Tranquility base here: Como Park is filled with nooks and crannies where you can pretty much get away from it all. Photo: Nile Fellows
Ice Cream Social Kicks Off ComoFest Tonight
The Como Community Council's annual Ice Cream Social launches 2019's ComoFest today, Friday July 12. We'll keep the wee ones busy with such things as giant bubbles, face-painting, and plenty of space to run around. We'll keep the taller ones busy with music by the Incredible Shrinking Men from 5:30-7, or Shakespeare in the Park ("The Merry Wives of Windsor") by Classical Actors Ensemble at 7:00. And, of course, we've got ice cream (and dairy-free options) while supplies last. (The ice cream is sponsored by Thrivent Financial.)

In addition, the Ice Cream Social includes a ComoConnect resource zone, which gives you the opportunity to connect with two dozen community organizations, find resources, figure out where to share your skills, and even learn a few things.

Details: The Ice Cream Social runs 5:30-8 p.m. July 12 at the Historic Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway N. It's all free. (Vehicle parking is limited, so please walk, car-pool, take the bus, or bike over if you can -- we'll have portable bike racks on hand to help out.)
... Then ComoFest Continues ...
ComoFest features a double-header this Saturday, July 13.
  • The Como Park Pollinator Garden Tour runs from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Wander at your own pace -- for free -- and admire public and private gardens in the neighborhood that prove making pollinator preservation a priority doesn't sacrifice beauty. Along the way, you can learn from from experts such as Ramsey County Master Gardeners and WildOnes members, and have a chance at mindful social art-making with The Folding Bee. Online and downloadable maps
  • The annual ComoFest Art Fair returns to the promenade at the Lakeside Pavilion, 1360 Lexington Parkway N. Vendors feature original art, prints, photos, jewelry, fiber and clothing, paper craft, glass, and more. Admission is free; the fair runs 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Looking ahead, next Friday, July 20, it's Lyngblomsten's Mid-Summer Festival from 2-8 p.m.
Algae blooms are a problem and symptom in Como Lake.
It's Time for Como-aroma, Too
Yes, Como Lake stinks. But that's not unusual for this time of year, the Capitol Region Watershed District says. The short explanation: Blame the odors on a combination of more sun, hotter temperatures, aquatic plants dying, algae growing, and heavy rains that wash nutrients  from our yards  into the lake, says p roject manager Britta Belden

It's a vicious cycle, she says. Summer weather itself promotes the growth of algae. Summer weather also promotes the decomposition of curly-leaf pondweed -- a nasty invasive that out-competes native plants, alters the lake's overall ecosystem, then dies out naturally at the end of June. As dead curly-leaf pondweed decomposes, it promotes the release of more phosphorus, which feeds more algae growth. Decomposition also reduces oxygen levels and releases odoriferous gases such as methane and hydrogen sulfide. That's what we smell. Making things worse: this year's excessive rains, which create more storm water runoff, which adds more phosphorus to the lake, which feeds the cycle. 

The water quality of the lake -- though "very compromised" overall -- currently is about what's normal by historical Como standards, Belden says. Recently collected water quality readings are consistent with the lake's historical July data. In fact, while phosphorus concentrations currently are very high, bacteria readings actually are very low, she says.
Speaking of bacteria: Ramsey County has closed the swimming beach at Lake McCarrons on Rice Street until further notice. Testing for E. coli revealed on July 10 that levels of the bacteria violate recommended water quality standards. E. coli levels often rise after rain washes fecal contamination from multiple sources into recreational lakes. 
Mitra Jalali Nelson
Nelson to Speak at D10 Board Meeting
Ward 4 Councilmember Mitra Jalali Nelson will be the guest presenter this Tuesday at the July board meeting of the District 10 Como Community Council. Nelson will give updates on city and ward issues, and answer residents' questions. (Ramsey County Commissioner Trista MatasCastillo will be at the Aug. 20 meeting.)

Details: The meeting begins this Tuesday, July 16, at 7 p.m. at the Como Park Streetcar Station, which is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton. All renters, homeowners, and other community members are welcome to attend and participate. If technology cooperates, we'll also  stream the meeting live on Facebook.  Preliminary agenda
In Search of Butterflies and More
The next nature survey walk in the Como Woodland is this Thursday, July 18. Britt Forsberg, coordinator of the Minnesota Bee Atlas at the University of Minnesota Extension, and representatives from the North American Butterfly Association will lead walks in search of butterflies, bees, and other insects that live in or visit the variety of plant communities in the 17-acre woodland.

Meet at 6 p.m. at the Kilmer Fireplace, which is north of McMurray Field on Wynne Ave. Participation is free, but please email Teri Heyer in advance so organizers have an idea of how many people to expect.
A County Fair -- in the City (Sort of)
The Ramsey County Fair is underway this weekend with carnival rides, music, dance, a car show, a talent show, fireworks, 4H and agricultural demonstrations, a petting zoo, board games, and something called The Magic of Farmer Norm. Plus, of course, Minnesota necessities such as food, beer, and pull tabs.

Details: The fair runs this Friday-Saturday, July 12-13, from noon-midnight, and this Sunday, July 14, from noon-9 p.m. Admission is free, but parking is $3. The fairgrounds are near White Bear and Frost Avenues in Maplewood.
Road Construction This Week
Ramps at Highway 280 and Energy Park Drive will close this Tuesday, July 16, for resurfacing. It's one of the first steps of a project that will repave Energy Park Drive between 280 and Raymond Ave. later this month. Further east, expect work at Energy Park Drive and Everett Court, too. Meanwhile, beware of:
  • Larpenteur Ave. Much of this Ramsey County road remains one lane in each direction from Snelling west almost to 280. Concrete repair will continue for a few more weeks.
  • Wheelock Parkway: The final phase of reconstruction is underway between the Western/Arlington intersection and Rice St.
Recycle Smart: Paper
You can recycle all sorts of paper in your blue cart. That includes newspapers, magazines and catalogues, envelopes, office paper, and phone books. But you cannot recycle paper cups and paper plates because:
  • They often are lined with plastic.
  • Once you use them, they are contaminated with food.
The solution: Choose reusable plates and cups instead. Or, purchase compostable options. Plates, cups, and utensils that are BPI certified can be recycled at community organics recycling sites. That includes at the District 10 site on Beulah Lane in Como Park, and at county yard waste sites. Find out more
Watching Our Waste: Food
The group Save the Food has an online tool it calls The Guest-imator. It helps you plan and prepare the right amount of food for your cookout or other big event. You can plan around big eaters and little eaters, how many side dishes and desserts you have in mind, and whether or not you want leftovers.

In the U.S., we waste 40 percent of our food. For the typical family, that's like throwing away $1,500 a year. The website has loads of practical advice to make sure you become part of the solution, not the problem.
Learn to Fix Up Your Place
The Minnesota Tool Library and the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota are offering six 90-minute classes on basic home maintenance. The topics and dates:
  • MTL Basics: Common Plumbing Repairs: Tuesday July 23, 6-7:30 p.m., Saint Paul Tool Library, 755 Prior Ave. N
  • DIY Drains: Tuesday Aug. 6, 6-7:30 p.m., Minneapolis Tool Library, 1620 Central Ave. NE #126
  • MTL Basics: Electrical 101: Tuesday Aug. 20, 6-7:30 p.m., Saint Paul Tool Library
  • If Walls Could Talk: Tuesday Sept. 3, 6-7:30 p.m., Minneapolis Tool Library
  • Painting & Trim: Tuesday Sept. 17, 6-7:30 p.m., Saint Paul Tool Library
  • Ask the Expert: Tuesday Oct. 1, 6-7:30 p.m., Minneapolis Tool Library
Classes are $25 each ($20 if you're a Tool Library member). Register here
Fellow Pynins, newly relocated from Oregon to the Twin Cities, perform Wednesday.
Music (and a Musical) at the Pavilion
Today-Sunday, July 12-14: Rosetown Playhouse Presents " Newsies," 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $10-$15
This Sunday, July 14: Beasley's Big Band, 7 p.m.
This Monday, July 15: Dirty Shorts Brass Band, 7 p.m.
This Tuesday, July 16: Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies, 7 p.m.
This Wednesday, July 17: Fellow Pynins, 7 p.m.
This Thursday, July 18: Dean Magraw and Davu Seru, 7 p.m.
Next Friday, July 19: John Eller's Piano Bar Sing-Along (rock classics), 5:30 p.m.; Choir-aoke with Kith + Kin, 7 p.m.
 
Events are free (except when they're not). Find out more about the performers -- or get an advance look at the season's full mix of local artists and traditional bandstand performers -- on Spring Cafe's website.
 
Music across the Pedestrian Bridge: This Wednesday's Groovin' in the Garden features Katy Vernon. The music, lawn games, climbing wall, and bounce house are free from 6-8 p.m. July 17. Pack a picnic, or buy food, ice cream, soft drinks, beer, or wine. Everything happens outside the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory; if it rains, activities move inside.
The Week Ahead at the Fairgrounds
  • MAQHA Corporate Challenge Horse Show: Through this Sunday, July 14, Warner Coliseum.
  • Minnesota United park-and-ride: This Saturday, July 13. Parking lots south of Como Ave. will open for tailgating and shuttle buses from 4-11 p.m. The soccer match vs. Dallas is at 7 p.m. at Allianz Field.
  • Machinery Hill Criterium Race Series: This Tuesday, July 16, 5-8:45 p.m. Bicycle races for men, women, juniors, and masters. Entry fee: Adults, $25; juniors, $15.
  • Next Friday-Sunday, July 19-21: Street Machine Nationals. Hours: July 19, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; July 20, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; July 21, 9 a.m.-3:45 p.m. Spectator admission: $16 at the gate (children 10 or younger, free with paying adult). Discounts and multiday passes available online and at O'Reilly Auto Parts.
Meet Who's in Charge
The Western District's monthly community meetings are this Tuesday, July 16, at 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. at district headquarters, 389 N. Hamline. If you go, you'll meet command staff, hear about the latest crime trends in the city and district, be able to raise your individual concerns, and be able to grab all the crime prevention fliers you can use.  
We Can Help with Your Party
District 10 has street barricades and portable recycling containers that community members can use for block parties, neighborhood, or family events. You can borrow the recycling containers for free; there are two kinds:
  • For cans, bottles and other items you can include in your weekly recycling.
  • For food scraps and other compostable organics.
The street barricades are required by the city when you block off your street or alley -- but ours are a more-affordable option than getting them from Public Works.  Barricades require a $50 deposit. We return $40 when you return the barricades.  Reservations are first-come, first-served. (To borrow our barricades, you must have an event permit from the city.)

To reserve any of this equipment, call our office at 651-644-3889, or send us an email.
Photo: T Boardman
Streetcar Station is Open Every Sunday
For the rest of the season, the Como Park Streetcar Station is open every Sunday from noon-4 p.m. It is a great chance to learn a little about the long-gone trolley system in the Twin Cities, about the history and visionaries behind Como and the city's overall park system, to pick up organics recycling bags or kitchen starter kits, or just to chat with a District 10 board member who is staffing the day. The Historic Streetcar Station is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton.
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.