SponsorAd

Archive | April, 2013

HockeyMCM04_13

Johnson Como Devils Girls 12UB hockey team captures 2013 State Crown

Posted on 11 April 2013 by robwas66

Members of the Johnson Como Hockey Association 12UB Girls StateChampion Hockey Team. First row left to right: Anna Weyandt, Anna Klein, Riley Tuft, Kaelie Smith, Marissa Hawkins, Maria Meggitt, Brianna Willier and Gianna Gabrielli. Second row: Melissa Teal, Madalyn Thill, Katie Garhofer, Samantha Carlson, Madison Sagdalen, Caitlyn Behr and Olivia Schultz. Third Row: Coach Bob Smith, Coach Tom Tuft and Coach Paul Klein

Members of the Johnson Como Hockey Association 12UB Girls State Champion Hockey Team. First row left to right: Anna Weyandt, Anna Klein, Riley Tuft, Kaelie Smith, Marissa Hawkins, Maria Meggitt, Brianna Willier and Gianna Gabrielli. Second row: Melissa Teal, Madalyn Thill, Katie Garhofer, Samantha Carlson, Madison Sagdalen, Caitlyn Behr and Olivia Schultz. Third Row: Coach Bob Smith, Coach Tom Tuft and Coach Paul Klein

The Johnson Como Devils Girls 12UB Hockey Team defeated Hermantown-Proctor 3-1 to win the State Championship in Roseau, MN on Sunday, March 17, 2013. This is the first time a hockey team from Como has ever won a state title and the first time a Johnson team has won a state title at any level since an early 90’s boys bantam team.

Comments Off on Johnson Como Devils Girls 12UB hockey team captures 2013 State Crown

NWComo04_13

Summer programs offered at Northwest Como Rec Center

Posted on 11 April 2013 by robwas66

NWComo04_13

Summer Camps/Classes began registration Monday, March 25. Activities Include:

Tae Kwon Do, Artist Workshop, Storytelling/Writing, Soccer Review, Funtastic Fridays, Babysitters Training, Yoga, Ultimate Frisbee, Clay Making, Game On, Robotics Star Wars Droid Builder, Extreme Robotics Robo-Sports, Intro to Acting, Twinkle Toes, Jump Start Into Kindergarten, Cheerleading, Archery, Basketball, Soccer, Snag-Golf, Volleyball, Flag Football and Mini Hawk.

Mark your Calendar and register now for: Overnight Camp Out/Movie Night on Friday, July 19.

Summer Sports Registration for Northwest Como Recreation Center is now! Register for:

Pre-Tball (ages 3-4), T-ball (ages 5-6), Nearball (coach pitch ages 7-8), Machine Pitch Baseball (ages 7-8), Machine Pitch Fast Pitch Softball (ages 7-8), Baseball (ages 9-15), Fast Pitch Softball (ages 9-14), Slow Pitch Softball (ages 9-14).

Register at www.stpaul.gov/ park (Call 651-298-5813 with a credit card) or come into Northwest Como Recreation Center Mon-Thur 3-8 p.m. or Fri 3-6 p.m.

Comments Off on Summer programs offered at Northwest Como Rec Center

Illusionist(F)MCM04_13

‘Illusionist’ show may raise spirits and more at Merriam Park’s Masonic Lodge

Posted on 11 April 2013 by robwas66

Illusionist Sean-Paul of Intrigue Theater demonstrates mind over matter as he bends the spoon with the power of the mind. This trick will be performed at the Masonic Triune Temple at 1898 Iglehart at shows April 19 and 20.

Illusionist Sean-Paul of Intrigue Theater demonstrates mind over matter as he bends the spoon with the power of the mind. This trick will be performed at the Masonic Triune Temple at 1898 Iglehart at shows April 19 and 20.

By JAN WILLMS

Built in 1910, the Masonic Triune Temple at 1898 Iglehart is the last remaining historic temple within the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. It serves as the meeting place for several Masonic Lodges and over the years has also hosted historical groups and societies.

Designed in a neo-classical style, the building has a rich history—and with that history comes the possibility of the Temple being haunted. So, what better way for Masonic Lodge St. Paul No. 3 to raise funds for maintenance and renovation than by offering a show featuring spiritualism and illusion?

Intrigue Theater, founded by St. Paul Native Sean-Paul and his wife, Juliane, will offer performances at 8 pm April 19 and 20 at the Temple. Intrigue Theater had its debut performance at the Temple on Friday the 13th in the month of May in 2011, also a show designed to raise funds for the Temple’s maintenance.

“Films like the DaVinci Code and National Treasure have given a rebirth to Masonic culture, with some of their references,” Sean-Paul said. “Meetings are conducted in the Temple in the most traditional sense.”

“People who work there say the place is haunted,” Sean-Paul said. “They will tell you so, matter-of-factly and with a straight face.” He said there is supposedly someone up in the attic. “During our last performance here, people said they experienced something that was not a part of the act.”

Sean-Paul grew up in St. Paul, in the Macalester and Groveland area. His grandfather was a caretaker of the Masonic Temple since he was a small child. Like the “Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” a current film about an illusionist, Sean-Paul knew at age eight what he would aspire to be. “I have been interested in illusion my whole life,” he said.

Sean-Paul and his wife have performed around the country and currently live in Branson, MO. They offer Intrigue Theater at Eureka Springs, AR. “It’s like Stillwater, but bigger,” Sean-Paul said. “And the town is very Victorian and very haunted.”

The Illusionist and the Medium is the title of the show that will be presented at the Triune Temple.

“Every segment we do starts with some type of real-world premise,” Sean-Paul explained. “There is the perception of what a voodoo doll does, for example. The person on stage thinks I am tapping them with a stick, but the audience is laughing nervously as it sees what is really going on. But everything has a relevant, historical premise.”

He said that for his performance as an illusionist, he channels the spirits of Harry Houdini and a lesser-known Howard Thurston, who at one time was as famous as Houdini himself.

One of the performances Intrigue Theater has done is hold a séance on Halloween at the famously haunted Crescent Hotel in Arkansas, trying to connect with Houdini, who died on Oct. 31, 1926.

“Our performances are a throwback to turn-of-the century type of entertainment,” Sean-Paul continued. “And the Masonic Temple has a venue that has an old-world feel to it.”

He added that although the show may have a Victorian atmosphere, the effects are definitely not old-school. “We have magicians coming to see us, and we fool them all the time,” Sean-Paul said.

He said another performer with Intrigue Theater is the couple’s Capuchin monkey, Frankie. The monkey is dressed in a King Tut headdress, representing the honor in which monkeys were held in Egypt.

“They have found mummified monkeys,” Sean-Paul related. “The early Egyptians believed monkeys were vessels used by the gods to roam the earth.”

He said the first part of the show scheduled for St. Paul will feature illusion, with him channeling the spirit of Thurston. “We never use the word magic in our shows, but rather talk about the mysteries of mankind,” Sean-Paul said.

In the second half of the show, his wife channels the spirit of Annie Fay, who was an early medium around the time of Houdini and had some connections with him.

“Our show is very interactive, and we engage people from the audience,” Sean-Paul said.

 

Comments Off on ‘Illusionist’ show may raise spirits and more at Merriam Park’s Masonic Lodge

Bus(F)MCM04_13

Snelling Avenue bus rapid transit planning gets underway for 2015

Posted on 11 April 2013 by robwas66

Bus rapid transit planning for Snelling Avenue gets underway this spring. Area district councils are among the groups that will have representatives on the Snelling Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Community Advisory Committee.

Bus rapid transit planning for Snelling Avenue gets underway this spring. Area district councils are among the groups that will have representatives on the Snelling Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Community Advisory Committee.

By JANE MCCLURE

Bus rapid transit planning for Snelling Avenue gets underway this spring. Area district councils are among the groups that will have representatives on the Snelling Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Community Advisory Committee. If all goes as planned construction would start next year, with the service starting in 2015.

The committee will have its first meeting May 15 and will meet quarterly during 2013. Members will work with a technical team and the Metropolitan Council, weighing in on ideas for the project. Most area groups made their appointments to the advisory committee last month.

In 2012 Snelling Avenue emerged as the Metropolitan Council’s top choice for a bus rapid transit line, after a number of bus lines were studied. The line eyed is 9.7 miles long, from Rosedale Center in Roseville to the 46th Street Station and a connection to Hiawatha Line light rail transit. It would travel along Snelling Avenue and Ford Parkway in St. Paul and would intersect with Central Corridor light rail and more than a dozen other bus lines.

Katie Roth of Metro Transit has been meeting with area district councils and other groups to keep them updated on the bus rapid transit plans and recruit community advisory committee members. “There is very strong interest in rapid bus and in participation in the committee,” she said.

The community advisory council will include representatives of area district councils, City Council appointees, at-large community representatives and representatives of Macalester College and Hamline University. The 23-member committee will work with Metropolitan Council, city, county and state transportation officials to plan the project.

“There’s a lot of excitement and interest in this project,” said Union Park District Council Land Use Committee Chairperson Anne White.

But one wrinkle in the Snelling study is that it is also being considered as a possible route for a streetcar, in a City of St. Paul. Snelling is one of 18 routes under consideration, said City Planner Michelle Beaulieu. She said Snelling should remain on the table as a possible streetcar route but that it’s likely the funds to build rapid bus would be found first. The city’s streetcar study is several months away from winnowing down its routes to a few preferred streets.

Bus rapid transit is meant to provide faster service than traditional bus service. Streets eyed for rapid buses are streets with high transit demand, where light rail transit wouldn’t be feasible due to issues including a lack of right-of-way.

Currently Snelling Avenue’s Route 84 runs every 15 minutes during weekday rush hour periods and every half-hour during non-rush hour periods. Rapid bus would run every 10 minutes, but with stops every half mile.

Rapid bus would not mean the end of Route 84 but would most likely mean less frequent service on that route.

Bus rapid transit would have stops every half mile. It would include service amenities similar to those of light rail, including in-stop fare boxes and payment of fares at stations rather than while boarding, heated shelters and security cameras in shelters. Buses would be lower for easier boarding. Wheelchairs and strollers would not have to wait for a platform to be raised and lowered, but could simply roll right onto the bus.

The exact designs of buses and features such as bicycle boarding have yet to be determined, Roth said.

Bus rapid transit is seen by its proponents as creating a faster, higher quality service. That in turn would attract more riders. That means fewer bus stops. Buses would also be able to “hold” a traffic signal for a few extra seconds along Snelling, so that buses could get through the intersections more quickly.

But rapid bus transit would mean the end of Route 144 and the loss of the I-94 express bus stop at Snelling Avenue. Those changes are already recommended in a bus plan tied to Central Corridor, which Metropolitan Council approved last year. Those and other service changes will be made in 2014 when Central Corridor begins operations.

Roth said the goal of this year’s study process is to gather community input and get ready for a construction start in 2014. Initially Metro Transit had hoped to have rapid bus up and running by the time the light rail line starts. But a number of factors have pushed the project back. The goal now is to have the rapid bus line ready for operations in time for the 2015 Minnesota State Fair. Metropolitan Council members had initially hoped to have service up and running by the time Central; Corridor light rail starts operations in 2014, but more time is needed to plan the project.

Snelling is one of the area’s busier bus routes. It is served by the Route 84 bus, which carries an average of 3,600 riders each weekday. Service is 15 minutes during rush hours and every half hour the rest of the day. Initial estimates indicate that a switch to bus rapid transit would decrease trip time by 27 percent.

The staff team is currently working on preliminary traffic studies, Roth said.

A meeting location hasn’t been chosen yet but it will be on the Route 84 line, Roth said. The meetings will be open to the public, with hearings during the process. One hearing is expected in late spring or summer.

Comments Off on Snelling Avenue bus rapid transit planning gets underway for 2015

Beer(F)MCM04_13

City Council approves zoning changes for tap rooms following passage of the ‘Surly Bill’

Posted on 11 April 2013 by robwas66

Beer(F)MCM04_13

By JANE MCCLURE

St. Paul craft brewers will have an easier time opening tap rooms in more neighborhoods as the St. Paul City Council has approved zoning changes. The council approved the changes March 27, following a March 20 public hearing.

The changes will allow small brewers of malt liquor to open tap rooms and sell their wares, in properties zoned for some commercial and traditional neighborhood uses. Previously tap rooms were only allowed in industrially zoned areas. The change could also allow brewers to open restaurants and in wards where on-sale liquor licenses are available, become a full bar.

The proposed changes are in response to the growing popularity of craft beers. Currently the only places where a tap room can be located with a brewery are in an industrial district. That’s the case for Summit Brewing Company. Bang Brewing Company is building a brewery and tap room on industrial land on Capp Road in St. Anthony Park neighborhood.

Under the proposed change, a malt liquor producer is a land use defined by production of up to 5,000 barrels of liquor per year.

Several brewery owners and prospective owners attended the City Council public hearing to speak for the change. “This really makes sense for small businesses,” said Deb Loch. She would like to open a craft brewery and tap room in St. Anthony Park neighborhood, called Urban Growler Brewing Co. A tap room and the chance to sell a brewer’s wares on-site would provide needed capital and “instant cash flow” for the business.

But without the needed zoning changes, locations Locke looked at along the Central Corridor light rail line weren’t zoned properly for a brewery and tap room. She and other craft brewers have looked at properties they believed to be industrial in zoning, only to find that they were rezoned during land use studied related to the light rail line.

Dane Breimhorst and Thomas Foss want to open a gluten-free brewery on Thomas Avenue in Hamline-Midway neighborhood, near the Fairview light rail station. Breimhorst told the council he and his partner are ready to start developing their business, as soon as the zoning change allows it.

Fair State Brewing Cooperative is still searching for its location, said founder Matt Hauk. He said a St. Paul zoning change could create districts like those in Minneapolis’ Northeast neighborhood, where tap rooms are popular. “Tap rooms are becoming really important places in the community for people to gather,” he said.

Other areas where small craft brewers are eying possible brewery and tap room locations include the West End and Lowertown neighborhoods.

The St. Paul Planning Commission recommended the zoning change last month, at the request of City Council members Russ Stark and Amy Brendmoen. The zoning change recommendation had a 60-day timeline.

“This is a chance to create lively places in our commercial districts,” said Stark.

When breweries were large industrial uses, Stark said it made sense to restrict them to industrial districts. But the advent of small craft brewers has changed that. St. Paul has one tap room, at Summit Brewing Company. But that is in an industrial park. Other small brewers can sell beer they make, but only in large jugs known as growlers.

Ward Two Council Member Dave Thune said he is supportive of creating new businesses, but wanted to make sure the businesses are regulated properly and don’t disrupt neighborhoods. Stark said the tap rooms would have to follow all regulations that bars and restaurants that serve beer and wine do. Those regulations range from licensing issues to providing enough on-street parking. Parking restrictions will be much less restrictive in traditional neighborhood zones than in commercial zones. Parking will be based on factors including the size of the business and number of seats.

For decades breweries of any size were only allowed in industrial areas. The code was amended a few years ago to expand the use so that malt liquor could be produced in traditional neighborhood and commercial districts. If the use has more than 15,000 square feet of floor area, a conditional use permit is required. But the prohibition on on-site sales remained.

The push to make changes began a few years ago at the state level. In 2011 the Minnesota Legislature approved the so-called “Surly Bill.” Surly Brewing Company sought the change in law so it could serve pints of its beer on-premises. Minneapolis already allows tap rooms and some Twin Cities suburbs either allow tap rooms or are studying possible zoning changes.

St. Paul’s proposed change adopted March 27 won’t affect other regulations on malt liquor production. The city currently regulates malt liquor production in a number of areas, including brew on premises stores, micro and regional breweries, national breweries and brew pubs that are accessory uses to bars or restaurant. The city had several brew pubs when those became popular more than a decade ago. Now there is just one, at Great Waters restaurant downtown.

The Planning Commission is doing a longer-term look at zoning and brewery regulations in general. While there is support on the Planning Commission for small craft breweries and tap rooms, some commissioners want to make sure that the city doesn’t set itself up for other problems. More than a decade ago, the ill-fated Gopher State Ethanol plant was allowed to open at the former Schmidt Brewery in the West End. Neighborhood residents endured years of odors and health issues before the plant shut down.

Commissioners said they don’t want zoning changes meant to benefit craft brewers to be used to allow production of ethanol and other fuels in non-industrial areas. No timeline for the Planning Commission study has been set.

 

Comments Off on City Council approves zoning changes for tap rooms following passage of the ‘Surly Bill’

Classroom(F)MCM04_13

Crossroads Elementary makes Como ‘Outdoor Classroom’

Posted on 11 April 2013 by robwas66

Classroom(F)MCM04_13

By DEBORAH BROTZ

Even snow-covered ground couldn’t dampen Micah Lesch’s excitement about visiting their school forest. At the end of February, students and teachers at Crossroads Elementary began using the Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom (CWOC) as their school forest under a program offered by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Lesch, 8, a third-grader in Susan Johnson’s class who attends Crossroads Science part of the school, couldn’t wait to go to the outdoor classroom. “I thought it would be fun,” he said. “I wanted to see some cottontail rabbits in the ground and the place where they make their homes.”

During the first visit, the students snowshoed. “It was really fun,” Lesch said. “We didn’t have to sink into the snow.”

In addition to playing some nature games, the students took some time to look around and observe. “We found holes in some broken tree trunks,” said Lesch. “These are holes a woodpecker would make. We had a contest to see who could measure the largest tree around. We had a tape measure and a notebook, and all of us went and measured trees.”

The students learned how to tell what kind of animal it is on that outing. “We learned about where their habitat would be, whether it was on the ground or in trees,” said Lesch. “We also learned about nature survival, like what you need to know if you go on ice. The ice needs to be 4 inches deep for a person and 39 inches deep for a truck.”

“It was really fun because we got to look around for animal tracks,” he said. “If we were in a normal class, we would look up something on Google, but we actually got to see it.”

Lesch looks forward to many more trips to the outdoor classroom.

“I hope we get to explore more of the outdoor classroom,” he said. “I want to see if I can find more animal tracks. I’d like to see a raccoon and some birds. I loved being there.”

The 17-acre CWOC site is owned and managed by the City of St. Paul. Schools such as Crossroads that enroll in the School Forest program get DNR benefits, which include: skill-based teacher training on how to teach outside; access to engaging, outdoor activities that meet academic standards; assistance from DNR natural resource professionals; and access to free tree seedlings from the DNR nursery.

“With our science focus, we’re always looking for hands-on experience for students,” said Britt Forsberg, inquiry zone coordinator at Crossroads in partnership with Bell Museum of Natural History. “Como Woodland is a great site for biome or habitats.”

Forsberg feels the program will greatly benefit her students.

“Most of them have little to no access to natural spaces because they live in an urban area,” she said.

Because the school forest is located only 1.7 miles from the school building, Crossroads students will be able to take field trips all year long, without breaking the bank with long-distance bussing costs.

“Hopefully, every student will get a chance to go once this year,” said Forsberg. “Our agreement with the DNR is to go to it five times during the school year.”

Students visiting CWOC will learn about the natural world and outdoor habitats.

“In second grade, students are taught quite a bit about habitats,” said Forsberg. “They learn how plants and animals adapt to where they live. But, they also gain an understanding and appreciation for the natural world.”

Schools who want to enroll in the DNR School Forest program should visit the website: www.MN.DNR.gov/schoolforest to make sure they meet some criteria.

“We do a site visit to see if it’s a good fit for the program,” said Laura Duffey, DNR school forest specialist. “The program came in existence in 1949 through a Minnesota State Statute.”

While longer distance field trips to nature areas are beneficial to students, shorter trips are even more so.

“There are studies out there especially with urban students that show frequent nearby nature has a much more long-term lasting affect which helps students connect with their surroundings better than a once-a-year big trip,” said Duffey. “Frequent trips can be 10 or 15 minutes a week. Just being able to go outside on a consistent basis is much more beneficial.”

Duffey believes it’s important for schools to participate in the DNR School Forest program.

“People in our profession believe students learn better in the outdoors than indoors,” she said. “They get deeper learning and more long-term memory with outdoor experience. I hope that project continues and that any school that wants a school forest should be able to have one.”

Forsberg looks forward to many fun visits to CWOC.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with DNR educators to further train our staff to work outdoors and to be able to use object-based education with natural items.”

Comments Off on Crossroads Elementary makes Como ‘Outdoor Classroom’

City Council supports boundary change for Districts 6 and 10

City Council supports boundary change for Districts 6 and 10

Posted on 11 April 2013 by robwas66

The District Councils were established in 1975 as a citywide citizen participation process, according to the City of Saint Paul. There are currently 17 of them, based on neighborhoods and not on population.

By JAN WILLMS

At its March 20th meeting, the City Council passed a resolution to change the boundaries of Districts 6 and 10. The South Como neighborhood was allowed to secede from District 6 and move into District 10.

This decision followed public input given to Ward 5 councilmember Amy Brendmoen and a public meeting called to gather input from local residents. With an overwhelming number favoring the boundary change, and with the Districts eventually supporting the plan, the Department of Planning and Economic Development offered a recommendation in favor of the move to the City Council on Jan. 24.

“District 10 will be approving an ad hoc committee to develop the process for us to implement the change, including studying and recommending bylaw, budget and other necessary changes,” said Ted Blank, a member of the Executive Committee and new administrator of the District 10 Council.

“We plan to approve the committee’s charter at our April board meeting, and they will begin work after that,” he said.

The boundary changes are scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2014, allowing both councils time to make necessary changes.

Comments Off on City Council supports boundary change for Districts 6 and 10

Discovery Club