Letter to the Editor: Thanks to community for life celebration of “Mr. Phil”

Posted on 08 August 2016 by Calvin

Dear Editor:

I would like to thank everyone who came out to celebrate the life of Philando “Mr. Phil” Castile with the J.J. Hill Community.

It was an event for families and students to grieve and comfort each other, and it was also a place to talk to our children about the issues we face right now as a society. I was planning on maybe 30-50 school community families and staff coming out, but nothing could have prepared me for what happened next. Our small community vigil gained national media attention and grew to more than 3,000 people.

I am heartened that the community kept the event peaceful and focused on the man who affected J.J. Hill in a positive and memorable way.

There are too many people to thank individually in a letter, but there are a few people who helped prepare me for what was to come. I reached out to a few friends, and some people I have never met, who gave me sound advice and stepped up to help.

I am forever grateful to my wife Mollie Reid Fragnito, Rep. Erin Murphy, Paul Winkelaar, Jeff Bauer, Atom Robinson, Chris Crutchfield, Andrew Collins, Sharon Freeman, Mr. Bill and Mr. Gary from J.J. Hill, Zuki Ellis, Rashad Turner, Charlie Foust, Anna Gaarnas, and Beth Jackson; you all helped with logistics, and most importantly, gave me the voice I didn’t know I had.

I also want to thank the St. Paul Police Department and St. Paul Public Schools for the help they provided with the vigil.

Finally, thank you to the family of Philando Castile. You showed great strength and courage. “Mr. Phil” will be forever missed at J.J. Hill.

Tony Fragnito

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D10-Lawn Sign-FreeRange

We heard them, they heard us

Posted on 08 August 2016 by Calvin


A “comprehensive sound abatement program,’’ including giving Fairgrounds management ultimate control over the soundboard, is one of the conditions the Soundset music festival must meet if it returns in 2017, State Fair management says.
That’s the result of the excessive noise and other problems that spilled into the neighborhood on May 29 from Soundset, a day-long hip-hop festival that attracted more than 30,000 fans to the Fairgrounds.
The District 10 Como Community Council compiled residents’ complaints about music volume, profanity, parking, traffic congestion, trash, and loitering during and after the 10-hour festival, then used letters, phone conversations, and a face-to-face meeting on June 30 to detail the problems and propose potential remedies.
After that meeting, Soundset’s organizers—Minneapolis-based Rhymesayers Entertainment—proposed the sound abatement plan, says Jim Sinclair, deputy general manager of the Fair. Rhymesayers’ plan includes redirecting speakers, monitoring sound levels outside the Fairgrounds and, if necessary, giving State Fair personnel “control of sound emanating from Soundset,” Sinclair says.
There is no signed deal in place, but Soundset can return on May 28, 2017, if it agrees to implement the sound abatement plan and meet other conditions, Sinclair says.
Meanwhile, District 10 continues to talk with State Fair management and City of St. Paul officials to implement ways to reduce traffic, parking, and other impacts on the neighborhood from Soundset and other large Fairgrounds events.
For more details on the Soundset discussions, see District 10’s website: www.district10comopark.orgD10-Lawn Sign-FreeRange.

Signing on for safer streets
In another initiative to grab the attention of motorists who speed, blow stop signs, or otherwise drive inconsiderately, residents on more than 60 blocks have applied to post lawn signs designed to make District 10 streets safer.

D10-Lawn Sign-ThanksThe lawn signs are appearing in different parts of the neighborhood for a week or so at a time, then rotating to other blocks. The signs carry three different messages: “Drive Like Your Kids Live Here,” “Slow, Please: Free-Range Children, Adults & Dogs,” and “Thanks for Slowing Down.”

More than 150 residents selected these messages as the most effective way of taking back neighborhood streets from drivers who seem to disregard the fact that people live, walk, and bike here.

D10-Lawn Sign-KidsIf you’re interested in organizing your neighbors to post signs on your block, contact the District 10 office at 651-644-3889, or district10@district10comopark.org.

Neighbors grow frustrated with vacant Sholom Home
District 10 is leading ongoing meetings between the newest owners of the former Sholom Home property and neighbors who are increasingly frustrated with what they see as rising amounts of illegal activity.

Neighbors say they routinely observe scrapping, squatting, drug sales, and other unwelcome activity in and around the abandoned Midway Pkwy. property. They also complain that private security and St. Paul Police seem unable or unwilling to invest the time necessary to root out the problems.

Charter Midway LLC purchased the former nursing home in December, with plans to turn it into an assisted living and memory care center.

David Grzan, president and CEO, says Charter Midway continues to seek additional financing that would make the renovation possible and eliminate the opportunity for crime. “We know there’s a problem there,” he says. “It’s a beacon for that activity. It attracts the wrong element.”

D10-sholom-exteriorPhoto left; Neighbors say they routinely observe scrapping, squatting, drug sales, and other unwelcome activity in and around the abandoned Midway Pkwy. property that used to be the Sholom Home. (Photo submitted)

Western District commanders Ed Lemon and Bryant Gaden told neighbors on July 28 that even though St. Paul Police list the building a problem property, officers need direct permission from the property owners before they’ll enter. Further, the commanders said, a response by patrol officers is generally going to be a lower priority than many other types of police calls.

Randy Olson, the general manager of JBM Patrol and Protection, pledged to neighbors that he’ll work more closely with police in responding to problems. JBM took over as Charter Midway’s new security company in July.

Further, Charter Midway is following recommendations from the city’s Department of Safety and Inspections to better secure the building, including tearing out excessive shrubbery, and boarding up windows and doors from the outside, not just the inside.

“But that’s an interim measure,” Grzan said. “The best cure is to put an operating business in there.”

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. A District 10 board member will be 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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HU coach Chip Taylor

Taylor keeps continuity for Hamline football

Posted on 08 August 2016 by Calvin


More local college football teams than just the University Minnesota kept continuity in recent coaching changes.

While Gophers defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys taking over at mid-season for Jerry Kill made the major headlines, Hamline University made a similar move later in the off=season. Pipers defensive coordinator Chip Taylor officially took over the program for previous head coach Chad Rogosheke in March.

HU coach Chip TaylorPhoto right: New Hamline University football head coach Chip Taylor will look to guide the Pipers to more success after back-to-back 4-6 seasons. The program hasn’t finished over .500 since 1995. (Photo courtesy of Hamline University Athletics)

“I took the Hamline job because I felt strongly about the administration’s commitment to the experience of our scholar athletes,” Taylor said. “The MIAC is a great league with great football coaches.”

Taylor and the Pipers open fall practice on Aug. 13, and they will enjoy similarly continuity to the Gophers in that process. Taylor worked under Rogosheke for three seasons at Hamline, and they did the same at Division I Bucknell. Similarly, Claeys worked under Kill two decades with the Gophers and previous schools.

Taylor and Rogosheke had their share of success at Bucknell and then Hamline. Bucknell went 6-5 in 2011 after a one-win season in 2010. Similarly, they improved on a 2-8 season at Hamline in 2013 with back-to-back 4-6 seasons.

At Hamline, they sustained a little more gridiron success than Bucknell where the Bison dropped to 3-8 in 2012 after the 3-8 campaign. Moreover, he took over a Hamline program that hasn’t seen a winning season since 1995. The Pipers won only one game between 2011 and 2013.

Taylor now has the task of building on two improved seasons in a MIAC league loaded with talented squads. The University of St. Thomas made the national championship game and returns heavy talent. St. John’s University looks strong after back-to-back 10-2 seasons, and recent playoff regular Bethel University will look to prove its 5-5 season in 2015 a fluke.

Most importantly for Hamline, those three teams won by at least 20 or more points last season against the Pipers. Bethel and St. Thomas actually cruised much more comfortably than St. John’s 41-21 win.

All three teams stand in Hamline’s way for reaching the upper echelon of the MIAC. The Pipers also need to avoid losses in close games as their other three occurred by 10 or fewer points.

“We want to attack each week as one-game seasons,” Taylor said.

Hamline did show a glimpse of pulling out the close game last season though when freshman quarterback Justice Spriggs threw a touchdown pass with 20 seconds left. It completed a 31-30 comeback at St. Olaf College.

Passing looked good on paper for the Pipers last season with 221 yards per game and 15 TDs. Running the ball more effectively than last year’s 3.6 yards per carry will add to the air attack this fall.

Returning wide receiver Naji El-Araby gives both the passing attack and special teams a spark with his playmaking ability. Nick Kampa likewise could boost the passing game after a 4-TD season in 2015.

“Our strength will be our skill players,” Taylor said.

It doesn’t hurt either that Taylor brought on former Gophers quarterback coach Jim Zebrowski. The Pipers’ new QB leader knows much about Division III success. He played at Mount Union and coached at Wisconsin-Whitewater, the two most dominant programs at that level of college football.

Chase Duwenhoegger, a junior offensive lineman, gives the Pipers some size up front at 6-2 and 270 pounds. It helps a young running attack since senior backs Austin Duncan and Ryan Ferkinhoff graduated.

Hamline’s defense looks tough, with the work Taylor has done as defensive coordinator over the past three seasons. The Pipers had 17 takeaways in 2015. They also ranked fifth for the MIAC in passing and rushing yards allowed.

Junior defensive backs Anthony Hill and Zach Schwalbach will step into key roles and look to build on the secondary’s nine interceptions for 2015. Jonny Nguyen, a junior linebacker, could give opposing quarterbacks trouble again after a 4.5-sack season.

Lucjan Januszewski, a former Como Park standout, had 22 tackles last season on Pipers’ defensive line. Brendan Nachtrieb will join the line this fall, which could alleviate the graduation of Matt Wildes.

“Overall, we are looking for the team to compete each Saturday to the best of their abilities, and we want to continue to recruit the right scholar athletes to Hamline University,” Taylor said.

Hamline’s first gridiron test commences on Sept. 3 at home against Crown College with a 1pm kickoff.

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Como High – MCJROTC Cadets

Como students travel the country to enrich experiences

Posted on 08 August 2016 by Calvin

Compiled by ERIC ERICKSON, Social Studies Teacher

Como High - AOF in D.C• Como Academy of Finance (AOF) students John Barton (right in photo) and Greg Murphy (left in photo) were selected to attend the Youth Career Connect (YCC) National Conference in Washington D.C. from July 20-22.  The two students, who will both be seniors this fall, produced a video last semester in their AOF coursework that was selected as a top three finalist in the national YCC Video Contest. Their video highlighted the important and influential work that YCC grantees and partners are doing to provide students with successful paths to employment.

While in Washington D.C., Barton and Murphy were led on a White House tour, met with staff members from Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office, and visited Smithsonian museums, memorials and monuments.  At the U.S. Department of Labor, they presented their video and spoke on a panel at the YCC National Conference.  The students shared stories about their Academy of Finance experiences including job shadows, internships, and opportunity to earn college credits.

• In other AOF news, eight students were thriving this summer in BrandLab marketing internships at local companies and agencies. Three juniors attended Gopher Business at the U of M’s Carlson School of Management and three girls attended the Michigan Tech Summer Engineering Camp through 3M. Five students attended the Minnesota Business Venture Camp, and one student participated in the Minnesota Council of Economic Education Camp at the U of M.

Como High - MCJROTC Cadets• Como MCJROTC sophomore cadets Joseph Newman, Philip Chervenak, and William Farley (left to right in provided photo) traveled to Front Royal, Virginia to attend a cyber security and STEM course hosted by the eastern region of the Marine Corps JROTC. The cadets stayed at the Randolph-Macon Academy and took intensive courses in Cysco Tracer-Router Configurations, Linux, and Microsoft security applications. The cadets hope to build upon the experience and use their specialized knowledge to be successful in the national Cyber-Patriot competition hosted by the Air Force Association during the upcoming school year.  The cadets also had the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. while out on the east coast.

• Upward Bound is a college prep program at Como administered by Century College.  Thriving Como Upward Bound students including LayLay Zan, Sarem Ayalewe, Tu Lor Eh Paw, Kao Moua, GaoNou Lee, Aye Win, Shukri Abdullahi, and Peh Mue earned the opportunity to experience New York City from July 17-23.  The program’s theme was “Immigration, Arts and Culture” with study visits throughout the city to connect the history of immigration with cultural influences today.  Destinations included Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, El Barrio in East Harlem, the Tenement Museum, Chinatown, Koreatown and seeing “Aladdin” on Broadway. Students gained an appreciation for their own experiences, comparing and contrasting immigration patterns and assimilation over time in America.

• Como Park seniors Tyler Johnson and Aklilu (Archie) Gjerdrum traveled to Lyon, France from June 30-July 7 to participate in the “streetfootballworld” Festival.  Minnesota’s delegation of four players also included Central junior Sunniva Dunagan.  The purpose of “streetfootballworld” is to bring people together with a united spirit to drive social change through the beautiful game of soccer.

Approximately 500 players from around the world, ages 14-18, used the “football3” model to play in mixed gender, multicultural teams.  The football3 program is inspired by the values of inclusion, teamwork and fair play. Players meet and communicate with their opponents before a match to establish the rules for their specific game.  Once there is consensus, play begins.  The third component is discussing the effectiveness of the rules and how they impacted the game and the shared values.

Johnson, who has played in three state tournaments for Como Park, appreciated how barriers with new players from around the world were broken down through the experience.  “You get to meet people and talk to people to understand where they are coming from instead of assuming based on their race, culture, country and sexuality,” said Johnson.

• Senior Marie Wulff traveled to Ghana from June 27-July 11 as a participant in Global Leadership Adventures “Building Healthy Villages.”  Wulff was one of 15 high school students from North America that served in the African village of Dzita, Ghana.  Wulff worked on a public health project building an eco-compost toilet for the village.  In addition to the labor and service, Wulff was able to learn about the native culture with the village Chief, take language lessons in Ewe, and visit local hospitals, schools and produce clothing in a textile trade school.

The cross-cultural exchange and incorporation of a needed service was attractive to Wulff as she searched for a meaningful way to see another part of the world.  To help raise funds, she hosted an authentic Ghanaian dinner at her church, St. Timothy’s Lutheran, in February.  Wulff was grateful for the opportunity and the community’s support, both in Como Park and in Ghana.  “The experience opened my eyes to a less materialistic way of life,” said Wulff.

• Como Robotics “BeastBot” team will be at the State Fair competing with other robots on Sun., Sept. 4.  Como’s BeastBot will be on display throughout the Fair in the Education Building, which is also where the competition will take place.

• Freshmen Orientation for Como’s incoming 9th graders is scheduled for Thur., Sept. 1 at Como Park High School beginning at 6pm.

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Hamline Midway Coalition at low-power state during transition

Posted on 08 August 2016 by Calvin

Office being staffed one day a week for the rest of the summer; board hopes to have full-time staff back in September


The Hamline Midway Coalition (HMC) has suspended most functions for the time being due to staffing challenges.

The Board of Directors is currently working on a transition plan and hopes to have a full-time person in the office again by September, according to Board President Steve Samuelson.

Hamline Midway Coalition (HMC) Executive Director Michael Jon Olson is currently on an indefinite medical leave.

Kyle Mianulli, HMC’s former Director of Communications and Community Engagement, has left HMC to pursue a career opportunity in the Hennepin County Public Works communications department. “It was an offer he couldn’t refuse,” remarked Samuelson.

Samuelson pointed out that the staffing problems facing HMC are part of a bigger issue for community organizations: it’s hard to retain good staff, Samuelson said.

Office staffed on Wednesdays
During the transition period, former board member Melissa Cortez is staffing the office every Wednesday from 10am to 5pm. Email her at Melissa@hamlinemidway.org, or contact Samuelson at ssamuelson11@comcast.net.

Meanwhile, Olson has been meeting once a week with the bookkeeper to keep up with HMC’s financial transactions.

Olson has been with HMC for about ten years. “He’s been a tremendous asset for the neighborhood,” said Samuelson.

At its August meeting, the board members intend to discuss the job responsibilities of a full-time position they will be hiring.

The organization’s 11-person board is made up of Hamline Midway neighbors, business owners, and community members.

Samuelson pointed out that August is a historically slow time for the organization.

“If something comes in we have the mechanisms in place to deal with it,” assured Samuelson. “We have the basic services in place while we go through this transition period.”

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Monitor In A Minute

Monitor In A Minute

Posted on 08 August 2016 by Calvin


Polar bears see needed repairs
The Como Zoo polar bears, like many of us, like to swim. But a substantial leak in the bears’ large pool has forced emergency repairs recently. The St. Paul City Council July 20 unanimously approved the allocation of $79,607 of available Long-Range Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) Contingency funds to the Parks and Recreation Department’s Capital Maintenance Program to repair the leak.

The leak was discovered in February 2016, forcing the pool to be shut down. The pool had to be enclosed with scaffolding, planks, cable, and poly to install new PVC piping and jets during cold season conditions. The work is done, but it required the reimbursement from the contingency fund.

The project was recommended for approval informally by the Long-Range Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) Committee. The committee lacked a quorum at its July meeting, but the members present did express support to cover the repair costs.

May Park planning continues
Planning for a redesigned May Park continues this summer. The small city park at Clayland and Chelton avenues has been the focus of planning sessions with neighbors and the St. Paul Department of Parks and Recreation.

May ParkCity parks staff has developed plans to make the park more user-friendly for families and children. Neighborhood residents have expressed support for the ideas and are lobbying to retain the park’s small merry-go-round.

New swings, a new slide and play structure, new fence and other features have been discussed.

A public open house is set for 5:30-7pm, Thur., Aug. 25 at the park. In the case of rain, the meeting will move to the Newell Park building. Newell Park is at Fairview Ave. and Pierce Butler Rte.,.

The public open house will include a presentation of final plans and a project timeline.

Liquor store hours change eyed
A proposal to extend St. Paul’s off-sale liquor store hours from 8pm to 10pm weekdays is under consideration by Ward Three Council Member Chris Tolbert and city staff. The proposal is being studied by area district councils and is expected to be viewed by all 17 of the councils in the future.

Tolbert said he has no set timeline for gathering input, or any kind of study by the city. Liquor stores in St. Paul must currently close at 8pm Monday through Thursday and 10 pm Friday and Saturday. State law requires all liquor stores to be closed Sundays.
The St. Paul closing times are among the earliest in the state.

“We have heard concerns voiced over the years, and lately, the breweries have sought a change,” said Tolbert. “On its face it seems reasonable, as St. Paul seems to be an outlier in closing time. We thought we’d seek neighborhood feedback and see what people thought.”

The most complaints come from liquor stores near the city’s boundaries with Minneapolis and suburban communities, which are sometimes just blocks from competitors whose stores stay open later.

The change would require changing a city ordinance.

Breweries are interested in a change because they can only sell growlers during liquor store hours.

The proposal was sent to the city’s district councils for discussion.

Organized collection talks start
St. Paul is moving a step closer to organized garbage collection, as the City Council July 27 approved a 60-day negotiation period with its 14 licensed residential trash haulers. The negotiation period is to start Aug. 15. Kris Hageman, an environmental coordinator for the city’ Department of Public Works, said the goal is to have organized collection in place by mid-2018.

Organized collection of residential trash could take different forms, including a system of zones served by many haulers or dividing the city into larger areas.

Hageman said the council resolution starts discussions and will   also lays out city priorities for establishing the system. She said the process would bring all 14 haulers together for a series of meetings to discuss issues including customer services, scheduling, collection of bulky items and routing. The group will meet twice a month.

“Most likely this will take longer than the 60 day period that is set in state statute,” said Hageman.

If the haulers cannot work with city staff to develop a proposal that addresses the City Council’s priorities in an organized trash collection system, the city would then set up an organized collections options committee to proceed with the establishment of the system.
Council President Russ Stark thanked city staff for their work on the proposal. “This is another milestone along the way. There’s obviously a lot of work to be done.”

A few garbage haulers were present for the council’s vote. All said they would participate in the upcoming negotiations, but expressed concerns about the outcome.

Metro Environmental Inc. owner Matt Pflugi, who is working with other haulers to form a cooperative, said he is disappointed that alternatives his group wanted to discuss were set aside. The group of smaller trash haulers had hoped to maintain existing routes as much as possible and retain each company’s market share. He said this could be done at no cost to the city.

“We needed more time and didn’t get it,” Pflugi said. He and other haulers will participate in the negotiations, but they are concerned that the city could ultimately be divided among the larger companies.

The process is only open to the current licensed residential haulers, which is a mix of family-owned as well as national companies. Companies not licensed in the city cannot enter the negotiations.

St. Paul currently has open trash collection. Property owners hire their own haulers. Organized collection would be for residential properties only. It could take many forms, with city service, private haulers or a hauler consortium providing service. St. Paul hasn’t had municipal collection for more than 30 years, and it’s not likely the city would start such a service again, in large part due to costs.

Colleges seek ESST exemption
As St. Paul’s proposed ordinance on earned sick and safe time (ESST)  is readied for St. Paul City Council action, a group of St. Paul’s private colleges is seeking an exemption for part-time student workers.

A public hearing on an earned sick and safe leave requirement for St. Paul employers and employees is set for 5:30pm, Wed., Aug. 17 at City Hall. The council  introduced the ordinance on Aug. 3 for a series of readings. The public hearing and adoption could happen as soon as Aug. 24.

The University of St. Thomas (UST), Macalester College, Hamline University, Concordia University and St. Catherine University are asking for the exemption for part-time student workers or work-study workers.

UST Vice President for Intergovernmental Relations Doug Hennes said the colleges and universities aren’t taking a position on the ordinance itself. Several business groups, including the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, are objecting to the ordinance.

The proposed regulations, if adopted, would go into effect Jan. 1, 2017 for business with 24 or more workers. All St. Paul employers would have to follow the ESST  regulations as of Jan. 1, 2018. The St. Paul proposal would be more restrictive than those adopted this spring in Minneapolis. Minneapolis’ policy exempts employers with six or fewer workers.
Minneapolis’ ordinance doesn’t exempt student workers.

Under the St. Paul proposal, employees begin accruing earned sick and safe time after 80 hours worked. After that, an employee would acquire the time at a rate of one hour earned for every 30 hours worked. Employees could begin using ESST 90 calendar days after employment starts. The maximum number of hours an employee can earn in each year (calendar, fiscal or whatever period the employer uses) is capped at 48 hours. The maximum number of hours an employee can bank is 80 hours.  The sick time could be used by the employee or to care for an ill family member. Safe time is used to describe the need for time off in domestic violence situations.

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St. Paul Ballet consolidates operations to Midway location

St. Paul Ballet consolidates operations to Midway location

Posted on 08 August 2016 by Calvin

St. Paul Ballet (SPB) has begun the process of consolidating its operations at a single studio at 655 Fairview Ave. N.

“In late May we learned that the owners of the building in which our Grand Ave. studio is located had plans to sell the building and close the dance studio,” said Lori Gleason, SPB executive director. “St. Paul Ballet has a long history in the Grand Ave. studio and we are very grateful for the time we spent there. Now we’re looking to the future of St. Paul Ballet.”

Gleason said the news was unexpected, but she sees it as an opportunity.

“St. Paul Ballet expanded rapidly over the last few years. We needed more space, so we opened a second, larger studio on Fairview Ave. two years ago,” Gleason said. “While it provided the space we needed and ADA accessibility, we lost some of the camaraderie of having a single studio where students of all ages mixed.”

ClassStretch-sliderPhoto right: SPB utilizes an artist-led organizational model for ballet companies. Now in its ninth year, this artist-led model gives Company dancers opportunities within the infrastructure of SPB to broaden their voice and build their careers in the arts. (Photo submitted)

Though the Fairview space was originally intended as a temporary solution while the organization expanded, a close relationship with Element Boxing and Fitness evolved that vision.

“Our landlord at Fairview, Element Boxing and Fitness, is happy to partner with us over the next couple of years as we grow,” said Gleason.

To prepare for growth, SPB had already leased additional space at the Fairview location and is remodeling. More than twice the size of the Grand Ave. location, the completed space will have three dance studios, plus an expanded lobby area and a separate office.

“It is very fortunate that our strategic plan for growth included adding space, which afforded us the opportunity to absorb the consolidation,” said Gleason.

Gleason realizes that closing the studio on Grand Ave. will be a loss to many who remember it fondly. It has been a classical ballet studio for over 67 years, since shortly after World War II when Lorand and Anna Andaházy, former dancers with the famed Col. de Basil Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, settled in the Twin Cities and created a school and company.

A day of celebrating SPB’s past and future is planned for Aug. 27.

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The next month offers storytimes, movies and more!

The next month offers storytimes, movies and more!

Posted on 08 August 2016 by Calvin

IOC_LibraryWalk into the Hamline Midway Library, 1558 W. Minnehaha Ave., to stock up on books, CDs, and DVDs, hop on the Internet, and connect with your neighbors. August and September features many great programs, including storytimes, movies, and more!

The library offers two great storytimes every week in August. Evening/Pajama Storytimes in English happen on Tuesday evenings, 6:30-7pm, with upcoming storytimes on Aug. 16 and 23. PJs, blankets, and stuffed animals are welcome. Preschool Storytimes in English are on Friday mornings at 10:30am, with upcoming storytimes on Aug. 12, 19, and 26 and continuing on Sept. 9. Storytimes feature songs, stories, puppets, fingerplays, and more. They’re a great way for parents and caregivers to bond with children while building wonderful skills for school and life. Children of all activity levels are welcome.

Every Thursday morning in August, the Hamline Midway Library Association presents Summer Power, a series featuring four renowned Minnesota picture book authors sharing their work and leading family-friendly activities. Each presentation starts at 10:30am, and though these events are best for children ages 3 and up, all are welcome. On Aug. 18, the series hosts Mike Wohnoutka, author of “Dad’s First Day and Moo!” The series ends with Stephanie Watson on Aug. 25 presenting from her books “The Wee Hours” and “Behold! A Baby!” Books will be available to be purchased and signed by the authors.

The library hosts Teen Movie Night on Wed., Aug. 17, 5:30-7:30pm. Join other teens for popcorn and “The Lego Movie.”

The Teens Reading Bravely book group meets on Sat., Aug. 20, 3-4pm in the library’s new teen area. This group for teens grades 9 and up meets to read and discuss books that fall into the “Read Brave” category.

On Aug. 24, 5:30-7:30pm, Neighborhood House, the Ramsey County Public Health Department, and the Minnesota Department of Health are presenting a pilot session for “It’s That Easy.” This is an ongoing program that helps parents learn how to talk comfortably with their children about sex, sexuality, and healthy relationships. It uses tools that respect family and cultural values and engages parents on a host of up-to-date topics. The pilot session is being offered in preparation for a longer series of monthly meetings for parents. For more information or to sign up, contact Kristen at kperron@neighb.org or Aria at aweatherspoon@neighb.org.

Jody’s Documentary Film Series is a popular series that features PBS’s POV documentaries, co-sponsored by the Hamline Midway Elders. This month’s showing is on Wed., Aug. 31, 1-3pm, and the film featured is “From This Day Forward” directed by Sharon Shattuck. Shattuck was in middle school when her father came out as transgender. Now, she’s planning for her wedding and exploring how her family has chosen to stay together. Come for the movie, stay for the discussion afterward facilitated by Jody.

All St. Paul public libraries will be closed for Labor Day weekend, Sat., Sept. 3 through Sept. 5.

Families with school-age children, mark your calendars for Science Saturday on Sat., Sept. 17, 1:30-3pm. This month, join the fun for Cardboard Construction in the auditorium!

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Ready and Resilient -bpi label

Compost those food scraps!

Posted on 08 August 2016 by Calvin


Corn on the cob. Watermelon. Zucchini. Eggplant. Summer’s bounty makes for great eating.

But what do you do with the remains? The corn cobs and husks, melon rinds and seeds, all the stems, leaves and peels from your veggies? Compost! That should be your go-to strategy. Tossing them into the trash is your last resort. And composting is easier than ever.
But does it really matter? Yes! It is all about greenhouse gas emissions, and keeping them as low as possible.

Plants are full of carbon. Photosynthesis allows plants to convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into food and sequester that carbon. When we harvest our fruits and vegetables, we remove carbon that otherwise would go back into the soil when the plant dies and decomposes.

In composting, the plant and food scraps decompose somewhat naturally. (The composting process mixes food scraps with leaves or straw, shredded newspaper, soil and water, and one must periodically turn the pile, so it isn’t completely natural.) While small amounts of gasses may be given off in the composting process, these gasses are natural and don’t add to greenhouse gas emissions.

When ready, the compost is spread on or mixed into the soil. It returns organic matter to the soil. The nitrogen in compost naturally increases soil productivity, reducing the need to add fertilizers. The compost makes the soil more stable, better able to hold water and inhibit erosion. The composting process sequesters the carbon, keeping it in the soil for long periods of time until it is again taken up by plants as food in the carbon cycle. All positive benefits for our climate and your garden and lawn!

Ready and Resilient -Organic CompostAlternatively, if we throw our food waste into the trash, it adds to greenhouse gas emissions. Trash either undergoes a waste to energy process, or it is landfilled. Your trash hauler is required to tell you what they do with your trash. Most Ramsey County trash goes to the Ramsey/Washington Recycling and Energy Board1ashington Recycling and Energy Board in Newport where it goes through a waste to energy process, but some trash is taken to a landfill.

Waste to energy processing is a good option for trash that cannot be composted or recycled, but the end product of the incineration or gasification process is still gas, which creates greenhouse gas emissions. There is no good reason to add to our emission levels when composting is so easy.

Burying trash in a landfill should be avoided whenever possible. Food scraps rotting in a landfill emit methane and nitrous oxide, greenhouse gasses which are even more damaging than carbon dioxide.

So how can you compost your food scraps? As you clean up after eating, just put the fruit and veggie scraps in a lidded container. When it gets full or before it begins to smell, empty it in your backyard compost bin or at a Ramsey County organics drop. Line your container with a compostable bag if you are using the county Organics drop.

The Midway Recycling Center, 1943 W. Pierce Butler, is an organics drop site. Ramsey County provides a free starter kit (3-gallon lockable bin, bags, and instructions) that makes hauling mess-free. For complete information, see their website: www.ramseycounty.us/residents/recycling-waste/organic-waste.

Or, you can set up a home compost site. The University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners provide instructions to help you establish and manage your compost site: www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/soils/backyard-composting-guide.

In addition to fruits and veggie food scraps, you can compost egg shells, coffee grounds and filters, and tea bags. If you are using the County organics drop, you can compost meat, bones, and dairy food scraps. Composting meat and dairy is not recommended for backyard compost sites because these foods attract rodents. The cardboard rolls from paper towels and egg cartons can also be dropped at the organics section of the Midway Recycling site. See the websites for a complete list.

Ready and Resilient -bpi labelWhile you can pick up a free bag or two at the Midway Recycling site, you may want to purchase a supply from a store, so you have plenty on hand for events. Just be sure that the bags and any other products you want to compost have the BPI certified logo (see illustration) on them, indicating that the microbes in compost can break them down.

The Ramsey/Washington Recycling and Energy Board is currently engaged in planning to reduce waste, increase resource recovery and recycling, and eliminate landfill use. For more information: morevaluelesstrash.com/designation-and-master-plans.

Enjoy summer’s bounty, and compost those scraps so we limit greenhouse gas emissions and enhance the soil!

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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rec center clip art

Fall registration begins at rec centers

Posted on 08 August 2016 by Calvin

rec center clip artRegistration for Fall Classes/Activities begins Sept. 15 at stpaul.gov/activityregistration. For questions or help with registration call the individual Recreation Center. (The numbers in parenthesis after the event is the activity number to sign up for. Special Events will have *** in front of them.)
Northwest Como Recreation Center, 1550 Hamline Ave. N., 651-298-5813
—Knitting for Youth or Parent & Child, Wed., Sept. 21-Oct. 26, 6:15-7:15pm. Ages: 7 and up (#18399)
—Intro to Yoga and Mindfulness with Katie Gillard, Tues., 3:15-4pm, Sept. 27-Nov. 1. Ages: 6-10 (#18440)
—Martial Arts: Tae Kwon Do Youth, monthly. Ages: 6-17. (Master Minefee)
—Teen Dance, Fri., Sept., 16, 6:30-8:30pm. Ages: 10-13 ( #11077) ***
—Welcome Bonfire, Fri., Sept. 30, 6:30-8pm. Free. Ages: 1 and up (#5523)***
—Archery with Tim Lang, Mon., Sept. 26-Thur., Nov 3. 3-4:30pm. Ages: 9-14 (#5521)
—Sports: Urban Tennis (Orchard Recreation Center). Tue., Sept. 13-Tue, Oct. 18. Ages 7-15 (Register for these classes go to www.urbantennis.org)

North Dale Recreation Center, 1414 St. Albans St. N., 651-558-2329
—Artist Workshop for Adults (Barb McIntosh), Tues., 9-11am, Sept. 20-Oct. 4.  Ages: 19+ (#18371)
—Cribbage Night, Thur., 6:30-8:30pm, Sept. 22-Dec. 29.  Ages: 19+ (#18366)
—Getting to Know NAMI, Sat, Sept. 17, 10-11am. Ages: 16+ (#18370)
—Martial Arts: Taekwondo Jr., monthly Mon./Wed., 5:30-6pm, Sept.-Dec. Ages: 4-5 (Master Minefee)
—Martial Arts: Taekwondo Youth/Teen, monthly, Mon./Wed./Fri., 4:30-5:30pm, Sept.-Dec. Ages 6-17 (Master Minefee)
—Music Together (Ensemble Music), Mon., 6:15-7pm, Sept. 26-Dec. 5, Ages: 1–6 (#18558)
—Dance: Challenge Square Dancing, Mon., 6:30-9pm, Sept. 12-Dec. 19. Ages 18+. Fee is $7/weekly.
—Tumbling for Ages 3-5 (Meghan Hoover), Tues., 6-6:45pm, Sept. 27-Nov. 15. Ages: 3-5 (#17231)
—Mini Shredder Skate Board Camp (Sports Unlimited), Wed., 6-7pm, Sept. 14-Oct. 5. Ages: 5-8 (#18376)
—Fitness: Senior Fitness, Thur., 9:30-10:30am, Sept. 1-Dec. 29. Ages: 18+. $1/daily with Jody Kipples.
—Yoga: Laughter Yoga (Diane Hanson), first Thur. of each month, noon-12:45pm, through Dec. Ages: 18+.
—Fitness: Earth Moon Yoga for Adults (Teresa Davenport), Sat. (11am) and Tue. (7:40pm), Sept. 3-Dec 24. Ages: 18+. $5/class.
—Fitness: Pilates/Mind/Body/Strength (Cliff Swyningan), Mon. and Wed., 7:15-8:15pm, Sept. 7-Dec. 21. Ages: 18+. $5/class.

Langford Recreation Center, 30 Langford Pk., 651-298-5765
—Pilates Beginner (Fran Oullette), Thur., 12:15-1:15pm, Sept. 8-Nov. 10. Ages: 18+ (#5506)
—Pilates Intermediate (Fran Oullette), Thur., 11am-noon, Sept. 8-Nov 10. Ages: 18+ (#5507)
—Sports: Urban Tennis, Tues., Sept. 13-Oct. 18. Ages 7-15. Register at www.urbantennis.org.
—Horseshoes, Wed., 5:30-6:30pm, Sept. 7-Oct. 19. Ages: 18+ (#18433)
—Sports: Badminton, Fri., 6-7:45pm, Sept. 9-Dec. 16, Ages: 18+. $4/weekly.
—Sports: Bowling/Darts, Fri., 9:30-11:30pm, Sept. 2-Dec. 16. Ages: 5. Free.

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