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Annual Holly Days Sale highlights regional artists' unique talents
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Paula Person’s handbags, wallets, clutches and pendants made from recycled magazines and publications are just some of many unique treasures available at this year’s Holly Days Sale at the Paradise Center for the Arts.

Person, of Notebagz by Pauz and a Faribault resident for many years, has come to enjoy the annual sale at the Paradise due to the collection of gifts at every price range for both young and not so young. She points out that there are even items for children and a few items for men, as well.

“The Paradise does a great job promoting local artists and I know Julie puts in a ton of work for this sale, too,” said Person of the sale that opened Thursday and runs through Dec. 18. “Not as many communities have as nice of an art/performing arts center as we do.”

Work from 20 regional artists adorns the walls and shelves in the Lois Vranesh Boardroom Gallery and the K&M Gallery, from hats, sterling silver jewelry, crafted wood bowls, watercolor paintings, mittens, pottery, quilts, knit items, photography and paintings. A grand opening event took place Thursday evening with live music, shopping and a cash bar.

PCA Visual Arts & Education Director Julie Fakler says a portion of the sales will help fund continuing programs and exhibits at The Paradise Center for the Arts.

“There’s a great variety of nice, affordable and exciting stuff,” said Fakler prior to the grand opening Thursday. “Both functional and nonfunctional, everything is all handmade and one of a kind.”

She says it’s always exciting to get a chance to interact with customers and to sell one’s own artwork, as she has several of her own paintings and raku pottery in the sale.

PCA Executive Director Heidi Nelson adds that supporting local artists is always important, but especially this time of year.

“Giving the gift of creative, unique art is so valuable and meaningful,” said Nelson. “We appreciate the support of this community, because we wouldn’t have gotten through the this last year and a half without it.”

In October, the Faribault City Council approved a $250,000 payment to the Paradise to go with $230,500 raised by the center and its Board of Directors, making good on the council’s agreement to help eliminate the center’s debt. Nelson has said that will allow the center to focus on its mission without worrying about mortgage payments.

A group exhibition from 14 Minnesota artists, “Winter Wonderland,” takes place in conjunction with the Holly Days Sale in the Carlander Gallery. All artwork in the show has a winter theme, and awards were presented to the group Thursday evening. Artwork from Jason Hillesheim’s Bethlehem Academy students is also in the Corey Lyn Creger Memorial Gallery. Work from both the Winter Wonderland show and from BA students will be up until Dec. 18.

While the PCA is typically open Wednesday-Saturday, Fakler says the center will only be open Saturday next week, just in time for Small Business Saturday. Regular hours resume the following week.

Former Northfield bar owners facing new allegation
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The former owners of Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville are facing new allegations in Dakota County civil court that they used the Limited Liability Company’s bank account for personal expenses, driving the account balance to zero in less than four months.

A lawsuit was filed against Alibi on Dec. 17 for violating Executive Order 20-99, which prohibited indoor food and beverage service, as the Lakeville bar openly defied the Nov. 18, 2020, to Jan. 10, 2021, order by opening for indoor service for 14 days between Dec. 16, 2020, and Jan. 10, 2021.

During the course of the court’s discovery, the state in July obtained financial records for Lionheart LLC, which Lisa Zarza and Ricardo Baldazo initially attempted to conceal by providing “heavily redacted” bank statements. Zarza is also a former owner of Alibi at Froggy Bottoms in Northfield. That eatery closed shortly after the Northfield City Council denied Zarza a liquor license in April.

The council agreed with Police Chief Mark Elliott who recommended not renewing the license based on Zarza’s noncompliance with the governor’s order and because of the then-preliminary suspension of her Lakeville liquor license.

With the help of third parties, the state found that the Lionheart’s bank account was overdrawn as owners Zarza and Baldazo allegedly dispersed $177,944 from mid-December 2020 to March 2021 for personal expenses, such as for jewelry, cosmetic surgery, airline tickets and motorcycle rental, along with making cash payments to themselves.

The state says the alleged activity, which occurred as their case was being litigated, violates the Uniform Voidable Transfers Act.

The state alleges that Zarza and Baldazo knew depleting the account would “adversely impact the state’s ability to both secure and collect assets necessary to collect on any potential judgment obtained in the litigation.”

For the insolvency of the company, the state said Zarza and Baldazo breached their fiduciary duty and had an obligation to preserve assets for any creditor, which included the state of Minnesota.

The state claims that Zarza and Baldazo were aware that they had to maintain funds equal to the value of their legal liabilities.

The state has collected $672 from Lionheart in the active case and said it could impose a fine up to $25,000, but whether or not it would or the amount had not been determined since there was no judgment yet in the case.

The state said the court should require Zarza and Baldazo to return all unlawfully dissipated assets in an account controlled by the court.

After the account was depleted, Zarza said in May that she would be selling Lionheart’s largest assets — the Alibi Drinkery and Froggy Bottoms at Alibi in Northfield, the restaurants and their equipment and furnishings.

By the end of May, Alibi in Lakeville was closed and the state said Zarza and Baldazo attempted to enter into a sham sale of the Alibi Drinkery to Jose Colon III, the second cousin of Baldazo.

The sale was abandoned, the state said, after Colon rescinded his liquor license application during the July 6 Lakeville City Council meeting when it was apparent that the council would deny the license.

Lakeville city staff recommended denial due to what its report said that some of Colon’s statements and application information were false, inconsistent or misleading based on the provisions of the lease that required Zarza and Baldazo to “operate” the business and contemplated the future ability of Zarza to become a 50%-plus owner without landlord consent.

It said his deceptive explanation of the roles of himself, Zarza and Baldazo suggested Colon is not the real person in interest for purposes of operating Alibi, but it merely a means to obtain a liquor license for Zarza and Baldazo, who are not eligible for the license.

In voting for the denial, council members also factored in the felony charges filed against Baldazo in September 2020 with two counts of first-degree attempted murder and two counts of first-degree assault after shooting several gun shots at Burnsville police officers in a Sept. 2 incident.

Froggy Bottoms has since reopened under new management.

Artifacts from Johnston Hall time capsule find new homes, memorial not yet decided
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It wasn’t long after the 12 documents sealed inside an oxidized copper box and plucked from a cavity chiseled out of a 1,200-pound piece of limestone that the experts arrived.

The documents, taken from a time capsule placed inside the Johnston Hall cornerstone during a June 1888 dedication ceremony, aren’t just historical, they were potentially valuable to the county’s historical society, and to Cathedral of Our Merciful Saviour and Shattuck-St. Mary’s School. The cathedral, because like Johnston Hall — part of Seabury Divinity School — was founded by Bishop Henry B. Whipple. Whipple is also connected to SSM. The state’s first Episcopal bishop, Whipple took over the school that later became Shattuck, and in 1866 founded St. Mary’s Hall, a school for girls.

As Johnston Hall was being demolished — picked apart almost piece by piece, after engineers determined its distinctive tower was in danger of collapsing and falling onto Allina Health’s District One Hospital — there were rumors of a time capsule. But its existence was uncertain; what it might contain a mystery.

The time capsule, discovered late last month, contained 12 precious artifacts not seen in more than 133 years. Some painted a picture of the long ago dedication ceremony, others showed the connection with nearby Episcopal schools Shattuck and St. Mary’s, as well as the newly formed diocese.

Representative from both organizations — Fr. Jim Zotalis from the cathedral and SSM’s Head of School Matt Cavellier — along with Rice County Historical Society Executive Director Sue Garwood and its archivist David Nichols met with Allina Health’s Natalie Ginter and Josh Klecker last week, which gave the group time to review the documents, booklets and newspapers and to discuss their fate.

The artifacts, said Ginter, were distributed between the Historical Society and the Cathedral, though high-quality digital copies from the Historical Society of some will ensure the Cathedral gets copies if they desire.

While SSM has no ability to properly store the documents, according to Cavellier, so Garwood has promised that the Historical Society will make copies and provide those to the school for their records. The Historical Society has also agreed to provide copies to the Northfield/Rice County Digital Library, an online collection of local documents and artifacts that makes the documents easily accessible to anyone with a device.

Garwood, too, asked that any of the time capsule documents displayed at the Cathedral be facsimiles, ensuring the originals aren’t out in the light where they’ll be broken down more quickly.

The biggest item, literally and figuratively, is the cornerstone, which will go to the Cathedral. The church already has the Seabury Hall cornerstone, which was also on the Seabury Seminary, and wished to keep them together, said Ginter.


With all the documents spoken for, Allina and Ginter are turning their attention to a memorial marking the existence of Johnston Hall.

A task force made up of Klecker, Ginter, Garwood, Faribault Councilor Sara Caron, former hospital employees Joan Miller and Lyn Rein, and Faribaultian Ann Vohs, is still working on a plan for the proposed memorial.

No location has been set, said Ginter, who added that it could in inside or outside the hospital building. There has been some discussion about using artwork to memorialize the massive hall, and possibly using some of the artifacts from the now-leveled building.

The group is expected to agree on two or three ideas, which, according to Ginter, will be vetted by the hospital’s senior leadership.