For information about joining the Macalester-Groveland Community Council Board of Directors, contact 651-695-4000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each spring at the Annual Meeting, a third of the board is elected to 3-year terms (mark your calendar for April 16th!)
Click on the grid number next to the director’s name to view a detailed map of that grid. Learn more about your board of directors below!
Tom Dietsche, Treasurer, Grid 1 Representative
I grew up on a dairy farm in the 1950’s. To escape that life, I started a software company my senior year at UW-Madison. Moved to St. Paul in 1975 and to Mac-Groveland in 1994. I’ve also owned a restaurant and managed a mobile home park. Being bored in semi-retirement, I joined the board in 2015. By engaging with city planning, zoning, transportation, businesses and community events, I’ve tried to improve our quality of life in Mac-Groveland. In my spare time, I work out at LA Fitness, play pool, read SF and mysteries, watch sports, revise bylaws, and volunteer to drive seniors to medical appointments. I also collect zany t-shirts, tell puns, and annoy my wife and our deaf mini-poodle Java (a rescue).
Brian Martinson, Grid 2 Representative
Being born in Minneapolis, and growing up mostly in Fridley, I have lived the majority of my life within a half-mile of the Mississippi River. Our family moved to Mac-Groveland in 1996, in large part due to its proximity to the river, the green-space, parkways, and recreational paths for running, walking, and biking our neighborhood affords. Since moving here, biking and transit have become my primary means of transportation. I got involved in the Community Council out of a desire to see our city move towards the goal of “Complete Streets,” that are usable, safe, and comfortable for all users, regardless their mode of transport. Being involved on the Council has also introduced me to many new neighbors and friends, and has been a great introduction to democracy at the local level. I recommend it!
Saura Jost, Grid 2 Representative
I grew up in St. Paul in the Macalester Groveland neighborhood. I went to Central High School, University of Minnesota for my undergraduate degree, and the University of Washington for graduate school. I moved back St. Paul after school and currently work as a structural engineer in Minneapolis, MN. I decided to join the board so that I could become more involved in our community. Since I have lived here most of my life and am now raising a family here, I care a lot about the neighborhood, our neighbors, and that Mac Grove continues to be a great place to live for everyone. I hope to make the neighbors feel more connected to what is happening in our community and the decisions being made. In my spare time, I enjoy taking my son on adventures with my partner, watching sports or going to games (go Vikings!), and getting outdoors when it isn’t too cold.
Athena Adkins, Grid 3 Representative
My family has lived in the neighborhood since 2012. My boys play lacrosse and attend Circus Juventas—if you haven’t seen a Spring or Summer show, you should! They are amazing! We like to ski and snowboard in the winter and in the Spring and Summer, I plant a vegetable garden in my front yard and encourage my neighbors to help themselves. In my family, we believe that food is love and we have plenty to share. I am involved with MGCC because I like to know what is going on in the neighborhood and I am a big believer that democracy is hard work and relationships matter. I hope to see you around the neighborhood!
Mike Sonn, Board President
In my limited free time, I just enjoy exploring St Paul with my wife and son. We like to walk, bike, transit to parks, our beautiful rivers, great restaurants, and fun activities. I’m inspired by trying to make our city and neighborhood more welcoming and safe to everyone. I’ve been involved in many different neighborhood-level groups over the years because I feel they have a direct impact on how people interact with each other and the community around them. A hero, to me, is someone who stands up against the status quo to make change that will benefit everyone, not just those who already have power. In that vein, I’d say a local hero to me is Council Member Mitra Jalali Nelson.
Grid 4 Residential Representative – Open Seat
Nathan Zacharias, Grid 5 Residential Representative Nathan Zacharias is a newer resident of Macgroveland, but has long family roots in the community. He decided to run for MGCC because he strongly believes in the idea of ordinary people working together to solve problems; and that it’s about time a younger generation of leaders had a seat at the table. In his spare time, Nathan enjoys running, drumming, and collecting records.
At-Large Residential Representatives
Colin Fesser, At-Large Residential Representative
I first became involved with St. Paul’s district councils when my first child was on the way and I decided that it was a good way to help create the city that I want my children to grow up in. I love walking our tree-lined residential streets, getting coffee in our commercial nodes, and hopping on our bike lanes to get to other neighborhoods’ libraries. And I love teaching my two kids how to do the same even more. As a disabled person, though, I struggle with those spots in our neighborhood where not everything is as accessible for everyone as it could be. My goal as an Residential Representative is to fill those gaps and make this community one that works for ALL of our residents.
Brian Baird, At-Large Residential Representative
My wife and I moved to the neighborhood from Silver Spring, Maryland in 2016 and welcomed our daughter in 2018. Most of our time is spent at Mattocks Park, but if we’re not there you’ll likely find us walking our greyhound to one of the many dog friendly businesses in the neighborhood. I joined the board because I love Mac Groveland and I want more people to enjoy its quiet tree-lined streets, shops, restaurants, and coffee shops.
Brian Wagner, At-Large Business Representative
Brian Wagner, M.Ed. in Education Administration and Counseling, BA in Creative and Performing Arts. Realtor with Coldwell Banker Burnet, Prior career in higher education working at Walden University and Macalester College. Serves as the At-Large Business Representative for MGCC since 2018. Chair of the MGCC Community Building Committee, Member of the MGCC Inclusivity Task Force. MGCC liaison to the Grand Avenue Business Association(GABA) and Secretary of GABA. Co-chair of the Future is Grand Task Force – a collaboration between the Summit Hill Association, GABA and MGCC. A lover of dogs, quilting, gardening, and road biking.
At-Large Business Representative – Open Seat
Cindy Radtke, At Large Faith Representative
Volunteering in local governance empowers me when national headlines overwhelm. And the local level is where things truly get changed. As the At-Large Faith institution Representative and as a resident in Mac-Grove (though not required for this position) I take the core of what all faiths have in common: to do justice and walk humbly. We’ve started Faith Roundtables in which all people are welcome to attend. These are a chance to connect to each other, connect to the Mac-Grove Community Council, and support each other in common areas. People who attend our faith institutions can spend more time in our neighborhood than in their home neighborhood, making them invaluable voices in our community.
Cathy Plessner, At Large Residential Landlord Representative
MGCC helps me “think globally and act locally”. For 50 years I have lived in one of the most privileged neighborhoods in the world. I feel humbled, and inspired, by the way our neighbors share their time and talent. By 2045 the United States is predicted to be the most diverse country in the world. I ask: If not here, where can civil conversation help all neighbors feel included? In my 6 years as a MGCC Board Representative I have attended meetings throughout our city, and two International Town and Gown Conferences, to help me learn about our neighborhood‘s context. Today’s world challenges us to become comfortable with discomfort. I am grateful to be part of the local forum MGCC provides to foster respect for all of our neighbors.
Tim Schmidt, At Large Education Representative
I’ve lived in Saint Paul with periodic departures and eventual returns for nearly 15 years. First as a young adult renter, then as a landlord. And currently with my family of 6, plus our bulldog. I believe the community of people, our proximity to parks, the river and the vitality that comes from living near multiple colleges and universities has kept drawing me back. I joined the board because I believe that individual participation is important to the continued progress and healthy growth of our neighborhood and city. Effort, no matter how much or little recognition comes with it make a difference. And, I hope by participating on the MGCC Board to continue making a positive difference in the community my family calls home.
Lauren Nielsen, At-Large Renter Representative
At-Large Student Representative – Open Seat