Midway Coalition Monitor News

Posted on 08 March 2018 by Calvin

Hamline Midway Coalition creates a new committee focused on Outreach and Engagement.
Are you passionate about Outreach and Community Engagement? Do you feel that we can do more as a community? Then this may be the spot for you. Hamline Midway Coalition is looking for people with a passion for the Midway and the desire to work toward connecting with and in our community. The hope is that those who respond would be willing to work with our neighbors, businesses, and city on the ever-present issues in and around the Hamline Midway Neighborhood.

We are currently accepting applications for committee members. Please send your interest to communityengagement@hamlinemidway.org and we will send a questionnaire to you for completion. Members of underserved groups encouraged to apply. Thank you for your commitment to the Midway neighborhood.

Hamline Midway Community Mosaic build out begins March 22
Join the Hamline Midway Coalition and Library for three days of Mosaic Making at that Hamline Midway Library. Mosaic Artist and friendly neighbor Lori Greene will design a mosaic art to be housed at the Hamline Midway Library. Designs were submitted by library patrons in the month of February which have served as an inspiration for the design. Project build dates are:

Thursday, March 22, 2018- 3:00pm-7:00pm

Friday, March 23, 2018- 1:00pm-4:00pm

Saturday, March 24, 2018- 12:00pm-3:00pm

Visit the Hamline Midway Coalition or Library for more information.

Hamline Midway Coalition hosts a Movie Night at Hamline University
MOANA will be showed on Saturday, March 24, 2018. Doors will open 6:30pm and movie to begin at 7:15pm in West Hall Room 101. Popcorn and beverages will be provided or bring your own! All ages encouraged.




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A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Even a 76-year old canoe.

Posted on 08 March 2018 by Calvin

For Kevin Buzicky, getting his old canoe restored to its previous glory was homage to his dad, Ed Buzicky who died, at age 99, in 2016. “Dad instilled a love of the water and the outdoors in me from a young age,” he said. “I have fond memories of my dad and my brother and I going to our lake cabin at Brigg’s Lake, near St. Cloud. We’d catch a bunch of crappies and put them in the freezer, and the next weekend, we’d smoke them.”

The canoe, a 1935 Thompson-Hiawatha canoe, almost didn’t stay in the family, Buzicky said. “Dad was going to sell it to a neighbor for $200, and I asked him, why not sell it to me. It was usable but was aqua blue, and he had painted the outside so many times that the canvas ended up having to be removed and replaced.” He considered taking the boat to a commercial, professional boat builder, who quoted him $3,500 for the job. But, Buzicky had a better idea.

Photo right: The canoe, circa 1941, on top of Ed Buzicky’s car. (Photo submitted)

Ed Buzicky was a young man, only 19-years old, when bought the canoe, hoping to connect to the Minnesota tradition of fishing and boating. It cost $64 when he purchased it in 1936, about $1,120 in today’s money and his son ended up spending about that much to have it restored. But, that money also went to a good cause. It was part of the tribute.

Buzicky called Urban Boatbuilders, 2288 University Ave. W., an organization that helps troubled kids in St. Paul.

Volunteers, working a few hours a week, restored the canoe, the money going to help fund courses that include an after-school work experience program and an apprentice program.

“It was a year before they agreed to do it,” he said. “In January of 2017, the volunteers came to my garage and picked up the canoe. I visited their workshop with my stepmother a couple of times as they restored wood, removed the old canvas and stretched a new canvas over the boat.”

“It took another year for them to finish it, but they put the last coat of red paint on this January, a week before the opening of the Minneapolis Boat Show, where it was on display.”
Buzicky said he’d been following and donating to the organization for a number of years. “I am extremely thankful to the staff for doing such a great job on the Hiawatha Canoe to honor my father,” he said.

“At Urban Boatbuilders, projects engage youth through hands-on experiences. It empowers them to be successful in school, work and life,” said Marc Hosmer, the executive director of the program. The schools select the younger kids for the School Partnership Program, he said, finding kids for whom traditional classrooms are not a good fit. Older kids, aged 16 through 19, can apply for an apprentice program where they learn boat building and in doing so, learn to use math, engineering, and technical skills.

Photo left: Marc Hosmer, Urban Boat Builder’s Executive Director shows off the restoration of Kevin Buzicky’s restored 1935 Thompson-Hiawatha canoe. (Photo by Stephanie Fox)

“They also learn social and emotional skills like communication, collaboration, and problem-solving. They learn skills they’ll need for jobs, including the soft skills like how to show up on time and how to interact at work,” Hosmer said.

“When some of these (School Partnership) kids come into the program,” said volunteer Al Raymond, “they couldn’t look you in the eye. At the end, six months later, they’re giving speeches, talking about college, or starting their own business.”

Apprentices often come into the program facing barriers to employment, said Hosmer.

Apprentices often come into the program, facing barriers to employment, said Hosmer. Some have been involved with the justice system. “We look for youth who are interested in hands-on skills. What they learn can translate into jobs in other fields, technical jobs, and jobs in the trades.”

Apprentices also get a chance to try out the boats they build on field trips to places like the Boundary Waters or the St. Croix River. For some of the kids, it will be their first real trip outside of the cities. Most of them can’t swim, but before they take to the water, they’ll get some basic instruction on swimming and, of course, will wear life jackets. The kid builds boats, and then they get to put it on the water, learning to launch and paddle them.

“The Boundary Waters is like an out-of-body experience for some,” said Bob Anderson, another Urban Boatbuilder’s volunteer. “The program broadens their perspective. You see the transformation, and it’s not just the kids who are affected. At graduation, the parents will tell us how much their kids have changed.”

Buzicky’s red canoe is not the only old canoe that the volunteers have restored. “Many of the boats we get are pre-1950s,” said Homser. “One came from the early 1900s. But what’s unique about this boat is the family history. It’s nice to be able to make an emotional connection and have memories come back to life.”

“My dad courted my mother in the canoe around Lake Phalen, Buzicky said. “He painted the outside many times until the paint was cracked from age. He varnished the inside and always kept it indoors or covered.”

“My dad’s canoe is heavier than modern canoes,” he continued. “The 1935 model is 17 ft. long and weighs 75 lbs. These day they have lightweight 25 lbs. canoes, but they aren’t as beautiful.”

Buzicky’s canoe remains at Urban Boatbuilders for now, but he has plans for it. Eventually, it will grace his place in Bayfield, Wisconsin, where he spends weekends. But, before it gets displayed in that home’s cathedral ceiling, it will be part of a Boat Festival at the end of May at Lake Phalen, where newly graduated apprentices will launch it. He hopes, he said, to be one of those paddling the canoe across the water.

Buzicky starts to choke up at the memories brought back by new newly restored canoe and thought of his dad courting his mother at Phalen. “The canoe will be there, back to where my dad enjoyed it. It will be a great tribute.”

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JCA 03

Jewish Community Action launches new justice initiative

Posted on 08 March 2018 by Calvin

Since 1995, Jewish Community Action (JCA),2375 University Ave. W.,  has worked to organize Jewish Minnesotans to act together for social change.

With a unique model that combines traditional congregational-based community organizing with issue-based campaign work, they partner with local coalitions, interfaith initiatives, neighborhood groups, people of color, and immigrant groups. They believe in working collectively to directly address the causes of poverty, racism, and injustice. Tho accomplish this they train teams of volunteer leaders who take this work inward to their congregations, as well as outward to their broader communities. JCA’s campaigns are driven by Jewish values, but people from all backgrounds are welcome to join in their work for social change.

Photo right: Participants in the soft launch of the Decriminalizing Communities Campaign had opportunities to discuss their own experiences (direct and indirect) with the criminal justice system, and their hopes for a better future. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

On Feb. 15, JCA staff member Rachel English and intern Anam Hasan led a soft launch of a campaign called De-criminalizing Communities.

The event started with defining some of the organization’s core values. English explained, “We believe that all people are equal. We believe that all people deserve to live in safe communities and safe homes. Despite its name, we do not believe that our criminal justice system is just. In the past 20 years, all forms of crime have declined in our state, yet we continue to incarcerate more people for longer periods of time. Evidence shows that our prison system is both profit-motivated and powered by the racial oppression that underlies many of the systems that remain fundamental to our society. We believe in the need for a justice system that is truly fair.”

English continued, “Our vision is of a justice system that treats incarceration as a last resort. We envision one that emphasizes rehabilitation, drug treatment, mental health care and community-based services to prevent incarceration, and supports people upon their release. We envision one that holds violent offenders accountable while upholding their human rights. We envision a community-centered justice system that uses comprehensive approaches to public safety. We envision a justice system that acknowledges the suffering caused by institutional oppression, and works to eliminate the injustices that trap many people in cycles of hopelessness and despair.”

Embedded in the Decriminalizing Communities Campaign are two other initiatives. The first addresses the for-profit private prison system: it seeks to push back on the creation of private prisons and ICE detention centers in Minnesota. The second seeks to restore voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences and are once again living and working in their communities.

For more information on how to get involved in the Decriminalizing Communities Campaign, contact community organizer Rachel English at rachel@jewishcommunityaction.org.
Visible in the community in another way, JCA will be hosting their annual Freedom Seder on Sun., Mar. 11 from 2-5pm at Mount Zion Synagogue (1300 Summit Ave.). Friends, partners, allies, and community members are invited to observe Passover together, and to share a meal. The cost is $18; reservations are strongly recommended, though walk-ins won’t be turned away.

What is a Freedom Seder? During the 1960’s, rabbis and activists across the country were inspired by the American Civil Rights Movement. They wanted to incorporate what was happening in present time into the telling of the Passover story, which recounts how the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. For more information about the Freedom Seder, contact: Lauren Muscoplat at lauren@jewishcommunityaction.org.

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Allianz Field granted major noise and signage variances

Allianz Field granted major noise and signage variances

Posted on 08 March 2018 by Calvin

No limitation on noise during games; a 1872% variance on temporary signage, and 179% variance on permanent signage

Allianz Field, the soccer stadium under construction near Snelling and St. Anthony avenues, has won a blanket noise exemption from city noise limits for soccer games. The St. Paul City Council approved the measure Feb. 14. Minnesota United FC is expected to start playing at the field in 2019.

The noise exemption—or sound variance—is one of two measures approved in February for the stadium. The St. Paul Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) Feb. 26 approved variances for permanent and temporary signage at the stadium site. The BZA laid over a request in January to separate permanent and temporary signage, and to have questions answered.

The noise exemption has been debated for several weeks in neighborhoods around the stadium and at City Hall. A public hearing was held in January. Ward One Council Member Dai Thao laid the matter over Feb. 7, so he could review a recommendation from Union Park District Council (UPDC).

Photo right: Major sign variances are now approved for Allianz Field. (Photo by James Burger)

The district council asked that the exemption be rejected and that the city council set a maximum noise level of 65 decibels allowed during the playing and exhibition of any game or league event at the stadium. That is consistent with the allowable daytime noise level.

UPDC believes it is a reasonable limitation to impose after 10pm as well, instead of the current ordinance limitation of 55 decibels after 10pm. UPDC also recommended that the ordinance exemption or variance be put in effect on a conditional or trial basis, for the first five home games of the 2019 season. After an opportunity for review of the noise level generated, it could be granted for the remainder of that season.

Neighbors south of the stadium, in the Snelling-Hamline neighborhood, attended the Feb. 7 meeting to voice concerns. They said they hadn’t gotten notice of the January public hearing. Snelling Park residents Tim Mangan and Jeff Schaller heckled the council before the layover vote. After the meeting, Schaller said that if the soccer team fails, he foresees neighbors getting blasted with loud rock concerts.

“The city has totally ignored our neighborhood,” he said.

“We are literally in the shadow of the stadium, and we deserve consideration,” said Mangan. Snelling Park is the neighborhood south of Concordia Ave., between Snelling Ave. and Pascal St.

But Thao, who represents part of the affected area, said the exemption is a better way to regulate noise. He said it doesn’t include concerts and fireworks, and that such events would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Thao also said the exemption is what is in place at other stadiums in the area. He also pledged to continue working with neighbors and UPDC on noise issues.

Environmental impact studies of the stadium indicate that the blanket exemption is a better strategy for handling noise, said Thao.

Outgoing Ward Four Council Member Russ Stark, who lives north of the stadium, said the city is limited by a development agreement previously adopted on the stadium. “To say you can hold soccer games but you have to quiet the fans down somehow doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

As for the signs, the BZA approved two of the most significant variances seen recently at City Hall. Zoning regulations allow for 250 feet of temporary signage. Team contractors led by Mortenson Construction installed 4,167 square feet of signage without the needed sign permits. They also want to install and additional 763 square feet of signage, for a variance of 4,680 square feet.

Most of the temporary signs promote the Minnesota United FC and the contractors. Some signage promotes the businesses remaining at Midway Center. The temporary signs will come down once the stadium and permanent signs are completed.

The BZA also approved a variance for permanent signage. The zoning code sets the amount of permanent signage by street frontage and property size. The code allows 1,776.5 square feet of signage; the request is for 3,187 square feet of signage, for a variance of 1,410.5 square feet. This signage is on the stadium lower levels as well as on pylons and in the plaza planned at Snelling and St. Anthony avenues.

One concern the board had about so much permanent signage is whether it would affect the longer-term development of the site. While there are parking lots shown west of the stadium, plans call for those sites to be developed in the future. BXA members and city staff had questioned whether the stadium would lose signage or if yet more variances would be sought in the future.

But it sounds like at least one more variance is on the way. Bill McGuire, the lead team owner, has been discussing the possibility of dynamic signage at the property. Dynamic signage is lit, changing signage. An example is on Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul. Smaller examples are at Holiday Station stores.

The city has regulations on that type of signage, so it’s likely that before any dynamic signage is added at Allianz Field, a zoning code text amendment is needed. Those go through the Planning Commission and then to City Hall.

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2103 Wabash building

Factory building on Wabash Ave. to be converted to apartments

Posted on 08 March 2018 by Calvin

Preserve industrial land or let a mostly underutilized building sit vacant? Those were the choices for the St. Paul Planning Commission. After much debate in February, the commission agreed Feb. 23 to a plan to convert a century-old West Midway meat packing plant into a 64-unit apartment complex. The commission approved a conditional use permit for Superior LLC’s project at 2103 Wabash Ave. That decision is final barring an appeal to the St. Paul City Council.

“I’m usually the one who says, preserve industrial land,” said Daniel Edgerton, chair of the Planning Commission Zoning Committee. But he was struck by the Port and Midway Chamber support of the residential reuse.

“This is really a challenging site,” Edgerton said. “It’s been underutilized for about 40 years. It seems like a choice of repurposing the property for housing or letting it sit vacant.”

The old Superior Meat Packing Company building has been mostly vacant since 1979. Its first floor in recent years has housed uses including pet boarding, guitar repair and industrial tire sales and service. The oldest part of the structure dates from 1886. It was added onto in 1911, 1928 and 1947, so it has different floor levels and roof heights. Sections range from one to three stories in height. (Satellite photo right from internet)

Many more steps must be taken between now and June, when work is to start at the site. The developers need to seek historic designation for the property, and a possible spot on the National Register of Historic Places. That would provide state and federal historic tax credits to help pay for redevelopment.

Almost two hours of debate at the Planning Commission and its Zoning Committee Feb. 15 revealed the complexity of redeveloping the property. It is a 1.6-acre industrially zoned property that is one block south of Green Line light rail and one block west of Cleveland Ave. The building fills its block, which is bounded by Wabash, Montgomery Ave., Myrtle St. and a parking lot used by Rihm Kenworth.

The parking lot was recently purchased by American Engineering Testing, which plans a five-story building there. Rihm Kenworth is in the process of relocating out of the Midway after being there nearly 70 years.

“Our goal is to save and reuse a historic structure,” said developer Clint Blaiser, who represented HGB and PAK Properties before the Zoning Committee. The developers are trying to get work underway by June, before changes are made to federal historic tax credits needed for the project.

The conditional permit approved Feb. 23 is to allow residential use in an industrial area. It allows more than six dwelling units on an industrially zoned property. Plans call for 39 dwelling units on the first floor. Typically, when residential uses are allowed in an industrial area, those are on upper floors.

The permit also allows 90 percent of the first floor to have residential use. Typically, 80 percent of the first floor would be for non-residential uses.

Blaiser said different ideas were considered for the property, including industrial or commercial reuse. But the building’s configuration makes 100 percent residential use most feasible. “It has about 30 roofs and about as many elevations inside,” Blaiser said.

“It’s basically a historic shell,” said Rich Wessling, project architect from UrbanWorks Architecture. But he and Blaiser said it makes more sense to gut and rehabilitate the building, than to tear it down and build new on the site. They see the building as being affordable for young families and workers who want easy access to light rail, bus service, and area amenities.

The building is in very poor condition, said Blaiser. But it appeals to the developers because of its location in West Midway, where several other old industrial and warehouse properties have been repurposed for residential, commercial and institutional uses.

The property is in an area that has had different types of industrial zoning over the years. Property to the north was rezoned for industrial-transitional use in 2011 as part of Central Corridor (now Green Line) land use and zoning studies.

Beyond the zoning issues are practical considerations for residential reuse. One is that the building occupies its block. It is in an area with no sidewalks. Streets carry large amounts of truck traffic. Those were seen by city staff and some commissioners as impediments to residential reuse. One idea suggested is to vacate the adjacent portion of Montgomery and create more of a walking, biking and parking area.

Another point of debate is a city and St. Paul Port Authority policy to preserve existing industrial property, as outlined in the West Midway Industrial Area Plan. But the St. Paul Port Authority and Midway Chamber of Commerce support the Superior LLC project, as does the St. Anthony Park Community Council.

Both business groups note that the property has been underused for many years and that other developers have considered ideas without bringing anything to fruition. John Young, a Midway Chamber Board Member and industrial real estate broker, said the site has been looked at and rejected by many would-be industrial developers. “It was awful years ago,” he said, noting that the property has gone unsold during several successful real estate cycles.

The Chamber doesn’t take the notion of losing industrial land lightly, Young said. But a residential redevelopment there may be the best fit for the property. “We want places where our employees can live.”

The developers took the unusual step of filing three applications, with the idea of getting at least one approved. The one approved leaves the industrial zoning in place, but grants conditions for largely residential reuse. The commission laid over a request to rezone the suite to industrial transitional and rejected a variable request that tied first-floor industrial use to rezoning to industrial transitional use.

City staff had recommended against all three applications for a variety of reasons, including inconsistency with the comprehensive plan and impacts on area development. Much of the Zoning Committee debate Feb. 15 was technical and procedural, as all eight Planning Commission members present want to see the building repurposed. Sorting that out took time.

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Como HS Girls Basketball

Academic WorldQuest, NAAPID, History Day and Cougars to State!

Posted on 08 March 2018 by Calvin

News from Como Park High School compiled by ERIC ERICKSON, Social Studies Teacher

Photo right: Dominic Wolters, Jackson Kerr, Gabriel Reynolds and Stephen Boler (from L to R) placed 4th out of 40 teams in the state at the Global Minnesota Academic WorldQuest event at the U of M. (Photo courtesy of Global Minnesota)

• Global Minnesota, with support from the World Affairs Council and the Foreign Policy Association, sponsored the annual Academic WorldQuest competition at the University of Minnesota on Feb. 7. Two Como teams of four students each participated. For the second consecutive year, both Como teams placed in the top 10 out of 40 teams from across the state.

The team of seniors with Dominic Wolters, Jackson Kerr, Gabriel Reynolds and Stephen Boler finished in 4th place. The team of juniors with Celia Olson, Nora Ellingsen, Isaac Harker and Henry Hansen finished 8th.

The quiz bowl format featured questions from eleven global affairs and foreign policy topics including Cybersecurity, India’s Bid for Global Leadership, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, NAFTA and Combatting Climate Change. The event was emceed by KARE 11 veteran news reporter Karla Hult.

• National African American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID) was celebrated at Como on Feb. 12, highlighted by a program for students, parents, and community members in the auditorium led by Como’s Pan-African Student Union. Spoken word performances, poetry readings, music from the orchestra and choir, along with guest speakers and recognition of parents in attendance made for an impactful event.

Student performers included Yasin Abdullahi, Robert Adams, Malique Mccoy, Madyson Sklar, Najma Ali, Hawi Ali, Farhiya Mohamed, Sucdi Jama, Bernadette Kargbo, Asha Hassan and Lumin Johnson.

• 47 cadets from the Marine JROTC program at Como continued a tradition of outdoor winter training activities over two days in early February at Camp Shamineau in Motley, Minnesota. The Winter Cadet Leadership Camp included evaluations in the standards of ice wall climbing, rock wall climbing, hiking, horseback riding, and even broomball. Cadets meeting or exceeding standards in those or any of the other five activities earned a Distinguished Military Training Award (DMT). All cadets performed exceptionally well despite the harsh, cold conditions and came back to Como with great stories of adventure.

• The Como Culinary Club was cooking with top chefs in the “Taste of the NFL” event at the St. Paul RiverCentre during Super Bowl weekend. Each Como student was paired with an executive chef from one of the NFL cities, helping prepare and serve the specialty foods representative from the respective teams’ region. Courtney Gbolo, who teaches Family and Consumer Science and leads the culinary club, said compliments about Como students were abundant. Chefs and event organizers were impressed by the skill, strong work ethic and cooperative attitude of Como’s club members.

• History Day at Como featured the research and final products of 11th grade U.S. History students. Students advancing to St. Paul regional competition on Mar. 17 include the following students from their respective categories:
Group Exhibit—Asia Faulk, DaVonna Jones and Isabelle Hoppe for the Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Naw Sei, Roa Lay and Ray Boe for the Chinese Exclusion Act. Caitlin Jones and Nyah Davis for the Integration of College Basketball. Aye Win and Eh Soh for the Emancipation Proclamation.
Individual Exhibit—Kayla Selbitschka for Hela Cells, and Emma Mueller for The Lavender Scare.
Group Website—David Amobi, Trinh Nguyen and Pany Thor for the Kent State Massacre. William Farley, Kao Nou Lee and Lee Thao for the Secret War in Laos.
Individual Website—Maria Chiaramonti for computer scientist Alan Turing.
Research Paper—Cadence Paramore for the Treaty of Mendota, Hundaol Deressa for the Battle of Adwa, and Jenny Vue for The Secret War in Laos.

Photo left: The Como Gymnasium was the site of the girls’ basketball Twin Cities Title Game on Saturday, Feb. 24. The Cougars defeated Minneapolis South to win their fourth consecutive Twin Cities Championship. (Photo by Eric Erickson)

• For the fourth consecutive season, the Como Girls Basketball team won the St. Paul City Conference Championship. The Cougars conference record during the last four years now stands at 47-1, with a 40-game winning streak. Como capped off its regular season with another Twin Cities Title by defeating Minneapolis South, the champion of the Minneapolis City Conference, 80-74 in a thrilling comeback victory at Como on Feb. 24.

The annual Twin Cities Championship Game is always an intense game with city pride on the line. The Cougars have won all four of their Twin Cities games to keep bragging rights in St. Paul. The Cougars were practicing for the Section 4AAA Play-Offs in early March as the Monitor went to press.

• For the second consecutive season, the Como Boys Swimming team will send a relay team to the State Meet. Seniors Cole Napierala, Jared Czech and Noah Frese, with junior Josef Miller, placed third in 400 Freestyle Relay at the Section 4A Meet on Feb. 23 to claim the final state qualifying position. Earlier in the evening, the same swimmers finished fourth in the 200 Medley Relay, narrowly missing state, but setting a school record of 1:46 in the process.

Josef Miller placed second in the section for the 100 Freestyle as well, so he will swim in that event at state along with the relay. State was scheduled at the U of M Aquatic Center Mar. 1-3, after the Monitor deadline.

• Como senior Drew Barnard qualified for the State Wrestling Meet by placing second in the Section 4AA Meet in the 145-pound division. Trailing late in the match that would decide who qualified for state and who would have their season ended, Barnard scored a takedown in the final seconds to win the match. A joyous celebration followed as a dream was realized after years of hard work and commitment. Barnard was excited to represent Como on the big stage at the Xcel Energy Center on Mar. 1.

• The Como Park Booster Club’ annual fundraiser at the Urban Growler will take place on Sun., Mar. 11 from 4-8pm. The annual, festive get-together helps support extra-curricular academic, athletic, and club activities for Como students. For those interested in tickets, more information, or volunteering, contact Ann Commers of the Como Park Booster Club at acommers@msn.com.

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Hamline Library Lumberjanes Vol 1

Help construct the Hamline Midway Library mosaic!

Posted on 08 March 2018 by Calvin

News from Hamline Midway Library By CARRIE POMEROY

The Hamline Midway Library, 1558 W. Minnehaha Ave., is your neighborhood spot to connect with your community, enjoy great programs, access the Internet, and stock up on books, CDs, and DVDs, all free with your library card.

Local mosaic Artist Lori Greene will be designing a community mosaic for the Hamline Midway Library. Community members are invited to participate in the construction of the mosaic on the following dates: Mar. 22, 3-7pm, Mar. 23, 1-4pm, and Mar. 24, 12-3pm. Come make a lasting impact on our library with art that patrons will enjoy for years!

Preschool Storytimes in English happen Fridays, 10:30-11am, with upcoming events on Mar. 9 and 30 and Apr. 6, 13, and 20. Storytimes feature stories, songs, puppets, and more.

They’re a great way for caregivers to bond with children and build social skills, listening comprehension, and letter and number recognition while creating a solid foundation for lifelong learning. Children of all activity levels are welcome!

Starting on Apr. 3, the library is also offering Evening Storytimes on Tuesdays from 6-6:30pm, with additional storytimes on Apr. 10, 17, and 24.

On Sat., Mar. 10, 1:30-3pm, the library presents the popular Science Saturdays program, where school-aged participants and their families can enjoy fun, hands-on science and art activities. No pre-registration necessary—just come by when you can. The theme will be Wind and Air Experiments. On Sat., Apr. 14, 1:30-3pm, the Science Saturdays theme will be Optical Illusions.

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

The Start a Series Book Club will meet on Mon., Mar. 19, 4-5pm, to discuss “Lumberjanes, Volume 1: Beware the Kitten Holy” by Noelle Stevenson (photo left). This book club is recommended for grades 5 and up, and each month the group will focus on discussing the first book in a series.

The Show and Tell Book Club for grades 1-3 meets on Sat., Mar. 24, from 1:30-2:15pm.

The Novels at Night Book Club meets on Thur., Mar. 29, 6:30-7:30pm. This book club aimed at adult fiction enthusiasts will discuss “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini.

On Wed., Mar. 28, 1-3pm, Jody’s Documentary Film Series will feature “Swim Team,” directed by Lara Stolen. Meet Mikey, Robert, and Kelvin, three exceptional swimmers on the same competitive team who are all on the autism spectrum—and no one, but no one, is going to tell them what they can and can’t do. Enjoy the free film and snacks and stay for the post-film discussion facilitated by Jody. This program is a collaboration of the award-winning POV documentary series and the Hamline Midway Elders Association.

Also on Wed., Mar. 28, 6:30pm, the library presents Poetry in the Neighborhood, a poetry workshop with poet and teaching artist Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria. Participants can play with different poetic forms and generate ideas about the Hamline-Midway community while creating a neighborhood poem. This event is a presentation of the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library.

On Fri., Mar. 30, 2pm, enjoy a family-friendly silent comedy matinee featuring Harold Lloyd’s breathtaking 1923 daredevil comedy “Safety Last!” You may have seen the movie’s famous image of a bespectacled man hanging from a clock face high above a city street (photo right)—now you can see the legendary comedy behind the image. This event features free hot popcorn and cider.

On Sat., Apr. 7, 1-2pm, the Saints and Sinners Book Club meets to discuss good mysteries. Contact volunteer G. Balter for book lists and more information at gerribalter@gmail.com or 651-224-5570.

You can get a head start on your gardening plans on Tues., Apr. 10, 6:30pm, with Native Plants for the Garden.

Mark your calendar for Math and Science Day at the Library on Sat., Apr. 14, 11:30am-5pm, when the focus will be fun math and science activities for school-aged children and their families.

On Thur., Apr. 19, 6:30-7:45pm, Metropolitan State University professor Matt Filner and Gil Gustafson of the non-partisan group Clean Elections Minnesota will present Elections and the State of our Democracy, a look at how gerrymandering, dark money, and the erosion of voting rights for some citizens is impacting our country.

All libraries will be closed on Sun., Apr. 1 for Easter.

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Hamline Elementary huddle

Logo Robotics reveal the greatness at Hamline Elementary

Posted on 08 March 2018 by Calvin

On Jan. 20, three Hamline Elementary/Jie Ming teams competed in the St. Paul Lego Robotics Regional Tournament, facing off against dozens of other schools. All three teams received awards (Robot Performance, Robot Design, two in Core Values) for their work.

Two teams qualified for the MN First Lego League State Championship (grades 4-8), held on Feb. 24, where they joined around 60 other Lego Robotics teams from around Minnesota in a lively and friendly competition.

Photo right: The Hydro Huskies huddle at the MN First Lego League State Championship held Feb. 24. (Photo submitted)

This year’s theme was Hydro Dynamics, and each team completed a project that, according to the First Lego League guidelines, “developed a creative solution to improve the way people find, use, transport, or dispose of water.” The teams conducted research, talked to experts, and presented to various individuals and organizations as they developed, built, and refined their project.

The Hydro Dragons created an electrical rain garden to produce clean, renewable energy. The Hydro Huskies created the compost tea booster to create natural, nutrient-rich rainwater for use in personal and community gardens. The teams also built small robots, using Lego Mindstorms kits, that were then programmed to complete various “missions” related to hydrodynamics on a small course.

At the State Tournament, the Hydro Dragons took home the Inspiration Award for, “demonstrating extraordinary enthusiasm, support, and encouragement of fellow teams.” This is related to First Lego League’s Core Values which include shared learning, sportsmanship, and having fun.

Photo left: The Junior Lego League team, The Water Mixing Dragons, took home the Inspiration Award MN First Lego League State Championship. (Photo submitted)

If the current state of Lego Robotics is strong at 1599 Englewood Ave., the future is bright, too. The Water Mixing Dragons, a Hamline Elementary/Jie Ming Junior Lego League team (2nd and 3rd graders) participated in an exhibition during the State Tournament, showing off their emerging skills by developing a poster, building a model, and presenting their work.

Thanks to Hamline Elementary and Jie Ming science teacher Dr. Bonnie Laabs and several other dedicated volunteers who gave the teams the tools and encouragement they needed to succeed. Congratulations to all on a great year of awesome engineering and teamwork—and buckle up, because next year the project and mission will take the teams into space!

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Como Community Council Corner

Posted on 08 March 2018 by Calvin

By MICHAEL KUCHTA, Executive Director

Pedestrian safety: what’s the next step?
How to make our streets safer for pedestrians is the topic of District 10’s next Sunday Series presentation on Mar. 18. Fay Simer, St. Paul’s new pedestrian safety advocate, and Sgt. Jeremy Ellison, who leads enforcement in the citywide Stop for Me campaign, share their ideas and invite yours.

Their presentation, ”The Next Step: Pedestrian Safety in Saint Paul,” is Sun., Mar. 18 in the upstairs auditorium at the Como Zoo and Conservatory’s Visitors Center, 1225 Estabrook Dr. All Sunday Series events are free; they run from 1-2:30pm.

Future presentations in 2018:
• Crime Prevention through Landscape Design, Sun., Apr. 15, Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Pkwy. N.—Patty Lammers, crime prevention coordinator for the St. Paul Police, advises where to plant, where not to plant, and what to plant to make yourself, your family, and your home safer.
• Como Park Tree Trek, Sun., June 3 (meet outside the Como Lakeside Pavilion, 1360 Lexington Pkwy. N.)—Certified arborist and former Tree Advisory Panel member Tim Morgan leads a walk to help you better identify and understand local tree species, their health, and the diseases and pests that affect them.

You, too, can join the District 10 Board
Eight positions on the Como Community Council Board are up for election at District 10’s annual meeting on Tues., Apr. 17. In at least six of the positions, the incumbent is not seeking re-election. So this year is a great opportunity for new activists to seek an open seat. To find out more, see the article on District 10’s website: www.district10comopark.org.

The positions on this April’s ballot:
• Vice-Chair
• Treasurer
• One representative from each of four geographic sub-districts
• Two at-large representatives

Any resident of District 10 who is age 18 or older is eligible to run. So are authorized representatives from a business or nonprofit organization located in District 10.

Candidates interested in a board position must submit their name and a brief biography by Tues., Apr. 10. Nominations submitted after that date will be treated as write-in candidacies.

Board members elected this year will serve from Apr. 24, 2018, until Apr. 28, 2020.

What do you think about the crosswalk idea?
St. Paul Parks and Recreation plans to build a new pedestrian crosswalk across Lexington Pkwy., near the parking lots for the Golf Course and Lakeside Pavilion. District 10 is exploring residents’ priorities about the proposed crosswalk and some of the potential options. Take our survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/D10LexCrossing.

Improve your credit score
Learn how to understand and improve your credit and credit score at a free Financial Literacy Workshop on Wed., Mar. 21, 6pm, at the Como Park Streetcar Station. Join LSS Financial Counseling and TopLine Federal Credit Union for a workshop to learn:
• How to get and read your credit report
• How your credit score is calculated and ways to increase your score
• Ways to improve negative credit and build good credit
• Your FCRA rights and how to correct errors

To register for the workshop call 763-391-9494.

Get your junk pile together earlier this year
Heads up, procrastinators! The yearly Citywide Drop-Off at the State Fairgrounds will be earlier this year. Usually, the event—where you get rid of stuff you can’t throw in the trash—is in the fall. But in 2018, Drop-Off Day is June 9. We’ll fill you in on details as we get closer, but this is definitely the year to take spring cleaning seriously.

Upcoming District 10 meetings
• Como Community Council Monthly Meeting: Tues., Mar. 20
• Environment Committee: Wed., Mar. 28
• Neighborhood Relations and Safety Committee: Tues., Apr. 3
• Land Use Committee: Wed., Apr. 4

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

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Monitor In A Minute

Posted on 08 March 2018 by Calvin


Update given on survey work
Neighbors interested in a proposed historic survey of the neighborhood around Hamline University got an update Feb. 19, along with an overview of area history.

Despite a snowstorm, there was a good turnout for the Hamline-Midway Reconnaissance Survey. It is a historic survey of properties and identification of historic contexts, development patterns, and historic resources in the Hamline Midway neighborhood.

Those present learned about the project and how they can help provide information. The meeting was part of the regular Hamline University Neighborhood Advisory Committee meeting. An update was to be provided in January but was postponed that month due to a storm.

The project is being followed closely by the St. Paul Heritage Preservation Commission, which received an update Feb. 22. The survey is being funded through a mix of federal, state, and city funds.

Those present got an update on neighborhood history (including industrial history), and talked about upcoming meetings that will be part of the project.
There will also be additional community outreach.

What could ultimately result hinges on study findings, but the neighborhood could have a district or individual sites designated. The type of designation, such as national or local, could also be decided.

Follow city work on the survey at https://www.stpaul.gov/departments/planning-economic-development/planning/current-activities.

Interim council member named
Samantha Henningson is the interim St. Paul City Council Ward Four member. She was appointed Feb. 14 to replace Russ Stark, who has joined Mayor Melvin Carter III’s administration.

Henningson has worked as Stark’s legislative aide for all of his 10 years in office. She previously worked for Hamline University and is a founder of Women on Bikes. Henningson and her family live in Hamline-Midway neighborhood.

She was chosen from a field of six candidates who interviewed for the interim post. Those who interviewed agreed that if they were chosen they would not seek election to the seat in August.

A new council member will be chosen during the statewide primary election. That person will serve through 2019 (the remaining year-plus of Stark’s term). 2019 is when all seven council seats are on the ballot.

City Council members in St. Paul are part-time and are paid $63,000 year.

Ward Four includes all of Merriam Park, Hamline-Midway, and St. Anthony Park neighborhoods, and parts of Como, and Macalester-Groveland.

Autumn Amadou-Blegen, Scott Banas, Laura LaCroix-Dalluhn, Jon Oppenheimer and John Van Hecke had also interviewed for the interim post.

Approval sought for ‘accessory dwellings’
The topic of accessory dwelling units, such as an apartment in a home or housing above a garage, will be studied by the St. Paul Planning Commission.

On Feb. 7 the City Council approved a study that includes the West 7th, West Side, Frogtown, District One and Mounds Park neighborhoods. In late February Union Park District Council sought to have its neighborhoods added to the study.

Older neighborhoods with larger homes, including Ramsey Hill and Summit Hill, have carriage house apartments or other forms of accessory dwellings that predate the zoning code. Neighborhoods one-half mile north and south of Green Line light rail, except for Frogtown, have newer zoning regulations that allow the units to be added in a home or above a garage.

Ward Seven Council Member Jane Prince sought the study at the behest of Mounds Park residents. But other council members said there is growing interest in studying the dwelling units. The council discussed whether there should be a citywide study, or if the study should only cover areas where there is interest. Some neighborhoods, including Summit Hill and Highland, have fought the idea. The Green Line accessory dwellings proposal drew a mixed reaction in St. Anthony Park.

“From a staff perspective, we need to see if there is community support” before doing a study citywide, said City Planner Jamie Radel. She suggested a series of open houses and events to explain what an accessory dwelling unit is. Community reaction could determine where the studies would continue. But that kind of process would slow down studies for neighborhoods that want the option of accessory dwelling units.

“There are pockets of interest throughout the city,” said former Ward Four Council Member Russ Stark. He heard from constituents who live just outline of the Green Line area where the dwelling units are allowed. Those constituents question why they cannot add the units to their properties.

Changes meant to help small businesses
Changes to the Neighborhood Sales Tax Revitalization (STAR) guidelines, meant to help small businesses, won approval Feb. 7 from the St. Paul City Council.

The council, Neighborhood STAR Board, and Department of Planning and Economic Development staff have discussed the changes for a couple of years. Michelle Swanson, the city staff for the program, said the intent is to get more for-profit small businesses involved. A second goal is to fill vacant commercial storefronts. Swanson said projects that occupy vacant storefronts would get favorable consideration during the project review process.

Small businesses will be able to seek grant-only assistance. Grants will have to be matched on a dollar for dollar basis.

Swanson said larger businesses will still have to seek loans or a grant-loan combination. The city will also ease the match requirements for small businesses, with no match at all for loans of up to $50,000. Technical changes are also being made to streamline the reimbursement process.

An informational workshop about the Neighborhood STAR Program and application process was held Feb 14. Applications are being accepted through Wed., Mar. 21, at 4pm.

More than $2.8 million will be available in loans and grants for capital (bricks and mortar) improvement projects in neighborhoods that further economic, commercial or residential development. After a complete review, funding decisions will be announced in July 2018.

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