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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Innovative urban farming and a radio station: new projects taking shape in Ward 7

Submitted by Saint Paul City Council President Kathy Lantry

Plans Underway for New East Side Radio Station
There are lots of exciting things happening in neighborhoods on Saint Paul’s East Side, and pretty soon there will be another great way to share that information in the community. 
The Dayton’s Bluff Community Council has received word that they are one of the first local, nonprofit organizations in Minnesota to get permission from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create a low-power FM radio station that will serve the East Side of Saint Paul. 
The first step in this ambitious plan is to install a new antenna, which will be about two stories tall, at the 180 Degrees facility located at 7th Street and Johnson Parkway.  Following that, the community council hopes to find studio space and get final approval from the FCC to operate at 104.7 FM on the radio dial.
The Dayton’s Bluff Community Council has established an advisory committee to chart the course for the new station.  They have determined that the new radio station needs to be a reflection of neighborhood and include programming that will represent communities of color, youth, local artists, religious organizations, businesses and non-English speakers. 
Residents participated in planning the new station on Tuesday at the Dayton’s Bluff Community Center. If you are interested in getting involved, you can contact the Community Council at or call 651-772-2075.

Urban Organics Grand Opening

This week, I was pleased to be a part of the grand opening celebration for Urban Organics, a great new East Side business located in the former Hamm’s Brewery buildings.  This exciting new venture is at the forefront of local and sustainable urban agriculture. 
I have written previously about how Urban Organics is raising Tilapia and fresh organic vegetables with special water filtration technology by Pentair.  By-products from the fish are filtered to provide nutrient rich water for the vegetables in a special growing system that uses far less water than traditional agriculture.  The water is then recycled to be used again in the fish tanks.  The end results are fresh, organically grown vegetables (which will be available at Lunds and Byerly’s stores) and healthy tilapia filets.
We are so pleased to have this new business on the East Side and look forward to celebrating the grand openings for Flat Earth Brewery and 11Wells Distillery, which will be opening soon in other buildings on the Hamm’s site (what a great neighborhood!).
Watch a video of the Grand Opening Celebration.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Saint Paul is ‘All In’ with Single Sort Recycling

Last week the City of Saint Paul and Eureka Recycling made a transition to single sort recycling, along with an expanded list of acceptable plastics, to make the shift towards a contemporary and convenient recycling operation. Effective April 7, residents now have the option to recycle plastics 1, 2, 4, 5 and 7. But there’s more to come! The city is now in a much stronger position to meet its ambitious goal of diverting 80 percent of its solid waste from landfills by the year 2030. 

After a year-long process listening to the community and working with Wilder Research on the comprehensive recycling assessment, residents told the city that they wanted their recycling program to be convenient, affordable, and most importantly, to accept a broader spectrum of recyclable material. To invigorate the recycling program, the city has launched its “All In” public awareness campaign around the new recycling changes and enhanced programs to come.

Why “All In” and what does that mean?
“All In” asks all of us to participate in ways we haven’t in the past and to explore new methods. We need to continue to look for new ways to reduce our waste, recycle all we can, and manage organics more appropriately.

All of us, the city, residents, businesses, and our partners, have to be committed to this effort.  So, Saint Paul, are you All In?

Check here for more information.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Help keep our city clean and volunteer for the Citywide Spring Cleanup

Saint Paul is known for its lush, green riverfront and beautiful parks system. Unfortunately, our long, cold and snowy winters don’t leave our streets clear until April, and sometimes May. Six months of built-up snow leaves behind a supply of trash in neighborhoods and parks throughout the city. With the help of residents, the city has organized the annual Citywide Spring Cleanup event for the last 30 years to remove trash and get our parks back in shape.
Kicking off at 6 locations on Saturday, April 12, the Citywide Spring Cleanup volunteers will meet for a brief program and collect supplies before heading to a nearby park or neighborhood. Kickoff locations include: Como Lakeside Pavilion, Highland Pavilion, Indian Mounds Large Shelter, Phalen Picnic Pavilion, Harriet Island – Kelley’s Landing, and Linwood Recreation Center.
Details about the event:
Saturday, April 12
8:30 a.m. Registration
9-9:15 a.m. Kickoff Celebrations
9:15 a.m. Cleanup begins!
Although pre-registration is not required, residents interested in volunteering are encouraged to sign-up ahead of time at: 

At each of the kickoff locations will be an environmental sustainability table with information about all of Saint Paul's exciting recycling initiatives, and give residents an opportunity to obtain current news and locations for compost drop-off sites.

This event is a fun and effective way to improve the natural environment in our city and a great event for families or groups to volunteer together. The City of Saint Paul appreciates your commitment to helping make Saint Paul the Most Livable City in America!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sharing More Than Books

The Saint Paul Public Library is more to our residents than a place to share books. It’s a place to help launch a new business, career, or more. The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library recently launched an awareness campaign with the theme: Because of the Library. This campaign celebrates how Saint Paul learns and thrives—because of the library. Take part in the campaign by using #Becauseofthelibrary to share library stories and celebrate our city’s great library system. Follow the library and its campaign on Facebook. 

The Library’s Mobile WORKplace program is the focus of a newly released Google Stories video, Saint Paul Public Library: Sharing More Than Books. Google Stories features people around the world who demonstrate passion and a desire to improve their communities. Google’s newest video shows how the library serves the critical needs of Saint Paul’s new immigrant communities. Mobile WORKplace staff offer computer access, skills training, and job search assistance at community centers, schools, public housing facilities, and other sites. Classes are offered in Hmong, Somali, Oromo, Karen, Amharic, Spanish, and English.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Microchipping reunites lost pets with their owners

On Christmas Eve of 2012, a 10 year-old Shar Pei named Keno went missing from a Brooklyn Park home.  The owner searched tirelessly for Keno, filed a lost report, posted a report online, and put up signs.  She looked and waited, hoping for good news, but to no avail. Eventually she gave up, knowing how unlikely such an old dog would survive winter on his own.

In March of 2014, the Saint Paul Animal Control Center received a call about the safety of a Shar Pei wandering around the neighborhood on his own. Although Keno had no tags, the Animal Control Officer found the owner’s name after scanning the microchip. After more than 430 days, Keno was reunited with his owner.

Thanks to microchipping, Keno and his owner joined a growing number of people reunited with their animals.  

A microchip is slightly bigger than a grain of rice, which is inserted under an animal’s skin by a veterinarian. This form of permanent identification is found by a scanning device which displays a unique code to the animal.  Upon being identified, professionals contact the company and locate the pet’s owner - sometimes years and thousands of miles later.

All dogs that live in Saint Paul are required to be licensed through the Department of Safety and Inspection’s Animal Control Program upon turning three months of age.  Owners that have their dogs spayed, neutered and microchipped can purchase a Lifetime Dog License for $33. Owners that choose not to spay or neuter their dogs, but do have them microchipped can purchase a Lifetime Dog License for $65.  Over an average lifespan of 15 years, that amounts to $132-$760 in savings!  Dog licenses can be purchased at the Animal Control Center, call (651) 266-1100 or check here for more information. 

Tips if you’ve found a dog:
  • Contact Animal Control: You can either have an officer pick up the dog, or file a found report (if you want to try to find the owner on your own) 
  • Contact other Animal Professionals: Private animal shelters and some veterinary clinics also take found reports. 
  •  File an on-line found report: The Animal Humane Society, Animal Ark, Lost Dogs MN and Craigslist are good places to start. 
  •  Make a Found Dog flyer and distribute to neighbors (don’t place in mailboxes). 
  • Bring the dog to a veterinary clinic or animal shelter to be scanned.

    Tips if you’ve lost a dog:  
  • Contact Animal Control and other animal professionals to file a lost report. 
  •  Visit local animal shelters to see if your pet is there. 
  •  File an on-line lost report. The Animal Humane Society, Animal Ark, Lost Dogs MN, and Craigslist are good places to start. 
  • Make a Lost Dog flyer and distribute to neighbors (don’t place in mailboxes). 
  • Take your dog’s bed, favorite toy, and an item that smells like you to the last place your dog was seen. The smells can keep the dog in the area.

If your dog is microchipped, contact the manufacturer with your most up to date information.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Illegal Scrapping in Saint Paul

Submitted by Councilmember Amy Brendmoen, Ward 5 

We've all seen scrappers driving through neighborhoods with piles of junk heaped on a truck bed. Some of us have even taken advantage of the "service" scrappers provide--put out an old appliance and POOF! it’s gone by daybreak. Unfortunately, the practice of scrapping can also be a nuisance, especially when conducted illegally at a property near your home. Often, scrapping illegally is correlated with other illegal and nuisance behaviors. The recession and rise in the prices fetched by certain metals has exacerbated the problem in recent years. 

Working with constituents impacted by scrappers has increased my awareness of this complex issue. A “Quick Guide to Illegal Scrapping” below is what I have learned about how we address the issue today. The city will continue to monitor illegal scrapping and, if needed, find additional ways to ensure the peace and security of our Saint Paul neighborhoods.

What is "scrapping"? 
Scrapping is the practice of making money by collecting and disassembling old or inoperable items and selling the scrap metal to be reprocessed/recycled.

Is it legal? 
Collecting and reprocessing metal for profit is considered a Recycling Business under the law. A Recycling Business requires a license according to Chapter 357 of the Saint Paul Administrative Code. If conducted without a license, scrapping is most likely illegal. Furthermore, hauling solid waste as part of a business requires a Commercial Vehicle License, also detailed in Chapter 357.  In addition, Recycling Collection and Processing Centers are allowed only in areas zoned for industrial uses within the City of Saint Paul under Chapter 408 of the code. 

Scrapping can have a negative impact on the neighboring community, which is why licensed Recycling Businesses are required to follow the regulations outlined in Chapter 357 and 408. Scrapping is often related to additional City Code violations such as noise, dumping, exterior maintenance (such as scrap/trash in the yard), parking, zoning, etc. Scrapping may also be related to criminal activity such as theft.

To view requirements and apply for a Recycling Processing Center or Recycling Collection Center license, visit and look up business licenses, or call the Department of Safety and Inspections (DSI) at 651-266-8989. 

If you suspect illegal scrapping
Please report issues related to scrapping to the Department of Safety and Inspections at (DSI) 651-266-8989 or fill out an online complaint at (select 'I want to' and 'Ask a question or make a complaint'). 

If there is an urgent concern outside of business hours (such as noise), call the Saint Paul Police non-emergency line at 651-291-1111. As always, if there is an emergency, dial 911. 

What happens when I make a complaint? 
Because each instance of illegal scrapping is unique and a variety of violations may be determined, different enforcement tools are used depending on the situation. If code violations are discovered, property owners will receive an "Order to Abate." Generally, this notice allows the property owner a period of time to clean-up the nuisance or the City of Saint Paul will abate the nuisance and will bill the property owner for the cost of the clean-up, plus an administrative fee. 

If DSI Inspectors suspect criminal behavior, the police will be notified and a criminal tag may be given. If the city (DSI or Police) is forced to return to the property multiple times, the property owner may be issued an Excessive Consumption of City Services fee. 

If illegal and nuisance behavior persists, you may work with the Saint Paul Police FORCE Unit to address the ongoing nuisance in the neighborhood. Police leadership contact information, including FORCE Unit Commanders, can be found at or call the Communications Center at 651-291-1111.

You can also contact the Mayor or City Council offices. Contacts for specific elected officials can be found at under ‘Government,’ or call 651-266-8989 and ask to be connected.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Hopping into spring at the zoo

With the colder than average temperatures and the constant snowfall this winter, we are all “hopping” to feel those spring temperatures. Most of our  animals that spend their summers in outdoors exhibits are also going a little stir-crazy indoors; ready to go outside to have a little fun in the sun. Spring cleaning and exhibit maintenance is hard to accomplish when there is a light, or should I say heavy dusting of snow! We are all getting very excited for warmer temperatures.

Speaking of hopping , we have two resident rabbits, “L.J.” and “Honey” who cannot wait to get outside and munch on some of the new fresh spring grass. The Como Zoo has two rabbits that are taken to educational programs, classes, keeper talks, and used by interpretive specialists such as Nature Walkers (a program for adolescents under the age of 17, who volunteer and teach the public fun facts about animals during the summer months). The rabbits get to interact with children and adults of all ages during these events, and get to have a “hoppy” good time.

Como Zoo has the “Bunny Hop,” which is an on-site class in which the rabbits will also be participating.

This class is held on April 11, 2014 from 9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. Children and adults can have a “hare-raising” adventure as they watch a rabbit during feeding time, make a bunny craft to take home, play hopping games, eat a rabbit snack and twitch our little noses.

There are many other animals you can learn great facts about and “get closer” to at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory this spring. Open 365 days a year, rain, shine, snow, or slush, you can come watch a training demo, take a class, or watch a gardener or keeper talk! Come join the fun with myself and the rabbits as we “hop” into Spring!