Speak up for accessory dwellings
Wednesday, September 7, 5:30 pm
Public comment is welcome at the St. Paul City Council meeting. See article, below right.
Thursday, September 8, 7:00-9:00 pm
Urban Growler, 2325 Endicott
Float sustainability ideas over a craft beer. (Try the Blueberry Wheat.) Look for Allie, Kevin, and the "T" sign. Check the patio first!
Coffee with Cailin
Friday, September 9, 7:30-9:30 am
Finnish Bistro, 2264 Como Avenue
Questions about a local issue or SAP Commu-nity Council? Chat with staffer Cailin Rogers.
Fix-It Clinics: Bring items to mend
Saturday, September 10, noon-4:00
Whittier Rec Center, 425 W. 26th St., Mpls
Saturday, September 24, 11:00-2:00
Ham-Midway Library, 1558 Minnehaha, St. Paul
Zero-waste heroes, unite! Learn from skilled fixers (volunteers also needed). Ramsey
and Hennepin counties sponsor these clinics.
Discussion of Minneapolis' intentional community ordinance
Monday, September 12, 5:00-6:15 pm
Van Cleve Park multi-purpose room
901 Fifteenth Ave SE, Mpls
A new kind of rental registration would allow more unrelated adults to live in a dwelling if they meet the criteria for an intentional community. Mpls officials and University District neighbors will discuss. (Should St. Paul consider such a ordinance?)
Read more here
Cohousing Options: Architect talk
Thursday, September 15, 7:00-8:30 pm
First Unitarian Society
900 Mount Curve Ave., Minneapolis
Cohousing design combines private homes with spaces for neighbors to share: workshops, gathering rooms, greenspace. Architect Chuck Durrett has designed dozens of such communities. Learn about possible new local projects. Presented by
TC Cohousing Network
. Suggested donation $10.
SAP's annual multi-site garage sale
Saturday, September 17, 10:00-4:00
Throughout St. Anthony Park
Let's re-use locally! Maps at Hampden Co-op, Speedy, and Craigslist on sale day. Want to hold a sale? Register by noon Sept. 13.
Twin Cities Coop Tour
Saturday, September 17, 10:00-4:00
Get clucky! Take a self-guided
tour of backyard coops
out the metro. Why
chickens in St. Anthony
Details and map
Transition Town ASAP
Thursday, September 22, 7:00-8:30 pm
At Mindy Keskinen's, 2240 Hillside Ave.
Meets monthly, social time at 6:30. All welcome; working with an action group first is a good idea.
Climate Adaptation: Transforming Awareness into Action
Wednesday, October 5, 6:30-8:30 pm
Continuing Ed and Conference Center,
U of M St. Paul Campus
Climatologist Marc Seeley leads this one-session course, part of the U's Learning Life series. Info and registration here.
Transition: Pass it on, with Habits of the Heart
Here's an inviting way to share sustainability ideas from hand to hand: a mini-booklet that informs and inspires in six tiny pages.
See it on our website
as a slideshow. You can make copies yourself: download it from the site, print it, and follow the simple directions.
by Betty Lotterman
Are you riding public transit more often these days? Even using Metro Transit's excellent Trip Planner, you may end up with some short
waits at the bus or train stop. The good news is, you can spend that time in ways that enrich your life.
I find that chatting with others who are waiting broadens my knowledge of my community. It's also a great time to listen to music. (And, if you've given up a car, you might buy a phone and earbuds with the money you're saving.) I like audio books, too: I can listen seamlessly as I wait, board, sit, then walk to my destination.
Or try meditation. Sitting on a bench with your feet flat on the ground, close your eyes (optional) and breathe deeply. Make your inhale match your exhale, and use your diaphragm to slow your breathing. You can repeat a simple mantra, like "I take in what I need, I let go of what I don't need." Or use a meditation soundtrack downloaded to your phone. Or just focus silently on smooth, even breaths. You'll be surprised how relaxed you feel when you jump on the bus.
You can also do posture and range-of-motion exercises without anyone even noticing. Gently rotate your ankles and wrists: it feels great and helps prevent sprains and stiffness. For me, eye rotation exercises offer a deep sense of calm. Or yoga: strike the Mountain Pose for a few minutes, and you'll feel more positive all day. Reflexology hand massage is a nice option, too, if you're not wearing gloves or mittens.
Try these ideas, and you'll arrive at your destination feeling much more relaxed than if you'd been clutching a steering wheel.
Betty Lotterman gave up her car a year ago. A retired Spanish teacher, she lives near Alden Square and can often be seen on her vintage blue Schwinn.
Two good friends from St. Anthony Park were among the bicyclists who gathered on July 16, destination YOXO, the eco-friendly toy factory. Both
ten, Siri and Kiki have been friends since kindergarten at SAP Elementary. They often get together to cook or jump on Kiki's trampoline.
The crew set off from North SAP, pausing at the Community Garden on the way.
Ten minutes later, we were greeted by YOXO founder Jeff Freeland at the plant on Westgate Drive. Y, O, X .... and also I, L, U, and more. Those are the shapes of the simple geometrical "links" YOXO makes, each the size of your palm or smaller. They're easy to shape into buildings, animals, vehicles, bridges, you name it... and they mesh with common household castoffs like cardboard tubes and cereal boxes. You can find them lots of places, like Creative Kidstuff, Mischief, and the YOXO website.
Touring the plant, Kiki and Siri saw how the links are made from sheets of recycled wood pulp, colored with vegetable inks, and cut into shapes with super-high-powered water jets. Almost no plastics are used. It's a "lean system," said Jeff, with very little inventory on hand. That saves energy, space, and money.
Then we all got to play with the links!
Kiki built a fleet of colorful axles (above left). Siri's charming frog (above right) was soon riding a tricycle, then a scooter. "I may have to build a garage next," said Siri.
-- Mindy Keskinen
Visit "Action Groups" at our
, email the leaders listed here, and drop in on a meeting. You'll likely find kindred spirits.
Or start a new group: email
Home energy curtailment:
Visit our Facebook page:
Join our Facebook group:
At facebook.com/groups, click on "Request to join," then join in.
Follow us on Twitter:
At @transitionasap1, stay current and track some events live.
Submit news, story ideas, calendar items, reviews, photos, poetry, art, cartoons-- anything on a "smaller footprint, stronger community."
For submissions or to join our email list,
Transition Times ASAP
appears in January, March, May, July, September, and November. See back issues on our
or November, submit by mid-October.
The Transition Bee
is our biweekly e-calendar.
Pat Thompson designed our
Transition Times ASAP
Regula Russelle created the Transition "t" and the Transition Bee logo.
Coming soon: The St. Paul Tool Library
Need a tool? Don't buy it-- borrow it!
by Peter Hoh
The concept is simple: a tool library is a space that holds a variety of tools that members can check out and take home for a week at a time, similar to a book library. It provides access to tools without the cost of ownership, along with skill-building workshops to help members learn to use the tools they borrow. The Northeast
Minneapolis Tool Library opened in 2015, with the idea that there might be additional branches. For the past nine months, a group of St. Paul residents has been working to develop one
in St. Paul.
St. Paul Tool Library's goal:
To cultivate a more resilient
and equitable community
and reduce waste
by empowering residents
with access to tools,
training, and workspaces.
Join the St. Paul Tool Library now,
before it opens, and meantime you
can use the
NE Mpls Tool Library (above, 1620 Central Ave). It has hand
power tools, garden tools, ladders.
It will soon be real. We kicked off our crowdsourcing fundraiser August 16 with a party at Lake Monster Brewing in South St. Anthony Park. Our first $5,000 was matched dollar-for-dollar by the Knight Foundation, and we hope to raise another $2,000 before the campaign ends September 17. To learn more and donate online, visit our crowdfunding site. It's easy, and donors get perks such as discounted (or free) memberships: the regular cost is $55 annually.
Since those fees will cover only about half of our yearly operating expenses,
we'll also rely on further fundraising and grants.
The latest developments:
We've formalized our relationship with the Northeast Minneapolis Tool Library, which has appointed an eight-member local advisory board of St. Paul residents. They're spreading the word and developing relationships with other community groups.
We're working to secure a lease at 755 N. Prior Avenue: the huge, pale yellow building between Menards and the county compost site on Pierce Butler. Handy for St. Anthony Park!
We're inviting feedback on the kinds of tools and workshops we should include. Once a lease is final and the space is prepared, we'll organize a tool drive and will need volunteers to inspect, repair, and catalogue the donated tools.
When will we open our doors? It depends on how quickly the lease details are hammered out. For updates, visit our Facebook page or send us an email.
Peter Hoh is a teacher who lives in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood.
Twin Cities Transition Training
Learn and practice the processes of Transition with Rachel Hefte of Corcoran Grows and Leslie MacKenzie of Transition Longfellow. Exact dates and location TBA (depending on interest), starting mid-September.
Start a new group or revitalize an existing one...
Connect with folks in other Transition groups...
Develop new skills.
Update from an entomologist neighbor:
How are our pollinators doing?
by Margot Monson
As scientists, we are still very concerned about the decline in our native pollinators as well as our non-native honey bees.*
One main issue is that pollinators don't have enough healthy
species of plants to forage on for pollen and nectar. Just as human health requires a varied diet, pollinators need a balanced diet with many different native plants-- the plants they evolved with. (Gardeners: Native perennial plants offer pollinators higher-quality nutrients than annuals and hybrids do.)
Beyond bees and butterflies, pollinators include many flower-visiting insects: flies, beetles, moths, and wasps, for example.
Left: a sphecid wasp on a dotted mint.
Right: a bee stores bergamot pollen in a hind-leg "basket" to bring back to the hive. Photos by Margot Monson.
Another issue is the pesticides that permeate our landscapes, from agriculture fields to backyards. Add these toxins to a poor diet, and we have pollinators whose weakened immune systems make them susceptible to pathogens and viruses. Many beekeepers are still losing up to half of their bees each year, and this is not financially sustainable. It also endangers our food supply: over a third of the plants we rely on for food are pollinated by insects, including honey bees and natives such as bumble bees and solitaries.
One hopeful sign is Governor Dayton's new executive order "directing steps to reverse pollinator decline and restore pollinator health in Minnesota." The order came August 26 after an MDA review of the impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides, brought on by pressure from citizens and environmental groups.
And it will be up to citizens and groups to see that these steps are actually implemented. State legislation must be introduced and passed to tighten restrictions on neonic-coated agricultural seeds, 80 percent of which are not EPA-regulated. It will be challenging. There will be pushback from corporate agriculture which relies so very heavily on neonics and other systemic pesticides. We need better labeling on chemical products sold for gardeners, too, so buyers can tell whether they're harmful to pollinators. Some are sublethal: they don't kill insects outright, but their effects weaken pollinators over time: honey bee hives, bumble bee nests, and solitary insects as well.
All this said, I still am encouraged. Increasingly, light is being shed on the issues affecting pollinators. And as people
recognize the seriousness of this problem, hopefully they will talk to their leaders and legislators, to keep the pressure on. These two MN Department of Agriculture commissioners need to hear from us too: email Dave Frederickson or Matthew Wohlman.
* Note: Although honey bees are considered non-native here (introduced from Europe in the 1600s), they actually have ancient roots on this continent. Fossil records in Nevada show that 25 million years ago, a bee very similar to our honey bee lived here.
an entomologist, beekeeper, and photographer who lives in St. Anthony Park. See her
Let's support ADUs along the Green Line
by Phil Broussard
Proposed city-level rezoning in St. Paul would allow accessory dwelling units on single-family lots up to 1/2 mile north and south of the Green Line light rail, including South SAP.
We have one more chance to speak up as the City Council considers it. If successful along the Green Line, the Planning Commission will likely consider permitting ADUs throughout the city.
City Council meeting: Public comment on ADUs welcome
Wednesday, Sept. 7, 5:30 p.m., City Hall Council chambers, 3rd floor
15 West Kellog Blvd, St. Paul
People living within 1/2 mile of the Green Line make particularly
effective speakers. Or send a message via email to Russ Stark, District 12 Councilor
. For details on ADUs, see Transition Town ASAP's Housing Options web page.
Phil Broussard leads our Housing Options group.
Shared living: A topic of the times
More neighborly living seems to be in the air. There's a talk on Minneapolis' approach to intentional communities Sept. 12th, and on the 15th, an evening with cohousing architect Charles Dunning (see the Bee at left). A New York Times article shows how "English Village Becomes Climate Leader by Quietly Cleaning Up Its Own Patch." Above, Phil Broussard suggests we speak up for accessory dwellings. And below, we hear from a young SAP resident on the trend toward multi-generational living. Here's to a smaller footprint and a stronger community!
Transition starts at home:
A fresh look at extended-family households
Where psychology meets architecture: that's a place that fascinates Liam Magistad. Now a freshman at Macalester College, where he plans to focus on sustainable urban design, Liam graduated from Nova Classical Academy last May. His senior thesis,
he Return of the Multigenerational Family,
was inspired partly by his own three-generation roots in St. Anthony Park. Liam traces historical trends in American
extended-family households and their resurgence in the past decade, with several factors at work: the economic recession, the rise of community-minded millennials and the aging of their boomer grandparents, the influence of immigrant families with strong multi-generational traditions, and broad interest in eco-friendly living. It seems to be an idea whose time has come... again. Read the paper in full on our website. Here, he shares an excerpt.
The Return of the
An Uphill Battle Against American Individualism
by Liam Magistad
The movement towards multigenerational living goes hand in hand with the "Transition Towns" movement. Transition Towns are geared towards eco friendly living as well as building strong, diverse and sustainable communities. 
One of the goals of the Transition Town movement is to use land and resources more efficiently in order to accommodate greater population density while still maintaining a high standard of living. They hope to do this by promoting multi-generational housing through the use of additional dwelling units (ADUs) thereby allowing families to have their own separate living areas while still being connected.
If there isn't enough space for each generation to have some privacy, then the likelihood that there will be conflicts increases dramatically. 
When parents and adult children are living on top of each other there can be tensions around who makes decisions for the whole family. This problem can be aggravated even further if at least one of the parties would prefer to live separately, if it were feasible. When one is young and living with one's parents it is clear that the parents are the head of the family. However upon reintegration into an adult child's household there can be some confusion as to hierarchical roles.
This strain is especially apparent in the stereotypical tension between a wife and her mother-in-law. When the older woman had a house of her own she was in charge and could do things her way, but if she is living with her daughter in law it's no longer her house. This can often place strain on the marriage of the "host generation," and is confused with the stress of having to care for multiple generations. It's not actually the extra care that causes the stress on marriages, it is the complex and difficult task of integrating two separate households.
There is an emotional and psychological cost when living in someone else's space. Owning property and being in control of one's surroundings is key for people, especially Americans, to feel happiness and success. 
As a result, houses designed or remodeled for the purpose of multigenerational living will try to incorporate separate spaces especially multiple entrances, cooking areas and separate bedrooms.
In recognition of these various issues, and as a response to the increased demand for intergenerational housing, Transition Towns push the architecture community towards designing homes with multigenerational living in mind. These houses solve for the problems inherent in living with one's parents into adulthood.  They allow for children to spend time with their grandparents, but
also allow for a level of independence and privacy demanded by modern Americans. A company called Lennar specializes in designing houses that will reduce the strain of multi-generational living arrangements and help facilitate a healthier type of intergenerational living.They believe that through specific architectural choices they can solve many of the traditional problems inherent when living with one's parents. At the moment Lennar houses are typically only available in suburbs. However, they are starting to also design intergenerational communities which they are hoping to locate in more urban environments.
|With five bedrooms upstairs, this Lennar "Next Gen" house has separate kitchens and living areas on other levels.
There are other ways to allow all members of an extended family to feel like they have ownership of their own space. Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are a good way to modify an already existing house to better accommodate multi-generational families. AUDs are defined by a separate entrance, eating and food preparation space, as well as a separate common/living space. Other potential uses for an ADU are as a place for support personnel to live or as a potential source of income as a rental property. While also connected with the Transition Towns movement ADUs have gained support from cities who simply want to increase their supply of affordable housing without constructing high rises or other more traditional forms of low income housing. 
The social benefits of Transition Towns and other similar arrangements help drive the popularity of multigenerational living. One of the most apparent and lasting benefits is allowing grandkids to more frequently interact with their grandparents. Developing relationships between grandkids and grandparents are beneficial for both parties. It helps give the elders a sense that they still have a real tangible way to contribute to the world and the grandkids get boundless love, affirmation above and beyond what parents can provide, as well as knowledge that would otherwise take years to gain. 
When grandparents and grandchildren have close relationships, studies indicate that both have significantly lower rate of depression and that kids are better able to deal with hardships in school if they have someone other than their parents to talk to.
Elders and children/teens have complementary skills so they can often serve as caregivers for one another. This is especially true if families elect to move in together before declining health or financial issues make it absolutely necessary. Grandparents can be a huge help around the house with cooking, cleaning and driving kids around. Grandparents also have knowledge and stories of family history that they can pass on to the younger generations.
Part of why the rise in multigenerational family living arrangements will continue is due to the Baby Boomers who are not following the script for retirement and are redefining what success means in America. They could help shift us away from focusing on independence as a mark of success. Many already know that living in a retirement home isn't what they want. They saw what retirement was like for their parents and grandparents and they want something different for themselves.
They don't want to have the same relationship with their children that they had with their parents and are making an effort to stay connected and active for as long as possible.
Although multigenerational coresidence is not the right arrangement for all families, in many cases it can be beneficial for all parties involved. Even if the arrangement was only intended to be temporary, when done correctly it can be more enjoyable than previously expected, and can lead to more fulfilling relationships between family members.
As intergenerational households become more common, the American idea of success will continue to shift to focus less on independence and more on healthy communities and families.
(c) 2016 by Liam J. Magistad. Used with permission.