We Can Take Learning in Stride
A Dakota Waterways "Story Stroll" will take up residence on the walking paths around Como Lake beginning this week. The stroll is a series of 16 educational signs highlighting Dakota words for the lakes, rivers, creeks, and streams of the region; the Dakota people's historical relationship with water; and waterways that have been buried or eliminated by "progress." The project is a partnership of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, Capitol Region Watershed District, and the Lower Phalen Creek Project. The installation is expected to remain in Como for about two weeks.
The latest proposal for the parking lot north of the Lakeside Pavilion.
Plans for Parking Lots Get an Update
Saint Paul Parks and Recreation is looking for more feedback on its design ideas for rebuilding the parking lots outside the Como Golf Course and the Lakeside Pavilion. It now has an interactive map that community members can use to enter comments and suggestions. A few tips on using the map without going balistic:
  • An "About this project" box pops up when you open the map. To close the box, click the X when you are done reading.
  • The project is broken into three sections -- one for each parking lot. Each lot is highlighted on the map; you can move the map around to get to the lot you want to examine.
  • When you click on a lot, the map zooms into that section and opens a box in the right column. The box gives a summary for that section of the project.
  • Also in the summary box: a link that will download a PDF with more-detailed sketches of each section of the project. (The PDF contains sketches of all three sections, so you have to download only once.)
  • To close the summary box, click on the left-pointing arrow at the top of the box. Doing that replaces the summary box with icons to indicate four kinds of feedback: "This works well," "General feedback," "I have an idea," and "I have a concern."
  • Click on an icon, then click the "Submit a Comment" link that pops up. This opens text fields in which you can write your feedback; you can also click a specific location on the map to highlight exactly what you are talking about. All the icons work the same; to move to a different icon, click on the left-pointing arrow at the top of the box.
Parking lot reconstruction is scheduled for late summer 2021. You can get more background on the project on District 10's website.
Trash, Recycling Will Sit an Extra Day
A reminder: It was Labor Day on Monday. That means trash and recycling will be picked up one day later than usual this week. Eureka will empty our blue recycling carts on Saturday, Sept. 12, instead of today. Friday trash pickup also is delayed until Saturday.
District Council Board Meets Tuesday
The Como Community Council board meets this Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. Beyond the usual updates on topics from around the neighborhood, the discussion will include ideas for promoting a socially distanced but fun Halloween in the community.

How to participate: All renters, homeowners, and other District 10 community members are welcome to take part via video conference or telephone. To join, email the Como Community Council office; staff will send access information. Preliminary agenda
Voting Ends Tuesday -- Request a Ballot
Voting is open until this Tuesday, Sept. 15, for community members in South Como and Energy Park to cast a ballot in the special election to fill a vacancy from Sub-District 4 on the Como Community Council. 

Residents in that part of the neighborhood can request an absentee ballot to vote online. Request your ballot before noon this Tuesday, Sept. 15. We'll email you a secure link to your ballot. Whether you are voting online, or if you previously requested a paper ballot, we must receive your ballot at the District 10 office no later than this Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 5 p.m.

Who can vote: All residents age 16 or older who live in Sub-District 4 are eligible to vote. So are authorized representatives from a business or nonprofit organization with a physical location in Sub-District 4. (The boundaries for Sub-District 4 are Dale on the east, Snelling on the west, and the two sets of BNSF railroad tracks on the north and south.)

Only one candidate - Benjamin Kowalsky-Grahek -- filed by the Sept. 7 deadline to get on the ballot. You can read his candidate statement and find out more on our website. (Under our bylaws, write-in candidates are allowed.)
Buses Inch Closer to Full Schedules
Metro Transit makes scores of service and scheduling changes beginning this Saturday, Sept. 12. In our neighborhood, changes include expanded hours of service and/or expanded frequency on the A Line, Route 3, Route 61, Route 65, and Route 83. (For routes you look up, click the "Alerts" bar to find the updated schedules.)
Cut Down on Energy Waste -- and Shivering
Now that we've been reminded what cold feels like, it's a good time to think about making your home more energy efficient before winter hits for good. Home Energy Squad is offering free consultations to the first 100 Saint Paul residents who sign up. Homeowners and renters who live in one- to four-unit buildings are eligible; call 651-328-6220 or sign up online.

The consultations inspect your insulation; install energy-saving products such as LED bulbs, weather-stripping on doors, faucet aerators, and a programmable or smart thermostat; and recommend ways to increase your comfort and your home's efficiency. (If you don't make the cutoff for a free visit, consultations are $100.)
State Helps with Overdue Housing Costs
The state now is using federal relief money to help individuals and families avoid eviction or homelessness, and maintain housing stability. For eligible renters and homeowners, Minnesota Housing's Covid-19 Housing Assistance Program covers past-due expenses such as rent, mortgage, utilities, insurance, and other housing-related expenses that they incurred after March 1, 2020, but can't pay for a Covid-related reason. 

To be eligible, your household income can be no higher than 300 percent of federal poverty guidelines; that means $38,280 a year for an individual and $65,160 for a household of three, for example. There are limits for residents who receive other forms of public rental assistance. There are multiple options to begin applying:
  • Call 651-291-0211. Multilingual staff are available weekdays from 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
  • Apply online
  • Text "MNRENT" or "MNHOME" to 898-211
Staff will connect applicants to a local administrator. Local administrators review applications, verify eligibility, and handle payments for eligible expenses.
Traffic Runarounds Move Around
  • Como Ave.: Construction in our neighborhood moves slightly east this week as crews dig up the entire intersection of Como and Hamline. The intersection is likely to shut down this Wednesday, Sept. 16, and stay closed for a week. (Trail access on the north side of Como already is cut off.) Hamline will remain open north and south of the intersection; westbound traffic on Como will detour directly onto Midway Parkway through the park.
    Meanwhile, Como remains dug up and shut down completely from Hamline west to Arona. Public Works has barricaded the east and west ends of Breda, Albany, and Almond, in an attempt to prevent cut-through traffic that refuses to use the official Midway Parkway detour.
    Como itself remains open in each direction between Arona and Snelling. West of Snelling, westbound Como is shut down to Caithlin. An eastbound lane remains open from Caithlin to Snelling. From Caithlin to the Cleveland/Raymond intersection, the street remains restricted to one lane in each direction.
    On the city's western border, Como is now closed at Brompton (which is just east of Eustis and Highway 280). 
  • Como Lake Drive: The one-way street north of the lake between Victoria and Lexington is once again open to motor vehicles. 
  • Dale St.: The county road remains restricted to one lane in each direction between University and Carroll, as reconstruction of the bridge over Interstate 94 continues. Ramps to and from I-94 are closed. Access from Dale to the Uni-Dale Mall and to some nearby east-west streets is cut off.
  • Energy Park Drive: The mill-and-overlay from the intersection of Front and Churchill west toward Raymond is delayed. We may see some preliminary work this week, but the actual resurfacing is not expected to begin until Sept. 28.
  • Larpenteur Ave.: Work continues on the permanent conversion of Larpenteur from 4 lanes to 3 between Dale Street and Interstate 35E. Significant resurfacing is scheduled overnight this Wednesday-Thursday, Sept. 16-17, from 7 p.m.-6 a.m. the next day. At times, work will include complete shutdowns of some intersections. Otherwise, expect traffic to be reduced to one lane in each direction. The project is projected to last through the end of the month.
Hazardous Waste Disposal Gets Easier
Ramsey County sets up a temporary hazardous waste collection site every Friday and Saturday for the rest of September on Como Ave. west of Snelling and south of the Fairgrounds. If you've got solvents or other chemicals that say Caution, Warning, Danger, or Poison on the label, those are good candidates. So are batteries, cell phones, fluorescent bulbs, gasoline, mercury thermometers, paint, propane tanks, and used motor oil and filters. 
The site operates Fridays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (Because of construction, access is only from the west.) See the complete list of what you can bring.  Disposal is free.  
There's Lots Going On at City Hall
  • 2021 Saint Paul Budget: City Council members are seeking feedback on Mayor Melvin Carter's proposed city budget for 2021. Fill out their survey
  • Capital Improvements Budget: The CIB Committee holds a public hearing this Monday, Sept. 14, on 40 community proposals competing for $1 million in city funding in 2020-21. The hearing begins at 4 p.m. To participate or listen in, call 612-315-7905 (the conference ID is 246 005 193#); comments are limited to two minutes. Or, you can email testimony in advance. The committee is recommending nine projects; none of the six proposals in District 10 made the preliminary list of recommendations. (At the time we sent this newsletter, the list was not posted on the CIB web page. If you want the list, email us; we'll send it to you.)
  • Cultural STAR: The city is revising its annual grant program for Saint Paul-based arts and cultural organizations by providing one-time operational funding. Virtual information sessions are scheduled for next Friday, Sept. 18, from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and Tuesday Sept. 22 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The deadline to apply is Friday Oct. 2 at 4 p.m.
  • Twin Cities Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice: The 2020 draft is now available to read. Ramsey County and Saint Paul hold a public meeting to discuss the report next Monday, Sept.21, from 6-8 p.m. To attend online, register before next Friday, Sept. 18. You can comment on the draft until Sunday Oct. 18.
  • 1087 Chatsworth: The property owner has applied for a license for up to six chickens.
  • Speedway: The gas station and liquor licenses for this convenience store at 950 Lexington Parkway N are up for renewal on Dec. 1. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 1 Council Member Dai Thao.
Previously reported:
  • Duke's Car and Towing: The license for this auto repair garage at 977 Front is up for renewal on Oct. 18. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 5 Council Member Amy Brendmoen.
Fairgrounds are Back in Circulation (Sorta)
The Minnesota State Fairgrounds again are open for walkers and cyclists. However, the only open gate is at Snelling and Midway Parkway, and the grounds close every day at dark (not 11 p.m.). As has been the case since the pandemic hit, there is no through-traffic for motor vehicles. That said:

Only the north end of the fairgrounds will be open to the public this Saturday, Sept. 12. The rest will be handed over to the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance HOM Teal Drive from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Rec Centers Host Children's Programs
Registration is open for Saint Paul Parks and Recreation's Rec Check, S'more Fun, and Recreation for Preschoolers programs.
  • Rec Check runs weekdays from 2-6 p.m., for pupils in kindergarten through 5th grade. It is available at 17 recreation centers, including North Dale, 1414 St. Albans. Activities begin this Monday, Sept. 14. To sign up. register online, or call North Dale weekdays from noon-3 p.m. Rec Check is free, but you must register for the specific days your child will attend.
  • S'More Fun is a childcare program available weekdays from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. for pupils in kindergarten through 5th grade. It's available at four locations, including Northwest Como Recreation Center, 1550 Hamline. Cost is $40 per day, plus a one-time registration fee of $35 per family. To register, contact Kari Rohman by email or by calling 651-487-5625. 
  • Open slots for Recreation for Preschoolers are available only at Edgcumbe Recreation Center, 320 Griggs St. Sessions begin this week: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9-11:30 a.m., for 3-year-olds; Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9-11:30 a.m. for 3- and 4-year-olds; and Mondays through Thursdays, 1-4 p.m., for 4- and 5-year-olds. Fees vary. To register, contact Katie Hemsworth by email or by calling 651-695-3734.
Photo: Common Sense Home
Garden Workshops Shift Seasons
Ramsey County Master Gardeners are scheduling a new series of free gardening workshop focused on autumn. Topics include preserving food, growing microgreens, and houseplants. The 90-minute workshops are online beginning next Saturday, Sept. 19. Registration is required.
Police Hold Community Meetings Tuesday
The Saint Paul Police Department's Western District holds its monthly community meetings this Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. at Western District headquarters, 389 N. Hamline. Masks and social distancing will be required. Attendance is limited to 20.
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.