May 14, 2021
Blossoms, orioles, deep blue sky – this time of year, it’s a feast for the eye.
Photo: Nile Fellows
Ramsey County Commissioner Proposes Tax Levy to Tackle Affordable Housing
County Commissioner Trista MatasCastillo will discuss Ramsey County’s plans to create a Housing and Redevelopment Authority, whose tax levy would create an affordable housing fund in Saint Paul and the suburbs. The commissioner’s presentation to the Como Community Council board is this Tuesday, May 18, at 7 p.m. There will be time for questions and comments.

We invite all renters, homeowners, and other District 10 community members to participate by phone or video conferencing. If you want to join the discussion, register in advance for access information via Zoom or telephone.
The commissioner’s presentation precedes the board’s monthly business meeting. You are welcome to stick around for that, too.
District 10 Seeks New Executive Director
The Como Community Council is seeking an Executive Director to provide leadership, vision, and the administrative foundation for the Council, its activists, and its activities.

The Director often is the most-visible representative of the Council. The Director’s ability to provide continuity and connections, to organize and mobilize community assets, to expand capacity, to navigate systems and personalities, and to combine practical and aspirational goals heavily influences the organization’s success.

Learn more about the position; the initial review of applicants will begin this Thursday, May 20.

The new director would replace Michael Kuchta, who has been in the position since October 2015. Kuchta is moving out of state to become town administrator on Madeline Island.
Special Election: You’re Running Out of Time to Vote
This Tuesday, May 18, is the last day to vote in special elections for the Como Community Council board. Three candidates are running for the two available seats. Voting closes at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Learn more about the candidates

If you registered for the annual elections in April, you should have received a ballot for the special elections automatically. If you did not vote in April, request your online ballot before 5 p.m. on May 18.

Who is eligible to vote: Renters, homeowners, and other residents of District 10 who are at least 16 years old can vote. So can representatives from business, nonprofits, or other organizations with a physical presence in District 10. Map
Help Us Clean Up the Lake Your Way
The Como Community Council is coordinating two different types of Como Lake Clean-Up events this month.
  • An in-person clean-up next Saturday, May 22: Get together with others in the community to clean trash from the lake surface or shoreline between 9 a.m.-noon. We’ll meet near the dock on the lake side of the Lakeside Pavilion.
  • A weeklong “do it yourself” opportunity from next Saturday, May 22, through Friday May 28: You (and your own circle of friends, neighbors, or family) clean up trash and debris on your own schedule.

Whichever option you choose, register in advance to help us plan. And, whichever option you choose, you are welcome to borrow tools (grabbers, rakes, buckets) while our supplies last. We’ll also have plenty of disposable supplies (trash bags, nitrile gloves) for you to use. Or, feel free to provide your own gear.

If you want to borrow tools or pick up supplies, stop by the lower level of the Pavilion any time from 9 a.m.-noon on May 22. You then can return tools to the Historic Streetcar Station on Saturday May 29 from 9-11 a.m.

(A partnership grant from the Capital Region Watershed District makes this all possible.)
The Ears Have It
You submitted ideas. We winnowed down the list. Then you decided. The result – after more than 300 of you voted – is that the new Como neighborhood mascot is: the Great Horned Owl. The district council’s Neighborhood Relations Committee will take it from here: creating an image, maybe even a costume, to bring the idea to life. (The owl beat out other finalists: Bee, Butterfly, Chloe the Sloth, and Coyote.)
Photo: Tom Koerner/USFWS
Film Festival Continues at Pavilion
The MSP International Film Festival continues its outdoor screenings at the Como Lakeside Pavilion this weekend:
  • The Claw,” world premiere of a documentary about legendary professional wrestler Baron Von Raschke. Today, Friday May 14, 8:20 p.m. Includes a personal appearance by Von Raschke. Tickets range from $50 a pair for benches to $140 for a table of four.
  • Hollywood Fringe,” this Saturday, May 15, 8 p.m. Includes personal appearances by filmmakers Megan Huber and Wyatt McDill, plus a pre-film concert by John Munson of the New Standards. Tickets range from $50 a pair for benches to $150 for a table of four.

Doors open at 7 p.m. each night; the event is required to end by 11 p.m. Face masks are required; social distancing protocols will be in place. (These and other films in the festival also can be streamed during specific timeframes.)
Photo: A scene from "The Claw"
Teens Get First Shot at Vaccine
Children ages 12-17 can get their first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine this Saturday, May 15, at Roy Wilkins Auditorium downtown. You can walk in from 10 a.m.-8 p.m., or make an appointment. The vaccine is free, but parental consent is required and children ages 12-15 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Other locations also are available (though this state website does not yet break out options just for teens).
More Chances to be One and Done with Vaccine
  • Minnesota Health and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will begin taking reservations this Wednesday, May 19, for the one-dose Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine, which will be given free of charge at the State Fairgrounds from noon-8 p.m. from May 26-June 8. The vaccine is available to anyone age 18 or older, regardless of where you live.
  • Rainbow Health will give the first dose of the Moderna vaccine this Thursday, May 20, from 3-7 p.m. at the Native American Community Clinic, 2577 W. Territorial Road. Walk-ins are welcome, or you can reserve a shot by calling 612-254-0116.
  • Ramsey County will distribute the Johnson & Johnson vaccine free of charge at the Oxford Community Center next Saturday, May 22, from noon-6 p.m. Anyone age 18 or older can register in advance or walk in that day before 5:45 p.m.

If you want to get a different vaccine, or get vaccinated somewhere else:
  • Use the state’s Vaccine Locator, which is a searchable map and database that identifies pharmacies, clinics, and other vaccine providers.
Options for Getting a Covid-19 Test
If you think you’ve been exposed to Covid-19:
  • Order a free saliva test for Covid-19, which you can administer at home.
  • Get tested nearby – or anywhere in the state. Free saliva testing is available at Roy Wilkins Auditorium; enter at 175 Kellogg Blvd. The site is open seven days a week: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends. Register in advance 
Don't Miss Out on Summer
Registration continues for summer camps and a bunch of other activities through Saint Paul Parks and Recreation. Costs and dates vary. Options include:
  • Swim lessons at Como Pool and Highland Park Aquatic Center for groups from 6 months old through teens and adults. Lessons begin as soon as June 21.
  • Summer camps, with more than 150 options for 3-year-olds through teenagers. Options that still have openings include lacrosse at McMurray Field; artist workshops, badminton, basketball, battlebots, dance and theater, SNAG golf, soccer, superpower science, video production, and volleyball at Northwest Como Rec Center; and art, ballet, basketball (separate camps for boys and girls), engineering, flag football, Minecraft, Mini-Hawk, pickleball, and soccer at North Dale Rec Center; and fitness, gardening, nature, sport, and swim camps based out of the Historic Streetcar Station.
  • Sailing lessons at Lake Phalen, for those age 14 or older. Lessons begin as soon as June 7.
  • Summer Rec Check at North Dale (Mondays-Thursdays 1-4 p.m.) and 21 other rec centers.

In addition, Como Pool, Highland Park Aquatic Center, and Phalen Beach are scheduled to open on Saturday June 12. 
Need Help with a Down Payment?
Neighborhood Lift is accepting applications through 9 a.m. this Monday, May 17, from prospective homeowners. The program provides up to $15,000 to cover down payment and closing costs on a home in Saint Paul or Minneapolis. Eligible households must have incomes below $77,840, will need to complete eight hours of homebuyer education, and meet other requirements.
Renters, Landlords Can Get Help
Minnesota Housing is accepting applications from:
  • Renters in the state who have unpaid rent or utilities as far back as April 1 of last year (2020)
  • Landlords whose tenants are behind on payments

In the Twin Cities, renters could be eligible if they have been impacted by Covid-19 and have annual incomes of less than $54,950 for an individual, or $78,400 for a household of four. Find our more, apply online, or call 211 Mondays-Saturdays 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

More help with energy bills: The state Department of Commerce also has energy assistance available for renters and homeowners to pay for heat bills or furnace repairs. Eligibility is based on the past three months’ income; for individuals, that would be up to $8,479; for a family of four, up to $16,307. Contact the Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties for details.

At risk of disconnection? The state's major utilities will resume disconnecting customers beginning Aug. 2, according to the Citizens Utility Board -- unless customers have a pending or approved application for energy assistance. Customers at risk of a disconnection should receive a notice from their utility in May; official disconnection notices will be sent beginning June 1.
Take the Next Left
What do you do when making a left turn? The Traffic Observatory at the University of Minnesota is researching how drivers act at intersections with different kinds of traffic signals. Take their survey
Music Slowly Returns to Pavilion
This week’s musical lineup at Dock & Paddle, in the Como Lakeside Pavilion. The performances are free:
  • Tuesday May 18: Twin Cities Academy Bands and Orchestra Spring Concert, 6-8 p.m.
  • Friday May 21: Daddy Squeeze, 6-8 p.m. 
Back to the 50s Pulls a 180
After cancelling two weeks ago, the Minnesota Street Rod Association changed its mind and decided it will indeed hold its Back to the 50s classic car show at the State Fairgrounds June 18-20. Not a lot of details yet. But if you’re interested in newer cars:
  • Twin Cities Auto Show: This Saturday, May 15, through next Sunday, May 23. Hours are 10 a.m.-9 p.m. daily (except May 23, when the show shuts down at 7 p.m.) Admission: $20 for those age 16 or older ($15 online); $5 for children ages 11-15; free for children 10 or younger. The show is centered at the Grandstand, but spreads in all kinds of places. The only entrance will be Hoyt and Snelling; free parking is being offered in the Robin Lot near Randall and Buford.
  • Riders and Ribbons Horse Show: This Sunday, May 16, Compeer Arena. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Free spectator admission.
  • Kickoff to Summer: Yes, the State Fair is doing a test run with this new event from Thursday May 27-Memorial Day, Monday May 31. Up to 10,000 people will be allowed to wander the grounds for five hours at a time: eating, drinking, half-listening to music, riding the Giant Slide, and doing all sorts of Fair-like things (without the animals and ginormous crowds). Tickets, alas, probably will be sold out by the time you read this. Hours will be 4-9 p.m. May 27-28; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4-9 p.m. May 29-30; and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. May 31. The only entrance will be Hoyt and Snelling; free parking is being offered in the Robin Lot near Randall and Buford. (And, no, you are not allowed to legally park cars on your lawn during the Kickoff.)

You can’t get in: The Auto Show and Kickoff to Summer mean the Fairgrounds are closed to walkers, cyclists, drivers, and general recreational use through June 1. 
Also Going On This Week
  • This Monday, May 17: Deadline to file U.S. and Minnesota income tax forms.
  • This Tuesday, May 18: Virtual healing circle for residents struggling with the impacts of the killings of George Floyd and Daunte Wright and their aftermath, 4-5:30 p.m. The circle meets again on Tuesday May 25. Free. More information
  • Next Saturday, May 22: Limited slots remain for volunteers to plant trees at North Dale Recreation Center, 1414 St. Albans, from 9 a.m.-noon. Groups of two-four can register to replace ash trees that were cut down to fight emerald ash borer.
City Keeps Explaining Concept of Administrative Citation
The Department of Safety and Inspections and the City Attorney’s Office hold an information session this Tuesday, May 18, at 6 p.m. to explain and answer questions about a proposal to create administrative citations in the city. An administrative citation is a civil fine issued for a violation of city ordinance; it would be an alternative to criminal charges. The City Council expects to vote this Wednesday, May 29, on a resolution asking the Charter Commission to recommend whether or not to add administrative citation language to the city charter. To attend, register here.
Other things to pay attention to in City Hall:

  • Today, Friday May 14, is the deadline to apply for a Cultural STAR grant. This is the only grant cycle in 2021.
  • Annual Action Plan: The city intends to add an employment training and job-readiness program, focused on the green energy sector, to its Annual Action Plan in how it spends federal grant money. You can submit comments until Thursday June 10. For questions or comments, contact Julie Hostak by email or phone at 651-266-8545.

Meanwhile, in District 10:

  • 1053 Dale St. N: A hearing to rezone this property from R4 Residential to T2 Traditional Neighborhood is scheduled before City Council on Wednesday May 19. 
  • Como Lakeside Pavilion: The liquor, Sunday liquor, outdoor liquor, and entertainment licenses for the restaurant now known as Dock & Paddle are up for renewal on June 4. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 5 Council Member Amy Brendmoen.
  • Pope Automotive: The auto repair shop license for this business at 991 Front is up for renewal on June 13. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 5 Council Member Amy Brendmoen.
  • Como Zoo and Conservatory: The liquor and Sunday liquor licenses are up for renewal on July 23. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 4 Council Member Mitral Jalali.
  • D&L Food and Gas: The gas station license for this convenience store on Dale and Larpenteur is up for renewal on July 28. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 5 Council Member Amy Brendmoen.

Police Hold Community Meetings Tuesday
The Western District of the Saint Paul Police Department holds its monthly community meetings this Tuesday, May 18, at 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. The meetings are a chance to hear firsthand from command staff about crime trends. They include time to raise individual concerns and questions. The remote meetings will use Microsoft Teams. To join:
  • Morning meeting: By video link or by phone (612-315-7905). The meeting ID is 151 614 265#.
  • Evening meeting: By video link or by phone (612-315-7905). The meeting ID is 800 342 80#.

The latest Como community crime reports: April’s numbers are in (and then some)
Spread the word
You are receiving this email because you expressed interest in District 10 activities.

District 10 is one of Saint Paul's 17 citizen participation districts. The District 10 Como Community Council is a nonprofit organization, governed by a volunteer Board of Directors who are elected directly by members of the community. As a district council, we work to improve and enjoy life where we live. We provide the glue behind neighborhood action, and combine the voices of renters, homeowners, businesses, and nonprofits who want to accomplish things.