Snack break: No crowded feeders for this gold finch -- not when you've got fresh sunflower seeds straight from the source. Photo: Nile Fellows
Census-Takers Are Trying to Find All of Us
U.S. census-takers are going door-to-door in Como to count people who have not filled out their 2020 census form. Several things to know:
  • It's not too late for you to fill out your form yourself, either online or by phone. Forms are available in 13 languages. If you fill out the form yourself, a census-taker will not bother you.
  • Census-takers are knocking on doors seven days a week, as early as 9 a.m. and as late as 9 p.m.
  • Census takers have an ID badge with their name, photo, expiration date, and a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark.
  • If they can't get hold of a neighbor of yours, census-takers may ask you to help provide information.
  • Census-takers are wearing masks, and will interview you from a socially safe distance outdoors.
  • The census has to be finished by Sept. 30. As we mentioned a few weeks ago, an estimated 28 percent of Saint Paul residents have not yet responded.
Schools Start with Different Strategies
Neighborhood schools are making decisions across the map when it comes to when and how they will hold classes this fall. Many -- including Saint Paul Public Schools -- are relying entirely on distance learning. One is relying entirely on instruction in its classrooms. Others have different hybrids of in-person and distance instruction. Get the details
Woodland Puts Out the Welcome Mat
Discover one of our neighborhood's overlooked treasures -- or discover more of it -- when Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom holds a "summer open house" this Saturday, Aug. 22. 

Guides who really know their stuff will help you discover more about the woodland's distinct plant communities, animal residents, and human history. Plus, you'll get tips on making the most of the woodland's trail system and using the iNaturalist citizen science app to help track what you discover. To get a head start, load a QR Code reader onto your smartphone or mobile device in advance; that will help you access information at the 27 interpretive posts along the Woodland trails.

Your guides include Britt Forsberg, Minnesota Bee Atlas coordinator for the University of Minnesota Extension; Teri Heyer, Urban Connections program specialist for the U.S. Forest Service; and Joan McKearnan, professor of biology and environmental science at Anoka-Ramsey College.

Activities run Saturday from 9:30-11 a.m., beginning at the Kilmer Memorial Fireplace, 1221 Wynne Ave. The event is free but email reservations are required.
Participants are expected to wear masks and practice social distancing.
Special Election Gives You a Chance
Live in South Como or Energy Park? Want to have more influence in your neighborhood? Here's your chance: Run in next month's special election to fill a vacancy on the District 10 Como Community Council board.

Community members in Sub-District 4 can file as a candidate until Monday Sept. 7. (The boundaries for Sub-District 4 are Dale on the east, Snelling on the west, and the two sets of BNSF railroad tracks on the north and south.) The winning candidate will serve until April 2021, filling the remainder of the term being left vacant by Bob Jacobson, who is moving out of District 10.
Request a Ballot for Board Election
Community members in South Como and Energy Park now can request a ballot for the special election in Sub-District 4. Residents can vote absentee in two ways:
  • Vote online by requesting a ballot before noon on Tuesday Sept. 15. We'll email you a secure link to your ballot. You must vote no later than Sept. 15 at 5 p.m.
  • Vote through the mail using a paper ballot. To make sure there's enough turnaround time, you must request a paper ballot no later than 8 a.m. Tuesday Sept. 8. We will mail you a ballot with a return envelope; the District 10 office must receive your paper ballot no later than Tuesday Sept. 15 at 5 p.m.
Ballots will be sent beginning Sept. 8.

Who can vote: All residents age 16 or older who live in Sub-District 4 are eligible to vote. So are authorized representatives from a business or nonprofit organization with a physical location in Sub-District 4. (The boundaries for Sub-District 4 are Dale on the east, Snelling on the west, and the two sets of BNSF railroad tracks on the north and south.)
You Can Help Us Do Even More
Do you value this weekly newsletter and other ways the Como Community Council helps you connect with our neighbors and beyond? This newsletter is just one way we stay in touch. It demonstrates our work to spread the word far and wide; our belief in supplying reliable, factual information; and our commitment to accessible, transparent, and two-way conversation. We do all this because it makes us a stronger neighborhood.

You can express your appreciation by supporting the time and effort it takes us to deliver these results. If you have the means, please contribute financially toward a better community. You can donate easily online. Or bypass the service fees and send your contribution directly to: Como Community Council, 1224 Lexington Parkway N, Saint Paul, MN 55103. We deeply appreciate it.
How to Keep Track of Us
Want to stay in the loop on what the Como Community Council board and its committees are doing, not doing, or thinking about doing? Then check out the minutes from every meeting every month. Once board members ratify the minutes, we archive the documents on our website so community members are never kept in the dark.
Pavilion Restaurant Adds Daily Discounts
Dock & Paddle, the restaurant in Como Park's Lakeside Pavilion, is offering a different daily special all day every weekday. Options include 50 percent off children's meals on Wednesdays, and $5 off fish and chips on Fridays. In addition, beer, wine, and cocktails are $2 off every weekday from 3-5 p.m.
Bicycle, Pedestrian Counts Will Go On
Saint Paul Public Works no longer is organizing its annual bicycle and pedestrian count. However, the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition intends to pick up the slack and continue building the 13-year database. Counts are scheduled for Tuesday-Thursday, Sept. 8-10, at roughly 40 locations around the city. Most counts will be from 4-6 p.m.

If you are interested in taking a shift: Email the coalition. Include the day(s) you are available and which part(s) of the city you are willing to count.
Does This Work? MnDOT Wants to Know
MnDOT is developing a Pedestrian Safety Education Campaign. It will be a statewide effort to promote safe driving and walking in order to reduce pedestrian injuries and deaths. The department wants reactions to the messages it has developed so far. Take the 10-minute survey; results will influence how the final advertising materials turn out. You can also submit additional comments.
Photo Common Sense Home
Garden Workshops Shift Seasons
Ramsey County Master Gardeners are scheduling a new series of free gardening workshops focused on autumn. Topics include houseplants, preserving food, and growing microgreens. The 90-minute workshops are online beginning Saturday Sept. 19. Registration is required.
City Offers Down Payment Assistance
Saint Paul's Down Payment Assistance Program can provide up to $40,000 to qualified homebuyers who purchase in South Como or other selected city neighborhoods. Eligibility requirements include having net assets of less than $25,000 and an annual income at or below 60 percent of the area median income. (That translates to $43,400 for an individual, $55,860 for a family of three, for example.)

You can use the money for home inspections, closing costs, and down payments on one- and two-unit houses in certain census tracts. Get more details
What's Going On in City Hall
  • 899 Parkview: The property owner is seeking a zoning variance to replace a second-story deck. Zoning requires a 9-foot setback from the west property line; the variance would allow construction 18 inches closer, resulting in a setback of 7.5 feet. Statements of support, opposition, or other comments should be emailed to Board of Zoning Appeals staff members Matthew Graybar and YaYa Diatta.
  • Tenant Protections Implementation Committee: Applications for this new committee are due by this Monday, Aug. 24, at 5 p.m. Members will work from September through March 2021 to create education and engagement tools to spread the word about the city's new rental ordinance. The ordinance takes effect March 1, 2021.
  • Hmong College Prep Academy: City Council has postponed a vote on $36 million in conduit bonds through the city's Housing and Redevelopment Authority. The bonds help finance construction of a new middle school building and other facilities on the charter school's Brewster St. campus. About $19.2 million is for the new construction; the remainder refinances existing bonds the school took out in 2012.
  • Climate Justice Advisory Board: Saint Paul is seeking residents to serve on this new board. Among members will be representatives from each ward and two youth positions. The board expects to meet 4-12 times a year; members serve two-year terms. Applications are due by Monday Aug. 31.
  • Zoning revisions: City Council changed the date of its public hearing on proposed revisions to allow more density in the city's multi-family zoning districts. The new hearing date is Wednesday Sept. 2. If you've got comments, email them no later than noon Tuesday Sept. 1.
  • Duke's Car and Towing: The license for this auto repair garage at 977 Front is up for renewal on Oct. 18. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 5 Council Member Amy Brendmoen.
Opportunities of All Sorts
  • Through this Sunday, Aug. 23:
    Minnesota State Fair Food Parade, opens 9 a.m. each day. Cars are being steered through the gate at Hoyt and Snelling. Repeats next Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 27-30, and Thursday-Monday Sept. 3-7. Reservations are sold out. The Fairgrounds otherwise are closed to the public through Thursday Sept. 10.
  • This Saturday, Aug. 22: Free Covid-19 testing, Aldrich Arena, 1850 White Bear Ave., Maplewood. 2-6 p.m. Registration is recommended, but not required.
  • This Sunday, Aug. 23: Free Covid-19 testing, Washington Technology Magnet School, 1495 Rice St. 2-6 p.m. Registration is recommended, but not required.
  • This Monday, Aug. 24: Saint Paul's Heritage Preservation Commission holds a discussion on how historic designation can be a modern form of bias, redlining, and economic exclusion. The discussion begins at 3:30 p.m. Members of the public can listen in: call 651-266-5767; the Conference ID is 6669672. You can email comments before 1:30 p.m. Aug. 24.
  • Tuesday Sept. 1: District 10 Neighborhood Relations Committee, 7 p.m. Among agenda items: Finalizing guidelines for providing philanthropic support to potential community partners, and finalizing a committee values statement. All renters, homeowners, and other District 10 community members are welcome to participate via video conferencing or telephone. To join, email the Como Community Council office. Staff will send access information.
  • Wednesday Sept. 2: District 10 Land Use Committee, 7 p.m. Among agenda items: Discussion of suggestions to make East Como Lake Drive (on the north side of the lake) off limits to motor vehicles permanently. All renters, homeowners, and other District 10 community members are welcome to participate via video conferencing or telephone. To join, email the Como Community Council office. Staff will send access information.
Traffic Hassles Still Abound
  • Como Ave.: In our neighborhood, Como is still dug up and shut down completely from Hamline west to Arona.
    Public Works has barricaded the east and west ends of Breda, Albany, and Almond, in an attempt to prevent cut-through traffic that refuses to use the official Midway Parkway detour. Residents will have to use Pascal or Albert to get home.
    Como itself remains open in each direction between Arona and Snelling. West of Snelling, westbound Como is shut down to Caithlin; westbound traffic (in theory) is being detoured to Energy Park Drive. An eastbound lane does remain open from Caithlin to Snelling. From Caithlin to the Cleveland/Raymond intersection, the street remains restricted to one lane in each direction.
    • On the city's western border, construction shifts east, beginning this Monday, Aug. 24. The new phase cuts off westbound traffic at Brompton St. That means there is no access to Highway 280 from Como. Nor is there access to Eustis St., which is the closest alternative for getting to 280 (using the Larpenteur Ave. ramps). Getting on 280 now requires first taking Raymond to Energy Park Drive or Cleveland to Larpenteur. 
  • Dale St.: The county road remains restricted to one lane in each direction between University and Carroll, as reconstruction of the bridge over Interstate 94 continues. Ramps to and from I-94 are closed. Access from Dale to the Uni-Dale Mall and to some nearby east-west streets is cut off.
  • Larpenteur Ave.: Work continues on the permanent conversion of Larpenteur from 4 lanes to 3 between Dale Street and Interstate 35E. Expect traffic to be reduced to one lane in each direction. Construction is expected to last into September.
Request a Premises Survey
Saint Paul Police can provide a free premise survey to make your home more secure. They'll examine doors, windows, and landscaping, then provide recommendations for things you can do inside and out to make your home less of a target for burglars. Some solutions are inexpensive and simple, such as putting longer screws into the strike plate of doors. To schedule your free survey, call 651-266-5485.  
Spread the Word
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 Board of Directors who are elected by members of the community. The Council's mission is to inform, educate, and connect the neighborhood to increase community pride and confidence. 
You are receiving this email because you expressed interest in District 10 activities.