Ready & Resilient_heat

Hot time in the city!

Posted on 20 July 2016 by Calvin

Climate change means we are experiencing more extreme weather. In the summer, we will experience more days that are hotter than average, and more nights that don’t cool down. Those of us without air conditioning, and those of us who usually work and play outdoors, are likely to suffer. We will need to adapt our behavior (limit strenuous activity during the hottest days) and adopt practices to keep cooler and healthy.

Heat can be deadly. You likely know that heat stroke and heat exhaustion are a result of the body overheating (to 105° F). But you may not realize how quickly overheating can damage the brain and other internal organs. Call 911, but cooling within 30 minutes is essential to maximize survival. Many summer sports training and events now provide an ice bath to immediately immerse an athlete in case of an emergency.

Ready & Resilient_heatPhoto right: The Driftless Organics harvest team takes a well-deserved break to rest, hydrate and cool down; they deliver CSA boxes to the Hamline Midway area and local co-ops.

Anyone who spends time outdoors in strenuous activity is at risk. This includes runners, sports teams, youth engaged in outdoor activities, construction workers, farmers, gardeners, and homeless people. Small children and pets depend on your ability to recognize when they are heat stressed.

Older adults are especially vulnerable to extreme heat as they may be less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. They may have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat. And, some prescription medication reduces the body’s ability to regulate its temperature or inhibit perspiration.

Acclimating, or getting used to heat stress, is a key factor. Most serious health problems and deaths due to heat occur within the first few days of starting strenuous work or exercise in the sun. Your body needs about two weeks to acclimate to extreme heat. Factor this into your schedule. Start with shorter periods of activity and allow lots of breaks to rest and cool off. You can gradually increase the duration and strenuousness of activity each day as your body gets used to the stress.

Staying hydrated is vital. When it is hot, you will be sweating even if you aren’t aware of it. For every 1% loss in body mass, your body temperature will increase by a half degree Fahrenheit. You want to minimize the loss of fluids during exercise to reduce the risk of heat stroke.

We often hear the heat index as a measure of extreme heat, but remember that it is calculated for shady areas. If you work or exercise in the direct sun, consider using the standard used by the military and OSHA: the WetBulb Globe Temperature (WBGT). It measures heat stress in direct sunlight and offers guidelines for the number and length of breaks (http://www.srh.noaa.gov/tsa/?n=wbgt).

So how can we cope?
• If you have one, use your air conditioner. Make sure it works before you need it. Many of the people who have died during extreme heat events had air conditioners but failed to use them due to cost concerns, or because they are broken. Your life and health are worth the cost!
• If you don’t have an air conditioner, find an accessible place that does. Libraries, stores, and movie theaters are good options.
• On the hottest days limit the use of your oven or stove, which will only make your house hotter.
• Wear loose, lightweight clothing.
• Take cool showers or baths, or wrap a wet towel or scarf around your neck to cool down.
• Drink more water than usual: throughout the day and before, during and after exercise. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. Carry a water bottle with you and use it. Limit the intake of alcohol and caffeine.
• Don’t rush. Assume tasks will take longer because you are building in more and longer breaks.
• Schedule more strenuous outdoor tasks for early morning or evening when it is cooler.
• Take your breaks in the shade or inside: this is time for your body to cool down, as well as to rest.
• Don’t forget that pets suffer from heat—bring them inside where it is air-conditioned, provide shade for them, schedule walks in early morning or evening when it is cooler, and provide lots of water.
• Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are characterized by confusion, dizziness, and collapse. You may not realize how hot or ill you are. So on those extreme heat days, have someone check on you! And do the same for others!

More health and safety tips and resources to deal with extreme heat can be found at www.ready.gov/heat and emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heat_guide.asp.

The Ready & Resilient Hamline Midway project is an initiative of the Hamline Midway Environmental Group (HMEG) to build climate change resilience in our community.

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Butterfly House 16

Butterfly exhibit opens at Como

Posted on 11 July 2016 by Calvin

Butterfly House 16It’s a flutter fest at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, where the popular “Blooming Butterflies” exhibit opened in June. Hundreds of butterflies from Africa, Asia, and the Americas are flying freely in an indoor garden environment filled with tropical plants. Up to 400 butterflies will be released each week. Every day at noon guests are invited to pay $1 to release their own personal butterfly. The free exhibit is open every day from 10am to 6pm, through Sept. 5.

Blooming Butterflies offers visitors a total immersion experience for the young and old. The 2,500 square foot greenhouse features a thrivingButterfly House 14 butterfly habitat that, over the course of the summer, becomes home to over 100 species of butterflies from around the world.

As many as 6,400 butterfly pupae (chrysalis) are being sent to Como throughout the summer. The chrysalis is unpacked, inspected for any sign of disease or parasitoids, then pinned to foam boards and placed into the emergence chamber. They emerge anywhere from two days to several weeks and then are placed in the exhibit.

Butterfly House 29Blooming Butterflies introduces visitors to the wonders of metamorphosis. This seasonal exhibit showcases countless beautifully colored butterflies sipping nectar and taking flight, offering guests the opportunity to better understand and appreciate the life cycle of the creatures and their importance to the ecosystem. Inside the exhibit, you can chat with volunteers and ask questions, or simply relax and enjoy the garden while butterflies flit and fly about.

While a few of the butterflies exhibited in Blooming Butterflies are found in Minnesota, the bulk of them are not native. Como holds special permits to exhibit these non-native butterflies. Most of the butterfly species featured at Como are short-lived with an average life span of two to four weeks.

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SPPS Saturday workshop 2

St. Paul Public Schools embarks on five-year renovation plan

Posted on 11 July 2016 by Calvin

Interactive classroom projectors, security cameras, a remodeled cafeteria and a new artificial turf field are a few of the improvements public schools in the Hamline Midway and Como neighborhoods will see in in the next few years.

Construction will begin this month for the Saint Paul Public School’s (SPPS) five-year facilities master plan. This is after two years of gathering data on 72 schools and facilities and 465 acres of land that belong to SPPS, in addition to collecting input from over 1,000 people who work and study there.

“Most of the work we’re doing this summer is maintenance, bread and butter stuff,” said Tom Parent, the Facilities Director at SPPS, with the exception of Johnson High School in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood.

SPPS Saturday workshop 3All Photos: Saturday workshops were held around the district to develop the five-year plan. (All photos courtesy of the St. Paul Public Schools)

The district has always had long-range maintenance plans, said Parent. But making improvements has been a technical expert focused process in the past. This is the first time that there has been a strategic five-year plan laid out for students and parents.

“This is a change in focus for us as a district to look at things more holistically,” he explained.

According to Parent, security cameras and improving classroom technology were two of the main needs identified across the district. Every school is getting some work related to those areas. Classroom technology includes interactive projectors and distributed sound for better classroom instruction.

“Both of those initiatives are to get every school in the district to a baseline of service for those systems,” he said.

The process
The Facilities Department developed the plan through four phases. The first phase analyzed key data such as demographic trends, student enrollment and building capacities.

SPPS Saturday workshop 1Phase two analyzed costs and the district’s project priorities. One of the biggest challenges in this part of the process was establishing consistency in priorities with such a diverse set of schools built across many decades. Over 90 percent of the buildings are between 30 and 115 years old.

The next step involved taking those priorities and tailoring them to each school.
“How do we take district level aspiration and articulate it at each one of our schools?” said Parent.

Phase three worked to answer that question, and community involvement was a key part.
“This was a process in which we were able to engage the community in having an active voice in how the buildings needed to change in the coming years,” said Parent.

SPPS Saturday workshop 2At first, Parent said he thought that they would hold meetings for the community to give input and “whoever comes, comes, and it will be great.” However, it was quickly realized that “by doing that we’re over-representing some perspectives over others,” he said.

SPPS then put together diverse 20 person committees made up of students, parents, teachers, staff and administrators to identify each school’s needs.

“We were very intentional about having a diverse set of perspectives,” said Parent. “This works best when it’s built on empathy and multiple perspectives from the community.”

Then, SPPS held Saturday morning workshops in which committees worked alongside engineers and architects to decide which improvements were most needed at their schools. Over 800 people participated.

“We don’t need a lot of perspective in the roof being replaced, but educationally and civilly — we need those perspectives,” he said.

Another diverse 65 person committee — that included students, parents, SPPS administrators and District Council and Parks and Rec representatives from across the city — helped throughout the entire process. This committee also helped to prioritize what needs were most important in phase four.

This committee “represented the stakeholders we have here in Saint Paul,” and “really spoke to the breadth of service and need that we have in the district,” said Parent.

To help prioritize needs in phase four, SPPS developed criteria. One of the top priorities listed is to address temporary structures. If a program in a portable building has been successful, said Parent, it’s important to find a permanent space for it.

The criteria also lists enrollment growth, classroom quality, main building entries, building conditions, size and quality of core spaces like gyms and cafeterias. Additional information about prioritization criteria is available online at the SPPS Facilities website.

Parent says that the majority of phone calls he receives are requests for upgrades to athletics and that there is enormous pressure to improve those facilities.

“There is a hunger for better athletic facilities throughout St. Paul,” he said.

Space poses a challenge for SPPS in this area. Saint Paul high schools have about a fifth of the space compared to suburban high schools, said Parent.

“Not every school needs everything,” he said. “But, let’s find a way to share the resources we have so that we really see efficiency at the face.”

SPPS analyzed sport participation data and the balance of physical space for competition athletics and physical activity for all.

“We were able to identify inequities and opportunities to increase participation,” said Parent.
Two other high schools in addition Como Park Senior High School will be getting turf fields for the first time. Furthermore, four schools will have their turf replaced in the next five years.

“Our space is so incredibly valuable and utilized so heavily,” said Parent. Turf fields will help utilize that space for as much of the season and as many hours a day possible.

According to Parent, SPPS has been receiving the same dollar amount for building improvement and maintenance from the state legislature since 1994.

“We have lost 38 cents of each dollar just in inflation,” he said.

By law, that funding must be used for building improvement only. The funds make up four percent of the district’s overall budget. The 2015-16 building construction fund stands at $27.4 million, according to the Facilities website.

For more information, go to http://www.spps.org/Page/22595.

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Frame Works

Five performances of ‘Frame Works’ slated during Fringe

Posted on 11 July 2016 by Calvin

Frame Works PosterDance has been a part of Chloe Sekhran’s life since she was three. Raised in Como, and now a junior at the University of Iowa, Sekhran is performing in a Fringe presentation choreographed by her former dance teacher, Margaret Marinoff.

Five performances of the dance presentation, called Frame Works, will be offered during the Fringe Festival, which takes place Aug. 4-14 at various venues in the Twin Cities.

Sekhran is using the performance to hone her skills in dance and marketing, as she is also working on the publicity for the Fringe show. She is majoring in dance and marketing at the University of Iowa, one of few schools that allow students to do a double major. “It’s one of the reasons I picked Iowa,” she said.

Sekhran said she has been dancing all her life at the Midwest Youth Dance Theatre (MYDT), where she met Marinoff, who continues to teach there. It started out in Falcon Heights and has now relocated to Roseville.

“I have done ballet, modern, tap, jazz and musical theater dancing,” Sekhran said. “In Iowa, I am focusing on ballet and modern. I am drawn to the contemporary ballet style.”

“I knew I wanted to dance in college,” she continued, “but I wanted to also major in something else to supplement it. I chose marketing, because some day I want to be a fashion buyer.”

This will be her second time performing a production for Fringe, and for Marinoff it will be the third.

Marinoff, from Arden Hills, can trace her beginnings in dance back to the Como area, also.
A graduate of the University of Minnesota with a BFA in dance, she said she first started dancing at the Davis School of Dance, which was in a little green house by Como Park. “I remember there were lion statues outside the front doors of the house,” she recalled.

Frame WorksPhoto left: Chloe Sekhran and Margaret Marinoff strike a dance pose. (Photo by Jan Willms)

Marinoff teaches ballet, pointe and combos at MYDT. In Frame Works, she works with a cast of six, some of whom attended the St. Paul Conservatory of Performing Arts and trained at the St. Paul Ballet (655 Fairview Ave. N. and a location on Grand Ave.).

Frame Works is described as an art-in-motion piece with dances that explore the beautiful hues and themes found on canvas, and inspired by artists past and present.

“I was influenced strongly by art work done by Henry Asencio, who paints figures of women,” Marinoff said. She said that his work is the basis for the opening piece, which is done to Cuban guitar music.

The second part of the performance reflects seascapes that are painted by Ran Ortner. And the final dance pays homage to Vincent Van Gogh and his sunflower paintings.

“The first part of the performance has a little bit of ballroom style, the second is more contemporary and the last is more classical,” Marinoff explained.

She and Sekhran have kept in touch through the years. “Some students I have bonded with more because of their interest in ballet,” Marinoff stated. “Chloe is a strong dancer in ballet and modern and musical theater. When someone is that well rounded, you want to keep in touch with them so you can utilize their skills.”

She added that marketing is one of her biggest challenges, so she thinks it is wonderful to have Sekhran here to work on that aspect, also. “With this experience, she can see how it goes if she someday wants to start her own company.”

Sekhran agrees that she is grateful for the experience to use both her dancing and marketing skills this summer.

“Dancing has always been my primary activity,” she noted. “When I was in elementary school, I tried other sports like softball and basketball, but I wasn’t too good. And I liked dance more than anything else. I knew that was what I was supposed to be doing.”

She considers herself fortunate that she can pursue dance as one of her majors. Once she finishes college, she hopes to perform in a contemporary ballet company and then go on to teach dance as well, with the fashion buyer career still a part of her plan. “I like to teach five to seven year olds, something I have been doing here and there when I can fit it in,” she said. “You can really make a difference, and I want to inspire young girls to like dance as much as I do.”

For the Fringe performance, the dancers have been practicing for four hours on Saturdays, and this coming week will have an additional four days of practice. The show is being put together in about two months.

Marinoff also puts together the costumes. “I rely on Marshall’s, Discount Dance Supply and those darling little discount shops on Facebook,” she said.

During preparation for the Fringe, Marinoff said it takes priority over everything else. “My house and car show it,” she said with a laugh. “And I also work at another job, and I tell my co-workers they are all a part of Fringe, too, because I rely on them for support.”

The most challenging aspect of putting on a Fringe performance is the short time frame and working with everyone’s schedules, according to Marinoff. Sekhran said she doesn’t mind the short time allotted. “You have to work hard, that’s for sure, but it doesn’t hinder the process.”

For her, the fact that the shows can be any time of day, in the morning or at 10pm, makes it interesting. “People can be in different moods at different times of the day,” she said.

As far as audiences, Sekhran said dance shows tend to attract people familiar with dance.

“Family and friends come to support you, too,” she added. “But then as the show goes on, word of mouth gets out, and other people come.”

“Dance is probably one of the least understood art forms,” Marinoff said. “It takes a specific type of person to be attracted to dance because there isn’t dialogue that goes along with it like in normal theater. Some dance forms are a little less clear on what they are trying to say, and doesn’t translate as well.”

All genres will be covered in the 169 live performances offered by Fringe this year. Audiences will have an opportunity to see Frame Works at 4pm on Aug. 6, 8:30pm on Aug. 7, 10pm on Aug. 8, 8:30pm on Aug. 11 and 1pm on Aug. 14.

For more information on schedules and venues, visit the Fringe website at www.fringefestival.org.

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Soccer stadium project delayed, waiting for state to act

Soccer stadium project delayed, waiting for state to act

Posted on 11 July 2016 by Calvin

As plans and approvals continue forward, June construction start date passes waiting for tax bill

Plans for a Major League Soccer stadium and redeveloped Midway Center are set to go to the St. Paul City Council for a public hearing at 5:30pm, Wed., Aug. 3 at City Hall. The ambitious projects are moving ahead on paper while a property tax exemption hangs in the balance.

The plans won Planning Commission approval July 8.

About 50 people attended a June 10 St. Paul Planning Commission public hearing on the stadium, site plan and master plan for the block bounded by Pascal St. and St. Anthony, Snelling and University avenues. Almost 150 people attended a June 7 open house at Concordia University.

soccer illus 1 SLIDERCity staff recommended approval of the plans, with some measures to mitigate traffic, parking, noise and other issues. The mitigation measures will also be shaped by an Areawide Urban Alternatives Review or AUAR, which outlines steps to deal with potential impacts. Comments on the AUAR were due July 6, with city staff responses and a final report expected by July 18.

On July 13 the Metropolitan Council was expected to act on $1.25 million pollution cleanup grant for the former bus garage site and RK Midway-owned property to the east.

Planning Commission members have continued to review the plans, but they and others have asked what will happen if the Minnesota Legislature doesn’t have a special session and approve the property tax exemption for the stadium site. That was included in the tax bill that Gov. Mark Dayton recently pocket-vetoed. Dayton and state lawmakers have discussed the possibility of a special legislative session but haven’t been able to agree.

Minnesota United officials have been mum since the regular session ended, Minnesota United FC owner Bill McGuire told the Planning Commission in June that he is confident that there will be a special session.

Stadium construction was supposed to start in June but without an adopted tax bill, nothing will start.

Many citizens, members of the Snelling-Midway Community Advisory Committee and area district council members say that that more details are needed on both plans and that the fast pace of development means a lack of access to needed information. “This represents incredible risks and opportunities for our city and our neighborhoods,” said Snelling Midway Community Advisory Committee Co-chairman Eric Molho. The task force wrapped up its review of the site plan and master plan in May. While the group generally supports the plans, “the reality is, we know very few of the critical details.” Molho also said the advisory group had “significant concerns and frustrations” about the process and believes that more public engagement is needed.

“This has been a huge and very fast-moving project,” he said. Union Park District Council is forming its own task force to monitor stadium and shopping center planning. Hamline Midway Coalition broadly favors the ideas presented so far but wants more input on issues including open space, pedestrian safety, density and site design. Coalition representative Nathan Roisen said that his neighborhood is just as, if not more, affected by the project than Union Park is. Capital Region Watershed District also weighed in, asking for more attention to storm water management.

Many citizens also spoke at the Planning Commission and community meetings, raising worries about traffic, spillover parking, game time noise and disruption to an area that has been through years of Green Line light rail, Snelling Bridge, and Snelling Ave. reconstruction.

One new issue to emerge is that of whether the redeveloped site should have some type of water feature, possibly as part of a storm water management plan. Some Planning Commission members would like to see that added. But McGuire said he’d rather see green space and reminded the Planning Commission that maintaining a water feature can have a high cost.

Merriam Park resident Danette Lincoln described herself as “one of the little people” who has been following the plans. She lives near I-94 and said neighbors could face years of construction noise and disruption, followed by noise and spillover parking. While people want to see redevelopment, “we don’t want to be stepped on in the process.”

“Neighborhood parking is already being used by people using the Green Line,” said Hamline-Midway resident Yvonne Schneider. She and others worried that soccer fans would use neighborhood streets for parking. But Schneider and others also said they would be pleased to see the area redeveloped with amenities such as green space and new businesses. She described the current conditions as “a pit.”

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Como High President Zedillo

News from Como Park High School

Posted on 11 July 2016 by Calvin

Compiled by ERIC ERICSON, Social Studies Teacher

• Cadets from Como Park’s Marine Corps JROTC began their summer with a week of activity and training in Wisconsin. The Cadet Leadership Course was held at Fort McCoy from June 13-17. Participants spent time hiking, rappelling, and competing in obstacle course challenges. They also gained experience in a leaders’ reaction course and a land survival skills course instructed by a certified professional guide. The 37 cadets concluded their trip with a fun-filled day at a waterpark in Wisconsin Dells.



•The Page Education Foundation announced its 2016 Page Scholars who will receive financial support as they pursue post-secondary education. In return for their awards, the recipients will help develop positive attitudes about education among elementary and middle-school children by volunteering as tutors and mentors in their communities.

Page Scholars from Como’s class of 2016 are Rosa Chautla Suastegui, Ebisa Gelatta, Israel Guzman Castillo, Zahro Hashi, Hser Htoo, Civastina Kyewaa, Khun Myo, Beatrice Owuso, Isabella Rosa, Jahel Salazar Barrientos, CharDay Vincal, Abaynhe Worku and Pa Houa Yang.

• Boys and girls from the Como Soccer teams are volunteering their time and energy this summer coaching and leading young players in the community through the Northwest Como Rec Center “Soccer Stars” program. Soccer Stars is held on Tuesday nights at the Como Park Picnic Grounds. There are over 30 participants in the 4-6-year-old age group, and over 20 participants in the 7-11-year-old session which follows.

Coaches Jonah Fields and Kyle Johnson work with Como Park High School players to create fun activities that help young players get comfortable with the soccer ball, develop skills and build relationships through the game. Service is an essential component of Como Soccer, and giving back to the community is rewarding for the dozens of high school players that provide it.

• Como AP Government, AP Macroeconomics, and ELL History teacher Eric Erickson was selected to attend the Foreign Policy Association Teacher Training Institute in New York City. In sessions led by prominent policy experts, 36 teachers from the U.S., Mexico and Canada discussed Middle East Realignment, Migration, the Korean Peninsula, U.S.-Cuba relations, NAFTA, the United Nations, and Climate Change.

Presenters included ambassadors from Canada and South Korea, Mexico’s representative to the U.N., and journalists featuring David Sanger of the New York Times, and Jonathon Alter of NBC and long time senior editor of Newsweek. The culminating event of the week was the Statesman Dinner at the St. Regis Hotel honoring Ernesto Zedillo, the President of Mexico from 1994-2000, for his leadership and commitment to global diplomacy.

Como High President ZedilloPhoto left: Como teacher Eric Erickson met Ernest Zedillo, former President of Mexico, at a Foreign Policy Association event to honor Zedillo in New York City. (Photo submitted)

The Foreign Policy Association was established in 1918 to promote citizen education of global affairs. The Teacher Training Institute prepares teachers to tackle complicated global issues with their students and expand their educational networks.

• Ten Como Park teachers spent the first week of their summer developing new resources at the AVID training held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, and is a strong support system for many Como Park students taking rigorous coursework.

Como teachers use AVID techniques across all grade levels to incorporate and integrate skills that help students become college ready. AVID’s researched based study strategies help students analyze and interpret key concepts, and also organize essential information.

Teachers at the training attended sessions in their content areas and specialized in strands most applicable to their students. Participants included Allison Hartzell, Liz Paone, Shelly Storelee, Robyn Asher, Erica Boulay-Ali, Donna Norberg, Kia Thao, Suzanne Susens, Deb Hansmeier and Cindy Fischer.

• Members of the Como Robotics Team represented Como at the St. Anthony Park Arts Festival in June and made some positive community connections. Additionally, members of Como’s National Honor Society helped young visitors with the creation of arts and crafts in the children’s area of the festival.

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Blackhawks soccer club head to USA Cup

Blackhawks soccer club head to USA Cup

Posted on 11 July 2016 by Calvin


soccerA girls 16-and-under soccer team from the Blackhawks youth soccer club in the Midway Como area will carry memories of a late teammate at the USA Cup on July 19-23.

Fischer Anderson, a St. Paul Central student and a defender for the Blackhawks U16 girls team, passed away in January. Blackhawks U16 players will wear a patch with Anderson’s No. 23 patched on their jerseys at the upcoming tournament.

“Fischer was a headstrong player, tough defender and an invaluable asset to this team,” Blackhawks coach Rebecca Scott said.

Some the players also attended Central with Anderson last school year. Blackhawks U16 players Natalie Ierien said her grew in pulling through the tragic loss of a teammate.

“I describe my team in a lot of ways, but the one description that I think is the most important is strong,” Ierien said.

The Blackhawks went 6-4 this season and will play in its third USA Cup with this group of players. Most recently, they took part in the 2014 tournament, but they went overseas to play in the Gothia Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden last year.

“That was sort of the USA Schwan’s Cup of Sweden,” Ierien said.

In its 32nd year, the USA Cup at the National Sports Center in Blaine has the western hemisphere’s biggest soccer tournament for youth. Teams from all over the world come to play in the tourney, which begins with an Olympic-style opening ceremony.

“The first year my team and I went, we were able to meet and take photos with a lot of foreign teams,” Ierien said. “That was very fun, and I hope we can do that again this year.”

The Blackhawks first play the teams in their respective pool before entering a tournament bracket, similar to the World Cup’s format.

The Blackhawks have a solid goalkeeper in Liz Wirt. They also are strong in midfield play with Abigail Moseman at center midfield.

“Her performance technically and as a team leader was very helpful both offensively and defensively throughout the season,” Scott said.

Moseman played for the Central girls varsity team last fall, and Wirt played for Cretin-Derham Hall. Other Blackhawks players will look to crack respective varsity lineups this coming autumn.
For now, they will look to make the most of the upcoming USA Cup. Scott wants her team to do well but have fun too.

“It is important for this team to enjoy their last bit of soccer together before the age group changes,” Scott said.

And a final chance to play for Anderson together too.

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Como Composts Colorized.cdr

Organics recycling site opens in Como Park

Posted on 11 July 2016 by Calvin


Organics-site-mapRecycling your food scraps and other household organic waste just got easier. District 10’s new organics recycling site in Como Park is now open, on Beulah Lane just north of the Humane Society.

The District 10 site is closer and more convenient than most county yard waste sites: in fact, it’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The site is free for all Ramsey County residents.

A community drop-off is a great option for those who don’t have space or time to maintain their own backyard compost pile. A typical household that recycles organic waste can cut its trash volume by one-third. Como Composts Colorized.cdr

Because the waste goes to a commercial processing center, the District 10 site can take items you can’t compost in your backyard. Acceptable items include:
• Food scraps (including fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, bones, eggs, and dairy);
• Coffee grounds and tea bags;
• Paper towels, paper napkins, paper tissues, and delivery pizza boxes.

For a detailed list of acceptable items, go to the Organics Waste page at ramseyrecycles.com.

To get started: Set up a food scrap bin in your kitchen. Line it with a compostable bag, and place food scraps in the bin every day. When the bin is full, deposit your scraps at the organics recycling site. Compostable bags are available at the District 10 office; a limited supply of bins and starter kits will be available at the Ice Cream Social on July 15, and at the District 10 office while supplies last.

The Como Park site is an initiative of District 10’s Como Composts campaign, with the cooperation and support of Ramsey County, Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, and the Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board.

Ice Cream Social July 15
Ice Cream SocialDistrict 10’s annual Ice Cream Social takes place Fri., July 15 from 5-8pm at the Historic Streetcar Station (1224 Lexington Pkwy. N.). It’s a night of free ice cream—courtesy of Kemps and Mission Orthodox Presbyterian Church—plenty of lawn games, live music, and hanging out with the best neighbors in the city. The entire neighborhood is invited.

On top of that, we’ll have a small ceremony honoring the refurbished pedestrian bridge. Plus, you can catch up with representatives from Eureka Recycling, the Humphrey Job Corps Center, the Como Park Falcon Heights Living at Home Block Nurse Program, and Saint Paul Parks and Recreation.

The Streetcar Station is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton. Nearby parking is limited, especially because of road construction. So, please consider walking, biking, carpooling, or taking public transit. We’ll have extra bike racks on hand, and even a mechanic from My Bike Project to do minor repairs.

The Ice Cream Social is part of ComoFest, which brings fun every weekend in July to different parts of the Como neighborhood.

Pick up a recycling bin any Sunday
The Como Park Streetcar Station is open from noon-4pm every Sunday between now and the end of September. We’ll have a District 10 board member on hand to distribute recycling bins, organics composting bags, or just take your comments and suggestions. The Streetcar Station is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton.

Get D10 news every week
Didn’t know about the latest update with the Sholom Home property? Wonder what’s going on at the State Fairgrounds? Need to keep track of music and other activities at the Como Lake Pavilion? Surprised by closed bridges or other road construction?

Then you probably haven’t been reading District 10’s free weekly email newsletter. It’s the best way to keep up with neighborhood events. We send it to your inbox every Friday. To sign up: go to www.district10comopark.org, then click the newsletter icon in the right column.

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Building projects explode around light rail line

Posted on 11 July 2016 by Calvin

Compiled by JANE MCCLURE

Apartment projects are again popping up in neighborhoods along Green Line light rail. Here’s an overview of what’s coming to a vacant lot near you:

Thomas Ave. site in play again
1500 Thomas Ave. is again being considered for redevelopment. MWF Properties has been working with St. Paul Planning and Economic Development (PED) to develop a four-story, 51-unit affordable rental building.

The property at the southwest corner of Thomas and Simpson St. was once part of the Samaritan Hospital complex. It was a sculpture garden for several years, but it has been locked up and inaccessible in recent years.

The developers are seeking up to $1.3 million in financial support from the city in federal HOME funding and are applying to the Metropolitan Council for transit-oriented development funding. Funding decisions are expected later this summer and in the fall.

The project as outlined would have underground parking, a patio by the building, a fitness center, storage and laundry facilities.

Lexington lot could house two buildings, 243 housing units
A long-vacant Lexington Pkwy. property could become home to 243 units of affordable housing. The Michaels Organization, a national housing developer/owner, and Minneapolis-based CPM Companies would like to break ground for the $38.9 million Lexington Station Apartments project in spring 2017, with completion of construction in fall 2018 and full occupancy by December 2018.

The apartments would be built on a 2.05-scre site at 411-417 Lexington Pkwy., just south of White Castle and TCF Bank. The site is owned by Wilder Foundation, which has its headquarters west of the property.

This is CPM’s first foray into affordable housing. Michaels is a veteran developer/operator of affordable housing, with more than 55,000 units throughout the nation.

The project would consist of two six-story ell-shaped buildings. It would have a mix of 106 studios, 1-6 one-bedroom units, and 31 two-bedroom units, with some units designed as walk-ups along Lexington. Some units would have balconies. Of the units, 24 would be set aside for homeless military veterans and 11 would be supportive housing for people with disabilities.

The developers are looking at working with Wilder to provide supportive services for residents.
The building would include some energy-efficiency features including a rooftop solar array and an energy-efficient design in construction. The rooftop would also include raised garden beds for residents. The grounds would feature a children’s playground, bike racks, and a bike fix-it station.

Because of the site’s transit-oriented zoning and its proximity to Green Line light rail, the buildings wouldn’t be required to have any off-street parking. It will have 82 spaces, 23 apiece on two surface lots and 36 below-grade. Parking could also be shared with Wilder Foundation, which has a ramp to the west.

Fuller Ave. would be extended east through the site as a bikeway/pedestrian walkway, and would connect to a planned city park along Griggs St.

Micro-apartments planned
Developers of the Carleton Artists’ Lofts at University and Hampden avenues will be adding a new four-story apartment building with rooftop patio to that area. The project has met no public opposition. St. Anthony Park Community Council supports the project.

The project by the Johnson family will create smaller “micro apartments” adjacent to new construction and converted liquor warehouses they have developed into apartments and artists’ lofts. The site is at 2326 Territorial Rd., and the building will be called the Raymond at Carleton Place.

The building will have 79 market-rate apartments. Between 70 to 80 percent will be micro-units of about 350 to 400 square feet. Rents will be $800 to $1,000.

The apartment building will occupy what is now an industrial/warehouse property. The property was rezoned several years ago as part of a larger rezoning tied to the Green Line light rail project.

Menard’s buys, demolishes property
The former American Paper Recycling building at 601 N. Prior Ave. has been demolished after it was purchased by Menard’s. The paper recycling company is moving to another St. Paul location.

Menard’s, which paid more than $2 million in 2015 for the property north of its Midway retail store, hasn’t announced what it will do with the parcel.

No request for city assistance for the project has been made and as of Monitor deadline, no plans nor zoning requests had been submitted for the site.

Midway Center shop will move
Midway Tobacco and Vapor is leaving Midway Center thanks to a variance granted June 20 by the St. Paul Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA). The shop, which is also known as Midway Smokes, is moving from 1464 University Ave. to 1475 University Ave. The shop’s owner, Khader Safi, said he wasn’t able to get a new lease from Midway Center owner RK Midway.

The 34.5-acre Midway Center is eyed for redevelopment as part of a plan to build a Major League Soccer stadium.

Safi said that while he’d like to be part of the new development, a new lease wasn’t offered.

The shop was granted a variance from the city’s minimum one-half mile separation requirement between tobacco product shops. The regulation has been in place since 2010 and is meant toprevent too many shops from being located in one area.

Midway Tobacco and Vapor and a Midway Marketplace shop, Midway Tobacco Outlet Plus, opened their doors almost 20 years ago and predate the distance requirement. Both are grandfathered in if they stay at their current locations, but are affected by the distance requirement if they must move.

The relocated Midway Center shop will be 528 feet from Midway Tobacco Outlet Plus at 1418 University Ave. That requires a 2,112-foot variance from the half-mile or 2,640-foot distance between stores. It does meet the distance requirement from a Midway e-cigarette shop, Vape Pros, at 681 N. Snelling Ave.

It’s rare for the BZA to grant a distance requirement variance between tobacco shops. BZA staff recommended against the Midway variance, saying that Safi’s inability to find a distance-compliant new location doesn’t meet all of the findings needed for a variance. But the board approved the request, 5-1. Some BZA members said that the pending shopping center redevelopment is a unique circumstance that is beyond Safi’s control. They asked that the findings be rewritten for approval.

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Officials laud new A Line for economic and business benefits

Posted on 11 July 2016 by Calvin

First Twin Cities Bus Rapid Transit line expected to help riders get to school and work faster

A Line buses are rolling between the 46th St. light rail station in Minneapolis and Snelling Ave. in St. Paul, offering residents a quicker, more convenient ride.

The Twin Cities’ first arterial bus rapid transit (BRT) line officially opened on Saturday, June 11, 2016 with a ribbon-cutting and free bus rides.

The A Line offers a new kind of bus service that cuts the journey from the 46th St. station to Rosedale Mall from 48 minutes to 35 minutes.

Midway Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Ted Davis has seen the area transformed by the Green Line. He is excited by what the A Line means for businesses.

“Investments like this mean jobs and economic development,” said Davis. “The cities that thrive are the cities that have safe, comfortable, affordable, reliable transit that makes it easier for employers to hire the people they need.”

The new BRT line pulls together four communities: Minneapolis, St. Paul, Falcon Heights and Roseville.

IMG_1805Mayor_Coleman_DavisSmPhoto left: Midway Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Ted Davis and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman take one of the first rides on the newly opened Bus Rapid Transit A Line. The path of the new A Line travels down Snelling Ave. from Rosedale Mall to Highland Park and over to the 46th St. Station along Hiawatha in Minneapolis. Along the way it links Rosedale Mall to both of the Twin Cities light rail lines, the planned soccer stadium near University, and future redevelopment at the decommissioned Ford Plant. (Photo by Tesha M. Christensen)

The path travels down Snelling Ave. from Rosedale Mall to Highland Park and over to the 46th St. Station along Hiawatha in Minneapolis. Along the way it links Rosedale Mall to both of the Twin Cities light rail lines, the planned soccer stadium near University, and future redevelopment at the decommissioned Ford Plant.

It passes several colleges, offering students a quicker way to travel. Seventy-five percent of the people who ride the bus use it to get to school or work, noted Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb during a press conference in Highland Park on June 10.

Hamline University President Dr. Fayneese Miller views the A Line as a vital new resource for Hamline students and pointed out that it will not only help students get to campus but enable them to be active in the local community.

“Not only will you have our service, but you will also have our brain power,” promised Miller.

Designed by and for customers
“This is a unique service because it really was designed by and for our customers,” pointed out Lamb.

Customers said they wanted faster speeds and better amenities with more predictability. The A Line has 40-foot Gillig model buses with low floors, wider bus doors and boarding from any door.

Real-time NexTrip displays tell customers just how long a wait to expect. Other amenities include heated shelters, security cameras, bike racks and WiFi.

Customers pay their fares at ticket vending machines before boarding the bus, and can transfer easily between regular bus routes and light rail.

Buses remain in the right driving lane as they board passengers to save time, thanks to extended curbs at stations, although this feature has some local residents concerned about impacts on traffic.

The A Line buses will stop at fewer red lights courtesy of transit signal priority at 19 of the 34 signals along the line.

The Metro Transit system pulled together the best of what other cities offer, and tailored it to fit the needs of Minnesotans, according to Metro Transit BRT Project Manager Katie Roth.

“This is going to show how when we, as Legislators, embrace the leadership of local communities, we can do well by them,” remarked State Senator Scott Dibble, who chairs the Transportation and Public Safety Committee.

Great regions need great transportation systems
The Twin Cities area is expected to grow by 80,000 people in the next few decades, Dibble pointed out. “We have to provide choices and options, and deliver the quality of life to make this a viable, vibrant, competitive metropolitan area,” Dibble said.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman agreed that great regions need great transportation systems. Development opportunities, such as the 20,000-seat Midway soccer stadium and 34.5-acre mixed-use development, are possible because of the investments already made in transportation infrastructure.

“This area will fully develop because we have transportation investments like the A Line,” stated Coleman.

“The A Line is going to make commuting more convenient for thousands of people,” stated Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith. She expects to see the line support jobs and economic development in the region.

A Line helps fill in the transportation web
While only a small portion of the $27 million A Line operates within the city of Minneapolis, “the impacts of this line are anything but small for this region,” stated Peter Wagenius of Mayor Betsy Hodges’ office.

“The connectivity to St. Paul for South Minneapolis residents will be much enhanced,” remarked Hennepin County District 4 Commissioner Peter McLaughlin.

McLaughlin pointed out St. Paul residents will be able to get to the airport without driving, lessening the traffic and pollution load. And Minneapolis residents can use the A Line to shop in Highland Park, as well as to connect with the Green Line on their way to downtown St. Paul.

The BRT system is helping to fill in the transportation web in the Twin Cities and making it a fuller system, McLaughlin observed. “We’re starting one line at a time, building the system out.”
McLaughlin added, “The more connections you have that are reliable and affordable, the more riders you will have.”

The A Line is the first of 15 routes that will travel along high-use corridors. The next planned is the C Line, which will link Brooklyn Center to downtown Minneapolis down Penn Ave. The C Line, initially set to start construction next year, was pushed back to 2018 due to a $15 million funding gap.

Predictable route will attract more riders
When Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle went to high school, he knew every curb cut along Snelling during his daily bus ride. He told those gathered on June 10 that he can’t think of a more fitting roadway than Snelling Ave. for the start of the state’s Bus Rapid Transit system. Zelle believes that the predictability of the route will attract more riders.

The 10-mile A Line is now the primary bus route serving Snelling Ave. and Ford Pkwy. with increased service in evenings and on weekends, substantially replacing much of Route 84.

The span of service is very similar to the old Route 84 schedule, with trips beginning at approximately 4am and continuing until approximately 1:30am.

The A Line operates every 10 minutes along the 9.7-mile-long route during rush hours, midday, evenings, and weekends, with less frequent service in the early morning and late at night.

In the first week of operation, the A Line provided 30,308 rides. Combined with the still existing 84 route, there were 36,205 rides given in the first week, a 36% increase from the 84 route before the A Line went in.

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