Ramsey County Community Updates

The fifth of bi-weekly newsletters detailing how different communities in Ramsey County are handling the Pandemic.
This week includes:

Policy Action Group Updates
Mounds View Citizen of the Year
What's Happening in Roseville?
Grants Available for Non-Profits

Ramsey County COVID Policy Action
Group (PAG) Updates
Debrief: The 12-member Policy Action Group (PAG) , formed to manage policy issues and ensure rapid and long-term response in Ramsey County, has been operating since March. Read more about them in our first newsletter .

The group's more recent meeting was held on Monday, May 18th.

Legislative Update: A legislative meeting adjourned late Sunday night, May 17th. There was no legislative movement on many big ticket items, including the bonding bill, the helping package, or the tax bill. The distribution of CARES money to local governments was not decided upon. This money would typically be spent on business assistance, workforce assistance, and financial assistance for families and individuals.
  • There are hopes for a bonding bill for June or July. The Senate was agreeing possibly to 1.3 billion in bonding.
  • Director of Government Relations Jennifer O’Rourke discussed a housing package that created issues of agreement on urban homelessness, with Senate members wanting to spend less than the House.

*Commissioner Carter explained that the Policy Action Group's biggest concern amidst COVID is whether the resources necessary to meet the county’s needs can be obtained. These resources allow the county to work with local governments and keep small communities running.

Financial Implications: Nicole Frethem, Chair of the Financial Implications Committee, discussed development of a toolkit that would provide resources in communicating, advocating, and educating policymakers, residents, and the media, in the ways we are responding to the pandemic and how local governments are impacted. They are looking for partners to help fund this work. The next step is for their partners to review the material, then if accepted, the materials can be more broadly shared. The goal is to create one voice for all counties.
School Districts: Joseph Gothard, Superintendent of St. Paul City Schools, talked on planning and financial ramifications. St. Paul City Schools’ budget goes from July 1 to June 30 and they have a 2% state funding that will take them through next year, and will also have funding for the summer meal program. The current program has been well-received, serving almost 3 million meals in the past 9 weeks. Currently, staff is figuring how different roles will look when schools are opened up on Sept 1. Creating a balanced budget for next year is the goal.
Waivers: Commissioner McDonough reported that the State Association of Counties and Association of MN Counties has pulled together a county operations workgroup to examine waivers. They are specifically discussing the effectiveness and efficiency in extending waivers for a 60-day period. The State Association of Counties is working with the League of MN Cities, the School Board Association, and townships on general operations. These partnerships are providing positive outcomes.
  • There is work being done with the federal delegation – some of these waivers are federal waivers through CMS, especially related to Medicaid. Working with the State to keep these in place is a focus. Right now this is a state-wide issue
  • Evictions – There is help for renters who are having issues with landlords not abiding by the eviction order. There is a Sheriff’s Helpline that can work with landlords to alleviate the situation.

Homelessness and Respite Care: Commissioner MatasCastillo reported that a formal request was sent to the State Emergency’s Operation Center for assistance in creating and running a low-barrier shelter holding up to 200 people , and in receiving enough beds to disband certain encampments – those who reach high thresholds of risk in public safety and health. The History Center steps, for example, is a concerning encampmen t and a focus of the committee. There are 40-60 people in encampments that are needing to be moved.
  • There are about 70 active encampments in St. Paul, 4 being the most concerning in both size but mainly activity occurring. Alternatives spaces are needed.
  • There have been frustrations in receiving State response. A formal request asking for the clearing of encampments from the city of St. Paul is being anticipated. This is a touchy subject. Initially, one of the Governor’s executive orders instructed encampments not be disrupted. More recent orders, due to public safety and health risks, have instructed that encampments can be moved if there are alternative locations.
  • Because of COVID, de-populating shelters is a focus. The committee is working on moving homeless to hotel space and other contracted space, and continuing to manage other services. They are short about 150 staff who are needed to continue this high-stress and emotional work.
  • Other communities, such as Maplewood, have encampments as well, but they aren’t as widely reported. The subcommittee encourages their suburban partners to identify and share encampments around the county.

New initiatives are posted on Ramsey County's website . PAG plays a role in many of the articles you see here.

Mounds View Citizen of the Year
A Deserving Citizen: Last Tuesday, Amy Hodges was honored as the 2019 Mounds View Citizen of the Year! CTV has done a live interview with Amy, which will be coming out soon.

Nominated by members of the Mounds View Lions Club, Amy Hodges has served as a " volunteer extraordinaire ," being involved in activities directly and indirectly associated with the community. Amy has:

  • Served as a Cub Scouts Den mother for all 4 of her boys and was an Assistant Director at the District level for the Boy Scouts of America for 25 years
  • Worked as an election judge for 35+ years
  • Served as PTA President at Sunnyside Elementary
  • Volunteered with the City, including helping with various mailings in Mounds View’s early days as well as organizing decorations for the annual City-wide dinner.
  • Was the first president of the Mounds View Lioness Club, which was in existence for 38 years
...and more!

Amy' s ultimate volunteer effort occurred during the 1965 Memorial Day weekend when she assisted her husband Don,who was Mayor at the time, sort through all the personal items that had been gathered after the tornado, with the goal of returning as much as possible to their owners. Amy says that to this day there is a Mounds View resident who thanks Don and Amy every time he sees them for finding his marriage license.

Amy and Don will be married 70 years in May. They have lived in Mounds View since 1956 (64 years). Don has been a past Mounds View Citizen of the Year recipient, and together, Don and Amy make an outstanding team, truly exemplifying what a Mounds View Citizen of the Year stands for at its core. Congratulations Amy!

What's Happening in Roseville?

Farmer's Market Open: The Saint Paul Farmers Market in Roseville is open. The market, located at 2131 Fairview Ave, is open Tuesdays from 8:00 a.m. to noon.

Measures have been taken to keep customers, vendors and foods safe. Vendors are required to wear masks and customers are asked to wear them as well. Handwashing stations will be set up throughout the market, and sterile gloves will be available upon request. Physical barriers will be in place to separate vendors, staff and customers. 

The Farmers Market offers guidelines for shopping. For example, rather than touching the products, ask for what you'd like and let the vendors serve you. When possible, pre-order and pre-pay vendors to reduce the amount of time spent at the market. Click here for more info and to see vendors and their products.
Be a Part of Roseville’s Flower Power Team: Roseville is looking for a few more volunteers to help plant flowers at Roseville’s Central Park.

Past Projects: On May 16 and 17, flowers were planted along Lexington Ave. The boulevard was divided into separate plots and volunteers were assigned to plots spaced apart to ensure adequate social distancing. The city provided plants and a limited supply of tools.

Contact Volunteer Coordinator Rachel Boggs at rachel.boggs@cityofroseville.com or 651-792-7028 for information about volunteering. Staff have worked out a plan for minimal contact at safe distances among volunteers and staff. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own tools and gloves and wear protective masks.

"Thank you! Your help is creating a lasting environmental impact in our parks."
Parks and Recreation Dept Receives Award: Congratulations to the Roseville Parks and Recreation Department and Cedarholm Golf Course for receiving a 2019 Award of Excellence in Administrative and Management Strategies from the Minnesota Recreation and Park Association (MRPA). The Award of Excellence will be presented to the city at a Parks and Recreation Commission meeting this summer.

Annually, MRPA presents awards of excellence for notable parks and recreation projects and programs. The City of Roseville was recognized for its transformation of the golf course clubhouse to the Cedarholm Community Building , a multi-purpose community asset that provides year-round recreational opportunities, affordable community rental space, arts and entertainment venues and other opportunities for the community to use the building and the golf course property.

In addition to Roseville, Parks and Recreation agencies from the City of Hutchinson, Three Rivers Park District and Saint Paul received 2019 Awards of Excellence in Administrative and Management Strategies.

MRPA is dedicated to enhancing the parks and recreation profession in their communities and in Minnesot a.

Grants Available for Non-Profits: 

The Suburban Ramsey Emergency Coalition , a unique partnership of local affiliates of four major international service clubs, is seeking grant proposals from non-profit organizations that assist the most vulnerable and under-served populations within the Mounds View and Roseville Area School Districts.

This Small Business Emergency Assistance Program was established and has already received more than 20 applications. There is $200K in loans available with a maximum of $5000 per organization.

Grant proposals must address the immediate needs of those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The current areas of focus for grants are food insecurity and housing instability for those at risk of eviction, foreclosure or homelessness. For more info, click here .

The Suburban Ramsey Emergency Coalition is also accepting fund contributions through GiveMN.org and via check made payable to Suburban Ramsey COVID-19 Response Fund. Mail checks to: Shoreview Community Foundation, c/o Carol Mills, 5845 St. Albans Court, Shoreview, MN 55126.
Read Ramsey County's Monthly Newsletter :
May 2020 newsletter: COVID-19 update, open spaces, job...

Coronavirus/COVID-19 update- Outside activities - Job seeker assistance- Mental Health Awareness Month- Vote by mail in 2020- Foster Care Awareness Month- Road projects- Upcoming events- In the news Ramsey County government remains open and we...

Read more

Wondering how you can volunteer during this crisis? Here's some ideas:

Getting Creative: Restaurants will be allowed to serve sit-down customers beginning June 1 at a 25% capacity — but only at outdoor tables. Shoreview restaurants are expanding options for restaurants who don't have outside dining. Restaurants can work with their landlords and submit requests to the City, such as using tents on a sidewalk.
Pictured: Shoreview's "Green Mill" Restaurant & Bar

We want to hear from you!

Have a story? Find out what your community is doing to handle the COVID-19 Pandemic and let us know.

Contact us at RCLLG @mngts.org .

If you have any questions about RCLLG, your membership, or news listed above, please email RCLLG@mngts.org .

Visit the RCLLG website and follow us on social media!
Ramsey County League of Local Governments | www.mngts.org/rcllg