December 4, 2020
This is Winter?
Yes, there have been folks ice-fishing this past week, but you wouldn’t know it from this vantage point on Como Lake. Photo: Annie Huidekoper.
Give Recognition Where Recognition is Due
Know someone who makes the Como Park area a better place to live, work, or play? Nominate them for the District 10 Neighborhood Honor Roll. The Honor Roll pays tribute to everyday people who make a sustained and lasting impact in our neighborhood or Saint Paul as a whole.

Submit your nomination by email. Tell us who you are nominating and why. Make sure we receive your suggestions no later than Thursday Jan. 14. The Como Community Council board then selects three of your nominees at its January board meeting to recognize for 2020.
District Council Board Considers Its Budget
The district council's proposed 2021 budget will be the main item of discussion at the monthly Como Community Council board meeting this Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. All renters, homeowners, and other District 10 community members are welcome to participate. While pandemic restrictions remain in place, the meeting takes place via Zoom conferencing or telephone, rather than in-person.

To join the remote meeting, email the District 10 office before 6 p.m. Tuesday; we'll send you access information. Preliminary agenda
You’re Running Out of Time to Get on Our List
This Monday, Dec. 14, is the deadline to sign up your house (or a neighbor's) in our friendly competition to find the best holiday decorations in the neighborhood. Then, beginning this Tuesday, Dec. 15, we'll turn residents loose to choose their favorites. Check District 10’s website and Facebook page to find a map of all the nominated houses! Take a stroll or ride, and enjoy our community’s creativity.

Voting for the Neighbor’s Choice Award will remain available from Dec. 15-30 (we'll link to the ballot when all nominations are in). On New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, we’ll announce the neighborhood's favorites -- who get bragging rights, celebratory cookies, fame, and more.

It's Another Free Food Friday
The Como Community Council and Sanneh Foundation are partnering to deliver free meal boxes today, Friday Dec. 11. The meal boxes are available to Ramsey Country residents dealing with financial hardships because of Covid-19.
The boxes typically provide two meals of six servings each. They contain locally sourced food, including lean proteins, whole grains, fresh produce, and spices.

We’ll distribute the meal boxes in the north parking lot of Niem Phat Buddhist Temple, at Dale and Front. Distribution will be 1:30-3:30 p.m. (while supplies last). Distribution also will take place next Friday, Dec. 18. We highly recommend reserving a meal box in advance; to do so, please fill out this form.
Where, When to Get a Coronavirus Test if You Need One
With cases of Covid-19 continuing to surge, the state and county continue to operate free testing sites.

When to get tested: If you have symptoms, get tested right away. If you are exposed to someone with Covid, wait five days after you are exposed; that allows for more-accurate test results. But quarantine in the meantime. Other advice on testing

Symptoms of Covid-19: Symptoms 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 and are not in the hospital, you should quarantine at home to make sure you do not spread the virus farther. Quarantine until all three of these things are true, according to the Minnesota Department of Health: You feel better. It has been at least 10 days since you first felt sick. You have not had a fever for at least 24 hours, without relying on 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 that residents 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: noon-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 other locations in the state.)

  • Today, Friday Dec. 11, noon-6 p.m. Nasal swab testing at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, 285 N. Dale. Register
  • This Saturday, Dec. 12, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Drive-thru nasal swab testing at State Fairgrounds' Compeer Arena (enter at Como and Canfield). Appointment required. (Testing is scheduled every Saturday until further notice.)
  • This Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2-6 p.m. Nasal swab testing at Highwood Hills Elementary School, 2188 Londin Road E. Register
  • This Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2-6 p.m. Nasal swab testing at the Consulate of Mexico, 797 E. 7th St. Appointment required; register beginning this Monday, Dec. 14. 
  • This Thursday, Dec. 17, noon-6 p.m. Nasal swab testing at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, 285 N. Dale. Register
  • Next Friday, Dec. 18, noon-6 p.m. Nasal swab testing at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, 285 N. Dale. Register
  • Next Saturday, Dec. 19, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Drive-thru nasal swab testing at State Fairgrounds' Compeer Arena (enter at Como and Canfield). Appointment required; register beginning this Monday, Dec. 14. (Testing is scheduled every Saturday until further notice.)

Additional testing locations: Use the state Department of Health's interactive map. These locations in Saint Paul and elsewhere 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.
Sign Up Now for Next Year’s Park Permit Lottery
You can sign up until Monday Dec. 21 for Saint Paul Parks and Recreation’s annual park permit lottery. Entering the lottery is necessary if you want an early chance to reserve a park picnic shelter, building, or other facility in 2021.

Any Saint Paul resident or business who signs up before 4:30 p.m. Dec. 21 will be entered in the lottery. Entries will be randomly selected to determine who gets first choice for dates and locations. Sign up online or by calling 651-266-6400.
Smart Recycling: No Strings Attached
Keep items such as cords, hoses, and string lights out of your blue recycling cart. These "tanglers" are similar to plastic bags: They wrap around equipment at recycling facilities. That forces workers to spend hours each day removing them from machinery.

What to do instead: Year-round, you can recycle cords and string lights at Ramsey County's household hazardous waste disposal site. From now through Jan. 22, you can also recycle old holiday lights, electric cords, and telephone cords at any Saint Paul Public Library location; just drop them in the “Holiday Light Recycling” bin. As for other “tanglers”: Bring metal chains to a scrap metal yard. Put hoses and ropes in the trash.
Put Your Sidewalk, Driveway on a Low-Salt Diet
Salt can be important for winter safety. But it also pollutes lakes, rivers, and streams – permanently. The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization offers a free workshop this week on how residents, businesses, and institutions can prevent slippery sidewalks while minimizing environmental damage. The program is free, but you must register in advance.

  • This Tuesday, Dec. 15, 6-6:45 p.m. Register
  • This Thursday, Dec. 17, noon-12:45 p.m. Register
Voucher Could Help Teach Your Pre-Schooler at Home
If you are taking care of a child age 5 or younger who can’t get to day care or preschool because of the pandemic, you could receive a $300 voucher to purchase early childhood education materials that can help provide learning opportunities at home. Ramsey County has limited vouchers available; apply here.
Rice Street Offers Plenty of Options to Consider
The revisioning of Rice Street continues. A video recording of last month’s open house is now available; you can view the whole thing, or simply look at the slide presentation. Then you can tell them what you think about the seven concepts Ramsey County is looking at; the concepts are different combinations of traffic lanes, parking, bike lanes, medians, and sidewalks.

This slide shows the number of collisions between vehicles and pedestrians at Rice Street intersections over the past five years.
City Council Clears Way for School’s Skyway
After earlier falling short of a legally required super-majority, the City Council voted 5-2 on Dec. 9 to vacate “air rights” so Hmong College Prep Academy can build a skyway over Brewster Ave. The structure would connect the charter school’s current building on the north side of Brewster with a middle school building that is under construction south of Brewster.

Orchard Park Recreation Center: The Parks and Recreation Commission meets this Thursday, Dec. 17, from 6:30-8 p.m. On their agenda: a proposal to extend the agreement with Blackhawks Soccer to operate the rec center. Unfortunately, a copy of the proposed agreement was not available before we sent this newsletter. At some point, you might be able to find it in the commission meeting packet for December. Comments to the commission can be sent by email before noon on Thursday. You can sit in on the meeting using Skype. Or listen in by phone by calling 651-267-3988, 651-266-5758, or 651-266-5767; in any case, the meeting ID is 5087122.

Redefinition of “family”: This Monday, Dec. 14, is the deadline to comment on Saint Paul’s proposals to redefine “family” in the city’s zoning code. Three options are under consideration; each would change how many related adults and unrelated adults could legally constitute a household in Saint Paul. Watch the presentation city planner Michael Wade gave to District 10’s Land Use Committee last month. You can submit comments using the form at the bottom of the city information page. Other opportunities to comment:

  • Carter’s BP: The gas station license for this convenience store at 623 Como Ave. is up for renewal on Dec. 29. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 5 Council Member Amy Brendmoen.
  • Best Western Plus Como Park: The liquor licenses for this hotel in Bandana Square are up for renewal on Jan. 3, 2021. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali.
  • Ted’s Recreation: The entertainment, liquor, Sunday liquor, and 2 a.m. closing licenses for this bar at 1084 W. Larpenteur are up for renewal on Jan. 31, 2021. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 5 Council Member Amy Brendmoen.
In the Days Ahead
  • This Saturday, Dec. 12, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. In the parking lots south of Como Ave., Minnesota State Fair will collect essential kitchen tools – new or gently used can openers, mixing spoons, spatula turners and dish towels – for Bridging to supply to newly housed residents. Financial contributions also accepted.
  • This Sunday, Dec. 13: Deadline to apply for the Water Steward training program through Capitol Region Watershed District.
  • Next Friday, Dec. 18: Deadline to apply for Ramsey County’s Landlord Assistance program, which provides one-time grants to landlords for up to $20,000 per rental unit to compensate for tenants' missed rent payments or unpaid fees in 2020 because of Covid-19.
Fairgrounds Continue Glowing
The State Fairgrounds' Glow Holiday Festival is underway, and runs every evening through Sunday Jan. 3. The drive-through event features a one-mile loop of more than 1 million holiday lights, icicle and art installations, a giant gingerbread house and, of course, a State Fair food court.

Entry slots run Sundays-Thursdays from 4:30-9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 4:30-10 p.m. Vehicles will enter at Gate 14, at Como and Canfield on the west end of the Fairgrounds. Admission is $46 per vehicle (plus $7.14 in taxes and fees). Tickets are for a specific day and time slot. On most nights, $2 of every ticket goes to a different charity.

  • The festival means the Fairgrounds are closed to walkers, runners, cyclists and other everyday users until Jan. 10.
Mayor Appoints ‘Community First’ Safety Commission
Mayor Melvin Carter has appointed 48 people to a new Community First Public Safety Commission. Their job: present options on how the city responds to Priority 4 and 5 police calls. These priority categories are non-emergency situations; they include shoplifting, noise complaints, parking violations, or barking dogs, as well as times where there is no suspect or threat present, or when emotionally disturbed, drunk, or disorderly individuals are acting out.

The commission is scheduled to meet twice a month until May, when it is supposed to give recommendations to the mayor and City Council. It’s not clear how much or what kind of public involvement the commission will invite.

In addition to its 48 individual members, the commission will include representatives from 16 Saint Paul and Ramsey County agencies. The Citizens League is facilitating the whole process. Find out who’s on the commission and more about their goals.
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.