District 1 Updates from Commissioner Frethem

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Serving the communities of Arden Hills, Gem Lake, North Oaks, Shoreview, Vadnais Heights, White Bear Township, and parts of Mounds View, Spring Lake Park and Blaine.

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January 25, 2021

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Nicole Frethem
Commissioner, District 1
651-266-8362 or 651-425-9580 

Sheena Denny
Principal Aide

Nancy Larson
Administrative Assistant

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Commissioner Frethem sitting at her desk

Virtual coffee chat and check-ins with Commissioner Frethem

Next chat will be held on Friday, February 26, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.

Learn more at the Facebook Event Invites.

Join the meeting via Microsoft Teams on your computer or mobile app, or call in (audio only) by dialing +1 651-728-6653 and entering
Phone Conference ID: 446 518 644#

Board of Commissioners on Zoom

The January 19, 2021 board of commissioners meeting (and other past meetings and workshops) can be viewed on the Ramsey County webpage.

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Sign up for the County's coronavirus email newsletter.

Board declares January 13 as Karen New Year Day in Ramsey County

Karen cultural dancers

Women dance at the Virtual Karen New Year Celebration in St. Paul in 2020

Ramsey County is home to one of the largest Karen communities in America who started arriving in Minnesota in the early 2000s seeking asylum as political refugees escaping the oppressive rule of the Burmese Military Dictatorship.

The Karen New Year marks the end of harvest of one rice crop and the beginning of the next rice crop, and also marks the building of new homes. The Karen New Year is the largest celebration in the Karen community. Celebrations typically include the Karen Don dances, Karen bamboo dances, singing, speeches, and consuming plenty of food and drink.

In addition to a celebration and festival, the Karen New Year is designed to preserve Karen culture and traditions, building relationships and trust among community members and other communities. The Karen New Year allows the Karen people to feel pride in their heritage and to create an opportunity for Ramsey County residents to learn about and enjoy the Karen culture.

For more information about Karen culture, visit the Ramsey County webpage.

Presentation of Karen New Year Proclamation at Jan. 13 Ramsey County Board meeting

Commissioner Frethem reads proclamation honoring Karen New Year in Ramsey County.

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Ramsey County has launched the new Job Connect online job board to connect residents and employers during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. This employment platform is the latest tool integrated within the county’s economic development website, RamseyCountyMeansBusiness.com, which provides business development resources and incentives.

Small Business COVID-19 Resources and Recovery Guide

The Minnesota Legislature has approved a $217 million relief package for businesses impacted by C​​​​​​​OVID-19 executive orders. About half of the package will be given to ​​​​​​​counties to distribute through grant programs to local businesses by March 15, 2021.

Information on future application periods for the Small Business Relief Fund or other grant programs will be available once we’ve further reviewed existing applications to determine the amount of remaining funds available.

To receive an alert as to when Ramsey County might begin accepting applications for funding, please provide an email address and description of your business here.

Advisory Boards & Committees

Serving on a Ramsey County advisory board is a great way to get involved with your local government and make a positive impact on your community. The board of commissioners appoint residents to serve in these important roles that help shape policy, review programs and plans, and represent families and residents in Ramsey County.

To sign up for board opening notices, visit the Ramsey County webpage

Commissioner Frethem's statement on Violence at US Capitol

It is important, even if it seems obvious, to say unambiguously that the attempted coup at the US Capitol earlier this month was unacceptable. We cannot move forward until those who are responsible are held accountable. This means not only those who desecrated our capitol and threatened elected leaders but also those who encouraged it, both explicitly and implicitly, by their repeated lies and disingenuous questioning of our election process. I am immensely proud of the work done by our elections staff to ensure a safe and fair election in the midst of a pandemic and an atmosphere of social upheaval. This election has shined a spotlight on our election systems which are run at the local, county level across the country, each with independent oversight from their county boards, and this protects the integrity of a system. It is not a perfect system, but nothing is perfect. I am not perfect. People are not perfect. Our government, which is an institution with its own identity but also one composed of people, is not perfect. However, when we lose sight of the first stated goal of our Constitution, that “to form a more perfect Union” we also fail as a country.
I hope for unity within our country. But first, I hope for accountability, reflection, and reclamation of our fundamental values. Without that, we will not have peace, only quiet.

Targeted COVID-19 vaccinations begin, but in limited supply

vaccination phases

The vaccine is not yet available for the general public.

  • While supply remains limited, Ramsey County is following federal and state guidelines to distribute the vaccine in phases to have the greatest impact and prevent further spread to those most at-risk.
  • Eventually, there will be enough vaccine for everyone.
  • The vaccine will be free.
  • No one will be required to get the vaccine by the government or public health.

Ramsey County is vaccinating Phase 1a

Phase 1a of vaccine distribution includes the following groups:

  • Healthcare personnel (including: hospital staff working with COVID-19 patients, staff in skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes, emergency medical services personnel who provide direct patient care, COVID-19 testers and vaccinators).
  • Long-term care residents.
  • More information about phase 1a

Individuals in these groups will be notified by their employers or facility where they live on how they will get the vaccine.

Employer Vaccine Request Form  

Ramsey County employers with essential staff as defined by federal and state guidelines can request vaccine from Public Health with this online form.

More information

For more information about the covid-19 vaccine and to subscribe to vaccine updates, visit the Ramsey County webpage (updated daily) or the Minnesota Department of Health webpage. You can also subscribe to emails or text messages with periodic updates on vaccine distribution.  

COVID-19 Info Session

Join Public Health and the COVID-19 Racial Equity and Community Engagement Response Team for a virtual conversation about COVID-19 vaccine questions and concerns on January 28, 2021 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. The session will focus on the science behind the vaccine, its safety and effectiveness, and general vaccination timelines.

Event will be held via zoom visit the Ramsey County webpage for more information.

winter lake

Parks & Recreation winter maps

Ramsey County Parks & Recreation department has created winter maps for residents to identify where they want to engage in specific activities. The maps can be found at the links below.