Minnesota Boychoir, Puppet Farm Arts and Circus Juventas, is presenting The Dragons Are Singing Tonight — a musical tale of a nasty dragon. The Chinese Year of the Dragon began in January. The show is a musical adaptation of Children’s Poet Laureate Jack Prelutsky’s book of dragon poems, which are brought to life by composer Laurie MacGregor as a song cycle for the children’s chorus and 12-piece orchestra, while director Markell Kiefer and the TigerLion team weave the score into a wonderful winged world of dragons both giant and small. Starring a boy, a girl, and a nasty, nasty dragon, the musical tale is meant to inspire humanity with humor, beauty, and the simple message to believe.

[IMAGE]Performances at the Southern Theater (1420 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis) run through February 12. For information and reservations see or call Ticketworks at 612-343-3390.

(Pictured) Cormac Calcaterra is a West End resident who is a member of Minnesota BoyChoir appearing in the production.

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Remembering the Holocaust Concentration Camp Terezin

World Without Genocide presents a workshop that explores Terezin’s story through the written documents, music, and art of its inmates. The workshop will be led by Dr. Ellen Kennedy, Executive Director of World Without Genocide and recipient of the Anne Frank Foundation’s “Outstanding Citizen” award in 2009, and Dr. Richard Penning, vocal artist on the faculties of Augsburg and Carleton Colleges. Following the workshop, participants will enjoy a light dinner and attend the play about Terezin, “And a Child Shall Lead,” performed by the Youth Performance Company. General admission $20 (free for ages 15-18). Feb. 11, 3-9:30pm workshop at Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Ave. (at Franklin), Minneapolis. Registration required at Contact or 952-693-5206.

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In-store Composting at Mississippi Market  [IMAGE]

Mississippi Market’s West Seventh store has begun piloting a comprehensive in-store composting program with the goal of reducing the amount of waste produced within the store.

The co-op has posted signs labeled “Compost,” “Recycling” and “Trash” to direct customers and staff to the correct bin. Proper sorting is very important to the success of the program. Items typically thought of as trash, such as the co-op’s “to go” flatware, coffee and juice cups and napkins are now tossed in the “Compost” bin and will be routed from the West Seventh store to Waste Management’s composting facility in Rosemount. If the transition to this system goes smoothly, Mississippi Market hopes to expand the program to their Selby location.

Mississippi Market will be offering classes on how to compost at home in the spring of 2012. Check the class schedule at for dates and times.

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St. Paul Second in the Nation in NNO Excellence

The National Night Out (NNO) awards have been announced by the National Association of Town Watch for 2011. In Category 2 more than 140 cities competed for awards. Orlando came in first, with St. Paul a close second.

Think about getting involved this year, contact Pamala McCreary, National Night Out Coordinator Citywide, at 651-266-5455 or

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St. Paul Winter Carnival Named Among the Best

National Geographic Traveler has named the Winter Carnival the fourth best such event in the world. Now in its 126th year, it is the nation’s oldest and largest winter festival, and was ranked ahead of The Québec Winter Carnival in Montréal, which inspired the original 1886 event.

“We are delighted that National Geographic Traveler chose to give us such a high ranking,” says Beth Pinkney, president and CEO of the St. Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation, which manages and produces the annual event. “So many people — from the hundreds of volunteers to sponsors to staff — have invested their time and support in the St. Paul Winter Carnival these past 125-plus years. We’re grateful to them all and this prominent publication for our high ranking.”

The 126th St. Paul Winter Carnival runs through February 5. For up-to-date event information, visit

Calling all artists:
We need your help. We are conducting a survey to determine the interest in over 450 new affordable living and working spaces, designed especially for artists. The purposed projects would save the Historic Schmidt Brewery in Saint Paul, and the Historic Pillsbury A Mill in Minneapolis, converting them both into vibrant artist communities. Please take take our survey if you are interested.

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Minnesota Launches Website on Health Reform

The Minnesota Health Care Reform Task Force has launched a new consumer-focused website that will serve as a clearinghouse for information on Minnesota’s health reform efforts.

The site provides Minnesotans with information on how health reform affects them, their families, and their businesses. It also contains basic facts about health reform in Minnesota, and opportunities to connect to activities in the state.

The website uses the term “health reform” in a way that encompasses policies and partnerships to improve health and lower health care costs. Minnesota has a long history of reform and most recently, in 2008, passed a state health reform law that improves community health, patient experience and affordability of health care. In 2010, federal health reform (the Affordable Care Act) became law, providing additional tools for Minnesota to cover the uninsured, build the health care workforce, prevent illness and contain health care costs. Throughout the website, the term health reform includes both state and federal laws and policies. The website can be found online at

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Go Ramsey Mapping Portal
Go Ramsey Communities — — is an interactive web site with exercise and nutrition information and a searchable mapping application that allows site visitors to locate places to be active throughout Ramsey County, such as parks, trails and recreation facilities.
Visitors can also locate healthy eating features such as community gardens and farmers markets throughout Ramsey County. Information about parks and other public recreational locations includes directions and the amenities available at each site.
The map is a resource for residents to find recreational facilities and features including walking trails, biking paths, cross-country skiing and skating opportunities, and routes that connect to public transportation, parks and public recreation facilities.

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New Medicine Collection Program Debuts
Residents can now safely dispose of unwanted, expired or unused medicines at Ramsey County’s public drop boxes in St. Paul and Arden Hills. This new year-round collection program is a partnership between Public Health and the Sheriff’s Office. Storing medicines can lead to drug abuse or poisoning, and medicines flushed down the drain or disposed of in the trash can harm the environment. All medicines from households are accepted, including prescription, over-the-counter and pet medicines.

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Curbside Plastics Recycling to Expand
Two haulers in the Twin Cities, Waste Management and Allied Waste, have announced they will be accepting more plastic items at the curb in 2012. [Eureka Recycling customers will not yet have this service.] Customers have wanted to recycle more than just bottles and jugs for a long time but haulers have not had markets to send them to be recycled. Technology has changed that. The naked eye cannot always tell the difference between plastics. Now a high-speed optical sorter can differentiate between the types of plastics and send them to the right place to be recycled. Two important points: Styrofoam cannot be recycled; do not include loose plastic bags — stuff them inside another plastic bag for recycling.

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Health Care Choices Booklet Available for Seniors
The Minnesota Board on Aging has published the 2012 edition of “Health Care Choices for Minnesotans on Medicare.” It can be accessed online at A print edition of the book is also available by calling Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433.
The booklet contains information about Medicare enrollment, Medicare supplements, health plans, Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, Medicare savings programs, Medicare Advantage plans and Special Need Plans, Minnesota Long-Term Care Partnership insurance, other long-term care options and much more. It is the only comprehensive, objective statewide publication available that provides information about all Medicare options for Minnesotans.

The book also contains information about long-term care planning, fraud alerts and how to find needed resources; information on the new One Stop Shop for Seniors and information for Medicare beneficiaries of all ages residing in any of Minnesota’s 87 counties.
“This is an important resource for people wanting information about Medicare and all its programs and options,” said Jean Wood, executive director, Minnesota Board on Aging. “It would be hard to find another resource that has all the information that this book has.” The primary purpose of the governor-appointed Minnesota Board on Aging is to ensure that older Minnesotans and their families are effectively served by state and local policies and programs in order to age well and live well.

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