COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: May 15th, 2020
Meetings and Announcements:
The next City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 26th at 7 pm. We will hear an update on the Ponds of Battle Creek from Ramsey County staff. In addition, city staff will be presenting an outline for a community engagement process for possible redevelopment scenarios should the County decide to sell the property.
Updates from Staff and Council:
The Minnesota State Legislature is expected to end on May 18th. While there are many unknowns this session, here’s a brief update on matters relevant to Maplewood.
Tobacco 21 –
The Minnesota Legislature (House and Senate) have voted to approve raising the statewide tobacco age to 21 and the bill is headed to the Governor for his signature. I will be removing this from our project list in the Council Calendar.
Omnibus Tax Bill
The provision for our Sales Tax Exemption is included in the Omnibus Tax Bill. We will watch over the weekend for any new developments. League of Minnesota Cities staff have been hugely helpful in our efforts and Gary Carlson and his team deserve kudos and thanks.
For more information on happenings at the Capitol please visit the League page here: https://www.lmc.org/news-publications/news/all/federal-covid-funds-to-local-governments/
Salvation Army Closes Maplewood Locations
The announcement means 9 full- and part-time staffers are out of a job.
By Tim Harlow Star Tribune
MAY 15, 2020 — 9:52AM
The Salvation Army has permanently closed it adult daycare program in Maplewood and says financial hardships stemming from the coronavirus are to blame.
The program serving seniors with chronic physical and cognitive conditions originally shut down in March amid concerns over COVID-19. On Wednesday, the nonprofit said the program housed at the Lakewood Service Center would not reopen.
Without revenue coming in, the Salvation Army said it could not continue to pay staff and cover other program expenses. It also said new rules being placed on programs for vulnerable adults as a result of COVID-19 made unclear if there was going to be feasible to reopen.
“These are always difficult decisions to make, and we are deeply saddened because of the effect they have on staff, clients, and the communities we serve,” said Lt. Colonel Lonneal Richardson, commander of The Salvation Army Northern Division. “With the loss of revenue and the added cost of new program requirements, we just couldn’t find a way to make this program financially feasible in the COVID-19 era.”
The adult daycare program had run for nearly 30 years and provided 30 to 35 seniors with a place for fellowship, exercise, Bible lessons and worship, to play games and participate in a variety of other events, said spokesman Dan Furry.
The closure means nine full- and part-time staff members will be out of a job.
Food, housing, emergency assistance and other social service programs at the Maplewood center at 2080 Woodlynn Avenue will continue.
The Lakewood service center will be looking at ways to add additional programming for seniors once it’s safe for seniors to be mobile again, Furry said.
Please see a new video highlighting challenges for restaurants during COVID-19
Kevin and Molly did a great job producing and editing this video.
Here is a full list of places open for takeout:
CDRB and Planning Commission Meetings – Prerecorded Presentations
The CDRB (5:30 p.m.) and Planning Commission (7 p.m.) will be meeting via Zoom next Tuesday. There will be two notable land use projects being reviewed at each meeting. ISD 622 is proposing a new elementary school on the site of the existing Maplewood Middle School. Slate Asset Management – owner of the Maple Ridge Shopping Center, 2501 White Bear Avenue – is proposing to build a new 4,200-convenience store and make changes to the access points along White Bear Avenue and Gervais Avenue.
Staff has recorded its presentations prior to the meetings in order to allow interested parties to learn more about the projects prior to next week’s Zoom meetings. The presentations can be viewed by clicking on the links below.
Presentation – https://youtu.be/xK2dKVxr4rc
Maple Ridge Convenience Store, 2501 White Bear Avenue
Presentation – https://youtu.be/tTRxtgkaOCA
Finance and Commerce published an article on the Augusta Development (Saints North site) project approved by the Council on Monday: https://finance-commerce.com/2020/05/maplewood-oks-senior-housing/
Public Safety Community Outreach:
On 5/13/2020 Police and Fire held their second day of appreciating healthcare workers from St. John’s Hospital who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 epidemic. Public Safety staff held signs and offered their appreciation to employees during the morning shift turnover (6:30am to 7:40 am) and again in the afternoon (2:30pm to 3:45pm). It was a positive and well received event, and it was meaningful to recognize some of those who have the difficult job of working to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
COVID-19 Related Activity
On 5/12/2020 Maplewood Fire/EMS was requested to do a number of transports from a managed care facility as residents had been exposed to a person known to be infected by COVID-19 and others began to experience symptoms. Chief Mondor and Captain DaBruzzi helped to coordinate the effort to have multiple people transported to area hospitals who could accept them, and worked with other cities and a private sector ambulance company to provide a number of safe transports in a responsible period of time. It was a great display of planning, partnership, concern for patients, and execution of a plan.
Large Drug Cases in the North Metro
Despite the pandemic we have seen a number of significant drug cases in the north metro, and Maplewood staff have been involved in a number of cases. One recent case included Detective Tauzell, who is assigned to the Ramsey County VCET, where he has assisted in investigations that included 4 pounds of methamphetamine and a stolen gun, a second case 7 pounds of methamphetamine, heroin, and $23,000 was recovered, and in a third case a kidnapping victim was located and the suspect arrested (in Bloomington).
Police Week Tribute
As stated by Councilmember Juenemann, this week is National Police Week where law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty are remembered and honored. In most years there are a number of memorial services on the City, County, State, and National levels. Due to obvious concerns surrounding COVID-19 the memorial events were cancelled, but there were a number of Bagpipers who visited Police memorials at Midnight (Wednesday night to Friday morning). Retired Maplewood Officer Steve Heinz visited the Maplewood Police Memorial at midnight to pay tribute to fallen officers, to include our own Sgt. Joe Bergeron. A small, socially distanced, crowd was on hand to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
On Monday May 18th, staff will be adjusting our parks as related to Covid-19:
- Basketball Courts
- Staff will begin removing the different devices that were installed to prevent use of the courts
- Social distancing signs will be put up
- Staff will begin removing playground closed signs and caution tape
- Social distancing signs will be put up
- Picnic Tables
- Tables will be available for use
Parks and Recreation staff will be posting on their webpage and sending out through social media updates about the parks and recommendations for safe use. Communications staff will also be posting on social media.
Next week we will be evaluating if there are any athletic programs that can be implemented under the new Governor’s orders and what that might look like.
This is the news for this week. I hope you enjoy this beautiful weekend. As always, please call if I can address any questions or concerns. I will be reaching out to schedule a phone meeting early next week with individual Council members. I want to get your input on budget priorities and process. Thanks, Melinda