December is on. The temp has dropped, there’s snow in the forecast, winter will come again…I think. Maybe not the traditional winters of our past, but something that at times will remind us of those.  I don’t know about you, but nowadays there is always a shadow on those conversations about weather we Minnesotans find so enjoyable. For me the all-purpose “that’s different” when referencing weather abnormalities now contains an unstated but increasing concern about the impact of those “differences.” 

That’s why I am especially appreciative of the efforts of groups like our own ERG (Energy Resilience Group) to provoke conversation and thought about how to deal with a present that is beginning to confirm our worst fears about climate change and a future that will be bleak if we can’t find ways to reverse these destructive trends. I heard an energy activist on MPR talking about the need to consider fossil fuel as the new tobacco in order to begin to heighten public awareness of its serious impact on our current and future health. Over the top? Given the state of legislative inactivity on these issues at the highest levels and the increasingly dramatic warnings from Mother nature, maybe some alarmism is needed. 

D12 – The public is invited to a roundtable discussion with Metro Transit about the Westgate light rail station design. This is your chance to have input into a visual landscape that will grace our community for years to come. The Westgate Station is the one by KSTP, the gateway entrance to St. Paul from Mpls, so it’s important to have a design that honors that transition. Tomorrow, Thursday, Dec. 6 from 6-7:30pm at the new Driftwood Community Arts space at 777 Raymond Avenue…tonight from 7-9pm at the SSA Rec Center, the Environment committee will hear from the city staff on proposed changes to Hampden Park and Bayless Street. The meeting is open to the public and feedback is welcome…keep thinking about neighbors who should be recognized for their contributions to the Park, then send those suggestions in with a short paragraph about why they should be considered. 

Schools – the 3rd graders at StAP Elementary became nature investigators at the beautiful Belwin Outdoor Science Lab in Afton recently. The student scientists learned about nature by using tools to investigate weather, habitats, animal tracks and signs, phenology, trees, and birds. This is just one of the many environmental programs the school offers for all grades…the 5th & 6th graders have been shadowing Murray students in preparation for next fall’s new district-wide 6-8 middle school transition…if you eat at Davanni’s on 1905 W. Perimeter Drive, Roseville tonight, Dec. 5, between 4-8pm, the school will get 20% of the sale…The Murray Parent Association is sponsoring a fundraiser at Barnes & Noble Har Mar on December 6, 9am–11pm with student performances from 6:30–9:00 p.m. A % of sales will go to Murray’s enrichment classes…Murray’s Science Fair is coming up Jan. 15 and they need volunteers to help judge the entries. I have done this in the past and have never been mistaken for a scientist. It’s really about listening and considering the process these students have taken to present the projects. It’s a lot of fun, a learning experience and there are treats! Contact Gen Nakanishi.

Listserv – the Raptor Center is having an online auction from now until Dec. 12. An $800 Delta gift card, sports tickets, a tree house getaway and other fun items will go to the highest bidder…the UMC Church is offering a site to drop off old holiday lights for recycling. Blue bins are waiting outside the offices at 2200 Hillside. 

StAPnotes – Shop Home for the Holidays was kicked off in grand style last Saturday along Como Avenue. The bank supplied the reindeer rides and Santa, Milton Square provided the local artisans and a tree-lighting ceremony. Our local merchants provided the unique shopping and dining opportunities that make this such a popular destination in the metro. Support starts at home though, so make your first stop local, you may never have to fight the traffic and crowds at the malls…On Tuesday, December 11, our local Alchemy Architects will be setting a “Wee (modular) House” on Ludlow Ave in the Park. Interested neighbors are welcome to observe, but either walk or park your cars off the street, they’ll need the room for the cranes and trucks. The cranes arrive at 7am and the modules are set from 8-noon. Bob the Builder devotees won’t want to miss this. 

StAP Calendar

Dec. 5, 4-8pm Davanni’s - Murray fundraiser

Dec. 5, 7-9pm SSA Rec Center, Environment committee mtg – Hampden Park

Dec. 6, 9am–11pm Barnes & Noble Har Mar Murray fundraiser

Dec. 6, 6-7:30pm Driftwood Community Arts 777 Raymond, Westgate Station design

Dec. 11, 8-noon, Alchemy Architects wee house setting on Ludlow

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