March 12, 2021
Beneath the surface: This trumpeter swan is only one of the feathered creatures – migratory or otherwise – that is giving birders and and the rest of us a visual feast as they take advantage of newly open water on Como Lake. Photo: Kevin Taylor

Now that we’ve looked at the pretty picture: Fishing tackle made from lead can poison swans, loons, eagles, and other wildlife when they ingest it. But, Ramsey County has a lead tackle exchange program. Bring your lead sinkers and other lead tackle to the county’s household hazardous waste collection site. Staff will exchange it for free lead-free sinkers and tackle.
Como Park DIY Clean-Up Party Starts Now!
Grab a bag, gloves, maybe a grabber, and give Como Park a little love. Now that the snow has melted, garbage seems to have sprung from the ground. The formal Citywide Spring Cleanup isn’t until April 24, so now is perfect timing for a pop-up, DIY-style cleanup throughout Como Park – the weather is good and spring plants haven’t hidden the trash.

With social distancing still in place, the work will be real but the party will be virtual. Share your progress and any weird things you find during the next week. Try to fill your bingo card. For those who post on Facebook (with the hashtag #ComoCleanUp), we'll hold a drawing for fun seed kits, courtesy of the Como Community Seed Library. Some easy steps to follow to make the park beautiful and healthy:

  • Select any part of Como Park – pick a path, grove of trees, parking lot, or favorite spot.
  • Don’t forget trash bags, gloves, masks -- and to respect physical distancing.
  • Pick up trash, big or small (even micro-trash like cigarette butts and plastic can be a real hazard to wildlife).
  • If you are able to bring stuff home and throw it in your recycling or trash, you’ll help keep the park trash cans from overflowing. If not, put your bag into or next to a park trash container.
  • Post your clean-up photos and how much you gathered; use the hashtag #ComoCleanUp.
Proof: Como Lake Water Quality is Getting Better
The herbicide that Capitol Region Watershed District used last year to battle invasive curly-leaf pondweed, and the alum it used to battle excessive phosphorus, show promising early results in improving water quality in Como Lake.

Curly-leaf pondweed: The number of pondweed plants decreased 56 percent in 2020; the number of reproductive turions decreased 79 percent. The biomass illustrations above, which compare 2019 (left) with 2020, show the difference; curly-leaf pondweed is red.

Phosphorus: Concentrations decreased by 62 percent in 2020, compared with the historical average from 1984-2019. The average phosphorus concentration in 2020 – 65 micrograms per liter – nearly met the state standard for the first time on record, the watershed district says. Learn more

This year, the watershed district again will apply the herbicide Fluridone shortly after ice-out to attack curly-leaf pondweed, which blooms earlier than native plants. The district also will do shoreline maintenance to help native plants rebound and help move the lake toward a new equilibrium. Filtration projects completed on the Como Park golf course last year, plus additional stormwater runoff tactics, should reduce phosphorus concentrations even further, the watershed district says.
Community Matters More Than Ever
Nine seats are up for election in April to the District 10 Como Community Council board. The board is volunteers like you, elected by neighbors like you. Simple truth: We do better as a community when the board reflects the full strength of Como: renters, homeowners, local institutions, businesses, and neighbors of all kinds – regardless of color, age, ethnicity, income, gender, faith, or how deep your roots are in the neighborhood or in Saint Paul. Learn more about being a board member (or apply)

As spelled out our bylaws, these board seats are automatically up for election this year:

These positions serve two-year terms, through April 2023. The filing deadline is Sunday April 4. The voting period ends April 20.
Request Your Ballot Now
District 10 community members can vote from home this April in board elections for the Como Community Council. You'll be able to vote online, or by returning a paper ballot through the mail. (Because of restrictions on public gatherings, we still can’t schedule in-person voting.)

The first step in voting is to request a ballot. To get your ballot, fill out this registration form. We’ll send ballots beginning Friday April 9. (We'll have candidate information available on Monday April 5.)

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.
We're Hiring an Organizer
The District 10 Como Community Council and District 12 St. Anthony Park Community Council are hiring a community organizer. The initial focus of the organizer is to build community connections and activities in support of anti-racism and inclusion goals of both district councils. The position averages 30 hours/week. Initial review of candidates will begin March 31. Full job description
Welcome to Our Monthly Discussion
Discussion of connecting more effectively with more residents will be among topics at the monthly board meeting of the Como Community Council. The meeting is this Tuesday, March 16, beginning at 7 p.m. As always, all renters, homeowners, and other District 10 community members are welcome to attend, raise concerns, and comment. 

In order to abide by pandemic restrictions on public gatherings, the meeting takes place via video conferencing or telephone, rather than in person.  If you want to join the discussion, email the District 10 office before 6 p.m. on the day of the meeting; staff will send you access information.
Reminder: Your Restaurant Options are Increasing
Conny’s Creamy Cone plans to reopen for the season this Saturday, March 13. Stand in line outside any day from 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Conny’s, for the uninitiated, is at Dale and Maryland.

Bole Ethiopian Cuisine expects to open its new Como location (beginning with carry-out only) this Tuesday, March 16, in the old Fox Trot space at 1341 Pascal. Hours are 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Dock & Paddle expects to reopen in the Como Lakeside Pavilion next Friday, March 19. The restaurant initially will open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., then expand its days and hours in April. Craft beers will be half-price on opening weekend.
Photo: The vegetarian sampler at Bole. 
That's a Ton of Effort
Como Park Lutheran Church collected more than 2,300 pounds of food and $4,500 in money to help Keystone Community Services restock its food shelves. Neighbors and congregation members – from age 2 months to 1,080 months – took part in the “drive by” donation drive in the church’s parking lot on March 7.
We're Still Handing Out Food
The Como Community Council and Sanneh Foundation will continue to distribute free food boxes today, Friday March 12, and every Friday afternoon at least through April. The food boxes are available to Ramsey County residents dealing with financial hardships because of Covid-19. 

Details: The fresh food boxes will be available in the north parking lot of Niem Phat Buddhist Temple, at Dale and Front. Distribution will be 1:30-3:30 p.m. (or until supplies run out). Reservations are highly recommended; to reserve your box, fill out this form before noon on distribution day. The boxes typically include fresh meat, dairy, and produce.
Less Time to Pack Everything In
Daylight Savings Time begins this Sunday, March 14. That means:
  • Turn your clock ahead one hour
  • We lose an hour of fun (or sleep) overnight
  • Days stay lighter later
Vaccines Available Monday for Seniors, Caregivers
Twin Cities block nurse programs are co-hosting a Covid-19 vaccine clinic this Monday, March 15. The vaccine is available to those age 65 or older, and for caregivers of someone age 65 or older. The clinic will administer the Moderna vaccine between noon and 3 p.m.; the second dose will be given on Monday April 2. To avoid lines, they can’t reveal the location publicly, but some transportation will be available if necessary.

To register: Call the Como Park/Falcon Heights Living at Home Block Nurse Program at 612-433-8626, or send an email. Space is limited.

Other coronavirus resources:
  • Sign up for the Vaccine Connector, which lets any Minnesota resident register to find out when, where, and how to get a vaccine. Once you register, you’ll be notified when you are eligible to be vaccinated, when there are vaccines available near you, and how to schedule a vaccine appointment.
  • Order a free home saliva test for Covid-19.
  • Find out where to get tested nearby – or anywhere in the state – if you think you have been exposed to Covid-19.
Use Your Inside Voice
Indoor activities are opening up at North Dale Recreation Center, 1414 St. Albans. But there are limits on capacity, and reservations are required.
  • The fitness room and walking track are open weekdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sessions are 45 minutes, attendance is limited to two at a time in the fitness center and four at a time on the track. You’ve also got to pay a daily or annual fee. Make a reservation
  • Two pickleball courts are open Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-noon. Fee is $2 for the session. Make a reservation
  • The gym is open for free-form Tot Time activity for children age 5 or younger on Mondays March 15, 22, 29 and April 5. Capacity is 14 for each one-hour session. Sessions start at 9:30 and 11 a.m. Make a reservation
Find Out What They Want
City departments are making their requests now for their share of next year’s Capital Improvement Budget, which determines how and where the city invests in physical infrastructure. You can learn what each department is seeking by sitting in on these remote meetings:
  • Parks and Recreation: This Monday, March 15, 7 p.m.
  • Police, Fire, Libraries: This Thursday, March 18, 6:30 p.m.
  • Public Works: Monday March 22, 6:30 p.m.

To attend one or all of the meetings, register here. (After departments make their requests, residents will have about 10 days to take a survey about their priorities. But first things first.)

Don’t miss your chance:
  • Today, Friday March 12: Last day to submit names for the four city parks Saint Paul will have in the Highland Bridge development at the old Ford site.
  • This Monday, March 15, at 6 p.m. Information and feedback session (using Microsoft Teams) on a proposal from the mayor’s office to amend the city charter and give Saint Paul the ability to issue “administrative citations” for violations of some city ordinances. The citations would be an alternative to criminal citations. Register
  • Next Friday, March 19 at 5 p.m.: Deadline for community organizations to submit applications for federal Community Development Block Grant funding. The funding typically supports housing, economic development, and quality-of-life projects focused on low- and moderate-income residents.
  • Wednesday March 24 at 4 p.m.: Last day to apply for a loan or grant under the city’s Neighborhood STAR program. Funding comes from a portion of sales taxes collected in the city. Grants are available to public, private, and nonprofit organizations for “permanent” physical projects with an expected life of at least seven years. Typically, a minimum 50-50 dollar match is required.

Neighborhood issues of note:
  • K&L Sales: The second-hand dealer’s license for this used-car lot at Como and Arona is up for renewal on March 29. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali.
  • H&M Auto Body: The auto repair and paint shop licenses for this body shop at 867 Dale are up for renewal on April 18. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 1 Council Member Dai Thao.
  • Como Park Golf Course: The liquor, Sunday liquor, and entertainment licenses are up for renewal on April 18. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali.
  • Gabe’s By The Park: The liquor, Sunday liquor, entertainment, 2 a.m. closing, patio, and gambling licenses for the restaurant at Lexington and Energy Park Drive are up for renewal on May 5. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali.
This Weekend and Beyond
  • Today, Friday March 12: Last day to comment on Metro Transit’s proposed changes on Route 3 bus service.
  • This Saturday, March 13: Introduction to Vegetable Gardening (online), 10-11 a.m. Sponsored by North Dale Recreation Center. Free, but space is limited. Register
  • Next Friday, March 19: Last day to get a $25 discount on summer camps being organized by Great River School. There are half-day camps for youth ages 4-16, and full-day camps for youth ages 7-16. The camps are open to anyone in the community.
  • Wednesday March 24: Saint Paul Police personal safety workshop, 6 p.m. The free, online workshop focuses on situational awareness at home, at work, while shopping, and outdoors. Sign up
  • Monday March 29: Saint Paul Police host quarterly meeting for block club leaders, 6 p.m. Sign up
  • Tuesday March 30: Senior Stroll, 4:30 and 5 p.m., Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. Visitors age 55 or older will have the place to themselves. Admission is free but attendance is limited; advance registration is required.
  • Tuesday March 30: “Redistricting: The Good, the Bad and the Dirty Work,” 7-8 p.m. The League of Women Voters of Saint Paul presents this free webinar, which looks at what Minnesota faces as it redraws its voting maps at the federal, state, and local level, based on the 2020 Census. Register
Police Hold Community Meetings Tuesday
The Western District of the Saint Paul Police Department holds its monthly community meetings this Tuesday, March 16, 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 252 242 373#.
  • Evening meeting: By video link or by phone (612-315-7905). The meeting ID is 967 059 109#.

The latest Como community crime reports: If it wasn’t for cars, what would thieves do?
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.