Winter has finally arrived...well, I guess it's just spring snow, but since we really haven't had much and spring just officially started, I'm calling it winter. The start of the month is always when I get scooped bigtime by Kristal Leebrick and the Bugle so, grab your copy and read up on all that’s going in in our community.

There are a couple articles I would suggest among the many good ones, first the lead preview on the next stage for light rail as well as a look back on the first stage. Most businesses got about what they expected and are optimistic about the future, but not all. There’s also a neat article on the collaboration between three non-profits in the Creative Enterprise Zone - Forecast Public Art, IFP Media Arts and Avalon School - to create a promo film for Forecast, the org that has brought lovely public art to the avenue (vine bench by Sharrett’s.) There are a lot more opportunities to partner in our neighborhood and we have some wonderful organizations to partner with.

D-12 – is still looking for board candidates, esp in the north. It doesn’t require a great deal of expertise, altho that can be helpful, just an interest in people, issues and solutions. Go for it…Nick Jordan, neighborhood gardener and presenter at several Backyard Talks last year (co-sponsored by the Foundation) will share some growing secrets on March 17 from 2-4pm at the branch library. It’s being billed as Small Plot Gardening 101 and if you’ve ever strolled past Nick’s house on Chelmsford you know he has some secrets to share.

Schools – I had a chance to catch up on the Promise Neighborhoods program with my niece, Erica, who represents the Mayor’s office in this Wilder initiative that also partners with the St. Paul School District and community orgs. The innovative cradle-to-career approach was pioneered by Jeffrey Canada in Harlem to great success and is now being implemented in various cities across the country. Grants from the Feds have helped the start-up process but more money will be needed to run the program, which is seeing early success and bringing hope to the focus neighborhoods of Frogtown and Summit University. Continuing progress depends on more federal money and/or some more enlighteneds elected state officials. It’s frustrating to see the hard work so many put into real long-term solutions only to see short-term thinking stand in the way of making such a big difference (that's me talking, not Erica.) Success floats all boats, folks.

Listserv – the wildlife are continuing their assault on our neighborhood. Margot Monson saw 2 deer at the south end of Langford Park late Sunday night. I also heard from several people that our turkeys have not left but are simply wintering in the Eustis Forest along the Hwy. Speaking of wildlife, here’s a link to a great shot of an owl landing on a security camera. Amazing…Metro Transit is holding 4 meeting in the next week dealing with Rapid bus service. As I understand it Rapid Busses are a cross between light rail and regular busses. You buy tickets before you get on so they move faster. The meeting closest to us is March 7 from 6-7:30pm at the Hamline-Midway library…another bus transit conversation will be held Thursday, March 8 from 5-7pm at the Rondo Library. The topic will be north-south connections to light rail…contra dance at Oddfellows Hall this Sat. 7:30pm to learn basic steps, 8-10pm kickin’ out the contra jams large format.

StAPnotes – an informative article on eating disorders appeared in a recent MinnPost chronicling the continuing struggle of families to get critical treatment paid for by insurance companies. The award-winning Emily Program, which has three facilities in our neighborhood and one of the best success records in the country, was cited as an example of treatment that is available but not always covered. Minnesota is better than most states when it comes to requiring coverage for these life-saving treatments, but with 10-15% still getting stiffed by their providers, we obviously still have a ways to go.

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