March 26, 2021
The Latest on Keeping a Roof Over Your Head
Minnesota is developing an emergency rental relief program called RentHelpMN (no spaces, no hyphens). Details are still being finalized, but the program is expected to:
  • Be available to renters earning less than 80 percent of the area median income, either for the most-recent month or for all of 2020. (In the Twin Cities, that means a household income of roughly $78,500 in 2020, or $6,540 per month.) Landlords will be able to apply for their eligible tenants.
  • Help pay overdue rent dating to April 2020
  • Pay up to three months’ upcoming rent
  • Pay related utility bills

More details on eligibility, expenses, and paperwork will be available at free information sessions online or by phone:
  • This Tuesday, March 30, 5-6 p.m. Register
  • This Wednesday, March 31, 2-3 p.m. Register

As for mortgages: This Wednesday, March 31, is the last day for homeowners who are behind on their mortgage to contact their lender and ask for a mandatory 180-day forbearance through the federal CARES act. Download more information, or get confidential advice from a City of Saint Paul housing adviser at 651-266-6626.
Lake Gets New Dose of Herbicide Treatment This Week
With the ice gone on Como Lake, the Capitol Region Watershed District will inject the herbicide Fluridone into the lake this Wednesday, March 31. Fluridone attacks curly-leaf pondweed, an invasive aquatic plant that chokes out native vegetation, dies off in early summer, and feeds noxious algae blooms.

Curly-leaf pondweed grows and reproduces under winter ice. That makes applying herbicide especially effective now. Plus, the timing has minimal impact on native plants, whose growing season begins later in spring. Monitoring shows last year’s Fluridone treatment cut the number of curly-leaf pondweed plants in half, and cut the number of reproductive turions by 79 percent. Learn more

A licensed contractor will apply Fluridone from a boat at concentrations of 4 parts per billion, then maintain that for the next 60 days. At that level, visitors, pets, and wildlife do not have to avoid the water, the watershed district says.
Photo: A clump of curly-leaf pondweed from 2020. (Capitol Region Watershed District)
Make a Decision to be Part of the Decision
Nine seats are up for election in April to the District 10 Como Community Council board. The board is volunteers like you, elected by neighbors like you. Simple truth: We do better as a community when the board reflects the full strength of Como: renters, homeowners, local institutions, businesses, and neighbors of all kinds – regardless of color, age, ethnicity, income, gender, faith, or how deep your roots are in the neighborhood or in Saint Paul. It could be you; it could be a neighbor or friend you encourage to step forward.

Learn more: Find out first-hand what being a board member is all about. We’ve got one more “drop in” session scheduled: this Monday, March 29, from 6:15-7:15 p.m. It’s a chance to meet directly with a few of our current board members, get questions answered, and get straight talk. Drop in anytime during the hour using Zoom.

Board Representation Leadership Training for People of Color and Indigenous: This 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. Training is this Thursday, April 1, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Register

Your choices: Under Como Community Council bylaws, these board seats are up for election automatically this year:

These positions serve two-year terms, through April 2023. Any community member in District 10, age 16 or older, is eligible to run. Apply here The filing deadline is Sunday April 4. The voting period ends April 20.
We’re Keeping Restaurants Afloat – But …
A lot of carry-out food containers, unfortunately, cannot be recycled or composted. Properly disposing of them means putting them in the trash.
  • “Paper” to-go containers cannot be recycled because they often are lined with plastic film or contaminated with food.
  • Black plastic and #6 plastic containers (whether hard plastic or polystyrene foam) cannot be recycled because they are unmarketable once used. Also, equipment at recycling facilities cannot detect black plastics or separate them properly.
  • Certified compostable containers cannot be recycled in Saint Paul’s blue carts. But they can be composted at the food scraps recycling site on Beulah Lane in Como Park or through another Ramsey County site.
District Councils are Hiring an Organizer
The District 10 Como Community Council and District 12 St. Anthony Park Community Council are hiring a community organizer. The initial focus of the organizer is to build community connections and activities in support of anti-racism and inclusion goals of both district councils. The position averages 30 hours/week. Initial review of candidates begins this Wednesday, March 31. Full job description
We Invite Fuzzy Thinking
Got an idea for a neighborhood mascot, a recognizable symbol we can identify with, call our own, and use to promote and enliven District 10 events? Email your suggestions to us by next Sunday, April 4. District 10 board members will compile and cull the list of suggestions. Then we, as a community, will vote for the winner.
Should We? Yes, No, When?
The Como Community Council typically coordinates a Neighborhood Garage Sale each year. Because of the pandemic, that didn't happen in 2020. Should we try again this year? Take our survey
You Can Request Your Ballot Now
District 10 community members can vote from home this April in board elections for the Como Community Council. You'll be able to vote online, or by returning a paper ballot through the mail. (Because of restrictions on public gatherings, we still can’t schedule in-person voting.)

The first step in voting is to request a ballot. To get your ballot, fill out this application form. We’ll send ballots beginning Friday April 9.

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.
Pollinators Need Time in Your Garden Now; You Don’t
Don’t get too energetic with your spring yard clean-up. Sure, clean out curbs, gutters, and sewer grates, the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization says. But hold back on your garden. Pollinators are still dormant under leaves, in hollow plant stems, and underground. They won’t emerge until temperatures regularly remain above 50 degrees. Let them be for a while; go work on your basement or garage instead.
Photo: Mason bee emerging from a reed. (Crown Bees)
Coronavirus Resources
All 500 appointments are booked for the vaccine clinic Allina Health is running this Saturday, March 27, at Como Park Senior High School. But …
  • Sign up for the Vaccine Connector, an online tool that lets any Minnesota resident register to find out when, where, and how to get vaccinated. Once you register, you’ll be notified when you are eligible, when there are vaccines available near you, and how to schedule a vaccine appointment.
  • Order a free saliva test for Covid-19, which you can administer at home.
  • Get tested nearby – or anywhere in the state – if you think you have been exposed to Covid-19.
We're Still Handing Out Food (So Are Others)
The Como Community Council and Sanneh Foundation will continue to distribute free food boxes today, Friday March 26, and every Friday afternoon at least through April. 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.
  • Two labor unions are hosting "truckload of food" giveaways this Saturday, March 27, with 1,300 boxes of food available. There are no restrictions; food and milk are available while supplies last. The drive-thru and walk-up distributions begin at 11 a.m. at Electrical Workers Local 110, 1330 Conway Ave. E; and at 1:30 p.m. at Letter Carriers Branch 28, 1715 Van Dyke Ave.
Rec Centers Gear Up for Spring, Summer
North Dale Recreation Center offers a full week of full-day programs for children in grades 1-5 during spring break, April 5-9. “Spring Blast” is $50 for the week; it runs each day 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Register. Eighteen other rec centers have full- or half-day programming that week; the half-day programs are free.

Plan ahead: Registration for youth summer camps and classes opens on Monday April 12 for North Dale, Northwest Como, and the city’s 25 other rec centers. But don't be in a hurry; you can't browse what’s available where and when until Monday April 5.

For those with a few more years on them, North Dale offers:
  • Senior Fitness (in person), every Thursday beginning this week from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Free for those age 50 or higher. Register for April or for May.
  • Spring into Summer Gardening (online), Saturday April 17, 10-11 a.m. Free for adults. Register
Which Projects Do You Prefer?
City departments are making their requests now for their share of next year’s Capital Improvement Budget, which determines how and where the city invests in physical infrastructure. The final presentation:
  • Parks and Recreation: This Monday, March 29, 6:30 p.m. Register here.

Residents have until next Friday, April 2, to review and rate the projects to express their priorities.

Don’t miss your chance:
  • Join an information and feedback session (using Microsoft Teams) on a proposal from the mayor’s office to amend the city charter and give Saint Paul the ability to issue “administrative citations” for violations of some city ordinances. The citations would be an alternative to criminal citations. This Tuesday, March 30, 6 p.m. Register
  • The mayor’s Community First Public Safety Commission plans two more town halls (online) to collect public feedback about draft recommendations on responding to what are now non-emergency police calls. The town halls are Wednesday April 14 from 7-9 p.m., and Saturday April 17 from 2-4 p.m.
  • 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 April 25.

Neighborhood issues of note:
  • K&L Sales: The second-hand dealer’s license for this used-car lot at Como and Arona is up for renewal this Monday, March 29. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali.
  • H&M Auto Body: The auto repair and paint shop licenses for this body shop at 867 Dale are up for renewal on April 18. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 1 Council Member Dai Thao.
  • Como Park Golf Course: The liquor, Sunday liquor, and entertainment licenses are up for renewal on April 18. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 4 Council Member Mitra Jalali.
  • 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.
What You're Missing on the Fairgrounds
2021 Xcel Bronze and Silver State Gymnastics Meet: Today-Sunday, March 26-28, Warner Coliseum. Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 7:45 a.m.-7:30 p.m. No public admission. 

But, public access is allowed at the main gate (Snelling at Dan Patch/Midway Parkway). Pedestrians and cyclists also can get in at the north end (through the Larpenteur and Hoyt gates) and at the west end (near the university Transit Way).
Still on the Calendar
  • This Tuesday, March 30: Senior Stroll, 4:30 and 5 p.m., Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. Visitors age 55 or older will have the place to themselves. Admission is free but attendance is limited; advance registration is required.
  • This Tuesday, March 30: “Redistricting: The Good, the Bad and the Dirty Work,” 7-8 p.m. The League of Women Voters of Saint Paul presents this free webinar, which looks at what Minnesota faces as it redraws its voting maps at the federal, state, and local level, based on the 2020 Census. Register
  • This Wednesday, March 31, 7 p.m. The Como Community Council's Anti-Racism Work Group meets online. As usual, all renters, homeowners, and other District 10 community members are welcome to participate. If you want to join the discussion, register to receive access information.
  • Monday April 5, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Ramsey County open book meeting to question your property valuation for 2022 property taxes. Call 651-266-2131.
  • Tuesday April 6, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Ramsey County "open book meeting" to question your property valuation for 2022 property taxes. Call 651-266-2131.
Get Together with People Who Like Get-Togethers
If you’re one of those people who organizes a block party or National Night Out, pulls together the email or text list that keeps neighbors informed, or is the first one to welcome new neighbors, you might want to consider sitting in on the Western District’s quarterly block club meeting. The next meeting is this Monday, March 29, at 6 p.m. Sign up
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.