Friday, November 27, 2009


Can you easily walk to where you need to be?

Caption: These photos show some of the physical impediments to walking in East and Central Hillside. (Photos by Scott Yeazle.)

By Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff


1969 – Man walks on the moon
1994 – Man walks down street
“I needed milk, so I went for it.”

The above was part of a presentation during a walkability audit of Central and East Hillside on Nov. 7.
Walkable communities are important for making a community more livable and for some individuals, their very survival. Walking to the store for some milk should not mean taking your life in your hands.
The audit included a mixture of residents and officials and is part of the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP). Walkability refers to how safe it is to walk in an area.
Safety can refer to the level dangerousness because of traffic or even
criminal threats. Anything that discourages a person from walking affects communities as a whole. With rising obesity rates health care costs could be trimmed if more people could easily include walking in both their residential and work neighborhoods.
Kathy Bogen, avid walker and Grant Community Collaborative director, said there are hazards to students walking to and from school. She helps walk students after school. She is especially concerned since Nettelton and Grant schools will soon be combined and many students will need to cross Sixth Avenue East.
“I regularly defy death by walking across Sixth Avenue East,” said participant Diane Anderson who walks and bikes to work and for recreation.
Codie Leeman, active living coordinator of Fit City Duluth, said that if cities follow the 8/80 rule when planning streets and development the community would be safer. That rule is asking the question, “Is this an area that would be safe for an 8 year-old to cross; and would it be safe for an 80 year-old?”
His presentation included before and after slides of what cities had done to make their most dangerous streets safer for everyone including bicyclists and pedestrians. Making a street wider is not always better. One side of a street in Tacoma, Wash looked like Duluth’s Central Entrance. A center boulevard, sidewalks and clearly painted lanes changed it to a safer place.
Discuss your ideas about walkability on The Hillsider Blog.

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving

I hope you had a good Thanksgiving. We are rounding the bend for production of our Decmeber issue. I you can help proofread or distribute please contact me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fourth District Council Recount Update

The Duluth Fourth District City Council recount commenced today. The requesting candidate, Gordon Grant, submitted a waiver for the balance of the recount.

The waiver request was received by the City Clerk's office following a recount of ballots from three precincts.

Mr. Grant has agreed to accept the official certification of the results by the Duluth City Council from Novmber 9, 2009.

Care about our city parks? Join in the Parks Master Plan

These are the upcoming community input meetings for the Parks Master
Plan. The meetings will be the same, just at different dates/times so
that more people are able to attend.

Wednesday, December 2, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
Central Hillside Community Center, 12 E 4th St

Thursday, December 3, 11:00 AM-2:00 PM
Depot-Great Hall, 506 West Michigan Street

Thursday, December 3, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
Portman Community Center, 4601 McCulloch St

Tuesday, December 8, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
City Center West, 5830 Grand Ave

Story-telling for kids AND adults

I received this note from Elizabeth Nordell:

"Hope you can make one or both of these events:

This one is great for the whole family...

...November 19, 6:00 p.m.: 9th Annual Tellabration Family Storytelling event at Grant School, located at 1027 N 8th Ave. E., Duluth, MN. Tellers will include: Rachel Nelson, Harold Kallio, Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux, Elizabeth Nordell and Carol Lee and Sparky. Refreshments! Free will offering to the KAKO Foundation or Non-perishable food item appreciated.

Grownups enjoy a story and an adult beverage:

After you leave Grant, drop the children home, with a sitter or other responsible being, and come on down for some stories/stand-up for adults...

...Thursday, November 19, 8:15 p.m.: "Wit, Wisdom and Whatever.." a Tellabration Storytelling event for adults at Dubh Linn's Pub, The Murphy Room, 109 W Superior St., Duluth, MN. Tellers will include: Rachel Nelson, Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux, Sara Thomsen, Elizabeth Nordell and Carol Lee, Tom Martinson and Harold Kallio.$5/

Don't miss Festival of Seasons at the Farmers Market

I received this note on Facebook from Lois of "Farmer Doug":

"Plan to start your Christmas shopping on Saturday, November 21 at the Duluth Farmer's Market. There will be 26 local vendors with a great variety of items. Get your wreaths, garland, swags, kissing balls and even fresh holly at the Farmer Doug booth. Dress warm and enjoy the day."

See details here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Annual Christmas City of the North Parade to be Friday, Dec 21

On Friday, November 20, 2009, the 51st Annual Christmas City of the North Parade will be held on Superior Street in Downtown Duluth starting at 6:20 p.m. The parade route will be the same as last year. Parade units will assemble on Railroad Street. The parade will travel east on Railroad Street to Lake Avenue, across the Lake Avenue Bridge, and then west on Superior Street to the termination point at 5th Avenue West.
I-35 Northbound and Southbound exits onto Lake Avenue will be closed for duration of the parade, approximately 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. Travelers going to Canal Park or Park Point will have to use alternate routes to access Lake Avenue.

The following streets will have NO PARKING:

  • Superior Street after 5:00 p.m., 6th Avenue West to Lake Avenue on both sides. This will include handicapped zones. Cars parked in violation on Superior Street will be towed after 5:30 p.m.
  • Michigan Street after 5:00 p.m., between 5th and 6th Avenues West on both sides. This will include handicapped zones.
  • Harbor Drive is no parking.
The following streets will have Detours:
  • Railroad Street between Canal Park Drive and Garfield Avenue will be closed starting at 2:00 p.m. to facilitate the set up of KBJR’s television coverage and the parade lineup.
  • Lake Avenue South will be closed to through traffic at Buchanan Street. Northbound traffic off of Park Point will be detoured to Canal Park Drive starting at 2:00 p.m.

Motorists wanting to access the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) are encouraged to take I-35 and exit at 5th Avenue West. The only access to the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) from downtown during the parade will be by taking 6th Avenue West to Michigan Street, to 5th Avenue West, to Harbor Drive.

The only access to Park Point will be by Lake Avenue and Canal Park Drive

Monday, November 16, 2009

Duluth Parks and Recreation Commission Monthly Meeting held on Wednesday, November 18th at 4:00 PM

The Duluth Parks and Recreation Commission’s next monthly meeting will be held Wednesday, November 18, 2009. This public meeting will be held at the Parks and Recreation Office at 12 East Fourth Street, beginning at 4:00 PM.

Parks Master Plan Monthly Update will be presented by Kathy Bergen, Parks and Recreation Division Manager. A presentation will be made by Tim Howard and Brad Johnson regarding the Riverside Land Project.

A complete agenda for this meeting is available at the Parks and Recreation office.

For more information, call Parks and Recreation at 730-4300.

Recount for city council fourth distirct

There will be a recount for votes cast at the November 3, 2009 General Election for the

office of City Councilor Fourth District. The recount will be conducted pursuant to the

written request submitted by candidate Gordon Grant.

The recount will be held on Thursday, November 19, 2009, beginning at 9:00 a.m., in the Duluth City Council Chambers 3rd floor City Hall, 411 W. 1st Street, Duluth, MN, 55802.

The recount is open to the public and the ballots will be manually recounted.

Renters Unite!

Are you concerned about: Water leaks? Bad utilities (Heat, Water, Electricity)? Unfair Management Practices? Repairs not made/Absentee Landlords?
Are you interested in: Getting involved with Block Watches and Citizen Patrols? Fighting to protect the Renter’s Credit? Legislation that benefits renters in the upcoming session?

LINCOLN PARK Tuesday Nov. 17th 5:30 PM
Harrison Community Center ~ 3002 W. 3rd

ALL HILLSIDE Wednesday, Nov. 18th 6:00PM
Friends Meeting House ~ 1802 East 1st St.

(transportation available)

For more information call Allen @CHUM 740-2497

Give To The Max Day!

November 17th 2009

Online donations to CHUM will receive a portion of the $500,000 matching funds available

based on the gifts received during
24 hours starting 8 AM on the 17th.
Use the Donate Now button above or
Go to and push the Donate Now button.
Every donation made during Give to the Max Day will receive a portion of the $500,000 match. This means the exact amount matched per dollar donated will be determined after Give to the Max Day concludes. The $500,000 of matching funds will be divided by the total donations.
The three Minnesota nonprofits that receive donations from the most individuals will receive cash prizes: $5,000 1st prize, $2,500 2nd prize, and $1,000 3rd prize.
Transaction fees for gifts made on Give to the Max Day will be covered by so 100% of your gift make on line will go straight to CHUM. partners include 13 foundations,

such as the Minneapolis Foundation and the Saint Paul Foundation,

who developed the website to help Minnesota nonprofits

raise money more efficiently.

For more information contact Mary Schmitz at 218-720-6521


Friday, November 13, 2009

Motorists encouraged to stay away from snow plows

Visit Minnesota Winter Hazard Awareness Week here.

Mn/DOT snow plow crews ready for winter weather

The Minnesota Department of Transportation’s snow plow operators are trained, experienced and ready to assist motorists in facing another winter driving season.

“We have the equipment, technology and experienced crews to do an excellent job of keeping Minnesota’s roadways clear,” said Susan Mulvihill, Mn/DOT director of operations. “We have great confidence in our crews, and we are asking motorists to help us keep the roads safe during winter driving conditions by giving our plows room to work.”

Last year there were 103 snowplow/vehicle crashes in Minnesota and 27 of these crashes occurred when vehicles crashed into the back of snow plows. The crashes are typically caused by inattentive drivers or by motorists driving too close.

Snowplow trucks can be twice as wide as a semi truck. They are rigged with a plow that extends 12-15 feet out from the front of the truck and an 8-10 foot-wide side wing plow. Operators have much to monitor and control and their ability to see behind them is limited by side mirrors. Their vision can also be hampered by the snow clouds they create while plowing.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is for drivers to approach winter driving with caution and patience.” Mulvihill urged. “To keep themselves safe and the highways open, motorists need to stay away from snow plows.”

Mn/DOT urges drivers to follow these safety steps this winter:

--Keep a safe stopping distance between vehicles and stay at least five car lengths behind snow plows or other removal equipment.
--Never drive into a snow cloud.
--Give yourself plenty of travel time; don't put your schedule before safety.
--Clear snow and ice from vehicle windows, hood, headlights, brake lights and directional signals.
--Accelerate and decelerate slowly on icy/snow-covered roads to retain traction and avoid skids.
--Don’t “power up” hills which may cause wheels to spin. Build momentum before reaching a hill and don’t stop while traveling uphill. Reduce speed going downhill.
--Adjust speed to road and weather conditions. Lower speeds help drivers avoid crashes and minimize those that occur.
--Avoid using cruise-control.
--Turn headlights on when it is snowing or sleeting.
--Give driving your full attention; do not talk on cell phones or text while driving.
--Always wear seat belts.
--During storms, stay home if possible; avoid unnecessary travel.
--Watch for pedestrians---especially children-who may be walking on the street to avoid walking on impassable sidewalks.
--If your vehicle stalls, stay in your vehicle and call/wait for help.

Mn/DOT is working with several other state agencies and a group of safety organizations to sponsor Winter Hazards Awareness Week.

For winter driving tips and more winter safety information please visit

For information about road closures and current road conditions call 5-1-1 or log onto

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is now available on Facebook.

NHS annual dinner

Neighborhood Housing Services held their annual meeting last night at Holy Family Catholic Church in Lincoln Park. This was the second year for a spaghetti fundraiser dinner to coincide with the annual meeting. Board members, staff and friends made the dinner. There was also a silent auction and a band. (If you remember the band's name enter it in the comments.)The Lincoln Park Citizen's Patrol was awarded by Lt. Kerry Kolodge, West Area Patrol Commander, for the efforts and curbing crime in their neighborhood. The top photo is Lynn Nephew the president of the NHS board

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Northland FlavorTM offers new wholesale opportunity to regional artists

The Northeast Entrepreneur Fund will host a two-day Northland FlavorTM Marketplace March 7-8 (Sunday and Monday) in downtown Duluth at the Holiday Inn Conference Center . The event will allow regional artists to display their products to retail outlets such as gift shops, bookstores, floral shops, and galleries.

Eligible artists will be provided a draped exhibit table to their display their reproducible product lines to event visitors. This is a wholesale opportunity, not a retail event. Artists and retailers must register before the event by contacting the event organizer.

A new program of the Northeast Entrepreneur Fund, Northland Flavor will help artists throughout northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin blend their artistic talents with entrepreneurship. The goal of the program is to help local artists find new local markets and maximize their earning potential.

Participants at Northland Flavor Marketplace will include but are not limited to: high-quality crafters, visual artists, sculptors, potters, jewelry makers, photographers, musicians, writers, and specialty food producers. NEF is offering sessions to help artists prepare for the Northland Flavor marketplace.

To apply for the Northland Flavor Marketplace, or to register for one or more of the preparatory sessions, go to For more information on Northland Flavor, contact Suzanne Semborski, suzannes AT, 218-623-5729.

About the Northeast Entrepreneur Fund
The Northeast Entrepreneur Fund helps people start and grow successful small businesses. It provides training, consulting and financing to emerging and small businesses in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin .
Since 1989, NEF has helped start, stabilize or expand more than 1,000 businesses; helped create or retain nearly 3,000 jobs; provided $9 million in loans to nearly 500 businesses; and served 10,000 people through its training, consulting and lending programs. More than 85% of business owners who receive assistance from NEF are still in business two years later. To learn more, visit
The Greenstone Group, a 10-year initiative of NEF, seeks to foster a regional culture of entrepreneurship. It supports entrepreneurs through business performance coaching, access to professional services, and training, mentoring and networking opportunities. It also sponsors a campus entrepreneurship initiative with eight regional community colleges. To learn more, visit

Veterans Day and Activism

Veterans Day and Activism
From our vice president Scott Yeazle.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Deadline for December is coming soon


Deadline for the December issue is next week: Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 12 noon.


To prevent burglaries lock your doors and windows, light your entrances

I attend many meeting on crime. One thing the police say: ALWAYS lock your doors and windows. Even if you are out for just a little bit. I am vigilant about this. Not everyone agrees with me. Often people who share rentals with me will leave an outside door open so friends can come in. Or because they are just going for a short walk. But criminal watch this time of things and that is when they make there entrance.

This is the same for your car. Lots of people kinda tease me for my bags of stuff. But I remember Chief Ramsay saying, "If you can not afford to lose it, don't leave it in the car." So I often bring everything with me even when just visiting someone or a store for a bit. (Editor - Naomi)

The Duluth Police Department has seen a recent increase in residential burglaries in the East Hillside, Chester Parkway, and UMD neighborhoods. Police are investigating the incidents for any trends or similar patterns.

Police remind citizens to continue to lock the doors and windows of their homes, use exterior lighting to deter crime, and report suspicious people or circumstances by calling 911. Anyone with information on these burglaries is asked to call the Property Crimes Unit at 218-730-5160.

At this time police have no additional information available.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

How easy or hard is it to walk in your neighborhood?

Photos by Scott Yeazle

Today I attended a walkability audit. Twenty people met at the Grand Recreational Community Center. People met and discussed issues around streets, roads and sidewalks for about one hour. Then the group walked around East and Central Hillside. The meeting was led by Jim Skoog from St. Louis County Public Health

The following is a press release:

Research shows a link between urban design and inactivity, obesity and health problems. The workshop will highlight ways in which local land use and transportation decisions affect walking habits, personal health and overall physical activity. The workshop is designed for community officials, transportation planners, neighborhood residents and other local stakeholders. The workshop will identify real-world problems in the area around 6th Avenue East and help to create hands-on solutions.

During a four-hour workshop, local participants identify opportunities to reduce barriers and enhance opportunities for walking in their community – and build consensus on improving conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Walkable communities accommodate all types of transportation, including cars and transit, but focus on a safe and convenient environment for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Examples of design and planning “tools” available to promote a walkable community include:

  • Neighborhood and community public gathering centers, parks, and open space
  • Sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes and trails
  • Traffic-calming roadway design or road “diets”
  • Benches, lighting, trees and plants
  • Housing created closer to work
  • Nearby shops, restaurants and amenities
  • Public transportation

The workshop was facilitated by Fit City Duluth and St. Louis County’s Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) and the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission. Other support for the workshop was provided by the Duluth-Superior Area Community Foundation, Duluth LISC, and Neighborhood Housing Services.

To register for the workshop, contact Jim Skoog at St. Louis County Public Health at 725-5240 or email

Full day Saturday

This weekend is full of things to do:
  • Attend the All Souls Night, Get a gift or something good to eat at the Coppertop Craft and Bake Sale Saturday.
  • Craft sale at Holy Rosary
  • See how easy or not so easy it is to walk in the Hillside at the Walkabity audit Saturday - meet at Grant community center - 11 a.
  • Attend Women Rock-against cancer at Spirit Mt.,
  • See John Heino's art show at the Red Mug.

Whew! Make sure you take photos and send them in.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial receives award for anti-racism initiative

The Nettleton Drummers at the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial site during a June 2007 remembrance ceremony. (Photo by Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff) For educational material on eliminating hatred phone 218-3186 ext. 2 or visit:

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits has selected the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial, Inc. to receive an award of excellence for their anti-racism initiative. The Memorial started its work in 2000 and is currently operating as a non-profit organization.

“We are very honored to be selected for this award. Being recognized as a model for fostering racial understanding in Minnesota and around the country helps to validate the work that we have done and inspires us for the work that remains.” says Linda Rau, a Co-Chair of the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial, Inc.

The organization hosts the annual vigil in remembrance of Elias Clayton, Elmer Jackson and Isaac McGhie; develops curriculum and DVD’s about racial equity in education; conducts workshops for local teachers; and is currently in the process of setting up a scholarship endowment fund with the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation.

“The Memorial continues to be part of the healing process for the Duluth community and has helped establish respectful discussions on race,” says Henry Banks, a founding member of the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial. Banks credits former Mayor Gary Doty for his commitment to the Memorial’s work and subsequent Mayors for their continued support.

“This award and statewide recognition of the organization and its efforts are well deserved. Duluth is proud to have such committed members of the community working as a unified front to address the problems of racism in our community. The Memorial serves as a reminder that an ongoing and honest dialogue is critical to fostering a healthy community,” says Mayor Don Ness.

The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Anti-Racism Initiative Award recognizes an organization that actively engages audiences in anti-racism activities. Nominated organizations should: work to eliminate prejudice and racism in society; demonstrate a commitment to pluralism and inclusivity; and develop unique and thought-provoking strategies to combat racism.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Interviewing Lyle Wildes

Today I interviewed Lyle Wildes. After serving 22 years in federal prison, he wrote a book named the Positive Additude Development Workbook. He he is a motivational speaker and talks about core values. Learn more at the website Positive Attitude Development Group.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


When stopping to gas up, you can also recycle your plastic bottles

Captions: Bottom - Left to right; Lena Schaumburg - MSOCS, Kirk Grandell - Coca Cola, Ellen Telander - executive director RAM, and Olaf Urban Coca Cola and Mike McGrath. Upper - Garrett Secola of the West End says he tries to recycle at home because he believes it is the right thing to do. He says his garbage at home would overflow if they didn't recycle. Here he is using the "Message in a Bottle." (Photos by Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff)

Lots of people clean out their cars when they refill their tanks at the gas station, but many stations do not provide recycling options. Now when people go to a Little Store convenience store and gas station in Duluth, they will see a four-foot tall plastic bottle beside the trash cans. These bottles are actually containers to place plastic recyclable beverage bottles.

This afternoon I attended a kick-off event at the Little Store on 1831 W. Superior St. The purpose of the event was to introduce the concept of recycling away from home and to catch people in the act of recycling. Prizes of soda pop, bumper stickers, t-shirts and products made from recyclable materials were given away. I met several people including Ellen Telander of Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM), a non-profit organization which encourages people to recycle. RAM is working in partnership with Minnesota Waste Wise and Western Lake Superior Sanitary District with two programs - "Message in a Bottle" and "Its' in the Bag"

An organization which employs developmentally disabled people, AirPark Products & Services (APS), will collect the containers of plastic recyclables so that they can use them to make recyclable products. APS is a division of the Minnesota State Operated Community Services (MSOCS) programs. APS employees will sort and package the recyclables for transport. The program is projected to create more than 20 full-time jobs at APS.

YWCA awards three with Women of Distinction Awards: one young woman with an emerging award

Caption - From left to right: Debby Ortman, Rebecca St. James, Sara Thomsen and Eleni Johnson (Photo by Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff).

Today I attended the YWCA's 2009 Women of Distinction award luncheon at the DECC. The room was packed with about 200 people representing Duluth businesses, non-profits and neighborhood organizations. Ellen O'Neil, executive director of the YWCA introduced the award ceremony and gave a brief background on each woman.

Sara Thomsen, one of those awarded, said, "If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing." She said that every person has his or her own song and dance to exude. She urged everyone to make a difference saying, "Make your own kind of music even if nobody sings along."

The group also heard from two young women living in the YWCA Spirit Valley Home. Those young women were Katie Vujcevic and Dorothy Annamitta. Both women have infants Annamitta gave a tearful account of learning to care for her baby and her goal to become a strong native Menominee woman. She fought bouts of depression and said, "I still struggle everyday, but when I see Asia's (her baby) smile it is all worth it."

Those recognized were:

Debby Ortman
- community organizer. Debby has been a community organizer for over 25 years and active in the League of Women Voters for 10 years. She has played a key role in the community as an advocate for the importance of protecting the environment through citizen participation.

Rebecca St. George - law student at Hamline University. Rebecca worked for Mending the Sacred Hoop/Domestic Abuse Intervention Program for 10 years. During that time she was a Native Women's Advocate and recently coordinated a Safety and Accountability Audit of the systems response to Native women reporting sexual abuse in and around Duluth.

Sara Thomsen - director of Echoes of Peace Choir. As the founder of the choir, Sara has committed all concert proceeds to benefit community organizations that work on social justice issues. Using music to inspire, engage and motivate, Sara captures the imagination and heart of choir members and the general public.

Eleni Johnson - age 21, was honored as an emerging leader. She is active at the Women’s Resource Action Center and a strong advocate for the safety of women and for women participating in their communities.”

Monday, November 02, 2009

All Souls Night to be celebrated on Nov. 6, honors loved-ones

Caption: Kiri Langseth-Schmidt in costume for the 2008 All Souls Night. (Photo by Michael Anderson)

The second annual All Souls Night in Duluth will be held the evening of Friday, Nov. 6 at the Depot Great Hall, 506 W. Michigan St. The event is inter-generational and a freewill donation is suggested.

The holiday focuses on gatherings of friends and family who remember and pray for loved ones and others who have passed on. This event honors ancestors through art and festivities of old and new world traditions, especially the Mexican Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), celebrations of life through the acknowledgment of death.

Public participation is encouraged. Altar-building is Sunday, Nov. 1 at the Depot at 1 p.m. Many people find this a profound way to honor relatives, friends, celebrities or even social justice issues and include photos, favorite foods, small objects, flowers, and candles. The theme displays are creative and have included: financial meltdown, environmental anguish and homelessness. Participants may express whatever weighs heavy on their hearts.

Exhibits of the altars will be open for viewing Monday through Friday 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Doors open for the All Souls Night event Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. at the Depot Great Hall. The public is invited and encouraged to wear black, dress up as skeletons, and volunteer to carry large puppets and join music making. At 7 p.m. a procession will march around the downtown public library (which is across the street from the Depot) and gather to see the Spin Collective fire dancers. The parade includes a Funeral March for Rotten Ideas section to put to rest “bad ideas.”

This event is organized and sponsored by artist Mary Plaster (, The Depot, and the Duluth Playhouse.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The River Church performs "The Yellow Brick Road"

Captions: Dorothy played by Valerie Broman, Munchkins Elyse Noe, Brooklyn Lopez, Amanda Noe, Madison Becker, David Farley, Sophie Fredrick, Gracie Komarek and Eden Nelson. Mayor Munchkin (in green) played by Danielle Vagle.

I like to keep up on what is going on with the churches in our catchment area. Last month The River Church, formerly Glad Tidings Church, 1902 E Fourth St., placed an ad for a play named "The Yellow Brick Road." I ran their ad again this month because the November issue came out before the play date. Anyway, I thought I would go see it because as editor it is good for me to continue to met new people. Well, I ended up sitting right beside the lead pastor, the Rev. Robert Dean and we visited a bit. He said over 300 people showed up on Halloween night and estimated about 275 were there this afternoon.

I thought that play was very well done. It was a take-off on "The Wizard of Oz." The actors did an excellent job, the costumes looked great. The sets were good, and set changes went smoothly. The choreography was well done too. The music had me singing along although the words were slightly different than the original "Wizard of Oz." The play did have a message, you need Jesus in your heart, you need to pray in the name of Jesus and invoking Jesus' name will ward of demons. (Those scary parts worked well with the Halloween weekend.)

Witch played by Daine McGill, and she was scary.

Scarecrow was played by Joshua Dean, his facial expressions and limber body movements were great.

Tin Man was played by Pamela Stangland....she also did a good job with the movements - stiff with rust.

Sherman Fredrick played the cowardly lion and had you believing his cowardice was sweet.

The scary monkeys included Amanda Noe, Elyse Noe, Aundraya Shumann and Brandon Yeazle.

Ozwald was play be Carl Vagle,
Jesus was played by Erick Nelson and Jeri Anne Noe played the mirror.