An Open Letter to Nicole Curtis

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**Please note** The following are my own words and opinions. They are in way associated with the organizations for which I volunteer or am employed.

 

Dear Ms. Curtis:

I’d like to start by thanking you for all the work you have done to rejuvenate the dilapidated housing stock around the Twin Cities and elsewhere. The work you do is incredibly important and I admire your courage in completing projects in neighborhoods which others have written off. These communities are worth investment, and I’m glad that you have highlighted how strong and vibrant they are, regardless of what we might hear through the media. I believe that your efforts will contribute to a renaissance in these neighborhoods, and for that we should be grateful.

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Tech High: A Tradition of Excellence, A Future in Flux

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The other day I was wondering to myself, what makes the St. Cloud “metro” area different than the Twin Cities, aside from the obvious size difference. I think that one of St. Cloud’s great qualities is how it changes from edge to edge – it has its historic downtown, paying homage to the city’s beginnings, a commercial district with the more familiar car-oriented layout surrounded by suburban-esque residential development and, at its peripheries, rural expanses of farm land and natural amenities. A person can experience a little bit of everything in the greater St. Cloud area. My parents’ house is located on 10 acres of land against the backdrop of a pond, home to loons and wood-ducks, and yet every day I went to high school at the center of town.

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2014: A Review

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Welcome to 2015 and happy New Year!

I was planning on posting a piece about my high school, St. Cloud Tech, but I’m not quite finished with it yet and so I’ll share that with you in February. The School Board has decided to build a new school, opting to relocate from the 1917 building where I attended high school from 2001 to 2005. I am disappointed by this decision and I’d like to share my thoughts on why as well as what can still be done to keep the school right where it is, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, since January 1st happens to not only be the first Thursday of January, but also the first Thursday of 2015 – I thought it might be appropriate to share some of my highlights from the past year.

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Life According to Grandma McKenzie

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It’s hard to believe that it is already December and we’re wrapping up 2014. I feel like it was just yesterday that the year started. This year ends on a bit of a somber note for me, personally, as I lost both of my grandmothers this past November. I’ve been lucky enough to have them for such a large part of my life. I truly feel fortunate to have had the time to learn about them and get to know what incredible lives they led. While this has been a difficult time for me and my family, I’ve noticed that the loss of loved ones affects us all in very different ways. I’ve spent time thinking about the person I have become, the person I want to be and all the things and people that have played a role in getting me to this point. With that, I realized, more so than ever before, the impact my Grandma McKenzie had on the adult I’ve become. Now that she is gone, I wonder if she ever knew how important she was to me and how thankful I am to have had her as a strong female role model. In her honor, I’d like to take a break from my normal blog topics and share with you some life lessons I learned from my Grandma McKenzie.

Grandma

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This one’s for you, Grandma Bev

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Front View of Grandma's House

As those of you who know me personally are aware, my grandmother, Beverly VanderEyk, passed away on Sunday. My grandma holds a special place in my heart; she was a kind and loving woman who always had a smile on her face when I walked through the door. Grandma was there with me during some of the most important moments in my life. She was there to cradle me when I was baptized, there to see me off to prom, there to celebrate birthdays, holidays, graduations and the purchase of my first home. One of my favorite moments was showing her a home design I drew for a project in school while studying for my Associate’s degree. I would later receive an award for the floor plan and the home was constructed just a few short blocks from where my grandma lived. I was so proud to bring her to that house and show her my little floor plan had become a reality. It’s difficult to imagine a world without my grandma; I’m still struggling to comprehend it. I decided to dedicate November’s blog post to Grandma Bev and write a little bit about the house my dad grew up in… the house I spent many a Christmases, Thanksgivings and Easters in… the house that my grandma called home.

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