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Archive | February, 2018

Hamline Elementary Joe Kieser age 18

Two campuses, one community—one Midway family’s story

Posted on 06 February 2018 by Calvin

Hamline Elementary School Column By JESSICA KOPP
Hamline Midway residents Wendy and Byron Kieser have had kids enrolled at Hamline Elementary (formerly Hancock) for seventeen years, and though the school’s name has changed, some teachers remain as does the same strong sense of community.

Like many people choosing a school for the first time, they asked their friends for guidance. When someone suggested Hancock, they weren’t sure but decided to go to the open house. They were impressed with the classrooms and programs the school offered and decided to try it.

When asked why they stayed, Wendy says, “We stayed because the teachers and staff quickly became an important part of the community that our entire family belonged to, not just the kids.” She was also excited about the Hamline to Hamline Collaboration, “It’s an amazing asset to Hamline students; it provided so many extra experiences from being on the Hamline University campus for swimming, mock trial, performing in Sundin Music Hall, to the tutors, and other university students that work in the classrooms.”

Photo right: Joe Kieser, age 5, spent his entire elementary education under the cooperation between Hamline Elementary and Hamline University. (Photo provided)

The Kiesers sent all six of their children to Hamline for kindergarten and Carol Schjei, still a kindergarten teacher there, taught them all. Four of the Kieser children spent all their elementary years at Hamline and at the end of this year, the family will attend their final Hamline Elementary “graduation,” but that doesn’t mean the family is leaving Hamline. Their son, Joe, has come full circle in this community—first as an elementary student and now as a Hamline University freshman, majoring in mathematics.

Photo right: Joe Kieser, age 18, is now a student at Hamline University. (Photo provided)

It’s easy for Wendy to see the arc. “Joe started at Hancock in 2004 and had creative and experienced teachers throughout; they kept him motivated and challenged. He made friends there that he still has today and because they all lived in the neighborhood, they were able to do things together in and out of school.”

Joe sees the value of a shared community, too. “The connection to Hancock helped me to get my first job at Hancock Rec Center,” Joe said. “It was a comfortable environment, I was familiar with the building, and it was close to home. It made working at Hancock Rec a great first job. I have been back to Hamline Elementary this year doing service learning projects, and it is great to still see some of my former teachers at the school.”

I asked Joe to tell me more about his journey from one side of Snelling Ave. to the other.

Favorite memory?
“My favorite memory of Hamline University as a Hancock student is getting to eat in Sorin Hall. As an elementary student, an endless buffet was very appealing. I also remember working on special projects with Mrs. Grostephen and going to the university campus for mock trial and swimming.”

Favorite teacher?
“My third-grade teacher, Mrs. Nguyen. She taught me many things about integrity and working hard. She was a good teacher because she knew when it was time to learn and when it was time to let kids be kids.”

Why Hamline University?
“I chose Hamline University because it’s close home, has a small but close community, and of course going to Hancock allowed me to spend quite a bit of time on campus which made important connections to me as an adolescent. So far, my experience at Hamline has been wonderful. Both the staff and my fellow students are very open and inviting which just builds such a great community. “

As a former Hamline (Hancock) Elementary student, Joe applied for and received the Hamline to Hamline Collaboration Scholarship. Only students who have attended the school and are planning to attend Hamline University are eligible. You can learn more about this scholarship and the partnership between Hamline University and Hamline Elementary at www.hamline.edu/offices/wesley/hamline-to-hamline-collaboration.

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Como Area Crime Grid for 2017

Como Community Council Corner

Posted on 06 February 2018 by Calvin

By MICHAEL KUCHTA, Executive Director

How much state fair history do you remember?
The ongoing history of the Minnesota State Fair kicks off District 10’s 2018 Sunday Series on Feb. 25. State Fair director Jerry Hammer picks up where he left off last year: He’ll share forgotten photos, facts, and stories about the Fair from the last 100 years or so—from 1920 until today.

The free presentation is Feb. 25, 1-2:30pm, in the Newman-Benson Chapel at Lyngblomsten, 1415 Almond Ave.

You can also put these upcoming Sunday Series presentations on your calendar:
• The Next Step: Pedestrian Safety in St. Paul. Drivers continue to run into pedestrians in higher and higher numbers. What will it take to stop that? Fay Simer, the city’s new pedestrian safety advocate, and Sgt. Jeremy Ellison, who leads enforcement efforts in the citywide Stop for Me campaign, lead the discussion. The free presentation is Sun., Mar. 18 from 1-2:30pm.
• Crime Prevention through Landscape Design. Patty Lammers, crime prevention coordinator for the St. Paul Police, gives great advice about where to plant, where not to plant, and what to plant to make yourself, your family and your home safer. The free presentation is Sun., Apr. 15, 1-2:30pm.

O’Reilly negotiates to run Lakeside Pavilion
A team led by veteran Twin Cities restaurateur Matty O’Reilly is in line to take over management of the Como Lakeside Pavilion. O’Reilly proposes to open “Spring Café” in the space previously occupied by Como Dockside and Black Bear Crossings. He is now negotiating lease and management details. City officials continue to project an April start date.

O’Reilly is familiar with the Como neighborhood: he opened Delicata, 1341 Pascal St., in summer 2017. He also is familiar with running a restaurant on park property: he operates the seasonal Red River Kitchen at City House, creatively using a food truck to revitalize a converted barge terminal on St. Paul’s Upper Landing. O’Reilly and his team also operate Republic in Minneapolis’ Dinkytown, and Bar Brigade in St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood.

Crime in Como dropped in 2017
Overall crime decreased 4.7 percent in Como in 2017, according to preliminary police data analyzed by District 10. Vandalism, burglaries, and thefts all were down, and there was no increase in assaults. Most notably, the neighborhood saw a sharp drop in auto thefts.

Illustration right: Reported crimes for 2015-2016-2017 in the 12 area grids that make up Como Dist 10. Combined, the area showed a 4.7% decrease in crime.

However, robberies and rapes increased. And, as was the case citywide, reports of gunshots also continued to increase, though not nearly as rapidly as in 2016.

You can find charts and more details on the District 10 website: www.district10comopark.org. The site includes breakdowns on how much crime there was in the individual police “grids” in different parts of the neighborhood.

Looking for relief from State Fair crowds
The Como Community Council is launching a wide-ranging review of possible changes to parking, traffic, and city enforcement activities during the Minnesota State Fair.

The District 10 board approved six areas of action at its Jan. 16 meeting. The district council’s Land Use committee developed the proposals, which are intended to study and limit the impact that State Fair traffic and activities have on the neighborhood.

Exploring the changes would include public meetings and surveys. The review also will require talking with and partnering with neighborhood residents, city staff and elected officials, State Fair management, and a variety of businesses, schools, and other institutions. The proposals would:
• Work with institutions and businesses in and near the neighborhood to make their unused parking lots available as shuttle lots or off-street parking, especially on weekends during the Fair. A survey taken during the 2017 Fair indicates there could be more than 3,000 unused parking spaces available.
• Explore expanding the number of neighborhood streets in which parking is restricted to one side during the Fair. Streets to be considered are those west of Victoria between Larpenteur and Nebraska, and those between Lexington and E. Como Blvd., south of the lake and north of the railroad tracks. Currently, parking is restricted to one side of streets during the Fair in a many other parts of the neighborhood, primarily from Hoyt south and from Chelsea west.
• Explore expanding the existing Parking Overlay District to add all blocks between Hamline, Lexington, Arlington, and Larpenteur. This would allow homeowners to use their lawns for parking during the 12 days of the Fair. The current Overlay District extends roughly from Hoyt on the north, Chelsea on the east, Wynne on the south, and Winston on the west.
• Explore a wide range of traffic-calming tactics on residential streets during the Fair, including temporary speed reductions, speed bumps, barrels, stop signs, and other measures.
• Work with the City of St. Paul to implement universal and reliable enforcement of violations during the Fair, including vending, peddling, and parking.
• Clarify what types of signs and advertising residents, businesses, and institutions can use to promote off-street parking during the Fair.

You can find more details on the District 10 website: www.district10comopark.org.

Board supports 4 of 5 projects
The District 10 Como Community Council voted Jan. 16 to support four of the five infrastructure projects that St. Paul is proposing for the intersection of Como, Front, and Dale. The projects are part of a $350,000 Commercial Vitality Zone initiative that the City Council authorized in 2015.

The District 10 board voted to support:
• Painting higher-visibility crosswalks in all current locations, and painting stop bars ahead of the crosswalks, in hopes of discouraging drivers from encroaching on the crosswalks
• Painting green lane extensions across the intersection for the Como Ave. bike lanes
• Installing landscaping
• Moving the bus stop on northbound Dale from in front of the strip mall to the south side of the intersection (in front of John’s Pizza Café)

The board did not support a proposal to eliminate the dedicated right-turn lane from southbound Como to westbound Front. That proposal would replace the lane by expanding the existing pedestrian island and shortening the crosswalk on Como.

The board’s actions came after it conducted an online survey that received more than 525 responses. Details of the survey results and the proposed infrastructure projects can be found on the District 10 website: www.district10comopark.org.

Upcoming District 10 meetings
• Como Community Council Monthly Meeting: Tues., Feb. 20
• Environment Committee: Wed., Feb. 28
• Neighborhood Relations and Safety Committee: Tues., March 6
• Land Use Committee: Wed., March 7

All meetings begin at 7pm at the Como Park Streetcar Station, which is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton. Community members are always welcome to attend and participate. Whenever possible, agendas are posted in advance in the “Board News” section of District 10’s website.

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Snowstorm left parents worried as their children got stranded

Posted on 06 February 2018 by Calvin

Ten buses were in minor accidents; 20 buses got stuck—some students ended up being ferried home in police vehicles

By JANE MCCLURE
St. Paul’s biggest snowstorm in several years has St. Paul Public Schools families fuming and school and city officials apologizing. Many students were affected by the Jan. 22 snowstorm, waiting at schools for late buses or stuck in buses on snow-clogged streets. More than 300 pre-K through eighth-grade students didn’t make their trip home until 10pm to midnight. The last children got home after midnight, with some students ferried in St. Paul Police Department vehicles.

Between 50 to 75 special needs students, whom the district transports, were also impacted. The last of those students were home by 10pm. In some cases, bus drivers stopped to get food and water to bring onto the buses.

At Galtier Elementary (1317 Charles Ave.), the last students didn’t leave until about 8:20pm. Teachers Laura Priebe and Darya Fidelman stayed late with the students, who watched a movie until the bus arrived. Principal Sharon Hendrix stayed and answered the phone.
Neighborhood Galtier parent Jacqueline Robinson pulled a sled of treats over for the students. Clayton and Kristin Howatt also assisted and helped push motor vehicles out of the snow.

“It was pretty awesome,” Clayton Howatt said of the neighbors’ efforts to help the stranded children.

But while parents and school faculty and staff stepped up to help in many cases, many parents were left waiting and wondering where their children were. Some parents said that had they known buses would be an hour or more late, they would have headed to schools to pick up their children. But doing so could have meant getting stuck on the way to schools, and then having no one at home when children arrived.

Frantic and angry parents, unable to reach schools and trying to use an inaccurate bus schedule app, have bombarded school officials with calls and emails. Many are praising bus drivers, and school faculty and staff who stayed into the night at schools with their children. They lay blame on district administrators and the School Board and are demanding changes in communication and in snow day policies.

St. Paul Public Schools Superintendent Joe Gothard and Mayor Melvin Carter III apologized at a Jan. 23 press conference. Gothard said that when the decision had to be made at 5am Monday whether to close schools, the forecast called for six to eight inches of snow in St. Paul. Instead, more than a foot of snow fell as the storm tracked north. The heaviest snow was falling when schools were being dismissed. By midnight Jan. 22, the snowfall total at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was 12.4 inches.

Gothard said that knowing what he knows now, he would have “definitely” made a different decision as to whether to close schools. “It breaks my heart that this happened.”

By 10am January 22, St. Paul announced that schools would close early. That wasn’t time for school buses, which typically pick up children at 2, 3 and 4pm. While the first buses were on time, about 400 of the 3 and 4pm buses were running late. Ten buses were in accidents, and another 20 got stuck.

Thomas Berg, transportation director for St. Paul Public Schools, said Jan. 22 was the most challenging day of his career. “We were somewhat overwhelmed by the situation.”

As problems worsened during the evening, school district officials reached out to the city for help, with snowplows and police deployed where needed. Carter himself visited Farnsworth Elementary in Payne-Phalen neighborhood and Wellstone Elementary in the North End. At Farnsworth, the mayor helped shovel out a bus.

Michelle Lyn Peterson’s two children were more than two hours’ late getting home from Capitol Hill Elementary. Their bus ride is usually 45 minutes. She lives in Como neighborhood, and the children’s father lives on the East Side. While she typically doesn’t approve of her son having his cell phone at school, Peterson said she was glad he could call her, and help other students contact their parents.

Peterson said she’s proud of the way Capitol Hill students responded, with older students looking out for younger students on the bus. “While it was a really unfortunate event for many, we sometimes forget that our kids are amazing, caring and resilient individuals.”

But if the snow storm was a time of stress and struggle, it was also one where many people looked for each other, something Carter cited at the press conference.

For most parents, the issue is communication, which is being looked at closely. Berg said that while the buses have GPS systems, those aren’t always accurate. Bus drivers are supposed to call their dispatchers, who then call the school personnel to update the bus app. That wasn’t possible in the weather conditions as driver struggled through heavy snow.

The school district works with nine bus companies.

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Como High Blades Team

Como Park HIgh School: Debate to State, Cadets in Service, fundraisers and Winter activities

Posted on 06 February 2018 by Calvin

Compiled by ERIC ERICKSON, Social Studies Teacher

• For the second consecutive season, Como debate partners Stephen Boler and Jackson Kerr qualified for the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) State Debate Tournament. After placing second in the Section 4 meet during the first weekend of January, Boler and Kerr advanced to state competition at the University of Minnesota on Jan. 12 and 13.

The policy issue for debate this season was a resolution about public education and potentially increasing funding and regulation. Students were required to develop affirmative and negative arguments in preparation for 90-minute debates. Which side a team defends is based on a coin flip just before the debate. Presentations are made, cross-examinations occur, and rebuttals are offered. Judges evaluate the cohesiveness and effectiveness of the constructs, and a winner is determined.

Boler and Kerr, both seniors, appreciate the intensity and rigor of the state meet. They finished 18th in the state overall after pulling out a win against a Roseville team. More than their section medals and trophy, the debaters value the critical thinking skills and opportunity to examine public policy from multiple perspectives.

Juniors Henry Hansen and Peter Schik finished 7th in the Section 4 meet, earning honorable mention. They qualified for state as sophomores and are excited for another opportunity in 2018-19, along with five other returners. The Como debate team is coached by teacher Deb Hansmeier and assisted by Como alum Ian Johnson.

• Cadets from the Marine JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) at Como continued their community service projects over winter break and into January. Over the holiday, the cadets coordinated a Toys for Tots campaign that brought joy to hundreds of kids and families in the area.

50 cadets volunteered to help run activities and lend support to students and families at Crossroads Elementary at their school carnival on Jan. 12 (Photo right submitted). The carnival raises a significant amount of funding to support the Crossroads’ 4th-grade summer camping trip. Sergeant Major James Kirkland says that the spirit and service of giving back to the community is a critical element of the JROTC program at Como.

• All community members that enjoy an occasional meal at Chipotle are invited and encouraged to dine-in or take-out from the Rosedale Chipotle on Tues., Feb. 13 between 4 and 8pm. If customers tell the cashier they are supporting the Como Park Close Up Trip, 50% of the order price will go to support Como’s annual field trip to Washington D.C. and help students participate in the national Close Up program!

• Winterfest Spirit Week at Como is scheduled for the week of Feb. 12-16. Thematic dress-up days will be held all week and the coronation of the Winterfest Royalty will take place on Friday at the end of the school day in conjunction with a Pep Fest. Spirit Week concludes with the Winterfest Dance on Saturday evening, Feb. 17.

• Como’s next monthly parent seminar will be “Parenting in the Digital Age” on Tues., Feb. 27 from 5:30-8pm at the school. Parents will have an opportunity to discuss challenges of teens and technology while utilizing resources and developing strategies to help navigate the complexities of modern-day communications.

• Believe it or not, planning for the Class of 2018 graduation party is already underway! On Wed., June 6 after the graduation ceremony downtown at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium, Como seniors will be invited to attend the annual all-night party to celebrate their accomplishments together as a class in a memorable, fun and safe environment.

If parents or community members are interested in helping, please join the next planning meeting on Feb. 21 at 6:30pm. The Como Park Booster Club that sponsors the event welcomes creative ideas, construction skills, raffle prizes and any help or support that you’re able to provide. Any questions or interest can be directed via email to comoparkboosterclub@gmail.com, or by attending the Grad Party Committee meeting on the 21st.

• With a committed and continual effort to raise money in support of Como student activities, the Como Park Booster Club is once again proud to announce that the annual Urban Growler Fundraiser is set for Sun., Mar. 11 from 4-8pm. The event is an annual, festive get-together for all those that want to help Como and enjoy some time in a renowned St. Paul taproom with good food. For more information, tickets, or volunteering, contact Ann Commers at acommers@msn.com.

• Andrayah Adams, a sophomore studying and playing on a basketball scholarship at St. John’s University in New York, returned to the Como Park Gymnasium on Feb. 5 to have her #15 jersey retired at halftime of the Cougars’ game. Adams scored over 3,000 points in her career at Como while leading the Cougars to their first two city titles. In her senior year, she led the girls’ team to the 2016 state basketball tournament.

Adams is currently a top scorer for the Red Storm, averaging 11 points a game. She is working towards her degree in Sports Management. The jersey retirement was set to include tributes from her coaches, family, and former teammates. Look for photos and a story in the next edition of the Monitor.

• The St. Paul Blades girls’ hockey team (photo left provided), which is the cooperative team for the St. Paul Public Schools, played the evening finale of a four-game series on Jan. 13 outside at the North Dale Rec Center. Teams from across the state descended upon the Como neighborhood for a fun, well-organized, uniquely Minnesotan event hosted by the Friends of Como Area (FOCA) boosters.

The Blades are an extremely young team this season. The girls from different schools have come together to improve and develop their skills while promoting the game of hockey to young girls throughout St. Paul. The Blades volunteer and coach at local rinks with youth teams throughout the season.

The Blades’ new home rink is the Oscar Johnson Arena off Snelling Ave. They are grateful for the space and their own locker room on site. Four of the Blades attend Como including junior captain Gianna Gabrielli, junior Isabelle Hoppe, sophomore Anisa Smith and freshman Emilie Hanson.

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Stadium construction signage

Development Roundup

Posted on 06 February 2018 by Calvin

By JANE MCCLURE

Sign variance at the stadium?
Minnesota United FC’s sign variance request for Allianz Field has been sidelined. The St. Paul Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) sent the matter back to the drawing board Jan. 29. The BZA was poised to act on more than 4,000 sq ft of temporary and permanent signage above and beyond what city regulations allow. That’s a huge variance over what is typically allowed.

But on the advice of Assistant City Attorney Peter Warner, the BZA laid over the variance request, most likely until mid to late February. The board is asking that Minnesota United and Mortenson Construction sort out how much signage is temporary and how much is permanent, with the goal of separating those variance requests. The application before the BZA was sent back for more work.

Two different issues are being considered. The zoning code allows for up to 1,987.5 sq ft of permanent signage on the stadium property. The request is for 3,187.5 sq ft, for a variance of 1,200 sq ft. The team representatives contend a large amount of signage is needed for a building with multiple entrances.

Another issue to be considered is how much signage two future buildings along Snelling Ave. will need. If the soccer stadium is allowed to get a sign variance, Warner said future buildings will be limited in how much sign space they can have, or the stadium would have to lose signage that is already installed.

“When those buildings are developed, they’ll need signs,” he said. “It sounds like we’ve got a moving target here.”

Photo right: Just one of the signs that designate the stadum construction zone. There are 250 sq ft of signage allowed, but at one point, there was 3,237 sq ft on site—almost 13 times more than permitted by zoning. (Photo by James Burger)

Then there is the temporary signage, which went up last year without a variance. It is the subject of the second variance request. Jerome Benner II of the BZA staff said the variance would legalize the temporary signs.

Up to 250 sq ft of temporary signage is allowed in St. Paul, to typically identify a real estate agent and contractor. But 3,237 sq ft of signage went up at Allianz Field, requiring a variance of 2,987 sq ft. These signs are to come down once the stadium is completed.

BZA members said they need more information before they can act.

Under state law, a zoning request has to be acted on within 60 days. Otherwise, it is automatically approved. In this case, the deadline for action is Mar. 8. Only an agreement between the applicants and the city can extend the deadline beyond that.

Capital maintenance spending
Spending almost $3 million for St. Paul’s capital maintenance needs in 2018-2019 may sound impressive—until the $6.3 million in requests not met is looked at. St. Paul’s Long-Range Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) Committee voted Jan. 8 to recommend 46 projects to the City Council for approval. More than 80 projects missed the cut.

How to better fund capital maintenance and keep up with needs to repair city buildings and facilities is an issue in the ongoing redesign of St. Paul’s biennial capital project review and approval process. One frustration raised in recent years by the CIB Committee is what committee members see as a lack of maintenance for some city facilities.
“Capital maintenance is obviously a very important part of what we do,” said CIB Committee Chairman Noel Nix.

The committee is recommending $1.5 million in projects in 2018 and $1.498 million in 2019.

After the capital maintenance list wins approval from the City Council, most of the improvements won’t be visible or prominent to the public. A task force of CIB Committee members met with city staff to review the 2018-2019 requests. The group had several meetings to review the proposals, said CIB Committee Chairman Noel Nix. Proposals this time around were limited to a maximum request of $200,000 per request. A few requests had to be trimmed to meet that threshold.

The Departments of Safety and Inspections (DSI), Parks and Recreation Police, Fire and Public Works submitted proposals. For Public Works, the requests are limited to facilities and don’t include streets or bridges.

The parks department used a recent asset study, by the Ameresco consulting firm, to help develop its list. Studies of other city department capital needs and assets were completed after the 2018-2019 maintenance project requests were due, but will be used in future capital maintenance reviews.

Requests ranged from one proposal from DSI (new doors for the animal control building $21,598) to more than 80 proposals from Parks and Recreation. Each department had to rank its own proposals. Como Golf Course had one of the largest requests recommended, at $150,000 for new heating, ventilating and air conditioning. Smaller sums go toward zoo facilities for polar bears and large cats, and a sprinkler system for the carousel. Alas, the hooved animals or “hoof stock” and the frogs in the Como pond didn’t have maintenance requests met.

Grants awarded for projects
More than $10 million in Livable Communities grants were awarded by the Metropolitan Council in January. The grants are for Twin Cities communities for brownfield clean up and mixed-use and innovative development that connects Minnesotans with jobs, school, transit, and other services and destinations.

“For more than two decades, the Livable Communities Grant Program has turned polluted land across the Twin Cities into fertile ground for economic growth and opportunity and invested in our local communities,” Gov. Mark Dayton said in a statement. “These 2018 grants will create more than 2,100 jobs and support the development of more than 1,500 new units of housing.”

Grants are awarded competitively. Applicants are local units of government that participate in the Livable Communities program. One area project, near University and Victoria, is the Ain Dah Yung housing project for Native American youth. The project was awarded $350,000.
The St. Paul City Council in January accepted additional Metropolitan Council funding of $1.45 million for the Neighborhood Development Center’s mixed-use project at the northwest corner of Dale St. and University Ave. The project involves the demolition of building sites and use a vacant lot that was occupied for years by a church.

Mixed-use development eyed in West Midway
A mixed-use commercial-residential development is on the drawing boards for the West Midway, at 2103 Wabash St. Superior LLC has filed a conditional use permit with the city that is needed to change the mix of commercial/residential. The first-floor mix is supposed to be 80 percent commercial and 20 percent residential. Superior wants 10 percent commercial and 90 percent residential on the first floor. Commercial space would be located on the Montgomery St. side.

The property is zoned industrial and occupies the entire block face of Wabash from Montgomery to Myrtle Ave. The developers wish to covert the building from industrial to mixed use. It is zoned for industrial use and is in an area where other industrial buildings have undergone conversions for new uses.

The tentative public hearing before the Planning Commission Zoning Committee is Feb. 15 at City Hall.

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Hamline Library Marcells Letters color

Fireside Reading Series continues through the month

Posted on 06 February 2018 by Calvin

The Hamline Midway Library, 1558 West Minnehaha Ave., is your neighborhood connection with your community. Enjoy great programs, access the Internet, and stock up on books, CDs, and DVDs, all free with your library card.

This month, you’re invited to join your neighbors by sharing words and drawings about nature that will inspire a community mosaic for the library. This project, Nature in the

Urban World, is a collaboration between the Hamline Midway Coalition and the Hamline Midway Library. After Lori Greene of Mosaic on a Stick designs the mosaic, community members will have the opportunity to complete the mosaic in late March. Pick up a form at the library and submit your ideas to the library through Feb. 24.

The library will be offering Chair Yoga with Nancy Giguere on Thursdays, Feb. 8, 15, and 22 from 10:30-11:30am. All movement is done while seated or using the chair for balance. This program co-presented by the library and the Hamline Midway Elders Association.

Preschool Storytimes in English happen Fridays, 10:30-11am, with upcoming events on Feb. 9, 16, and 23 and Mar. 2 and 9. Storytimes feature stories, songs, puppets, and more. They’re a great way for caregivers to bond with children and build social skills, listening comprehension, and letter and number recognition while creating a solid foundation for lifelong learning. Children of all activity levels are welcome!

The library is also offering Evening Storytimes on Tuesdays from 6 -6:30pm, with upcoming storytimes on Feb. 13, 20, and 27.

Sat., Feb. 10, 1:30-3pm, the library presents the popular Science Saturdays program, where school-aged participants and their families can enjoy fun, hands-on science, and art activities. No preregistration necessary—just come by when you can. The theme will be Mirrors and Symmetry. Come print a symmetrical image for Valentine’s Day! On Sat., Mar. 10, also 1:30-3pm the theme will be Wind and Air Experiments.

Word and Sound Lab continues at the library on Tuesday afternoons from 4:30-6pm, with upcoming sessions on Feb. 13, 20, and 27 and Mar. 6, 13, and 20. Poet Becca Barniskis and musician Nick Jaffe are offering this open studio workshop for youth grades 5-8. Explore the intersection of poetry, sound, and video, and experiment with making your own creations on iPads and other tech, to be provided. Participants can also bring their phone, laptop, tablet, or notebook. This activity, provided by a grant from the State Arts Board, is free and does not require advance registration—just show up!

The library will be offering Book Art, a great hands-on activity for adults, on Mon., Feb. 12, 6-7:30pm. Participants can learn how to fold books to create eye-catching sculptures.

The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library’s popular, long-running Fireside Reading Series will also continue bringing some of Minnesota’s most accomplished writers to the Hamline Midway Library in February. With cookies in one hand and coffee in the other, you can cozy up next to the library’s fireplace and experience great literature right here in our neighborhood.

On Wed., Feb. 14, 7-8pm, graphic designer Carolyn Porter reads from “Marcel’s Letters,” the story of her quest to unlock the story behind a bundle of beautifully hand-written letters she found in a Stillwater antique store.

On Wed., Feb. 21, 7-8pm, the featured reader is Jon Lurie, presenting from his book “Canoeing with Jose.” The book is a memoir of journalist Lurie’s relationship with a smart, angry Lakota-Puerto Rican named Jose Perez, telling the story of how the two men embarked on a 2000-mile paddle from Breckenridge, MN to the Hudson Bay.

Continuing with the Fireside Reading Series on Wed., Feb. 28, 7-8pm, Kaethe Schwein reads from her mesmerizing post-apocalyptic debut “The Rending and The Nest.” In Schwein’s novel, 95 percent of the world’s population has vanished without a trace, and the other 5 percent must struggle to survive in a ruined world.

Check the library website at www.sppl.org for information on this series, and plan on coming early to these presentations—seats go fast!

The Novels at Night Book Club meets on Thurs., Feb. 15, 6:30-7:30pm. This book club aimed at adult fiction enthusiasts will discuss “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” by Rachel Joyce.

All St. Paul Libraries will be closed on Feb. 19 in honor of Presidents Day.

The Show and Tell Book Club for grades 1-3 meets on Sat., Feb. 24, 1:30-2:15pm. Come share books and do fun literacy activities!
Also on Sat., Feb. 24, 2:30-3:30, spend time with Colonial Grandmother Flora making colonial crafts, playing games, and eating snacks in a Children’s Colonial Sampler program.

The Start a Series Book Club will meet on Mon., Feb. 26, 4-5pm, and the book under discussion will be “Ghost” by Jason Reynolds. This book club is recommended for grades 6-8, and each month will focus on discussing the first book in a series.

On Wed., Feb. 28, 1-3pm, Jody’s Documentary Film Series will feature “What I Want My Words to Do to You,” directed by Madeleine Gavin, Judith Katz, and Gary Sunshine.

Go inside a women’s writing workshop, where women serving time, mostly for murder, create astonishing writing and tell how they got where they are. Then hear their words turned into a prison performance by actors Glenn Close, Marisa Tomei, and Rosie Perez. Enjoy the free film and snacks and stay for the post-film discussion facilitated by Jody. This program is a collaboration of the award-winning POV documentary series and the Hamline Midway Elders Association.

On Sat., Mar. 3, 1-2, 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.

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