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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Raising awareness and honoring victims of genocide


Last year, Governor Mark Dayton designated April as Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month – a testament to Minnesota’s strong commitment to human rights.  In recognition of this designation, the City of Saint Paul’s Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity (HREEO) and William Mitchell College of Law’s World Without Genocide nonprofit organization, recently co-sponsored a “Rescuing the Children” event honoring victims of genocide.  
 
The event marked the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide and remembered victims of genocides in Darfur, Cambodia, Bosnia, the Armenian genocide, and the Holocaust.  Human rights advocate and activist of 25 years, Jack Rendler of UNICEF, shared his unique perspective on the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide. The goal of the “Rescuing the Children” event, and similar events that took place throughout April, is to educate about past genocides, remember those affected, raise awareness of ongoing conflicts, and advocate preventing future genocides.  

On Sunday, April 27 7:00 p.m., the Jewish Community Relations Council will host Yom HaShoah Commemoration at Temple of Aaron (616 S. Mississippi Blvd, St. Paul).  The free event is open to the public, and is part of the annual Twin Cities Holocaust Remembrance Day - the event will also feature voices of Twin Cities Holocaust survivors.

On May 9th from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., HREEO will screen the documentary, “Remaking a Life” at City Hall (Room 40A, 15 Kellogg Boulevard West). The 30 minute documentary presents the story of Sam Rafowitz, a local resident and former small business owner, who survived the Holocaust. The film will be followed by a short question and answer session with Mr. Rafowitz.

Check here for more events and information.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Right Track catching up with youth job demand

Are you looking for interns and youth workers? Apply here before May 1!

 

Earlier this month, record numbers of Saint Paul’s youth completed applications for the city’s Right Track internship and youth jobs program. Nearly a third of Saint Paul teens are unemployed—a statistic larger than the metro, state, and national averages—and one that we can change. The Right Track program is designed to pair students with employers for summer internships, providing real-life work experience for our youth, and a great worker for our businesses.

More than 1,600 students applied for this year’s summer internship program, and we are looking for additional small and nonprofit businesses to place applicants. Through a partnership with the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and the support of several foundations, there is a new opportunity for small businesses and nonprofits to receive reimbursement for wages. Check here for more information on hiring a Right Track intern.

Right Track takes a pipeline approach to creating impactful and substantive work and skill development for our city’s next workforce. Working on a continuum, applicants start out working in parks, libraries, and nonprofits and develop skills in professional settings the following summer. If your small business or nonprofit is looking for internship or youth job opportunities, click here for program information and details. 

Keeping an eye to the sky


Submitted by: Mike Lovas, Saint Paul Emergency Management

After a long brutal winter, Minnesotans are itching to get outdoors and take advantage – unfortunately,  the weather doesn’t always cooperate.  Strong storms, tornadoes, flooding, and wild fires can occur with little to no warning. 
  
To prepare for these unique and potentially dangerous weather conditions, Severe Weather Awareness Week is planned for April 21-25.  To raise awareness, tornado drills will be conducted on Thursday, April 24 at 1:45 p.m. and 6:55 p.m. 

Severe Weather Awareness Week is a great time to talk with your family and friends about what to do in the event of severe weather.  Review your plans at home and work to know where to go and brush up on severe weather warning signs and how you’ll be alerted when the threat has passed.  Check your NOAA weather radio and review your emergency plans and kit.  If you don’t have a kit, make a kit for your home, car and office.  Remember to include important items such as closed-toe shoes, water, a whistle, medications, NOAA weather radio, children’s toys, baby food and diapers, pet food, etc. 

Severe Weather Tips:

  • Remember the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Please stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder. 
  • Setup weather alerts on your smartphone or sign up for CodeRed, an emergency notification system to alert residents of important information or emergency warnings.  Remember, outdoor warning sirens are designed to warn people outside to go inside – it’s not designed to alert people inside that there is an approaching threat.  That’s why it’s important to have a NOAA weather radio handy.  Sirens normally sound for about three minutes, and then go silent. It is  rare to keep the sirens sounding the entire warning.  Remember, there is no such thing as an “all-clear” siren.

Lightning can strike at will. Tornadoes cause large devastation with little to no warning.  Take time to prepare yourself so you can enjoy the weather after a long winter.

For more on how to prepare for severe weather, visit this website.  For more information on Severe Weather Awareness Week, check out this page .


Friday, April 18, 2014

What’s in your water?


Every April, Saint Paul Regional Water Services (SPRWS) and the Minnesota Department of Health release their annual water quality report detailing the quality of our water. The report explains the methods on how SPRWS obtains our water, how they conduct their regular testing, what they find in it, and how they distribute it. 

The drinking water covered in the report is provided to the residents of Saint Paul, Falcon Heights, Lauderdale, Maplewood, Mendota Heights, and West St. Paul. Once again, water quality is up to state and federal standards ensuring our residents get healthy, high-quality water. The consumer confidence report is a federal Environmental Protection Agency requirement, and water quality is monitored by the Minnesota Department of Health.  

Copies of the report can be obtained by calling SPRWS customer service at 651-266-6350 or you can get the report online.

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 daytonsbluff@gmail.com 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: http://bit.ly/StPaulCleanup 

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!