COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: November 17th, 2023
Meetings and Announcements:
- Our next Council meeting will occur on Monday, November 27, 2023. At this time there is not a workshop scheduled.
- The Annual Holiday Employee Breakfast will be held on December 14th at the Maplewood YMCA. The breakfast is sponsored and prepared by the Senior Management Team and goes from 7-9 am. Hope you will join us. We also have an ugly sweater contest.
Initial research on Translation services
As Maplewood strives to be a more “Inclusive Community,” through its strategic plan, one area where we seek to improve is ensuring our print materials are accessible in the many languages our community members speak.
Our website is enabled with Google Translate, which allows its content to be displayed in many languages. Nearly all city policies are linked directly to a web page, allowing people to dig fairly deep into information about the city. The City’s page is also rated highly in accessibility for people with visual impairments using a digital aid.
Maplewood will highlight the five most common languages spoken in our community and put specific translation buttons in those languages in a prominent place on the website.
In the next quarter, the MORE team will identify what .PDFs should be converted onto the web page, as a separate .PDF is not automatically translated via the Google Translate function.
Communications will work with all departments in trying to facilitate translation of flyers and other materials when requested or relevant.
In the past year, the Communications Department has identified and utilized three translation services in our area. This was especially helpful in translating our city’s annual survey into Hmong and translating fire safety flyers into Karen. Where we run into issues is in-person verbal translations, especially for real-time word-in, word-out translation. We will need to be more proactive identifying times and meeting where that is needed, because there are few of those services available after hours and in person qualified for specific word-in, word-out translation.
Maplewood contacted ISD 622, which uses Wigelot.com and dialog-one.com. One takes advantage of a multi-lingual call in hotline where people can leave a message in their native language, the school can process the request and respond in the caregiver’s home language.
For greater context: here are some general demographic breakdowns… and how that could inform translation needs in the future.
Primary Languages Spoken in the Homes of ISD 622 Students
Pop breakdown – of the cities in ISD 622 (Maplewood-Oakdale-North St. Paul)
We do not know what the overall population’s primary language, but again, here is some context that could inform future needs.
Maplewood – 40K (19% Asian, 10% Hispanic)
Oakdale — 27K (10% Asian, 4.5% Hispanic)
N. St. Paul— 12K (16% Asian, 5.9% Hispanic)
**Minnesota’s Median age by race/ethnicity
Hmong – 25 years old
Somali – 19 years old
Mexican – 24 years old
White – 42 years old
**Total in Minnesota that don’t speak any or speak little English
Mexican -- about 23%
**Minnesota Demography Office
Emergency Sanitary Sewer Service Repair Program
Sanitary sewer service lines run from the home/building to the City’s sanitary sewer main, which is usually located in the middle of the street. In Maplewood, property owners are responsible for any repairs of the sanitary sewer service line from their home/business to the sanitary sewer mail. This includes the section that located under the street. Many factors such as the type of soils, how deep the sewer main is, and if the repair is under the street, greatly impact the cost of the repair. Repairs can range from $5,000 to $15,000 or more. These unexpected repair costs can have a big impact on property owners. In some cases, property owners have contacted the City because they are struggling to find a way to finance/pay for the necessary repairs. If the property owner cannot afford to make the repairs, the building may become uninhabitable.
To assist property owners that are faced with an unexpected or expensive sanitary sewer service repair or replacement, the City of Maplewood has created this policy and program to provide property owners with an option to finance the repair or replacement cost through a special assessment. This program is available for both residential and commercial properties. Participation in this program is voluntary and property owners have the option to arrange for private financing. Once the repairs are completed the City pays the contractor directly. The repair costs are funded through the sanitary sewer fund and the cost is then assessed to the property over a period of 15 years with interest.
Attached are three forms that were developed for this program. The first form is the policy which also doubles as instructions for the property owner. It covers how the program works and what the required steps are through the whole process. The second form is the application form that is submitted prior to the contractor beginning the repair work. The third form is the completion form that is submitted after the work is done and is required before the contractor is paid by the City.
The program was designed so that the application and approval process is quick and efficient. These types of repairs need to be addressed in a timely manner to help property owners maintain a high quality of life in their homes and buildings.
Manufactured Home Energy Pilot Project
Maplewood was one of two cities in the state chosen to participate in Xcel Energy’s Manufactured Home Energy Pilot Project. The purpose of the pilot project is to extend resources and outreach opportunities to make up to 60 manufactured homes more energy efficient and healthy. The project helps Maplewood meet its Climate Adaptation and Mitigation goal of reducing the energy burden on underrepresented populations and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Manufactured home parks in Maplewood and Faribault were assessed to determine age of homes, demographics, and the willingness of park management to participate in the pilot. Rolling Hills Manufactured Home Park was ultimately chosen in Maplewood to participate in two outreach events on October 20 and 27.
Xcel Energy collaborated with social service nonprofit organizations, including Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties, to offer other resources including food aid. No income qualifications were required in the chosen neighborhoods. Residents participating will be offered free upgrades to heating and cooling systems, water heaters, refrigerators, floor insulation, electrical, and assistance with energy bills. During the events, Xcel Energy and its partners offered free food and prizes. There were translators present to assist with any language barriers. Maplewood Police and Fire attended the events.
Century College and 3M City Hall Restoration Volunteers
Nineteen volunteers from Jeff Korpik’s Century College Ecology volunteered at Maplewood City Hall Campus on October 12 to work on the pollinator restoration project. Volunteers collected thistle seed (to stop its spread), pulled and dug weeds, transplanted native pollinator-supporting plants and seeded bare areas north of the parking lot. They also installed scare tape to discourage geese from eating the new plants and seed.
Sara Nelson of Great River Greening led 21 volunteers on October 19, who removed 8 large trash bags of invasive yellow nut sedge that was taking over some areas. They planted the remainder of the plugs and spread native prairie seed collected from Maplewood preserves by Century College students. The volunteers installed goose tape throughout the middle section of the prairie and re-did the tape that came loose on the north side.
A total of 1000 plants were transplanted and 14 gallons of seed spread! Thank you to all involved in our continued restoration work!
Tree Planting at Edgerton Elementary School – Update from Dani LeMire, AMPACT Member
Students at Edgerton Elementary were planting trees with Mr. Wallin’s 4th grade class. They had the opportunity to learn about trees, share their favorite things about trees, and had the hands-on experience of planting 2 elms at the Edgerton fields. Students were excited about being able to visit the trees as they grow and named the trees “Johnny and Little Timmy.” Experiences like these expand appreciation towards the services that the environment provides for us, and inspire the next generation.
Myrtle-Sterling Area Street Improvements
The Myrtle-Sterling Area Street improvement project has been completed. The final layer of pavement was installed on all project streets last week and lawn restoration was completed this week. This project included the replacement of the failing street pavement, the replacement of deteriorated concrete curb and gutter, the installation of new concrete curb and gutter on streets that didn’t previously have it, upgrades and expansion of the storm sewer system, repairs to the sanitary sewer system, and the replacement of watermain on Lakewood Drive and Myrtle Street north of Ripley Avenue. A new sidewalk was also installed along the east side of Lakewood Drive between Holloway Avenue and Ripley Avenue to improve pedestrian safety near the Justice Alan Page School. Due to some material shortage delays early in the project, some boulevard restoration work will be carried over into the spring of 2024. Likewise, Staff will be performing a warranty walk-through in the spring of 2024 to identify any items needing correction.
Woodlynn-Southlawn Area Street Improvements
The Woodlynn-Southlawn project has been completed. This project included the reconstruction of 1.75 miles of streets, upgrades to the existing storm and sanitary sewer systems, and the addition of sidewalks on Radatz Avenue and Woodlynn Avenue. Radatz Avenue was narrowed from 30-feet to 26-feet in width and included two curb ‘bump-outs’ to promote slower vehicle speeds. Woodlynn Avenue, east of Ariel Street, was also reconfigured as part of the project to better fit current and future traffic demands, promote slower vehicle speeds, and fill in the missing segments of the pedestrian network. Staff will be performing a warranty walk-through in the spring of 2024 to identify any items needing correction.
This is the news for this week. Have a great weekend. Melinda