Not going quietly: The giant hedgerow in the Como Pool parking lot -- the remains of what used to be 220 ash trees -- is being whittled away. As much of the neighborhood can hear, crews are grinding the wood into mulch; trucks then haul the mulch to District Energy to use as fuel. Stumps in the park are scheduled to be removed this spring; replacement trees are expected in autumn.
Planning Commission Throws a Curveball 

The saga of Twin Cities German Immersion School's plan to demolish the former St. Andrew's church building and construct a school addition took another twist Friday morning at Saint Paul's Planning Commission. Commissioners voted against reopening their votes from Jan. 25. In those earlier votes, commissioners rejected denying zoning variances that the school needs for its building, then rejected approving those very same variances. The commission also approved the school's construction site plan on Jan. 25. But the city attorney's office said the site plan was "not properly approved" because it relies, in part, on the variances - which, at this point, have not been approved.  

The apparent result of the Friday's vote -- in which commissioners voted not to vote again -- is what commission chair Betsy Reveal called a "non-decision." The full impact of a non-decision is unclear, and attempts to get clarification from the city attorney's office were unsuccessful before this newsletter was published.
 
What is clear is that, under a state law commonly referred to as 15.99, the school's variance requests will be considered approved automatically if the city does not act otherwise within the statute's 60-day timeline. In the case of the variances, that timeline runs out March 26. Among things that are not clear is the status of school's site plan (which has its own deadline of March 6), which version of variances would take effect, and whether the Planning Commission's denial, approval, or non-decision on the school's variance requests can -- at this point -- be appealed to the City Council.
 
Historic designation: Meanwhile, the City Council has penciled in a timeline to decide whether or not to grant local historic designation to the former church building. The City Council is scheduled to begin deliberations on March 6; that would mean a public hearing on Wednesday March 20, leading to a City Council vote on March 27. The city's Heritage Preservation Commission is recommending historic designation, which is being pursued by the local group Save Historic St. Andrew's. German Immersion School opposes the historic designation.
Déjà vu on Recycling, Garbage Delays
This week, it's ice that is delaying the collection of recycling and trash in much of District 10.
  • Eureka Recycling plans to empty the blue carts in District 10 on Saturday, Feb. 9 (not today, Friday Feb. 8).
  • If your garbage usually is collected on Fridays by Advanced Disposal or Waste Management, pick-up is likely to be delayed until Saturday, Feb. 9. In addition, both companies say they will not charge for any overflow this week.
  • If your garbage usually is collected on Fridays by Aspen Waste Systems, Gene's Disposal, or Highland Sanitation, expect pick-up as usual today, Friday Feb. 8.
  • If you have Monday pickup, regardless of who your hauler is, nothing changes.
  •  Yes, we know some of these companies said the same thing last week, then changed their minds. Double-check on any updates
Parking studies are part of  preparations for the Como Ave. trail.
Land Use Looks at Proposed Bike Trail
This Tuesday, District 10's Land Use Committee discusses the various alternatives the city and county are considering for a new bicycle trail along Como Ave. between Hamline and the Cleveland/Raymond intersection. Reuben Collins, who is managing the project for the city, will be on hand to answer questions.  

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Como Park Streetcar Station, which is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton. All renters, homeowners, and other community members are welcome to attend and participate. The preliminary agenda is posted online.
Como HS Reschedules Athletics Meeting 
Como High School's athletics department has postponed a "community input" meeting about the potential of adding sound, concessions, and bleachers to the school's upgraded athletic field on Rose Ave. The meeting, originally scheduled for Feb. 7, is rescheduled for Monday Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. 
Give kick-sledding a spin. Photo: Montreal Families
Free Fun in the Snow
Ramsey County is providing 10 days of winter exploration at Keller Regional Park from today, Friday Feb. 8, through Presidents Day, Monday Feb. 18.  
 
You can check out snowshoes, kick sleds, and more for free on weekdays from noon-4 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Look for the red tent in the Golfview picnic area along Highway 61 between Roselawn Ave. and County Road B.
The Mayor Wants to Hear from You
Mayor Melvin Carter's " Imagine Our City" conversations start this week, leading up to his State of the City Summit in March. Discussion will include the Serve Saint Paul civic volunteering initiative and the new Office of Financial Empowerment. Here's where to participate:
  • This Monday, Feb. 11: Hmong Village, 1001 Johnson Parkway, 5:30-7 p.m.
  • This Tuesday, Feb. 12: Boca Chica, 11 Cesar Chavez St., 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Next Saturday, Feb. 16: Tapestry, 394 W. University, 10-11:30 a.m
  • Next Saturday, Feb. 16: Snelling Café, 638 N. Snelling, 1-2:30 p.m.
  • Thursday Feb. 21: Ho Ho Gourmet, 1985 Old Hudson Road, 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Saturday Feb. 23: Plum's Neighborhood Bar & Grill, 480 S. Snelling, 1-2:30 p.m.
FYI: The Feb. 7 conversation at Krungthep Thai on Rice Street was cancelled. No word yet on a new date.
Free Tax Help Available at Lyngblomsten
AARP volunteers will provide free tax assistance every Tuesday and Thursday through April 11 at Lyngblmosten , 1415 Almond. Appointments are mandatory; to reserve your space, call 651-999-2499. The service is in the basement Community Room.
 
If you are willing to travel farther, there are dozens of other sites that offer free tax assistance to residents age 60 or older, who have a disability, have limited English-language skills, or who have incomes under $55,000. Search the Minnesota Department of Revenue's database.
Not the Same Old Same Old 
Saint Paul Public Library's Read Brave events continue their focus on homes and homelessness. This week (all events are free; you do not need to register in advance):
  • Tenants' Rights Info Session: This Monday, Feb. 11, 5:30-7 p.m., George Latimer Central Library, 90 W. 4th St.
  • Screening and panel-led discussion of web series "The North Pole": This Wednesday, Feb. 13, 5:30-8 p.m., Rondo Community Library, 461 N. Dale.
  • AARP Homefit: Stay in Your Home! This Wednesday, Feb. 13, 10:30 a.m.-noon, Highland Park Library, 1974 Ford Parkway.
  • Rondo Movie Club presents "99 Homes": This Thursday, Feb. 14, 5:30-8 p.m., Rondo Community Library, 461 N. Dale.
  • Discussion of "Evicted," by Matthew Desmond: This Thursday, Feb. 14, 10:30-11:30 p.m., George Latimer Central Library, 90 W. 4th St.
Get more details, or 
a sneak peek at additional February activities, including a talk by featured author Meg Medina on Feb. 20.
Roller Derby Returns to the Fairgrounds 
  • North Star Roller Derby: This Saturday, Feb. 9, 6 p.m. Warner Coliseum. Admission: $13 in advance, $16 at the door.
This Weekend and Beyond 
  • This Saturday, Feb. 9: Senate District 66 Town Hall Forum, 10-11:30 a.m. Falcon Heights City Hall, 2077 W. Larpenteur. With state Sen. John Marty, state Rep. Alice Hausman, and state Rep. John Lesch.
  • This Sunday, Feb. 10: Citizens Acting for Rail Safety community forum and panel, 1-3 p.m., East Side Neighborhood Services, 1700 2nd St. NE, Minneapolis. Free. Featuring author Bruce Campbell, state Rep. Frank Hornstein, environmental health professor William Toscano, and Steve Suppan from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.
  • This Sunday, Feb. 10: Music Under Glass features Matt Arthur & the Bratlanders, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. Free
  • This Wednesday, Feb. 13: Information workshop about Saint Paul's Neighborhood STAR program, which provides low-interest loans and grants for neighborhood and local business projects. The workshop is 10-11:30 a.m. at the Minnesota Humanities Center, 987 E. Ivy.
  • Next Friday, Feb. 15: Deadline to submit nominations for Saint Paul's Business Awards. There are three categories: Traditions, New Kid on the Block, and Good Neighbor.
  • Next Sunday, Feb. 17: Como Park Lutheran Church's Organ Concert Series, 4-5 p.m., 1376 W. Hoyt. Featured musician: Jessica Park, chapel organist at the University of St. Thomas. Free
  • Friday Feb. 22: Deadline to apply for a Saint Paul Cultural STAR grant: 4 p.m. The grants provide 1:1 matching funds for arts and cultural projects within the city. (Information sessions are this Monday, Feb. 11, from 3-4:30 p.m. at Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center, 788 E. 7th St., and this Tuesday, Feb. 12, from 10:30 a.m.-noon at Rondo Community Library, 461 N. Dale.)

Don't Get Suckered by Tax Scams 
It's tax season, which means it's also tax scam season. One common scam: A phone call claiming to be the IRS, claiming that you owe money, and demanding that you pay up immediately. Ignore it. Instead, what you should do immediately is hang up. The IRS does not make calls like this; it sends "payment due" notices only through the mail. Don't talk with the caller, and definitely don't send any payment -- not directly from your bank account, not by sending a money order, not even by paying with a gift card. Just hang up.
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.