The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Special Editions

March 31, 2014

Community recaps

Kiwanis Holiday Lights bigger, better

When the Kiwanis Holiday Lights board of directors tallied the event's figures, they determined the number of visitors for its second year of the Sibley Park display was up 30,000 visitors from the kick-off year in 2012.

The event was completely volunteer-driven and lasted 33 nights. Even though the 2012 event was scheduled for more evenings than in 2013, the number of visitors and amount of food and cash donations were greater in 2013.

■ More than 30,000 vehicles drove through the display, containing an average of three people per car.

■ 15.3 tons of food was collected by 15 area food shelves.

■ More than a million energy-efficient LED lights glowed brightly throughout the event with the electricity costing less than $50 per night.

Supporters ensure sculptures stay in town

Successful fundraising efforts kept two statues — a small boy in makeshift hockey gear and a young girl reading a book — in town after other pieces from the 2012 CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour were taken down.

"Going for the Goal" now has a permanent spot outside the Verizon Wireless Center and "Circle of Friends" is outside the North Mankato Taylor Library.

Last spring, Missouri artist Matt Miller donated to City Center Partnership his entry from the 2012 walk "Chasing My Tail Again."

Pieces from the 2013 tour also will make Mankato/North Mankato their home.

Additionally, CityArt sold four sculptures since announcing the People’s Choice winner “Guidance” in November, which was purchased by the City Center Partnership and will be permanently installed in the City Center of North Mankato.

Human Services commissioner visits VINE

Lucinda Jesson, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, came to Mankato early last year to visit with representatives of VINE and people who have been affected by them.

“ The reason I’m here,” she told a group a Mankato residents, “is to understand at a fundamental level what places like VINE are doing that are making people’s lives better.”

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