This is a big week for the Foundation. Friday night is our 15 year anniversary event and we are looking forward to welcoming many neighbors and friends to the Urban Growler Brewery from 7-10pm to help us celebrate. As the executive director, I have a natural bias for the good that this organization has done and will continue to do with the support of this community. That said, I don't think there is a segment of our neighborhood left untouched by the work of the Foundation.

We have been a part of initiatives to strengthen our schools, our library, our rec centers, and our retail community. We have supported community-wide planning efforts affecting Como Avenue, Raymond Avenue, the Creative Enterprise Zone and the entire district. We have worked on sustainable strategies for Music in the Park Series, the Bugle, the Branch Library board, the CEZ Task Force, and the D12 Community Council. We've provided fiscal and organizational backing for the 4th of July Parade & Picnic, the Art Festival, CEZ Give & Takes, Park B4 Dark, Shop Home for the Holidays, and the Progressive Dinner. We have helped to convene neighbors around issues of transportation, housing, sustainability, aging and safe streets. 

There's more that is harder to quantify. But over 15 years and $400,000 of grant awards, untold hours of staff and board engagement in community concerns (75 neighbors have served so far), and the countless meetings and interactions with local, city and state leaders to promote and represent our area's interests, the Foundation's track record is comprehensive. At the heart of it all is the financial support of hundreds of neighbors who love this community and believe in the importance of the Foundation's role in keeping it viable and forward-looking.

I hope you can make it to the Urban Growler this Friday. It's a chance to honor the vision of the founders who understood the need for community investment and it's a chance to celebrate the unique spirit of this neighborhood that keeps striving to make it a great place to live, work and raise families. Thanks to all who share that vision and have meant so much to our organization's success. We will also announce the winner of the 15th Anniversary $15,000 Grant Challenge. will it be Shakespeare, Tutoring or Sustainability? Find out first this Friday night.

One of the most recent efforts in which we've played a supporting role is the St. Anthony Park Area Seniors' assessment process, the results of which were presented last night as part of their "Older & Wilder" Forum at Luther Seminary. While no one will be shocked by the results of the focus group feedback - we all want to live here forever and have housing, care and service options to support that - the accompanying demographic data provided by Wilder Research lays out the numbers and challenges in clear fashion: the old pyramid with lots of young on the bottom and a small group of older at the top has turned into a rectangle with equal parts in all generations. That means alot of aging neighbors and few places in the neighborhood for them to go after they leave their houses. Add to that the reluctance expressed by some to add new buildings of a size that would allow for a degree of affordability and we have a bit of a conundrum. 

The 80 or so folks gathered last night to hear and discuss the findings seemed happy that SAPAS was tackling these issues and interested in them continuing to represent the interests of the community in bringing forward solutions. There was also a willingness to consider fee structures for some of the services that SAPAS currently coordinates if they are deemed necessary and do not overlap services already available from other providers. It was a good turnout and a good discussion of issues that will increasingly affect our entire community. Kudos to SAPAS for the opportunity to understand the realities and think them through as a community. I would say that while there were the usual differences of opinion over paths forward, there was certainly consensus that SAPAS has an important role to play in helping this community meet the multiple challenges of the increasingly large and aging segment of our population.

There are other anniversaries to celebrate as well. The Bibelot is celebrating 48 years of bringing the best gifts, jewelry, clothing and chotskis to our neighborhood. Founder/owner and neighbor, Roxy Freese, has won numerous awards and spawned numerous competitors, but there's nothing like the original and it's still right here in St. Anthony Park. Help them celebrate this Fri.-Sun. by taking 20% off your purchases - storewide. 

Down the road a bit, Children's Home Society is celebrating 125 years and Lutheran Social Services is celebrating 150 years of service. Now that they've joined forces, you can party with both of them and the many families that have been helped because of their good work. This Sunday, Sept. 21, 11-4pm in the nice greenspace at the corner of Como & Eustis. It's free and everyone is welcome. 

Congratulations to all three institutions, our community is much the better for their presence and generous spirit.

Our public branch library continues to offer a full schedule of computer classes, children's activities, language circles, films and senior exercise programs. For the times and details, visit the St. Paul Public Library web page and look for the St. Anthony Park branch site.

Becky Kallhoff, the new tutoring specialist at the elementary school, is putting out a call for volunteers to help tutor students one-on-one in math and reading. If you have the time and interest, contact her here.

Peapods has won the Summer 2014 People & Planet Award
. This honor comes from Green America, a national non-profit that promotes sustainable business practices and is accompanied by a $5,000 prize which owner, Millie Adelsheim says will be used to "invest in more energy-efficient light fixtures and to improve our selection of sustainably made toys for the coming Holiday season". You can check out those toys at their website. Peapods is also celebrating their 15 year anniversary with a 15% off sale this Saturday.

Tomorrow night, Thursday, Sept. 18, three of Milton Square's merchants are getting together at Micawber's and inviting the public to join them. The little wine shoppe will host a wine-tasting and Lady Elegant's will bring along a selection of their teas and treats. So, let's see...tastings, tea, treats and tomes, I'm there - join me from 4:30-7:30pm. It's also a great chance to meet Lady Elegant's new owner, Wubitu Wayana.

The Boy Scouts are looking for some recruits, especially 1st graders with energy to join their Tiger Den. Contact Scoutmaster Christian Jacobsen for more info.

Finally, there was a comment about noise from the first Vikings game this past Saturday on listserv. Whatever level we have grown accustomed to was apparently surpassed, at least in one listener's opinion. Anyone else feel it needs to get turned down a notch or two? It's always interesting to find out out what part of the community receives which sound waves. Let me know.

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