I am slowly getting back into the flow of all things StAP - and there's a lot to catch up on. In spite of summer starting, things are percolating here and there. The first Park B4 Dark is tomorrow night from 5-8pm. The weather looks marvelous, low 80's, slight breeze, sunny - should be perfect weather for some food, shopping and music. C'mon down! the 4th of July is fast approaching as well and Julie Glowka and Cindy Thrasher have done their usual excellent organizational job pulling together talented neighbors to make St. Paul's only 4th parade the signature event it always is. You all should have gotten a letter explaining the schedule and asking for a donation. Please make sure you put a little something in that envelope and send it along to make sure these dedicated volunteers get the support they need. Plan to take some photos of the 4th and share them with us for the new photobook. Just go to our website and click on "Photo Book" in the right upper hand menu. And by all means reserve your copy so we can make sure the book happens...Finally, we will get to welcome a new restaurant, Foxy Falafel, to the old Cafe Caribe/Jay's/Chet's space near Knoll Hardware in SSA. After a few years of appearing at events and running a food truck, owner Erica Strait has decided to put down roots chez nous. She hopes to open in late July featuring falafels, salads, shwarma sandwiches and hummus as well as a pickle bar. Welcome Erica!

D12 - Starling, the pop-up retail initiative for the summer (facilitated by the D12 Council) has a new tenant this week, Beatrix*JAR Experimental Studio, in the storefront just west of the Edge Coffeehouse on University Avenue. It's hard to describe, but two charming electronic music artists are offering what they call a Circuit Bending Workshop, taking apart old electronics and making something new out of them. They also create handmade fabric birds and cats. Here's the link to find out more, it sounds like fun for the whole family and it's only there until June 25...the city's zoning proposal that would prevent non-industrial enterprises such as schools and churches from entering areas like our creative enterprise zone in the University/Raymond area has gone back to committee after hearing from the public. The Council and others in our community and the city feel it's too restrictive and that these institutions have no other places to locate within their budgets. We already have 3 Charter Schools in that area and a couple churches which would no doubt be grandfathered in but couldn't expand...you should start to see some brightly decorated bikes around the community. The Council and Irrigate Arts are joining together with local artist, Carrie Christensen to promote bike use in the city. If you have an old bike you can donate, contact the Council...there's a meeting on June 27 from 7-9pm at the SSA rec center to talk about the frac sand that is being transported through our neighborhood via open rail cars. There's a good article in the June Bugle about it...there's a small business forgivable loan program being offered by the city for businesses that have been on or within a block of the new green line route along University Avenue for at least a year. Check the D12 website for more info about this and lots more.

Schools - not much to report other than this, from a group of school kids I interviewed for an exclusive interview, "YAY!!!!"...Also, some of the winners of the elementary school's Patriotic Essay contest will once again read their essays at the 4th in the Park bandstand program at noon after the parade. These are usually lovely, well-thought out reflections on what it means to be Americans, don't miss it.

listserv - concerns about a scrap metal procurer's informal search style brought out a flurry of observations recently. It's always interesting how things do or don't blow up on our neighborhood electronic bulletin board. This started innocently enough with a report of someone banging on a neighbor's back door in SSA purportedly looking for scrap metal. It quickly moved to a consideration of techniques for preventing these unwanted and potentially threatening visits to a perspective check with political overtones. Moderator Sherm Eagles weighed in with his usual deft hand reminding everyone to stick to the issues and not turn it into a polemic...and ants. Apparently the rain is driving our insect buddies into places homeowners would rather they not be. Entomologist and neighbor, Margot Monson shared her common sense respect for nature along with ideas for removing the little guys without the overuse of pesticides which, of course, endanger other innocent species, humans included.

StAPnotes - this Friday, Open Eye Puppet Theater will be presenting an awesome show at 7pm at 2259 Carter with the bank drive-through shelter a rain back-up. Bring blankets, bug spray, chairs and a few bucks to toss in when they pass the hat. Neighbor Mary Lou Hidalgo says they are the best and her word is good enough for me. More info? Click here...the U has its usual collection of fun stuff for the kids this summer at Northrop, the Bell Museum, the arboretum, etc. Check them out here...Speaking of the U, the Raptor Center housed two cute barred owl chicks for a while after their nest came crashing down in a storm. They have since been relocated but you can read about them and see the photos at the Raptor website...JOTP continues to show all the Euro 2012 Soccer games at SSA rec center and they have been very exciting. While you're there, check out their summer schedule - a lot going on ove there.

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