Hamline Midway Library events

Hamline Midway Library events

Posted on 10 April 2017 by Calvin

The Hamline Midway Library, 1558 W. Minnehaha Ave. is going to be a hive of arts and education activities in April and May. Just about every day of the week, you’ll find an engaging program happening to wake up your spirit—not to mention all the essential information and entertainment resources you can always count on at the library, including CDs, DVDs, books, expert librarian assistance, and Internet access.

Preschool Storytimes in English happen on Fridays, 10:30-11am, with upcoming events on Apr. 14, 21, and 28 and May 5, 12, and 19. These fun storytimes teach social skills, listening comprehension, letter and number recognition, and more—all through songs, stories, puppets, and fingerplays. Children of all activity levels are welcome!

The library hosts Evening/Pajama Stories in English on Tuesdays, 6:30-7pm, with upcoming evening storytimes on Apr. 18 and 25 and May 2, 9, and 16. Pajamas, blankets, and stuffed animals are all welcome at these family events. Hear a bedtime story with your friends and neighbors!
Science Saturdays feature hands-on arts and science activities for school-aged kids and their families. On Sat., Apr. 15, 1:30-3pm, the focus is Create a Board Game. Participants can learn about planning, hypothesizing, and predicting as they create their own board games. They can also experience an over-sized board game for large muscle fun.

Kaleidoscope brings arts programming to preschoolers at the library in May. On Tuesday, May 9, 10:30-11:30am, Kaleidoscope presents M3C Cambodian Dance, offering traditional Cambodian dance performance that will engage all ages.

On Mon., Apr. 24, 10am-12pm, the Twin Cities Media Alliance and MELSA present Protect Your Privacy: Staying Secure Online. In this workshop, you can learn how to ensure that your Internet browsing, purchases, email, and other online activity is as secure as possible. Discover tools to protect your online privacy.

Book Clubs for all Ages
The Teen Book Club meets Sat., Apr. 15, 3-4pm to discuss teen books of all kinds: graphic novels, Battle of the Books, Read Brave, and more. For grades 9 and up.

The Show and Tell Book Club meets Sat., Apr. 22, 1:30-2:15pm. Join librarian Shelly to share books and do fun activities. Best for first, second, and third graders.

The Saints and Sinners Mystery Book Club meets Sat., May 6, 1-2pm to discuss mysteries. This month’s book is “Spider Woman’s Daughter” by Anne Hillerman. Contact volunteer G. Balter for more information at 651-224-5570 or gerribalter@gmail.com.

On Fri., Apr, 14, the library hosts a family-friendly Silent Movie Matinee featuring Laurel and Hardy’s short silent classic “Liberty” and Charlie Chaplin’s “The Immigrant.” Enjoy slapstick comedy, hot popcorn, and cider at this event co-sponsored by the Hamline Midway Library Association. Generally best enjoyed by ages 5 and up, but all ages welcome.

On Wed., Apr. 26, Jody’s Documentary Film Series presents two short films, “Marathon” by filmmakers Theo Rigby and Kate McLean and “The Words in the Margins” by filmmaker Sara Mott. “Marathon” focuses on Julio, an immigrant from Ecuador who has spent 15 years in the United States working to make a decent life for himself and his family. Now he’s set his sights on winning the New York marathon. “The Words in the Margin,” tells the story of Axel, a 31-year-old who wants to learn to read and is paired with Steve from Kenya, who’s awaiting his United States work permit. These events are a collaboration with the award-winning PBS documentary series POV and the Hamline Midway Elders.

Arts, Dance, Literary Events
On Wed., Apr. 19, the library presents a reception and reading featuring contributors to the groundbreaking anthology “A Good Time for the Truth.” The event features IBe, Sherry Quan Lee, and Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria presenting from essays that tackle race in Minnesota with unprecedented honesty. Reception with refreshments starts at 6pm, followed by reading at 6:30pm with Q and A. The Hamline University Bookstore will be selling copies of the presenters’ books. Co-sponsored by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, the Hamline Midway Library Association, and Hamline University.

The ARTful Expression series encourages adults to explore their artistic side through hands-on art-making classes. ARTful Expression: Drawing Light meets on Thur., Apr. 20, 1-3pm. In this workshop, adults are invited to look past what they know, slow down, and learn to identify light, highlight, and shadow to add modeling, form, and depth to drawings and bring them to life!

ARTful Expression: Drawing as Experience meets Thur., Apr. 27, 1-3pm to explore experiential drawing as a way of developing our drawing practice and inspiring the creative process. This series is facilitated by The Drawing Project artists for adults and registration is required. The first sessions of this series have filled quickly, so call the library at 651-642-0293 to reserve a spot.

The Known by Heart Poetry Class with writer and educator Naomi Cohn meets Wednesdays in May from 1-3pm. The first class on May 3 is Meet Your Muse: Get Inspired to Write. The second class on May 10 is Writing the World Around Us. May 17 the topic is Writing About Family, and on May 24, the focus is on Body Language. Registration for the series is required and begins Apr. 19; please talk to a librarian or see the library website at www.sppl.org for more details on registration and what to bring to each class. This series is co-presented by Known by Heart and the Hamline Midway Elders.

Library Closures
All libraries will be closed Sunday, Apr. 16 for Easter and Thur., May 11 for a staff training.

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Milwaukee developer named to redevelop Midway Center site

Posted on 10 April 2017 by Calvin

Irgens, a Milwaukee-based developer, will help redevelop the Midway Center site. The St. Paul Port Authority Board voted Mar. 28 to approve a joint development agreement with Irgens and the Minnesota United soccer team.

The vote was by Capital City Properties, a Port real estate subsidiary that will negotiate and enter into a contract with Irgens.

If all goes as planned, the partners will eventually buy 16.5 acres of the Midway Center superblock. That means tearing down the center section that house the Rainbow supermarket and stores to the east. That would make way for the north end of the planned stadium, as well as green space and mixed-use development. It could also give a needed boost to eventual redevelopment of the entire 34.5-acre superblock bounded by Pascal St. and St. Anthony, Snelling and University avenues.

Irgens is a veteran developer, with a long track record in medical office and retail development around the nation. A company spokesperson said the developer is excited to be part of the Midway project, which is anchored by a $150 million Major League Soccer stadium for Minnesota United.

“It’s a great area,” said Irgens representative Christopher Bowen, “and we see a lot of good synergies here. We’re excited to be part of the project.”

The company will have 60 percent ownership in the joint venture, Minnesota United will have 30 percent, and the Port Authority will have 10 percent.

After the vote Port President Lee Krueger praised the agreement, saying that about 20 developers were spoken with about partnering on the site. Earlier this year the Port entered into a master lease with shopping center owner RK Midway, to jump-start the development project and get the stadium moving.
Krueger said the Port’s intent is to step aside when the time comes for the team and Irgens to buy property. The Port won’t have a financial involvement. He described the agency’s role as that of a conduit.

Irgens will be the day-to-day shopping center manager and has the right to buy out the other partners by the end of 2022. The Port hopes to exit the partnership by year’s end.

Port documents indicate that redevelopment could include a mix of “housing, retailers, restaurants, medical office, entertainment and athletic facilities.” It’s also indicated that stadium construction would get started this summer. It’s expected that Minnesota United will continue to play in Minneapolis in 2018 as well as this year, with games here starting in 2019.

The new shopping center partnership is to pay Midway Center owner RK Midway of New York $2.3 million per year, which is what current leases generate. The managing partners can, under the agreement, seek new and additional tenants.

Another part of the package would have Irgens and RK Midway redeveloping space along Snelling, which was subdivided from the main shopping center a few years ago. The center has several outlots, including the restaurant and multi-tenant building along University.

What affects the development timetable is the existing leases, especially that of Rainbow, which is owned by SuperValu. With SuperValu also owning Midway Cub, the grocery chain likely wouldn’t want a competitor moving into the new development. Midway Center has vacant space that will remain standing after stadium construction gets underway. But if and how tenants would be moved elsewhere or bought out remains a question mark.

“The Port Authority’s selection of Irgens, which has demonstrated a commitment to a vibrant, environmentally sustainable development and thoughtful building design, brings another exciting entrant to the St. Paul market,” said St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman in a statement. “Irgens has a commendable track record of developing mixed-use, transit-connected projects. Like so much of the work that we’ve done in St. Paul, the Snelling-Midway project is a responsible and bold step toward St. Paul’s future.”

In the meantime, the soccer stadium’s needed tax breaks continue rolling through the 2017 Minnesota legislature. The House in late March approved a tax bill that includes the stadium’s property tax break and a break on construction materials sales taxes.

Minnesota United lead owner Bill McGuire has said in the past that the project cannot proceed without tax breaks. The team is seeking a property tax exemption a well as a sales tax break on project construction materials.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue has estimated that the stadium would generate about $3.1 million in property taxes per year if it were not exempt.

The stadium tax break ran up against some last-minute opposition Mar. 30 as Rep. Cal Bahr (R) Anoka attempted to delete both tax exemptions. He argued for not lowering the property tax base but fell short in a bid to remove the stadium-related amendments. The bill goes on to the Senate.
Gov. Mark Dayton is in support of the stadium tax breaks.

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Midway Murals is back, this time at Snelling and Englewood

Posted on 10 April 2017 by Calvin

After a one-year hiatus from mural work, the Midway Public Art Working Group and Hamline University are leading the charge on two new public art projects along Snelling Ave. this coming summer and fall. The two murals will bring new life to both the east and west sides of the intersection of Snelling and Englewood, welcoming people entering the neighborhood from the north and splashing color via a brand new mural and an exciting restoration project. An Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign is scheduled to begin Apr. 11, with funds to be split equally between the two projects.

The new mural project, currently dubbed Midway Murals 2.0, is the product of months of planning and a public Request for Proposals put out in February of this year. Three members of the Working Group and five members of the Hamline faculty joined forces to initiate a project that will provide an opportunity for an emerging or pre-emerging artist to lead a project that builds bridges between Hamline University and the Hamline Midway neighborhood.

Three finalists have been chosen to submit more detailed proposals in mid-April, with a winner to be selected in May. The mural will then be installed in summer or early fall on the north-facing wall of 742 Snelling Ave., directly adjacent to the ramp leading to Super America. The tentative plans include new projects at the site in future years, with the existing mural, which will be installed on a detachable surface, moving to a new home at that time.

Across the street, on the north wall of the building housing Mirror of Korea and Hamline Hardware Hank, an equally exciting mural project will simultaneously be taking place, this one the restoration of Picnic at Newell Park, by local artist Chris Baird. This year marks the 30-year anniversary of the mural, which continues to impress, but called for a refresh after years of braving Minnesota winters. Baird has generously agreed to return to spruce it up this summer, while she juggles her work as a nanny and jewelry maker, and local residents are eager to celebrate along with her as she restores it to its original glory.

The Midway Public Art Working Group grew out of the 2015 Midway Murals project and is made up of volunteers who live, work, and go to school in the neighborhood. The group received formal approval two years ago to work under the auspices of the Hamline Midway Coalition, and since then, it has supported two local Paint the Pavement projects, with three more in the works for this year. Its mission is “to enhance livability, pride, interaction, and vibrancy in the Midway community through public art.”

Everyone is welcome to attend quarterly meetings and can sign up for the email list by contacting the author at the email listed below.

These murals are possible only with the support of countless volunteers, the Hamline University community, the donations of generous local businesses, and the monetary support of those who contribute to the upcoming crowdfunding campaign. Donations of all amounts are greatly appreciated and can be made at https://igg.me/at/midway-murals-2-0 beginning Apr. 11.

Please contact Jonathan at jonathan@midwaymurals.com with questions, to join the public art email list, to help sponsor the murals, or to donate outside of the crowdfunding campaign.

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Children’s Center Montessori loses its home after 45 years

Posted on 10 April 2017 by Calvin

Editor’s Note: After printing of the April 2017 publication, the Monitor has learned that the Montessori school has received a one-year lease extension.

When school bells ring a final time in June, Midway area institution Children’s Center Montessori will be saying goodbye to its longtime location. The preschool and kindergarten, which just marked its 45th anniversary, must move out of its space at Minnehaha Ave. and Asbury St. this summer.

The school has operated at 1536 W. Minnehaha Ave. since 1971. For many years it rented from and shared space with Knox Presbyterian Church. But Knox, due to declining membership, merged almost four years ago with North Como Presbyterian Church. The last service at Knox was in November 2013.

The Knox property, which includes a 1914 Prairie-style church and a newer education wing, was sold after the congregation moved out. Other churches and tenants, including the Montessori school, remained.

The church property was sold to International Discipleship Ministries, which has indicated to Children’s Center Montessori that it will need to relocate this summer. The International Discipleship Ministries program local office could not be reached for comment.

Montessori Director Gretchen Rademacher Harkins said she doesn’t know where the school will go. “We’re looking, and we’re trying to stay in the neighborhood.”

A Facebook post about the impending move brought an outpouring of comments and suggestions, including comments from people who attended Children’s Center. In some families, more than one generation attended school there. Many Hamline-Midway families have liked the center’s atmosphere and the convenience of having a child care center in the neighborhood that they could walk to.
One Facebook post stated, “Let’s keep this gem in our neighborhood.”

The Children’s Center Montessori School was founded in 1971 by John and Elaine Rademacher. Harkins, daughter of John and Elaine, has taught since 1991 and been a director since 2002. The school website notes that “Gretchen has been trained as a teacher since she was six years old and is Montessori certified.”

Other staff members have also taught at Children’s Center for many years. One part-time teacher is an alumnus of the school.

Montessori schools use a child-centered model developed more than a century ago by Dr. Maria Montessori. Teachers undergo special training and schools must meet guidelines to bear the Montessori label.

Children’s Center Montessori limits its enrollment to 30 students per session, and to a 36-month age span. It offers preschool and kindergarten programs on a half-day or full-day basis, and operates during the school year, five days a week except for holidays.

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Moutig in straw

News from Como Park High School

Posted on 10 April 2017 by Calvin

Compiled by ERIC ERICKSON, Social Studies Teacher

• 18 seniors currently studying AP Government and AP Macroeconomics spent a week of March in Washington D.C. The participating students were part of the national Close Up program, which promotes education in democracy and uses the capital as a living classroom. Como student highlights included visiting the national monuments, memorials, the new African American History Smithsonian Museum, the Air and Space Museum, the Supreme Court, Library of Congress, U.S. Capitol, and prominent Washington neighborhoods.

Photo right: Como students participating in the national Close Up program in Washington D.C. met with three U.S. Senators on Capitol Hill to discuss public policy. The Como group is pictured here with Senator Amy Klobuchar. (Photo provided)

The students had policy meetings with Senator Al Franken and Senator Amy Klobuchar on Capitol Hill, and also had an impromptu twenty-minute meeting with Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. Senator Booker introduced the Como group to the new Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, who Booker was meeting in advance of confirmation hearings.

Throughout the week, Como students were also in policy discussions and simulations with peers from across the nation. The Close Up closing banquet of 120 students featured six student speakers selected by their respective workshop groups, and two of them were from Como; Josie Schermerhorn and William Toney.

• A team of four MJROTC Cadets will fly out to Washington D.C. in late June to participate in the National Leadership and Academic Bowl. It’s the first time in the 21-year history of the MJROTC program at Como that a team of cadets has advanced to the prestigious event. Junior Jacob Kingson, sophomores William Farley and Joseph Newman, and freshman Anderson Xiong earned their trip to nationals after competing against more than 3,600 high school programs across the country.

Photo left: Como MJROTC students Jacob Kingson, William Farley, and Joseph Newman are studying for the National Leadership and Academic Bowl in Washington D.C. in June. (Photo provided)

Preliminary rounds tested students on their knowledge of JROTC curriculum, English, math, and science. The cadets devoted considerable time, energy and focus to gain a diverse body of knowledge that also included the U.S. Constitution, founding documents of U.S. history, physics, leadership theory, and core knowledge associated with the ACT and SAT, said Como’s Senior Marine Instructor Maj. John Foley, USMC (Retired).

“I am most proud of their intense desire to go beyond mastery of facts to an integrated and comprehensive understanding of history, ethics, and leadership,” Foley said. Como Park is one of eight teams to advance to the finals and the only JROTC team from Minnesota that qualified for the national competition.

• Como Park students participated in History Day as part of their study and research in U.S. History classes. History Day involves in-depth research on a topic students choose within the annual theme. The 2017 theme was “Taking a Stand.” Students analyzed primary and secondary sources before choosing a category to present their findings. Categories included website design, exhibit board, documentary, performance, and research paper.

Judges from the Minnesota Historical Society visited Como to evaluate projects and select participants for the St. Paul regional competition. Como winners at the St. Paul Regional included Abdullahi Salim, Jahara Ortiz, Felix Lukens and Juan Morales for their documentary film on the Stonewall Riots. They will represent Como at the State History Day at the U of M on Apr. 29. Peyton Thomas, Than Dah Aye, and Noel Krum wrote research papers that also advanced to state. Anna Caballero and Yeeva Lor received Honorable Mention at the regional competition for their exhibit on the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court case.

• Economics students from Como won the Urban Regional Econ Challenge at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis on Mar. 14. The event was administered by the Minnesota Council on Economic Education (MCEE) and sponsored by “The Fed.” Teams of students participate in two competitive divisions. The Adam Smith Division is for AP/IB/college level Econ coursework, and the David Ricardo Division is tailored to high school core standards.

The team of Mira Kammueller, Nathan Stover, Divine Uchegbu, and Ben Schafer earned 1st place in the Adam Smith Division and advanced to the State Econ Challenge. The team of Lay Lay Zan, Psaw Paw Kasuh, Tyler Johnson, and John Barton took 1st prize in the David Ricardo Division, also advancing to state.

The format included rounds of individual testing in microeconomics and macroeconomics, followed by a team test on international finance and trade. The teams with the top two overall, combined scores in each division faced off against each other in the final Quiz Bowl round. Como’s victories at that level clinched the Urban Regional titles and qualified the teams for the state meet. In addition to the competition, the students enjoyed breakfast and lunch at the Fed and toured the facility, including the cash vault, with Federal Reserve staff.

• The St. Paul Public School Culinary Competition took place in March. It was an opportunity for talented and motivated students in Family and Consumer Science classes throughout the district to prepare and present a meal to a panel of judges. The Como Park Culinary teams took 1st place and 3rd place in the district.

The 3rd place team of Jillian Brenner, Eloise Rein, Trenton Phillippi and Curtis Persson prepared a tomato mozzarella salad for a starter, beef ravioli (pasta made from scratch) with fresh tomato cream sauce for an entrée, and white chocolate mousse topped with a raspberry sauce for dessert.

The 1st place team of Dina Thoresen, Trinh Nguyen, Ong Vang and Isaac Vue presented a menu of Thai Glass Noodle Salad for a starter, Vegetarian Pho with a side dish of stock boiled vegetables for the entrée, and coconut rice pudding with lemongrass curd for dessert. The creative and talented young chefs of Como enjoyed the experience of cooking alongside other students in St. Paul. All participants took their culinary arts to new levels, impressing the panel of experts in the process.

• Como Girls’ Soccer players spent Saturday morning, Mar. 25, communicating with the Tibetan Women’s Soccer team via a Skype call. The team from Tibet received news coverage from several media outlets after being denied travel visas to the U.S. for a tournament in Dallas they had been invited to attend. Como JV girls’ coach Jen Larrick established contact with the Tibetan coach and scheduled the Skype call. The resulting hour-long cross-cultural exchange was enlightening, informative and fun for both teams.

Como Soccer players from the girls’ and boys’ teams will be leading sessions of soccer fun for children in the community again this summer. The “Soccer Stars” will meet on Tuesday nights at McMurray Field beginning June 20. Ages 4-6 will play from 6-6:45pm, and ages 7-11 from 7-8pm. Registration is open and can be made by calling 651-298-5813.

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Hamline Elementary AR

Hamline Elementary becomes a full-service community school

Posted on 10 April 2017 by Calvin


Last summer the Hamline Elementary community sought out and applied for a full-service community school grant through the Minnesota Department of Education. The school was one of only a handful in the state to receive funding through this grant. The size of the grant ($132,000) has allowed Hamline to add staff, resources, and begin the exciting work of becoming a full-service community school.

What is it and what does it mean?
The American Federation of Teacher’s website describes a full-service community school as, “… a place where teachers, families, community members and service providers can come together in coordinated, purposeful and results-focused partnerships. These schools become the center of their communities by providing the services to students, families, and neighbors that best serve their needs, while at the same time promoting stable, healthy neighborhoods.”

Stated another way, a full-service community school removes barriers to learning by developing and maintaining partnerships that improve access to services and opportunities that support and enrich students and their families. It’s a model that is responsive to the needs of a dynamic school community, where needs are routinely assessed and addressed.

At its best, a full-service community school enjoys a harmonious, reciprocal relationship with its neighborhood where assets and challenges are shared. In a place as diverse and energetic as the Midway, the opportunities for creative and meaningful partnerships are around every corner. When the neighborhood faces challenges, meeting them together as partners increase the chances for better solutions, lasting change, and positive outcomes for everyone who calls the Midway home.

Why pursue a grant?
For Charlotte Flowers, Hamline Elementary parent and primary author of the grant, the many hours spent writing the grant were a labor of love. “The Midway is so important to me, and the school is the center of everything I love about the neighborhood,” she said. “When our school lost neighborhood kids due to housing instability, I felt powerless to help. We’re all in community together with strengths and challenges—how do we create a space where families feel like they belong and are empowered to ask for what they need and to give what they can? This grant is a chance to build upon what is already a strong program at Hamline and model what it means to be responsible for each other in a community.”

While Hamline Elementary has a lot of experience with partnerships, including the long-standing one with Hamline University, and current partners Hancock Recreation Center, Metro Social Services, and Reading Partners, someone needed to tie it all together, and size of the grant award made it possible to hire someone to do just that.

“This position is critical,” Flowers said, “The addition of a full-time community liaison, someone who can use their professional skills to focus and make sustained progress, allows us to build the capacity to serve all families. We are fortunate to have found someone with an abundance of skills.”

The future as a full-service community school
Just three months into her position as Hamline Elementary Site Coordinator, Aqueelah Roberson (photo right)  is hard at work doing the things she was hired to do: develop a framework that streamlines and maximizes current partnerships and allows the flexibility to explore and build new ones. She is also creating a high-quality family resource room and working with the Hamline community to deepen and broaden family engagement.

The scope of her work is big and so is the joy and drive with which she does it, “The work we are doing—it’s about growing and planning ahead,” Roberson said. “It’s about how we create an atmosphere of partnership—a warm, welcoming space that invites and encourages family and community participation. In all our partnerships, we are growing together. My heart’s passion is to see these relationships thrive and so we are exploring how to lift one another up and plant and nurture the seeds of shared responsibility and shared pride in the Midway.”

One of those seeds has been planted in a new initiative with the Hamline Midway Elders. In the Reading Buddy program, older neighbors visit the school and are paired with third graders to read and talk together. The third graders will give back by learning to bake bread in the Hamline Church bread oven and share it with the Hamline Midway Elders.

This kind of exchange is something Roberson hopes to make a feature of the Hamline Elementary experience. “I want students to experience community beyond the classroom, to participate in service learning projects—to see how they are connected and valuable to this neighborhood and in the process, gain an understanding of how we all work together to build community.”

A full-service community school is only as strong as its community, and Hamline Elementary is lucky to call the Midway home. Please contact Roberson, Hamline Elementary Site Coordinator, at 651-293-8715 to find out more about the work the Hamline community is doing and to talk about how you, your local business, organization, or community group can get involved. To learn more about full-service community schools, check out communityschools.org.

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Development Roundup

Posted on 10 April 2017 by Calvin


Area projects compete for STAR Program funding
Several area projects are vying for St. Paul’s Neighborhood Sales Tax Revitalization (STAR) Program grants and loans. At the deadline, city officials received 31 requests. The total sought is $5,038,315, with $4,356,902 in grants and $681,413 in loans. Applicants propose matches totaling $33,907,471.

The applications undergo review starting this month, with City Council action expected this summer. The requests far exceed what is available in funding, with the awards usually less than $2 million total.

Two requests center on assistance for immigrants. A citywide request with local implications is African Economic Development Solutions’ request for $100,000 in grant funds to set up a revolving loan program for African immigrant business owners. Loans would be for exterior and interior business improvements. The nonprofit has worked with businesses along N. Snelling Ave. A $123,000 match is proposed.

Another area group that works with immigrants is the International Institute of Minnesota, 1694 Como Ave. The nonprofit is seeking a $400,000 grant for its Second Century Campaign, a $6.5 million effort to redesign existing space and add space to better serve new American with workforce training.

Other area projects seeking funds include:
• Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest. The youth service group wishes to purchase and rehabilitate 1745 University Ave., which most recently has been a charter school. The group seeks a $1 million grant toward a $15.3 million project. The building would be rehabilitated to meet Junior Achievement’s needs.
• Joy to the People Foundation, 890 Cromwell Ave. The youth service and sports nonprofit is seeking a $30,000 loan and $30,000 grant, with a $60,000 match. This would be for the Campinho Project, to create an outdoor play center with changeable field configurations for multi-sports use. One unique feature would be the use of a cork fill field material that is considered safer than other turf field fill materials.

Watershed district to move to their own building in Midway
Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD) is moving from Como to the Midway. The nonprofit purchased the MacQueen Equipment building located at the intersection of Thomas Ave. and Aldine St. for $1.35 million. CRWD plans to rehabilitate the former industrial building, located just blocks from the Green Line, with the goal of moving in within a year. Early plans include more space to accommodate the district’s regulatory, water monitoring, project, and outreach program staff, demonstration of clean water practices and community meeting space.

The district has been renting space in an office complex located on Energy Park Drive since 2004 and has hunted for a new space for the past few years.

“The board has spent countless hours carefully analyzing budgets, visiting potential sites, and examining the MacQueen property to ensure that it is a good investment that will meet the district’s present and future needs,” said Mike Thienes, CRWD Board of Managers Treasurer. “The MacQueen property will save residents’ money and better support the district as we work to protect, manage and improve water resources including Como Lake, Crosby Lake, Loeb Lake, Lake McCarrons and the Mississippi River.”

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Como Community Council Corner

Posted on 10 April 2017 by Calvin

By MICHAEL KUCHTA, Executive Director

District 10 to hold elections for board
Ten positions on the Como Community Council Board are up for election at District 10’s Annual Meeting on Tues., Apr. 18. Full two-year terms are available for these positions:
• Chair
• Secretary
• One representative from each of the four geographic Sub-Districts
• Three At-Large representatives

Also, a special election will be held for a vacant At-Large position.

In addition to voting for board vacancies, community members will also vote on an amendment to District 10’s Articles of Incorporation. This technical amendment, which was approved by the District 10 board in March, legally incorporates Sub-District 4 into the boundaries of the district.

Biographies of candidates who filed in time to be on the ballot will be available on District 10’s website: www.district10comopark.org.

Board members elected in the nine regular elections will serve from Apr. 25, 2017, until Apr. 23, 2019. The board member elected to fill the At-Large vacancy will take office immediately and serve until April 2018. Nominations will be taken from the floor for write-in candidacies.

How to vote. Any resident of District 10 who is age 18 or older is eligible to vote. So are authorized representatives from a business or nonprofit organization located in District 10. Community residents will vote in person, using secret ballots, at the Annual Meeting. All members will be able to vote for Chair, Secretary, and the At-Large positions. Only members who live in a particular Sub-District will be able to vote for those positions. The Annual Meeting begins at 7pm at the Como Park Streetcar Station, which is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton.

Garage Sale is coming May 20
The annual Como Neighborhood Garage Sale takes place Sat., May 20. Residents who want to participate this year must register online no later than Wed., May 10. The registration fee is $15. Register at: www.district10comopark.org/2017_garage_sale.html.

District 10 will produce a map of all homes participating, so shoppers know where to spend their time.

Upcoming District 10 meetings
• Como Community Council Annual Meeting, Tues., Apr. 18
• Environment Committee, Wed., Apr. 26
• Neighborhood Relations and Safety Committee, Tues., May 2
• Land Use Committee, Wed., May 3
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.

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Monitor In A Minute

Posted on 10 April 2017 by Calvin


Street light test underway
The St. Paul Department of Public Works is testing different LED street lights and wants community input. Residents will have the opportunity to provide feedback on different characteristics of lights through a survey continuing through Fri., May 19. Visit www.stpaul.gov/LED for more information on how residents can participate in the survey.

Lights are being tested in three neighborhoods, including Lexington-Hamline and Payne-Phalen. A local test is underway in Hamline-Midway on Blair Ave. between Lexington Pkwy. and Hamline Ave., and Van Buren Ave. between Griggs St. and Hamline.

A different LED bulb has been installed on each block so that residents can compare and contrast them to provide input on such characteristics as color, glare, and coverage. Residents can provide feedback to the Public Works Department through a paper form or on-line survey. This input will help inform the department as it continues its program to transition the city’s street lights to LED technology.

St. Paul is moving to LED lighting because of economic and environmental benefits, yet there have been many complaints about the quality of the new lights as well potential health impacts.

Decision on home delayed
Wingspan Life Resources, which serves people with disabilities, is working with St. Paul city officials to legalize designation for a Hamline-Midway property it has used for many years. A request to allow legal nonconforming use status for 1239 Sherburne Ave. returns to the St. Paul Planning Commission Zoning Committee later this month for action.

The committee laid over Wingspan’s request on Mar. 30, to seek more information.

Wingspan wishes to use the house as an office for two employees, and small group program space. Two other people live in the house.

The property is zoned for residential use. The house was once a group home but was later converted into office and program use. Small programs, such as cooking classes, are held there.

One issue the city and Wingspan need to sort out is parking, as the house is in a residential permit parking district. Residents and employees park on the street, and an agency van is sometimes parked there. Another issue is what conditions to place on the house. A third is whether the nonconforming use has a time limit, or whether it could continue indefinitely.

Street maintenance program receives ok
St. Paul’s new street maintenance services program will provide cost savings in 2017 for most property owners. On Mar. 22 the St. Paul City Council adopted this year’s replacement for the longstanding street right-of-way maintenance program. Work will continue on funding plans for 2018 and beyond. That will include ongoing scrutiny of how corner commercial properties are assessed.

The vote means that the council gave up about $14 million in new spending initiatives planned for this year, after raising the property tax levy to cover those desires. A fire department assessment study and hiring of two police department community outreach posts were saved. But many more programs hit the chopping block, including jobs creation, more recreation center programs, downtown ambassadors, more spending on emerald ash borer, and parks and library maintenance.

St. Paul had a separate right-of-way maintenance assessment since 2003, eventually moving about three dozen different street and boulevard services under that program. It was promoted as a way to assess costs such as snow plowing, street sweeping and tree trimming to the city’s many nonprofits ranging from hospitals and college campuses to small storefront offices and neighborhood churches. About one-third of the city is not on the property tax rolls.

But a lawsuit by downtown churches and an August 2016 Minnesota Supreme Court ruling that the fees are actually a tax. That forced the council to put all of its added 2017 spending into contingency, to help cover what is an almost $32 million program.

The council action will create about $11 million in new fees for specific services. Those are street sweeping, street lighting, sealcoating, mill and overlay work and sidewalk repair. The sidewalk repair line item was cut in half, so there won’t be an assessment this year. But it also means less sidewalk work will be done.

Fees will be paid per foot of street frontage, including the nonprofit property owners targeted by the original right-of-way program. What is described as a typical residential lot will pay about $65 in fees, as compared to $200 in right-of-way assessments. Street lighting and sweeping will be charged at 100 percent cost every year; mill and overlay and sealcoating will be charged on a cost share basis as work is done. Mill and overlays on arterial streets happen about once a decade. Sealcoating is on an eight-year cycle for residential streets.

Some corner properties will see changes. Residential properties of up to four units will see a 50 percent reduction in fees. Corner tax-exempt, commercial, industrial and multi-family buildings with five or more units will pay full costs. Council members said this is a proposal for 2017 only and that the corner properties issue will continue to be studied. Several commercial and multi-family resident property owners announced earlier this year that they are suing the city.

Diversity hailed in new process
When Chris Coleman’s tenure as St. Paul mayor ends this year, his administration will leave behind a simplified appointment process for city boards, commission, and committees. Not only are vacancies being filled more quickly, but city staff can also better track the diversity of its pool of applicants. More than 300 resumes are currently in the candidate pool, St. Paul City Council members were told in March.

That pleases council members, who have pushed for more racial diversity in appointments. They’ve also called for seats to be filled more quickly, and not be vacant for months at a time. The vacancies have caused delays for action on Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) items and, at one point several months ago, on the Planning Commission.

One stumbling block for the Coleman administration has been staff duty changes for those handling appointments. More than half a dozen people have been assigned the appointments task in recent years. Nancy Homans, a Coleman senior policy advisor, has most recently led the appointment process and spent several months making improvements. That has meant spending the last year developing an online portal for applications, cleaning up city databases and making sure a maze of city website links are now working.

St. Paul has 36 permanent city boards, commission, and committees that citizens can be appointed to. Between them, the groups have 313 seats. There are fewer than 40 vacancies at this time. The new portal makes it easier to sort applicants for their areas of interest, and to track applicants by race. The city is working to make all appointed groups more diverse. One current task is to sort through more than 80 applications for the police-civilian review commission, which will be announced in May or June. Another is to fill 13 seats on the advisory committees on aging and disability.

Transportation company wins nod to stay
A transportation company can operate at a Thomas Ave. location with a determination of similar use approved Mar. 24 by the St. Paul Planning Commission. Rift Valley Transportation was granted the designation for 1033 Thomas Ave. The decision is final as there has been no appeal to the St. Paul City Council.

Rift Valley is a privately owned company that provides transportation for students, medical patients, social service agencies and private companies. It moved to Thomas Ave. last year. City officials later decided it needed a Planning Commission review.

The Planning Commission put nine conditions on its decision, dictating how the property will be used, where vehicles will be maintained and bringing the property up to code. The vehicles used by the business are small, and can only hold up to 10 people. Larger vehicles can’t be parked there.

Frogtown Neighborhood Association recommended approval of the request. No one has objected to the city, and the Planning Commission received one letter in support.

The Thomas Ave. building dates from 1919 and was originally a creamery. Its most recent use was as a sign company.

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Hamline Midway Annual Garage Sale scheduled May 6

Posted on 10 April 2017 by Calvin

By MELISSA CORTES, Community Organizer

Registration is now open for the annual Hamline Midway Neighborhood Garage Sale on Sat., May 6, from 8am-3pm. Visit www.hamlinemidway.org/garagesale to register your sale now. A garage sale is a great way to meet new neighbors, reduce waste, and support the community economy. With more than 50 participating sales across the neighborhood in 2016, we’re looking to have an even bigger impact this year.

There will be a $10 fee for participating sales to help with the expense of printing flyers, sale maps, and signs, as well as other advertisements. If you live within the Hamline Midway boundaries, start clearing out your closets and collecting your items for this year’s sale. Want even a better turnout for your sale? Invite your neighbors to organize a sale alongside your to make an attractive cluster on the sale map.

Visit our website for helpful tricks and tips for organizing a successful sale. You can also register your sale and pay online while you’re there. Feel free to contact us with your questions and for more information at garagesale@hamlinemidway.org.

Transportation Committee seeking members
Hamline Midway’s Transportation Committee is seeking residents, business owners, or interested individuals interested in transportation-related issues. This committee gathers to provide information to the community and to gather feedback from the community on transportation-related issues.

Some of the major focuses of this committee have largely been successfully working with the City and County to improve pedestrian safety along major corridors.

Many of the current members are advocates for biking, transit, working on creating access with persons living with mobility issues.

Are you passionate about working on other transportation-related issues? Join the committee and make changes in your neighborhood!

Contact melissa@hamlinemidway.org or 651-494-7683.

Fence weaving
Hamline Elementary is set to begin its process for a fence weaving project this fall with a theme of “Weaving Community.” Alongside the artist, Denise Tennen, the design will be created by the students of Hamline Elementary and installed in partnership with the community. More details will come about the project as the process begins taking shape this Spring.

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