After more than a century of educating the minds of Saint Paul children, St. Bernard's High School will close at the end of the school year.
School leaders blame financial troubles for the closing. Like many inner-city Catholic schools, St. Bernard's has struggled the past 15 years to stay afloat. It closed its grade school last year.
German and Austrian immigrants who settled in Saint Paul's North End neighborhood founded St. Bernard's parish in 1890. They opened the grade school the next year. By 1957, a growing student body and demand prompted the opening of St. Bernard's High.
The neighborhood changed over the years as families moved to the suburbs. Fewer residents choose Catholic private schools and growing competition from charter schools were also contributing factors to the school's demise.
The school is celebrated its 119th year Monday.
The Home and Patio Show is back at the Saint Paul RiverCentre! This show features hundreds of exhibitors and has the best and most respected local resources for all home and garden needs. Find what is needed for new spring and summer gardening, home renovation, landscaping, building, decorating, or green projects. There's also a kids' potting table, bulb sale, and opportunities to consult experts through Ask the Gardener!
The show opened Thursday in Saint Paul and will be open through Sunday. The cost is $9 for adults and $2.50 for children ages 6 to 12. Younger kids have free admission!
Calling all snowbirds who have flown the coop to warmer climates for winter: Minnesota needs you to fly back home by April 1 for the 2010 U.S. Census. The reason is that Minnesota residents can't simply fill out the census form they get at their winter home. The forms are geo-coded to each address, meaning that filling out a form in Arizona will count toward that state, not Minnesota. And this year, the state has a lot riding on the census.
"If even a fraction of Minnesotans miss this opportunity, we could easily be left with only seven representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives," State Demographer Tom Gillaspy said in a news release. The State Demographic Center estimates that fewer than 3,000 people could be critical for Minnesota to retain its eighth House member.
Additionally, the census numbers affect funding the state receives from the federal government. Every person counts!
"Each resident who fills out a census form is responsible for bringing as much as $14,000 back to the state over 10 years out of the $400 billion the federal government distributes based on census numbers," said Ryan Dolan, campaign coordinator of the 2010 census.
Snowbirds are retirees who leave Minnesota for five or more weeks at a
time, starting in November. They tend to accumulate in Arizona,
California, Florida, and Texas. The average age is just under 70. They
account for about 10% of the state's retired population. That's more
than 65,000 people!
If snowbirds are not home before April 1, they will need to obtain a replacement form when they get back. Replacement forms can be picked up at questionnaire assistance centers open from March 19 through April 19. They are located...
Of the nation's 52 largest metropolitan areas surveyed in 2009, the Twin Cities Metropolitan area ranked 4th best in the nation in terms of well-being, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. San Jose, Calif., Washington, D.C., and Raleigh, N.C., were 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. San Francisco was 5th. That's a lot of coastal cities, but we know that one reason the Twin Cities are great is because we experience all of the seasons here in full force without the earthquakes or the hurricanes.
This Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index defines large cities as those with a population size of 1 million or greater. Interviews were conducted with more than 353,000 Americans during 2009, asking individuals to assess their jobs, finances, physical health, emotional state of mind and communities. Technically, the poll combined the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Bloomington to determine its results, but the standard of living in the Twin Cities is relatively the same throughout the metro. Of the six sub-indexes that comprise the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, San Jose and the Twin Cities had the highest scores on two indexes each in 2009: Emotional Health and Basic Access in Minneapolis-St. Paul and Physical Health and Healthy Behaviors in San Jose.
In a larger Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index poll that expands the 52 metropolitan areas to include a total of 162 large and medium-sized cities, locations shift a little bit but the Twin Cities are still relatively high on the list. Boulder, CO, Holland-Grand Haven, MI, Honolulu, HI, Provo-Orem, UT, and Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA, made up the top 5. The Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington areas appeared on the list at 16th. We're still included in the top 10% of 162 for well-being, even when the competition has been expanded to...
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak have jointly announced $41 million in new funding for the CityLiving Program. CityLiving helps first time homebuyers purchase homes in either city.
The CityLiving Program offers below-market interest rates on mortgages as well as down payment and closing-cost assistance. In order to quality for the funding, homebuyers’ household income cannot exceed $92,290 and the purchase price for a single-family home can’t be greater than $276,870.
"We have an opportunity for people to invest, to get a good deal on an interest rate, get some assistance with a down payment, and get back into the cities," said Coleman. "It's a win-win for the potential homeowner, first-time homebuyer, and it's certainly a great thing for our neighborhoods to stabilize them."
In addition, each city has $500,000 available for assistance with down payments and closing costs.
The CityLiving program is funded through bonds sold by the cities. Though the CityLiving initiative has been around for 30 years, it was not available last year because the credit crunch prevented the cities from selling the necessary bonds.
Read more about the CityLiving Program in Saint Paul and the CityLiving Program in Minneapolis.
The stretch of Interstate 94 between downtown Saint Paul and downtown Minneapolis will get a repaving makeover. The 2-year project will begin this summer.
Crews will complete the $45 million project in two phases, beginning this year with the east section between Hwy. 280 to near John Ireland Boulevard.
The west section, from Hwy. 280 to near 6th Street in downtown Minneapolis, will be done in 2011, said Todd Kramascz, spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Crews will remove the top layer of I-94's pavement and lay down new asphalt,
while also making improvements to curbs, gutters and guardrails. The
shoulders, often used by buses during rush hours, also will be improved.
The 12-mile stretch of road is one of the busiest in Minnesota. It will remain open during construction, but travel will be disrupted by shfiting lane and ramp closures. Alternate routes may be in order sometimes.
Fewer than 1% of first time home buyers in 2009 were more than 75 years old, according to the National Association of Realtors. But as the population ages and life expectancy gets longer, the number of older home buyers will increase.
Hank and Verna Schmiess are not your typical first time home buyers. He was 89 and she was 84 when they bought their first home last year - a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo in New Brighton. After thoroughly going over their finances and determining it was cheaper for them to buy than rent, they carefully laid their plans to finally make the plunge into home ownership.
Though they hadn't had many reasons to buy before, they were priced out of the market when they did finally want to buy. Originally from North Dakota, they moved to the Golden Pond senior apartments in New Brighton to be closer to family. But they couldn't paint their walls, they couldn't have pets, and the laundry room was too far away. Additionally, the rents were increasing. They now pay slightly less per month for their home than they did when renting.
They aren't your typical first time home buyer, though. The 2009 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers shows the median age of first-time buyers was 30 and the median income was $61,600. First-timers tend to be young couples, workers early in their careers or people who were once priced out of the market but who can afford to buy after the real estate pricing bubble burst. The typical first-time buyer purchased a home costing $156,000, and plans to stay in that home for 10 years.
Hank and Verna were just two of many buyers who purchased their first home in 2009. The number of people who were first-time home buyers last year rose to 47% of all home sales. Many of them...
With eyes set to the future, the city of St. Paul is moving forward with green building requirements for new construction projects that receive $200,000 or more in city funding.
An advisory group of architects, designers, contractors, developers, bankers, regulatory agencies, city staff and other industry representatives worked for more than two years to develop the city's new sustainable building policy. Under it, building projects that receive at least $200,000 in city loans, grants or "other funding vehicles" must meet green building standards as defined by one of seven rating systems to satisfy the requirements. A partial list of approved rating systems includes LEED Silver or Green Globes 2 for commercial projects or LEED for Homes or Minnesota GreenStar for residential construction.
Specific policy requirements include meeting Minnesota Sustainable Building 2030 energy standards for new buildings, beating EPA standards for potable water use by at least 30 percent, and using 50 percent less water for landscaping compared to a traditionally irrigated site.
In addition, at least 75 percent of the construction waste, including demolition materials, must be recycled "or otherwise diverted from landfills. " Other requirements apply to things such as indoor air quality and stormwater management.
St. Paul is the first city in Minnesota to adopt such a measure. The policy is intended to help Saint Paul reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 7% below 1990 levels by 2012, in accordance with the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.
St. Paul is home to more than 20 LEED-certified or registered buildings, including the Western District Police Station and a new fire department headquarters on West 7th Street.
Plans have been proceeding on the Red Rock Territory in Woodbury: A 580-acre stretch of land along I-94 that will hopefully soon be transformed into a complex of office buildings, manufacturing plants, warehouses, stores, parkland, and around 550 housing units.
The site's developer and city planners say its completion will help Woodbury emergence as a major business and manufacturing hub in the Twin Cities. The first businesses could move in and begin adding jobs to the economy as soon as this fall or early 2011.
Red Rock Territory, a named derived from Woodbury's original territorial days, entails nearly 2.5 million square feet of potential building space, plus parking for thousands of vehicles.
It includes a spot for at least one corporate headquarters, an east and west business park, an industrial park, retail sites and two parks on both ends comprising 72 acres. As many as 555 housing units are envisioned. Two new city roads will be built, and a Metro Transit park-and-ride ramp for more than 500 vehicles is in the works.
Woodbury MN has commercial and office developments but offers no central business park like some other Twin Cities communities. Woodbury's largest employers now include the Hartford Insurance Co., Assurant, Target.com and the Woodwinds Health Campus that is part of HealthEast. Those businesses are located throughout the city - Red Rock Territory would cluster businesses together.
While there is no detailed blueprint for how each piece of the Red Rock Territory development will unfold, the infrastructure is already in place, so any company with a building project can move on it - like now.
All the planning and infrastructure design will pay off, said Janelle Schmitz, the city's planning and economic development manager. "We're well positioned, or poised...