Summer has finally arrived and it couldn't have come at better time for the July Park B4 Dark event last Thursday. This summer series, sponsored by Sunrise Banks, MetroIBA, our Como merchants and the Foundation, continues to grow but, as with any outdoor event, is dependent on nice weather to really make it go. And it went very well with lots of folks walking the avenue, shopping and enjoying food, drink and music. I haven't talked to all the businesses to see how sales went, but even if they were average, the pleasantness of the night and activity makes a good impression on everyone, including visitors, who will definitely return to such a lovely and friendly neighborhood. Next one is on August 21, so mark your calendars!

Speaking of visitors, there's been a little discussion on our listserv about events at the fairgrounds and the noise they sometimes generate. It makes sense that the fair wants to attract as many groups as possible throughout the year and most of the time there is little noise associated with their get-togethers. but there are a few that involve engines and that means that sometimes those engines are loud and occur later in the evening than some neighbors would like. While most contributors spoke positively about the fair and other year round activities, (fun events, $ to local businesses, great neighbors) some felt there was a line that gets crossed when those activities stretch too late into the night. While it's difficult to patrol random outbursts of sound from these events (or from the weekend car and motorcycle racers on 280 or wherever they rev up these days,) my 2 cents is that it comes with our central location. I do though, I think it is worth checking in from time to time to see who is being affected and how much.  

With the state fair nearly upon us, it has begun to dawn on me that entry from our western perch will be changed due to the new transport hub and amenities on the west side. No longer will there be an entrance on Commonwealth, instead we will need to access the fairgrounds via Buford, just north of the Conference Center. The Commonwealth entrance has been closed down to allow for speedier drop off from the busses that are all now coming down the U of M transitway. If you've been over there, you will see that there is a new perimeter fence surrounding the parking lots, meaning that kids who used to gain entrance by way of tree limbs in that area are out of luck. Another right of passage bites the dust. There have been a number of articles about the new vendor buildings and eateries where Heritage Square used to be, also a new music stage. It all looks like a nice addition and should actually cut down on traffic through our neighborhood, although there are always unimagined consequences when large changes are made. We'll see...

There's still time to send in your application for the Foundation's 15th Anniversary $15,000 Grant Competition. Just go to our website, answer the questions, and email them in before July 31. We're getting some great entries so far and yours could be chosen as one of the top three that will be voted on by the neighborhood from Aug. 11-31. Contact me if you have any questions.

I got a notice in the mail today about the city's plans to reseal our streets and alleys between August 1 and mid-September. I, as I'm sure others did, immediately thought, "Hey, that's during the state fair - what a mess!" A call to the info line informed me that our Dept. of Public Works had considered that and so the neighborhoods surrounding the fairgrounds will be done in early August. My source wasn't sure if they could get both streets and alleys finished before the fair, so they might come back for the alleys after. Time to get out the tar/oil remover for the rugs and floors.

The Little Mekong Night Market is on for this Sat., July 26, from 5-10pm at 402 University Ave. Just take the light rail to the Western Ave station and jump into food, fun, art and Chicks on Sticks - a couple stilt walkers who will don glowing costumes for the event. From 1-4pm the same day there will be strolling troubadors in the Prospect Park Westgate station area. The Green Line can take you places...

The CEZ's Wee House folks, Alchemy Architects, dropped their 3rd modular classroom for the Cornerstone Elementary school at the Montessori Center of Minnesota's East Side campus recently, completing a 3yr, 25% expansion of the St. Paul charter school. The 1,500 ft pre-fab classroom has big windows for the kids to observe nature up close and personal.

This Friday, July 24, 8 or 8:30am, Alice Duggan from the library board invites neighbors to bring their favorite weeding tool and help to beautify our lovely Carnegie Library gardens.

Did somebody say Pig Roast? Ben Amundson, Muffuletta's Asst. Manager did - August 6, 5:30-9:30pm, $45. Sounds nummy. Email Ben for more info.

August 7 is the Sunrise Banks annual community appreciation BBQ from 11-1pm. Come to the Como Bank parking lot and get free delicious food and a personal thanks from our friendly neighborhood bankers.

Avalon School in the CEZ is looking for a Promise Fellow to coordinate tutoring and mentoring programs for the next school term. Email for more info.

There's a lot more info on happenings in District 12 at the Community Council's website. check out info in their online newsletter about the annual Neighborhood Garage Sale, National Night out and Green Line events.

Nice article about Ray & Terri Peterson's lovely Victorian mansion on Scudder in the Strib last Saturday. They spent a lot of time, energy and dough to rehab the house for their family and now it's time to downsize. Great property for the the right folks.

Registration is open for Joy of the People's fall league. visit their website for more info.

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