Category: BGS in the Community

Joy Collaborative

August 24, 2021  |  Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd.

by Cathryn D. Reher, Elder Law and Special Needs Planning Attorney While strolling along the Mississippi River at the Stone Arch Festival, amazing miniature architectural pieces for cats and dogs caught my eye. The pieces were donated by architects to raise money for the non-profit, Joy Collaborative.  I went up to find out more about Joy Collaborative and ended up talking with Mark Ostrom, the Executive Director. A team of designers, architects, builders, and volunteers came together to form a local non-profit called Joy Collaborative. Together they build “joy rooms” for kids with life-limiting conditions. They were raising money at the festival to fund future projects. I have been an Elder Law and Special Needs Planning Attorney for close to 30 years and what Mark explained to me about their work was truly innovative and inspiring. Doctors deliver a diagnosis and a plan of care.  The diagnosis unfortunately has financial, social, and psychological implications that many times remain unaddressed, leaving families struggling to know what to do or where to turn for help. Joy Collaborative is exploring interactive solutions to meet the social and psychological aspects of disabling conditions that leave persons isolated and under-stimulated. It is remarkable work that I know would be of interest to many of my clients.   At Joy Collaborative, I prepare…

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BGS Attorney Dave Schaps awarded Roseville Area Optimist Club’s 2019 “Optimist of the Year”

February 17, 2020  |  Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd.

On February 14th, 2020, BGS Attorney Dave Schaps was awarded the Roseville Area Optimist Club’s 2019 “Optimist of the Year.” Dave is a charter member and serves as the Club Secretary on the Club’s Board of Directors. The Roseville Area Optimist Club started in January of 2016 with 19 Charter members with the goals of professional development, communication, and serving local youth in the community. It has since grown to approximately 145 members, who participate in a monthly lunch meeting with a speaker. Dave also is responsible for all of the Club’s communications and did pro bono work to launch the Club’s first ever book, “Voices of Optimism,” which features over 65 stories from the membership on optimism. His efforts were celebrated for his professionalism, seriousness, and flare of fun for the last three years in his service to the Club’s Board of Directors. More information on the Roseville Area Optimist Club can be found at:

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Rachel Schwankl Selected for Fridley Housing & Redevelopment Authority

October 21, 2019  |  Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd.

Rachel Schwankl, Real Estate Paralegal at Barna, Guzy & Steffen, was recently appointed to the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (“HRA”) in Fridley, MN. According to the City website, “In 1947, the Minnesota Legislature created the Municipal Housing and Redevelopment Act, which authorized cities to create Housing and Redevelopment Authorities (HRAs) charged with improving “substandard conditions” characterized by “dilapidation, obsolescence, overcrowding and faulty arrangement or design of buildings and improvements.”Fridley’s HRA was established in 1965 and today plays an active role in developing and redeveloping the City. HRA projects are designed to enlarge the tax base, create jobs, and create vital, attractive businesses in blighted or underdeveloped areas of the City. The HRA is empowered to carry out housing rehabilitation programs and redevelopment projects that create new housing opportunities. The HRA also makes use of State and Federal programs to provide housing rehabilitation assistance to those that qualify. Examples of State programs include the First Time Home Buyer Program, the Minnesota Fix-Up Fund, and the Home Energy Fund. Federal programs include the Community Development Block Grant Program and HUD’s HOME program. Housing and Redevelopment Authority Services: Business site selection assistance; Local tax structure and tax increment financing districts data and analysis; Guidance on available City programs and other programs for various types of projects;…

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