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

Posted on 14 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

By JANE MCCLURE

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

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Monitor In A Minute June 2019

Posted on 14 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

By JANE MCCLURE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 14 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

By CHAD KULAS, Midway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

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

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

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

Posted on 14 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

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

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

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Affordable housing, mixed use building coming to Lexington Parkway site

Posted on 14 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

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

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

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Theater-icon

Interact opens first performance Apr. 23

Posted on 10 April 2015 by Calvin

Theater-iconInteract Center for the Visual and Performing Arts, 1860 Minnehaha Ave. W., will welcome audiences to its new home in the St. Paul Midway neighborhood with “Plotholes: A Fool’s Foibles,” a new ensemble-created Bouffon Clown piece (with songs) directed by Jon Ferguson, with music and lyrics by Aaron Gabriel.

This inaugural performance in this new space will mark the launch of a three-year exploration of the role of the fool in history, literature and theater. “Plotholes: A Fool’s Foibles” preview performance will be Thur., Apr. 23, 7pm, and will open Fri., Apr. 24 at 7pm. It will then run Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7pm, as well as a matinee performance on Saturdays at 3pm. The play closes Sat., May 16 with its 7pm performance. Run-time is approximately 60 minutes. Five-For-All performances are Wednesdays, May 6 and May 13 at 7pm.

Ticket prices are $20 for general admission and $5 for DIS/Cover tickets. Reservations and additional information can be found at http://bpt.me/1322309 or by calling 651-209-3575.
For driving directions, parking information, and public transportation options visit: http://interactcenter.com/location.html.

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Hamline hockey icon

Worst-to-first turnaround makes for dream season at Hamline

Posted on 10 April 2015 by Calvin

Reporting and photo by MATTHEW DAVIS

Hamline hockey iconIt suffices to say Cinderella on Ice came to Hamline University this winter.

The Pipers men’s hockey team turned around a program that had three wins since the 2012-2013 season to knock on the door of the NCAA Division III Frozen Four in March. Only eventual national runner-up Wisconsin-Stevens Point stood in Hamline’s way.

Despite trailing 2-0 after two periods in the NCAA quarterfinals on March 21, the Pipers fought back twice to pull within a goal of the Pointers during the third period. It took a Pointers empty netter with little time left to avert a Hamline comeback in a 4-2 loss for the Pipers.

It prevented an improbable trip for Hamline to travel just a few miles to the University of Minnesota’s Ridder Arena for the Frozen Four. Nonetheless, the Pipers made a turnaround that rivals the best of any team, in any sport, at any level.

Hamline went 14-11-4 overall and won the MIAC tournament championship. The Pipers had a previous two-season 3-41-6 mark.

First-year coach Cory Laylin took the reins for the Pipers and led the turnaround. The Hamline coach formerly played Division I hockey with the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the 1990s.

Joe Rubbelke had another strong season for the Pipers with 23 points. The three-time All- MIAC award winner and North St. Paul native had plenty of help around him this time.

Charlie Adams led the Pipers in scoring with 19 goals and had 33 points for the season. Brand Zurn had the second-highest total with 15 goals and 18 assists.

John Sellie Hanson had a good season in goal for the Pipers with a 2.93 goals allowed average and a .914 save percentage. He went 12-9-3 in net.

MSHSL varsity boys lacrosse comes to St. Paul schools

Como Park, Central and members of the other St. Paul Public Schools will compete at the MSHSL varsity level for boys lacrosse this spring.

The St. Paul Celts co-op has been part of the MBSLA for 15 season and looks poised to make noise in the MSHSL field. The Celts, a top-five regular over the past eight years, ranked fourth among MBSLA teams last season.

Returning MBSLA All-State seniors Carter McCoy and Austin Cameron return at attack and defense respectively. Brady Olsen, also a senior, made MBSLA All-Conference last year.
Delcan Flynn and Bjorn Holm will be looked to for contributions as part of a strong Celt freshman class. Three freshmen from the Team Minnesota U15 have come on board for the Celts, which will give them an added boost for talent.

“We are laying the foundation for future seasons with St. Paul Public Schools, and with the St. Paul Celts team being split into third, we find ourselves with veteran leadership as well as a strong youth movement,” Celts coach Ben Mooney said.

Nonetheless, life in a new league will have its challenges, though Mooney plans to keep the same system, which brought previous success for the Celts.

“Our opponents may not know us other than from our past program, but a new year, program and having the backing of the St. Paul Public School system will breed new life and lend some added motivation to our players,” Mooney said.

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Local salon owner awaits Green Line

Posted on 27 March 2014 by robwas66

From the METROPOLITAN COUNCIL

Transformation Salon—located at the corner of Milton and University less than half a block from the Green Line’s Victoria Street Station—may undergo a transformation of its own when the region’s newest light rail line opens on June 14.
 
“I think it’s going to get a lot busier,” salon owner Mary Milton said. “We may be bombarded.”

Whatever happens, Milton will approach it with the faith that sustained her during construction. Her business took quite a downturn, she said, but she took a second stylist job, went to massage school, and is not deterred.

Link to full story

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fallcleanup

Fall 2012 Como Curb Cleanup results show record turnout in Como Park

Posted on 05 December 2012 by robwas66

October 13th through October 21st Como residents turned out in record numbers to take part in the Como Curb Cleanup. The results for Fall 2012’s effort: 1,290 bags! This is nearly double the record from Fall 2011 of 671 bags. Thank you, Como neighbors!

The Como Curb Cleanup is an annual, community-wide effort to clean up leaves and other organic debris from curbs and street gutters. In doing this, residents prevent phosphorus from leaching out of the leaves, as stormwater flows through them, and into storm sewers that drain to Como Lake and the Mississippi River. Como Lake is already degraded due to excessive phosphorus concentrations.

This year we determined, on average, a ‘bag’ contained 9 pounds of dry leaf litter. Multiply this by 1,290 and we come up with 11, 610 pounds of leaves removed from our street gutters.

The Como Lake Neighbor Network is now working with the University of Minnesota, Capitol Region Watershed District, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to come up with a close approximation of how many pounds of phosphorus our one-week effort prevented from entering our local waters. We plan to share this number at CLNN.org sometime in early December.

These results are remarkable. They demonstrate how much Como neighbors value Como Lake. And they demonstrate the pollution prevention impact we can have as a community when we work collaboratively towards a shared goal. These results also demonstrate the willingness of Como citizens to work in partnership with local government in restoring Como Lake to a healthy, stable condition.

We are now gathering feedback about this year’s cleanup and ideas to make next year’s effort even better. If you are a Como resident who participated in the effort, please go to CLNN.org to complete an online survey. Or you can send an email to janna@watercircles.org or call 651-261-7416.

We also want to thank our many partners who provided critical collaboration and support for this project. We especially want to thank Capitol Region Watershed District for providing generous grant funding. Our list of partners grows every year.

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Popular Bear at Como making recovery

Posted on 25 November 2012 by robwas66

Berlin, the female polar bear whose Lake Superior Zoo exhibit was flooded this summer, is back with Buzz & Neil, Como Zoo’s twin polar bears, recuperating after major surgery at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center. Como’s zookeeping staff reports that Berlin has resumed eating her normal diet which is a positive sign that she is recovering from surgery that removed a necrotic mass that caused internal bleeding.

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