UPDATE: Great River Passage

During the February 29–March 5 public comment period, a number of comments were brought to the attention of the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Commission. A staff report was developed in response to those comments to the Park Commission, which has suggested responses to the comments and suggested changes to the Master Plan resulting from discussions with the Great River Passage Leadership and Steering committees, and consultations with Wenk Associates and other City staff. You can view the report and documentation submitted to the Commission on May 23 at greatriverpassage.org/?page_id=761.

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SUMMERTIME: Schools to provide free summer meals

St. Paul Public Schools will provide free meals this summer to children 18 years old and younger, and people 19 years of age and older who have a mental or physical disability and who participate during the school year in a public or private non-profit school program for the mentally or physically disabled.The Summer Food Service Program begins Tuesday, June 12, 2012 and ends Friday, August 24, 2012. Meals will be available at more than 75 locations throughout the city, including community, park and recreation centers and schools. Meals may include breakfast, lunch, supper or a snack, depending on the site’s hours of operation.

St. Paul Public Schools has been a local sponsor of the federal program for more than 25 years, providing 375,000 meals to students during the summer.

For information about specific sites, call the St. Paul Public Schools Nutrition Services Department at 651-603-4950 or visit ns.spps.org.

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COMMUNITY: West End Community Awards Announced
Kathy Clark, Kent Petterson Honored

by Jerry Rothstein

The West 7th Community Center has chosen two outstanding members of the community, Kathy Clark and Kent Petterson, to receive the 2012 West End Community Service Award (formerly known as the David L. Sons Award).

Kathy has been[IMAGE] a West Ender all her life. She comes from two of the strands that created the West End mosaic — the Irish Clarks on her father’s side; the Bohemian Broneak’s on her mother’s. For her first four years her family lived with the Clarks on Palace, then moved up to Scheffer. Kathy is the oldest of six, with four brothers and a sister. She attended Holy Spirit, Derham High School, and studied elementary education and English at the University. She is married to Gary Price, a retired postal carrier who now works at Korte’s.

Her first teaching job was at St. Francis School, and 36 years later her teaching career continues at St. Francis-St. James United School, where she has taught second, third and fourth grades.

The West Seventh Library opened when Kathy was doing her master’s degree, and she started volunteering there the next year. Volunteers were the heart of the library in the early days. Also, very early in the life of the Community Reporter, Kathy began writing stories about school issues. This led to a regular School News column and membership on the board. She got involved in the paper’s Youth Writing program, and over the years her students have made great contributions to that effort.

During the last ten years, Kathy has been part of a neighborhood book club that started at the library. She has met many people who share the love of reading in this way.

When reflecting on the neighborhood, Kathy emphasizes how many active, interesting and involved people there are here, with a great arts community and a resilient business community.

For about three years Kathy has been blogging every day (kataclark.blogspot.com). Since last July, when she learned that she had cancer, her daily posts have included her journey through the whole experience. She says that her teaching helped her go forward — she missed very little school — and the support of family and friends was total.

[IMAGE]Kent Petterson built a career in the electrical construction industry and an avocation in gardening in many places. President of the Men’s Garden Club of Minneapolis, on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society and Leed of the Prospect Park Garden Club, he brought his experience and dedication to the West End in 2000, when he and his wife Abby bought the duplex at 503 St. Clair for their internet-based business—Terrace Horticultural Books. They started the business in 1991 out of their home and Kent left the electrical construction business he says, “To give the book business a chance to develop into what it could be.”

You can start to see the kind of community awareness and commitment Kent brings from his actions after Hurricane Katrina devastated three Master Gardener programs in coastal Mississippi, destroying their libraries. He organized book donation and drove down to distribute 500 books among the three centers.
As the West End community became aware of Kent and his work, he experienced a welcoming and acceptance. Community Reporter editor Maxine McCormick started running his “Views from the Garden” column and, in 2007, suggested that he organize a neighborhood garden tour. It is fitting that another front page story this month features the fifth annual West End Neighbors Garden Tour — the idea was embraced by the neighborhood and sponsored by the Fort Road Federation.

Much of Kent’s work in the community connects with making things beautiful. He has worked on the beautification and enhancement committees of the West Seventh Business Association and for the last year has been deeply involved in the Great River Passage process and the development process around Victoria Park.

When asked what involvement in the community means to him, Kent responded, “It is driven by the belief that the community is like a garden, where so many things can connect. The beautification part is like the glue — everyone understands it. The Garden Tour, beautification, enhancement all need time. There is something about this neighborhood that embraces anyone who wants to work to make it better.”

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GARDEN VARIETY: Garden Tour hosts share their creations

Fifth Annual Tour Set for June 16

The fifth annual West End Neighbors Garden Tour takes place on Saturday, June 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The dedication, love and hard work of local gardeners are on display at sixteen gardens in the historic West End of St. Paul, and the gardeners themselves will be available for conversation about their creations and all that is involved in offering them to the community.

The free West End Neighbors Garden Tour is sponsored by the Fort Road Federation and is made possible by the West End Gardeners. The tour features private and public gardens within a neighborhood filled with many proud traditions. Garden tour maps are available on the day of the tour at three locations along West Seventh: 531, Mancini’s Char House; 974, Fort Road Federation and 1500, Mississippi Market. Maps and garden descriptions are also available at fortroadfederation.org. A plant sale will be held at the Federation parking lot. Master Gardeners will be present at the sale to answer questions. For further information, see the Federation website or call 651-222-5536.

Representative styles of gardens included on the tour this year range from a focus on edibles, to the whimsical, to the peaceful and spiritual and on to grand scale sculpture gardens. Of particular note are gardens at 244 Banfil, a container garden with more than 100 examples of the art of bonsai; an English Cottage style garden at 338 St. Clair, and a formerly abandoned property reclaimed and transformed into an urban oasis at 208 McBoal.

Bruce Peterson’s experience in creating his container garden is typical of the amount of work, dedication and long-term commitment all the gardeners share. He says, “I have diverted most of my efforts into the bonsai collection that has been accumulating in my yard since 1990. At that time I began to combine my affection for trees with a tendency to involve myself in sculptural projects. I discovered bonsai to be an absorbing practice that brought together my differing interests with the challenge of understanding the needs of trees from diverse locations. In creating the conditions for these plants to live, I found myself imagining the places where the trees grew; this became a way of connecting with natural environments that I would otherwise rarely visit.”

Creating gardens can also be the way to rescue a neglected piece of land. Paulette Myers Rich and David Rich have created a 170 foot deep garden as part of the reclamation of an abandoned, vacant triplex they took on in 2010 (visit them at 208 McBoal). They shared some thoughts in the Tour Guide, “Our garden has the nice characteristic of offering many different experiences: whether sitting by the fire pit, enjoying the scent of lilacs, strolling along the crushed stone path, harvesting herbs growing in one of the raised beds, or relaxing on the deck with friends or neighbors. Most of all we want our garden to show you that we love it here, and that this neighborhood is special and worth preserving.”

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