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Archive | May, 2013

GardenMCM05_13

Como Park Garden Tour highlights neighborhood gardens

Posted on 08 May 2013 by robwas66

GardenMCM05_13The Como Park Neighborhood Garden Tour, part of Como Fest, is scheduled for Saturday, July 20th from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. This annual event will feature 15 gardens located throughout the Como Park neighborhood, one of St Paul’s most charming residential areas. The tour is free and open to the public.

Garden tour maps will be available on the day of the garden tour at the Como Fest Saturday Art Fair, located at the Church of the Holy Childhood, 1435 Midway Parkway in St Paul (Midway Parkway just east of Snelling Avenue) or online at the District 10 Como Community Council’s website, www.district10comopark.org.

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ComoFestMCM05_13

Como Fest now in its 4th year

Posted on 08 May 2013 by robwas66

ComoFestMCM05_13Now in its fourth year, Como Fest is the Como Park Neighborhood’s annual summer get together and “staycation.” Highlights of this year’s Como Fest include a music and dance festival, family fun activities, an outdoor movie complete with bonfire and camp out, an art fair, and garden tour.

2013 events will take place on Thursday, July 18th from 2 – 8 p.m. at the Lyngblomsten campus (1415 Almond Avenue), on Friday, July 19th from 6 – 10:30 p.m. at the Northwest Como Recreation Center (1550 Hamline Avenue North), and on Saturday, July 20th from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Church of the Holy Childhood (1435 Midway Parkway).

Learn more at www.district10comopark.org/comofest.

 

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GorillaMCM05_13

Gorilla Forest Grand Opening

Posted on 08 May 2013 by robwas66

GorillaMCM05_13Como Park Zoo and Conservatory announces June 6, 2013 as the official opening for Gorilla Forest. This $11 million exhibit redesign and overhaul will feature seven gorillas, six of whom are new to Como Zoo, and the largest all-mesh gorilla enclosure in North America.

The Gorilla Forest construction includes the addition of a major outdoor exhibit and significant improvements and expansions to the existing indoor facilities. All changes to the exhibit exceed the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requirements for holding, exhibiting and managing great apes. The 13,000 square foot outdoor space, almost three times larger than the previous space, was designed to give the gorillas ample room to play, climb, forage and display their extraordinary family and social dynamics to the public while minimizing stress on the gorillas and creating up close and personal views of the gorillas for visitors.

The improvements to the indoor facilities, including the behind-the-scenes areas, were enlarged and could make mating these endangered species a possibility for Como. The new gorilla holding building provides plenty of natural light and two stories for the animals with view windows and perches so the gorillas can see out. Improvements to existing rockwork and trees will provide more horizontal space for gorillas and planned family groups. Better ventilation, lighting, drainage and a new rainforest mural on the dayroom wall will create an improved environment for the animals and viewing experience for the public.

While designing Gorilla Forest, Como emphasized the necessity of creating an enriching experience for guests as well as improving conditions for the animals. A recent study from the Institute for Learning Innovation found that children and adults who visit Como Zoo and similar facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums “leave the zoo thinking differently about their role in environmental problems.” Researchers noted that a zoo visit makes visitors feel they can make difference in solving environmental challenges, with significant increases in visitors who agree with the statements “There is a lot I can to do conserve” and “I am a part of the solution to nature’s problems.” Armed with this knowledge, Como designed this exhibit with the goal of informing and empowering the public, while maintaining a pleasing aesthetic experience.

 

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MosaicMCM05_13

Midway’s own Mosaic on a Stick now at Hamline Park Playground Building

Posted on 08 May 2013 by robwas66

When artist Lori Greene first opened the doors of Mosaic on a Stick nine years ago on Snelling Avenue, she never thought the mosaic supply store, classroom and studio would one day occupy the historic old Hamline Park Building. Over Easter weekend, the shop moved its location to  the two-story structure built in 1938. Above, Green poses with staffer Eamonn McLain in their new space. (Photo by Stefanie Berres)

When artist Lori Greene first opened the doors of Mosaic on a Stick nine years ago on Snelling Avenue, she never thought the mosaic supply store, classroom and studio would one day occupy the historic old Hamline Park Building. Over Easter weekend, the shop moved its location to the two-story structure built in 1938. Above, Green poses with staffer Eamonn McLain in their new space. (Photo by Stefanie Berres)

By JAN WILLMS

When Hamline resident and artist Lori Greene first opened the doors of Mosaic on a Stick nine years ago on Snelling Avenue, she never thought the mosaic supply store, classroom and studio would one day occupy the historic old Hamline Park Building.

Over Easter weekend, the shop moved its location to 1564 Lafond Ave. and into the two-story structure built in 1938.

And on June 15, a grand opening will be held on the premises, with live music and food trucks brought in to add to the celebration.

Greene said the Hamline Park Building was constructed by the WPA and served as a parks building for the first 30 years of its life. It was then used by a series of nonprofits, but the space was greatly under-utilized.

Greene will make use of the space available, offering a variety of classes on the lower floor and a gallery, open studio and store on the first floor.

Classes will be available during daytime hours and evenings to participants of all ages, in beginning and advanced mosaic and handmade glass and sculpture.

Greene, who did her undergraduate studies at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland and her master’s at the Maryland Institute College of Arts, has been working with mosaic for the past 20 years.

“Operating the store has been the first time I have been open to public business,” Greene said, “but I have only really ever been an artist.”

From the beginning, she has promoted Mosaic on a Stick, so named because of its nearness to the State Fair corridor, as a community enterprise. One of her earlier projects was creating mosaic planters along Snelling, a joint effort with the Hamline Midway Coalition. Neighborhood residents and Hamline University students joined in to work on the planters.

Although Greene said she does not do much with the planters anymore, if she passes one and notices it needs to be fixed, she tries to repair it as soon as possible.

With the recent difficult economic climate, Mosaic on a Stick has not only survived, but flourished, a difficult task for a small business.

Greene said she attributed the business’ success to one thing—love. “This business is not a big money maker, but that’s not the point. It is really about community, and the people who come here are here for the community.”

She said she is still pursuing getting a nonprofit status for the business. She is currently working on a mural with North High students for their school and doing a project for two restaurants that are very much not local—they are in Dubai.

“It’s just a weird fluke that I happen to have work all over the place,” Greene said modestly.

She has two main staff members to help, Tara Nielsen and Eamonn McLain.

“I never expected the business to grow this much,” Greene said. “But I would like to encourage people to come over and see the building. It’s a very different space, and such a beautiful building. And people can always come and work on a project.”

The store is open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday and Friday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. The open house will be held during the regular Saturday hours.

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CarouselMCM05_13

Carousel opens in May

Posted on 08 May 2013 by robwas66

Volunteers have restored the carousel to its 1914 appearance and installed it in its new pavilion next to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park in 2000.

Volunteers have restored the carousel to its 1914 appearance and installed it in its new pavilion next to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park in 2000.

Cafesjian’s Carousel—the historic and treasured merry-go-round that has delighted riders for thirteen seasons at St. Paul’s Como Park—is seeking additional volunteers for its fourteenth season, which begins May 1.

Volunteers operate the carousel, sell tickets, and sell merchandise at the gift shop. They work 3- or 4-hour shifts, two or more times each month. New volunteers are encouraged to apply individually, in pairs or as groups. Training is provided for all positions, and free parking is available. For information about volunteers opportunities, contact Cafesjian’s Carousel at 651-489-4628 or volunteer@ourfaircarousel.org, or visit our website at www.ourfaircarousel.org.

Cafesjian’s Carousel originally operated for 75 years at the Minnesota State Fair. It is now owned and operated by the nonprofit organization Our Fair Carousel, Inc. Volunteers have restored the carousel to its 1914 appearance and installed it in its new pavilion next to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park in 2000. The group pays operational expenses through ticket and gift sales.

The carousel operates Tuesdays through Sundays from May 1 through Labor Day, and weekends from Labor Day until the end of October.

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HeartwoodMCM05_13

Heartwood Festival is back in Hamline-Midway, bringing neighbors together

Posted on 08 May 2013 by robwas66

Now that the long winter is behind us, people can finally turn their thoughts to festivals. One of the first, the Hamline Midway Heartwood Festival 2013, will be held Sat., June 1, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Newell Park, 900 Fairview Ave. N. The festival will begin with a Bike/Walk Parade at 10 a.m. at Hancock Recreation Center.

Now that the long winter is behind us, people can finally turn their thoughts to festivals. One of the first, the Hamline Midway Heartwood Festival 2013, will be held Sat., June 1, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Newell Park, 900 Fairview Ave. N. The festival will begin with a Bike/Walk Parade at 10 a.m. at Hancock Recreation Center.

By DEBORAH BROTZ

Now that the long winter is behind us, people can finally turn their thoughts to festivals. One of the first, the Hamline Midway Heartwood Festival 2013, will be held Sat., June 1, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Newell Park, 900 Fairview Ave. N.

The festival is being held to bring neighbors together.

“It’s really an opportunity for people in the neighborhood to come together and showcase the highlights of the neighborhood, their talents, and the businesses,” said Kristy Clemons, Heartwood Festival coordinator. “It’s geared for people from the community meeting each other and learning what they have to share.”

The festival celebrates community, sustainability, and art.

“It provides a welcoming event for residents of all ages and backgrounds to come together, to develop a sense of place for local cultures, and to strengthen community bonds showing the wealth of diversity and local talents of residents,” said Clemons. “Also, the festival serves as the annual meeting for the Hamline Midway Coalition. Residents vote for new board members.”

The festival’s focus is sustainability.

“We’ve partnered up with St. Paul Parks and Recreation, Hancock Recreation Center, and Eureka Recycling,” said Clemons. “Eureka is helping us to make this a zero waste event.”

The festival will begin with a Bike/Walk Parade at 10 a.m. at Hancock Recreation Center.

“People will be making masks and boxes for kids to wear to make little box cars for light rail,” said Clemons. “They are artistic and creative ways to represent sustainable transportation.”

Mask making workshops will be held every Thursday beginning May 2 at Hancock Recreation Center from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“People will use boxes to make little cars at the same mask making workshops,” said Clemons. “It’s open to all ages. It’s an opportunity for youth and families to come together to create art for the parade.”

Musical entertainment will feature a mix of music.

There will be Greg Herriges doing solo World music, Pop Wagner doing solo folk music, Afro-Brazilian drumming, Todd Menton doing solo Irish music, Happy Minnesota doing physical theater, O’Shea Irish Dance and Center for Irish Music, Urban Hillbilly Quartet, and Xibaba Brazilian Quintet.

There will also be spoken word with Kevin Yang, Fres Thao and CHAT, and CANVAS Teen Arts doing spoken word/acoustic.

There will be interactive music, too.

“We’ll be having performances, and people will practice to make that music as well,” said Clemons. “A group, Beatrix Jar, will do some interactive electronic music. Mark Granlund will also do interactive storytelling.”

2-Wheel Tour/Open Eye Figure Theatre and In the Swing Sweet Adelines acappella quartet will be roaming the park grounds.

Hancock Recreation Center will be having kid’s activities such as kickball, soccer, and a bike rodeo.

While the Art and Craft Fair is still in the making, there will be photography for sale, including photos printed on handmade greeting cards, framed artwork, and prints. There will also be some jewelry, pottery, fabrics, and handmade bar soap. An author will be selling some books of their writings and short stories. People can take part in an interactive video project. They will create a video to go with the short stories.

There will be a Resource Fair with booths that include businesses, community organizations, churches, and schools. Applications for booths will be taken until Fri., May 17.

While the Coalition is still getting food trucks together, Ginkgo Coffeehouse will be serving smoothies, ice cream, and sandwiches at the festival.

The Bike/Walk Parade will be leaving Hancock Recreation Center at 10:30 a.m.

“It’s a fun way to engage community members around a piece of the festival,” said Clemons. “It’s also a fun way for kids to get involved.”

When the parade gets to the park, there will be an opening ceremony with a ceremonial tree planting at the reNewell Tree Planting. Volunteers will be gathering from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to plant Burr Oak Tree seedlings. Partners include the University of Minnesota, St. Paul Parks and Recreation, and the Hamline Midway Coalition.

Like the reNewell Project, the Slice of Life Photo Exhibit is new to the festival. A digital slide show will be presented and a select number of prints will be on display.

“We’re highlighting the neighborhood through photography,” said Clemons. “It’s a fun way to engage people in the neighborhood showing and sharing things they like about the neighborhood.”

Sponsors of this year’s festival include: Ginkgo Coffeehouse, Groundswell Coffee, Eureka Recycling, Greg’s PC Repair, Renewal by Andersen, Heppner’s Auto Body, Borden Windows, and Celtic Junction. The Coalition received a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council with funds coming through the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment.

Clemons hopes for a large turnout at the festival.

“It’s an opportunity for people in the neighborhood to build relationships with each other as well as businesses and organizations throughout the Hamline Midway community,” said Clemons. “It’s also an opportunity for people to connect with resources and opportunities throughout the Hamline Midway community.”

For more information, go to hamlinemidway.org

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Award1MCM05_13

City issues Sustainable St. Paul Awards for 2013

Posted on 08 May 2013 by robwas66

2013 Winner of Institutional Green Building Design Award – St. Thomas, Anderson Student Center

2013 Winner of Institutional Green Building Design Award – St. Thomas, Anderson Student Center

Ramsey County and District Energy St. Paul by Sustainable St. Paul

Ramsey County and District Energy St. Paul by Sustainable St. Paul

2013 Winner of Sustainable City Staff – Department of Public Works, Hamline Midway Pervious Alley Project

2013 Winner of Sustainable City Staff – Department of Public Works, Hamline Midway Pervious Alley Project

2013 Winner of Commercial Green Building Design – Kendall’s Ace Hardware

2013 Winner of Commercial Green Building Design – Kendall’s Ace Hardware

2013 Winner of Environmental Education and Awareness Award – Great River School

2013 Winner of Environmental Education and Awareness Award – Great River School

2013 Winner of Water Quality or Conservation Award – Como Lake Neighbor Network

2013 Winner of Water Quality or Conservation Award – Como Lake Neighbor Network

By JANE MCCLURE

Celebrating environmental stewardship, energy conservation, lake pollution prevention and even a new method of alley pavement is the goal of the Sustainable St. Paul Awards. The 2013 awards, presented April 17 by Mayor Chris Coleman and the St. Paul City Council, included representatives from area neighborhoods.

This is the seventh year for the awards, said Coleman. He called the 2013 winners an “amazing group” and added, “They make St. Paul a better place.” The awards are presented as part of the city’s Earth Day celebrations. Although parts of the celebration, including parks cleanup, were snowed out, the awards presentation and other community celebrations did take place. Fourteen different awards were presented. All can be seen on the city website in the Mayor’s News Room tab.

One unusual award, for city staff sustainability efforts, recognized St. Paul’s Department of Public Works and its efforts to rebuild the alley behind Hamline-Midway Branch Library. The Hamline-Midway Pervious Alley Project involved removing roughly 12,800 square feet of impervious surface and replacing it with permeable pavement. This means less storm water runoff and more water being absorbed into the earth. The project area, a mixed-use neighborhood at the corner of Snelling and Minnehaha avenues, is ideal for the permeable pavement installation. The project was also coordinated with planned improvements to the Hamline Midway Library parking lot, minimizing disruptions to the neighborhood and improving cost efficiencies overall. The project involved a large amount of excavation but is expected to provide benefits for many years.

The Environmental Education and Awareness Award went to Great River School, which recently became the first school in the city of Saint Paul to join the Department of Natural Resources School Forest Program. The charter school’s students chose the Saint Paul’s Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom to be their school forest. Students and teachers spend many hours assisting at Como with a variety of natural resource tasks such as planting, mulching, seed collection, brush hauling, and removing of invasive species. Students also engage in long-term investigative research topics to help the outdoor classroom, and have more than 200 students help with natural resource management and park maintenance at Como Park.

The Water Quality or Conservation Award went to CLNN or Como Lake Neighbor Network. This group has worked to keep excess phosphorus out of Como Lake through a fall curbside cleanup. Neighbors work together for a week in mid-October to clean leaves from street gutters.

Fall 2012 was the largest and most successful Como Curb Cleanup to date. Nearly 200 Como households participated and removed 11,727 pounds of organics from street gutters. This translates to an estimated 12 pounds of phosphorus prevented from Como Lake and an estimated 6,000 pounds of algae prevented.

 

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LorettaMCM05_13

Episcopal Homes resident celebrates milestone birthday

Posted on 08 May 2013 by robwas66

Loretta Eklund has lived in the Episcopal Homes in St. Paul for about 10 years and is an active participant in her community. Just about to turn 100, Eklund still shops for her own groceries and does her own housework. Above, Eklund holds a photograph of herself in earlier years. (Photo by Jan Willms)

Loretta Eklund has lived in the Episcopal Homes in St. Paul for about 10 years and is an active participant in her community. Just about to turn 100, Eklund still shops for her own groceries and does her own housework. Above, Eklund holds a photograph of herself in earlier years. (Photo by Jan Willms)

By JAN WILLMS

Shopping for your own groceries, doing your own housework and cooking and eating your own meals might seem like relatively common tasks, but may be a little more difficult when you are nearly 100 years old.

But Loretta Eklund, who will celebrate her 100th birthday June 3, accomplishes all of this with relative ease. With her white hair fashionably cut and her agile movements, she appears much younger than her chronological age.

Eklund has lived in the Episcopal Homes at 1830 University Avenue West for about 10 years and is an active participant in her community. She was born in Bridgewater, SD, and lived there until she was about 12. When her parents separated, she lived with a grandmother for a couple of years and then moved to St. Paul in 1928 to live with an aunt.

“I had to support myself, so I found a job doing housework and caring for children,” Eklund recalled. “I guess I was a nanny.”

One Sunday, a friend of hers who worked as a waitress on St. Peter St. invited Eklund to come and listen to a man who played the accordion and sang.

“I went down, and she introduced me. I fell in love with him immediately. I knew that was the man for me,” Eklund said fondly. She married Alex Eklund at 19 and the couple had a son, Hilmer, when she was 20.

Their marriage lasted 45 years, until her husband died unexpectedly one day while they were having a conversation.

“He was sitting and looking out the window and told me he wanted a cup of coffee. I told him I was making some, and suddenly he was gone, while I was talking to him.”

“He was a nice man and everybody liked him,” Eklund remembered. “He was very gentle and fun to be with. He was a machinist at St. Paul Welding and Manufacturing Company, over by Seven Corners. He played accordion as a sideline.”

She said the two of them went all over as he played, going somewhere every weekend. He also played for people in nursing homes and hospitals. The couple built a home in Center City in 1969 and lived there eight years together before Alex’s death.

Eklund remained in Center City a couple years before selling her home and moving to St. Paul. “I had an acre of land to maintain, and I couldn’t do it alone,” she said.

Eklund downplays her life, saying she lived very simply, being a homemaker and raising a son.

“My husband was born in Sweden, and he was very traditional. He didn’t want me working outside the home,” Eklund said. The two of them traveled a great deal, and she kept up the traveling after she was widowed.

“I spent my winters in Arizona and California for 25 years,” Eklund said. She also made dolls and quilts, a pastime she continues to this day. However, she said she plans to stop making dolls because she is finding the needle is too difficult to thread.

She started making ceramics in recent years.

Eklund’s granddaughter and her family live in Paris. Eklund has two great grandsons, and her apartment is full of pictures of family members. She has pictures of herself as a younger woman and one picture of her parents and she and her seven siblings.

“All but two lived well into their nineties,” she said. Third from youngest, she is the only one who remains.

Eklund does not attribute her longevity to anything in particular. She does eat six to seven helpings of vegetables a day. “I try to eat three that are above the ground and three that grow underground every day,” she said. She also eats little red meat, dining mostly on chicken and turkey and fish.

“I don’t do a lot of exercise, but I have always walked,” Eklund claimed. She said she can walk two to three blocks and it means nothing to her. She also walks very gracefully and purposefully, with an ease not often found in those half her age.

She watches a couple of daytime soaps, All My Children and Bold and the Beautiful, as well as a quiz show. “I like Channel 2 as well,” she said.

“I lived a normal life as a wife and housekeeper,” Eklund said. “I have had a good full life and a healthy one. I live from day to day.’

“I had a good married life,” she said wistfully. “Forty-five years of happiness with my husband. And he played and sang for me every day of his life.”

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RiceStPoliceMCM05_13

Pitch for Central District Police Station on Rice Street fails

Posted on 08 May 2013 by robwas66

RiceStPoliceMCM05_13

By JANE MCCLURE

North End residents, business owners and organizations tried. More than 1,300 of them signed a petition. They wrote letters, passed motions in support, made their presence known during a bus tour and even handed out cookies. They had elected officials on their side, including Ward Five Council Member Amy Brendmoen and County Commissioner Janice Rettman.

But their efforts to replace the Central District Police Station with a new building at Sylvan Park and bring more cops back to the community may have fallen short. Supporters have one more chance to make a case for the $16.2 million project at 6 p.m. Monday, June 3 at City Hall.

The project, which is one of the largest in the plus-100 list of candidates in contention for funding, faces an uphill battle. After the June public hearing the Long-Range Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) Committee makes its recommendations to Mayor Chris Coleman. The mayor will pick projects before unveiling the 2014 city budget in August. The 2014-2015 capital budgets will be adopted by the St. Paul City Council at year’s end.

The district is the only one of three that doesn’t have as separate neighborhood-based headquarters. It moved out of rented space at Rice and Arlington in 2003 and to the new law enforcement center, in what was supposed to be a temporary move. Since then community members have tried to get the facility back, proposing at one point that it be built in conjunction with the Rice Street Branch Library. Another proposal was at Rice and Sycamore. But neither location has been deemed feasible.

St. Paul Police Department wants a new district headquarters in the neighborhood and would share Sylvan Park. A station in the district would enhance police presence and improve response times, according to police. It would also provide better space for the 100 officers and civilians who work for Central District.

Attorney and neighborhood activist Kirsten Libby represented District 6 on the CIB Task Force. At the ranking meetings, she worked to get the project moved forward but was voted down. The project finished at 25th and isn’t likely to be funded for 2014-2015.

“We’ve come in five times over 10 years trying to replace our police station,” she said.

Large public safety projects, such as new police facilities or fire stations, do gobble up a large part of the capital budget. “Maybe the city needs to look at a different way to fund these projects, so they don’t compete directly with parks and playgrounds and recreation centers,” Libby said. “This is a huge need for our community. We’ve already lost three recreation centers and McDonough is hanging on by a thread.”

But CIB Committee Member Jacob Dorer cited the high cost. “This would be more than the entire budget for one year.”

Other committee members cited the potential loss of part of Sylvan Park, which would mean replacing park land on a one-to-one basis.

“I hate to see us lose land that kids need to play on,” said District 10 task force representative Dick Dian.

Another concern is that the police department needs to look at leasing space, or combining Central Team with other new facilities it needs. But even doing that would push the proposal back another two years, Libby said.

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Discovery Club