There was big news out of the Joy of the People soccer organization recently. They were awarded a grant for $80,000 from the U.S. Soccer Foundation toward the cost of an artificial soccer field to be constructed near the rec center at South StAP. They will still have to raise additional monies before they start but JOTP director, Ted Kroeten, has plans for making this the center of a longer-term plan including outdoor "futsal" courts, a sand court, a running and walking path with exercise stations and a plaza area. JOTP is also looking into an idea for a synthetic Dr. Suess-like soccer field/playground for all ages. 

The USSF required a 10-year lease before they would consider the grant request, so the City of St. Paul’s Parks & Rec Department played a big role in making that happen. Even though JOTP runs and manages the building, the land is still owned by the city. P&R Director, Mike Hahm, was instrumental in figuring out a way to partner with JOTP to get this done. It will be a huge boon to SSA and really help bring those different residential areas in our light rail area together. Its proximity to light rail should also pull in kids from all over St. Paul. A big “way-to-go” to Ted, Mike and everyone who helped make this work! 

D12 – Continues to promote dialogue and thought around our changing world. The Environmental Committee is presenting Climate Refugees a film about the “collision of over-consumption, over-population, lack of resources, and climate change.” Mon. Feb 11, at 7pm at the Carleton Lofts at 2285 University Ave - park on Charles Avenue and enter from the back of the building…there’s also a film about natural vs virtual called Play Again showing at the UCC church this Fri. Feb. 8, from 6:15-7:45pm. It’s a documentary following 6 “plugged in” teenagers who go into the wilderness and become completely “unplugged.” The aim is to help teens connect with nature, play again outdoors and re-consider the screens of all kinds in their lives…there are openings for interested neighbors who want to serve on the D12 board of directors. Contact Amy Sparks on their website. 

Schools - Murray's Showcase is Thursday, February 7, 2013.  It begins in the auditorium at 6:30pm. Parents and students can then go to Curriculum Presentations starting at 7:15. This is a chance to meet the teachers in the 6th and 7th grade teams and support staff. 

listserv - The city is plowing east-west streets today and north-south tomorrow. It's not a snow emergency so they won't ticket…there has been lots of good info about service providers in the area. That is a great result of this group – our very own Angie’s List…Councilperson Russ Stark was in LA recently for an event entitled, Railvolution, which talked about urban transportation issues. Russ toured some of the 1600 miles of trails and facilities LA has built in the last few years to make biking easier and safer. You can find out more about his visit here. 

StAPnotes – A very nice article in The Line on the Tu Dance Company in the Creative Enterprise Zone. Uri Sands and Toni Pierce-Sands have carved out a very strong niche for themselves on the local dance scene. There’s also a good piece on transit options between Portland and the TC. All you urbanists out there should sign up to receive The Line – it has very interesting articles about life in our metro…Sign up by Feb. 15 for Progressive Dinner on Feb. 22. It will be the most fun you’ve had in a while and you will get to know some of our wonderful neighbors…There is a Community Meeting on Strategizing Peaceful Communities Free from Gun Violence Monday, February 11 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Washington High School, 1495 Rice Street, St. Paul. There will be round table discussions to build community and explore solutions for greater peace and safety for all of our children and communities.

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