You've Got Until Tuesday to Vote
This Tuesday, June 16, is the last day to vote in the Como Community Council board elections. 
  • At this point, voting online is the only choice left. We will accept online ballot requests until 5 p.m. June 16. Here's how to request your ballot
  • If you requested a paper ballot, but have not yet mailed it back, your best bet now may be to deliver it in person. Please put all your paperwork in the postage-paid envelope we enclosed and drop the envelope in the mailbox outside the Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway N. The mailbox is on a post near the parking lot. Ballots that do not arrive at the District 10 office by 7 p.m. Tuesday will not count.
Because of pandemic restrictions on public gatherings, there is no in-person voting for District 10 elections this year. That means you must vote absentee. Nine seats are up for election.  Learn about the candidates

Renters, homeowners, and other residents of District 10 who are at least 16 years old can vote. So can representatives from businesses, nonprofits, or other organizations with a physical presence in District 10. 
Illustration by Stephanie Ballen
Annual Meeting is Tuesday
The Como Community Council's Annual Meeting is this Tuesday, June 16. Leadership will provide an annual report on the past year, an overview of ongoing initiatives and, as always, leave time for community members to raise comments, suggestions, or questions.

Because of ongoing restrictions on public gatherings, the meeting takes place remotely, rather than in person. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. ( See the preliminary agenda Any community member who wants to participate by phone or video should email the District 10 office or leave a phone message at 651-644-3889 no later than 6 p.m. June 16. Staff will send access information.

Let us know: If you have questions, comments, or suggestions you want addressed at the annual meeting, submit them in advance.
Donations filled up most of a 26-foot U-Haul.
You Came Through -- Again
Neighborhood residents donated 4,000 pounds of food last weekend during District 10's "Como Kindness" food drive. Donations were used for families in need identified by Como residents working with the Salvation Army.
Starting the Conversation in Como
Como Community Council board members are putting out an open call, asking Como residents to be part of revisioning our neighborhood's role in ending systemic racism and dismantling inequities where we live. To begin the process, they are asking community members to share their experiences with racism, their ideas for pursuing racial justice, and their willingness to act for permanent change.
Don't Trash That Plywood
ReUSE Minnesota is collecting plywood that businesses and residents used to protect their buildings from recent looting and vandalism. Recycling the wood minimizes how much gets burned or sent to the landfill. There are three ways to recycle your plywood, chipboard, particle board, and 2x4s:
  • Drop it off: This Thursday, June 18, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at St. Thomas More church, the northeast corner of Lexington and Summit.
  • Deliver it directly: Call 612-986-3454 to make an appointment to deliver it directly to ReUSE Minnesota at 3537 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis.
  • Schedule a pick up: Make a request online for a volunteer from Twin Cities Plywood Rescue to take your plywood off your hands.
Speaking of Trash
If your blue recycling cart or city trash container has gone missing or been damaged during recent turmoil, here's how to get it replaced for free:
Also: Ramsey County's mobile  household hazardous waste site sets up every weekend this month on Kent St. (just east of Dale and north of Larpenteur). Hours are Fridays 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Watershed District Has Big Plans
Capitol Region Watershed District has released the first public draft of its next 20-year Watershed Management Plan, for Como Lake and beyond. You can read the draft, then submit comments online, or sit in on a public presentation, which will include time for questions and comments. The presentations, which you can join by video or phone, are:
New Road Projects Start This Week
  • Como Ave.: The street will close west of Highway 280 beginning this Monday, June 15, for complete reconstruction. Future phases will move east; the entire project is expected to last through October. Closer to our end of Como: Stay tuned next week for schedule updates on rebuilding Como between Hamline and the Raymond/Cleveland intersection. This includes construction of the Como Ave. Trail off-street bike path.
  • Mississippi River Boulevard: Beginning this Monday, June 15, cyclists and pedestrians no longer will have a lane to themselves from Ford Parkway to Marshall Ave. That's because reconstruction of the road from Marshall to Randolph begins this Wednesday, June 17. The project is expected to last until September. (For what it's worth, the southbound lane remains closed to motor vehicles from Marshall north to Franklin in Minneapolis.)
Still going: 
  • Energy Park Drive: The slalom course continues between Snelling and Lexington. The water department is digging up and repairing hydrant connections and other facilities in preparation for Ramsey County's mill-and-overlay of the street this summer. 
Spread Signs of Kindness
OK, now we've sold out of two printings. But we'll print more. You can order "Como Kindness" lawn signs to make a positive statement during these tumultuous times. Suggested donation is $15. After we cover costs, proceeds go to the Como Park block nurse program, which works to handle the health-care and everyday needs of neighborhood seniors.   Order yours here

Speaking of lawn signs: You can promote the new, lower residential speed limits in Saint Paul with a "20 is Plenty" sign for your front yard, side yard, or window. The Como Community Council will distribute the free signs in District 10 while supplies last. To reserve yours, fill out this form
Where Things Are At in City Hall
  • 1015 Bandana Blvd.: City Council is scheduled to vote this Wednesday, June 17, on the proposed rezoning of 1015 Bandana Blvd. The request to rezone the property from B3 commercial to T3 traditional would allow construction of a 152-unit apartment building.
Previously reported:
  • Charter Commission: This Wednesday, June 17, is the last day to apply for a seat on the Saint Paul Charter Commission. The commission will fill nine seats. Seven of them are four-year terms that begin Aug. 1; two are existing vacancies that run until July 31, 2022. Any city resident who is at least 18 years old may apply.  You can download an application, or have one mailed to you by calling 651-266-8253.
  • Como Park Zoo and Conservatory: The liquor and Sunday liquor licenses are up for renewal on July 23. Anyone who has concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 4 Councilmember Mitra Jalali.
  • D&L Food and Gas: The gas station license for this business at 626 W. Larpenteur is up for renewal on July 28. Anyone who has concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 5 Councilmember Amy Brendmoen.
  • Half-Time Rec: The liquor, gambling, and entertainment licenses for this bar and restaurant at 1013 Front are up for renewal on Aug. 21. Anyone who has concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 5 Councilmember Amy Brendmoen.
Coronavirus-related updates in the neighborhood, city, and beyond:
Phase III Options = More Complexity
As of June 10, Minnesota entered Phase III of its Stay Safe pandemic plan, giving businesses and residents much more leeway in everyday living. Here are highlights of what's new. But remember the old advice: stay 6 feet apart, wear masks, and wash your hands all the time.
  • Being social: Outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people are OK. Indoor public gatherings are still limited to no more than 10 people. 
  • Eating out: Restaurants and bars can serve customers indoors or outdoors up to 50 percent of capacity, up to 250 people maximum; mandatory social distancing and other fine print still apply.
  • Getting back in shape: Gyms, fitness centers, yoga studios, martial arts schools and the like can open up to 25 percent of capacity, up to 250 people maximum. Pools can open up to 50 percent of capacity. As with other businesses, additional fine print applies.
  • Getting competitive: More recreational sports are allowed, but there are detailed lists of "guidance" depending on whether participants are adults or youth; the sport is outdoors or indoors; and whether the sport is at high, medium, or low risk for contact.
  • Having fun: Theaters and other indoor event and entertainment spaces can open up to 25 percent of capacity, 250 people maximum, if they enforce social distancing and other conditions. Outdoor event spaces also can host up to 250 people maximum, regardless of capacity.
  • Looking good: Salons, barbershops, and tattoo parlors can increase service up to 50 percent of capacity, with conditions.
  • Praying: Faith communities now can gather indoors or outdoors up to 50 percent of capacity, up to 250 people maximum.
  • Don't forget: Other "Stay Safe" restrictions remain in force in Minnesota. Among them: You must work from home if you can. Schools can open for a mix of classroom and distance learning, with restrictions. "Non-critical" retail businesses can open if they restrict customer traffic to less than 50 percent of the store's capacity. Campgrounds and charter boats can operate, with restrictions. "Non-critical" businesses that don't have walk-in customers can open if they have a Covid-19 plan in place.
The state's Covid-19 portal is an easy place to get big picture and up-to-date details, find Minnesota's latest pandemic statistics, and collect or link to oodles of other information and advice during these "stay safe" days. Saint Paul and Ramsey County have their own pages focused on more local resources, services, interruptions, and information.
Saint Paul Parks, Schools Have a Plan
North Dale and 14 other recreation centers in Saint Paul begin offering " Summer Space" outdoor programing beginning next Monday, June 22, for youth entering grades 1-6. 

The free programs vary by location. There will be a series of two-week blocks of structured activities that allow participants to connect with their peers while keeping their "space." North Dale's activities run Mondays-Thursdays, 9 a.m.-noon, from June 22-July 2, July 6-16, July 20-30, and Aug. 3-13.

Registration is required. You must contact the recreation center directly weekdays from noon-3 p.m.; call North Dale at 651-558-2329.

Meanwhile, Saint Paul Public Schools launches its new Saint Paul Connect website this Monday, June 15. It promises to be a clearinghouse for no-cost summer learning and activities for youth and teens. It kicks off with a DJ dance party at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
Libraries Open Up for Computer Use
The Saint Paul and Ramsey County public libraries now offer limited computer use at selected locations. 
  • In Saint Paul, call 651-266-7000 weekdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. or Saturdays 11 a.m.-5 p.m. to reserve a computer for one hour. Computers are available at Rice Street on Tuesdays and Fridays from 1-5 p.m., at Hayden Heights Mondays and Wednesdays from 1-5 p.m., and at Riverview Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-5 p.m. 
  • For the Ramsey County libraries in Roseville, Shoreview, or Maplewood, call 651-724-6001 (then press 2) for a two-hour appointment. Slots are available Monday-Thursday at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 6 p.m.; Friday-Saturday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Businesses Help Each Other Out
A new public-private alliance is pooling resources to connect small businesses to the kinds of technical and financial assistance that can help them weather the pandemic and other new challenges.  Learn more about Business4Business Minneapolis-Saint Paul (B4B MSP).
  • How to space out: The Minnesota chapter of the American Institute of Architects is offering restaurants and bars free, one-hour consultations on how to best configure their space to maximize business and safety while meeting state pandemic guidelines.
  • Let's not forget: The Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, SCORE Saint Paul, the city, the county, and a bunch of other organizations are running Pay It Forward, a business mentorship program to help local businesses stay afloat. Volunteers with financial and business experience will become "economic first responders," helping local business owners navigate Covid-19 grant and loan relief opportunities. The Chamber's website has more information about volunteering or signing up for guidance.
  • Today is Deadline One: Today, Friday June 12, is the last day to apply for the first round of Ramsey County's Small Business Relief Fund for local businesses hurt by the pandemic. The grants provide up to $7,500 so businesses with 20 or fewer employees can pay critical expenses such as rent or mortgage, utilities, and costs associated with reopening. There will be additional application periods, totaling about $10 million more, later in 2020.
Other Covid-Related Changes
  • Allianz, Minnesota United Football Club, Keystone Community Services, and Second Harvest Heartland distribute a "Farmers Market in a Box" today, Friday June 12, from 10 a.m.-noon at Allianz Field, Snelling at University. The distribution will provide at least 700 families with a box of chicken and pork, a box of vegetables, and a box of dairy items. They recommend driving and entering the stadium grounds from Snelling.
  • If you have children ages 5-18 who received free or reduced-price meals at school, you may be eligible for a temporary Pandemic EBT benefit of up to $325 per child to purchase groceries. You must apply by June 30. (Families who receive SNAP or MFIP benefits need not apply; they are enrolled automatically.)
  • Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is cancelling the 2020 Obon Festival, originally scheduled for Aug. 16.
  • Ramsey County is reopening Vadnais Sports Center this Sunday, June 14; Highland and Pleasant arenas this Monday, June 15, for hockey, figure skating and dry floor programming; and Aldrich arena next Monday, June 22. Reservations are required: Call 651-748-2500 or send an emailGroups are limited to 10 people, including coaches. No spectators.
  • University of Minnesota Extension offers another free webinar to help navigate financial challenges from losing your job or losing income. You must register in advanceThis Tuesday, June 16, from 11 a.m.-noon, it's "Preparing Your Finances for Disasters and Pandemics."
  • Jewish Family Services of Saint Paul is offering three free, 20-minute telephone counseling sessions to provide emotional support for individuals struggling with the pandemic or our community's ongoing social upheaval. Contact Sara Wellington at (651) 239-4756 or by email.
Photo: Mayo Clinic
Rec Center Starts Covid-19 Testing
Widespread testing is now available for Covid-19. A new option is free, drive-through testing that is open to everyone, symptoms or no symptoms, insurance or no insurance. Testing is at Jimmy Lee Recreation Center, 270 Lexington Parkway N (at Marshall): Tuesdays-Wednesdays, June 16-17 and June 23-24, noon-6 p.m. An appointment is recommended: Call 1-800-657-3903 or sign up online.

Covid symptoms 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. Testing sites often have different criteria on whom they will or will not test. Ongoing sites nearby include: 
  • Allina Health, 4194 Lexington Ave. N, Shoreview (by appointment only): weekdays 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; weekends 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 651-483-5461
  • HealthPartners, 205 S. Wabasha (by appointment only): weekdays 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; weekends 9 a.m.-1 p.m. 952-967-5584
  • Minnesota Community Care, 424 Dorothy Day Place, weekdays 9:15-11 a.m. 651-793-2219
  • Minnesota Community Care, 895 E. 7th St. (by appointment only): Monday, Tuesday, Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; Wednesday-Thursday, noon-7 p.m. 651-602-7500
  • North Memorial Health Clinic, 2600 39th Ave. NE, Saint Anthony (by appointment only): 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 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 651-290-9200
  • University of Minnesota Boynton Health, 410 Church St. SE, Minneapolis (by appointment only):  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 612-625-7900
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.