Sean Kershaw was recently named director of the Saint Paul Department of Public Works, while John McCarthy is the new director of the city’s Office of Financial Services and Melanie McMahon is the new executive project lead for redevelopment. Kershaw, a West End resident, was vice president at the Wilder Foundation’s Center for Communities from late 2017 to June 2020. Prior to that, he was executive director of the Citizens League from 2003-2017 and served 11 years as project manager and deputy director for the city’s Department of Planning and Economic Development. McCarthy joined the city’s financial office in 2007 and has served as interim director since February 2019. McMahon will be responsible for driving progress on eight key real estate projects within the city, including the Ford site, Sears, Central Station, RiverCentre ramp, Hillcrest golf course, Boys Totem Town, Snelling-Midway and Rivers Edge. She previously was a legislative aide in the city’s Ward 3 office and served on the Highland District Council’s board of directors.
Nicolle Goodman began work in August as the new director of the city of Saint Paul’s Department of Planning and Economic Development. Since 2015, she has served as vice president of operations and redevelopment programs for the nonprofit Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Oklahoma with a concentration in public management, and is a Congress for New Urbanism accredited professional.
David Brauer has been named the new board chair of Jewish Community Action, 2375 University Ave. He is a Twin Cities journalist who has worked for MinnPost, City Pages, Southwest Journal and Twin Cities Reader.
Peter Valentas, the son of Vanna and Chris Valentas of Merriam Park, has graduated from the U.S. Military Academy (West Point). He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in the field artillery branch and reported to Fort Stewart, Georgia, for his first assignment.
The Metropolitan Regional Arts Council board awarded $586,032 to 63 organizations in the third and final round of its 2020 Arts Project Support grant program. The board also awarded $107,382 to 12 groups in the first year of the Access Improvement grant program made possible by an appropriation from the state Legislature. Local organizations receiving Arts Project Support awards include $7,000 to School District 197 Community Education for its School-Age Care Summer Camp in June-August at Moreland School; $10,00 to the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota community for its 21st annual Wacipi (pow wow) in September at Saint Peter’s Church; $10,000 to BareBones Productions for its 27th annual Halloween Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza in October at Hidden Falls Park; and $6,999 to the Victoria Theater Arts Center for arts workshops at its University Avenue location from July-September. Local groups receiving Access Improvement grants included $10,000 to Sounds of Hope to support 28 weekly singing and percussion sessions for seniors at Little Sisters of the Poor in Saint Paul. For a full list of the awards, see mrac.org.
Rick Linsk of Macalester-Groveland was elected president of the Saint Paul Jewish Federation board of directors at its 85th annual meeting this summer. Linsk chaired the federation’s Central Budget and Review Committee from 2013-15, served as board vice president from 2016-18 and president-elect since 2018. He was a reporter with the Pioneer Press from 1999-2006 and since 2009 has been an attorney with Lockridge Grindal Nauen PLLP.
Jeffrey Sieben, a Macalester-Groveland resident and partner with the SiebenCarey law firm, has been selected as a 2020 Minnesota Top 100 Super Lawyers honoree. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers since 2006. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Saint John’s University and received his law degree from William Mitchell in 2001.
Dan “Klecko” McGleno, a longtime Highland Park resident, was named the winner in the general poetry category of the 30th annual Midwest Book Awards for Hitman-Baker-Casketmaker: Aftermath of an American’s Clash with ICE (Paris Morning Publications, March 2019). A master baker, his collection of poems reveals the circumstances behind the 2018 closing of his Saint Agnes Baking Company just days before the Twin Cities hosted Super Bowl LII. The 30-year-old bakery was scheduled to be a primary vendor for the event. Klecko writes about the emotional fallout of disbanding the bakery’s crew, most of whom were immigrants. For the full list of book award winners, visit mipa.org/midwest-book-awards.
Mayor Melvin Carter is seeking members to serve on a new Saint Paul Climate Justice Advisory Board (CJAB), which will support the development of policies and programs informed by the city’s Climate Action and Resilience Plan. The CJAB will be made up of 13-17 residents, including one member from each of the seven wards, at least two seats for youths ages 14-19, and one representative each from the building/construction trades, business community and academia. Board members will serve two-year terms, with youth members serving for one year. Applications are available at stpaul.gov/boards.
Simone Hardeman-Jones has been named the founding executive director of the GreenLight Fund Twin Cities. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Hardeman-Jones most recently was the national director of policy and partnerships at Educators for Excellence (E4E), a national education nonprofit. She also previously served as a deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, and before that as a policy advisor to U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and the late Kay R. Hagan. The GreenLight Fund works to transform the lives of children and families in high-poverty urban areas. Visit greenlightfund.org.
Highland Friendship Club, a nonprofit organization that provides social and learning opportunities for teens and adults with disabilities, has named Patty Dunn as its executive director. Dunn most recently served as director of marketing at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. She has worked in journalism, public relations and marketing roles for more than 25 years in the Twin Cities. Visit highlandfriendshipclub.org.
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