Nice to be back in town after 11 days in the west where it was cooler almost every day than back here in the old tulips, daffodils, and greenhouse of the midwest. Very weird. Who would think you could be gone for that amount of time in late March and almost miss the magnolia blossoms? The coasts are fun to visit, but with this kind of warming, I would not want to live anywhere near them. That is a monumental problem, but not one I will tackle in this blog. This blog is devoted to the Foundation's granting process, which I returned to immediately with a meeting of our grants committee last night.

How does it all happen you might ask, well...here's how. We advertise our grant cycle in February and March with a mid-March deadline for applications. Then I compile them all, organize them and share them with our Grants Committee. As most of you may know, we have several endowed funds that give us money to grant every year. This year those funds amount to nearly $40,000. Some of it is dedicated to the schools or environmental ed or music, but a significant chunk of it is open to whatever non-profit initiatives or programs need it. The committee determines how much and "who to" based on the applications and information offered by me or committee members. Then we take it to the full board, send that recommendation along to the Saint Paul Foundation which performs the due diligence to ensure these orgs really are non-profits and a check is put in the mail.

It has been extremely rewarding to watch valued organizations grow over the years to meet neighborhood needs. The schools, of course, are in what seems like constant flux, but the Foundation acts as a safety net for those programs that cannot find funding but are critical to the vitality of the schools. We monitor those things on a pretty regular basis and coordinate our support to make sure nothing catastrophic happens. For the last couple years we've been supporting the Bugle as it transitions into a new age. New leaders have stepped forward to serve on the board with new ideas and new energy that has stabilized a treasure to many in St.AP. Now that's happening with the St. Anthony Park Area Seniors. The needs of their clients are changing and they are growing to meet them. The Foundation has been helping support that process for the past year and I am very confident SAPAS will be around for many years providing the kind of services that will keep our seniors healthy and connected. Wonderful.

It's also great to see partnerships develop that help build community. We have a new school in the neighborhood, Avalon High School - thanks in large part to Wellington Management who bought and prepped the site - an alternative charter school just south of University Ave near 280. The financing was handled by Park Midway Bank. Next door to it, practically, is IFP, a non-profit that basically serves as headquarters for film, video and photography in the metro. We received a grant request from IFP to offer a documentary residency for students at Avalon. Through the program, students will make videos about the area that can be put up on community websites telling everyone our stories. Building community. Teaching skills. Potentially creating jobs. Public/private partnerships...all neighbors. Lovely.

It's fun to be a part of all that. To write checks and work together to find solutions that make a difference on behalf of you, the neighbors of St. Anthony Park. Because you are the ones who pledged a million dollars and donate every year to ensure that these essential organizations and this unique community thrive. The Forever Fund is forever, and that is an incredible asset to this neighborhood and to all who intersect with us. Thank you. It's an honor and a joy for all of us who are involved.


D12 - next April 10 is election day for the community council. We have some fine candidates running for office so make sure and get out the vote between 4-8pm at either Speedy Market or Hampden Co-op...Kasota Pond clean-up is April 28 from 9am-1pm. Wear bushwacking clothes, enjoy some rolls and juice and clean up one of our valuable wetlands...if zoning codes are your thing, plan to attend an area discussion on April 30th at the Carpenter's Union from 6:30-8pm..if this is the year to replace or start a composting bin, the City of Roseville will be selling them in May for reasonable prices. More info on all this at the CC website.

listserv - After the last wildlife report, I got an email about a coyote sighting by the Bakers who live next to College Park. Seems there was an animal that looked very much like a coyote hanging around in the evening. Those with small pets might want to keep an eye out for that possibility...the early spring has brought early plant life and some we don't want as well. Time to pull garlic mustard. You can google an image and see what it looks like. It's very invasive and chokes off other vegetation...the Raptor Center recently released three snowy owls back into the wild...you've got until April 13 to enter your poem in the sidewalk art contest hosted by Public Art St. Paul. Click on this link to find out more...It is National Poetry Month as well and Susan Henry from the library encourages you to stop in and check out their new and old poetry books. Read a poem save the world...and there's a Zone Happy Hour, Friday, April 19 from 5:30-7:30 pm at the corner of Raymond and University. Right across University from Sharrett's. Just to celebrate the Creative Enterprise Zone and meet neighbors. It's a great location and there are great people in the Zone, so you should come. There will be refreshments...

StAPnotes - another less interesting sign of spring is the tagging that comes out. Steve Townley's 3rd Place building got hit a a couple weeks back. maybe they ought to have a graffiti/tagger sidewalk art contest and let them adorn the pavement instead of people's property...the new Bugle is out so you can find everything else you need to know on its pages.

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