Historic Firehouse

Hope Engine Company No. 3 fire station was built in 1872. A couple of years ago it was slated for demolition but the neighborhood was able to save it. The building has been repurposed and will be a wine bar. I have no idea when it is going to open but it is starting to look pretty nice on the outside and the inside looks kind of finished but it is hard to tell looking in from the outside.


firehouse 1

You might also notice in the recent picture there is a new building next to the firehouse. That is actually a Marriott hotel. The firehouse is on South Leech street and to the right in the pictures is Grand Avenue.

I am a fan of recycling, reusing and repurposing our historic buildings and homes. They really don’t build them like that anymore.

. . and now the waters recede

It is Friday and Fridays are for fun. I know the floods are destructive and inconvenient but they also present an opportunity to get outside, walk, enjoy the spring weather and take some photographs.

In a week or so we should start seeing some leaves on the trees. It will be nice to start seeing some green again. It should almost be warm enough to make biking fun again. 🙂

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Cats are invasive

House cat – in the house

I was so surprised when our veterinarian asked if our kitten was going to be an indoor cat or an outdoor cat. As if there is an option and it is alright for cats to roam free. Sure the cat wants to go outside but I keep her inside.

Cats roam free in my neighborhood and they make little cats too. There are people who believe that it is alright to let their cat roam as long as it has been spayed or neutered.

It isn’t illegal in St. Paul to let your cat roam free:

“You have the right to own a cat. In addition, your neighbor has the right to have a garden or sandbox. You are responsible for keeping your cat away from your neighbor’s property. City ordinances require that all cats must wear an anti-rabies tag when outdoors. Rabies vaccinations must be current. [From the St. Paul dot gov web site]

Just because something is legal doesn’t make it right.

The house cat has long been listed among the 100 most dangerous invasive species. They kill millions of birds and other small animals each year to the point of extinction. A cat is a pet when kept inside but once when outside it is a heartless killer.

“If we extrapolate the results of this study across the country and include feral cats, we find that cats are killing more than 4 billion animals per year, including at least 500 million birds. Cat predation is one of the reasons why one in three American bird species are in decline,” said Dr. George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy [wildlife management institute]

There was a study that shows that they only bring home about 25% of what they kill. They eat some of what they kill but they leave a lot of it where they killed it.

Being a free-range cat in St. Paul is not good for the cat either. Here are some statistics:

200 cats are killed annually in traffic

Life expectancy of a cat allowed to roam is only three to four years

Confined cats can live beyond 14 years

Over 1,200 cats are picked up each year by St. Paul animal control

Roaming cats may be a nuisance by urinating and defecating in sandboxes and gardens

Outdoor cats are susceptible to injury or death from other predatory animals

Outdoor cats are predators to wildlife such as birds

Please be a good neighbor and keep your cat inside, or on a leash.

Saint Paul raises taxes

It has been all over the news. There will be a 10.5% tax increase. That means property taxes will go up. The median increase per homeowner will be less than $70 a year.  If you own an expensive house you will pay more. If you own a less expensive house the dollar amount per year will be less.

The money is going to be spent on more police officers. I have never been impressed with St. Paul police officers. The 9 new officers are needed for a mental health unit and for sex crimes investigations and for a downtown command.

I can tell you from personal experience that downtown isn’t all that safe at least not on the streets. We aren’t supposed to talk about that because it is bad for business but it is true. The skyways are safe but the streets are not.

Some of the money is going to be used for street repairs. I hope some of it gets spent on sidewalk repairs too.

A financial empowerment office is being established. I don’t fully understand it but it has to do with helping St. Paul students set up college savings accounts. I don’t understand how anyone can save enough money to pay for college but apparently, there are people who think it can be done.

Library late fines are going away. People will still be charged for lost or stolen books but no more late fees. Apparently, there are tens of thousands of people who owe library fines and as a result, they stopped borrowing books.

I am a raving fan of the Saint Paul Public library. I borrow a lot of kindle books. I like that I can grab a book most anytime I want and they are automatically returned when they are due. The library has so many programs people don’t even know about. Visit https://sppl.org/ to learn more and get a library card today if you don’t have one already. If the tax increase helps make St. Paul a better place to live it will have a positive impact on property values.

Here is a pie chart that shows how your tax dollars will be spent. For more information about the city and taxes go to StPaul.gov and use the search to find information about the budget. As you know I try not to link to the city website because they move the pages around and break my links.

2019 city budget
Screenshot of the chart at stpaul.gov

The government administration costs look a little high but what do I know. My administrative costs are very low because I run an efficient women-owned small business, not a city.

Winter walks

I don’t like winter, I never have. Friends who live in warmer places which is just about anywhere assume that I like the cold. Let’s just say that I have made peace with it and have learned to make the most out of it.

Staying inside all winter isn’t an option. Having the right outdoor clothing makes all the difference. I can stay outside comfortably for hours because of goose down coats, warm gloves, socks, and boots. Hats are wonderful and so are scarves.

Walking in the city in the winter is peaceful. There aren’t many people in the parks. The scooters are off of the sidewalks for the winter and there are few bikes. There is a lot of snow and ice on the sidewalks that never get shoveled. Those walks tend to be in front of apartment buildings, condos and businesses. Sometimes it is best to walk on the street or the boulevard.

Here are a couple of pictures I took on a recent walk along the river. The ice that floats on the river collide with each other and make some interesting sounds. You won’t hear them unless you walk by and take your headphones off.

river park
River Park
Ice floats on the river