Jan. 29, 2021
Issue Hits Close to Home
Finding, creating, and maintaining safe, affordable housing for all residents in Saint Paul is not getting easier, especially in a pandemic and recession. But in a conversation Jan. 27 with the Como Community Council’s Anti-Racism Work Group, Ward 4 Councilmember Mitra Jalali talked in detail about city and county efforts to provide more housing stability, especially for residents who currently are homeless or are on the brink of becoming so. You can watch a recording of the conversation, which covers:

  • What's necessary to change the hearts and minds of residents, including in communities such as Como, to accept and advocate for a larger range of housing options across the city
  • The funding, policy, and political hurdles to reducing homelessness, creating more housing for a wider range of people, and preserving affordable housing
  • Innovative, affordable housing options under consideration (and the challenges to making them happen)
  • The complexities that affect decisions by unhoused residents, the professionals trying to find appropriate indoor homes for them, and what more the city and residents could do increase safety and support at encampments
Photo: Are “tiny homes,” such as those from the nonprofit Settled, part of an affordable housing solution?
You're Invited to Join Committee Discussions
The Como Community Council's Neighborhood Relations Committee meets this week. The Land Use Committee, on the other hand, is cancelling its February meeting.

  • Neighborhood Relations meets Tuesday, Feb. 2. Discussion includes philanthropy partnerships for 2021, pursuing public art projects in Como, and ideas for a community mascot.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. As usual, all renters, homeowners, and other District 10 community members are welcome to participate. In order to abide by pandemic restrictions on public gatherings, the meeting takes place via video conferencing or telephone, rather than in-person. If you want to join the discussion, email the District 10 office before 6 p.m. on the day of the meeting; staff will send you access information.
Meal Kits Still Available on Fridays
The Como Community Council and Sanneh Foundation again are distributing free meal boxes today and most Fridays in February. The meal boxes are available to Ramsey Country residents dealing with financial hardships because of Covid-19.

Details: The meal boxes will be distributed in the north parking lot of Niem Phat Buddhist Temple, at Dale and Front, on Jan. 29, and Feb. 5, 19 and 26. 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.
What Does an Eviction Moratorium Mean, Anyway?
Find out about current state and federal moratoriums on rental evictions, plus other impacts the coronavirus pandemic has on laws governing tenants and landlords, during a free webinar this week. HOME Line hosts the presentation and discussion this Thursday, Feb. 4, at 1 p.m. Register in advance
City Council Launches New Public Safety Grant
Saint Paul City Council is funding new grants to support community-first public safety work in the city. Grants are available to community organizations doing work to reduce and prevent violence, increase neighborhood outreach in crime prevention, or address trauma response and healing. The emphasis will be on work engaging residents in historically under-resourced areas of the city and in areas disproportionately impacted by gun violence.

Applications are due by Wednesday Feb. 10. The grants of at least $20,000 are expected to be awarded in spring and used by the end of 2021. Details

Neighborhood issues of note:
  • 980 Como Ave.: The property owner has applied for a short-term rental license. These applications typically are approved automatically.
  • K&L Sales: The second-hand dealer’s license for this used-car lot at Como and Arona is up for renewal on March 29. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali.
Western District Gets New Leadership
The Saint Paul Police Department’s Western District (which includes Como) gets new command staff beginning this Saturday, Jan. 30. Joshua Lego replaces Steve Anderson as senior commander; Salim Omari replaces Kent Cleveland as patrol commander.

  • Lego has nearly 25 years’ service in the department, including assignments as a station commander, commander of property crimes, and in the special operations and family and sexual violence units.
  • Omari has roughly 14 years’ service, including as senior commander of the internal affairs unit; he has spent nearly half his time on the force in the Western District.

Anderson and Cleveland are being transferred after four years in their Western District roles. Lego and Anderson essentially are switching jobs; Anderson takes over the property crimes unit. Cleveland takes over the records unit. 

Questions -- and Answers -- about Covid Vaccines
Your chance to voice concerns, and share what you’re hearing, about Covid-19 vaccines is this Thursday, Feb. 4, from 5-6:30 p.m. Saint Paul-Ramsey County Public Health holds a free, remote “community conversation.” Staff will answer your questions; they’ll also cover the latest on vaccine distribution and the science behind the vaccines. Get the information on how to join by Zoom video, join by phone, or submit questions and concerns in advance.
Photo: Memorial Medical Center
Food Scraps Composting -- in 150 Seconds
Want to know what happens to the food scraps you recycle at the Como Community Council’s 24/7 organics collection site on Beulah Lane in Como Park? Ramsey County has a nicely done video that summarizes why and how organics recycling works to turn scraps into valuable compost.

One thing the video doesn’t mention: Please don’t dump cardboard at the organics recycling site. Empty pizza boxes are OK; empty Amazon Prime boxes are not. Instead, put cardboard in your blue cart for weekly recycling by Eureka. Or, if you have more cardboard than your cart can handle, take it to Advance Disposal, 309 Como Ave. You can drop it off for free weekdays from 6 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturdays 8 a.m.-noon.
Preparing for the Next Snowstorm
It’s been hard this season to decipher when Saint Paul will or will not declare a snow emergency. Even if you stay in the loop, your neighbors may not. But, here’s a chance to do them (and the rest of your block or apartment building) a favor -- in a polite, Minnesota kind of way.

Sign up as a Snow Emergency SuperStar. When you do, Public Works gets you temporary signs to plant in snow banks when the city declares a plowing emergency. Move the signs when the time is right, so neighbors know when they cannot park on which side of the street. That helps them avoid a ticket and/or tow. It also helps the rest of you, because it allows crews to plow curb to curb (or at least as close to the curb as they get). Plus, you’ll also get a fistful of brochures to pass around as additional resources.
Put Your Sidewalk, Driveway on a Low-Salt Diet
The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization hosts identical webinars this week on managing snow and ice in ways that protect water quality. The free webinar outlines the comparative values of shoveling, scraping, sanding, salting, deicing – and what works best when. It covers homes, businesses, and community institutions. Register in advance for this Monday, Feb. 1, from noon-12:45 p.m., or for this Wednesday, Feb. 3, from 6-6:45 p.m.
Magazines Lead Library's Digital Switch
The Saint Paul Public Library is transferring its digital access from cloudLibrary to OverDrive. Beginning this Monday, Feb. 1, you can download and keep hundreds of magazines for free, simply by using your library card to sign up for OverDrive’s Libby app. The transfer of all ebooks and audio books to Libby is expected to be completed by spring. (The Ramsey County Library also is switching to OverDrive.)
Winter Carnival Carves Out a New Normal
The annual Saint Paul Winter Carnival isn’t the same, but it is back in action through Sunday Feb. 7. There are a wide range of events: outdoors, indoors, and virtual – and at least one mystery event that we have no clue about when or where it takes place. 

Unless the Pioneer Press has buried its medallion nearby, the closest Carnival event to Como is the Drive-Thru Ice and Snow Sculpture 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. (The sculpture park means the Fairgrounds are closed to public wandering.)
Back at the Fairgrounds
Yes, we're repeating ourselves but, because of the Winter Carnival’s sculpture park, free public access to the Fairgrounds is unavailable through next Sunday, Feb. 7. Also not open to the public:

  • Legacy Luau Gymnastics Invitational: Through this Sunday, Jan. 31, Warner Coliseum. Friday 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
  • North Shore Gymnastics Gopher Invite: Next Friday-Sunday, Feb. 5-7. Hours: Feb. 5, 11 a.m.-8 p.m; Feb. 6-7, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
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.