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Senior citizens -- and a sprinkling of younger couples -- who came to hear how much rebuilt streets will cost them next year, filled the DeForth Community Room, at St. Paul Park City Hall Aug. 23. City Engineer Jeff Roos spoke to residents from the east side of town about the 2007 proposed street rebuilding project, at the meeting. "The cost to homeowners will be $89 per front foot of property plus any repairs to water or sewer problems," Roos said. "For a 70-foot to 80-foot lot, the estimated assessment is about $7,000," Roos said.
The Cottage Grove Athletic Association, which began with one baseball team in 1959, is now a $4.5 million nonprofit corporation that serves nearly 6,000 young area athletes. It's so big in fact, teams are beginning to run out of playing fields, said former CGAA President Al Boche Jr.
Cottage Grove homemaker Chris Ripka loved to graze through the food offered by vendors at the Minnesota State Fair every summer. When she was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2004, however, the grazing stopped. She was told she couldn't eat anything with wheat in it, and that included a large percentage of the food sold at the fair. She spent the next year changing her eating habits, losing 30 pounds and growing frustrated about all the "can't eat" items surrounding her -- especially at the fair. As a result, Ripka created her own list of gluten-free foods sold by vendors at the fair.
St. Paul Park residents from west side neighborhoods met Wednesday night to learn how much new street construction and sewer and water repairs will cost them next spring when construction is slated to begin. Many were not happy to learn they had assessment bills up to $8,000 waiting for them. A second meeting will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23, at St. Paul Park City Hall, for those residents on the east side of St. Paul Park where street rehabilitation is expected to begin in the spring.
St. Paul Park Council members who don't want homeowners to pay big bills for street reconstruction are searching for new ways to finance the upcoming street project planned in 2007. The council approved creation of a finance subcommittee to look at funding issues in an attempt to change the city's assessment policy.
A Cottage Grove photographer, who is mostly interested in recording parts of the Midwest before it vanishes forever, recently took a break and went to the fair. "I thought I'd experiment with time-lapse pictures of the carnival rides," said Kent Johnson, a transplanted Iowan. He took the photos with a 4- to 6-second exposures, so you can almost feel the speed of the Orbiter and the frenetic movement of The Spider. Even the Ferris wheel seems exciting. Johnson, a local groundskeeper by day, has been taking pictures for 30 years, but "only seriously for the past 10 years," he said.
During Tami Pehrson-Clark's years as an apartment dweller, her sons got so tired of hauling two truckloads of her flowers every time she moved that they urged her to buy a house. Pehrson-Clark gave in a year ago, moving into a St. Paul Park home, and she's wasted no time in using her yard. And while flower gardens may be soothing and lovely, Pehrson-Clark said she's learned that vegetable gardens are more fun.
If you have been running the Grey Cloud Island 10K River Run every year during Heritage Days festivities, be prepared for some new sights along the way this month. The race is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 20, at Aggregate Industries' Larson Quarry, 10120 Grey Cloud Island Drive, St. Paul Park. Registration begins at 7 a.m. "We've had to change the course slightly this year," said Patty Christensen, race coordinator.
It was 92 degrees and muggy in St. Paul Park, but 30 miles north at Big Marine Lake, it was 78 with a fresh breeze blowing -- a perfect day for the 15th edition of the annual Gone Fishing Tournament. Gone Fishing is the brainchild of Frank "Blackie" Vruno of Cottage Grove. A longtime fisherman himself, Vruno wanted to give disabled youth and adults a day on the lake. "I think everyone should have a chance to enjoy fishing," Vruno said, close to tears.
Striking workers at Marathon Petroleum Co. met with company management Thursday for seven hours with no results, according to Joe Riley, chief union steward of Teamsters Local 120. "We talked, and the company rearranged the wording of their proposal, but nothing changed," Riley said early Friday morning. Company representatives were not available for comment and no new negotiation meetings are scheduled.