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Holding a toy she couldn't have picked up in April, Ruby giggles and feeds herself a cracker -- something else she couldn't do two and a half months ago. Ruby, 15 months old, is the newly adopted daughter of Megan and Jeremiah Menke of Cottage Grove. The couple has two sons, but wanted a daughter and decided to try adoption -- something they had planned but never carried out. "We only had two criteria," Megan Menke said. "The baby had to be female and healthy." Ruby filled the bill, but had one problem, a lead count of 38.
HealthEast Cottage Grove Clinic is moving -- about a mile away from its current location on 80th Street. "We've expanded as much as possible," said Dr. Daniel Moriarty, site medical director at the 80th Street clinic. "This building was constructed in 1970 and sorely needs upgrading.
It's been 19 years since anyone took Broadway Avenue in St. Paul Park seriously. Now, there's a groundswell of enthusiasm building to give the 119-year-old street a new look and new life. City Council members Steve Hunstad and Sandi Dingle are leading a campaign to beautify Broadway Avenue and also attract new business to the area. "Broadway will be the gateway to new communities, and right now it looks old and tired," Dingle said. "There's not much to attract people to stop on Broadway," said Sandy Edwards, owner of Curves, which is located on Broadway.
For St. Paul Park Council Member Steve Hunstad and his daughter, Ashley, the DFL state convention was a real eye opener. Both were undecided delegates representing House District 57. "I had no idea what was involved in a state-level endorsement convention," Steve Hunstad said. "The amount of energy and efficiency was amazing." "It's fascinating how politics work," Ashley said. The DFL endorsement convention ran three days, June 9-11 at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.
Brianna Verdeja of Cottage Grove and Diane Huot of Woodbury both wanted to finish their high school education -- on their own terms. They graduated May 31 from District 833's Second Opportunity School (SOS) in Cottage Grove. Verdeja transferred to SOS from Park High School while still a junior, and Huot came back after dropping out in 1975. "I wanted to do the work on my own time," Verdeja said. "At SOS, you can stay in class or do the work at home." As she completed classes at SOS, Verdeja worked and saved for the next step in her education.
A Cottage Grove man has retired from two careers and is now, literally, building his third -- restoring furniture and heirlooms. Travis Beard, along with St. Paul Park resident David Smith and three other furniture craftsmen, share a workshop in South St. Paul. Each of the three is an expert in some area of furniture building, restoring and refinishing, both private and commercial. Beard's first attempt at woodworking occurred in high school, where he "made a lamp from a big chunk of walnut." He's still using the tear-drop shaped lamp at home. He was hooked.
At American Legion Post 98, in St. Paul Park, nearly everyone who helps fill boxes for troops serving overseas has a connection to the military. Kris Larson says it's payback for her father, and the Legion Auxiliary women who helped him recuperate at the VA hospital during his military service. Lynn Duffy, president of Post 98 Auxiliary, has a son serving overseas and a daughter who just returned. John Holzinger served in the Navy for seven years. John Tabor, St.
Raya Rawson's second grade class at Grey Cloud Elementary School took a covered wagon trip to Oregon -- 150 days without TV, bicycles, a closet full of clothes and Game Boys. Students didn't mind. They did every mile in their Cottage Grove classroom. Second-grader Jessica Anderson said she could handle such a trip, but she "would miss pizza." Sam Jirovec would take the trip in a flash.
The St. Paul Park Planning Commission has one empty chair and two eager candidates vying for it. At its April 10 meeting, the commission interviewed candidate Jason Barnett, a St. Paul Park resident and architecture student at the University of Minnesota. Barnett told the commission that he was a little younger than other members, but that was good because it's important to think about the future. "St.