The Saint Paul Roy Wilkins Chapter of the NAACP recently presented Outstanding Servant Leadership Awards to Saint Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell, Golden Thyme Coffee and Cafe co-owners Mychael and Stephanie Wright, Hallie Q. Brown executive director Jonathan Palmer and Ward 7 City Council member Jane Prince. Outstanding Community Service Awards were presented to Eastern District Police Commander Kurtis Hallstrom, retired Concordia University vice president Dr. Cheryl Chatman, Mitchell Hamline vice dean Jim Hilbert, Saint Paul NAACP Finance Committee members Shaval Webb and Leah Wellnitz, and Minnesota-Dakota Area Conference NAACP treasurer Marquitta Ransom.

Jewish Family Service of Saint Paul, 1633 W. Seventh St., recently was awarded $30,000 grants from the F.R. Bigelow Foundation and the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation. Both grants are unrestricted and will be used to support ongoing human and social service programs.

From left, Mychael and Stephanie Wright being presented with their Outstanding Servant Leadership Award by NAACP president Richard Pittman Sr.

Dr. Kate Beane has been appointed as the 10th executive director of the Minnesota Museum of American Art, 350 N. Robert St. Beane most recently served as the director of the Native American Initiatives at the Minnesota Historical Society. She began her new role at the M in mid-December. Due to the pandemic, the M was continuing to exhibit works in its window galleries as well as in the skyway, virtually, and at partner facilities, in anticipation of commencing construction work on the final phase of downtown facility. Visit

Ramsey County deputy manager Kathy Hedin of Macalester-Groveland recently received an outstanding service award from the Association of Minnesota Counties. Hedin has 20 years of progressive leadership experience in local government. She previously served as the public health director for the county and continues to be a key leader in the county’s continuing COVID-19 pandemic response.

Anwar Hassouni, who has been a student, coach and staff member at Circus Juventas in Highland Park since 2006, has joined the professional Royal Hanneford Circus, where he will be performing in chair stacking, flying trapeze and trampoline. Hassouni of Highland Park has grown up in the circus world, with his father Mostapha, aunt Chimgee and cousin Tamir all previously performing with Ringling Bros. and Barmun & Bailey Circus, and now coaching with Circus Juventas.

Kristien Butler was recently named the new director of Saint Paul’s Department of Human Rights & Equal Economic Opportunity (HREEO). Butler was born and raised in the Bahamas and has called Minnesota his second home for the past 20 years. He attended Saint John’s University before earning his law degree at what is now Mitchell Hamline. He previously served in the Office of Equity & Diversity in Minneapolis Public Schools, then as an assistant public defender for Hennepin County for nearly a decade. He joined Saint Paul’s HREEO as deputy director in early 2021 and has served as interim director since last April.

Ramsey County’s comprehensive public engagement strategy for the 2020 U.S. Census and 2020 presidential election earned it a County Achievement Award on December 7 from the Association of Minnesota Counties.

World Without Genocide, a human rights organization based at 875 Summit Ave., was recently selected for formal association with the United Nations Department of Global Communications, joining a network of 1,500 civil society entities from around the world. World Without Genocide was founded 16 years ago by executive director Ellen J. Kennedy.  Since 2010, the organization has been located at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, where Kennedy teaches courses in human rights as an adjunct professor of law. 

Richard D. Thompson has been named the new producing and directing associate at the History Theatre, 30 E. 10th St. The new position is designed to expand capacity and perspectives of the artistic decision-making team that includes artistic director Ron Peluso and artistic associate Laurie Flanigan Hegge. Thompson comes to History Theatre with a wealth of experience in the Twin Cities as an actor, educator, dancer, choreographer and stage director.

Lee Krueger will step down as president of the Saint Paul Port Authority on March 1 to resume his career in commercial real estate and development. Krueger joined the Port Authority in 2012 as senior vice president of real estate and development and became president in 2016. During his tenure, he led such development projects as the Treasure Island Center in downtown and Allianz Field in the Midway. The Port Authority board of commissioners will hire a firm to conduct a national search for Krueger’s replacement. Todd Hurley, the Port Authority’s chief financial officer and chief operating officer, will serve as president in the interim.


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