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What’s up with the zebra?

What’s up with the zebra?

Posted on 20 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Tesha M. Christensen

Too Much Coffee

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN, Tesha@MonitorSaintPaul.com

What’s with the zebra?
You may have noticed a zebra show up on the front page of the Monitor. Maybe you noticed a smaller one at the bottom of page four in our information box with a little notice:
The Monitor is for profit and for a purpose – and we don’t sacrifice one for the other. We consider ourselves a zebra company, one that is both black and white. As a media company, we work to highlight issues, solve real, meaningful problems, and repair existing social systems. We are working with our readers and advertisers to create a more just and responsible society that hears, helps and heals the customers and communities we serve.
Yes, I’ve been binge listening to the podcast ZigZag with journalists-turned-entrepreneurs Manoush Zomorodi (Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business) and Jen Poyant (Executive Producer Note to Self, 2 Dope Queens). This season has hit upon so many of the issues I’m thinking about as a journalist and entrepreneur that I’m glued to the speakers.
I’ve been pondering the distinction of for-profit and non-profit for some time. Here, in the Twin Cities, we have a few non-profit newspapers, such as the Bugle in St. Anthony Park, the Alley in Phillips, the Community Reporter in the West End of St. Paul, and Access Press (statewide). And then we have the neighborhood for-profits including the Midway Como Frogtown Monitor and its sister newspaper the Longfellow Nokomis Messenger, Greening Frogtown, the Northeaster, North News, the Villager, and Southside Pride.
What is different between us? There’s the obvious distinction that the non-profits have a board of directors who set the direction for the organization, while the for-profits have a single owner or two who make decisions. But aside from that, both structures pay editors, publishers, freelance photographers and writers, and sales staff. Pages are paid for primarily through advertising revenue, of which some is through grants and some via neighborhood groups. And both types of newspapers exist to educate and inform, serving that vital role in our democracy that’s integral to our First Amendment rights as American citizens.
When I set up TMC Publications, I considered going with a new(ish) form of corporation, the B (or benefit) Corp. Locally, Peace Coffee is a certified B Corp. At the end of their 20th year when they switched from non-profit to for-profit status under the helm of new owner Lee Wallace, Peace Coffee began searching for ways to further solidify their mission to creating good by supporting small-scale farmer cooperatives with industry-leading prices and committing to earth-friendly practices along the way (as explained on their web site). They learned about the B Corporation movement, a global initiative of businesses in every industry that see profit as secondary to the importance of people and planet, and they signed up.
However, as TMC Publications is a relatively small company, I wasn’t sure that B Corp really made sense for us, as it would increase our paperwork while not really changing how we do business.
Then I heard about Zebras.
Zebras believe in cooperation versus competition, sharing versus hoarding, mutualism versus parasitism. They are both/and, black and white. The point is to be sustainable, to offer good jobs at living wages, but not to grow so exponentially that we break apart. (Learn more at www.zebrasunite.com.)
According to Zebras United founding members Jennifer Brandel, Mara Zepeda, Astrid Scholz and Aniyia Williams, this alternative model balances profit and purpose, champions democracy, and puts a premium on sharing power and resources. “Companies that create a more just and responsible society will hear, help, and heal the customers and communities they serve,” they explained over at Medium.com. (I resonated so much with that line that I pulled it for our infomational box on page four so that I can continue to be inspired by it.)
Interestingly, zebra companies are often started by women and other underrepresented founders, they point out. The statistics about who gets large, venture funding is terrible but maybe not surprising as we see how sexism nad rascism is still ingrained in our society. Three percent of venture funding goes to women and less than one percent to people of color. Women start 30 percent of businesses, but they receive only 5 percent of small-business loans and 3 percent of venture capital. Yet when surveyed, women say they are in it for the long haul: to build profitable, sustainable companies.
These four women who began Zebras United believe that developing alternative business models to the startup status quo has become a central moral challenge of our time. “Think of our most valuable institutions – journalism, education, healthcare, government, the ‘third sector’ of nonprofits and social enterprises – as houses upon which democracy rests,” they wrote.
Ah, yes. There’s the place for journalism.
That’s where I see this field that is so important to our society.
Here at the Monitor, I’m not planning to make millions as an owner, and I’m content telling the stories of these neighborhoods. I believe it is important to provide connection, battle the anxiety and depression so prevalent today, and educate ourselves on the issues we face.
That requires cooperation. We can’t run quality articles without solid information from residents and organizations. And we can’t print pages, pay workers decent wages, and inform without solid financial backing from local businesses who support our work.
We’re in this together.
I’d love to hear what you think as your wrestle with these ideas. Send in a letter to the editor.
(Psst – Mention this editorial and your support for zebras and get 20% off your next ad purchase.)

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What’s brewing west of downtown?

What’s brewing west of downtown?

Posted on 20 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Building a Stronger Midway

By CHAD KULAS, Midway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

Recently, a group of community-minded people met at Urban Growler Brewing to talk about the merits of the part of Saint Paul west of downtown. Initially, they called it “Midtown” but the name may change, perhaps to “Capitol West.”
At the meeting, as well as follow-up conversations, a diverse group of community leaders have participated which have included developers, small business owners, district councils, construction companies, nonprofits, elected officials and others from local government. The group is led by Dr. Bruce Corrie, a member of the higher education community and local community supporter. A steering committee is made up of community organizations including the Union Park District Council, the Midway Chamber of Commerce, local government, nonprofits and business.
What are they trying to accomplish?
The two big questions are 1) How can we encourage economic activities in the region? 2) How can we connect residents, especially low-income residents, to jobs and wealth building opportunities in the region?
How can they accomplish these goals? One viable option is a jobs board (or job exchange) where employers can search for job candidates and job seekers can find out what jobs are available. The exchange may also be able to connect with other job boards already in use. The exchange would be free to users and would feature resume uploads with the ability to receive notifications for new opportunities. A user could search for jobs by zip code or region, and resumes could get matched with jobs.
One potential benefit of the job exchange is getting more residents to work near their home. It is estimated around 32% of the employed residents in this area work in Saint Paul. Getting more residents to work in their community means reducing their carbon footprint, travel time to work and residents will feel a closer connection to their community.
Why focus on this area? There are an estimated 3,900 businesses with over 81,000 employees, with an annual payroll over $3.4 billion (in zip codes 55103, 55104, 55105, 55108, 55114, 55116 and 55117). It includes major commercial corridors including University Ave.and Snelling Ave., and major redevelopment sites including the Ford site and near Allianz Field. The area is diverse (35.5 percent minority) and 46 percent of the residents rent.
Being able to connect more businesses with residents can help raise income levels and create more stability. Another point of interest for the Midtown group is to help job seekers acquire skills which will lead to career advancement.
What’s next for the group?
• Getting into more detail on how to better connect job seekers with local employers.
• Determining what the job exchange needs in order to be successful and get it functioning.
The group will be meeting again in the coming month – those interested in learning more or wishing to participate may contact Dr. Bruce Corrie at brucecorrie@gmail.com.

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Letters to the Editor March 2020

Posted on 20 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Thanks for sharing story on overlooked dark side

Dear Editor:
I wanted to thank you and Leigh Ann Block for her bravely for coming forward to share her story about her daughter Mikayla Olson Tester.
It is such a sad story and of course Leigh had to relive it all over again. How brave of her!!
Thank you, Tesha, for reporting carefully and eloquently an often overlooked dark side of our society.

Corinne S. Rockstad

 

Consider MN Tool Library

Dear Editor:
It will be sad to see Hamline Hardware Hank close their doors after serving the community for so long. We wish Jim, Jan and all their staff success and happiness in their next endeavors. We realize this may be unhappy news for people with ongoing or upcoming projects, but we’d like you to know there is another resource close-by that can help local residents obtain the tools they’d need to continue maintaining their homes and property. It is the Midway branch of the Minnesota Tool Library.
Our library has thousands of home-repair, yard-work, and other tools, including power tools, available to lend out. Our knowledgeable staff and volunteers can help you select the tools you need and plan your project. We teach classes on home-repair and other topics, and we also have a shop space with larger equipment members can use. We’re located in the same building as Can Can Wonderland near Prior and Minnehaha. Please visit us Friday evenings or Saturday and Sunday during the day, or at www.mntoollibrary.org.

Thank you,
Bruce Willey
MN Tool Library Member and Volunteer

The latent cost of potholes in Saint Paul

Dear Editor:
“Pothole-related auto repair costs average $306, but some unfortunate drivers wind up paying more than $1,000 to fix the damage,” according to AAA Exchange website. This is a hefty price for drivers to pay, even in a great economy, and especially in Saint Paul, where potholes seem ubiquitous.
Currently, the city of Saint Paul has a pothole problem, and this problem impacts more than just the citizen driver. These potholes impact the government drivers as well, local, city, and state vehicles. This includes (but is not limited to) public works vehicles, city buses, school buses, police and fire vehicles, etc.
Perhaps, the cost of repairs and maintenance on these vehicles, let alone the cost to the average citizen of Saint Paul, add up to huge losses for our state and local government. Count the number of government vehicles you see in a single day.
The price we pay for potholes also impacts what we don’t use that money for, this is basic economics. The cost to repair damage caused by potholes this year, depletes funds for government vehicles next year, and for years to come. Money not spent on these repairs could go to something else, name any of the multitude of policies the mayor and city council can think up.
Neglecting our pothole-covered streets costs us all in extra services to our vehicles, all encompassed, citizen and government vehicles alike. The latent costs of pothole-related repairs may be measured by increased taxes each year, as requested by the leaders of our city; furthermore, it may be measured in higher taxes statewide, requested by our state government. Minnesota has the fifth highest tax burden nationally.
Think about that cost the next time you hit a pothole on your commute through Saint Paul, you aren’t the only one taking on damage. City and state vehicles are hitting them, as well. And this is hitting their pocketbook, which is hitting your pocketbook. The two are correlated, as are the costs of repairs and the amount you pay in tax dollars.
That money could have gone into our schools, lowering our crime rates, or into programs that help our neighbors experiencing homelessness in Minnesota.
Pothole related damages are costly to all in our city, especially in future costs. Waiting to repair these potholes will have a greater less obvious cost to all: higher taxes for things those repair costs could have paid for but don’t.

Terry Scott Niebeling

Responsibility for taking gender out belongs to men

Dear Editor:
I’m writing this letter in response to one published in the February Monitor.
Mr Mark Brandt wrote, in response to your article “It should never have happened,“ to suggest a “slight rewrite” to a sentence on page 2, column 3: “Like many men, he didn’t really start showing his abusive side until…”.
Mr Brandt suggested “Like many eventual abusers…”, claiming that “would take the gender out of it,” as he felt the sentence you wrote “was a little unfair to my gender.”
I suggest the responsibility for taking the gender out of domestic violence belongs to the 71% of abusers who are men. They are the only ones who can do this, by stopping their abuse of women, children, and other men.
There are, of course, two genders involved. The gender of the victims is mostly female, except for half of the children.
Reading about domestic violence often elicits automatic reactions from women (“If my partner ever raised a hand to me, I’d be out of there immediately.”) and men (“But what about women who abuse men?”).
Please, before shutting off what you’re reading with an automatic response, listen to the end of the story. Then look for more information about domestic violence. These excellent articles include a lot of information. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is another good resource.

Helen Hunter
St Paul

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To the Editor Feb 2020

Posted on 10 March 2020 by Tesha Christensen

We are not believed about our own lives
Dear Editor:
Thank you for interviewing Leigh Ann Block and, presumably, believing her story. Unlike the lawyers, judges and social workers who cared more about giving the violent man who would murder her daughter “a chance to demonstrate good behavior.”
I could have lost either or both of my children to their abusive father many years ago. But they and I – were luckier than Mikayla and Leigh.
I had decent lawyers for my divorce, unlike Martha Eaves of SMRLS. But I knew that most people, and most professionals involved in divorce and custody cases, think women trying to protect our children from violent men in their lives are making up stories to get revenge. That’s the baseline wrong done to Leigh, Mikayla and so many other victims of abuse, most of which is perpetrated by men.
We are not believed about our own lives and our children’s lives, and the violent men in our lives. My children’s father was a – now retired – Presbterian minister. You think most people believed me about his violence, his refusal to recognize other people’s rights or boundaries, his resentment at “having to be a good boy”?
My children are grown, and caring, nonviolent, great people, We’ve survived. But part of me will feel safer when that man is dead.
Thank you, Leigh Ann, for your love and courage to keep going after being abused by that monster, suffering your little daughter’s murder, and having your warnings ignored by people who should have paid attention.
It’s a disease of “professionals,” of “experts,” to think they know better than the people who come to them for help. Doctors, lawyers, cops, judges, social workers, even some teachers and mental health workers have this disease. People die every day because of this disease of arrogance, distrust of women, racism.
Thank you again for writing this. I’m sure you’ll receive a lot of letters like mine.
Helen Hunter
St Paul
Impactful series in wake of triple murder by father
Dear Editor:
Just finished reading your two stories about domestic abuse in the most recent edition of the Monitor. Very impactful writing, especially with the tragedy today in south Minneapolis, demonstrating the worst outcome of an abusive relationship.
May I offer a correction of the name for one of the resources for those in an abusive relationship? You referred to the “Alexander House”; I believe you meant the Alexandra House in Blaine.
Sincerely,
Joel Carter

What about men who are abused by women?
Dear Editor:
I received the newspaper today, and read the article about Leigh Ann Block and her late daughter Mikayla. The story is at once heartbreaking and frustrating, and I thank you for writing it. I admire Ms. Block’s activism, and I wish she could find more peace of mind, though given what happened, that may not be possible.
I wanted to bring up one sentence from the article, that I’m kind of stuck on. It’s on page 2, column 3, 4th full paragraph: “Like many men, he didn’t really start showing his abusive side until…..”
I feel like doing a slight rewrite on the first phrase of that sentence. Maybe something like “Like many eventual abusers….” This phrase takes gender out of it (since women are abusers, too, though not nearly as often as men) and it also shrinks the pool from all males to just abusive people. As written, that sentence struck me as a little unfair to my gender.
But I’m nitpicking, and I’ll stop now. Thanks again for the article – it was an engrossing account of a very sad situation.
Have a Happy New Year,
Mark Brandt

Editor’s note: While it is definitely true both males and females can be abusive, the majority of abusers are men, and the majority of violent abusers are men. Many do argue that while both genders employ power and control dynamics, it is significantly worse for women. This isn’t something everyone agrees on, though, and is currently a hot discussion topic with the recent renaming of the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women to Violence Free Minnesota.
I hope that the graphic that accompanied the article you’re referring to helped put things in perspective by showing the exact breakdown of murders by father/mother/etc. according to the Center for Judicial Excellence.

I hope fellow dog park users attend Area C meeting on Feb. 20
Dear Editor:
As a visitor to dog parks along the river, community member concerned about water quality, and kayaker, I am looking forward to learning more about the impact of Ford’s Area C dumpsite to river water quality downstream of Hidden Falls later this month.
What is known about the pollutants from paint solvents and sludge that were buried in the now fenced-off area just upstream from Hidden Falls? Are they getting into the river? Will the area and water in the river be monitored and cleaned up before development happens over the Area C site? I first heard about this issue because I work at Friends of the Mississippi River, but I imagine many fellow residents want to know the answers to these and other questions, too.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s public meeting is coming up on Thursday, Feb. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 700 Snelling Ave. S. I hope fellow dog park users, river lovers or concerned citizens will attend so people can learn more about what is going on and where we go from here.

Thank you,
Jennifer Schuetz Hadley
Hamline Midway resident

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Letter: Military pollutes, too

Posted on 10 February 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Dear Editor:
The Monitor is a great community resource and keeps so many people ‘in the know’. I appreciated the November issue with the focus on local foodies.
A statement attributed to Colin Anderson sticks out. On page 6, 3rd column, middle of the 3rd paragraph, it states “…while letting them know that the biggest polluter is the agriculture industry.”
As an organic proponent from a long line of farmers, I agree that industrial agriculture is a big part of the problem. And, I’m glad that Anderson points to the industry – not the farmers caught in the system. However, I believe that the statement is not accurate. He may mean carbon emission, but consider these findings. In a quick search I found agriculture listed as third in carbon emissions. “In 2010, global greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector totaled 4.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent, up 13 percent over 1990. Agriculture is the third largest contributor to global emissions by sector, following the burning of fossil fuels for power and heat, and transportation.” We can’t afford to ignore fossil fuels used for heat, power and transportation. Source: The EPA website.
However, there is another sector that should be exposed. A huge ‘elephant in the room’ question is, how much does US military pollute?
“In 2017, the US military bought about 269,230 barrels of oil a day and emitted more than 25,000 kilotons of carbon dioxide by burning those fuels. The US Air Force purchased $4.9 billion worth of fuel, and the Navy $2.8 billion, followed by the Army at $947 million and the Marines at $36 million.” Jun 28, 2019 from qz.com.
Another perspective from Science Daily: “The U.S. military’s carbon footprint is enormous and must be confronted in order to have a substantial effect on battling global warming, experts argue. …the US military is one of the largest climate polluters in history, consuming more liquid fuels and emitting more CO2e (carbon-dioxide equivalent) than most countries.” So, perhaps a future issue on carbon use in the neighborhood and what we can do about it. Or, exposing pollution and cleaning it up.
Thanks for listening!
Donna Goodlaxson

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Shovel the walkwalks, say hi to your newspaper carriers

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Shovel the walkwalks, say hi to your newspaper carriers

Posted on 10 February 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Too Much Coffee

Tesha M. Christensen

By TESHA M. CHRISTENSEN, Tesha@LongfellowNokomisMessenger.com

Let’s give a hand to our newspaper carriers, those wonderful people who are out delivering the news before many of us wake up. As winter sets in, give your newspaper and mail carriers a hand. Keep sidewalks shoveled and ice-free, and make sure there’s a clear pathway to your front door. Some folks even clear a house-to-house trail on their lawns so the carriers don’t have to go up and down steps. It could speed delivery, just a tiny bit.
Nearly 30 million U.S. households still get a newspaper delivered to their doorstep, according to 2018 data from the Pew Research Center.
The job hazards are what you’d expect – dogs, sprinklers, rain, snow and sleet.
The carriers may not be what you’d expect. Henry Huggins, the beloved fictional character created by Beverly Cleary, epitomized a time when kids filled the majority of newspaper routes. Today, most carriers do the routes as a second job. This side hustle pays for vacations, cabins, and home repairs. For some, it’s a way to stay active and fit when they retire.
Delivering newspapers has been a crash course in business training for many famous folks, including Walt Disney, Warren Buffett, Kathy Ireland, former Vice President Joe Biden, actor Tom Cruise, and director David Lynch.
Our newspaper carriers aren’t TMC Publication staff members, but employees of Fresh Heir, a small business that delivers for a variety of neighborhood newspapers in the Twin Cities. They earn their wage based on the number of papers and routes they deliver. Carriers can earn $13-15 an hour and their hours are flexible. To accommodate those without cars, the Fresh Heir van drops bundles off at street corners. Carriers can then fill their bags multiple times over the next hour or so without them becoming too heavy, and then work their way up and down the street. A 12-inch stack of newspapers weighs about 35 pounds, so a carrier is always balancing how much they can carry versus the length of the route. In poor weather, the carrier places the newspapers in polybags (that can be recycled by readers), and in better weather they roll them with a rubber band to make it easier to throw.
It takes some muscle and finesse to deliver a paper to your front steps. I can tell you that my arm got pretty tired by the end of my routes this summer, and some papers didn’t make it exactly where I was aiming. My apologies for those of you that found your papers closer to the bushes than your front steps.
Some of our carriers have been delivering the same routes for years, and although I tried to talk them into being interviewed for this column, they all declined, leaving the spotlight for others. These carriers regularly walking our neighborhood streets help keep them safe. And they feel connected to the homes they’re serving.
Every once in awhile a newspaper carrier makes it into the newspapers they’re delivering. Here are a few stories compiled by the News Media Alliance:
• In 2018, Howard Shelton was shot on the job. He is a carrier for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The 60-year-old was delivering to customers on his route when his car was stolen and he was shot. His customers set up a GoFundMe to help with his expenses while out of work. It was the first time in 20 years Shelton missed work.
• In 2017, Mari Schlegel was delivering the Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal Star when she noticed a home on her route was on fire. After calling 911, Schlegel knocked on the door of the house to wake up the resident, Debra Sherard, and alert her to the fire. Thanks to Schlegel’s quick thinking, Sherard and her pets escaped the house unharmed, and the fire department was able to put out the fire before it spread further through the house.
• When Debbie Brazell, a newspaper delivery woman for Columbia, South Carolina’s The State newspaper, noticed that papers were piling up in the paper box of a long-time subscriber on her route, she thought something had to be wrong. And she was right. The 93-year-old resident had fallen and couldn’t get up, so Brazell called 911. The woman, it turned out, had fallen and blacked out on Friday, and was not found until Brazell arrived on Monday.
Feel free to leave a tip for your carrier during these tough winter months (it’s customary to tip a carrier $5 to $10 per month, and up to $25 during the holidays), and I’m sure they’d also appreciate a smile and a thank you.
Newspaper carriers don’t just deliver papers; they also deliver democracy door to door, according to Lindsey Loving, a spokesperson for News Media Alliance. “Without newspaper carriers, many people wouldn’t receive the news that keeps them informed about their communities,” she said. “Both the news and newspaper carriers play critical roles in preserving our democratic society, and we couldn’t be more grateful to them.”
I completely agree.

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Here are some resolutions you can keep

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Here are some resolutions you can keep

Posted on 10 February 2020 by Tesha Christensen

Building a Stronger Midway

By CHAD KULAS, Midway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

It’s January 2020, which means a new year and a new decade. For many, the start of a year is the best time to make resolutions – to change your life for the better. Unfortunately, we know how well many resolutions work. The gym is always the busiest in January. Many diets begun after the holidays are over before Valentine’s Day. So, what are some resolutions we can make that we can (hopefully) keep? And which also benefit our community?
Resolution 1: Discover a new local restaurant each month. I did this one year and had so much fun learning new (to me) gems in my neighborhood. University Ave. is home to one of the most diverse arrays of cuisines in the Twin Cities, with many making famed chef Andrew Zimmern’s lists for best places to eat in town. Bonus points for bringing a neighbor or even making it a night out for the block. However, dining out can be expensive so maybe instead you find a new grocery store. Or any retail store.
Resolution 2: Become more environmentally and energy efficient – and saving money in the process. Zero Waste Saint Paul is an organization with helpful tips on how to become more environmentally friendly with your waste (for more information, check out zerowastesaintpaul.com and look for the article in last month’s Monitor). Another way to be more sustainable, environmentally friendly and save money is to acquire used goods rather than buy new. The Midway-Frogtown Exchange is a Facebook page dedicated to residents interested in buying, selling or giving away items. A Goodwill is also located on University, along with more second-hand stores. If you’d rather just give away your old clothes, another wonderful place is Dress For Success, a nonprofit who accepts donated professional women’s attire so others can have nice outfits for a job interview.
The Midway is known for having some of the best transit options in the Twin Cities, from bus routes to light rail and bus rapid transit. Using public transit eliminates another idling motor on the road and the added risk of wear and tear on your vehicle. If you are planning to park somewhere with paid parking, taking public transit may be a cheaper option.
Resolution 3: Connect more with the community. Our lives are busy, and we all get into habits where we go directly home after work and don’t emerge until the morning. But people are happier when they are more engaged with the outside world, and what better way than with others who live near you. I spent six years on the Frogtown Neighborhood Association, and it helped me get to know more neighbors and find out what’s happening where I live. It also allowed me an opportunity to help shape what happened too. With so many charities close to us, find one with a mission you can become passionate about. Or perhaps you just help organize more neighborhood or block parties (it can happen more than just National Night Out).
Resolutions don’t have to be broken. And they can be more than just self-fulfillment. Resolve to learn more about your community – you’ll meet interesting people and have a good time!

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Building a Stronger Midway- Holidays: a time for giving

Building a Stronger Midway- Holidays: a time for giving

Posted on 29 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

By CHAD KULAS, Midway Chamber of Commerce Executive Director

As you look outside, you know winter is upon us. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, we are in a busy time – between holidays, office/company parties, and wrapping up projects by the end of the year. But many also look for ways to help, in a popular time for giving back. According to Patrick Kirby, founder of Do Good Better Consulting, nationally 20-25% of fundraising is done in the fourth quarter with many organizations seeing much higher numbers.
In and around the Midway, there are several nonprofits. While we live in Minnesota, jokingly the land of 10,000 nonprofits (there’s actually only 9,127 nonprofit employers in the state) – there is an even bigger concentration the closer one gets to University Ave. Why?
For starters, we are closer to the State Capitol and many nonprofits are busy during the legislative session lobbying on behalf of their interests. A good transit system also helps, as many nonprofits rely on buses and trains to get their employees, volunteers and clients to their door. With cheaper rent than either downtown, the Midway and University Ave. are better on the budget while still being serviced by transit lines. There is also a synergy which occurs when several groups of a similar mission are close to each other. Like tech companies in Silicon Valley, nonprofits often want to be close to other nonprofits.
And nonprofits are good for the region. They make up 13.3% of the total workforce in Minnesota, and in two local zip codes (55104 and 55115) there are 425 nonprofits. Over 50% are in the category of human services and represent a broad range of ways to give back.
How do people help nonprofits? In several ways. For some, donating financially requires little time but can make a big difference. For those wanting a more hands-on approach, they volunteer their time. My family likes to shop for others, by buying gifts requested from families staying at the Ronald McDonald House. For some, giving back is something to do as a family or a group of friends. For others, it can be an office bonding opportunity.
At the Midway Chamber, each November we help support and promote the Shop with Cops program. The program features a cop shopping with a child for the child’s family; often the gifts purchased that day are the only gifts the family will receive for the holidays. Many times, the day starts with a shy child walking to Target with a police officer, and ends with the two laughing together as they wrap the presents. While there are similar programs throughout the country, it started here with the Saint Paul Police Department when a local resident wanted to see a better relationship between cops and youth.
In December, we hold a Celebration of Nonprofits at Hamline University where we feature programming geared at the nonprofit community. Up to 40 of our nonprofit members participate in an expo and directories of our nonprofit members are given to all attendees.
This holiday season, I hope you can think of nonprofits in our community who could use a helping hand and find a way to support any way you can.
Statistics used in this article are attributed to the 2018 Minnesota Nonprofit Economy Report, published by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. The data in the report comes from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages and Internal Revenue Service. Additional information about the nonprofit sector is available on the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits’ website, minnesotanonprofits.org.

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Stop the presses – Chamber Directory: Support your local merchants

Stop the presses – Chamber Directory: Support your local merchants

Posted on 29 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

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

Denis Woulfe


Over the years, the Midway Como Monitor has had the good fortune to have a great working relationship with the Midway Chamber of Commerce. The genesis of the Monitor back in the 1970s was in large part due to encouragement and support from organizations like the Midway Chamber, the Hamline Midway Coalition, and others. In fact, when the Monitor initially needed capital to start the newspaper, there were 10 business owners and community leaders who co-signed a note with Midway Bank to get things up and running. Today, we still rely on and work closely with business and community groups and derive much of our information and story ideas from them.
You might have noticed that one of the new columnists for the Monitor in recent months has been Midway Chamber Executive Director Chad Kulas. Kulas brings a great deal of insight to his column each month, and shares many of the new developments occurring in the Midway with our monthly readers. Starting with the addition of light rail to the University Corridor several years ago, to the most recent addition of the new Allianz soccer stadium, the Midway has been the hub for a whirlwind of activity in recent years. We’re quite pleased to be able to share some of the stories about the new and unique businesses that have come to make Midway their new home through the eyes of Kulas’ monthly column.
But you may or may not know that in addition to publishing the Monitor each month, and our sister newspaper, the Longfellow Nokomis Messenger in South Minneapolis, we also partner to produce and distribute the annual Midway Chamber of Commerce Community Directory each spring. As part of that, we reach out to Chamber and non-Chamber businesses alike to see if they would like to reach this unique audience of Chamber members through advertising in the Directory.
Now the Chamber Directory is a unique product as it functions as both a house publication for Chamber members, chronicling their activities during the course of the year, but it also serves as a valuable source of information for community residents on local officials, and contact information for local schools, parks, and other community organizations. It is a great resource that is a staple in the homes and businesses where we distribute the Directory.
The Directory also functions as a valuable reminder about the wealth of valuable goods and services that you can find within our community. I remember hearing a presentation years ago about the impact of spending your money with a business that is headquartered locally versus one that is headquartered in Timbuktu. There’s a stunning multiplier effect when you spend your hard-earned dollars locally, and the short summation is that the money you spend locally ends up returning to you multifold in the form of higher local tax coffers, jobs for your high school sons and daughters, and in many other ways. Once your hard-earned dollars are spent with companies who are headquartered out of town, that money doesn’t come back to our neighborhood. Or at least it doesn’t come back in the same dramatic way that spending locally does!
So I have three messages to pass along to you today. First, if you are not currently a Midway Chamber member, why not consider signing up? I know Chad Kulas would be delighted to meet with you and tell you about the benefits of becoming a Chamber member. The Midway Chamber, by the way, is definitely on a roll of late, and is now celebrating its 100th year of existence in St. Paul. That’s a pretty impressive legacy, and not every local Chamber can make that claim to fame.
Second, if you are a business that does business in the Midway and is looking to bolster your community image and your community connection, why not consider advertising in this coming Midway Chamber Directory? I’d be happy to discuss options with you and see if it could be a good fit for you.
Lastly, regardless of whether you are a business owner or a resident in the Midway and Como communities, I’m guessing that you believe in the importance of community if you are reading the Midway Como Monitor. Consider why supporting advertisers like those in the Midway Chamber Directory as well as those in the Monitor each month is vital to the stability of that same community. Watch for and consider patronizing those same merchants when you see the Chamber Directory next April and the Monitor each month.
And meanwhile, if you have any questions about the Midway Chamber Directory or the Monitor, don’t hesitate to email me at Denis@MonitorSaintPaul.com

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To the Editor: Thank you, US Bank, for the many years of smiles

Posted on 29 December 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Dear Editor:
On Dec.3, the US Bank at 2383 University Ave. (University and Raymond) closed for good. The building was formally a “First Bank” when built in the late 1940s/early 1950s and has endured many years of development happening around it. A developer has bought the property and neighboring property to make way for student housing in the area. Having stood for 70 years, the building will be torn down in the spring of 2020. There are no plans to reopen in a different location at this time, so once the signs went dark on Tuesday evening, that will be the end for the two-story building that has sat on the corner where it has seen many changes over the course of its life. As the directory board in the front entry says, “Thank you for the many years of smiles.”
Jon Lindquist

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