East Side People


Eastside Review people - published May 14, 2017

Joleen Hartung Durken

Joleen Hartung Durken of Inver Grove Heights recently received the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Harold J. Fitterer Service Award from Minnesota State University, Mankato.


Phalen Lake teacher receives educator award

See Vang

The Minnesota Council on Economic Education honored Phalen Lake Hmong Studies Magnet Elementary School teacher See Vang at its annual “EconFest” celebration on Nov. 3 at 3M Corporate Headquarters in Maplewood.


Candidates offer variety of priorities in MN Fourth Congressional District race

Susan Pendergast Sindt

There are three candidates in the biennial race for Minnesota’s Fourth Congressional District, which includes Ramsey County, St. Paul and parts of Washington County out to the St. Croix River.


MN Twins honor Ramona Arreguin de Rosales

The Major League Baseball and Minnesota Twins Baseball Organizations chose Ramona Arreguin de Rosales of St.


Two East Side student athletes are Athena Award winners

Miranda LaFavor

The Athena Awards Committee asked St. Paul area schools to nominate their top female athlete for the award. The schools obliged, and 43 girls, representing city and suburban, public and private high schools were selected to receive the award.


Diverse group of candidates run for seats on Payne-Phalen Planning Council

The newly elected board members, from left to right, are Maychy Vu, Mark Dawkins, Charles Dexter, Marny Xiong, Athena Hollins, Ploua Yang, Eric Foster and Valentine Awasom. (Marjorie Otto/Review)

The number of candidates far exceeded the expectations of many of the staff and board members of the Payne-Phalen District Five Planning Council at the April 26 annual meeting held at the Arlington Hills Community Center.


Ray Widstrand still has his ‘Kool-Aid smile’

From left to right, St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith, Ray Widstrand, Assistant Chief Kathy Wuorinen, Linda Widstrand, Peter Widstrand, Joyce Edmondson, Hugh Edmondson and Alice Johnson. (Marjorie Otto/Review)

Ray Widstrand does not remember the night he was brutally and randomly attacked on the East Side.


‘I’m not afraid to be vulnerable’

Koua Yang, teacher and coach at Harding High School, says, “I just want people to know how challenging and how rewarding teaching is.” (Marjorie Otto/Review)

Harding teacher shares his philosophy on how to connect with students 


“I just really love working with kids. They just make me happy,” says Koua Yang, a Harding High School instructor, coach, and one of 11 finalists for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award, an award that celebrates Minnesota’s teachers and their work.

For 16 years, Yang has been a social studies teacher at Harding High School. He currently teaches Asian American studies and human geography, and coaches the boys and girls tennis teams.

“It was instilled in me early on that education was important by my mom. My mom was my greatest teacher,” Yang says.


Students are her ‘heroes’

Juanita Ortiz

Elementary teacher Juanita Ortiz uses her cultural background to help her students

Juanita Ortiz realized she wanted to be a teacher while she was working in the Head Start program.

“I didn’t know until I stumbled into it,” she says.

Ortiz says she began noticing she had more success with the Latino children because she knew their language and culture, and could communicate easily with their parents.


East Side sees two homicides in two days

The Rev. Darryl Spence, a Minneapolis Baptist minister, stands before a microphone and prays with police and leaders of the St. Paul African American community during a press conference following gun violence on the East Side last week. (Marjorie Otto/Review)

Community leaders come together to ask for help

After a rash of gun violence and two shooting deaths early last week, St. Paul civic and religious leaders came together on April 20 to share their ideas on how to curb it.

The gathering took place on the Mississippi River bluff at Indian Mounds Park, the site of last week’s first homicide. Leading the group were: Tyrone Terrill, chairman of the African American Leadership Council of St. Paul; Nathaniel Khaliq, former president of the St. Paul NAACP; the Rev. Darryl Spence from the collective of religious leaders known as the “God Squad;” St. Paul Police Chief Thomas Smith, and Mayor Chris Coleman. 

They shared their plans for reining in gun violence before the summer heats up, with Smith urging those in the community to report gang activity, either to the police, or to religious and African American leaders in the city.


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