Jan. 22, 2021
4 Join Neighborhood Honor Roll
Congratulations to Rita Amendola, James Cowles, Molly Fitzel, and Olivia Morawiecki, who are the newest members of the District 10 Neighborhood Honor Roll. The new honorees were selected Jan. 19 by the Como Community Council board, based on nominations from District 10 residents.

  • Amendola was nominated my multiple neighbors “for her many efforts over many years to build a strong, safe, and welcoming neighborhood and Como Park community.”
  • Cowles also was nominated by multiple neighbors. They cited his “tremendous neighborly generosity” – including middle-of-the-night snow removal on his block – and his bicycle advocacy.
  • Fitzel and Morawiecki, of the North End South Como Block Nurse Program, were nominated for their creative efforts to make sure seniors are not alone during the pandemic.

Normally, there is a citywide celebration for honorees from across Saint Paul. Because of pandemic restrictions, that won't happen for a while. Locally, however, the Como Community Council will add the latest honorees to a permanent plaque that will be displayed in the Como Park Streetcar Station.
Board Acts on I-94, Encampment Initiatives
At its monthly meeting on Jan. 19, the Como Community Council recommended that the Saint Paul City Council adopt priorities for MnDOT's "Rethinking I-94" project. The board also signed onto a letter requesting that Saint Paul stop evicting unsheltered residents from encampments. See details on both actions, including the draft resolution on I-94 and the rationale on homeless encampments.

Ward 4 Councilmember Mitra Jalali is scheduled discuss the encampment topic this Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. as part of the monthly meeting of District 10’s Anti-Racism Work Group. If you want to join via phone or video conferencing, email the District 10 office before 6 p.m. Wednesday; we’ll send you the access information.
Meal Kits Still Available on Fridays
The Como Community Council and Sanneh Foundation again are distributing free meal boxes today and next Friday. The meal boxes are available to Ramsey County residents dealing with financial hardships because of Covid-19.

Details: The meal boxes will be in the north parking lot of Niem Phat Buddhist Temple, at Dale and Front, on Jan. 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 before noon on distribution day. The boxes provide ingredients and recipes for two meals intended to serve six. Ingredients typically include locally sourced proteins, grains, fresh produce, and spices.
How (and When) to Support Local Restaurants
Old favorites like Gabe’s, Half Time Rec, Ted’s, Maverick’s, and Keys are open once again for indoor dining and imbibing. Here’s a quick guide to where you can get a meal locally – and when.
Vaccine Program Isn't Available in Ramsey County
Minnesota’s pilot program offering coronavirus vaccinations to any state resident age 65 or older (and child-care workers and educators designated by their employer) is not available in Ramsey County. The closest location is Brooklyn Center. If you are interested, you can try making a reservation beginning this Tuesday, Jan. 26, at noon; sign up online or call 612-426-7230.
It’s Not Your Daddy’s Winter Carnival
The annual Saint Paul Winter Carnival returns in flexible form this Thursday, Jan. 28, through Sunday Feb. 7. Closest to Como is the Drive-Thru Ice and Snow Park at the State Fairgrounds. Admission is $20 per vehicle for a designated time slot ($35 for VIP treatment, $50 for buses). Admission includes swag bags and other activities.

Hours are Mondays-Thursdays 4-9:30 p.m.; Fridays noon-10 p.m.; and weekends 9 a.m-10 p.m. Vehicles will enter at Como and Canfield; when they're done, they'll exit onto Larpenteur.

Among outdoor events, the Carnival is creating a trio of citywide Scavenger Hunts. Hunt themes include Saint Paul Park-emon Go, which is free; Saint Paul Past & Present ($20 per team); and Shop, Dine & Play ($20 per team). Other outdoor activities include an ice-fishing tournament, a 5K run and Nordic ski event at Phalen Park, and ice golfing. (Of course, there’s always the Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt, which starts this Sunday, Jan. 24.)

Indoors, there’s the Fire & Ice Art Show, a couple of Family Day activities, a puzzle competition, and the virtual Klondike Kate Cabaret. For the best of both worlds, there’s a Craft Drink tour of pubs, taprooms, and coffee shops.
This is Winter Around Here, Too
The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s Winter Flower Show is open through March 14. This year’s show features azaleas, lilies, homegrown bromeliads, and lush fern fronds; you can almost smell the fragrances just looking at the photo. The show is open in the Sunken Garden daily from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free, but reservations are required to comply with pandemic limitations.
Students Returning to Job Corps Center
The U.S. Department of Labor has cleared the Humphrey Job Corps Center to begin siphoning students back for classroom training for the first time since last March. Fourteen students are on campus now, nine more arrive this week, and groups of no more than 10 will return every two weeks. All students must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, and all staff are tested for Covid-19 before interacting with returning students.

Meanwhile, construction is wrapping up – with elevators and work in the gym the last major projects. Crews expect to remove the temporary office trailer from the Arlington parking lot in February.
Your Recycling Bin is Not a Toy Bin 
Children's toys, with or without batteries, don't play well with recycling facilities. They're often made of more than one material (plastic, metal, textiles), which makes them difficult or impossible to separate and recycle. If the toys contain batteries, they can start fires at recycling facilities. The city's Recycle Smart campaign recommends these options for old toys and sporting goods, instead of throwing them into the blue cart:

  • If toys are still usable, pass them along to relatives, friends, neighbors, or families at your school, workplace, or congregation.
  • Hold a garage sale or post them online on sites such as Nextdoor, Twin Cities Free Market, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist.
  • Bring toys to a donation center or second-hand store, such as Bridging, Arc's Value Village, Goodwill, or the Salvation Army.
  • Bring sporting goods to an equipment reseller such as Play it Again Sports, Way to Go Sports, or Instant Replay.

Batteries, by the way, cannot be recycled through your blue cart, either. Alkaline and carbon zinc batteries go in the trash; other batteries must go to a county hazardous waste disposal site.
Yup, Time to Start Thinking About Filing Taxes
Prepare + Prosper now is taking appointments to help eligible individuals file federal and state income taxes for free. If you file as an individual and make less than $35,000 a year, are self-employed and make less than $55,000 a year, or are filing as a household with income of less than $55,000 a year, you can:

  • Schedule a virtual tax preparation conference; sign up online or by calling 651-287-0187.
  • Drop off your documents so a tax preparer can look them over and consult with you at a later time. Appointments open up on Monday Feb. 8; call 651-287-0187 to set up a 15-minute document exchange.
  • Get training to do your taxes on your own using TaxSlayer software. The training webinar is offered once a week; the first webinar is Tuesday Feb. 2 at 4:30 p.m. To sign up online, click here. Then, under "Choose Appointment," click the Webinar option.

Find out more, including a checklist of what paperwork you need to round up.
Time to Plant Those Garden Dreams
Fresh off the success of its first Cyber Seed Crawl of the season, the Como Community Seed Library is well into planning its next one: Saturday Feb. 20, which will focus on urban edibles.

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

Some Things to Fit in Your Calendar
  • Today, 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.
  • This Saturday, Jan. 23: Legislative Town Hall, 10-11:30 a.m. With District 66 State Sen. John Marty, Rep. Alice Hausman, and Rep. Athena Hollins. Watch live on Facebook or participate via Zoom.
  • This Monday, Jan. 25: Community conversation on how Ramsey County’s Citizen Advisory Council can help advance racial equity, eliminate disparities, and bring in more voices about Ramsey County services. 4:30-6:30 p.m. Email Kristen Jeckelen for access information to the Zoom discussion.
  • This Tuesday, Jan. 26: Looking Back: Journalists’ Perspectives of the 2020 Election, 7-8 p.m. Featuring Briana Bierschbach, Hana Irkramuddin, and Bill Salisbury. Sponsored by the League of Women Voters Saint Paul. Free, via a live stream on Facebook or by registering in advance via Zoom.
  • 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.
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, which is 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.
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.
Minnesota Continues to Offer Free Covid-19 Testing 
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: 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.
Back at the Fairgrounds
The Minnesota State Fairgrounds offer limited access to the public during daylight hours; only the main gate at Snelling and Midway/Dan Patch is open. Special events:

  • Razzle Dazzle Gymnastics Meet: Through this Sunday, Jan. 24, Warner Coliseum. 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Not open to the public.
  • Legacy Luau Gymnastics Invitational: This Thursday-next Sunday, Jan. 28-31, Warner Coliseum. Thursday 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Friday 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Not open to the public.
Don't Be an Accomplice
Leaving your car running to warm up if you’re not in the car is more than stupid. First, it’s against the law. Second, it’s “an open invitation to thieves,” says Patty Lammers, crime prevention specialist for the Western District of Saint Paul Police. “It takes them less than 10 seconds to take your car.”

Third, more thieves use stolen vehicles not for a joy ride, but to commit robberies and other crimes, says Western District Commander Kent Cleveland. Case in point: A 60-year-old grandmother, Alison Annen, was killed earlier this month when the driver of a stolen car T-boned her vehicle at 60 mph on the East Side. The car had been stolen the day before from a woman who left it “running while she went inside to drop off her daughter,” according to the Pioneer Press.

Sure, it’s tempting to have a warm car, Lammers says. But it’s not worth the potential consequences. “Get in a cold car,” she says.

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.