Archive | February, 2015

Conservation Leadership Awards announced

Conservation Leadership Awards announced

Posted on 11 February 2015 by robwas66

(L to R) Frogtown Farm members Jay Bell (Board), Eartha Bell (Executive Director), Norma Roberts-Hakizimana (Board), Soyini Guyton (Board Chair), Caty Royce (Board Vice Chair), Ryan Ellis (Board Secretary) and seitu jones (Board).

Two local connections were recognized by The Trust for Public Land (TTPL) at its 7th annual Conservation Leadership Awards Feb. 4. The awards recognize outstanding support for the conservation of Minnesota’s special places, from city parks to wilderness areas.

Local award winners were the Frogtown Farm Board of Directors and 4th Ward St. Paul Councilmember Russ Stark.
“These awards recognize leaders who do the hard work of keeping Minnesota special,” said Susan Schmidt, TTPL’s Minnesota state director. “Conservation leaders sometimes don’t always get the recognition they deserve, and that’s why we created these annual awards.”

The Frogtown Farm Board of Directors was recognized for creating and implementing the vision for a new city park with a 5.5 acre urban farm demonstration project as one component in the heart of the Frogtown neighborhood in Saint Paul. The City of Saint Paul, Frogtown Farm and TTPL will be hosting a grand opening event for the park in the fall of 2015, and farm activity is projected to begin in spring 2016. Soyini Guyton, Frogtown Farm Board Chair, received the award on behalf of Frogtown Farm, a community-based organization dedicated to social equity, justice and interconnectedness.

Russ Stark, a member of the St. Paul City Council representing Ward 4, was recognized for his work in maximizing the Green Line Light Rail Transit benefit to the region. As a city councilmember, and as a past nonprofit leader, Stark has worked tirelessly to promote better transportation and land use options for neighborhoods bordering University Ave. Stark was a key participant in TTPL-led collaborative “Greening the Green Line”. http://www.tpl.org/ourwork/parks-for-people/green-line-parks-and-commons.

Other award winners were: Bill Becker, outgoing Executive Director of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC); Phyllis Kahn, a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives representing Minneapolis; Craig Koester, Academic Dean at Luther Seminary in Saint Paul and a Lutheran pastor; and Carrie Rudd, a member of the Minnesota Senate representing Aitkin and Crow Wing counties.

“These individuals, and those who support them, are ensuring that Minnesotans continue to enjoy beautiful places to gather, play, work, hunt, fish and enjoy nature,” said Schmidt. “Minnesota is so fortunate to have such amazing conservation leaders.”


(L to R) John Herman (TPL MN Advisory Board), Susan Schmidt (TPL MN State Director), Glen Skovholt (TPL MN Advisory Board), Councilmember Russ Stark, Kathleen Anglo (City of St. Paul Landscape Architect), Jody Martinez (City of St. Paul, Parks and Rec Department), and Steve Christenson (TPL MN Advisory Board).


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Mardi Gras dinner planned at Jehovah

Mardi Gras dinner planned at Jehovah

Posted on 11 February 2015 by robwas66

IOC2_15MardiGrasJehovah Lutheran Church (1566 Thomas Ave.) will host a potluck Mardi Gras celebration beginning at 6:30pm on Tue., Feb. 17. It will feature live music including a performance by the Handbell Ensemble of Concordia University in St. Paul, noted for its appearance on the radio show “Prairie Home Companion.” All are invited to bring a dish to share. A Mardi Gras King Cake will be provided. The event is free and open to the public. More information is available at 651-644-1421.

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New homes needed for planters

New homes needed for planters

Posted on 11 February 2015 by robwas66

IOC2_15PlantersHMC is trying to find homes for the 30+ mosaic planters that currently adorn Snelling Ave. all of which need to be permanently relocated prior to the reconstruction of Snelling (currently scheduled to begin in May, 2015).  Planters can be relocated to either public or private property.  There may be some limited assistance available to relocate planters to public property, but currently no assistance is available to move planters to private property.  If you are interested in providing a new home for a planter or planters, or have a creative solution for moving the 2,000-pound planters to private property, please contact Michael Jon Olson at michaeljon@hamlinemidway.org or (651)494-7682.

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Como student is regional award winner

Posted on 11 February 2015 by robwas66


Como High student Adrianna Cardoza has received a Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) Triple Impact Competitor® (TIC) Scholarship. She received the award Jan.  25 at TCF Bank Stadium. The TIC program awards scholarships of $1,000 to high school athletes, based on their essays explaining how they meet the standard defined in “Elevating Your Game: Becoming a Triple-Impact Competitor,“ by PCA Founder, Jim Thompson.  This standard includes:
—Personal Mastery: making oneself better;
—Leadership: making one’s teammates better; and
—Honoring the Game: making the game better.

Students apply in their junior year.  In addition to their essay they must also submit one testimonial from a school administrator (athletic director, teacher, counselor, etc.), one testimonial from a coach, and at least one testimonial (and up to three) from individuals who are familiar with the student-athlete (i.e. fellow teammates, competitors, referees etc.) and able to speak to his/her embodiment of the TIC principles.

Adrianna was one of four scholarship recipients.  More than 40 students were finalists for the four available scholarships in Minnesota, western Wisconsin, and Dakotas.  Nationwide, PCA distributed more than 115 scholarships.

Adrianna has played softball since she was four years old and intends to continue playing in college.

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History Theatre produces play by Como resident

History Theatre produces play by Como resident

Posted on 11 February 2015 by robwas66


Playwright Kristine Holmgren (left) and “God Girl” actress Summer Hagen. The History Theatre is staging the production through Mar. 1.

History Theatre is producing the world premiere of a play by Como Park resident and Presbyterian pastor Kristine Holmgren. “God Girl” tells Holmgren’s story of being one of the first large classes of women accepted to the Master of Divinity program at an elite Ivy League seminary. In 1975, when the war in Vietnam was over and the women’s liberation movement was in full swing, a bright, spirited Macalester graduate decided to change the world starting with her ordination to ministry.

This new play reflects on the hard work, humor and heartbreak experienced by the women who dared to break through the stained glass ceiling within the protestant church. The play tells the stories of women who felt assaulted, rather than nourished, within the seminary walls. Physical attacks, humiliation, sexual harassment and inappropriate use of power are a few of the realities Holmgren and her classmates experienced, and are portrayed in the play.

“My story is one of perseverance, tenacity, outrageous hope and determination,” Holmgren shared. “I had people in my life who told me that it was important and … we knew we were making history. We knew we were changing things.”

“I found Kristine’s story to be dramatic and it struck a chord with me. It became clear that the women of the 21st Century and women of Kristine’s ‘baby boomer’ generation see gender issues quite differently. It is almost as if the ‘women’s lib’  movement of the ‘60s and ‘70s have been forgotten. As a result, I found myself totally engaged in bringing Kristine’s story to the History Theatre stage,” said History Theatre Artistic Director Ron Peluso.

Although Holmgren has retired from active ministry, she still feels she is making a difference through her plays. Her stories deal with people and circumstances and provoke thought.

“I hope to be having an impact. It’s what my life is about. I went into the ministry to change the world. Everything I’ve done, I’ve done to try and inform myself on how to be a better person, how to make a difference wherever I am, and this playwriting has certainly been that way,” she said.

“God Girl” is playing Thursdays through Sundays, through Mar. 1 at the History Theatre, 30 E. 10th St. Call the box office at 651.292.4323 or visit www.historytheatre.com/tickets.

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Police Department initiates online non-emergency complaint program

Posted on 11 February 2015 by robwas66

The Saint Paul Police Department (SPPD) has unveiled a new online police reporting system for the public. The system allows people to file online police reports for certain non-emergency incidents at any time and from any computer with access to the SPPD website. The service is also available at kiosks located in each of the three department district headquarters—including the Western District located at 389 Hamline Ave. N.

The online reporting system, which can be found at www.stpaul.gov/onlinereport, offers people a convenient way to file reports for crimes that:
—are non-emergencies;
—occurred within the city of St. Paul;
—have no known suspects;
—did not occur on an interstate freeway; and
—are not motivated by bias.

Reports can be filed by anyone who is 18 or older and has an email address.

Crimes that can be reported online include burglary of a detached garage, damage to property, fraud and forgery, harassing phone calls, illegal dumping, lost property and theft from automobiles. A complete list of issues and crimes for which the system can be used is provided on the online report website. In addition, the system can also be used to share non-emergency neighborhood concerns with the police department.

Once the user visits the website, he or she can select the appropriate crime or concern, answer a few simple questions to ensure that an online police report is appropriate and provide information about the crime and the person reporting it.

Once the information is submitted, it is reviewed by a police officer, entered into the records management system and assigned a case number. The person reporting the crime is then emailed confirmation of report acceptance and may print a copy of the report from the system.

According to Assistant Chief Kathy Wuorinen, the new service is designed to meet the changing needs of the public while making the police department more efficient and effective.

“This is a great tool. People who simply want to report a crime that has no solvability factors no longer have to wait for an officer to respond or call them back,” Wuorinen said. “It also allows the department to allocate resources to address the most serious crimes and analyze crime trend data, which ultimately makes our city a safer place.”

Visit www.stpaul.gov/onlinereport to file a police report using the new online reporting system.

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A little guidance for going solar 

Posted on 11 February 2015 by robwas66

Interested in powering your home with solar energy but don’t know where to start?

Before investing in solar, you should apply some of the simplest energy-saving improvements—get an energy audit, seal air leaks, add insulation, maintain or upgrade heating and cooling equipment, use a programmable thermostat. By investing in energy efficiency first, you can decrease your overall energy demand, reduce the size of and the investment needed for your solar energy system, and optimize the returns on your system.

Now that you’re ready to explore solar, here are a few steps to follow:

Get educated. Solar power can generate electricity, heat water, or help heat your home. Making electricity is the most common application of solar energy in Minnesota today, and solar heating applications are increasing too. Learn about solar through sources such as the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs), Minnesota Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Take a class on solar basics. Check the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system or community education opportunities in your area. Also, talk to neighbors and friends who have installed solar.

Plan your system. Find out if your location is suitable for solar. A “Minnesota Solar Suitability App” developed by the University of Minnesota can help identify the solar potential for homes and businesses in Minnesota, but you will need a site assessment to determine if your location can capture enough of the sun’s rays. A third-party source, such as the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society, can provide an independent site assessment.

Learn how to pay for it. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency provides the most complete list of financial incentives for solar systems. It includes information on the 30 percent federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit (good through 2016); incentive programs, rebates, and loans from utilities and state agencies (including the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program); and state sales and property tax exemptions. Your solar contractor can help identify financing options.

Get bids. To locate installers near you, check lists from Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA), North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), and the Clean Energy Project Builders. Get two or three bids and make sure you compare apples to apples. Be sure each bid specifies system type and size, expected energy production, maintenance requirements, warranties, and installed cost.

Finalize a contract with a professional solar installation company and have your system installed.

Maintain your system and keep track of its energy production.

If your home is not suitable for a solar energy system, you can consider subscribing to a community solar garden. CERTs offers information on Community Solar Gardens, an emerging option among several Minnesota electric utilities. Another option for some electricity customers is a green pricing program.

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Central student completes semester in elite science program

Central student completes semester in elite science program

Posted on 11 February 2015 by robwas66

IOC2_15ScienceSt. Paul Central High School sophomore Greta Mundt, recently completed the fall semester at Coastal Studies for Girls (CSG) in Freeport, Maine. Coastal Studies for Girls is a Semester School for 10th grade girls that features an integrated marine science and leadership curriculum based on fieldwork and experiential place-based learning.

While at CSG, Mundt completed a scientific research project examining the content of microplastics in household washing machine wastewater. CSG students have been conducting experiments analyzing elements of microplastic pollution in the Freeport marine ecosystems for several years.

Mundt and her team presented their research results in a public forum held at Bowdoin College in November. The science presentation was live streamed to viewers across the globe.

In addition to producing original marine research, Mundt also completed a semester-long leadership course, earned credits in literature, history, math and foreign language and traveled with her classmates on a 10-day expedition along the Maine coast and islands.

Each semester, CSG accepts only 15 girls from across the country to live in the school’s farmhouse on the shores of Casco Bay. Mundt is the second student from St. Paul Central High School to attend the Coastal Studies for Girls Semester School.

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Midway Y closes, opens temp location, starts building

Midway Y closes, opens temp location, starts building

Posted on 11 February 2015 by robwas66

IOC2_15MidwayYMidway YMCA, serving the community since 1907, has closed its building at 1761 University Ave. W. The last day of activities on Feb. 4 included a pooch pool party, where Midway Y members could bring their dog for a swim in the 62-year old pool before it was demolished. While their new building (pictured above) is being built (and opening in about 15 months), the Midway Y will operate out of a temporary location at 1000 University Ave. W. The Midway Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting to commemorate the opening of this transitional location on Mon., Feb. 9.

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Como Zoo welcomes baby orangutan

Como Zoo welcomes baby orangutan

Posted on 11 February 2015 by robwas66


The baby orangutan born at Como Zoo in January will be given one of three names at its “baby shower” Feb. 14-16. The three name choices are: Aanjay (pronounced On-jay) meaning unconquerable; Cinta (pronounced Chin-tah) meaning love; or Kemala (pronounced Key-mala) meaning magic stone.

Como Zoo announced the birth, via Caesarean section, of a female orangutan in January. Markisa, a 27 year-old Sumatran Orangutan, gave birth to a female infant weighing a healthy, 3.45 pounds on Jan. 7. The newborn was delivered at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center by Dr. Micky Trent, DVM, Veterinary Medical Center Surgeon and lead veterinarian for Como Zoo, with the consultation of an extensive pre-appointed medical team comprised of human obstetricians, neonatologists, and veterinary anesthesiologists.

This is Markisa’s second required C-section. “C-sections are very rare in that there are only about a dozen recorded within the more than 1,200 international captive births,” said Como Zoo primate keeper Megan Elder.

This is a very important birth both for Como and for the species. Markisa was recommended for breeding by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Orangutan Species Survival Plan (SSP) because of her status as one of the most genetically valuable female Sumatran orangutans in North America.

The delivery was attended by an assemblage of experts in human maternal health and consultant veterinarians from the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center and the University of Minnesota Fairview Medical Center. Many of these individuals have been prepping for weeks for this procedure and several (Yasuko Yamamura, MD and Kirk Ramin, MD) consulted on Markisa’s last C-section. These included an obstetrical team of 14-16 individuals including professionals from the human and animal neonatal intensive care units, human maternal-fetal medicine, veterinary surgeons, veterinary technicians, veterinary anesthesiologists, a nutritionist, and a biosecurity supervisor.

The baby is now bonding and resting comfortably in the arms of her mother, Markisa. Now the baby just needs a name, and the zoo is expected to announce the name at a “Baby Shower Weekend” on Feb. 14-16.

About 200 orangutans are currently on exhibit in zoos throughout the U.S. Their native population, found primarily in Sumatra and Borneo, has dwindled due to commercial logging, agriculture, hunting and poaching –all of which put the species under the threat of extinction.

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