NEWS | COMMUNITY
Bring on the Heat: Raffle Supports Meals on Wheels
West 7th Winter Coat Drive
Volunteers Needed for Annual Citywide Cleanup
Minnesota Website on Health Reform
2012 Sustainable St. Paul Awards
West 7th Library: March is Green at West 7th
Home Repair and Improvement Funds Available
Sholom Offers Tools for Caregivers of Loved Ones with Memory Loss
Energy Smart Homes Loan Program
E-Democracy Launches Inclusive Community Engagement Online Project
St. Paul Heritage Preservation Awards


 
Bring on the Heat: Raffle Supports Meals on Wheels [IMAGE]

In Ramsey County there are nine Meals on Wheels programs serving hot daily home-delivered meals to seniors and persons with disabilities in the community. The West Seventh Community Center is one of them, with a care of volunteers who do more than deliver the meals—they often provide that touch of personal contact and concern that can make a huge difference to someone who is mostly at home.
Meals on Wheels of Ramsey County is a tax-exempt nonprofit corporation that depends partly on fund raising to sustain its program. This year’s Bring on the Heat Raffle is a way to both support the program and have a chance at some great prizes — more than $7,000 worth. These include massages, golf packages, gift certificates, a laptop computer, overnight packages and more.

Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at the West Seventh Community Center until March 19. The drawing will be on March 26, but you do not have to be present to win. Call the Center for further information: 651-298-5493.

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West 7th Winter Coat Drive [IMAGE]

The West 7th community has once again shown their giving spirit through this year’s Winter Coat Drive for Joseph’s Coat. Donation sites were hosted by five West 7th businesses and approximately 420 items of winter wear were gathered. Shown here with Bank Cherokee’s bounty of 246 items are Bankers Mary Kamarainen (l) and Alicia Cramer. Donation sites were also sponsored by American Bank, Fresh Grounds Coffee, Shamrock’s and Cooper’s Foods. Joseph’s Coat has been serving our neediest neighbors in St. Paul and the surrounding Twin Cities communities since 1989. This free store provides clothing, household items, personal hygiene products, and children’s items. Approximately 950 individuals are served each week through the dedicated efforts of volunteers. Donations may be dropped off on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., or by appointment.

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Volunteers Needed for Annual Citywide Cleanup

The City of St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department is recruiting volunteers for the annual Citywide Cleanup event on April 14. Groups or individuals can sign-up at stpaul.gov/parks/environment. Each spring, approximately 1,000 community volunteers unite to remove tons of trash from St. Paul’s parks, natural areas, recreation centers, and neighborhoods. This important event helps ensure the beauty, safety and environmental health of the city. Volunteers pick up their supplies at one of four Kickoff Celebrations across the city, and then go to the park, natural area, or neighborhood of their choice to pick up trash.

Kickoff Celebrations begin at 8:30 a.m., with cleanups from 9 to 11 a.m. In the West Seventh area, Fresh Grounds has offered to be the Kickoff location — 1362 West Seventh. Volunteers in other areas pick up supplies and enjoy complimentary refreshments at one the following Kickoff Celebrations between 8:30 and 9 a.m.:

• Como Lakeside Pavilion (1360 N. Lexington Pkwy.)
• Harriet Island Pavilion (200 Dr. Justus Ohage Blvd.)
• Highland Pavilion (1200 Montreal Ave.)
• Phalen Pavilion (1600 Phalen Dr.).

Online registration is available at stpaul.gov/parks/environment. For more information e-mail Andy.Rodriguez@StPaul.Gov or call 651-632-2411.

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2012 Sustainable St. Paul Awards

Mayor Chris Coleman is encouraging individuals, businesses and organizations to submit applications for the 2012 Sustainable St. Paul Awards, which honor the work being done to protect and restore the environment in St. Paul. Nominations are due on March 23.

“Over the past several years, we have taken deliberate steps to improve building efficiency, energy production, and our environment, making St. Paul a national leader in environmental sustainability. I am proud that St. Paul hosts these awards, recognizing inventive community leaders and organizations who are working to better our environment for decades to come, inspiring others to follow their example.”

Sustainable St. Paul award categories include: Energy Efficiency or Conservation, Water Quality or Conservation, Transportation Options, Clean-up and Beautification, Residential/Commercial Green Building Design, Natural Resources Restoration, Waste Reduction, Composting and Recycling, Environmental Education and Awareness, Green Products and Practices, Youth Leadership (18 years and under), Sustainable City Staff Awards andExceptional Environmental Steward.

Nomination forms are available at www.stpaul.gov. Click on Sustainable St. Paul listed under City Projects. Judging will be conducted by members of Sustainable St. Paul Working Group and others in the environmental community.

E-mail completed nomination forms and supporting materials to Kris Hageman (kris.hageman@ci.stpaul.mn.us) no later than Friday, March 23, or mail supporting materials to: 2010 Sustainable Saint Paul Awards, Environmental Coordinator, 1000 City Hall Annex, 25 West Fourth St., St. Paul, MN 55102. Regular mail should be postmarked by March 23, 2012.

For full details on the 2012 Sustainable Saint Paul Awards, visit stpaul.gov/DocumentView.aspx?DID=19847.

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West 7th Library: March is Green at West 7th

Think green this month at the W7th Library. Save your green by checking out instead of buying books, DVDs and CDs. Why pay for magazines that you could check out at your library? Think green and consult the Consumer Reports before you make those big purchases, like cars and refrigerators. Use one of our Power Check Meters to monitor the energy use of your appliances and electronics — very efficient, very green!

This is the month of greening up outside, too. Plan your future garden, but don’t forget that flowers are as important as veggies — food for the soul and food for the stomach. Find gardening books at the library, landscaping and patio ideas, good trees to plant and trees to avoid. (Trashy! Tons of pollen!). Make a rain garden, dig a flagstone path, build a simple play area for the kids — the library is full of good, green ideas.

Bring in more green for your paycheck. The St. Paul libraries have free classes to improve your computer skills, job search assistance and help with brushing up your résumé.

Green up your self, with exercise DVDs and brisk walks through your neighborhood. When you walk, you can pick up and toss trash with a recycled plastic bag. Walk to the store and take your cotton canvas bags to carry your groceries home. Use our creative cookbooks to make tasty economical meals.

Oh, don’t forget the reason for all this greening! This is St. Patrick’s month, with parades and green beer and silly T-shirts — but mostly, not a snake in sight.

The Volunteers of W7th and Sara and Lisa

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Minnesota Launches Website on Health Reform

The Minnesota Health Care Reform Task Force has created a new website that will serve as a clearinghouse for information on Minnesota’s health reform efforts. The website provides information on how health reform affects individuals, families, and businesses. It also contains basic facts about health reform in Minnesota, and opportunities to connect to activities in the state.

The website uses the term “health reform” in a way that encompasses policies and partnerships to improve health and lower health care costs. Minnesota has a long history of reform and, most recently in 2008, passed a state health reform law that improves community health, patient experience and affordability of health care. In 2010, federal health reform (the Affordable Care Act) became law, providing additional tools for Minnesota to cover the uninsured, build the health care workforce, prevent illness and contain health care costs. Throughout the website, the term “health reform” includes both state and federal laws and policies.

The website is at: healthreform.mn.gov. Governor Dayton issued an executive order last October establishing a Vision for Health Care Reform in Minnesota. The order charges the Minnesota Health Care Reform Task Force, along with members of the governor’s cabinet, to develop an action plan for reforming how we deliver and pay for health care in the state. The task force includes leaders from business, labor, foundations, the public sector and Minnesota’s health care organizations. For more information, contact Jeremy Drucker, Minnesota Department of Human Services, at 651-431-2920.

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Home Repair and Improvement Funds Available

Community Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS), a St. Paul-based NeighborWorks Home Ownership Center, has been awarded funds to provide low-cost home improvement loans to homeowners living in Ramsey County.

A variety of programs is available, meeting the needs of households with incomes up to 120% of area median income as determined by HUD, currently $100,800 for a family of four. Interest rates are currently below 2%. [Editor’s note: Residents in the Little Bohemia neighborhood may qualify for even lower rates — below 1.5%.]

The loan program is unique in that it includes construction management services, including assisting with identifying and selecting contractors for the work, assistance in the construction management process, and verification that the work is done correctly before any of the bills are paid.

The financing can be used for projects such as furnace repair or replacement, plumbing upgrades or repairs, roofing, storm windows, insulation, structural repairs, and additional bedrooms. Grants may also be available for emergency repairs.

Breaking News: Community NHS has just announced additional $5,000 fully forgivable, no-payment loans to accompany their regular home improvement loans just described. They must be taken together (that is, they are essentially a bonus grant on top of a normal loan). These are targeted toward families at or below 80% of area median income. Some are reserved for extremely low incomes. The specifics of each loan package depend on the circumstances of the individual borrower; NHS has some ability to combine the $5,000 loan with another loan that would be deferred until the sale of the property.

Homeowners interested in learning more about the programs available should contact Community NHS at 651-292-8710. Income, equity, and credit restrictions may apply. Funds are available on a first come, first served basis, and a waiting list is not maintained.
More information is available at communitynhs.org.

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Sholom Offers Courses: Tools for Caregivers of Loved Ones with Memory Loss

A four-part course for caregivers is being offered at no charge by Sholom East. More than ever, families face the practical and emotional challenges of caring for aging parents. Whether sudden or gradual, assuming these roles and responsibilities can be unfamiliar and often overwhelming, particularly for working adults. Is your family ready to handle your parents’ needs? Come to this presentation to learn about resources, strategies, and insights to maintain everyone’s dignity and connectedness.

The course takes place on four Tuesdays, February 28 to March 20. The sessions are free and also provide a light dinner. Sessions begin at 5 p.m. in the Nosh Nook of the Shaller Family Sholom East Campus. 740 Kay Avenue, St. Paul. RSVP to Kari Kearns at 651-328-2023 or kkearns@sholom.com.

Topics include: Family caregiving strategies. Enhancing communication with your loved ones with memory loss. “Real–life strategies for dementia caregiving while caring for yourself.” Interacting with our loved ones with memory loss.

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Energy Smart Homes Loan Program

Act quickly to take advantage of an excellent program. It’s not too late to get a 0% interest-deferred loan to replace your furnace or boiler and/or add insulation to your home through the St. Paul Energy Smart Homes loan program. Although the program is coming to a close, funds are still available.

Here are the details: Loans up to $6,500 for St. Paul homeowners. Available for insulation and furnace/boiler replacement.No monthly payments and no interest Loan is due in 30 years or upon sale of property. No income limits, but income affects terms and loan availability is first-come, first-served.

Energy Smart Homes is made possible by the City of St. Paul with a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA). More information is available at TheNEC.org/financing or by calling the NEC at 651-221-4462, ext. 132.

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E-Democracy Launches Inclusive Community Engagement Online Project

E-Democracy has received a $625,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to actualize three themes: (1) St. Paul Neighbors’ Forums — Inclusion, expansion, and engagement; (2) Lesson Sharing — Convening, research, and promoting online engagement; and (3) Innovation and Technology — Next generation experiments.

For full details and to get involved see: e-democracy.org/inclusion.

Goals for the first theme area, Neighbors’ Forums, include reaching 10,000 participants across E-Democracy’s Neighbors Forums network of 15+ online forums in St. Paul; engaging diverse communities with special efforts focused on lower income areas, communities of color, and St. Paul’s many immigrant communities; developing sponsorship and other revenue-generating experiments across our full network; launching a “campaign” to promote online neighbor connecting via beneighbors.org.


For theme area two, Lesson Sharing and Convening: providing enhanced training to for volunteers, outreach team, and others; sharing special “inclusion” lessons for wide-spread adaptation by the online engagement field and building in continuous use of metrics and research. Request more information at e-democracy.org/inclusionform.

For theme area three, Innovation and Technology: fostering “next generation” technology experiments in collaboration with technology-oriented civic initiatives to promote people-centric technology and new models for inclusive community engagement online; enhancing the open source GroupServer.org online communities tool; exploring “electronic block clubs” pilots along Central Corridor in St. Paul combining open source technology with intensive outreach and hybrid face-to-face/online models.

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St. Paul Heritage Preservation Awards

The Heritage Preservation Commission of the City of St. Paul and the St. Paul Chapter of the American Institute of Architects are co-sponsoring the twenty-second annual awards to recognize projects, individuals and organizations that enhance and celebrate St. Paul’s cultural resources.

Award categories include (1) Restoration/rehabilitation/adaptive reuse of an historic building; new addition to an historic building; new construction in an historic area or district; (2) Organizations and community education projects (for overall contributions to preservation, rather than for a bricks-and-mortar project); (3) Individuals (for an individual, professional or volunteer, who has made an excellent contribution to heritage preservation in St. Paul); (4) Cultural heritage (project, organization, or individual making a significant contribution to the recognition of the city’s cultural heritage); (5) Vote of Confidence Award (Given to a quality preservation-related project having difficulty); (6) Historic landscapes: (including cultural landscapes, comprised of plantings and the built environment, and designed landscapes such as cemeteries and parks); (7) Stewardship: (recognizes outstanding efforts toward the long term maintenance and preservation of a historic property or site).

For criteria and nomination materials and questions contact Christine Boulware, 651-266-6615 — christine.boulware@ci.stpaul.mn.us or Hilary Holmes, 651-266-6643 — hilary.holmes@ci.stpaul.mn.us.

Nominations are due at the St. Paul Department of Planning and Economic Development, 25 Fourth St. W., Suite 1400, St. Paul 55102, by 4:30 p.m. on April 2, 2012.

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