Thank you St. Paul

This time of year most of the exercise I get is from walking. One of the few places I can walk where there isn’t snow and ice on the walkway is down along the river. It is nice to be able to go for a long walk, especially in the winter.

Upper Landing park

The river is pretty too especially on a sunny day.

Mississippi River
Mississippi River

It could be colder

downtown in the winter
January in St. Paul

A couple of members of my family have birthdays in early January. Some years it has been hard to celebrate because of polar vortexes and Alberta clippers.  This year the lowest temperature predicted in the first half of the month is 6 degrees.

In the picture, the thick cloud of steam indicates sub-zero weather. In the summer the steam cloud can be seen but it doesn’t cast a shadow and can not be seen for miles.

Temperatures at the end of January can be brutal. It was -27 on January 30, 2019. I remember it well, it took most of the day to gently thaw the pipes in one of the bathrooms.

If your house is vacant it isn’t too late to winterize it. I always recommend that for houses that are vacant and for sale. A furnace or boiler can malfunction and it doesn’t take long for pipes to freeze. Once the pipes have frozen if at all possible have a plumber thaw them out.

I have thawed out pipes using a hairdryer and by using heat tape. It is important to leave the spigot open and to be patient. My method is slow but I have successfully thawed frozen pipes without damaging them.

Severe cold and snowstorms can slow home sales. I like to call it the ‘blizzard effect”.

Get ready for holiday screen time

Rice Park – Downtown St. Paul

This year’s annual lighting of the Rice Park tree is going to be a virtual event. I’ll do my best to get my annual picture of the lights this weekend early in the morning when it is absolutely crowd-free.

Christmas tree
Union Depot Holiday tree

The lighting of the tree at the Union Depot will be on Friday, December 4th and it will involve video. I should be able to get a few shots of that tree too.

No this isn’t the new normal it is the 2020 holiday season normal.

Cities have been around a long time

Businesses along Selby Avenue in St. Paul – W.A. Frost – Blair Arcade 

Cities are getting a lot of negative press these days. Don’t be too quick to write them off. Cities have been around since ancient times and they are here to stay. The populations will change and they will shrink and then grow. Cities evolve over time as our needs change.

Moving out of the city is always an option and so is staying and being the person or the group of people who helps make things better.

Please get involved in your community. Be prepared to vote in local elections. Positions like mayor, city councilperson and Ramsey county commissioner, school board, county sheriff have an impact on daily life in the city and our overall quality of life.

The police department is regulated on a local level. Funding for the police department is controlled on a local level as the police department is a department of the city.  We are the taxpayers who pay for all of the city services in St. Paul. The city belongs to all of us.

Go to your local city and county web sites to learn more about how both are run. Pick an issue and get involved.

Keeping the camp neat and tidy

I recently read a rant about a messy homeless camp is. The writer went on and on about how disgusting and messy a local homeless camp is.

It is true many of our homeless camps are messy, especially the camps that are overcrowded. Sometimes there is like a ring of trash around the tents.

The writer has no comprehension of what it must be like to live in a tent away from trash cans, toilets, and running water. Nor does he care that there are people who live in tents instead of in affordable housing.

How exactly can people keep urban tent camps in green spaces and along the freeways neat and tidy?

We punish and criminalize poverty in so many ways I sure hope that tickets for littering or loitering do not get added into the mix.

homeless camp
Urban campers near 35E
tent under bridge
Urban Camping