July 2015 News and Events from Commissioner Linda Higgins

Commissioner Linda Higgins, Hennepin County, MN

JULY 2015



Hennepin County is a great place to work!

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Linda Higgins
Commissioner, 2nd District

Tina Sanz
Principal Aide

Roshonda Royston
Administrative Secretary


The 2nd District serves the cities of Golden Valley, Medicine Lake, north and northeast Minneapolis, southeast Plymouth and St. Anthony.

2nd District Hennepin County

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Happy Independence Day!


There are a lot of great events in July, so we wanted to get this newsletter out for you to get items on your calendar! The Plymouth Civic League and The City of Plymouth will host Music in Plymouth with the Minnesota Orchestra and other music groups, family activities and fireworks on July 1. Free to the public! Bring a picnic, or food items will be for sale on-site. 


In Minneapolis, the Red, White and Boom! celebration will have free family activities and live music from 6 to 10 pm at Mill Ruins Park and Father Hennepin Bluffs Park. Fireworks at 10 pm. View more information here

See Events below for more events and activities, and think about subscribing to other interesting topics from Hennepin County.


Have a great holiday!

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Top stories

Webber Park Library design approved

new Webber Park Library

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners approved the design on June 16 for the new Webber Park Library in North Minneapolis. The design is for a free-standing 8,300-square-foot library building projected to open in spring 2017. It will be built on a 1.4-acre site located between 44th and 45th Avenues North with Humboldt Avenue North on its west side. The total budget for the project is $12 million, but costs are expected to be closer to $10 million.


A model of the new library design, along with drawings and images, will be on display at the current Webber Park Library located in the Camden Center beginning on July 7. The model and drawings will move to surrounding libraries later this summer.


Plans for the new library include improved services, collaborative gathering spaces, an early literacy learning environment, a refreshed book collection, plus DVDs and CDs with world language resources, more public computers, improved work spaces, sustainable design, parking for cars and bicycles, and an outdoor reading and gathering space.


Two public meetings relating to the project are planned during July. An informal briefing is scheduled with the City of Minneapolis Planning Commission’s Committee of the Whole on July 9.  This is an opportunity for the Planning Commission to preview the library design and land use applications. An overview of the library design and the library’s relationship to Victory Memorial Parkway will be presented to the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board’s Planning Committee on July 15.


A community meeting will be held mid- to late August during the design development phase of the project. Future needed approvals include the Minneapolis Zoning and Planning Committee, City Council, and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Information about those dates will be shared when they have been scheduled.

A message about the county's child protection assessment

Protecting children from abuse and neglect is a core function of Hennepin County. In 2014, the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners directed county administration to conduct a comprehensive review of services provided to children and youth and created the Hennepin County Children and Youth Services Oversight Committee.

Hennepin County Administration requested the Casey Family Programs to conduct an independent assessment of Hennepin County Child Protection Services. Since Hennepin County’s assessment began, the Governor’s Task Force on the Protection of Children has made recommendations. Many of the recommendations contained in the assessment reinforce or complement recommendations from the governor’s task force.

We understand that we must begin acting immediately to improve our organization. On June 23, staff presented recommendations from the assessment to the Hennepin County Board’s Health and Human Services Committee. The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners will vote on July 7 to approve an additional $3.6 million in annual county funding to support the recruitment and hiring of approximately 100 additional staff positions in Child Protection Services and the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. These positions include screeners, child protection investigators, case managers, case management assistants, supervisors, attorneys and support staff.

These are just the first of many steps we expect to take in the coming months to improve our ability to respond to children in crisis. Coupled with the other initiatives and pilot programs resulting from the Comprehensive Review of Children and Youth Services, we maintain our steadfast commitment to improving the lives of county youth.

National Night Out

Get ready for National Night Out

National Night Out, called Night to Unite in some communities, Tuesday, August 4, is an annual event that encourages residents to hold block parties and get to know their neighbors as a way to encourage crime prevention. Each year, the Hennepin County Attorney’s and Sheriff’s Offices visit community gatherings. Sheriffs, prosecutors, victim advocates and other staff members are available to answer your questions about the justice system and provide crime prevention information regarding how you can protect your family and your property.

If you are hosting a block party and would like someone from the County Attorney’s Office to visit, please contact Jean Heyer at  jean.heyer@hennepin.us. To make a request for the Sheriff’s Office to attend your neighborhood National Night Out event, contact the Sheriff’s office at (612) 348-3744 or email sheriff@hennepin.us.  Requests should be made before July 24.

*More city-specific information is at these links: Golden Valley, Minneapolis, Plymouth, St. Anthony.

Photo: Deputy Attorney Charlene Hatcher (right) attending a National Night Out block party.

girl reading

Summer reading starts at the library

Read, explore and connect at your Hennepin County library, June 6 through August 15.

It’s fun and it’s beneficial: Youth who participate in Bookawocky, our free summer reading program, are better prepared for school in the fall. What will you take home this summer – new knowledge, new skills or a new experience? It’s all here for you.


Library staff are ready to recommend your next read and help you find good books for your kids. Join us on social media for children's and teen book recommendations on June 16. Visit the BookaWocky website to earn badges and write book reviews. 


Check out our summer reading page to find great reading ideas and learn about our online book club for kids and other upcoming library book clubs and summer events.


Beyond book clubs, there is an exciting lineup of free STEM- and arts-related summer events: catapults, circuits, mini-magnets, mixing molecules, water bottle rockets, Minecraft craft, creative movement, musical monsters, comic arts — and that’s just for school-age kids!

With support from the Friends of the Hennepin County Library and the Metropolitan Library Service Agency, Hennepin County libraries are inviting kids, families, friends and neighbors to learn together this summer. You’re invited, too!

Alert Plymouth

A!ert Plymouth

The City of Plymouth recently launched Alert Plymouth – a new tool that will allow public safety personnel and city staff to more effectively communicate with residents in case of an emergency.

Alert Plymouth is a mass notification service that is able to call, text or email residents – in whichever order the subscriber specifies. It allows the city to inform the public of community-wide and localized emergencies, as well as other significant situations that may affect public safety or city services.

The system will not be used to relay weather forecasts or information about city events or news. Alert Plymouth will be used only to issue public safety and emergency messages.

How it Works
Residents and businesses with telephone numbers listed in the White or Yellow Pages have already been included in the Alert Plymouth system. They can receive notifications by land-line phone. However, the city does not have a database with cell phone numbers and addresses, which is why it is important to sign up. That way, residents can receive notifications by cell phone, text message, business phone, land line and/or email.  

Sign Up

Create an account and add your contact and location information to the Alert Plymouth mass notification system. Signing up only takes a few minutes. Please be sure to include your address(es), as it enables the system to geographically notify you of emergencies near your home or business. All information provided will be kept confidential and will not be shared with any other organizations. Sign up for Alert Plymouth.

Baby with doctor

Visit Macy’s at the Mall of America and donate to children’s books for Hennepin County Medical Center

The Hennepin Health Foundation is excited to announce that Macy’s at the Mall of America has selected HCMC's Children Literacy program as their local partner for their Be Book Smart campaign. Children's Literacy promotes the healthy habit of reading from birth through adulthood by distributing more than 30,000 books annually in departments throughout the hospital, but focusing on Pediatrics.

This campaign runs from June 21 to July 12. Customers who donate $3 for Reading is Fundamental (RIF) at any Macy’s register will receive a $10 coupon to use on a purchase of $30 or more. Macy’s donates the full $3 to RIF, and each coupon sold provides a book for a child. RIF will allocate 50% of the books raised by each Macy’s store to its local RIF partner.

What's Up 612!

Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board launches after-school activity finder

The Minneapolis Youth Coordinating Board’s Minneapolis Afterschool Network has launched a citywide program finder called What’s Up 612!. The program finder is a citywide resource where youth, parents, educators, youth workers and people who know young people can find after-school and summer activities for children and youth ages 5-21.  What’s Up 612! brings together afterschool opportunities offered by the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County (including the Hennepin County Libraries), Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, and community organizations.

Happy Pride

The night of June 27, Hennepin County will light the Lowry Bridge over the Mississippi River (near Lowry and Marshall St. NE in Minneapolis, see map) in the colors of the rainbow in recognition of the 2015 Twin Cities Pride Celebration and its contribution to enriching the diversity and equality for all people of Hennepin County and wishing our employees and residents a safe and successful Pride.

citizens' academy

Learn more about Hennepin County at citizens academy

Learn about how county roads are plowed every winter, how the county is involved in light-rail transit, how county taxes are assessed, and where your tax money goes.  

The seven weekly sessions (Wednesdays from 6:30 to 9 pm) meet at various locations throughout the county where you will get information about many departments at the county. You also receive a rare opportunity to tour county facilities and meet county leaders.

Learn more and register for the fall 2015 session at hennepin.us/citizensacademy.

Play on Penn

Grow on Penn delivers first harvest of the season

Grow on Penn, a collaborative to create a healthy place to live, eat and grow was created last year at 36th and Penn Avenue North in Minneapolis. The garden portion of Grow on Penn was planted this spring with the help of Amarreah and Mikaylah Walton and friends (top right), and a first harvest of this growing season was delivered to the food pantry at NorthPoint Health and Wellness this past Monday morning (left). Grow on Penn is possible because of the following community partners: Folwell Neighborhood Association, Hennepin County Community Works, Hennepin County Sentence to Service, and the Minneapolis Police Department.

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Board news

County board actions for June 2

Public meetings set for 2016 budget

Public meetings have been scheduled regarding the 2016 budget and property tax levy. There will be presentations from county staff to the county board about the proposed budget, followed by public comments on the proposed budget on the following dates: 

  • Tuesday, September 8 at 1:30 pm – proposed budget presentation
  • Wednesday, September 9 at 1 pm –  operations, library and public works
  • Thursday, September 10 from 9 at 11 am – human services and public health
  • Monday, September 14 at 9 am – public safety
  • Tuesday, September 22 at 1:30 pm – Hennepin County Board adopts 2016 maximum tax levy and budget
  • Friday, September 25 at 9 am – human services and public health (follow-up if needed)
  • Monday, November 2 at 1 pm – capital budget and fees

An additional public meeting will be held Tuesday, December 1 at
6 pm for public comment on the 2016 budget. The public meetings will take place at the Hennepin County Government Center downtown Minneapolis. The final levy adoption is scheduled for December 15, 2015 at 1:30 pm at the regular county board meeting. More information (including any revisions to hearing dates) for the county budget is online at hennepin.us/your-government/budget-finance/budgets.

Elm Creek Watershed Management Commission and Shingle Creek Watershed Management Commission

The board established a public meeting to hear comments from the public ron the proposed plan amendments by the Elm Creek Watershed Management Commission and the Shingle Creek Watershed Management Commission.

County board actions for June 16

Webber Park Library design 

The board approved the design for a new Hennepin County Library-Webber Park in North Minneapolis (see story above).

County to offer additional recycling grants to cities 

The county is increasing funding to cities for recycling and organics recycling programs for food and nonrecyclable paper waste. More than $3 million will be available for metals, paper and plastics recycling, and more than $400,000 for organics recycling in 2015. The funds are distributed to each city based on the number of households that receive curbside recycling and curbside organics services. In 2016, approximately $3.2 million will be available for recycling and $300,000 for organics recycling. These funds will put the county’s program in compliance with state requirements that half of additional SCORE funding (part of Minnesota’s Waste Management Act) be spent on organics recycling. This will help support the development of city organics recycling programs. About one-third of the trash currently discarded is organic material, but less than two percent of households have organics collection services. Improvements to organics collection will help the county reach the state’s 2030 requirement that at least 75 percent of waste generated in the county be recycled. 

Board appoints member to Lower Minnesota Watershed District

The board appointed David Raby to a three-year term on the Lower Minnesota Watershed District Board. The watershed district coordinates the management of the water and related land resources in the watershed that drains into the Lower Minnesota River from the north and south bluffs of the river to the confluence of the Mississippi River at Fort Snelling.

To apply for a citizen advisory board position visit www.hennepin.us/advisoryboards.

Contract approved for girls' treatment program

The board approved a four-year contract with Nexus Diversified Community Services to provide treatment programming to as many as 12 girls, ages 14 and older, who have a history of serious psychological, psychiatric and behavioral issues. The program will be based at the County Home School in Minnetonka. Some facility improvements will be needed at Cottage 1 and in the administration building. This program is designed after similar successful programs that Nexus operates in other states to meet the needs of difficult to place adolescent girls who have not been adjudicated as delinquent but have typically failed multiple placements in residential treatment. Until now, they have had to be placed out of state with very limited access to their families. The Nexus program will be operated under contract by the county Human Services and Public Health Department and licensed by the State Department of Human Services as a secure mental health program.

The complete board agenda, meeting minutes and videos can be found at hennepin.us/boardmeetings.

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St. Anthony

  • Thursdays, July 2 through August 13, 7pm
    Salo Park Summer Concert
    Salo Park Ampitheater
    39th Avenue NE, between Silver Lake Road and Stinson Blvd
  • Silverwood Onstage Live theatre and music. For dates, times and performances, visit silverwoodonstage.org.
    Silverwood Park Ampitheater
    2500 County Road E, St. Anthony


  • Mondays and Fridays, July 3,6,10,13,17,20, and 24, 10am-noon
    Super Kinder. A School Readiness Program for Latino children ages 4-5. Free and for families who speak Spanish as their first language. Register at the library or call 612-543-5648.
    Northeast Library
    2200 Central Avenue NE, Minneapolis
  • Sunday, July 12, noon-6pm
    Open Streets. Residents can explore Northeast businesses and neighborhoods by bike, foot, or skate on car-free streets. Get a map at openstreetsmpls.org.
    Central and 13th Avenues NE, Minneapolis
  • Friday, July 17, 4pm through Sunday July 19, 7pm
    Boom Days. Music, food trucks, a 5K running event, a Home Brew Competition, outdoor games, demonstrations from Expertease Dance Studio, and a special Sunday School Beer Education Class. For more information, visit boomislandbrewing.com.
  • Sunday, July 26, 2-9pm
    NE Brewers Block Party. For more information visit nemplsonline.com.
  • Friday, July 31, 6pm
    Northeast Dog Parade. For more information visit northeastminneapolis.com.
  • It's Camp Bovey Registration Time. Registraton for summer camp sessions begins now. To register and for more information, visit esns.org.


  • Weekdays, July 6-August 7, 9am-4pm
    Summer Camp Capri. Free middle school arts camp for students who’ve just completed grades 5-8. To register or for more information, visit thecapritheater.org or contact Kiana Batteau at kbatteau@pcyc-mpls.org.
    The Capri Theater
    2027 West Broadway Avenue N, Minneapolis
  • Thursday, July 9, 6-8pm
    Live on the Drive featuring Toki Wright. For more information, visit liveonthedrive.org.
    Victory Memorial Parkway
    34th Avenue N and Victory Memorial Parkway, Minneapolis
  • Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through July 16, 1-4pm
    Capri Theater Summer Activity. CAST/Glee “Theater from the Ground Up,” creating full productions from CAST’s “New Voices Play Festival,”  complimented with music. Free activity open to high school students and adults. To register or for more information, visit thecapritheater.org or contact James Scott at 612-643-2024 or jscott@pcyc-mpls.org.
    The Capri Theater
    2027 West Broadway Avenue N, Minneapolis
  • Saturday, July 25, 9am
    Tour De Camden. Free guided bike tour of the Camden community. Meet at Creekview Park with bike and helmet.
    Creekview Park
    51st and Irving Avenue N, Minneapolis
  • Friday, July 31, 5:30pm-sunset
    Riverfront Fest. Music, local food trucks and beer. For more information visit, minneapolisriverfront.org.
    Ole Olson Park
    2325 West River Road, Minneapolis 
  • Sunday, August 2, 1-4pm
    Victory Garden Tour. Starts at Loring Schoolyard.
    Loring School
    44th and Thomas Avenue N, Minneapolis
  • Weekdays through August 7, 9am-4pm
    PCYC Drop-in Summer Fun. Free fun activities for kids of all ages and no advance registration. For more information, contact Catrice O’Neal at 612-643-2026 or coneal@pcyc-mpls.org.
    Cleveland Park
    33rd Avenue and Queen Avenue N, Minneapolis
  • Weekdays through August 7, breakfast and lunch hours
    Summer food service program. Meals meet nutritional standards established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and are free. For times and locations, contact Catrice ONeal at 612-643-2026 or coneal@ycyc-mpls.org.
    Plymouth Christian Youth Center (PCYC)
    2210 Oliver Avenue, Minneapolis
  • Now through August 14, 11:30am-5pm
    Summer at Gethsemane. The Camden Promise will provide free lunch to all who come to Gethsemane's summer lunch program. For kids grades 1-5.
    Gethsemane Lutheran Church ELCA
    4656 Colfax Avenue N, Minneapolis
  • Wednesdays through September 2, 6-7:30pm
    Summer at Gethsemane Wednesday night cook outs. The grills will be fired up cooking hot dogs in the parking lot. Chips, dessert and beverages will also be served. Pallets of fruit and vegetable provided by Second Harvest will be available.
    Gethsemane Lutheran Church ELCA
    4656 Colfax Avenue N, Minneapolis 
  • Lundstrom Center for the Performing Arts Summer Camps. For more information, visit lundstrumcenter.org

North Loop

  • Monday, July 13, Wednesday, July 15 and Friday, July 17, 7pm
    Outdoor Movies. For movie times, please visit northloop.org.
    Target Field
    1 Twins Way, Minneapolis
  • Friday, July 24, 6-9pm
    Sunrise Bank's Community Backyard Bash. Great food and beer. 
    Sunrise Bank
    525 Washington Avenue N, Minneapolis

Bryn Mawr

  • Wednesday, July 15, 6-8pm
    Ice Cream Social. For more information visit bmna.org.

Golden Valley

  • Mondays, July 6 through August 17, 7pm
    Concerts in the Park. Free.
    Brookview Park
    Hwy 55 and Winnetka, Golden Valley
  • Monday, July 13, 7pm
    Ice Cream Social.
    Brookview Park
    Hwy 55 and Winnetka, Golden Valley
  • Wednesday, July 15 and Monday, July 20, 6-7:30pm
    Brookview Community Center Replacement Open House. Share your input.
    Brookview Community Center
    200 Brookview Pkwy N, Golden Valley
  • Tuesday, July 21, 8:30-10:30am
    Coffee with a Cop
    Calvary Cooperative
    7600 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley
  • Wednesday, July 29, 11:15am-12:45pm
    Picnic and Music in the Park
    Brookview Park
    Hwy 55 and Winnetka, Golden Valley 
  • Friday, July 31, 9-11am
    Open to Business. Golden Valley residents, small business owners, or entrepreneurs can get free, one-on-one business consultation services and other assistance.
    Golden Valley City Hall
    7800 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley 

Medicine Lake


  • Wednesday, July 1, 5:30-10:15pm
    Music in Plymouth. Lovers of muscic, summer traditon and fireworks at the 43rd annual event. Free.
    Hilde Performance Center
    3450 Plymouth Blvd., Plymouth
  • Tuesday, July 7, 6-7pm
    Walk with a Doc. Each month a different doctor will lead a 45 minute walk that is open to all Plymouth community members.
    Plymouth Creek Center
    14800 34th Avenue N, Plymouth
  • Wednesday, July 8, 11-11:45am
    Kids' Concert Theater Program. Climb Theater Presents “Anansi the Spider”
  • Thursday, July 9, 7-8pm
    Free concert by High Country
    Hilde Amphitheater
    3450 Plymouth Blvd, Plymouth
  • Tuesday, July 14, 7-8pm
    Free concert by the Hunyuckers
    Parkers Lake Stage
    County Road 6 and Niagara Lane, Plymouth
  • Wednesday, July 15, 7-9pm
    Water Ski Show. Bring your lawn chair/blanket and a picnic. In case of rain or severe weather, call the Weather Hotline at 763-509-5205.
    Parkers Lake Park
    County Road 6 and Niagara Lane, Plymouth
  • Friday, July 17, 7-8:30pm and Saturday, July 18, 2-3:30pm
    Prairie Fire Children's Theater. Come out and watch Aladdin and his Magic Lamp. Free.
    Hilde Amphitheater
    3450 Plymouth Blvd, Plymouth
  • Thursday, July 23, 7-8pm
    Free concert by the Sawtooth Brothers
    Hilde Small Stage
    3450 Plymouth Blvd, Plymouth
  • Tuesday, July 28, 7-8pm
    Free concert by Lehto & Wright.
    Parkers Lake Stage
    County Road 6 and Niagara Lane, Plymouth
  • Wednesday, July 29, 7:30-8:30pm
    Kids Fest Performance. Kid Power with Rachael: Music and live animals.
    Hilde Performance Center
    3450 Plymouth Blvd, Plymouth
  • Bike Helmet Sale. The Plymouth Fire Department will sell low-cost bike helmets 6-8pm the first and third Thursday of each month through August 20. Helmets range in size from toddler to adult extra large and come in many styles and colors. Traditional bike helmets are $14 and multi-sport helmets are $17.
    Fire Station II
    3300 Dunkirk Lane N, Plymouth

Multiple communities

  • Now through September 19
    Preserve Minneapolis walking tours. Visit Minneapolis’ historic neighborhoods. Guides will tell the "stories behind the stories" and give participants a greater understanding of the area’s social and built history. Most tours are $9. To register or for more information, including tour dates, visit preserveminneapolis.org/wpfile/tours.
  • Now through September 7
    Music and Movies in the Park. Enjoy more than 200 free outdoor concerts at six outstanding concert venues in the parks. For times and locations visit minneapolisparks.org.
  • Walker Art Center events. Target free Thursday nights, music/film series, Walker cinema, Walker on the Green, performing arts, and more. For dates and times, visit walkerart.org.

Farmers Markets

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