Here is the latest “Midpoint,” a mid-month Web report on some local news and information, since the publication of our October issue

Sparky statues at Como Zoo

If you’re looking for family fun over the MEA weekend, Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is the place to visit. The 21 colorful Sparky statues seen around town this summer have migrated to Como.

See the Sparkys for one final public showing from now through Sunday, Oct. 23 to mark the official end of “The Summer of Sparky.” 

The weekend’s activities include education stations featuring ocean conservation, seal and sea lion trivia, games, giveaways, crafts, color your own Sparky, and the not-to-be-missed SPIRE Sparky Show daily at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Voting for Como Halloween décor competition

Maps and voting will be available starting today (Oct. 21) for the annual District 10 Community Council Halloween décor competition.  

Each year, District 10 challenges its community to go all out and register their house or apartment building to be included in the Halloween Decor map.

For further information, go to

Remembering Peter Hendrickson

A celebration of the life of Peter Hendrickson, longtime director of choral activities and professor emeritus at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 22 at the university’s Hoversten Chapel.  All are welcome to attend.

Hendrickson died this past June at the age of 67.

Mock election at Murray Middle School

Students at Murray Middle School will practice their future-right to vote in a statewide mock election on Monday, Nov. 7.

       The Minnesota Students Voting event will take place in 141 Minnesota schools either on Voting Day (Nov. 8) or before it. The mock voting is a collaboration between the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office and the YMCA’s Center for Youth Voice. 

       Murray Principal Jamin McKenzie said, “This process will give students hands-on experience with the electoral process and allow them to cast a customized mock ballot and have their statewide and national votes tallied and shared. The purpose of the program is to help students statewide discover the importance of elections and the power of their voice and their vote in our democracy.”

       On Nov. 7, Murray’s students will cast their votes in the Media Center during social studies classes. A group of eighth- grade students will be trained as election judges; facilitating ballot distribution and collection, and distributing “I voted” stickers.

       The last Minnesota Students Voting event, in 2020, resulted in Joe Biden winning, with 52.7% of the vote over Donald Trump’s 35.3%. 

         –Sarah CR Clark

Solar co-op hosts free information sessions

The Twin Cities Solar Area Co-op will host free virtual solar information sessions at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 25 and Dec. 6.  to help Minneapolis and St. Paul area residents go solar.

         To register, RSVP Here.

The co-op is free to join and co-op members will learn about solar energy and leverage their numbers to purchase individual solar systems at a competitive price and top quality.  

Joining the co-op does not obligate members to purchase solar. Instead, members will have the option to individually purchase panels and electric vehicle chargers based on the installer’s group rate.

The co-op was formed recently by the nonprofit group Solar United Neighbors (SUN)Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light, and Cook County Local Energy Project  recently launched.

Street sweeping underway in St. Paul

Saint Paul Public Works has begun it annual fall residential street sweeping operations. City crews will sweep about 530 miles of residential streets throughout the city. Weather permitting, the work is expected to take approximately four to six weeks.

   The city says here’s what you can do to assist in its street sweeping efforts:

  • Don’t push any materials, including leaves, grass, or debris into the street. Please properly bag and dispose of any leaves, dirt, and grass clippings. Residents can take materials to Ramsey County compost sites, use their yard waste services, or if the resident is part of the Citywide Garbage Service, they can put out compostable yard waste bags with their garbage service to be collected at $3 per bag.
  • Move vehicles and follow all posted “No Parking” signs.  
  • Do not put garbage or recycling carts in the street. Make sure carts are only placed on the boulevard.
  • Adopt A Drain. Residents can help protect our waterways by adopting a storm drain (or two) in their neighborhood, and keeping it free of debris in the coming months. .

For more information, including a map and schedule about Saint Paul’s street sweeping operations,

Musical Merz Trio performs   

The musical group Merz Trio will perform at 4 p.m., Nov. 13 at the St. Anthony Park United Church of Christ, 2139 Commonwealth Ave. The group consists of Lee Dionne, piano; Brigid Coleridge, violin; and Julia Yang, cello.

The Schubert Club is presenting the concert. Tickets range from $23 to $33, and can be purchased online at or by calling the Schubert Club Ticket Office at 651-292-3268.

One Book

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library announces the ninth chapter of One Book/One Minnesota, a statewide book club that invites Minnesotans of all ages to read a common title and come together virtually to enjoy, reflect and discuss.

The ninth title for the program is “We Are Meant to Rise: Voices for Justice from Minneapolis to the World” edited by Carolyn Holbrook and David Mura. .  

From now through Dec. 12, through their local libraries, Minnesotans will be invited to read the featured book selection and will have access to reading guides and virtual book club discussions. Readers can access the ebook for free on Ebooks Minnesota for eight weeks.  

         A free, virtual authors’ conversation, including Holbrook and Mura, will be held at 7 p.m., Dec. 7.  Read bios for all contributors here.

Meanwhile, click here for online details:  Registration required

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