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Archive | April, 2019

Monitor In A Minute, April 2019

Posted on 08 April 2019 by Calvin

By JANE MCCLURE

Vendor dispute sent to hearing
A dispute between city officials and a 2018 Minnesota State Fair vendor was assigned to an administrative law judge Mar. 20, after the vendor disputed facts in the case. Fridley resident Todd L. Grosklags was set to pay a $500 fine for selling state fair tickets in the street median at Snelling Ave. and Midway Pkwy., in violation of city regulations. He was seen selling the tickets in the prohibited area between Aug. 24-28, 2018. Grosklags was warned in writing once and then seen committing the same violation.

Grosklags asked to address the City Council, which is allowed in license violation cases. Typically, people who ask for that opportunity ask for leniency. But because he disputed the facts in the record of violation, the City Attorney’s Office recommended that the council not vote and instead send the matter off for a hearing.

The hearing will produce a recommendation, and the issue of a fine or penalty will be returned to the City Council in the future. If a fine is recommended again, failure to pay the fine within 30 days can result in a license suspension.

It was the second 2018 fair vendor violation case the council has heard this year, reflecting a crackdown during the 2018 fair. Another vendor didn’t show up for his hearing earlier this year and was fined.

The Department of Safety and Inspections conducted numerous license compliance checks for peddlers operating during the 2018 Minnesota State Fair.

Facilities receive funding
Area parks and facilities are slated for improvements this year as part of the city’s capital maintenance program. On Mar. 20 the St. Paul City Council approved more than $1.425 million in work on city parks, public works, fire, police, and libraries facilities.

The projects were recently reviewed and recommended for funding by the city’s Long-Range Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) Committee. The city budgeted about $2.8 million in 2018-2019 for capital maintenance needs. Demand for money always exceeds the amount available. About three dozen projects receive funding each year.

The largest area project is at Como Lakeside Pavilion, where a $175,000 rooftop condenser and air handler project are planned. The nearby Como Golf Course building is slated for $150,000 in HVAC work.

Trash collection hearings set
St. Paul residents and owners of small multi-family properties who have not paid, or refuse to pay, their city trash bills will be going to legislative hearings. On Mar. 20, the St. Paul City Council authorized a legislative hearing process in an attempt to collect the roughly $120,000 that is owed the city for 2018 bills.

The council action launches legislative hearings starting at 9am., Thur., Apr. 11. Council members weren’t told exactly how many individual bills are outstanding, but it’s likely that hearings will continue into May.

The first garbage bill hearings before the City Council are planned for 3:30pm on Wed., May 22. As hearings continue, the City Council is likely to have to act again in June.

The hearing process will be similar to that used for property code enforcement, in which there is a hearing before a legislative hearing officer. In those cases, final decisions are also in the hands of the City Council.

Most of the $120,000 in unpaid bills range from $55 to $200, with much smaller late fees pending. Single-family home and rental property owners of up to four units can go through the hearing process, pay their bills if directed to so, or having the late amounts placed on their property taxes.

Organized residential collected began Oct. 1, 2018. The program has drawn a slew of complaints, as well as a lawsuit.

Police horses trot away
It’s official: the St. Paul Police Department Mounted Patrol is riding off into the sunset. On Mar. 20 the St. Paul City Council, approved the retirement of the police horses to This Old Horse, a charitable equine sanctuary.

A resolution authorizing the donation stated that the mounted patrol unit horses “have served the department with honor.” The horses were the focus of an independent equine expert recently and were retired based on their age and condition. The city’s administrative code authorizes them to be donated to a nonprofit, with City Council approval.

This Old Horse is a volunteer-based charitable organization and certified animal sanctuary whose mission is to provide shelter to retired, rescued, and recovering horses. The nonprofit is in the southeastern metro area. It provides opportunities for the public to see the horses and offers activities including youth horse camps.

When the St. Paul Police Department announced plans to disband the mounted patrol earlier this year, the intent was to return three of the six horses to their donors. The unit was disbanded so that police officers assigned to it could be reassigned to street patrol.

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Como Community Council News, April 2019

Posted on 08 April 2019 by Calvin

Board elections
The annual meeting of the District 10 Como Community Council is Tues., Apr. 16. The meeting includes elections for two-year terms on the district council board. Under the by-laws, nine board positions are on the ballot:
• Chair
• Secretary
• One representative from each of the four geographic sub-districts
• Three at-large representatives

In addition, a special election will take place to fill the one year remaining in the vacant position of treasurer.

The deadline for candidates to get on the ballot was Apr. 9; however, additional candidates can nominate themselves or be nominated the night of Apr. 16.

Any renter, homeowner, or other resident of District 10 who is age 16 or older is eligible to vote. So are authorized representatives from a business or nonprofit organization located in District 10. Voting begins at 7pm at the Como Park Streetcar Station, which is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton.

Information about candidates (and any election updates) will be available on District 10’s website at www.district10comopark.org.

Sunday Series
District 10’s annual Sunday Series is in full swing. Here are the topics scheduled for the next month. All Sunday Series presentations are free.

Watch Where You Live
Sun., Apr. 14, 1-2:30pm
Como Park Streetcar Station
Yes, we live in the city. But nature and wildlife happen all around us: weather, migrations, changes in seasonal patterns, deer, coyote, turkeys, foxes, owls, hawks, and more. We can observe—and document—all kinds of things in our yards or on our walks.

Experts from Saint Paul Parks and Recreation and the University of Minnesota guide us on how to be “citizen scientists”: what to look for, how to use the iNaturalist app to track what we see, and how to tie into local projects and studies that use the power of ordinary people to do real science. Bring your smartphone or tablet!

Mosquitoes: The Showdown
Sun., Apr. 28, 1-2:30pm
Como Park Streetcar Station
One of our most invisible government agencies—the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District—explains how they control the blood-sucking and disease-spreading pests, their middle-of-the-night maneuvers, what’s in those fog machines, and even what those red triangles on storm grates mean. (This presentation was rescheduled.)

Recycling Ain’t What It Used to Be
Sun., May 5, 1-2:30pm
The Good Acre, 1790 W. Larpenteur Ave.
Things are shifting rapidly in the world of “reduce, reuse, and recycle.” Get up to speed on what it all means and what we can do about it.
• Saint Paul and Eureka Recycling share the latest on the city’s Recycle Smart campaign and the upheaval in the world of recycling.
• Learn about household hazardous waste, Fix-It Clinics, unused medication, and how Ramsey County has us covered A-Z in waste reduction.
• Como is a leader in organics recycling. Get up-to-date advice on composting at home and through community sites. Plus, get a discount on a backyard composting barrel.

Renter Voice Summit is Apr, 18
Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali Nelson, the District 10 Como Community Council, and District Councils 11, 12, 13 and 14 are teaming up to hold a free “renter voice summit” on Thur., Apr. 18, 6:30-8pm. The summit will help renters:
• Learn whom they should call for what, so renters can access public and private resources available to them.
• Understand rights and protections renters have under state and local law.
• Connect with the district council in their neighborhood, and find out how renters can make an impact on local issues where they live.
• Meet neighbors and plan new ways for renters to make their voice heard across Saint Paul.

The event will be held at Hamline University’s Anderson Center, Room 111, 774 N. Snelling.

Note: You don’t have to be a renter to attend. Pizza and child activities will be available. RSVP via Facebook at bit.ly/RenterVoice.

Put It on Your Calendar
• Como Neighborhood Garage Sale, weekend of May 17.
• Como Community Seed Library’s “Seed Your Dream,” Sat., May 18.
• District 10 Community Yoga, Sun., June 9.
• District 10 Ice Cream Social, Fri., July 12.
• Como Neighborhood Pollinator Garden Tour, Sat. July 13.

Upcoming District 10 Meetings
• Como Community Council Board: Tues., Apr. 16.
• Environment Committee: Wed., Apr. 24.
• Land Use Committee: Wed., May 1.
• Neighborhood Relations Committee: Tues., May 7.
All meetings typically begin at 7pm at the Como Park Streetcar Station, which is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton. Renters, homeowners, and other 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.

Summer hours
From May through September, the Como Park Streetcar Station is open every Sunday from noon-4pm. It is a great chance to pick up organics recycling bags or kitchen starter kits, or chat with a District 10 board member who is staffing the day. The Historic Streetcar Station is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton.

 

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Hamline Midway Coalition News, April 2019

Posted on 08 April 2019 by Calvin

Renters Voice Summit
Ward 4 Renters Voice Summit, Apr. 18, 6:30-8pm; Room 111 Anderson Center at Hamline University
Renters now make up over 50% of our city and deserve representation at every level of government and in our neighborhood processes.
Toward this end, we’re partnering with our District Councils to help renters get engaged, learn more about our rights and make an impact in St. Paul. Learn about resources, meet Ward 4 and District Council staff, meet your neighbors and find new ways to make your voice heard. While this event has a focused topic, it’s open to all and all are welcome! Please feel free to attend and share!

April showers bring… Citywide Spring Cleanup
On Apr. 27, Hamline Midway Coalition, in partnership with Friends of Hamline Park, will be hosting a Citywide Neighborhood Cleanup 9-11:30am at Hamline Park located at 1564 Lafond Ave. This c.lean-up is part of the larger annual, citywide cleanup initiative in the City. There will be a Storm Drain cleanup demonstration and cleanup in areas surrounding the park. All the supplies needed for clean-up will be provided on the day of—including donuts and coffee to kick start the day. All ages and abilities are welcomed.

Garage Sale Weekend
Mark your calendars and start planning for the annual Hamline Midway Neighborhood Garage Sale on May 3-5. Garage sales are a great way to meet new neighbors, reduce waste, and support the community economy.

Since 2015 we’ve had over 80 participating sales across the neighborhood and hope to keep growing our participation every year! 2018 was a success so we will continue with Garage Sale Weekend! This year’s fee will increase to $12 per address of sale. With enough participation, this fee pays for the advertisements, communications, and processing fees associated with this event.

Hours for the sale are Fri., May 3, 3-8pm; Sat., May 4, 8am-3pm, and Sun., May 5, 8am-3pm.

Making improvements
Hamline Midway Coalition has been working to improve its communications and website. On the website, you can now find a volunteer form and a contact form that goes directly to the staff.

There are two staff in the office or in the community so please contact us:
• Executive Director Kate Mudge, kate@hamlinemidway.org, 651-494-7682
• Community Organizer Melissa Michener, melissa@hamlinemidway.org, 651-494-7683

Our office is located on the ground level of the Hamline Midway Library (by the elevator), 1558 W. Minnehaha Ave.
Thank you for being a part of the community!

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To go packaging ordinance passes; takes effect January 2021

Posted on 08 April 2019 by Calvin

By JANE MCCLURE
A debate that began in 1989 ended Mar. 6 when the St. Paul City Council approved a controversial sustainable carryout packaging ordinance. The measure, which takes effect in January 2021, requires restaurants, delis, and convenience stores to package carryout foods and beverages in recyclable or compostable containers. The delay is meant to allow businesses to use up existing inventory and transition into new, environmentally-friendly packaging.

Hamline Midway resident Erin Pryor Pavlica and Kristina Mattson, cofounders of Zero Waste St. Paul, urged the council to adopt the ordinance, pointing out that 12 out of 17 district councils have signed on in support of the ordinance. That includes Union Park District Council, Como Community Council, and Hamline Midway Coalition.

Pavlica said the Zero Waste group has pounded the pavement and worked tirelessly to get the measure passed. She cited the toxicity of materials such as black plastic and Styrofoam, and questioned why people would want to eat off of “trash.” Such materials have been cited as leaching toxic chemicals into food.

But the 5-2 City Council vote isn’t the end of the story. What is recyclable is tied to the city’s contract with Eureka Recycling. It is possible to change that contract if markets for recyclable materials change. Black plastic and Styrofoam aren’t collected in the current recycling program because there is no recycling market for those products. But those are also products favored by some restaurants.

The change won support from City Council members Amy Brendmoen, Mitra Jalali Nelson, Jane Prince, Dai Thao, and Chris Tolbert. Members Rebecca Noecker and Kassim Busuri voted against.

Council supporters cited protection of the environment and the need to promote more recycling and composting. They noted Ramsey County programs that assist businesses with recycling and compositing and urged opponents to get involved in those efforts. More than 100 St. Paul restaurants have already made the switch, many with the help of the county program.

Prince, who worked on the ordinance with Nelson, said the intent is to give businesses as much time as possible to make the change. Another goal is to have curbside residential organics collection by then.

Looming climate change was also cited.

Busuri raised the issue of equity and called the ordinance “simply unfair.” He pushed for the additional hearing Mar. 6. While he supports environmental sustainability, Busuri said the ordinance unjustly targets small businesses, many of which are family and immigrant-owned, while hospitals, grocers and large corporations that manufacture prepackaged food get a pass. Noecker weighed in on the side of regulating companies that make and sell plastics, instead of asking small businesses to take on the environmental issues.

Environmental and community groups, the faith-based group Isaiah, Eureka Recycling, and citizens rallied in support, citing the ordinance’s environmental benefits. Eureka and other environmental groups asked for more specific ordinance amendments at a later date, because of removal of product labeling standards from the ordinance. A push will be made later to make product certification standards clear because products sometimes aren’t properly labeled.

Groups including Hospitality Minnesota, Minnesota Restaurant Association, Minnesota Retailers Association, and Van Paper opposed the change.

They contend that the ordinance will cost businesses and consumers more. “Comparable alternative products are on the market, but they are double the cost,” said Liz Rammer of Hospitality Minnesota and Minnesota Restaurant Association. She and others pushed the city to find markets for black plastic and foam packaging, arguing that it can be recycled.

Scott Van of St. Paul’s Van Paper said that the ordinance takes just 2 to 3 percent of materials out of the waste stream. “This is not the big issue it’s been made out to be.” He said the voluntary shift by business should continue, noting that Styrofoam containers cost about 12 cents each, while compostable containers cost double that. Bonding materials in some compostable containers are under scrutiny for health reasons.

Restaurant owners spoke on both sides of the issue, with some saying they cannot find packaging materials that meet the ordinance and meet their needs. Other restaurant owners spoke for the change, saying it hasn’t hurt their businesses and is good for the environment. They said such an ordinance would level the playing field and that they agree with the opponents on expanding the ordinance to include more types of businesses.

They also disputed that some materials could, or should, be recycled.

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Regular checkups help keep your baby healthy

Posted on 08 April 2019 by Calvin

Having a new baby is an exciting time with lots of changes. Every day brings something new for you and your baby. It can also be a time of many questions, like: Is my baby growing as they should? Are they getting enough food? When should they be sleeping through the night?
It is normal to have questions and concerns about your baby’s health and well-being. You want what is best for your baby. Your baby’s health care provider will also want to check in with you about how you are doing and feeling. That is why scheduling regular checkups with your baby’s medical provider is so important.

These well-child checks are recommended every 2-3 months from birth through about 2 1/2 years old. After that, your child should get a checkup once a year. At these appointments, the medical provider will make sure your baby is growing, learning, and developing. They do this by checking for developmental milestones. Developmental milestones are skills your child learns such as taking their first step, smiling, waving, and pointing. At the checkup, the medical provider will learn more from you about what your baby is already doing, and they look at things like how your baby moves their body, interacts with others, explores and solves problems, and communicates.

Checking for developmental milestones early in a child’s life is important because it can help you and the medical provider identify any concerns early. If your child is not meeting certain milestones when they should, there are often things you can do to help get them back on track. Your child’s medical provider will either work with you or help you find the right resources for your child.

You can learn more about developmental milestones at www.HelpMeGrowMN.org. This website will give you information on what you can look for and help you prepare for your baby’s next checkup.

At checkups, your baby’s medical provider will also do a physical exam to make sure your baby is healthy from their head to their toes. They will do things like listen to your baby’s heart and check their hearing. They will also give recommended immunizations to protect your baby from diseases that could make them very sick.

During the appointment, the doctor or nurse will give you information about healthy food, sleep, behavior, and safety. This is also a great time to ask questions! You can ask questions about things like how to calm your baby when they are crying, what to do if they have a fever, and how to help your baby learn new things. Write down a list of questions to bring to the appointment so you do not forget them.

Regular checkups are important for keeping your baby healthy. Make sure you go to all of the recommended checkups. Your clinic can tell you when your baby needs to come in for their next appointment.

Recommended checkups are covered by insurance. If you do not have insurance, there are resources to help make sure your baby does not miss an important checkup. Your county or tribe’s health or human services department can help you apply for insurance or find a clinic.

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