Meetings and Announcements:
• The next City Council meeting will be held virtually on February 8th, 2021. We will not have a workshop prior to this meeting.
• At the meeting on February 22nd we will have a workshop on the Ponds Project. The consultants, Perkins and Will will provide an update on the Engagement Process and get input from the City Council. We will have an update on the construction of the new North Fire Station at the Council meeting.
Updates from Staff and Council:
Chief Lukin retirement tribute video:
As most of you know Chief Steve Lukin has retired after 43 years serving the Maplewood Community. He will be missed. I want to thank his family for their sacrifice over the years and for helping us pull the photos together for the tribute video. Special thanks go out to the members of the public safety team who contributed to this video and communications for putting it together. https://youtu.be/uNRco4xrF3U
Carver Avenue Code Enforcement Update
Code enforcement staff would like to update the council on the work being done to bring several properties on Carver Avenue into compliance with the city’s property maintenance codes. Below is a brief summary and update on the properties where issues have been previously identified.
• 2315 Carver Avenue East – staff issued orders in October 2020 for an exterior storage violation. The property owner has addressed this issue and the property is now in compliance.
• 2390 Carver Avenue East – property has a detached garage slowly being constructed; permits are open for this project. No outstanding code violations on this property.
• 2405 Carver Avenue East – staff issued orders in September 2020 for violations related to exterior storage, commercial vehicles and property line encroachment. A citation is being issued this week with an arraignment day being set in the coming days. The property owner is also being billed for excessive consumption of city services.
• 2575 Carver Avenue East – staff issued orders in October 2020 for violations related to exterior storage. A citation is being issued this week with an arraignment day being set in the coming days. The property owner is also being billed for excessive consumption of city services.
• 2730 Carver Avenue East – staff issued orders in October 2020 for an exterior storage violation. A citation is being issued this week with an arraignment day being set in the coming days. The property owner is also being billed for excessive consumption of city services.
In 2020, over $600,000 was provided to Maplewood businesses from federal CARES act and State of Minnesota Covid-19 business relief programs. Ramsey County will be opening an additional round of grant applications starting next week that will be focused on providing grants to local businesses that were impacted by the governor’s executive orders related to the Covid-19 pandemic. There will be more than $3 million dollars in business assistance available throughout the county and businesses are eligible for up to $15,000 for qualified expenses. The applications will be available from February 1st and February 5th and grants will be awarded by March 15th. More information is available on the Ramsey County website at https://www.ramseycountymeansbusiness.com/covid-19.
Please meet our two new Police Officers
•Officer Treana Cruz brings an extensive social work background to the Maplewood Police Department. She started her career fresh out of Inver Hills Community College as a child care coordination at a Minneapolis halfway house. She went on to obtain a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Augsburg College.
Her work and studies put Officer Cruz in frequent contact with police. During a ride along with a School Resource Officer, she realized becoming a police officer was a logical next step to serve her community. Officer Cruz balanced law enforcement studies with work and being a mother of three. She became a Maplewood Community Service Officer, then completed her skills training last December. Officer Cruz and her husband Jake (a Saint Paul Police Officer) along with their three children live in the Woodbury area. Throughout her upbringing, Officer Cruz’s family consistently taught her the value of hard work and persistence. She spent a lot of time doing chores with her brother on their grandparent’s farm near Austin, where she saw her grandmother serve in numerous volunteer roles. Officer Cruz credits these life lessons with providing her the opportunity to realize her goal of becoming a Maplewood Police Officer. She hopes to pass on these same lessons to her three children.
•Isabel Sanchez was born in Maplewood, and grew up in the south metro area with her mother and a younger sister. Isabel and her family had challenges early in life due to an abusive father, which resulted in mixed feelings of her childhood. Looking back on it now, Isabel believes these early experiences have provided her with a better perspective to better understand others during difficult times.
Isabel graduated from South Saint Paul High School, and she was able to attend Inver Hills Community College while in high school to also obtain college credits. After high school, Isabel attended Winona State University where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Spanish with a Minor in Child Advocacy Studies. Although it was during the pandemic, Isabel was able to attend and complete her Law Enforcement Skills training at Alexandria Technical College.
Isabel attended an event during high school where she had an opportunity to speak with a local police officer. The officer took the time to speak to her about a Police Explorer Program, and Isabel took the opportunity to join becoming a member of the South St. Paul Police Explorer Program. This connection allowed her interest in law enforcement to grow, and it established her education pathway.
Although her early childhood experiences were challenging, Isabel uses those early experiences to her advantage by taking the time to look at “the bigger picture” before making assumptions about the behaviors and attitudes of others. Isabel sees the mission of “protect and serve” to mean going beyond enforcing the law in order to ensure the community can trust you as a police officer. In seeking a law enforcement career, Isabel was consistently seeking a department that was reflective of their diverse community. She actually declined a job offer with another metro department as she did not feel that the department was reflective of the needs of the community. Isabel is excited to begin her career as a Maplewood Police Officer so that she can help represent the department throughout the Maplewood community.
NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS/PAPERS
https://www.startribune.com/nonprofit-settled-unveils-designs-for-tiny-homes-to-combat-homelessness-in-st-paul/600014277/ Reference: Woodland Hills Church/Homeless in Maplewood. Mayor Abrams, myself and Jeff Thomson visited Woodland Hills last Monday to learn more about this great project. You will likely hear more about this in the future as cities search for housing for our homeless.
These are the reports for this week. As always, please call if I can address any questions or concerns.