The Foundation board announced its Spirit of the Park Award winner for 2014, or should I say winners: Julie Glowka and Cindy Thrasher, for their longterm leadership of our annual 4th in the Park Parade & Picnic. This is their final year as they hand it off to some younger neighbors, led by Jeanne Hansen, Emma Seeley and Josh Becerra. Like Julie and Cindy, Emma and Josh grew up in the Park and Jeanne has married into the Hansen family, a crew that has deep roots in many aspects of our neighborhood. It will be in good hands.

As someone who has been part of the preparations for a number of years, I can tell you that this award is well-deserved and the volunteer work comprehensive. Julie and Cindy would also be the first to tell you that they represent an awful lot of people past and present who are responsible for making this event happen every year. That is true, and the Foundation wanted to recognize all those efforts over the years, so the award is meant to include everyone who has been involved in this event since it started 67 years ago.

That said, Julie & Cindy have led the effort magnificently...prodding, poking, and cajoling volunteers and financial contributions. They start months in advance and think about ways to make it better year-round. They do it with joy and a wonderful sense of community. It's a great event - the only 4th of July parade in St. Paul - and continues to draw folks from all over the world. They were handed it 10 years ago and are passing it on better than ever. Thanks to them and all their co-horts! Please honor their good work at this year's 4th and by volunteering to help out. That's the best way to say thanks for their efforts. Hey, the stuffing party next tuesday night, June 3, from 6:30-7:30 at Langford Rec Center would be an excellent place to start! Many hands make work light and fast, so come on down and join your neighbors to help get the mailing out about our big 4th celebration.

Trolley to Green Line Launch Party June 14
The Sunrise Banks and Saint Anthony Park Community Foundation are teaming up with the Como business community to sponsor a trolley to take people back and forth from north to south St. Anthony Park during the June 14 launch of our new light rail line. The trolley will leave at 9am from the Como Bank parking lot, travel down Raymond Ave and stop at Round Table Coffee at Raymond & Territorial, then proceed on to the launch party site at the Raymond Avenue Station, then the Sunrise Bank University Ave parking lot where you can walk across the street to enjoy the fun at the Dubliner, then on to more fun at the Urban Growler and Bang brew pubs near the RR tracks before returning to the bank parking lot on Como.

I wish I had a better sense of when the trolley will be at each stop, but we're planning on having the trolley leave the Como Sunrise bank parking lot on the hour: 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, and the Sunrise University lot on the half hour: 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm. Signs will be posted at the stops, so leave the driving to us (as the slogan used to say) and cross the bridge to great shops and fun on both ends.

Art Festival June 7
I've left the soonest occurring event for last but it is also one of the signature events in our community's life. Now in its 45th year, this festival has grown into one of the finest showcases for pottery masters and other artists in the midwest. You've got all the fun, music, food and water wars, but the art and crafts are the heart of this annual arta-palooza. Join neighbors and friends from all over the region to celebrate art and community. 10am-5pm.

Seminary Apartments Open to Public
Luther Seminary has entered into a contract to sell two of their apartment buildings on Eustis: Sandgren and Burntvedt. That means apartments that aren't being used by students will be available for lease to non-students. There will be 1, 2 & 3 bedroom units starting at $675/mo. for the single bedroom up to $990 for the 3-bedrooms. Each unit includes a small study room that could also be used for storage. Leasing signs will be up soon. For more info call 651-641-3257. No word yet on how many units will be available, but they'll know more as student plans are finalized. This is the first of what many hope will be multiple housing opportunities developed on the campus. We'll see.

Avalon's Finances A-1
Avalon School has won another award, this one for fiscal stewardship. Novation Education Opportunities selects winners based on their stewardship policies and sound financial practices. With the news of financial struggles of some charter schools, Avalon's commitment to making the most of its pubic funding is a point of particular pride for this teacher-run educational institution. By the way, if you have a copy of "House on Mango Street" by Sandra Cisneros, you could drop it off at the school, they're going to read it next fall and donated books help them keep their budget on track.

I mentioned former Murray science teacher Johnny Bland's funeral in last week's blog. Today in the Strib, there's a nice obit which quotes former student and botanist, Otto Gockman, who grew up in the Park. It's a well written piece for a man who deserves that kind of attention.

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