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Friday, August 30, 2013

August Library Roundup

Renovations Coming for Highland Park and Sun Ray Libraries

We are seeking input from the Highland Park and Sun Ray communities to learn what programs and services people want from their local library. Please take our online survey before August 31. Design presentations will be held at Highland Park Library, 1974 Ford Parkway, on Sept. 24 at 6:30 p.m. and at Conway Recreation Center, 2090 Conway Street, on Sept. 26 at 6:30 p.m.
Bicycling in Traffic 101

Nice Ride Minnesota will be coming to four Saint Paul Public Library locations to demonstrate the basic skills needed to safely ride a bike in the city.
Following each of these free workshops, Nice Ride will lead a one-hour ride to practice these skills. Participants must be 18 years or older, and a limited number of Nice Ride bikes will be available at no cost.
Registration is required. The first event will be at Dayton’s Bluff Library on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 2:30 p.m.

Acts of Culture are Popping Up in Local Libraries
Saint Paul Public Library and Springboard for the Arts have partnered to bring Library Acts of Culture performances into libraries throughout the city. The first performance, by TU Dance, took place at Central Library and Rondo Library on July 17.
The second round of Library Acts of Culture was on August 27 at Saint Anthony Park, Hamline Midway, Merriam Park, and Highland Park library locations. Dates for additional performances will be selected in September and October.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Urban Chicken Keeping

Submitted by Councilmember Amy Brendmoen, Ward 5

About a year ago, my family decided to add chickens to our bustling Como Park home. A friend of mine who keeps chickens told me how much her family enjoyed caring for the chickens and harvesting fresh eggs.

Urban chicken keeping is great, but it’s also a new trend and best practices are still being worked out in municipalities across the country.  The permitting process in Saint Paul currently includes obtaining neighborhood support and having the coop approved by the city’s Department of Safety and Inspections.  My permitting experience provided me an opportunity to review our permitting process first hand and make suggestions for how to streamline and simplify it. The result: a revised web page and this informative video featuring my feathered friends - Madam Hootch, Miss Muffin, Parmesan and Cosmo.

Tending chickens in an urban setting has its challenges and rewards. It is a decision that should not be entered in to lightly and I feel that ultimately, the city process helped our family think through potential pitfalls and encouraged us to seek support from our neighbors. For more information visit and search “chickens.”

Monday, August 26, 2013

Help all pets have happy homes

Saint Paul's Department of Safety and Inspections Animal Control Unit would like to take this opportunity to remind folks to spay and neuter their pets. 
Every year in the United States, millions of pets are given up to shelters or left to fend for themselves on the streets and in the country. These abandoned animals pose a hazard particularly to children, endanger wildlife, and spread disease to other pets and animals.

According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), 6 to 8 million cats and dogs enter shelters each year.  Of these, about half are euthanized.  According to HSUS estimates, while 15 to 30 percent of dogs are reclaimed by owners, only 2 to 5 percent of cats are ever reclaimed. Most of these euthanized animals would have made excellent companion animals. 

There are two small steps we can all take to minimize these frightening numbers.  First, don’t let your pet breed -- get your own pet spayed or neutered.  Second, adopt your next pet from a rescue group or shelter.

Studies also show that spayed and neutered pets live longer, are happier and are more likely to remain in the home. The financial cost of sterilizing your pet is approximately $200. Programs are available to assist low-income residents who want to sterilize their pet.  A quick Internet search or a call to any veterinarian or animal rescue group should be able to provide you with resources that can help ease the financial burden.  If you’d like more information on available programs, feel free to contact Saint Paul Animal Control at 651-266-1100.  Let’s all do our part to ensure all pets in Saint Paul have happy homes.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Groovin’ in the Garden

The free concert series Groovin’ in the Garden has returned to Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, featuring some of the Twin Cities’ finest musicians and activities for the whole family. While the grownups get their groove on with some of the Twin Cities best bands, the kids will be entertained by a climbing wall, bouncy house and lawn games. Pack the dancing shoes, spread out a blanket and join us for these FREE outdoor concerts and activities on the Visitor Center lawn every Wednesday, through  September 11 from 6 p.m.–8 p.m.  Food, ice cream treats, beer and wine will be available to purchase.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bringing Open Streets to Saint Paul – Mark your calendar to join the fun!

Submitted by Councilmember Russ Stark
My office has been working with community partners and business organizations to bring the first-ever Open Streets event to Saint Paul, and specifically University Avenue, on September 15.  Open Streets is an event where people-powered transportation –pedestrians, rollerbladers, bicyclists, tricyclists, skateboarders – take over the street where cars and trucks normally use the space.  These events are growing in popularity across the state of Minnesota and across the world. It will be a great opportunity to get out and get active with family, friends and neighbors, as well as to visit University Avenue now that light rail construction is nearly complete. Visit businesses that are old favorites and find some new favorites, too. 

Please mark your calendar, spread the word to friends, and even consider volunteering for part of the time. 

Follow on Facebook
For more information and to sign up to volunteer visit this site.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Studying Streetcars for Saint Paul

Streetcars have a long history in Saint Paul. They began in 1872 as horse-drawn cars and switched to electric cars over time. At its peak in 1930, there were 523 miles of track spanning Saint Paul and Minneapolis. The last streetcar in the city operated in 1953.  
The City of Saint Paul’s Planning and Economic Development Department has been leading a study to evaluate the feasibility of developing modern streetcar services in the city. This technical, data-driven study is the first step in determining how best to integrate streetcars into the city’s transit system, as well as determine where they have the potential to catalyze development and business activity.
The first phase of the study screened corridors throughout the city to determine potential lines to study further in the second phase. Phase two further analyzed these potential lines, and put them through a rigorous evaluation focusing on economic development potential, transit demand, compatible land-uses, operations, systems integration, and capital and operational costs. Seven lines were identified as having potential for streetcar service.

Two open houses on the second phase of the Streetcar Feasibility Study will be held on Wednesday, August 28 at the Rondo Community Outreach Library located at 461 N. Dale Street. The first open house will be from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and the second will be held from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m.

For more information visit or watch this video.

To provide your feedback on the streetcar study, visit

Monday, August 12, 2013

City Videos – Granicus, YouTube, Vimeo

Prior to August 8, 2008 the city only used the webstreaming services of Granicus to display its city meetings and videos. While the city still contracts with Granicus for these same services, the primary use today for Granicus has been the coverage of meetings and the ability to link the meeting agenda with the meeting.
 What changed five years ago was the establishment of the city’s own YouTube government channel.   At the time, very few local governments were using YouTube as a means to communicate with the public.  Today, YouTube is only one of several social media video outlets the City of Saint Paul uses to get out its messages.  In addition to Granicus and YouTube, the city has started using Vimeo as well.    
Prior to Granicus, the only way a Saint Paul resident could watch the city’s video programming was to tune into the city’s government access channel, City18.  Today, not only can Saint Paul residents watch the city messages and information, but the entire world can … and does.
As illustrated, city videos on YouTube have increased each year. 

And that number is projected to rise again in 2013, eclipsing 125,000 viewers by the end of the year. By the end of August, the city’s YouTube library will consist of over 800 videos!  
By using YouTube, and other social media sites, the City of Saint Paul has been able to fine-tune its approach to informing the public about the city’s programs, activities, events and more by not only posting the videos on the city’s government TV and web channels, but to cooperatively link the videos on websites pertinent to the video’s topic. 
The easiest way to view videos on any of these websites is to add them to your favorite lists—or, for videos on YouTube, simply click on the YouTube icon on the city’s homepage, Thanks for watching!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Supporting the Community and Investing in the Future

On July 20, members of the Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity (HREEO) joined Mayor Coleman at the 30th Annual Rondo Days Parade and Festival.  The Rondo Days celebration recognizes the vibrant Rondo neighborhood that was cleared in the 1960s to make way for Interstate 94.  Staff from the Saint Paul Department of Human Rights and the EMS Academy attended the festival to showcase the services the department offers to the community.  Human Rights staffed a resource booth to educate members of the community on civil rights, while the EMS Academy provided free blood pressure checks and CPR training.  Senator Al Franken also stopped by to learn more about the EMS Academy and get his blood pressure checked.    
Recently, HREEO staff members also visited one of the jobsites for the UnderConstruction program.   UnderConstruction is a partnership between HREEO, Saint Paul Youth Job Corps, and the Construction Careers Foundation.  The UnderConstruction program provides paid training to 24 Saint Paul youth ages 15-26 to learn the skills necessary to enter the construction trades.  Over the course of the program, students earn valuable on-the-job training while constructing two residential garages in the Frogtown neighborhood.  Participants receive training in OSHA 10 safety compliance, financial literacy, and learn work-related skills like time management and communicating with co-workers.  UnderConstruction interns also visit various construction union jobsites and training facilities.  The goal is to expose urban youth to construction career opportunities and connect the construction industry to potential new hires from backgrounds currently underrepresented. 
Learn more about HREEO and opportunities available here.

Monday, August 5, 2013

City of Saint Paul celebrates first same-sex wedding at Como Zoo and Conservatory

The City of Saint Paul will remember August 1, 2013 for two reasons.  One that it was an ideal Minnesota summer day and secondly, and more importantly, it was the first day same-sex couples could legally marry in the State of Minnesota. To help celebrate this historic event, the City of Saint Paul waived rental fees for anyone wishing to get married and offered expanded hours at its most popular wedding facilities.

The first same-sex marriage performed in Saint Paul took place at midnight at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory and was between Paul Nolle and Reid Bordson.  The couple, who met 13 years ago, knew they wanted to be one of first Minnesotan couples to legalize their marriage and chose to have the event at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in Saint Paul.

 “This is the most beautiful place for a wedding we have ever seen. It is also thrilling to have been married in the very city, the capital, where all the political action occurred just a few months ago.” said Bordson.

In addition to Paul and Reid’s midnight wedding, 10 other couples were married at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory on August 1, 2013, breaking all previous records for the number of people married during one day at this popular wedding location.

The City of Saint Paul and Como Park Zoo and Conservatory where honored to take part in the historic events that took place on August 1 and look forward to hosting many more joyous wedding celebrations.

When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors

By: Mike Lovas, Saint Paul Emergency Management
Summertime can bring some fantastic displays of weather in many forms, such as incredible sunrises, beautiful sunsets, and intense lightning.  Lightning is a real risk, ranking in the top three storm-related killers in the US.  Most lightning deaths and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors in the summer months in the afternoon and evening.  As lightning passes through air, it can heat the air to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (about 5 times hotter than the surface of the sun).  When this happens, serious injuries, or even death, can occur.  While most people struck by lightning survive, they can suffer long-term pain and ailments. 
Lightning can strike from a distance as well as by direct hit.  Lightning can travel through objects, the ground, water, pipes, or other objects.  Below is a list of ways to stay lightning safe this summer:
·         Postpone outdoor activities when a storm is being forecasted.
·         Remember the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule: The first “30” represents 30 seconds. If the time between when you see the flash and hear the thunder is 30 seconds or less, the lightning is close enough to hit you.
·         Avoid contact with any metal – tractors, motorcycles, bicycles and golf clubs
·         Avoid contact with plumbing.  Do not take a shower or wash dishes or do laundry.  Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
·         Do not stand under trees; while the tree may shield you from rain they are a target for lightning.
·         Unplug electronic equipment before the storms begins.
·         Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
·         Do not lie on concrete floors, and do not lean against concrete walls.   Never lie flat on the ground.
·         Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water.
·         When you see lightning in the sky, move indoors or into a building/shelter designated lightning safe.
·         During a storm, use your NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.