Reading the Highland Villager #22 (August 18th - 31st Edition)

[Basically the problem is that the best source of Saint Paul streets & sidewalks news is the Highland Villager, a very fine and historical newspaper. This wouldn't be a problem, except that its not available online. You basically have to live in or frequent Saint Paul to read it. That's why I'm reading the Highland Villager so that you don't have to. Until this newspaper goes online, sidewalk information must be set free.]

Total # of articles about sidewalks: 12
Total # of articles about sidewalks written by Jane McClure*: 10

Title: Providing artistic direction; Sandra Fjerkenstad-Budel applies the finishing touches to a Paint the Pavement project she designed on Iglehart Avenue and Howell Street
Photographer: Brad Stauffer

Not-so-short version: Photo of an artist painting an intersection to calm traffic and raise awareness of the environment through art. [St Paul has a few of these cool intersection murals, actually on the street, located mostly in the Hamline-Midway area. -Ed.]

Title: Coleman's proposed budget for 2011 holds the line on taxes; Mayor assumes a $10M increase in LGA and that concerns city council
Author: Jane McClure

Not-so-short version: Unlike Rybak, StP mayor Coleman didn't raise property taxes. Will lower library budget by a little bit. Council Members are concerned about mayor's assumption about an increase in state LGA dollars, suggesting that instead of an increase, the city may get its LGA funds cut. [Wouldn't an LGA increase be a first for the 21st century? Hasn't it been something like 10 budget cuts in a row, ever since Gov. Carlson starting doing it in the 90s? -Ed.]

Title: Blueprint for change in Highland; City commissions new study of zoning in Village
Author: Jane McClure

Not-so-short version: The Planning Commission is going to study how to get more density and mixed-use developments in Highland, focusing on Ford Parkway near the river and Cleveland Ave b/w Randolph and Hillcrest Avenues. [Where is Hillcrest? -Ed.] the study comes at the request of the district council, who hope to increase Traditional Neighborhood (TN) zoning in the area. [TN zoning allows for more mixed use, restricts auto-oriented businesses, i.e. no drive-thrus, car repair places, large big-box parking lots. -Ed.] Article suggests study is motivated by concerns over future plans for the soon-to-be-abandoned Ford Ranger plant, and the [well-documented by the Villager] fight over the Walgreens on Ford Pkwy.

Title: Having a university in your backyard; Study sizes up St. Thomas' influence on the surrounding area
Author: Jane McClure

Not-so-short version: Another report on another study-to-be. This one is commissioned by the West Summit Neighborhood Advisory Commmittee (WSNAC) and is about the effect St. Thomas Univ. has on the surrounding neighborhood. Results to include: where is rental housing? are parents purchasing houses for their student children? are there "quality of life" crimes? [public urination? loud music? being young? being a douchebag? or worse: being a group of young douchebags? -Ed.] are there shifts in property values? [Duh. Of course. Property values are always context dependent. but the University has been there for a long, long time, no? Anyway, this is obviously the main concern driving the 'WSNAC-down'. -Ed.] Ends by saying that WSNAC would like the University to require more students to live on campus. [This is hardly an 'objective' study, is it? Not that I like Tommies either... Maybe WSNAC will force the school to build giant 'learning pens' in which to keep the students? Don't worry, there will be airholes. -Ed.]

Title: Commission supports historic designation of Victoria Theater; Advocates hope new status will attract buyer for long-vacant building
Author: Jane McClure

Not-so-short version: St Paul planning commission voted to recommend historic status for the old and abandoned theater on University near Victoria. It was built in 1915, became a "dance hall and Chinese restaurant" in 1924, a speakeasy during prohibition, a lighting store in the 30s, and has been empty for a long time since.

Title: St Paul adopts moratorium, zoning study on hookah bars
Author: Jane McClure

Not-so-short version: City Council is putting a stop to new hookah joints. Apparently people have been complaining about the hookah lounge at University and Raymond.

Title: Speed limit on Jefferson to become a constant 30 mph
Author: Jane McClure

Not-so-short version: [In a move that is sure to irk Soucheray,] the City Council is lowring the speed limit from 40 to 30 all along Jefferson. Cites a new state law from "several years ago" that allows cities to lower speed limits on streets w/ bike routes. [Srsly? Cities couldn't do that until recently? -Ed.]

Title: Merriam Park motorcycle restoration shop expands
Author: Jane McClure

Not-so-short version: Board of Zoning Appeals granted a motorcycle shop on Prior Avenue a variance so it can expand.

Title: City applies for handful of Liveable Communities grants
Author: Jane McClure

Not-so-short version: City Council is gonna try to get a $235K grant for Pride in Living apartments along West 7th street.

Title: Council upholds denial of variante for Lex-Ham triplex
Author: Jane McClure

Not-so-short version: City Council says no to a woman who wants to turn her 6,000 sq ft single-family home into a triplex on Laurel Avenue.

Title: Benefits of sidewalk outweigh loss of a few trees
Author: Russ Stark

Not-so-short version: Editorial by Councilmember [and long-time sidewalk advocate] Stark on how the contested sidewalk on Marshall will actually help people. The project will include better signage for cyclists, informing people that they have right to the full lane going down the steep riverbluff hill and to the Lake/Marshall bridge. Includes a dig at "the loss of a few crabapple trees" [which the golf course lawyers would have you believe are some kind of national park sequoia-esque treasure. -Ed.]

Title: Redevelopment of the shuttered Schmidt Brewery is back on track
Author: Jane McClure

Not-so-short version: [Wildly] optimistic piece that claims that Mayor Coleman will announce plans to use city-sponsored TIF and grant money to help get the old, huge, historic Schmidt brewery developed and turned into something that is used. [Note: Schmidt brewery was not mentioned in any of today's press coverage about the mayor's announcement. -Ed.] The current development plan: 240 live-work housing / arts lofts, new restaurant, mixed commercial & residential developments funded by a bunch of different actors. [Note: I'll believe it when I see it. I.e. I don't believe it. -Ed.]

*Clearly the hardest working woman in Twin Cities' journalism.

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