I start this blog with good and bad news. The bad news is that we are losing our D12 Executive Director, Amy Sparks. The good news is that she will be taking a position with the Creative Enterprise Zone, basically doing what she has been doing so well for the past several years, providing an anchor of organization and energy. During that time she has been increasingly excited about the new community-building that is going on around the advent of the Green Line. Now she will be able to focus more on that as well as other opportunities of interest.

The district council deserves thanks and appreciation for donating a chunk of her time to help with the CEZ. They had the foresight to understand the potential of this emerging neighborhood and dedicate a portion of Amy's many talents to its growth. Our entire community has benefited from her skills, passion and advocacy on our behalf. I personally have learned so much from her about community, organizing and policy. I have also enjoyed working alongside her for the betterment of St. Anthony Park. We are lucky to have her continuing presence in our community and I look forward to partnering with her as D12 continues to evolve.

Another neighbor who is stepping down from his position is Paul Fate, who has headed up the affordable housing supplier, Common Bond, for the past seven years. Paul has been a tireless and creative leader who significantly increased the development of affordable housing in the upper midwest, established a first ever endowment, and grew the organization's revenue. He has been recognized by communities everywhere for his numerous contributions and enlightened stewardship. Well done, Paul, thanks for your good work. 


E.D. Search
So, D12 is looking for a new Executive Director. If you know any good candidates, please pass the word. They can visit the D12 website to find out more about the job qualifications and particulars. I can tell you it will be an exciting adventure and whoever gets the job will be surrounded by good people.

CEZ Give & Take
Last week the Creative Enterprise Zone held another of their Give & Take events at the old Gremlin Theater. (By the way, Artistic Director Peter Hansen is still looking for a new location, let me know if you have any ideas.) There were several artists on hand to talk about their work and collaboration in the Zone. Andrew Peterson from IFP told about his organization which supports filmmakers in the state. He also reported good things about two recent films shot in Minnesota that received kudos at the recent Sundance Film Festival. Steve Wewerka, an incredibly talented and well-known photographer who has worked for Life, Sports Illustrated and Time gave us all a brief tutorial on taking photographs - with your iPhone. John Whitehead and Matt Ehling, long-time videographers in the Zone shared the stage and their collaborative interests. All in all a very fun and interesting evening. We have some amazing people living in our midst.

Energy Resilience Group
There were two recent events concerning the future of how we live on this planet. The first was about the sulfide mining possibility in northern Minnesota which is pitting environmentalists against job opportunity. This is never a black & white situation and neighbor Ranae Hanson wrote a very well-considered letter to the Monday Strib. Lots to think about and discuss. Next up was a design presentation of accessory dwellings, small second homes built on lots with existing homes. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend either, but the Bugle has articles on those and more. Check it out.


Can you remember a winter where we've had this many school days off? I think even the kids have had it and were excited to be back in class today. I think most people understand the need to protect kids from dangerous weather and applaud the school district's decision to shut it down, but it has to have been difficult for parents who work and for families that depend on the school breakfast and lunch programs. Hopefully, this is the last one of the season.

Como Showcase
Tomorrow night (Thursday) is the rescheduled Como Showcase from 6:30 - 8pm where students and parents can visit the school to check it out.


SAPAS (St. Anthony Park Area Seniors) is looking for volunteers to drive 3 seniors to the Leisure Center activities once a month right here in the Park. Contact Katherine Tondra to find out more.


Co-op Preschool Family FunDay
Sunday, Feb. 9 from 2-4pm at the Langford Rec Center, the St. Anthony Park Preschool Co-op hosts a Family Fun Day fundraiser. Bouncy tent, raptors, fish pond, face-painting and more. Help build the world's largest YOXO-majig. $8 per family, all proceeds go to the school.