Feature Stories

Thu
09
Jan

Afton Alps celebrates 50 years


Afton Alps co-founder Paul Augustine blows snow from a snow gun on a slope at Afton in the mid-1960s. (submitted photo)

Skiers line up to ride one of Afton Alps’ first chairlifts.

An upslope view of Afton Alps’ main chalet a couple of decades ago. (submitted photo)

Afton Alps has a flashy new Guest Services Facility, which houses a new ski school center, ticketing and pass sales office and customer service center. (submitted photo)

An artist’s rendering of the newly renovated Paul’s Pub on the second floor of the Alps Chalet.

Following a change in ownership and months of renovations and new construction, Afton Alps is inviting the public to check out its improved resort and to celebrate 50 years of skiing.
The ski facility is no longer the rustic, mom-and-pop operation that attracted skiers for decades. The redesigned resort now features high-tech snowmaking machines, a new guest-services building, with a  stainless steel look, and improved terrain park.

Tue
07
Jan

A look back at the Dome’s glory days


After a 31-year run, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome awaits demolition to make room for a new facility to house its main tenant: the Minnesota Vikings. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Bill Lester and Jerry Bell, who both served as executive director of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, reflect on their memories of the Metrodome, operations of which they each ran. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

Bill Lester, president of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, was pictured in front of the Dome in 1987. (file photo)

Jerry Bell was named North High School alumnus of the year at the time he was pictured in the Metrodome with the Twins’ logo on the field as a backdrop. (file photo)

Jerry Bell, Bill Lester reflect on the good, the bad & the ugly sides of the stadium

A couple of guys who knew it best

Mon
30
Dec

Two Lillie staffers win statewide awards


The design for this piece, which focuses on Alaska’s diversity of nature as seen via various transportation methods, displays a delicate touch that showcased lush foliage and natural vistas and had readers’ hands itching for suitcase handles.

Graphic designers wince when they hear these directions: “We don’t have any art for this story. Oh, and it’s about city finances.” However, Nik VanDenMeerendonk rose to -- and beyond -- the occasion, making plain all the programs that were being crunched in the “Budget Squeeze,” also his headline. The layout won second place in the “Use of Information Graphics” category, and judges noted it was “Very original.”

In “Ghosts among the Stacks,” VanDenMeerendonk took a reporter’s snapshot of the South St. Paul Library -- one taken on a sunny summer day -- and transformed it to match its reputation as a spooky spot that’s been said to be haunted for decades.

As Ken Burns did with his iconic “The Civil War” series, VanDenMeerendonk used the kinds of materials and media that veterans themselves would have used during World War II to set the scene for their story.

It was all about vision for two Lillie Suburban Newspapers staffers in the 2013 Minnesota Newspaper Association’s “Better Newspapers” awards.
Photographer Linda Baumeister, who’s worked at the paper since 1991, and Nik VanDenMeerendonk, a graphic artist for six years.

Wed
25
Dec

For Bruentrups, historic farm still feels like home during holidays


In her Mrs. Claus attire and he in Santa hat for the Breakfast with Santa and later open house Dec. 7, Raydelle and Bill Bruentrup still spend time at the old homestead, volunteering countless hours on behalf of the Maplewood Area Historical Society. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

Some of the decorations around the house.

Bill Bruentrup still works the farm, driving the tractor for hay wagon rides, as well as building and upkeep of the Bruentrup Heritage Farm in Maplewood. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

The early years: Bill Bruentrup, left, now 72, friend Paul Johnson and Bill’s late sister Joan Bruentrup sit in front of the Christmas tree at the Bruentrup home in the early 1950s. Paul is holding what appears to be a gift: “Pagan: a Border Patrol Horse,” a 1951 book for youth about the exploits of a border patrol inspector and his heroic horse, as Bill tries to get a look at one of the more exciting passages.

Bill Bruentrup and his siblings used to skate on a pond in front of the home on Christmas Day, between dinner and supper. This picturesque scene is roughly where the Michael’s craft store is located now; there’s still a holding pond between the store and White Bear Avenue.

Santa, a reindeer and a snowman greeted visitors at a breakfast with Santa event on Dec. 7 at Bruentrup Heritage Farm in Maplewood. (Kaitlyn Roby/Review staff)

Growing up on his family’s farm, Bill Bruentrup milked cows twice a day. Even on Christmas.
“On Christmas Eve, we’d milk a little bit earlier than we normally did so we could come in, clean up, eat dinner, and then we would open our presents,” the 72-year-old said. “I remember getting ready for Christmas, because we tried to get as many things done as we could.

Tue
24
Dec

The Christmas gift I always longed for ...

Was there a present you wrote on your wish list every year when you were a child -- a present you never received? Maybe it was a much-desired pet or a toy that “Santa” disapproved of. Or perhaps there’s a gift on your adult wish list that you’re still holding out hope for.
Or maybe you unexpectedly did get that longed-for item and were overjoyed.
Here, newspaper staff members reflect on holidays past and what they did, and didn’t, find under the tree.

Sat
07
Dec

Embrace the warmth of a good book

Looking for a holiday gift with a Minnesota connection?

Jill Yanish • Pamela O’meara
Review staff

Thu
14
Nov

Janie's legacy of laughter and love: After toddler’s death, parents pursue memorial playground


A 17 months old, Janie Zahradka heads toward the playground at Edgerton Park in Maplewood. (submitted photo)

Tony Zahradka holds his daughter, Janie, on a swing at Casey Lake Park in North St. Paul when she was about 7 months old. She died less than a year later, on Sept. 30. The family is donating money toward toddler-friendly structures at the playground in her memory. (submitted photo)

17-month-old Janie Zahradka peeks out of an opening in a tube at Edgerton Park in Maplewood. (submitted photo)

Showing off her fun-loving personality, Janie Zahradka plays inside at about 9 months old. The girl died about nine months later, on Sept. 30.

Janie, full of smiles, enjoys a ride in a bucket swing at the park.

Tony and Sarah Zahradka are planning to add a playground for younger children out at Casey Lake Park. The tot lot will be in memory of their 18-month-old little girl Janie. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

When Janie Zahradka was 7 months old, she sat on her dad’s lap at Casey Lake Park in North St. Paul to swing, because the playground wasn’t built for someone her size.
“She was always the happiest when she was outside playing,” said her father, Tony Zahradka, an assistant baseball coach at Johnson High School and teacher at Guadalupe Alternative Programs on St. Paul’s West Side.

Mon
11
Nov

Murder at the Museum - or Who killed Agatha Marple?


Artifacts have been missing and the body of Agatha Marple, head curator, is discovered at the museum, now a carefully crafted crime scene mystery. Attendees often took photos of themselves near the police tape body outline. (photos by Linda Baumeister/Review)

Lizabeth Doherty and Kelcey Kryzer get into CSI costume for the photo booth before getting into sleuth mode to solve the crime during a social science event.

As well as becoming crime scene investigators, the visitors, including Chase Robeck, also had the chance to access the museum’s other exhibits at a leisurely pace.

A crowd gathers at one of six evidence activity stations set up throughout the Science Museum for Murder at the Museum Oct. 3.

Denny and Annie Lynard venture out to the Science Museum of Minnesota to cover the social science Murder at the Museum Oct. 3.

Some days its best to take a break from the perplexity of the unsolved tales of murdered or missing wives and girlfriends in our metro area and go try to solve a pretend one instead. So I invited my younger daughter for an evening out to crack a murder mystery at the Science Museum of Minnesota in downtown St. Paul.

Thu
07
Nov

For her 85th birthday, June’s throwing an art show


Cliff Gebhard, 72, sits in one of two barber chairs in his shop at the corner of Minnehaha Avenue and Stillwater Road. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

Cliff Gebhard’s shop is full of curiosities from bric-a-brac to an ìInformationî sign, much like the man himself. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

For all the 84-plus years she can remember, June McAuliffe has been driven to reach people through art.
So, for her 85th birthday, she’ll unveil a show of her recent projects at Gallery 96, located in the Shoreview Community Center.
It made perfect sense to June; after all, she’d marked her 80th birthday with a show at Gallery 96.

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