Refreshed and renewed I return to my blog.  And it finally feels like summer just in time for the state fair. There is a brief period after you get back from being on a vacation when you look at your own surroundings with tourist eyes. Our neighborhood compares very well with some of the lovely spots we visited. 

Walking down Como Avenue with beautiful flowers everywhere. My walk starts at the library where the Garden Club’s creativity and care are in full display, carries me past the Muffuletta and Milton Square’s flower boxes and landscaping, up past the Bistro’s bounteous patio planters, onward, sometimes catching those ageless gardeners, Dick & Finette Magnuson watering the window boxes and boulevard patches of the Bibelot, Gustafson Jewelers and dentist offices along the way. Then there’s the Post office terrace and Peapods hanging baskets leading a colorful way to the bank which is surrounded completely by their wonderful landscaping (John Thomas) until we finally arrive at Speedy Market welcoming you with the brightly colored flowers of their front planters. Add to that mix the storefront planters and boulevard gardens from the Lutheran Church to the Emily Program buildings with their lush landscaping and vegetable plants and we are immersed in a full-blown 3-block summer garden. 

Things are slightly less colorful in the SSA commercial district, but it doesn’t yet have the same concentration of shops and restaurants. There are merchants  who include sidewalk plants and gardens throughout the zone and many residents in the neighborhoods around Raymond have lovely gardens in their yard and boulevard. Add in our parks, the Seminary and the U campuses and we are very lucky to live in such a verdant area.  So, enjoy the views and take the time to stop and thank those responsible for them. 

I had a very uplifting review of the first year of Murray’s E2 class. This partnership between our middle school and Wolfridge Environmental Center to grab kids who might not have a traditional science background and immerse them in hands-on environmental studies is really delivering exciting results. The support from former principal Tim Williams and new principal, Stacy Collins, has been instrumental in launching and evolving this innovative program . Murray science teacher Tim Chase crafted the in-school curriculum to align with Wolfridge’s  SEAK after-school environmental programming in Minneapolis. Then, the Wolfridge folks refined the collaboration during a 2-week stay by 19 Murray E2 students this past July. 

The results, presented by Mr. Chase and Kim Swanson, the Summer program coordinator, were very encouraging. First of all, to get 19 students to take 2 weeks out of busy summer activities to go up north and conduct scientific studies, aka SCHOOL! is amazing and speaks to the dedication of the kids and their trust in Mr. Chase. The kids broke into teams of 2-3 and worked on experiments which they presented at a final assembly attended by their classmates, counselors and other campers. They will be supported in doing the work necessary to submit their projects for the next city Science Fair. The comments by the kids on the evaluation sheets speak to the growth and learning that will surely be life-altering for many of them, some who will now become mentors for the next class and perhaps spend part of next summer working in paid positions at Wolfridge.   

This is such a win/win/win/win effort - bringing together the St. Paul Public Schools, Wolfridge Environmental Center, The U.S. Forestry Department facilitated by the Saint Anthony Park Community Foundation through the generosity of some notable neighbors/Murray alums. Sitting around the conference table at the Forestry building on the St. Paul campus on Monday, I got goose bumps thinking about the potential for this class and others like it to change the paradigm, narrow the achievement gap, and train the next generation of scientists in an area where we cannot afford to fail. 

D12

$1M Challenge Finalists
The St. Paul $1M Challenge has narrowed the competitors to three and one of them, The Art Train, had its genesis on the RR tracks of the Creative Enterprise Zone. The idea of putting old RR cars onto unused  tracks to add low cost options for studios, retail and restaurants. It’s a great idea and could certainly be used in our neighborhood to add affordable space and honor our unique history as a RR center. The public will decide the winner by voting online or in person at the state fair. 

Friendly Streets Party on Raymond
Join neighbors to celebrate the street repairs and traffic calming along Raymond Ave this Friday, August 23, 3:30-7:30pm, Manvel Ave. at Raymond Ave. Also give feedback on your vision for other changes to Raymond. 

Listserv

Metal Thefts
Aggressive metal recyclers are back in the neighborhood taking metal items not intended for recycling from people’s yards and alleys. In the past, metal ladders have disappeared from job sites and a recent theft of a soccer goal frame means you should think about leaving anything metallic outside unattended. It’s a bummer but it’s the way it is. 

School Supplies
If your child is going to the St. Anthony Park Elementary School this fall. You can find out what they need here. 

StAPnotes

BrewTown
Nice article on the line media newsletter about the new breweries entering the area. Urban Growler and Bang in SSA, Burning Brothers on Prior and, of course, the big one, Surley’s, across the border in Mpls. It’s not a foam slide to success though as funding options are still be sought for the Urban Growler folks and Bang has delayed their opening temporarily.

Singer Songwriter Showcase 
September 15, 7pm, at Chanson Voice & Music Academy, 795 Raymond Ave, contact the school to sign up or for more info. 

Blood Drive
Day after Labor Day - Sept 3.  You can schedule a time to donate between 2 and 7 PM by going online to redcrossblood.org and using zip code 55108 with the date or you can phone Michelle at 651 647-9526 or Joy 651 644-8833. If you c?yola-link-is-coming=trueannot donate blood, but would like to help in some other capacity call either of those numbers.

Tutors Needed
at Murray Middle School for the Pilot One-on-One Tutoring Program

When: any day Monday through Friday
Time: any time from 11:25-12:14 or 12:18-1:07 or 1:11-2:00
What: a variety of assignments in subjects including English, Science, Social Studies and/or Math
Who: 7th and 8th grade students who are looking for support
Contact: Cindy Thrasher, 651.293.8740cindy.thrasher@spps.org
Thank you for considering this opportunity! 

Muffuletta Has New Mid-day Menu
Check out Muffuletta’s new Mid-day Menu from 2-5 pm. Items for

perfect little spa Gone
You may have noticed that the perfect little spa in the basement of the Healy building no longer exists. I didn’t notice until today, so I’m guessing it happened while I was out of town. I had heard that their departure was a possibility, but hadn’t gotten the final word. It is the new home of an acupuncturist. More on that later. 

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