COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: November 5th, 2021
Meetings and Announcements:
• The next City Council meeting will be held on Monday, November 8th.
• 7:00 PM – City Council Meeting. There is not a workshop scheduled and we will not be serving dinner before the Council meeting. As you can see from the Council packet, it will be a very brief meeting.
Donation to Public Safety
Members of Calvary Church raised funds and purchased gift cards for our first responders to hand out to families in need this holiday season. It’s part of their community caring program, which was started in the wake last summer’s social justice movement and pandemic. They hope to build a stronger community bridge between Public Safety and our community. This donation will need to accepted and approved by the City Council. This will be on the November 22nd Council agenda.
County social worker makes a difference with Maplewood Public Safety | Ramsey County
This week, Ramsey County featured a story about our embedded social worker program and mental health outreach team (MHOT). If you haven’t met her, Amy Kuusisto-Lathrop, is a Ramsey County social worker who has been assisting Maplewood’s MHOT the past few months. So far, the team has produced tangible results helping connect people in crisis with the proper services and resources.
Trunk or Treat with Public Safety staff
Report from Officer Ashley Bergeron –What a successful community engagement event. Thanks to all of our staff that participated. Great turn out for a first-time event.
I reached out to the Communications Department in mid-September and requested their assistance in coming up with a fun cartoony flyer for the event. They were extremely quick to respond and we had a great flyer ready to go a week or two later. I sent out the flyer to all of our multi-housing complexes and requested our School Resource Officer to share them at all of the schools as well. We did multiple social media posts on the city and the public safety sites. We were able to promote the event on a traffic sign as well as the YMCA digital sign. It was also advertised in the Maplewood Living magazine. I also sent the flyer and information to KSTP news for their Halloween weekend fun in the cities article.
This is the tentative map I created to coordinate with the fire department on where various stations would be. The ladder truck had been moved over to the second parking lot, which allowed for some parking for handicapped vehicles among other vehicles. We spoke with the YMCA ahead of time and were given the green light to allow parking for the event there. I created two parking signs that were placed at the entrance next to the City of Maplewood sign, as well as the entrance into the YMCA. Other stations, such as the bean bag toss and drunk goggles obstacle course had to be removed prior to the event start due to staffing shortages.
When I began my role in this position, to aide in community outreach engagement, I created two banners, one for the Halloween event and one for general community outreach. Often people would refrain from coming to pop-up events if they saw squad cars because they naturally assume it is an active scene or that if the police or first responders are there, they need to steer clear. When they see the banners they know it is an open opportunity to come and engage with us. Several months in advance as I had been planning the event since my first week in this position back September. We utilized four police vehicles; two squad cars, Polaris Ranger, and CSO truck. One squad was decorated like a monster with a monster theme bean bag toss, the other was an “under the sea” theme. The Ranger was decorated police theme where we handed out candy, and mini handcuff stretchy toys, badge stickers, and police department tokens. The CSO truck was decorated Halloween themed. We had an extra city pickup truck in the lot on the event day and one of our on-duty officers decorated it with her own Halloween decorations.
The fire department brought their ladder truck, as well as their black Ford Explorer, and their fire Polaris Ranger. They decorated their Ford Explorer as a black cat.
We had several game stations. The first was a coloring contest where a picnic table was set up with coloring sheets and crayons. Children and parents were told if they put their name and contact phone number for the parent/guardian on the sheet and turned it in they could be a potential winner of the contest. We had 13 children enter their pictures for the contest, and currently, all are hanging up on my office door. Officers and other personnel are urged to vote on their favorite. I will be giving out Maplewood Public Safety swag to all of the participants because they all tried their hardest and they look lovely. We also had a chalk station where the children could draw in the parking spaces. We had a bowling game with candy corn pins and a pumpkin bowling ball.
We also had a separate station toward the night entrance where we set up our snacks and music area. There was hot apple cider, bottled water, juice, apple sauce, candy, and freshly popped popcorn from the popcorn machine. The fire department was able to rent wireless speakers from Hejny Rental to play Halloween music on. We also provided Halloween bags for trick or treating for those that did not have any.
I had begun ordering all of the candy and novelty toys mid-September and continued to buy more and more pounds of candy leading up to the event. I estimated that I probably had about seventy pounds of candy prepared before the event, and a few pounds worth of novelty toys and handouts. I estimate we nearly quadrupled that amount during the event.
The event had been promoted within public safety a month ahead of time for those interested to have the appropriate amount of time beforehand to schedule around it. The police department had four officers work the event off-duty; two Records Specialists, one of our Community Outreach Liaisons, and we even had one of our Multi-Cultural Advisory Committee members volunteer. We also had three on-duty officers help out during the event with handing out candy and decorating while calls permitted. The fire department had approximately seven employees assisting as well. We even had one of the communications department employees help out when he saw we were in need of supplies; he made several supply runs for the event. We had two public safety employees even bring their families to help volunteer with them in costume for the event.
I am so incredibly proud of all of the hard work and dedication all those involved displayed. We expected a lower turn out then what we received (which may be the biggest understatement of the year!). Everyone involved was so incredible with how flexible they were with all of the moving parts as we adapted the event to the large quantity of people. I let each and every one of them know how appreciative I was to have their assistance, and am still in awe of how well they all did. The employees that are staffed in this city are definitely unique and one-of-a-kind when it comes to their role in public service.
To say we had a good turnout is not all encompassing of what the event truly was – we had a GREAT turnout. I had expected that we more than likely would have a few hundred in total, including parents and children. We exceeded my expectation nearly a half hour into the event. We already had dressed up families coming in forty minutes before the event started.
bc9efc6e-7798-4f0b-9eda-278583be661fI estimate that we had over five-hundred children and over a thousand total in attendance.
Trunk or Treat 2021 - Entry line WideAs with any larger event, this one did not come without complications. However, the issues that arose never caused any problems and we were able to immediately adapt and move forward. We were able to fix the technical issues right away, and we never ran out of candy to give the children. Once it was noticed our supplies were getting low, we immediately had a dedicated group of people going out and making sure we never reached empty.
Trunk or Treat 2021
As We Look to Next Year…
Now that I know the large amount of people this event draws in, I am even more excited to prepare for next year’s. I have a lot of different ideas on how to approach next year’s event and am already brainstorming more ideas each day. I am hoping for next year to have a considerable amount more of candy and novelty toys, weeks in advance – you can never have too much candy. With the appropriate level of staffing and supplies, this annual event had the propensity to be even larger.
PARKS AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Staff re-located to Nature Center
Parks and Natural Resource staff have moved into their office this past week. We provided new work stations and made some changes to locks on the bathrooms to separate the public restrooms from the employees. The remodel and cleaning initiatives really turned out well. I will send some photos next week.
Fall 2021 Deer Management – Archery Hunts at Priory Preserve
An aerial survey conducted by Ramsey County this past winter counted an excess number of deer in natural areas north and south of Larpenteur, in less than a square mile of land. Our target is a maximum of 15 deer per square mile of habitat. A high deer population impacts public safety through deer/vehicle collisions. In addition, a high deer population adversely affects vegetation at the preserve and in the surrounding neighborhoods.
As part of Maplewood’s deer management program, archery hunts will be conducted at the Priory Neighborhood Preserve this fall.
There will be two removals on the following dates:
• Friday-Sunday, October 22, 23, 24
• Friday-Sunday, November 12, 13, 14
DURING THE HUNTS, THE PRIORY PRESERVE IS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC.
The removals are being held with the assistance of the Metro Bowhunters Resource Base. Archers for this year’s hunt have already been selected. All participating hunters have taken a DNR archery safety class and must pass a shooting proficiency test.
If you have questions about the archery hunts at the Priory Preserve, please contact Carole Gernes at 651-249-2416.
Maplewood in the News
https://www.twincities.com/2021/10/30/sainted-thanks-to-all-first-responders-among-them-those-who-helped-my-grandma/ FYI – Cmmd Shortreed was “sainted”
This is the news for the week. Have a great weekend. Please call if you have any concerns or questions. I will be out on vacation next Wednesday through Friday. I will name an Acting City Manager next Tuesday and send contact information before I leave town.