Galtier _3148

Vote on Galtier Elementary closure set to happen June 21

Posted on 07 June 2016 by Calvin

Galtier Elementary families, faculty, staff and supporters will know June 21 if their school will close at the end of the 2016-2017 year. After packing a May 31 special School Board meeting to plead for more time, they now must wait and see what happens. Many predict a close vote and hope it comes down on their side.

Galtier _3148After months of speculation, Superintendent Valeria Silva announced last month that Galtier would close. She said that while Galtier is a good school, it just doesn’t have enough students to be viable.

Photo right: Parents and interested citizens packed an earlier open house where the closing of Galtier School was discussed. (Photo by Kyle Mianulli)

Parents, who worked hard to attract more students in the face of a district program that allows neighborhood children to be bused to St. Anthony Park, said they need more time and more district assistance to help Galtier succeed. But they were frustrated by what they see as a dismissive and uncaring attitude by the school administration and some board members. Some said the school district lacks leadership and courage, and that it isn’t interested in helping students of color succeed in a neighborhood school.

Some went so far as to accuse the district of setting Galtier up for failure. Galtier had a major renovation just a few years ago. But it has also had program changes and a near-constant principal turnover. The school had 310 students in grades K-5 in 2012, its last year as a science magnet school.

Others were also unhappy on May 31 with a long district staff presentation that didn’t allow some families time to stay and testify.

School Board Member John Brodrick wants the district to give Galtier more time. “If we truly believe in the Strong Schools, Strong Communities (program), then we have to help a school like Galtier,” he said.

District officials want to combine Galtier with Hamline Elementary, which will have space in its building after the Jie Ming Mandarin Chinese School moves out. Some Galtier parents noted that because Hamline Elementary is also under-enrolled, they and their children could face another school move in just a few years.

Galtier’s enrollment is 158 pupils, and 13.67 staff and faculty. That drops to 144 pupils this fall. Eighty-eight percent of the students are at the poverty level. Parents said the uncertainty about the school, coupled with the lack of support from the district, hasn’t helped enrollment.

Some were frustrated with a joint outreach effort with Hamline Elementary, which fell apart earlier this year. “We never signed on to close Galtier,” said parent Clayton Howatt.

Galtier’s budget is $1.259 million. Keeping the school open could take an additional $300,000 to add recruiting staff, eliminating grade level classroom splits and technology staff. Closing the school could take steps including a transition time and what school district describe as a “healing” program.

Many parents said healing wouldn’t be needed as they’d simply pull their children out of St. Paul Public Schools if Galtier closes. A survey of Galtier families indicated that more than 40 percent would leave the school district if the school is closed.

“My son loves Galtier and has thrived at Galtier,” said parent James Luken-Hills. He said closing the school would cause his family to lose faith in the district.

Another neighbor resident noted Hamline Midway has only three elementary schools “And now you’re taking one of those choices away.”

Teachers and parents said Galtier needs more time and more attention paid to its open studio style of learning. “I hope to God we can work this out,” said parent Darren Hayes. His family moved to Hamline Midway for the chance to have Galtier as their neighborhood school.

Parent Mara Martinson said Galtier families raised money for recruitment, instead of getting viable district resources. She said that money could have been used for field trips and other items for their children. “We sacrificed out of our own pockets,” she said.

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ComoFest Logo

ComoFest lines up fun every weekend in July

Posted on 07 June 2016 by Calvin

Como Community Council Corner
By MICHAEL KUCHTA, Executive Director

ComoFest LogoComoFest expands in 2016 to bring affordable fun to every part of the neighborhood every weekend in July. Here’s a brief rundown of the schedule. You can find full details at www.comofest.com.

• Fri., July 8: North Dale Movie Night. A free outdoor showing of “Pan,” at dusk on the baseball field at North Dale Rec Center.

• Sat., July 9: Como Fest Art Fair. Art and crafts for sale, plus live music, on the Promenade of the Como Lakeside Pavilion. 10am-2pm. Online registration for artists is now open.

• Fri., July 15: District 10 Ice Cream Social. Enjoy neighbors, ice cream, lawn games, and live music. Free, from 5-8pm at the Como Park Streetcar Station.

• Sun., July 17: ComoFest 5K Walk/Run for Everyone. Sponsored by the Como Park Falcon Heights Living at Home Block Nurse Program. Starting 8:30am at the Lakeside Pavilion. Online registration is now open.

• Fri., July 22: Lyngblomsten’s Mid-Summer Festival: A Celebration of Arts & Lifelong Learning. An art showcase, hands-on art activities, music, food, and games run from 2-6:30pm. That’s followed by live music and a community dance under the big tent from 6:30-8pm. Admission is free.

• Sat., July 23: Community Appreciation Picnic. Topline Federal Credit Union presents a free community cookout, with giveaways, open to all ages. From 11am-1pm in the credit union’s parking lot at Lexington and Front.

• Fri., July 29: Northwest Como Campout. Festivities begin at 6pm with a jump castle, climbing tower, concessions and other family fun activities at Northwest Como Rec Center. A free outdoor showing of “Zootopia” begins about 8:45pm. The evening ends with the annual family outdoor overnight campout. To reserve your camping spot, call 651-298-5813 or register online.

• Sat., July 30 and Sun., July 31: ComoFest Music Festival. The Underground Music Café transforms its parking lot and indoor stage for live music, presentations, a local talent show, beer, crafts, and more. Food, coffee, and drinks will be on sale throughout the festival. Hours: Sat., 11am-11pm; Sun., 11.m-2pm.

New board members
Community members elected two new members to the District 10 Board on May 17. Residents elected Tim Post to fill the board’s vacant Secretary position and elected Mike Ireland to fill a vacant seat representing Sub-District 3. Congratulations to both Tim and Mike, who fill terms that expire in April 2017.

D10 Board appoints representatives
The District 10 Board has appointed three community members to represent the neighborhood on two committees dealing with Como Park issues.

• Maggie Zimmerman was appointed to the Como Dockside Community Input Committee. This group is evaluating Como Dockside’s performance as part of the restaurant’s contract with the city. Committee members will develop surveys and other ways of assessing quality, customer service, community access, and other measurements.

• Richard Herriges and Jenny Larson were appointed as District 10’s representatives on the Como Regional Park Advisory Committee. This committee keeps track of what’s going on with traffic, parking, and other projects in the park, and makes recommendations to the city’s Parks Commission. District 10’s representatives will be the point people who 1) keep the neighborhood informed on park plans; 2) explain how those plans could impact those of us who live here, and; 3) convey our advice to Parks leadership.

logo-All InNeighborhood cleanup events start in June
St. Paul has scheduled four community cleanup days where residents can dispose of the stuff they can’t put in the trash. This includes appliances, furniture, tires, demolition materials, and more.
District 10’s event will be Oct. 8 at the Fairgrounds. But St. Paul residents can go to any of the drop-off events, including the first two this month:
• June 11: Washington Technology Magnet High School, 1495 Rice St.
• June 25: Harding High School, 1540 E. 6th St.

These events run from 8am-1pm, and accept only cash or checks. You can find fees, and other details in the brochure city residents received in the mail in May. Or go online at http://bit.ly/1P0PyVA.

What wasn’t in the brochure:
• The neighborhood cleanup events also will accept household quantities of confidential paper for shredding. The paper you want shredded must be in a box, paper bag, or plastic bag.
• There also will be a drop-off event only for electronics items on Sat., June 18 at Dunning Field, from 9am-noon. That means TVs, VCRs, DVD players, stereos, computer equipment, cell phones, cords, and similar accessories. You can enter from Concordia Ave. east of Hamline Ave.

Keeping pedestrians in mind
stop_1320A dozen District 10 residents, plus a few dogs, put their best foot forward in the neighborhood’s first “Stop for Me” pedestrian safety on May 19. Police ticketed 15 drivers who did not yield to pedestrians crossing the intersection at Lexington Pkwy. and E. Como Lake Dr., where park paths cross north of the Pavilion.

“Stop for Me” is a citywide educational and enforcement campaign highlighting the state law that requires drivers to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk—marked or unmarked—every corner, every turn, every time.

Pick up a recycling bin
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
To keep up to date on what’s going on down the block, across the street, and around the corner, sign up for District 10’s free weekly e-newsletter. We send it to your inbox every Friday. Go to www.district10comopark.org, then click the sign-up icon in the right column.

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Music in the Parks series

Music in the Parks series

Posted on 07 June 2016 by Calvin

Fri., June 10, 7pm Harmonic Relief
Sat., June 11, 2016 7:30 PM Music: Midwest Paul Cook, Movie: The Neverending Story
Sun., June 12, 7pm Richfield Symphonic Band
Sun., June 12, 2016 3:00 PM Como Pops
Mon., June 13, 7pm Northern Winds Concert Band
Tues., June 14, 7pm Centennial Community Band
Wed., June 15, 7pm St Paul Ballet
Thur., June 16, 7pm Dirty Shorts Brass Band
Fri., June 17, 7clipart-music-music-clip-art-black-and-whitepm Hopkins Westwind Concert Band
Sat., June 18, 2016 7:30 PM Music: Mike Gunther, Movie: The Princess Bride
Sun., June 19, 2016 3:00 PM Porch Pickers
Sun., June 19, 7pm City of Lakes Sweet Adeline Chorus
Mon., June 20, 7pm Saints of Swing Big Band
Tues., June 21, 7pm Northstar Barbershop Showcase
Wed., June 22, 7pm Capital City Wind Ensemble
Thur., June 23, 7pm Jazz Fest w/ Toni Wolff’s Dream Wedding
Fri., June 24, 7pm Jazz Fest w/ Stone Arch Jazz Band
Sat., June 25, 7pm Jazz Fest w/ Post Atomic Trio
Sun., June 26, 2016 3:00 PM St Louis Park Community Concert Band
Sun., June 26, 7pm St Anthony Civic Orchestra
Mon., June 27, 7pm North Suburban Chorus
Tues., June 28, 7pm Brio Brass Band
Wed., June 29, 7pm Minneapolis Southside Singers
Thur., June 30, 7pm The Zuhrah Flames

Fri., July 01, 7pm King Wilkie’s Dream
Sat., July 02, 2016 8:30 PM Sumunar and Green T present: A Shadow Visitor
Sun., July 03, 2016 8:30 PM Sumunar and Green T present: A Shadow Visitor
Mon., July 04, 2016 3:00 PM Como Pops
Mon., July 04, 7pm Music TBA
Tues., July 05, 7pm Lee Engele and Friends
Wed., July 06, 7pm Just For Fun Singers
Thur., July 07, 7pm Old Time Band
Fri., July 08, 7pm Minneapolis Pops Orchestra
Sat., July 09, 7pm Pan-Handlers Steel Drum Band
Sun., July 10, 2016 3:00 PM Heart of a Tinman
Sun., July 10, 7pm Stan Bann’ s Big Bone Band
Mon., July 11, 7pm Fridley City Band
Tues., July 12, 7pm Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony (GTCYS)
Wed., July 13, 7pm The Minnesota Sinfonia
Thur., July 14, 7pm First Things First


Wed., June 15, 2016 6:00 PM Groovin’ in the Garden
Wed., June 22, 2016 6:00 PM Groovin’ in the Garden
Wed., June 29, 2016 6:00 PM Groovin’ in the Garden
Wed., July 06, 2016 6:00 PM Groovin’ in the Garden
Wed., July 13, 2016 6:00 PM Groovin’ in the Garden

Sat., June 18, 7pm Cromulent: Much Ado About Nothing
Thur., June 23, 2016 6:30 PM Summer Strummin’

Thur., June 23, 7pm Cromulent: Much Ado About Nothing


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Como AoF and Soccer

Como students learn about the finances behind soccer

Posted on 07 June 2016 by Calvin


By E RIC ERICSON, Social Studies Teacher

• Como students from the Academy of Finance and soccer players from the boys’ and girls’ programs, spent the night of May 14 supporting the Minnesota United FC Loons at the National Sports Center in Blaine. 150 Como students had the experience of seeing a professional soccer match and touring the field after the team’s 2-0 victory over Jacksonville.

Como AoF and SoccerPhoto right: “Como Park High School Night” at the Minnesota United soccer match on May 14 was a celebration for Como Academy of Finance students and members of the Girls and Boys Soccer programs (see story). (Photo submitted)

Como Academy of Finance director Kris Somerville, along with soccer coaches Jonah Fields and Kyle Johnson are developing a partnership with the club. Before the game, Minnesota United’s Chief Operating Officer visited the school to speak about the business side of the club. The presentation emphasized themes of work ethic and customer service, along with components of marketing and social media strategies. With the new stadium being built in the Midway, opportunities for internships, part-time work, and collaboration on neighborhood service are all exciting possibilities for the Como Park Academy of Finance and soccer programs.

• Como Park Concert Choir students traveled to New York City from May 25-May 30 and performed at Carnegie Hall on Sat., May 28. The choir students sang the music of Mark Hayes, directed by Mr. Hayes and the Rutter Gloria, conducted by Z. Randall Stroope with other singers from around the country accompanied by the New England Symphonic Ensemble. They were fortunate to participate in the world premiere of “The Field,” by Hayes, in this performance.

Choir in NYCPhoto right: Como Choir students posed at the Statue of Liberty during their tour of New York City. They performed at Carnegie Hall on May 28 (see story). (Photo submitted)

Como Choir Director Carole Whitney, along with Como Assistant Principal and Como parent Patrick Coyne, led the students on a sightseeing tour that netted over 85,000 steps according to pedometers! The group stayed at a hotel in centrally located Times Square, took the subway and walked miles every day on visits to the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero 9-11 Memorial, the Empire State Building, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History. The experience was exceptional and powerful for the talented participants.

• Como Park Robotics (aka BEASTbot Team 2855) had a strong debut performance in the State Robotics Tournament at Mariucci Arena on Sat., May 21. Against the 30 top teams in the state, Como placed 13th at the end of the competition. They participated in eight matches, with different combinations of alliances, which required all teams to do advance scouting and create strategies with their rotating playing partners. Teams earned points for both match results and their own individual robot’s performance.

Coaches Mike Fischer and Donna Norberg were proud of their team’s showing and were thankful for the community support that included a pep fest at school two days before the state competition. The team is already excited for next year and is poised to build a new robot for the yet to be revealed 2017 challenge. BEASTbot will graduate six seniors, but expect 18 returning members plus new freshmen, and other new inspired upperclassmen to be part of another formidable team.

• The Link Crew is a positive and welcoming force at Como Park High School and aims to connect freshmen to their new school. 90 current sophomores and juniors spent several hours training during the last week of May to become Link Crew Leaders for the 2016-2017 school year. Link Crew will lead a freshmen orientation on Sept. 1 from 8am-noon to welcome new Como students and connect them with mentors before school begins next fall on Tues., Sept. 6.

• The Marine Corps JROTC conducted their annual awards ceremony on the school’s back lawn on May 19. The ceremony recognized cadets who excelled in leadership, community service, academics and military virtue. Cadets received certificates and medals from national patriotic organizations such as the American Legion, Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and several others. Cadets Kaitlyn Thomas, Eddy Vue, and Allen Weyaus received $1000 academic scholarships.

Following the awards ceremony, cadets marched in a change of command parade where leadership was transferred from Cadet Lt. Col. Kaitlyn Thomas (2016) to Cadet Major Eduardo Mendoza Balderas (2017). The event was attended by Colonel Paul Adams USMC Ret., SPPS leadership, and over 100 family members and community representatives. Per tradition, the celebration of a busy year culminated in a feast hosted by the cadets and former Como JROTC cadets.

• Academy of Finance students and the Como Park Student Council volunteered at Feed My Starving Children on May 17.

• Como Park Future Educators hosted “Positivity Week” from May 23-27 to put a spotlight on the importance of good mental health. The week was filled with affirmative messages on lockers, announcements, and posters, a guest speaker from the National Alliance of Mental Illness, a raffle with prizes and fundraising for a non-profit.

• The Como Junior-Senior Prom was held at the Science Museum in downtown St. Paul on May 21. The Science Museum served as a wonderful venue for the dance and the well-dressed Como crowd. A grand march was held at the school at 4pm. Photos and dinners out on the town were especially enjoyed in the beautiful, warm, sunny weather before the dance which commenced at 7pm.

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Improvements coming to May Park; open house June 24

Improvements coming to May Park; open house June 24

Posted on 07 June 2016 by Calvin

News from District 11
By KYLE MIANULLI, HMC Communications Coordinator

May ParkJoin the conversation about improvement to May Park. The City of St. Paul Department of Parks and Recreation has secured funding to make needed improvements to May Park at the Northeast corner of Chelton Ave. and Clayland St. in the Hamline Midway neighborhood. Provide input and help re-imagine this neighborhood space at a community open house June 24, 4-6pm, at May Park, 816 Clayland St.

Parks and Rec is also looking for a few good community representatives to help guide the design process. If you’re interested in helping determine the future of the park as a member of the community task force, contact Cheeneng Yang at cheeneng.yang@ci.stpaul.mn.us or call 651-266-6414.

You can also provide input by filling out a quick survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/maypark. For regular project updates, visit www.stpaul.gov/may-park.

Friends of Hamline Park ready for summer fun
Mark your calendars for three fun events in Hamline Park this summer! Following the spring cleanup day and hugely successful planting/gardening event, Hamline Park is looking better than ever and is ready for a summer full of fun and events. On May 21, 27 community members joined forces to plant tons of new greenery generously donated by the Friends School. Volunteers were treated to coffee and beverages from Ginkgo Coffee House, muffins and snacks from Groundswell Coffee, and the joy that comes from the community coming together to revitalize a valued public park.

Mark your calendars for these three free events coming up this summer in the park:
• June 29, 7pm—Puppet Show with Open Eye Figure Theater
• July 13, 5pm—Live Music
• Aug. 10, 6pm—Circus!

Visit the FOHP Facebook page to stay up to date on the all the latest happenings in the park. https://www.facebook.com/friendsofhamlinepark.

Help lead the Hamline-Thomas Community Garden efforts
Now in its 10th year, the little and beloved Hamline-Thomas Community Garden at the northeast corner of Hamline and Thomas avenues continues to grow and flourish. Many neighbors have contributed time and care, and organizers are looking for a few extra hands to help continue to cultivate community and beauty at this well-used corner of the neighborhood.

Volunteer responsibilities might include coordinating a planting date and mulching; making sure there is regular watering; help with maintenance and weeding every few weeks; end of year clean up; and informing neighbors of volunteer needs and opportunities. If you would like to help out, please contact Hannah Texler at ekvadnais@hotmail.com.

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Save the pollinators for our food security

Posted on 07 June 2016 by Calvin

Ready and Resilient Hamline Midway

Pollination is about transferring pollen to produce food and seeds. Three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants and about 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce: our bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, birds, bats, ants, beetles, and more.

PhloxAniseHyssopPhoto left: Phlox and anise hyssop are just two blooms attractive to pollinators. (Photo by Trudy Dunham)

As these pollinators feed on nectar and pollen, they become dusted with pollen which is then transferred from flower to flower, creating the nuts, fruits and vegetables we love. They even pollinate alfalfa and clover in fields, essential to the dairy and beef food products we enjoy.

But we are losing our pollinators. And food that isn’t adequately pollinated is smaller, less flavorful, with fewer vitamins and minerals. If humans need to take on the task of hand-pollinating our food crops, the labor cost has been estimated at $90 billion a year. What would that do to your grocery bill? To agriculture and food options as we know them?

The threats to our pollinators are numerous, including pesticides, parasites, habitat loss, and climate change.

We don’t know how to counter all the threats. But we do know that honey beekeepers lost about 44% of their colonies in 2015. Migratory pollinators and insects maturing from larva are finding themselves out of synch with the emergence and blooming of needed plant food sources. Loss of habitat means wild pollinator communities aren’t able to find the continuous food sources necessary for survival.

Bees are a major pollinator of our food crops. There are more than 20,000 bee species in the world.
Many wild bees are tiny, don’t sting, and live to pollinate. But, bees can’t adjust to the rapid pace of climate change. The North American rusty-patched bumblebee is already nearly extinct (we are lucky to still find it in Como Park). Temperature is a major factor. Migration isn’t a good option.

With relatively fat bodies and tiny wings, bees are built to fly only a few hundred feet. The cycle of heavy rains and frequent droughts means floods wipe out ground-nesting bees and droughts result in starvation. Because bees breathe through their exoskeleton, they are endangered by particulates and wildfire smoke in the atmosphere.

Ground NesterThere are some steps we can take to create healthy environments for pollinators in our yards and neighborhood:

Photo right: Sunny with sparse vegetation makes excellent habitat for ground nesting bees. (Photo by Heather Holms)

Cavity Nester—Provide nesting sites for a diversity of pollinators: consider keeping some wild space in your yard where pollinators can nest undisturbed—a bat house for bats, shrubs for hummingbirds (with mosses and lichens to build nests), and milkweed for Monarchs. Elaine Evans of the University of Minnesota’s Bee Lab has suggestions for native bee habitat: sunny, well-drained undisturbed ground with little or no vegetation or mulch for ground nesters, and dry plant stems (prune raspberries, roses, coneflower and other plants with hollow or soft stems 10-12” off the ground) and wood (dead tree limbs, or drill holes in blocks of preservative-free wood) for the cavity nesters (photo right by Heather Holms).

—Plant a pollinator garden: plant more flowers and crops to provide a diversity of nectar and pollen sources. If this doesn’t fit your landscape design, consider your alley! The best pollinator gardens are:
• Continuous: extend nectar and pollen availability from early spring to late fall and include plants with overlapping blooming seasons to ensure a continuous food source.
• Diverse: include a variety of plant types, colors and shapes to attract different pollinators (see http://www.pollinator.org/Resources/Pollinator_Syndromes.pdf for information)
• Go native: native pollinators prefer native plants, and old-fashioned plant varieties over the newer hybrids and cultivars.
• Groups: plant flowers to bloom in large clumps or swaths to better attract pollinators.
• No neonicotinoids: Avoid seeds and plants treated with neonicotinoids, thought to poison bees and other pollinators.
• Make “pollinator roads”: a pollinator friendly yard can be a small island in the great urban sea. Encourage all your neighbors to plant pollinator gardens, creating pollinator “roads” and a pollinator-friendly community.

—Plant people food: To better understand the role of pollination for food security, consider including people food when you plant food for pollinators. “Our urban neighborhoods are becoming a haven for pollinators,” says Lindsay Rebhan of Ecological Design. “We can transform them into a safe edible landscape for people as well.” A few herbs and some leafy greens won’t take much space in your yard, but add a tomato or cucumber plant and some raspberries to enjoy the fruits of your pollinators. And check out our community gardens and farmers’ markets.

—Provide water: add a shaded bird bath or shallow water dish to your yard. Keep it relatively clean, but tap water that has been sitting for a day or two (to allow the chlorine to dissipate) is better than ‘fresh.’ Agitate the water every day or two (stir with a stick) to prevent it from becoming a mosquito breeding ground. Provide a ‘landing place’ (rock, floating cork) for insects.

—Avoid or limit pesticide use: A safe pollinator environment means pesticide-free. If you must use a pesticide, use it sparingly (same for fungicides and herbicides), and choose one that does not persist on vegetation, avoid applying when flowers are in bloom, and apply it in the late afternoon or evening when most pollinators are not as active.

—Participate: there are many local opportunities to learn and support pollinators this summer:
• Celebrate National Pollinator Week, June 20-26, https://www.fws.gov/pollinators.
• Bumble bee survey: Volunteer to survey the endangered Rusty-patched Bumble Bee and other wild bees in Como Park on Aug.13 and 21: http://facebook.com/minnesotabumblebeesurvey.

More than ever before, what you do on your property can make a big difference. Plant flowers.

Grow a little food. Make a buffer zone for pollinators and migrating birds to mitigate the effects of climate change. Be part of a pollinator-friendly road. The pollinators will repay you with healthy food and beautiful flowers!

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

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Groovin’ In The Garden concert series begins

Posted on 07 June 2016 by Calvin

clipart-music-music-clip-art-black-and-whiteThe free concert series, “Groovin’ In The Garden,” returns To Como Park Zoo and Conservatory featuring some of the Twin Cities’ finest musicians and activities for the whole family.

While the grownups get their groove on with some of the Twin Cities best bands, the kids will be entertained by a climbing wall, bouncy house, and lawn games. Pack the dancing shoes and spread out a blanket for these free outdoor concerts and activities on the Visitor Center lawn every Wednesday from June 15 through Aug. 3 from 6pm–8pm. Food, ice cream treats, beer, and wine will be available to purchase.

On June 15, Groovin’ In The Garden presents Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders, and their sound heavily rooted in rock ‘n’ roll, blues, country, swing, and surf. Rock solid original lyrics, a dedicated fan base, and his 21st-century twist on the American roots is pushing him to the top of the crowded Minneapolis music scene in a hurry.

On June 22, Innocent Reggae Band will take the stage. With a vocal delivery reminiscent of Bob Marley, Innocent’s live performance is captivating. He engages the audience immediately and holds them rapt throughout the show. Innocent presents roots reggae on the highest level.

June 29, The Bad Companions will perform. The Bad Companions are a long-standing Minneapolis-based roots-rock quartet. They’re two guitars, stand-up bass and drums, a strong original catalog and a set-list as long as your arm drawn from the swingin’ heyday of American rock-a-billy, r & b, country, and blues. They’ve entertained folks everywhere from your corner bar to county fairs, car shows and music festivals around the Midwest with a dynamic live show that’s ear, dance and family friendly.

On July 6, get Groovin’ In The Gardens with The Katy Vernon Band. London-born ukulele songstress Katy Vernon, plays with a full band, combining Americana twang with UK driven pop. Her newest CD ‘Present’ topped several critics lists for 2015.

On July 13, The Morning Kings will perform. The Morning Kings are known throughout the region for having a layered, energetic, full band sound with influences of funk, rock, and organized jam. TMK pushes the envelope to create and innovate music that can get a crowd moving while invoking a true connection to the music.

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Green Line spurs $4.2 billion in development

Green Line spurs $4.2 billion in development

Posted on 07 June 2016 by Calvin

IOC11_14_GreenLineThe Metropolitan Council has tracked $4.2 billion in development along the existing Green Line, a jump of $1 billion since last fall.

“The continued development along the Green Line tells a story of how transit investment can transform communities while better connecting people to the entire region,” said Met Council Chair Adam Duininck. “The Green Line success story illustrates exactly why transit is such a good investment for our communities. At a cost of $957 million–half of that covered by the federal government–the Green Line has provided a serious return on investment for Minnesotans.”
Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman says he is pleasantly surprised by the pace of development.

“Though we always expected development to follow the LRT, this pace is ahead of expectations,” said Mayor Coleman. “Original projections called for $7 billion worth of development along the line over 30 years. After just five years (three years of construction and almost two years of operation), we are already halfway to our goal. And we are hearing from developers that the Green Line is driving their investments.”

”Developments, both existing and underway, along Green Line, SWLRT, and the Blue Line Extension now total nearly $5 billion,” said Duininck. “It is critical that the state legislature provides the remaining local funding necessary for SWLRT, so we can not only leverage $895 million in federal funds but continue to spur even more development in the local communities along the line. We want these federal dollars to be invested in our Minnesota communities, not given away to Seattle or San Francisco, who are eager to move forward with transit projects in their regions.”

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers says the construction of Green Line alone provided work for hundreds of its electricians and system technicians. But even more exciting is the prospect of continued employment in the construction of developments along the line and the future LRT extensions.

“You’re looking at a five- to seven-year bump after the project is completed. If you look down University Ave. and count the new buildings, it’s not just the initial construction, but the construction of new homes and businesses afterward. It creates an ongoing jobs project,” said Ray Zeran, political director for IBEW Local 292, which has nearly 5,000 members from Minneapolis to the South Dakota border.

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Monitor In A Minute: Trail along Pierce Butler

Posted on 07 June 2016 by Calvin

Trail along Pierce Butler gets council OK
A shared-use trail along Pierce Butler Rte. will be built, the St. Paul City Council decided May 18. The trail will extend from the southeast corner of the intersection of Pierce Butler Rte. and Dunlap St. to the shared-use trail along the west side of Lexington Ave.

No one testified against the trail, which has been on the drawing boards for several years. Hamline Midway residents Benita and Mike Warns of Midway Bicycle Supply and Mister Michael Recycles Bicycles testified in support.

Benita Warns reminded the City Council that the project had to go through the city’s Long-Range Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) process twice, not because it failed to get funding the first time but because its allocation was shifted to other projects. “Hopefully, this time, it’s going to happen,” she said.

The $160,000 earmarked will be used to pave what is now a heavily used dirt path with bituminous material, along the south side of Pierce Butler Rte. The St. Paul Department of Public Works sees it as a needed connection between existing bicycle facilities and a link to destinations in the Midway and Como areas.

Construction would take place later this summer or fall.

Parking wins county nod
Evening on-street parking will return to parts of University Ave. in the months ahead. But on-street markings for bicycles to share the road aren’t part of the plan the Ramsey County Board adopted 6-1 in early May. Adding parking back will narrow University and Washington avenues from four lanes to two during the evening and overnight hours.

Restoring parking lost due to Green Line light rail construction has been discussed for several years. Six years ago, business owners along the rail line were in an uproar when they learned that as much as 95 percent of on-street parking would be lost due to construction. Business groups and the cities and counties Departments of Public Works worked on parking studies, including a survey in 2014, to see where parking could be restored. No time line for work has been set.

The proposal approved May 3 for St. Paul restores parking between Emerald St. and Hampden Ave., Syndicate and Grotto streets, and Mac­Kubin and Rice streets. The St. Paul City Council dropped a recommendation to restore parking between Aldine St. and Prior Ave. as the Planning Commission recommended. That’s because the stretch of University is eyed for shared bicycle use.
But Ramsey County rejected the city’s request for bicycle facilities of some type on University, between Hampden and Aldine St. Installing share the road arrows (or sharrows) as City Council members had suggested would require a variance to county-state highway aid standards, which Ramsey County’s engineer doesn’t support.

Ramsey County Public Works Director Jim Tolaas said the traffic volume on that section of University is about 21,100 vehicles per day. That includes many commercial trucks. “Sharrows aren’t something we’d implement with that volume of traffic,” he said. Tolaas said the traffic volumes on that part of University would be daunting for all but the most experienced bicyclists.
County officials are open to city officials about other ways to accommodate bicyclists in that area, where an east-west connection between routes is needed, Tolaas said.

Council President Russ Stark said that while he’s glad on-street parking has been restored, “I am disappointed about the sharrows. That’s an accommodation our Public Woks engineers thought would be feasible.”

Cleveland bike lane approved
Bicycle lanes can be striped and share the road arrows marked on Cleveland Ave. from Highland Pkwy. to St. Anthony Ave., the Ramsey County Board has decided. One key recommendation for the controversial project—that of reducing the posted speed from 30 to 25 miles per hour—was curbed at the request of the Ramsey County Department of Public Works.

Instead, commissioners are asking that the Ramsey County League of Local Governments to have a broader discussion of speed limit issues.

The St. Paul City Council in March recommended county approval of the bicycle lane project, including parking bans and the speed limit reduction.

County Public Works Director Jim Tolaas said that the county engineer doesn’t support the speed limit reduction. He said that changes to speed limits on county and state aid highways, such as Cleveland, have to be studied and reviewed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) before they are implemented.

Tolaas said the MnDOT review is consistent with past county practices. “Arterial roads serve a larger function than residential streets do,” said Tolaas. One unintended outcome of a speed study is that of having a higher speed recommended by the state, not a lower one.

Another concern is that a lower Cleveland speed could divert traffic. “We could actually be shifting the safety issue to the local residential streets,” said Tolaas.

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Can Can Wonderland rendering

Development Notes: Can Can Wonderland

Posted on 07 June 2016 by Calvin

Can Can Wonderland golf project drives forward Can Can Wonderland rendering
Plans to redevelop a former can factory into an artist-designed mini golf course, brewery and other creatively oriented businesses are moving on to the St. Paul City Council. Can Can Wonderland’s developers request for a commercial development district at 755 N. Prior Ave. won a St. Paul Planning Commission recommendation of approval in May.

A commercial development district is a designation used to allow for an on-sale liquor license or licenses in an area. St. Paul has long used the district designation to set up potential entertainment areas, and in some cases, to grant an on-sale liquor license above the current city ward caps. One failed entertainment district that got a commercial development district designation years ago was centered on the old Amtrak Station on Transfer Rd.

Recent ordinance changes in St. Paul make it easier for restaurants to get on-sale liquor licenses above and beyond the longstanding caps. But if an on-sale liquor license only is sought for a business or businesses in an area, the district designation is still needed if there are no licenses available in the ward.

The former can factory has been vacant since 2008. Can Can Wonderland is the first arts organization in Minnesota to become a public benefits corporation, re-purposing 20,000 sq ft of the 450,000 sq ft of building space for the artist-designed mini-golf course and a Coney Island-style boardwalk of original coin-operated attractions, live performances, and food and drink. A public benefits corporation is a specific type of corporation that allows for public benefit to be a charter purpose in addition to the traditional corporate goal of maximizing profit for shareholders.

Additional space in the old factory complex is earmarked for Black Stack Brewing, which will open a tap room there.

After the City Council approves the designation, Can Can Wonderland can then seek a liquor license, as can other building occupants.

Midway Stadium site changes
Work continues to transform the former Midway Stadium site at 1771 Energy Park Dr. Footings went in this spring to start building a multi-tenant office park. RJ Ryan Construction is doing the work as the general contractor. Plans call for the building to be finished this fall. The total project cost is about $20 million, with costs covered by several sources.

Midway Stadium was replaced last year by CHS Field in downtown St. Paul. United Properties, which is based in Bloomington, is working with the St. Paul Port Authority on the project. The old stadium site is almost 13 acres.

The stadium itself was demolished last year, and the site had to undergo remediation before construction could begin. The site was a longtime dump for the Minnesota State Fair and part of the remediation involved removing manure.

The building already has technology firm Tierney Brothers lined up as a tenant. Other tenants are being sought.

St. Paul passes 300,000 population mark
For the first time since the 1970s St. Paul has passed the 300,000 population mark, according to the Metropolitan Council. It is part of a pattern of growth seen throughout the seven-county metropolitan area, with some growth along the Green Line light rail.

“The region’s steady growth reflects our diversified, competitive economy, and low unemployment,” said Council Chair Adam Duininck. “It’s great to see this growth shared across all corners of our region.”

“But growth also challenges us to be smart about investing in key areas that promote prosperity, create choices, and reduce disparities,” said Duininck. Among factors shaping the growth are transit and transit-friendly development.

“This is an incredible milestone for St. Paul,” said Mayor Chris Coleman. “It affirms the work we’ve done to build vibrancy and attract families and businesses to our city –and it underscores that our focus on equity as we continue to grow is critically important for all who choose to call St. Paul home. Our city will be at its strongest when everyone is strong within our community.”

Part of St. Paul’s growth is in neighborhoods along the Green Line, where several new housing developments have opened their doors. That includes neighborhoods along University Ave. and in downtown St. Paul.

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