Rain…again. Ok, done with whining, let’s move on to the silver lining behind all these dark, wet clouds, and that’s how green everything looks and how the water has surely broken the drought. For newly planted trees, this weather has been wonderful and that includes the beautiful new red maple planted by the flagpole outside of the St. Anthony Park Elementary School last week. The 6th graders, as the last 6th grade class, wanted to do something special and the 5th graders decided they wanted in as well, so some parents got in touch, the Foundation offered matching funds, the kids fund-raised, the district planted it, and the new tree is in place.  Go check it out, it’s lovely - and a real community effort. Thanks to the students for their good work! 

I had a nice tour of the Minneapolis Community & Technical College yesterday. Ordinarily, I do not highlight happenings on that other side of the river, but I ventured out at the invitation of neighbor and MCTC Associate Vice President of Workforce Development, Mike Christenson. Mike, as some of you might remember, was the Director of Planning & Development for Minneapolis for a number of years (and in my humble opinion had a lot to do with making it a much better companion to God’s favorite Minnesota city) before landing at MCTC where he has pursued his passion for real world solutions to the problems of educational opportunity and job placement. 

There are big changes happening over there with new construction and new programs training students for waiting jobs. Particularly impressive is their brand new state-of-the-art simulation lab for training students in medical careers and their extensive welding/HVACR/Electrical facilities. Students completing those 2-year degrees will move right into jobs in the burgeoning world of healthcare or as builders of the new Vikings stadium. The college also offers degrees in biotech, architectural tech, social services and much more. With comparatively low tuition costs and high post degree placement in jobs that pay living wage and higher, in many cases much higher, MCTC and institutions like it are in the forefront of providing practical pathways that will drive critical community and economic growth. It was really inspiring to feel MCTC’s vibrant, diverse and expanding energy. I can see why Mike is so eager to get to work there every day. Check it out here.

Finally, there have been a number of inquiries from neighbors hopeful that the housing possibilities talked about for Luther Seminary will happen sooner rather than later. There are many residents who would like to stay here but are looking down the road at other options if none are on the horizon locally. As I’ve mentioned before, the Seminary shares our community’s hopes for housing development but first and foremost has to put together a sustainable plan for its future. They have been very solicitous of community input and will keep us in the loop as plans progress. 

D12  – Want to become a citizen pruner? The city of St. Paul in conjunction with the U of M is offering an 8 hour course that will teach you everything you need to know (with supervision) to help prune city trees in your neighborhood. If interested, there’s more info at this link

Next Monday, June 17, from 6:30-8:30 pm is the Transportation Expo at Langford Rec Center. From HOURcar to streetcars, Nice Ride bike share to the Friendly Streets initiative, many major players and plans will be there, so if you have questions or comments, plan to attend. 

The Transition Town conversation continues but, of course, all research points to the fact that while pursuing alternative energy options is critical, the biggest thing any of us can do is to cut down on our own energy use. The Neighborhood Energy Connection can help you find out how best to do that, here’s a link If we could get every home in StAP to be as energy efficient as possible, it would go a long way toward helping us reach Transition Town goals. 

SCHOOLS – Murray Jr. High will be getting a new principal this fall. Tim Williams is being moved over to Capitol Hill and while we will miss him, I’ve been told that his replacement is top caliber. Best wishes to Tim in his new location, he did a great job at Murray. 

Listserv – JOTP has some great summer youth camps, check them out…as does the Raptor Center, SPPS and the U of M...Susan Henry, head librarian at our branch library, reminds us that the library is closed until early August for renovations. The Hamline Midway Library is apparently the default location for holds made prior to closing. There are full summer programming options at nearby branches. 

StAPnotes – Neighbor Bill Beyer was co-producer of TPT Channel 2’s recent program "Pretty Much100% Scandinavian." This is one of a series of films on Minnesota's Scandinavian heritage he and partner Stefan Quinth (Camera Q) have produced.

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