Archive | June, 2019

In Our Community June 2019

Posted on 14 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Lutheran Rally for all
Partner congregations Jehovah Lutheran and Mekane Yesus will host a Midway Lutheran Rally for All Ages — especially kids! — from 9 a.m. to noon Friday and Saturday, July 12-13. The event, free and open to all, will be at Jehovah Lutheran, 1566 Thomas in St. Paul. It will feature music, Bible study for adults, Bible stories for kids, puppets, snacks, crafts and other activities.To register, sign up at worship Sundays or by contacting either congregation — Jehovah Lutheran at 651-644-1421 or jehovahlutheran@msn.com; and Mekane Yesus at 651-621-9866 or syderessa@gmail.com.


Mid-Summer Festival
The Lyngblomsten Mid-Summer Festival on Friday, July 19, 2-8 p.m. is a day to celebrate how Lyngblomsten is promoting artistic exploration, wellness, and lifelong learning for older adults 365 days a year. Day includes arts showcase featuring works created by older adults, make-and-take art activities, live music and entertainment, wellness opportunities, food, games, and more! Admission is free, and food and activities are priced for affordable fun.

safeTALK workshop
NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) will hold a free, suicide prevention workshop called safeTALK in St. Paul on June 13, 3-6 p.m., 1919 University Ave. Learn how to support someone’s desire for safety by recognizing the warning signs of suicide, identifying people who are at risk, and applying the TALK steps (Tell, Ask, Listen and KeepSafe) to connect a person to suicide first aid resources. For information, call 651-645-2948 or see “Classes” at namihelps.org.

Young Adult NAMI
Young Adult NAMI Connection (ages 18-30) is a free mental health support group sponsored by NAMI Minnesota. A group meets in St. Paul on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month from 6:30-8 p.m., at Unity Church – Unitarian, 733 Portland Ave., Owl Room on lower level, St. Paul. The group is facilitated by young adults living with a mental illness and doing well in recovery. For information contact Tess at 507-226-3369 or Leah at 207-272-4450 or Leahwilcox9@gmail.com.

Garden tour
The St. Anthony Park (St. Paul) Garden Tour is set for Saturday, June 29, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. More at www.stanthonyparkgardenclub.com. The tour features an award-winning pollinator garden and nine lovely private gardens, as well as the Milton Square courtyard gardens and two local breweries with authentic prairie gardens. Proceeds benefit UMN horticultural scholarships and local community gardening activities.

Sessions on justice
The new Neighborhood Justice Program is expected to be launched later this year, and will use a restorative justice model to provide a community-based, victim-centered alternative to traditional prosecution in addressing crime. Attend a session, hosted by the City Attorney’s Office on June 13, 5-7 p.m. at Saint Anthony Park Library, 2245 Como Ave.

Boychoir at Como
This summer, the Twin Cities-based Minnesota Boychoir hits the road for its 36th annual summer tour. The Minnesota Boychoir is considered one of the finest traditional boy choirs in the country. Its four ensembles are known for their excellent musical offerings, as well as the positive effect participating in the choir has on the lives of its members. A homecoming show is set for 7 p.m. at Como Lakeside Pavilion on Sunday, June 30.

LGBTQ adult group
A peer support group for LGBTQ adults living with a mental illness meets weekly in St. Paul. Sponsored by NAMI Minnesota and led by trained facilitators who are also in recovery, the free support group meets on Saturdays from 1-2:30 p.m., at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 Snelling Ave. S, in Room 108. For information call Brianna at 763-334-6318 or Alec at 952-334-6318.

Hope for Recovery
NAMI Minnesota will hold a free workshop on Saturday, June 22, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (1919 University Ave. W., Suite 400, in St. Paul) that provides information on mental illnesses, treatments, crisis management, suicide prevention, the mental health system and local resources along with practical strategies for helping a loved one or friend. This workshop is for family and friends of a teen or adult living with a mental illness and people living with a mental illness who are doing well in their recovery. For information, call 651-645-2948 or see “classes” at namimn.org.

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Midway Arts Festival (3)

Free festival focuses on neighborhood’s vibrant art scene

Posted on 14 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Attend Midway Public Art Festival on June 29

The Midway Public Art Working Group, an all-volunteer group focused on showcasing public art in the Hamline Midway neighborhood, is co-hosting the Midway Public Art Festival on June 29 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hamline Park.
“The goal of the free festival is to bring together neighbors, soccer fans attending the match at Allianz Field that day, and people from across the Twin Cities in support of our vibrant arts scene and welcoming community,” say organizers.
“We especially want to welcome newcomers to the neighborhood, such as the new residents of Thomas Flats and the Minnesota United fans who come from across the Metro and beyond to cheer on the Loons in our backyard. We will present live, interactive, educational, and performance art done by people who live, work, play, or have educational ties to the Midway neighborhood.”
The group grew out of the foundational efforts of the 2015 Midway Murals project. Over the past three years, the group has helped create and fund: new murals at Hamline University and Hamline Elementary School by local emerging artists; several Paint the Pavement projects on local streets; the restoration of the 1987 Picnic at Newell Park mural on Englewood and Snelling; and other smaller projects through public art mini-grants in 2018.
In 2019, the primary project is the festival on June 29, a nod to past neighborhood arts and community festivals, and a recognition that Midway residents are eager to strengthen ties through public interaction and dialogue.
The public art work would not be possible without the longtime support of the Hamline Midway Coalition, with whom Midway Murals is partnering on this event. “HMC has generously provided leadership, advice, technical support, and fiscal agency for Midway Murals and the Midway Public Art Working Group for the past five years,” pointed out group members. “We are also working alongside the Friends of Hamline Park, which has spearheaded efforts for several years now to maintain a friendly, inviting, fun space at the park on Thomas and Snelling Avenues.”
This year, on July 10, the Friends of Hamline Park will again be hosting a puppet show, as well as a possible movie night on Aug. 7.
To stay updated on the details of the festival, including artists selected for the event, food options, and more, visit www.midwaymurals.com or www.hamlinemidway.org/publicart, or check out our Facebook event page.
For those who are interested in learning more about the Midway Public Art Working Group or Friends of Hamline Park, or attending meetings for either group, please email me at jonathan@midwaymurals.com.
“Any person or group interested in doing a non-paid public art project at the festival, please let us know your idea to see if it fits with the events of the day,” encourage organizers.

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Start time shift shuffles family schedules

Posted on 14 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Editor’s note: We are reprinting this article from the Hamline Elementary School newspaper, the Snelling Connections, created through a partnership with Hamline University.
Beep Beep! Set your alarms early SPPS schools because there are some major changes happening that you don’t want to miss! This decision was made at a BOE meeting. (Board of Education) The SPPS district is shuffling start times for most of the schools. In fall of 2015, the district staff proposed the start times for 2016 – 2017 but no change was made. The current superintendent is Dr. Joe Gothard. Why did they make that decision? Let’s find out by reading this article.
The evidence behind this change is that secondary students (High school and middle school) need 8 – 10 hours of sleep. But only about 31% of high school students actually get that much. 69% don’t receive their 8 hours of sleep. They might not receive this amount of sleep because of little time to do homework, having to babysit for sibling, or staying up on devices. What happens when secondary students receive fewer than eight hours? The rates of depression, anxiety and fatigue increase. Basically, it just is better for their general health when they get 8+ hours of sleep. But not everyone agrees with the school board on this topic. Some people feel little kids should get more sleep. Some people think older kids should arrive home first so they can pickup or care for younger siblings.
Jessica Kopp is a parent of a 5th grader at Hamline and she said, “The decision has already been made, so I guess in some ways we just have to live with the decision.”
I also talked to the superintendent of schools Dr. Joe Gothard. He told me, “In my position, I organize information for our board of education to make decisions that affect policies and governments in the school district.”
I also asked one fifth grader his opinion. Finn McCauley said “The start times are good now, they don’t need to be changed.” My opinion is that the start times were fine the way they were before. But we have to live with that decision because it is made.
How is the district preparing to help families with these changes? Many families are concerned about additional childcare and what options will be available. Some options are Discovery Club, Extended Day for Learning (EDL), and Rec Check. Rec Check is a free after-school program for kids in grades 1-5 that occurs at the recreation centers. Some of the biggest worries for families are safety, and childcare. The new 7:30 a.m. start times means that elementary kids who ride the busses (K-5), their first bus pickup is at 6:30 a.m. and will arrive at school at about 7:15 a.m. Sometimes it can be dark at 6:30 in the morning and some parents are worried for the safety of them and their child. Those same kids will be dismissed at about 2. Not many parents are at home from work around that time of day and not everyone can stay home by themselves.
These are the three tiers of start times:
• Tier 1 starts at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. (First pickup is at 6:30 a.m.)
• Tier 2 starts at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. (First pickup is at 7:30 a.m.)
• Tier 3 starts at 9:30 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. and those schools will not change.
The evidence is that older kids do better with more sleep. Some people don’t agree with this decision but it has been made. The district is working on implementing plans to help families with childcare and safety. The three tiers each have their own start times and dismissal times. If you want to learn more about the start times, head over to the district website under start times. Have a great year!

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Choir to Carnegie Hall, Cadet to D.C., French contest, Glam event

Choir to Carnegie Hall, Cadet to D.C., French contest, Glam event

Posted on 14 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

by Erik Erickson

Rosmery Moran-Osorio and Spanish teacher Ms. Angela Butler attended a ceremony to honor Rosmery’s recognition as a Semper Fidelis All-American. They will participate in the Marines’ Battles Won program this July in Washington D.C. (Photo submitted)

Semper Fidelis All-American
Rosmery Moran-Osorio, a Como Park junior and leader within the Marine Corps JROTC program, was selected as a Semper Fidelis All-American. The award comes with an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. in July for participation in the Marines’ Battles Won Academy. All cadets may choose one mentor to participate in the program with them, and Rosemery has selected her Spanish teacher Ms. Angela Butler.
The Semper Fidelis All-American recognition is rare and highly coveted. It honors high school students who have faced serious challenges and overcome obstacles to excel academically and be leaders in their communities. Rosmery is a first-generation American student and will be the first in her family to graduate from high school. She has achieved a 3.5 grade point average through her junior year at Como.
Her essay in the competitive application process revealed her perseverance and her initiative to succeed in her mother’s new country. “Leaving Guatemala, being born in the U.S. and making a fresh start in the United States has been a God-send for my family,” said Rosmery.
While in Washington, the students and mentors will be active in high intensity daily workouts at Marine Corps Base Quantico, participate in community service events, engage in team-building outings, and tour our nation´s capital. The selected Semper Fidelis All-Americans from across the nation will also have the opportunity to network with an elite circle of speakers from various industries and walks of life who will share their inspiring stories.
As a Semper Fidelis All-American, Rosmery will be eligible for select scholarship opportunities.


A Vous la Parole French contest
27 Como students participated in the annual A Vous la Parole French speaking contest held in Coffman Memorial Union at the University of Minnesota. Sponsored annually by the Minnesota Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French, with the support of the University of Minnesota Department of French and Italian, the contest recognizes excellence in French speaking skills. This year’s contest drew 1,220 entries among students from across the region.
The various categories include prose and poetry recitations, theater presentations, song performances, extemporaneous reading, extemporaneous conversation, as well as original skits. Students are given ratings based on a four-star system with four stars earning blue, three stars earning red, two stars earning white and one star receiving recognition of participation.
The following Como students earned blue or red awards at this year’s contest:
4-star blue: Sophie Lancaster, Deborah Iranezereza, Soe Reh, Fiona Hatch, Emilie Pagel, Diane Sabwe, Amera Abou-Shenab and Kevin Iragaba.
3-star red: Kayla Selbitschka, Maddie Neal, Ian Brudnak Voss, PanRa Lee, Lily Sticha, Tess Turner, Kaeden Warnberg-Lemm, Jillian Brenner, Molly Swanson, Nick Jacobsen, Sawyer Wall and MaiSeng Thao.

Cougar journal published
The third annual edition of the Cougar Journal, a student-produced arts and literary magazine, was released with an event in the school library on May 29. Senior Cadence Paramore was the editor-in-chief, organizing the publication which features artistic works of writing, poetry, drawing, painting and photography.
The release party included the first viewing of the collected artwork, as well as authors reading their pieces. Assisting editors included Lily Raschke, Kajsa Andersson, Caroline Raschke and Theo Lucy. The striking magazine cover was designed by Ivy Buck.

New fashion club holds event
The Como Park Fashion Club was formed this school year and held their inaugural “Fashion Glam Event” after school on May 30. Master of Ceremony Roselyn Yeboah and President Ly Xiong worked with other club members and the school community to stage an extravaganza including dance, music, and Como students as runway models on the “red carpet” at the base of the Cougar Forum.
Promotional announcements and flyers hyped a special guest appearance – and the Fashion Club delivered with Miss Hmong Minnesota in attendance as part of the show. Over 100 tickets were sold for the event enjoyed by Como students and staff.

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MN United Game I 016sm

Minnesota United continues success at Allianz Field

Posted on 14 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Minnesota United’s 3-2 June 2 loss to Philadelphia Union ended an otherwise strong start for its first month and a half in its new digs.
The Loons went 3-0-3 in their first six Major League Soccer games at Allianz Field in St. Paul, which opened April 13, 2019. Minnesota United tied its first two game games against New York City FC 3-3 April 13 and the Los Angeles Galaxy 0-0 April 24. The United broke through for its first home win 1-0 April 24 against DC United.
Since, the Loons posted a 2-0-1 mark at home for May, not include a 1-0 friendly loss to Hertha Berlin. Minnesota United beat Columbus Crew SC 1-0 May 18 for its second home win and beat the Houston Dynamo 1-0 for its third home win May 25.
After the first home win April 28, the United went back to tying matches at its new home. The Loons tied the Seattle Sounders 1-1 May 4. United midfielder Osvaldo Alonso and former Sounder scored the first goal of the game in the 26th minute.
Seattle tied the game 1-1 in the 42nd minute as midfielder Alex Roldan found the net. United midfielder Darwin Quintero missed a shot late in the 88th minute that would have won the game, but the Sounders escaped with a tie. Loons goalkeeper Vito Mannone faced only one shot by the Sounders.
Minnesota United lost on the road 2-0 at Chicago the following week May 11. Mannone faced six shots on goal and stopped four in the loss.
The Loons returned home to face Columbus and bounced back with a 1-0 win. Loons midfielder Ethan Finlay scored the game’s loan goal, assisted by defenders Romain Metanire and Brent Kallman. Mannone didn’t see any shots on goal in the shutout victory.
The United shifted to friendly action May 22 with Hertha Berlin coming to Allianz Field, the first time an international opponent came to the new stadium. Hertha Berlin scored only goal when defender Peter Pekarik found the net in the 43rd minute. United goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair took the loss in net.
Minnesota United rebounded to win its second-straight MLS home game May 25 in a 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. Metanire got the Loons going with a goal in the 20th minute, and Mannone stopped three shots for the shutout.
Things didn’t go as well for the Loons on the road in Atlanta, facing another team with a new home. Atlanta United FC routed the Loons 3-0 May 29. Mannone faced eight shots and mustered five saves in the loss.
The Loons tried to get back on track June 2 against Philadelphia but traded goals throughout in the 3-2 loss. Loons midfielders Hassani Dotson and Kevin Molino scored goals. Mannone stopped two shots but surrendered three goals, included Philadelphia’s game winner in the 86th minute.

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Development Roundup: Mixed-use, multi-family projects are moving ahead

Posted on 14 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen


MISCO awarded city funding
A long-vacant University Avenue lot could be redeveloped in the future, if funding is obtained from Metropolitan Council.
In May the St. Paul City Council approved a Metropolitan Council funding application for 1433 University Ave. It is one of two city sites in contention for Metropolitan Council Tax Base Revitalization Seeding Equitable Environmental Development Grants. The other application was for a site on the city’s east Side.
Results of the application will be known later this year. The St. Paul applications will vie with requests from around the region, and go through a ranking and review process. Cities make the applications on behalf of developers and property owners.
If the grant is obtained, the current or future lot owner could use the funds to determine the extent of any pollution cleanup needed there. The public funding can be used to determine the scope and severity of contamination and development a cleanup plan and/or to assist with the cost of implementing a completed cleanup plan.
For several years Metropolitan Council has provided a wide range of grants to help redevelop urban and suburban sites. Several University area projects have received the funding, with some under the Livable Communities grants program. Other funded projects focus specifically on transit-oriented development.
Part of Livable Communities, Tax Base Revitalization Account or TBRA funding helps areas that have lost commercial/industrial activity ready and available for economic redevelopment. The grants provide funds for environmental site investigation and cleanup for redevelopments that enhance the city tax base, promote job retention or job growth and/or create or preserve affordable housing. Seeding Equitable Environmental Development or SEED grants are intended for applicants with sites within or directly adjacent to an area of concentrated poverty that show potential for future job growth or housing development but do not have a specific redevelopment project yet. The sites are or are perceived to be contaminated, according to the council. 1433 University is one of those sites.
The site at 1433 University was occupied for decades by various manufacturers and retailers, housed in a two-story brick and block building. For much of its history it housed auto-related businesses. The building was damaged by fire years ago and was torn down.
How it should be redeveloped has been a question for some time. In 2010 its site was used by photographer Wing Yung Huie to display his photos, as part of the University Avenue Project. The public art project featured hundreds of photos projected onto the adjacent building at night.
The site has been a parking lot in recent years. It has drawn neighborhood complaints from time to time for tall grass and weeds, and for the condition of a wrought iron fence that has repeatedly been damaged.

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Monitor In A Minute June 2019

Posted on 14 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen


Two Roy St. houses (at 400 and 396 N. Roy St.) will be torn down to make way for parking to replace those being lost at Bremer Bank. A new six-story, 152-apartment mixed used development will break ground soon at the Bremer site. (Photos by Tesha M. Christensen)

Organized collection fight goes on
St. Paul’s organized trash collection system must be put to a vote, Ramsey County District Court Judge Leonardo Castro ruled May 30. That’s a big win for the group St. Paul Trash. Three of its members sued the city earlier this year to put the residential trash collection system to force a ballot question.
The ruling orders the city to honor the petition and place the trash collection question on the Nov. 5 ballot, or go to a special election. It also orders that organized collection be suspended as of June 30.
Castro’s memorandum attached to his ruling scolded the city for not following its own city charter procedures. “This court has already established that the referendum supports an important public purpose because it ensures that the constitution of St. Paul is being a followed and protects voter rights,” Castro wrote.
But Mayor Melvin Carter said the city will appeal, and that organized collection will continue. The city could wind up dipping into budget reserves to support the program, at a cost of about $13 million.
Haulers have asked property owners to wait and see what happens. Robert Stewart, whose family owns Highland Sanitation, said that haulers have been overwhelmed with calls since the ruling was announced.
Stewart posted on social media, “Please don’t call to set up service just yet. None of the haulers in St. Paul will be creating accounts until this has been appealed by the city and is finalized with absolute certainty and with the small haulers like us, Pete’s or Gene’s getting hundreds of phone calls at this point in time when we as businesses don’t know exactly what is going to happen is difficult.”
“The city of St. Paul has received the ruling on the St. Paul trash lawsuit and is assessing the impact it has for the city, and its residents,” said City Attorney Lyndsey Olson in a statement. She also cited potential impacts on taxpayers. “We will continue to work with the consortium to ensure trash service continues for our 70,000 households.”
The city has until June 30 to appeal and could seek an injunction blocking the June 30 organized collection suspension date. Foes of organized collection and their attorney Gregory Joseph said they anticipate an appeal. But the St. Paul Trash group savored its victory, with a toast May 30 at Tin Cup’s on Rice Street.
“This is a win not only for the people of Saint Paul, but also for the voters in charter cities across Minnesota,” said Joseph. He represents plaintiffs Robert Clark, Peter Butler and Ann Dolan. They sued the city in February.
Last year organized collection foes collected 6,469 signatures asking that residents be allowed to vote on the ordinance. But the City Council used legal arguments to reject the petition, including contractual law and state statues on organized collection.

Midway Saloon licenses set
One of the newest entertainment businesses to open near Allianz Field won approval for needed city licenses in May. Midway Saloon, 1567 University Ave., was granted its licenses by the City Council May 8.
The business had been allowed to operate under existing licenses until a final decision was made. The licenses are for on-sale liquor, Sunday on-sale liquor, 2 a.m. closing, entertainment and gambling/pulltabs.
David Tolchiner owns both 1553 and 1567 University, two longtime neighborhood bars. 1553 has already been through a city review and approval process.
City licensing officials held a legislative hearing earlier this spring after neighbors raised concerns. Hamline Midway Coalition recommended waiving a 45-day notification period for the licenses.
City licensing staff asked for conditions on the 1567 University licenses, including a video surveillance camera and lighting placement plan, daily inspection and clean-up around the property and work with police on video and lighting plans.
The businesses Tolchiner has purchased were long known as Hot Rod’s and Christensen’s. He is upgrading both businesses. 1553 University is now Gibson’s.
One neighbor appeared at the legislative hearing and while expressing support for the new businesses, asked for additional security as well as ways to address potential spillover lighting and noise issue. Tolchiner said he is willing to work with neighbors on any concerns.

Health club license OK’d
A Prior Avenue health club was granted its needed licenses May 8 by the St. Paul City Council. The owner of Strength Collective, 755 N. Prior Ave., Unit 235C, will continue to work with neighbors on parking concerns.
Club owner Jenny Halstead went before a legislative hearing officer earlier this spring. She is a longtime personal trainer and will own and operative Strength Collective as a co-working gym for personal trainers. Trainers will all be certified and know CPR. Consistent business hours will be offered.
755 N. Prior is a former canning factory complex with several successful businesses. Neighbors to the east have raised concerns about spillover parking. A representative of building ownership said the owners are using signage to direct patrons and have a longer-term plan to build a multi-tenant parking structure. Also in the works is a plan for an area shuttle bus and off-site employee parking, especially for Can-Can Wonderland and Black Stack Brewery.

Houses make way for parking
Two Roy Street houses will be torn down to make way for parking, as a result of a St. Paul Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) decision May 20. The board approved variances needed for Central Baptist Church, 420 N. Roy St., despite the objections of a neighbor who doesn’t want to see the homes torn down.
The BZA decision is final unless it is appealed to the City Council within 10 days.
The BZA vote was 5-0 in favor of the variances. “I understand the desire to not lose housing,” said BZA Member Joyce Maddox. “But there is also a need for parking.” One neighbor opposed the demolition of homes, saying that housing should be preserved. He also said that the loss of housing would negatively affect area property values.
The 43-space parking lot planned south of the church needs two variances. The properties are zoned for residential use. Off-street parking isn’t allowed in a required front yard. The minimum front yard setback is 23 feet nine inches. A setback of 4.7 feet is proposed, for a variance of 19 feet two inches. The second variance is for a size yard setback. A minimum of nine feet is required, a setback of 4 feet seven inches is proposed, and a variance of four feet three inches is needed.
The houses are at 400 and 396 N. Roy St. Both are owned by the church and have been used to house people with ties to the church over the years.
The church has a handful of parking spaces along the Fry-Snelling Ave. alley. It has used parking spaces at nearby Bremer Bank for several years. The Pitch, a six-story, 152-apartment mixed-use development planned by Wellington Management, won Planning Commission approval this spring and is poised to break ground later this year.
The loss of the Bremer spaces prompted church leaders to look at parking options. At one point church members and Wellington Management looked at building a shared parking structure on the church property. Instead, the church will build its own parking lot, in part to meet the needs of elderly church members.
“The loss of the Bremer spaces, especially on Sunday mornings, is going to be a hardship for us,” said Joel Lawrence, senior pastor at Central Baptist Church. He said the church needs parking throughout the week, but demand is heaviest on Sundays.
City staff and Union Park District Council recommended approval of the variances.

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Building a Stronger Midway: Feels like summer – find fun outdoors

Building a Stronger Midway: Feels like summer – find fun outdoors

Posted on 14 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

By CHAD KULAS, Midway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

After a long, drawn-out winter has once again come to a close, warmer weather is here. In Minnesota, we appreciate the summer and try to cram in as much outdoor activity as we can – maybe to compensate for the long duration of being stuck inside. But come these warm weather months, we take to the outdoors. We garden. We golf. We ride our bike. We find patios and eat and drink as many times outside as we can.
Looking for something to do? You don’t have to drive “up north” to find ways to enjoy the sun. There are plenty of things to do in or near the Midway, and many of them are free. Here are a few coming up.
Celebrating neighborhoods
Many summer celebrations in Saint Paul focus on the neighborhood and community. In July, a Midway resident does not have to travel far to go to Rondo Days or Highland Fest. The Little Mekong Night Market is an arts and culture-inspired event July 6-7 inspired by night markets in southeast Asia, and has become a very well attended attraction. For those wanting to stick closer to the Midway, there’s the Little Africa Festival Aug. 3-4 at Hamline Park.
If you’re looking for 4th of July plans, Saint Anthony Park continues its annual tradition with a morning race, parade, and live music.
Live music
We are fortunate in Saint Paul to have two big free music festivals – the Twin Cities Jazz Fest June 20-22 and the Lowertown Blues and Funk Fest July 19-20. Both events are run by the same organization – a local nonprofit – and feature both local and national acts.
Another free music option 12 Thursdays in the summer is Lowertown Sounds. Located in Mears Park, proceeds of beer sales go to Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, a nonprofit helping military families in need.
The annual Selby Avenue Jazz Fest will take place Sept. 14 and feature free jazz, artist displays and other family-themed activities.
Tap rooms
The Midway is essentially the brewery district in Saint Paul, and many of the taprooms have summer events. Yoga and a Pint is a popular brewery event, and Midway breweries Lake Monster and Dual Citizen both feature it regularly. Urban Growler keeps its patio busy with events throughout the summer, including live music. Check out the website for more details, as well as Bang, Black Stack, Burning Brothers and The Lab. If you’re looking for an outdoor activity with exercise and fun, a couple years ago the Midway Chamber organized a bike ride between a few breweries.
When the weather isn’t great?
For those rainy days, check out Sunday Funday at Can Can Wonderland, with specials on arcade games and food/beverages. Many breweries also feature inside events, including trivia nights and Dual Citizen even has Tot Time on Sundays.
Saints game
They may not still be in the Midway, but a Saints game on a sunny day is still hard to beat- especially since CHS Field is fun for all ages. My wife and I take our kids to at least one game a year. If you have kids and don’t want to stay out too late, there are a few day games on the calendar and their Sunday games begin at 5 p.m.

Coming up in the Midway on June 29 is the Midway Public Art Festival. The festival will highlight the diverse talents of Hamline Midway neighborhood artists through interactive public art.
After Labor Day, there’s still time to get in some nice weather. The Creative Enterprise Zone is hosting Chroma Zone – billed as Minnesota’s first and largest public mural & art festival Sept. 7-14. The festival will feature 10 large outdoor murals created over eightdays by local and national artists.
Where to find out more?
Good resources include our local district councils (the Hamline-Midway Coalition and Union Park District Council), Visit Saint Paul and cultural associations like African Economic Development Solutions/Little Africa and the Asian Economic Development Association.
Between art, music, sports and dining/drinks, there’s a lot to do outdoors this summer. Many of the best things to do are free and don’t require you to leave the neighborhood!

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Stop the presses! Let’s hear it for/from our readers!

Posted on 14 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

By DENIS WOULFE, Denis@MonitorSaintPaul.com or 651-917-4183

I’ve spent the last few weeks helping to introduce the Midway Como Monitor’s new owner, Tesha M. Christensen, to Monitor advertisers, readers, and other stakeholders. And during that process it has reminded me of the early days of working for the Midway Como Monitor. I accepted the position as editor of the Monitor back in 1979, when I graduated from Hamline University, and found a small room to rent in a home on Van Buren Ave. I was able to make it to the office in about five minutes flat back in those days, assuming it wasn’t during the State Fair!
I do recall from our days when we had an office at Thomas and Fairview in the Midway that we often would have many visitors drop by from the neighborhood. One was Kiki Sonnen, who was the Hamline Midway Coalition’s second community organizer and then later served on the St. Paul City Council. She would often stop by with a press release or news of an upcoming meeting to publicize. She might ask about when the Monitor would be coming out next so she could be sure to set a community meeting date where folks would have ample notice by including the announcement in the next Monitor.
Each time Sonnen would enter the front door of our office space she would shout as loud as she could: “STOP THE PRESSES!” It became a running joke, of course, since we really didn’t have any presses to operate in our office, but it certainly did signal her arrival and the fact that she had some information to share with the Monitor.
Over the years, we had many visitors to the Monitor’s offices, particularly when we were going through the process of endorsing candidates for public office. We had visits from then Congressman Bruce Vento, former Ward 4 City Councilmember Bob Fletcher, and I even remember having a particularly interesting interview with now presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar, who was running for Hennepin County Attorney at the time. Growing up as the daughter of Star Tribune columnist Jim Klobuchar certainly made for a very interesting conversation and being a journalist myself, I had a lot of questions.
How we get information as a community newspaper has changed over the years, and truth be told, most of our information comes to us digitally today. Each day we receive dozens of press releases from the City of St. Paul, Ramsey County, businesses, and churches and other nonprofit groups. But we also would like to hear more often from you, our loyal readers.
You might have read in last month’s edition that the Monitor’s new owner has been a reporter for the Monitor for the past eight years. She is already well versed on many issues of vital concern to Midway Como residents. But as part of that transition, we are reaching out to residents and business owners like you to find out just what you like about the Monitor and what you’d like to change.
If you have an idea for a story or want to introduce yourself to the new owner and editor, Tesha M. Christensen, you can email her at Tesha@MonitorSaintPaul.com or call her directly at 612-345-9998. What do you like about the Monitor? What do you dislike? What would you like to see more of?
Or maybe you’d like to find out more about advertising opportunities in the Monitor? I hear this question quite a bit, but just to say this, it is through the advertising of our local businesses that we are able to bring you the Monitor each month. And, in turn, it is those same local businesses who want to reach out to local residents like you for their customer base. A community newspaper like the Monitor recognizes that bond between businesses and their local customer base and we help facilitate it. And we need your support now more than ever before. And we need you to acknowledge that support with our advertisers and other community stakeholders.
But you might also know that the options for advertising have changed over the years. In addition to run of press ads in the newspaper, we also offer inserts that can be directed to specific routes in the Monitor delivery area. Inserts can also be a great option for a new restaurant or a church holding a special event. We also offer a special Partner Insert Program where we pair two local businesses to print and distribute a flyer. That makes distributing flyers more reasonable than ever before.
And don’t forget online advertising (you can find us online all the time at www.MonitorSaintPaul.com). Online ads can be placed online almost immediately and it’s a nice complement to appearing in the printed newspaper.
I’d be happy to continue this conversation with you directly. Send me a note at Denis@MonitorSaintPaul.com or call me at 651-917-4183.

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Affordable housing, mixed use building coming to Lexington Parkway site

Posted on 14 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Mixed-use redevelopment is eyed for a long-vacant Lexington Parkway property, with first-floor retail and up to five stories of apartments. Discussions are underway involving residents in four planning districts – Hamline-Midway, Union Park, Frogtown and Summit-University.
The site just southwest of the Lexington and University Ave. intersection, which until recently held a giant dirty snow pile, is likely to affect all four neighborhoods when it is developed.
The project by Minneapolis-based developer Alatus LLC is becoming part of the larger discussion around St. Paul about how and where to provide affordable housing. While the Monitor area has had many projects open their doors, start construction or go through the city approval process, the two most recent projects are market-rate and have few if any affordable units. Those projects, which are just south of the Snelling and University intersection, won needed city approvals this spring.
At two community meetings this spring, the cost of new housing has been debated. Union Park District Council’s land use committee hosted the meeting. The district council is among several councils around St. Paul starting to look at development projects through the lens of equity. A group of district councils is meeting later this month to discuss equity in community development and how they can create scorecards to evaluate projects. Issues including providing affordable housing units, avoiding displacement of area residents, environmental sustainability and promotion of transit use are among ideas that could be used to evaluate and determine community support for projects.
Union Park has seen a number of housing and mixed use development proposals in recent times, but all have been for market-rate or luxury housing. At a time when affordable housing is scarce, many at the meeting pushed for affordable housing, and larger units that families can occupy.
Currently city officials face limits on when they can demand that a developer add affordable housing. Affordability is most often tied to different types of public subsidy.
St. Paul doesn’t have inclusionary zoning or inclusionary housing, which refers to planning ordinances that require a given share of new construction to be affordable by people with low to moderate incomes. But that could change.
Housing equity is under scrutiny for the St. Paul Planning Commission, which is looking at ways it could require developers to add affordable housing in development where a zoning change or conditional use permit is needed. The commission and its Zoning Committee have debated that issue in recent weeks.

Plan includes 250 units
The site at 411-417 N. Lexington Parkway is expected to be the next area development where affordable housing is debated. Alatus would like to build about 250 units, in a mix of unit sizes. The price point of that housing is still being discussed.
Alatus has 15 years’ development experience, mostly in the Twin Cities. Its recent projects range from market-rate to affordable housing, including apartments in New Hope and 63 new affordable single-family homes in North Minneapolis. The company has also rehabilitated about 500 homes throughout the Twin Cities.
“This is a very interesting area,” said Chris Osmundson, Alatus director of development.
It is in Lexington-Hamline area of Union Park but borders Frogtown, Hamline-Midway and Summit-University. Area residents are a mix of ethnicities and economic backgrounds. It’s also part of the old Rondo neighborhood, a predominantly African-American neighborhood that was partially destroyed when Interstate 94 was built in the 1960s.
The 2.05-acre site is just south of TCF Bank and White Castle. It is owned by Wilder Foundation, which has its headquarters west of the property. A new development would finish the southwest corner of Lexington and University Ave. The site was home to the St. Paul Saints ballpark, but was redeveloped as a strip mall more than 50 years ago. High-profile battles were waged over redevelopment in the 1990s. Neighborhood groups called for a dense, mixed-use urban village. City officials saw the site as being ideal for big-box retail. It since has been redeveloped with an Aldi grocery store, TCF Bank, Wilder headquarters and an Episcopal Homes senior living building. One original retaining wall for the old ballpark is still in place.
The site is also one block south of Green Line light rail and in an area with other bus lines, making it attractive for people who wish to use transit, Osmundson said.
It’s also in an area long eyed for bike improvements. City plans call Fuller Ave. as a bicycle and pedestrian connection to extend east through the site and connect to Midway Peace Park on Griggs St. The extension was an unsuccessful Long-Range Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) proposal more than a decade ago.

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2019 Midway Chamber Directory