Jan. 15, 2021
Don’t Get Caught Spinning Your Wheels
Saint Paul wants to make it as easy as possible for you to understand where and when you can park if the city declares a snow emergency (which, if they do, could start at 9:00 tonight, Friday Jan. 15). The easiest way: Set up a map app on your computer, smartphone, or tablet that will tell you in real time where you can park legally.
Or, read the details of how a snow emergency works in Saint Paul overnight and the following day. In short:

  • Get an automatic snow emergency alert: Text “StPaul Snow” to 468311, or sign up for an email or social media alert.
  • Night: Cars must be off all streets that are designated a “night plow route.” In most cases, this means no parking on arterial streets and on one side of most north-south residential streets. Parking is banned on a "night plow route" until the street is plowed to the curb.
  • Day: If your side of the street does not have snow emergency signs posted, you are on a "day plow route." Day plowing typically begins about 8 a.m., after night plowing is finished. In most cases, during day-plowing, parking is banned on east-west residential streets and on the side of north-south residential streets that is not marked “night plow route.” (During the day, you can park on the "night plow" side of the street.)
Photo: A map when Saint Paul plows which streets.
Monthly Board Meeting Looks Beyond the Neighborhood
Discussion of city policies regarding homeless encampments and a draft City Council resolution identifying local priorities for MnDOT’s ongoing “rethinking” of the Interstate 94 corridor will be among topics at this Tuesday’s monthly board meeting of the Como Community Council.

The meeting begins Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. As always, all renters, homeowners, and other District 10 community members are welcome to participate via video conferencing or telephone. To join the remote meeting, email the District 10 office for access information. For best results, make your request no later than 6 p.m. Tuesday. Preliminary agenda
Free Food Fridays Continue
The Como Community Council and Sanneh Foundation are partnering to again distribute free meal boxes today and the next two Fridays in January. The meal boxes are available to Ramsey County residents dealing with financial hardships because of Covid-19.

Details: We will distribute the meal boxes in the north parking lot of Niem Phat Buddhist Temple, at Dale and Front, on January 15, 22 and 29. 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. The boxes provide two meals of six servings each. They typically contain locally sourced food, including lean proteins, whole grains, fresh produce, and spices.
Time to Plant Those Garden Dreams
Como Community Seed Library's first Cyber Seed Crawl of the year is this Saturday, Jan. 16. The concept is simple: Local residents can connect with each other to obtain or exchange locally sourced seeds. Saturday's exchange -- the “Urban Pollinator Edition” -- focuses on native plant, perennial, and annual flower seeds.

The list of seeds will be posted beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday. It’s all being arranged on Facebook; get the details. (A second seed exchange, scheduled for Feb. 20, focuses on edibles.)

Speaking of seeds: North Dale Recreation Center is scheduling two free, online gardening classes for adults.

Working Together Against Racism
Last summer, after the killing of George Floyd, the Como Community Council created an Anti-Racism Work Group. After months of discussion and initial planning – including three Sunday Series presentations – members now are working on goals for 2021. Projects include housing-supporting solutions to the homeless crisis, advocating for greater density and more affordable housing, and responding to racial covenants recorded in Como’s subdivisions, which banned people of color from owning – or even living -- in much of the neighborhood. 

The riot at our nation’s Capitol this month – including images of the Confederate battle flag in the Rotunda -- is yet another painful reminder of racism and white supremacy in this country. From our distant vantage point, it can feel overwhelming. But it also can be a time to examine what we can do to make our corner of the world a bit better. 

If you’re moved to do something, join us to create a more equitable Como community, where we welcome people of color to own, or rent, or just visit if they choose. The work group works to look beyond ourselves and our own families, to think about the kind of community we want to be, and to work toward righting the wrongs of the past. The next meeting is Wednesday Jan. 27 at 7 p.m., via phone or video conferencing. If you want to attend, email the District 10 office.
Photo: This 1915 ad for Frankson’s Como Park Addition
specifically banned sale or lease “to a colored person.”
Monday is Not Just Another Holiday
This Monday, Jan. 18, is the holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. City, county, state, and federal offices will not open. Most banks will be closed. Saint Paul and Ramsey County libraries will be closed. The District 10 office will be closed. The U.S. Postal Service will not deliver mail. However, trash and recycling in Saint Paul will be picked up as usual on Monday (and the rest of the week).

Parks and Recreation will offer free, half-day, “no school day” programs for pupils in grades 1-5 at 17 rec centers, including North Dale, Frogtown, Rice, West Minnehaha, and Langford Park. Programs run Monday Jan. 18 from 1-4 p.m. Registration is required.
Photo: Martin Luther King, being arrested in Montgomery, Ala., in 1958.
How (and When) to Support Local Restaurants
Bars and restaurants can officially start letting (at least some) people back in, but not a lot changed this week for the eateries remaining in District 10 and on our borders. Here’s a quick guide to where you can get a meal locally – and when.
Sholom Home Plans Inch Forward
Heavy equipment outside the former Sholom Home property at 1554 Midway Parkway suggests that owner Jeff Laux is not kidding when he says the project is a go. As reported at this month's District 10 Land Use meeting, Laux says he has "never been more optimistic" that his plans to convert the buildings into rental apartments will work. The plan is revised slightly to build 148 market-rate units.

"It’s still a giant step to construction," Laux says, but he has completed a “painstaking" cost analysis and a thorough structural analysis, and a 10-year pro forma shows the project will work financially. Crews will finish internal demo and other internal clean-up so there is a clean shell from which to start building, Laux says. He anticipates filing requests for construction permits with the city in February or March.
As You Probably Guessed by Now
This week’s easing of coronavirus restrictions means Como Park Zoo and Conservatory again are open every day from 10 am.-4 p.m. – through crowd sizes and your ability to wander at will are limited. Find out more – then make the required reservation.
Test Your Home for Radon (for Cheap)
About 40 percent of homes in Minnesota have radon issues. Ramsey County is making it easy to find out if you are one of them: The county is offering radon test kits for $2. Order yours now

Winter is the best time to test for radon -- a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer. It can enter homes through the foundation, floor drains, and floor-wall joints.
Help Point the Way to College
CollegeBound Saint Paul is seeking city residents as “ambassadors” to connect with city families one-on-one. Ambassadors support other families’ efforts to prepare their children for college, and spread the word about CollegeBound programs. Training is provided. Email the program for more information, or simply apply now.
Struggling with Your Mortgage? There May Be Hope
Minnesota homeowners with a federally backed mortgage may be able to delay payments for 6-12 months, without penalty or interest, if they are dealing with financial hardship because of Covid-19. However, they must apply for this mortgage relief before Feb. 28. Eligible mortgages include conventional mortgages purchased or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Also eligible: loans through FHA, VA, HECM, or USDA programs. Get details

Even if you do not have a federally backed mortgage, you still may be able to prevent foreclosure if you are behind on payments. Find a human being who can talk over your options with you.
Save Energy Where You Live
Minnesota’s Clean Energy Resource Teams have produced customized guides for renters, landlords, and homeowners on how to save energy (and money). The guides are free; download yours.
Help Decide Which Things Get Done
Today, Friday Jan. 15, is the deadline to apply for a three-year term on Saint Paul's Planning Commission. Applicants specifically are needed from Ward 5, which includes most of District 10 east of Lexington. (Get more details) Neighborhood issues of note:

  • 963 East Como Boulevard: City Council votes this Wednesday, Jan. 20, on whether to grant a 120-day extension – until March 24 – to allow the property owner to obtain a demolition permit for this vacant building. (The owner, Michelle Schumacher, says she intends to build a new house on the property.)
  • Ted’s Recreation: The entertainment, liquor, Sunday liquor, and 2 a.m. closing licenses for this bar at 1084 W. Larpenteur are up for renewal on Jan. 31. Anyone with concerns should email the Como Community Council or contact the office of Ward 5 Council Member Amy Brendmoen.
  • 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 the Como Community Council or contact the office of Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali.
Where, When to Get a Coronavirus Test if You Need One
With cases of Covid-19 still at risky levels, the state and county continue to operate free testing sites.

When to get tested: If you have symptoms, get tested right away. If you are exposed to someone with Covid, wait five days before taking a test; that allows for more-accurate results. Other advice on testing

Symptoms of Covid-19 can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, repeated shaking with chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, or a loss of taste or smell. Other less common symptoms include GI issues such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

If you test positive, are sick but are not hospitalized, you should quarantine at home to avoid spreading the virus farther. Quarantine until all three of these things are true, according to the Minnesota Department of Health: 1. You feel better. 2. It has been at least 10 days since you first felt sick. 3. You have not had a fever for at least 24 hours, without using medicine that lowers fevers. A rundown of testing options:

  • Home testing. The state is partnering with Vault Medical Services to provide free saliva test kits you can use at home.
  • Ongoing. Free saliva testing at Roy Wilkins Auditorium; enter at 175 Kellogg Blvd. The site is open seven days a week with expanded hours: 9 a.m.-7 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 10 other sites in the state.)
  • To find additional testing locations in Saint Paul or nearby, use the state Department of Health's interactive map. These locations (including Allina Health’s clinics in Bandana Square) 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.
Squeeze It into Your Calendar
  • This Sunday, Jan. 17: The last day for Parks and Recreation’s Tree Gnome Scavenger Hunt. Consider it a warm-up for the Winter Carnival’s annual medallion hunt – plus the Carnival's new Park-emon Go scavenger hunt.
  • This Tuesday, Jan. 19: Ramsey County’s Racial Equity and Community Engagement Response Team holds an online town hall to discuss the county’s racial equity efforts and strategies. 4-5:30 p.m. Access information
  • This Wednesday, Jan. 20: Deadline to complete Metro Transit's Network Next survey about upgrading routes to bus rapid transit. (Route 3 is among the finalists.)
  • Next Friday Jan. 22: Last day to recycle old holiday lights (or electric cords and telephone cords, too) for free at any Saint Paul Public Library location; just drop them in the “Holiday Light Recycling” bin. After that, you'll have to follow this advice.
  • Tuesday Feb. 2: In-person yoga for adults begins at North Dale Rec Center, 1414 N. St. Albans. The session runs 10:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesdays through Feb. 23. $20
  • Thursday Feb. 4: Online Meditation and Movement class for adults age 55 or older. 10:30-11:10 a.m. Thursdays through Feb. 25. Free. Co-sponsored by North Dale Rec Center and Como Park Falcon Heights Living at Home Block Nurse Program.
Community Police Meeting Goes Online
The Western District of the Saint Paul Police Department holds its monthly community meetings this Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. The remote meetings will use Microsoft Teams. To join:

  • Morning meeting: By video link or by phone (612-315-7905). The meeting ID is 166 085 393.
  • Evening meeting: By video link or by phone (612-315-7905). The meeting ID is 414 151 681.

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.