June continues to be a killer for outdoor events, with last Thursday's first Park B4 Dark pretty much washed and blown out. Luckily, we have two more to come on July 17 and August 21, so put those on your calendar and make plans to enjoy the music & specials along Como Avenue.

Let's all combine our positive energies towards beautiful weather for the next big event, the annual 4th of July Parade & Picnic. Julie Glowka, Cindy Thrasher and their crew of dedicated volunteers have put together another great line-up of fun and food for this St. Anthony Park tradition. This will be Julie & Cindy's last year of heading up the celebration and they will receive the Foundation's annual Spirit of the Park Award for their efforts. They are still looking for some volunteers to help out so if you want to increase your fun exponentially, contact Cindy at 651-644-4794. And plan to join us as we celebrate their service to our community.

There has been a good discussion online at the MetroIBA group site about Amazon's new phone with a camera and search capabilities that basically turns every retail store into a showroom for the monolithic corporate giant. This is just the latest iteration of the bigger and bigger box approach to selling goods. While legislation has been tried in some states for some industries (North Dakota does not allow pharmacy chains for example) the general response from our independent businesses is to dig in harder to deliver the personalized experiences that make our local retail welcoming and worthwhile. As I mentioned before when talking about Total Wines entry into our liquor marketplace, this neighborhood stands behind our local merchants because the big box stores do not deliver the shopping experience we enjoy from them. Do not take their existence for granted. This was a tough winter for independents and we need to make up for the purchases we didn't get a chance to make due to the cold. Buy Local now.

In a related story, I came across a marketing profile of the latest age group to be analyzed by advertisers, the Gen Z'ers. This is everyone born from 1995 on and they are definitely different from their predecessors. Here is the link to the slide show which may not be completely accurate, but it is how marketing folks are looking at things, so that's always interesting. Some of the info I find most interesting is:
  • the size - about 26% of our total population compared with 23% for Boomers and 24% for Millennials
  • Their influence in the consumer choices their parents make.
  • their buying power - $44 billion/year
  • their maturity, curiosity, creativity and idealism
  • their ability to comprehend complex situations combined with a very short attention span
  • their inclusiveness and desire for community
So, get ready for a tsunami of energy and let's help to channel it in the right direction to solve some very challenging realities in our world.

The D12 Council is looking for volunteers to serve on their Accessory Dwelling Unit task force. You may remember this idea blew up a few weeks back at a Land Use meeting where, after a little brouhaha, it was decided that a group of collegial neighbors representing various perspectives on the issue should get together and figure out if it could help our community to increase the available housing options. I've already offered the opinion that this solution would address a relatively small piece of the overall need, but that this is an issue that will not be solved by one solution so, it's worth trying to see if it's practical. If you're interested, you can apply online at the D12 website.

Open Eye Puppet Theater is coming through the neighborhood again July 7 at 7pm at 2259 Carter Ave. If you haven't seen it, you'll definitely want to bring the kids. If it rains, go to Sunrise Banks drive thru area for a sheltered performance.

St. Anthony Park Area Seniors is offering free exercise classes every weekday this summer at several nearby locations. Contact Katharine Tondra for more info.

Congrats to the United Methodist Church on their 125 anniversary year. There's a nice article in the Bugle by Michelle Christianson about their long running concept of radical hospitality. They have been host to innumerable community groups and events over the years including the Progressive Dinner.

Avalon school in the Creative Enterprise Zone has been featured in a new book about Deeper Learning by noted education expert, Dr. Monica Martinez. They are one of 8 schools cited as a model of redefining what teaching and learning look like in the 21st century.

Chanson Voice & Music Academy is offering early learning music classes for 0-7 yr olds in July. Here's the link to check out the details.

The public computers at our library are up and running after a recent upgrade. Stop in and try one out when you get your summer reading material.

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