Peak performance: 4-year-old Will Mass learns the ropes on playground apparatus in Como Regional Park. Photo: Debby Smith
15 Candidates Running for D10 Board
Fifteen candidates are running for 10 seats on the Como Community Council Board. Elections are this Tuesday, April 16, during the District 10 Annual Meeting. Elections begin shortly after 7 p.m. at the Como Park Streetcar Station, which is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton. 

All renters, homeowners, and other residents age 16 or older who live in District 10 are eligible to vote. So are authorized representatives from a business or nonprofit organization located in District 10. Community members must vote in person; there is no absentee or proxy voting.  You can  find out more  about the candidates and get full details on election procedures.

Here are the community members who will be on the April 16 ballot (listed by office and in alphabetical order). These candidates submitted their names by the April 9 deadline. Additional candidates may be nominated during the Annual Meeting; they will be considered write-in candidates.
  • Chair: Melissa Liu
  • Secretary: Marika Staloch
  • Treasurer (special election to fill a vacancy): Mike Ireland
  • Sub-District 1: Lisa Linnell, Sara Reuter
  • Sub-District 2: Stephen Greenwood, Amanda Rohrer
  • Sub-District 3: Sara Benzkofer, Melissa Brannon, Mike Mitchelson
  • Sub-District 4: Alexis Baker
  • At-Large (vote for up to 3): Jill Henricksen, Debra Verber, Jennifer Victor-Larsen, Maggie Zimmerman
Watch Where You Live
Yes, we live in the city. But the natural world is all around us -- if we look. Open your eyes this Sunday, April 14, as District 10's next Sunday Series presentation shows how we can observe and document all kinds of things -- and even do real science -- while going about our daily business.

Experts from Saint Paul Parks and Recreation and the University of Minnesota guide us on how to be "citizen scientists": what to look for, how to use the iNaturalist app to track what we see, and how to tie into local projects and studies that crowd-source the power of ordinary people.

Details: 1-2:30 p.m. Como Park Streetcar Station, which is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton. Free. (Bring your smartphone or tablet!)  Future Sunday Series presentations:
  • Mosquitoes: The endless showdown. Sunday April 28.
  • Recycling isn't what it used to be. Sunday May 5.
Plan Your Garage Sale Now
The 2019 Como Neighborhood Garage Sale is scheduled for the weekend of May 17. Typically, dozens of neighborhood residents hold garage, yard, and rummage sales that weekend, making it easier for bargain hunters to hit a lot of sales in a small area in a short amount of time. District 10 promotes the weekend, publishes a map of participating sales, and compiles lists of what you can find where.

It's easy to register your sale online. The registration fee is $15 (collected through PayPal). Sales must register by Thursday May 9; after that, we can't guarantee your sale will be on the map.
Renters: Time to Meet Each Other
Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali Nelson, the District 10 Como Community Council, and four other district councils are teaming up to hold a free " renter voice summit" this Thursday, April 18, at Hamline University. The summit will help renters:
  • Learn whom they should call for what, so renters can access public and private resources available to them.
  • Understand rights and protections renters have under state and local law.
  • Connect with the district council in their neighborhood, and find out how renters can make an impact on local issues where they live.
  • Meet neighbors and plan new ways for renters to make their voice heard across Saint Paul.
The event is April 18 from 6:30-8 p.m. at Hamline University's Anderson Center, Room 111, 774 N. Snelling. Pizza and activities for children will be available. Note: You don't have to be a renter -- or live in Ward 4 -- to attend.  RSVP via Facebook , or email the  Ward 4 office .
City Says 'No' to Environmental Study
Saint Paul city staff say a formal environmental review  is not required or needed for Twin Cities German Immersion School's proposed construction project, which would include demolition of the former St. Andrew's church building.  Read more  of the city's reasoning, including the full report of findings.

The April 9 decision, by the Department of Planning and Economic Development, clears the way for the City Council to vote on zoning variances and a construction site plan the school needs for its proposed building expansion. The decision also clears the way for the City Council to vote on whether to give the former church building local historic designation, which the group Save Historic St. Andrew's is seeking.

Roy Neal, a leader with the preservation group, had filed a citizen's petition with the State of Minnesota on Feb. 22, seeking an Environmental Assessment Worksheet. The state's Environmental Quality Board deferred the decision to the city.

Overall, the school's building project does not meet the state standards for a mandatory environmental review and does not have "the potential for significant environmental effects" that would support a discretionary review , city staff say. Impacts that the construction project could have are being addressed  by routine city regulatory actions  and can be mitigated further if necessary, according to the city's findings. 
Pavilion's Snack Window Opens for Real
After an unofficial trial run last weekend, Spring Café plans to open the Lakeside Treats concessions window in the Como Lakeside Pavilion with a limited menu this Saturday-Sunday, April 13-14, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Expect the window to open on weekends through Memorial Day, then daily after that.

The window -- near the dock on the lower, lake side of the building -- offers Nathan's hot dogs, Bavarian-style pretzels, hand-scooped ice cream, root beer floats, and other snacks. After it gets its feet wet, Lancer Hospitality -- the building's new manager -- expects to add a full espresso bar, lattes, mochas, teas, and iced and blended drinks. 

The indoor Spring Café space is still being renovated;  the restaurant says it expects to have a trial opening April 27-28 (if weather cooperates), then open daily on May 1.
2 Local Projects Seek STAR Grants
Two projects in District 10 are among 53 projects citywide seeking Neighborhood STAR money from Saint Paul.
  • Community Involvement Programs, which is merging with Ally People Solutions, is seeking a $150,000 grant to help relocate its headquarters from Northeast Minneapolis to 1515 Energy Park Drive.
  • The building corporation that owns Twin Cities German Immersion School is seeking a $35,000 grant to help build a stone gabion fence as a sound and visual buffer along its playground.
Both requests would match a city grant with their own money.

In total, the 53 projects are seeking $6.5 million in STAR grants or loans, although only $2.5 million is available. Initial public hearings on the capital improvement requests are scheduled for May 8-9; recommendations are scheduled to go to the mayor and City Council by early June. The Neighborhood STAR program is supported by part of the city's half-cent sales tax.
Red Lake Currant is one of the shrubs available this year.
Think Green, Then Act on It
Next Friday, April 19, is the last day to place an order through the annual plant sale from Friends of the Parks and Trails of St. Paul and Ramsey County. The group -- which works to plan and preserve parks, trails, and open spaces -- offers 16 locally grown, hardy selections of trees, shrubs, roses, vines and, for the first time, a native perennial (liatris). You can buy a plant for your yard. You can buy a plant for a local park. You can do both. Just place your order no later than April 19. Pickup is two weeks later, on May 4.
Potential Help for Fixing Up Your Home
NeighborWorks Home Partners has low-interest (and even no-interest) home-repair financing available, some of it exclusively for residents of District 10. The financing is available (first-come, first-served, while supplies last) for owner-occupied homes and a range of basic repairs and improvements, including labor (but, sorry, no Jacuzzis).

Applicants must have incomes less than 120 percent of the area median ($79,300 for an individual; $113,150 for a household of 4). If your household income is no higher than 80 percent of the area median ($50,350 for an individual, $71,900 for a household of 4), you could qualify for no-interest financing. Get more details online, or by calling 651-292-8710.
Get Your Mind Off the Snow
The Saint Paul Saints' Name the Pig Contest is open. The winner gets all kinds of swag and notoriety for picking the moniker for this season's team mascot. Make your suggestion before May 12.
Soccer Fans May Scarf Up Fairgrounds Parking
The Minnesota United Football Club opens Allianz Field -- and its home season -- this Saturday, April 13, at 4 p.m. against New York City. A key cog in getting fans to and from the pitch is shuttle buses circulating up and down Snelling Ave. from free park-and-ride lots at the State Fairgrounds. This weekend, buses will operate out of the Fairgrounds' Robin Lot and west transit hub, adjacent to Randall Ave. Later this season, operations will switch to the lots south of Como Ave. The lots are expected to open from 1-9 p.m. A final heads up: The park-and-ride lots do allow tailgating.

Other events at the Fairgrounds:
  • Minneapolis-Saint Paul Military Relic and Collector Show: This Saturday-Sunday, April 13-14. Progress Center. Hours: Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission: $6 (children 10 or younger, free).
  • Antique Spectacular Show and Flea Market: This Saturday-Sunday, April 13-14. Grandstand. Hours: Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission: Teens and adults, $7; children 12 or younger, free.
  • GSTA Rod and Custom Spectacular: This Saturday-Sunday, April 13-14, Warner Coliseum. Hours: Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission: Adults and teens 16 or older, $15; children ages 7-15, $5; children 6 or younger, free. Discounts available.
  • Dog Olympics: This Saturday, April 13, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Compeer Arena. Admission: teens and adults, $10 (cash or check only); children 12 or younger, free. Or, buy advance tickets online.
  • Machinery Hill Criterium Race Series: This Tuesday, April 16, 5:30-9 p.m. Bicycle races for beginners to experts. Admission: adults, $25; beginner women, $15; junior girls, $10.
Looking Ahead
  • This Saturday, April 13: Breakfast with the Bunny, 10-11:30 a.m. North Dale Recreation Center, 1414 N. St. Albans. Pancake breakfast, games, crafts, photo opportunities, etc. $2 per person, $5 for a family of three or more.
  • This Sunday, April 14: Como: Making a Global Impact. This week's lecture topic: Snow leopards in Kyrgyzstan. 10:30 a.m. Como Park Zoo Visitors Center. Free
  • Friday April 26: Mini Bio Blitz, 5 p.m. Kilmer Fireplace, Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom. Survey spring ephemerals in the Woodland -- the first of five nature surveys this year. To register, email Teri Heyer.
  • Saturday April 27: Citywide Spring Cleanup, 9-11:30 a.m. Como Lakeside Pavilion and a dozen other sites citywide.
  • Saturday April 27: Chelsea Heights Silent Auction, 7 p.m.-midnight. Gabe's by the Park. $15
Neighborhood Events You've Been Asking About
  • Como Community Seed Library's "Seed Your Dreams." Saturday May 18.
  • Citywide Drop-Off at State Fairgrounds. Saturday June 8.
  • District 10 Community Yoga. Sunday June 9.
  • District 10 Ice Cream Social. Friday July 12.
  • Como Neighborhood Pollinator Garden Tour. Saturday July 13.
Need Better Lighting in Your Alley?
The City of Saint Paul doesn't provide alley lighting. If you want better illumination behind your property, one option is to install lights yourself: Police recommend motion-sensitive or dusk-to-dawn varieties that you mount on the garage peak (or as far off the ground as possible). 

A second option: Arrange with Xcel Energy to install a high-wattage fixture on a utility pole in the alley. Prices vary based on wattage; the most popular version is $7.18 a month plus tax. For information, call Xcel at 1-800-960-6235 weekdays between 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
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.