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Archive | February, 2013

DeerFly

‘Night Creatures’ come to Como

Posted on 13 February 2013 by robwas66

DeerFlyComo Park Zoo & Conservatory is excited to present ‘Night Creatures – Insects After Dark’, a stunning photo exhibit by Minneapolis artist Bill Johnson on display in Como’s Exhibit Gallery through April 28. Over 30 extreme close-up images will highlight the amazing colors, shapes, and diversity of the insect world rarely seen during the day.

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Anxiety Support Group meets in Midway

Posted on 13 February 2013 by robwas66

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Minnesota sponsors free support groups for persons with anxiety disorders. The groups help individuals develop better coping skills and find strength through sharing their experiences. An Open Door Anxiety and Panic support group meets in St. Paul from 6:30 to 8 p.m., on the 2nd & 4th Thursday of the month, at Goodwill-Easter Seals, 553 Fairview Ave. N., in Room 123. For information call NAMI at 651-645-2948, or go to www.namihelps.org.

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Co-ed Drum Circle February 22

Posted on 13 February 2013 by robwas66

Announcing a Co-ed Drum Circle on Friday, Feb. 22, 6:30 p.m. Percussion, rhythm and freedom of expression will be explored. All levels of experience are welcomed and encouraged. Women’s Drum Center, 2242 University Ave. W. $10.00 at the door. Drums provided. Info and registration at www.womensdrumcenter.org.

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Feast of the Golden Fork March 16

Posted on 13 February 2013 by robwas66

Church of the Holy Childhood presents the FEAST OF THE GOLDEN FORK. A Polish gourmet four-course gourmet dinner on Saturday, March 16, at 6:33 p.m. in Buchanan Hall, 1435 Midway Parkway. Tickets are $60 for one ticket, and $100 for two tickets. Call Holy Childhood Parish Office for information and tickets before March 13. 651-644-9911. Proceeds will assist in off-setting the cost of the Orchestra Masses.

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History of the Human Experience offered

Posted on 13 February 2013 by robwas66

Educational Resources, Inc, a non-profit educational agency in St. Paul, is offering a new and exciting educational initiative in March. A 4 part series on the History of the Human Experience, focusing on the Eastern Mediterranean, will be offered at the Merriam Park Community Center, 2000 St. Anthony Blvd.

It will be taught by Dr. Steven Derfler, on Wednesday evenings March 6, 13, 20, 27 from 6:30-8:15 p.m. Cost is $90.

For more information, contact Educational Resources Inc at info@eduresources.org or call 651-592-3688.

 

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District Councils change positions on proposed boundary change

District Councils change positions on proposed boundary change

Posted on 13 February 2013 by robwas66

Following the meeting, on Jan. 24 the Planning and Economic Development (PED) Department made a recommendation that the neighborhood of South Como be moved from District 6 to District 10.

Following the meeting, on Jan. 24 the Planning and Economic Development (PED) Department made a recommendation that the neighborhood of South Como be moved from District 6 to District 10.

By JAN WILLMS

What a difference a meeting makes!

Prior to the Jan. 9 meeting to gain public input on the proposed boundary changes of Districts 6 and 10, both District Councils opposed the move.

Although Ward 5 Councilmember Amy Brendmoen said she had heard from numerous constituents in the South Como neighborhood of District 6 that they wished to be a part of District 10, it was not considered to be an overwhelming number who sought the change.

But when around 170 people showed up at the Jan. 9 meeting and the majority of them wanted to have the boundaries changed and have more input into what they considered to be issues that dealt with their neighborhood, the District Councils listened.

“The turnout was high for a community meeting, but it did indeed reflect the strong interest I have heard by the neighborhood,” Brendmoen said.

Following the meeting, on Jan. 24 the Planning and Economic Development (PED) Department made a recommendation that the neighborhood of South Como be moved from District 6 to District 10.

District 6 had sent a letter Jan. 11 to District 10, recommending that the entire South Como area be represented by District 10. Based on this letter, the recommendation of PED and the overwhelming sentiments voiced at the Jan. 9 public meeting, District 10 also agreed to accept the proposed change in a resolution passed Jan. 15.

In a letter sent Feb. 5 to Councilmember Brendmoen’s office and the PED, District 10 expressed its willingness to accept the boundary alterations, although its board members requested those changes be made in a careful and prudent manner.

A part of the letter suggests that expanding District 10’s boundaries will require fundamentally changing the organization and its membership.

“These fundamental changes include: determining board size, board composition and committee structure, as well as considering new sub-district borders and representation,” the letter reads.

The letter also states that proposed changes to the bylaws must be heard at three public meetings before a vote on them can be taken.

District 10 board members also expressed concern in the letter that the way this issue was pushed forward has diminished the importance and the independence of the district councils and, thus, has undermined the principle of citizen participation for which they were created.

If the proposed change is approved by the City Council, District 6 will lose 3,500 residents and $3,800 in funding. It currently has a population of about 25,000 and an annual budget of $65,000.

However, District 10, with a population of about 11,000 and an annual budget of $55,000, will not gain any additional funding even though it gains the South Como residents. That is because the population will not increase above the city’s minimum funding threshold.

“From an engagement perspective, I am hopeful that we will see a more involved South Como community as a result of this recommended change,” Brendmoen said. “The Ward 5 office will work with the district councils to help limit administrative challenges that will result from it.”

She said her office is coordinating a team that will be determining steps and layers that need to be considered to enact the change. “Both district councils have agreed that they need time to fully transition and have set Jan. 1, 2014, as an ideal goal date for the recommended change,” she added.

As far as when the City Council will make its decision, Brendmoen said that based on the cooperation and agreement level of the involved stakeholders, she suspects a resolution will move forward as early as this spring.

“I truly appreciate and admire the efforts of both of the district councils and the neighborhood members who worked together to find a solution in a largely uncharted process,” Brendmoen noted.

Shawn Korby, who has been a resident of the South Como neighborhood for 17 years, said he lives very close to Como Park.

“It just makes sense geographically to change the boundaries,” he said. “The neighbors in this area are affected by the park. We would have a voice in issues that directly impact our neighborhood.”

Korby said the support for the move is not a desire to be out of District 6, but more of a desire to be a part of District 10.

“It seems self-evident this change makes sense,” Korby related. “I think District 10 will find a lot of people in the immediate neighborhood want to be involved, and in the end it will be good for all. It was heartening to see such involvement in the big meeting Jan. 9.”

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KingBoreas_Feature

Ted Natus dons King Boreas crown

Posted on 13 February 2013 by robwas66

Helping youth between the ages of 14 and 20 to succeed is the mission Ted Natus, recently crowned King Boreas LXXVII at the St. Paul Winter Carnival, hopes to work on during his year-long reign. Above, Natus is pictured with Queen of the Snows Melissa Hoffbeck.

Helping youth between the ages of 14 and 20 to succeed is the mission Ted Natus, recently crowned King Boreas LXXVII at the St. Paul Winter Carnival, hopes to work on during his year-long reign. Above, Natus is pictured with Queen of the Snows Melissa Hoffbeck.

By JAN WILLMS

Helping youth between the ages of 14 and 20 to succeed is the mission Ted Natus, recently crowned King Boreas LXXVII at the St. Paul Winter Carnival, hopes to work on during his year-long reign.

Natus, 74, president of Hamernick Decorating on Rice Street, will have a number of duties to add to his already full schedule, working six days a week at his store.

He said his plan for his time spent as king is to help people as much as he can, focusing on youth.

“Reuben Rosario said in a recent column he wrote that 15 young people in the 14-20 age group die every day, and they go unnoticed,” Natus said. “I want to help those who need help and want to better themselves.”

He said these are issues he wants to work on here in St. Paul and through his company. As King Boreas, he will also be traveling extensively, starting with a Feb. 14 trip to Canada. He will also be visiting Florida, Texas and Georgia with other members of the royal family.

“It’s all volunteer work, and we all fund our trips and pay our own way,” Natus said. “I am pleased to be able to do it.”

He said the trips across the country are designed to promote St. Paul and what a wonderful city it is. “It’s all about goodwill and being an ambassador for the city,” he said.

Since taking over as king, he and other members of the Winter Carnival royal family have visited schools and hospitals and nursing homes throughout the city. He said that his work to assist youth will primarily happen in St. Paul and through his business.

Admitting that he is not a run-of-the-mill King Boreas, Natus recalled that he left home at age 14, after his mom died. He hit the road, finding work as a firefighter and mining for copper.

At one point during his days in Montana, he helped daredevil Evel Knievel prepare for some of his stunts.

“A group of us hung around the same watering hole when we were in Butte, MT,” Natus said. “Evel was a part of the group.”

Natus was 29 when he ended up in St. Paul. He was enroute back to Montana when his car broke down here, and he had holes in his shoes and empty pockets and decided to look for a job in the saintly city.

He started working for the paint store on Rice Street that he now owns, and he never looked back.

Reflecting on his role as King Boreas, Natus said he likes to think of a Finnish word, Sisu, as describing what he hopes to accomplish. Natus, who is full-blooded Finnish, said the word means strength in time of adversity, or the power within.

“Too many of us forget we have power within,” he said.

Natus, who has five children and nine grandchildren with his wife, Lynn, said he has his family at home, his family at work, and now a third family—the royal family of volunteers who will reign for 2013 and promote the city of St. Paul.

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AK47_Feature

Dad threatens daughter with AK-47 rifle over grade report

Posted on 13 February 2013 by robwas66

On Jan. 13, Hamline-Midway resident Kirill Bartashevitch allegedly pointed an AK-47 at his daughter when the two had an argument over grades.

On Jan. 13, Hamline-Midway resident Kirill Bartashevitch allegedly pointed an AK-47 at his daughter when the two had an argument over grades.

BY JAN WILLMS

Kirill Bartashevitch is out of jail on $20,000 bail with the condition that he stays away from his daughter and wife, unless authorized by Ramsey County Child Protection.

On Jan. 13, he allegedly pointed an AK-47 at his daughter when the two had an argument over grades. The daughter, a 15-year-old Central High School student, had received two Bs instead of all As. According to the filed complaint, during the argument she swore at her father and said she hated him. He then picked up an AK-47 rifle he had recently purchased and pointed it at her.

Her mother, Olga S. Rogovitskaya, intervened, and reported to police that she was thrown to the floor. Bartashevitch ordered the girl to go to her room.

The event came to light when another parent, who had been monitoring her son’s electronic communications, saw a message her son had received from the female student, telling him what had happened. The parent reported the incident to the school social worker, who then contacted police.

In a warranted search of the Bartashevitch residence on Englewood Avenue in St. Paul on Jan. 24, police recovered 9 mm ammunition and two receipts for the sale of an AK-47 style rifle and a newer AK-47 clone rifle, according to the complaint.

Police confirmed that the defendant sold a 7.62X54R firearm to Bill’s Gun Shop Jan. 22 and a Cal-Zastava PAP 70 7.62X30 firearm to Frontiersman Sport, Inc., that same day.

Dennis Gerhardstein, a spokesman for the Ramsey County Attorney’s office, said that state law proclaims that an individual cannot possess any firearms if he is convicted of a charge.

The charges pending against Bartashevitch are two felony counts of terroristic threats regarding the Jan. 13 incident, one pertaining to his daughter and the other to Rogovitskaya.

The child has been placed in a shelter.

“Mom admitted the petition, allowing the court to set conditions for when she can see her child,” Gerhardstein said. “Dad did not admit to it, so he does not get to see his daughter.”

According to the criminal complaint, the defendant did admit to being involved in a physical confrontation with his wife and daughter and pointing his AK-47 at them. He said that the gun was not loaded and that he checked the chamber before he pointed it at them.

Gerhardstein said that Bartashevitch has his next court appearance at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 22 in Ramsey District Court.

“There is also a Children in Need of Protection (CHIPs) petition filed against him in Ramsey District Court regarding contact with his daughter,” Gerhardstein said.

 

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PastorSaari_Feature

Central Baptist Pastor Saari set to retire

Posted on 13 February 2013 by robwas66

The forty year pastoring ministry of the Reverend Dr. Ronald W. Saari will be recognized on Sunday, February 24th at Central Baptist Church. Pastor Saari is pictured above with his wife, Priscilla.

The forty year pastoring ministry of the Reverend Dr. Ronald W. Saari will be recognized on Sunday, February 24th at Central Baptist Church. Pastor Saari is pictured above with his wife, Priscilla.

The forty year pastoring ministry of the Reverend Dr. Ronald W. Saari will be recognized on Sunday, February 24th at Central Baptist Church, 420 Roy Street North. Pastor Saari is retiring from 23 years as Central’s Senior Pastor. Other pastorates include ten years in Hampton, Iowa as a church planter and a seven year ministry in Chicago, Illinois.

Pastor Saari and his wife Priscilla are natives of Superior, Wisconsin and both are graduates of the University of Wisconsin, Superior. Pastor Saari also earned his graduate degrees from Bethel Theological Seminary in St. Paul.

In the summer of 1990 the Saari family, which included their young children, Matthew and Katey, moved from Chicago to St. Paul when Ronald became Central’s pastor. The family quickly acclimated to the Macalester-Groveland area where they purchased a home. Priscilla resumed her teaching career by becoming a substitute in the St. Paul school system.

In 1991 Priscilla accepted a job as a music teacher at Groveland Elementary School and taught there until 2004 when she transferred to Hancock Elementary School as a fifth grade teacher. She will retire this June.

During Pastor Saari’s ministry he led the church into a deeper understanding and commitment to urban ministry. “God’s Love Alive in the Midway” became the church’s slogan. Making the slogan a reality resulted in a host of church and community ministries. The church’s children and youth outreach were expanded. Co-operative ministries and projects with Central’s across the street neighbor, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, were embraced.

In 1995 the church’s 45-year-old preschool program was expanded to a full fledged child care service which is available from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In the mid nineties an emergency food shelf was established, designed for individuals and families who “fall in the cracks” and are not immediately able to access other community food shelves.

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ComoGolf_Feature

City requests CIB funds to study possible reuse of Como Park Golf Course

Posted on 13 February 2013 by robwas66

The Department of Parks and Recreation submitted more than half of the 48 community facilities requests, including funds for a study of reuse for the Como Golf Course.

The Department of Parks and Recreation submitted more than half of the 48 community facilities requests, including funds for a study of reuse for the Como Golf Course.

By JANE MCCLURE

The possible closing and reuse of the Como Park golf course, a new Central District Police station in the North End and improvements to Snelling Avenue are among 122 projects vying for 2014-2015 Long-Range Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) dollars. Over the next few weeks city staff will start assigning cost estimates to the various projects. Citizen task force review of projects gets underway in March, with CIB Committee recommendations to the St. Paul City Council and Mayor Chris Coleman this summer.

The list of approved projects will be adopted as part of the 2014 city budget in December.

Projects are submitted by city departments, district planning councils, community development corporations, neighborhood groups and in a few cases, individuals. Most area district councils submitted at least one project. Projects were submitted to meet a January 18 deadline. The field of CIB candidates was about what city staff anticipated and is similar to the numbers seen in recent years, said John McCarthy of the city’s Office of Financial Services. For 2014-2015, there will be 48 community facilities, 56 streets and utilities, and 18 residential and economic development requests. It’s not clear yet how much money will be available for projects.

Here is how the requests break down by category:

Community Facilities

The largest area request is to replace Central District Police Station, which closed about a decade ago. The district offices were put in the downtown headquarters, which lacks space. One idea would be to use the current Sylvan Park site. But that would require replacing the park, under the city charter. North End residents have asked to replace the station for several years.

Several new building requests were submitted by the St. Paul Fire Department. During his 2013 budget presentation to the City Council, Fire Chief Tim Butler indicated that several fire stations need major renovation or replacement. One of those stations is Station 20 at the Cretin-Vandalia-University intersection, are proposed for replacement. Station 20 is more than 90 years old. Access to the station has been affected by Central Corridor light rail construction. A larger station would also allow for the addition of a second emergency medical services/fire crew there.

The Department of Parks and Recreation submitted more than half of the 48 community facilities requests, including funds for a study of reuse for the Como Golf Course. Golf course use is dropping and the city can no longer operate four courses, so a community study of reuse is needed. Other area projects include improvements to McMurray Field softball fields and parking, a new sign for the Hamline Midway Branch Library, a Merriam Park community needs study, North Dale ice rink systems work, Scheffer Recreation Center replacement and play area replacement, and improvements to Dickerman, Hampden and May parks.

Streets and Utilities

Funds to start a community review process and select a solution for the north end of Ayd Mill Road is probably the most high-profile area request. But several area street and bicycle projects are also proposed, most by the Department of Public Works. Some projects tie into Central Corridor-related bicycle and pedestrian improvements, including Public Works request to turn Aldine Street and Chatsworth Avenue into bicycle boulevards, and more funding for the Charles Avenue Bike Boulevard.

Another major project making a return is the eastern extension of Pierce Butler Route to I-35E and Phalen Boulevard. Other projects include Snelling Avenue pedestrian safety and traffic calming improvements, lighting on Como from Dale to Maywood, Lexington Parkway bike improvements, and replacement of the Jackson Street, Maryland Avenue and Wheelock Parkway bridges.

Residential and economic development

Most of these submissions are city projects, for acquisition of demolition of blighted properties, home improvement loans, funds for commercial corridor development and renovation of multi-family buildings. One project tied to light rail is to purchase property and extend Fuller Avenue in the area of the Central Corridor light rail’s Lexington station. Fuller is an east-west street that ends at Lexington. Some light rail land use plans suggested extending it to the west. Also, Model Cities Development Corporation is seeking funding for the development of nine townhouses on the former Old Home Dairy site at Western and University, and for other projects planned near the Victoria light rail station.

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Discovery Club