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District Council border change request gets polite, but firm, ‘no’

Posted on 07 February 2017 by Calvin

By JANE MCCLURE

A request from Hamline Midway Coalition to expand its southern boundary to take in Midway Center, Midway Marketplace and the planned Major League Soccer stadium met a pointed but polite “no” Jan. 4 from Union Park District Council (UPDC). Although UPDC did extend an invitation to HMC to discuss the matter further in March, HMC Executive Director MichaelJon Olson said he believes the matter is moot at this point.

Union Parks’ land use committee has agreed to jump-start joint working efforts on Midway Center and soccer stadium planning, with the goal of meeting this month.

HMC recently contacted Union Park staff and council leadership to raise the idea of a boundary change. But no one from District 11 attended the Jan. 4 meeting, which irked some of the Union Park board members.

District 13 Union Park’s current northern boundary is the south side of University Ave. District 11 Hamline-Midway is on the north side of the street. Some Hamline-Midway residents and district council members contend that the planned soccer stadium at Snelling and St. Anthony avenues, and the future redevelopment of the Midway Center shopping center, will have more of an impact on their neighborhood than on neighborhoods to the south.

At a June 2016 St. Paul Planning Commission public hearing on the stadium site plan and Midway Center master plan, HMC Board and committee members said their planning district needed a say on the plans. HMC Development Committee Member Renee Spillum said at that time that her biggest concern was that District 11 had no say in the plans, even though her neighborhood would be more affected than Union Park.

But UPDC Board members said Jan. 4 that they have always invited HMC and Hamline-Midway residents to participate in site discussion and to be part of working groups focused on Midway Center and the stadium. Very few residents and district council members have shown up.

“It’s not like we’ve locked the door and kept them out of meetings,” said UPDC Board Member David Rasmussen.

The board also noted that they haven’t always had the level of involvement in major projects that they would like. UPDC Executive Director Julie Reiter said the district council had to learn about the soccer stadium groundbreaking last month through media reports.

UPDC Board Member Katie Jarvi, who chairs the district council’s development and land use committee, said the request might be an opportunity for more collaboration. “But I don’t see us ceding a large part of our district.”

“My first reaction is absolutely no,” said UPDC Board Member D.J. Johnston. “We’ve represented that area for a long time.” He and others said the area had been well-served as part of District 13.
Another concern is Skyline Tower. Union Park has worked with the hundreds of high-rise residents, many of whom are immigrants, engaging them on a range of community issues from park development to pedestrian safety and land use planning tied to Green Line light rail.

“We’ve dedicated a lot of resources to that area,” said UPDC Board Member Josh Capistrant.

Then there is the planned park on Griggs St. just south of University Ave. UPDC has worked closely with Gordon Parks School on park plans.

A change would also affect the Howard Park neighborhood around the former Midway Hospital and the Iris Park neighborhood southwest of Fairview and University avenues. UPDC has been involved in planning for improvements at Iris Park.

St. Paul has 17 citizen participation or planning districts, which were set up in 1975 up to facilitate communication on issues and give feedback to the city. The council runs a wide variety of programs, which varies by neighborhood, and do planning for their neighborhoods.

Making a boundary change means following a petition process with 75 percent of property owners agreeing to the change, or having both councils agree to shift boundaries.

Changes to district council boundaries are nothing new in St. Paul. HMC has discussed a shift of its southern boundary in the past, although the issue hasn’t been raised for many years.

About five years ago what was District 6 North End-South Como became North End after South Como neighborhood residents voted to join District 10 and Como Community Council.

In 1982 a section of West 7th St. joined District 9 West 7th/Fort Road Federation and seceded from District 15 Highland District Council. In the 1970s what had been Southwest Area District Council split into Highland and Macalester-Groveland community councils.

UPDC formed in 2007 when the Merriam Park, Snelling-Hamline, and Lexington-Hamline councils merged. But those councils were always in the same planning district.

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universal recycle symbol

Monitor In A Minute

Posted on 07 February 2017 by Calvin

Compiled by JANE MCCLURE

Rough start for recycling
St. Paul’s recycling cart roll-out has had some glitches since it began in mid-January. Confusion over cart placement and missed pickups generated numerous complaints to city officials and contractor Eureka Recycling. The problems followed last-minute delivery of carts in parts of Hamline-Midway.

universal recycle symbolSome area residents received tags explaining why their recycling hadn’t been picked up, due to open or improperly placed carts. Carts need at least an arm’s-length clearance on either side to be mechanically picked up by the new trucks and need to be right on the alley line. But in some alleys, space is tight.

The recycling problems have dominated social media sites including Nextdoor and Facebook, with some people saying they’ll stop recycling because it is a hassle. Consternation has also been voiced about tracking chips placed in the carts and cameras on the trucks, with residents raising questions about rights to privacy.

Ellen Biales, administrative programs manager for the St. Paul Department of Public Works, said that, in general, tracking chips are used to keep track of cart locations and monitor what is a $4 million city investment. Carts have bar codes and were scanned when they were dropped off. She said the chips won’t be used to check and see whether or not people recycle, as is done in some cities. Doing so would require ordinance changes in St. Paul.

The cameras are used to see if non-recyclable materials are put in the carts so that drivers don’t dump those items in with recycling.

The St. Paul Department of Public Works and Eureka officials are urging patience, as are City Council members. Eureka has proactively been issuing reminders and posting cart placement information online, as well as leaving tags on carts that are left open or that are improperly placed.

Eureka also posts regular updates at www.eurekarecycling.org. The website includes frequently asked questions about the recycling change.

“It’s a big change, and we’re asking people to be patient,” Biales said. “It’s going to take the time to get used to. This is the biggest change we’ve made since residential recycling began.”

“Starting any new program has its challenges, and this is a brand new system,” said Council President Russ Stark. He said many people wanted alley recycling and lidded carts rather than bins, and that everyone needs to work together to make the change. “While you can make plans for a change, until the truck actually got out there, we didn’t know how it would work.”

If recycling isn’t picked up, look for a tag on the cart. At homes with no alley, carts need to be placed right along the curb. The carts need to be closed, with the lid opening facing the street or alley. Carts must be out by 7am on collection day. Eureka won’t pick up items left outside of the carts, meaning that items such as large pieces of cardboard need to be cut into smaller pieces and put in the cart.

Area projects are funded
The Transportation Advisory Board (TAB), which advises the Metropolitan Council on transportation issues, has recommended projects to receive $208 million in federal funds. The federal funds will leverage an additional $205 million in local matching funds for a total investment of $413 million.

The TAB selected transportation projects from throughout the region as part of the Regional Solicitation released last May. The 58 projects selected for funding include local highway, bridge, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian projects in all seven counties of the region; in 45 different cities and townships. A few projects are in Monitor neighborhoods, including a $5 million allocation toward the Como trail that is part of the Grand Round citywide bike and trail system.

Other area projects include $2 million to modernize traffic signals at Snelling Ave. and Lexington Pkwy. and $165,000 toward a travel demand management pilot project for St. Paul campuses. The latter project will be overseen by St. Paul Smart Trips.

“The process of allocating these federal dollars to metro area transportation projects is rigorous and requires the dedication of so many partners,” said Council Chair Adam Duininck. “This collective commitment to reviewing and approving projects that benefit the region is remarkable. I commend all the various participants for their dedication.”

Outdoor markets easier to hold
Businesses wanting to hold sidewalk sales and groups organizing outdoor events will have an easier time, with St. Paul City Council adoption Jan. 25 of an ordinance governing outdoor sales and events. The ordinance takes effect in 30 days.

Only Union Depot, which supports the changes, was represented at a Jan. 18 public hearing on the topic. The zoning code amendments will simplify regulations for Christmas tree lots, farmers’ markets, open-air garden centers, sidewalk sales, fireworks tents, festival vendors, food trucks and similar events. It will simplify events such as the Little Mekong Night Market held every summer on University Ave., which features food, vendors, and entertainment.

The Planning Commission in November 2016 recommended the changes. Outdoor markets and market-style events are becoming more popular. The regulatory changes will make it easier for sponsors to hold the events. In 2014 the Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit for the Little Mekong Night Market. The city used the same regulations for the Night Market as it uses for farmers’ markets, but that raised questions among city staff and planning commissioners and the Planning Commission initiated a study in 2015.

The changes to the code better define what an outdoor commercial use is, require a conditional use permit for larger outdoor commercial uses, and provide some regulatory exemptions for smaller neighborhood festivals and smaller commercial uses.

Tree removal program
St. Paul enters its seventh year of fighting emerald ash borer with the removal of trees from city golf courses and several area streets. More than 800 trees were removed around the city. Tree removal began in January. About 175 trees were slated for removal at Como Golf Course after youth ski lessons wrap up there this winter. Work on all golf courses has been planned in a way to minimize damage to turf.

St. Paul has used a structured removal program to remove ash trees, looking for areas with trees in decline. The insects are expected to eventually kill all ash trees. In some areas the city removes trees. In others, some trees are treated while others are removed.

City officials are also placing green bands on trees to raise awareness about emerald ash borer.
St. Paul leaders had hoped to step up tree removal and treatment this year and had allocated extra funds in the city budget. Those steps are on hold as are any other 2017 initiatives. How litigation over right-of-way maintenance will be settled will likely affect what added spending, including tree removal, can be done this year.

Walmart police calls eyed
The number of police calls to Midway Walmart, 1450 University Ave., is an issue Union Park District Council (UPDC) is looking at during the 2017 legislative session. Representatives of the group Making Change at Walmart met with the district council in January to describe the problems on Walmart and other retailers needing a disproportionate amount of police services. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) is one of the groups involved.

The district council heard a report on the police issues but sent the matter to a committee for further review. Advocates want to see more done to ensure that Walmart and other retailers pay for their share of police services. UFCW leader Bernie Hesse said the time spent on police calls to Walmart could be instead spent on protecting area neighborhoods.

The police issues are also the focus of State Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul), a former city prosecutor who has described Walmart as the “problem child of Minnesota retailers.” St. Paul and Brooklyn Center Walmart’s average three police calls per day. The Making Change at Walmart campaign contends that Walmart is simply using police instead of beefing up its private security, and that not having adequate security puts workers at risk.

Lesch and other state lawmakers are planning to hold a hearing this session to put a spotlight on the issue.

2018-2019 Capital budget deadline draws near
St. Paul’s 2018-2019 Long-Range Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) process won’t be the parade of projects seen in the past. For the first time in decades district councils, booster clubs and other groups aren’t hurrying to meet a January project submission date. Instead, the pared-back process’s first deadline is March 3, when requests for federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) projects are due.

Area district councils, some of which had started planning project submission before the competitive process was dropped last year, are now looking at how their neighborhoods can be engaged in upcoming funding discussions.

In light of millions of dollars in capital maintenance needs and large-scale projects including the replacement of Fire Station 21 in West Midway and Scheffer Recreation Center in Frogtown, the City Council and Mayor Chris Coleman changed the 2018-2019 CIB process. The city will only take project applications this year for CDBG funding. Those requests, which hover around 20 per CIB cycle, come from city departments and neighborhood-based community development corporations. The funds are used for programs including housing rehabilitation, vacant building removal, and commercial building improvements.

The city allocates about $4 million per year in CDBG funds through the CIB process.

The big focus for 2018-2019 is likely to be capital maintenance, with the completion of a citywide Department of Parks and Recreation conditions assessment expected in April. The study is expected to highlight several million dollars in needs for recreation centers, parks, trails, courts, and playgrounds.

Capital maintenance requests will be discussed and reviewed by the CIB Committee in the fall.

Coleman’s 2017 budget included a one-time add of $1.5 million for parks and libraries’ needs. The City Council added more funding. Along with the regular CIB maintenance allocation, the total is at about $3.6 million for 2017. Much of that is on hold pending decisions on how future right-of-way maintenance fees will be paid.

Coleman, who is not seeking re-election, will present his final capital budget in August. Specific capital maintenance projects can be picked before year’s end.

Some district councils and booster clubs hope to advocate for capital maintenance work in their areas, after the parks and recreation needs are outlined. But most are looking ahead with the hopes for a competitive process again in 2019, for 2020-2021 projects. St. Paul has had a state-mandated capital budget process since the 1980s, to fund streets, recreation centers, playgrounds, public safety facilities and other brick and mortar needs. It has been a competitive process, with district councils and city departments ranking every project.

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Como Council Community Corner

Posted on 07 February 2017 by Calvin

By MICHAEL KUCHTA, Executive Director

District 10 releases upcoming Sunday Series lineup
District 10’s popular Sunday Series returns in 2017 with a free presentation every month this winter and spring.

The series launches Sun., Feb 12, when Minnesota State Fair general manager Jerry Hammer—a longtime District 10 resident—gives a whirlwind tour of the history of the Great Minnesota Get Together. There will be plenty of time for questions and trying to verify how good your memory is. The presentation is 1-2:30pm at Como Dockside, in the third-floor banquet hall.

The rest of the 2017 lineup:
• Mar. 19: Learn about one of our neighborhood’s best-kept secrets: the Como Woodlands Outdoors Classroom. The presentation includes a sneak peak at a new user’s guide to the woodlands. 1-2:30pm, Visitors’ Center at Como Zoo and Conservatory.
• Apr. 2: Sarah Weaver from the University of Minnesota’s Monarch Lab talks about the precarious state of everyone’s favorite butterfly. Her discussion includes an overview of the monarch’s biology and life cycle, why the population of monarchs is crashing, and what individuals can do to turn this around.
• May: Landscape and Garden Design
• June: The Capitol Region Watershed District unveils a new study on Como Lake’s ecology.

Keep tabs on District 10’s website or on social media to get more details as each event draws near.

Report potholes
The unseasonably warm winter means potholes already are blooming all over. The quickest way to file a pothole complaint with City of Saint Paul Public Works is to send location information to Potholes@stpaul.gov.

Upcoming District 10 meetings
• Como Community Council Board: Tue., Feb. 21
• Environment Committee: Wed., Feb. 22
• Land Use Committee: Mon., Feb. 27
• Neighborhood Relations and Safety Committee: Tue., Mar. 7

Community members are always welcome to attend and participate. All meetings begin at 7pm at the Como Park Streetcar Station, which is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton. Whenever possible, agendas are posted ahead of time on the home page of our website: www.district10comopark.org.

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Como High Debate

News from Como High School

Posted on 06 February 2017 by Calvin

Compiled by ERIC ERICKSON

• Two teams from the Como Park Debate program qualified for the Minnesota State Debate Tournament, held at the University of Minnesota on January 13-14. Juniors Jackson Kerr and Stephen Boler placed third in the section tournament to qualify. Sophomores Peter Schik and Henry Hansen placed fourth in sections to earn the final state qualification spot. Both teams participated in the policy debate division, which examined the question of the U.S. increasing its diplomatic and/or economic engagement with the People’s Republic of China.

Como High DebatePhoto right: Como Debate team members qualified for the Minnesota State Debate Tournament. State qualifiers pictured from left to right are sophomore Peter Schik, junior Jackson Kerr, junior Stephen Boler, and sophomore Henry Hansen. (Photo provided)

Teams prepared arguments and positions for 90 minutes of debate against their opponents. The experience of debate has been rewarding for the participants. “We know infinitely more about China-U.S. relations than we did prior to the debate season,” said Kerr. “We really enjoyed the camaraderie, and the practices were lively.”

Como has sent teams to state in debate before, but qualifying two teams in the same year was a first for the program. Deb Hansmier has stepped into the role of debate coordinator at Como, following the contributions of Abbey Boehm-Turner. The technical aspects of research and debate preparation are led by Como debate alum Ian Johnson, who takes pride in the progress of the program. With the state tourney entrants being sophomores and juniors, there is already enthusiasm and great promise for next season.

• Como Park students Sumaya Mohamed, Kari Gurney, Josafen Sanchez, Annalaura Mendez, PaNhia Vang, and Lay Lay Thoo participated in the Youth in Government Model Assembly program at the newly refurbished state capitol from January 5-8. The program gives high school students from across the state opportunities to serve as legislators, judges, attorneys, lobbyists, government officials, and media representatives in sessions that are conducted by the youth themselves.

Senior Sumaya Mohamed served as a press secretary for the assembly, which in total had over 1400 participants. “It was such an amazing opportunity; I was able to network and learn so much. I connected with NBC News correspondent Jo Ling Kent, who was an alum from Youth in Government and was covering parts of the event for NBC,” said Mohamed. It was a powerful and inspiring experience for all of Como’s participants, organized by Liz Paone.

• Carole Whitney is a nominee for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award. Whitney is the music department chair at Como, conducting five choirs, directing the fall musical, and the spring play. She has created opportunities for all students ranging from beginning choir, to preparing soloists and ensembles for state competitions, to leading her advanced choirs to Carnegie Hall in New York City during the span of her 23 years at Como.

She has been certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in Early Adolescent

• Young Adult Music and has held several other leadership positions in regional and state music organizations. Nominees for the 2017 Minnesota Teacher of the Year will be announced in May. A panel of community leaders will work with Education Minnesota to analyze and determine finalists during the coming weeks.

• Freshman Amelia Schucker earned a violin seat in the Minnesota Opera’s “Project Opera” program. This year’s production is “The Nightingale” which will be staged at the Minnesota Opera Center in Minneapolis on February 10 and 11. Music Director Matthew Abernathy will lead the youth training program for talented performers.

The Como Park Winter Instrumental Concert was held on Jan. 23 in the Como Auditorium. The concert featured the intermediate band, concert band, jazz band and orchestra under the direction of Dr. Philip Fried.

• Como’s National Honor Society (NHS) has collected and delivered over 300 books to Como Park Elementary School students. The project is an expansion of a project called the Children’s Book Express which was created by retired professor Phil Martin from Minneapolis Technical and Community College. The program goal is to get books in the hands of children that need them.

NHS students set up a collection box (built by Bob Prifrel’s woodworking class) in the main office. All books were donated by Como students and staff. Seniors Hannah Rhee and Divine Uchegbu launched and coordinated the effort. “It really is a community project, and the school has been very generous with their donations,” said Uchegbu. “NHS students have constantly volunteered to count, store and transport the books.” The project will continue throughout the spring, and the elementary students will be equipped with plenty of new and gently used age-appropriate books to read.

• Winterfest Spirit Week took place at Como from Jan. 30-Feb. 3. Thematic dress-up days were held all week, and the coronation of the Winterfest King and Queen was held in conjunction with a Pep Fest. Spirit Week concluded with the Winterfest Snowball Dance at the Midpointe Event Center on Feb. 3.

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Trips to the library can help cure the winter blues!

Trips to the library can help cure the winter blues!

Posted on 06 February 2017 by Calvin

May2014LibraryPhoto_2Feeling the winter blues? Cabin fever have you antsy? Come to the Hamline Midway Library, 1558 W. Minnehaha Ave., to find books, DVDs, CDs, free computer and Internet access, and lots of great programs for every age.

The library hosts Chair Yoga with Nancy Giguere on Thursdays, 10:30-11:30am. Upcoming events are on Feb. 9, 16, and 23 and Mar. 2. These events are co-sponsored by the Hamline Midway Elders.

Also on Thursdays are the library’s BYO Craft @ Hamline meet-ups, 6-7:30pm on Feb. 9, 16, and 23. Bring knitting, crocheting, or other handmade projects to work on and enjoy community while you craft!

The library features Preschool Storytimes in English on Fridays, 10:30-11am. Upcoming storytimes are on Feb. 10, 17, and 24 and Mar. 3, 10, and 17. The storytimes include puppets, songs, fingerplays, and great stories and are open to children of all activity levels.

There is an Evening/Pajama Storytime in English on Tues., Feb. 14, 6:30-7pm. Pajamas, stuffed animals, and blankets are all welcome! There are no evening storytimes scheduled for Fe. 23 or in March.

Sat., Feb. 11 from 11:30am-5pm is Math and Science Day at the library. This family-friendly event will include fun games, crafts, and activities featuring math and science. Use math to make art, do an experiment, hunt for math symbols and more.

As part of the Math and Science Day, Saturday Science meets Sat., Feb. 11, 1:30-3pm to explore 2D and 3D dimensional geometry with a Valentine’s theme. Mark your calendars for the March Science Saturday on Mar. 11, 1:30-3pm. The theme that day is wind energy. Science Saturdays are best for ages 6 and up.

The Fireside Reading Series presented by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library continues through February. On Wed., Feb. 15, 7pm, Fred Amram reads from “We’re in America Now: A Survivor’s Stories,” a riveting memoir of a family’s escape from Nazi Germany to Holland and America. On Wed., Feb. 22, 7pm, Larry Millett reads from his book, “Sherlock Holmes and the Eisendorf Enigma.” Each event features cookies and coffee.

The Teen Book Club meets on Sat., Feb. 18, 3-4pm, to discuss teen books, from graphic novels to Read Brave and more! For grades 9 and up.

All libraries will be closed on Mon., Feb. 20 for Presidents’ Day.

On Wed., Feb. 22, 1-3pm, Jody’s Documentary Film Series will show “Where Soldiers Come From,” directed by Heather Courtney. This PBS POV documentary follows three lifelong friends as they sign up for the National Guard and journey together from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to Afghanistan and home again. This event is a collaboration with the Hamline Midway Elders.

On Sat., Feb. 25, 1:30-2:15pm, kids in grades 1-3 are invited to join librarian Shelly for the Show and Tell Book Club. Share books, do fun activities, and eat snacks!

On Fri., Mar. 3, elementary-age children are invited to Fun with Mice! from 11am-12pm. Join the fun as we explore mice stories and create mice crafts and comics!

The Saints and Sinners Book Club meets Sat., Mar. 4, 1-2pm. Contact volunteer G. Balter for a book list or more information at gerribalter@gmail.com or 651-224-5570.

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Rihm adds major acquisition to start its 85th year

Rihm adds major acquisition to start its 85th year

Posted on 06 February 2017 by Calvin

Rihm Family Companies also building two new facilities and puts University Ave. property up for sale

Rihm Family Companies, Inc. (RFC) – owner of one of the oldest Kenworth truck dealers in the world – kicked off its 85th anniversary by acquiring LTX, Inc. LTX owns Lawrence Leasing Inc., the operator of Lawrence NationaLease, a commercial truck leasing company with 15 locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and South Dakota.

Feat7_14Rihm1RFC, 2108 University Ave. W., also announced plans to build new facilities in South St. Paul and Coon Rapids, where the family-owned business will sell and service The World’s Best® Kenworth trucks.

Photo right: Kari Rihm stands in front of one of the trucks her company sells, as son JB and daughter Libby join her. (File photo)

“Like Rihm, Lawrence NationaLease has been family-owned and operated for multiple generations, and is a leader with a trusted legacy in the truck leasing and rental market,” said Steve Lawrence, former CEO of Lawrence NationaLease. “Our employees and assets are in extremely capable hands under the leadership of Kari Rihm and her family. This acquisition is a win-win for both of our companies.”

Lawrence NationaLease is a 15-location truck leasing company headquartered in Red Wing. Its 110 employees and management team will all remain employed under RFC’s ownership. Steve Lawrence will serve RFC as a consultant. Other Minnesota locations include Owatonna, Rochester (two locations), Sauk Centre, Winona, Northfield, and Cloquet; Wisconsin locations include Barron, Durand, Eau Claire/Chippewa Falls, LaCrosse, and Madison; and South Dakota locations include Volga/Brookings and Sioux Falls. For more information, visit lawrencenl.com.

RFC’s new facility in South St. Paul at Concord Blvd.. and Armour St. totals 68,000-square-feet and will serve as RFC’s new headquarters and offer sales, parts, and service. A new location in Coon Rapids near Highways 610 and 47 totaling 75,000-square-feet will serve as a body shop, in addition to offering sales, parts, and service.

Construction of both facilities will run on concurrent schedules, with groundbreakings planned for spring 2017 and grand openings in late 2017.

RFC is currently in the process of selling its Saint Paul facility on University Ave. There will be no changes to the company’s other facilities in Minnesota (Albert Lea, Sauk Centre, Lake Elmo, and Bemidji) or its Superior, Wisconsin, facility.

For more information on Rihm Family Companies, visit rihmkenworth.com.

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Thao

Thao honored for keeping kids from smoking

Posted on 06 February 2017 by Calvin

Ward 1 Council Member recognized for leadership at 2017 Tobacco Control Conference

ThaoMinnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation (MSFG), a coalition of 50 organizations working to prevent youth smoking in our state, honored St. Paul Council Member Dai Thao (photo right) with the Inspiring Bold Action award at the 2017 Minnesota Tobacco Control Conference. The award recognizes bold efforts to protect future generations by restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products.

Alicia Leizinger, Policy and Program Specialist at Association of Nonsmokers-Minnesota, presented Thao with the award. “During his time in office, Council Member Thao has championed two major ordinances to protect the health of young people and promote health equity—an ordinance to set a minimum price for cigars and an ordinance to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco. He has shown great dedication to reducing the influence of the tobacco industry and creating a healthy community for all its residents.”

Award were former Shoreview City Council Member Wickstrom, Minneapolis Ward 2 City Council Member Cam Gordon, and Ward 5 Minneapolis City Council Member Blong Yang.

MSFG believes the tobacco industry uses menthol and candy-flavored tobacco products to attract the next generation of smokers. These products mask the harsh taste of tobacco and have packaging that is hard to distinguish from candy or gum. Young people also believe that flavored products are less dangerous or addictive, but they are just as deadly as other tobacco products. Because of these factors, an increasing number of young people are using menthol, candy and fruit-flavored products:
• 42% of students who smoke use flavored products.
• Menthol cigarette use by Minnesota high school smokers increased from 20% to 44% from 2000 to 2014.
• More than 35% of Minnesota students have tried flavored cigars.

Each year in Minnesota, tobacco use is responsible for more than 5,100 deaths and almost $3 billion in preventable health care costs—and 90 percent of adult smokers started before the age of 18.

Other recipients of a 2017 Minnesotans for a Smoke-Free Generation is a coalition of Minnesota organizations that share a common goal of saving Minnesota youth from a lifetime of addiction to tobacco. In addition to limiting access to candy-, fruit- and menthol-flavored tobacco, the coalition supports raising the tobacco sale age to 21, keeping tobacco prices high and funding future tobacco control programs. Find out more at www.smokefreegenmn.org.

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Hamline president named to Wilder Foundation Board

Hamline president named to Wilder Foundation Board

Posted on 06 February 2017 by Calvin

Dr Fayneese Miller sliderDr. Fayneese Miller (photo right), President of Hamline University (HU), has joined the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation’s Board of Directors. Dr. Miller joins 11 other Board members comprising the governing body of the Wilder Foundation.

Miller joined HU July 1, 2015, becoming Hamline’s 20th president. She is the first African-American president in the history of HU and the university’s second female president. She has 30 years of academic and higher education experience. Miller was the first coordinator of education studies and the founding chair of ethnic studies at Brown University, where she served on the faculty for 20 years. More recently she served as the dean of the College of Education and Social Services at the University of Vermont for nearly ten years.

Miller is a social psychologist who specializes in the psychosocial development of adolescents, with a focus on socio-political and identity development. She has authored or co-authored numerous books and an extensive number of journal articles, research reports, and conference presentations. She has been an invited lecturer at institutions throughout the U.S. and in Saudi Arabia, Thailand, China, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

As HU president, she serves on the boards of the Minnesota Private College Council, the New American Colleges and Universities consortium, and the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities. Since coming to Hamline, she has been elected to the national board of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of the United Methodist Church (NASCUMC), and the NCAA Division III Presidents Council. In the Twin Cities, she serves on the board of Twin Cities Public Television.Minnesota Governor Dayton appointed her both to the Minnesota Governor’s Residence Council and to the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota, a public-private partnership with the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota to improve the lives of young women.

“We are excited to have Dr. Miller join our Board of Directors,“ says Alex Cirillo, Wilder Foundation Board Chair. “Her extensive experience in education and youth and her broad perspective will undergird our work with children, youth, and families. We are extremely pleased to have this tie with Hamline University, another longtime Saint Paul institution. Dr. Miller’s commitment to community will help guide Wilder’s mission and increase its impact today and into the future.”

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Hamline Elementary library art show

Hamline Elementary News

Posted on 06 February 2017 by Calvin

Hamline Elementary library art showStudent art displayed in community settings
If you’ve noticed more art in the Midway recently, it might be because the talented young artists at Hamline Elementary (photo right) have a champion in visual art teacher Katie Laubenstein. In just her second year at Hamline, she is building a meaningful, high-quality art program for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Her enthusiasm for art is contagious, and her ability to teach and inspire students creates opportunities for artistic success and joyful learning.

Hamline Elementary art showThanks to Laubenstein’s efforts, Hamline Elementary student artwork is going public. In January, students showcased their work at Anderson Center on the Hamline University campus (photo left), featuring art inspired by India including beautiful representations of mandalas, henna, dhurrie rugs, elephants, and banyan trees. And neighbors who have been to the Hamline Midway Library recently have been treated to a rotating art exhibit featuring the work of Hamline Elementary students. Keep checking back to see what’s new!

“I Heart Hamline”
All are welcome to stop by Hamline Elementary on Tue., Feb. 14, 9am-1pm, for our “I Heart Hamline” event. We’ll have coffee and cookies and another chance for prospective parents and neighbors to take a tour and chat with Hamline staff and families about why they chose Hamline Elementary and why they stay. Call the school at 651-293-8715 for more information about this, or other programs, or to schedule a tour.

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CRWD Watershed Stewardship Awards note area leaders

Posted on 06 February 2017 by Calvin

Locals are the main recipients of Capitol Region Watershed District’s (CRWD) Watershed Stewardship Awards

CRWD hosted its annual Watershed Stewardship Awards in December 2016. The awards honor individuals or organizations that exemplify watershed stewardship through activities, projects or policies, which demonstrate a commitment to protect, manage and improve water resources of the District. Each year, this event brings CRWD staff, board and Citizen Advisory Committee members together with our partners to reflect, share and celebrate our accomplishments.

Watershed District Citizen of the Year Awards
Working with neighbors, Janna Caywood helped establish the Como Active Citizen Network (CACN) in Saint Paul. CACN organizes annual leaf clean-ups to prevent phosphorous from getting into Como Lake and causing algae blooms. In 2016, 223 households participated in clean-ups, removing more than 11 pounds of phosphorous. Janna’s leadership has inspired many others to get involved in watershed protection efforts.

Patricia Ohmans is a resident of Saint Paul’s Frogtown neighborhood who has been instrumental in many gardening and water protection efforts. She was a co-founder of Frogtown Farm and Park, which converted office space to green space including a large community garden. Patricia also helped establish FrogLab, an education program at Hmongtown Marketplace, focused on Bringing the Frogs Back to Frogtown. Patricia is a visionary and does an excellent job of creating opportunities for community-led environmental education and activism.

Watershed District Partner of the Year Award
The District 6 Planning Council represents residents of the North End community in Saint Paul. They have worked closely with CRWD and the City of Saint Paul to complete a natural resource inventory, establish plans for a community rain garden and advocate for the restoration of Willow Reserve. They also supported efforts to transform a brownfield site into an environmental treasure known as the Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary. District 6 is a valued and trusted partner in the North End.

Project of the Year Award
The owners of Bang Brewing, 2320 Capp Rd., have shown a commitment to sustainability in their choice of building materials, brewing techniques, recycling and composting practices, and rain gardens on site. They have created a little oasis that is both beautiful and functional. Bang Brewing is an excellent example of how to thoughtfully redevelop a site with sustainability in mind.

Young Watershed Stewards of the Year Award
Olive Murdoch Meyer and Bridget Moynihan served as student representatives and advisors for clean water projects at Central High School. They donated countless hours to rain garden maintenance, raised money to help cover project costs, and offered suggestions for how to best connect students with the project as part of their work with the Roots and Shoots club. CRWD hopes to use their work as a model for future partnerships with schools.

Lifetime Stewardship Award
David Arbeit has been an integral part of CRWD since the beginning. As a longtime member of the District 10 Environment Committee, David has a history of working for clean water in Como Lake. He was intimately involved in the creation of CRWD and has been a dedicated member of its Citizen Advisory Committee since the District was founded in 1998. The District values his thoughtful participation in and knowledge of CRWD programs and projects. We feel very fortunate to have him on our team.

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