I know I've talked about the series of break-ins/attempted break-ins before, but there is a related issue that needs some consideration as well, and that's how we report or describe suspects. When I posted the break-in attempt that happened to my neighbors, a reader asked if there was a description of the guys trying to break in. There was, but it was preliminary info I had heard and a bit general, so I decided not to share it. 

A big part of my hesitation came from the fact that the men were identified as black. It just didn't seem helpful to offer that very basic description publicly and have every male of color in the neighborhood become a suspect. That returned me to a conundrum that has existed for some time. Certainly skin color is an important identifier and we all want to apprehend criminals, but where do you draw the line between helpful identifiers and profiling? I found one answer in a report from The U of M's Fairview Medical Center in a press release they sent out about a mugging that occurred near their Riverside campus. They included very specific descriptions - height, age, build, dress, facial hair - as well as skin color, followed by this statement:

"Fairview security believes that descriptors alone are not a valid reason to profile or cast suspicion on any individual. They are included here because they may reasonably assist in identifying the perpetrators of this incident."

That level of specificity seems to me to be a valid criteria we could all use when thinking about publicly sharing information about criminal activity. It's critical to do anything we can to prevent the perpetuation of the destructive racial stereotypes that still exist in our country. It's also important to keep our communities safe. Providing information that can be effectively used to accomplish the latter without inadvertently promoting racism is worth figuring out. I welcome any comments or ideas from readers. 


How do you like your Cable/internet?
Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN), working with the City of Saint Paul, is seeking your input on the future of cable service, community media, and technology available for the next 10 years. Few know that St. Paul tried to start its own network which apparently has not developed, so it’s wondering if Comcast is delivering service that would cause them to continue to figure out a way to dump them. They have set up a bunch of listening sessions by constituency group, If you’d like to speak for or agin’, check out the details

Elected Official Forum – Tuesday, Oct. 8, 6:30pm Luther Seminary Olson Campus Center on Fulham
Here’s your chance to hear about the happenings in our halls of government from the people we ask to represent us in the important decisions that guide our district, city, county and state.


StAP Elementary - if you hear a hullabaloo this Friday near the school around lunchtime it's probably the annual All-School fall picnic. Families of students are invited to join in and enjoy hot dogs on the grill. 

Murray Middle – is looking for volunteers to tutor, technology devices to use and bilingual people to facilitate their Parent Academies. For more info on that and a lot more, here’s a link to their school newsletter. 

Como HighHomecoming is coming up in early October and that means some fun activities in and around the school. It may also mean some t.p.-ing in our neighborhood which is generally pretty harmless aside from the mess. The school has made a successful effort to tone things down over the last few years, but if you have any concerns, contact the school at 651-293-8800.651) 293-8800


Much chatter about the afore-mentioned criminal activity, so please take note, lock things up and let police know if you see anything suspicious…Also, cockatiels looking for a home, composters looking for info and support and the usual assortment of items for sale or free “it’s on the curb!"


StAP’s 1st Annual Brew Pub Crawl – Friday, Sept. 28
This Friday is a unique alignment of stars in the local Brewery universe. Jay and Sandy Boss Feboe’s Bang Brewery is celebrating it’s third weekend as a tap room offering their tasty Neat IPA by the glass and/or Growler from 5-10pm Fri. and 12-5 Saturday. Right next door, the Urban Growler gals, Deb and Jill, are holding their fall fundraiser tasting from 5-9pm with a number of spectacular quaffs and a performance by local favorites John Whitehead and Ross Johnson’s new supergroup,5 Miles From Town. Definitely stop in to both and welcome our new home town hops heroes. 

Music in the Park Series in the schools and Senior Home Monday
Julie Himmelstrup, our tireless and ageless chamber music champion, reminded me that MiP will be bringing the Pacifica Quartet to SAP Elementary at 9 AM on Monday and to the SAP Home at 10:30 AM, (Sept. 30th) courtesy of the Schubert Club, MiPS and yes, the StAP Community Foundation. 

Mim’s/Lori’s rehab continues
Patrons of our Middle Eastern/American mainstay know that owner/proprietor, Mahmoud Shahin has been busy working on a complete rehab of all four buildings in his Cleveland & Buford retail/housing complex. He is close to completing the centerpiece of the remodel, a new kitchen serving area to complement the seating space next door. Next step will be to move Lori’s coffeeshop over o to those spaces and refloor the coffeeshop, then remodel Mim’s as more of a pizza, short order place. Anyone who knows Mahmoud, knows that he is a hard worker who manages to accomplish a lot in between his visits home to Palestine. Stop by, check out the progress, have some great food and coffee and say hi.

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