100 years of research
A singular St. Paul institution — Wilder Research — is noting 100 years of contributions to our community.
“From our first study in 1917 to today, our research has focused on getting at the heart of community concerns and examining issues that are often overlooked or misunderstood,” Wilder Research says on its website.
Findings from that first study — an examination of housing conditions in the capital city — reportedly shocked the community. Wilder researchers visited more than 5,000 dwellings that were home to approximately 22,000 people, according to the website. “Housing conditions were described as a ‘menace to the health, safety and privacy of thousands of St. Paul people.’ Some sections of the city were described to be ‘wholly unsuited for human habitation.’”
Among results was enactment of the city’s first housing ordinance the next year.
Wilder Research says that each year it issues about 250 reports that help clients — nonprofits, service providers, government agencies, foundations and policymakers — better understand major social issues and how they can most effectively address them.
It also notes that being part of an operating foundation gives it “an immediate link to service programs, and the unique opportunity to test and evaluate innovative programming.”
Serving teens this summer
Good work involving the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation and the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities deserves a shout-out.
A donation from the foundation is providing up to 5,000 free YMCA memberships for Twin Cities teenagers this summer, the Pioneer Press reported.
Teens need a safe place to go in their communities that is flexible, engaging and accessible to all, says a statement from the YMCA. It makes two important points: that drinking, drug use and other risky behaviors increase during the summer when young people’s time is less structured, and that only 20 percent of today’s 16- to 17-year-olds hold a summer job, with the rate even lower among teens of color.
“We believe supporting the YMCA summer program is a unique opportunity to directly provide an educational and enriching experience for teens and their families during the summer months,” said Mark Dienhart, president and CEO of the Schulze Family Foundation. “This program will offer a safe space for teens to spend time and make new friends, to get social and physical activity opportunities, to connect with caring adults, to gain leadership development, to offer service learning opportunities and to explore a pathway to part-time jobs at the Y.”
The donation — $500,000 from the foundation created by the founder of Richfield-based Best Buy — will fund the Y’s Get Summer program through 2019.
Cadets race to victory
Congratulations to the Experimental Vehicle Team from St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights, which raced the energy-efficient battery-electric car it designed and built, winning a world championship in competition last month in London.
“I am so proud of the whole team — the boys who were here in London and those back in Minnesota,” the team’s co-moderator, Caroline Little, said in a statement. “We wouldn’t have made it this far without their tremendous teamwork, ingenuity and competitive spirit.”
In earlier competition in Detroit at which their vehicle achieved a pace of 50.3 miles per kilowatt hour, the team won an all-expenses-paid trip to London to compete in the Shell Drivers’ World Championship. With its latest win, the team will receive a week-long, all-expenses-paid trip to Scuderia Ferrari — the racing division of the Italian auto maker — in Maranello, Italy, later this year.
On Facebook, it’s noted that the team was created “to take students out of the textbook and provide budding engineers with real-life problem-solving activities. Students are pushed to realize that science is not always easy, does not always work, and that the answers are not always at the back of the book.”
Thank you, Chief Schnell
We thank Paul Schnell, who retired last week after a distinguished career in law enforcement in the east metro. His career has included serving as director of public safety in Maplewood since 2013, and also as Hastings police chief and as a public information officer for the St. Paul Police Department.
No matter the topic — body cams, community policing, truck weights or transparency — the editorial board has benefited from Schnell’s candor and insights.
The good word about downtown
Recent word that a St. Paul office-condo building is for sale came with an encouraging affirmation of downtown vitality.
The Pioneer Press reported that the offer involving Landmark Towers on St. Peter Street includes 20 floors of office space and a more than 300-stall parking ramp, but not the structure’s five floors of luxury condominiums.
The seller is hoping to take advantage of recent developments — and prospects of more — in downtown St. Paul, Pioneer Press intern Kayla Song wrote.
“Downtown St. Paul is experiencing some incredible revitalization with the influx of new residents, access to light-rail transit and around-the-clock activities and services,” she quoted Frank Sherwood of CBRE’s Minneapolis office, which is marketing the tower’s commercial space.
The Hall has called
Pioneer Press columnist Joe Soucheray has been named to the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame. He’ll be inducted in September. On radio, Soucheray holds court weekday afternoons on ESPN 1500AM as the mayor of “Garage Logic.” Congratulations, Joe!
Just so there’s no doubt, the show’s Facebook page provides the lay of the land: Garage Logic is the seat of Gumption County, down the road from Diversityville, but not as far as Liberal Lakes.
Further, deep-seated right here, Opinuendo sayeth not.