Archive | August, 2014


Como Pavilion Update

Posted on 18 August 2014 by robwas66


(Photo by Jordan Bartlett)


On Thur., Aug. 14, more than 30 people came to the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory’s visitor’s center for a community meeting hosted by the design firm BWBR to discuss future improvements for the Como Lakeside Pavilion. Spurred by the fact that the current service provider, Black Bear Crossings, will be leaving the Pavilion at the end of 2014, the city wants to ensure that they obtain the communities thoughts and ideas for how the Pavilion can be improved; those ideas will be included in future requests for service providers at the Pavilion.

The seemingly vested residents, although broken up into three separate groups of around 10 people, all shared the same thoughts and aspirations for the future of the Pavilion: better access to the promenade overlooking the lake, larger variety of food options (ethnic, food trucks, etc.), wine, and improving the bathrooms, among others.

To learn more about the Como Lakeside Pavilion as it relates to the city’s search for a new service provider, visit www.stpaul.gov/comolakesidepavilion.

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The pole had to go… and a Kickstart helped

Posted on 13 August 2014 by robwas66


Capt. Mike & The Totems perform onstage recently at the Underground Music Café, and the pole is now just a memory. (Photo by Jan Willms)


When Tim Cheesebrow and his parents, Dennis and Bonnie, took over the coffee shop at 1539 Hamline in February, they took things slowly.

The business had been operated as Coffee Grounds for the past 20 years, with a small stage for music performances. And on that stage was a pole that had been in the way of musicians for a long time. However, it held up the ceiling and it would not be a simple matter to remove it.

So when the Cheesebrows started their coffee shop, known as the Underground Music Café, they knew that at some point the pole must go.


The pole in the center of this photo had been in the way of musicians for a long time and had to go. The Underground Music Café developed a Kickstarter campaign to help fund its removal. (Photo by Jan Willms)

“We just kind of walked in and took the place over as is,” Tim Cheesebrow acknowledged. “We wanted to get to know people and let them get to know us, get the pulse of the community before we made any changes.”

“We did a lot of listening,” he continued, “and asked questions to discern what the community wanted. After that, we closed for about a week for renovations. We gutted the whole place and put it back together.” But the pole remained.

The Cheesebrows tweaked the menu.

“People really wanted breakfast,” Cheesebrow said. “There used to be only doughnuts, and they said they wished we had something more substantial. So we said sure.” And a breakfast menu was added.

When many people, who came in the afternoon for meetings or work, said they would like to stay and work all day if there were food for lunch, the Underground Music Café added a deli menu. In the evenings, for music listeners, desserts and wine were put on the menu. They hope to incorporate craft beers next.

Cheesebrow, who with his family also owns and operates Musicworks Minnesota, a program that emphasizes songwriting education, offers live music at the Underground Music Café several nights a week.

Cheesebrow has a music composition degree and a studio art degree from St. John’s University. He plays mostly guitar and does vocals, but said he can play a variety of instruments. “Everything except piano,” he joked.

Tim Cheesebrow stands in front of the Underground Music Café, where live music is played on an almost nightly basis. (Photo by Jan Willms)

Tim Cheesebrow stands in front of the Underground Music Café, where live music is played on an almost nightly basis. (Photo by Jan Willms)

Cheesebrow showcases local performers: folk, classical composers, country and new age music. Bluegrass, old time and big band tunes are played. Dan Newton, an accordion player, provides Cajun, French Bistro and Honky Tonk music.

Musicworks Minnesota has joined forces with several schools to teach songwriting. Cheesebrow teaches three songwriting classes at Moundsview. Once the students have written songs, they bring them in to Essential Sessions Studio, located in the basement of the coffee shop, and have them recorded.

Brad Matala, who operates the studio, talked Cheesebrow into buying the coffee shop.

“Brad records all our classes, and he gives nice recording deals to people who have helped out Musicworks,” Cheesebrow stated. “He’s a real solid guy.”

Musicworks Minnesota is in its fourth year. The program just completed its second year of a blues camp, with 30 kids in attendance. The camp is supported by MacPhail Center for Music.

“The kids played in ensembles all day,” Cheesebrow explained. “They played with big name local blues guys and got a real good education on what the gigging life is like. A lot of work, and it doesn’t pay much.”

Cheesebrow said Musicworks Minnesota is relatively new, but stabilizing quickly.

“We’re out of the initial growth phase and into the establishing growth phase,” he said.

Cheesebrow said that songwriting education is something that no one is doing elsewhere. He has been asked to set up branches in Ohio and Nashville.

“I told them to let me tackle St. Paul first,” he smiled.

And part of tackling St. Paul meant dealing with the conspicuous pole on the stage that all the performers had to maneuver around. Cheesebrow and his family finally decided the time had come to get rid of the pole.

They began a Kickstarter fundraising campaign online in June to renovate the stage, remove the pole and put in a new sound system. They raised $16,500 in 30 days.

One hundred eighty-seven people participated, and the whole project is just weeks away from being completed.

Cheesebrow said the Kickstarter crowd funding project creates ownership for participants. “You can’t get any better PR than that,” he noted.

He said it is an example of all the people who are customers at the Underground Music Café, or are performers there helping, coming together as a community.

“The community support has been overwhelming,” he said. Putting together a Kickstarter campaign is also overwhelming. Cheesebrow said it takes 40 hours a week for two months to run a successful Kickstarter.

“But the whole thing is totally worth it,” he said.

Combining a love of music and fine food is what the Cheesebrows emphasize with the Underground Music Café.

“Eat well, do good and make music is our motto,” Cheesebrow emphasized. “We like to eat and serve good food, and music education is important. It is also important to do some good in the world, and playing music is a natural extension of that.”


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Agriculture charter school in the heart of the city?

Posted on 13 August 2014 by robwas66


Becky Meyer, Academy for Science and Agriculture (AFSA) High School Director, explains what will make the AFSA Middle School different: small class sizes, rigorous curriculum and community engagement. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)



A new charter school is moving to the Monitor delivery area: the Academy for Science and Agriculture (AFSA). The middle school will occupy the former Church of the Holy Childhood parochial school located in Como at 1435 Midway Pkwy. The incoming fifth, sixth and seventh graders will come from more than 20 school districts throughout the metro area when the doors open on Tues., Sept. 2.

Why are students preparing for work as farmers in the middle of a major metropolitan area? They’re not!

At the AFSA middle school, and the AFSA high school which has existed in Vadnais Heights since 2001, students are preparing for careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture.

There are over 300 career choices in agriculture, which add up to nearly 20% of all the jobs in this country. Careers in agriculture include food science, plant science, environmental science, animal science and engineering.


If you aren’t familiar with charter schools, you might wonder how this all works.

Charter schools fill a niche between public and private schools. Charters are funded with public money and are an alternative to traditional public schools. A group of people can submit an application to the Minnesota Department of Education and get approval for a charter to run their own school.

Charters are usually initially given three to five years to demonstrate academic achievement, during which the new school is monitored for academic performance.

In 1991, Minnesota led the nation in passing legislation to create the first charter school. There are now more than 150 charter schools operating throughout our state.


Becky Meyer has been director of the AFSA High School for the past 13 years. Describing the school philosophy, Meyer says, “We are preparing life-long learners who have high skill levels, care for others, and are prepared to thrive in their jobs and in their communities.”

Toward that end, they do some things differently at AFSA. The class sizes are small (a maximum of 25 students per class is expected at the new middle school), the curriculum is more rigorous than what state standards require, and community engagement is a core value.

Each year AFSA students create an original science project and, as part of the academic requirement, present it before a panel of three judges and the broader community. They explore scientific inquiry, critical thinking, and the process of presentation and public speaking.

This type of integrated learning encourages development of the whole child, and challenges students to sharpen not just their knowledge of science but also their artistic and social skills.

Meyer described a former student who was so shy during her first year at AFSA that she could barely introduce her science project. By the time she graduated, she had become president of the student leadership club and was chairing all-school meetings and assemblies.

One of the school mottos is “A place where students can fit in and stand out.” Because of the small class size, college preparatory curriculum and hands-on approach to learning, each student is given a real chance at achieving their own personal potential.

Three public presentations are required of students each year, as are 12 hours of community service related to agriculture and the environment.

Activities for students at AFSA Middle School will include student council, robotics club, choir, band, National Honor Society, Destination Imagination, cooking club, yearbook, drama, art, gaming club and cooperative athletic teams.

If you are interested in learning more about AFSA Middle School, please contact the incoming director John Gawarecki by email at jgawarecki@afsahighschool.com or telephone at 651-209-3910. Becky Meyer, long-time director of the high school, can be reached by email at bmeyer@afsahighschool.com or telephone 651-209-3915.

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Rainbow stays open in Midway Center

Posted on 13 August 2014 by robwas66

For the last few months, the fate of Rainbow Foods in the Midway Center was questionable. But, after a sale, and short closure, Rainbow remains open under its new owner SuperValu. (Photo by Tim Nelson)

For the last few months, the fate of Rainbow Foods in the Midway Center was questionable. But, after a sale, and short closure, Rainbow remains open under its new owner SuperValu. (Photo by Tim Nelson)


After closing for a few days in mid-July, Midway Center’s Rainbow Foods store is open again. The store held a sale, closed, then reopened under the ownership of SuperValu. Long lines formed to buy meat, produce and the remaining items from its days as part of the Roundy’s chain of grocery stores.

A SuperValu spokesperson said the store would continue to operate as Rainbow Foods, but under that company’s ownership. The Midway Center store looks much the same but brands have changed.

SuperValu owns Cub Foods stores and chains in other states. SuperValu announced in July it supplied the first of 18 Rainbow stores that are being acquired as part of the transactions announced May 7 between Roundy’s and a consortium of SuperValu and independent retailers. Following the store conversions, SuperValu will supply all 18 of the acquired stores out of its Hopkins distribution center.

Ten of the 18 Rainbow stores will become Cub Foods locations, including one at 1201 Larpenteur Ave., Roseville. Two will operate as Byerly’s and the other six will remain Rainbow stores including the store at Midway Center.

“I am very pleased that we are now adding these 18 stores to SuperValu’s distribution network and that we are expanding our supplier relationship with a group of very strong independents and longtime customers of our Independent Business segment. We expect these fine retailers will serve the Twin Cities better than ever with an expanded store base,” said Sam Duncan, SuperValu president and chief executive officer. “Each of these independent retailers, along with Cub, are longtime grocers who know this market and their customers and are actively involved in their stores and communities.” The store was sold earlier this year by Wisconsin-based Roundy’s Inc.,

Nine suburban Rainbow Foods stores closed July 22 as buyers couldn’t be found.

The closings and transfers of ownership marked the end of more than a decade of Roundy’s operations in the Twin Cities. Roundy’s officials said the recent economic downturn and increased grocery store competition made it difficult to be viable here. Grocery sales by stores such as Wal-Mart and Target have cut into the traditional grocery store business.

Roundy’s has attempted to sell the Rainbow Foods chain in the past and had been closing stores as leases expired. It was down to 27 stores when the sales were announced earlier this year.

While Midway Center has had groceries available since it opened in 1956-57, there hasn’t always been a grocery where Rainbow is now. The site was initially the home of the G.C. Murphy Co. Department Store. There was a Klein’s Supermarket elsewhere in the center when it opened.

Rainbow opened in Midway Center in 1993, rising from the ashes of the longtime Twin Cities Applebaum’s grocery chain. Applebaum’s had almost 40 stores at its peak. Rainbow has its roots in that chain and in the old National Tea stores. Since 1993 Rainbow has had a succession of owners, including Gateway and Fleming Foods.

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Local resident writing book on Charlie Chaplin’s movie “The Kid”

Posted on 13 August 2014 by robwas66

Carrie Pomeroy planning trip to Italy to research at the Chaplin Archive for her first book for young adults

In August 2013, Carrie Pomeroy of St. Paul visited Charlie Chaplin’s old studio in Hollywood, now a registered historic landmark as well as serving as the current headquarters of the Muppets. She is currently writing a book for young adults on his movie “The Kid.”

In August 2013, Carrie Pomeroy of St. Paul visited Charlie Chaplin’s old studio in Hollywood, now a registered historic landmark as well as serving as the current headquarters of the Muppets. She is currently writing a book for young adults on his movie “The Kid.”


Midway-Como resident Carrie Pomeroy has loved Charlie Chaplin and other classic movies since she was a kid. This November, she will spend a week learning more about his life when she visits the Chaplin Archive at the Cineteca di Bologna in Bologna, Italy.

She’s able to take the trip thanks to a Literature Travel and Study grant from the Jerome Foundation.

The information Pomeroy gleans from the archives will be used in the nonfiction book for young adult readers that she’s writing about the making of Charlie Chaplin’s 1921 silent comedy “The Kid.”

The archive is the largest collection of Chaplin-related materials in the world, and in many cases, it’s the only place to access key documents related to her story.  “I’m especially looking forward to digging into the daily production sheets, where studio secretaries recorded the nitty-gritty details of every single day of the film’s production,” said Pomeroy. “I’ll also be able to look at telegrams, hand-written letters, historic photographs and movie stills, and scrapbooks.

“I anticipate gasping and getting goosebumps on a daily basis while I’m over there.”

Pomeroy has been to Italy only once before. In 1994, she took a backpacking trip with her friend Katrina Vandenberg, a respected local poet who now teaches at Hamline University. This time around she’ll be traveling alone, leaving behind her husband, 11-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter. “I’ll miss them terribly, but I think I’ll get more work done if I go by myself,” Pomeroy explained.

She is most looking forward to getting a clearer sense of the chronology of the movie’s filming.

“At the archive, I’ll be able to see exactly what days certain key scenes were filmed and answer some questions that have really been bedeviling me,” Pomeroy observed. “I also look forward to being surprised and finding out things I never would have guessed about Chaplin. Many of the materials I’ll be looking at have only been made available to researchers very recently, so it’s incredibly exciting to be able to see them.”


Two years ago, Pomeroy watched a documentary about the story behind “The Kid.” “I found out that Chaplin’s first child, a baby boy named Norman, died just a few weeks before Chaplin began work on ‘The Kid.’ I was fascinated and wanted to know more,” said Pomeroy. “That sent me on a research journey that has lasted ever since.”

There have been many books written about Chaplin, but not very many for young people and none focusing primarily on “The Kid”, so she saw a gap on the bookshelf that she hoped she could fill.

“The film ‘The Kid’ was very much inspired by Chaplin’s own childhood, so I think that’s part of what makes the story behind the film a great choice for young readers,” said Pomeroy.

The film co-starred a five-year-old boy named Jackie Coogan as Chaplin’s onscreen son, and Jackie and Chaplin developed a very close friendship during the filming that she explores in detail.

“I think the idea of being a kid working and playing with one of the most famous clowns in the world is a really appealing one for young readers,” observed Pomeroy.

“Chaplin was a complex person who definitely had a dark side to his life and his personality, but I think ultimately the story I tell in this book is an inspiring one for young people. It shows Chaplin overcoming enormous obstacles and his own deep insecurities to make art that still inspires people and makes them laugh. My hope is that readers will recognize some of their own fears and aspirations in Chaplin.”


Pomeroy has wanted to be a writer since she was eight years old, when her second-grade teacher noticed how much she loved to write and turned one of her stories into a book with a fabric-and-cardboard cover.

She studied writing as an undergrad at Southern Illinois University and earned an MFA in fiction at the University of Arkansas. Pomeroy currently writes a blog about local silent movie events for the Twin Cities Daily Planet online newspaper.

“I’ve published essays and short stories in literary magazines and anthologies and worked for several years on a more personal book about my family that I ended up shelving, so I really consider this my first book,” stated Pomeroy.

“For this book, I started out taking notes on index cards, just like I used to do in grade school,” observed Pomeroy. “I keep the cards organized by category in a couple of shoeboxes—it’s all very high-tech!”

Eventually, she realized that she could research endlessly and never find everything that’s out there, so she decided to get to work on writing a draft, which she began in January 2013. “I figured I knew the general outlines of the story and could fill in details and check facts later,” Pomeroy said.

She’s written several drafts since then, and is currently revising her fourth draft.


Along the way she’s read books, old newspaper and magazine articles.

She’s also had the opportunity to interview David Totheroh, the grandson of Chaplin’s longtime cameraman Rollie Totheroh, and Diana Serra Cary, a child star in the 1920s who knew Jackie Coogan and his family. Pomeroy took a walking tour in Hollywood of filming locations for “The Kid” with silent film location expert John Bengtson. One of the most moving experiences for her was visiting the grave of Chaplin’s son.

“My family also visited London last year, and I had a chance to see many of Chaplin’s childhood homes and other important sites in his formative years and talk to Chaplin experts in England,” said Pomeroy.

Throughout this whole process, Pomeroy has found it helpful to have other writers provide feedback on what she’s written.

“My critique partners are helping me bring the story to life with more sensory detail and closer attention to characterization, and they’re helping me make sure I have a clear central theme and purpose and don’t just ramble on about everything I’ve discovered about Chaplin—which I find all too easy to do!” Pomeroy said.

She isn’t yet sure when the book will be complete.

Pomeroy needs to hunt down photos to use for illustrations, and secure copyright permissions. She plans to send queries to agents within the next year, and then solicit a publisher.


Pomeroy was one of 117 who applied for a Literature and Travel Grant from the Jerome Foundation. Seventeen grants were awarded

In Italy, Pomeroy plans to rent a small apartment, which was cheaper than staying in a hotel, and to shop at local markets and cook in her rental apartment rather than eating out. There will be no need to rent a car, because she’ll take the train from the airport to central Bologna and then walk to the archive every day.

In applying for the grant, Pomeroy said, “I really pitched kind of a bargain-basement budget to make my application more attractive.” She received $2260 to pay for airfare, lodging, food, and other travel costs.

The Jerome Foundation is a non-profit founded by J. J. Hill’s grandson Jerome Hill, an accomplished artist and filmmaker in his own right. The Foundation has supported artists and arts organizations for 50 years in Minnesota and New York City.

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Verizon grant enables Hamline Elementary to offer one-on-one instruction using iPads

Posted on 13 August 2014 by robwas66

Over 400 iPads being used by grades 2-5


Students in Scott Johnson’s class use iPads throughout the day in a variety of ways. They use apps that help reinforce math and reading skills: apps that motivate and engage; and apps that allow students to create technology projects. They also play games and take quizzes. (Submitted photo)


Using iPads in the classroom has enabled Hamline Elementary School teachers to provide personalized instruction to their students.

And it’s making a difference. Kids are more excited about learning, and teachers report they are more engaged.

Hamline Elementary (formerly Hancock-Hamline University Collaborative Magnet School) has incorporated iPads thanks to a $50,000 two-year grant from the Verizon Foundation and the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE).

This past year Hamline had over 400 iPads deployed in grades 2-5. “In an end-of-the-year survey students reported increased interest in school work when using the iPad and increased access to information,” pointed out Hamline Elementary Principal Craig Anderson. “Teachers reported increased student engagement and ability to meet individual needs with different levels of curriculum when personalized through the use of technology.”

All classrooms used the iPads several times during the day.


Teachers use the mobile devices as independent activity during work time in reading and math, and as a research tool. With the iPad, a teacher can also get instant feedback on lessons, and assess student understanding, noted Anderson.

They record information, make videos for learning, and take photos.

Plus they can collaborate with students and teachers around the world.

They use apps that help reinforce math and reading skills: apps that motivate and engage; apps that allow students to create technology projects. They play games and take quizzes.

“With the iPads, I am empowered to individualize lessons more quickly and efficiently,” noted fifth grade teacher Diane Smith, who appreciates seeing results in real time. “It takes so much less time than searching through printed material to find activities appropriate for each student’s level. Students have the ability to master skills at their current level and then continue to move higher. They are self-motivated to advance their skills. We use the iPads everyday, pretty much all day in some capacity.”

With the iPads, Smith has begun to front load her classes, which is also known as incorporating a flipped classroom. Students view their lessons at home in the evening and then practice in class the next day.

“They use apps that allow them to show and record their work for me,” noted Smith. “I create interactive lessons. They are able to choose topics to study on the iPads and then create a finished project.”

Last year, Hamline partnered with wonderopolis.com, a web site with multi-disciplinary content that purposefully aligns to Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the STEM Educational Quality Framework, and Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. Through this partnership each student in grades 3-5 created a science fair virtual poster using gloogster.edu.

“Our students are making better and faster progress — it’s amazing,” Smith stated.

Smith watched one of her students, Shayd, dramatically increase her basic math skills during the last school year by using an iPad. A shy student, Shayd has been more willing to take risks when working one-on-one with her iPad. She is also highly motivated to take on the next challenge.

Smith noted that the tutors from Hamline University tell the elementary students how they use technology in their college work. “The tutors help my students find information on the iPads during research projects,” said Smith. “They also show them tips that help them utilize the iPads more effectively. I feel my students know that they are learning to use this tool that will help throughout their educational career.”


The focus of the $50,000 grant is to help students develop the skills to support higher education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The grant provides Hamline staff with two years of on-site and virtual innovative training led by ISTE. The training prepares teachers to incorporate mobile technology into classroom learning with strategies that support STEM courses.

The Verizon Foundation launched the Verizon Innovative Learning School (VILS) program in 2012 to support 12 underserved STEM schools across the country in their goal to have their students STEM-ready for the future. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, by 2018 there will be approximately 18 percent growth in careers that require education in STEM fields.

It was such a success that Verizon Foundation doubled the number of grant recipients to 24 schools in 2013, expanding their reach to over 12,000 students.

“The focus of the Verizon Foundation grant is professional development for teachers implementing a one-to-one technology initiative,” pointed out Anderson.

The grant provided Hamline with the money to have a technology coach and access to a consultant from ISTE, and hourly stipends for teachers to collaborate and learn with the tech coach.

Teachers also participated in a full-day virtual conference and attended many webinars. They could also attend the ISTE national conference.

“The goal for professional development was to meet individual teacher needs to customize and personalize the experiences,” observed Anderson.

He added, “The professional development helped teachers to integrate technology into every subject during the school day.”

“I’m so excited to continue the virtual training sessions and learn more that I can share with my students,” Smith said.


This next year, Hamline will focus on refining and sharing its learning with each other and the district, according to Anderson.

“SPPS is going to personalize learning for students by implementing a one-to-one environment over the next two years,” Anderson remarked. “I hope the great things we started in year one will be extended in year two — giving kids the ability to work at their ‘just right’ level during most of the day.”

For more information about the Verizon Foundation’s VILS program, visit http://www.verizonfoundation.org/our-focus/.


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Get to Know Your Backyard by Rail

Posted on 13 August 2014 by robwas66


Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is an easy bike ride (there is a Nice Ride station at Lexington and University and another at the Como Lake Pavilion) from the light rail line. Grab some take out and bike up from the line for a picnic! (Monitor archive photo)


Taking the train can be a great way to get to know a neighborhood, and the Green Line through the Midway, with its sizzling array of local shops and restaurants, has something for everyone. In the four-mile stretch from the “Creative Enterprise Zone” at Raymond Ave. to Little Mekong at Western Ave., you’ll find vintage clothing, vinyl records, used books, award-winning food, locally-crafted beer, mouth-watering barbecue, and so much more – all within an easy walk from the train stations.

Here is just a small sampling — pick a stop, get a day pass, and hop aboard!


A hot spot for retro shops, food, music, and beer, you could easily spend the day here. Succotash, 781 Raymond Ave., is a one-stop shop for art, vintage clothing, and housewares, specializing in mid-century modern design. They helped prop the Minnesota Historical Society’s “Toys of the 50’s, 60’s, & 70’s” exhibit. Open Tues.-Sun., closed Mon. On Facebook.

The recently opened Barely Brothers Records, 783 Raymond Ave., carries new and used vinyl records. There’s occasional live music, and on Fridays is a Friday Night Spin, 6:30-8:30pm. Open daily. (www.barelybrothersrecords.com) At Shag Studio, 799 Raymond Ave., you can shop for vintage clothes and get your hair done in its two-chair retro salon (appointments a must). Open Tues.-Sat, closed Sun.-Mon.; 651-379-9890.

Hungry? Earning “Best Of” awards from City Pages for three years running, Foxy Falafel, 791 Raymond Ave., will dish you up a sandwich, platter, or salad with your choice of meat or falafel (regular, curry, or beet). Has gluten free and vegan choices. Sidewalk seating. Open Mon.-Sat., closed Sun. (www.foxyfalafel.com). For a fine dinner of homestyle Italian food, go to Caffe Biaggio. Open Mon.-Sat., closed Sun. (www.caffebiaggio.com)


Classic Retro @ Pete’s, 2145 University Ave. W., has African animals painted on the outside and glassware, housewares, paintings, home decor, and collectables on the inside. (Photo by Jill Boogren)

A few blocks east on University at Vandalia, The Dubliner Pub, 2162 University Ave. W., voted Best Irish Pub by City Pages in 2013, has food, drink, and Irish music most nights (except Mondays). (www.thedublinerpub.com) Rummaging? Across the street is Classic Retro @ Pete’s, 2145 University Ave. W., its sign and brick building painted with African animals very visible from the train. Pete’s has a colorful glass collection, housewares, paintings, home decor, and collectibles. Open Wed.-Sun., closed Mon.-Tues. On Facebook.


Right next to the shiny metal grain bin that is Bang Brewing (2320 Capp Rd.), is Urban Growler Brewing Company (2325 Endicott St.) which has as its flagship beers Graffiti Rye IPA and CowBell Cream Ale. (Photo by Jill Boogren)

If you’re up for a walk (or you brought a bike), go a block east of the station and follow Hampden Ave. north about ¾- mile (the road becomes Hersey St.) to the shiny metal grain bin that is Bang Brewing (2320 Capp Rd.). Their beer is tasty and all organic. Taproom open Fri.-Sat., closed Sun.-Thurs. (www.bangbrewing.com) Right next door is Urban Growler Brewing Company (2325 Endi-cott St.), whose flagship beers are Graffiti Rye IPA and CowBell Cream Ale (www.urbangrowlerbrewing.com)


Second Debut2, 1825 University Ave. W., is easy to spot next to the streetcar mural on the Major Tire Co. building at Fairview Ave. An upscale resale boutique operated by Goodwill-Easter Seals, Second Debut2 carries like-new women’s clothing, with labels from Banana Republic to Prada, accessories, and shoes, and they offer styling advice. (www.seconddebut.org) The Goodwill Retail shop is one block behind them, 553 Fairview Ave. N., and can be seen directly north of the Fairview Ave. Station. (www.goodwilleasterseals.org) Both shops open daily; revenues support the mission of Goodwill to eliminate barriers to work and independence.

If you’re in the area during business hours, Lucy Coffee Café, 540 Fairview Ave. N., is a great spot for a quick coffee or panini. The bejeweled mannequin crafted by owner Julie Peck is not to be missed. With sign language almost always available, Lucy strongly caters to the deaf community. Patio seating. Open Mon.-Fri. On Facebook.

Need a beer? Go a long couple blocks north to Thomas Ave. and a block east to find Burning Brothers Brewing, 1750 Thomas Ave. W., at Wheeler, for a beer that is 100% gluten free. Taproom open Thurs.-Sat., closed Sun.-Wed. (www.burnbrosbrew.com)


If you are a tinkerer or an artist or just like scavenging for cool or weird stuff, you’ll be like a kid in a candy store at Ax-Man Surplus, 1639 University Ave. W., a block west of Snelling at Fry St. For over 40 years, Ax-Man has carried gadgets, widgets, and not a small number of plastic body parts. 99% of goods are new, save for the occasional vintage piece. At Ax-Man they don’t take themselves too seriously, and neither should you. Go. Just for the fun of it. Open daily. On Facebook.

Hear some music and check out the newly renovated digs at the legendary Turf Club, 1601 University Ave. W., reopening Aug. 28. (http://turfclub.net)


Appetizers at On’s Kitchen Thai Cuisine. On’s, 1613 University Ave. W., was named one of the 50 Best Restaurants in the Twin Cities by Mpls St. Paul magazine in 2014, (Photo by Jill Boogren)

On’s Kitchen Thai Cuisine, 1613 University Ave. W., named one of the 50 Best Restaurants in the Twin Cities by Mpls St. Paul magazine (2014), is well worth a stop. On’s is family-owned and operated, with chef/owner On Khumchaya preparing each dish from scratch. Try the stuffed crab cakes and the Pla-Lad-Prik, fish with curry paste. Come early if you’re planning dinner on a weekend night. Open Mon.-Sat. Closed Sun. (www.onskitchen.com)

Serving the Midway since 1965, Midway Used & Rare Books, 1579 University Ave. W., has three stories of books. Open daily. (www.midwaybook.com) For a taste of Ethiopia, the award-winning Fasika Ethiopian Restaurant (510 Snelling Ave. N.) is on the same block. Open daily. (www.fasika.com)


North on Hamline Ave. (1340 Thomas Ave.), Groundswell is a coffee shop with an in-house bakery and locally-sourced food. Serving local craft beer, Dogwod Coffee, and Gray Duck Chai. Open Daily. (www.groundswellmn.com)


Bike or take the 83 bus from the Lexington Pkwy Station north to Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. It’s about 2.4 miles to the park (there’s a Nice Ride station at Lexington and University and another at the Como Lake Pavilion. www.niceridemn.org). Grab takeout from any eateries along the Green Line, and have a picnic. Check out the Gorilla Forest, see the lake by paddle boat, and enjoy music in the park (through Sept. 11). Open daily. (www.comozooconservatory.org) Hoa Bien (1105 University Ave. W.) makes a great stop for phởở soup or spring rolls. Open daily. (www.hoa-bien.com)

(Biking tip: From the train station, ride a much quieter side street north to Hubbard Ave., then get onto the bike bridge on the west side of Lexington Pkwy. This will get you over the tracks, and it’s an off-road trail from there to the park.)


If you want to lounge a little and enjoy a meal with a cocktail or local beer, park yourself at Ngon Vietnamese Bistro, 799 University Ave. W. (east of the station at Avon), named one of the best 50 restaurants in the Twin Cities by Mpls St. Paul magazine, (2014). Ngon provides French-Vietnamese food that is locally, organically, and sustainably sourced. Try the phởở, with broth made from grass-fed oxtail, the New Zealand mussels in spicy curry phởở broth, or a crispy rabbit dumpling with curry sauce. Ngon has a lovely patio out back, adorned with herbs and greens. Occasional live music. Open daily. (www.ngonbistro.com)


Among the framed awards decking the wall inside iPho by Saigon, 704 University Ave. W. (a block and a bit west of Dale St.), is an article from Buon Gusto (2002) signed by Chef and TV Personality Anthony Bourdain: “I LOVE this place!” Sure, that was from their old location, but they’re still receiving accolades for their phởở (Charlie Award finalist in 2012) and Bánh mì sandwich. Try “The Regular” sandwich, with red roast pork, pork loaf, paté, mayo, cucumbers, pickled vegetables, cilantro, and jalapenos on bread baked fresh daily. Open Tues.-Sun., closed Mon. On Facebook.


Erik Pendleton and Rose King are ready to serve up some mouth-watering ribs at Big Daddys Barbecue, 625 University Ave. W. They were voted Best Barbecue by City Pages in 2012 and their “flintstone” beef ribs are some of the most watering around! (Photo by Jill Boogren)

About four years ago Big Daddy’s Barbecue, 625 University Ave. W., voted Best Barbecue by City Pages (2012), moved its smokin’ outdoor tail-gaiting party across the street and indoors. Their “flintstone” beef ribs are some of the most mouth-watering barbecue you may ever eat. Their space recently expanded and includes a patio. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see smoke pits outdoors once again. Open Wed.-Sun., closed Mon.-Tues. (www.bigdaddysbbq-stpaul.com)


The heart of the Little Mekong District (www.littlemekong.com) is at University and Western. Here you’ll find gifts, clothing, and restaurants featuring Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Cambodian, and Hmong cuisines. For a taste of food and merchandise, go to the Little Mekong Night Market (Saturdays, Aug. 16 & Sept. 6, 5-10pm) in the parking lot at Mai Village Restaurant, 394 University Ave. W.


And this is just where the fun starts! Within an easy few-block walking distance of the Green Line’s 19 stations, you will find more than 150 bars and restaurants alone!


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Hamline house teardowns

Posted on 13 August 2014 by robwas66


Homes torn down, or slated for demolition, are part of a six-year-old campus development plan. The plan identifies over two dozen homes and buildings for potential demolition.


Concerns about the demolition of houses owned by Hamline University, the university’s long-range plans and implications for the neighborhood will be discussed at an upcoming community meeting.

The issues will be discussed at 6:30-8:30pm on Wed., Sept. 17 at Hamline Church United Methodist, 1514 Englewood Ave. Representatives of Hamline University, Hamline Midway Coalition (HMC) and neighborhood residents will meet. An agenda was still being set as of Monitor deadline.

Many neighborhood residents have been concerned this summer as homes were torn down, including the historic White House. The White House, which stood at Simpson and Hewitt avenues, had been home to nine university presidents since 1912. University officials cited the Greek Revival style home’s deteriorated condition as a reason to tear it down. The president’s home is now on Summit Ave.

Four other properties on Hewitt have also came down recently, with four homes clustered around the Hewitt-Pascal intersection. Homes torn down, or slated for demolition, are part of a six-year-old campus development plan. The plan identities over two dozen homes and buildings for potential demolition. One worry is that properties slated for demolition surround the Hamline-Midway Branch Library, which neighborhood residents have had to fight to keep open. More properties are on Englewood Ave., Pascal, Simpson and Asbury streets. Neighborhood resident Roy Neal has been researching the homes and said almost all have historic value in the community.

While university officials say the expansion plan has been in place since 2008, there is agreement with neighbors to share the plans again.

Jane McEvoy lives near Pascal and Taylor, in the house she grew up in. Over the years the university has purchased homes around her home. “My house is now the only privately owned house on the block,” she said. “My family has owned it since 1939.”

Several neighbors attended the July HMC Board meeting to express concerns. They question why expansion is moving ahead now and why more isn’t being done to save and possibly move homes. They were also frustrated that the university didn’t send representatives to the meeting to outline their plans, saying they were told that would happen. But HMC Board members and a university spokesperson said there had been a miscommunication.

Another concern of neighbors is that the university no longer has a neighborhood liaison to work with the community.

No action was taken at the July meeting. Instead, discussion centered on how the district council could facilitate discussion between the university and community. “There’s been a lot about this issue on social media and we need to discuss what our role should be,” said HMC Executive Director Michael Jon Olson.

JaQui Getty is on HMC. She is Hamline University Associate Vice President for Strategic Communications and Content. She said the university has put a moratorium on house demolitions. “There is no plan to take anything else down at this time.” Work has been suspended on a house being torn down at 1549 Minnehaha Ave. The Victorian house was built in the late 1880s. It was the home of Professor G.D. Walcott, chairman of the university’s philosophy and psychology department.

The university is willing to meet with the neighborhood and discuss the campus plan. “We do want to have a discussion as a community,” Getty said. “We’ll talk about where we are and where we’re headed.”

Getty noted that due to the recession, much of campus plan implementation had been put on hold in recent years.

Tom Goldstein chairs the district council’s land use committee. He said that since so much time has passed since the campus plan was approved by the university, there’s a need for a community update. There’s also a need to discuss whether the plan needs to be changed.

“We’d like to convince Hamline University that the plan may be based on a vision that is dated and that it may need updating,” Goldstein said. He and others at the meeting cited trends in university enrollment and how people learn need to be considered.

“Hamline University, with the community, could create a vision for the properties that is more inclusive,” said Goldstein.

Neighbor Cheryl Loesch co-chaired a community-university task force several years ago to work on campus plans. “At the time we were told there would be continued community discussion,” she said. “That has been lost. It needs to be continued from this point onward.”

The task force discussed the need for communication as a well as a transition area between the university and neighborhood, Loesch said. “Now we have neighbors ‘interfacing’ with a parking lot.”

“I’m actually pro-Hamline, so if you’re hearing this from me there’s a deep-seated problem,” Loesch added.


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3rd Annual Classic Car Rally scheduled Aug. 16

Posted on 13 August 2014 by robwas66


These photos show the exciting activities from the 2013 event. The 2014 3rd Annual Classic Car Rally scheduled for Aug. 16 promises to be even bigger and better with 70 classic cars, food and a beer garden, and a DJ and live music. For the kids there will be an inflatable slide/bouncer! (Photos courtesy of Episcopal Homes)

Episcopal Homes will host their Third Annual Classic Car Rally on Sat., Aug. 16, 3-7pm on its home campus at University and Fairview.

A free family event (one food shelf donation per attendee requested) will display 70 of the area’s best Classic Cars and Street Rods, State Fair-style food at vintage prices and a beer garden (new this year). The event will also feature a DJ (new this year) and live music by Luke Warm and the Cool Hands. For the kids there will be an inflatable slide/bouncer.


Last year’s rally drew nearly 1,800 friends and neighbors. The shuttle bus logged over 250 miles shuttling visitors between the parking lot and the event. Over 500 pounds of food and over $300 in cash donations were collected for the nearby Keystone Food Shelf. This year should draw many more people, as the first two years drew raves from attendees and show car owners alike.


“We are all neighbors,” says Episcopal Homes President & CEO Marvin Plakut. “Neighbors share good times with their neighbors, and that’s what our Classic Car Rally is all about – memories for every adult, dreams for every child, fun for the whole family.”

Classic Cars and Street Rods are from members of the 3M Rod and Custom Club, the Minnesota Street Rod Association, the History Cruisers of North Saint Paul, the Cardiac Cruisers, and other vintage car clubs.

The event is run entirely by Episcopal Homes staff and resident volunteers.

There will be free parking with a free Shuttle Bus on the North side of University Ave. near Goodwill. Follow the signs from University and Fairview.

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Hamline Library has a month of fun planned

Posted on 13 August 2014 by robwas66


On Thur., Aug. 28, 10:30-11:30am, Summer Power at the Hamline Midway Library features Vetnita Anderson of the Geek Partnership Society sponsoring a visit from live Como Zoo bats. Anderson will talk with kids about bats and careers working with animals. Pre-registration is encouraged for this event, as well.

The Hamline Midway Library is offering a host of great activities for all ages in Aug. and Sept.

For some of the youngest library patrons, the librarians offer an interactive toddler storytime Fridays at 10:30am, with stories, songs, and finger plays. Upcoming dates are Aug. 15, 22, 29, and Sept. 5 and 12.

Summer Power is the Hamline Midway Library Association’s new series of kids’ programs in Aug. On Thur., Aug. 21, 10:30am, the program features Garden Songs and Stories with author and musician Katy Tessman Stanoch. A children’s Music Together teacher, Stanoch will lead sing-alongs, stories, and crafts around a garden theme. Program is appropriate for ages 2-10. Pre-registration is encouraged by calling the library at 651-642-0293 or signing up on the library website www.sppl.org.

On Thur., Aug. 28, 10:30-11:30am, Summer Power features Vetnita Anderson of the Geek Partnership Society sponsoring a visit from live Como Zoo bats. Anderson will talk with kids about bats and careers working with animals.  Pre-registration is encouraged for this event, as well.

All St. Paul libraries will be closed for the Labor Day holiday on Sat., Aug. 30, Sun., Aug. 31, and Mon., Sept. 1.

Sat., Sept. 6, the Saints and Sinners Mystery Book Club meets at 1pm to discuss good mysteries. The title under discussion in Sept. is “Homicide in Hardcover” by Kate Carlisle. Contact Geraldine Balter at gerrib13@q.com or phone 651-224-5570.

The Kids’ Book Club meets Sat., Sept. 6, 1:30-2:30pm. Book lovers ages 8-12 can meet to enjoy treats and talk about books.  This month, the group will be discussing the Maud Hart Lovelace Award nominees. The Teen Book Club for ages 12-18 meets 2:30-3:30pm on Sept. 6, and they’ll be discussing “The Hobbit.”

Readers ages 6-12 can also participate in Paw Pals on Sat., Sept. 6, from 1:30-3pm.  Toby and Marsha are a dog and human team trained to encourage young readers.  Advance registration is required; please sign up by calling the library at 651-642-0293, registering on the library website, stopping at the library in person.

The library features computer classes for adults in Sept., as well.  On Tues., Sept. 9, Sept. 16, or Sept. 23 at 1-3pm, the library is offering Beginning Email.  Participants will learn how to create an email account, send email, attach documents, and open email sent to them.  Space is limited, so pre-registration is required.

Librarian Sam Ryan is also offering a Beginning Computer class on Thur., Sept. 11, 18, and 25, 1-3pm to teach basic computer skills. Again, space is limited and pre-registration required.

Finally, be sure and save the date for the Hamline Midway Library Association’s Third Annual Library Love 3K Fun Run/Walk/ Stroll on Sat., Sept 27. You can pre-register for the 3K at http://librarylove3k.wordpress.com. Same-day registration begins at 8am, and the starting whistle blows at 9am sharp! Funds raised go toward future 3Ks and year-round family-friendly programming at the library.

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