Feature Stories


Volunteer teams paint NSP, Maplewood homes

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

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)

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.

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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


Crossing the River: From the war-torn jungles of Vietnam to the tranquil lakes of Minnesota

Moua, third from left in the top row, with his wife Mai Yia, second from right in the top row, and their extended family. (submitted photos)

T. Cher Moua’s recently published book, “Crossing the River (One Man’s Journey from Darkness to Light)” is more than just an incredible story of escaping a war - it’s a personal journey from which everyone can glean valuable insights.