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Archive | June, 2013

LayingCablePhoto

Light Rail Work Continues

Posted on 23 June 2013 by robwas66

LayingCablePhoto

Work continues on the University Ave light rail project. Stringing cable is among the work taking place right now.

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Free meals for area youth this summer!

Posted on 17 June 2013 by robwas66

The City of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Department and Saint Paul Public Library have partnered with Saint Paul Public Schools to provide free meals to Saint Paul youth this summer. With a large number of kids and youth using recreation and library services during summer months, children can continue to receive nutritious meals during school vacations. The summer meals are available to all Saint Paul youth 18 years old and younger. Persons older than 18 with a mental or physical disability who participate in a public or non-profit private school program may also receive meals. The meals will be served at various times and locations (see local list below).

See a complete map of all locations in St. Paul by visiting http://summerlunchmap.2harvest.org.

Monitor area sites include (PLEASE note the dates and times vary greatly at every location!):

Site: Network for the Development of Children of African Descent
Address: 655 Fairview Ave N, St. Paul, MN 55104
Dates: now until 8/14/2013
Breakfast: 8:15am – 8:50am

Lunch: 12:15pm – 12:45pm

Site: Hancock Elementary
Address: 1599 Englewood Ave, St. Paul, MN 55104
Dates: one week only, 8/12/2013 to 8/16/2013
Breakfast: 10am – 11am
Lunch: 11:30am – 12:30pm

Site: Hancock Recreation Center
Address: 1610 Hubbard Ave, St. Paul, MN 55104
Dates: now until 8/22/2013
Breakfast: 12:30pm – 1pm
Supper: 4pm – 4:30pm

Site: Gordon Parks
Address: 1212 University Ave, St. Paul, MN 55104
Dates: month of July, 7/1/2013 to 7/30/2013
Breakfast: 7:30am – 9am
Lunch: 11:30am – 1:30pm

Site: Skyline Tower
Address: 1247 St Anthony Ave, St Paul, MN 55104
Dates: now until 8/16/2013
Breakfast: 2pm – 3pm

Site: Northwest Como Rec Ctr
Address: 1550 N Hamline Ave, St. Paul, MN 55117

Dates: now through 8/22/2013

Breakfast: 4:15pm – 4:45pm

Site: North Dale Recreation Center
Address: 1414 N St Albans St, St. Paul, MN 55117
Dates: now through 8/22/2013

Breakfast: 9am – 11am
Lunch: 11am – 12pm

Site: Washington Techno
Address: 1495 Rice St, St. Paul, MN 55117

Dates: now though 7/30/2013
Breakfast: 10am – 11am
Lunch: 12pm – 12:30pm

Site: Como Park Senior
Address: 740 W Rose Ave, St. Paul, MN 55117
Dates: the month of July, 7/1/2013 through 7/30/2013
Breakfast: 8:15am – 9:15am

Lunch: 11am – 1pm

Site: West Minnehaha Rec Ctr
Address: 685 W Minnehaha Ave, St Paul, MN 55104
Dates: now through 8/16/2013
Breakfast: 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Supper: 4pm – 5pm

Site: Rondo – Freedom School
Address: 560 Concordia Ave, St. Paul, MN 55103
Dates: 7/15/2013 through 8/23/2013
Breakfast: 8am – 8:30am
Lunch: 11:30am – 1pm

Site: Faith Lutheran Church

Address: 499 Charles Ave, St Paul, MN 55102
Dates: now through 9/30/2013
Supper: 5:30pm – 6:30pm

Site: Rondo Community Outreach Library
Address: 461 Dale St N, St Paul, MN 55103
Dates: now through 8/22/2013
Lunch: 11:30am – 12:30pm
Snack: 3pm – 3:30pm

Site: Jackson Street Village
Address: 1497 Jackson St, St Paul, MN 55117
Dates: now through 8/14/2013
Lunch: 11:30am – 1pm

Site: McDonough Rec Center
Address: 1544 Timberlake Rd, St. Paul, MN 55117
Dates: now through 8/22/2013
Breakfast: 12pm – 1pm
Supper: 4pm – 5pm

Site: Scheffer Recreation Center
Address: 237 Thomas Ave, St Paul, MN 55103
Start Date: now through 8/22/2013
Breakfast: 12:30pm – 2pm
Supper: 4pm – 5:45pm

Site: St. Paul City School
Address: 260 Edmund Ave, St. Paul, MN 55103
Dates: 7/8/2013 through 8/2/2013
Breakfast: 9am – 9:30am
Lunch: 12pm – 12:30pm

Site: Maxfield
Address: 380 N Victoria St, St. Paul, MN 55104
Dates: now through 8/23/2013
Breakfast: 7am – 8am
Lunch: 11am – 1pm

Site: Rice Street Library
Address: 1011 Rice Street, St. Paul, MN 55117
Dates: now through 7/12/2013
PM Snack: 3pm – 3:30pm

Site: Rice Teen Zone
Address: 1022 Marion, St. Paul, MN 55106
Dates: now through 8/22/2013
Breakfast: 2pm – 3pm
Supper: 6pm – 7pm

Site: Rice Recreation Center
Address: 1021 Marion St, St Paul, MN 55117
Dates: now through 8/22/2013
Breakfast: 12pm – 1pm
Lunch: 4pm – 5pm

 

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Ice Cream Social, Dinner both planned

Posted on 13 June 2013 by robwas66

Save the Dates – Hamline Midway Elders is planning two events where the entire community is invited to attend. The annual Ice Cream Social will be held Wednesday evening, July 17 and the Friends, Feast & Fine Art (lasagna dinner) will be held on Friday evening, September 20. Details coming soon! For more information, please contact Tom Fitzpatrick at (651) 209-6542 or tom@hmelders.org.

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SidewalkMCM06_13

North End fights over more sidewalks

Posted on 13 June 2013 by robwas66

SidewalkMCM06_13

By JANE MCCLURE

Several area neighborhoods lack sidewalk connections, sometimes for a block or several blocks. That’s a problem for walkers, children on bikes or trikes, and people who use wheelchairs or mobility scooters. It can mean crossing the street to travel or in some cases, traveling in mixed traffic.

For property owners, sidewalks add installation as well as ongoing maintenance expense. That’s why the notion of adding the walkways can generate so much controversy, as happened recently in the North End.

Getting infill sidewalks added in the future will be easier if Ward Five Council Member Amy Brendmoen is able to craft new policies for the city’s street paving program. But during the upcoming summer construction season, one North End residents who wanted infill sidewalks added as part of an upcoming street paving project will be disappointed.

Because the request for sidewalks was made so late in the street project planning process, Brendmoen said a request for a sidewalk along Kent Street’s west side from Orange Avenue to Wheelock Parkway would be denied.

Typically when the city redoes neighborhood streets, existing sidewalks are replaced as needed. Under the Residential Street Vitality Program, residents pay 25 percent and the city pays the rest. But in this case, there isn’t a sidewalk on Ken’s west side. Some residents contend that would add too much to project costs.

“I think sidewalks are important,” Brendmoen said. She wants to change the city’s Residential Street Vitality Program so that future projects include potential costs of infill sidewalks up front.

That action disappointed one group of North End residents, who wants to see the sidewalk installed along Kent. More than a dozen people attended a May public hearing on the sidewalk issue, including several children.

Deborah Kuebler and her family live on Front Avenue, and use Kent frequently. They told the City Council in May that the area isn’t safe for pedestrians. “Our area has a hill and vehicles tend to speed up there,” she said. Her children would use the sidewalk to get to friends’ homes and other destinations.

Deann Urbaniak-Lesch lives on Wheelock Parkway “I feel badly that we as a neighborhood are so split on this issue.” But she walks frequently and agrees with the safety concerns, saying a sidewalk is very much needed.

Others vehemently protested the idea of sidewalks. Concerns ranged from not wanting to pay for sidewalks to not wanting to move landscaping that has been planted in a city right-of-way.

Forest Lake resident Corrine Mitsch owns rental properties at 1309 and 1311 Kent St. “I am opposed to any sidewalk there,” she said. She and her tenants testified at they wouldn’t be able to keep the sidewalks cleared of snow, and that paying for snow removal could make rents cost-prohibitive.

Steve Nelson lives on the part of Wheelock Parkway eyed for sidewalks. He said installing them would be “a classic overreach” by city government. He also contended that adding sidewalks would be detrimental to the area and would affect neighborhood character.

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HandballMCM06_13

Midway Y: Hotbed for handball

Posted on 13 June 2013 by robwas66

First row left to right: Leland Engelking, Joseph Lallier, Zach Wells, Lucas Wells, Daniel Ramerez. Second row: Mitchell Lallier, Amen Ellbeshy, Ahmed Ellbeshy, Brandon Latourneau, Jonah Engelking, Youssef Abdallah and Emanuel Woods.

First row left to right: Leland Engelking, Joseph Lallier, Zach Wells, Lucas Wells, Daniel Ramerez. Second row: Mitchell Lallier, Amen Ellbeshy, Ahmed Ellbeshy, Brandon Latourneau, Jonah Engelking, Youssef Abdallah and Emanuel Woods.

Midway YMCA has always been a hotbed for Handball. A few key long time handball players Gary Aeles, Rich Ryan, Emanuel Woods, Ray Miller, Greg Taylor, Ted Bergstrom ( 83 years young) and all the other handball players have helped build a new group of young handball players at the Y.

David Miller (16 years old) took first place in the A Division at the Minnesota State Handball tournament last weekend. Jesus Cordova (17 years Old) took 3 place in the B division.

The really good news is the Minnesota State Handball recognize the need to invite more young players to join them at the state handball tournament (April 27 ) at the University of Minnesota. Matt Johnson Director of Recreation (handball player) set up two courts to allow 9 young handball players from the Midway YMCA and 2 players from Mankato into the tournament.

Sportsmanship, support of the other players, hard play and having fun was some of the key ingredient to this Youth 2 bounce tournament. The 9 players were from 4 different countries and all have been playing for only 3 months.

The 3 top finisher were Zach Wells, Joseph Lallier and Youssef Abdallah. All the participants Ahmed Ellebishy, Amen Ellbishy, Jonah Engelking, Lelan Engelking, Lucas Wells, Braden Latourneau were all great sports and all were winners.

 

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RiceStreetFest2MCM06_13

Rice Street Festival: Always changing, adding activities

Posted on 13 June 2013 by robwas66

The newly formed Rice Street Festival Committee has many more community members involved in the festival, which runs from Wed., July 24-Sun., July 28.

The newly formed Rice Street Festival Committee has many more community members involved in the festival, which runs from Wed., July 24-Sun., July 28.

By DEBORAH BROTZ

While the Rice Street Festival is the oldest community festival around going back to 1910, it is always changing. This year the Free Family Fun Night has been expanded to include many more activities. And, the newly formed Rice Street Festival Committee has many more community members involved in the festival, which runs from Wed., July 24-Sun., July 28.

RiceStreetFest2MCM06_13“The festival committee is just expanding its volunteer base,” said Kirsten Libby, chair of the Rice Street Festival Committee and president of the North End Business Association (NEBA). “We’re getting more help from the community. Many hands make light work. We put a group together so more people from the community can get involved.”

Now, there’s a little more structure and involvement.

“Louis Ryg, who had been our parade director for many years, retired,” said Libby. “He handled so much. We had to bring new people on and get people educated as to what he did. Cindy Shanley retired as well so we have a new royalty director, Monette Moorman. Between Cindy retiring and Louis retiring, we had to fill a gap.”

In addition to Moorman, Don Apitz is the new parade director; Gidget Bailey, from Tin Cup’s, and Kevin Barrett, from Dar’s Double Scoop, are sharing activities director; while Gina Stokes, recreation director at Rice Street Recreation Center, is in charge of Family Fun Night at the center.

Libby, owner of Libby Law Office, wanted to be chair of the Rice Street Festival Committee for many reasons.

“I do like to be involved in the North End,” she said. “There are so many good things going on. The festival is a good opportunity to showcase Rice Street and the North End. With as many people who work on Rice Street, the festival shows the commitment and enthusiasm these volunteers have.”

The committee decided to expand the Family Fun Night because it’s so popular with families.RiceStreetFest3MCM06_13

“It was so well-attended and liked last year,” said Libby. “It’s an opportunity for good, clean, free family fun for kids and their parents.”

Family Fun Night will be held Fri., July 26, at the Rice Street Recreation Center, 1022 Marion St. and will feature several activities from 6 to 8 p.m.: a rock climbing wall, a jump castle, carnival games, face painting, temporary tatoos, and spin art and button making. A fire truck and a canine unit are also planned to be at the festival. At 8 p.m., a free outdoor movie, “Wreck It Ralph,” will be shown.

The schedule of festival activities is: Wed., July 24, Old Timers Softball Game; Thurs., July 25, Rice Street Festival Parade; Fri., July 26, Family Fun Night; Sat., July 27, Kickball Tournament, on athletic fields at Rice Street and Lawson across the street from Dar’s Double Scoop and JMT Subs. The Car Show and the High Heel Race are also on Saturday, which people can register for at Dar’s Double Scoop. Sun., July 28, is the Queen Coronation.

Apitz, who moved to the Rice Street area from Isanti in February 2013, helped out with the Isanti Parade as a float driver for the Isanti Ambassador Program for 15 years.

“I love community involvement,” he said. “The Rice Street Parade director was stepping down. It was the perfect opportunity to help the community I’m in. The more volunteers you have, the better everything is.”

Finding it difficult to pinpoint one parade highlight, Apitz says he’s trying to make the whole parade a highlight.

RiceStreetFest4MCM06_13“There is one thing,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of fire trucks. I’m trying to get all the fire trucks from the area that represent the different areas. When the little kids see a city block of fire trucks with sirens and lights flashing, it’s exciting. The Half Pint Marching Band from Farnsworth Elementary will be in the parade. A lot of schools don’t have marching bands.”

Moorman, who was a past Rice Street Princess six years ago, brings her past experience to her new position as royalty director.

“We like to keep our Royalty Program really based in the community,” she said. “We’d like to get more royalty from the Rice Street area.”

Moorman is in charge of the Kickoff Dinner, on Mon., June 24; the Fashion Show, on Mon., July 15; and the Coronation, on Sun., July 28.

The Kickoff Dinner is the introduction of candidates running for Rice Street Royalty. The social starts at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. and will be catered by TST, at Ideal Hall, 1494 Dale St. N.

“This is their first chance to be seen by the public,” said Moorman. “It’s a fun way to raise money for the festival. We also do a dessert auction.”

The Fashion Show also starts at 6 p.m. with a social hour, and at 7 p.m., the show starts. It will be held at the Klub Haus, 1079 Rice St.

“This is another one of our fund-raisers we do to support the festival,” said Moorman.

People can get in to the Coronation on July 28 with a button that costs $5. They will be available at many local businesses in the area on June 25.

The purpose of the Rice Street Festival is to celebrate the community.

“It presents the opportunity for people to come together and celebrate their neighborhood, their history, and their diversity,” said Libby.

Libby hopes people appreciate all the hard work volunteers have done to make the festival the best it can be.

“I hope that we have a lot of people participate, and they really have a good time,” she said.

For information, visit: ricestreetfestival.com

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MayParkMCM06_13

The park that “time forgot”?

Posted on 13 June 2013 by robwas66

May Park, one of the city's mini-parks, did get recommended for 2014-2015 funding on June 10 just as the Monitor went to press. But its fate won't be known until year's end, when the St. Paul City Council adopts the capital budget. (Photo by Denis Woulfe)

May Park, one of the city’s mini-parks, did get recommended for 2014-2015 funding on June 10 just as the Monitor went to press. But its fate won’t be known until year’s end, when the St. Paul City Council adopts the capital budget. (Photo by Denis Woulfe)

By JANE MCCLURE

Some Hamline-Midway residents may not know about May Park. One member of St. Paul’s Long-Range Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) Committee called May Park “the saddest little park I have ever seen.” Hamline-Midway Coalition calls it “the park that time forgot.” But unless city officials act, the park’s old equipment may remain in place for at least a few more years.

May Park is what the city calls a “mini-park,” on a .81 acre site on Clayland Place, just west of Fairview Avenue and south of Newell Park. Its equipment is more than 25 years old. It has the dubious distinction of ranking fifth citywide, out of 77 play areas needing work due to safety, accessibility and existing conditions.

May Park’s equipment include an old six-swing swing set, a wood and metal toddler-sized slide and a slightly leaning merry-go-round. The merry-go-round is of the type area parents and grandparents might remember playing on. It isn’t the type of equipment the city has used for many years.

Its site includes a field area and trees that also need attention. One concern St. Paul Department of Parks and Recreation staff has is that the park’s two old oak trees have soil compaction because of years of children playing beneath them. “To preserve and protect these trees, any new park amenities such as a play area should be located away from the root zones, yet still take advantage of the tree canopy,” a city staff report said.

If and when the project is funded, May Park would get new, relocated pay equipment. Work would be done to improve the field and address the issues facing the trees. A sidewalk would be added on the park’s north side. The project has an estimated cost of $254,000.

“Ths is absolutely the saddest little park I have ever seen,” said CIB Committee Member Kellie Charles Connor. “It has the only old merry-go-round still being used in the entire city.”

“It looks like one of the oldest, if not the oldest, of the play areas,” said CIB Committee Member Melanie McMahon.

But the two women were unable to get May Park moved up into the ranks for committee funding. With more than 100 projects vying for funds for the next two years, May Park faces staunch competition.

Hamline-Midway Coalition ranked the park third. The district council’s top priority was multi-model improvements to Snelling Avenue, which also have missed out on funding.

“We do hear from people saying from time to time that they would like to see the park improved,” said Hamline Midway Coalition Executive Director MichaelJon Olson. But the capital budget request came from Parks and Recreation.

In a letter to the CIB Committee, the Coalition stated, “The existing play area is antiquated and referred to by local residents as ‘the playground that time forgot.’ As the proposal notes, the existing play equipment is not accessible to those with disabilities and does not meet current playground safety standards. Also, the multi-purpose field is sorely in need of rehabilitation.”

But what hurt the park in the eyes of some CIB Committee members was not having a group of neighborhood residents lobbying for support. But some neighbors said they didn’t know the proposal was being heard and that they would have attended a hearing.

Of the households around the park, 24% of households have children under the age of 18, according to the 2010 US Census.

 

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FamilyFunMCM06_13

Affordable family fun at Como

Posted on 13 June 2013 by robwas66

On the wide water slide, groups of up to four can slide down together. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

On the wide water slide, groups of up to four can slide down together. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

One spot has it all: pool, zoo, amusement rides, and conservatory

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSON

Kids and water go together like peanut butter and jelly. If your kids are anything like mine, they spend the summer asking for pool days.

Give them their wish without stretching your budget.

An affordable afternoon is as close as Como Regional Pool Park. There’s no need to drive out to the suburbs anymore. My family of four bought a family pass of $16 for the day. Those with more than five in the family pay an additional $3 for each person.

Got a smaller group? The fee for children under 48 inches is $4.50, and those under age 16 is $5. Adults are $6.50 and seniors cost $6. If you don’t want to get wet, pay $2 for a non-swimming deck fee. Those coming with more than 10 people qualify for reduced group rates.

You may want to check out the family season pass. For $195, your family can swim whenever they want at any of the city’s three water parks: Como Regional Pool Park, Highland Aquatic Center and the indoor Great River Water Park.

Open since June 2012, the city-run Como Pool has something for everyone.

The younger kids will love the zero-depth entry area with sprinklers, and the water fun table situated under a shade canopy. There are three waterslides kids of all ages can enjoy that empty into a two-foot-deep area. The wide slide was a big hit with my four-year-old daughter. It’s not easy to find waterslides she go on, let alone a slide she can ride with a parent.

Older kids (and parents) will love the zip line, cliff jumping area, and aquatic climbing wall.

There’s also a 25-yard lap pool with basketball hoops, and a 400-foot lazy river.

Plus, you can feel good about swimming in a pool that has half the chlorine of others, thanks to sphagnum moss filters. St. Paul was the first city in the nation to adopt sphagnum moss treatment in its municipal pools and with its partner, Creative Water Solutions, Inc., won the Governor’s Award for Pollution Prevention in 2011. Other green features at the one-year-old water park include high-efficiency Neptune-Benson filters in the mechanical room that allow the pool to use less water than conventional filters; 12 solar tubes on the roof heat that water for the showers and concession stand; and rain gardens in the parking lot that reduce run-off.

Open swim hours at Como are weekdays from noon to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Learn more about the pool at the St. Paul City web site http://www.stpaul.gov.

Lots more to do

When the kids are done swimming, check out the many other attractions that are just a hop, skip and a jump away. (Browse http://www.comozooconservatory.org/) If you’re like us, you might not have time to see everything in one day, but we’ll be back.

The Carousel

For just $2 a person, you can take a spin on Cafesjian’s Carousel. Originally located 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. It was installed in a new pavilion next to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in 2000.

The Zoo

Como Zoo’s gorillas got a new home in June 2013 when the Gorilla Forest opened. The larger space of 10,000 square feet is about two and half times larger the former outdoor space. The new exhibit is raised so that visitors get an eye-to-eye, up close and personal views of the gorillas.

Admission to the zoo is always free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the summer.

Como Zoo features a seal island, a large cat exhibit, a variety of aquatic life, primates, birds, African hoofed animals and a world class polar bear exhibit. Don’t miss the ever popular Sparky the Sea Lion’s show, held weekend days at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

 

Como Town

Soar like an eagle 85 feet in the air on Como Town’s newest attraction, an exhilarating zip line. A double seat comfortably and safely accommodates two riders from one end of the amusement park to the other. There are more than 18 rides and attractions in Como Town, including the Splash Zone. In addition to the paid rides, there are free entertainment, events, and activities for the kids. After 4 p.m., an unlimited ride wristband is $14.95.

 

The Conservatory

Don’t forget to bring mom to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory before your day is over. The conservatory’s half acre indoor and outdoor facility features several wings dedicated to a variety of plant life including bonsai trees, ferns, orchids and seasonal flowers.

 

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Discovery Club