COMMUNICATIONS AND NEWS FROM THE WEEK: October 23rd 2020
Meetings and Announcements:
The next City Council meeting will be held Monday, November 9th. We do not have a workshop scheduled on this evening.
We will canvass the Election results on Thursday, November 12th. The meeting will be hybrid style so you can call in or come to city hall. I will have Lois reach out to all of you to get your preference for in person or zoom attendance at the upcoming meetings.
Updates from Staff and Council:
The City of Maplewood elections team continues to see record numbers of absentee/early voting.
As of Friday morning, over 11,000 Maplewood voters had already cast a ballot. Volumes of voters in city hall remains strong - 282 in-person votes on Thursday, October 29th and we’ve already seen 90 voters by 11:00am Friday.
City hall is open for absentee/early voting tomorrow and Monday.
With 25,000 registered voters, it seems likely that more than 50% of Maplewood residents will have already voted by election day!
Late Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit overruled the State of Minnesota's approved consent decree extending the deadline for submitting an absentee and mail ballots. The consent decree had changed the deadline from requiring absentee and mail ballots to be received by Election Day to being postmarked on or before election day and received within the next seven days.
The Court of Appeals ruling means absentee and mail ballots must be received by Election Day in order to be counted. Deadline to drop it off in person is 3 p.m.; deadline for mail or delivery service is 8 p.m. Elections administrators still have an extra day (two instead of one) to process the ballots under the law passed by the state legislature. Absentee and mail ballots received after Election Day should be segregated and held until additional instructions are provided by the Secretary of State's office.
Cities should consider ways to communicate with voters this change. Email distribution lists and social media are good options considering the short timeframe before Election Day. Tell your voters what locations are available for dropping off absentee ballots in-person (i.e. county elections office, city hall and/or designated drop-off locations). Sharing the available dates and times when these locations will be staffed will help voters feel confident in returning their absentee ballots timely. The Secretary of State would appreciate cities sharing the following message with their community:
Next Steps for Voters
Voters should no longer place their absentee ballot in the mail. Instead, voters have several options to ensure their vote is counted in the November general election:
• Voters who have already put their ballot in the mail can track their ballot at http://www.mnvotes.org/track . If their ballot has not yet been received the voter can vote in-person either by absentee, or at their polling place on Election Day.
• Voters can deliver their ballots to their county election office by hand (or have someone they trust hand-deliver it for them).
• Voters can cast their vote in person with an absentee ballot at their local election office up until November 2, 2020.
• Voters can cast their votes in person on Election Day, November 3. Use our Pollfinder Tool to find out where to vote.
The Secretary of State has prepared updated instruction sheets to be used when issuing new absentee ballots.
The League of Minnesota Cities will continue to provide updates if there are more developing elections issues.
Amber Eisenschenk, JD/MPA | Research Manager
Phone: (651) 281-1227 | Mobile: (612) 750-4825
League of Minnesota Cities | 145 University Ave. West | St. Paul, MN 5510
Ponds at Battel Creek Planning – First Community/Stakeholder Meeting to be Held on November 19
City and County staff have been meeting with Perkins Will to setup the beginning stages of the planning process that will work to identify potential future land uses for the Ponds at Battle Creek Golf Course. We are starting our preparations for the first Community/Stakeholder Meeting which will occur on November 19 from 4-6 p.m. We are working to fully utilize the virtual meeting capabilities to ensure a productive and informative meeting. In addition, due to the virtual format we will be able to record all meetings and post on the project website to allow interested parties to engage with the materials and provide feedback at any time. Meeting announcements for the November meeting will start to be distributed next week. Below is a timeline of the three main community meetings.
Community/Stakeholder Meeting #1 - Visioning Workshop November 19 – 4-6 p.m.
Community/Stakeholder Meeting #2 - Design Workshop Late January 2021
Community/Stakeholder Meeting #3 – Open House Mid/Late March 2021
In addition to the Community/Stakeholder Meetings, we are planning on holding focus group meetings with a more narrow audience, i.e. immediate residential neighbors to the course, in order to get additional input. And as with our 2040 Comprehensive Plan and North End Vision processes the project website will be a place for people to provide feedback and to learn more about this project. As the project develops the website will become more robust with information. The project website can be found at www.maplewoodmn.gov/Ponds.
Tree Planting Report -1 by Steve Love
Skillman Ash Removals
Edgerton Highland Apartments are located on Skillman Avenue between Bradley Street and Desoto Street. This section of Skillman Avenue was lined with a large amount of ash trees. These ash trees where in bad shape and the trees on the north side of Skillman Avenue were directly under the Xcel’s power lines. To address this the apartment management team planted replacement trees, offset from the ash trees, last year. The management team contacted the City to coordinate the removal of the boulevard ash trees.
Luanne Cortesi is Public Works Office Specialist, who plays a big role in the City’s EAB program and tree program, did a great job coordinating the removals with the Edgerton Highlands Management team. Bryan Nagel, Public Works Street Superintendent, helped develop a plan for the removal of 35 ash trees along this section of Skillman Avenue. This plan included coordination with Xcel Energy, Hugo’s Tree Services, Metro Transit (due to the bus route in this area), and our Public Works Crews.
Our Public Works Crews and Hugo’s Tree Services started work at 7:00 a.m. and by 9:30 a.m. the majority of the trees had been removed. Our crews and Hugo’s where very efficient and did a marvelous job with the removals. This hard work helped limit the impact on those who live in this area. Everyone involved did a great job with the coordination, plan development, and removal work. The photos below show the before conditions, removal work, and what a big project this was.
Tree Planting-2 from Audra Robbins
A little snow didn’t deter efforts to start planting replacement trees on Maplewood’s boulevards! As part of Maplewood’s Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) program, residents were given the choice to replace the ash trees that were removed from the boulevards in their neighborhoods. City staff worked with Margolis Tree service to plant 38 trees of diverse variety to help reduce the impact that EAB has had on the community. This effort was funded largely in part to a $30,000 Emerald Ash Borer Community Forest Response Tree Planting Grant that the City was awarded in February of this year.
City Wide Buckthorn Pick Up
The City Wide Buckthorn Pick Up took place this past week. Residents with more than a large truck full of buckthorn were able to register with the Parks and Recreation Department up until Friday, October 23 to be included on the pick- up schedule. Residents were given tips for removal and stacking and asked to work with others in their neighborhood to consolidate their piles. The Public Works Street Crew was responsible for picking up all of the buckthorn throughout the City and several residents made a point to let us know what a great service they thought this was for the residents of Maplewood.
NEWS FROM LOCAL AND REGIONAL PARTNERS
A thank you in the Pioneer Press last Saturday: https://www.twincities.com/2020/10/24/maplewood-he-appreciates-your-trails-and-your-courtesy-sainted/ Reference: Parks Crew
New 622 Elementary School named after Justice Alan Page
October 30, 2020 -- North St. Paul: At the October 27, 2020, Board Meeting, the District 622 School Board officially adopted Justice Alan Page Elementary School as the name for the new district elementary school in Maplewood, located on the current Maplewood Middle School site (2410 Holloway Ave E, Maplewood, MN 55109).
In naming the school, Superintendent Christine Tucci Osorio said that “It is a true privilege to be able to honor Justice Alan Page in such a meaningful way. Justice Page has been a friend to District 622 and a supporter to many of our alumni and staff of color in their pursuit of higher education. His legacy will have a positive impact on our school community for generations to come.”
The school is being built as a part of a district-wide improvement project after voters approved a $275 million bond referendum in 2019.
“We received 85 different name suggestions from the community which our naming committee narrowed down to five,” said Josh Anderson, the district’s director of communications. “After seeking further input from the community, our families, and our students, the committee made final recommendations to the superintendent’s cabinet. Naming the school after Justice Page, who is already involved in District 622 schools, was unanimously approved by the school board.”
The new Justice Alan Page Elementary School is scheduled to open in September 2022. Visit the district’s construction website to stay informed on developments with this project and other building initiatives in District 622.
These are the reports for this week. As always, please call if I can address any questions or concerns. Thank you.