November 6, 2020
The sun and sky put on spectacular displays this past week.
Nile Fellows captured this sunrise over the lake.
Explore the Covenants of Exclusion
This week's Como Community Council Sunday Series highlights the Mapping Prejudice Project in Saint Paul. Find out how white people created and promoted racial covenants to legally reserve homes and land exclusively for white people, and how these covenants continue to shape structural racism in our community today. Also, you’ll learn how you can volunteer to research where these covenants exist in our city, in our neighborhood, and in the property deed of your own home.

Details: The free online presentation is this Sunday, Nov. 8, from 1-2:30 p.m. To take part, register in advance; we’ll send you access information shortly beforehand.
D10, Partners to Deliver Free Food
The Como Community Council and Sanneh Foundation are partnering to deliver free meal boxes on selected Fridays in November and December. 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.

The meal boxes will be distributed in the north parking lot of Niem Phat Buddhist Temple, at Dale and Front:
  • November 13 and 20
  • December 11 and 18
Distribution will be 1:30-3:30 p.m. (or until supplies run out). Reservations are recommended; they are available by filling out this form.
One Committee Meets, One Doesn’t
The Como Community Council’s Neighborhood Relations Committee meets this Tuesday, Nov. 10. Discussion will focus on building partnerships with other organizations, and finalizing plans for food and Thanksgiving meal distributions later this month.

Details: The meeting begins Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. All renters, homeowners, and other District 10 community members are welcome to participate remotely by telephone or using Zoom video conferencing. If you want to join the discussion, email the District 10 office; we will email you access information.

Taking the night off: The Como Community Council's Environment Committee will not meet this Wednesday, Nov. 11, as previously scheduled. 
Need Some Good News?
District 10 residents donated more than $1,600 (and counting) to purchase Thanksgiving meals for neighborhood seniors who will be isolated because of Covid-19 precautions. Plus, more than two dozen residents are volunteering to deliver the meals.

The outpouring of generosity is another example of Como Kindness in action. TST Catering is preparing the meals, the North End South Como Block Nurse Program is lining up who gets what, and the Como Community Council is handling the logistics and connecting community members who want to make a difference.
Plastic Bags Need Special Treatment
You can recycle a lot of plastic in your blue recycling cart -- but not plastic bags. That’s the moral of the Story Stroll that Saint Paul Public Works has installed on the walking path near Como Lakeside Pavilion. The series of Recycle Smart signs explains, in simple terms and graphics, why and how plastic bags foul up the regular recycling process.

But that doesn’t mean you have to trash your plastic bags. Instead, drop them off (and other plastic “film,” too) at a local store that will ship them to a specialty recycler. Nearby options include Cub Foods, Kohl’s, Lunds & Byerlys, and Target.
County Offers Cash Grants to Landlords
Ramsey County’s Landlord Assistance program provides one-time grants to landlords for up to $20,000 per rental unit to compensate for tenants' missed rent payments or unpaid fees in 2020 because of Covid-19. The first application deadline is next Friday, Nov. 13; that is only for landlords who own no more than 50 rental units in the county. A second deadline, on Thursday Dec. 10, is for any qualifying landlord.
Every Neighborhood Has a Story: Let’s Discover Ours Together
Are you good at sharing good stories? Can you take photos that even the people in the picture like? Do you like talking with interesting people? Then you could be exactly who we are looking for to help unleash our new project: Know Your Como.

At the Como Community Council, we want to highlight neighbors who do things (or who bring the kinds of energy) that make this a better place. We plan to share their stories in our newsletter, on social media, and on our website. The goal of this project is to celebrate and appreciate the large and small contributions of our neighbors, and the diversity that makes Como a special place for all of us.

But first, we need the people who can collect the stories. So, if you can:
  • Interview
  • Write
  • Photograph
  • Draw
  • Bring another creative or practical skill that can bring these neighbors to light…

Email us. We’ll help you assemble a team and turn you loose. Deadline: Please let us know by this Monday, Nov. 9.
If You Need a Test for Coronavirus
With cases of Covid-19 soaring, the state and county continue to offer free testing. These three sites are open to anyone, with or without symptoms, with or without insurance. IDs are not required, but reservations are strongly recommended. A rundown:

  • Ongoing: 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
  • This Saturday, Nov. 7, noon-5 p.m. Aldrich Arena, 1850 White Bear Ave., Maplewood. Register
  • Wednesday Nov. 18, 2-6 p.m. Consulate of Mexico, 797 E. 7th St. Register

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.
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 Nov. 16-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 End is Near (or Even Here!)
Ayd Mill Road: The newly configured road and trail are scheduled to open this Saturday, Nov. 7. There’s a public unveiling from 9-11 a.m.

Como Ave.: The road is fully open west of Arona, but still officially closed between Arona and Hamline. Work for the season will finish no later than next Friday, Nov. 13. The road is paved, and the bike trail is paved, but crews still have to finish concrete work, streetlights, pavement markings, signs and more. Some sod and trees will be planted this month, mostly between Raymond and the University of Minnesota Transitway. Boulevards elsewhere will be sprayed with hydro-mulch to stabilize soil during the winter, but won’t be landscaped until spring 2021.
On the city's western border, Como and full access to Highway 280 are expected to reopen this Tuesday, Nov. 10.

Dale St. Bridge: The road remains restricted to one lane in each direction between University and Carroll. Ramps to and from I-94 are still closed. Access from Dale to some nearby east-west streets is loosening up, and there is some access to sidewalks.

Highway 5: The freeway to and from MSP Airport, and all related ramps, are expected to reopen today, Friday Nov. 6.
We Keep Track So You Don’t Have To
Redefinition of “family.” Planning Commission holds a public hearing next Friday, Nov. 13, at 8:30 a.m. on proposals to redefine “family” in the city’s zoning code. You can get more details on the three options that are proposed, submit written comments in advance, or give testimony via Skype during the hearing itself. For more context, you can watch the presentation city planner Michael Wade gave to District 10’s Land Use Committee on Nov. 4.

Public hearing: The city is accepting public comment on how it used federal money in its Community Development Block Grant, Emergency Solutions Grant, and Home Investment Partnership programs. A public hearing is this Tuesday, Nov. 10, using Skype. Comments can be sent by email until Tuesday Nov. 17. Read details in the city’s draft report.

You can still have your say on license renewals for these District 10 businesses:
  • Speedway: The gas station and liquor licenses for this convenience store at 950 Lexington Parkway N are up for renewal on Dec. 1. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 1 Council Member Dai Thao. 
  • Carter’s BP: The gas station license for this convenience store at 623 Como Ave. is up for renewal on Dec. 29. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 5 Council Member Amy Brendmoen.
  • Best Western Plus Como Park: The liquor licenses for this hotel in Bandana Square are up for renewal on Jan. 3, 2021. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali.
  • Ted’s Recreation: The entertainment, liquor, Sunday liquor, and 2 a.m. closing licenses for this bar at 1084 W. Larpenteur are up for renewal on Jan. 31, 2021. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 5 Council Member Amy Brendmoen.
We're Always Looking Ahead
  • Today, Friday Nov. 6: The Fall Flower Show unveils new arrangements in the Sunken Garden of the Marjorie McNelly Conservatory. This version is heavy on chrysanthemums in the orange and bronze palette. Daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m. through Nov. 29. Reservations are mandatory.
  • This Saturday, Nov. 7: Cyber Seed Crawl, hosted by Como Community Seed Library. Swap seeds in a socially distanced way. Make your requests and get other details through the library’s Facebook event page.
  • This Monday, Nov. 9: Ramsey County holds an online “community conversation” about food security in 2021 and beyond. 4-5:30 p.m.
  • This Monday, Nov. 9: Ramsey County holds an online “town hall” to talk about its housing stability plans for unsheltered residents, 5-6:30 p.m. (On Oct. 20, County Commissioner Trista MatasCastillo gave the Como Community Council an extensive overview of county efforts to find housing for residents living on the streets. Watch her presentation)
  • 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
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.