Tim Faklis joins Review staff

My interest in writing happened by accident. I’m like the Post-it note of journalists.
When I was a 14-year-old freshman in the Edina School District, I had a sudden urge to write about the Minnesota Twins and pro-basketball legend George Mikan, and subsequently created a free blog to accomplish this goal.


River Heights Chamber of Commerce notes Simons Landscaping

Simons Landscaping in West St. Paul recently received the 2014 Small Business of the Year award. (submitted photo)

25th anniversary of award marked
The River Heights Chamber of Commerce has named Simons Landscaping its 2014 Small Business of the Year.
Owner Dave Simons and his mom, Patti Simons, company vice president, accepted the award at the chamber’s annual small business luncheon and trade show Thursday, April 17 at Southview Country Club in West St. Paul.


Here to tell your stories

Although my title is now news editor, I’m really a reporter at heart.
I started out at Lillie Suburban Newspapers as a staff writer last fall, covering North St. Paul, Maplewood and Lake Elmo. A couple of weeks ago, I was given a promotion, and started receiving a lot more emails and phone calls to sift through.
That’s because I’m the person South-West Review readers should contact about news items, story ideas or just something interesting they’ve seen or heard around town.


Satisfy that sweet tooth a healthier way

Have a sweet tooth, but trying to be conscious about what you eat?
Good news: Now you can enjoy your dessert — without all the guilt — with simple ingredient substitutions suggested by the Mayo Clinic and The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The following tips can help not only cut calories and fat, but also add nutrients.


Sue Powell named Magnet Schools of America’s Region VI Principal of the Year

Sue Powell, principal of Garlough Environmental Magnet School in West St. Paul, has been named Magnet Schools of America’s (MSA) 2013-14 Region VI Principal of the Year.


Inver Grove Heights teacher overcame tragedy to find her life’s passion

Salem Hills Elementary in Inver Grove Heights has a gem of teacher, Mrs. Kim Westra, who worked her fifth grade students, Lincoln Bacal, left, and Eliana Bly, right, on their art projects on April 2. (Linda E. Andersen/Review)

Kim Westra, nearly 2, and her mother, Patricia, 20, sit in front of an apartment in April of 1970. Westra says her mom, who finished college while raising a toddler on her own, was a huge influence in her career path. Westra is one of 10 finalists for the 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year award. (Submitted photo)

Kim Westra leads her class of fourth- and fifth-graders on April 2 at Salem Hills Elementary School in Inver Grove Heights. (Linda E. Andersen/Review)

Kim Westra’s grandma, Ruth Kraemer, left, and her mom, Patricia Gale Cretilli, in May 1970. (Submitted photo)

Kim Westra’s first grade school photo. She says she got into fights, and wasn’t a great student around that time, but found out education was her true passion later in life. (Submitted photo)

Kim Westra’s dad, Peter Kraemer, the day of his high school graduation. He immigrated when he was 9 from Germany. He became the first in his family to graduate from college. (Submitted photo)

Kim Westra almost didn’t become a teacher.
When her father committed suicide a few years after his teenage son was murdered, Westra had just started graduate school.


Visitation’s Upper School in Mendota Heights names next director

Rene Gavic

Rene Gavic, Visitation’s Upper School director of student life, was recently named the next director of the Mendota Heights institution.


Sweet treat on tap - photos

Naturalist Matt Ripple demonstrated how tree sap is cooked in a large cauldron outdoors at the center on March 29. The tree sap is made up of mostly water, which is heated for hours to make syrup.

Tapped trees are scattered all over the grounds of the Dodge Nature Center in West St. Paul, waiting for the weather to cooperate and sap to start flowing.

photos by Linda E. Andersen/Review