Feature Stories

Tue
17
Jun

50th reunion brings back memories of war, music, social change


The 17 students from the Barrett High School class of1964 and student advisor Chuck Nicholi, center back, could not imagine all the changes that would take place in the 50 years after graduation.

Left, Connie Hanson, Kathy Ehlers (deceased), Christi Sumstead, and Vonny Rohloff, 1964 Barrett High School graduates, played in the clarinet quartet 50 years ago.

Three gals from the Barrett High School class of 1964 relax with their dads (all deceased) after baccalaureate. Left, Gerald and Connie Hanson, Chester and Marilyn Anderson and Edwin and Vonny Rohloff.

Taking a selfie in 1964 in a photo booth are from left: Connie Hanson, Vonny Rohloff and Marilyn Anderson.

The Barrett High School class of 1964 homecoming candidates were left, Connie Hanson, Vonny Rohloff, Marilyn Anderson and Christy Sumstad. Christy was crowned the queen.

Long time friends and classmates Connie Hanson and Vonny Rohloff enjoy their casual summer after high school graduation in 1964.

In September 1963, 17 enthusiastic students began their final year of high school in Barrett, Minnesota, with one goal in mind: to graduate.

Tue
03
Jun

Love at first sight


Roseville residents Neil and Marion Skildum have been married for 71 years. Last year, at their 70th anniversary party, none of the guests could find a card that went that high, the Skildums’ daughter Jan Hanson said. (Johanna Holub/Review)

Neil and Marion Skildum wed on May 27, 1943. Marion recalls borrowing the dress from a friend who had recently gotten married. “I got a tiny spot on it and it cost two dollars to clean it,” she said. “That was a lot of money at the time.” (submitted photo)

Roseville couple celebrates 71st wedding anniversary
Marion Vesaas and Neil Skildum went on a double date more than 70 years ago. It was the first time they had met, and love was in the air. The problem was, however, they were on that date with different people.

Tue
27
May

Toy Story


Barbie and friends, and their vintage Dreamhouse, adorn the 1960s living room. (photo by Linda Baumeister/Review)

Building blocks and Cootie are on display in the Minnesota History Center's newest exhibit -- Toys of the '50s, '60s and '70s. And who could forget the wisdom of Mister (Fred) Rogers in looking back on toys and play of the past?

The national traveling Toys of the '50's, 60s and '70s exhibition takes a trip down memory lane with a collection of 4,700 toys and dolls, including Tonka trucks.

The toy exhibit at the Minnesota History Center covers three decades and captures the sheer joy of imaginative play.

Jessica Kohen and Ian Lilligren look over a corner of the unfolding exhibit, which includes three living rooms and one garage setting. Viewmaster, Flintstones, Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, and board games are included, as well as televisions in the living rooms playing commercials from each era.

All kinds of wheels, from a banana-seat bike, Big Wheel tricycle and skateboard are displayed near the white picket fence and garage toys. A photo backdrop shows the creativity of what to do with the leftover appliance box.

Minnesota History Center offers a ‘trip down memory lane’
Play Doh. Hot Wheels. And Barbie. Sound familiar? Those toys and a whole lot more are featured in a fascinating interactive exhibit called “Toys of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s” that may take you back to your carefree days as a child; back when you needed a break from the day-to-day worries about bullies, the opposite sex and overdue homework.

Thu
22
May

Whip up some tasty ways to 'Eat & Explore'


Dakota Day Wild Rice Salad is easy to make and very tasty. Cubed cooked chicken could be added to make it a main-course salad. (Yul Yost/Photo contributor)

Christy Campbell, author of “Eat & Explore Minnesota” (Submitted photo)

Book offers a smorgasbord of tastes, places and events
“Eat & Explore Minnesota”: is it a book on recipes? a book on travel? or a book on geography and history? After paging through its 272 pages, I decided it is all of the above and maybe even more.

Mon
19
May

‘A dying art’?


Jim Kueppers, 69, holds up a photo of a bunch of young woodcarvers, and the man who introduced him to woodcarving. (Kaitlyn Roby/Review)

Jim Kueppers works on a chipmunk during a woodcarvers group that meets Tuesdays at the South St. Paul Senior Center. (Kaitlyn Roby/Review)

Kathy Beatty, 70, chats with Larry Krech, 88, while working on a toy soldier ornament during a woodcarving group that meets Tuesdays at the South St. Paul Senior Center. (Kaitlyn Roby/Review)

Carvers bring wood to life in South St. Paul
With his gloved left hand, Jim Kueppers grips a rodent-shaped chunk of wood, pulling the knife in his right toward him to scrape off thin chips, chiseling out the shape he sees in it: a life-like chipmunk. The shavings cling to his jeans or flutter to the ground to be swept up later.

Wed
07
May

Stillwater Prison: a time capsule


The Minnesota State Correctional Facility at Stillwater has stood the test of time -- though 100 years old, it’s still in full operation. The facility, which stands in Bayport, Minn. holds 1,638 inmates. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

To enter the Stillwater Prison, a visitor passes through the security scanning area, called “the bubble,” followed by four sets of gates, before arriving in the core of the prison. From there, a security desk sits between the four cell blocks, which look to be straight out of a movie set, and haven’t changed much since they were built. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Stillwater Prison Warden Michelle Smith spoke in commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of the prison. Smith toted the facility’s successes with education programs for inmates, and spoke of the challenges of maintaining a century-old building. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

As of Friday, May 2, the Stillwater Prison has been running non-stop, 24 hours a day, for the past 100 years.
Though by no means a cheerful place, the Victorian-era building does hold a certain charm. Even inside the main hallway where prisoners are transported, touches like lavender trim, worn tile floors, yellow brick walls and oak rails make it easily identifiable as a piece of history.

Fri
25
Apr

From global events to local treasures, history has a home in Kansas City


The Kansas City National World War I Museum is housed in the Liberty Memorial.

Grenades and “fighting knives” attest to the bitter fighting of World War I, where soldiers in tunnels or trenches might be blown up, gassed, buried alive or encounter the enemy with barely room to draw a blade in defense.

Dave Hawley sits beside a stanchion from the “Arabia” -- a ship he discovered buried beneath a cornfield.  

This is what the ill-fated “Arabia” would have looked like under full steam as she carried passengers and supplies toward the frontier. 

Keys and all sorts of tools were found in the once-buried Arabia steamship.

Shoes of various kinds appear to have been bound for general stors farther west. As well as personal goods, the “Arabia” was loaded to the decks with “dry goods” to stock stores for the coming season of families traveling to the frontier.

Stockings, someone’s cloak and hat and bolts of material were preserved by nearly 150 years below ground. The reason there were no human fatalities; the “Arabia” sunk while most were on land eating supper, and the rest were able to scramble to shore.

President Harry Truman’s home is in Independence, Mo., just outside Kansas City. The unassuming Midwesterner, who famously “lost” to Thomas Dewey in every poll except the actual Presidential election, returned to his Missouri roots as soon as he could. 

When co-workers asked me why I was going to Kansas City -- as if it were merely flyover country -- I said there is much to see and I’d tell them after my trip. While some seemed skeptical, one piped up that the World War l museum was the best military museum he’d ever seen.

Thu
24
Apr

‘Robot! Robot!’ Make way -- the future’s coming through


Robotics teams have team colors, referees in striped shirts, cheerleaders, mascots and their own devoted fan sections. (photos by Linda Baumeister and Holly Wenzel)

Irondale captain Logan Mildenberger, center, is all concentration as he and Matt Sondrol pilot the 2013 version of the KnightKrawler. The sleek machine can usually be counted on to do its job perfectly; it’s the human element that can play it up

This is what a robotics “pit” looks like when things are going wrong; Roseville FireBears Jonathan Hildebrandt and Sara Rieck reflexively put their hands to their heads as mentor Paul Mann mutters “We’re gonna need a drill press.” Fellow mentor and software engineer Keith Rieck explains that on-the-spot troubleshooting is just part of the learning process. “It’s a big puzzle to figure out ... We’re having some bad luck today, but we’re still having a lot of fun.”

Don’t let your guard down at its smile; this is a “Fighting Calculator,” mascot of the Math and Science Academy in Woodbury. From the Hill Murray “PioNerds” to a team whose uniforms are white lab coats, robotics competitors make the most of their “geek cred.”

Madeleine Logeais, of the Visitation Robettes, first all-girl team in the state, works on the team’s robot in the pit.

Make no mistake: these kids could hot-wire your car, hack its computer system, weld on enough hardware to make it do somersaults and secure corporate financing for the project in the time it takes you to parallel park it.
And then they’d put it on their college application forms.
Because the skills robotics students have learned -- from computer coding to negotiation, welding to presentation skills -- can power some pretty bright futures.

Wed
23
Apr

Rusty the snowman?


North St. Paul’s 44-foot tall snowman welcomes residents and visitors alike with a smile that stretches 16 feet across its cheerful face. (Kaylin Creason/Review)

The tradition continues. The stucco snowman celebrates the annual Snow Frolics in 2004 with the people of North St. Paul, continuing the tradition of giant snowmen at the festival that began with snow-made structures in the 1950s. (file photo)

It’s hard to find a jersey in that size! The snowman “wears” Bret Hedican’s Carolina Hurricane’s jersey to celebrate “Bret Hedican Day” in 2006 after the North St. Paul native’s Stanley Cup victory. (file photo)

North St. Paul native, two-time Olympian and Stanley Cup victor Bret Hedican and his wife, Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi, drive past the snowman during a parade celebrating Hedican’s 2006 Stanley Cup win with the Carolina Hurricanes. (file photo)

Mayor Mike Kuehn is leading the charge to check up on the health of the 40-year-old snowman, which he fears is in danger of toppling over due to rust on its cement base. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

Does the North St. Paul snowman need a check-up? Mayor Mike Kuehn thinks so. A few months ago, Kuehn asked the North St. Paul Parks and Recreation Commission to look into the “health” of the North St. Paul snowman, which he fears is in danger of toppling over.

Tue
15
Apr

Learning to take my time in Azerbaijan


New Year’s Tree in Yevlakh. Santa Claus comes to Azerbaijan on New Year’s Eve! (photos by Rebecca Rowe)

Making cookies or other treats is quite common for me as I simply have a difficult time going anywhere without some sort of gift in my hands. Here I made some, let me say, delicious chocolate chip cookies for a birthday present.

A Soviet-era Vladimir Lenin statue was cut into pieces and left in a Yevlakh junkyard.

A student group with whom I work; originally I had taken the photo of each student this autumn so that I could quickly learn each of their names.

Dear friends and family: I thought I would take the opportunity and send a quick update regarding my wellbeing. Everything is fine.
I had a bout of mononucleosis from late November through December which limited my levels of energy, but, of course, I persevered. The persistent feeling of having been hit by a bus and constantly needing sleep was – as those of you who know me can imagine – both unfamiliar and unwelcome. I’m glad that my health is much improved now.

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