November 13, 2020
We're all searching: No feeders for this pileated woodpecker, who isn't taking the easy way out while looking for a meal. Photo: Nile Fellows
D10, Partners to Deliver Free Food
The Como Community Council and Sanneh Foundation are partnering to hand out free meal boxes on selected Fridays in November and December. The first time is today, Friday Nov. 13.

The meal boxes are available to Ramsey Country residents dealing with financial hardships because of Covid-19. The boxes provide two meals of six servings each. They contain locally sourced food, including lean proteins, whole grains, fresh produce, and spices. We'll hand out meal boxes in the north parking lot of Niem Phat Buddhist Temple, at Dale and Front, from 1:30-3:30 p.m. (or until supplies run out). Future dates:

  • Next Friday, Nov. 20
  • Fridays Dec. 11 and 18

Reservations are recommended; they are available by filling out this form.
Can the Freeway Take a Different Direction?
What could it mean when MnDOT says it is "Rethinking I-94"? The group Neighborhoods First provides some ideas during the Como Community Council's monthly meeting this Tuesday, Nov. 17.

Details: The meeting begins at 7 p.m. All renters, homeowners, and other District 10 community members are welcome to participate remotely by telephone or by using Zoom video conferencing. If you want to join the discussion, email the District 10 office; we will email you access information.
You Make It Possible
It is Give to the Max Day in Minnesota this Thursday, Nov. 19. We will not flood your Inbox. But we will gratefully welcome your financial support for the things we do, week in and week out, to build a better community. In this tumultuous year, we have:

  • Partnered with you and others in unprecedented ways to supply food to neighbors in need
  • Launched anti-racism work to educate each other and identify concrete ways we can force change from our positions of privilege
  • Made it a priority to make sure seniors are not isolated during the pandemic
  • Built personal and community connections through our Como Kindness campaigns
  • Overhauled our voting process in ways that tripled resident participation from previous records

That is on top of our “routine” tasks, things like working with neighbors and businesses on redeveloping the old Sholom Home, eliminating obnoxious late-night patrons at Half Time Rec, and paving the way for a coffee house on Front Ave. Plus, through this newsletter and our website, we continue to supply the most reliable and trust-worthy information in the neighborhood.

Most of our operating budget comes from grants, which typically come with strings attached. Donations from you and other community members, however, give us flexibility and resources to accomplish more of your priorities. If you have the ability, you can donate online, or mail a donation to: Como Community Council, 1224 Lexington Parkway N, Saint Paul, MN 55103. Thank you.
How, Where to Get a Test for the Coronavirus
With cases of Covid-19 surging, the state and county continue to expand their free testing sites -- especially now that the Minnesota Department of Health is recommending that every state resident between the ages of 18 and 35 get a test, whether or not they have symptoms. A rundown:

  • 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 seven other sites in the state.)
  • This Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2-6 p.m. Nasal swab testing at the Consulate of Mexico, 797 E. 7th St. Register (Also on Wednesdays Dec. 2 and 16.)

To find other testing locations in Saint Paul or nearby, use the state Department of Health's interactive map. These locations 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.

New restrictions: Because of surging virus caseloads, Gov. Tim Walz has placed new limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings, and on restaurant and bar hours. They take effect beginning at 10:00 tonight, Friday Nov. 13.

Learn about vaccinations: Dr. Lynne Ogawa, medical director for Saint Paul-Ramsey County Public Health, holds a virtual community conversation about potential Covid-19 vaccinations this Wednesday, Nov. 18, from 4-5 p.m. Get the phone or video access information
The Truth is Out There
If you missed our Nov. 8 Sundays Series presentation about Mapping Prejudice in Ramsey County, you can watch the recording on our website. The presentation includes preliminary research demonstrating how large portions of Como and Falcon Heights had deeds with racial covenants that prohibited property owners from selling or renting to blacks or other people of color.
Fairgrounds Will Be Glowing
The State Fairground’s Glow Holiday Festival opens this Thursday, Nov. 19, and runs every day 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 is allowed from 4:30-9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays; and from 4:30-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. 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 event means everyday access to the Fairgrounds will be limited. We'll pass along details on which gates are open for walkers and cyclists once Fair officials decide.
Where Do Campaign Signs Go?
The drama isn’t over, but the voting is. Legally, that means you no longer can plant campaign signs in your yard. You cannot put them in your blue recycling cart, either, even though many signs are corrugated plastic and many stakes are metal. If you are not saving the signs for your scrapbook, here are options of what you can do:

  • Return them to the campaign.
  • Recycle them at a local collection site through next Friday, Nov. 20: Mendota Heights is open on weekdays; Lakeville is open this weekend.
  • Repurpose them by painting over them or getting even more creative. Pinterest is another source of inspiration; search "corrugated plastic," we're told.
  • Take the metal stakes to a scrap metal dealer. Nearby locations include Advanced Disposal near Como and Minnehaha, and Metro Metals Recycling near Como and Hunting Valley Road.
  • If all else fails, throw the signs in the trash.
There’s Not Much Time to Think About It
Public Art Saint Paul is seeking applications from individuals or teams to create public art along Wheelock Parkway between Como Lake and Lake Phalen. The catch: You’ve got to submit your “request for qualifications” paperwork by 2 p.m. next Friday, Nov. 20.

The project will select up to six installations, with budgets of between $20,000 and $50,000 each. Based on the Grand Round Design and Implementation Plan, they want themes related to birds and migration. Potential locations include our favorite intersection of Wheelock, Maryland, Victoria, Como Lake Drive, and East Como Blvd.; plus Wheelock near Arlington; the “horseshoe bend”; Wheelock at the Gateway Trail; Wheelock at Edgerton; and Wheelock at Arcade.

To start the process, register as a vendor; then apply for an RFQ. For help in the process, view a recording of an earlier information session (look under the amendments tab). If you’ve got questions, send an email.
Well, We've Got the Snow
Registration is open for snowboard, downhill, and cross-country ski lessons for children and adults at the Como Park Ski Center. Lessons are available for beginners and more-experienced levels.

  • One-day cross-country group lessons begin on Dec. 12 ($15). One-day cross-country clinics ($30) begin on Dec. 23.
  • Downhill group lessons begin on Jan. 4 for adults ($95) and Jan. 10 for children ($95); these lessons typically run once a week. One-day downhill clinics ($30) begin Dec. 23.
  • Snowboard group lessons begin on Jan. 4 for adults ($95) and Jan. 10 for children ($95); these lessons typically run once a week. One-day snowboard clinics ($30) begin Dec. 23.
Rec Check is Back in Action
Registration is open for Saint Paul Parks and Recreation’s free after-school program, Rec Check. Rec Check runs this Monday, Nov. 16, through Tuesday Dec. 22 from 2-6 p.m. at North Dale and 16 other recreation or community centers. Children in grades 1-5 who live or attend school in Saint Paul are eligible.
The Barricades are Gone
Como Ave.: The reconstructed street and bicycle trail are fully open to all traffic between Hamline and the Raymond/Cleveland intersection as of today, Friday Nov. 13. There's still plenty of clean-up and detail work to finish, especially between Hamline and Snelling. Remaining work includes street signs, street lights, and pavement markings. If weather cooperates, sod will be planted on boulevards this year; if it does not, crews will spray on hydro-mulch to stabilize soil until sod can be planted next spring. Crews also hope to finish the bike trail's "gateway node" at Hamline and Como; those plans include an informational kiosk, water fountain, racks, a repair station, trash cans, and seating.

For residents, home trash and recycling service return to normal beginning this Monday, Nov. 16. Buses resume running their normal routes; however, Metro Transit is eliminating three low-use stops on Route 3A in District 10:
Como and Winston (which averages 4 riders a day), Como and Arona (which averages 6 riders a day), and Como and Albert (which averages 3 riders a day).

On the city's western border, Como is fully reopen, and there is full access to Highway 280. But not all signs are installed, and there still is no traffic signal at Eustis.

Dale St. Bridge: The county road and ramps to and from Interstate 94 are expected to reopen fully by next Friday, Nov. 20 – unless the weather fails to cooperate.
If You Haven't Taken a Survey in a While
The concept of something more than “rush hour” transit on Highway 36 is being studied by several counties, MnDOT, and the Metropolitan Council. They’ve got a survey if you’ve got thoughts.
Coming Up This Week
  • This Wednesday, Nov. 18: Rice Street Visioning Open House, 6-8 p.m. Updates on potential roadway redesigns, based on what people have suggested so far. Free
  • This Thursday, Nov. 19: Board Representation Leadership Training for People of Color and Indigenous, 5:30-8:30 p.m. The free online training, led by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, prepares people of color to join their local neighborhood board -- such as the Como Community Council -- to create change by bringing diverse voices and leadership to neighborhood groups. Register
  • Next Sunday, Nov. 22: Drive-By Food Collection, Saint Timothy Lutheran Church, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Cash or non-perishable food donations will be taken at the church parking lot (Hamline and Hoyt) and given to Keystone Community Services.
This Time, Community Meeting Goes Online
The Western District of the Saint Paul Police Department holds its monthly community meetings this Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. The meetings will be on Skype. To join:

  • Morning meeting: By video link or by phone (651-266-5767). The meeting ID is 87017894.
  • Evening meeting: By video link or by phone (651-266-5767). The meeting ID is 47562349.

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.