NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES | St. Anthony Park Nominees for the Neighborhood Honor Roll


In a city known for its enviable quality of life, it’s a big honor to be noted for improving it. The  Neighborhood Honor Roll Celebration is a citywide event organized by all 17 St. Paul District Councils to celebrate the people who have “improved the quality of life in St. Paul.” This year the honorees from St. Anthony Park/ District 12 are Tom Bielenberg and Hans Weyandt, co-owners of Micawber’s Bookstore, Michael Russell, Tim Faacks and Tom Spreigl, co-owners of Speedy Market. They were honored on Friday evening at an event held at the University of St. Thomas.

Tom Bielenberg and Hans Weyandt, are co-owners of Micawber’s Bookstore, 2238 Carter Avenue, a treasure in both St. Anthony Park and the Twin Cities. What makes these booksellers special is their talent for handselling books, providing a personal touch when recommending books to customers with a special finger to the pulse of the Twin Cities’ literary scene. They know their stuff, from the deep selection of fiction to the browsable tables devoted to discounted books.  My youngest loves to settle into the children’s book room while I take my time looking through the poetry section and the shelf of periodicals that includes local lit magazines such as Spout and Paper Darts.  I was surprised to make a recent purchase (a copy of local author Wang Ping’s The Last Communist Virgin to give as a gift) to find that I had earned a discount that pretty much covered my purchase. That’s neighborly.

Leave it to a soil scientist like Michael Russelle to understand the importance of feeding the grassroots when it comes to political activism. He has served on the District 12 Council,  he has been a leading organizer with St. Anthony Park’s Neighbors for Peace and promotes sustainability and resilience as a member of the council’s environmental committee. He serves the community in other ways too: for many years as a science fair judge at Murray Junior High School, as a boulevard gardener and as one of the local pioneers of solar power when he installed a PV solar collector on his home’s garage.

Tim Faacks and Tom Spreigl from Tim and Tom’s Speedy Market, 2310 Como Avenue also made the honor roll. Tim and Tom, as they are affectionately known by neighbors, not only live up to the store’s name as purveyor’s of food stuffs needed right quick but they have been solid neighborhood citizens for years. They are known for being responsive to the tastes of the locals. I can run in any day of the week and find organic produce, free-range meat or a wedge of triple cream Brie, when needed. They are not above the rotary roasted hot dog for pocket change either. They are kid friendly offering employment for teens like our son, who like many local kids, got one of his first jobs there working at the butcher counter (excellent meat, by the way). Younger school kids on walking field trips love the behind the scenes tour at Speedy Market. Tim and Tom support neighborhood fundraisers and participate in many events. One of my favorites is the happy mob scene at Speedy during the annual last-day-of-school root beer float party.

Neighborhood Notes are updates about what’s happening in Twin Cities neighborhoods, submitted by our volunteer neighborhood correspondents (and neighborhood residents), and not edited by the TC Daily Planet. Click to learn more about becoming a neighborhood correspondent.