Feb. 19, 2021
Letting off steam
A winter of fishing and skating and skiing and kite-flying and just wandering starts to evaporate on Como Lake. Photo: Nile Fellows
The Results Are In
Herbicide to battle curly-leaf pondweed. Alum to battle excessive phosphorus. Rebuilding parts of the golf course to get better control of stormwater and other urban runoff. The Capitol Region Watershed District didn’t hold back last summer as it continues trying to improve water quality in Como Lake. Now it’s time for results.

Watershed district staff will reveal what early data and other observations say about what kinds of differences the tactics are making. Plus, they’ll share what’s in store for the lake this year, and answer all the questions they can handle.

You can join the online discussion on Thursday March 11 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Join by video (using the GoTo Meeting interface) or by phone at 224-502-3412; the access code is 194 728 621#.

Photo: Are algae blooms on Como Lake a thing of the past?
You’re Welcome to Join Committee Discussions
The Como Community Council's Neighborhood Relations and Land Use Committees meet this week.

  • Neighborhood Relations meets Tuesday, March 2. Discussion includes philanthropy partnerships for 2021, pursuing public art projects in Como, and ideas for a community mascot and community parade in autumn.
  • Land Use meets Wednesday, March 3. Expect updates on development projects, license issues, and more.

The meetings begin at 7 p.m. As usual, we invite all renters, homeowners, and other District 10 community members to participate. In order to abide by pandemic restrictions on public gatherings, the meetings take 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.
And the Ant’s Name Is…
After the Como Community Council generated more than 40 suggestions from the neighborhood, and after much internal debate, the Czarnezki family has picked a name for the larger-than-life red ant that resides in their front yard at 919 Nebraska. Find out which name they chose
Speaking of Naming Rights
Saint Paul is taking suggestions of names for the four city-owned parks that will be part of the Highland Bridge development under way at the old Ford site. The deadline for ideas is Friday March 12.
Photo: What they say it will look like some day.
We're Still Handing Out Food
The Como Community Council and Sanneh Foundation will continue to distribute free meal boxes today, Friday Feb. 26, and every Friday afternoon at least through March. The meal boxes are available to Ramsey County residents dealing with financial hardships because of Covid-19. 

Details: We'll distribute the meal boxes 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 provide ingredients and recipes for two meals intended to serve six. Ingredients typically include locally sourced proteins, grains, fresh produce, and spices.
Summer is Here for Youth Sports
Registration opens this week for youth summer sports at North Dale, Northwest Como, and other Saint Paul Parks and Recreation sites. You get a 25 percent discount if you register on this Monday, March 1; a 20 percent discount if you register on this Tuesday, March 2; and a 10 percent discount if you register between this Wednesday-Friday, March 3-5. You can register online or by phone at the relevant rec center.

The list of sports is "coming soon," according to the city website. Options are expected to include: lacrosse (ages 6-11), fast- and slow-pitch softball (ages 9-14), and various kinds of baseball (T-ball for ages 3-6, machine-pitch for ages 7-8, and traditional for ages 9-18).

For those with more experience:
  • North Dale Rec Center offers free, low-impact exercise classes for those 50 or older every Thursday in March from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Register now; space is limited.
  • North Dale and the Como Park Falcon Heights Block Nurse Program offer free, online Meditation and Movement classes for adults 55 or older every Thursday in March from 10:30-11:10 a.m. Same deal: Register now, because space is limited.
Testing the Waters
Saint Paul Parks and Recreation is offering lifeguard training and lifeguard recertification courses for assignments this summer at the Como Pool and elsewhere in the city. Participants must be 15 or older. Training begins this week at Great River Water Park, Lexington and Marshall. Training courses are $100; recertification courses are $150.

Time at the gym: Parks and Recreation is scheduling open “tot time” at nine Saint Paul rec centers. At North Dale, tot time is every Monday in March from 9:30-11 a.m. The department is also scheduling open gym at 11 rec centers (though not at North Dale or Northwest Como). Appointments are required in all cases.
Great River School Plans Summer Camps
Great River School, the Montessori charter school in Energy Park, is planning half-day summer camps for youth ages 4-16, and full-day camps for youth ages 7-16. The camps are open to anyone in the community.

More than three dozen camps are on the schedule, if we count correctly. Subjects include art, archery, bookmaking, construction with cardboard, cooking, cosmetology, crafts, games, mountain biking, outdoor exploration and adventure, robotics, swimming, theater, and Ultimate. Look up details and schedules; you get a $25 discount if you register before March 19.
The Next Step Toward Your Vaccine
Minnesota has launched Vaccine Connector, an online tool that lets residents register to find out when, where, and how to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Once you register, you’ll be notified when you are eligible for a vaccine, when vaccines are available near you, and how to schedule a vaccination appointment.

Demand for vaccines exceeds supply, so only certain workers and residents can get vaccinated now. But any resident can sign up now; the Connector will track supplies and availability, then notify you when your opportunity comes.

  • This Thursday, March 4: Covid-19 Forum, 1-2 p.m. M Health Fairview rounds up up-to-date information and fields questions about the coronavirus and vaccine rollout in Minnesota. Participation is free, but advance registration is required.
You Still Have Time
Right Track: This Sunday, Feb. 28, is the deadline to apply for Saint Paul’s summer internship program for youth ages 14-21 who live in a cost-burdened household or have another barrier to employment.

What defines a family? This Wednesday, March 3, City Council holds a public hearing on the proposed redefinition of “family” in the city zoning code. You can submit comments in advance by email or by leaving a voicemail at 651-266-6805.

Community Development Block Grants: Saint Paul is accepting applications from community organizations for federal CDBG funding. The program typically supports housing, economic development, and quality-of-life projects focused on low- and moderate-income residents. The deadline is Friday March 19 at 5 p.m.

Neighborhood STAR grants: Saint Paul is also accepting applications for loans and grants 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. The neighborhood-based projects can include housing and commercial rehabilitation, economic development investments, streetscape or parks projects, and creative placemaking. Typically, a minimum 50-50 dollar match is required. Applications are due by Wednesday March 24 at 4 p.m.

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.
Also on the Calendar
  • This Saturday, Feb. 27: “Jim Crow of the North,” 4-6 p.m. St. Anthony Park Community Council hosts a group viewing and discussion. The documentary highlights racial covenants and red-lining in the Twin Cities, which denied housing to Blacks and other people of color in many neighborhoods, including Como. The documentary provides context for the Mapping Prejudice work going on now in Saint Paul.
  • This Monday, March 1: Free tax filing. Prepare + Prosper will make appointments for remaining slots in March and April. Assistance with state and federal tax forms is available for individuals who make less than $35,000 a year, individuals who are self-employed and make less than $55,000 a year, or households with income of less than $55,000 a year.
  • This Tuesday, March 2: Senior Stroll, 9-10 a.m. Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. For visitors age 55 or older. Admission is free but attendance is limited; advance registration is required.
  • Next Sunday, March 7: Drive-through food drive, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Como Park Lutheran Church helps restock Keystone Community Services. Donations of non-perishables, cash, or checks (payable to Keystone Community Services) will be accepted at the church parking lot at Hoyt and Hamline.
  • Saturday March 13: Introduction to Vegetable Gardening (online), 10-11 a.m. Sponsored by North Dale Recreation Center. Free. Register
Coronavirus Testing Still Available
Here’s a rundown of testing options if you think you were exposed to coronavirus:

Home testing. The state is partnering with Vault Medical Services to provide free saliva test kits that you can use at home.

Every day. Free saliva testing 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 (Free saliva testing is also available at Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airport, the Minneapolis Convention Center, and other sites in the state.)

Ongoing. To find additional, private testing in Saint Paul or nearby, use the state Department of Health's interactive map. These locations include Allina Health’s clinics in Bandana Square. Sites are a mix of community clinics, health system clinics, and pharmacies. They might not be free, and they might offer testing only in certain situations.
Police Provide Business Advice about ‘Civil Unrest’
Saint Paul Police are scheduling what they’ve labeled “civil unrest” workshops for businesses. The free, hourlong, online sessions will include:

  • A timeline of expected protests, demonstrations, and marches in the city, including those related to the trial of former Minneapolis police officers charged in the George Floyd killing. (The first trial is scheduled to begin next Monday, March 8.)
  • An overview of plans to protect people, property, and free speech throughout spring and summer.
  • Practical steps businesses can take to protect employees and operations during unrest.
  • An opportunity to sign up for a free premise security survey.
  • Q&A.

Workshops are scheduled for March 3, 4, 11, 16, 18, and 25. Register in advance; you'll get an invitation afterward.

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.