Archive | October, 2017

You can’t dampen the spirit of the Hamline Elementary Fall Festival

You can’t dampen the spirit of the Hamline Elementary Fall Festival

Posted on 27 October 2017 by Calvin

The fourth annual Hamline Elementary Fall Festival was held indoors on Sat., Oct 7 due to stormy weather. But, spirits still ran high! A partnership between Hamline Elementary, Hamline Midway Coalition, and the Hancock Recreation Center, this free, family-friendly event was a chance to build community and goodwill in and around the Hamline Midway neighborhood. The fund raiser also supports the Hamline Midway Parent Teacher Association, and art education at the school. Funds were raised through event sponsorship, a silent auction, vendor table fees, and individual donations.

Photo left: Ronnie Walker (left) learned a little drum technique from West Bank School of Music Director David DeGennaro. 






Photo right: Parent Stephen Kellert spent the afternoon selling old fashioned, home made baked goods.







Photo left: Photo left: Caroline Hilk (left) and Kyra Engen of the Hamline Midway Public Art Working Group. More murals are coming to the Snelling Avenue corridor, as neighbors continue to express interest in increasing public art in the neighborhood.






Photo right: Parent Nura Ahmed prepared to bag up a few of her Sudanese pastries called fatyre. She also served hibiscus ice tea, and a sprouted sorghum beverage called abreh. Son Abel stood to her left. 






Photo left: Dancers took to the floor while the Cuban band Tres Mundos played. Tres Mundos, which means Three Worlds, is made up of flutist/saxophonist Doug Little, pianist/vocalist Viviana Pintabo, and percussionist Eliezer Freites-Santos.




Photo right: Fifth grader Elias Sikorski.




Photo left: Artist Yuyu Negishi (right) worked on the fence weaving project with two students. The idea was to take the chain link fence that runs along Snelling Ave. and turn it into something vibrant, reflecting the energy of the school and rec center nearby. 


Photo right: Photo right: Bei Ruetten has her own small business called, “Be Part of History.” She specializes in playing two costumed characters, and is available to come to girls’ parties to talk about history and period art activities.




Photo left: The St. Paul Chiropractic and Natural Medicine Center offered free chair massage.








Photo right: Students of the Center for Irish Music (located at Celtic Junction) performed traditional Irish tunes on a variety of instruments. 





Photo left: Mortgage specialist Gigi Yau has lived in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood for more than 30 years. She said, “I help people buy homes. I do loans for everybody; I think of everybody as my neighbor.”







Photo right: Horses from the St. Paul Mounted Police Unit greeted kids and parents.



Photo left: Photo above: Free play at the enormous LEGO table.




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Supportive services help seniors maintain their own homes

Supportive services help seniors maintain their own homes

Posted on 27 October 2017 by Calvin

The Living at Home Block Nurse Program of Como Park and Falcon Heights may have a complicated name, but their mission is simple: to provide high quality, affordable care for seniors—allowing them to live safely in the home and community they love.

According to executive director Lisa Kane, “Every staff person and volunteer here is committed to these principles.” A former Wisconsin Department of Health program manager, Kane said that, “like most people who work with our program, I live in the neighborhood. I’m lucky to have found this opportunity; this is good work.”

Photo left: The fulltime staff of the Living at Home Block Nurse program in Como Park and Falcon Heights is made up of volunteer coordinator Jennifer Grilliot (left), executive director Lisa Kane (center), and RN Maria Duwenhoegger (right). (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

What exactly is the good work of the Living at Home Block Nurse Program (LAHBNP)? They offer a wealth of services to neighborhood residents aged 65 and better, as they like to say. Free services provided by staff include home safety checks, service coordination, blood pressure monitoring, and help with applications to other social service benefit programs.

Maria Duwenhoegger is the registered nurse on staff—something that not all Living at Home Block Nurse Programs have. She said, “I enjoy the one-on-one connection with our seniors, working with them in their own environment rather than in a clinic setting. I get a better sense for what their family support is, or their lack of family support.”

Duwenhoegger provides skilled nursing services for people covered by Medicare, Medical Assistance, or private insurance. One of the services in high demand is non-diabetic foot care, a self-supporting program that costs $35 per visit. “I have over 20 of these clients,” she said. ‘Most of them say when they call us the first time, ‘I never thought I would need this!’”

Sometimes the first call to LAHBNP can be hard to make, but Kane explained, “We’re here to help. We’re not here to do anything other than support the community. We welcome phone calls from seniors, family members, or neighbors—anyone with a concern about an older person.” She emphasized that all staff and volunteers have passed a rigorous screening process.

Jennifer Grilliot is the volunteer coordinator, managing a small but dedicated band of long-term volunteers aged 20–81. “One of the things that’s very satisfying about being a volunteer coordinator,” she said, “is when you put two complete strangers together, and find that they’ve formed a strong connection. I matched an MBA student from China last year with one of our seniors. It turned out that the senior had traveled to China several times in her life, and the two of them really hit it off. The student volunteered because elders are so important in Chinese culture, and he wanted to experience some of that here. At LAHBNP, we believe that the intergenerational connection really helps to stabilize neighborhoods.”

Volunteers with this organization serve in a variety of ways like gardening, raking leaves, shoveling snow, driving seniors to medical appointments and back, or to the grocery store or library. Also, friendly visits are an important part of volunteer services. Grilliot said, “Many of our clients are homebound, and that can be very socially isolating.”

Grilliot is currently looking for volunteers with a fitness background to lead gentle exercise classes at two senior independent living complexes in the neighborhood. She also offers training to volunteers willing to work with seniors one-on-one, using a training module called “Healthy Moves for Aging Well.” No previous fitness experience is required for this commitment.

LAHBNP added a homemaking program three years ago, in response to neighborhood need. The cost for this service is $25/hour, with a minimum of one hour’s time. Services include vacuuming, dusting, deep cleaning of kitchens and bathrooms, doing laundry, changing bed linens, preparing snacks and meals, and more.

There are ten Living at Home Block Nurse programs across St. Paul; their shared goal is to keep elders healthy, independent, and connected to their community. Kane explained that each of the programs is a free-standing, nonprofit organization with its own board. Most of the programs are housed in community spaces, and LAHBNP is no exception.

Located at 1376 Hoyt Ave. in Como Park Lutheran Church, the staff can be reached at 651-642-1127 or comobnp@mtn.org with questions about services for seniors and their caregivers, or about volunteering.

On Sat., Oct. 14, Como Park Lutheran Church will hold a bazaar with a silent auction and meatloaf dinner, with all proceeds going to LAHBNP.


“We had a couple in the neighborhood a few years ago. The husband was caring for his wife, who had pretty advanced dementia. We provided homemaking services like cleaning and decluttering, got Meals on Wheels going, and found some social support for the husband in the form of a male friend who took him out to lunch every few weeks. The husband learned in his late 70’s how to clean house, do laundry, grocery shop, and all the other stuff that goes into maintaining a home. He continued caregiving for a couple of years after we got involved. Our in-home services allowed him more free time to visit his wife in the nursing home, once she moved there. After his wife passed away, he continued to live independently for quite some time.”
—Maria Duwenhoegger, RN

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soccer-parkland to north slider

Council to vote on proposed parkland north of future stadium

Posted on 27 October 2017 by Calvin

St. Paul’s Major League Soccer stadium is taking shape as the St. Paul City Council is set to vote Nov. 15 on the parkland dedication agreement for the property. That follows a St. Paul Parks and Recreation Commission unanimous approval Sept. 14 of a parkland dedication agreement with Minnesota United for property north of Allianz Field.

The property is one of two green blocks planned between the stadium and University Ave. The agreement is touted as providing a green space for public use and Minnesota United events, while not adding park maintenance and operations cost to the city. But the advocacy group Friends of the Parks and Trails of St. Paul and Ramsey County is raising questions.

Friends Director Shirley Erstad called the agreement “problematic” because the soccer team doesn’t own the Midway Center land. Lead team owner Bill McGuire has a master lease agreement with Midway Center ownership but doesn’t own the shopping center property where the park would be located.

The 18-page agreement dedicating the park space indicated that Minnesota United doesn’t yet own the property but that it is seeking title to the land.

The Midway Center master plan approved last year by the City Council shows two parks north of the stadium. The agreement moving to City Council is for the Great Lawn just north of the stadium. A similar park is planned further north, just south of University Ave. It will be covered by a separate agreement.

Green space and a plaza are also planned at the northeast corner of Snelling and St. Anthony. McGuire said the site will have amenities including sidewalks with trees and plantings.

St. Paul requires developers to either dedicate land for park space or pay a fee. When the preliminary plat for the Midway Center site redevelopment was approved last year, one condition called for no less than .63 acres be dedicated to the public for parks purposes. The plans approved Sept. 14 meet that agreement.

Minnesota United told city officials it would meet the parkland dedication requirement by entering into a separate agreement to develop and maintain private land for park purposes. This is only the second time in St. Paul that a parkland dedication requirement would be met this way. The first was at Beacon Bluff, a commercial development along Phalen Blvd.

St. Paul Department of Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hahm said the complex agreement provides benefits for the city. City officials believe the agreement protects both the city and soccer team’s interests. If the city had to acquire the land, it would cost as much as $2 million.

One condition of the 18-page agreement is that Minnesota United must provide a property covenant outlining the property’s park purpose. If the team fails to maintain the land for park purposes, the team would have to pay the city $500,000.

Parks commissioners asked that potential challenges to the land ownership issue be specifically addressed when the agreement is presented for a City Council vote. “This is an agreement wrapped in another agreement,” said Commissioner Dan Marckel.

Minnesota United will develop, maintain and operate the Great Lawn space. It will be tied into the stormwater drainage system for the area around it and will have amenities including sidewalks, trees, benches, planting, trash receptacles and public art. The team would pay for those features, at a cost that is likely to exceed $250,000.

The park could be used for active and passive recreation and public gatherings. Hahm said uses must be consistent with park uses spelled out by city ordinance. He said that it is a “given” that groups could exercise their free speech rights in the park space.

But park users would have to follow the rules used in city parks, such as operating hours and prohibitions on activities such as overnight camping.

Under the agreement, Minnesota United would have exclusive rights to use the park for its league events, home events, club events, tryouts, and practices. Food and beverages, including liquor, could be sold during those events if the appropriate licenses and insurance are in place.

The team would also have the exclusive right to determine park programming on the parcel. Minnesota United would work with the city on a permit process for park uses requiring a permit.

Minnesota United would also have park naming rights and would retain all revenues and benefits tied to those naming rights.

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Two years of obstacles couldn’t stop Karima Omer from opening Sabrina’s

Two years of obstacles couldn’t stop Karima Omer from opening Sabrina’s

Posted on 27 October 2017 by Calvin

Article and photos by JAN WILLMS
Proving that it pays to persevere, Karima Omer (photo right) has recently opened Sabrina’s Cafe and Deli at 518 Snelling Ave., serving East African breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desserts. All food is prepared in the Halal manner.

But getting to this point has been a long and difficult journey.

Omer arrived in this country nearly 20 years ago as a political refugee from the Oromia region of Ethiopia. She grew up in Somalia. She began her work in St. Paul by running a grocery and daycare and established those businesses. However, a fire in the building she occupied burned down everything, and Omer was forced to start over.

“I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know what to do,” she recalled in a recent interview. She came back from a trip to Africa and looked around to see where she could best use her skills and talents.

“I had no money, and I worked part-time at a hospital,” said Omer, who is the mother of four children. “Finally I found this location.”

She started out with a coffee shop, offering customers the experience of the Ethiopian coffee ceremony. “But I would sometimes go a whole day without a customer, and not make even a dollar,” she said.

Omer was determined to follow what had always been her dream and open a restaurant and deli. Through two years of struggle with getting the proper equipment and the correct permits, Omer and her family worked tirelessly to get the restaurant up and running. And on Aug. 25, she opened her doors for a grand opening.

The small restaurant is tucked in with other African businesses along the 500 block of Snelling Ave. Inside, the walls are painted a rich, warm golden shade. The food is prepared in an open kitchen, and there is a feeling of warmth to the place. Omer chose to name her business after her oldest daughter, Sabrina.

Photo left: The Cafe & Deli is named after Omer’s oldest daughter, Sabrina.

The menu includes injera, the spongy bread on which the diner can put meat or vegetables. There is goat meat, gyros, beef sagaar, and sombosas. Chapati, a flatbread, and eggs are for breakfast. And to end the meal, the sweet and flaky baklava. Customers can dine in or order food for takeout. The restaurant is open 7am to 10pm seven days a week.

Omer said she also received the support of Little Africa, under the auspices of African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS). “If Little Africa had not helped me, I would not be in business for sure,” Omer said. The mission of AEDS is to build wealth within the African immigrant communities.

“We still don’t have a website,” Omer said. And for catering or deli orders, she uses her cellphone. “I have to answer, no matter where I am,” she laughed. She said she sometimes is at the restaurant until 1am in the morning cleaning.

She said when she was trying to get the business ready to open as a cafe and deli, some of her friends asked her if she was sure she wanted to go through with it, keep paying rent on the location even though the business was not yet ready to open.

“I said I had to see it through,” she explained. “Whatever I start, I have to finish and see the results.”

And she said the struggle has been worth it. “I don’t like to think about the obstacles we had to overcome,” she said. “I just want to go forward. Right now everybody seems to like the food, and I am happy to be able to serve them. Now the cafe is ready, thanks to God.”

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‘Tappy Hour’ gives new meaning to happy hour

‘Tappy Hour’ gives new meaning to happy hour

Posted on 27 October 2017 by Calvin

Housed in the former American Can Company at 755 Prior Ave. N., Can Can Wonderland is a colorful blend of artist-inspired miniature golf, fun and festive foods, art happenings and, as of late, a place to don tap shoes and hoof a little with a pro. From 4-6pm on Friday nights, the tables and chairs are pushed aside, and a section of the floor at Can Can Wonderland is cleared for tap dancing.

Dance teacher Ellen Keane welcomes beginners and everyone else to her free Tappy Hour. “I build this class to be about 20 minutes of movement,” she said, “and then we take a break. After the break, we start up again, and people are free to come and go. I don’t want anyone to feel like they’re being held captive.” Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are available at the bar nearby—most are served in a can.

Photo left: Dance teacher Ellen Keane (in white pants and floral top on the left) led a group of beginning dancers during a Friday afternoon Tappy Hour at Can Can Wonderland. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Along with her sister Cathy Wind, Keane co-directs a non-profit dance company called Keane Sense of Rhythm at 836 Prior Ave. N. (just about across the street). Keane said, “My sister and I come from a dancing family; our mother was a chorus girl with the pantomimes in England when she was young. Our father loved to dance too. My first memory of social dancing was with him, standing on his feet while we swung around the room. ”

“I was a typical dance kid who studied tap, ballet, and jazz,” Keane said. “It wasn’t until much later that I discovered rhythm tap, which is what we dance at Keane Sense of Rhythm. Rhythm tap is as much about music as it is about dance. I saw my first performance of rhythm tap when I was 28. I went with my sister to see The Jazz Tap Ensemble perform at the Ordway Theater. They were America’s first touring tap dance company, founded in 1979 by three dancers and three musicians who brought original tap choreography and live jazz music to the concert stage. I looked at my sister and said, ‘This is it. This is what I want to do with the rest of my life.’”

The motto at Keane Sense of Rhythm is, “dance that builds community.” Outreach has been a driving force behind the organization since the beginning. Keane explained, “A big part of my love of rhythm tap is the American culture it came out of, and that culture was most often made up of people of color. I love the skill set, but it’s the culture that I really want to grow in the Twin Cities. Rhythm tap is inviting, it’s accessible, and it also has a longevity unique among dance styles. I hope to be dancing well into my 80’s – imagine that you can just keep getting better and better.”

Photo right: Keane has a huge collection of used tap shoes, enough to fill a quarter of her garage. She brings several boxes to Tappy Hour, so there are plenty to go around. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

“I do a lot of teaching in St. Paul schools,” Keane said, “and I choose to reach out to schools where more than 90% of the students receive free or reduced lunches (an indicator of family poverty). Many of the kids that I’ve met in those schools have joined our Youth Tap Ensemble at Keane Sense of Rhythm. We have kids ages 8-18, grouped by ability and experience. Our students are among many local and national groups who’ll be performing at the Cowles Center for the Arts in downtown Minneapolis Oct. 19-22 in the third Twin Cities Tap Festival. Go to www.twincitiestap.com for complete info.

Tappy Hour happens every Friday night at Can Can Wonderland, and all are welcome.

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Ten candidates file for St. Paul ranked-choice mayoral race

Ten candidates file for St. Paul ranked-choice mayoral race

Posted on 27 October 2017 by Calvin

Instead of seeking a fourth term, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has decided to run for governor. Ten candidates have filed for the mayoral race. The ranked-choice election is set for Nov. 7, 2017.

Sharon Anderson
Anderson ran unsuccessfully for the mayor’s office in 2005, 2009, and 2013. In the past, she has also sought the Ward 2 Council seat and ran as a Republican candidate for the office of Minnesota Attorney General and Minnesota Senate District 64. In fact, Anderson claims to have run for public office every year since 1970.

If elected, Anderson would downsize all city departments, combine DSI with health, combine sheriff and police, and elect the city attorney and police chief.

Melvin Carter
Carter formerly served as the Ward 1 St. Paul Council Member, was Director of the Minnesota Office of Early Learning, and is currently Executive Director of Governor Dayton’s Minnesota Children’s Cabinet.

Carter lists his priorities as: lifelong learning and opportunity from pre-K to career to retirement; raising the minimum wage in St. Paul; creating new jobs by making it easier to start and grow local businesses; ensuring households of all sizes and ages can affordably rent or own a home; making sure everyone feels safe by ensuring police, firefighters, and inspectors reflect and honor the diversity of St. Paul and have the resources they need to succeed; and making 21st century infrastructure and service investments that modernize and strengthen neighborhoods throughout the city.

Trahern Crews
Crews is a former spokesperson for the St. Paul Green Party of the fourth congressional district, and former Community Liaison at Dayton’s Bluff Community Council. He recently started a company called Original Man Farms that does urban farming and teaches urban youth how to grow food and sell it; is a nonviolent advocate consultant with Black Truce; and a community organizer with the Black Saint Paul.

Crews list his priorities for the city’s budget as: 1) Economic development/jobs; 2) Public safety; 3) Parks/Recreation/Library; 4) Equity; and 5) Environment. If elected, his top three priorities would be economic development, public safety and eliminating disparities.

Elizabeth A. Dickinson
Dickinson has been married for 18 years to Christopher Childs, is a former national spokesperson for Greenpeace, and author of “The Spirit’s Terrain” (Beacon Press, 1998). She has lived on the West Side of St. Paul for 18 years. In her spare time, Dickinson enjoys gardening, writing, and yoga.

If elected mayor, Dickinson would increase transparency and community engagement at every level of city government. “We need to leverage our existing talent and nurture new leadership from all our local communities, including from women and communities of color,” she said. “In the St. Paul city government I envision, everyone has a seat at the table. … The way to achieve that is to make sure everyone is welcome, that everyone has a voice, and that everyone’s voices, hearts, and opinions are respected and listened to.”

Tom Goldstein
Goldstein is a long-time advocate for neighborhoods, a lawyer, businessman, and former school board member. Goldstein has lived in St. Paul since 1984 and has owned a home in the Hamline Midway neighborhood since 2004.

That same year, Goldstein made the transition from businessman to community organizer and advocate, including positions working on affordable housing for the Minnesota Housing Partnership, volunteer coordinator and staff attorney for the Minnesota Justice Foundation, committee administrator at the Minnesota State Senate, and union representative and consultant for SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.

If elected, he would make job creation and attracting cutting-edge businesses to St. Paul his number one priority. He would also use his business background to help transform City Hall into a customer-service-oriented institution and demand complete transparency of departmental budgets and contracts.

Pat Harris
Harris has lived in St. Paul for his entire life, as have four generations of his family. He is currently Senior Vice President at BMO Harris Bank with state-wide responsibility for government banking. He has worked in finance for over 16 years and holds membership in many professional public finance organizations. Harris served on the Saint Paul City Council for 12 years.

His priorities include: public safety for all; creating jobs and promoting economic growth; public education that serves all students; providing libraries, parks, public safety, and other basic services to every one of its community members without overburdening its citizens with excessive taxes; equity and opportunity; and enhancing parks and libraries.

Chris Holbrook
Holbrook is an 18-year St. Paul resident who has lived in the Midway and Frogtown neighborhoods. He has an associate degree in architecture and has spent his career in the wholesale building products industry. He has been politically active for several years as a member of the Libertarian Party of Minnesota and was elected as Chair of the Party in 2017.

He labels himself socially liberal and fiscally conservative. “I am running for Mayor of Saint Paul to lower taxes. This will grow the city and make it more livable. This will create jobs and let workers have more money. This creates more affordable housing and transit options. We begin by putting a stop to the mismanagement of your hard earned money. Saint Paul has been wastefully overspending on frivolous projects instead of basic services. … I commit to an audit and cost-benefit analysis of every regulation, department, program, and proposal with a simple barometer. If it lowers your property tax, I will support it. If it raises your property tax I will oppose it,” said Holbrook.

Tim Holden
Holden has lived in West Saint Paul for most of his life. He owns a business along University Ave. and decided to run for mayor after attending meetings about the Central Corridor and not seeing any changes occur to the plan following public comment.

Public and street safety are his number one priorities. Holden believes in collaborative decision-making as opposed to top-down management; community policing; collaborating with the school district, other educational entities, and businesses to ensure educational fairness for all; and making sure every dollar spent enhances the vitality of the city.

Dai Thao
An immigrant and a refugee who grew up in poverty, Dai lives in Frogtown. He was first elected to serve as Ward 1 council member in 2013. Dai began as a community organizer because he “believes the government is for the people by all the people, not just the elites.”

He said, “We can’t keep taxing the hard-working people of St. Paul to solve wasteful spending. Our city needs a bold direction that will tackle the racial disparities gap that is crippling our economy, make sure that our city services operate equitably across all neighborhoods, and assure that residents are invested in because they are the infrastructure of our community and economy.”

Barnabas Joshua Y’shua
No web site
Y’shua, a homeless man who has resided at the Union Gospel Mission for the past two and a half years, has no political platform other than helping others.


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Six running for three open at-large school board seats

Six running for three open at-large school board seats

Posted on 27 October 2017 by Calvin

In the St. Paul School Board race, two incumbents face four newcomers. There are three at-large seats available.

The Saint Paul school board consists of seven members elected to four-year terms. Elections are held at large on a staggered basis so that three or four seats are up for election every November of odd-numbered years.

Luke Bellville
Bellville is an attorney in St. Paul. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in philosophy in 2006, and his doctor of law (J.D.) from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 2011.

John Brodrick
Broderick is a lifelong Frogtown resident. He worked as a teacher and coach for 16 years. Broderick has been endorsed by the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, Teamsters Joint Council 32 and the DFL.
“Saint Paul Public Schools should always be, and have striven to be, friendly and welcoming places,” said Broderick. “Learning occurs best in an environment that is respectful and safe. As our city has been a destination for many individuals, I am proud that our schools have responded to the opportunity to make new connections, and have been successful enough that people have chosen to stay and to reunite other family members.
“All of us, in Saint Paul and in our schools, have benefited from Saint Paul’s immigrant community and tradition. Even those of us who are a generation or two removed from our own immigrant experience smile when we see graduation ceremonies, cultural events and hear proud parents and grandparents tell stories about their kid’s successes.”

Greg Copeland
Copeland has lived in the Cook/Payne Ave. neighborhood since 1992. The 60-year-old widower was the primary caregiver for his wife, Betty, for 16 years following a traumatic brain injury.

His first job after college was as a newspaper reporter covering public schools. Copeland has also been a contract compliance officer for community college-based job training program and a recruiter for a private industry-public partnership on-the-job training program. He formerly served as city manager of Maplewood, then Minnesota’s 18th largest city with a population of 36,000, over two budget cycles. He formerly chaired the Saint Paul Charter Commission, was vice chair of the Saint Paul Capital Improvement Bond (CIB), and chair of the Payne-Phalen District Council.

If elected, Copeland would reform the school board election process to ensure the east side and the west side have adequate representation. He would also initiate complete televising of all board meetings from beginning to end.

Jeannie Foster
Foster is a lifelong resident of St. Paul who had her first child at age 16 and then raised two kids alone through a cycle of abuse. “I want to challenge the notion that poor kids with many barriers can’t make it,” said Foster.

Foster is a Saint Paul Public Schools graduate, attending Hancock Elementary, Highland Park Junior, and Highland Park High School.

She has worked for 25 years in early childhood education, spending 18 years at the Wilder Child Development Center. In 2015, Foster was recruited by Community Action of Ramsey & Washington County to manage Family Services, where she is focused on producing outcomes in core Head Start priorities including family support, child development, education and parent involvement.

Foster would bring staff together and improve relationships with the administration; keep children and equity at the center of decision-making and help the system to be more responsive; and increase parent and family engagement so kids and families can better navigate the system to find success.

Andrea Touhey
Facebook: TouheyforSchoolBoard
Touhey is an education consultant and former teacher, who also lists policy maker, program designer and evaluator, instructional coach, educational researcher and data scientist under her qualifications.

If elected, she would survey student regularly about their experience within the district; ask teachers for regular input into the direction of the district; and engage parents through regular surveys.

She also supports building a career pathway for Educational Assistants to become teachers; ensuring students have preparation for, access to, and encouragement to pursue AP/IB courses; having students’ learning experiences be relevant to them; providing the structure for students to explore their interests through the AVID program; adopting a framework for technology integration that is focused on using technology to amplify and transform the learning experience; having a majority of teachers be National Board Certified; and protecting the learning environment of undocumented immigrants.

Marny Xiong
Xiong was born and raised in the heart of St. Paul in the Frogtown neighborhood. Her parents were refugees who immigrated to the U.S. from war-torn Laos, and they taught her that, to succeed in the U.S. and reach her highest aspirations, she needed to finish her education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and African and African American studies from the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

Xiong has been a community organizer for over ten years and worked on various campaigns to fight for racial and economic justice. Her experience includes the Vote No Campaign, Take Action Minnesota, SEIU Local 113 and serving on various boards, such as the Payne-Phalen Neighborhood.

“I am committed to collaborating with students, parents, unions, educators, and stakeholders to ensure equity for all students, increased enrollment, and education achievement for college success,” said Xiong.

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News from Como Park High School

News from Como Park High School

Posted on 27 October 2017 by Calvin

Compiled by ERIC ERICKSON, Social Studies Teacher
• Como senior Keleenah Yang (photo right) wrote an award-winning essay in a state-wide contest sponsored by the BestPrep Program. Yang will present her essay at the BestPrep Educational Forum on Oct. 24 at the St. Paul RiverCentre in front of an anticipated audience of 700 guests. The event’s keynote speaker will be retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page.

Keleenah’s essay was based on Page’s theme of “Tomorrow’s Leaders” and the prompt “Why Character Matters.” Yang will have an opportunity to meet with Page at a reception before the evening program along with many of the corporate sponsors of the BestPrep Educational Forum including Thomson Reuters, 3M, Cargill, General Mills and Ecolab.

BestPrep has a 40-year history of support and programming as a non-profit organization with a mission to prepare students with business, career and financial literacy skills through hands-on experiences that inspire success in work and life.

• Como Academy of Finance (AOF) coordinator and teacher Kris Somerville was selected by the Minnesota Council on Economic Education (MCEE) for the 2017 Personal Finance Leadership Award. This annual award is supported by Thrivent Financial. Somerville is receiving this award in recognition of her commitment and contribution to personal finance education and professional growth.

Photo right: Como teacher Kris Somerville will receive an award and speak at the Minnesota Council on Economic Education’s recognition event on Nov. 2. Somerville (3rd from left) is pictured here with former Como students at the U of M’s Gopher Business Camp. (Photo provided)

Somerville will be honored at the MCEE’s EconFest celebration on Thur., Nov. 2 at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska. She will receive a $1,000 check for her leadership and provide remarks about how personal finance education is essential to the mission within Como’s AOF.

• The National Merit Scholarship Program has recognized Eva Hanson and Eli Pattison from Como’s class of 2018 for their academic excellence. Hanson and Pattison each received a Letter of Commendation for their exceptional academic promise and outstanding potential. Both students are ranked in the Top 10 of the senior class.

• A dozen Como seniors in AP Government and Politics classes will be serving as Ramsey County Election Judges in the upcoming Nov. 7 election. The non-partisan service to the community is a wonderful opportunity to promote the democratic process and ensure fairness in the administration of elections. Students will be trained by Ramsey County officials and then work at their local precincts along with a team of judges.

• Como’s Theatre and Music Department will present the annual fall musical in the Como Auditorium on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 9-10 at 7pm both nights. This year’s show is “Monte Cristo,” a modern adaptation of the classic novel set in an English class’ film competition during a school lockdown. Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for students, and can be purchased at the door.

• Construction of the new turf field inside the track was completed during the first week of October. The finished playing surface was scheduled to be completed in August according to project managers. While causing a space crunch and frustration in the short term, the field does look beautiful, and there is hope of hosting a home football playoff game on the site in late October.

Bleachers, press box, and a public address system are still needed. Funding, installation, and timing of those stadium features are still fluid. But the field surface itself will be dedicated on Wed., Oct. 18 at 1pm with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring local officials, representatives from the Minnesota Vikings, Como students and families. All community members and alumni are cordially invited!

• Building additions located to the south of the west wing, toward the railroad tracks, continue to progress. Excavation, footings and foundation work have been completed, and steel beams will be built up during October. The day to day operations of the school have been smooth and without disruption from the work. The majority of the loudest construction is scheduled for after the 2:15 dismissal from classes.

• A video produced by Como teacher and assistant football coach Nick Vruno earned 3rd place in the national “High School Equipment Makeover” contest, thanks to community support and voting. The initiative organized by “Let’s Play” had corporate sponsors with prizes of $1,000 for the ten schools that garnered the most online votes. The Como community responded with great participation to earn a spot in the Top 10 out of what were originally hundreds of entries.

A committee from Let’s Play chose the winner from the ten finalists. While Como was not selected for the grand prize, the $1,000 in physical education equipment will benefit Como students, and the voting campaign inspired both staff and students as the community rallied around the effort.

• Como Cougar cross country running star Florance Uwajenza, a senior, won the Roy Griak Invitational in the scorching afternoon heat on Sat., Sept. 23 at the Bolstad Golf Course on the U of M campus. Uwajenza was the champion of the Maroon Division with over 400 other high school runners. Her time of 12:03 in the 2-mile run earned the gold medal and brought pride to herself and all her Cougar teammates.

• Homecoming week events at Como were festive and fun with spirit days in school, a pep fest, coronation, and “Battle of the Classes” on Fri., Oct. 6. Saturday culminated with the football game and a dance at the school. Special recognition and thanks go to the Como Park Booster Club for their support, fundraising, and labor.

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Storytimes, book clubs, and special events scheduled at the library

Storytimes, book clubs, and special events scheduled at the library

Posted on 27 October 2017 by Calvin

The Hamline Midway Library, 1558 W. Minnehaha Ave. is providing a wide variety of arts, science, and literary programming for all ages this October and November. Stop by to check out books, CDs, DVDs, and magazines or to surf the Internet in one of our neighborhood’s coziest, most welcoming spots!

Preschool Storytimes in English happen Fridays, 10:30-11am, with upcoming events on Oct. 13, 20, and 27 and Nov. 3 and 10. Storytimes feature stories, songs, puppets, and more. They’re a great way for caregivers to bond with children and build social skills, listening comprehension, letter and number recognition, and more. Children of all activity levels are welcome!

The library also offers Evening Storytimes on Tuesdays from 6-6:30pm. These storytimes feature the same kinds of stories, songs, puppets, and games you’ll find at the daytime storytimes. Upcoming Evening Storytimes will take place Oct. 17 and 24 and Nov. 7, 14, 21, and 28.

Sat., Oct. 14, 1:30-3pm, the library presents the popular Science Saturdays program. This month’s theme is Spooky Shadows. School-aged kids and their families are invited to join in a shadow theater to see what they can create with flashlights and shadows. Sat., Oct. 14 is also Math and Science Day at the library. From 11:30am-5pm, you can join in fun, hands-on math and science activities all around the library!

On Tuesday afternoons in October and November from 4:30-6pm, poet Becca Barniskis, and musician Nick Jaffe will present Word and Sound Lab, a series of open studio workshops for youth grades 5-8 that explores the intersection of poetry, sound, and video. iPads and other tech will be available to use on-site or participants may bring their own devices. This activity is open and free to grades 5-8. No registration necessary; just show up! Come to one session or attend all as you’re able. Word and Sound Labs take place Tues., Oct. 17, 24, and 31, and Nov. 7, 14, 21, and 28.

Jody’s Documentary Film Series happens on Wed., Oct. 25, 1-3pm. This month, Jody will host a showing of “The Grownups” by filmmaker Maite Alberdi. The film tells the story of middle-aged friends with Down Syndrome working as caterers, looking for romance, and hoping for independence in Chile. This program is a collaboration of the award-winning PBS POV, the Hamline Midway Elders, and the library. Come for the film and snacks, stay for a thought-provoking post-film discussion facilitated by Jody.

On Wed., Oct. 25, 7-8pm, the Park Square Theatre presents Behind the Curtain, an evening with actors from the upcoming production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Attendees of the library program are invited to purchase up to four half-priced, standard tickets to see a performance of the show at Park Square Theater (Oct. 26-Nov. 11). All tickets must be purchased in advance of the Oct. 25 discussion program at the Hamline Midway Library and can be picked up the evening of the Oct. 25 presentation. Please visit www.thefriends.org/hamlet to register and receive the discount code via email. This presentation is sponsored by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library.

The Novels at Night Book Club meets on Thur., Oct. 26, 6:30-7:30pm to discuss “The Sisters Brothers” by Patrick deWitt. This darkly comic novel takes place during the great California Gold Rush and follows the misadventures of the Sisters brothers, two hired guns tracking down a target who gives them a real run for their money. Join other fiction enthusiasts for a lively discussion every fourth Thursday!

The new Start a Series Book Club will meet on Sat., Oct. 28, 3-4pm to discuss L.A. Meyer’s “Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary ‘Jacky’ Faber, Ship’s Boy.” This book club is recommended for grades 6-8, and each month will focus on a discussion of the first book in a series.

On Sat., Nov. 4, 1-2pm, the Saints and Sinners Book Club meets to discuss good mysteries. Contact volunteer G. Balter for book lists and more information at gerribalter@gmail.com or 651-224-5570.

On Wed., Nov. 9, 6:30-7pm, participants in ARTful Expression: Acting with Teatro del Pueblo, an acting program for adults ages 50+, will give a free performance to demonstrate what they learned during the program. Enjoy a little theater and cheer on the actors!

The library and the Hamline Midway Elders present Chair Yoga on Thursdays from 10:30-11:30am on Nov. 9, 16, and 30. All movement is done while seated or standing using the chair for balance. This class for adults is taught by Nancy Giguere.

All St. Paul Libraries will be closed on Nov. 10 and 11 in observance of Veterans Day.

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Hamline Elem 3

Fractal Fun at Hamline Elementary

Posted on 27 October 2017 by Calvin

On a lovely late September afternoon, nearly 100 third and fourth grade Hamline Elementary students were treated to math “outside the box” and “outside the classroom” thanks to an event organized by the Hamline University Mathematics Department, Math Club, and the Sustainability Thrive Team. The “Fractals Tie Dye Event” took place outside Anderson Center and began with small group lessons about fractals—a never-ending self-repeating pattern—and ended with students tie-dying their own fractal patterns in t-shirts. It was a beautiful and messy project, and each shirt was as individual as the student who made it. Big thanks to our friends at Hamline University for this mathematically artistic experience!

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2019 Midway Chamber Directory