An eagle eye (more or less): A red-tail hawk looks for its next meal near Como Lake. Photo: Nile Fellows
Discover Nature in Your Own 'Backyard'
Just in time for longer daylight, learn about some of the best natural places in the metro, in Ramsey County, and in Como Park. John Moriarty, author of "Field Guide to the Natural World of the Twin Cities," highlights his favorites this Sunday, March 15, as part of the Como Community Council's Sunday Series. Along the way, you'll learn natural history facts for local plants and animals, and get tips on getting the most out of your own backyard habitats. Bonus: John will fill us in on the turtles of Como Lake.

His presentation is March 15 in the third-floor Waterfall Room of the Como Lakeside Pavilion, 1360 N. Lexington Parkway. As always, the Sunday Series presentation is free, runs 1-2:30 p.m., and includes plenty of time for Q&A. A quick rundown of the remaining presentations in this year's Sunday Series:
  • Next Sunday, March 22: Old Media in a New Era. As more people get their information from "social media" sites, as daily, weekly and monthly local newspapers scale back or fold altogether, what's the future of local news? A panel discussion with Kelly Smith from the Star Tribune, Tesha Christensen from the Como Midway Monitor, and Scott Carlson from the Park Bugle.
  • March 29: In Search of Justice: The Purpose and Promise of Bail Reform and Juvenile Detention Alternatives. 
These are boundaries for the neighborhood's subdistricts.
Extend Your Circle of Influence
Now's the time to have a bigger say in your neighborhood: The 2020 elections for the District 10 Como Community Council are April 21. Nine seats are up for election. Learn more about the roles and responsibilities of board members.

Any renter, homeowner, or other resident of District 10, age 16 or older, is eligible to run. So are representatives from a business, institution, or nonprofit in District 10.

Board seats on the ballot this year are vice chair; treasurer; one representative from each of the neighborhood's four sub-districts; and two representatives from the neighborhood at-large. Those positions serve two-year terms. In addition, there is a special election to serve the one year remaining on a term from Sub-District 4, which essentially is South Como and Energy Park.
  • To get on the ballot, apply no later than Tuesday April 14. Elections take place April 21.
Business as Usual? 
Whether or not to support rezoning for a proposed apartment development in Bandana Square will be among topics this Tuesday at the monthly meeting of the Como Community Council board. Pacific Ramp LLC is proposing to build 150 apartments atop the existing parking ramp at 1015 Bandana Blvd. Under city zoning, the project must be rezoned from B-3 to T-3 in order to lease parking spaces back to the adjacent Best Western hotel. If the rezoning is approved, the project also needs a variance to allow a property setback that is larger than the 10-foot maximum allowed under T-3 zoning.

The District 10 board also will consider whether or not to support a request for a $75,000 Neighborhood STAR grant to help develop a coffee shop at 883 Front.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. March 17 at the Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway N (which the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton). All renters, homeowners, and other community members are welcome to attend; the meeting includes time for neighbors to voice questions, concerns, and suggestions. If the technology syncs, we'll also stream it live on Facebook. See the preliminary agenda 
The virus that's turning the world upside down.
COVID-19 and District 10 Activities
Like many organizations, those of us at the Como Community Council are monitoring public health recommendations about the spread and risks of the coronavirus. One of our core missions is to engage community members directly in decisions that affect our community. Public gatherings are part of that mission.

But, there is a lot of uncertainty and we are not experts. As of Friday morning, we are not cancelling activities. That could change based on local public health recommendations. If it does, we will post on our website, on social media or, depending on the urgency, send direct emails to you. We are trying to navigate the path of being prudent and responsible.

To minimize risk to our volunteers and neighbors, we do ask that you follow the same health recommendations that we are following: Please stay home if you have symptoms that could indicate a COVID-19 infection -- especially a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

The Minnesota Department of Health has devoted  an extensive section of its website to the coronavirus. The section includes the latest updates, specific information about COVID-19 symptoms, recommendations for prevention, and guidance for different kinds of public settings. The site includes fliers and videos in a dozen languages. The department also has a public hotline: 651-201-3920. The hotline is staffed weekdays from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Bus Schedules Change Saturday
Metro Transit makes route and schedule changes beginning this Saturday, March 14. Local routes affected include Route 3 and Route 61.

3 Como stops will vanish: This summer, Metro Transit will eliminate three stops in District 10 along the 3A Como route. Spokeswoman Karyssa Jackson says the changes are part of systemwide streamlining that eliminates low-use stops to increase speed and reliability for routes overall. The stops being eliminated in District 10:
  • Como and Winston, which averages 4 riders a day
  • Como and Arona, which averages 6 riders a day
  • Como and Albert, which averages 3 riders a day
Jackson says the stops likely will disappear when Ramsey County reconstructs Como Ave. west of Hamline this summer. Notices with the last dates of service will be posted on buses and at the disappearing stops.
Speed Limits are Going Down
After several months of engineering studies required by the state, Saint Paul and Minneapolis announced a joint effort March 12 that will reduce speed limits to 20 mph on most residential streets, and 25 mph on most city-owned arterials. The current limit on those streets typically is 30 mph.
The cities are publicizing the change with the slogan "Slower is safer." Research shows that when pedestrians are hit by a vehicle going 20 mph, 13 percent die or suffer a severe injury. That casualty rate triples to 40 percent if the driver is going 30 mph, and goes up to 73 percent if the driver is going 40 mph.

The lower speed limits will be phased in -- first by posting 25 mph signs on arterials over the next several months, then a blanket application of the 20 mph limit on remaining residential streets in both cities.
Swap Till You Drop
Do more than refresh your Spring and Summer wardrobe. Give your underused clothing another life and keep it out of the trash. The debut Adult Spring Fashion Swap Swap lets you trade in clothes and accessories that don't fit you, or your life, and grab new pieces to update your look! We guarantee you'll find bargains -- it doesn't get better than free! Plus, don't let this illustration fool you: All genders are welcome.
 
The swap is sponsored by Donate Good Stuff, District 10 Como Community Council, and Zero Waste Saint Paul. It takes place Sunday April 19 from 1-3 p.m. in the third-floor Waterfall Room at Como Lakeside Pavilion. Full details 
Celebrate the Equinox Outdoors
Como Planetarium and Saint Paul Natural Resources hold a star party to welcome the vernal equinox this Thursday, March 19. Activities start indoors at the Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway N. As the skies darken, you'll wander to the open fields west of Lexington, the darkest part of Como Park. There, if the skies cooperate, telescopes will give you a better view of the moon, stars, and several planets.

The free star party runs 7-9 p.m.; telescopes will be out as long as skies are at least 40 percent clear.
Bur oaks are one of the trees available.
Take a Chance on a Free Tree
Tree Trust is providing 350 free trees for Saint Paul residents. The trees, 4-6 feet tall, will be divvied up by lottery on March 31. All you have to do is enter by Friday March 27, then agree to plant the tree on private property. (Only one entry per address.) If you win, you will pick up your tree on Saturday May 30 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Species available include beech, bur oak, elm, hackberry, Kentucky coffeetree, Norway spruce, redbud, sycamore, white oak, and yellowwood.
Flag football is offered at both North Dale and Northwest Como.
Time to Sign Up for Summer Camps
Registration is now open for summer camps at Saint Paul parks and recreation centers.  
  • Options at North Dale include art, ballet, basketball for boys and girls, field trips, fishing and swimming, flag football, game coding, internet broadcasting, K.I.D.S. (Kindness, Independence, Diversity and Strength) for girls, mini-drones, soccer, splash and play, engineering with Lego materials (multiple themes), musical theater, pixilation, rockets, sports camp, STEM challenge for girls, summer discovery, track and field, and the zombie apocalypse.
  • Options at Northwest Como include American Ninja Warrior, archery, art, badminton, basketball, creative writing, flag football, mini-Hawk (baseball, basketball, and soccer), musical theater, robotics, soccer, strategy games, summer adventures, 3-D printing, volleyball, and "wreck it week."
There's also an outdoor games and swim camp based at the Como Park Streetcar Station.
Discount Available on Compost Bins
Ramsey County residents can get $20 off a compost bin through the Recycling Association of Minnesota. Order online (or call 651-641-4589), then use the promo code "Ramsey" to get yours for $46. The only catch: You've got to pick up your pre-ordered bin on Saturday May 2 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the county's parks department, 2015 Van Dyke St., Maplewood.
This Weekend at the Fairgrounds
  • Minnesota Weapons Collectors Show: This Saturday-Sunday, March 14-15, Warner Coliseum. Hours: Saturday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Admission: Teens and adults, $5; children 12 or younger, free. Anyone younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Also Happening This Week
  • This Saturday, March 14: Conny's Creamy Cone opens for the season. (If you don't know, it's at Dale and Maryland.)
  • This Sunday, March 15: Deadline to apply to be an outreach ambassador for Saint Paul's CollegeBound program. Apply via email
  • This Wednesday, March 18: Deadline to apply for Saint Paul's 2020 Neighborhood STAR program, which provides grants and low-interest loans for capital improvement projects. Public sector, private sector, or nonprofit organizations are eligible. Matching funds are required. File by 4 p.m.
  • This Wednesday, March 18: Public hearing on Saint Paul's 2020-2024 Consolidated Plan and 2020-2021 Action Plan, 5:30 p.m. Third-floor City Council chambers, 15 W. Kellogg Blvd. The plans outline how the city intends to use federal Housing and Urban Development grants.
  • Next Saturday, March 21: Burning of the Trees, 7-9:30 p.m. Como Park Fire Pits.
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.