Saint Paul Art Crawl 48

Spring Saint Paul Art Crawl included many Midway Como locations

Posted on 07 May 2018 by Calvin

The 2018 Spring Saint Paul Art Crawl took place throughout the city on the last weekend of April. This was the 27th year for the art crawl, and over 400 artists showed their work in 34 different locations—more than 70 of those artists were in the Hamline Midway and Como neighborhoods alone.

Photo left: Burning Brothers Brewing at 1750 Thomas Ave. was a first time participating venue. In the shadow of their brew kettles, Goblets of Fire showed their hand-blown glass art in the form of platters, vessels, and collectible animals.




Photo right: Artist Marcia Soderman makes paintings in acrylic, watercolor, and digital media. She has had a varied career as a studio artist, WARM mentor (Women’s Art Resources of Minnesota), and professor of art history at the University of Minnesota and Hamline University. 




Photo left: Designer Amy Mills of Kasasagi Designs, worked on-site on her beaded jewelry and accessories. She creates custom jewelry with seed and crystal beads, specializing in commissioned pieces that can’t be found in a store.





Photo right: Khanh Tran is the owner of the Dow Art Gallery, and a master framer. “We moved in three years ago, right after the Green Line opened,” he said. “There are 35 independent artists who exhibit their work in this space. They’re an eclectic group of artists, and their work is available for purchase six days/week. 






Photo left: At the Dow Building, 2242 University Ave., multi-media artist Mary Gross explained her suit of armor, saying, “I believe we all wear a suit of armor, of sorts. We’re armored with the skills we need to cope and survive.” Gross exhibits her mixed media sculpture, pencil drawings, and paintings at the Dow Art Gallery year round.







Photo right: Wood turner Mark Reshke brought an assortment of hand-turned wood accessories to the art crawl. He said, “The process of woodturning starts with a raw log and a chainsaw. I’ve been lucky to be able to do this work for 35+ years. ”On hand were his lefse turning sticks, dipping cups, and flawlessly carved spoons of different sizes. 


Photo below: Ceramic artist Michael Egan has been throwing pots for a remarkably short time—only eight years. Outside of a handful of community education and Northern Clay Center classes, he has taught himself the craft of making functional stoneware that is as beautiful as it is durable. 

Fall Saint Paul Art Crawl planned Oct. 11-14

For more information, email info@saintpaulartcrawl.org.

The Saint Paul Art Crawl is a program of the Saint Paul Art Collective. The art crawl dates back to 1977 when the founding artists of the Saint Paul Art Collective had their first group exhibition at the Union Depot. In the 15 years that followed, the artists of the collective continued to hold loosely organized group events in and around downtown St. Paul. In 1991, the collective decided to coordinate a multiple building, weekend long, open studio event, and the Saint Paul Art Crawl was born.

The St. Paul Art Collective has been hosting the art crawl ever since, with the number of visitors averaging around 20,000 for each semi-annual, three-day event. The collective and its member artists receive a tremendous amount of support from residents, businesses, and local government to stage an event of this size. In return, they give St. Paul a close-knit, vibrant, and energetic art community that actively contributes to the greater Twin Cities cultural landscape.

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BP elevation

Planning Commission overrules staff recommendation, will allow BP rebuild

Posted on 07 May 2018 by Calvin

The East Elevation (top illustration), facing Hamline Ave., will be the entrance point to a newly constructed BP gas station. The South Elevation (bottom), with a drive-through car wash door on the left, faces University Ave. (Illustration from the St. Paul city website)

An aging BP gas station, convenience store and car wash at the northwest corner of Hamline and University avenues, can be replaced with a new, larger structure. The St. Paul Planning Commission Apr. 20 approved a conditional use permit needed to replace the business at 1347 University Ave.

The station’s location is in an area eyed for future mixed-use redevelopment. It was rezoned from commercial to traditional neighborhoods (TN) zoning in 2011 as part of the Hamline Station study area. One challenge for the Planning Commission was to weigh the intent of city plans for change versus the site itself and what is practical.

Commissioner Daniel Edgerton, who chairs the Zoning Committee, said the committee could have voted the project up or down. At an Apr. 12 Zoning Committee hearing, the committee debated the merits of allowing the facility to be replaced, or strictly adhering to the city’s vision for the area.

While there are long-term goals for mixed-use development, those must be weighed against issues including site size, and the need to pull fuel tanks and clean up any potential pollution when and if the gas station use goes away.

The city’s comprehensive plan identifies University as a mixed-use corridor, with a goal of adding new land uses with higher densities. The site is covered by the Hamline Station Area Plan, which calls for increasing density specifically in the area around the light rail station. It also calls for redevelopment that creates a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly space.

Senior City Planner Josh Williams said that a new BP station isn’t consistent with those plans. But he also noted that achieving the vision and goals for change along University will take time. Recognition of the potential for longer-term change was a factor in the Planning Commission recommendation to ultimately let the project go forward.

City records indicate there has been a gas station on the property since at least 1969. The business and other St. Paul gas stations and auto convenience stores in St. Paul are required to have conditional use permits, which allow the Planning Commission to place restrictions on a wide range of site issues. These two types of business must meet additional conditions. The current station received a conditional use permit in 1992. Demolishing and replacing the building triggers a new permit requirement.

City staff had recommended against the conditional use permit, citing noncompliance with the comprehensive plan and building requirements that call for new structures to fill more of the site. Practical difficulties weren’t found in designing a building that meets the city requirements that redeveloper be denser. Nor does the site have any unique circumstances that create a hardship for the owner.

But the commission and its Zoning Committee reversed the staff recommendation. Station representatives indicated that a city suggestion to build a two-story building for more density isn’t practical and would be difficult to finance. Midway University and Hamline Properties LLC is the owner, working with Rosa Architectural Group.

Two permit modifications are needed to replace the BP station. One is to allow the fuel pump islands to be between Hamline and the building.

More complicated is a variance of minimum floor area ratio (FAR) required under its zoning. A .5 FAR is required, and a .16 is proposed. FAR is the relationship between the total amount of usable floor area that a building has, and the total area of the lot on which the building stands. Higher FARs are encouraged in mixed-use districts.

The site is a little larger than one-half acre, at 22,333 square feet. The current building has a FAR of .07. The staff report stated that the failure to “even come close to meeting the minimum FAR is not consistent” with the underlying zoning. The zoning is meant to foster compact, pedestrian-oriented commercial and residential development that in turn can support and increase transit use.

One change that will make the area safer for walking is that the new station will have fewer vehicular egress point. St. Paul and Ramsey County Departments of Public Works are requiring that a driveway on University just west of Hamline be closed. That will mean one egress point on Hamline and one on University.

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A downsized Big Top wants variance on distance requirement

Posted on 07 May 2018 by Calvin

Longtime Midway Center tenant Big Top Wine & Spirits could become a lot smaller. The liquor store must relocate as part of the Allianz Field soccer stadium development. But will city officials amend a longstanding policy of distance requirements between liquor stores, to allow even an interim move?

Plans call for the store to move temporarily from Snelling and Spruce Tree Drive to the former Midway Perkins restaurant building at 1544 University Ave. The Union Park District Council (UPDC) Land Use Committee voted Apr. 16 to support the liquor store’s efforts to relocate. That includes support for a pending city ordinance change as well as a waiver of the 45-day waiting period on the changed address.

Nancy Rosenberg, managing partner for Big Top, said the interim move is needed because the current store’s lease expires January 20, 2019. The building will be torn down and replaced with an extension of Shields Ave. to the east, as well as sidewalks and an interim parking area. Longer-term, part of the site is slated for denser redevelopment.

The move to the former restaurant is temporary, said Rosenberg, and will be only until a new location is found. Perkins closed in the fall of 2017. Big Top could wind up in a redeveloped Midway Center or elsewhere in the area.

This temporary location for Big Top wouldn’t be as big, dropping from about 15,000 to 6,000 square feet. The relocated store would also sell more prepackaged foods including sandwiches, salads, meat, and cheese.

“The look and feel of the store would be very different from what you see now,” Rosenberg said.

Most UPDC committee members said they’d like to see the city find a way to address the distance issue. Several people said Big Top has been a good community business and should be able to stay at Midway Center.

Committee member Scott Berger said he’d like to see more done to address behaviors around a relocated store, especially one so close to a busy transit area. “It’s a liquor store, and things happen that are not the most appealing,” he said. Berger asked what Rosenberg would do to make a relocated store more appealing and attractive.

The relocated store would open at 9am Monday through Saturday, instead of the current 8am opening. That could reduce some problems, Rosenberg said. The store would continue to close at 8pm Monday through Thursday, and 10pm Friday and Saturday. Sunday hours would remain 11am to 6pm.

How liquor stores in St. Paul are regulated complicates the move. Big Top has been at Midway Center since 1978, founded as part of the late entrepreneur Sid Applebaum’s empire of grocery stores that included Applebaum’s, National Tea, Rainbow Foods, Holiday Food and other Big Top locations. Rosenberg, who is one of Applebaum’s daughters, said the family has had some retail presence at or near University and Snelling for more than 60 years.

What could trip up a move is an existing city ordinance.

In the 1980s the St. Paul City Council set distance requirements between off-sale liquor stores. The concern was that some neighborhoods had concentrations of several liquor stores, which caused problems with public drinking, loitering, and bad behavior. Existing stores, including Big Top and Snelling Avenue Fine Wines and Liquors to the north (500 N. Snelling Ave.), were grandfathered in. New stores, and existing stores that try to relocate, now have to meet a minimum one-half mile or 2,640-foot minimum distance separation. Over the years a few stores that wanted to relocate couldn’t because of the distance requirement.

The ordinance change hasn’t been released yet by the St. Paul City Attorney’s Office. One idea would be to allow liquor stores to move within a development area under the same ownership and waive the distance requirement. A future Big Top move outside of Midway Center would likely mean an additional license approval process.

If any neighbors file a complaint with the city, the license issue will go to a legislative hearing officer before moving on to the St. Paul City Council.

City officials have never allowed the distance requirement to be waived in neighborhoods, but whether it is still needed is debatable. Having too many liquor stores in an area has been criticized as being a blighting influence by some. Others say the distance requirements are onerous.

Enforcement has not been consistent. In a 2005 disagreement between Macalester-Groveland stores Thomas Liquors and Wine Thief over distance requirements, city staff ruled that the measurements need to be building to building.

In 2014-2015 when Midway SuperTarget made plans to add a liquor store, Big Top and some area residents questioned if the new store met the minimum distance requirement. The controversy then was how distance was measured. City officials measured the distance from the shared store-liquor store door. Then Big Top and its allies contended the distance should be measured from the westernmost corner of the SuperTarget store and shouldn’t be granted. Measuring from the western wall didn’t meet the half-mile requirement, but measure from the store door did. City staff and Target corporate officials said the measurement should be from store to store.

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Deneen Pottery 18

Deneen Pottery rooted in the past while looking to the future

Posted on 07 May 2018 by Calvin

The Deneen Pottery company motto is, ”Our life’s work in is your hands.” Their 170 glazes are all mixed from scratch, and based on recipes developed by company founder Peter Deneen. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Deneen Pottery is a second generation, family-owned business in the Midway that, according to President Niles Deneen, “produces the finest mugs on the planet.” Their mission is to collaborate with integrity, sharing the legacy of their craftsmanship and the beauty of their products with the world. With retailers located as far away as Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Pico, and Germany, it appears that they are doing just that.

The wholesale company was started in 1972 by Niles’s parents, Peter and Mary, in their two-car garage. Deneen said, “Custom designed, hand-thrown ceramic mugs have always been our mainstay. In the beginning, most of our customers were innkeepers.

Over the years, our customer base has grown to include restaurants, breweries, state and national parks.”

Photo left: Company president Niles Deneen said, “In our family, pottery runs in our blood.” Pictured with Olive, the Deneen Pottery Canine Executive Officer. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Mugs made by Deneen Pottery are easily recognizable, despite there being 16 mug styles and 170 color choices, for a total of 2,400 possible variations on a coffee mug. No matter what shape or color, every mug that comes out of the pottery bears their signature, glaze-engraved medallion personalized for the company that ordered it.

Photo left: A potter at the wheel, using the custom blend of red-bodied clay that gives Deneen Pottery mugs their strength and durability. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

“It’s not easy to stylishly represent the essence of a place or business on a paper-thin, two and a quarter inch piece of clay,” Deneen explained. “Thanks to our talented designers, and the collaboration that we share with our clients, we have the ability to do that. Once the medallion artwork is set into the medium of clay, it will last a lifetime. Many of our customers never change the design of their medallion; they just select different styles or colors of mugs—year in and year out. We figure that customer retention is like employee retention: treat people the way you’d like to be treated, and your business will do well. It’s worked for us.”

“We have a vibrant, dedicated workforce here: currently 56% Hmong and 44% Caucasian,” Deneen said. “Our middle management reflects the ethnic and gender diversity of our employee base almost to the decimal point. When I came onboard in 2005, we had 22 employees and were making 500-600 mugs per day. Our business volume has grown 20% every year for the last five years. We currently produce 2,500 mugs per day and have a staff of 85 employees, including 12 full-time ceramic artists working at the wheel. No fewer than 24 pairs of hands touch each mug before it is packed for shipping.”

Photo right: One of 85 employees at Deneen Pottery. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Deneen Pottery received a leadership award from the Midway Chamber of Commerce last month, in recognition of significant contributions made to the chamber and the community.

Deneen said, “We were surprised and delighted to be chosen for that award. Our next big project is that we’re installing solar panels on the roof of our building, located at 2325 Endicott St. We purchased the historic brick building in 2015 (after years of leasing it), and bringing in solar was at the top of our list of improvements. We’ll have a total of 400 panels, and the system capacity is estimated to be 127kW.”

“All 14 of our kilns are electric, so the benefits of solar power will be significant. We use a lot of electricity! We’re excited to get the system plugged in so we can say, “Our mugs are 100% crafted by hand, and 50% fired by the sun.”

“Our approach has always been ‘to leave it better than we found it.’ Of necessity, we have to ship our products, but we’ve chosen to use biodegradable packing peanuts made of water-soluble starch, and recyclable packing paper and corrugated boxes.”

Deneen Pottery has prospered through almost four decades of environmental, economic, technological, and workforce changes. The only thing that hasn’t changed is their commitment to creating beautiful, functional, hand-thrown stoneware for their customers. To learn more about their wholesale business, visit www.deneenpottery.com.

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Friends 02037

Friends School offers unique summer classes to stimulate and entertain

Posted on 07 May 2018 by Calvin

(All photos were submitted)
Summer is approaching, and with the season comes a multitude of camps for children that are offered in the Twin Cities. (See the March Monitor for dozens of summer opportunities.) But one organization, the Friends School of Minnesota, has been offering a wide selection of camps for the past 20 years.

The Quaker school has “a long tradition” of offering unusual camps for children preschool through the 8th grade, according to Andrea Hasan, summer camp director.

This is her first year as director, and she said one of the offerings that she is most excited about is a series of camps for preschool and kindergartners that explore different cultures.

The camps explore countries of the North, South, East, and West.

“Each week campers will journey in a different direction and learn about people and cultures around the world,” Hasan continued.

“They will be doing cooking and art activities, and have a lot of hands-on art experiences and play outside. One of our Quaker values is peace, and through understanding and appreciating diversity, we hope to build a foundation for that.”

Hasan said the school has always done preschool and kindergarten camps, but this is the first year they have cultural awareness themes.

She said another exciting new camp this year is an alternative energy camp, where kids will build solar-powered cars and other creations out of LEGOS, learning about alternative concepts and engineering.

There is also an amusement park camp, in which campers will build all the components of an amusement park with LEGOS. These camps are being partnered with Snapology, an art organization in Minneapolis that focuses on children learning through interaction and creativity using LEGOS.

“We are also partnering with SteppingStone Theater for youth development,” Hasan continued. “We will be offering creative writing and improvisational camps.”

Another camp that is new this year is one on robotics.

Travis Bell, a librarian and front office manager at the school, is putting on a Harry Potter camp. “I mentioned the idea to Andrea, and there got to be a lot of excitement,” Bell said.

“The first day we will be having a sorting ceremony, with the kids divided into different houses, representing four values that are part of the Friends School culture.” He said there will be a day focusing on herbology, where someone will teach the campers about planting. Another day a science teacher will explore potions, presenting science experiments for the kids to work on.

“We have another teacher here, Max, who will be teaching the kids how to play Quidditch,” Bell said. Quidditch is a game played on a field, with the participants riding broomsticks. The game was created by J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books.

“Max is a member of the Twin Cities Quidditch Club, and he has played in national tournaments, so he’s the real deal,” added Hasan. “We’ll be creating a junior version of Quidditch.”

Bell said they would also be crafting things, and the last day of the camp will have a more reflective celebration, feast, and camp ceremony.

The majority of the camps will be held at the Friends School at 1365 Englewood. The biking camps will meet at the school and then explore different parts of the city by bike. “We have a bus and a trailer for the bikes so that they can go pretty far,” Hasan said.

One other camp, Nature, Art and the City, will meet at the school and then children will have the opportunity to visit some of the best nature areas in the Twin Cities, where they can explore and play.

There are also camps on film production, outdoor activities, bike riding, chess, art history and craft labs.

All of the camps are open to the public, except some overnight Skipping Stone weekend camps, which are only for students of

Friends School. At these camps, participants will build campfires and stay in a campground.

“Our school is for kids K-8,” Hasan said. “Offering camps for the public for pre-K gives families an opportunity to become connected with our school. Incoming kindergartners can have the experience of being in our building and meeting the staff, and it eases the transition.”

She said the camps begin June 18 and end the week of July 9. Camp size varies, but most are capped at 20. “For some, like the bike camps, we try to limit the size to 12 to keep the experience personal,” Hasan said.

“I think the thing that makes our camps stand out is the quality of teachers,” she explained. “Some camps have random high school and college students, but everyone leading our camps has a vast number of years of experience and a passion for what they do. We pride ourselves on creating a diverse and inclusive community.”

Hasan said the Friends Summer Camps values time spent outside and in nature. “You can tell some of our camps really reflect that,” she said. “Our Skipping Stones overnight camps are sold out right away, but we have a waitlist.

Husan suggested that parents register online at the school’s website, www.fsmn.org. “Click on the tab for summer camps and register now,” she said. “Don’t be discouraged if a camp is sold out. Get your kids on a waitlist. And we still have openings in some of the camps.”

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City Council will act soon on controversial rezoning for 2330 Long Ave.

Posted on 07 May 2018 by Calvin

Change continues at a quick pace in the West Midway. The St. Paul City Council is poised to act in late spring or early summer on a rezoning request for another multi-unit housing development. And part of the longtime Minnesota Chemical Company complex is poised to be transformed into office space.

The proposed redevelopment of 2330 Long Ave. has generated controversy in South St. Anthony Park and the Raymond-University area. Developer LB 842 Ray LLC is seeking to rezone what is now a parking area from traditional neighborhoods two to traditional neighborhoods three use. The zoning already allows for dense, mixed-use redevelopment. The change would allow higher heights and more density. City staff recommended approval, citing consistency with the city’s comprehensive plan, and the site’s proximity to Green Line light rail and other transit.

Jamie Stolpestad appeared before the Zoning Committee to explain the project. He is a veteran developer and development consultant. He explained that the zoning change would allow for a building of up to four stories. The zoning as proposed would allow a height of up to 45 feet, with more height if there are building step-backs.

While no building plans are set, Stolpestad outlined ideas for multi-generational housing.

The project has generated a mixed reaction.

Longtime South St. Anthony Park resident Ray Bryan said he and his family have already made many accommodations as housing development has grown all around them. He and other neighbors raised concerns about possible displacement as more sites are redeveloped.

Businesses including Alchemy Architects, Skon Chiropractic, and Salon George raised concerns about loss of parking and overcrowding. Patty George, Salon George owner, said she is worried about the neighborhood being overrun by redevelopment.

But other area businesses, residents, and property owners sent letters of support, saying the proposed housing would meet a need.

Stolpestad is working with Land Bank Twin Cities, which focuses on real estate projects to help people with low to moderate incomes who face barriers to housing. The Land Bank works with developers, nonprofit service providers, and other organizations through brokering, land banking, and lending. The project also involved EG Capital LLC, which is based in Minneapolis and New York City.

No specific building plans were presented. Those aren’t needed for a rezoning.

Stolpestad’s family members lead longtime St. Paul real estate developer Exeter Group. Exeter’s projects include the C&E Lofts at University and Raymond, the downtown post office turned Custom House, and East Side 3M site redevelopment.

It was recently announced that Exeter would be redeveloping two of the longtime Minnesota Chemical Company properties as office space for a wide range of potential tenants. The buildings are at 2295 Hampden Ave. The two buildings date from the early 20th century.

Minnesota Chemical doesn’t need the buildings for its current product lines and work. Part of one building is leased month-to-month as artists’ workspace.

Exeter has discussed the possibility of pollution cleanup funding with the St. Paul Port Authority, through applications to the state and Ramsey County.

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CHS Raiyne Adams

Como High: NHS Service Projects, Music, Academic and Athletic Awards

Posted on 07 May 2018 by Calvin

Compiled by ERIC ERICKSON, Social Studies Teacher

• Members of Como Park High School’s National Honor Society (NHS) have been busy serving the community throughout the year. Aside from being recognized for outstanding academic achievement and leadership, NHS members develop and implement service projects.

Photo right: Recently, NHS members teamed up with the Children’s Book Express to collect over 500 books for students at Como Park Elementary School. The culminating event was the presentation of the books to Principal Christine Vang and her students, who were excited to choose books they could read and own. (Photo by Mary Weyandt)

• Another service project that concluded last month was the NHS Teacher Grant Program. NHS members voted to award over $1,000 from fundraising back to five classroom teachers who submitted competitive grants. Awarded requests include $300 to Ms. Thao’s English class for a new set of 35 novels, $300 to Jane Sevald’s ELL class for a field trip to the Urban Roots Learning Program, $168 to Ms. Carole Whitney’s choir students to purchase high-quality music folders for performances, $150 to Anne Strupeck’s ELL class for an end-of-year picnic, and $90 to Sydney Willcox’s painting class for quality watercolor paper.

• “Pennies for Patients” is another NHS service project ongoing through May. Donation boxes for collecting pennies are located in each classroom. Student contributions will be pooled together and donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Last year Pennies for Patients raised $300 at Como, and the goal is to top that number this year. Every penny counts.

• 100% of Como seniors in the College Possible program were accepted into college. On May 2, the 52 College Possible students from Como’s class of 2018 announced their official college decisions at an after-school event that was celebrated by participating students, peers and teachers. The mission of College Possible is to make college admission and success possible for low-income, first-generation college students through an intensive curriculum of coaching and support. College Possible also supports and continues to work with students until they get a degree no matter how long it takes.

• French students participated in the annual A Vous la Parole French-speaking contest held at the University of Minnesota on Apr. 26. Sponsored annually by the Minnesota Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French, with support from the U of M’s French Department, the contest recognizes excellence in French-speaking skills.

Students performed French poems, songs, a theater piece or original skit, and read a text in French for judges who evaluated their language and performance skills. Students are given ratings based on a four-star system with four stars earning blue medal status.

Como students earning blue medals were: Diane Sabwe, So Reh, Granda Sayavong, Amera Abou-Shenab, Thomas Etter, Aiyana Aeikens, Deborah Inanezera, Claire Olson, Celia Olson, Serena Raths and Kevin Iragaba.

• Academy of Finance (AOF) sophomore Isaac Vu was accepted to the Business Emerging Leaders (BEL) program at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Vu will attend a camp this summer, and if successful, continue summer camps with the opportunity to Madison’s business school tuition-free upon high school graduation. Vu competed among other top scholars to be accepted. All applicants were required to produce essays and create a marketing video.

• The spring concert for the Como Choirs was held on Apr. 30 in the Como Auditorium which featured all five choirs. The spring band and orchestra concert is scheduled for Thur., May 24 in the auditorium at 7pm.

Over 30 Como musicians performed in the St. Paul Public Schools Honors Concert at the Ordway Theatre on Apr. 17. Como junior Marco Tabacman was selected to the All-State Choir. Sophomore Amelia Schucker was selected to the All-State Orchestra.

• Several of St. Paul Public Schools’ JRTOC programs practiced orienteering skills at Lake Maria State Park in Monticello, MN on Apr. 21. Thirty-nine cadets from Como’s Marine Corps JROTC ventured out into slushy, muddy woods to gain valuable skills in map analysis, physical fitness, terrain appreciation, conservation, and camaraderie.

Cadets were placed into teams and challenged to navigate a course. Como’s first place team with the fastest navigation of the course while hitting all checkpoints was Ta Ways and Timothy Vann.

• The 2018 Como Prom will be held on May 19 in downtown St. Paul at the James J. Hill Center Library. The theme will be a Masquerade Ball with the Grand March scheduled for 7pm. The junior and senior classes of Como are excited about the event and looking forward to a festive night.

• Raiyne Adams represented Como at the Athena Awards Banquet on Apr. 25 as a top student-athlete in the St. Paul Area. The annual event was held at the Envision Event Center in Oakdale and was hosted by KARE 11 news anchor Randy Shaver. Adams played varsity basketball for four years and also was a varsity letter winner in volleyball and track.

Photo left: Later the same day of the Athena Banquet, Adams signed her letter of intent to play basketball and study at Anoka-Ramsey Community College. The signing took place in the athletic office at Como with family, friends and both her high school coach and new college coach.  (Photo by Eric Erickson)

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Central Baptist Church celebrates 125 years of community service

Posted on 07 May 2018 by Calvin

The weekend of Apr. 27-29 was a celebration marking 125 years of service for Central Baptist Church, 420 N. Roy St.

The church was established as the Second Swedish Baptist Church in 1893 at the corner of Front Ave. and Albemarle St. In 1911 the congregation decided to move, and the original church building was finished in 1913 at its current location. There have been additions in 1948, 1962, and a new Sanctuary in 1975. To celebrate this history, the church sponsored the following weekend events:
• Friday evening was a time of worship and prayer
• Saturday evening there was a community potluck dinner followed by a program focusing on the vision for the church’s future
• Sunday morning they held a continental breakfast followed by the Sunday morning worship service.

The church community noted that they very much realize that the church is located at the crossroads of the Twin Cities in a rapidly changing neighborhood. They plan to remain “A Community of Faithful Presence” at the heart of the Midway and look forward to the next 125 years of “proclaiming the Gospel of Christ to those around us and serving the neighborhood.”

Photo left: Entrance to Central Baptist Church with banner and flag highlighting the anniversary. (Photo provided)






Photo right: An overhead shot of the potluck dinner on Saturday evening in the Sanctuary. (Photo provided)




Photo left: A choir of current and former members sing during worship on Sunday. (Photo provided)





Photo right: Central’s community project is highlighting the diversity within the congregation, with member Nancy Mosbeck. (Photo provided)




Photo left: Pastor Joel Lawrence shows off the commemorative Christmas decoration. (Photo provided)








Photo right: Longtime member Rod Erickson has played the organ during Sunday worship for 60 years. (Photo provided)

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Monitor In A Minute

Posted on 07 May 2018 by Calvin


Port, city approve Lyngblomsten changes
Changes to a longtime Como neighborhood facility for elders are expected to improve life for residents there. On Apr. 25 the St. Paul City Council unanimously approved the issuance of approximately $10 million in bank‐qualified conduit tax-exempt and taxable revenue bonds for Lyngblomsten, 1415 Almond Ave.

The funding, which won approval earlier this spring from the St. Paul Port Authority, will be used to finance construction and equipping of improvements to the existing 277,000 square‐foot, 237‐bed skilled nursing facility. Facility improvements intend to allow Lyngblomsten to provide senior care services benefitting its patients more efficiently.

Lyngblomsten has been in the Como neighborhood since 1906. It provides a continuum of senior housing and care options.

The bonds will not create financial risk for the city or the Port. The bonds are classified as two types of health care facilities revenue bonds under the Minnesota Municipal Industrial Act.

Similar bond issues have been used for projects at charter schools, health care facilities, colleges, and universities.

One goal for the upcoming Lyngblomsten project is to reduce the number of skilled nursing home beds from 237 to 225.

Mini golf changes course
Como Park’s miniature golf course has a new management company. The St. Paul City Council approved on Apr. 25 a management agreement with Wheel Fun Rentals for the course.

Longtime course operator Putt’er There Miniature Golf saw its lease end in fall 2017. Owner Thomas Annunziata, who saw his plans to improve the course denied several years ago, didn’t reapply. He had played mini-golf at the course as a child and operated the course for more than two decades. He had objected to the city process for contracting the business out and saw the course’s success as a reason he was pushed out. City staff disputed that and said they seek requests for proposals for all city facilities.
The mini-golf course sees about 25,000 visitors per year.

Wheel Fun Rentals is a California-based company. It operates attractions at many Twin Cities and Minnesota parks.

The 12-page agreement calls for the company to invest $200,000 into the facility by the year 2020, with $20,000 up front. The agreement also calls for the city to receive nine to 10 percent of gross monthly revenue before sales taxes. That is at a minimum of $10,000 per year. As is standard for city contracts, the new operators must provide profit and loss statements, and monthly records of revenues and expenses.

The contract is one of two Como Park-related changes the City Council authorized in April. The council also gave Parks and Recreation the go-ahead to enter into a grant agreement with the State of Minnesota through Metropolitan Council for bonding appropriations for Como Park Zoo and Conservatory’s Seal and Seal Lion Project.

The Minnesota Legislature has awarded a $15 million grant for predesign, design, engineering, and construction for the seal and sea lion habitat at Como Zoo. The funding was a city priority at the Capitol for years and was approved last legislative session.

Garbage update
St. Paul’s move toward organized residential trash collection took another step forward Apr. 25. The St. Paul City Council agreed to spend up to $4 million to purchase new wheeled, lidded garbage carts.

The cart purchase is in tandem with a flurry of other steps led by the St. Paul Department of Public Works. The goal is to start the organized collection at all home and smaller multi-family buildings on Oct. 1. Before then residents will get information, via mail and online, about the changes.

In November 2017 the council approved a contract with city residential trash haulers, who organized as St. Paul Haulers, LLC. Since then three smaller firms—East Metro Environmental and two Garbageman franchises—have been sold to larger companies. Other companies aren’t taking new clients leading up to the switch.

The city’s website outlines several steps. Residents and landlords need to request cart size by June 1. Otherwise, a cart size will be assigned based on existing service. Cart delivery starts in mid-August and continues through September. This summer is when residents will learn who their hauler is.

The change to organized collection is welcomed by those who deal with illegal trash dumping, and residents and landlords who don’t purchase trash pickup service. But for many people, the move to a city-hauler consortium service will lead to much higher costs. The option to share a trash can with a neighbor won’t be possible.

An interactive map of collection routes will be made available by early August at stpaul.gov/garbage.

University Ave. bar changes
Longtime Frogtown bar Johnny Baby’s, 981 University Ave., will be allowed to close at 2am. In April the St. Paul City Council approved the extension of its hours. The change, which went to a legislative hearing officer earlier this spring, also went through a neighborhood review process.

The license request went to a legislative hearing after a neighborhood complaint was received. The extension of hours was approved with several conditions, including daily trash pickup at the property perimeter, wanding of patrons for weapons before entry when security is on duty, having properly trained security personnel from 8pm until closing, and several conditions on how security guards will conduct themselves and do their work. Having a lighting placement and video surveillance plan is also required.

The change is one of the latest for University Avenue’s bar and restaurant community. Tracks Bar and Grill, which was part of the Days Inn complex at University and Prior avenues for years, has reopened on Rice St. Hot Rod’s, 1553 University Ave., recently closed.

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Hamline Elementary community map

Hamline + Community = Love

Posted on 07 May 2018 by Calvin

Illustration left: A little under three years ago Hamline Elementary began work to be more visible in the neighborhood. During the process Karen McCauley began creating a map to represent what were the greatest strengths in the community. (Image provided)

In the process of making something amazing at Hamline Elementary, here’s one thing we know to be true: a school is more than a building—it’s a living thing, an ecosystem full of people and possibility. And for all the learning and connection that happens within its walls, it’s that learning and connection that happens beyond that gives it that extra dose of awesome. It’s about seeing and being seen by your community. It’s about giving and receiving support. It’s about love.

Because our community partners and neighbors help us create this dynamic, beautiful thing every day, we’d like to thank them for it.

Thank you:
• Hamline Midway Elders, for visiting and reading with our third graders every month
• Reading Partners and your team of volunteers for daily, awesome support of Hamline readers
• NeighborWorks Home Partners, for sharing resources with our families and partnering with us to host a homeownership workshop at the school
• St. Paul Tool Library, for building a beautiful book collection box and for donating two-year-long memberships for a drawing at our recent homeownership workshop
• Children’s Book Express, for helping us set up a book-sharing program that has collected and made available over 500 books for families to choose for their home libraries
• Hamline Church, for organizing another bread-making and baking experience this year, supporting last fall’s fence-weaving project, making regular donations to our family resource room, and partnering with us to provide weekend meals to families through Sheridan Story
• Sheridan Story, for helping us support over 40 families with weekend meals
• Greg’s PC Repair, for being the first neighborhood business to provide services during school hours in our family resource room
• Hancock Recreation Center, for collaboration on community events and general awesomeness
• The Hamline to Hamline Collaboration, for the tutors, the mentors, the programs, the pairings, the special events, the mini-grants, and the leadership team that keeps it all running
• Hamline University, for sharing your campus, expertise, passion, and people with us every day
• Midway Public Art Working Group, for all the work going into this spring’s Paint the Pavement project on the school’s basketball court and this summer’s Snelling Ave. mural
• The Hamline Midway Coalition, for your support of last year’s fence-weaving project
• Midway Men’s Club, for your support of last year’s fence-weaving project
• Neighbors, who donated and helped us fill over 40 backpacks in the last year, made donations to our family resource room, dropped off pre-loved books, and celebrated with us at the Fall Festival
• Whomever I forgot, know that you matter to someone in our school community

New partnerships on the way, we can’t wait for you to get here.

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