First, let me extend my hopes that the past few weeks have been filled to the best degree possible with joy and peace. The world can never be counted on to synch up scheduling-wise with our desire for these things, but it’s important to find those moments even in the midst of the kind of turmoil and pain that have recently headlined our news. 

These complex events make the need for building healthy communities even more critical. It’s perhaps cliché by now to express the view that technology has created the paradox of binding us more closely in some ways while heightening certain people’s disconnect from society in other ways. Without getting into a deeper conversation about the media’s impact on all of us, I will put forward the unoriginal proposition that social media only makes us feel like we are more closely connected.The reality is that without the personal contact that develops meaningful relationships, we only know what a person projects electronically. That projection is usually devoid of the kind of substance and signals that face-to-face exchanges contain. If we are only known by that projection, my sense is that sometimes the gap between who we are and who we want to be can increase isolation.   

So, long story short: get to know your neighbors personally. It makes for better blocks and neighborhoods. 

D12 – The Transition Town idea – a comprehensive community-wide commitment to energy conservation – is gaining momentum and attention nationally and locally. The movie that explains the concept, In Transition 2.0, will be shown twice this week: Wed., Jan. 9, -7 to 8:30 p.m. at SSA Rec Center/Joy of the People and Saturday, Jan. 12, 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. at the StAP Library.  Then on Thursday, Jan. 17 the first of several community meetings will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. at St. Anthony Park United Methodist Church. It’s past time…Our annual neighborhood volunteer Honor Roll Awards will be given to three deserving neighbors: Kristal Leebrick, Alice Duggan and Scott Hamilton. The city of St. Paul will honor them at a special dinner, Jan. 25. Congratulations and thanks for all you’ve done!...the council is looking for neighbors interested in serving on the city’s Capital Improvement Budget task forces this spring. Help decide where the money gets spent, contact Lauren to find out more…stop by the D12 website to find out how to recycle your holiday greens. 

Schools – the Parent Information Fair is coming up this Saturday at the Xcel Center from 9:30-2pm. Stop by to learn more about the schools in our area…Como High School is offering an instrumental concert on Monday, Jan. 14 at 7pm at the school auditorium. 

Listserv – ever wonder where you can get some old tennis balls for your dog’s amusement? The Axe Man on University Ave has ‘em at affordable rates…0ur St. Anthony Park Library has received the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit Project Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement: Construction-Related Potential Impacts on Business Revenue. It will be on display until Jan. 30 on their Consumer Information table in the Fiction area. Is that a subtle editorial comment?... The Raptor Center’s annual report is always interesting as it lists all the birds it has helped by species. Go to their website to read it and more… Michael and Regula Russelle, two longtime Park residents are inviting everyone to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary by participating in a Community Sing on January 12, from 7-9 pm at Luther Seminary’s Northwestern Hall. Should be a lot of fun. Best of everything to two very involved and generous neighbors…

StAPnotes – Tomorrow starts the 53rd Annual Langford Park Winter Classic. There’s food, fun (including a medallion hunt) and skating. To find out more go to their website.…The 2nd winter session has begun at JOTP soccer. To sign up or find out more click on this…the winter pilates class is starting up again at Langford Rec. Call Langford at 651-298-5765 to find out more…for those who like some Christian spirituality with your yoga there’s Holy Yoga at the UCC church. Call 651-646-7173 to check that out…the Memorial Blood Center got some nice reviews on the net recently. A good reminder to give blood when you can, it’s always needed.

That's all for now. Take care of yourself and be a good neighbor.