These days, there are times we all feel like this. Photo: Debby Smith
Another Reason Not to Go Far
A concept of what the new Dale Street will look like at I-94 in 2021 (looking northeast).
Reconstruction of Dale Street at Interstate 94 begins this Monday, March 23. Eventually, Dale will be repaved and reconfigured from University south to Iglehart Ave. That includes a new, wider bridge over I-94. Here's what happens beginning this week.
  • Eastbound and westbound ramps at I-94 and Dale close beginning March 23 at 6 a.m.
  • Motorists will not be able to get from Dale to St. Anthony Ave. north of the freeway or to Concordia Ave. south of the freeway. Nor will they be able to get from St. Anthony and Concordia to Dale.
  • Dale will be reduced to one lane in each direction over the freeway. Beginning March 30, the one-lane restriction will expand to between University and Carroll (although, honestly, with all the potholes south of the freeway, that's pretty much the way it is now).
  • Stretches of St. Anthony and Concordia will convert from one-way to two-way to allow local access to homes, businesses, and schools.
Tired of Frozen Pizza and Canned Soup?
You can't have a sit-down meal in a restaurant in Minnesota at least through March 27, but plenty of local eateries are still trying to stay open despite social distancing. Many restaurants and bars in District 10 (and on our borders) are offering carry-out, curbside pickup, or delivery. Here are details of who is open and who is closed for the time being.
These are boundaries for the neighborhood's sub-districts.
What Do We Do About Elections?  
At their monthly meeting March 17, members of the Como Community Council cancelled in-person board elections that were scheduled for April 21. This extraordinary action complies with the emergency public health advisories surrounding COVID-19 and the restrictions those advisories place on public gatherings.

The board anticipates restrictions will continue at least until May. That presents a dilemma for our organization and community. Our bylaws require an annual meeting on the third Tuesday of April. They require elections before the annual meeting. They forbid absentee and proxy voting.

In an unprecedented emergency setting like this, however, something's got to give. We cannot meet all those requirements and still meet the health and safety requirements of discouraging public gatherings.

We want to come up with a solution that allows for widespread participation in our elections, yet still honors the spirit and goals of our bylaws. So, we are turning to community members for advice and a sense of your priorities. Please take our survey to share your preferences, other ideas, and thoughts.
Help Build Community
Regardless of when and how District 10 holds elections, it's going to be more important than ever to re-establish a sense of community. So now is definitely a time to have a bigger say in your neighborhood.

Nine seats are up for election this year. Any renter, homeowner, or other resident of District 10, age 16 or older, is eligible to run. So are representatives from a business, institution, or nonprofit in District 10.  Learn more about the roles and responsibilities of board members. Board seats on the ballot are:
  • vice chair
  • treasurer
  • one representative from each of the neighborhood's four sub-districts
  • two representatives from the neighborhood at-large
Those positions serve two-year terms. In addition, there is a special election to serve the one year remaining on a term from Sub-District 4, which essentially is South Como and Energy Park.
Not Everything is Cancelled
  • The Como Community Council is cancelling all public events that were scheduled through May. That includes Sunday Series presentations planned for March 15, 22, and 29; community yoga scheduled for April 5; Swap Till You Drop scheduled for April 19; the annual meeting and elections scheduled for April 21; and the Neighborhood Garage Sale scheduled for the weekend of May 15. We plan to reschedule most events when things settle down.
  • For April and May, D10's monthly board meetings and Environment, Land Use, and Neighborhood Relations committees will meet using video conferencing and conference calls. Community members will be able to join in remotely; look for details the week before those meetings.
  • This week's Saint Paul City Council meeting will not admit members of the public. But the meeting will stream live beginning at 3:30 p.m. this Wednesday, March 25. You can view the agenda in advance; members of the public can submit comments via email.
  • Saint Paul Public Schools are closed through at least next Friday, March 27. In the meantime, the school district is using bus stops as a way to provide a week's worth of meals to school children on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Get the details of when and where.
  • All Saint Paul Parks and Recreation buildings, classes, and programs are closed through at least next Friday, March 27. That includes Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. But the parks themselves are still open.
  • All Saint Paul Public Libraries are closed through at least next Friday, March 27. That means you can't visit, check out, or return materials. But children, teens, and adults can still access digital tools online -- including e-books, audiobooks, magazines, and homework help. In addition, a story time for children streams live every weekday at 10:30 a.m. on the library's Facebook page.
  • All Ramsey County Libraries are closed through at least this Monday, March 23. Get more information
  • The State Fairgrounds has cancelled all events through May 10, including the Flat Track Motorcycle Racing and Osman Shrine Circus that were scheduled for this week.
  • The Como Park Falcon Heights Living at Home Block Nurse Program has cancelled all group activities and most in-person visits until at least April 1. But it will continue to try to provide essential medical transportation and telephone visits. Call 651-642-1127 or send a request by email for yourself or someone you know.
  • The North End South Como Block Nurse Program is striving to provide phone visits and grocery deliveries for seniors and other residents in need. Residents who need assistance or a friendly voice during these uncertain times -- and neighbors willing to provide that help -- can sign up online.
Straight from the Source(s)
The Minnesota Department of Health is devoting  an extensive section of its website to the coronavirus. The section includes the latest updates, specific information about COVID-19 symptoms, recommendations for prevention, and guidance for different kinds of gatherings. The site includes fliers and videos in a dozen languages. The department also has a public hotline: 651-201-3920. The hotline is staffed weekdays from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

The state's Department of Employment and Economic Development has a resource page for businesses. The webpage includes information on small business loans, a sales tax grace period, unemployment, and other needs.

The Minnesota Legislature is on hiatus, but State Sen. John Marty and State Rep. John Lesch hold a "virtual town hall" to discuss our state of affairs today, Friday March 20, at 2 p.m. The presentation will stream live on Facebook.
Oh, Yeah - There's a Census Going On
We're all supposed to receive notification in the mail no later than today, Friday March 20, "inviting" us to participate in the 2020 U.S. Census. Since we can't go too many places, it should mean we've got plenty of time to complete the census online, by phone, or by mail. Here's the rundown on how to do each.

The U.S. Constitution requires a nationwide count of all residents every 10 years. The census determines redistricting -- who gets what representation in Congress. The census also provides the raw data that influences how billions of dollars in federal and private-sector funds are spent every year. It impacts where governments and businesses make investments in jobs, personal services, housing, roads, schools, medical facilities, and more.
We Can Be Hopeful, Part 1
Wanna have some fun this summer? Cafesjian's Carousel is looking for volunteers to operate the ride, sell tickets, or handle gift shop sales this season. Volunteers are asked to commit at least two days a month. Shifts are 3 or 4 hours on weekdays, 3 hours on weekends. All volunteers receive free training. You can sign up individually, in pairs, or as a group.

The restored, 105-year-old amusement outside the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory operates every day between May 1 and Labor Day, then weekends until Halloween. For more information, or to sign up, call 651-489-4628 or send an email.
Flag football is offered at both North Dale and Northwest Como.
We Can Be Hopeful, Part 2
Registration is open for summer camps at Saint Paul parks and recreation centers.  
  • Options at North Dale include art, ballet, basketball for boys and girls, field trips, fishing and swimming, flag football, game coding, internet broadcasting, K.I.D.S. (Kindness, Independence, Diversity and Strength) for girls, mini-drones, soccer, splash and play, engineering with Lego materials (multiple themes), musical theater, pixilation, rockets, sports camp, STEM challenge for girls, summer discovery, track and field, and the zombie apocalypse.
  • Options at Northwest Como include American Ninja Warrior, archery, art, badminton, basketball, creative writing, flag football, mini-Hawk (baseball, basketball, and soccer), musical theater, robotics, soccer, strategy games, summer adventures, 3-D printing, volleyball, and "wreck it week."
There's also an outdoor games and swim camp based at the Como Park Streetcar Station.
Keeping Track of Official Paperwork
New this week:
  • 1015 Bandana Blvd.: Pacific Ramp LLC is proposing to build a 150-unit apartment building atop the current parking ramp. The project, as designed, requires rezoning from B3 to T3, and a variance on the maximum setback allowed in T3 zoning. The Planning Commission's Zoning Committee holds a public hearing on the requests on Thursday April 9 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 40 of City Hall.
  • Family foster care: Residents at 1170 Cushing Circle, Unit 113, have applied for a family foster care service provider license. If you have questions or concerns, call Ramsey County Human Services at 651-266-3929.
Previously reported:
  • Essence Event Center: This new business at 1217 Bandana Blvd. is applying for liquor and entertainment licenses. It intends to focus on wedding receptions and similar events, especially for the Asian community. Concerns about the application should be sent no later than next Friday, March 27, by email, or in writing to: Legislative Hearing Officer, 310 City Hall, 15 W. Kellogg Blvd., Saint Paul, MN 55102. Questions can be directed to Ross Haddow or Jeff Fischbach at 651-266-8989. A public hearing on the license is scheduled for Monday April 13 at 10 a.m. in Room 330 of City Hall.
  • K&L Sales: The secondhand dealer license for this used-car lot at 1523 Como Ave. is up for renewal on March 29. Anyone who has concerns should contact the office of Ward 4 Councilmember Mitra Jalali.
  • H&M Auto Body: The garage and paint shop licenses for this business at 867 N. Dale are up for renewal on April 18. Anyone who has concerns should contact the office of Ward 1 Councilmember Dai Thao.
  • Como Park Golf Course and Club House: The liquor, Sunday liquor, and entertainment licences (currently being managed by Cozy's Pub) are up for renewal on April 18. Anyone who has concerns should contact the office of Ward 4 Councilmember Mitra Jalali.
  • Gabe's by the Park: The liquor, entertainment, and gambling licenses for this restaurant on Lexington and Energy Park Drive are up for renewal on May 5. (Liquor licenses include patio, Sunday, and 2 a.m. closing.) Anyone who has concerns should contact the office of Ward 4 Councilmember Mitra Jalali.
Bur oaks are one of the trees available.
Take a Chance on a Free Tree
Tree Trust is providing 350 free trees for Saint Paul residents. The trees, 4-6 feet tall, will be divvied up by lottery on March 31. All you have to do is enter by next Friday, March 27, then agree to plant the tree on private property. (Only one entry per address.) If you win, you will pick up your tree on Saturday May 30 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Species available include beech, bur oak, elm, hackberry, Kentucky coffeetree, Norway spruce, redbud, sycamore, white oak, and yellowwood.
Discount Available on Compost Bins
Ramsey County residents can get $20 off a compost bin through the Recycling Association of Minnesota. Order online (or call 651-641-4589), then use the promo code "Ramsey" to get yours for $46. The only catch: You've got to pick up your pre-ordered bin on Saturday May 2 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the county's parks department, 2015 Van Dyke St., Maplewood.
They Haven't Quarantined Crime Yet
This week's Como community crime update
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.