School News March 2019

Posted on 11 March 2019 by Calvin

Hamline Elementary School

Every month is partnership month at Hamline Elementary, and in March we’re happy to welcome back some of our favorites: Science from Scientists, Hamline Midway Elders’ Reading Buddy Program, and Mobile Menders. Our fourth-graders will begin a social justice project with students from Hamline University. Fifth graders will continue with their swim lessons taught by certified swim instructors, using the Hamline University pool. And, our kindergarten classes will visit the Children’s Museum. The PTA will host a conference meal for staff and a special Friday night Hamline Family Night complete with a community meal and dance lesson.

We’re grateful for the support of neighbors and invite you to share your time and talents with the Hamline Elementary community.

We are currently collecting Box Tops for Education and looking for a couple more volunteers to tutor with Reading Partners to help us provide almost 70 students with 90 minutes of one-to-one tutoring every week.

Contact Marissa at marissa.heim@readingpartners.org to learn more.

Galtier Community School

The third-grade Galtier Gators are participating in the myON reading challenge. The challenge tracks minutes read for every school participating. It is set up in a bracket system similar to the NCAA basketball March Madness. There were 288 MN elementary schools in the challenge. Galtier was the only SPPS school remaining in the sweet sixteen round. On the last day of reading for the round, students read for 35 hours to make it into the top two teams who will compete in the “elite eight.” The four schools that make it to the “final four” of the reading challenge receive three tickets per child for the actual NCAA final four held at US Bank Stadium.

In other fun March news, Galtier fifth graders headed to Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center for a two-night stay at the beginning of the month. Third, fourth, and fifth graders head to the Children’s Theater to see the Hobbit at the end of the month.


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GUEST OPINION: German Immersion School expansion absent collaboration with community

Posted on 11 February 2019 by Calvin

An expansion of choice would burden the surrounding neighborhood with consequences

By Kevin Anderson, Teri Alberico, Anna Mosser, Bonnie Youngquist
—for Friends of Warrendale, Save Historic St. Andrew’s LLC.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”
Jane Jacobs, from her classic The Death and Life of the Great American Cities

The Warrendale neighborhood, nestled amongst the leafy trees on the southern edge of Como Park, represents many things to many people. For hundreds of us, it is home; it is family. It is an investment in property, a place to raise kids, and garner relationships with friends and neighbors. It has been a place for schoolchildren to learn and forge the bonds that can last a lifetime. It is all of these things and more because the neighborhood has successfully woven its many diverse uses into a cohesive whole.

In 2013, we welcomed new neighbors. The Twin Cities German Immersion School, a public charter school, moved into the former church and school building. The families have brought great energy, but unlike previous schools, nearly three-quarters of the current 585 students travel by car.

Unprecedented numbers of automobiles streamed into this residential neighborhood. Neighborhood parents struggled with the safety of their children at our bus stops. On formerly calm corners, cars repeatedly violated school bus flashing lights and stop arms. In the five years since the school moved in, it has more than doubled its enrollment, even as it reduced its on-site parking. Nearby streets filled with parked cars, and twice a day, clogged with lines of cars that routinely extend several blocks in either direction.

But the tipping point came in the spring of 2018 when the school announced not only a further expansion but their intention to tear down the crown jewel that for nearly a century kept watch at the heart of the neighborhood. The beloved and extraordinary former Church of Saint Andrew’s, which had been social and physical center of the neighborhood—would be leveled.

More students would mean more cars, more congestion, less safety, and less livability. Moreover, we would lose our neighborhood’s most visible historic structure and neighborhood landmark.

A group of neighbors quickly assembled and started a petition to delay the demolition. Father John Forliti, a widely-respected retired Catholic leader who has lived most of his life on the same street corner as Saint Andrew’s, invited German School board members and neighbors to his house for a series of dinners. Relationships were forged at these meetings. Everyone, school parents and neighbors alike, pressed board members to work collaboratively to explore alternative solutions that could include preservation of the unusual and ornate former Church of Saint Andrew’s.

In response, the school’s current board Chair said flatly, no.

The goodwill between school and community quickly unraveled.

In the following months, we’ve tried twice more to explore collaborative solutions. We identified skilled architects willing to contribute their expertise in architectural design and collaboration. When the district council asked the school to explore collaborative solutions last August, the school board rejected them. When we asked again last fall, we were rejected a third time.

The expansion that the German Immersion School proposes would make the school much denser than any other school in the city’s residential zoning districts. Their student population would be over four times denser than the median school in any of the city’s R1 to R4 zoning districts. The school looks to receive city zoning variances, city site plan approval, and city financing for a project that tears down a historic building and creates untenable transportation gridlock and safety concerns. These public asks are huge.

Unlike traditional public schools, which adjust to demographic and market swings, charter schools have control over their enrollment. The schools themselves set their enrollment cap each year. This expansion is the board’s choice. In actuality, it is an effort to push the true costs of operating the school onto the neighborhood. Instead of paying to bus most of their students, as other schools do, they expect the neighborhood to carry this burden in the form of reduced safety and livability. Instead of restoring the former church, as Cesar Chavez Academy Charter School did in Saint Paul, they want to build a facility that suits their immediate needs, pushing the loss of an indelible landmark on as a cost to their neighbors.

Rather than agree to neighborly collaboration, this school has mounted an unprecedented, cynical and antagonistic offensive on those neighbors who disagree. This is a sophisticated campaign designed to turn political support in their favor, identifying and cultivating allies, turning neighbor against neighbor.

At the center of the school’s strategy is TenSquare, a national for-profit consulting firm that currently operates in seven states and the District of Columbia. One of the city’s most connected, lucrative, and controversial charter consulting companies, Ten Square prefers to operate out of public sight, but their local Director of Real Estate Development quietly attends public meetings and coordinates public strategy. They communicate with paid media strategists, legal consultants, and architects. Their fees are paid by the school with taxpayer dollars.

Throughout all this, we neighbors aren’t willing to give up on the hope of finding a future together. We hold fast to our core belief in collaboration.

In Saint Paul, there are examples of former churches reused for performance spaces, homes, and yes, a charter school facility. Tom Fischer, the former Dean of the School of Architecture and Design at the University of Minnesota, met with the school and community leaders last summer. He walked away believing win-win solutions were eminently possible, even within a tight budget. In the AIA Guide to Twin Cities Architecture, retired Pioneer

Press writer Larry Millet called out the building as one of the best local examples of period revival. While rain gardens and pollinator gardens have their benefits, the environmental rewards of adaptive reuse are far more significant. The greenest building is the one already standing. This building deserves to be valued, not leveled.

Renowned writer and urban observer Jane Jacobs believed that a diversity of uses is what gives life to urban neighborhoods: schools, homes, churches, offices, and parks. She encouraged density for its critical role in the health of urban neighborhoods. But along with those beliefs, Jacobs realized, as we all should today, that a neighborhood’s core historic fabric and identity matters. Perhaps above all, she recognized that the delicate balance of uses and density that can make urban neighborhoods great can only come about when the people of that neighborhood have a central role in shaping its future. Together.

Learn more at https://savehistoricsaintandrews.org. Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/historicstandrews1.

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Hamline Midway Coalition plans upcoming strategy meetings

Posted on 11 February 2019 by Calvin

The city’s 17 district councils have found it challenging over the years to rely on consistent city support. St. Paul started its district council program in 1975 as an innovative means of citizen participation. A 2018 report that looked at the district council system and compared it to citizen participation programs in other cities found the councils struggled with issues such as equitable outreach funding and staff turnover. Most district council staff lack employee benefits. With this uncertainty of city funding, Hamline Midway Coalition (HMC) has tried to prepare for any contingencies.

At its annual meeting in December 2018, HMC reported net assets of $260,000. “Before my arrival at HMC as executive director, Michael Jon Olson served as executive director for 14 years,” said Kate Mudge. “During his tenure, HMC and 16 other district councils in St. Paul were continuously unsure whether the City would continue to fund the District Council system. So each year the financially prudent decision was made to secure foundation/grant support, and HMC raised funds so that we would have alternative funds of roughly two years’ worth in case the City decided to discontinue its funding or disband the District Council system.”

“As all healthy nonprofits operate, reserves were built to provide funding in times of uncertainty,” she continued.

Based on the most recent Guidestar Profile, reportable assets for St. Paul’s district councils range from $24,159 up to $419, 246. They vary greatly because district council assets may include building, property, office equipment, or funds set aside for specific purposes, such as loan funds which are distributed and then paid back over time.

Mudge added that district council staff do not receive health benefits, so there were additional reserves to potentially pay out of pocket to support the health and welfare of staff. “Our reserves also include monies HMC holds for ‘fiscal agencies’ such as community gardens, the Public Art group and various other organizations, which are not to be used for any purpose other than that of the fiscal agency’s discretion,” she said.

Mudge said that HMC would be discussing what to do with its reserves at two strategic planning meetings, as well as board meetings, which are open to the public.

For the first time in decades, the 17 district councils will be splitting an additional $250,000 in 2019 after years of static fund levels. It has been reported that the City Council members agree that district councils are overdue for additional support, discussing the needs last year before and during the 2019 city budget process.

How much each district council will receive from the $250,000 has not been finalized. The money will be allocated based on a formula developed more than ten years ago. The formula uses metrics of the planning district’s population, poverty levels, employment and number of non-English speakers in each district.

District councils seek community input on local and citywide plans, zoning and variances requests and business license. Each prepares a district plan every decade to guide neighborhood growth and development. Council staff and volunteers field citizen questions and are involved in neighborhood-level crime prevention activities. Many have their own unique programs.

“As an organization, we’re in transition between executive directors,” Mudge said, regarding HMC. “Our focus areas may be changing, and we are working to identify the numerous opportunities available to advance projects in the Midway.”

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Dale Street bridge reconstruction plans unveiled

Posted on 11 February 2019 by Calvin

Area travelers who use the Dale St. bridge over I-94 to get around will look forward to its replacement. Plans unveiled in January to a packed room show a new bridge with 16 feet of pedestrian, bike and plaza space on either side, as well as public art elements commemorating the Rondo neighborhood.

The Ramsey County Department of Public Works hosted the meeting, which was the last before design work is completed. County officials received $6 million in federal funds and provided a $5 million local match for the project. The bridge as well as Dale St. between University and Iglehart avenues will be rebuilt in 2020. That’s a delay from the original start date of 2017, but gave more time for public engagement, work on pedestrian and traffic safety issue and adding public art.

Bridge design is about 30 percent complete, with plans to be finished late this summer. Bridge demolition is to start in January 2020, with the project done by fall 2020. Half of the bridge will come down at a time so that one lane of traffic can be maintained in either direction. Travelers should plan on detours. Western Ave. and Victoria St. are the closest multi-use bridges over the freeway. There is a pedestrian/bike bridge at Grotto St.

People generally liked what they saw, especially the public art and pedestrian safety improvements. “Me being a Rondo kid, that means a lot to me,” one woman said of the art.

One man who walks Dale St. regularly said he appreciates improvements, saying he keeps his bag at hand to be able to throw it at errant vehicles.

Several questions were raised about hiring, especially the hiring of people of color and women. Ramsey County is starting a six-month workforce equity plan, which will be used in bridge project hiring, said John O’Phelan, county workforce specialist.

The county is working to get more people into building trades apprenticeship and training programs and will work with local agencies include Ujamaa Place and the YWCA to get people into the trade and hired, not just for the Dale St. Bridge, but for other future projects, O’Phelan said. A similar process was used during Green Line light rail work. Hiring goals will be announced this summer but should be around 30 percent for people of color and 20 percent for women.

Wind, solar changes eyed
A delayed update of wind turbine and solar garden regulations for St. Paul is en route to the St. Paul City Council for a public hearing at 5:30pm on Wed., Mar. 6. The council will be looking at one of the first major updates to the city’s renewable energy regulations in almost a decade.

The most recent studies began a few years ago and went through a Planning Commission review and approval process. But changes in city staff and other issues meant the proposed changes were set aside. A new city planner has been assigned to shepherd the project through.

The six pages of changes deal primarily with where devices can be located, heights of poles, and other technical details. The update was sought for several years, as more people considered renewable energy options for their homes and businesses.

St. Paul’s regulations have been criticized for being very dated. For example, the current rules don’t allow solar gardens or community solar installations.

The changes are meant to bring city regulations into compliance with updated technologies and with a sweeping package of solar energy laws passed by the Minnesota Legislature in 2013. The state laws govern community solar installations or “gardens.” These solar device arrays, with multiple subscribers, are connected to the power grid. Subscribers receive a credit on their electric bills for the power the panels produce. The 2013 change allows Xcel Energy to provide energy to clients from solar gardens. Xcel customers can purchase energy from the sustainable resources. None of those resources are in St. Paul—yet. The city last updated its solar regulations in 2011.

Wind energy devices sought since 2002 have operated under different regulations, typically under “determination of similar use” requests. That meant governing wind turbines in the same way cell phone towers are regulated. Not long after a wind turbine requested for Metropolitan State University was voted down by the City Council in 2012, the Planning Commission asked that technologies be studied, and new regulations written.

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Office building to be renovated

Development Roundup Feb. 2019

Posted on 11 February 2019 by Calvin


Large Midway building complex to be renovated
A longtime Midway industrial/commercial property has a new owner. Minneapolis developer Hillcrest Development has purchased 641-655 Fairview Ave. The large complex has Prior and Fairview avenues as its west and east boundaries, and is two blocks north of the University-Prior intersection.

Work has already gotten underway inside the building, which is now the Hillcrest Business Center. It has had several different users over the years. Built in 1952, it was a printing facility for the Banta company many years ago. More recently it served as a warehouse.

“We’re very excited to own this property and excited about its potential,” said Scott Tankenoff, managing partner at Hillcrest. Work is already underway inside the building, to abate asbestos and renovate the interior. The intent is for the building to be renovated for shorter-term commercial uses, possibly with an eye on destination retail or hospitality. Parts of the building could also be used for medical or light industrial uses. Its underlying zoning allows for a variety of commercial, industrial tenants.

The building at 641-651 Fairview Ave. is a sprawling complex (in center of photo) that has Prior and Fairview avenues as its west and east boundaries, and is located two blocks north of the University-Prior intersection. (Photo courtesy of Google Satellite imagery)

“The Midway area is an up-and-coming area,” Tankenoff said. “It’s a solid neighborhood with a lot of good housing, good transit, and amenities.” Hillcrest, which has been working with St. Paul city officials on its plans, has already state and Metropolitan Council environmental cleanup grants for the property.

The property was owned for the past several years by Living Word Church and World Outreach Center, which is moving to a Hillcrest property, Mid-City, in the St. Anthony industrial/commercial area. Living Word bought the Midway building several years ago and used part of it as worship and child care space. Some space was rented out, but other space remained vacant.

Element Gym and St. Paul Ballet are among the tenants who will remain, but in different spaces. Murphy Warehouse has moved out.

The property is being advertised as ready for occupancy in the first quarter of 2019. It has drive-through space and as many as 25 locking dock spaces. It has most of its parking along Prior and along the southern edge of the building.

Tankenoff said the renovated building will be a good fit with other new or repurposed structures in the area. Hillcrest will host an open house at the building in the spring when work is further along.

Bars under new ownership
Big V’s Saloon (1567 University Ave. W.) and Hot Rods Bar and Grill (1553 University Ave. W.) have new owners. Changes are expected before the Minnesota United FC makes its debut at Allianz Field to the south.

Tolch Properties, which already owns the nearby Ashton Building, is the new owner of the two longtime University Ave. establishments and their adjacent parking lots. Tolch also owns a vacant lot between the two bars. The ownership is under a new entity, Midway Entertainment Group, which is going through the city licensing process.

Hot Rod’s had been closed for several months. Vic and Jeanne Masanz, longtime owners of Big V’s, decided to retire. They had owned the business for more than 40 years.

Gibson’s was granted liquor and entertainment licenses Feb. 6 by the St. Paul City Council. Hamline Midway Coalition recommended approval. Big V’s is to become the Midway Saloon. Its liquor and entertainment licenses are up for approval Feb. 13.

The Allianz Field stadium received its liquor and entertainment licenses Feb. 6 from the City Council.



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Baby Thunder 95

Chain of serendipity leads to publication of co-author’s first book

Posted on 11 February 2019 by Calvin

Como Park residents, and sisters, Jennifer Victor-Larsen (left) and Katy Korby (right) participated in a panel discussion at the St. Anthony Park Library. The event was called “Stories: the Door to Compassion, and also featured local author William Kent Krueger. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Writers sometimes have a flash of inspiration—but last summer, Como Park resident Jennifer Victor-Larsen experienced both a flash and a boom.

“We had such stormy weather in June,” Victor-Larsen said. “Every time it stormed, I was reminded of the story my grandmother used to tell us when we were children. Though the story changed slightly with every telling, the message was always the same: Baby Thunder was lost and was looking for Mama and Papa Thunder. The crashing sounds of summer storms became less frightening to my sister and me when we were little because our grandmother said it was just the family calling out to each other until Baby Thunder was found.”

Victor-Larsen continued, “In the middle of one particularly bad thunderstorm, I sat up in bed and texted my sister, Katy Korby. It was early last summer when family separations at the US/Mexico border were on the rise. Most people that Katy and I knew were appalled by this practice; we believe that, for kids, being lost for even a little while is traumatic. The message I sent my sister was this, ‘Should we finally write down the Baby Thunder story, and send the profits to an organization that helps children and families separated at the border?’ Also awake in the middle of the night, she texted back one word, ‘Yes!’”

The storm was the first in a series of fortunate events that lead to the publication of Victor-Larsen and Korby’s illustrated children’s book. Victor-Larsen recalled, “Katy and I decided to write down our own remembered versions of our grandmother’s story. We were sitting at my kitchen table and my brother-in-law, Shawn Korby, was there too. He and his wife own a real estate company, and he is also a talented artist. While Katy and I were talking and writing, Shawn started to sketch. The ideas he came up with became the watercolor illustrations for our book.”

The sisters were able to put their grandmother’s story down on paper, to take what she’d created for them—and use it to help other kids. They found an organization in Florence, AZ, called The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project that works with families in detention. Their grandmother’s first name, coincidentally, had been Florence. The Florence Project is the only organization in Arizona that provides free legal services to detained children caught in deportation proceedings.

“Baby Thunder” is a book for and about families, and its creation was a family affair as well. Victor-Larsen’s mother-in-law, Ava Larsen, a retired children’s librarian, was an invaluable part of the work team. Victor-Larsen said, “She brought us books she thought were effective for the early readers our book is geared toward.”

On a sister’s weekend in Grand Marais, Victor-Larsen and Korby met notable Minnesota children’s book author Betsy Bowen at a craft fair. When they described their book, Bowen suggested they contact her designer to pull all the pieces together. Victor-Larsen said, “That’s just the way this project has gone for us. Doors kept opening, and people kept helping.”

Victor-Larsen and Korby are doing a number of “Baby Thunder” events in the metro area. They are partnering with friend, neighbor, and New York Times best-selling novelist William Kent Krueger for library events. They’re scheduled to be at the Anoka Public Library on Feb. 16, and the Hamline Midway Library in the spring. Their joint presentations are underscored by deep mutual concern over the current immigration crisis.

The sisters are also available for elementary school presentations and readings of “Baby Thunder” free of charge. Email Jennifer@herosearch.org for more information or to schedule. Victor-Larsen and Korby believe that “Baby Thunder” is both timely and timeless. It is about being lost and about being found. It is about the basic need for children to feel safe and loved.

“Baby Thunder” can be purchased locally at Micawber’s books (2230 Carter Ave. in Milton Square).

NOTE: On any given day, there are approximately 1,700 immigrant children detained in Arizona. They are denied the right to a public defender. Many of the children were abused, abandoned or neglected before coming to the U.S. They are unaccompanied minors (children under 18) who have crossed the border, or been apprehended by immigration authorities, without a parent or guardian. They are held in children’s detention facilities under the control of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

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Hamline Elementary kg teachers

Elementary School News Feb. 2019

Posted on 11 February 2019 by Calvin

Hamline Elementary School

One of the very best things about Hamline Elementary is its educators—their experience, talent, and whole-hearted love for their school keep the students learning and growing as human beings, scholars, and future leaders in our community.

Photo right: Hamline Elementary kindergarten teachers Kathleen Walsh (left), and Carol Schjei have a combined 40 years of teaching experience. (Photo submitted)

Meet Hamline’s dynamic kindergarten duo—teachers with a combined 40 years of teaching experience and amazing hearts to match.

Kathleen Walsh
In her over two decades at Hamline Elementary School, Kathleen Walsh has taught every grade except 3rd (including sixth when Hamline had a sixth grade). This year you’ll find her in kindergarten, likely doing one of her very favorite things to do with kindergarten students—singing songs about math, reading, butterflies, and making maple syrup. She says there really is a song for everything and enjoys incorporating music and movement into all areas of study.

When asked what makes Hamline special, Walsh describes the professionalism of her colleagues and how seriously they take their work with children, how well they support one another, and how much fun they have as a team. They are friends as well as co-workers.

Walsh also loves how much she learns from the students and families in the Hamline community saying, “Every day I’m learning something about the world from the kids.”

In addition to being a teacher at Hamline Elementary, Walsh knows what it’s like to be a Hamline parent. Her children made the journey from Minneapolis with their mom to enjoy the benefits of this amazing place. It was a decision that created long-lasting friendships and a solid foundation for future learning.

Outside of school, Walsh enjoys the great outdoors and spends time with her family at their cabin in Wisconsin tending to their big garden/small farm where they have beehives, bunches of berry bushes, maple trees to tap for syrup, and heirloom tomatoes, all of which they sell to local restaurants and farmer’s markets.

Carol Schjei
“I have been teaching Kindergarten at Hamline Elementary since 1998. I LOVE spending my day with five and six-year-olds, and I LOVE Hamline Elementary!” exclaims Carol Schjei.

“Hamline Elementary is set apart from other schools because of our collaboration with Hamline University,” Schjei said. “Every day we have 70+ university students in our school tutoring elementary students. Hamline tutors work under a teacher’s direction tutoring those students who need extra challenge and those that need extra practice to master skills. They also work with small groups to ensure that all learners are held accountable.

At Hamline Elementary, we can meet learners where they are and make great progress with them. Our learners also benefit from going to the University for connections with athletic teams and academic departments, swimming lessons, musical performances, and more.”

Schjei concludes “I love Hamline Elementary so much that I hope to teach here until I retire from SPPS.”


News from Galtier Community School

The weather has been unforgiving, but it’s been warm and busy inside Galtier Community School this winter.

Feb. 11 was National African American Parent Involvement Day. All parents were invited to spend part of or the entire day with their students at Galtier, including an all-school assembly. Lunch was provided from local restaurants.

Midway resident Anne Reid is a teaching artist for COMPAS. She will be at Galtier for a couple of weeks in February. K-3 students will be doing seed art including self-portraits, landscapes, or portraits of their heroes. Fourth and fifth graders will be making night lights where they build all the circuitry from scratch and then design and create custom shades for the night lights.

Winter field trips will include pre-K and Kindergarten students heading to the Children’s Theater for either “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” or “The Biggest Little House In The Forest.” Third graders will head to the Minnesota Zoo for a day of animal adventures.

On Feb. 28, Galtier will host its Winter Wonderland event where families and students will enjoy food, activities, and being together in community.

For neighbors interested in supporting Galtier Community school, they can check out donorschoose.org and search “Galtier” for projects seeking funding. Alternately, Galtier has a wish list of books for its library that anyone can purchase via Amazon and donate directly to the school: http://a.co/0lYsKhX.

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Minnesota State Fair_rendering_2

State Fair approves $16.3 million for new exhibit complex

Posted on 11 February 2019 by Calvin

Nearly $20 million in improvements and maintenance projects for the Minnesota State Fairgrounds were approved by the Fair’s board of managers during meetings in January. The board approved $16.3 million in capital work—$16 million of which is earmarked for a major new exhibit complex on the North End of the fairgrounds, as well as $3.4 million in maintenance projects.

During the meeting, State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer previewed the North End development, which is currently under construction on the fairgrounds. The centerpiece of the State Fair’s newest neighborhood is a major new exhibit facility with a 12,000-square-foot exhibit hall that will be the fair-time home to annually changing museum-quality exhibits. The North End will also have features that recognize Minnesota innovations in agriculture, industry and the arts, along with uniquely Minnesota attractions, food, and commercial exhibits.

Photo right: $16.3 million was allocated for a major new exhibit facility, with a 12,000-square-foot exhibit hall, on the North End of the Fairgrounds. (Photo provided)

Improvements and maintenance projects approved for the coming year include:
—upgrades to the stalling and technology equipment in the Swine Barn
—installation of a new overhead cover for the Exercise Ring in the livestock area
—improvements to the restrooms in Lee & Rose Warner Coliseum
—upgrades to the lighting and fire suppression system in the DNR Building
—dozens of paint, sewer, street and sidewalk, and landscape projects throughout the 322-acre State Fairgrounds.

All projects will be funded through State Fair operating revenue and grants from the Minnesota State Fair Foundation. The fair is financially self-supporting and receives no government aid of any kind.

The Fair’s board of managers also approved admission price increases of an additional dollar in all categories for the 2019 fair over 2018 prices. Admission prices were last adjusted two years ago.

The Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest and best-attended expositions in the world, attracting more than 2 million visitors annually. The 2019 Minnesota State Fair runs Aug. 22-Labor Day, Sept. 2.


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Three HU faculty win book awards at ALA Midwinter Conference

Posted on 11 February 2019 by Calvin

Three Hamline University Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults (MFAC) faculty members won national book awards for their works of fiction at the recent American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Conference in Seattle.

Meg Medina won the 2019 John Newbery Medal for her novel “Merci Suárez Changes Gears.” The John Newbery Medal is awarded by the American Library Association to the “most distinguished children’s book” published every year.

Elana K. Arnold’s novel “Damsel” was selected as a Michael L. Printz Honor Book. The Michael L. Printz Award and Honor Books are ALA honors given for the best books written for teens each year.

Emily Jenkins won the Sydney Taylor Book Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries for her picture book, “All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah,” illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. The award recognizes a work of literature for children and teens that authentically portrays the Jewish experience.

“This continues an impressive run for our MFAC faculty,” said Mary Rockcastle, who directs The Creative Writing Programs at Hamline University.

“Nina LaCour won the Printz Award last year, and Kelly Barnhill won the Newbery Award two years ago. Several faculty have also been National Book Award finalists.”

Hamline’s MFAC faculty are award-winning authors, experienced teachers, and committed faculty mentors. The program is focused on helping students develop the process and craft of writing in a rigorous, engaged, and supportive environment.

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Hamline Midway Coalition News Feb. 2019

Posted on 11 February 2019 by Calvin

By MELISSA CORTES, Community Organizer

We win an award!
Hamline Midway Coalition is proud to be awarded the Watershed Project Award from Capitol Region Watershed District!

This award recognizes an organization, group or individual for a project that demonstrates an innovative and effective solution for protecting, managing and improving water resources of the CRWD. Hamline Midway Coalition received this award in recognition of Pierce Butler Meadows, a project that was a culmination of more than a decade of community interest for ecological and aesthetic improvements at the intersection of Pierce Butler Rte. and Snelling Ave.

The Hamline Midway Coalition’s Environment Committee developed partnerships with numerous community, educational and environmental groups who came together for a week-long series of planting events.

The project concluded with a Plantón Móvil event for people to “lend mobility” to plants, and for plants to “borrow their slowness” to people lead by artist Lucia Monge.

Special thanks to:
• Steve Mitrione. Mitrione was the idea-generator for the meadows. Without his leadership, passion for the project, and extensive work (for years!) the Pierce Butler Meadows may never have been a reality.
• Valentine Cadieux is a Professor and Director of Sustainability and Environmental Studies at Hamline University and another leader for the Meadows project. She has worked with students from Hamline on the site and is an ongoing force to further this project, lending her expertise to beautify and develop signage and conduct ongoing studies at the Meadows.
• Hamline University Students also deserve recognition for their time and energy, particularly Hannah Hoeger and Maren Grunnet. Specifically, they led the Plantón Móvil procession with Peruvian artist Lucia Monge. A collaboration between Hamline University, Hamline Midway Environment Group, and the Capital Region Watershed District led to a walking forest becoming a walking prairie through a several week art-based process of building relationships with the native plants and land. With the help of neighbors and teachers and students from Hamline University, Hamline Elementary, and Hmong College Preparatory Academy, more than 1500 native plants were planted in the Basin. This project grew partnerships we will continue to connect young people to the site.
• Hamline Midway Environment Committee has played a large part in this project, bringing together neighbors to do the hard planting work and exploring the relationship between prairie land and what it means to build a relationship with the land that is designated as “native planting.”
• Hamline Midway Coalition’s community organizer, Melissa Cortes, is continuing her work into the new year and leading efforts to maintain, beautify, and promote the Pierce Butler Meadows to the Midway community, and beyond.

As an action-oriented, neighborhood community organization, we look forward to hosting community engagement events at the Piece Butler Meadows, which will focus on educational seminars (such as habitat improvement and plant identification) and will be woven into discussions with multi-generational, diverse communities to connect new audiences to the developing site. This may include seminars on bird migration, how to build a habitat in native prairies, and involve students from the Monarch Lab at Hamline University.

Residents will be offered the opportunity to engage in ongoing maintenance at the site, including litter removal, mulching, watering, and fostering plant health. As the site develops, HMC will draw on the energies of residents to bring visibility, awareness, and ongoing learning opportunities to the Pierce Butler Meadows so residents are invested in, and aware of, this incredible resource in our neighborhood.

Neighborhood Honor Roll
Each year, District Councils gather to celebrate the outstanding volunteers that go above and beyond to make our city a better place to live, work, learn, and play. This year, the Hamline Midway Coalition was honored to recognize a group of outstanding individuals.

The first honoree was Holy Trinity Church’s Racial & Ethnic Reconciliation Team. This team of dedicated individuals launched “Community Conversations for Racial and Ethnic Reconciliation and Understanding” in December of 2017 to initiative four honest conversations between residents on often difficult topics. This team invited engaging speakers and facilitators to help the audience navigate the conversations. More the 400 attendees participated in the conversations demonstrating the team’s work and dedications.

Also, honored were Karen McCauley and Jessica Kopp. They formed a coalition to overcome challenges that help prevent the closing of Hamline Elementary in 2014. They created a working group between the school and neighborhood and build a family resource room open to all families and organizations in the Hamline Midway Neighborhood. They’ve also facilitated discussions to create the first Lab School in Minnesota. You’ll see them both at committee meetings and gatherings as they work toward building a vital bridge between school, parent and the residents of Hamline Midway.

Lastly but certainly not least, Hamline Midway coalition honored Anne Hendrickson. Hendrickson is an entrepreneur and owner of Work it, a co-working space dedicated to movement, innovations, and activity. She formed a group in the Midway called the Midway Economic Community composed of small businesses, neighbors, and stakeholders. This group meets monthly to create, connect, and tackle challenges of owning independent businesses in St. Paul, and offers a place where all are welcome. Her impact in the neighbor is vital and brings renewed energy to the Hamline Midway.

These honorees were recognized at an award ceremony held at the University of St. Thomas, Woulfe Hall in January.

New board members
Hamline Midway Coalition is excited to share with our community our elected Board Members for 2019! We had a fantastic turnout for voting and ten candidates in total! Three board members were re-elected, and we welcomed three new members to the Board. Thank you to everyone who ran for a seat, voted, and lent their voice. Bios can be found on our website at www. hamlinemidway.org/about/board :
• Mike Reynolds: Subdistrict B1
• Greg Anderson: Subdistrict A
• Erin Pavlica: Subdistrict C1
• Thom Foss: Subdistrict A2
• Dan Buck: Subdistrict B2
• Tachianna Charpenter: Appointed at-large

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