Theater classes set at North Dale Rec

Posted on 10 October 2016 by Calvin

theater-stockHomeward Bound Theatre Company will offer theater classes at the North Dale Recreation Center, 1414 St Albans St. N.:

“Mother Goose Tales,” Sat., Nov. 5, 9:30-10:15am, three through five-year-olds will act out their favorite tales from a time long ago in this fun, whimsical class. We will take turns acting out these treasured tales of a time gone by like “Three Little Pigs” or “Simple Simon.”

Also on Nov. 5, 10:30am-noon, “Where the Wild Things Are” will have six through eight-year-olds learning creative dramatics and movement with fun and focus. Students will develop individual imagination and group cooperation acting out of children’s literature

“Adventures with Raggedy Ann and Andy,” Sat., Nov. 12, 9:30-10:15am, finds three through five-year-olds acting out the mischievous antics and adventures of Raggedy Ann and Andy, the dolls and their delightful band of stuffed animal friends that come to life when no humans are present.

“Dr. Seuss and Me,” Sat., Nov. 19, from 9:30-10:15am, where three through five-year-olds will act out their favorite Dr. Seuss stories like “The Cat in the Hat” or “Green Eggs and Ham,” recreated for family and friends! Participants experience will include warm-up games, theater exercises, and movement.

Homeward Bound Theatre also offers several 3-week theater classes on Thursdays, Oct. 27, Nov. 3 and Nov. 10. They are:

“Storytelling & Acting,” 3-4:30pm, where 15 through 18-year-olds will learn how to mesmerize their family and friends with a way of telling stories that will bring the characters and happenings to life. Imagination games and acting exercises will help everyone discover parts of their personality they rarely explore. No previous acting experience is required.

“You’re On Stage,” 5:30-7pn, will find 13 through 16-year-olds focusing using their body movements, facial expressions and voice to build character development and portrayal. Budding actors will play with and explore their imaginations to learn how to reach their hidden talents with these scene staging and acting techniques.

“Acting is Fun,” 1:15-2:45pm, will have adults through seniors re-experiencing the exhilarating freedom they may not have felt since they were children! Imagination games and exercises will help students discover parts of their personality rarely explored. No acting experience necessary!
For more information and cost of registration call St. Paul Parks and Recreation at 651-558-2329 or register online at www.stpaul.gov/activityregistration.

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Hamline Ave. bike lanes project, part two, will peddle into 2017

Hamline Ave. bike lanes project, part two, will peddle into 2017

Posted on 10 October 2016 by Calvin

IOC01_15BikeSignBike lanes will be striped on Hamline Ave. between Minnehaha Ave. and Pierce Butler Rte., but not until 2017. That would complete a project started last month. A St. Paul Department of Public Works mill and overlay project included bike lanes on both sides of the street and the removal of parking on the street’s west side.

The City Council in August laid over a decision on the northern part of the project, pending discussions with neighbors and city staff. The big sticking point was parking. Neighbors already affected by Hamline Hi-Rise spillover parking and parking from area schools said they would have even more difficulty parking their vehicles.

The southern stretch of Hamline is wide enough to allow parking on one side of the street. But north of Minnehaha, the street is only 36 feet wide, and there are already parking bans in place. A few houses lack driveways or alley access to their homes. Businesses at the northeast corner of Minnehaha and Hamline are also affected by parking changes. But Hamline Midway Coalition, cycling advocates, and some neighbors, supported the bike lanes and asked for the extension.

Council President Russ Stark said before the North Hamline vote Sept. 14 that city staff had talked to neighbors and looked at options over the last months. Some neighbors asked that bikes be diverted to Griggs or Albert streets. Griggs already is a marked bike route. Share the road arrows or sharrows could have been considered.

Stark said he believes the best option is to extend the bike lanes north to Pierce Butler, while taking measures to provide some parking. Part of the proposal calls for a two-foot widening along parts of the east side of Hamline Ave. between Englewood and Hubbard avenues. Between Hubbard and Seminary avenues, this would add about six-and-a-half spaces. Between Seminary and Englewood it would add four spaces.

Another proposal is to relocate the existing westbound bus stop to the northwest corner of Hamline and Minnehaha to create more parking capacity, of three to four spaces along Minnehaha for businesses.

Stark said his office would continue to work with neighbors on parking issues, as will the district council transportation committee. One of the biggest issues to be addressed is how to accommodate staff parking for the high-rise, which has many elderly and disabled residents. Many are served by personal care attendants who arrive at different times during the day.

A handful of residential neighbors and business owners attended the Sept. 14 discussion, which wasn’t a public hearing. Some said afterward that they would have liked a chance to speak before the council vote.

Hamline Ave. has been eyed as a bike route for several years. A previous plan was rejected because of parking and traffic concerns. The citywide bicycle plan calls for Hamline Ave. to be a bicycle lane from the north city limits at Larpenteur Ave. to Montreal Ave. and Edgcumbe Rd. Having the Hamline-Midway section striped could be the first step toward a larger project, according to bike advocates.

The City Council adopted the bike plan in 2015.

The Hamline-Midway section of the Hamline Ave. route was the subject of community meetings, a spring open house, surveys and other outreach. Public Works traffic counts indicated that there is ample parking for residents and business, but that didn’t alleviate all of the concerns about lost parking.

The plan recently implemented created two five-foot bike lanes, an eight-foot parking lane on one side of the street, an 11-foot travel lane in each direction and parking bans at all four corners of Charles Ave. To accommodate the installation of bike lanes, parking was removed on the east side of Hamline between Sherburne and Minnehaha avenues, except for the northern half of the block between Van Buren and Minnehaha avenues.

Parking removal is also proposed for the west side of Hamline Ave. between Van Buren and Minnehaha avenues. New time-limited parking capacity, with a one-hour limit, is proposed on the south side of Thomas Ave. east of Hamline. That was done to accommodate businesses.

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News from Como Park High School

Posted on 10 October 2016 by Calvin

• Senior Noah Hamilton has been designated a National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalist. This achievement recognizes students that are in the top 1% of students nationwide. Noah will be pursuing the distinction of becoming a National Merit Finalist through the submission and evaluation of all his academic achievements. Finalists will be announced in February 2017.

• Senior Sumaya Mohamed was selected to be the media representative for the state-wide Youth in Government program this year. Sumaya is an accomplished video producer and editor who has gained much experience through her own documentaries and her time at the St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN).

• Freshman Amelia Schucker will be participating in a String Day Festival on Mon., Oct. 31 at the University of St. Thomas. Selected students from across Minnesota will be on campus intensely practicing and rehearsing with conductor Dr. Matthew George. Amelia plays violin and viola in the Como Orchestra led by Dr. Philip Fried.

• Parent Academy Seminars are coming soon with events scheduled for Mon., Oct. 24 and Mon., Nov. 7 at Como from 5:30-6:45 each night. The seminar in October will focus on Exploring College Options. The November seminar will cover College Entrance Exams including the SAT, ACT, and Accuplacer. A light supper will be provided, and childcare is also available. All Como parents are welcome and encouraged to attend.

There will also be a FAFSA Night at Como on Tues., Oct. 18 from 5-7pm. Como counselors will be available to help students and families with the process of applying for financial aid and navigating the forms online to successfully complete the application.

• Como’s Theatre and Music Department will present the annual fall musical in the Como Auditorium on Thur. and Fri., Nov. 10 and 11 at 7pm both nights. The show is entitled “Yearbook Reflections,” an upbeat musical about the willpower, compassion, and humor found in every high school. Tickets are $2 for adults, $1 for students and can be purchased at the door.

como-park-high-school-img_8074• Senior cross country star Innocent Murwanashyaka won the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 24 at the University of Minnesota. (Photo left) With 490 high school runners in the Maroon Division race, Innocent took the lead early on and never let it go, cruising to his second consecutive Griak title. He also qualified for the State Meet as a junior last season, finishing in 8th place, and has set a goal of getting back to state and competing for the title.

Murwanshyaka is also an exceptional student in Como’s Academy of Finance and was highly regarded for his work this past summer with a BrandLab marketing internship. He is being recruited by several Division I schools including the University of South Dakota and the U of M.

• The Como Robotics Team is already back in action after their groundbreaking work last season that culminated with a state tournament appearance in April. The Como “BEASTBOT” will participate in the Minnesota Robotics Invitational on Oct. 15 at Roseville Area High School. The team is ranked in the state’s Top 20 and are excited about kicking off the year in this select tournament of high caliber teams.

como-park-high-school-img_4039• Members of the Como Cougars Varsity Football Team spent the afternoon of Oct. 1 at the Minnesota Vikings training facility participating in a skills clinic and meeting NFL players and coaches with inspiring messages. (Photo right) The Cougars worked with E.J. Henderson, Chuck Foreman and Super Bowl winning coach John Gruden who was in town with the Monday Night Football broadcasting crew covering the Vikings.

Dick’s Sporting Goods also teamed up with the Vikings to host the event. They presented the Cougars with a $2,000 check to purchase much-needed equipment including tackling dummies, hand shields, and practice balls.

• Homecoming week events at Como were festive and fun with dress up days in school, a pep fest, coronation, and “Battle of the Classes.” Homecoming culminated with a parade, picnic, football game, and dance at the school. Special recognition and thanks go out to the Como Park Booster Club for their support, and all of their behind the scenes work.

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St. Paul Police Department to open substation at Midway Center

Posted on 10 October 2016 by Calvin

sppd_patchMidway Center will become the home of a new St. Paul Police Department (SPPD) substation. The St. Paul City Council Sept. 21 unanimously approved an agreement with center owner RK Midway to occupy a vacant storefront there. The lease starts October 1 and extends through Sept. 2017.

The substation opens at a time when there have been growing concerns about crime in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood north of the shopping center and in the neighborhoods to the west.

Police Chief Todd Axtell and City Council President Russ Stark, said that the substation is opening in response to crime issues. Stark said the area had seen an increase in drug dealing, more calls about shots fired and more reports of assaults.

“People have been asking for more police presence in the area,” said Stark. The Midway Center area has a beat cop and has had increased patrols recently. “There are concerns about the uptick in some types of crime, and we hope having the substation there is a deterrent.”

Axtell said the storefront gives police more visibility in the area. “We’ve been pretty active in the Midway Center area, and we’re glad to have the opportunity to have space there at little cost to the department.” The city won’t pay any rent for the space but will cover other costs such as furnishings.
The storefront has the support of area district councils and the Midway Chamber of Commerce.

Midway Center and its adjacent neighborhoods are in the Western Police District. SPPD statistics indicate that overall, crime in the district has decreased just under 1 percent in the first eight months of 2016 when compared to 2015. However, some types of crime are on the upswing. Crimes against persons, which covers assaults, are up 9 percent from the same period last year. There have been frequent complaints in the area about large groups of young people who are disruptive.

Stark and Axtell said the intent is for the substation to be short-term. Midway Center is slated for a dramatic redevelopment. The Rainbow grocery store, adjacent stores, and Big Top Liquor, are to make way for a Major League Soccer stadium in the future. Shopping center owner RK Midway plans to work with the soccer team owners and other partners to redevelop the 1950s shopping center into a high-density, mixed-use development with retail, green space, offices, hotels and apartments. That development is expected to roll out over a longer period, in part as existing center leases expire.

For more than 20 years, the  SPPD and the city’s 17 district councils embarked on a high-profile campaign to add substations throughout the city. The stations were in district council offices, private businesses and in institutions. There were almost 20 small spaces at various times. Police used the spaces to sit and do paperwork, meet with citizens and in some cases, have limited office hours.

Few active substations remain, although Highland District Council and the Police Department worked together a few years ago to have a substation at Sibley Plaza.

Axtell and Stark said they don’t see the city returning to a trend of establishing multiple substations. Stark said he saw the Midway Center agreement as meeting a specific need and is a unique opportunity to use a space without having to pay rent.

“We’d be open to hearing from neighborhoods if they believe there is a need,” Axtell said.

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Como Community Council Corner

Posted on 10 October 2016 by Calvin


A great idea blossoms into 50 volunteers, 1400 plants, and two gardens
The neighborhood is a little more beautiful, and Como Lake will be a little cleaner, thanks to more than 50 neighborhood volunteers who took the concept of a community garden to a new level on Oct. 1.

dist-10-triangle_0395The volunteers, including more than 15 students from Murray Middle School, planted nearly 1,400 shrubs, flowers and grasses in two triangle gardens at the intersections of Horton, Churchill and Van Slyke avenues.

The triangles–the result of recent street reconstruction–were built as filtration gardens that will capture and clean stormwater runoff before it reaches the lake. The gardens carry on, and expand, the tradition of the old “Churchill Garden,” which Warrendale neighbors built and maintained for more than 15 years.

The final product is the result of collaboration among neighbors, St. Paul’s Public Works and Forestry departments, the Ramsey Conservation District, the Capitol Region Watershed District, and the District 10 Como Community Council.

Here’s your chance to do more than talk about it
District 10 is seeking candidates to fill board vacancies from Sub-District 2 and Sub-District 4. If you live in the north part of the district, or the south part of the district, think about it!

For Sub-District 2, you must live in the area between Hamline on the west, Larpenteur on the north, Victoria on the east, and the BNSF tracks on the south.

For Sub-District 4, you must live between Dale on the east, Snelling on the west, and between the BNSF right-of-way north of Front and Energy Park Drive, and the BNSF right-of-way north of Pierce Butler Route.

Representatives from businesses or institutions in those areas also are eligible. Candidates must be at least 18 years old.
The elected candidates will:
• Serve the remainder of the vacant terms, which expire in April 2018
• Get to be directly involved in issues affecting our neighborhood’s quality of life
• Even get a table card with their name on it

A special election to fill the vacancy is Tues, Oct. 18 at 7pm, before the monthly board meeting. To submit your name or to find out more, contact the District 10 office at 651-644-3889, or by email at district10@district10comopark.org.

Another gathering of the seeds
It’s harvest time in our gardens, which makes it a perfect time to reconvene the Como Community Seed Library. The volunteer group is holding a free harvest open house on Sun., Oct. 16, 1-3pm at the Como Park Streetcar Station. At this “skill share and harvest exchange, “ you can:
• Join an exchange of seeds, recipes, and canned and fresh harvest
• Swap stories
• Learn the perfect crops and tools to extend your growing season
• Get answers from a Master Gardener
• Find out how and why to add biodiversity to your garden
• Create seed-inspired art
• Make connections with neighborhood gardeners and gardening groups

Special guests include Judi Petkau of Wild Ones and Koby Jeschkeit-Hagen of Seed Sages. For more information, follow Como Community Seed Library on Facebook.

Pancake breakfast Oct. 29
District 10’s annual Community Pancake Breakfast is Sat., Oct. 29, in the cafeteria of the Humphrey Job Corps Center. The breakfast–which features pancakes, eggs, bacon, and juices–runs from 8:30-11:30am. In honor of Halloween, the morning also features a children’s costume parade.
Tickets are $7 for teens and adults, $4 for children ages 3-12.

Backyard fire ban a hot topic in survey
Respondents to a District 10 survey overwhelmingly oppose banning recreational fires in St. Paul. But many survey participants say there should be more courtesy and education about the use and impact of “backyard fires.”

District 10’s Land Use Committee conducted the survey after a neighborhood resident contacted the committee about the impact that recreational fires have on her health. More than 500 people filled out the online survey. Here are some results of the survey:
• 16 percent of survey participants say they support a ban on recreational fires; 81 percent oppose a ban.
• 20 percent of survey participants say they support limiting the number of recreational fires individuals can have in one year; 70 percent oppose such limits.
• Nearly two-thirds of survey participants say they have recreational fires in their yard; slightly more than one-third do not. Among those who have fires, more than 99 percent oppose a ban. Among participants who do not have fires, 41 percent support a ban.
• Nearly one-quarter of survey participants say smoke from recreational fires bothers them, and nearly as many say smoke affects their health.

Recreational fires are legal in the City of St. Paul, if they meet certain conditions. The challenge is that smoke from the fires does travel into surrounding homes and can affect neighbors in the general area. Many survey participants pointed out that, to be good neighbors, residents should burn only clean, dry wood, or install a fire ring that uses natural gas. Other comments highlight other themes and contradictions surrounding backyard fires:
• The same fire that allows some neighbors to enjoy themselves prevents other neighbors from enjoying their property, or from enjoying nice weather. Instead, smoky fires force them indoors behind closed windows.
• Fires can enhance community and friendship for some people, but cause health problems for others.
• Current laws already outlaw burning trash, construction materials, or yard waste. But these laws are poorly enforced.

Many survey participants (including many who support fires) urged neighbors to be more respectful of how fires impact others. They suggested that conflicts could and should be worked out courteously, face to face. Among their ideas:
• Notify neighbors before you start a fire
• Have fires only during colder times of the year
• Do not have fires late at night
• Pay attention to weather conditions, including wind, air inversions, air quality alerts, and dry conditions, before deciding to have a fire
• If fires bother you, let neighbors who have fires know that fact

Organics recycling made easier
You asked for it; you got it. We’ve now made replacement bags for organics recycling available free of charge at our 24/7 drop-off site in Como Park. The bags are in a mailbox attached inside the gate. Please, limit yourself to two bags each visit.

Also, a reminder: Because of construction in the McMurray Field area, the only way to access the drop-off site is from the west. From the T-intersection at Hamline and Jessamine, head east on Jessamine, then turn left at Beulah. The drop-off site is on your left, just north of the Humane Society.

Finally, if you are new to organics recycling, stop at our office and pick up your free starter kit, which includes a bag, refrigerator magnets, and other information and supplies to help you succeed in reducing your waste footprint.

You’re Invited to Sit In
The District 10 board and standing committees meet monthly. Community members are always welcome to attend, participate, and speak or raise concerns. The schedule:
• Land Use: Typically meets on the Monday before the first Wednesday, 7pm (however, because of the holiday, the committee will meet on Tue., Nov. 1.)
• Neighborhood Relations and Safety: First Tuesday, 7pm
• Board: Third Tuesday, 7pm
• Environment: Last Wednesday, 7pm

All meetings are at the Como Park Streetcar Station, at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton.

Get recycling gear here
The Como Park Streetcar Station is open from noon-4pm on the first Sunday of every month through the fall and winter. We’ll have a District 10 board member on hand to distribute blue recycling bins, organics composting bags, or just take your comments and suggestions. The Streetcar Station is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton.

Put It on Your Calendar
• Thur., Nov. 10: Community Forum–Dealing with Problem Properties. Details to follow on District 10’s website.

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Monitor in a Minute

Monitor in a Minute

Posted on 10 October 2016 by Calvin


Changes in the works to capital budget process
Area residents and district councils that routinely submit projects for the city’s Long-Range Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) will see changes in 2017. The St. Paul City Council voted Sept. 28 to launch a study of capital budget changes.

With large projects looming and a slew of capital maintenance needs, the City Council and the Long-Range CIB Committee will be looking at process changes. That, in turn, means there won’t be the extensive project submission and review process next year, to determine what is and is not funded in 2018-2019.

That is likely to disappoint district councils, booster clubs and other groups that had already started work on projects to be submitted in January 2017. But City Council President Russ Stark and Deputy Mayor Kristin Beckmann said the proposal is to fund fewer needs in 2018-2019, giving time for city staff, the CIB Committee, district councils and citizens to look at the CIB process and make changes in time for the 2020-2021 funding round. That process starts in 2019.

Firestation 20The two big projects looming are Fire Station 20 replacement in West Midway and Scheffer Recreation Center in Frogtown. The city also has millions of dollars in unmet repair needs at area parks, recreation centers, libraries and other facilities.

Planning and design funds for Fire Station 20, 2167 University Ave, were recommended for $1 million. The two-story, double-bay station was built in 1921. Station access was affected when Green Line light rail was built. Vehicles have to cross the light tracks to get out to calls, and rigs have to back in when they return. Fire Chief Tim Butler said cost estimates to build a new fire station are at $7 million. But the city is looking at a number of options to replace Station 20. One idea is to build on land owned by the WestRock (formerly Rock-Tenn) paper recycling company nearby. Another idea is to discuss a joint facility with the Minneapolis Fire Department.

Saint Paws wins approval
Saint Paws’ quest to continue operating a dog daycare and overnight boarding facility won unanimous St. Paul Planning Commission approval Sept. 30. The commission placed eight operating conditions on the business, including the use of an indoor dog relief area.

Saint Paws is at 1921 University Ave. The Planning Commission was asked to grant the business a determination of similar use status. The Commission had to determine whether indoor dog daycare and overnight boarding is similar to other uses allowed in a traditional neighborhood zoning district.

At issue with Saint Paws was where the dogs relieve themselves. Saint Paws has been walking its dogs in the surrounding neighborhood and using nearby Iris Park as a relief spot. A city Department of Planning and Economic Development (PED) staff report pointed out that such use “has the potential for significant negative impacts on the maintenance and appearance of the park above and beyond the impacts typically found with other (traditional neighborhoods-zoned) uses.” Other than the Iris Park issue, the business would meet all other conditions for a determination of similar use.

City planning staff recommended denial of the request in August, but after commissioners had said a more thorough look at history is needed, the issue was laid over.

Property owner Thomas Dunn and his daughter Susan Dunn, who operates the business, asked the Zoning Committee to recommend approval. They agreed to the conditions proposed. The Dunns renovated the building and opened the business not knowing they needed a license to open a dog daycare. The business came to city officials’ attention in May after a complaint. It had opened in February.

Saint Paws has support from a number of area businesses and Iris Park residents. But the St. Paul Department of Parks and Recreation raised objections to using Iris Park as a dog relief area. Dogs still can be walked in the park and surrounding neighborhood. Some neighbors have said the presence of dogs makes them feel safer.

The only person objecting Sept. 22 was the owner of the city’s three Dog Days businesses. She asked that all similar businesses be treated consistently and fairly.

Health care homes studied
The notion of health care dwellings will be explored by St. Paul City officials in the weeks ahead. The City Council on Sept. 28 approved measures related to a 2016 state law. No one appeared at a Sept. 21 public hearing to speak on the issue.

The Minnesota Legislature in May approved regulations allowing cities to permit temporary dwellings for the purpose of providing health care to a family member. Under the regulations, a family could house a relative in a recreational vehicle, small trailer home or similar facility on their home property. Possible structures could be as basic as a trailer home designed for disability access or as elaborate as a small house that could be placed in a driveway or backyard.

The intent is for the dwellings to meet a short-term need, to help families provide care for their loved ones. The state law has provisions to ensure that the temporary dwellings don’t become permanent and that they aren’t used to simply create extra housing. For example, the housing would be for family members. The family member would need assistance with two or more daily activities due to their mental or physical health.

A conditional use permit would be required for the dwellings. State law allows cities or counties to opt out of allowing the dwellings. The St. Paul City Council imposed a moratorium on such temporary dwellings until the St. Paul Planning Commission completes a study of the pros and cons of such dwellings.

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Development Roundup

Development Roundup

Posted on 10 October 2016 by Calvin


Accessory units along Green Line get approval
Accessory dwelling units, touted as a way to add housing density along the light-rail Green Line in St. Paul, would only be allowed in portions of the South St. Anthony Park, Merriam Park, Snelling-Hamline, Lexington-Hamline and Hamline-Midway neighborhoods under an ordinance approved Sept. 14 by the St. Paul City Council.

Whether the change prompts more people to add the accessory dwelling units isn’t clear, although support was voiced for the change at Planning Commission and City Council public hearings.

Council President Russ Stark said he hears interest mainly from the North St. Anthony Park neighborhood. That area is outside of the boundary. The St. Anthony Park Community Council recently oversaw a study of the dwelling units and supports the zoning change. District 1 Planning Council supported the change and asked that the changes be adopted citywide. Hamline Midway Coalition and Como Community Council weighed in with technical suggestions.

In Merriam Park, a group studying housing issues in the neighborhood has looked at the proposal as a way to promote more owner-occupancy of the neighborhood’s many large foursquare homes. Union Park District Council didn’t take a position on the zoning study.

The City Council September 14 asked city staff to do a follow-up study of the dwelling units, to see how many have been added over the next year. Minneapolis has added about 50 units since it added an accessory dwelling unit ordinance a few years ago, although it’s not clear how many of those were existing units that were brought into compliance with new regulations.

The area where the housing units will be allowed is smaller than originally proposed. The City Council voted 6-1 on September 7 to drop Summit-University and Frogtown from the neighborhoods where accessory dwelling units would be allowed. That move was recommended by Ward 1 City Council member Dai Thao in response to the objections of the Summit-University Planning Council (SUPC). Frogtown residents had supported the change.

The ordinance would allow stand-alone backyard houses, carriage house-style apartments above garages and smaller units built into or attached to a larger home one-half mile north and one mile south of the Green Line from the western city limit at Emerald St. to Lexington Pkwy. The new units would have to be owner-occupied, be registered with the city and meet an array of zoning and building code regulations.

The proposal grew out of zoning studies along the Green Line that began even before the trains began running in 2014. It was promoted as a way to increase the number of housing units conveniently located near the transit line and had the support of other local district councils.

Griggs Midway lot plan OK’d
Changes have been made to the financing for the Griggs Midway Building parking lot improvements. The St. Paul City Council, acting as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Board, approved the changes Sept. 28.

Feat3_15Dickerman3Photo left: One of the plans that were originally proposed for Dickerman Park.

The building complex at the northeast corner of Fairview and University avenues had used a part of Dickerman Park for off-street parking for many years. That lot was removed as the Park is being redeveloped.

The HRA action approved a change in term from seven to five years for a previously-authorized forgivable loan through the Neighborhood Commercial Parking Program. The program was created to mitigate parking losses when Green Line light rail was built. Griggs Midway Building got a loan in Aug. 2015.

The Griggs Midway Building Corporation owns five buildings in the block behind the northeast corner of Fairview and University. Two of the buildings front on Dickerman Park. The park project resulted in the loss of 57 parking spaces. A second lot on Fairview has long encroached on Fairview right-of-way, meaning another 27 parking spaces would be lost.

The HRA loaned Griggs Midway Corporation up to $200,000 to reconfigure the rest of its parking area. The corporation wants to change the loan term to five years to limit the liability on their asset.

Former auto dealership sold
Two more former auto dealerships on University Ave. face transformation. The St. Paul City Council, acting as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Board Sept. 28, gave the nonprofit tentative developer status for two properties long occupied by Saxon Ford.

The developer status doesn’t involve any budget action at this time. It gives the partnership time lines to bring forward plans for the city-owned properties, which are bounded by Sherburne Ave., Galtier St. and University Ave. One property has a seven-month deadline, and the other can be worked on for up to 30 months. If planning is successful, final development agreements come back to the HRA for sale of the properties. The HRA set many conditions to be met as part of the developer agreement.

The city has sought developers for the properties for more than a year. The partnership would build assisted living on one parcel and a health center on the other. The plans have support from Frogtown Neighborhood Association.

Grant awarded
A West Midway residential development received investigation grants from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Metropolitan Council. The St. Paul City Council voted Sept. 7 to accept the funds.

It was among nine grants sought for sites throughout the city. The grant application was submitted in April. $763,327 was awarded for a preconstruction work for a new apartment building at 2300 Territorial Rd.

A developer sought the grant through the city, which acts as a pass-through funding source.

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3rd Annual Hamline Elementary Fall Festival a success

Posted on 10 October 2016 by Calvin

Big thanks from the whole Hamline Elementary community to their friends and neighbors for sharing a beautiful Saturday afternoon at the 3rd Annual Hamline Elementary Fall Festival. It took an awesome show of community support from beginning to end to make this happen, and they are so grateful to the local organizations, businesses, and neighbors who helped out in ways both big and small. Hamline Elementary loves the neighborhood and reports that they had the best time celebrating with everyone. They are already looking forward to next year! (Photos by Hamline Elementary parents)


hamline-elementary-img_2364 hamline-elementary-img_8872

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Hamline Midway Elders plan monthly activities

Posted on 10 October 2016 by Calvin

Baby Boomers & Better Book Club. Hamline Midway Elders and Hamline Midway Library are continuing a monthly book club around books related to baby boomers. Participants of all ages are invited to attend a discussion at the library on Sat., Oct. 15 at 1pm on “Lake Wobegon Days” by Garrison Keillor. This was his initial book, published back in 1985, that described the town and characters that we’ve heard about for many years on the “Prairie Home Companion” radio program.

Defensive Driving Refresher Class. This free 4-hour refresher course will be held on Monday, Oct. 17, 1- 5pm at Hamline Church United Methodist (1514 Englewood Ave.). Tim Walstrom, an agent from State Farm Insurance, will lead the class. Attendees would need to have completed a previous initial 8-hour class. There will be plenty of space for anyone interested, but we do want/need folks to sign up with Hamline Midway Elders in advance so we can have the right amount of materials for the class.

Jody’s Documentary Film Series. Please join us on Wed., Oct. 26, 1pm at Hamline Midway Library for a POV film titled “What Tomorrow Brings.” The film is directed by Beth Murphy and features the very first all-girls school in a remote Afghan village. No registration is necessary, just enjoy the documentary, some snacks, and a lively discussion led by Jody Huber after the film.

Poetry Writing Classes. The free ARTful Expression classes with the library proved to be so popular that we looked for a way to continue the series. Naomi Cohn (writer, therapist and teaching artist) has volunteered to lead two additional sessions. The class on Nov. 2 starting at 1pm will be “Writing Home: Building Blocks of Poetry” and on Nov. 9 “Haiku and other short poetry.” Each class is limited to 15 individuals, and for more information and to register contact Jean Curtis-Neitz at Hamline Midway Library at jean.curtis-neitz@ci.stpaul.mn.us or 651-642-0293.

Chair Yoga. Nancy Giguere returns to lead another series of Chair Yoga at Hamline Midway Library. Classes will be held on six consecutive Thursday mornings from 10:30 to 11:30 beginning Nov. 3 (skipping Thanksgiving). Chair Yoga focuses on a range of movement, alignment, stretching, strengthening, awareness, breathing, and relaxation. All movement is done while seated or standing using a chair for balance.

Monthly Luncheon. Hamline Midway Elders has been sponsoring “second Tuesday” monthly luncheons for the past 15 years. The meal begins at 11:30am at Hamline Church United Methodist (1514 Englewood Ave.) followed by the presentation at 12:15pm. New attendees are always welcome. Join us on Tue., Nov. 8 for a presentation on “Aging & Spirituality” by Senior Pastor Mariah Furness Tollgaard.

Volunteers Wanted. Hamline Midway Elders operates with only two part-time staff. The majority of our services to neighborhood elders is provided by some wonderful volunteers, and we could use more. We have a variety of volunteer needs ranging from driving folks to/from medical appointments, to spring raking, to friendly visiting, to helping out at program events. Please consider helping our program help neighborhood elders.

For more information on any of the above items, please contact Tom Fitzpatrick at Hamline Midway Elders at 651-209-6542 or tom@hmelders.org.

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Hamline Midway Library: Fostering a love of reading in all their activities

Hamline Midway Library: Fostering a love of reading in all their activities

Posted on 10 October 2016 by Calvin

IOC10_14LibraryGraphicThe Hamline Midway Library, 1558 W. Minnehaha Ave., is brimming over with an unusually rich array of arts programming, storytimes, and book club meetings this October and November. As the weather cools and the fall leaves blow, be sure to stop at the library for a soul-warming dose of inspiration, learning, and community.

Preschool Storytimes galore
Evening/Pajama Storytimes in English will be happening every Tuesday evening from 6:30-7pm in October and the first two Tuesday evenings in November. PJs, blankets, and favorite stuffed animals are all welcome at these family events. Upcoming dates are Oct. 18, 25 and Nov. 1 and 8. The library also offers a weekly daytime Preschool Storytime in English on Fridays from 10:30-11am. Upcoming daytime storytimes happen on Oct. 14, 21, 28 and Nov. 4 and 18.

Book clubs foster love of reading
The Baby Boomers and Better Book Club will meet Sat., Oct. 15, 1-2pm, to discuss Garrison Keillor’s “Lake Wobegon Days.” The club is presented in partnership with Hamline Midway Elders.

The Teen Book Club also meets on Oct. 15, 3-4pm and Nov. 12, 3-4 PM, to discuss graphic novels, “Battle of the Books,” “Read Brave,” and more. The group is intended for readers in grades 9 and up.

The Show and Tell Book Club meets Sat., Nov. 5, 1:30-2:15pm. It’s a great opportunity for readers in grades 2-4 to share their favorite books, enjoy snacks, and celebrate reading through conversation and activities. New members are always welcome!

The Saints and Sinners Mystery Book Club will meet Sat., Nov. 5, 1-2pm to discuss a good mystery. Contact G. Balter for book list or more information at gerribalter@gmail.com or 651-224-5570.

Arts and science programming
During MEA week, the library will host a few different programs to keep kids busy when they’re out of school. On Thur., Oct. 20, the library presents “Stay Play MEA: Blues for Kids” with presenter Jim Stairs, a workshop that teaches kids of all ages the joy of Blues music. The workshop is custom-designed to suit the audience and can include guitar, harmonica, piano, vocals, or Blues history. To register, stop in at the library, email Aura at aura.scherbel@ci.stpaul.mn.us, or call 651-642-0293.

“Peaceful Explorations: Exploring the World Through Music, Movement, and Storytelling” comes to the library on Thur., Oct. 27, 6:30-7:30pm. In this special program, families can enjoy learning about the seasons and living peacefully through storytelling, movement, and music. It might be just the thing families need in this hectic election cycle, so come check it out!

On Mon., Nov. 7, 6-7pm, Russell Harris presents “Mini Masterpieces: Bubblemancy,” an art workshop for preschoolers and their families. Participants can learn the science of bubbles and have a chance to experiment with what becomes possible with bubbles once they understand how bubbles work. Attendees will even make bubble art to take home!

The preschool arts series continues on Mon., Nov. 14, 6-7pm, with “Mini Masterpieces: ArtStart,” in which participants make art with discards, scraps, and other recycled material, and on Mon., Nov. 21, 6-7pm, with “Fingerprint Art.”

Science Saturday takes over the auditorium on Sat., Nov. 12, 1:30-3:30pm, with “Pop Ups!” School age kids and their families can play with tension and springs to make their own pop-up assemblages at this fun hands-on event.

Film fun
On Fri., Oct. 21, 3-5pm, the library will show a special movie for teens, director Barry Sonnenfeld’s sci-fi comedy “Men in Black.”

Jody’s Documentary Film Series continues on Wed., Oct. 26, 1-3pm, with a showing of the PBS POV documentary “What Tomorrow Brings,” directed by Beth Murphy. The film invites viewers to visit the first all-girls’ school in a remote Afghan village and offers an astonishing look at the courage it takes to challenge tradition and custom. This event is a collaboration of the award-winning documentary series POV, the Hamline Midway Elders, and the library. Come for the movie and the snacks, stay for the lively discussion afterward!

On Sat., Oct. 29, 2:30-4:30pm, the library will host a matinee showing of the original 1984 “Ghostbusters,” directed by Ivan Reitman.

Poetry and exercise for adults
On Wednesday afternoons in November, writer, therapist, and teaching artist Naomi Cohn will present Known By Heart, a two-part series of poetry workshops for adults.

On Nov. 2, 1-3pm, Cohn presents “Writing Home: Building Blocks of Poetry,” guiding participants in exploring the theme of home through poetry. Whether you’re new to poetry or have been writing all your life, you are welcome!

The series continues on Wed., Nov. 9, 1-3pm, with “Writing Haiku.” The Knight Foundation, the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, the Saint Anthony Park Community Foundation, and the Hamline Midway Elders, have all contributed to make this poetry series possible. Registration begins Oct. 17.

On Thursday mornings in November, the library will offer Chair Yoga, a class in which all movement is done while seated or standing while using a chair for balance. This class is taught by Nancy Giguere and co-sponsored by Hamline Midway Elders. Upcoming classes are on Thur., Nov. 3, 10, and 17, 10:30-11:30am.

Library closures
The library will be closed all day on Nov.11 for Veterans Day and on Nov. 24 for Thanksgiving, so be sure to plan your book runs accordingly!

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