That growling sound you hear? Crews from S&S Tree grind through the pile of more than 150 trees cut down this winter on the Como golf course. The chipper reduces trunks and branches to mulch -- enough mulch to fill more than 20 semi-trailers. Continued clean-up means the parking lot and cross-country ski trails will remain closed at least another week.
Pavilion Contract Goes to City Council
Matty O'Reilly heads the management team at Spring Cafe.
The Parks and Recreation Commission approved a five-year contract Feb. 8 for Spring Café to run food, music, and other activities at the Como Lakeside Pavilion. The City Council plans final ratification this Wednesday, Feb. 14. Under that schedule, the restaurant would open no later than May 5.

The proposed contract sets minimum requirements for the restaurant's hours, its menu, and related activities. But it allows and -- through financial incentives -- encourages Spring Café to do more.

That balance means Spring Café is not locked into hours that may not succeed financially, says Mike Hahm, director of the Department of Parks and Recreation. But if the community shows it will support additional hours or activities, Spring Café has a financial incentive to meet that demand. "It's more adaptable to respond to what's successful or not," Hahm says.  The contract requires:
  • Spring Café to be open at least 11 a.m.-9 p.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. on weekends, during peak season. That's the four-month period from the first weekend in May through the weekend after Labor Day.
  • During the rest of the year, the restaurant must be open on weekends, from at least 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 
  • At least 100 musical performances a year.
  • A summertime concession window on the lake.
  • Bicycle, kayak, and similar recreational rentals from May-September.
  • Community rooms available for rental.
  • Banquet services.
  • City staff and a "community input committee" to rate Spring Café's performance annually.
Spring Café will pay the city at least $100,000 a year. If approved, the contract starts April 1 and runs through Dec. 31, 2023. Veteran restaurateur Matty O'Reilly heads the Spring Café team. 

Keeping an Eye on 1554 Midway
District 10's Land Use Committee met with neighbors this week to discuss concerns about the future of the old Sholom Home property. The committee will meet with neighbors again during its March 7 meeting. In the meantime:
  • Neighbors calling in complaints about the property should consistently identify the property's address as 1554 Midway Parkway.
  • Neighbors who see suspicious or criminal activity in or around the building should call police at 651-291-1111 -- or call 911 for emergencies. They also should log or otherwise document the activity they report.
  • Neighbors who want to report code issues -- such as snow or ice on sidewalks, graffiti, or illegal dumping -- should call the city's Department of Safety and Inspections hotline: 651-266-8989.
DSI says it will monitor the property at least twice a week during daylight hours "and as often as possible during the evening hours." A department official says the graffiti that appeared on the building the day after security fencing came down will be covered over. 
State Fair history kicks off the 2018 Sunday Series on Feb. 25.
Make Your Sunday Series Plans Now
There's no shortage of choices in District 10's 2018 Sunday Series. The annual suite of free presentations is designed to entertain you, enlighten you, and engage you.

It all starts on Sunday Feb. 25, as Minnesota State Fair director -- and District 10 resident -- Jerry Hammer rolls out part two of " State Fair History." Mixing long-forgotten photographs and stories, he'll guide us through the most recent 100 years of the Great Minnesota Get-Together. Join us from 1-2:30 p.m. in the Newman-Benson Chapel on the Lyngblomsten campus, 1415 Almond Ave.  Other presentations we've got booked:
  • Sunday March 18: The Next Step in Pedestrian Safety
  • Sunday April 15: Crime Prevention through Landscape Design
  • Sunday June 3: Como Park Tree Trek
All presentations are free, and are from 1-2:30 p.m.
Not quite Crashed Ice, but the same concept.
The Cure for Cabin Fever 
It's the final weekend for the  Saint Paul Winter Carnival, including the Vulcan Snow Park at the State Fairground. By now, it's clear everyone is getting a little stir crazy. They cancelled the lawn mower races, but they're still gonna try the  barstool ski races . (Yup, it's just what it sounds like.) You can enter a team, or you can watch. But hurry: It's one night only, beginning at 7:00 tonight, Friday Feb. 9. 

Also at the Snow Park (spectating is always free):
Let the Bugle Know What You Think
One of our neighborhood's community newspapers, the Park Bugle, is conducting a survey so readers can chime in on what they think about the nonprofit paper as a community resource. Take the survey
Music Under Glass is Back
After a two-week break, the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory's Music Under Glass series returns this Sunday, Feb. 11. The duo Dusty Heart grace the garden with roots and folk from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The music is free; there's a cash bar for beer, wine, soft drinks, and snacks.  The series continues Sunday afternoons until March 11; get the rest of the line-up
Zoo Becomes Autism Friendlier
Como Zoo launches a new service this Sunday morning for individuals with autism or otherwise affected by sensory sensitivities. Zoo buildings will open one hour early -- at 9 a.m. -- so families and individuals can have a less overwhelming experience. 

To help plan the day, visitors can download a "visual schedule" and a "social narrative," developed in cooperation with the Autism Society of Minnesota. These guides prepare affected visitors for what they will see, hear, and smell. They can also download a map that indicates quiet spaces and areas with strong smells, for example. 

Early entry will be available one Sunday a month, including Feb. 11, plus some Wednesday mornings during the summer.
So What if It's a Short Month?
  • This Sunday, Feb. 11: Lyngblomsten Second Sunday Concert, 2-3 p.m. The Lyngblomsten Community Sage Singers, under the direction of MacPhail's Joey Clark and Jeanne Bayer, present a free Valentine's concert in the chapel. 1415 Almond.
  • This Sunday, Feb. 11: Como Park Lutheran Church Organ Concert Series, featuring Phil Radtke, from Bethel Evangelical Lutheran and the Minnesota Boychoir, 4 p.m. At the church, 1076 W. Hoyt. Free.
  • This Monday, Feb. 12: Community Conversation on Homelessness, 6-8 p.m. Union Depot Red Cap Room, 214 E. 4th St. Panel includes officials from City of Saint Paul, Ramsey County, and Catholic Charities. Co-sponsored by CapitolRiver Council.
  • This Wednesday, Feb. 14: Information session about Neighborhood STAR grants, 10-11:30 a.m. Midwest Special Services, 900 Ocean St.  (Application deadline is Wednesday March 21.)
  • Thursday Feb. 22: Bouquets, 7-9:30 p.m. Como Zoo and Conservatory. Tickets to Como Friends' annual food, wine, and beer fund-raiser are $65, or $125 for the VIP Experience.
Ahmed Ismail Yusuf
Get a Sneak Preview of Somali Play
The Rondo Community Library offers a free sample of the History Theater's newest play, " A Crack in the Sky." Actors will perform a few scenes from the tale of a Somali immigrant's journey to Minnesota. Afterward, playwright Ahmed Ismail Yusuf joins them to answer audience questions.

The free preview is this Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 6 p.m. at the Rondo library, 461 N. Dale. The world premiere of the play runs through March 4 at the History Theater.
Call 911 -- or Text if You Must
If you're in a situation where you can't safely call 911, now you can text 911. It's another option to reach police or emergency personnel if you've got to remain quiet to remain safe. When talking would give you away, you can discreetly report domestic violence, a home invasion, a suicidal individual, or a dangerous or criminal activity. To make it work: enter 911 in the "to" field, then be sure to type in your exact location and the type of emergency in the message field. 
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.