Feb. 5, 2021
Warm Hearts = Warm Feet + Warm Hands
We at the Como Community Council invite you to share warmth and love on Valentine’s weekend. Specifically, we hope you can help us help out neighbors who currently don’t have a permanent home. We’ll be collecting:

  • Winter socks
  • Winter gloves and mittens
  • Warm blankets (full and twin sizes)
  • Cash contributions, which we’ll use to buy supplies

The newer, the better. We'll work with Saint Paul and Ramsey County to distribute your donations to adults now being sheltered temporarily in locations such as Bethesda Hospital, Bandana Square, and Luther Seminary. Details
Name That Ant
This ant sculpture, which greets passers-by from Kim and Paul Czarnezki's front yard on Nebraska Ave., doesn't have a name. You can change that. We're crowd-sourcing the neighborhood for suggestions. Send us your idea; we'll collect the suggestions and see where things go from there.

To learn more about how The Ant ended up with the Czarnezkis, read this month’s installment of "Know Your Como" – District 10’s stories about people who make our neighborhood so fascinating.
You're Invited to Join Committee Discussion
The Como Community Council's Environment Committee meets this Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. Among topics: Whether to weigh in on the state’s proposed Clean Cars Minnesota rules.

As always, 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. We'll also post an agenda when it's ready.
Meal Kits Still Available on Fridays
The Como Community Council and Sanneh Foundation again are distributing free meal boxes today and most Fridays this month. The meal boxes are available to Ramsey County 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 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.
State Can Help Pay Your Heating Bills
The coldest weather of the season is a good reason to remind you that the state has emergency energy assistance available for eligible low-income residents. The assistance can provide up to $1,400 to pay energy bills that are past due, repair or replace a malfunctioning furnace, or purchase an emergency fuel supply. Eligibility is based on your household income for the past three months; maximums are 50 percent of the state median income. That means $7,066 for an individual in the past three months, or $13,589 for a household of 4.
County Parks Want Your Opinion
Ramsey County is looking for ideas as it considers how to adapt its parks to changing community needs and to make parks more useful for residents who are more racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse. One way to share your viewpoint: Take this survey.
Where Should Your To-Go Cup Go?
If you are not using a reusable mug, trying to figure out the proper way to dispose of the carry-out cups, lids, straws, and utensils you get with your coffee, cocoa, Coke, or slushy can make you, well, jittery. Here’s a guide for the different ways to handle the paper, foam, plastic, cardboard, etc. that come with our hot and cold beverages.
How to Track Down Vaccine Availability
When it can, Minnesota continues to offer coronavirus vaccines for state residents age 65 or older and for child-care workers and educators designated by their employer. As vaccine supplies become available, the state announces designated time frames when residents 65 or older can register for a vaccine; individuals then are selected by lottery to receive their first shot the following week.

In addition, more vaccines are becoming available through local health-care providers. Eligible state residents should make an appointment directly with their provider. This interactive map shows participating providers; locally, they include some HealthPartners, Hennepin Healthcare, and M Health Fairview locations.

Meanwhile, here’s a rundown of testing options if you suspect you were exposed to coronavirus:

  • Home testing. The state is partnering with Vault Medical Services to provide free saliva test kits that residents can use at home.
  • Free saliva testing. Roy Wilkins Auditorium is open seven days a week: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends. Register in advance; for your appointment, enter at 175 Kellogg Blvd. (Free saliva testing is also available at Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airport, the Minneapolis Convention Center, and other sites in the state.)
  • Additional testing locations. To find testing sites in Saint Paul or nearby, use the state Department of Health's interactive map. These locations (including Allina Health in Bandana Square) 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.
Photo: Memorial Medical Center
City Outlines Summer Youth Job Program
Saint Paul youth ages 14-21 who live in a cost-burdened household or have another barrier to employment can apply now for the city’s Right Track summer internship program. The internships pay $10-$15 an hour for 15-40 hours a week, depending on the position. Most internships begin June 21 and run 6-9 weeks. Applications are due by Sunday Feb. 28. Businesses that want to host or support an intern can get more information by calling 651-266-6363 or emailing the program.

An earlier deadline: This Wednesday, Feb. 10, is the last chance to apply for a City of Saint Paul Community First Public Safety Grant. The grants of at least $20,000 are available to community organizations doing work to reduce and prevent violence, increase neighborhood outreach in crime prevention, or address trauma response and healing.

A different plan of action: Saint Paul is proposing amendments to the federally required Annual Action Plans that outline how the city spends Community Development Glock Grant funding. In short, the city is seeking to expand the kind of “clearance activities” eligible to prevent the spread of blight to adjacent properties or areas. For details, or to comment on the “substantial amendments,” which cover the 2018-2020 plan years, contact Julie Hostak by email or by phone at 651-266-8545.

Neighborhood issues of note:
  • 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.
  • H&M Auto Body: The auto repair and paint shop licenses for this body shop at 867 Dale are up for renewal on April 18. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 1 Council Member Dai Thao.
  • Como Park Golf Course: Liquor, Sunday liquor, and entertainment licenses are up for renewal on April 18. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali.
Plan Out Your Calendar
  • Today, Friday Feb. 5: Deadline to apply for Round 4 of Ramsey County’s Small Business Relief Fund, available to qualifying businesses impacted by a pandemic-related executive order. Applications accepted until 11:59 p.m.
  • This Wednesday, Feb. 10: Saint Paul Public Library’s Fireside Reading Series continues with Carolyn Holbrook, author of the essay collection “Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify.” 7 p.m. Free. Register in advance
  • Tuesday Feb. 16: MNsure opens a special enrollment period for residents who lack health insurance.
  • Saturday Feb. 20: Como Community Seed Library Cyber Seed Crawl (Urban Edibles Edition). 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Saturday Feb. 20: Freight Rail in My Neighborhood: Creating Family and Community Preparedness Plans to Address Rail Hazards in Our Communities. 1-3 p.m. Sponsored by University of Minnesota School of Public Health and Citizens Acting for Rail Safety/Twin Cities. Free. Join using Zoom or by phone (651-372-8299). Meeting ID: 989 2619 0664
Winter Carnival Sculpture Tickets are Sold Out
Winter Carnival Drive-Thru Ice and Snow Sculpture Park: Through this Sunday, Feb. 7. Tickets are sold out, but cars will be shuttling through Friday from noon-10 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m-10 p.m.; and Sunday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Because of the sculptures, free public access to the Fairgrounds is unavailable this weekend. Also not open to the public:

  • North Shore Gymnastics Gopher Invite: Today-Sunday, Feb. 5-7. Hours: Friday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m; Saturday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sign Up Now for Crime Prevention Workshops
Saint Paul Police will offer two crime-prevention workshops online this month.

  • Burglary Prevention: Wednesday Feb. 16, 6 p.m. The workshop explains how property owners can apply environmental design principles -- such as landscaping, lighting, and access control -- to improve safety. Register
  • Fraud: Wednesday Feb. 24, 6 p.m. This workshop focuses on common scams, ways to protect your information, and what to do if you are scammed. Register

This week's Como community crime update: A lot of garage break-ins end the month
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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.