April 16, 2021
Egrets, such as this one that made its seasonal debut in Como Park this week, are not among the finalists for a community mascot. Keep reading to find out who the five finalists are and how you can vote for your favorite. Photo: Nile Fellows
Tuesday is Your Last Day to Vote
This Tuesday, April 20, is the last day to vote in this year’s elections for the Como Community Council board. All ballots – whether you are voting online or using a paper ballot – must be back at the District 10 office (1224 Lexington Parkway N) by 7 p.m. Tuesday.

If you have not requested a ballot, there is still time. To get an online ballot, just fill out this application before 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Who is eligible to vote: Renters, homeowners, and other residents of District 10 who are at least 16 years old can vote. So can representatives from business, nonprofits, or other organizations with a physical presence in District 10.

Who are the candidates? Twelve candidates are running for 9 seats on the board. (Learn more about the candidates.) All eligible voters in District 10 can vote in these elections:
  • Chair: Jill Henricksen, Paula Lee Roberts
  • Secretary: Jennifer Nelson
  • At Large (3 seats): Sarah Reuter, Chad Smith, Jennifer Victor-Larsen, Alex Zikmund

Eligible voters in specific parts of the neighborhood can vote for candidates in their sub-district:
  • Sub-District 1 (west of Hamline, between Hoyt and the railroad tracks): Kevin Commerford, Morgan Weinert
  • Sub-District 2 (between Hamline and Victoria, from Larpenteur south to the railroad tracks): Maggie Zimmerman
  • Sub-District 3 (between Victoria and Dale, from Larpenteur south to the railroad tracks): Matthew Brown
  • Sub-District 4 (South Como and Energy Park): Benjamin Kowalsky-Grahek
District 10 Annual Meeting is Tuesday
The District 10 annual meeting begins this Tuesday, April 20, at 7 p.m. It will include:
  • A look back and a look forward at what the Como Community Council achieved this past year, what it didn’t achieve, and what it hopes to accomplish this year
  • Time for comments, suggestions, and questions from community members
  • Unveiling of the district council’s new mission and vision statements
  • Election results for new board members

As always, we invite all renters, homeowners, and other District 10 community members to participate by phone or video conferencing. If you want to join the discussion, email the District 10 office before 6 p.m. Tuesday; staff will send you access information. 

The usual business: After the annual meeting, the board will hold its monthly business meeting. You are welcome to stick around for that, too. Topics include waiving the 45-day waiting period for beer and wine licenses for Bole Ethiopian Cuisine, creating a Como Park steward program, and creating a personnel committee to search for a new executive director. See the preliminary agenda
What They Meant to Say About 'Food Scraps' Recycling
Upon further review, Ramsey County has changed its mind on what is acceptable at food scraps recycling sites, including at the District 10 community site on Beulah Lane in Como Park. After briefly banning pizza boxes, paper egg cartons, and “food-stained” paper bags, the county now says those items are OK again. So are certified compostable products (such as plates, bowls, cups, and utensils), as long as they have a “Compostable” logo from the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) or Compost Manufacturing Alliance. Get this week's update
Pedestrians, Cyclists Get Como Lake Drive to Themselves
To support "physically distant outdoor activities," Mayor Melvin Carter is closing Como Lake Drive to motor vehicles again this year, beginning today, Friday April 16. The one-way street north of the lake, which runs between Victoria and Lexington, is scheduled to close through mid-July. Unlike last year, there will be access to the Duck Point parking lot from Lakeview (at least for the time being).

Just like last year, motor vehicles will not be allowed on selected roads in Phalen and Cherokee Parks, either. The southbound lane of Mississippi River Boulevard also will be closed to motor vehicles between Ford Parkway and Pelham Boulevard.
Pick a Neighborhood Mascot: The Finalists
We asked for ideas for a District 10 mascot. Now it's your turn to vote! Suggestions you sent were winnowed down by the Como Community Council's Neighborhood Relations Committee. The district council board narrowed ideas further. These are the finalists (listed in alphabetical order):
  • Bee
  • Butterfly
  • Chloe the Sloth
  • Coyote
  • Great Horned Owl

Pick your favorite – a symbol we can identify with, call our own, and use to promote and enliven events in our neighborhood.
Uncover the Menacing Truth About Jumping Worms
Whether they show up when you buy mulch, potted plants, composting worms, or fishing bait, invasive jumping worms are a new and growing threat to soil in the Twin Cities and elsewhere in Minnesota. Ryan Hueffmeier, a researcher in the University of Minnesota’s Jumping Worm’s Project, says these are the earthworms that create areas where “nothing grows here,” especially in gardens or landscapes that, to use Hueffmeier's term, have been "disturbed."

Hueffmeier told the Como Community Council’s Environment Committee April 14 that, at this point, there is no way to eradicate jumping worms. The best that gardeners can do, he says, is contain them, remove them, and destroy them.

Watch the recording of his presentation, in which he explains how to find jumping worms, how to distinguish them from other earthworms, what to do if you do find them, how to prevent them from spreading, and how to report them to researchers. 
Photo: Josef Gorres, University of Vermont
Get the Book, then Read It Before Thursday!
There's still time to read “Children of the Land” before the online discussion this Thursday with author Marcelo Hernandez Castillo. The Saint Anthony Park Branch Library Association is co-sponsoring Hernandez Castillo's "visit" on April 22 from 7-8 p.m. Participation is free through Zoom, but advance registration is required.

His memoir is one of the featured books in the Saint Paul Public Library’s Read Brave program. The Como Community Council still has soft-cover copies of the book available for free (first-come, first-served). Email us and we’ll set one aside while supplies last. Or, read the e-book using the library’s Libby app, or download the audiobook.
  • The Read Brave Sunday Series presentation originally scheduled for this Sunday, April 18, at 2:30 p.m. is postponed. The discussion with immigration attorney Gloria Contreras Edin and International Institute director Jane Graupman will be rescheduled.
Vaccinations are Under Way at Fairgrounds
The State Fairgrounds' parking lots south of Como are now part of a Minnesota Department of Health initiative to administer 3,000 coronavirus vaccines a day through June 19. The vaccines are free to anyone age 16 or older who lives in one of 38 designated ZIP codes in the Twin Cities. If you live in one of the eligible ZIP codes, including 55103 and 55117, you can sign up for a vaccine appointment:
  • Through the state’s Vaccine Connector website.
  • By calling 1-833-431-2053 weekdays 9 a.m.-7 p.m. or Saturdays 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Eligible residents will be selected randomly for an appointment. They will receive a Metro Transit pass as part of their registrations. To start with, vaccines are being given six days a week: Tuesdays-Sunday.
More Coronavirus Resources
If you live in 55108 or one of the other ZIP codes that are not part of the State Fairgrounds vaccine drive, or if you just want to get vaccinated somewhere else:
  • Use the state’s Vaccine Locator, which is a searchable map and database that identifies pharmacies, clinics, and other vaccine providers.
  • Contact your health-care provider or employer.
  • Sign up for the state's Vaccine Connector. Once you register, the online tool notifies you when there are vaccines available nearby, and how to schedule a vaccine appointment. 

Meanwhile, new cases of Covid-19 continue to rise. if you think you’ve been exposed:
  • Order a free saliva test for Covid-19, which you can administer at home.
  • Get tested nearby – or anywhere in the state. Free saliva testing is available at Roy Wilkins Auditorium; enter at 175 Kellogg Blvd. The site is open seven days a week: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends. Register in advance 
The Neighborhood Sweep Continues
District 10 streets south of the lake and other streets west of the park are among those scheduled for spring sweeping today, Friday April 16. Plenty of other streets (especially north-south ones) are still waiting for their brush-up this Monday and beyond. Track when your block is scheduled. Remember:
  • Keep an eye out for the temporary “no parking” signs. On sweeping days, parking is banned from 8 a.m. until the signs are yanked.
  • Keep garbage and recycling carts off the street if it is a sweeping day; place carts on your lawn or driveway instead.
  • Do not, do not, do not sweep leaves, thatch, or other yard waste into the street. It is illegal, and property owners can be ticketed. The city’s street sweepers are not intended to pick up large piles of leaves and debris. Excessive debris in the street slows down the pace and quality of work.
A Chance to Ambush Litter on April 24
The 35th annual Citywide Spring Cleanup takes place next Saturday, April 24, from 9-11:30 a.m. at the Como Lakeside Pavilion and 20 other locations in Saint Paul. The Como Community Council will help the Parks and Recreation Department hand out supplies so individuals, families, and groups can coordinate to pick up litter around the neighborhood.

The event is outdoors, but public health guidelines – including masks and physical distancing – will be observed. Pre-registration is required
We're Still Handing Out Food on Fridays
The Como Community Council and Sanneh Foundation will continue to distribute free food boxes today, Friday April 16, and the remaining Friday afternoons this month. The food boxes are available to Ramsey County residents dealing with financial hardships because of Covid-19. 

Details: The fresh food boxes will be available in the north parking lot of Niem Phat Buddhist Temple, at Dale and Front. Distribution will be 1:30-3:30 p.m. (or until supplies run out). Reservations are highly recommended; to reserve your box, fill out this form before noon on distribution day. The boxes typically include fresh meat, dairy, and produce, plus gallons of milk.

Free food for pets, too: The Animal Humane Society will provide a month’s worth of dry Purina Dog Chow or Purina Cat Chow next Sunday, April 25, at its new Saint Paul location, 1159 University Ave. W. Find out more, including how to register in advance.
Also on the Calendar
  • This Thursday, April 22: Virtual town forum about adding a second Amtrak train between Saint Paul, Milwaukee, and Chicago. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Register
  • Tuesday April 27: Rebuilding University Avenue, 7-8 p.m. The League of Women Voters of Saint Paul holds a virtual presentation about rebuilding businesses and community after last year’s looting, vandalism, and arson. Register
  • Wednesday April 28: Vaccine Community Conversation, with Saint Paul-Ramsey County Public Health medical director Dr. Lynne Ogawa, 4-5 p.m. Learn more and ask questions about distribution; vaccine science, safety and effectiveness; and protection against Covid-19 variants. Register
  • Ongoing: The University of Minnesota and JustUs Health are leading a survey seeking to identify the health needs of state residents age 50 or older who identify as LGBTQ.
Grant Program is Open, Oh You Creative Types
Applications are being accepted through Friday May 14 for Cultural STAR grants supporting arts activities, capital projects, or organizational development. Grants are funded through part of the city’s sales tax. Online information sessions take place this Tuesday, April 20, at 5:30 p.m.; Thursday April 29 at 1 p.m.; and Monday May 3 at 4 p.m. Register in advance

Fewer parking lots in the future? Saint Paul is considering proposals that would reduce or eliminate off-street parking requirements in many situations. You can learn more at a webinar this Tuesday, April 20, from noon-1 p.m. Register In addition, the Planning Commission holds a public hearing on the proposals on Friday April 30 at 8:30 a.m.

Neighborhood topics of note:
  • 667 California Ave.: The resident has requested a backyard chicken permit. These requests typically are approved administratively.
  • Gabe’s By The Park: The liquor, Sunday liquor, entertainment, 2 a.m. closing, patio, and gambling licenses for the restaurant at Lexington and Energy Park Drive are up for renewal on May 5. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali.
  • Como Lakeside Pavilion: The liquor, Sunday liquor, outdoor liquor, and entertainment licenses for the restaurant now known as Dock & Paddle are up for renewal on June 4. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 5 Council Member Amy Brendmoen.
  • Pope Automotive: The auto repair shop license for this business at 991 Front is up for renewal on June 13. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 5 Council Member Amy Brendmoen.
Don’t miss your chance:
  • The Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission holds a youth town hall this Thursday, April 22, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. The virtual event will explain how citizen complaints about police conduct are filed and handled, and invite youth participation and ideas about improving the process. The event is free but advance registration is required.
  • The city is accepting new submissions from Saint Paul residents for the next round of sidewalk poetry. Up to 8 winners will be selected. The deadline for inspiration is next Sunday, April 25.
  • The Saint Paul City Council is accepting applications to its Legislative Advisory Committee on Reparations. The committee will meet from July 2021 through June 2022 and set the groundwork for establishing a permanent reparations commission. Members will receive a stipend of $50 per meeting. The last day to apply is Friday April 30.
  • Comments on Saint Paul’s Homeless Services Zoning Study must be submitted in writing by Sunday May 2 at 5 p.m. Find details here
  • Annual Action Plans: Saint Paul wants to modify agreements it has with the federal department of Housing and Urban Development to move $750,000 from “economic development activity” and “clearance activity” into a Multi-Unit Housing Development Fund and Multi-Unit Rehabilitation Activity. Public feedback is being taken until May 12. For questions or comments, reach out to Julie Hostak by email or phone at 651-266-8545.
Influence Changes in Police Response
The mayor’s Community First Public Safety Commission plans another town hall (online) to collect public feedback about recommendations it is considering for how to handle what are now non-emergency police calls. The town hall is this Saturday, April 17, from 2-4 p.m. In addition, the commission itself meets this Wednesday, April 21, from 9 a.m.-noon. That meeting will be streamed live.
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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.