9 Elected to District 10 Board
With a huge surge in participation, District 10 residents elected five new members to the Como Community Council board, and re-elected four members. Elected to two-year terms:
  • Vice-chair: Olivia Morawiecki (Olivia previously was an At-Large board member)
  • Treasurer: Mike Ireland (re-elected)
  • At-Large: Melissa Brannon (newly elected) and Jill Henricksen (re-elected)
  • Sub-District 1: Rebecca Calvo (re-elected)
  • Sub-District 2: Dan Edgerton (newly elected)
  • Sub-District 3: Jenne Nelson (newly elected)
  • Sub-District 4: Rachel Bowers (newly elected)
Also, Bob Jacobson was newly elected to fill the remaining 10 months of a vacant seat in Sub-District 4.

Voting took place during a two-week period that ended June 16. All voting this year was absentee, either through mail ballots or online voting. In all, 275 community members returned ballots; that's more than double the highest turnout of recent years, when elections were restricted to in-person voting.
City Speeds Up Como Construction
Cancelling the State Fair has at least one benefit: It gives Saint Paul a chance to maximize this summer and rebuild all of Como Ave. between Hamline Ave. and the Raymond/Cleveland intersection now. Originally, work was going to be split between 2020 and 2021. Now, construction is scheduled to begin in July and finish by the end of October, says project manager Don Pflaum. Trees will be planted and other landscaping finished in spring 2021.

The reconstruction includes building the Como Avenue Trail along the entire 2.5-mile stretch on the north side of Como. That off-street trail for bicycles and pedestrians is part of the Saint Paul Grand Round. Reconstruction also includes sewer work and reconfiguring much of the road itself.
Do More Than Wander Among the Trees
More than a decade ago, District 10's Environment Committee, under the leadership of Chet Mirocha, created a "tree trek" in Como Park. The intent was to give visitors an appreciation of the variety of tree species planted in the park. Eighteen trees were identified with plaques. Most of the trees and markers remain.

Chet Mirocha died in 2019, but his daughter Stephanie -- herself a master naturalist -- is reviving his legacy. She will lead a tree trek next Saturday, June 27, from 10 a.m.-noon. Gather on the west side of Lexington, near the stone footbridge that is near the labyrinth and pedestrian bridge.

Participation is free, but you must register. In accordance with pandemic guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health, this event will be limited to 20 people. Thought the event is outdoors, social distancing and masks will be required (masks will be available for those who do not have them). Dress for walking and the weather. (The rain date is July 11, 10 a.m.-noon; if Department of Health guidance become more restrictive, the event will be cancelled.)
DIY Kits Help You Keep Our Lake Clean
We can't get together as a group, but that doesn't mean we can't create a cleaner Como Lake on our own. The Como Community Council is creating DIY kits so your household (or those in your quarantine bubble) can pull trash from the water and shoreline on your own schedule this week.  There's even a little something extra for you when you finish.
 
For the season's first  do-it-yourself version of our Como Lake Clean-Up, we've  got two options lined up. Either way, sign up here:
  • Do it all on your own: Use your own household tools and supplies
  • Let us provide the gear: We have gloves, bags, advice on how to clean up effectively and, of course, masks. We have a limited supply of buckets, grabbers and rakes, too. You can pick up the gear this Saturday, June 20, from 9 a.m.-noon at the District 10 office in the Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway N. Do the clean up on your timeline in the next week. Then return the tools next Sunday, June 28, from noon-3 p.m.
You Think You Know Your Neighborhood?
Staying "safe" during the pandemic no longer means we have to stay home all the time. To help get rid of the cobwebs, the Como Community Council has created a Como Scavenger Hunt. This family friendly activity helps you discover your neighborhood, past and present; get some fresh air; and exercise your body and mind along the way.

There are two hunts: one east of Lexington, one west of Lexington. Do them at your own pace until July 31. We'll enter all completed lists into a drawing for gift cards to District 10 restaurants. Download the lists
Starting the Conversation in Como
Como Community Council board members are asking Como residents to be part of revisioning our neighborhood's role in ending systemic racism and dismantling inequities where we live. To begin the process, they are asking community members to share experiences with racism, ideas for pursuing racial justice, and a willingness to act for permanent change.

Get real: For those of us who don't experience racism and unequal treatment every day, the Saint Paul Public Library is assembling a collection of books, audio books, and long and short videos to help us get a better understanding of the day-to-day truths many of our neighbors face.
Spread Signs of Kindness ... 
OK, now we've sold out of two printings. But we'll print more. You can order "Como Kindness" lawn signs to make a positive statement during these tumultuous times. Suggested donation is $15. After we cover costs, proceeds go to the Como Park block nurse program, which works to handle the health-care and everyday needs of neighborhood seniors.   Order yours here

... or put limits on your kindness: You can promote the new, lower residential speed limits in Saint Paul with a "20 is Plenty" sign for your front yard, side yard, or window. The Como Community Council will distribute the free signs in District 10 while supplies last. To reserve yours, fill out this form
Watershed District Has Big Plans
Capitol Region Watershed District has released the first public draft of its next 20-year Watershed Management Plan, for Como Lake and beyond. You can read the draft, then submit comments online. Or, sit in on a public presentation, which will include time for questions and comments. The presentation, which you can join by video or phone, is this  Wednesday,  June 24 , at 6:30 p.m.
This Week's Traffic Hassles
  • Como Ave.: The street is closed west of Highway 280 for complete reconstruction. Future phases will move east; the entire project is expected to last through October.
  • Dale St.: Traffic remains restricted to one lane in each direction between University and Carroll while Ramsey County builds a new bridge over Interstate 94. Ramps to and from I-94 are closed. At least until fall, motorists also cannot get from Dale to St. Anthony Ave. or from Dale to Concordia Ave. Nor can they get from St. Anthony or Concordia to Dale. Stretches of St. Anthony and Concordia are converted from one-way to two-way to allow local access to homes, businesses, and schools. Central is cut off east of Dale.
  • Energy Park Drive: Traffic is down to one lane in each direction between Snelling and Lexington as pedestrian ramp installation and other preliminary work continues in preparation for Ramsey County's mill-and-overlay of the street this summer. 
  • Larpenteur Ave.: Expect lane restrictions the rest of this month between Snelling and Highway 280 as crews fix concrete that wasn't repaired well enough last summer.
  • State Fairgrounds: Closed to public vehicles until 6 a.m. this Monday, June 22. Pedestrian gates will remain open to bikers, walkers and joggers.
Tenant Ordinance Gets Hearing Wednesday

 

City Council holds a virtual public hearing this Wednesday, June 24, on the proposed Tenant Protection Ordinance . If you want to testify for or against the proposal, you must register no later than noon this Tuesday, June 23. Otherwise, submit comments by email or voicemail (651-266-6805). Also at City Hall:

 

  • 1015 Bandana Blvd.: City Council on June 17 approved rezoning from B3 commercial to T3 traditional. The new zoning allows construction of a 152-unit apartment building.
  • Hmong College Prep Academy: The license for the school's parking ramp at 1544 Brewster is up for renewal. Anyone who has concerns should raise them with the city's Department of Safety and Inspections: Call 651-266-9106 or send an email.
Previously reported:
  • Como Park Zoo and Conservatory: The liquor and Sunday liquor licenses are up for renewal on July 23. Anyone who has concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 4 Councilmember Mitra Jalali.
  • D&L Food and Gas: The gas station license for this business at 626 W. Larpenteur is up for renewal on July 28. Anyone who has concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 5 Councilmember Amy Brendmoen.
  • Half-Time Rec: The liquor, gambling, and entertainment licenses for this bar and restaurant at 1013 Front are up for renewal on Aug. 21. Anyone who has concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 5 Councilmember Amy Brendmoen.
Events in the Physical and Virtual Realms
  • Staff from Ramsey County and the City of Saint Paul hold a "recovery and rebuilding" town hall this Tuesday, June 23, from 7:30-9 a.m. They're seeking feedback on how they can best help communities rebuild from the rioting, looting, and vandalism that followed the killing of George Floyd. The focus is on businesses, organizations, and property owners who suffered property damage, and residents of neighborhoods that experienced damage. Comments or questions can be emailed in advance.
  • The Metropolitan Mosquito Control District plans a cold fog treatment overnight this Tuesday and Wednesday, June 23-24, on the State Fairgrounds.
  • Ramsey County's mobile household hazardous waste site sets up every weekend in June on Kent St. (just east of Dale and north of Larpenteur). Hours are Fridays 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • The League of Women Voters St. Paul holds an online discussion on Tuesday June 30 on how the coronavirus pandemic may affect elections this year. "2020 Elections: Protected or Infected?" runs from 6:30-8 p.m.
What the Case Numbers Say
This week's Como community crime update: Maybe it's not firecrackers.
Coronavirus-related updates in the neighborhood, city, and beyond:
Parks Inch Back into Action
Saint Paul Parks and Recreation has opened all playgrounds, outdoor sports courts, and skate parks. Fitness in the Parks is back with a limited schedule through Aug. 31. Northwest Como Recreation Center is running free virtual dance classes for youth and teens Mondays-Thursdays beginning this Monday, June 22. And North Dale and 14 other recreation centers begin Summer Space outdoor programming this Monday as well, for youth entering grades 1-6. 

Northwest Como's "drop in" dance classes include musical theater choreography, creative movement, jazz/lyrical/ballet, and hip-hop; registration is required. 
 
Summer Space's free programs vary by location. They will be two-week blocks of structured activities that allow participants to connect with their peers while keeping their "space."  North Dale's activities run Mondays-Thursdays, 9 a.m.-noon, from June 22-July 2, July 6-16, July 20-30, and Aug. 3-13. Registration is required: You must contact the recreation center directly weekdays from noon-3 p.m.; call North Dale at 651-558-2329.

Don't get too excited, though: Park users are reminded that playground structures, picnic tables, park benches, and other equipment are not sanitized. Recreation centers and other buildings remain closed; that includes restrooms. Permits for picnics and other private events are cancelled at least through July 6. Como Park Pool, splash pads, and other aquatic facilities are closed. Drinking fountains and ornamental fountains are shut off; that includes the Hamm Waterfall and Schiffman Fountain in Como Regional Park. The details
The Latest Covid-Related Updates
  • Ants don't count as guests: Ramsey County is now accepting reservations for park shelters and pavilions. Weddings, funerals, or religious services may host up to 250 guests; other events are open to groups of up to 25. Make reservations online or call 651-748-2500.
  • Get the outdoors delivered: Como Zoo and Conservatory won't hold day camps this summer but, beginning in July, you can hold your own camp at home. Every week, you can purchase "camp in a box." Five days' worth of games, crafts, worksheets, nature scavenger hunts, and other activities for elementary age children will be delivered to your door. The kits promise at least two hours of activities each day, plus an online "encounter" every Wednesday with a zookeeper or gardener. (You do have to supply your own glue, scissors, and coloring supplies.) Cost is $100 a week.
  • Returning toward normal: All Ramsey County libraries now provide curbside pickup of materials and accept returns.
  • A plan is essential: Minnesota's Department of Employment and Economic Development wants to make this clear: All businesses that open during the pandemic must have a preparedness plan in place by next Monday, June 29. Employers and workers can see a generic outline of what should be in their plan. The state also has industry-specific guidelines for more than a dozen types of businesses and organizations. Finally, there is general advice for any business to consider.
The state's Covid-19 portal is an easy place to get big picture and up-to-date details, find Minnesota's latest pandemic statistics, and collect or link to oodles of other information and advice during these "stay safe" days. Saint Paul and Ramsey County  have their own pages focused on more local resources, services, interruptions, and information.
Photo: Mayo Clinic
Options for Testing Keep Expanding
Widespread testing is now available for Covid-19. A new option is free, drive-through testing that is open to everyone, symptoms or no symptoms, insurance or no insurance. Testing is at Jimmy Lee Recreation Center, 270 Lexington Parkway N (at Marshall): this Tuesday-Wednesday, June 23-24, noon-6 p.m. An appointment is recommended: Call 1-800-657-3903 or sign up online.

Covid symptoms 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. Testing sites often have different criteria on whom they will or will not test. Nearby sites include: 
  • Allina Health, 4194 Lexington Ave. N, Shoreview (by appointment only): weekdays 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; weekends 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 651-483-5461
  • CVS Pharmacy, 499 N. Snelling (by appointment only): 651-917-2001
  • CVS Pharmacy, 810 E. Maryland (by appointment only): 651-774-1005
  • CVS Pharmacy, 2650 Rice St., Little Canada (by appointment only): 651-484-0504
  • HealthPartners, 205 S. Wabasha (by appointment only): weekdays 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; weekends 9 a.m.-1 p.m. 952-967-5584
  • Minnesota Community Care, 424 Dorothy Day Place, weekdays 9:15-11 a.m. 651-793-2219
  • Minnesota Community Care, 895 E. 7th St. (by appointment only): Monday, Tuesday, Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; Wednesday-Thursday, noon-7 p.m.; Saturday 8-11 a.m. 651-602-7500
  • North Memorial Health Clinic, 2600 39th Ave. NE, Saint Anthony (by appointment only): weekdays 7 a.m.-5 p.m. 763-581-5500
  • Open Cities Health Center, 916 Rice (by appointment only): Monday and Wednesday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 651-290-9200
  • Open Cities Health Center, 409 N. Dunlap: weekdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 651-290-9200
  • United Family Medicine, 2423 W. 7th St. (by appointment only): weekdays 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 651-241-1000
  • University of Minnesota Boynton Health, 410 Church St. SE, Minneapolis (by appointment only): weekdays 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 612-625-7900
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.