Fall is certainly in the air and we have enjoyed a sustained color parade for several weeks thanks to the cool nights and sunny days. I hope you have all had a chance to take in this visual feast, Hillside and Valentine were particular highlights on our fall color tour.

Fall means school activities are back in full swing as well as events for a variety of neighborhood groups I have listed below. I attended the October community meeting at Como High School last night. This is part of the outreach and community engagement that has replaced the old site council. It was sparsely attended but there were some lively conversations around the many good things happening at CHS (progress in narrowing the achievement gap, healthy school population, fun homecoming festivities, Boys Soccer team in the state tournament again) and some of the back-to-school social conflicts that seem to rotate from school to school in the district as students settle in. A good discussion was had about transparent policies for dealing with conflict and sharing info with the community. Overall, my sense is that our schools are experiencing a much calmer year than 2013's challenging fall semester and that's good news. There are open houses and conferences coming up at all schools, some listed below, and I will do my best to provide additional info as it comes in. If you are a parent of a current or potential public school student, there are many opportunities to get involved or find out more. You should definitely take advantage of those opportunities - community and parent participation is critical for our students and our schools' success.

This Friday, Oct. 24 from 5:30 - 8pm the St.AP Elementary School holds its annual Fall Festival & silent auction. There's fun for the whole family and opportunities to bid on some great prizes, like gift cards from many area shops, tickets to a wide variety of metro events, or a night at the St. Paul Hotel. Even if you don't have kids, you don't want to miss out. Come to support our schools and community!

St. Anthony Park Area Seniors (SAPAS) invites you to a morning of free coffee and games tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 23, 9:30-11:30 am at the United Methodist Church on Hillside. For more info call Katharine at 651-642-9052. Also, if you are a senior (60+) who needs help with fall chores like raking or window treatments, you can call Katharine to line up some volunteer help.

On Saturday, November 1, 2014, the North Star Museum of Scouting will be honoring James "Dad" Drew in their Founders Hall. Drew was a Scoutmaster who founded a troop in the area that became Troop 17 which still serves our neighborhood boys. He served from 1916-1924 and was formative in the lives of many of our old-time community leaders such as Gerry McKay and Gale Frost. For more info contact Claudia Nicholson.

Speaking of community leaders, The Schubert Club/Music in the Park Series is dedicating this Sunday's concert by the Miami String Quartet featuring pianist, Lydia Artymiw, to the memory of Andy Boss. The program will read: "Today's performance is dedicated to the memory of Andy Boss, an inspired community leader and a champion of the arts. A long-time resident of St. Anthony Park, Andy was a loyal supporter of Music in the Park Series for over three decades."  As it happens, Oct. 26th is THE date Music in the Park Series began the series with the SPCO in 1979, 36 years ago. There may still be tickets, check their website

Local potter and resident, Ken Chin-Purcell, has 
moved his studio, Bungalow Pottery, from Milton Square to the Northrup King Building, room 414. This Saturday, Oct. 25, from 4:30-7pmhe is hosting a thank you event at his old space in the Milton Square courtyard. He welcomes the community to stop by and raise a glass to eight great years in the Park. We will miss him but his lovely pottery will still be available at the Bibelot and he's talking about possibly having some local offerings on a seasonal basis.

If you've strolled by the Raptor Center on the U of M's St. Paul campus recently, you've noticed some construction activity. They are just about finished tearing down the old wooden cages built a while back to house their birds and will soon start work on the brand new Douglas Dayton Education Wing and outdoor bird housing facility. More on that here. I think I mentioned that the Foundation has been part of discussions for an exciting classroom and curriculum partnership between the Center and Murray Middle School. More on that to come.

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