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St. Paul honors three stewards of the Mississippi River

Three people who’ve contributed to the health and vitality of the Mississippi River will be honored Monday in St. Paul.

Jay Cowles, Sage Cowles and Weiming Lu are the St. Paul Riverfront Corp.’s 2012 River Stewards. Mayor Chris Coleman will speak at the lunchtime event at the James J. Hill Reference Library in downtown St. Paul.

Previous years’ stewards include: Dan McGuiness, Bob Bierscheid, Ken Johnson, Padelford Packet Boat Co., Gregory Page, and Don Shelby.

Jay Cowles is a former chairman of the board of Cowles Media Co., which owned the Star Tribune. The riverfront group says Cowles:

“…is a founder and Working Team member of the Itasca Project, a volunteer effort of Twin Cities CEOs, civic and political leaders to catalyze regional priorities that enhance the metro area’s economic competitiveness and quality of life. He has served as co-chair of Itasca’s Transportation Initiative since 2005. Jay also serves on the Executive Committee of the Minneapolis Downtown Council, as a member of the Gateway Committee to advance new park space connecting downtown Minneapolis to the Mississippi River, and on the boards of the St. Paul Public Schools Foundation, the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, and the Mississippi River Fund.”

Page Cowles, married to Jay, has been:

“has been an active volunteer in the Twin Cities for many years and has served on the boards of the Children’s Theater Company, Planned Parenthood Minnesota/South Dakota and Graywolf Press, a nationally acclaimed literary publisher. She currently serves as Chair of the national board of The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a non-profit organization which conserves land from the inner city to the wilderness for people to use and enjoy. She is immediate past chair of the board of The Conservation Campaign, TPL’s 501(c)(4) lobbying affiliate.”

Weiming Lu, an urban planner and designer, recently retired as president of St. Paul’s Lowertown Redevelopment Corp., which has become “a national model of successful central city revitalization through public-private partnerships.”

And he:

“…has served as a consultant and adviser on numerous public and private projects in the United States and abroad, including the reconstruction of South Central Los Angeles following the 1992 riots and the establishment of the Chattanooga Riverfront Corporation in Tennessee, the CentreVenture Development Corporation to revitalize downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the United Nations Planning Team in Taiwan. Lu also served as member of the jury for the international design competition for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Currently, Lu is a planning advisor to the Mayor of Beijing; a trustee of the Minneapolis Foundation; and a member of the Committee of 100, the organization of American citizens of Chinese descent; and as a panelist for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Favrot Family grants.”

The Monday luncheon, which starts with an 11:30 a.m. reception, is open to the public. Tickets are $25 and available online or by calling 651-293-6860.

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