Archive | June, 2014


Annual Jazz Fest expands to Green Line stages

Posted on 11 June 2014 by robwas66

IOC_JazzFestThe Twin Cities Jazz Festival, June 26-28, is expanding this year to local “Green Line Jazz Stages!” Performances are free and open to the public, including free bus and train rides on Friday and Saturday. To get your free ride, go to www.hotsummerjazz.com, click on “location” and choose “free rides from Metro Transit.”

Area stages include:

Fairview Ave. Station: Episcopal Homes/Iris Park,
1850 University Ave. W.

—Thur., June 26, 4pm, TC7

—Fri, June 27, 4pm, Southside Aces

—Sat., June 28, 4pm, Irv Williams

Lexington Parkway Station: Arnellia’s,
1183 University Ave. W.

—Thur., June 26, 6pm, Maurice Jacox

—Fri., June 27, 5pm, SolFlower Collective

—Sat., June 28, 6pm, Kathleen Johnson

Victoria St. Station: Ngon Bistro,
799 University Ave. W.

—Sat., June 28, 12pm, Tom West Quartet

—Sat., June 28, 2:30pm, Lila Ammons

—Sat., June 28, 5pm, Debbie Duncan

Dale St. Station: Big Daddy’s,
625 University Ave. W.

—Thur., June 26, 1:30pm, The Butanes

—Fri., June 27, 4pm, Big George Jackson

—Sat., June 28, 4pm, Moses Oakland

Dale St. Station: Daily Diner,
615 University Ave. W.

—Thur., June 26, 11:30am, Kevin Washington Quartet

—Thur., June 26, 2pm, Ginger Commodore

—Fri., June 27, 11:30am, Jazz Interpreters

—Fri., June 27, 2pm, Jennifer Grimm

—Sat., June 28, 11:30am, Joyce Lyons

—Sat., June 28, 2pm, Dean Sorenson

Dale St. Station: Rondo Library,
461 Dale S,

—Sat., June 28, 2:30pm, Javi Santiago (Clinic to follow)

Off of the Green Line but still in the area, there will be a stage at Black Bear Crossings on Sat., June 28, 7-9pm with the Larry McDonough Quartet

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St. Paul Midway YMCA decides to rebuild on current site

Posted on 11 June 2014 by robwas66

IOC_YMCAAfter years of discussion and scrutiny of other locations, the St. Paul Midway YMCA has decided to demolish its 61-year-old building and build a new structure at and near its current site.

Fundraising is getting underway for the $16.4 million project, with the goal of tearing down the current building in late 2015. The new building would be twice as large and would occupy the current YMCA site as well as the parking space for neighboring Western Communications. The YMCA recently bought that land for $1.9 million. Plans call for the YMCA to lease back the printing plant to Western.

A firm project timeline will be announced soon.

The need to replace the aging facility has been discussed for many years. A number of sites were scrutinized along and near University Ave. One idea was to partner with Goodwill/Easter Seals and build on what is now a parking lot west of Fairview Ave. City officials had also suggested various sites, but YMCA leadership decided the facility should stay in the same area.

The St. Paul Midway YMCA has been in their building at 1761 University Ave. W. for 61 years. After a search for another location to build a new structure, they decided to stay in their current location, demolish the old building, and build new. Cost of the project is an estimated $16.4 million.

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New Outdoor Fitness in the Parks Program Launched in Saint Paul

Posted on 11 June 2014 by robwas66

IOC_ExcerciseParkFree outdoor fitness classes are now being offered in several parks throughout Saint Paul, including Como Regional Park. For the rest of the summer, residents will be able to participate in a variety of fitness classes as part of the new ‘Fitness in the Parks’ program just launched by the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department. Classes offered will include yoga, martial arts, and dance with additional fitness classes potentially being added depending on demand and availability of instructors.

“We want our residents to be healthy and happy, and what better way to do that than having free fitness activities in some of our most popular parks,” said Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hahm. “Our indoor fitness programs have been a huge success over the years, and we’ve been looking at ways to bring more fitness activities outdoors, so we are very excited to finally make ‘Fitness in the Parks’ a reality.”

The classes will be taught by local Saint Paul businesses who have partnered with the City of Saint Paul to generously donate their time. Businesses that have already signed on to teach classes include; I Love Kick Boxing, Dancers Studio, Sara Wait Yoga, Legacy American Martial Arts, Jenna Theis Yoga, Awaken for Wellness, Sarah Zen Yoga, Tula Yoga and Wellness and Yoga for Every Body.

Pre-registration is not required, and classes are open to all ages and fitness levels. Class schedules can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/fitnessintheparks. Park locations other than Como include; Cherokee Regional Park, Harriet Island Regional Park, Mears Park, Phalen Regional Park, Upper Landing Park, Raspberry Island and Indian Mounds Regional Park.

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HM Health Movement holds first event

Posted on 11 June 2014 by robwas66

IOC_HealthyVeggiesHamline Midway Health Movement’s first Community Wellness event for Hamline Midway residents fifty years and older will feature a free meal, guest speaker, healthy recipes, and door prizes. All Hamline Midway residents, fifty years and older, are welcome to attend on June 25, 6:30-8:30pm at Hamline United Methodist Church, 1514 Englewood Ave. Come learn how to age with gusto and vitality.

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Library offers summer programs

Library offers summer programs

Posted on 11 June 2014 by robwas66

IOC_LibraryThe Hamline Midway Library at 1558 W. Minnehaha Ave. is offering plenty of ways this summer to take a break from the heat, have fun, and engage in a wide range of arts and educational activities.

Thur., June 12, 10:30-11:30am, the 2014 Summer Reading Program opens with Bill the Juggler with a high-energy program for all ages. Summer Reading Program fun continues with the Brodini Comedy Magic Show on Thur., June 19, 10:30-11:30am and Snapdragon Seeds Music on Thur., June 26, 10:30-11:30am. Treasure Beyond Measure, a comedy show featuring silly pirate Capt’n Curley, will play on Thur., July 10, 10:30-11:30am.

Toddler and Pre-School Storytime happens 10:30-11am, Fridays on June 13, June 20, June 27, and July 11.

Mon., June 16, 1-3pm, the library presents The Quilters of Gee’s Bend: Artstart with artist Robin Getsug. Participants can explore the brilliant, bold, dynamic quilts created by a group of women in the isolated African-American town of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, then create their own mini-quilts with paper, fabric, and paint. For ages 8 to 14, space in the workshop is limited. You can register on the library website at www.sppl.org or call the library at 651-642-0293.

The library will feature family-friendly movie matinees with snacks on Thursday afternoons at 2pm on June 19, June 26, July 10, and July 17.

Sat., June 21, 1:30-3pm, readers ages 6 to 12 can read to Marsha and Toby, a human-dog team trained to encourage young readers. Pre-registration is required; please call the library at 651-642-0293 to register.

Sat., June 28, kids who love books can unite for the Kids Book Club at 1:30pm and the Teen Book Club (ages 12 to 18) at 2:30pm, featuring book discussion, treats, and fun activities.

All St. Paul libraries will be closed on Fri., July 4 for the Independence Day holiday.

The Saints and Sinner Mystery Book Club meets Sat., July 5 from 1-3pm. Join other mystery fans to discuss good mysteries every month; the title for July is “A Deadly Cliche” by Ellery Adams.

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Bethlehem Lutheran sponsors seminar

Bethlehem Lutheran sponsors seminar

Posted on 11 June 2014 by robwas66

IOC_ChurchNewsBethlehem Lutheran Church In-The-Midway will be hosting a free information presentation on Tues., June 24 at 6pm on “Our lifetime in one day.” All community neighbors are invited to the church at 436 Roy St. N. Pastor Joy Johnson will introduce the presenters: Stephen L. Nelson, a local Estate Planning attorney; Deb Lane, RN, a hospice nurse from Our Lady of Peace Hospice; and Barbara Hannah, an Advance Funeral Planner representing Holcomb-Henry-Boom-Purcell Funeral Homes. Make it easier on those we love by attending this program designed to assist us in learning about ways to help our families be prepared. Each attendee will receive a free take-home information folder. Please reserve your spot for this evening by e-mail to blcmidway@msn.com or call the Church office at 651-646-6549 or call Barbara Hannah at 612-965-2499.

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Rare Book Fair planned at fairgrounds

Posted on 11 June 2014 by robwas66

IOC_BookFairThe Twin Cities Antiquarian and Rare Book Fair will be held June 27 (3-8pm) and June 28 (10am-4pm), in the Progress Center at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Over fifty exhibitors from across the country will be offering antiquarian, fine, and rare books in nearly every field, including first editions, fine bindings, vintage books and advertising, ephemera, maps, and more. The book fair is hosting a lineup of speakers and events including Ken Sanders of Antiques Roadshow and Andy Sturdevant and others reading from rare children’s books from the collection of the Minnesota Historical Society. Admission: $7 Fri. (includes Sat. admission); $5 Sat.; kids 12 and under free; students with ID free on Saturday.

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Bethel Lutheran to hold sale June 19-21

Posted on 11 June 2014 by robwas66

IOC_ChurchNewsBethel Lutheran, 670 W. Wheelock Pkwy., will host its annual huge rummage sale June 19-21. There will be a large range of items including books, furniture, tools, house ware items, dishes, glassware, stemware, crystal, collectibles of all kinds, arts and crafts, jewelry, office supplies, working electronics, sporting goods, and gently used toys and clothing for the whole family. There will be a presale event on Thur., June 19, 6-8pm, with a cost of $3. Hours on Fri., June 20 are 9am-6pm and on Sat., June 21, 9am-3pm.

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Green Line 101:

Posted on 11 June 2014 by robwas66

Your Guide to Riding the Rail



The Green Line is fast approaching. Here’s what you need to know to hop aboard.

Where can I go?


A man uses the ticket machine at the Downtown East Station in Minneapolis. This station is the first opportunity to change to the Blue Line (to travel to the airport and Mall of America). The Green and Blue Lines share stations from here to Target Field. (Photo by Jill Boogren)

The Green Line will go from Union Depot in Downtown St. Paul to Target Field in Minneapolis. The Blue Line goes from Target Field to the Airport and Mall of America. You can switch to the Blue Line anywhere from the Downtown East (former Metrodome) Station to Target Field. In all, the Green Line has 18 stations, plus the five it shares with the Blue Line.

A map of the route can be found at www.metrotransit.org/greenline. Route maps are also posted inside every rail vehicle.

How long does it take?

Travel between the two downtowns will take 48 minutes. From the Snelling Ave. station it will be 28 minutes to Union Depot and 20 minutes to Target Field. Stations are 2-3 minutes apart.

How much does it cost?

Single trips are $2.25 at rush hour (Mon.-Fri. 6-9am and 3-6:30pm, except holidays), $1.75 other times of day. Tickets are valid for 2.5 hours.

Reduced Rates of $0.75 are available for non-rush hour travel for youth (age 6-12), seniors (age 65+), and Medicare card holders. Persons with disabilities always pay $0.75. Children age 5 and under are free with paying customer.

Adults can buy an Event 6-Hour Pass for $4 on weekdays, $3.50 on weekends ($3 weekdays, $1.50 weekends for youth, seniors, Medicare card holders and Mobility customers). You can also get a Day Pass for $6, good for 24 hours.

How do I pay?

There are no fare boxes on trains; you must pay before getting on. Police officers will randomly ask to see proof of fare payment on trains and stations.

Pay at the station by feeding dollar bills ($1, $5, $10, and $20), coins, or a credit card into the ticket machine. Select ticket/pass. Insert payment. You can buy for more than one person if it’s the same ticket type by selecting “Purchase additional tickets.” Pick up ticket(s) and any change from the tray at the bottom of the machine. Keep your ticket with you as proof of payment.


Go-To Card (Photo by Jill Boogren)

For added convenience (and savings), get a Go-To Card. This lets you store an amount (or a pass) on the card, so instead of hunting for change on the platform you just press your card against the Go-To Card machine. You can add more value at your convenience, or even sign up to have value refilled automatically. Purchasing stored value greater than $5 gets you a 10% bonus.

Multi-Day (31-day and 7-day) and 10-ride passes are also available. Be sure to check at your workplace, college, or high school to see if they have passes for employees (Metropass), students (U-Pass, College Pass or Student Pass) and faculty.

Go-To Cards and other passes can be purchased online at www.metrotransit.org/passes-go-to-cards or at service centers (see sidebar). Call 612-373-3333 (to refill Go-To Cards only).

How do I ride?


People at the Downtown East Station in Minneapolis prepare to board a train. Stations are signposted by the direction the train is going, in this case to St. Paul (if Green Line) or the Mall of America (if Blue Line). (Photo by Jill Boogren)

Go to the side of the platform that is signposted with the direction you wish to go. The front of each train, above the operator’s cab, will be marked with a blue or green “block” to show which line it is, along with the destination.

When can I ride?

Green Line trains will run 24 hours a day at 10-minute intervals for much of each day. In early morning and late evening intervals gradually increase until it goes to hourly in the middle of the night.

At Snelling Ave. these 10-min. intervals are between about 5-6am and 9-10pm, depending on which direction you’re going. At other times trains come every 15-20 minute intervals then hourly between midnight and 4am (again, depending on direction). There’s a gap in service on the Blue Line in the middle of the night, too, so be sure to check the schedule.

The schedule shifts on the weekends, with extended hours on Friday and Saturday nights. Timetables are found at each station. Look at the direction you wish to go (i.e. to Union Depot, Target Field, or Mall of America) and whether it’s a weekday, Saturday or Sunday. Then find your departure time.

Schedules for the Green Line and all connecting buses are now posted online at www.metrotransit.org/green-line-buses. Printed schedules can be found on buses, at libraries, and at other public locations.

What if I use a wheelchair?

All rail cars are accessible by wheelchair, with level boarding so wheels roll directly onto the train. There are labels indicating priority seating near vehicle doors.

Can I bring a bike, or luggage?


Inside the train: Priority seating for persons with disabilities is situated next to the door. Bikes can be brought on board and parked vertically, held upright by a hook. Route maps are posted above each door. (photo by Jill Boogren)

There are four bike racks per car. Bikes are parked vertically, by pushing the back wheel forward and lifting the front wheel up into a holding arm. Luggage is carry-on.


There’s no wireless connection available on the train for your wireless devices.

Is there parking?

There is some paid ramp parking and street parking along the line, but no new park and rides.

“We anticipate that a large share of riders will connect by bus or walk up,” said Metro Transit Spokesperson John Siqveland.

Can I transfer to a bus?

Yes! Metro Transit expects that a third of Green Line riders will transfer to, or from, buses. Any ticket or Go-To Card is good for a bus. You can also hop on the train if you have a valid bus ticket. Ask the bus operator for a transfer, good for 90 minutes.

Look for major changes in bus service to go into effect once the trains start running. Changes involve 17 routes (see story on page 8), including the addition of a new bus line (Route 83) that will run along Lexington Pkwy. between the Roseville SuperTarget and Summit Brewery on W. 7th St.

Route 50 will be replaced by the Green Line, and buses 8 and 144 will be eliminated, but other routes will have expanded hours and direct routes to Green Line stations.

Trip planning assistance is available at www.metrotransit.org or by calling 612-373-3333. According to Siqveland, staff will be out at heavily-trafficked transit locations throughout June passing out schedules and materials.


Listen up! These trains are quiet. Unlike freight trains, you might not hear a light-rail train approaching, and it could come from either direction. Pay attention to all traffic signals and warning signs, and look both ways before crossing the tracks by car, bicycle, wheelchair, or on foot.

A key difference between the Green Line and the Blue Line is that along University there aren’t any signal arms like the gates at intersections along Hiawatha Ave. This means it’s especially important for motorists and pedestrians to watch and listen for all signals.

When a train is approaching, you’ll see a light rail train icon that flashes, and you’ll hear bells. Look both ways, every time, at every crossing. Pedestrians: cross only at designated crosswalks. At Snelling Ave., for example, this means east of the station, mid-block. Motorists: stop for pedestrians at crosswalks. It’s safe, and it’s the law.


According to Siqveland, 22 newly-hired full-time officers, in uniform and plain clothes, will be dedicated to patrolling the Green Line 24/7. These are in addition to those who already patrol buses.

At platform areas, there are multiple pan-tilt cameras, monitored remotely by supervisors, plus call boxes on stations for people to call if there’s any trouble. On board trains there are camera monitors, as well as call boxes where people can directly communicate with the rail operator.

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Three area residents to make special inaugural trip on Green Line

Posted on 11 June 2014 by robwas66


Zella Lissimore, 92; Florene Mueller, 93 and Irene Muehlegger, 94 will be guests of County Commissioner Janice Rettman and will ride the inaugural train from Victoria Station to the Depot along with 20 other dignitaries. (Photo by Jan Willms)


Public transportation has been a major part of the lives of three women, all currently residents at Arbor Pointe, 635 Maryland Ave. W.

Zella Lissimore, 92; Florene Mueller, 93 and Irene Muehlegger, 94, are all familiar with using street cars, trolleys, buses and trains earlier in their lives to get to work as well as to travel. But they didn’t think they would be around to experience the new Green Line light rail.

However, on June 14 the three will be guests of County Commissioner Janice Rettman and will ride the inaugural train from Victoria Station to the Depot along with 20 other dignitaries. Once at the depot, they will be treated to lunch at Christos.

“Going on the light rail is still like a dream,” Mueller said. “I wanted to live long enough to ride it.”

She was born in Barron, WI, and moved to the Twin Cities at 16, where she first worked in the kitchen at Miller Hospital. She met Harold at a dance club, “even though neither of us danced,” she noted. They married, and when her son was six she began doing domestic work, always using the street car and bus for her transportation needs.

Muehlegger came from Rosetown, now known as Roseville. She worked at the St. Paul Athletic Club when it was for men only. She worked days and went to school at night, eventually working for the Minnesota Department of Revenue as a supervisor. She also rode street cars and buses to get back and forth to work.

“My husband, Frank, hated to fly and so we took trains to Arizona and Florida and New Orleans,” Muehlegger recalled. “I loved trains.”

Lissimore is a native of Valdosta, GA, where she worked in the fields until she was 18, picking cotton and peanuts and okra. She eventually came by train with her two daughters to join her husband, Fred, in St. Paul in 1953. She worked as a domestic throughout St. Paul, first riding streetcars and then buses before she eventually purchased a car. She continued working until she was 88.

Rettman, who is a regular visitor at Arbor Pointe, heard that these three women had been regular users of public transportation all their lives and had it on their bucket lists to try and ride the new light rail.

“Public transportation was their way of helping raise their families, putting food on the table and gaining education to advance in the world and make a difference in their communities,” Rettman said.

Although there is no cost for tickets on opening day, Rettman was happy these women will be able to enjoy the ride from Victoria Station in the inaugural trip. “What a magnificent thing,” she said.

As the women sat talking at Arbor Pointe, they reflected on their lives.

“We had a good life in the country, with enough kids in the family to keep each other company,” Mueller said. She said, however, there were no buses or transportation that was accessible in rural areas.

“I’m glad I grew up the way I did,” Muehlegger said. “I came from a poor family, but the older I get, the more I appreciate what I have.”

For Rettman, these women are all role models the rest of us can emulate.

“Public transportation was their way to the American dream,” she said.

For Mueller, (who should have had a career as a comedian), light rail may be something she will use more of in the future.

“I will have to be using something, because I probably need to stop driving pretty quickly,” she noted. “I learned to drive at 40, and I’m still learning.”


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