Still recovering from the the week of the 4th...the combination of activity and heat looms in my memory, but the turnout and fun remain as well. It is a great event and unlike anything I have heard about or experienced anywhere else. I got a very nice note from our Spirit of the Park winner, Bruce Perrizo. He was very pleased and humbled to be honored by the community. Bruce is a great guy and very deserving. He represents a time when Rec Directors stayed for 5-10 years and were critical threads in our neighborhood fabric. The good ones like Bruce were beloved by kids and parents alike and they created and maintained programs like the 4th that brought us all together. 

Unfortunately, the city can no longer afford to support the rec centers in that fashion (or in any fashion as a number have been closed down) instead they have tried to concentrate their limited funds to a few super centers like Como pool, spin off some to nonprofit partners like JOTP in SSA (lucky us, they are a great partner) and run stripped down programs and rotating staff at the other centers relying on neighborhoods to help keep them running. I mean no disrespect to the Park & Rec employees doing their best under the current parameters. I did mention in my last column that I met the new rec director at Langford, Will Xiong, who seems like a great guy. His staff was very helpful in the 4th activities and I look forward to getting to know him better. 

The reality though, is that it's a constant struggle to fund public institutions and we all need to be creative to figure out how best to do that. In addition to our rec centers, our library continues to see a decrease in its hours of operation and the budget for our Community Council is always a concern. That's why our generosity of time, talent and money is so critical. I'd also like to insert a little plug for the neighborhood leaders who had the foresight to envision the possibility of times like these in the midst of the strong 1998 economy and create the Foundation. This year we were able to grant around $40,000 to those important assets that help define St. Anthony Park. We have Andy Boss, Gerald McKay, Steve Wellington, Julie & Anders Himmelstrup, Rick Beeson, Kent Eklund, Ann Wynia, Grant Abbott, Roxy Freese, Mike & Lis Christenson, Joan Hershbell, Jerry Jenkins, Phil Shively and Ellen Watters to thank. We need to constantly build on that groundwork by working together as neighbors to ensure St. Anthony Park continues to be a viable and vibrant community.

Two important opportunities: we still need neighbors who want to make sure we get the StAP photo book printed. You know you'd buy one if it was at Micawbers but it won't get there unless we can pre-sell it by July 31, so go to our website and click on "photo book" on the upper right hand menu to sign up. It's guaranteed, if we don't get the funds, you aren't charged...and we're looking for people who want an office space at 3rd Place our local co-officing site conveniently located on Como Ave. For as little as $60/mo. you can have a nice space to come to with wifi, comfy tables & chairs and interesting office mates. Contact me by email or by calling 651-641-1455.

D12 - Visit the website to get updates on the "fracking" meeting that was held recently to inform the neighborhood about the transport of sand used in that process through our community. Also info about energy audits, National Night out, the Wayfinding Art Bikes project (they need your old bike!) and a series of pre-budget public meetings the mayor is holding in neighborhoods to gather feedback about priorities. The one for our area will be at the Black Bear Crossing in the Como Pavilion on July 16 from 7:30-9am.

listserv - Avalon School in SSA is looking for some books for their fall session, including Dr. Zhivago, The Other Wes Moore, Waiting for Godot, The Life of Ivan Ilyitch, and Coming of Age in Mississippi. They need multiple copies, so if you're looking to clear some space in your bookshelves, drop them off at the school which is west of Raymond just a block south of University Avenue at 700 Glendale Street...a new neighbor who moved into 2256 Commonwealth is looking for any info on the history of that house and its former owners.

StAPnotes - there was a nice article in the MN Daily about Milton Square. It gives a little history and update on the improvements that are being made. Check it out...Nick Jordan's Moonlight Duo will be performing at 7:30pm next Tuesday, July 17 neat the Witch's Hat Tower on the corner of Malcom & Sydney. Great music by one of our neighbors who also plays at our Park B4 Dark events. By the way, next one is a week from tomorrow night, so don't miss it.

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