I just got back from a tour and informational exchange of ideas with MayKao Hang, the Executive Director of the Wilder Foundation. MayKao is a St. Paul native (her family immigrated from SE Asia when she was 7) who has spent time at Wilder and Ramsey County, so she has a very good understanding of our city’s needs and opportunities. I visited there with neighbor and StAP Foundation board member, Eric Nicholson, and we were both very impressed by the depth of Wilder’s community-wide programming and the detailed knowledge and expertise MayKao brings to the table. We are very lucky to have her as involved as she is in our city affairs. 

Wilder is one of those places that seems to have their name attached to many city-wide initiatives but, depending on whether you’ve used their services or not, you might not know exactly how to put your finger on their main mission. I don’t know if MayKao would agree with this but they seem to be an organizing institution for much of the service provided to people who have no other place to go. That includes family & child mental health, early childhood education, leadership training, older adult and caregiver support, housing…the list goes on, as does Wilder’s connection to the city, other foundations and the multitude of service organizations that constitute our East Metro safety net. 

They also have an amazing research center – MN Compass – that regularly churns out data for a variety of organizations detailing demographics, needs and trends in our metro area. A small but helpful service they provide to all neighborhoods is a detailed demographic breakdown by district which is available on the D12 website here. Wilder is also a major player in the Promise Neighborhoods Initiative that is promoting academic achievement through a program of comprehensive community support. Wilder is a great organization with great leadership. If you’re interested in finding out more, here’s a link to their website 

D12 – the All Saint Anthony Park Transition Festival – “Smaller footprint. Stronger community” is happening Saturday, April 20 from 1-4pm at SAP Lutheran, 2323 Como Ave. Learn about and join an action group to make change while enjoying local music, crafts, kids activities, films and more.
Hosted by the Energy Resilience Group

April’s Green on the Screen offering is Passive House—A Building Revolution which looks at how houses can be comfortable and use less energy. It will be shown Saturday, April 6, at 1 p.m. at the Methodist Church…The City will be conducting smoke tests of the sewer system from April to mid-June. An informational meeting will be held on April 10 from 4-7PM at the St. Anthony Park Library. For questions, call 612-219-4231…Spring really is coming and if during your annual clean and toss you find you have usable household items that you no longer need, post them on the Twin Cities Free Market. This program is part of Eureka Recycling's zero waste mission, and helps keep items out of the waste stream. 

SCHOOLS – StAP Elementary School will be getting some new trees in the park nearby soon. 8 trees were removed due to the ash borer and the city doesn’t have the resources to replace them what with the city wide epidemic, so the Foundation made some private solicitations and came up with the money to cover it. Thanks to those anonymous friends of the park and school who came through….the school was mentioned in a Strib article this morning about the new choice lottery in the St. Paul Public Schools. StAP Elementary was singled out as a “perennial favorite…with a long waiting list.”…Como High student Marshal Landrum was a recipient of the 2013 Excel Award given to juniors who excel both academically and athletically.  He is one of 32 statewide that received this award AND the only one from St. Paul or Minneapolis. Nate Schermerhorn, Ellen Purdy, Isabella Ensz, and Ritchie Gulner placed in the state's top 30 in the Minnesota Brain Bee this year. Way to go Como! 

Listserv – Joy of the People soccer club is continuing to think big. They scored an $80,000 grant from the Naitonal Soccer Association to help build a synthetic soccer field over at the SSA Rec Center and now are pushing a bigger vision of play grounds, sand courts and walking paths for the greenspace. Find out more here…neighbors report our turkeys are beginning to get down and boogie as they dance to attract a mate. Show caution when observing, they take that mating thing pretty seriously…a neighbor sent this link to an article about Luther Seminary’s recent struggles. There have been some belt-tightening and lay-offs over there as they wrestle with the fallout from a tough economy and declining enrollment. This is a nationwide trend and the people in place at Luther who are dealing with a very difficult set of issues are the best…the Goldstein Museum of Design is rolling out a spring event called, "Fashion Redefined: A Day to Celebrate Eco Fashion!" on Sat. April 6 form 10-4pm on the St. Paul Campus. Advance registration is required.

StAPnotes – Anders Himmelstrup, neighbor and artist supreme, is hosting a book signing tonight at Micawbers at 7pm. It’s a collection of some of his favorite paintings from over the years and it is a lovely chronicle of a very talented colorist. Stop by and have him sign a book…Sandra Weise, the new owner of the Bistro has already revised the menu and is looking forward to other changes and innovations in the future. She is an energetic addition to our retail district, it’s great to have her back…caught sight of Rick Beeson, the newly appointed Government Affairs Director for Sunrise Banks (heard about the name change?) at the dedication of the new Gopher baseball stadium. (Actually, I’m not sure that’s his real title but they haven’t posted it on the website yet, so it’s a good guess.) He was making an appearance in his role as U of M Regent, I’m sure, but is a dedicated gopher fan. Enough with the baseball, Rick, now get us a good basketball coach. 

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