April 2015 News and Events from Commissioner Linda Higgins

Commissioner Linda Higgins, Hennepin County, MN

APRIL 2015



Hennepin County is a great place to work!

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Browse current library openings.


First half property taxes are due May 15, 2015.

Visit our website for more information.


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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Spring is here!

This issue highlights some of the great work being done by Hennepin County. Also, be sure to check out all of the upcoming events this month (including Easter egg hunts), and think about subscribing to other interesting topics offered by Hennepin County.


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Top stories

Hennepin Health program featured in N.Y. Times for innovative work

Hennepin Health uses innovation to address each member’s medical, behavioral health and social needs. This health care delivery program, based in Hennepin County, Minnesota, serves county residents, ages 18 to 64, who do not have dependent children and whose earnings are at or less than 133% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The program has grown with the recent Medicaid expansion and now serves more than 9,000 clients. To read the full New York Times story, continue reading here.

“In Hennepin County, medical costs have fallen on average by 11 percent per year since 2012 when the pilot program began…”

SW LRT station design concept

Community open houses for Southwest LRT station design

Want to have a say about how the Southwest Light Rail (LRT) stations are designed? Come to a community open house to see LRT station architecture concepts and learn about what goes into designing a light rail station. Metropolitan Council project staff will be on hand to receive public input and answer questions.

The Southwest LRT Project has developed several different station architecture concepts to fit into different settings. You can also hear a brief presentation on station design at the beginning of each open house.

If you can’t come in person, meeting materials and a comment form will be available online at swlrt.org.

Thursday, April 2, 2015, 5:30 to 7:30 PM

Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 7:30 to 9:30 AM

Dunwoody College of Technology, 818 Dunwoody Blvd., Minneapolis Map: goo.gl/maps/Vhs71

More information and other open houses are online at swlrt.org.

HCMC Birth Center

HCMC recognized as a baby-friendly designated birth facility

After completing a comprehensive on-site survey, Baby-Friendly USA, Inc. recently announced that Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) has been designated as a baby-friendly hospital.

“We are very excited about this prestigious award,” said Anna Mueller, Nurse Manager for Breastfeeding Services. “Making sure moms and babies get off to a great start is one of our priorities at The Birth Center, and being recognized as a Baby-Friendly hospital confirms our commitment to providing excellent Family-Centered care.” Continue reading →

tax forfeit property sold at auction

Upcoming tax forfeited property auction May 1

Hennepin County will conduct an auction of tax forfeited land Friday, May 1, 2015, with registration at 8:15 and bidding at 9 am in the A Level Auditorium of the Government Center, 300 S. 6th St., Minneapolis. Tax forfeited land is the result of unpaid taxes. There are several steps the property has to go through legally, first allowing the owner the benefit of gaining their property back, but ultimately, if taxes go unpaid, a property can be sold at auction.

For more information about the auction process, visit hennepin.us/residents/property/tax-forfeited-land (see "Auctions") or call 612-348-3734. Properties are sold “as is.” There are new conditions concerning prohibited purchasers/bidders, and registration and earnest money are necessary to bid. You may also subscribe to automatically receive information regarding future land auctions.

Earlier this year, Commissioner Higgins convened a group including residents and the City of Minneapolis in January to discuss how to best get people back in homes that have sometimes been vacant for years. Star Tribune writer Eric Roper recently did a story about vacant properties in Minneapolis, the great work done by some rehabbers, and efforts by Minneapolis and Hennepin County (see startribune.com/local/minneapolis/296966931.html). Stay tuned for more information as staff evaluates options.

Hennepin adoption day

County to offer paid parental leave 

The county board approved a policy to offer paid parental leave to new parents. The county policy will be implemented May 1, 2015, and provides up to three weeks (120 hours) of 100 percent paid parental leave to eligible parents after the birth or adoption of a child. The policy will help attract and retain employees and give parents additional flexibility and time to bond with their new children, adjust to their new family situations, and balance their professional obligations.

According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, only 12 percent of workers in the United States had access to paid family leave through their employers in 2014. Over the past several years, Hennepin County has experienced an increased number of retirements. Analysis of the new hire demographic data shows 65 percent of all newly hired employees fall between the ages of 20 and 39.


Breaking Bread North Minneapolis

Breaking Bread Café opening April 29

What do you get when you cross a youth training and employment program with global comfort foods in a fast-casual concept offering full-service catering as well? Breaking Bread Café is a concept of Appetite for Change, a North Minneapolis community-based organization founded by Michelle Horovitz, Latasha Powell and Princess Titus. Lachelle Cunningham will be the executive chef.

The grand opening ceremony will be at 10 am on April 29 and will feature Andrew Zimmern as the keynote speaker. Located at the 1200 West Broadway building in Minneapolis on the west end of the building next to Kindred Kitchen, the Breaking Bread Café will be open for breakfast and lunch. More information is at appetiteforchangemn.org/breaking-bread.

City of Minneapolis begins street sweeping April 13

Street sweeping keeps leaves and debris from clogging storm drains and polluting lakes and rivers. The City of Minneapolis will start its Spring street sweeping April 14 (with signs posted April 13). minneapolismn.gov/publicworks/ should be updated soon with anticipated neighborhood dates, a handy map, and information in several languages.

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Board news

County board actions for March 3

Improving services for children and youth

The Hennepin County Board approved a proposal to allocate more than $1.3 million to improve outcomes for children in Hennepin County. The measure reflects initial recommendations from the Children’s and Youth Services Comprehensive Review, which examined outcomes for children in foster care and the child protection program. The funding will create three new areas of focus. For more information, see here.

The Infant Court Model ($288,000)
Specialists will work with parents of young children who are in the child protection system because of allegations of abuse and neglect. Similar programs have been deployed in Miami, New Orleans, Santa Fe and Des Moines

Foster Care Child Care ($750,000)
Many current and prospective foster parents need to work to support their families. This increase in funding will support high quality child care for all children ages 0-5 in the foster care system.

Community Specialists ($320,000)
Five community specialists will work with the schools of children in the foster care system, to ensure that children are achieving their education goals.

Board appoints members to citizen advisory boards

The board appointed Anthony Ware of Minneapolis and Michael Mensah of Minneapolis to the County Extension Committee (Minnesota Extension Service).

Thomas Brooks of Maple Grove was appointed to the Human Resources Board.

Cassandra Johnson of St. Louis Park, Barbara Fenton of Minneapolis, and Ann Adja of Maple Grove were appointed to the Library Board.

New LED lights at Government Center over Sixth Street

Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis replaced the light fixtures over Sixth Street with LED lights at the Government Center. The new lights will decrease annual energy costs by $3,000 a year and annual maintenance costs by $2,500 for a total of $5,500 in annual cost savings. The new LED fixtures provide a better quality of light, are more energy efficient, require less maintenance and enhance security. In 2014, the county spent $500,000 on lighting projects for county facilities that will provide an estimated annual savings of $50,000 and estimated rebates of $36,000.

County board actions for March 17

Board moves to buy land to improve public safety

The county board approved a $1.8 million land purchase in Crystal  to maintain public safety standards that would be negatively impacted by a proposed rerouting of freight trains through Crystal, Robbinsdale, Golden Valley, and Minneapolis. The board’s purchase reflects the significant public safety concerns involved with the railroads’ proposal, including the simultaneous and disruptive closure of frequent grade crossings that will sever the east-west connection for police, fire and rescue teams attempting to help those in need. The purchase of 5170 West Broadway is an effort to prevent the rail connection that would bring hazardous traffic through dense residential communities that have not previously been exposed to such traffic.

County awards grants to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species 

The county awarded six grants for projects that prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species in Hennepin County. The projects will increase education, improve equipment, conduct research, and expand inspections. The grantees will be required to collect data and report on the results of the projects, such as number of people reached and the number of boats inspected or decontaminated. The county will retain $3,423 of this program’s money to purchase a hot water pressure washer for use by the Sheriff’s Water Patrol to decontaminate its boats and equipment before moving from lake to lake.

April 21 public hearing on housing programs

There will be a public hearing on Tuesday, April 21 at 1:30 p.m. about the 2015 -2019 Hennepin County Consortium Five Year Consolidated Plan and the 2015 Hennepin County Consortium Annual Action Plan. These are plans required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to receive HUD funds for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program, and the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program.

The consortium includes the HUD entitlement jurisdictions of Hennepin County and the cities of Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka and Plymouth. The 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan will include prioritized goals in specific housing and community development categories as required by HUD.

Public comment will be solicited on the draft 2015-2019 Hennepin County Consortium Five Year Plan and the draft 2015 Hennepin County Consortium Action Plan for 30 days beginning April 1, 2015. For more information visit the county’s housing plans webpage.

Board appoints members to Workforce Investment Board

The board appointed six members to serve on the Workforce Investment Board: Kendra Grunig to serve as a representative in the area of rehabilitation services; Mike Lang to serve as a representative of Wagner-Peyser Services; Tony Scallon, Thomas Adams and Christine Dressel to serve as representatives of the business community; and Erik Hansen to serve as a representative from community based organization category.

County receives equipment grant from Toro Company

Hennepin County Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation has received a grant of equipment valued at nearly $11,000 from the Toro Company for the Sentencing to Service program. Sentencing to Service (STS) is a community work service program where offenders may be court ordered as a sentencing sanction, as a condition of pretrial diversion, or in lieu of paying traffic fines. The program offers offenders an opportunity to learn landscaping and other marketable skills.

Youth sports equipment grants awarded

The board approved $124,956 for 25 small equipment grants for the Hennepin Youth Sports Program. The funding runs from May 1, 2015, through April 30, 2016. For more information, visit hennepin.us/your-government/projects-initiatives/henn-youth-sports. Grant recipients included:

  • Independent School District ISD 281 $8,982 for six barbell racks, floor pad and storage for Armstrong High School
  • Minneapolis Public Schools $8,000 for track and field hurdles for Edison High School; $3,800 for four basketball backboards and goals for North High School; $8,000 for track and field hurdles at Southwest High School; $2,500 for softball pitching machine, equipment bag and carts at South High School; $2,300 for two sets of portable soccer goals at South High School; $2,750 for a basketball shooting machine at  Roosevelt High School
  • Minneapolis Parks and Rec $2,250 for life vests, kickboards, noodles, yoga mats and blocks for Webber Pool and Creekview Park; $5,000 for utility vehicle for synthetic turf fields at Fairview and North Commons Parks; $7,000 for high bar and gymnastics mats at Lynnhurst Park; $4,000 for volleyball net system at Kenwood Park
  • Three Rivers Park District $5,190 for traveling fishing equipment for use at various sites (see more).

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  • Saturday, April 4, 9am
    Egg hunt at Waite Park Church 
    Waite Park Wesleyan Church will have an Easter egg hunt. The event will include candy, refreshments and door prizes. For more information, call 612-781-7434.
    Waite Park Wesleyan Church
    1510 33rd Ave. NE, Minneapolis
  • Saturday, April 4, 11am
    Egg hunt at Mill City Church. Egg hunts by age will be held with the first starting at 11:15am. The event will include a barbeque lunch, games, face painting and other family fun. For details visit www.millcitychurch.com.
    Mill City Church
    1201 University Ave NE, Minneapolis
  • Sunday, April 12, 4pm
    Holland Neighborhood's 11th Annual Hotdish Revolution 
    Doors open at 4pm for entries, judging: 4:30-5pm, dining: 5pm. Entries accepted only until 4:30pm. Admission: $5-if entering a hotdish or jello; $10 without a dish; $5 for kids 5-12, admission is free for kids under 5. Hotdish categories are: spicy, vegetarian, tater tot excellence, I made it (kids), darn good (beef, pork, other), fins and feathers.
    St. Maron's Cedars Hall
    602 University Avenue NE, Minneapolis
  • April 10, 17, 18, 24, and 25, 7:30pm and April 11, 19, and 26, 2 p.m.
    Edison to host Morris Parks “Willie Wonka.” All seats are $15 in advance or online at morris-parkplayers.org. At-the-door tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. Morris Park Players is a nonprofit, equal opportunity, community theatre group. Info: 612-724-8373.
    Edison High School
    700 22nd Avenue NE, Minneapolis
  • Saturday, April 25, 9:30am-noon
    Earth Day Clean Up Events 
    No pre-registration is required! Arrive at any site between 9:30am-noon and check in at the registration table. A site coordinator will give you gloves and bags, and instruct you where to go and where to leave trash. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own work gloves, though thin cotton gloves will be available for volunteers who need them. Find your park on the full list of all Earth Day Cleanup sites at minneapolisparks.org.
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:45pm (sign-in at 5:15 p.m.), and Saturdays at 9 a.m. (sign in at 8:15 a.m.) 
    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 p.m., or Wednesdays, 5-8 p.m., 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 esns.org/CampBoveyRegistration.


  • April 6-May 14
    All Together Now, Sing!
    The Capri Theater is offering Capri Glee, a new vocal music program for people of all ages. The program includes four distinct musical experiences for elementary students, high school students, and adults. Capri Glee begins with one six-week session, April 6-May 14, and concludes with a community musical theater production in the summer of 2015. All programs are free, open to the public, and will be held at the theater. Registration forms are available online at thecapritheater.org or by calling 612-643-2024.
    Capri Theater
    2027 West Broadway, Minneapolis
  • Monday, April 6, 10am
    Little Free Library installation. Books Around the Block, a Minneapolis Public Schools literacy program, and Rotary North Minneapolis are hosting this event. Books Around the Block is a box full of books where anyone can stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share. The program aims to improve literacy levels and school readiness by providing free access to and sharing books 24/7. For more information, visit littlefreelibrary.org.
    Shiloh Temple Church
    1201 West Broadway, Minneapolis
  • Tuesday, April 7, 5:30-8pm
    The University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center is hosting, “Race, Place and the Geography of Community Safety: A Critical Conversation with Bryan Stevenson,” with dinner and seating 5:30-6 p.m. and the program, 6-8 p.m. Stevenson will discuss the role geography plays in the health and safety of individuals in workplace, school and residential communities. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required at http://uroc-bryan-stevenson.eventbrite.com.
    Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center (UROC)
    2001 Plymouth Avenue N, Minneapolis
  • Saturday, April 25, 9:30-noon
    Shingle Creek Clean-up. Gloves and bags are provided. Light lunch will be served from 11:30am-noon. Door prizes and fun for everyone. For more information, email the Shingle Creek Neighborhood Association at mpls.scna@gmail.com.

North Loop

  • Saturday, April 4, 9:30am
    North Loop Candy Grab. Join us for an egg hunt, free hot chocolate, and cookie decorating. Bring friends and meet new friends.
    North Loop Playground
    4th Avenue N and West River Road, Minneapolis
  • Saturday, April 4, 10am-8pm
    Spring Fashion Crawl. Free drinks, raffles and sales, shopping spree giveaway, free parking. This event will be held in the lot at the corner of 2nd Avenue N and Washington Avenue N.
  • Saturday, April 25
    North Loop Earth Day Clean Up. Plan your cleaning party with your building, office, friends, on your own, or join one of the cleaning parties. Bags and gloves will be provided by the City of Minneapolis and will be available to pick up anytime the week prior to the event at Corner Coffee (514 North 3rd Street). If you would like others to join you at your cleaning event, send event details to Scott Woeller at Scott@CornerChurch.tv by April 15.

Bryn Mawr

  • Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3
    The Festival of Sales is just around the corner. Register today. For more information, visit www.bmna.org.

Golden Valley

  • Saturday, April 11, 7:45am
    Run the Valley - 5K Race/Walk, 10K Race.
    For more information and to register, visit www.goldenvalleymn.gov.
  • Saturday, April 18, 10-11:30am
    The Human Rights Commissions of Crystal, New Hope, Golden Valley, and Robbinsdale will host a program about the history of genocide and what can be done on a local level to help prevent future atrocities. The free event is part of Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month and will feature Dr. Ellen J. Kennedy, executive director of World Without Genocide. For more information, visit goldenvalleymn.gov.
    Crystal Community Center
    4800 Douglas Drive N, Crystal
  • Thursday, April 23, 6-8:30pm
    Bottineau Station Area Planning Comittee Meeting
    Golden Valley Council Conference Room
    7800 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley
  • Monday, April 27-Friday, May 1, 8am-4pm
    Annual Spring Bush Pick-up. Golden Valley's recycling program includes a three-week curbside brush pick-up in May and a three-weekend leaf drop-off program in the fall, as long as funds are available. The annual brush pick-up gives homeowners the opportunity to place tree limbs and brush at their curbs for collection and disposal.

Medicine Lake


  • Wednesday, April 1, 3pm (weather permitting)
    The Plymouth Yard Waste Drop-Off Site will open for the season. 
    The site will be open Wednesdays through Sundays throughout the season. The site is closed Mondays and Tuesdays and for major holidays, including Easter, Independence Day, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. The site will also be closed until 3 p.m. Saturday, May 2 for the annual drop-off day. For more information and hours of operation, visit plymouthmn.gov.
  • Friday, April 10-6-9pm and Saturday, April 11, 9am-1pm
    Plymouth Home Expo. Gather up home improvement and landscaping ideas for upcoming projects. The event is frree. The following activities will be held at the event: Environmental Activities, Plant Sale, MN Marketplace, Home Improvement and Landscaping + Gardening 
    Plymouth Creek Center Fieldhouse
    14800 34th Avenue N, Plymouth

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