BLOG: WHAT I KNOW 11-19-14 

A weekly update of news and events happening in St. Anthony Park - by the Foundation's Executive Director, Jon Schumacher 


Puckelball may be coming! Coming to St. Paul... coming to St. Anthony Park. "What" you say, "kind of a game is Puckelball?"  First of all, it's less a game than a playing field, and it's not just a field, it's a piece of art. Take a look at the field in the photo, there is nothing normal about it. It's the kind of field the Who's in Whoville would play soccer on. This photo is from a field in Sweden, one of only two puckelball fields that exist in the world (yup, the other is in Sweden, too, who says Swedes are boring?) 

Last night at the Urban Growler (the new location for seemingly every event held in the metro) Joy of the People's Ted Kroeten, brought in artist and puckelball pioneer, Johan Strom, to tell a select group of supporters, including State Rep. Alice Hausmann, all about his baby and why he gave it birth. Johan shared his simple philosophy that life isn't fair but that this field levels the playing field, which is a bit of a paradox because as you can see, there isn't a level square inch anywhere to be seen.

Which is part of the point. On this undulating collection of hills and valleys, it's possible someone like me, with aging knees and very few soccer skills, could beat a star like Landon Donovan or Luis Suarez. Or not. At the very least, we would have enormous fun trying to negotiate the angles to get a clean shot at the crazy collection of curves that is the goal. As a training exercise for soccer players, it would be a fun way to prepare them for adversity. For young and old it would be...just plain fun.

Ted and JOTP want to make St. Anthony Park the location for the 3rd puckelball field in the world, the first in the U.S., the first in the western hemisphere for gosh sakes. Take that, Minneapolis! After listening to Johan and seeing how this returns the element of play to a game that America seems to have rendered mostly joyless, I say, "Why not St. Anthony Park?" What would be more appropriate to the Creative Enterprise Zone than a truly creative and inclusive, enterprise/sculpture/philosophy? 

Take a look at this video and tell me this wouldn't be the greatest thing since...well, Dr. Suess? 


Today I was part of a panel at Murray Middle School on hand to listen to a presentation by the E2 class (Environmental Specialists) on the best location for a proposed rain garden. They had done all the research: checked drainage speeds, soil composition, hours of sunlight, types of plants and even the importance of curb appeal. The 15 or so students took turns explaining their process in groups of 2-4 with the aid of a PowerPoint presentation. Then gave their conclusions and final site choice. As one of the representatives from the school district landscaping department said after, "We usually pay folks a lot of money to do this for us." 

E2 teacher Tim Chase, who built this project into the class curriculum, asked the panel for follow-up questions. After a lively back-and-forth, another panel member expressed her admiration that any of the students could speak in depth about the project and science involved. Next steps are for the district to consider the input and coordinate implementation with parking lot construction scheduled for next spring. For the E2 students it's back to class preparing for their Como Park fall/winter field studies and spring Wolfridge Environmental Center weekend. The students did get pizza by the way, hopefully the district kicked in a few bucks by way of thanks.


Como High School will host an informational get-together for prospective parents and students at the Sunrise Bank on Como Ave tomorrow night from 6:30-7:30pm. Murray had a similar event last week at the library that apparently drew quite a crowd.

I joined a group that reconnoitered Como Avenue from Commonwealth to Cleveland observing traffic in the afternoon when school lets out. Cars are really moving and at times the sun poses problems for drivers trying to see people in the crosswalks. The School District did hire an adult crossing guard for the Scudder & Como crosswalk but there are still safety issues that Principal Ann Johnson and the neighborhood would like to see dealt with in some way. John Mark Lucas from the D12 Transportation Committee organized the tour and there were a couple reps from the city seeing the problems up close and personal. They said that Como would be getting a complete reconstruction in 2017 so any big changes that might be recommended will wait until then for implementation.


Tomorrow - Thursday, Nov. 20 - the little wine shoppe is celebrating Beaujolais Nouveau Day! Join them to sample this year's vintage from 4:30-7:30pm...the Boy Scouts are still selling wreaths. If they missed you, you can contact them by email...Tu Dance is offering their fall concert at O'Shaughnessy on the campus of St. Kate's. Fri., Sat. and Sun. Here's the linkfor tickets...Neighbor, Sunny Comstock is offering to make your Thanksgiving pies for you. All you have to do is contact her and then pick it up at the Methodist Church. Reasonably priced and delicious, I have no doubt. 

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


SAVE THE DATE: The Foundation will host their second annual State of the Park Forum and Non-Profit Fair from 6:30-8:30pm on Thursday, Dec. 4 at the St.AP Elementary School.


Want to learn more about the Saint Anthony Park Community Foundation? Want to get involved?
Contact Jon Schumacher
651-641-1455 or