It's the time of year when gardens and markets are overflowing with fruits and vegetables. If you can't eat it all while it's fresh, click on the photo to find tips on storing the abundance for another time. The Save the Food site has all kinds of advice on reducing food waste -- from planning to shopping to cooking to storing (not only fresh food, but pantry staples, too).
Primary is Tuesday (but You Can Vote Early)
Primary elections in Minnesota are this Tuesday, Aug. 11. On the ballot are races for U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, and (in some parts of the neighborhood) Minnesota House of Representatives. You can vote in one (and only one) party primary: DFL, Grassroots-Legalize Marijuana, Legalize Marijuana Now, or Republican. Here are your voting options:
  • Vote absentee by mail: If you've already requested an absentee ballot for the primary, you must return your ballot so it's postmarked by Aug. 11 and arrives by Aug. 13.
  • Vote in person, before Election Day:
    • Ramsey County Library (Roseville), 2180 N. Hamline, and New Brighton Community Center, 400 10th St. NW: today, Friday Aug. 7, until 4 p.m.; this Saturday, Aug. 8, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; or this Monday, Aug. 10, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
    • Ramsey County Elections Office, 90 Plato Blvd: today, Friday Aug. 7, until 4:30 p.m.; this Saturday, Aug. 8, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; or this Monday, Aug. 10, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Vote in person, on Election Day, Aug. 11: Ramsey County expects to have all normal polling places open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Find out who is on the ballot where you live and where you vote.
Get a Handle on Utility Bills
Wonder who determines how much you pay for electricity and natural gas -- and what goes into those decisions? Representatives from the Citizens Utility Board of Minnesota will try to explain it all at this week's District 10 Environment Committee meeting. 

The presentation will focus on the potential impact on consumers of Xcel Energy's proposed Integrated Resources Plan. That plan, which is required by the state, spells out exactly how Xcel intends to generate power in Minnesota for the next 15 years.

The CUB presentation is the third in a row for the committee. Participants are considering whether to support a proposal from Saint Paul 350 that urges the City of Saint Paul and the state's Public Utilities Commission not to allow Xcel to build new fossil-fuel infrastructure. The District 10 committee expects to take a vote on that proposal at this week's meeting.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. this Wednesday, Aug. 12. While pandemic restrictions remain in place, the presentation takes place remotely, rather than in-person. All renters, homeowners, and other District 10 community members are welcome to sit in and participate by video conferencing or telephone. To join, email the District 10 office; staff will send access information. Preliminary agenda
You've Got Knowledge -- They Need It
Have you started or run a business? Do you work in the trades? Can you share expertise in managing personal finances, life skills, or other specialized areas?

Then you could make a difference for neighbors at the Booth Brown House. This Salvation Army program, at Como and Pascal, provides emergency and supportive housing for teens and young adults. Booth Brown helps residents stabilize their lives and step into adulthood. Having adults who can talk through key skills, knowledge, or opportunities -- once or on a regular basis -- can help youth take one more step.

If you're interested, or want more information, call Steven Godfrey, 651-251-3502 x102.
Jessica Florac and Mike Falvey found the stripped-down version of Gates Ajar during their Scavenger Hunt.
And the Scavenger Hunt Winners Are ...
Congratulations to Jacque Lindskoog, Steven Lutes, the Pettinelli family, and Jeanne Shankle, who will receive $25 gift cards for participating in District 10's Como Scavenger Hunt. Based on what we can tell from website traffic, nearly 600 people downloaded our clues this summer.

It's too late for you to qualify for prizes, but it's never too late to go on a hunt yourself. There are two hunts: one east of Lexington, one west of Lexington. As for other neighborhood activities:
  • Order a "Como Kindness" lawn sign. Suggested donation is $15. After we cover costs, proceeds go to the Como Park block nurse program.
  • Order a "20 is Plenty" sign. Promote the city's lower residential speed limit by planting this in your front yard, side yard, or window. 
Woodland Puts Out the Welcome Mat
Discover one of our neighborhood's overlooked treasures -- or discover more -- when Como Woodland Outdoor Classroom holds a "summer open house" on Saturday Aug. 22. Guides who really know their stuff will help you discover more about the woodland's distinct plant communities, animal residents, and human history. Plus, you'll get tips on making the most of the woodland's trail system and using the iNaturalist citizen science app to help you track what you discover.

Your guides include Britt Forsberg, Minnesota Bee Atlas coordinator for the University of Minnesota Extension; Teri Heyer, Urban Connections program specialist for the U.S. Forest Service; and Joan McKearnan, professor of biology and environmental science at Anoka-Ramsey College.

Activities run Aug. 22 from 9:30-11 a.m., beginning at the Kilmer Memorial Fireplace, 1221 Wynne Ave. The event is free but email reservations are required. Participants are expected to embrace social distancing and masks.

Census is Far from Done
The good news? Minnesota leads the nation in response rate for the 2020 U.S. Census: 72.3 percent of state households have filled out their form. The glass half-empty view: That means more than 1 in 4 households have not. Then again -- it's not too late. You can still complete the census online or by phone.

Why take the time? For one, the U.S. Constitution requires a nationwide count of all residents every 10 years. Even more importantly, the census provides the raw data that influences how billions of dollars in federal and private-sector funds get spent every year. It impacts where governments and businesses make investments in jobs, personal services, housing, roads, schools, medical facilities, and more. It also determines redistricting -- who gets what representation in Congress, the state legislature, city council, and more.

But what about us? Locally, we've also got a long way to go. Ramsey County overall is at 75.9 percent, but Saint Paul is only at 71.3 percent, which is below the city's 2010 response rate. Here in Como, participation ranges from exceptional to weak:
  • Census Tract 303 (which is east of Lexington and north of the railroad tracks): 88.5 percent, which is the highest response rate of any census tract in the city
  • Census Tract 302.01 (which is north and west of the park): 82.7 percent
  • Census Tract 312 (which is South Como -- between Lexington, Dale, and the two railroad tracks): 75.6 percent
  • Census Tract 302.02 (which is Energy Park, the apartments between Wynne and Jessamine, and much of Como Regional Park): 64.3 percent
Recycle Smart: They're Done, You're Not
Got empty propane tanks from grilling or camping? Dispose of them properly. It is illegal -- and dangerous -- to put propane tanks, helium tanks, and other pressurized cylinders in recycling or garbage carts. Their compressed gas makes them explosive, a potential fire hazard, and extremely hazardous for workers collecting and sorting your recycling.  

To get rid of them properly, bring empty tanks and cylinders to a Ramsey County hazardous waste site
Hoping to Bag More Participants
There's no State Fair at which Adopt-a-Drain can recruit new participants. So, they're counting on you to expand the number of people committed to keeping area waterways cleaner and pledging to clear storm drains of leaves, grass or other vegetation, garbage, and general debris.

Here's the incentive: Say District 10 referred you, and you get a free tote bag. Or, if you already are an adopter, refer a friend, neighbor, family member, co-worker, etc. Then you both get tote bags. Here's where to find a drain to adopt.
Behind the Scenes at the City
  • Climate Justice Advisory Board: Saint Paul is seeking residents to serve on this new board. Among members will be representatives from each ward and two youth positions. The board expects to meet 4-12 times a year; members serve two-year terms. Applications are due by Monday Aug. 31.
  • Hmong College Prep Academy: City Council intends to vote this Wednesday, Aug. 12, approving $7 million in conduit revenue bonds through the Saint Paul Port Authority, to help finance the charter school's construction of a new middle school building and other facilities on its campus along Brewster St. The item is on the council's consent agenda.
  • Wheel Fun Rentals: City Council intends to vote this Wednesday, Aug. 12, to give the vendor a one-year extension -- until June 15, 2021 -- to complete its required $200,000 investment to Como Miniature Golf Course, and approve a five-year extension on the contract, until Oct. 31, 2027. The item is on the council's consent agenda.
  • Parks and Recreation Commission: The commission expects to vote this Thursday, Aug. 13, on a contract recommending that Be Graceful Bakery and Catering operate concessions at Como Park Pool and other city parks in 2021. The commission meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. You can get details in advance, then join online using Skype.
  • Duke's Car and Towing: The license for this auto repair garage at 977 Front is up for renewal on Oct. 18. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 5 Council Member Amy Brendmoen.
Got a Gap on Your Calendar?
  • Today, Friday Aug. 7, through this Sunday, Aug. 9.  Dinosaur Adventure Drive-Thru, State Fair Grandstand, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. $40 for a carload of up to seven. 
  • This Monday, Aug. 10: Deadline to file public comments on Metropolitan Council's "2021-2024 Transportation Improvement Program" or its longer-range "2040 Transportation Policy Plan: 2020 Update." Get your comments in by 5 p.m.
  • This Tuesday-Wednesday, Aug. 11-12: Parks and Recreation offers free  lacrosse camp for boys and girls, ages 5-11, of any ability. Sylvan Park, 77 W. Rose, 1-3 p.m.
  • Tuesday Aug. 18: Electric Lawn Care 101, 6-7:15 p.m. Fresh Energy co-sponsors this overview of electric lawn mowers and whether they're right for you. The webinar is free but you must register in advance.
  • Wednesday Aug. 26: City Council hearing on proposed revisions to allow more density in the city's multi-family zoning districts. If you've got comments, email them no later than noon Aug. 25.
Keeping Track of Traffic Hassles
  • Como Ave.: In our neighborhood: Como is dug up and shut down completely from Hamline west to Arona. From Arona west to the Cleveland/Raymond intersection, the street is down to one lane in each direction. At the western city border: Como is closed at Hunting Valley Road. Both projects are expected to last through October.
  • Dale St.: The county road remains restricted to one lane in each direction between University and Carroll, as reconstruction of the bridge over Interstate 94 continues. Ramps to and from I-94 are closed. Access from Dale to the Uni-Dale Mall and to some nearby east-west streets is cut off.
  • Highway 280: At least some lanes will be closed nearly every night through Aug. 17 as MnDOT does bridge work over the highway at Wabash Ave., University Ave., and the 280/I-35W/Highway 36 commons. Crews will work Mondays-Saturdays from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m.
  • Interstate 94: Westbound lanes will shut down and be repaved from Highway 280 to Interstate 35W, beginning at 10 o'clock tonight, Friday Aug. 7, through 4 a.m. this Monday, Aug. 10. Ramps close at 8 o'clock tonight.
  • Larpenteur Ave.: Expect only one lane in each direction as work gets under way to permanently convert Larpenteur from 4 lanes to 3 between Dale Street and Interstate 35E. The complete repaving includes installing designated bike lanes and upgrading crosswalks, pedestrian islands, the railroad crossing, and some traffic signals. Construction is expected to last into September.
Can You Say Common Sense?
Last week, we reported that vehicle thefts in Como are up more than 40 percent so far in 2020. To reduce your chances of becoming a victim of auto theft: 
  • Rule No. 1: Lock. Your. Car.
  • Rule 1A: Take your key with you every time -- even if you're out of the car "just for a minute."
  • Rule 1B: Do not leave your car running to "stay cool" or "warm up." It literally takes only seconds for someone to jump in and drive off -- or swipe valuables -- while you stand by helplessly.
Businesses, Individuals Can Get Masks
To help residents and institutions comply with the state's pandemic mandate to wear masks indoors in public spaces, Ramsey County has supplies available for businesses, nonprofits, faith communities, and self-employed workers. To request masks, send an email; include your organization's name and address; the contact person and their phone number; the number of employees; the primary languages spoken by workers and customers; and the race/ethnicity of ownership or leadership.

Individuals who need a mask can get one free of charge at selected community organizations (search the statewide map). Options closest to Como include:
  • Community Action Partnership, 450 Syndicate St. N
  • Ain Dah Young, 1089 Portland Ave.
  • Casa de Esperanza, 540 Fairview Ave. N
  • NAACP of Saint Paul, 270 Kent St. N
  • St. Adalbert's Church, 265 Charles Ave.
  • Autism Society of Minnesota, 2380 Wycliff St. 
Photo: Mayo Clinic
Arena, School Add Covid Testing
As coronavirus cases rise in Minnesota, remember: Widespread testing is available. New for August: Free testing is available every Saturday at Aldrich Arena, 1850 White Bear Ave., Maplewood; and every Sunday at Washington Technology Magnet School, 1495 Rice St. Testing runs 2-6 p.m. The sites are open to everyone: symptoms or no symptoms, insurance or not. There are drive-thru and walk-up lanes. Interpreters will be on site. Registration is recommended, but not required.

To test or not: The state has an online screening tool that can help you decide whether or not you should get tested. Symptoms of Covid-19 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 are sick: Quarantine at home 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 using medicine that lowers fevers.

Where else to get a test: Ongoing testing sites often have different criteria on whom they will or will not test; here is the statewide database. Nearby public testing sites include:
  • Allina Health, 4194 Lexington Ave. N, Shoreview: weekdays 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; weekends 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 651-483-5461
  • CVS Pharmacy, 499 N. Snelling: 651-917-2001
  • CVS Pharmacy, 810 E. Maryland: 651-774-1005
  • CVS Pharmacy, 2650 Rice St., Little Canada: 651-484-0504
  • HealthPartners, 205 S. Wabasha: weekdays 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; weekends 9 a.m.-1 p.m. 952-967-5584
  • M Health Fairview, 580 Rice St.: weekdays 8 am.-5 p.m. 651-227-6551
  • M Health Fairview, 909 Fulton St. SE, Minneapolis: weekdays 7 a.m.-3 p.m.; weekends 7 a.m.-11:30 p.m. 1-855-324-7843.
  • M Health Fairview, 1414 E. Maryland: weekdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 651-227-3461
  • Minnesota Community Care, 424 Dorothy Day Place: weekdays 9:15-11:30 a.m. 651-793-2219
  • Minnesota Community Care, 895 E. 7th St.: Monday, Tuesday, Friday, noon-4 p.m.; Wednesday-Thursday, noon-8 p.m.; weekends 8 a.m.-noon. 651-602-7500
  • North Memorial Health Clinic, 2600 39th Ave. NE, Saint Anthony: weekdays 7 a.m.-5 p.m. 763-581-5500
  • Open Cities Health Center, 916 Rice: Monday and Wednesday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 651-290-9200
  • Open Cities Health Center, 409 N. Dunlap: weekdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 651-290-9200
  • United Family Medicine, 2423 W. 7th St.: weekdays 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 651-241-1000
All these sites require an appointment.
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.