SponsorAd

Archive | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Mayor Melvin Carter III

Mosaic speaks volumes of how new Mayor sees St. Paul

Posted on 09 April 2018 by Calvin

By JAN WILLMS
In the mayor’s office newly occupied by Melvin Carter III (photo right by Jan Willms), a circular mosaic is soon going to find a home on one of its walls. Sent over by Mosaic on a Stick, a local business in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood, the mosaic spells out a message, “St. Paul For All Of Us.”

A fitting message for St. Paul’s first African American mayor and one of its youngest ever elected. Carter said he had met with Lori Greene at Mosaic on a Stick (1564 Lafond Ave.) and asked her to design a mosaic.

“Over the course of a year, we had conversations with people, and then asked them to take a piece of broken tile and put some glue on it and glue it on,” Carter said. “This is the result of people in this city, who don’t know each other, who speak different languages at home, who live in completely different parts of the city and in completely different walks of life.” With all these diverse factors coming together, the broken pieces of tile created something beautiful, according to Carter. “That’s our vision for this city,” he added.

Cater, 38, comes from a family that understands the responsibilities and challenges of public service. His mother, Toni, has served on the school board and is currently a Ramsey County Commissioner. His father, Melvin Carter Jr, is a retired policeman. “My parents are probably my closest mentors, both of whom I see as incredible leaders for our city in different capacities. I think I learned from them at an early age just how inter-related people are.”

Carter said his family would quote Paul Wellstone, who said, “We all do better when we all do better.”

“That’s a powerful phrase that could be a throwaway line if we don’t realize we really are all inter-related,” Carter continued. “We, in a community, have to be a whole together….and so I have learned that from them. Also, I have learned from my mother how to listen and to learn from people. That is something I have always admired about her. Any conversation I have ever seen her in, she has learned to listen and take some policy implication from it—something she can use in her work—and that’s something I aspire to do.”

Carter said there are a number of people he has learned from over the years, including former mayor Chris Coleman. “For a long time, I have learned a lot from him,” he said.

One of the areas Carter wants to address is education, and he has put together a College Savings Plan. “We are working on cross sectors, the public sector with nonprofit leaders, with higher education leaders of foundations and with private sector businesses in our community to create a college savings account that puts $50 in the bank to start every child born in our community on the track to college,” he said. “It’s something I am really excited about.”

Carter noted that research shows that if children from low to moderate income families have a small amount of money put away for college, anything from $1 to $500, they are more likely to go to college. “And when they do, they are four times more likely to graduate,” Carter added. “So planting those seeds are seeds that we expect to water in the form of a bright future for all of our children. And securing a bright future for all of our children, that’s securing a bright future for our city.”

Carter recalled a mentor who always says, “Instead of helping kids beat the odds, let’s get to work in changing the odds.” Carter reflected on disparities that he considers some of the worst in the nation, not just in education but in housing, healthcare, and wealth. He said they are all inter-related. “To change the odds means not just isolating one and saying we’re going to work on the education gap while housing and health gaps remain,” he said. “That won’t actually get us out of where we are.

The idea is to find something that works not just with the children, but with the families right now. I see the college savings account as an odds-transforming proposal that is also pretty cost-efficient.”

Carter said he is also committed to signing a higher minimum wage into law this year. “We are going to raise the minimum wage in St. Paul so no one who works full-time will ever have to live in poverty. We are going to continue to push that forward.”

Another commitment Carter made in his inaugural address was to revise use of force policies with the St. Paul police chief. “We have done that now,” Carter said.

“Tension between citizens and the police force seems to be a national conversation we are having that is renewed over and over again with videos we see on social media and in the news, with unarmed black men being shot by police. It is really disturbing.” He added that he believes a lot in the current police chief. “We are making progress that started before my election,” he said. “Our police force has worked hard to build our practices and transparencies around 21st-century policing models.”

“We are working hard through our Community First Public Safety Plan. Public safety isn’t just about what happens after something bad occurs or after someone has called 911. It’s about building safe environments; it’s about connecting people to opportunities; it’s about investing in the critical trust that has to exist between police officers and our neighbors.”

Carter said his administration is already about three months into that. “We have already revised our police use of force policies, so we are all on the same page about when officers are and are not allowed to use force,” Carter explained. “We did that in an unprecedented community engagement process….We spent two months gathering feedback, and the feedback we got subsequently changed what the final product came out to be. So we’re going to continue to train officers and push the ball on our Community First Public Safety strategy and work closely with the police department and neighbors to ensure we are on the same team to make our neighborhood safe.”

Considering the national political scene, Carter said that right now he sees it as very adversarial. “It’s one that a lot of people, myself included, have a real distaste for.” He said he believes in the saying that all politics is local. He stressed the importance of how we take care of each other on a local level, how we ensure that every person in every part of our city has access to a great school, has a great job and an affordable home where they can live with dignity. “I think some of that can speak a lot more loudly than anything that happens in Washington, DC, does,” he stated. He said the focus of Serve Saint Paul, a new initiative that will be launched at the upcoming State of the City Summit, is an invitation for residents to build sweat equity in the city through service. “It’s so important that people have a need to be part of something right now,” he said, “something that is not just watching Washington, DC, as it gets worse and worse.”

Considering the years ahead of him as mayor, Carter said he realizes there will be many challenges. “One of the greatest right now is to figure out how to harness all the energy that exists in this city. There is so much, and so many people who want to help.” Carter said the mayor’s office wants to do community service projects and offer opportunities for people to interact with each other.

“That’s why we are doing a State of the City summit instead of just an address,” he said. He said he hopes people will come and join the summit on Sat., Apr. 14 at Johnson High School from 9am to noon. “The hope is to hear not just from me but to really engage with city leaders about the direction we are taking this city,” he added.

Carter paused for a moment.

“It’s in many ways the honor of a lifetime just to have the opportunity to sit in this office and to lead the city I grew up in,” he said softly. “I find myself reflecting on the amazing conversations I have had with people who have held this office over the course of the years.”

Carter said that St. Paul has every ingredient needed to move forward. “St. Paul is a thriving, vibrant, multilingual, diverse space.” He said that’s what is needed to start building a future.

Comments Off on Mosaic speaks volumes of how new Mayor sees St. Paul

Vertical Endeavors 39

Vertical Endeavors opens bouldering site in new Midway location

Posted on 09 April 2018 by Calvin

Head climb team coach Alexandra “Alex” Johnson is a Hudson, WI native who has made numerous first female ascents. She is a five-time United States National Bouldering Champion and two-time Bouldering World Cup gold medalist. Johnson has been climbing professionally for more than a decade and will lead the Climbing Fitness Training and Competitive Team Training at VETCB. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
Vertical Endeavors held a grand opening for their fourth Twin Cities indoor climbing facility on Mar. 17. Located at 2550 Wabash Ave., Vertical Endeavors – Twin Cities Bouldering (VETCB) will be one of the largest bouldering facilities in the country. The new gym has 18,000+ square feet of boulder climbing wall surface, a dedicated “crack wall” with a variety of crack widths, a climbing treadmill, a yoga studio, a pro shop, multiple training and fitness areas, state-of-the-art locker rooms, a community space (with fireplace), and a large exterior patio with in-floor heating.

The Grand Opening kicked off with a ribbon cutting celebration followed by free climbing, a membership sale, and an opportunity to meet the VETCB staff.
Facility manager Gabe Olson said, ”We’re aspiring to be a community gathering place. If you have a membership at one of our climbing gyms, you’re welcome to use any of them. We have three other climbing gyms in the Twin Cities: in Uptown, Bloomington, and East St. Paul, but this new location is the only one that focuses exclusively on bouldering.”

Bouldering is rock climbing that’s been stripped down to the bare essentials. It’s rock climbing without ropes, but the person doing it isn’t usually more than 20’ off the ground. There’s a thick, soft “crash pad” underneath the climber to cushion any falls. Bouldering makes up for its relative lack of vertical distance with technical difficulty. A boulder “problem” is like a puzzle that you solve with your body. Using climbing techniques, upper and lower body strength, as well as finger strength, you try to reach the top of the boulder without falling.

With ceremonial ribbon cutting scissors in hand, Vertical Endeavors owner Nate Postma said, “We looked at a lot of sites before choosing this one. Located in an old warehouse space that borders Interstate 94 near the 280/University Avenue exit, the facility couldn’t have better proximity to both Minneapolis and St. Paul. Ours is the most westerly address in St. Paul and the most easterly address in Minneapolis. The Twin Cities are divided down the middle of Emerald Street, which borders the edge of our parking lot.”

Photo right: Vertical Endeavors Twin Cities Bouldering as seen from the front. An extensive parking lot is to the left. Easy access from the LRT is just two blocks to the north. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

“Bouldering is a very social sport,” Postma explained. “Usually a bunch of friends come to boulder together, so we were intentional about having enough mat space underneath each of the boulder climbs to accommodate groups. We gutted this building and, partnering with Yaeger Construction, worked for a year on the project. What we ended up with is something really special: soaring hardwood ceilings, skylights that run the length of the gym, and indoor bouldering challenges that are second to none.”

VETCB offers a free pass for first-time climbers on the first Friday of each month from 6-9pm. Otherwise, a day pass costs $18, a ten punch card costs $135, month-to-month and annual memberships are available, and all gear can be rented or purchased on site. There are discount days for homeschool and scout groups, fitness training opportunities for youth and adults, and a range of yoga classes to choose from. VETCB is open Monday-Saturday from 10am-10pm (members only from 8-10am) and Sunday from 10am-6pm. Visit their website at www.verticalendeavors.com for more information.

Comments Off on Vertical Endeavors opens bouldering site in new Midway location

Karmit Bulman

One organization helps those who recruit and manage volunteer staff

Posted on 09 April 2018 by Calvin

By STEPHANIE FOX
There was a time when charitable organizations could count on volunteers to put in long hours and stay at their posts for years. But, societal changes—women in the workplace, the increasing demands on time for families and for both young and older people—have drastically changed the face of reuniting volunteers. For people whose job it is to find and retain these people, the new reality is challenging.

MAVA, the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration is a statewide non-profit organization based at 970 Raymond Ave. Its mission is to educate and advocate for those whose job it is to find, recruit, and organize volunteers for non-profits, charitable organizations, and governmental entities. Their social mission, they say, is to create partnerships building on resources to serve all of Minnesota.

Currently, MAVA, the largest professional membership organization in the state representing professionals involved in volunteerism, works with a variety of non-profits and governmental organizations. They partner up with, among others, the City of St. Paul, Dakota and Hennepin Counties, the Girl Scouts of River Valley, Habitat for Humanity. Members say that it is a leading resource for people involved in volunteerism to exchange ideas and information.

“We have upwards of 700 members representing hundreds of groups,” said Karmit Bulman, MAVA’s director (photo right provided). “We are keeping them appraised of the new trends and giving them the tools to adjust their strategies accordingly.”

But, she said, these professionals are working with some serious disadvantages.

“This is a hidden profession with a lack of job equity,” said Bulman. “This is the same type of job as a corporation’s development director, a program director, or a human resource director. But, they are paid much less. They are the first to go when there are budget cuts. They are often not included in the executive team or strategic planning.”

“They are undervalued, and their work is often misunderstood,” she said. “These people are a hidden resource, and they are treated like second-class workers even though they are the secret sauce that makes these organizations work.”

MAVA is here to help. The mission of MAVA, she said, is to support and to train these experts to do their jobs better and to advance their profession in the face of inequity. Founded 16 years ago as a way to bring volunteer organizers together, to help them do their jobs better and to change the face of their own profession as well.

Last summer, MAVA began a study to find the roots and the results of the problems. CEOs of 464 organizations filled out a 22-question survey to learn more about the attitudes and problems faced by organizations that use volunteers.

Bulman found that one misperception from the CEOs is that volunteers are easy to recruit and retain. “But, they are not. Without volunteers, most of these entities could not achieve their missions,” she said. “I interviewed 25 CEOs, and they said they feel that this study is game-changing.”

Bulman said that there are things the leaders of organizations can do to support their staff members. She recommends that they let their recruiting staff know that they are valued, to give more responsibility to staff members, to involve them at higher levels throughout the organizations, and to invest time and resources in their volunteers and staff.

“You need education, orientation, supervision, performance evaluation, and job descriptions. You need policy and procedures so the staff can do their work,” she said.
The research examined why there is a lack of understanding about the nature of volunteers and who leads them. The results showed that this inequity ultimately undermined the effectiveness of nonprofits and government organizations.

Some of the training helps non-profit organizations adjust to the changes in volunteerism. “In the trade era,” she said, “people would put in many hours a week. We still see that model, but the Millennial generation and even the Baby Boomers are now more likely to be short-term volunteers. Therefore, recruiters have to change their methods.”

There is also a move to skill-based volunteers, she said. Organizations are not just looking for people to stuff envelopes. They want accountants, graphic designers, and other highly-skilled occupations.

Other changes, said Bulman, is the move toward inclusion and equity. Organizations that service certain groups need to include volunteers from those groups. MAVA’s study showed that volunteers aren’t just people of privilege, she said. One workshop offered by MAVA focuses on engaging volunteers from diverse and immigrant communities.

Through MAVA, organizations can also become certified Service Enterprises, operations that excel and bringing out the best from their volunteers. Service Enterprises are proven to be more adaptable, sustainable and capable of scaling their impact in comparison to peer organizations. Some of the 45 Minnesota based Service Enterprise organizations include the City of Roseville, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, Make a Wish, Catholic Charities and Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minnesota

MAVA also runs workshops to teach volunteer leaders to advocate for themselves, to get organizational buy-in, learn workplace negotiations and foster leadership.
MAVA has its own volunteers. Anvitaa Pattani has been working with MAVA’s Strengthening Service Task Force, identifying sponsors and donors for the last few months. “I also spread the word about MAVA and raise awareness about the cause,” she said.

Pattani moved to Minneapolis last December and thought that the best way to meet new people would be to get involved as a volunteer. “While looking for opportunities, I met quite a few people, one who worked with MAVA. That’s how I got involved.”

Nationally, the volunteer rate for adults older than 16-years is 24.9 percent. In Minnesota, the second best state for volunteers, the rate is 35.43 percent.

“I have not seen volunteerism done as passionately as it is done in Minnesota,” she said. “Equally important is our community’s reliance on volunteers. I wanted to be a part of that.”

Ann Fosco, the Community Impact Director with Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly, one of MAVA’s Service Enterprises, has worked with a number of non-profits and finds MAVA to be invaluable. “With the past three or four organizations I’ve worked with, I have made sure that they are members of MAVA,” she said. “The opportunity to connect with other non-profits and to engage that community helps us better do our mission. We learn from each other; we share materials, ideas, and research. This wouldn’t happen without MAVA.”

The days of organizations automatically having a professional volunteer coordinator is fading, she said, so she has signed on as one of MAVA’s trainers to help staff without this kind of experience understand their new assignments. “For some, this is an extra responsibility,” she said. “We talk about the different things they can do to support their volunteers.”

“Volunteers change the world,” Bulman said, “from civil rights to the anti-gun violence movement. It’s volunteers who put their passion into action. MAVA is here to support the people who find and guide those volunteers so they can do the work that needs to be done.”

Comments Off on One organization helps those who recruit and manage volunteer staff

District Council News

Posted on 09 April 2018 by Calvin

Hamline Midway Council – District 11

By MELISSA CORTES, Community Organizer

A new Community Engagement Committee
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 our coalition area. We are currently accepting applications for committee members.

Please send your interest to communityengagement@hamlinemidway.org or visit www.hamlinemidway.org/communityengagementcommittee for more information.

(NOTE: No meeting date has been set. If you are interested in the work of this committee and want to stay in the loop, please send us your name and email to be added to our newsletter.)

Environment Committee
The Environment Committee members are currently working to respond to the state legislature’s exemption bills for sustainable to-go packaging and plastic bag ban. This bill would preempt all Minnesota cities from passing their own ordinances on any single-use bag free and recyclable, reusable, or compostable to-go food containers. Not only is this a step backward for the environment and human health, but also for residents to engage in the democratic process with their local representatives.

Also, the Environment Committee members have committed to mobilizing for stormwater adopt-a-drain community engagement—see www.adopt-a-drain.org. If you’d like to participate or want to weigh in on this work, contact environment@hamlinemidway.org.

Garage Sale
Mark your calendars for Hamline Midway Coalition’s annual neighborhood Garage Sale Weekend, May 4-6, 8am-3pm. With this event gaining popularity every year, we have decided to make it a Garage Sale Weekend, for three days, May 4-6! To sign up visit www.hamlinemidway.org/garagesale or visit us in person in the Hamline Midway Library at 1558 W. Minnehaha Ave.

 

Como Community Council, District 10

By MICHAEL KUCHTA, Executive Director

You live here … vote locally!
Residents of District 10 can vote on Apr. 17 for eight open positions on the Como Community Council Board. Any renter, homeowner, or other resident of District 10 who is age 18 or older, is eligible to vote. So are authorized representatives from a business or nonprofit located in District 10.

Up for election this year are vice-chair, treasurer, one representative from each of the four geographic sub-districts, and two at-large representatives. Elections take place at the beginning of the community council’s annual meeting. The meeting is Tues., Apr. 17 at 7pm at the Como Park Streetcar Station, which is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton.

To find out more election details, including a rundown of candidates on the ballot, see the article on District 10’s website: www.district10comopark.org. Under the council’s bylaws, nominations also can be made from the floor on the night of the election.

Hostile vegetation is just the beginning
What you plant and where you plant it, the fencing you choose, and how you let your lights shine—all can be tactics to keep your property safer. Pick up advice in these areas and more during “Crime Prevention through Landscape Design,” the next presentation in District 10’s Sunday Series. Patty Lammers, crime prevention coordinator for the St. Paul Police, shares tips in natural surveillance, territorial reinforcement, access control, and even hostile vegetation.

This free presentation is scheduled for Sun., Apr. 15 from 1-2:30pm at the Como Park Streetcar Station.

Get your gardening off to a great start
The Como Community Seed Library holds its 2018 May Mosaic on Sat., May 5, 11am-2pm at the Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Pkwy. N. The free event is a great opportunity to swap seeds, plants, and perennials; swap stories; get advice from garden experts; and more. For details, see https://comoseedsavers.geopoi.us.

A rain barrel is a bargain—advice is even better
District 10’s Environment Committee and the Capitol Region Watershed District hold a Rain Barrel Workshop on Sat., May 19 from 1-3pm at the Twin Cities German Immersion School, 1031 Como Ave. Participants can get a rain barrel for the unheard of price of $29 (plus tax), and learn how to set it up, so it works the way it’s supposed to. (If you already have rain barrels at your home, you can show up and learn to use them correctly—for free.) Space is limited, so register now at www.bit.ly/d10-rainbarrels.

Fairgrounds drop-off is June 9
The annual Citywide Drop-Off at the State Fairgrounds is much earlier than usual in 2018: It’s Sat., June 9 from 8am-1pm. The Drop-Off, organized by St. Paul and District 10, is a great chance to get rid of the junk you can’t throw in the trash (for a reasonable price). If you volunteer to help staff the event, you can get rid of a load of your junk for free. Sign up to volunteer at www.district10comopark.org/volunteer_form.html

Other things to look forward to
• Sat., Apr. 21: Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Spring Cleanup, 9-11:30pm, Como Lakeside Pavilion.
• Sat., Apr. 28: 2018 City Nature Challenge, 9am-4pm, Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom. Track what lives in the woodland, part of a competitive “bio-blitz” in 60 cities worldwide.
• Sun., June 3: Block Party in the Park, 4-7pm, Orchard Park, 875 W. Orchard Ave. Neighbors hanging out with neighbors. You don’t have to live in South Como to join the fun.
• Sat., June 16: Como Neighborhood Garage Sale. By popular demand, it’s later than usual this year (cross your fingers for better weather).
• Sat., June 23: Como Lake Rain Garden Workshop, 9am-noon., Streetcar Station. Capitol Region Watershed District leads a hands-on workshop to identify locations for the next wave of boulevard rain gardens in District 10. These are among the most cost-effective ways to collect and filter polluted street runoff before it reaches Como Lake. The best part is the selected locations will get rain gardens installed at no cost.

Upcoming District 10 Meetings
• Como Community Council Monthly Meeting: Tues., Apr. 17
• Environment Committee: Wed., Apr. 25
• Neighborhood Relations and Safety Committee: Tues., May 1
• Land Use Committee: Wed., May 2
All meetings begin at 7pm, typically at the Como Park Streetcar Station, which is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton. Community members are always welcome to attend and participate. Whenever possible, agendas are posted in advance in the “Board News” section of District 10’s website.

Comments Off on District Council News

Hamline Library Mosaic 11

Hamline Midway Library mosaic mural is made by many hands

Posted on 09 April 2018 by Calvin

More than 100 participants helped build the mosaic one tile at a time, over the course of three workshop days. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

By MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
More than 100 people gathered at the Hamline Midway Library, 1558 W Minnehaha Ave., Mar. 22-24 to create a colorful tile mural designed by community mosaic artist Lori Greene. Once complete, the 3’ X 7’ mural will be permanently attached to the library’s east-facing fireplace wall.

Library manager Shelly Hawkins said, “The Hamline Library is a community library in every sense of the word. We wanted to fund a community engagement project that would be accessible to everybody. The Hamline Midway Coalition donated funds to hire Lori Greene; the Midway Men’s Club contributed, and our library had money for the project also. The theme of the mural is nature in the urban world.”

During February, library patrons were asked for their input about how to portray nature in the city. They contributed words, photos, and drawings, and Greene translated all that information into an urban landscape outlined on mesh backing. She cut the material into several smaller sections, and mosaic makers as young as three helped to glue cut pieces of tile onto it—making bees, dragonflies, rabbits, birds, and plants come to life.

“We’re what’s called a Nature Smart Library,” Hawkins explained, “so this project felt like a natural extension of our library’s values. Our philosophy is that you can learn about nature wherever you are. As part of our Nature Smart mission, we’ve assembled several backpacks for families to check out. The backpacks contain books, toys, equipment, and other supplies on a variety of themes including birds, trees, frogs, urban animals, and more. Sun Ray, St. Anthony, Riverview, and Merriam Park are also participating Nature Smart Libraries.”

Melissa Cortez is the community organizer/communications specialist with the Hamline Midway Coalition, one of the project partners. “Shelly and I worked together on this project,” she said. “Shelly had done something similar when she was at another St. Paul library. She knew it would be a great way for staff to interact with the Hamline Library patrons, and for the patrons to connect with each other in ways that they wouldn’t normally get to do. You could see that happening at the work tables during the mosaic workshops: there were teens working alongside senior citizens and little kids, and people were sharing their ideas about how everything was coming together.”

“As the Hamline Midway Coalition community organizer,” Cortez said, “my part in this project was to get input from community groups like the Hamline Midway Elders, families using the nearby Hancock Recreation Center, neighborhood businesses, staff, parents, and students at Hamline Elementary School. We recently partnered with Hamline Elementary School on their fence weaving project along Snelling Avenue, so neighbors were already excited about participating in a public art project. The inspiration for what should be included in the mosaic came from all of them.”

Community mosaic artist Lori Green lives in the Hamline Midway neighborhood and her business, Mosaic on a Stick, is there too at 1564 Lafond Ave. She said, “I’ve done more community art projects than I can even count any more, and it’s amazing—they always work. I made a decision early on not to be at the library during the building days. After all the ideas came in, I laid out how the project would flow. I don’t believe in micro-managing. With community art-making, you have to trust the process and give people a chance to figure things out. They create a community within themselves, rather than relying on being told what to do. That’s a beautiful thing!”

The mosaic mural should be up and ready for viewing by the end of April.

Comments Off on Hamline Midway Library mosaic mural is made by many hands

Stop for Me campaign finds only 31% stop for pedestrians!

Posted on 09 April 2018 by Calvin

By JANE MCCLURE
Stop for Me, St. Paul’s annual pedestrian safety campaign, is on the move. The 2018 effort gets underway in April, with events in neighborhoods around the city through the summer and fall. This year’s work will not only include the familiar banners and community activists promoting pedestrian safety awareness, but it will also include a University of Minnesota and Western Michigan University-led study of pedestrian crossings and ways to keep people safe. The effort, which St. Paul City Council members heard about Mar. 21, includes studies of selected crossings as well as research on driver behavior.

Stop for Me starts Apr. 18 with St. Paul Police Department officer training. The first enforcement activities are Apr. 18-May 1. This phase, in which motorists will receive warnings, is when school and media engagement ramps up. The follow-up phases, when motorists could receive tickets are June 4-18, Aug. 6-20 and Oct. 1-15. Neighborhood locations haven’t been announced.

Last year St. Paul had 60 enforcement events.

Stop for Me is getting underway at the same time city Public Works staff are rolling ideas for a citywide pedestrian plan. A plan open house Mar. 22 at Arlington Hills Community Center drew a large crowd. One goal of the plan is to ensure that the City adds sidewalks in places where there are none and makes it safer for people to walk.

Stop for Me focuses on getting people safely across streets.

“High-visibility enforcement sends the messages that we care about pedestrians,” said Nichole Morris. It also sends a message that the city is serious about law enforcement. Morris is the director of the HumanFIRST Laboratory in the University of Minnesota Department of Mechanical Engineering. She describes her work as a mix of engineering and psychology.

This year’s Stop for Me enforcement includes the option for police to evaluate circumstances and check a box indicating if a motorist is endangering life or property. Checking that box means the driver automatically goes to court and cannot simply pay the fine, said Sgt. Jeremy Ellison.

Morris reviewed recent research conducted at several St. Paul intersections without signals. Teams worked at the intersections, with one person crossing the street and a second making notes of driver behavior. A wide range of two-lane and four-lane streets were studied citywide. Some have pedestrian refuges or medians and others don’t.

In the recent tests vehicles did 1,581 crossings. The average test had about 67 vehicles per period, and 20 pedestrian crossings during that time. On average, only three in 10 vehicles stopped.

“We have a driving culture problem in St. Paul,” Morris said. “It requires a cultural solution.” While education enforcement and street engineering can provide some help, Morris said safe driving needs to be reinforced through other cues. One idea is to post signs during Stop for Me, to indicate the percentage of drivers who stop for pedestrians.

That percentage was only 31 percent during the recent data collection, a statistic Morris said, “is nothing to smile about.” Posting the percentage and encouraging drivers to change behavior “could become a community rallying cry. This is what St. Paul does. We stop for pedestrians.”

Morris is not sure why St. Paul has such a low percentage of people who stop. One issue is four-lane streets or wider two-lane streets.

One dangerous situation, which has claimed the lives of some St. Paul pedestrians in recent years, is on four-lane streets. One motorist will stop for the pedestrian, while another flies through. Ellison said that’s one reason why it is important to stop father back for pedestrians, to give them better sightlines.

Pedestrian fatalities and injuries represent a growing number of all traffic fatalities and injuries nationwide. Between 2004 and 2013, the percent of traffic deaths for pedestrians rose from 10.9 percent of the total to 14.5 percent.

The uptick in motor vehicle-pedestrian accidents is also being seen in St. Paul, said Morris. In 2015 the city had 146 vehicle-pedestrian crashes, with six being fatalities. 2016 had 188 crashes and four fatalities. 2017 ended with 193 crashes and three fatalities.

 

 

Comments Off on Stop for Me campaign finds only 31% stop for pedestrians!

Como High School Senator Klobuchar with Como

Econ Challenge, JROTC, Washington D.C., and AP Exams

Posted on 09 April 2018 by Calvin

Compiled by ERIC ERICKSON, Social Studies Teacher
• Eight Como AP Macroeconomics students spent Mar. 13 at the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis. Two teams of four students each represented Como in the Urban Regional Invitational Econ Challenge. Participants worked both individually and collaboratively to demonstrate their knowledge of economic concepts and theories, culminating with the top two teams going head to head in the quiz bowl final. Additionally, students enjoyed breakfast and lunch at “The Fed” and toured the facility, learning more about the Federal Reserve’s role in our banking system.

Photo right: Como AP Econ students Mario Sanchez-Lopez, Keleenah Yang, Eli Pattison and Jackson Kerr teamed up to win the Urban Regional Econ Challenge at the Federal Reserve and advance to state. (Photo courtesy of Paula Keller, Minnesota Council of Economic Education)

With a total of 14 teams competing in the Urban Regional, Como’s teams both finished in the top three. The team of Mario Sanchez-Lopez, Keleenah Yang, Eli Pattison and Jackson Kerr qualified for the quiz bowl and emerged as the regional champions. With the victory, they advanced to the State Econ Challenge on Apr. 11 at The Fed, against five other regional winners from across the state.

• Twenty-six seniors currently studying AP Government and AP Macroeconomics recently returned from a busy week of action and touring in Washington D.C. The participating students were part of the national Close Up program, which promotes education in democracy and uses the capital as a living classroom. Como student highlights included visiting the House of Representatives in session, the Supreme Court, Senate committee meetings, a U.S. Capitol tour, national monuments, memorials, Smithsonian Museums and prominent Washington neighborhoods.

Photo left: Como AP Government students participating in the national Close Up program had policy meetings with their elected officials on Capitol Hill last month. The students are pictured with Senator Amy Klobuchar in the Hart Senate Office Building. (Photo by Klobuchar staff)

The students had policy meetings on Capitol Hill with Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Tina Smith, Congresswoman Betty McCollum and Congressman Tim Walz. Throughout the week, Como students were also in policy discussions and simulations with peers from across the nation. The Como students examined issues from multiple perspectives, listening to alternative points of view, and developing a greater sense of political efficacy to make a difference in their community and country.

• Cadets in the Como Marine JROTC earned a spot in the National Academic Bowl Finals for JROTC programs. William Farley, Joseph Newman, Anderson Xiong and Francisco Dominguez advanced to the championships in Washington D.C. which will take place in June. This is the second consecutive year that a Como MJROTC team has achieved the opportunity to compete on the national level. The cadets diligently studied and prepared to try and master fundamental ACT and SAT knowledge that is base of the contest. It certainly served them well!

• The JROTC Drill Team also had success in its most recent competition, which was held in Sioux Falls, SD on Mar. 24. Como’s cadets took home the championship trophy. A dozen schools from across the region participated in this annual event. It’s the second time in school history that Como has earned the top prize.

• The AP Exam season is rapidly approaching. Hundreds of Como students will be studying and reviewing their class content in preparation for the Advanced Placement tests in May. Como will administer over AP 550 exams in total, to hundreds of students who are completing their college-level coursework this academic year. AP courses are instructed by Como teachers and regulated by the AP College Board.

• St. Paul’s Regional History Day event was held on Mar. 17 at Johnson High School. Como students earned the honor of advancing to the State History Day at the University of Minnesota in two different categories. For individual exhibits, state qualifiers were Caitlin Jones for the Integration of College Basketball, Emma Mueller for The Lavender Scare and Kayla Selbitschka for Hela Cells. For Group Website, Kao Nou Lee, Lee Thao and William Farley qualified for state with their work on the Secret War in Laos. Earning honorable mention at regions were Pany Thor, Trinh Nguyen and David Amobi for their website on the Kent State Massacre, and Roa Lay and Naw Sei for their group exhibit on the Chinese Exclusion Act.

• The Como Park High School Booster Club recently announced the 2017-2018 Grant Awardees from Como’s extracurricular clubs, teams, and programs. Award winners were BEASTBot (Robotics), Cougar Journal, Close Up Washington D.C., Student Council, MCJROTC, Youth in Government, Technovation Apps Club, Boys Soccer, Choir, Instrumental Music, and the Pan African Student Union.

Booster Club grants are made possible with funding from the Give to the Max campaign and Como fundraiser donations. Many thanks to the community members who support Como Park High School and the many wonderful programs that help serve students.

• Como hosted an Opportunity/Career Fair in the school commons during the lunch periods of Mar. 29. Twenty-five vendors came to promote programs, internships, scholarships, and potential career paths for Como students. Companies and organizations represented a wide range of the local economy and business community including Warners’ Stellian, 3M, Renewal by Anderson, Aveda, Dunwoody College of Technology, the Hmong American Partnership and even the St. Paul Saints.

• Also on Mar. 29, during the last hour of the day before spring break commenced, the bleachers were packed inside the Como Gymnasium for the annual Student/Faculty Basketball Game. Students were highly entertained by the staff trying to play basketball against the squad of seniors representing the Class of 2018! The fun-filled event also included the halftime performance by the teacher dance troupe. To no one’s surprise, the final score of the game favored the students, and everyone shared some laughs, starting spring break with a smile.

Comments Off on Econ Challenge, JROTC, Washington D.C., and AP Exams

St. Paul Art Crawl announces Midway/Como artist locations

Posted on 09 April 2018 by Calvin

The 2018 Spring St. Paul Art Crawl takes place throughout the city on Fri., Apr. 27, 6-10pm; Sat., Apr. 28, 12-8pm; and Sun., Apr. 29, 12-5pm. This is the 27th year for the Art Crawl, and over 400 artists are showing in 34 locations.

Here is a list of artists showing, and their locations, in the Monitor distribution area:

Burning Brothers Brewing, 1750 Thomas Ave.
Goblets of Fire, Hand-blown Glass Art
Holly Oehme, Fluid Abstract Art
Kasasagi Designs, Original, Beaded Jewelry & Accessories
Michael Egan, Functional Stoneware Pottery
Tooling-A- Round, Hand-turned Wood Accessories
Wendy Egan, Sterling Silver Jewelry
Wildlife-n-Wood, Wood Burning & Cribbage Boards

2281 Hampton Ave W, 2nd Floor
John Vieno, Abstract Paintings, Drawings & Sculpture
Carleton Artist Lofts, 2285 University Ave. W.
155C, The Studio Project, Hand-made Journals & Paintings
361C, Catherine Hedberg, Benches, Small Tables, Trays, Clocks
454C, Liz Lang, Acrylic Paintings
Dance Studio, Reiki Laughter

Carleton Artist Lofts, 2285 University Ave. W., Hallway
Stacie Braford, Multimedia painting/fiber art on wood & canvas
Megz Makes, Crochet Critters, Recycled Fiber Jewelry & Art
The Cover Lady, Designer Pillowcases & Jean Fashions
A.K. Hed Vincent, Abstract Expressionist Paintings
J Sterling, Engravings and Creations using Wood & more
Defiant Beauty Photography, Wall Art, Postcards, Greeting Cards
Dancing Jems by Brenda Paulson, Jewelry
Renee Petersen, Hand Beaded Jewelry
RobynsWear, Whimsical Sculpture for Costume and Home
Samantha Steine, Abstract Drawings/Paintings, Mixed Media
Katie Streitz, Acrylic Paint on Mixed Media
Valkyrie Design Studio, Multidisciplinary Collective
Zimbel Healing Dolls and Tarot, Healing Dolls & Tarot Readings
Blue Sage Bees, Artisan Soaps, Salves, & Beeswax Candles
Amelia Lawrence Books, Original LBGTQA Novel for Sale
Outa Torch Glasswerks, Lampworked Marbles
Mayfaire, Mixed Media
Lady of the Lake Silks, Hand-dyed Silk Scarves, Wraps, & Veils
Travis Wycislak, High-flow Acrylic Paintings

Dow Building, 2242 University Ave. W.
150,Kevin Caufield, Stone/Porcelain Pottery, Dinnerware
150, Pig’s Eye Pottery, Functional Ceramics
217, Therese Abbott Pedersen, Acrylic/Mixed Media Painting
B-4, Erik Pearson, Paintings, Sculptures, Music & more!

Dow Building, 2242 University Ave. W., Dow Art Gallery
Richard Dillon, Studio Painter
Linda Ricklefs Baudry, Painting/Mixed Media
Robert Delutri, Theoretical Aesthetic Research™
Don Dickinson, Twin Cities Urban Watercolors
Kelly Doyle, Outdoor Photography & Digital Art
Mary Gross, Mixed Media, Life-sized Automaton Sculpture
Galina Haakenson, Landscapes in Acrylic Painting
Umbreen Hasan, Mixed Media, Fine Jewelry, Mosaics
Julie Kolze Sorensen, Enamel Glass Fused to Copper Relief
Patrick Augustine, Oil Painting, Watercolor, Framed Prints
Denise Minkler Marych, Oil Paintings on Copper
Nathan Renken, Abstract
Andrew Sjodin, Paintings and Drawings
Linda Snouffer, Botanical Printmaker
Marcia Söderman, Abstract Acrylic & Watercolor Painting

Midway Triangle Building, 2500 University Ave. W.
A3, Rock Johnsen, Functional Ceramics, Crystalline Glazes
A9, John McLoone, Handcrafted Furnishings & Relief Carvings
B2, Matthew G.G. Holm, Large-scale Abstract Acrylic Paintings
B2, DeAnne L Parks, 2D & 3D Art on Hope and Community
B2, Greta Sandquist, Acrylic Paintings, Prints, & Jewelry
C2, JHDesigns * Judy Hornbacher, Coats & Jackets
C7, Wendy S. McCarty, Oil Painting
E2, Zahnworks Studio, Bronze Sculpture, Prints & Photography
E5, Artsy Images Fine Art Photography, Fine Art Nudes & Nature
F5, Marisa Martinez Jewelry, Metal & Stone Artisan Jewelry
F5, Amy Sabatier Designs, Metalsmith/Adventure Jewelry

Vandalia Tower, Vandalia Glassworks, 550 Vandalia St.
Bryce Borkhuis, Hand-blown Glass
Steven Weagel, Hand-blown Glass with Applied Color
Front Avenue Pottery, 895 Front Ave.
Andrew S. Howard Inc., Wheel-thrown Stoneware
Brett Monahan Pottery, Functional, Wheel-thrown Porcelain
Fiber Art by Miranda, Functional & Decorative Modern Macrame

Front Avenue Pottery and Tile Co., Functional Stoneware
Jenny Levernier / jmml designs, Sterling Silver & Stone Jewelry
Jim Gindorff Landscape Photography
Ryan Ball Pottery, MN-made, Wheel-thrown, Functional Pottery

Interact Center, 1860 W. Minnehaha Ave.
Art in all mediums and styles from over 60+ visual artists. Make and take activities and more. Fun for the whole family!

Prior Affair, 756 Prior Ave. N.
Attend the 3rd Art and Craft show as they exhibit and support over 50 local artists.

Hamline University, 1495 W. Taylor Ave.
     There are 4 artists in the pottery studio.

Comments Off on St. Paul Art Crawl announces Midway/Como artist locations

April 2018 Development Notes

Posted on 09 April 2018 by Calvin

By JANE MCCLURE

Three Midway-area redevelopment projects eyed
It’s an all-Monitor area agenda at the St. Paul Planning Commission zoning committee at 3:30pm, Thur., Apr. 12 at City Hall.

A rezoning from traditional neighborhoods (TN) 2 to TN3 is eyed for 2330 Long Ave., at the southwest corner of Long and Bradford avenues, in South St. Anthony Park. The developer is 842 Ray LLC. The change in zoning would allow for a higher-density building to be erected there. The area is occupied by townhouses and some single-family homes.

A second request is for Larpenteur Crossing at 1330 Larpenteur Ave. and 1672 Hamline Ave. Sarin Development is seeking a conditional use permit for drive-through sales, with conditions. The project would mean redevelopment for the corner anchored for many years by Mac’s Fish and Chips and Midtown Cleaners.

The third request is for BP Gas and Convenience, 1347 University Ave., where a conditional use permit is sought for replacement of a convenience store and car wash. They are seeking modification of maximum setback requirements so that pump islands may be placed between the building and Hamline; and a variance of minimum floor area ratio.

Changes for old Baker School?
Changes are coming to the former Baker School property in the West Midway. The St. Paul Planning commission Apr. 6 recommended rezoning the property for traditional neighborhoods use. That request goes on to the St. Paul City Council for final approval. No date has been set.

Baker East Partners applied for 821 Raymond Ave. and 2421 Territorial Road. The properties are currently zoned for commercial and parking uses. It’s a larger property of more than 74,000 square feet.

The application states that while there are no changes planned for the school-turned-offices, TN3 neighborhood zoning would accommodate potential future changes.

The zoning change would be consistent with zoning changes made nearby, in conjunction with Green Line light rail redevelopment. Several new and building conversion projects are in the area

Baker School was built in 1890 and added onto in 1910. It served as a school into the 1970s and was later converted to office and restaurant use. Architects Ron Ankeny and Duane Kell successfully bid on the school in the 1980s and paid $60,000 for it, according to past newspaper accounts. They rezoned the property in 1981. Ankeny and Kell also converted the former St. Paul Fire Station 14 on North Snelling Ave. into office uses.

Humane Society buys warehouse on Kasota Ave.
The Animal Humane Society has purchased a multi-tenant warehouse at 2565-2575 Kasota Ave. The purchase took place last month for $7.3 million. The warehouse is in a largely industrial area.

Long-term plans call for a shelter at that location. The Animal Humane Society has facilities in St. Paul at 1115 Beulah Lane, and in Coon Rapids, Woodbury and Golden Valley. Its headquarters are in Golden Valley.

Met Council announces grants
St. Paul projects met mixed results in the most recent round of Metropolitan Council grants. The St. Paul City Council in March accepted several grant applications.

The projects approved recently were submitted in late 2017. The Ain Dah Yung housing for homeless youth on Sherburne Ave. in Frogtown was awarded $350,000 in Metropolitan Council Livable Communities Demonstration Account grant funds.

But a request for 700 Emerald St. wasn’t approved. Nor did the Emerald Street project win Tax Base Revitalization Account (TBRA) Program funding. Other area projects shut out from TBRA were the new Junior Achievement headquarters at 1745 University and Willow Reserve development projects on Maryland Ave.

The Ain Dah Yung project was among half a dozen in St. Paul that were approved. More than a dozen projects had been submitted.

Neighborhood STAR changes encourage business ideas
Efforts to promote more business applications for St. Paul’s Neighborhood sales tax revitalization (STAR) program appear to be paying off. The Neighborhood STAR Board’s deliberations are underway, with 42 projects competing. Of those, 29 are business-related requests. Decisions will be made later this year by the St. Paul City Council.

The uptick is being attributed to changes in the program guidelines to encourage more small business development. “We’ve seen more business apply,” said Bruce Corrie, director of the city’s Department of Planning and Economic Development.

The number of applications is up ten from 2017. The requests this spring total $5,470,694. Of those, $3,029,434 are in grants and $2,441,261 are in loans. Matches proposed total $28,493,242. The program typically has less than $2 million available.

Changes approved in time for the 2018 cycle allow small for-profit businesses to apply for 100 percent grant funding. Priority is provided to proposals filling vacant commercial storefront space. The city has also eliminated the need for matching dollars on the first $50,000 of a loan request. Larger for-profit entities can still be eligible to apply for a loan or loan/grant combination. Grant requests still require a $1 to $1 match.

Several Monitor area businesses are in the chase for funding.

Black Hart Properties, owner of Town House at 1415 University Ave., applied for a $50,000 grant to make restroom accessibility improvements, and facade work. A $51,770 match is proposed.

Can Can Wonderland, 755 N. Prior Ave., is asking for a $44,976 loan to make lighting improvements for the entertainment venue. No match is proposed.
Sabrina’s Café and Deli, 518 N. Snelling Ave., applied for a $10,00 grant with $10,000 match. This would help pay for a new awning and interior work.

Nearby at 641 N. Snelling Ave., the Little Africa Ready for Soccer 2019 Project seeks a $42,00 grant and $28,000 loan for improvements to that building. A $42,000 match is proposed.

Snelling Coffee. 638 N. Snelling Ave., seeks a $10,00 grant and a $10,000 loan, to improve its parking lot, signage and make other improvements A $10,00 match is proposed.

The guild842 co-working space at 842 Raymond Ave. applied for a $50,00 grant and a $50,000 loan, with $50,000 match, to make improvements to a coworking space.

Jobs Foundation, which runs the Tech Dump and Tech Discounts businesses on Prior Ave., is seeking a $130,000 grant and $170,00 loan with a $3.42 million match to make improvements at 860 Vandalia Ave.

Three groups are seeking citywide program funds to encourage ethnic business development. The African Development Center seeks a $100,000 grant and a $300,000 loan, with a $400,000 match, for a small business revolving loan fund. African Economic Development Solutions seeks a $200,000 grant with $305,000 match to provide loans for African entrepreneurs. Asian Economic Development Association seeks a $250,000 grant with $250,000 match for small business improvement loans.

One of the area’s two nonbusiness applications is from Hamline Midway Coalition, which is seeking a $32,500 grant, with $32,500 match, for a handball court at Clayland Park. The park is at 901 N. Fairview Ave.

The other is St. Paul Fellowship, 868 Sherburne Ave., which seeks a $23,500 loan to make interior and exterior improvements. This application is made with Frogtown Neighborhood Association. A $23,500 match is proposed.

Snelling-Selby area eyed for two developments
More change is coming to the neighborhoods around Selby and Snelling avenues, as the iconic O’Gara’s Bar and Grill makes way for a new mixed-use development later this year. More than 100 people attended the Mar. 19 Union Park District Council land use committee meeting to discuss ideas for redevelopment. If all goes as planned, work could start in the fall and new development could open in spring 2020.

Also, Dunkin’ Donuts and Red’s Savoy Pizza could open their doors at Snelling and Hague avenues, where a Dairy Queen stood for more than 65 years. Grand Real Estate Advisors and Collage Architects presented preliminary plans Mar. 19. That project could also move ahead later this year.

Committee members and neighborhood residents have mixed feelings about the developments. Some wanted to see mixed-use development on the old DQ site at 143 N. Snelling Ave. Others lament losing the longtime commercial buildings that make up the O’Gara’s complex. There are also fears about both developments increasing traffic and parking.

A new, smaller O’Gara’s with four stories of apartments above it would be the biggest change for a neighborhood that saw 2.3 acres at the northeast corner of Selby and Snelling redeveloped a few years ago. Residents and business owners are braced for more change as a Major League Soccer stadium is preparing for a 2019 opening, just a few blocks to the north.

O’Gara’s owner Dan O’Gara and Tony Barranco of Ryan Companies said they’re mindful of the changes the area has been through in recent years. They told those present Mar. 19 that they want to work with the community to mitigate impacts of redevelopment.

Redevelopment is a way to ensure that O’Gara’s can continue to operate in the future, O’Gara said. He and his wife Kris are third-generation owners of the business, which got its start in 1941. “We need to do something drastic to stay here.”

Comments Off on April 2018 Development Notes

April 2018 Monitor In A Minute

Posted on 09 April 2018 by Calvin

Compiled by JANE MCCLURE

Midway Peace Park is the park’s new name
It’s official—Midway Peace Park is the name of the new park in the Lexington-Hamline neighborhood. On Mar. 21, the St. Paul City Council adopted the name for the park on Bigelow Ave. between Griggs and Dunlap streets.

The naming is a key step in a years-long process to create a park in the area between Interstate 94 and University Ave. The park is likely to serve many residents of the nearby Skyline Tower high-rise apartment building.

The property served as auto storage for many years for Midway area motor vehicle sales businesses but has sat largely vacant for more than a decade. Students at nearby Gordon Parks High School were among the first to call for the area to become a park.

The city has worked with the nonprofit Trust for Public Land to help fund the land purchase and park planning. The name itself has been in the works for more than a year and was winnowed down from a list of five park names.

More than 500 people voted on the park name, which has support from Lexington-Hamline Community Council, Union Park District Council and the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission. All the participants worked with the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation to follow a city-approved naming process.

After joking about the possible name “City Council Park,” Ward One Council Member Dai Thao said he is pleased with the community process that led up to the name choice. Lexington-Hamline, Skyline Tower, and Trust for Public Land representatives thanked the city for its help with the naming process.

Noise wall is planned in 2022?
A noise wall on the south side of Interstate 94, between Fairview and Prior avenues, won a vote of support Mar. 7 from the St. Paul City Council.

The project is being planned and built by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT). The state is responsible for the freeway as well as for noise abatement along it. MnDOT controls the study, design, and building of the wall.

Construction is tentatively eyed for the year 2022. MnDOT held a meeting on the project in fall 2017. Property owners who would be directly affected by the wall could vote on the proposal to both MnDOT and the city. Votes were in support of the noise wall, so the work will proceed.

The city is supporting the project and will participate in the costs of engineering and wall construction. The costs aren’t determined yet but would be covered through the MnDOT Metro Division’s Highway Noise Abatement Program and the city’s Long-Range Capital Improvement Budget Process. The cost split is 90 percent MnDOT and 10 percent city.

Changes for Interstate 94?
The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) Metro District Corridors of Commerce has several potential projects that could change Interstate 94 in the future.

The St. Paul City Council Mar. 21 approved those and other state highway projects suggested in St. Paul. More than a dozen projects are proposed citywide. Choices will be announced later this year.

More than half a dozen projects in the proposal are along I-94 from the downtown area to the west city limits with Minneapolis. One change would be to add a MnPASS lane between the I-35W junction in Minneapolis and the I-35E junction in St. Paul. MnPASS is an electronic toll collection system operated by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

A second local request is to reconstruct the I-94 and Highway 280-Franklin Ave. interchanges. This would include southbound Hwy. 280 access to the Cretin Ave. exit, eliminate/replace left side I-94 ramps and revise the Franklin Ave. interchange for better freight connections.

Not all projects can be funded through what is a $400 million pool statewide. Support from cities and counties gives projects extra points as they compete.
Restaurant wins licenses

A new restaurant in the West Midway has received St. Paul City Council approval for needed licenses. Liquor on-sale and on-sale Sunday licenses were among those approved Mar. 21 for Hodges Bend, 2700 University Ave. W.

The application had the support of the St. Anthony Park Community Council, but a letter of objection from a neighboring property owner sent the request to a legislative hearing officer. The business is in an area that has many adjacent condos and apartments, and concerns were raised about patron noise. A legislative hearing was held in Feb.

The licenses were approved with several conditions. One is that Hodges Bend operates as a restaurant and not as a bar. Another is that closing is at midnight, with all patrons out of the premises by 12:30am.

Hodges Bend cannot add outdoor seating or allow liquor consumption outdoors until there have been additional approvals.

Comments Off on April 2018 Monitor In A Minute