Year in review: People


Woman of the House
Margaret Anderson Kelliher

Rep. Margaret Anderson Kelliher (DFL-60A) takes her post as speaker of the state House of Representatives after the DFL won back control of the House in a commanding fashion in November 2006.

Kelliher said started out the legislative session with an emphasis on encouraging bipartisan cooperation.

"The ability of us to get along better and to act more civilly certainly is not going to mean the absence of conflict on issues," Kelliher said. "It’s a matter of how conflict is handled."

One way she planned to handle conflict was to listen carefully to her colleagues.

"That’s one of her great skills," said Legislative Assistant Dianne Ruppert. "She’s a great listener."

The serendipity of poetry
Doug Wilhide

Doug Wilhide believes poetry comes to you. Beyond your control, ideas and metaphors float into your mind at odd times, maybe while you’re jogging or doing laundry or riding the bus.

"What I’m trying to do is to get more people to pay attention when those little moments come," Wilhide says, "and to take a few minutes to turn it into a poem."

Wilhide has been poet laureate of Linden Hills for three and a half years.


Seizing center stage
Ralph Remington

He wears a big grin, carries plenty of quick quips and has a contagious, bellowing laugh. But behind Ralph Remington’s jovial personality is an earnest desire to make a difference. It’s a yearning for change he developed as a child and carried throughout his life as an outspoken activist, actor, theater director and politician.

The rookie 10th Ward Minneapolis City Council member’s colorful past comes full circle at City Hall, where he speaks his mind and stands firm in the face of opposition, even if his vote stands alone.

Voices on Hennepin

Journal reporters interview dozens of people on Hennepin one Friday in early winter to capture a day in the life of the storied street. We come across a wide spectrum of personalities, from a 23-year-old getting her first tattoo at St. Sabrina’s to a woman from Arkansas who handed out towels in the women’s bathroom at the Lodge Bar.


Sandblasting master
Kerry Dikken

Kerry Dikken thinks of his craft as "controlled erosion."

To remind himself of just what that means, Dikken keeps a piece of well-worn wood in his Stevens Square studio.

The foot-long block was scavenged from a grain elevator in Sacred Heart, his rural hometown two hours west of

At Blasted Art, 1907 Nicollet Ave. S., Dikken’s sandblasting and design studio, that same process of erosion that changed the nature of that wooden block is sped-up by a high-pressure stream of aluminum oxide.

Dikken has turned his sandblaster on all kinds of objects, including glass, metal, stone, leather and denim.

What a hoot
Jim Walsh

Most Friday evenings, Pete Christensen walks out his front door, heads just down the block to Java Jack’s and descends into the neighborhood café’s basement — the unlikely location of one of the best regular music happenings in town.

"For me, this is like going to church," Christenson said. "I love the music. I love the community. I love the people."

If what happens in the basement of Java Jack’s is like church, then its high priest is The Mad Ripple, aka local writer and songwriter Jim Walsh. Since November 2006, Walsh has played host to a different lineup of mostly local musicians every Friday evening.


Riding the river
Kate Grafing and Archie Ingersoll

Early morning sunlight danced across subtle ripples in the water as Kate Grafing heaved a packed aluminum canoe steadied by her fiancé Archie Ingersoll into the St. Croix River.

The 25-year-olds, who lived in Kingfield before
giving up their apartment and jobs for the sake of adventure, were about to embark on a journey they hoped would end about 2,200 miles of winding waterway south.

"We have no intention of turning back until we get to New Orleans," Grafing said.

Bucking the big-house trend
Luanne Nyberg

Luanne Nyberg’s beige, four-bedroom, ’50s era home at 4050 Washburn Ave. S. is too much for her these days. The 60-year-old empty nester lives with her 12-year-old black lab, Jake, and a friend who is staying at the home temporarily.

Fearful that her lot would become home to a McMansion if she sold, Nyberg has plans to raze her home and build two cottages on her property that would each contain two town homes.


Suddenly Sven
Sven Sundgaard

The Journal had a conversation with KARE 11 personality Sven Sundgaard who lives on the edge of Southwest and spends a lot of time running around the city’s Chain of Lakes training for marathons.

Sundgaard said he got into weather because of his love of science. "Every scientist has this natural curiosity. … I think that’s the added element of the weather — forecasting something physical in a very dynamic way."

‘They all look for Bill’
Bill Brice

As it is for plenty of the dogs that make it around Lake Harriet everyday with their owners, seeing Bill Brice is one of the

"Sometimes the dogs just line up. They all look for Bill," said Molly Falk.

Brice is a well-known figure among dog owners who frequent Lake Harriet. The 82-year-old Armatage resident walks around the lake almost every day, rain or shine, with a pouch tied around his waist filled with dog treats.


Green gurus
Ryan and Tina North

Ryan and Tina North have opened Twin Cities Green, a new eco-friendly concept shop at 2405 Hennepin Ave., a store devoted to green, socially responsible products.

The Norths promises that every item sold in their store is made from natural or recycled content.

City chickens
The Padulas

Sarah and Sonny Padula and their three kids say it’s easy to own and operate a fully functioning chicken farm in a large, metropolitan city.

They would know, too, because that’s when they’ve been doing in their CARAG neighborhood backyard for the past four months while leading ostensibly normal, modern, urban lives. One goal they share is for their kids to learn valuable lessons about personal and social responsibility in the face of global climate change.


Building a better Bridge
Tim Reardon

Tim Reardon, 48, became executive director of The Bridge for Runway Youth in September. Reardon is taking the reins in the midst of a major expansion and a $7.8 million campaign.

When it opens in 2008, The Bridge will more than double the number of transitional housing beds it currently provides for homeless youth. Up to 20 youth, ages 17–21, will live in the center while they work or attend school and prepare for independent living.

Bread winner
Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François

Southwest bakers Zoë François and Jeffrey Hertzberg have created a no-knead, slow-rise bread recipe that will keep in your fridge for up to two weeks, while you regularly lop off bits, shape them and bake them.

Their new book, "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day," strips bread baking to the basics: measure and stirring. No weighing, no poofing, no poking, no punching, no kneading, no exacting times, no window-pane stage, no autolyse, no worrying whether the dough has doubled or tripled in volume.


The making of a fashionista

Katherine Rautenberg

Journal intern Katherine Rautenberg pens a firsthand account of being cast into the spotlight on TLC’s "What Not to Wear" show.

Katherine received a trip to New York City and a new wardrobe. She writes: "It was whirlwind week with dramatic highs and low, but I’m so glad that I took advantage of this chance. I’ll probably never view ‘reality TV’ the same way again, but I ended up with new friends, a new look, beautiful new clothes and an extraordinary story to share."