Feature Stories


New tastes and sights at State Fair

The Mr. Bubble area is a great hit for kids where they can cool down and lather up.

Folks flock to see all the fun attractions at the fair. There are plenty of good foods on a stick like candy bars, prontos pups and much more.

Leave it to the Minnesota State Fair to entice guests with new foods hitting the stick and plunging into the fryers.
This year’s new lineup of foods includes bacon-wrapped grilled shrimp on-a-stick, deep-fried pickles dipped in chocolate sauce and grilled glazed doughnuts on-a-stick.


Volunteer teams paint NSP, Maplewood homes

Former, current, retired, and family of 3M have been volunteering for the Paint-A-Thon for years and gather at the lunch break. (photos by Linda Baumeister/Review)

The North St. Paul homeowner’s fence also gets a fresh coat of paint.

It took the 3M/Novation Credit Union Paint-A-Thon team a full day to prepare Milly and Norm’s home on Century Avenue in North St. Paul to be painted. (submitted photo)

The St. Pius X Parish team, nicknamed “The Pastels,” touch up and paint trim on their final day of work Aug. 3 in Maplewood. The group also worked the previous Monday and Tuesday.

Many of the St. Pius X Parish have been volunteering for years and look forward to the Paint-A-Thon.

If you live in a community in the Twin Cities, chances are good you’ve seen a house that has been painted by a Paint-A-Thon team. Over the last 29 years, Paint-A-Thon volunteers have painted 6,300 homes in the seven-county metro area.
Saturday, Aug. 3, was the official “paint day” for the 60 teams that participated in this year’s Paint-A-Thon, a program offered through the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches. Now in its 29th year, the program caters to low-income seniors and the physically disabled, who may not be able to paint their homes on their own.


15 things to do & explore around the area

Maya cities like Tikal in Guatemala were centers of religious, commercial and bureaucratic power and were imbued with symbolism as well as functionality. Architects, artists, and laborers—who had no wheels or metal tools—incorporated the Maya worldview and social hierarchy into the city plan and buildings. Visitors to Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed will explore Maya architecture and even try their hands at building corbeled arches, using a tumpline, just as Maya builders and laborers would have, and more. Maya makes its world premiere at the Science Museum of Minnesota on June 21, 2013. (submitted photo)

This conch blower figurine, which appears in Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed at the Science Museum of Minnesota, dates to the Postclassic period (10th to early 16th century) at Santa Rita Corozal in Belize. Since it was uncovered in a cache that was buried as part of a new year/renewal ceremony to mark the turning over of one period and the beginning of another, researchers believe the conch blower is calling in the new year.Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed makes its world premiere at the Science Museum on June 21, 2013. (photo courtesy of the National Institute of Culture and History)

The new Como Zoo Gorilla Forest exhibit features an outdoor window viewing area where the gorillas can be seen up close. (Linda E. Andersen/Review)

The Sibley House Historic Center, located in Mendota, is hosting a family art day and giving tours of the first Minnesota  governor’s house on July 13. (submitted photo)

Do those lazy days of summer need a little spicing up?  The east metro has plenty of chances for some dancing, historical learning, musical entertainment, outdoor adventures and more.  Add some sizzle to your summer and try these 15 happenings near you.


Galena: ‘A town frozen in time’

Chestnut Mountain Resort outside Galena overlooks the Mississippi River. (photos by Pamela O’Meara/Review)

Red brick buildings from the 1880s line Main Street in Galena, Ill.

Eagle Ridge Resort in the Galena area serves a colorful luncheon.

Statues in the Rock Island Arsenal Park copy figures in French painter Georges Seurat’s famous “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.”

Council Hill Station, an old railroad stop popular in the 1880s, has re-opened the general store for visitors.

At Rocky Waters Vineyards and Winery, owner Jared Spahn pours a sample of wine.

President Ulysses S. Grant’s office is one room on the tour of his home in Galena.

John Deere farm equipment on is on display at the world headquarters in Moline.

Tugboats push river barges through Lock and Dam No. 15 on the Mississippi River at Davenport, Iowa.

Statues in the Rock Island Arsenal Park copy figures in French painter Georges Seurat’s famous “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.”

White-columned antebellum mansions, President Ulysses S. Grant’s home, a historic hotel, unique shops and history lessons as well as plenty of outdoor activities along the river are popular in Galena, Ill.
The old red brick buildings that line both sides of Main Street are frozen in the mid-1800s in this former riverboat city and steamboat capital of the Upper Midwest.
Back then, great numbers of steamboats came up the Mississippi River and its tributary, the Galena River, with a variety of goods and returned with lead from the mines.
Wealthy steamboat captains built mansions on the hills overlooking the river. Many are now B&Bs. Visitors can take trolley or walking tours past many of these historic homes and churches.


Como gorillas enjoying new home

Como Zoo now has 3 male adolescent gorillas and one family gorilla group on display. The males and the family group are kept separate from each other in different zoo enclosures.

Families viewed the new outdoor exhibit area where the three bachelor males adjusted to the new outdoor area. (photos by Linda E. Andersen/Review)

The new Gorilla Forest enclosure opened June 6 at Como Zoo.

The new Como Zoo Gorilla Forest exhibit features an outdoor window viewing area where the gorillas can be seen up close.

It’s likely going to be a very exciting and busy summer at Como Zoo thanks in no small part to the zoo’s newly opened Gorilla Forest exhibit.
The $11 million, 13,000 square-foot enclosure is home to seven gorillas, six of whom are new to Como.
Matt Reinartz, Como’s marketing and public relations manager, notes the new exhibit is nearly three times larger than the previous gorilla habitat.


The art of chicken keeping

Les Larson stands outside his chicken coop with one of his pigeons. Water, food, and climate control are all carefully monitored. (photos by Linda Baumeister/Review)

Larson’s birds enjoy cuddling up with him when they get the chance.

Ramps, ledges, and openings provide the chickens with ready access to the inside coop, screened shelter, or the outdoors.

Ever wondered what it might be like to keep chickens in your backyard?
Oakdale resident Les Larson will be sharing his knowledge of raising poultry at the Oakdale Discovery Center June 8. Interested residents can head to the center to find out more about chicken keeping -- an activity that’s allowed in Oakdale with a permit.


Raise a pint to Grand Rapids’ lesser-known culture: HOPS

Founders Brewing Company serves a variety of its beers in this family-friendly (until 9 p.m.) tap room. (photos by Pamela O’Meara/Review)

Founders serves up a rich, creamy oatmeal stout plus a lighter beer along with a bowl of beer cheese dip and chips.

Brewery Vivant is housed in an old funeral home -- hence the tongue-in-cheek “Vivant” or “Life” name -- with the bar where the former nave would have been.

This red door from the old Grand Rapids Brewery is now on display in the new brewery.

The Grand Rapids Brewery serves Silver Foam beer, which was popular in the early 1900s and recently brought back.

Named tops in the nation, breweries in Grand Rapids, Mich. celebrate with Beer Week.

I wonder if my grandparents are rolling over in their graves since their hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich., was recently named “Beer City U.S.A.” and one of the “Top 10 Vacation Cities for Beer Lovers.”


Not quite the Roadshow 

Doug Jordahl of Lauderdale and his one-owner P.I.E. truck that Santa brought him in 1949. (photos by Linda Baumeister/Review)

A cobalt blue Bohemian glass vase was one of the items ready for appraisal.

James Marrinan appraised the value and commented on the background of the treasures that residents brought to the event held at the Roseville library branch on May 4.

Old stuff stirs up memories at Roseville Library


Bison, Badlands and ‘weird-looking buttes’

The setting sun puts a glow on the buttes and plains in Teddy Roosevelt National Park. (photos by Pamela O’Meara/Review)

Joe Wiegand performed as Teddy Roosevelt in in Medora’s Old Town Hall Theater last summer.

A bear rug adorns the floor of the Chateau de Mores in Medora, ND.

This drill rig is used for putting pipes in the ground to search for oil.

Teddy Roosevelt wrote at this desk while grieving over the deaths of his wife and mother.

This photo of Teddy Roosevelt was on a poster in Medora, ND.

This family-friendly performance of the Medora Musical pays tribute to Teddy Roosevelt and the Old West.

Bison meander on and off the road through Teddy Roosevelt National Park in ND.

At Pitchfork Steak Fondue in the hills of Medora, chefs cook ribeye steaks on pitchforks.

After immersing ourselves in President Theodore Roosevelt’s early life at the Old Town Hall in Medora, a friend and I drove a few miles to the entrance of the 70,416-acre national park named after him in western North Dakota. Visitors there can enjoy miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, campsites, abundant wildlife and buttes, tablelands, valleys and unusual rock formations leftover from glaciers, wind and rain.


Human Rights Commission offers new opportunity for Senegalese native

YaYa Diatta, the new member of Maplewood Human Rights Commission, was sworn in by Karen Guilfoile before the commission meeting April 9. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

The Maplewood Human Rights Commission listens to commissioner Nate Danielson give a presentation April 9. Pictured from left are YaYa Diatta, Jon Brandt, Maurice Fortin, and Julie Xiong. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

YaYa Diatta, 44, lives in Maplewood with his daughter Eponine, 12, wife Ada, son Saib, 6 and son Samsidine, 16. (submitted photo)

Diatta’s mother Mariama recently came from Senegal to Minnesota for a 10-month visit. Pictured: Mariama, Saib and Diatta. (submitted photo)

Newly-appointed Human Rights Commissioner YaYa Diatta’s journey to where he is today started with a single piece of candy.