Feature Stories

Mon
07
Apr

Spare Key opens doors for parents of sick kids


The striking Aria venue in downtown Minneapolis hosted the 2014 Groove Gala, Spare Key’s biggest fundraiser of the year. (Submitted photo)

The small, but passionate staff of Spare Key are committed to helping families “bounce and not break.” From left to right: Nikki Lignell (program director) Erich Mische (executive director) and Jen Holubar (director of communications, partnerships and development). Not pictured: Roerick Sweeney, director of cryptocurrency development, markets and social engagement.

Spare Key’s dedicated board of directors includes a diverse range of doctors, real estate agents, bankers, politicians and more. “There’s a commitment and passion that they each bring to the table,” Executive Director Erich Mische said. All of the board members attended the 2014 Groove Gala.

Patsy and Robb Keech with their young son, Derian. Derian was born in 1993 with a severe genetic disorder. He passed away when he was two and a half years old

Supporters of Spare Key dance the night away at the organization’s annual Groove Gala. Over 600 people attended the event, which raised over $400,000.

“Get down tonight!” Disco dance band Boogie Wonderland “groove” with Spare Key’s supporters at the non-profit’s annual Groove Gala.

South St. Paul couple’s nonprofit helps families keep their homes during crisis
If you were forced to make a decision between your job and your child, what would you do?

Wed
02
Apr

Stories you wouldn’t believe


The cover of “Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist” was hand-drawn by author Meg Corrigan and her grandson Logan Broich, 14. Sitting at the drum set is Todd Barlow, a character inspired by Corrigan herself.

Meg Corrigan of Lake Elmo never aspired to be a drummer, let alone play for a Polynesian revue, but from a young age she had a passion for Hawaiian culture. She played the drums for a traveling Polynesian revue for three years. (Submitted photos)

True events inspire Meg Corrigan’s new novel
Meg Corrigan has a penchant for picking things up.
She never studied to be a writer. She’s only ever taken three months of drum lessons. And yet somehow she’s managed to transform both of those talents into professions.

Tue
01
Apr

Dayton appoints Roseville lawyer to Minnesota Court of Appeals


Peter Reyes, Jr. will start his judgeship on the Minnesota Court of Appeals next week. Reyes will be the first Latino to serve on any appellate court in Minnesota. (submitted photo)

Peter M. Reyes, Jr. speaks at the MHBA Presidential Fiesta in 2012; a highlight was celebrating his becoming the first Minnesota member to become president of the Hispanic National Bar Association. (submitted photo)

Reyes had the opportunity to meet President Barack Obama in 2012. (submitted photo)

Peter Reyes will be the first Latino to serve on the court
Gov. Mark Dayton announced the appointment of Peter Reyes, Jr. as a judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals last month. Reyes, along with District Court Judge Denise Reilly of Long Lake, Minn., were appointed to fill two at-large seats on the court following the retirement of the Honorable Thomas Kalitowski and the Honorable Terri Stoneburner on April 1.

Thu
27
Feb

Going out together


After two decades of guiding the North High School boys hockey program, head coach Jerry Diebel, center, and assistant coaches Thom O’Neill and John “Andy” Anderson are hanging up their skates. (photos by Linda Baumeister/Review)

Retiring head coach Jerry Diebel, center, is surrounded by the Polars boys hockey team following a practice at Polar Arena in North St. Paul.

Head coach Jerry Diebel, center left, and assistant coach Nate Peasley confer during a North High boys hockey practice.

The lobby of Polar Arena is lined with photos of past North High hockey teams.

Diebel, Anderson and O’Neill hanging up their skates after two decades of coaching North High boys hockey program
When the North High School boys play their final hockey game this season, it will mark the end of 20 years of coaching for three stalwarts.
It will also be the conclusion of what has been a remarkably consistent coaching program established by head coach Jerry Diebel and assistants John “Andy” Anderson and Thom O’Neill.

Wed
26
Feb

One year after tragedy, Oakdale Elementary remembers Devin Aryal


Oakdale Elementary School students and staff wore green on Tuesday, Feb. 11, in remembrance of former student Devin Aryal, who died last year. Peter Mau, who was the principal at the time, came back to eat lunch with students that day. (submitted photos)

A box, decorated with some of Devin’s favorite things, was set up in the hallway where students could put pictures, letters, cards or Valentines. The box, brimming with mementos, was then given to Devin’s mother.

Oakdale Elementary staff and teachers, including Principal Tracy Buhl and Devin’s fourth-grade teacher, Melissa Helmick, wore green attire and ribbons to show their support Feb. 11.

Oakdale Elementary School went green on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. But not in an environmental sense --nearly 600 students and staff were literally covered with the verdant shade.
Students, staff, teachers and administrators arrived at school that morning, clad in green as a way to celebrate the life of Devin Aryal, a fourth-grader who died after being killed in a drive-by shooting last year. Green was his favorite color.

Tue
18
Feb

Abe Lincoln’s roots are in rural Kentucky


A bronze statue of Lincoln sits in the middle of downtown Hodgenville, Ky., and is older than the national Lincoln momument in Washington D.C.

Bronze statue shows Lincoln as a boy sitting on a log reading. A model depicts what the exterior of the Lincoln family cabin looked like at Knob Creek. A bronze statue of baby Abraham Lincoln in his mother’s arms along with his father and sister is in the visitors center at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park. (photos by Pamela O’Meara/Review)

The first Lincoln Memorial sits in the rolling green hills of rural Kentucky in the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park.

In the Lincoln Museum in downtown Hodgenville, Ky., the upper floor displays artwork and paintings of the Lincoln era, including this quilt.

This nearly life-size diorama of the Lincoln-Douglas debates is in the Lincoln Museum in downtown Hodgenville.

A diorama of Lincoln being sworn in for his second presidential term in 1865 is in the Lincoln Museum.

Illinois isn’t the only state claiming 16th president as favorite son
Growing up in the Chicago area, I attended Lincoln Junior High, went on my high school’s traditional trip to tour Abraham Lincoln’s home in Springfield, Ill., and every day saw Illinois license plates reading “Land of Lincoln.”
 So I was surprised to learn on a recent trip to Louisville that America’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, was born in Kentucky and that state also claims him as a favorite son.

Sat
01
Feb

Larkin Dance Studio continues 64-year legacy at new Maplewood location


The Senior Line class strikes a pose in the larger dance space at their new location. Larkin Dance moved to 1400 E. Hwy 36 in Maplewood. (photos by Linda Baumeister/Review)

The Larkin Dance Senior Line students practice their jumps and lifts.

Jody Eastburn teaches a Babies Ballerinas class at Larkin Dance Studio, larger location at 1400 E. Hwy 36 in Maplewood. More classes are offered at the new location.

The Larkin Dance Senior Line

Georgiann sews leotards in the sewing room filled with colorful fabric and threads.

A memorial bench in the entrance pays tribute to Shirley Larkin, founder of Larkin Dance Studio. Daughters Molly and Michele took over ownership when their mother died two years ago.

A fixture in Maplewood, Larkin Dance Studio now has more room to stretch out.
The family-run business, which for decades has pumped out award-winning dancers who’ve made it to national television, Broadway and films, this month relocated to the building that formerly housed Minnesota Granite and Marble at 1400 E. Highway 36.

Thu
30
Jan

In the Shadows of the Blue Ridge Parkway


A bluegrass quartet performs in the parlor of the Homeplace_Restaurant. (photos by Pamela O’Meara/Review)

The Mabry Mill, south of Roanoke, started life as a blacksmith’s shop in 1905; later, water from the river powered gristmill and sawmill operations. Now, the mill draws tourists and photographers year-round, and in peak seasons the National Park Service hosts crafting and food-preservation demonstrations.

Not only does Center in the Square house historical and cultural exhibits, it offers a state-of-the-art science museum with collections from all over the world -- and beyond. We were fortunate enough to visit during the government shutdown, when Roanoke’s Butterfly House was caring for the Smithsonian’s collection, including this swallowtail.

As the largest Virginia city along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Roanoke is the gateway to the sights along the way as well has being a good destination on its own merits.
Whatever direction you go from Roanoke, you can find beautiful mountain views, woods, wineries, outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, and camping, historic sites, and in Roanoke, interesting museums and good food.

Tue
28
Jan

Moviehouse keeps $2 films, adds new outreach for church


The plaza’s lobby was repainted, given new walls and ceiling tiles, and a collage featuring stills from a wide swath of famous movies was put up. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Charley Swanson, left, and Mike Dougherty, pose in front of the Plaza Theater, or what used to be called Plaza Maplewood. The two are part of the theater’s new management team, and are employed by Woodland Hills Church. (submitted photo)

Woodland Hill renovated much of the Plaza, including the entrance, and made a new logo. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Employees of the Lift work concessions of the Plaza Theater. The theater is staffed by workers from the Lift through a program designed to give people job training. Many of the Lift’s staff are East Siders. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Volunteers from Woodland Hills Church worked to install new seats at the theater. (submitted photo)

With new ownership and plans for a new digital projector, the Plaza Maplewood is back up and running, under the hands of a church.
Following investment and fundraising from the new management, Woodland Hills Church, the place has new carpet, new walls, new ceiling tiles, new seats, and new staff.
The arcade machines are gone and things look fresh, new, and almost pristine.

Wed
15
Jan

Her heart’s in the effort


Sara Meslow, who lives with an internal defibrillator, recently received a Bakken Invitation award, which recognizes people living longer due to medical technology who use their “extra time” to give back in extraordinary ways. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

Meslow, who started Camp Odayin for kids with heart disease, was recently recognized as one of 10 recipients worldwide of Medtronic’s Bakken award. (Kaitlyn Roby/Review)

Sara Meslow and a camper pose for a photo at Camp Odayin (submitted photo)

Not long after a chunk of metal was embedded beneath her skin and wires became a part of her heart, Sara Meslow quit her job.
She found a more pressing mission: starting a camp for kids with heart disease.
Now, about 13 years later, the Lake Elmo resident is among 10 people worldwide who recently received a Bakken Invitation award, along with a $20,000 grant, from Medtronic, which named it for company co-founder Earl Bakken.

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