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2023 in the West End

St. Paul’s West End continued to be as vibrant and lively as ever, and the Community Reporter was there to capture the stories of the people and places that make our community so special.

While we care about every story in our community, here are a few that give a snapshot into the year that was 2023.

Community members rally to save the Justus Ramsey House.

Justus Ramsey House

In late 2022, the Justus Ramsey house, one of the oldest structures in the state, was slated for demolition. But the community rallied and found new life, and a new home, for the historic building.

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Wildflyer Coffee

When Fresh Grounds shuttered in the wake of the pandemic, many in the community were sad to see the mission driven coffee joint go. Then Wildflyer Coffee, a work and life skills program aimed at tackling youth homelessness that takes the shape of a café, moved in.

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House of Thune

West 7th’s House of Thune took home top honors in the world snow sculpting competition held in Stillwater in January, beating teams from around the globe, including teams representing Canada, Turkey, Finland and others.

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Keystone’s past president Mary McKeown and new President Adero Riser.

Keystone transition

After 20 cumulative years with Keystone Community Services, Mary McKeown stepped down from her role as President and CEO in June. Her successor, Adero Riser Cobb, is no stranger to the halls of Keystone Community Services herself.

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Fort Road Federation celebrates 50 years

The Fort Road Federation’s leadership honored the past while looking ahead at the annual Federation meeting, which marked the district council’s 50th year of operation. They also welcomed Julia McColley as their newest Executive Director in March.

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Art Crawl(s)

The St. Paul Art Crawl celebrated another year of showcasing local artists over multiple weekends. With one in the spring and one in the fall, there was art for all this year.

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Hail Mary Piercing

Hail Mary Piercing, which opened in April, is not your stereotypical piercing shop and is aiming to change perceptions while changing customers’ experience. 

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Moms Demand Action

Gretchen Damon and Emily Benzie, part of Moms Demand Action, talk about sensible firearm restrictions as the group gets results in 2023. 

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Residents from United Family Physicians share the results of their outreach with the community.

United Family Physicians residency program

For the first time since 2019, residents with United Family Physicians were able to highlight the work they are doing in the community. 

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Grand Oak Opry

“The thing that weirds people out is you’re walking into our backyard,” Said Sean Kershaw, who along with his husband Tim Hawkins, operate the Grand Oak Opry concert venue out of their, well, backyard.

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St. Francis de Sales 50th reunion

On June 3, 1973, the eighth graders at St. Francis de Sales attended the 9:30 a.m. Mass; all dressed-up and well coiffured. While most students seemed elated to be moving on to high school, they also knew they were all leaving something very special behind. 

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Homeless Assistance Response Team

The City of St. Paul has taken a unique approach to homeless encampments – meeting them where they are to provide services and a little HART.

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2023 election

This year was a big one for politics in St. Paul, with a new dynamic on the city council and school board, and a new 1% sales tax coming our way.

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Ancker Hospital

Time Rumsey provides us with a bit of history on what was once the regional hospital for St. Paul, right in our own backyard.

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Joseph’s Coat welcomes new leader

Joseph’s Coat, a St. Paul free store, providing goods and services to people in need in an environment of dignity and respect, welcomed their new executive director, Rebecca Bedner, in September.

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Forepaugh’s get’s a new lease on life

On September 25, the HPC approved the demolition and reconstruction of the front porch of the historic Forepaugh mansion, with the restaurant reopening a possibility. 

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Cossetta’s in the panettone world cup

In 2013, Dave Cossetta decided to add a quest to his and his team’s agenda: To Master the Art of Panettone and Pan d’Oro. In 2023, they were the only U.S. based team to qualify for the Coppa del Monde in Milano, 2024.

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Greg Ekbom of Say by Day Cafe celebrated 50 years of sobriety in November.

Day by Day Cafe owner celebrates 50 years of sobriety

Long-time employee at Day by Day, Saul Garcia, said wanted to mark the occasion by surprising Ekbom because he has meant so much to the recovery community, and the West 7th community, in St. Paul. He contacted the Mayor’s office to have November 26, 2023 officially recognized as “Greg Ekbom Day” in the city.

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