Kaitlyn Roby

Kaitlyn Roby can be reached at kroby@lillienews.com or 651-748-7815.
Follow her on Twitter @KRobyNews.


North St. Paul firefighters nibble ice fishing contest comeback

Betty Enright remembers when North St. Paul anglers dragged couches onto a frozen Silver Lake a decade or so ago, as a cozy way to compete in the North St. Paul Lions Club’s popular ice fishing contest.
Her late husband, Ray, the keeper of many pails and a past club president, used to help organize the annual event that, due to dwindling membership and thin-ice cancellations, the club hasn’t hosted for the past few years.
“I just remember it took a lot of manpower,” said Enright, who’s been living in North St. Paul since 1944.


Larkin Dance Studio continues 64-year legacy at new Maplewood location

The Senior Line class strikes a pose in the larger dance space at their new location. Larkin Dance moved to 1400 E. Hwy 36 in Maplewood. (photos by Linda Baumeister/Review)

The Larkin Dance Senior Line students practice their jumps and lifts.

Jody Eastburn teaches a Babies Ballerinas class at Larkin Dance Studio, larger location at 1400 E. Hwy 36 in Maplewood. More classes are offered at the new location.

The Larkin Dance Senior Line

Georgiann sews leotards in the sewing room filled with colorful fabric and threads.

A memorial bench in the entrance pays tribute to Shirley Larkin, founder of Larkin Dance Studio. Daughters Molly and Michele took over ownership when their mother died two years ago.

A fixture in Maplewood, Larkin Dance Studio now has more room to stretch out.
The family-run business, which for decades has pumped out award-winning dancers who’ve made it to national television, Broadway and films, this month relocated to the building that formerly housed Minnesota Granite and Marble at 1400 E. Highway 36.


Lipke-led North High Alumni Choir disbands

Accomplished vocal music director Carl H. Lipke and the North High Alumni Choir performed their final concerts in December. They recently had a farewell party, celebrating 20 years together. (photos courtesy of John Feikema Photography)

The North High Alumni Choir recently disbanded. Directed by long-time North St. Paul vocal music director Carl H. Lipke, the group’s final performances, entitled “Christmas Favorites,” were Dec. 7 and 8 at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church in White Bear Lake.

Carl H. Lipke directs the North High Alumni Choir.

Carl Lipke tried to end the North High Alumni Choir quietly.
The choir had just finished its spring concert, and wasn’t yet gearing up for the holiday shows. The group’s leaders were discussing how it should disband, agreeing that costs were too high and some of the singers could no longer stand for an entire performance.
The revered director suggested a discreet exit, without bows or encores.


Meet Maplewood’s newest K-9 team

Brix never really looks ferocious.
Even when he’s apprehending suspects or sniffing out illicit drugs, the dog half of Maplewood’s newest K-9 team treats his job like a game.
According to his partner, Officer Joseph Demulling, the 19-month-old from Slovakia does it all for a Kong, a rubber chew toy on a rope.


Another way to tailgate

Not long after the sun comes up on Super Bowl Sunday, about a dozen volunteers wielding propane-powered ice augers will drill 2,000 holes into 20 inches of ice on Lake Jane in Lake Elmo.
That is, if the weather cooperates and the ice stays thick.
“Pray for good weather,” urged Craig Knoll, a co-chair of the 57th annual Lake Elmo Lions Club fishing contest. But his idea of “good weather” probably differs from the rest of us. He’s hoping for no letup in this week’s below-freezing temperatures to keep the ice in good shape, and also a slight warmup the day of to keep contestants from hunkering down at home.


Number of North St. Paul businesses caught selling alcohol to a minor jumps

An uptick over recent years, five North St. Paul businesses were caught selling alcohol to a minor during the police department’s regular compliance checks in 2013, and one store, 9 Dragons Liquor, will soon experience a five-day suspension of its license.


Lake Elmo Public Library restores digital access cut by county

Lake Elmo Library is rolling out multiple e-book services, while the library board explores offering $80,000 to restore city patrons’ access to Washington County’s digital library. (Kaitlyn Roby/Review)

The Lake Elmo Public Library plans to roll out e-book services in the next couple of months, while exploring an offer to possibly pay Washington County $80,000 to restore city patrons’ access to its digital library.  
City officials also hope to rebuild the relationship between the city and county that’s “deteriorated” in the past couple of years as the county reduced library services in Lake Elmo.


Heavy equipment breaks through ice while dredging Maplewood pond

A skid loader, which was being used to dredge Wicklanders Pond near the Maplewood Community Center, broke through the ice and sunk front-first into the muck on Monday afternoon, Jan. 20. The project crew chained two other vehicles to the excavating machine to yank it out later that day, according to city staff, and the engine wasn't damaged. (Kaitlyn Roby/Review)

A skid loader broke through the ice and sunk halfway into the muck being dredged from a pond near the Maplewood Community Center on Monday afternoon, Jan. 20.
A tow truck that idled on Van Dyke Street for a while wasn't what pulled it out. Instead, the project crew chained two mini backhoes to the heavy machinery and yanked it from slush-covered Wicklanders Pond, according to Michael Thompson, the Maplewood public works director.


New Maplewood mayor, council members sworn in

Nora Slawik is sworn in as mayor of Maplewood by city clerk Karen Guilfoile Jan. 6 at the Maplewood Community Center.

Taking the oath of office for the Maplewood City Council are Kathleen Juenemann, above, and Marylee Abrams, below.

When Will Rossbach became Maplewood’s mayor four years ago, he asked for a new gavel - “a fresh start” -- to use during city council meetings, marking the opening and closing of each one.
In his first minutes as the former mayor on Jan. 6, Rossbach handed the same gavel as well as his key to the city to Mayor Nora Slawik, who took the oath of office moments earlier during the swearing-in ceremony at the Maplewood Community Center.  But the wooden hammer was a little different -- Rossbach had three pink stripes painted on it, signifying the new, but not the first, female majority on the Maplewood City Council.


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.