University Grove E-News

2303 Folwell Fire
Grove Home Tour
Traffic Triangle
The Forum Board

March 2011 Grove E-News
This is the second edition of the online Grove E-news – there was no February edition. On Feb. 23, residents received a text-only email regarding the 2303 Folwell fire. The January 2011 Grove E-news is online.

Wanted: a home in the Grove
A new international faculty member in the School of Medicine is looking to buy a Grove home, or rent with an option to buy, starting in August 2011. Also, a married, professional couple is looking to rent or house sit this summer in the neighborhood from June 1–Aug 31. Contact for more information.

Grove featured in March 2011 issue of the MSP Magazine
Former StarTribune architect columnist Linda Mack included the Grove neighborhood in a story she wrote on the revival of mid-century modern architecture in the March Minneapolis St. Paul magazine. The popular appeal in mid-century modernism, as evidenced by last fall's sold out trolley tours through our neighborhood led by the MN Historical Society, is a result of the merging of two communities. According to Mack, the current generation of two communities: the historical preservationists, and the design field, have converged creating a following of modernism revival enthusiasts.

2303 Folwell Fire
We lost one of our own
by Karen Kloser
Last summer, the new homeowners of 2303 Folwell, Marcia and Berkan Endres, began restoring and renovating this 1931 classic Tudor-style, half-timbered stucco house to its original beauty: Marcia had hand-salvaged the bathroom's original Vitrolite glass tiles of hardened adhesive and joint cement.

Last month, as Berkan and I stood in ash-covered snow, he pointed to the home's original coal bin he spent two weekends refurbishing. As we talked, the demolition backhoe hovered above it.

Neighbors who witnessed the house fire, met Feb. 22 at Donna Senauer's home to discuss the fire emergency response situation and shared their harrowing memories of the early morning hours of Feb. 3.

Falcon Heights Mayor Peter Lindstrom, and Grove resident and council member, Beth Mercer-Taylor also attended this gathering. Some of the issues raised included: response time from the first 911 call, fire department site management, using the full-time St. Paul Fire Station 23 on Como vs. volunteer firefighters, and employing automatic aid requests from surrounding communities as well as other questions.

Via Mayor Lindstrom, Falcon Heights City Manager Justin Miller replied to the group's requests for additional information. See the city manager's letter in full text. Continued discussions led to researching the benefits of a fire protection needs' assessment (see next article).

The result of the fire investigation was inconclusive as it was deemed too unsafe to get into the basement.

Following the city's manager's reply, Falcon Heights Council Member Beth Mercer-Taylor wrote in response: "...I believe that the literal size and damage from this fire left many of us in the neighborhood feeling vulnerable or scared. At the same time, I know that my family and Grove residents very much appreciate the personal commitment to saving lives and property that is made by our volunteer firefighters, in this incident, in their training and in the hundreds of fire calls they get each year. They risk their own lives in service to others and they deserve deep respect for that.

If there are specific pieces of information about this fire that have not yet been provided, it is important that those of us on the council, and for Justin, to hear what those are so that we can work to respond appropriately. I realize that there are larger questions about automatic aid, particularly with St. Paul, that are not addressed yet. The council and staff will need time to research and consider such questions as part of considering public safety goals. We will do that."

From the 2303 Folwell homeowners:
We would like to thank all the neighbors for their support in this difficult time. It has been very comforting and it reinforces to us the strong sense of community and friendship that is prevalent in the Grove, a main reason we want to live here. We are very sad for the loss of our beautiful storybook house in the Grove. It had many special features that we cherished. We plan on rebuilding and hopefully in the not so distant future move into this wonderful neighborhood. Thank you again dear neighbors!
Love to all,
Marcia and Berkan

Ellen Demerath, 2297 Folwell, whose home was also damaged in the fire, is coordinating a neighborhood collection for the Endres. If you are interested in contributing, email or call 651-207-6855.

See live news coverage of the fire.

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Folwell Fire continued
Grove residents request fire protection needs' assessment
After observing the recent fire at 2303 Folwell, a group of concerned neighbors met to discuss the issue of home fire protection. Subsequent research showed that a common practice for local governments across the country is to contract a third-party (independent) fire protection needs' assessment. Locally, the St. Paul, Minneapolis, Roseville, and Lake Johanna fire departments have undergone such assessments.

A needs' assessment reviews a city's current fire protection processes and provides a blueprint for departmental operations, budgetary allocations, and training. The group presented their findings to the University Grove Officers and are seeking Grove resident support for the City to consider such an assessment. If you have an interest, comment, question, or other feedback about this issue, please email Grove President Ann Bechtell at your earliest opportunity.

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Traffic triangle perennial and native planting
project begins in springtriangle

This mockup is not an actual representation of species. The triangle is 575 sq. ft. and large enough for a pathway.

A volunteer group of Grove residents plan to begin work on landscaping the Northrop and Folwell traffic triangle into a perennial and native plant garden this spring. Rebecca Montgomery, 2222 Folwell, presented the project proposal and showed the sample mock-up (pictured) at the 2010 UGHA annual meeting. The proposal received unanimous agreement from those in attendance, including an enthusiastic endorsement by Mayor Lindstrom. The group of avid gardeners will select plants and a design that will balance aesthetics, safety and visibility. They will rely on donations of plant materials and labor. If anyone is interested in volunteering on this project, please email Rebecca Montgomery.

Grove 2011 Home Tour Update
Terri Cermak, 1580 Fulham, is the Grove volunteer coordinator for the upcoming MN Historical Society-sponsored (MNHS) Grove Home Tour on Saturday, July 16, 2011. There will be two tours: 9 a.m.–noon and 1–4 p.m. Terri is calling homeowners inviting them to participate. Mel Baughman, 1564 Vincent, has agreed to open his Bauhaus-style home built in 1928 for the tour as has Ann Johnson, 1595 Vincent, the owner of a Ralph Rapson home built in 1960. The historical society is donating $250 to the UGHA for the volunteer efforts of Terri and the University Grove Communications Officer's support.

Additionally, the MNHS is operating four mid-century modernism tours this spring: Saturdays from 10 a.m.–noon on April 30, May 7, May 14 and May 21. The trolley tours will do a drive by of the exterior of homes; arriving about 11 a.m., and departing by 11:30 or so. If any residents would like to attend one of these tours at the member rate of $20, contact Aleah Vinick.

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The Forum: Grove Online Message Board
Sign in to Comment on the City Manager's full response to the 2303 Folwell Fire or other Aspects of the Request for a Needs' Assessment
On the homeowners web page, you'll find a drop down link to the new message board for Grove residents who want to communicate with neighbors online to:

  • share a resource
  • organize a group
  • find someone or something
  • give away an item
  • post lost or found items
  • recommend a service

In 3 easy steps you're able to post a message. Once you are registered, you will have to check the Forum for updates, there will be no notifications sent for new messages posted.

Of the free online message boards evaluated,

  • has no popup ads except the banner above (nothing is free)
  • archives up to 300 threaded-style, searchable messages
  • is hosted on an offsite server
  • is a spam protected, safe and secure forum

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