Dayton's Bluff District Forum        Articles     December 2002

Greening Dayton's Bluff Ends A Busy First year of Projects to Beautify the Bluff

   Greening Dayton’s Bluff has had a busy first year. The focus of Greening Dayton’s Bluff is neighborhood beautification and community building. 
   To be involved all you have to do is register and participate in one or more of the following: Up-Front gardens (gardens in your front yard and/or boulevard), help get neighbors involved, community gardening projects, attend greening meetings, or go to gardening workshops, or participate in a plant swap.  Neighbors and business people will work together on beautification of our commercial areas also. Members are eligible to receive discounts on plants at a number of greenhouses.
   The year started off with a couple meetings to get input from the residents of Dayton’s Bluff. Ideas that came out of the meetings included: workshops, on site advice on how to design a garden, garden tours, and helping with community gardening projects.
We had a number of workshops this year including: Soil: the Foundation of our Garden, Designing Your Garden, and Rain Gardens.
   We had two Neighborhood garden tours this past summer. The first one was in the Swede Hollow area where there are many beautiful gardens. One of the gardens had a fountain and a pond along with lots of wonderful plantings. The second garden tour was in the Mounds Park neighborhood on National Night Out (August 6th). There were many outstanding gardens on that tour. A number of them had beautiful front yard gardens, which greatly reduces the amount of grass to cut in the front yard.
   This fall there was a Buckthorn Removal Project in the Mounds Park neighborhood. Volunteers canvassed the area and let residents know about the Buckthorn Pick Up Day. The hope is that there will be a little less Buckthorn in the Mounds Park neighborhood.
   Greening Dayton’s Bluff grew out of the code enforcement efforts that the Dayton’s Bluff Community Council has been promoting for the last few years.  We have a project, the Good Neighbor Code Enforcement Program, which works on cleaning up code issues in Dayton’s Bluff.  Now that we have been working at cleaning up Dayton’s Bluff, it’s time to beautify Dayton’s Bluff as well!
   Watch for information concerning the spring 2003 Greening Dayton’s Bluff program. For more information call Karin at 651-772-2075.

Mounds Theatre Renovation OnTarget for year-End Completion 
By Greg Cosimini

   The Mounds Theatre renovation project moved into high gear as it neared the end of its first phase. All major demolition work was completed during the summer and construction was the predominant activity this fall.
   Concrete floors, steps and ramps were poured in early October.  This was followed by the installation of interior walls.  Berg Drywall installed a metal stud system with 6-inch fiberglass insulation and an outer covering of 5/8” sheetrock in the auditorium area.  Previously the walls had no insulation.  Besides the auditorium walls, the first floor restrooms, gathering space and education room/kitchenette were built.  The offices on the balcony level were then constructed above them.
   The old projection room was stripped in preparation for the installation of new motion picture projection equipment.  Thanks to the untimely demise of the Cinema Café in Woodbury, a large amount of modern projection equipment was purchased at auction at greatly discounted prices.  This will allow movies to be shown at the theater in the near future after a 35-year hiatus.
   The orchestra pit under the stage was finally uncovered.  It was in remarkably good shape due to the fact it was constructed out of concrete.  Sadly, nothing of interest was found in it except an old tobacco can. The pit will eventually be used for storage under the new, greatly enlarged stage.
   Despite our unseasonably cool and wet autumn, much of the exterior was painted.  Replacing the rather garish colors previously on the theater, the new color scheme is a subdued gray and black with burgundy and silver accents, painted in an art deco style.  Two large murals by local artist Amy Handford were mounted on the theater’s upper front wall.  If the weather holds out, a new marquee, attraction board and a variety of lights will be installed before the end of the year.  The area in the back of the theater near the alley will be leveled and receive a coating of asphalt, again assuming winter holds back. 
   All of the theater’s mechanical systems are in their final stages of construction.  The air conditioning units were tested on the last warm day in September.  The heating system was activated in early November.  Plumbing and electrical work is being completed now that the walls have been installed.
   There are still a variety of odd jobs that will be done in the next few weeks including interior painting, flooring installation and interior decorating. 
   The Mounds Theatre renovation project is scheduled for completion by the end of the year. Visit for photos and regular updates on the project’s progress.

Train Derails on CN Tracks Next to Vento Trail
Railroad taking a new trail?
                                                                                                             Photos by Karin DuPaul

For a while on November 16 it appeared as if the train was trying to take to the trail after several cars of a train running on the Chicago Northern main line jumped the track near the Bruce Vento Regional Trail east of Payne Avenue bridge near the old Hamm Brewery.  Cars perched precariously over the Vento Trail for several hours before workers could safely remove them.

Dayton's Bluff Artist Amy Handford Makes a Creative Place in the World
By J. Wittenberg

   Amy R. Handford claims it might be her red hair that makes her such a vital, creative force.
This Dayton's Bluff artist is gradually becoming more known for her wide range of artistic abilities, services, and talents. 
   Presently, her work can be seen upon the facade of the old Mounds Theatre, where she was handed the task of painting two 8' x 8’ panels in the Art Deco style. She has also been enlisted to create paintings for the interior of this structure, currently in the midst of renovation. 
Amy Handford's most recent creations are two 8' x 8' murals that are mounted on the Mounds Theatre at 1029 Hudson Road.  Painted in the Art Deco sytle, they depict theater goers ready for a night on the town.  Stylized versions of sevral Saint Paul landmarks are included in the skylines. Photo by Greg Cosimini
   Amy calls herself a 'studio rat,' who enjoys creating "beautiful things," and bringing her unique vision to St. Paul and beyond. Amy works in oil, watercolor, clay and textiles. Though her strength is realism, she is adept at many styles and aesthetics. 
   Besides her individual endeavors, she advertises her creative works on her web page-, where she operates a web design company, performing services for businesses such as logo design, brochures, and all varieties of graphics. Amy sees computers as another form or tool for an artist, saying, "Artists don't exist in a vacuum." 
   She has proven to be a valuable asset to the community.  Besides working on the Mounds Theatre restoration, Amy has worked diligently with the Portage for Youth, creating murals and working with children and teen girls in need; introducing them to the healing and esteem which art can so often provide.
   Since 1988 Amy has lived on the Eastside, converting a 'trash house’ into a livable dwelling and utilizing her artistic verve to transform this home; the rejuvenating of which she claimed was a healing process all its own. She became an artist after attending an exhibit some dozen years ago. Upon seeing the work, she declared, "I can paint like this," to which her husband said "well then, do it." 
   And truly, she has proven to be fearless. When talking to Amy, I got the sense of how much positive vitality she has, a 'can do' attitude, which has served her well. 
Of being an artist, she says, "This is a part of who I am. It's a gift I need to be able to give back... and when I can't it turns inside myself." 
   She speaks of her husband's staunch support, of "little miracles that don't always come at the right time, but they come just the same." And she adds, "An artist needs to be open and receptive to the life around them. I want to hear with my eyes, and see with my ears." 
   Amy avoids "toxic people" whenever she can, and has moved forward, creating sundials and stepping stones, working with the humane society and campaigning for animal rights; all the while making her creative place in the world. 
   I recommend you visit her web site and learn more. Amy Handford is a Dayton's Bluff resource more people ought to be aware of. Bravo to her spirit. 

Letter To The Editor - Senator Mee Moua Thanks Voters for Election Results

Dear Editor:
   I want to extend my thanks to the voters of District 67 for getting out to the polls on Election Day, and choosing me as their state senator for the next four years.  I am deeply honored and humbled by the support of the people of St. Paul's East Side. 
   We should all be proud for participating in the electoral process. I especially want to thank my many campaign volunteers and supporters.  I look forward to tackling the tough issues such as balancing the state budget, health care, education funding and the state's transportation needs during the 2003 Legislative Session. 
   I want the people of the East Side to know that my door will always be open to discuss issues of concern relating to what's happening in the district and at the State Legislature.  I strongly encourage people to write, call or e- mail me if I may be of some assistance.
   Thank you once again for your support, and I look forward to working for you in St. Paul. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-5285, by mail 323 State Capitol, 75 Constitution Avenue, St. Paul, MN, 55155-1606, or by e- mail at 
State Senator Mee Moua

Dayton’s Bluff Third-Graders Get a Hands-On Ecology Lesson 

   More than 120 Saint Paul elementary students headed to the banks of the Mississippi River for a hands-on ecology lesson on Thursday, October 10, when they planted 4,000 native prairie grasses and flowers with Great River Greening on the levee near Harriet Island Park.
Sixty third-graders from Dayton's Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary School and their teachers helped Great River Greening plant 15 different types of prairie grasses and flowers on the levee near Saint Paul's Harriet Island Park.  "The October 10 planting will help restore beauty, improve wildlife habitat and connect the site to nearby prairie plantings", said Greening ecologist Dan Shaw.  Photo by Greg Wenz, Great River Greening.
   Sixth-graders from Saturn Riverfront Academy planted from 9:45 a.m. till 11:30 a.m., and third-graders from Dayton’s Bluff Achievement Plus Elementary School worked on the planting from 12 noon till 1:45 p.m.
   “Students and their teachers planted 15 different types of prairie species—big bluestem, purple prairie clover, and rough blazing star, for example—in a mounded area of the levee, restoring beauty, improving wildlife habitat and connecting the mounds to nearby prairie plantings,” said Greening ecologist Dan Shaw.
   Great River Greening works with community volunteers and a wide array of businesses, foundations, civic groups and government agencies to restore the natural landscapes of the Mississippi, Minnesota, and Saint Croix river valleys throughout the greater Twin Cities area.
   To learn more about Great River Greening’s work and upcoming events, visit

Portage Pals - The Gift of Diversity
By Raeann Ruth, Executive Director, The Portage for Youth

   Christmas is just around the corner and you’re probably wondering what can you give your son or daughter.  Well, how about giving the gift of diversity by purchasing a Portage Pals doll.
   Portage Pals are soft fabric dolls that reflect the features of a variety of cultures from across the country and around the world.
The Portage Pals. Back Row (left to right): Lia, Andre, Coso and Bebe.  Front row (left to right): Ben, Cloe, Leng and Autumn.
   Our first doll, Lia, was an instant hit with the girls at the Portage for Youth, a nonprofit for young women in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood.  When the doll wasn’t being “snuck out” for private playtime by the girls, it generated a lot of discussion among the girls and program staff about how dolls differ between the Southeast Asian and American cultures and about the absence of “play” dolls for children of different cultures. 
   Many traditional immigrant families have dolls only for decoration and display of traditional dress.  There were no dolls available to hold and dress and play with.  The play dolls that were available were starkly “mainstream American” in features and dress.
   The popularity of Lia lead to the creation of Autumn and Andre- African American boy and girl dolls; Leng – an Asian boy doll; Bebe and Ben - Caucasian boy and girl dolls; and Coso and Cloe - Latino boy and girl dolls.
   These dolls can be purchased through out website at or you can call the Portage directly at 651-772-8674.
   Thanks so much and from Portage for Youth, we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.

Our Street Names

   Now that the new bridge on Arcade Street is open it might be interesting to find out how the street was named. 
Arcade Street
   According to the dictionary, an arcade is “an arched or covered passageway or avenue, specifically one between rows of shops.” This street, named in 1872 by Bernard Sinnen, was of course wishful thinking since nothing existed there except a survey line on a map.*
   There would appear to be a connection here to the one-block long Sinnen Street located where Arcade intersects 6th St.
Sinnen Street
   Bernard and Anna Sinnen platted this street as part of their farmstead in 1872.  Bernard died in 1887; Anna in 1891.*

* From the book The Street Where You Live by Donald Empson, (Witsend Press, 1975)

"Wish List" for the Marian Center

Wooden Clock with Big Numbers
Hutch for Dining Room on 2nd Floor
Donations of Art Work for the 2nd Floor Hallways
   If you would like to donate any of the above items or make any other type of donation, please call Marcy Koren at (651) 771-2914. You can also come by the Marian Center at 200 Earl Street, Saint Paul.

Volunteer Opportunities at the Marian Center

Church Escort 
To help assist residents to and from the chapel
Pets Visits
Bring a dog or cat to visit with the residents
1:1 Companion
Visit, read or write letters for residents
Play the piano, organ or any musical instrument for residents’ enjoyment
Dining Room Assistance
To help pass trays, help with feeding those that need assistance, clean tables, or be a campanion.
   Volunteering can be very rewarding and open opportunites to you that you never dreamed of. If you are interested in joining our wonderful team of volunteers, please call Robert E Johnstone at (651) 771-2914 and say, "I would like to volunteer!"

Trinity Christmas 

   Students at Trinity Catholic School will present their annual Christmas Program on Friday, December 13 at 7 p.m. in the school gym, 6th and Arcade.
   The Christmas Story is the highlight of the program, remembering the birth of Jesus.  The progam is under the directionof Andrea Matz, music director of the school.
   Grades kindergarten through grade 8 will be participants in the presentation.  The program is open to the public.

Marion Carpenter

   Long time Dayton’s Bluff resident Marion Carpenter passed away October 29, 2002. A memorial service will be held later. For more information call 952-435-7727 or 651-774-4873.

When Bad Things Happen to Good Houses
By Greg Cosimini

   We are constantly being told that there is a housing shortage in Saint Paul.  Therefore the solution to dealing with old houses in need of repairs is to tear them down. Does that make sense?  No, but it happens all the time in Dayton’s Bluff and other parts of the city.
   A recent example is the house that no longer stands at 981 Euclid St.  It was a 5-bedroom Victorian built around 1890.  Not much is known about its early history.  It was probably one of the first houses constructed in the immediate area and it was certainly one of the largest and most decorative. 
(Above) This five bedroom Victorian house stood at 981 
Euclid for over 100 years. (Below) It was demolished on a 
dreary day in October because the city didn't have the 
means to save it.  Photos by Greg Cosimini
   It fell on hard times during the mid 20th century, becoming known as “the haunted house” by neighborhood kids for obvious reasons.  Its unpainted siding and deteriorating exterior made it reminiscent of something the Addams Family would inhabit.
   Then the real estate boom of the 1980s caught up with the old house.  It went through several owners, each one making improvements until it once again stood proudly on Euclid St. 
   It was a victim of its own success and got priced out of the neighborhood.  Several more owners came and went, each one doing more damage than the last. The final owners sold off the wrought iron fencing and destroyed the interior of the house.
   981 Euclid became an official vacant property in February 1999.  It was purchased for only $28,000 in October of that year.  New siding and a roof were put on the house and it was sold again in April 2000.
   Then it stood empty and neglected for two years.  The new owner lived in Florida and showed little interest in renovating the house.  It soon began collecting code violations from the city and the owner was notified that the house must be brought up to code or it would be demolished.  The owner posted several bonds but refused to make any but a few token repairs.
   Councilperson Kathy Lantry did everything allowed by law in her attempts to save the house.  She met with neighbors, contacted the owner’s lawyer, and even met with the owner at the house when he came to town this summer.  The owner was given years to fix the house.  The city finally offered to purchase the house at a reasonable price but the offer was turned down.  Before the demolition order was finalized, the mayor’s office also tried to find a solution, but couldn’t, and so the demolition order was signed.
   Finally, on October 28, 2002, on a cold and dreary Monday morning, the Godzilla-like jaws of a giant shovel tore the house down in less than 3 hours. 
(Above) The Godzilla-like jaws of a giant shovel tore down 
981 Euclid in less than 3 hours. (Below) The ornate carvings 
above the front porch landed intact in the front yard but 
ended up in a dumpster a few hours later.  
Photos by Greg Cosimini
   So why did this happen?  Why couldn’t the house be saved, renovated and added to the city’s housing stock?  The answers are both simple and complicated at the same time.  Simply put, the city doesn’t have many options when dealing with an owner who refuses to fix his house.  Why the city can’t figure out a way of doing this, short of demolition, is a mystery that no one seems to be able to figure out.
   There are laws to protect landowners from the city taking their property without extremely good reasons.  On the other hand, the city can destroy the house if it becomes a nuisance and leave the owner with an empty lot.  It’s as if the police only had atomic bombs to deal with dangerous criminal situations.  While they would certainly have the means to deal with most any problem, the solution might not always be the best one in the larger scheme of things. 
   There must be a solution to problem properties that exists between doing nothing and nuking the house, especially when the house is a unique neighborhood landmark. It’s too late for 981 Euclid but maybe someone can find the solution before too many other good houses have to die.

Funds Still Available for St. Paul Housing Improvements 
Money Remaining from Federal Home Loan Bank Grant Can Assist St. Paul Residents with Home Improvements. Funds Available Immediately through Community Neighborhood Housing Services at 651-292-8710

   A $400,000 grant awarded to Cherokee State Bank and Community Neighborhood Housing Services (CNHS) has remaining funds available to assist St. Paul’s Frogtown, West 7th, West Side, North End, Payne-Phalen and Greater East Side homeowners with exterior home repair needs. 
   The funding, received from the Federal Home Loan Bank in Des Moines, initially allowed for as many as 80 deferred (forgivable) loans of $5,000 with matching low interest loans through CNHS, a St. Paul not-for-profit organization that provides residents with homeownership education, first-mortgage loans and home improvement loans and services. The existing money is being allocated on a “first come, first serve basis” for individuals who meet the income and residency requirements.
   Homeowners who want to apply for the funding, which assists in exterior home improvements such as new roofs, siding, painting, lighting, porch steps or sidewalks, must have incomes at or below 50 percent of the area’s median income. For example, a household of four with a total income at or below $38,344 can apply for $10,000 in home improvement funds: a $5,000 five-year forgivable loan and a $5,000 low interest payback loan.  The maximum income of an eligible 1-person household is $26,844.
   In delivering the Cherokee State Bank-sponsored Federal Home Loan Bank funds, CNHS will assist applicants with loan applications, pre-and post-project home inspections, project detailing, home improvement needs consultation, and contact information and help for contractors to bid and complete quality work.
   ”This grant is symbolic of our continuing efforts to address housing needs,” said Heidi Gesell, president and CEO of Cherokee State Bank. “Knowing you’ve assisted community members to improve their homes and neighborhoods is one of the most rewarding things in a community bank partnership.”
   The grant was one of only nine granted during a round of $1 million in funding this summer. Cherokee’s proven commitment to its community and its strong track record with home and construction lending contributed to its successful bid for the Federal Home Loan Bank’s Affordable Housing Program grant.  The new funding builds on the $200,000 Federal Home Loan Bank grant received by Cherokee State Bank in 2001 as well as a Federal Home Loan Bank “award of excellence” in May 2002 that resulted in $15,000 worth of awarded money for the Dakota Woodlands Shelter in Eagan.
  Cherokee State Bank is an independently owned bank that has served the Twin Cities area since 1908. With personal service as its cornerstone, Cherokee State Bank has built $220 million in assets and five branch locations serving area consumers and businesses. For more information and bank locations, visit Cherokee State Bank online at

Free Gun Locks Available

   All guns should be locked in a cabinet or locked with a cable lock. Free cable locks are available to gun owners who live in Saint Paul who do not have a gun safe or locked storage for their gun, and have children in their homes at any time.
   The Safe Gun Storage Campaign is an initiative to make our communities safer for everyone. We would like to express our appreciation to Police Chief William Finney for all his work to make this Initiative possible. Dayton’s Bluff residents interested in gun cable locks should call Karin at 651-772-2075.

Meet with Police

   The Eastern District Police host a monthly meeting with community members to listen to and address people’s concerns about crime and other issues on the East Side. 
   The community meetings are held at the Eastern District police office at 722 Payne on the corner of  Payne and Minnehaha Avenues on the third Friday of each month at 9:30 am and on the preceding Thursday at 6:30 pm.
   Please join your neighbors and the police at either the Thursday evening or Friday morning meeting. 
The meeting schedule for December 2002 is:
December: Thursday, December 19 at 6:30 pm and on Friday, December 20 at 9:30 am

Dayton’s Bluff Memories and Musings
The East Side in Decembers Past
By Steve Trimble

   I thought it might be nice to try to have a holiday theme of sorts, by looking at a variety of December issues of East Side newspapers from different historical eras.  So, at the last minute as usual, I hopped in my car and headed to the Minnesota Historical Society. When I arrived I saw clusters of people standing outside.  Someone had smelled smoke, so the place had been emptied. For a minute, I thought there wouldn't be a column this month. Fortunately, it was a false report and people were let back in. 
   First stop, The East Side Examiner to see what was being reported in December 1919. Streetcars, not Santas were on the front page. There had been a meeting in Dayton's Bluff at which residents were demanding better service. People wanted to know why the Stillwater streetcars weren't stopping at Duluth Street. Supposedly the franchise had promised they would be. 
   Looks like today's criticism of the current bus system is nothing new for our area. 
It also looks like the nostalgic attitude toward the "good old days" when we had streetcars might need a little adjustment. 
   I was a little surprised to see some major ads for the Venus Theater in the December 11, 1919 issue of the paper. I had an impression that movie theaters hadn't hit the East Side until the mid-twenties. But there, at the comer of Payne and Magnolia, was the “Venus Photoplay Theatre." The advertisement said it was "The Home of the best photo shows." 
   One of the movies that week was "The Hoodlum" starring screen legend Mary Pickford. Following that "Jacques of the Silver North" graced the screen of the Venus. It was, a newspaper article said, what was called a "North Country" show--one that was usually set in the Yukon or other parts of Canada. 
   Let's jump ahead a decade and look into the pages of the December 1928 East Side Journal.  Mrs. F. A. Defiel was giving a talk to the women of the Dayton's Bluff Study Club. She and her husband, who ran the People's Ice Company, lived in a brick Queen Anne home on Margaret Street a little west of Seventh that still stands today. The lecture was titled "The Origins of Christmas Legends and Customs of Different People." In addition to the talk, which was at the Commercial Club, there was a program of dancers in costumes. 
   Not all of the news that month was holiday-oriented. The paper reported a story about a famous East Side dog that had recently died. It was a female French poodle simply called "Puppy," the special pet of Mr. and Mrs. L. Appleton of 468 Beaumont Street. The canine had been written up by "Ripley's Believe it or Not," but not because of its creative name. 
   Apparently the dog had somehow adopted the beliefs of its Catholic owners. It had refused to eat meat on Friday for fifteen years, even though it had been placed before her many different times.   It would also leave the room if there was any alcohol being consumed. Do any of our readers have unusual pet stories to share? I have a neighbor whose black lab, Juba, jumped through a window - while it was closed. 
   Do you wonder why I mentioned the Historical Society evacuation? Well, here, as Paul Harvey says, is the rest of the story. The situation caused a lot of people to get behind in their work. As a result, there was quite a line up at the printers. While sitting at my reader, I heard loud voices. It seems that some people were taking more than their ten- minute limit at the printers and another may have tried to cut into line. 
   I am familiar with "road rage" on our freeways, but this is the first time I have ever experienced "research rage."  See what I go through to bring you a monthly history column. The least you could do is to send in a few letters sharing information, asking questions or making suggestions. 
   In the early 1930s, there was a short-lived paper called the East Side Daily. It called itself "A modern community newspaper," and, while it was mostly an advertising vehicle, there are tidbits of neighborhood news. For instance, it mentioned a holiday piano and violin recital that was being given by the children of the First Lutheran Church in Day- ton's Bluff. 
   What caught my eye, however, was a December 1931 issue stating that "At least some East Side people will take care of the birds this winter."  Now I know people who leave out breadcrumbs or cobs of corn, but according to the paper, Payne Avenue storeowner Teddy Gunnarson had two ash barrels full of worms and "citizens buy them by the sack and set them out for the birds." 
   For holiday time during the 1940s, the best place to turn is the pages of the Dayton's Bluff Booster. Its December 1941 issues reported such events as a "Canned goods party" being given as a charity event by the Women's Auxiliary of the Dayton's Bluff Commercial Club, the annual dinner of the senior and junior sodalities at St. John's Catholic Church and an event at Van Buren School that featured dolls that had been dressed up by mothers and daughters. 
   Finally, from the front page of the December 25, 1941 issue of the Booster, a special editorial by publisher Bernie LaBeau. (Remember, this was only a few weeks after America's entry into World War II.) 
   It started out talking about the story of the first Christmas tree and expressed the hope that Christmas was a time "when peace should reign on earth." 
   It ended with a paragraph that could have been recently written: "And though tumult and chaos are cast upon an innocent world by power thirsty rulers," the writer said, “our faith in God, and in this Nation, under his guidance, must remain unshaken. And with that Faith we are sure that all of you will enjoy the Merry Christmas that we, of the Dayton's Bluff Booster and the Dayton's Bluff Printing Company wish you." 

Calling All Artists

   The Dayton’s Bluff Community Council is putting together an Arts and Culture Directory for the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood. It will include names and contact information for artists living or working in or near Dayton’s Bluff.  The finished directory will be available in both printed and online versions.
   “Artist” is being defined here in the broadest sense of the word.  It includes painters, sculptors, pottery makers, actors, singers, musicians, magicians, comedians, photographers, movie/video makers, acrobats, jugglers, ventriloquists, writers, poets, glass blowers and candlestick makers.
   If we’ve forgotten something or if you don’t fit into one of these categories, make up one of your own.  We are being very liberal about the arts. Both amateurs and professionals will be listed.
   A second part of the directory will include arts related organizations.  These can include singing groups, dance troupes, rock bands, theater groups, church choirs and barbershop quartets. Once again, if your organization doesn’t fit, don’t quit.  Make up a new category.
   A final section of the directory will list facilities where arts and cultural activities can be held.  These might include theaters, parks, school gyms (with or without a stage), church halls or any other large room, parking lot or cave. They can be available on a free or rental basis.
   If you think that you, your organization or facility should be included in the Dayton’s Bluff Arts and Culture Directory, please call Karin DuPaul at 651-772-2075 or email her at  Be prepared with all relevant information.

Happy Holy Days: Year-end Religious & Cultural Celebrations
A United Way Tip Sheet

Hmong New Year 
In Laos, the Hmong New Year festival lasted two weeks and was celebrated in December, when the moon was darkest and the rice had been harvested.  Dances, ball toss games, beautiful clothing, and special foods make the Hmong New Year a colorful and exciting celebration.  In Minnesota, the Hmong New Year festival is held during Thanksgiving weekend.
Bodhi Day
On December 8, Buddhists observe Bodhi Day.  On this day, while meditating under a bodhi tree, Siddhartha Gautama achieved the enlightenment that made him the Buddha.  There, he first realized the four noble truths:  suffering is universal, the cause of suffering is ignorance, ignorance can be overcome, and the way to overcome ignorance is the Eightfold Path.
Ramadan, usually beginning in late November or early December, is a special month for Muslims.  During the days of Ramadan, Muslims practice fasting-the third pillar of Islam.  At sunset, the fast is broken with prayer and a meal called iftar.  Towards the end of Ramadan is Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of Power, when Muhammad began to receive the Quran.  Ramadan ends with Id-al-Fitr, the Feast of Fast Breaking, when many Muslim people gather together to share large meals and exchange gifts.
Hanukkah or Chanukah, a Hebrew word for dedication, is celebrated by Jewish people and usually begins in December.  This eight-day celebration commemorates the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple after its defilement by Syrian oppressors in the second century B.C.  When the time arrived to rededicate the Temple, only a one-day supply of oil for the Temple lamp was found.  Nevertheless, the lamp burned for eight days. On each night of Hanukkah, one candle on the menorah (a special candelabra) is lit.
Winter Solstice
Solstice means sun standing still.  The first day of winter, observed each year on December 21 or 22, is the shortest day of the year (in the northern hemisphere).  Many cultures have winter solstice traditions.  Native Americans have winter solstice rites.  The Chinese observe dong zhi-arrival of winter.  Today's Santa Claus tradition could be compared to some ancient winter-solstice figures-such as the Celtic Holly King or the Norse Tomte (a spirit that gave gifts to children).
On December 25, Christians throughout the world celebrate Christmas as the birthday of Jesus Christ.  Christians believe that God became incarnate and was born into the world as the baby Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem.  Many Christmas traditions and symbols celebrate the coming of God's light into the darkness of this world.  Eastern Orthodox Christians observe Christmas on January 6.
Kwanzaa is a Swahili word meaning "first" that refers to the first fruits of the harvest.  From December 26 until January 1, many people of African descent observe Kwanzaa to celebrate the goodness of life, their community, and their cultural heritage.  The colors of Kwanzaa are black-representing African descent, red-blood of the people, and green-land and its fruit. 
Each day, a candle on the kinara (a stand with seven candles) is lit, symbolizing the seven nguzo samo or principles of Kwanzaa:  1) unity, 2) self-determination, 3) collective work and responsibility, 4) cooperative economics, 5) purpose, 6) creativity, and 7) faith.  Many people hold a feast or karamu on December 31, and gifts-zwadi-are given to children on the last day of Kwanzaa.

For more information and resources, contact United Way First Call For Help at 651-291-0211, for a 24-hour information and referral line to find local services and programs.

Dayton's Bluff Take a Hike

     Dayton's Bluff Take a Hike on the first Saturday of every month meet at 10:30 AM in Indian Mounds Park at Earl Street and Mounds Blvd. Hikes will continue throughout the winter.
   We will hike from Mounds Park through Swede Hollow Park and then walk the length of the Bruce Vento Recreational Trail (formerly the Phalen Creek Recreational Trail) to its end, near Phalen Park. Along the way we will share stories and learn some local history of the area. The hike is about 6 miles with some moderately rough terrain. Near Johnson Parkway and Maryland, transportation will be available to return to Mounds Park or you may hike back if you wish. 
     Join recreational trail supporters and explore this recreational trail. The paved trail runs from East 7th Street and Payne Avenue through Swede Hollow to Phalen Park. Dayton's Bluff Take a Hike started in December of 1990 and over the years hundreds of people have attended these events. For more information, call 776-0550. 

A Dayton’s Bluff Christmas Carol
Without the Christmas part and with apologies to Charles Dickens and several other people, living and dead
By Greg Cosimini

   The car battery was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. Leaving the headlights on all day will guarantee it. 
   So after getting a jump-start, Ebenezer Scrooge IV got in his car and drove home to Dayton’s Bluff.  The normally 20-minute drive took nearly two hours thanks to a dusting of snow and a freeway system designed by a bunch of dolts. It was a rotten ending to a rotten day.  Or so he thought.  The day wasn’t nearly over yet and it would get a lot worse.
   Scrooge finally arrived home and went to get the mail.  He found a flyer on the door.  It proclaimed, “Save the old Damon house.  Don’t let the city demolish this proud, old Victorian mansion.  Come to the meeting…”  “Bah! Humbug!” Scrooge said as he crumpled up the paper and threw it away (for Scrooge didn’t believe in recycling).  “My ancestors left England to get away from the Victorians and their houses.  Tear them all down for all I care.”
   Ebenezer went inside and tried to find something for dinner.  He knew he had some beer in the house and found a can of soup whose expiration date was only a couple of years old.  He heated it up, cut off the moldy parts from a loaf of bread and sat down to eat.  Of course the phone rang immediately.  The answering machine wasn’t working so he answered it. 
   “Sir, we are soliciting pledges to landscape a small park in the neighborhood.  The city will give us the land and plant trees and grass if we can raise enough money to pay for them,” said the eager young voice on the other end of the receiver. 
   “What do we need another park for?” Scrooge asked.
   “Because we have very few green spaces in which the children can play.”
   “Don’t we have streets in the neighborhood?”
   “Yes, of course but…”
   “Well then paint them green and let the little brats play in them.” And Scrooge slammed down the phone.
   Ebenezer finally finished his dinner, washed down the bad taste with another beer and then settled down in front of his TV with a third brewski.  The screen was all greenish tonight. The irony was lost on him.
   Within minutes the doorbell rang. There were several people outside and against his better judgment he answered the door. 
   “Kind sir, would you like to sign our petition.  We are trying to get some stop signs installed to calm the traffic in the neighborhood.  Cars drive very fast and it is dangerous for the children.”
   “Well the children shouldn’t be in the streets in the first place. They can either learn to watch out for cars or suffer the consequences.  That’s one way to decrease the surplus population.” And he slammed the door in their faces.
   Settling back in his big chair, he noticed a very strange commercial on TV.  It appeared to be a talking car battery and it was saying, “Ebenezer, Ebenezer Scrooge IV listen to me.  This is only a 30-second spot so pay attention.  You are a terrible person and will be haunted by Three Spirits tonight.  And by the way, you left your car lights on in the garage so your battery will be dead in the morning.  But don’t sweat the battery. You might wake up dead yourself.”
   “I have to start watching those expiration dates,” thought Scrooge as he rushed to the bathroom.  Feeling better afterwards, he fell into bed and passed out.  He woke with a start to the screeching of his digital alarm clock.  It was midnight and there was a very strange looking man standing in his bedroom.  He wore old-fashioned clothes and had a weird ice cream cone swirl hairdo. 
   ”I am the Ghost of Dayton’s Bluff Past. You may call me Lyman.” 
   “I can call the police or at least I would if we weren’t floating in mid air at the moment.” 
   “Look around you.  This was the way Dayton’s Bluff looked hundreds of years ago.  See the prairie grass and trees everywhere and almost no sign of man.”  He snapped his fingers.  Suddenly, dirt roads appeared and a few wooden homes.  Another snap and more buildings appeared and paved roads and lots of people.  With each snap there was less green and more buildings, although some were very nice looking.  Then there were cars everywhere and asphalt roads and freeways. 
   “See what you have done.  You’ve turned this beautiful land into an urban mess.” 
   “I didn’t do it.  I just live here.” 
   “Your kind did this.  You always want progress at any cost.” 
   “Wait a minute, Lyman.  If I remember correctly, you were a part of this.  You bought up empty land and sold it for a hefty profit.  You didn’t care what happened to it.” 
   “Your point being?” 
   “Why are you preaching to me?  You were just as bad, if not worse.  You started all of this.”
   Suddenly Lyman’s face transformed into a hideous caricature of a human face. 
   “Precisely, you old fool.  Why do you think I got this gig? It’s not a reward.  It’s a punishment.  I have to watch this unfold for all eternity, over and over.” 
   “That doesn’t sound so bad to me.  Hell must not be all it’s cracked up to be.” 
   “You are a fool.  I have to watch this and I never make a single penny.  It’s a land developer’s worse nightmare.” And he disappeared in a flash of flame.
   Scrooge was in his own bed again.  He had just drifted off to sleep when the alarm went off. Sure enough, there was another stranger in the room.  He was a jolly looking man with white hair.
   “And you are?” 
   “I am the Ghost of Dayton’s Bluff Present.  You may call me Steve.” 
   “You look like a history professor to me.  Let’s get on with it.” 
   Once again Ebenezer was floating over the Bluff. 
   “We are going to take a tour of the neighborhood.  There are some good things happening here but they need your help if they are to continue.” 
   They saw Swede Hollow Park and people working hard to restore the native vegetation.  They saw a little triangle on Third St. that could become a park if enough money can be raised.  They saw the old Mounds Theatre, closed for decades but soon to reopen.  They saw patches of shrubs and flowers sprouting around the bluff and they saw old houses and buildings being renovated instead of being torn down. 
   “Big deal.  I see this everyday.”
   “No you don’t.  You look at it everyday but you never pay attention to it.  And you never volunteer to help with anything, you lazy slob.”  With that Steve disappeared.
   Scrooge was back in this bedroom and feeling really annoyed.  These ghosts were no fun at all.  He had just dozed off when the alarm sounded yet again.  This time he saw a person with an expressionless face wearing a business suit.  He looked like either a mindless government bureaucrat or a corporate executive.  Either way, he was the most frightening of all. He spoke not a word.
   “You must be the Ghost of Dayton’s Bluff Yet to Come. This better be good.” 
   Suddenly they were floating over the Bluff but everything looked very different. All the houses and buildings looked the same.  They were all gray boxes taking up almost the entire lot.  There was no grass anywhere.  There were no boulevards either because the roads stretched from sidewalk to sidewalk.  If the streets hadn’t been painted green, there would be no color at all.  Not a single tree, shrub or flower could be seen, just odd abstract versions of them made of varying shades of gray metal.  Cars were zooming along at breakneck speeds.  They went higher and could see the freeway.  It had 20 lanes in each direction and stretched to the very edge of the bluff in what used to be Mounds Park. 
   “I never really liked grass anyway.  It always needs mowing.  Trees were a pain too with those leaves that had to be raked every fall.  But tell me Spirit, isn’t there even an evergreen left?  They were sort of nice, especially in winter and require almost no maintenance.” The Ghost shook his head, indicating “no”. 
   “Oh well, that’s life.  Can I go home now?” 
   Suddenly they were standing in what appeared to be a small courtyard.  The Ghost pointed to some sort of monument with a plaque attached to it. 
   Scrooge inched towards it and read the inscription.  “On this site on Arbor Day in the year 2020, while Saint Paul Mayor Ebenezer Scrooge IV was cutting down the last remaining tree in Dayton’s Bluff, an unexpected gust of wind caused it to fall on the Mayor, killing him instantly. R.I.P.”
   Scrooge felt a chill go through him as the wind suddenly started blowing.  He looked down at the chainsaw in his hands and then up at the giant tree about to crush him.  He screamed and awoke in his bed.
   Scrooge rushed to the window.  It was morning and everything looked as it had the day before.  But now he really saw the trees and grass and heard the birds singing. 
   “The Spirits have done it all in one night.  They’ve shown me the past, present and future.  I’ve seen the error of my ways.  I will get involved. I will build a new future for Dayton’s Bluff.  I know what the future could bring and I won’t let it happen. I’ll make sure I’m standing on the other side of that tree next time.” 
   God help Us, Every One!

Cooking in the Bluff
By Shiela Johnstone

Turkey Breasts with Dried Fruit Stuffing

1-1/2 lbs. day-old whole wheat bread, sliced, ends discarded 
1 cup dried tart cherries, or dried cranberries 
1 cup golden raisins 
1/2 cup dried currants 
1/2 cup pitted prunes, coarsely chopped 
2 Tbs. unsalted butter 
2 medium onions, chopped 
1-1/2 tsp. dried thyme, or 1-1/2 Tbs. fresh, chopped 
2 eggs, beaten to blend 
2-3/4 cups chicken stock 
2-1/2 lbs. skinless turkey breast halves 
2 Tbs. all purpose flour 
1 cup cranberry sauce 
1 tsp. cornstarch 
1 tsp. Water
Wooden skewers or toothpicks
Oven roasting bag(s) 
Nonstick cooking spray 
Aluminum foil 

1) Preheat oven to 250°F. Arrange bread slices on oven rack and bake about 15 minutes until very dry. Transfer to a large bowl and coarsely crumble. 
2) Add next 4 ingredients and toss. Melt butter in a heavy nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Sauté onions about 10 minutes, or until tender. 
3) Add to bread mixture. Stir in thyme and salt and pepper to taste. (Can be made to this point 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
4) Mix in eggs. Stir stock into stuffing mixture and set aside.
5) Increase oven temperature to 400°F.
6) Cut a deep horizontal pocket in the thick part of turkey breast without cutting all the way through. Fill cavity with stuffing. 
7) Close turkey cavity using skewers or toothpicks. Lightly dust turkey breast with flour, shaking off excess. Place turkey in oven roasting bag. Tie bag securely. Pierce bag according to package directions. Place in a large baking dish and bake about 1 hour until golden and tender.
8) Spoon remaining stuffing into a baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Cover with foil that has been coated with cooking spray. Bake stuffing alongside turkey about 30 minutes or until heated through. 
9) Uncover stuffing and bake another 20 minutes, or until top is golden.
10) Remove turkey from roasting bag and set aside.
11) Combine 1 Tbs. plus 2-tsp. turkey cooking juices with cranberry sauce in a heavy saucepan. Combine cornstarch and water in a small mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Stir into cranberry mixture. Heat over medium high heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil and begins to thicken. Slice stuffed turkey breast crosswise and serve with stuffing and cranberry sauce. 

Nutrition at a glance:
Calories 534 
Fat 7.2g
Cholesterol 118mg
Protein 39.0g
Carbohydrates 81.2g
Fiber 8.5g
Sugar 43.1g
Sodium 656mg

Impossible Pumpkin Pie II
This is one of the 'impossible' that we all love. A pumpkin pie that makes its own crust! 

3/4 cup white sugar 
1/2-cup biscuit baking mix 
2 tablespoons butter 
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk 
2 eggs 
1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin puree 
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

1) Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly grease a 9-inch pie pan. 
2) In a large bowl, combine sugar and baking mix. Stir in butter, milk and eggs. Then beat in pumpkin, spice and vanilla to mixture until smooth. Pour into pie pan. 
3) Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Refrigerate any remaining pie. High altitude directions: Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 45 to 50 minutes. 

Nutrition at a glance:
Calories 221
Protein 5.2g
Fat 8.8g 
Sodium 330mg 
Cholesterol 64mg 
Carbohydrates 31g

Pricking the skin of a potato before baking will keep it from exploding in your oven. However, if you handle it carefully, I've found an un-pricked potato is moister inside. Remove it gently from the oven.

   If you have comments, suggestions, a special recipe that you would like to share, or you are looking for a special recipe, feel free to contact me through the Dayton's Bluff District Forum.
Write to:
Shiela Johnstone
Dayton's Bluff District Forum
P.O. Box 600511
St. Paul, MN 55106

Marian of Saint Paul Senior Housing Scheduled to Open in April 2003.
By Vicki M. Tobroxen
Director of Senior Housing Development, HealthEast

   At HealthEast Residence – Marian of Saint Paul, we continue to meet with parties interested in our new senior housing, which will include 56 units of assisted living and 71 units of independent housing.  We currently have connected with over 600 individuals who are interested in the new senior housing. 
The rough carpentry at HealthEast Residence - Marian of Saint Paul is nearly completed 
and the building is being closed up just in time for the cold weather.  Construction will 
continue on the interior during the winter with completion scheduled for April 1, 2003. 
Photo by Robert Johnstone
   To date, we have rented 48 of the apartments – 29 of the independent units and 19 of the assisted living units. The most popular apartments are those facing Mounds Park and the courtyard, and the subsidized units.
   The construction of the housing is still on target with plans to open April 1, 2003.  The rough carpentry is nearly completed and the building is being closed up just in time for the cold weather.  The assisted living north wing apartments on the second and third floors are the furthest along and just waiting the installation of appliances and carpeting.  In the south wing of the independent apartments, the framing is done, the utilities are being installed and the upper floors of the wing are being sheet-rocked.
   The Archdiocese approved the name of the chapel being built on the Marian Center Campus – “The Chapel of St. Mary at Marian Center”.  The name was selected by members of Catholic Services for the Elderly, Inc. (CSE).   CSE was the original owner of Marian Center and raised the funds to construct the chapel.  In September we received additional funding for the liturgical furnishings for the chapel.  The steel beams for the chapel should be arriving shortly and then its construction will begin.  The chapel should be completed in February 2003.
   Mark your calendars!  We are planning for the Grand Opening and Dedication of the chapel in the middle of May 2003.  We are pulling together a committee to plan the festivities for this event. 
   We are continuing to work with Ramsey County, Health Insurance Plans, and the City of St. Paul Public Housing Authority to offer financial assistance to lower income families.
   We applied and received a loan through the St. Paul Neighborhood STAR program that will allow us to finance the special landscaping features planned for the entire campus.  If you enjoy gardening, golfing or barbecuing, our interior courtyard will have plenty to offer, including a gardening area, putting green, shuffle board, areas for both group and private barbecuing, water fountains, walking paths, a walking bridge with a gazebo and more.  The landscaping plans also include a gazebo in front of the assisted living building, and trees, plants and decorative rock around the new senior housing.
   If you are interested in learning more about the housing options at HealthEast Care Center or HealthEast Residence – Marian of Saint Paul, please call us at (651) 771-2914. 

Recycling Days for Dayton's Bluff

   Blue plastic recycling bins and lawn signs are available at 798 E. 7th St. If you have a neighbor who does not recycle, talk to them about it. 
   Recycling can reduce your trash by at least 40%.  We are working to increase recycling in Dayton's Bluff.
   All recycling days in Dayton's Bluff are on Tuesday.  Recycling should be on the curb by 7:00 a.m. If you have any questions call 651-772-2075.
   The recycling dates for December are:
December: 3, 17, 31

Meet George Smolik: A Marian Center Resident
By Darlene Weston
   It is easy to see that music plays an important role in the life of the residents at Marian of Saint Paul, a HealthEast Care Center. It might be a sing-a-long with the help of a keyboard that is carried from floor to floor, a group of children from a neighborhood school sharing their music or a local pianist sharing her talents. And once in a while an Elvis impersonator entertains the residents. 
   Regardless of the source, music lifts the residents out of their daily routine.  It was during one such program that I saw George Smolik tap the shoulder of the woman sitting next to him and ask, "Would you like to dance?" And as George and his partner swayed to the music, I could see the residents enter into the spirit of the music.  When the song and the dance ended, I heard someone whisper, "There's just something about George."
   It was then I decided that I would like to know more about George Smolik and I began to pay close attention to this man who is a resident of the Marian Care Center. I learned that George lives in the Assisted Living section of the facility and Resident George Smolik contributes to the daily routine as he mingles with people he meets around Marian Center. 
Photo by Robert Johnstone
although he is able to look after his own needs, the  
 death of his wife Helen left him alone and lonely.  Marian Care Center seemed the ideal place for him to live out his remaining years. 
   I have often seen George walking round the outside of the new construction area and I call him the "Sidewalk Engineer" as he observes the progress of the beautiful new addition which will soon be home to residents like himself. He spreads a special kind of sunshine as he mingles with people he meets throughout the Center--on the elevator or around the dinner table. The first time I met him, it was easy to see that George is one of those people who make a difference and I was anxious to visit with him and listen to whatever experiences he might be willing to share with me. 
   I learned that George was born and raised in St. Paul and except for time spent in the Navy, has lived here his entire life. He told me that his father was an electrician and at one time, a professional football player. George was also active in athletics, boxing being one of his sports. George has remained active through the years and I was told that even now he can be a formidable competitor on the golf course. When I caught up with him recently he had just returned from his daily four-mile walk. 
   I was particularly interested in hearing about the years George spent in military service during World War II. He enlisted in the Navy shortly after graduating from high school and trained at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center near Chicago, going from there to San Diego by way of Utah.  He noted that it took five days for his group of sailors to travel on from Utah. "It seemed that every other train took priority over our group of sailors," he said. 
   George was then assigned to a cargo ship, the USS Armadillo, stationed in the Pacific.  He was in that area when the final push was made to secure Okinawa for U.S. military operations. I also learned that one of George's important contributions while in the service was his proficiency in signaling, using flags, lights and hand signals that the enemy could not detect.  I paid close attention as he demonstrated a few signaling patterns for me. 
   George returned to St. Paul after his military service ended and continued to enjoy dancing. One night while dancing at the Prom Ballroom in St. Paul he asked a young woman if she would like to dance.  She not only accepted his initial invitation but his proposal of marriage sometime later. As George showed me pictures of his children and told me about them, I could see how very proud he is of the four sons and five daughters that he and his wife raised. 
George followed in his father's footsteps as an electrician but also had a bent for mechanic work.    And we both chuckled at times as he described his experiences in building his first home, completed through sheer determination and ingenuity. 
   George Smolik is an interesting gentleman with a wealth of experiences.  It was a privilege for me to learn more about his life and his accomplishments. And as I listened, I wondered how one could estimate the importance of the contribution he makes to the Marian Center Care Facility.