People - Oakdale - Lake Elmo Review


Byron Anderson receives prestigious Heritage Award

Byron Anderson

The International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) recently awarded Washington County resident Byron Anderson with its prestigious Heritage Award at its annual convention in Las Vegas. The award is given for outstanding, long-term service to fairs and related organizations.


Hill-Murray senior has jazz hands

John Blanda is shown at the baby grand piano in Hill-Murray High School’s choir room. (Patrick Larkin/Review)

John Blanda was enthusiastic to practice piano even at the young age of 6. By the age of 7, he had his first paying gig in downtown Minneapolis at Trocadero’s (submitted photo)

John Blanda performed at numerous fundraisers for his elementary and middle school, Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He would play piano for donations to the school. (submitted photo)

John Blanda, in a sense, has the world at his fingertips.
Blanda, a 17-year-old kid from Maplewood, is quiet, laid back and comes off a bit spacey, but still sharp.
And sharp quickly comes to the fore when he sits at the piano.


Paul Prescott, of Oakdale, named Player of the Week

Nichols College sophomore Paul Prescott, of Oakdale, was recently named Northeast Men’s Ice Hockey Player of the Week by the Eastern College Athletic Conference. This is the first time he has been honored with the award. Nichols College is a private four-year college located in Dudley, Mass.


Washington County Board of Commissioner appointments

At its Jan. 7 meeting, the Washington County Board of Commissioners appointed Oakdale city council member Stan Karwoski to represent District 2 on the county’s Parks and Open Space Commission, and Lake Elmo resident Bob Fossum was appointed as an at-large member of the Groundwater Advisory Committee.


Her heart’s in the effort

Sara Meslow, who lives with an internal defibrillator, recently received a Bakken Invitation award, which recognizes people living longer due to medical technology who use their “extra time” to give back in extraordinary ways. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

Meslow, who started Camp Odayin for kids with heart disease, was recently recognized as one of 10 recipients worldwide of Medtronic’s Bakken award. (Kaitlyn Roby/Review)

Sara Meslow and a camper pose for a photo at Camp Odayin (submitted photo)

Not long after a chunk of metal was embedded beneath her skin and wires became a part of her heart, Sara Meslow quit her job.
She found a more pressing mission: starting a camp for kids with heart disease.
Now, about 13 years later, the Lake Elmo resident is among 10 people worldwide who recently received a Bakken Invitation award, along with a $20,000 grant, from Medtronic, which named it for company co-founder Earl Bakken.


What a difference a portrait makes

Kendra Stone, one of two high school seniors who take photos for their graduating peers for free as KP Photography, shows an image to a client, Gao Thor, during a shoot at Minnehaha Falls. (Photo by Phillipe Thao)

Two Mounds Park Academy students are sometimes compensated for taking senior photos for Twin Cities high-schoolers who can’t afford a professional photographer, but usually not with money.
“We’ve been paid in hugs, candy and donations,” said Kendra Stone, who lives in Lake Elmo.
That’s payment enough for the 18-year-old and Phillipe Thao of Hudson, Wis., who teamed up in May to take portraits of teens nearing graduation for free.


Oak-Land Junior High School Resource Officer recognized for exceptional service

Washington County Detective Rebecca Engel, the School Resource Officer at Oak-Land Junior High, is this year’s Meritorious Service Medal winner, awarded by the Minnesota Sheriff’s Department. (submitted photo)

She may be known as “Ms. Deputy” by some of the students at Oak-Land Junior High in Lake Elmo, but law enforcement officers around the state know Detective Rebecca Engel as this year’s Meritorious Service Medal winner.
Engel was recently recognized by the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association for her exceptional accomplishments and achievements as the School Resource Officer (SRO) at the Oak-Land Junior High School. The Meritorious Service Medal is awarded to just one deputy in the state of Minnesota each year.


The year in Review

I had no idea that 52 newspapers could change my life! Yet here I am, a different person from who I was a year ago.
I showed up at the Lillie News office in North St. Paul for the first day of my internship Jan. 2, 2013, with a newly minted English degree and the eager naivety of someone who has never read a gruesome criminal complaint.
Unfortunately, the receptionist was out of the office at that moment, and I was locked out.