Feb. 12, 2021
They Take Different Forms
Sun dogs in the morning. Coyote sightings during the day. Sirius the dog star ruling the southern sky at night. It’s been quite a week for canines in Como. Photo: Nile Fellows. 
Warm Feet, Warm Hands Come from Warm Hearts
The Como Community Council invites you to share warmth and love this Valentine’s weekend. Specifically, we encourage you to help us help neighbors who currently don’t have a permanent home. We’ll be collecting:

  • Winter socks
  • Winter gloves and mittens
  • Warm blankets (full and twin sizes)
  • Cash contributions, which we’ll use to buy supplies

We're working with Saint Paul and Ramsey County to distribute your donations to adults now being sheltered temporarily in locations such as Bethesda Hospital, Bandana Square, and Luther Seminary.

Details: You can drop off donations (polite reminder: the newer, the better) this Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 13-14, from noon-3 p.m. Look for the truck in the parking lot outside the Como Park Streetcar Station, 1224 Lexington Parkway N (which is at the northeast corner of Lexington and Horton). Or, you can make a cash donation through our PayPal account, or with a check payable to “Como Community Council”.
Welcome to Our Monthly Discussion
Discussion of the district council's work plan for 2021, and proposed Clean Car rules for the State of Minnesota, will be among topics at the monthly board meeting of the Como Community Council. The meeting is this Tuesday, Feb. 16, beginning at 7 p.m. As always, all renters, homeowners, and other District 10 community members are welcome to attend, raise concerns, and comment on topics.

In order to abide by pandemic restrictions on public gatherings, the meeting takes place via video conferencing or telephone, rather than in-person. If you want to join the discussion, email the District 10 office before 6 p.m. on the day of the meeting; staff will send you access information. Preliminary agenda
No, It’s Not Supposed to be Cold Indoors
Saint Paul city code requires a minimum temperature in occupied residential buildings of 68 degrees F (that’s taking a reading 5 feet off the ground). If you are a renter, and you can’t get room temperatures above 68:

Think twice: Fire officials urge you not to turn on ovens or stovetops to heat your home, or to use unvented kerosene or gas heaters indoors. All these can cause dangerous carbon monoxide and/or fire hazards. If you need additional heat, use a portable electric space heater -- but take these precautions:

  • Plug the space heater directly into an outlet; do not use an extension cord
  • Turn the space heater off when you leave the room or go to sleep
  • Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including clothing, a bed or other furniture, blankets, bedspreads, and curtains
For Those Keeping Track: Monday is a Holiday
This Monday, Feb. 15, is the Presidents Day holiday. City, county, state, and federal offices will not open. Neither will most banks. Saint Paul and Ramsey County libraries will be closed. The District 10 office will be closed. The U.S. Postal Service will not deliver mail.

However, trash and recycling in Saint Paul will be picked up as usual on Monday (and the rest of the week). And Parks and Recreation will offer free, half-day, “no school day” programs for pupils in grades 1-5 at 17 rec centers, including North Dale, Frogtown, Rice, West Minnehaha, and Langford Park. Programs run Monday Feb. 15 from 1-4 p.m. Registration is required.
The Cold Facts about Icy Sidewalks
The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization feels your frustration: This year’s weather has made removing ice from sidewalks and driveways trickier than usual. Even if you shoveled right away, freezing rain followed by nonstop frigid temperatures and daily melt-freeze cycles still left slick patches. And if you didn’t shovel right away, you’ve got a compacted mess – or will soon. Here’s some advice:

  • There are no environmentally friendly ice-melt products, despite what some products claim. And with frigid temperatures lingering for days, rock salt and many chemical deicers won’t work anyway. But the salt does wash off and contaminate local water.
  • Sand and "poultry grit" can add temporary traction to icy pavement. It won’t melt the ice, but it will help prevent slips and falls. When the ice is gone, you can sweep a lot of it up and reuse it.
  • Use an ice chisel to scrape away compacted ice and snow – especially when warmer temperatures and sunshine start to thaw the snow.
Photo: Poultry grit can provide traction on stubborn snow and ice
Zoo, Conservatory Arrange Special Access
Senior Stroll returns to Como Park Zoo and Conservatory this week. It’s a chance for visitors age 55 or older to have the place to themselves before the four-wheeled strollers take over. Senior Stroll is available this Tuesday, Feb. 16, and on Tuesday March 2 from 9-10 a.m. (There will be a Conservatory-only opportunity on Tuesday March 30 from 4-5:30 p.m.) Admission is free but limited, and advance registration is required.

The Zoo and Conservatory are also reviving Sensory Friendly Mornings – a dedicated time when individuals on the autism spectrum (and their families) can enjoy the surroundings without most of the usual sound and visual overload. Dates are Sunday Feb. 21, Sunday March 14, and Wednesday March 24, all from 9-10 a.m. Admission is free but limited, and advance registration is required.
Another Chance at Health Insurance
MNsure, the state’s health-insurance marketplace, opens a special enrollment period this Tuesday, Feb. 16, for residents who lack insurance or have more-expensive insurance outside of MNsure. You can’t start an application until Tuesday. But you can get a head start now:

  • Set up an appointment to help navigate your options.
  • Compare plans, including coverage and your potential costs. Discover whether you qualify for financial assistance to make your insurance more affordable.

The enrollment period ends Monday May 17. 
Meal Kits Return Next Friday
The Como Community Council and Sanneh Foundation again will distribute free meal boxes next Friday, Feb. 19, and on Friday Feb. 26. The meal boxes are available to Ramsey County residents dealing with financial hardships because of Covid-19.

Details: We'll distribute the meal boxes 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 provide ingredients and recipes for two meals intended to serve six. Ingredients typically include locally sourced proteins, grains, fresh produce, and spices.
Something to Sink Your Teeth Into
The Como Community Seed Library’s next Cyber Seed Crawl is next Saturday, Feb. 20, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. It focuses on urban edibles: fruit, vegetables, herbs, medicinals. Get all the details and advice on how to supply seeds, find seeds, and make a swap at your convenience.

Speaking of eating what you grow: North Dale Recreation Center is hosting Introduction to Vegetable Gardening. The online gardening class for adults is Saturday March 13 at 10 a.m.
On Second Thought, Maybe Not This Weekend
Ramsey County Master Gardeners point out that February is the best time to prune your trees and shrubs. That’s because harmful diseases are at a minimum, and deciduous trees are “hardened off,” meaning they are well into winter dormancy. By the time the growing season begins, wounds will be sealed and healing will begin.

Trimming diseased or dying branches protects trees from further harm. Proper pruning can promote new tree growth, suppress unwanted growth, and keep branches from becoming too large and hazardous.

If you want to learn more, sit in on a free class next Saturday, Feb. 20, from 10-11:30 a.m. Register for the online session no later than next Friday, Feb. 19.
Photo: Gardening Know How
County Parks Still Want Your Opinion
Ramsey County is looking for ideas as it considers how to adapt its parks to changing community needs and to make parks more useful for residents who are more racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse. One way to share your viewpoint: Take this survey.
Opportunities to Add to Your Calendar
  • This Wednesday, Feb. 17: Saint Paul Police offer a free Burglary Prevention workshop, 6 p.m. The online workshop explains how property owners can apply environmental design principles -- such as landscaping, lighting, and access control -- to improve safety. Register
  • Next Saturday, Feb. 20: "Freight Rail in My Neighborhood: Creating Family and Community Preparedness Plans to Address Rail Hazards in Our Communities," 1-3 p.m. Sponsored by University of Minnesota School of Public Health and Citizens Acting for Rail Safety/Twin Cities. Free. Join using Zoom or by phone (651-372-8299). Meeting ID: 989 2619 0664
  • Tuesday Feb. 23: Civics in Our Schools: What’s Going On? 7-8 p.m. The League of Women Voters of Saint Paul hosts this free panel discussion. Get details, including how to sign up through Zoom or watch a livestream on Facebook.
  • Wednesday Feb. 24: Saint Paul Police offer a Fraud workshop, 6 p.m. This free workshop focuses on common scams, ways to protect your personal and financial information, and what to do if you are scammed. Register
  • Sunday Feb. 28: Deadline to apply for Right Track, Saint Paul’s summer internship program for youth ages 14-21 who live in a cost-burdened household or have another barrier to employment.
The Fairgrounds Are Not as Off Limits
We can get into and around the Fairgrounds again during daylight hours, though the only access is through the main gate at Snelling and Dan Patch Ave.

The Gina Morri Memorial Invitational gymnastics meet runs through this Sunday, Feb. 14, at the Warner Coliseum. Hours: Today, Friday Feb. 12, 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. The meet is not open to the public.
Monthly Meetings Introduce New Command Staff 
The Western District of the Saint Paul Police Department holds its monthly community meetings this Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. In addition to the usual updates on crime trends, advice on crime prevention, and opportunities to ask individual questions, the Tuesday meetings will be a chance to meet new command staff, including senior commander Joshua Lego and patrol commander Salim Omari. The remote meetings will use Microsoft Teams. To join:

  • Morning meeting: By video link or by phone (612-315-7905). The meeting ID is 528 871 94#.
  • Evening meeting: By video link or by phone (612-315-7905). The meeting ID is 610 281 241#.

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.