Leading my headlines this week is news that the Colossal Cafe's foray into an evening schedule has not done well enough for them to keep doing it at this time. The good news is, according to John Tinucci, owner/operator with his daughter Elizabeth, their breakfast and lunch business is going strong and they will continue to focus on that, but after Saturday, Oct. 18, they will not be open for dinner

John said the neighborhood has been very supportive, but the reality is they need to draw from beyond StAP to keep their night time hours and that wasn't happening enough. They tried ads in nearby community newspapers but to no avail, they just weren't getting enough feet in the door beyond lunch. They are open to revisiting the decision if there suddenly were larger numbers of potential diners nearby, (new housing perhaps?) but for now their reputation outside the neighborhood is for breakfast & lunch, so that's what they'll do. Added note - with no dinner service, their restaurant is available every night for any private get-togethers or holiday events. It's a great space and the food is top notch.

I know many of us will miss that dining option and especially Chef Andy Lilja's tasty touch, but it should remind us that many of our small independent businesses are still living month to month in spite of the recovering economy. The last few winters have been tough and followed a period of serious economic hardship, so any rainy day funds have been long since used up. There have been a rash of independent metro store closings in the news of late and the demise last week of The Bookcase in Wayzata should be an added reminder that even long-time independent bookstores like Micawber's (now the longest-running indie in the cities) need our ongoing support.

My larger point is that I don't think we as a community should imagine that our neighborhood businesses are robust and do not need our attention. There will be holiday revenues that will help, but we can't forget that sales need to happen before in order for some retailers to be able to afford to stock up so they can profit from the holiday buying. I've said it before and will say it again, use 'em or lose 'em - the Bugle has a nice spread on our Como Ave merchants in the October issue - and tell your friends from outside the neighborhood about the great retail we have here. Hey, Invite them over for a meal and a shopping spree!

Come and join the congregation and friends of the StAP Methodist Church as they celebrate their 125th anniversary this Sunday, October 12th. Former pastor, Rev. Greg Renstrom, will be guest preaching at the 10:00 AM worship service.  After the service (approximately 11:30amthere will be a gathering in the fellowship hall for a soup and sandwich luncheon. The UMC Church has been a welcoming institution in our neighborhood for years, providing space for school and community groups. We salute their faith community and their commitment to all members of St. Anthony Park.

A reminder that Music in the Park Series is hosting the Danish String Quartet this Sunday at 4pm at the UCC Church with a pre-concert discussion at 3pm. There are still tickets left, so check at the Schubert Club website if you're interested. Thanks to MiP and a grant from the Saint Anthony Park Community Foundation, the Quartet will stick around for an extra day to perform on Monday morning at the StAP elementary school and senior home.

Next Tuesday, Oct. 14, the St. Anthony Park Area Seniors is sponsoring an outing to see the fall flower show at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. The group will stay for lunch at the Zobota Cafe. Rides are available. Free, but donations welcome. Contact Katharine at 651-642-9052 for more info. Tomorrow, SAPAS is sponsoring the monthly free movie at our branch library, Stories We Tell, 1-3pm.

I can't remember if I've commented on the sidewalk repositioning at the corner of Como & Commonwealth avenues. A big thanks to the city for getting it done. Also thanks to the group of neighbors led by Beth Commers that worked diligently to drive the process toward what is hopefully the first stage of addressing traffic calming along a major walkway and school patrol route. Other ideas are being discussed, but shifting the crosswalk further from the blind curve gives drivers more time to slow down and pedestrians a better view of oncoming traffic. It also means cars starting up from the stoplights at Como & Carter aren't going quite as fast when they come to the crosswalk. As someone who attended most of the meetings around this project, I can tell you the city definitely needed the neighborhood to advocate for changes. They have a lot on their plate, but this intersection/curve has been a problem area for years, so it feels good to make even little steps toward making it safer. More to come.

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