This Saturday is Green Line Launch Day, a big day for St. Paul and a big day for St. Anthony Park. Light rail will be running through our neighborhood providing a new mass transit option for getting to downtown Mpls or St. Paul, the airport or MOA, the U of M, Target Center, Target Field, the new Vikings Stadium, the Excel Energy Center, the Saints new ballpark, the Farmer's Market, Union Depot & Amtrak & Greyhound & the World. It will also take you to other neighborhoods and their shops/restaurants/bars/businesses along University Avenue.

If you live in the south, it's pretty walkable. If you're in north St.AP you can hop an 87 bus on Cleveland and be at the Raymond Ave light rail Station in 10 minutes or get yourself over to the Eustis & Como bus stop to pick up the new 30 which originates in NE Mpls and takes you to the Raymond Ave Station via 280. We're still working on options to get you to those locations from the Como retail area, but if you take a 3 bus anywhere on Como you can get to either stop pretty quick and transfer, so for now it's still pretty accessible. (There is some talk about decreasing the number of bus stops around the Como retail area, an idea I think makes sense as we have 3 bus stops heading east on 3 consecutive blocks: Speedy, the Bistro and the Methodist Church parking lot. My pick for elimination would be the one in front of the Bistro as that's where the most congestion is, especially when patrols are out which happens twice a weekday, 9 months of the year. It would also add a couple parking spots in the heart of that business district.)

To celebrate the Green Line, there will be events at a number of the stations along the line, including our very own Raymond Ave Station at University & LaSalle, near Biaggio's. Here is a link to the full information on what's happening there this Saturday, but there will definitely be food, music and demonstrations showcasing the Creative Enterprise Zone's many facets. There will also be many activities for kids of all ages, dance performances, specials, chances to sample our local craft beers, and even a pig roast at the Dubliner where the fun will carry on into the evening. 

It all kicks off with a special opening ceremony at 9:30am, followed by free rides on the light rail all day long. The Foundation and Sunrise Banks are sponsoring a free trolley that will run from the Sunrise Bank parking lot on Como Ave to the Sunrise parking lot on University Ave with stops in between at the Baker Court parking lot, Launch party site and Bang & Urban Growler breweries. It leaves from the Como Sunrise at 9am, then on the hour until 2pm, and from the University Sunrise on the half hour starting from 9:30-2:30. It will be a fun day, so plan to walk, roll or ride to Raymond Ave Station and be a part of history.

P.S.They're still looking for volunteers to help with a variety of things this so if you want to have an insider view and get a free t-shirt, go to this link and find out how you can help.

As part of the launch fun, Chocolat Celeste is having chocolate-making tours through the day this Saturday starting at 10 AM. And since it's Father's Day weekend they will have "Two Ginger's Whiskey" and "Rush River Beer Chocolates" for sale. Chocolat Celeste is located at 652 Transfer Rd. just north of University Ave.

Peapods Natural Toys is honoring the launch by having a Brio play day from 11-3pm at their Como Ave store this Saturday. They've got 2 huge packages of trains and tracks to play with, prizes and give-aways. Check that out

St. Anthony Park Area Seniors (SAPAS) is partnering with our branch library to offer a series of free movies on Saturday afternoons this summer. The first one, 7 Years in Tibet starring Brad Pitt, is tomorrow, Thursday, June 12, from 1-3pm at the library. For more info contact Katharine at 651-642-9052.

Next Monday, June 16 at 6:30 there will be another Community Sing with Anne Reed & Dan Chouinard at the Luther Seminary Olson Student Center. It's free and fun.

The United Methodist Church at 2200 Hillside is hosting Sunday night events this summer for young adults at 6:30pm. Free dinner, fellowship and laughter is promised, musical instruments welcome. Call 612-331-4293 for more info.

Neighbor Chris Kalla reports that Monarchs are hatching in our area. Look for them on milkweed which grows just about everywhere. Watching the butterflies emerge from the cocoons was one of the summer highlights of my youth. Unfortunately, their future is threatened by changes to their winter quarters in Mexico, which is trying to protect the main areas from logging, and by a decrease in U.S. habitat. Monarchs feed exclusively on milkweed and in the Corn Belt alone, milkweed has declined by 21% since 1995, mostly due to large scale farming.

The summer's first Park B4 Dark is coming up June 19 from 5-8pm along the Como Ave retail district. Music, food and shopping are featured. Join our neighbors for the fun.

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