Hummingbirds and their mesmerizing habits are flitting through town these days. Photo: Nile Fellows
OK, Now You Can Vote
Early voting begins today, Friday Sept. 18, for the Nov. 3 elections. All eligible Minnesota residents can vote early, whether you prefer in person or by mail. Unlike in the old days, you don't need a reason (or make up an excuse) to vote early. Here's a quick, step-by-step guide. It's got information on how to:
  • register (or update your voter registration)
  • vote early in person
  • request a mail ballot, figure out your options for returning your ballot by mail or in person, and even track your ballot
  • find out who is on your ballot
  • find out even more voting information
Morning Chill Reminds Us: It's Coming
The Como Community Council holds a winter coat drive for kids next weekend. We'll collect new or gently used winter coats, plus new hats, gloves, mittens, and scarves. It's not just for wee ones, either; larger sizes for children also are needed.

You can drop off your donations at the Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway N (the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton):
  • Next Saturday, Sept. 26, noon-4 p.m.
  • Next Sunday, Sept. 27, noon-3 p.m.
We'll get your donations to the Salvation Army, which will get your donations to children in need in District 10 and nearby neighborhoods.
Photo: Mother Earth News
Don't Let Fall Go to Waste
Ramsey County Master Gardeners are bursting with practical advice on making the most of your gardens and lawn this season. Topics include:
Get a Handle on Utility Bills
With cold weather creeping in, daylight diminishing, and more of us at home more often, it's more important than ever to save money and save energy as the seasons change. The independent Citizens Utility Board has a 10-step checklist of tips that cover the obvious (such as adjusting your thermostat) to the not so obvious (such as changing the direction of your ceiling fans).

CUB can also help you manage your utility bills on a more personal level. Nearly every week, experts hold free telephone consultations, where they review your utility bills and give advice on saving money by reducing the energy you use at home. Appointments are necessary. Upcoming sessions include this Thursday, Sept. 24, at 5 p.m.; Friday Oct. 2 at 11 a.m.; and Wednesday Oct. 7 at 5 p.m.

In addition, CUB holds a video session this Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. to deal specifically with pandemic-related issues. The session covers utility shut-offs, your rights and responsibilities, and available resources. Registration is required.
Watershed District Could Fund Your Idea
Capitol Region Watershed District is accepting applications for its 2021 Partner Grant and Stewardship Grant programs. The programs help individuals, homeowners, businesses, schools, and community organizations carry out educational initiatives, or actual projects that improve water quality or fight stormwater pollution. 
  • Partner Grants range from $1,000-$20,000; the application deadline is Nov. 1.
  • Stewardship Grants range from $300-$40,000; applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Kowalsky-Grahek Elected
Congratulations to Benjamin Kowalsky-Grahek, who won the special election to fill a vacancy on the Como Community Council board. He will represent Sub-District 4, which is South Como and Energy Park.
The Latest Dirt
  • Como Ave.: Not much new to report. The intersection of Como and Hamline will remain closed for much of this week. Como remains closed from Hamline west to Arona. Breda, Albany, and Almond are barricaded at Hamline and at Arona in an attempt to prevent cut-through traffic. Como is open in each direction between Arona and Snelling. West of Snelling, westbound Como is shut down to Caithlin, though the first layer of asphalt is visible. An eastbound lane remains open from Caithlin to Snelling. From Caithlin to the Cleveland/Raymond intersection, the street remains restricted to one lane in each direction. 
    On the city's western border, Como remains closed at Brompton. That means detouring to Larpenteur or Energy Park Drive if you need to get to Highway 280.
  • Dale St.: The county road remains restricted to one lane in each direction between University and Carroll, as reconstruction of the bridge over Interstate 94 continues. Ramps to and from I-94 are closed. Access from Dale to some nearby east-west streets is cut off.
  • Energy Park Drive: The mill-and-overlay from the intersection of Front and Churchill west toward Raymond is delayed. We'll see some preliminary work this week, but the actual resurfacing is not expected to begin until Sept. 28.
  • Larpenteur Ave.: Work continues on the permanent conversion of Larpenteur from 4 lanes to 3 between Dale Street and Interstate 35E. Resurfacing that was scheduled for overnight on Sept. 16-17 did not happen. The new plan is a couple of days this week from 7 p.m.-6 a.m. At times, work will include complete shutdowns of some intersections. Otherwise, don't be surprised if traffic to be limited to one lane in each direction.
The latest proposal for the parking lot north of the Lakeside Pavilion.
Whad'ya Think about Parking Lot Plans?
Saint Paul Parks and Recreation is still taking feedback on its design ideas for rebuilding the parking lots outside the Como Golf Course and the Lakeside Pavilion. It now has an interactive map that community members can use to enter comments and suggestions. 

Parking lot reconstruction is scheduled for late summer 2021. You can get more background on the project on District 10's website.
Paperwork and Opportunities at City Hall
  • Como/Front/Dale: City Council votes this Wednesday, Sept. 23, on a proposal to transfer $229,125 in unspent funds from the Como/Front/Dale Commercial Vitality Zone to the Rice/Larpenteur Commercial Vitality Zone. The proposal is part of the consent agenda.
  • 1349 Midway Parkway: The city has given St. Paul Women's Recovery House until Oct. 5 to correct code deficiencies or risk losing its certificate of occupancy.
Previously reported:
  • 2021 Saint Paul Budget: City Council members are seeking feedback on Mayor Melvin Carter's proposed city budget for 2021. They've approved a 0 percent increase in the tax levy (that's right: zero, zilch, nada). What else should they do?  Fill out their survey
  • Cultural STAR: The city is revising its annual grant program for Saint Paul-based arts and cultural organizations by providing one-time operational funding. Virtual information sessions are scheduled for today, Friday Sept. 18, from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and this Tuesday, Sept. 22, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The deadline to apply is Friday Oct. 2 at 4 p.m.
  • Twin Cities Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice: The 2020 draft is now available to read. Ramsey County and Saint Paul hold a public meeting to discuss the report this Monday, Sept.21, from 6-8 p.m. To attend online, register today, Friday Sept. 18. You can comment on the draft until Sunday Oct. 18.
  • Duke's Car and Towing: The license for this auto repair garage at 977 Front is up for renewal on Oct. 18. Anyone with concerns should email District 10 or contact the office of Ward 5 Council Member Amy Brendmoen.
  • 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.
Hazardous Waste Disposal Gets Easier
Ramsey County sets up a temporary hazardous waste collection site every Friday and Saturday for the rest of September on Como Ave. west of Snelling and south of the Fairgrounds. If you've got solvents or other chemicals that say Caution, Warning, Danger, or Poison on the label, those are good candidates. So are batteries, cell phones, fluorescent bulbs, gasoline, mercury thermometers, paint, propane tanks, and used motor oil and filters. 

The site operates Fridays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (Because of construction, access from the west is from Como via Winston; access from the east is from Snelling via Breda.) See the complete list of what you can bring.  Disposal is free.  
Things to Do Indoors and Out
  • This Saturday, Sept. 19: Native Plant Seed Harvesting. Seeds will be collected from five locations to sow in the restoration meadow under development on Pierce Butler Route west of Snelling. Sites include the Arlington Pascal Stormwater Project from 4:30-5 p.m. 
  • This Tuesday, Sept. 22: Climate Generation continues its Eyewitness workshop series with "Rebuilding the New: A Better World is Possible," noon-1 p.m. Free, but you must register in advance.
  • Tuesday Oct. 6: "Neither Rain nor Sleet nor Gloom of Pandemic: Safe Voting from Home in 2020," 7-8 p.m. A panel presentation via Zoom features election and postal officials discussing voting by mail, absentee ballots, and other details of this November's elections. Free. Register in advance
At the Fairgrounds
  • Metro Transit Bus Roadeo: Through this Saturday, Sept. 19, parking lot south of Como.
  • Flu Fighter Clinic: Next weekend, Friday Sept. 25-Sunday Sept. 27. The main gate at Snelling and Midway opens at 8:45 a.m. each day. The drive-thru clinic runs 9 a.m.-3 p.m. each day, or until 1,000 doses are distributed. Sponsors are Health Fair 11, UCare, and Hennepin Healthcare.
Coincidence or Correlation?
This is far from proof that there's a cause and effect but -- it's interesting to note that reported crime in District 10 decreased 20 percent this year during the 12 days when there would have been a State Fair, vs. the 12 comparable days in 2019 (when there actually was a State Fair). For context, in the first eight months of 2020 total, reported crime in Como overall increased 9.7 percent.

There were 55 reported crimes in the neighborhood during the 12 days of the Fair in 2019, vs. 44 reported crimes during the comparable 12 days in 2020. In the four police grids closest to the Fairgrounds, reported crimes fell from 21 in 2019 to 13 in 2020. That accounts for three-quarters of the drop in crime between the two years.

Theft was the largest category of reported crime in both years. But 2019, when there was a Fair, generated significantly more reports of auto theft (13 vs. 4), vandalism (6 vs. 3), and narcotics (4 vs. 0). In 2020, those 12 days had more reports of burglaries (7 vs. 2), assaults (2 v. 1), and weapons discharge (2 vs. 1).
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.