HREEO newsletter header
Quarterly Newsletter -- Winter 2011


Director's Corner
Mayor's Advisory Committee Recognized
Sustainable Saint Paul
Accessibility During Skyway Closure
River Print is Moving
HREEO Team Members Out & About
New 'Little' Davis-Bacon Compliance Officer
EMS Academy News
Shoveling & Accessibility
Change to Affirmative Action Registration Policy
Upcoming Events

Director’s Corner

Charles R. Swindoll once said, “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” An underlying theme in this quarter’s newsletter can be readily summed up by one word: opportunity.
HREEO employees thrive on opportunities that improve the lives of others. Whether it pertains to the expansion of the right-of-way for pedestrians, opportunities to make our city more environmentally responsible, increasing accessibility for disabled residents or increasing our outreach to women-owned and minority-owned businesses, our staff works hard to ensure that residents receive the best possible service.
As you can see from the articles in this edition, public input helps shape policies and procedures. The next time that you or a friend have an idea to improve the lives of our residents, contact our office with your suggestion. If your idea falls outside of our departments’ purview, we’re happy to direct it to the appropriate department. 
Luz Frias
Mayor's Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities

Mayor’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities Recognized by City Council

On October 19, 2011, the City Council recognized ADA Coordinator, Alyssa Wetzel-Moore, and the Saint Paul Mayor’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities (MACPD) for its work on the successful passage of the Sidewalk Cafe Ordinance. Sponsored by Councilmember Dave Thune, the Sidewalk Cafe Ordinance requires that a 48 inch right-of-way be maintained between sidewalk cafes and the curb. The 48 inch right-of-way is an improvement over the previously required 36 inch right-of- way, and allows the City of Saint Paul to meet ADA-recommended guidelines for pedestrian traffic. The ordinance strikes a balance between recognizing the importance of sidewalk cafes in the city while still allowing for the safe and accessible movement of pedestrians.
Members of the MACPD testified in favor of the Sidewalk Café Ordinance at the public hearing before the City Council. Their compelling testimonies contributed to the passage of the bill, and as a final act of recognition, the City Council declared October 18, 2011 as Full Mobility Day in the City of Saint Paul.
Alex Lee

Sustainable Saint Paul

This fall, the City of Saint Paul welcomed Alex Lee to the Department of Human Rights & Equal Economic Opportunity (HREEO). Alex was an intern from the University of Minnesota, and has a major in Biology, Society, and the Environment with a minor in Sustainability. During his internship with HREEO, Alex focused on the city’s sustainability and environmental protection efforts. Alex worked closely with Anne Hunt, the Mayor’s Environmental Policy Director, and the Sustainable Saint Paul Working Group, to develop and promote Saint Paul’s environmental stewardship efforts.
Alex was originally tasked with updating the City of Saint Paul’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Policy, but his responsibilities expanded to include developing a comprehensive city sustainable practices policy. The intention is to consolidate and coordinate all of the city’s environmental efforts and to further develop sustainable best practices in commodity and service specific areas.
Alex hopes to pursue a career in environmental policy. When Alex was asked about his internship experience, Alex remarked that “the City of Saint Paul is full of individuals that are seriously passionate about helping the City of Saint Paul reach the forefront of sustainable innovation. It has been exciting and an honor to help draft policy for an agency that is dedicated to promoting sustainable urban living.” 

Working Together to Improve Accessibility during Skyway Closure

In early November, downtown Saint Paul celebrated the unveiling of the new skyway over Fifth Street between the 340 Cedar Building and the Alliance Bank Building. This skyway section was removed in early April 2011 for Central Corridor construction. The intervening months between April and November presented accessibility challenges as planned alternate routes did not fully meet accessibility concerns.
Jim Ivey from the Skyway Advisory Committee worked with HREEO ADA Coordinator Alyssa Wetzel-Moore to review a number of recommendations for improving accessibility while the skyway section was closed. Although the Metropolitan Council has primary responsibility for ensuring accessibility during Central Corridor construction, the City of Saint Paul reviewed the Committee’s recommendations to facilitate accessibility. ADA Coordinators partnered with the Department of Safety and Inspections, Council Member Dave Thune, the Department of Planning and Economic Development, and the Metropolitan Council to review the recommendations of the Skyway Advisory Committee. Based on the Committee’s recommendations, city partners took numerous actions to improve accessibility. Challenges to street-level access to the skyway were identified, and the city installed automatic door openers and eliminated a one to two inch lip between the sidewalk and street level doors. The improvements made alternate skyway routes useable, accessible, and less cumbersome while the skyway bridge was closed on 5th and Cedar. 
River Print

River Print is Moving

After sixteen years of providing printing and copying services in the depths of the Ramsey County West Government Center (the former West Publishing building), River Print is moving to a new location. Ramsey County recently decided to sell the West Government Center, leaving River Print with a need to find a new home. Through the hard work of the River Print and Contract and Analysis Services staff, River Print was able to secure a new and improved location.The new location is: 375 Jackson Street, Suite B1, Saint Paul, MN 55101.
River Print will be moving on December 23rd, 2011. River Print will shut down operations beginning December 22nd at 1:00 P.M. and be fully operational at 8:00 A.M., December 27th, 2011. During this time, River Print will service emergency printing/mailing needs through contracted vendors where necessary.
River Print is a division of the Department of Human Rights & Equal Economic Opportunity and is the print facility for the City of Saint Paul, Ramsey County, and other local jurisdictions. River Print provides high-quality graphic design, mailing services, and printed products at reasonable rates. 

HREEO Team Members Out & About

Staff from the Department of Human Rights & Equal Economic Opportunity attended numerous local networking events this fall.
Several members of HREEO attended the annual dinners and silent auctions hosted by the Association of Woman Contractors (AWC) and the National Association of Minority Contractors-Upper Midwest (NAMC-UM). The AWC and NAMC-UM are local contracting associations dedicated to improving contracting opportunities for minority and woman-owned businesses. HREEO often partners with AWC and NAMC-UM members to meet City of Saint Paul contracting goals. Each organization holds annual dinners and silent auctions to raise money and awareness of their organizations. HREEO staff enjoyed a fun evening of dinner and networking at each annual gala. Senior Contract & Analysis Buyer Susan Feuerherm attended the AWC dinner and said “it was a wonderful night of catching up with old friends and networking with new ones.”
Director Luz Maria Frias attended the Annual Business Award and Ceremony event hosted by the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce. The Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce promotes the capabilities and value of businesses of African descent to Minnesota communities and its economy. Director Frias said “Attending the Black Chamber’s event, allows our office to solidify our commitment to the community while optimizing opportunities to reach out to new businesses that would like to gain certification through our Central Certification Program.”
HREEO staff members, Luis Morales and Jacque Howard, also attended the annual 2011 Midwest Business Opportunity Fair hosted by the Midwest Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC). The MMSDC helps organize minority-owned businesses and corporations. Luis and Jacque represented the City of Saint Paul well. Jacque and Luis explained the City of Saint Paul’s minority-owned business and Section 3 contracting goals, and offered attendees insights on how to successfully contract on City of Saint Paul opportunities. 
Compliance decal on vehicle

HREEO Welcomes new “Little” Davis Bacon Compliance Officer

The Contract Compliance unit of HREEO welcomed a new team member in August. Siobhan Tolar was hired to monitor the City of Saint Paul’s compliance with local and state prevailing wage laws, often referred to as “Little” Davis Bacon laws.
In a short time, Siobhan has been hard at work. Siobhan has been meeting with other departments to ensure the smooth transition of monitoring “Little” Davis Bacon over to the Contract Compliance unit. Siobhan spearheaded the creation of new “City of Saint Paul Compliance Officer” decals that will be worn on hard hats, safety vests, and applied to vehicles for increased visibility when conducting interviews with on-site construction laborers.
Siobhan has even found time to create new “Employee Right-to-Know” cards that will be distributed to on-site laborers. The “Right to Know” cards explain federal, state, and local labor standards and will help ensure that laborers working on City of Saint Paul construction projects are compensated according to the prevailing wages of the area. 

EMS Academy News

On November 30th, the EMS Academy held an Information Session at Neighborhood House for the spring 2012 EMS Academy. Since then, EMS Academy applicants have attended an Orientation Session, and been interviewed by EMS Academy instructors. Thirty-five admitted participants, including several graduates of our inaugural Pre-EMS class, have begun preparatory coursework for the spring session. The 2012 EMS Academy calendar includes the spring EMT course running January 9, 2012 – April 13, 2012, a Pre-EMS course running April 2 - June 15, 2012, the summer EMS course running June 18 – August 24, 2012, and a fall Pre-EMS course running October-December, 2012.
The EMS Academy is an EMT-certification program for Saint Paul youth ages 18-24 who are interested in a career as an EMT or Saint Paul firefighter. Selected candidates earn hourly wages for attending the 10-14-week course, which includes CPR certification, First Responder certification, “ride-alongs” with the Saint Paul Fire Department paramedics, and emergency room shadowing. Graduates earn National EMT certification, 9 college credits through Inver Hills Community College, and valuable job competency training. To date, over 50 low-income, diverse young adults of Saint Paul have completed the EMS Academy.
Learn more at our website and facebook page
EMS cpr

Shoveling & Accessibility

With temperatures dropping and the snow starting to fall, the Mayor’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities would like to remind Saint Paul residents and businesses to keep sidewalks clear. Un-shoveled or poorly shoveled sidewalks and curb ramps make it dangerous and next to impossible for people with mobility and/or vision impairments to get around.
Please make sure to fully shovel your sidewalk and curb ramps. There are resources available for seniors or individuals with disabilities who need help with shoveling. For assistance, seniors can call, 1-800-333-2433 (M-F 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), and people with disabilities are directed to call, 1-866-333-2466 (M-F 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.). Some resources may come with a cost associated.  Additional helpful information on snow emergencies and plowing at the Department of Public Works.

Upcoming Events

Save the Date:

2012 Black History Month Events –

“There’s Another Horizon Out There”

Planning is well underway for the 2012 Black History Month hosted by the City of Saint Paul and Ramsey County. The 2012 events are inspired by Gordon Parks’ quote, “There’s another horizon out there, one more horizon that you have to make for yourself and let other people discover it, and someone else will take it further on....”   Taking place on the last three Fridays in February, these events will feature speakers Robin Hickman, Dr. Whitney Harris, and Roxanne Givens.
Elected officials will have a strong presence at these events. On the final day, Friday February 24th, proclamations will be read by Mayor Chris Coleman, Council President Kathy Lantry, and a Ramsey County Commissioner. Deputy Mayor Paul Williams, Councilmember Melvin Carter, and a Ramsey County representative will serve as Masters of Ceremonies. A local Saint Paul caterer, Abundant Catering, will provide soul food and work with the Saint Paul Sustainability Committee to make this a zero-waste event.

Please mark your calendars for the last three Fridays in February and join us in Room 40 in the City Hall/Courthouse!

  • February 10: 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
  • February 17: 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
  • February 24: Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at $10 per plate, Program 12p.m. to 1p.m.

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