March 2015 News and Events from Commissioner Linda Higgins

Commissioner Linda Higgins, Hennepin County, MN

MARCH 2015



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AARP Foundation Tax-Aide offers free, individualized tax preparation for low-to moderate-income taxpayers - especially those 60 and older. Locations include the Hennepin County Government Center. Find a location near you by visiting and click AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Locator. Reservations are generally required.


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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Thank you for subscribing to my newsletter.

Spring will be here one of these days (please...) and daylight savings time starts March 8. I'm enjoying the longer days and hoping our spring weather makes an early appearance!

I'll be at two meetings tomorrow. If you're available, feel free to join us. First, the first concept drawings for the new Webber Park library will be shown at Webber Community Center, 4400 Webber Parkway, Minneapolis, from 9 to 10:30 am.

Then I'll join Rep. Connie Bernardy and the St. Anthony Citizens for Sustainability at Saint Anthony Village City Hall (3301 Silver Lake Road). The meeting goes from 11 till 1. I have some great information from Hennepin Environmental Services to share.

We've noted some great upcoming events this month. And if you'd like to be more informed about our community, think about subscribing to other interesting topics offered by Hennepin County.


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Top stories

Improvements coming to Washington Avenue North in North Loop

Washington Avenue North - Hennepin County
This summer Washington Avenue will be enhanced to support reduction of speed and to enhance safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. On Washington from 5th to Plymouth Avenue, the road will become a three-lane road (one through lane in each direction and a center turn lane) and bike lanes will be added from Plymouth Avenue to Hennepin Avenue. Striped crosswalks will be installed at locations without signals. The County is working with the pedestrian planner from the City of Minneapolis, Mackenzie Turner Bergen, on determining the exact intersection(s) between 10th and 6th that will receive striped crosswalks; the crosswalks would be installed and maintained by the City. We are also working to identify future pedestrian improvements along the corridor for which we can pursue as future funding is available.

North Loop Pedestrian Improvement project  - Minneapolis

The North Loop Pedestrian Improvement project is a city project to improve the pedestrian realm at certain locations within the North Loop Neighborhood – similar to the Downtown Pedestrian Improvement project that Minneapolis secured as part of the 2011 solicitation and that is in project development at this time.

Bus rapid transit (BRT) on Penn delayed

In the fall of 2014, Metro Transit announced it would pursue funds for 2016 construction of the C Line Bus Rapid Transit project along Penn Avenue North. This opportunity was tied to $12.3 million in funds previously awarded to the B Line (West 7th) BRT project -- a St. Paul project that has been stalled. These funds were tied to construction in 2016. To seize this opportunity the Metropolitan Council also authorized funds for 2015 C Line BRT design and engineering and planned for detailed design to begin in spring of 2015.

To attempt to secure the $12.3 million for 2016 construction, in December 2014, Metro Transit requested the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) reallocate the $12.3 million in funds to instead be awarded to C Line (Penn Avenue) BRT project. The Metropolitan Council has a vote on TAB, but TAB alone makes the decisions for programming these funds.

At its January 21 meeting, the TAB did not award the requested funds to the C Line project. TAB will select project(s) for these funds after it develops and adopts new policies for reallocation of withdrawn projects' funding, expected this spring/summer. However, at this point it seems unlikely that the full $12.3 million would be awarded to C Line/Penn Avenue.

The project remains a top priority for the Metropolitan Council, and Metro Transit will proceed with C Line design work in 2015 (using Metropolitan Council funds). Metro Transit will continue to pursue all potential transit funding options to advance the C Line project toward implementation. But since we were not awarded the TAB construction dollars, we don’t have a clear path to fund 2016 construction. This affords a couple more months of design schedule for mid-2016 or early 2017 construction start. Maintaining project eligibility for this 2016 funding award had called for completed construction documents at the end of calendar year 2015. What had been a very aggressive design schedule will now follow a more typical path. Under either scenario, we anticipate the same commitment to robust public engagement.


Potential Golden Valley Rd or Plymouth stations

Metropolitan Council is hosting meetings on issues related to the METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau LRT) project

Thursdays, March 5 and March 19, Brooklyn Park
The purpose of these meetings is to present and get public feedback on revised concepts for reconstructing West Broadway/CSAH 103 with light rail transit in the center of the road.
Meeting site: North Hennepin Community College, Center for Business Technology
Room 195/Grand Hall
7411 85th Avenue North, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445

For questions or to request assistance to participate, contact Sophia Ginis, Metro Transit outreach coordinator, at 612-373-3895 /

Feb 26 Golden Valley Rd and Plymouth Ave workshop.pdf

Mar 5 & 19 West Broadway meetings.pdf

Learn more about the Blue Line Extension Project at

A murder of crows exhibit

A Murder of Crows - Hennepin County Urban Birding
4-H Club conducts research

Over the past three years, the Hennepin County Urban Birding 4-H Club has explored nature in urban environments and conducted research based on their observations of birds. The 4-H middle-school girls did their work as part of the University of Minnesota Driven To Discover: Enabling Authentic Inquiry through Citizen Science project, which was created to engage youth, volunteers, and scientists in exploring real world scientific questions around butterflies and birds.

This year, the Urban Birding 4-Hers' research focused on the “murder of crows” phenomenon, which describes large groups of crows congregating together, sometimes numbering into the thousands. The girls conducted their research in Loring Park in Minneapolis, where they observed hundreds of crows roosting. They also studied the intelligence and social nature of crows, and how crows communicate. They recently presented their research findings at the University of Minnesota’s Annual Insect Fair. They shared information about why the urban environment attracts large numbers of crows and why crows roost together, creating a "murder of crows.”  

The 4-Hers will now shift their focus to explore engineering design starting in February 2015, including participating in the 4-H Rube Goldberg Challenge.  Rube Goldberg machines are overly complex contraptions built using everyday items that complete a simple task via a series of chain-reactions.

Volunteers are welcome to help support the 4-H club. Please contact Amie Mondl, Hennepin County 4-H Program Coordinator, at

Reminder: next new Webber Park Library meeting Feb. 28

Please join Hennepin County Commissioner Linda Higgins, Hennepin County staff and LSE Architects to see the initial concept drawings for a new Webber Park Library.

The community meeting will be held at the Webber Community Center, 4400 Dupont Avenue North, Minneapolis on Saturday, February 28 from 9 to 10:30 am.

We are eager to hear your comments about the first designs. All ages are welcome. Further information on this project will be updated at the Hennepin County Library Building Projects web page.

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Board news

County board actions for Feb. 10

Board votes to ban electronic smoking effective March 10

Hennepin County has enacted a ban on electronic cigarettes that is more restrictive than state law. The policy, approved by the board on Tuesday, prohibits the use of electronic delivery devices (EDD, electronic cigarettes) in all indoor spaces where the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act is in effect. State law covers some, but not all indoor places. The ordinance will take effect March 10, 2015.

Cities and counties may choose to enact additional restrictions on tobacco and electronic cigarette use in outdoor city parks, outdoor seating areas at restaurants and other locations where these uses are permitted under state law.

County plans for 9-1-1 back-up access in emergencies 

A backup telephone system will ensure that emergency calls always will reach 911 dispatchers in Hennepin County. In partnership with the Metropolitan Emergency Services Board (MESB), the county has set up a shared/hosted next generation 9-1-1 telephone answering system. It was jointly purchased and will be used by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, Minneapolis Emergency Communications Center, the City of Edina Police Department, Hennepin Healthcare System, and Allina Health Systems. The system will be hosted at the Sheriff’s Emergency Communications Facility in Plymouth, with a redundant backup system at the Hennepin County Government Center. 

Board appoints members to citizen advisory boards

For the Adult Mental Health Local Advisory Council the board appointed Rolanda DeShield to the at-large position; Elizabeth (Lisa) Childs and Char Coal to consumer positions; Kathleen Oganovic, Patricia Croal, Atashi Acharya and Jackie Adair to family member positions; and Maisha Giles and Debbie Paine to Mental Health Provider positions. 

To the Community Action Partnership of Suburban Hennepin County Board they reappointed Cynthia Bemis Abrams, Mary Brindle and Marvin Johnson.

To the Human Resources Board they appointed Anthony Untiedt, Angelines Pabon, and Jesse Winkler. The decision on the fourth appointment was laid over to the next board meeting.

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St. Anthony

  • Tuesday, March 3, 6:30 pm
    Cops vs. Kids Basketball Challenge. Come join a fun night of basketball as officers from the St. Anthony Police Department take on teams made up of boys and girls from the St. Anthony Boosters basketball program.
    St. Anthony High School gym
    3303 33rd Avenue NE
  • Sunday, March 8, 3pm
    St. Anthony Civic Orchestra Concert. There will be a free St. Anthony Civic Orchestra Children and Family Concert, featuring vocal soloist Aaron Engelbreth as narrator. Directed by Carol Jensen. The program will include Strauss: "Feuerfest;" Jensen: "Meet The Orchestra;" Prokofiev: "Peter and the Wolf;" Aaron Copland: "I Bought Me a Cat;" and Mussorgsky/Ravel: "Pictures at an Exhibition." For more information, call 612-788-3516 or email
    St. Anthony Community Center
    3301 Silver Lake Road NE
  • Saturday, March 14, 2:30-4:30pm
    Sustainability Education Forum meeting. The topic for discussion will be Chris Martenson’s "’Accelerated’ Crash Course: The Interconnections of Economy, Energy, and Environment." For more information, visit The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are appreciated by contacting Clif Ware at
    St. Anthony Library
    2941 Pentagon Dr. NE


  • Thursday, March 5-Saturday, March 7, 7pm
    Thomas Edison High School Theater is performing "Twelfth Night, widely considered one of Shakespeare’s finest comedies, as its winter play. The whole family is invited. Tickets can be purchased at the door and are $6 for adults, $5 for ages 6-17, and free for children 5 and younger.
    Edison High School
    700 22nd Avenue NE, Minneapolis
  • Thursday, March 5, 6:30-8pm
    Block leader training and property crime prevention. The Minneapolis Police Department is hosting a Block Leader Training and Property Crime Prevention event to help residents throughout the city develop skills for effectively working with neighbors and securing their neighborhoods.
    Minneapolis Police Department, 2nd Precinct
    1911 Central Avenue NE, Minneapolis
  • Wednesday, March 11, 7pm
    Edison High School Choir Concert. The free concert is open to the public and is appropriate for all ages.
    Edison High School
    700 22nd Avenue NE, Minneapolis
  • Tuesday, March 17, 6:30pm
    Northeast and Edison bands play together at the Northeast Minneapolis Ban Festival. The Northeast Community Band and the Edison High School Band are having a joint concert. Each band will play a few selections separately, and then together play "Joy" by Frank Ticheli. The concert is free and open to the public. Donations are accepted.
    Edison High School Auditorium
    700 22nd Avenue NE, Minneapolis
  • Tuesdays through March 31, 1-3pm
    Indoor walking group for seniors. Northeast Senior Services is opening up the inside walking track at Bottineau Community Center. Weekly $1 donations are appreciated.
    Bottineau Park
    2000 2nd Street NE, Minneapolis
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:45pm (sign in at 5:15pm); and Saturdays, 9am (sign in at 8:15am)
    Free tax preparation help. East Side Neighborhood Services is offering free tax preparation assistance on a first-come, first-served basis. The service is available for individuals with incomes of $30,000 or less, families with incomes of $53,000 or less, and self-employed people with incomes of $53,000 or less. The clinic closes when capacity is reached. Please allow 2-4 hours for preparation. People who are 55 and older or who have a disability can schedule an appointment on Mondays, 2-5 pm, or Wednesdays, 5-8 pm, by calling 612-781-6011.
    East Side Neighborhood Services
    1700 Second Street NE, Minneapolis
  • Tuesdays through June
    MNSure Application Assistance by appointment only. East Side Neighborhood Services will offer assistance signing up for health coverage through MNSure. For more information or to make an appointment call Angela at 612-302-3145.
    East Side Neighborhood Services
    1700 Second Street NE, Minneapolis
  • It's Camp Bovey Registration Time. Registration for the 2015 overnight art camp and other summer camp sessions begins now. To register and for more information, visit
  • Saturday, April 4, 9-11am
    Egg Hunt at Audubon Park. Pre-registration is required to receive a treat bag and must register by March 27. Admission is $5 per child, ages 1-6. Visit for more information.
  • Saturday, April 4 - 10-11:30am
    Egg Hunt at Windom NE Park. Games, bounce house, and more.  Pre-registration required by March 27. Admission is free, ages 7-12. Visit for more information.


  • Saturday, March 14, 3-5pm
    Story Circle Stories with Rose McGee and Ann Fosco. The book includes the Lao story circles along with many other contributions on how stories are used creatively and in civic engagement.
    Homewood Gallery
    2400 Plymouth Avenue N, Minneapolis 
  • Saturday, March 14, 11am-3pm
    The University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) Summer Resource Fair. More than 20 organizations will showcase their summer programs and activities. Families can browse different options and plan their child’s summer. Representatives and volunteers from the organizations will be on hand with scholarship, registration and general information. The event, which is for youth of all ages, is free and will include live entertainment and refreshments. For more information, contact Hanna Mihalko at 612-626-8952.
    2001 Plymouth Avenue N, Minneapolis
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, now through spring, 3-5:30pm
    Plymouth Avenue Art Studio is offering after-school art classes for ages 6-12. Participants will have a moment to catch up on homework followed by self-directed, but guided art time. The cost is $10 per child per day. Students can participate one or two days a week and are invited to show their work in an art show in May. Registration is requested by calling Shirley Jones at 612-302-8680, but drop-ins are welcome.
    Plymouth Art Studio
    2404 Plymouth Avenue N, Minneapolis
  • MNSure Application Assistance at the Minneapolis Urban League. Contact Angela Davis at 612-302-3145 or
    2100 Plymouth Avenue N, Minneapolis

North Loop

  • Wednesday, March 4, 6:30pm
    Public Hearing. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is holding a public Hearing to take comment on the St. Anthony Falls Regional Park Master Plan.
    MPBR Board Room
    2117 West River Road, Minneapolis

Golden Valley

  • Thursday, March 5, 6:00-8:30pm
    Bottineau Station Area Planning Committee Meeting
    Golden Valley Council Conference Room
    7800 Golden Valley Road
  • Thursday, March 19, 7pm
    Caring Youth Recognition. The annual Caring Youth Recognition, sponsored by the cities of Golden Valley, Hopkins, and Minnetonka, and the Hopkins and Minnetonka School Districts, celebrates the contributions of young people who positively affect our communities and who have given outstanding service to others.
    Minnetonka Community Center
    14600 Minnetonka Boulevard

Medicine Lake


  • March 2-7, 5:30-9pm
    Snow White. Prairie Fire Theatre, a professional touring company, brings theater to Plymouth and you can join in. Prairie Fire will lead a youth production of "Snow White." Everything is provided to bring the classic story to life – sets, props, costumes, makeup and direction. The only thing needed is actors ages 8-14. All who register for the course will receive a part (ranging from speaking to chorus roles). Participants are required to attend the entire audition process, all scheduled rehearsals and performances. Some parts will not rehearse after auditions.
    Plymouth Creek Center
    14800 34th Avenue N
  • Tuesday, March 3, 11am-noon
    Walk with a Doc. Each month, a different doctor will lead a 45-minute walk that is open to all Plymouth community members. All ages and fitness levels are encouraged to spend time with their neighbors, talk to an Abbott Northwestern WestHealth doctor and take a step toward better health. Participants will receive a T-shirt and pedometer. No registration is required.
    Plymouth Creek Center Fieldhouse
    14800 34th Avenue, Plymouth
  • Sunday, March 8, 1-4pm
    Healthy Living Fair. Take charge of your family's health by sampling a variety of health screenings, educational sessions, active samplers, teen component, giveaways and prizes, health screenings, vendor booths and more! This event is free to the public, no registration is required.
    Plymouth Creek Center
    14800 34th Avenue N
  • Saturday, March 14, 9am-noon
    City Sampler. Residents can offer ideas, share concerns and provide feedback to the City Council in an informal setting while enjoying free coffee and light refreshments. Register to win door prizes, purchase low-cost bike helmets ($13-23), order trees and shrubs and meet city staff.
  • Sunday, March 22, 2pm
    Plymouth Reads Kickoff Event. Plymouth Reads will host a series of events based around its 2015 reading selection. Events will include a kickoff March 22, a book discussion April 11 and a literary night April 19. This year's book selection is "Vacationland" by Minnesota author Sarah Stonich. To kickoff Plymouth Reads, artist Harry Pulver, Jr. will speak about his process of creating art for Plymouth Reads. Talented Wayzata High School senior Andrew Stern will also entertain with a stand-up comedy performance about adventures in Minnesota's vacationland. Visit for more information.
    Plymouth Library
    15700 36th Avenue N
  • Saturday, March 28, 11am-2pm
    Spring Wedding Expo. Vendor exhibits include florists, caterers, bakeries, photographers, party rentals and more to inspire the soon-to-be-married. Tickets are $2 per person if paid in advance and $4 per person at the door. Advance ticket sales are available at the Plymouth Creek Center or by calling 763-509-5280.
    Plymouth Creek Center
    14800 34th Avenue N 

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