June 2016 News and Events from Commissioner Linda Higgins

Commissioner Linda Higgins, Hennepin County, MN

JUNE 2016



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Linda Higgins
Commissioner, District 2

Tina Sanz
Principal Aide

Roshonda Royston
Administrative Secretary

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

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This Memorial Day, I would like to honor the soldiers, sailors, air force, coast guard, and marines who lost their lives during American wars. If you are in Golden Valley this weekend, you'll see around 225 US flags lining Golden Valley Road between Highway 100 and Winnetka.

Victory Neighborhood is hosting a memorial concert with patriotic music performed by the Robbinsdale City Band at the Victory Memorial Flagpole (Victory Memorial Drive and 45th Ave N, map), this Thursday, May 26, at 7 p.m. (take a chair or blanket).

Be sure to check out "Go Outside" at the Government Center South Plaza and Target Field Station, and all the great upcoming events this month. I encourage you to also think about subscribing to other interesting topics offered by Hennepin County.

Have a great Memorial Day!

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Memorial Day

Top stories

$2.3 million county investment supports transit-oriented development

The board for Hennepin County’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority approved $2,325,000 in funding for six transit-oriented development (TOD) projects on May 3. These projects include a mix of infrastructure, housing, retail, services, workplaces and public plazas, with improvements to transit corridors or adjacent to planned light rail (LRT) or high-frequency bus service.

The county projects that its $2.325 million investment will have leveraged more than $105 million in total private and public investment. It will also have played a role in developing 452 units of housing and creating or retaining 153 jobs. 

“The county’s funding for TOD is relatively modest compared with the investment that goes into building a light rail transit line. But it has a huge impact in the amount of private-sector investment that it leverages,” said Commissioner Linda Higgins, Chair of the Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

First approved by the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HCHRA) Board in 2003, the county’s TOD program is in its 14th year of reviewing and funding proposals. The board has approved approximately $29 million for more than 100 TOD projects. For a list of projects, see govdelivery.com.


TOD spotlight: Great River Landing, 5th Street near Target Field Station, North Loop Minneapolis, $375,000
This development features approximately 72 units of affordable housing targeting individuals who are chronically unemployed, homeless, or recently incarcerated. Program funds will reduce the project gap by funding acquisition, utilities, lighting, bicycle infrastructure, site work, landscaping, sidewalks/trail, and site furnishings. Total project cost: $17.1 million.

Foster program

Foster care by the numbers

During the month of May, Hennepin County thanks the nearly 500 foster parents the county licenses, and working to build awareness of the acute need for additional foster families (see video here).

Foster families provide a short-term haven for children who cannot safely live at home because of abuse or neglect. The ultimate goal is to preserve children’s well-being, but the hope is to support children and their parents as they work toward reunification. During that process, foster families play a vital role in showing children and birth parents a healthier way to live together.

"We have a great capacity to love and give of ourselves," said Warren Carey, a pastor at Tree of Life Church in Northeast Minneapolis. "There are folks out there who understand parenting and children and they probably are experienced at it and they have a lot to give and a lot to offer."

Foster care by the numbers

As of last quarter, 1,492 Hennepin County children were living with foster families.

  • 54% of children were boys; 46% were girls
  • 20% of children in foster care were less than a year old
  • 33% were ages 6 to 12
  • 10% of children in foster care in 2015 were adopted by their foster parents, relatives or others

"A loving adult and a safe home are an enormous gift to a young person who likely had a difficult start in life," said Commissioner Marion Greene. "We thank foster parents for all they do to make our community a better place, and we stress the need for more arms to be opened to children.”

Take the first step

For information about becoming a foster parent, visit www.hennepin.us/fostercare.

The first step toward becoming a foster parent is to attend an information session. The next regular session is Monday, June 13, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Hennepin County Library – Ridgedale, 12601 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka.


2015 Hennepin County Library Juneteenth celebration
photo via Flickr.

Celebrate Juneteenth

What is Juneteenth? In the words of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.:

“Of all Emancipation Day observances, Juneteenth falls closest to the summer solstice…the longest day of the year, when the sun, at its zenith, defies the darkness in every state, including those once shadowed by slavery. By choosing to celebrate the last place in the South that freedom touched — reflecting the mystical glow of history and lore, memory and myth, as Ralph Ellison evoked in his posthumous novel, Juneteenth — we remember the shining promise of emancipation, along with the bloody path America took by delaying it and deferring fulfillment of those simple, unanticipating words in Gen. Granger’s original order No. 3: that “This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves.”  

This year, Twin Cities Juneteenth celebrates its 30th annual community festival on Saturday, June 18, with a breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and festival between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The celebration will include activities for families and youth, a commemoration of Prince, music, food and other entertainment. For more information and other activities for the celebration, visit juneteenthminnesota.org. North Mississippi Regional Park, 5114 North Mississippi Drive, Minneapolis.

You can also celebrate this important moment in African-American history with one of these library events:

Go Outside

Go Outside with Hennepin

The Go Outside with Hennepin County program begins Wednesday, June 1 on the Government Center South Plaza lawn.

Tuesdays will feature noontime outdoor piano performances.

Wednesday’s visitors can find lawn games, a “Zen garden” for meditating, a Little Free Library and a featured food truck every week.

On Thursdays the farmers’ market will be open all day

Target Field Station events will range from yoga to movies

We invite Hennepin County employees and other downtown workers and visitors to go outside on your lunch break and have some fun in the sun with Hennepin County! Events will be held Tuesday to Thursday every week until the end of August. See community calendar.


Join us for the Health and Safety Fair June 7

Discover great ways to improve your health, stay safe, and help your loved ones do the same. More than 25 exhibitors will share a wealth of resources, demonstrations and activities at this year’s Health and Safety Fair. The event brings together CenterPoint Energy, NiceRide, Minnesota Safety Council, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department, Three Rivers Park District, Minnesota Department of Health and many other organizations and is hosted by Hennepin County’s Workplace Safety and HealthWorks.

Health and Safety Fair
Tuesday June 7, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Hennepin County Government Center, 300 S. Sixth St., skyway level, Minneapolis

1800 Chicago

County services to expand for people in crisis

Hennepin County will expand assistance for people experiencing acute alcohol intoxication or mental health crises. The county board voted Tuesday to approve a renovation project at the county-owned 1800 Chicago Avenue, which already houses chemical health services space.

Two programs in one location

The withdrawal management program will expand the current 50-bed detox space to 65 beds and create two levels of care. The programs will offer both clinically managed and medically monitored withdrawal care. Average stays for more than one-third of clients is expected to decrease from two days to one. The total remodeled space will include 5,900 square feet for detox.

The mental health crisis program will offer a 16-bed residential stabilization unit. This program will provide an alternative to expensive hospital placements and will redirect low-level offenders who need mental health care away from jail. The remodeled space will measure 8,300 square feet on the facility’s second floor.

More opportunities for innovation

“These efforts are a significant step forward and present opportunities for further innovation,” said Leah Kaiser, area manager for Adult Behavioral Health. The total cost of the renovation is $4 million. Additional funding comes from the 2015-2019 Capital Improvement Program for the 1800 Chicago Withdrawal Management and Mental Health Crisis Stabilization Project. Construction is expected to be completed by September 2017. 


Happy Pride!

Golden Valley to host first suburban Pride festival

The first Golden Valley Pride Festival will be held on Sunday, June 12, from noon to 4 pm at Brookview Park (200 Brookview Parkway N., Golden Valley). You can connect with the event on Facebook for the latest event information and to RSVP. Further information at goldenvalleypride.com.

Twin Cities Pride

Twin Cities Pride brings the greater GLBT community together to commemorate diverse heritage, foster inclusion, educate and create awareness of issues, and celebrate achievements in equality. Events are open and inviting to everyone in the community, providing a safe environment in which individuals feel free to celebrate their relationships. Learn more and find an event calendar at tcpride.org.

Flower Planting Day in Plymouth

Plymouth seeks volunteers for flower planting day

Plymouth is seeking volunteers for the annual Flower Planting Day 9 am to noon Saturday, June 4. The annual spring event helps add vibrancy and color to Plymouth’s gardens and parks.

Volunteers do not need previous gardening experience.

To participate, call Volunteer Coordinator Jackie Maas at 763-509-5230 or email volunteer@plymouthmn.gov.

Classes at Hennepin

Community info sessions for seniors and people with disabilities

The Community Informational Sessions for Seniors and People with Disabilities booklet has been updated with new dates, times and locations. These sessions are free and open to the public.

Community Informational Sessions are offered as a continuing effort to keep families, clients and providers informed about service options and application processes. Please visit services for people with disabilities for more information.

career connections

Hennepin County Career Connections

The National Association of Counties (NACo) wrote about Hennepin’s Career Pathways program as an example of innovation in government.

See the full story at Career pathways program knocks down barriers to county jobs

At your library: testing resources in print and online

Hennepin County libraries offer study resources in print and online for GED, SAT, ACT, TOEFL, military and occupational exams. Resources are available with your library card.

Find test books and study guides at your library for a variety of subjects. Visit the library’s page for examples of study guides in print:

You can also use these resources:

Adult Learning Center:  Live coaching and practice exams for tests including the U.S. citizenship exam and the GED. Build academic skills, learn Microsoft programs, improve your résumé, and more.

LearningExpress Library: Resources for basic computer and academic skill building, job preparation and career advancement. Includes interactive tutorials, online books and test preparation tools for GED, SAT, ACT, TOEFL, and military and occupational exams.

If you have questions, see Ask Us. Whether you’re online, on the phone or in a library, we are here to help.

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Board news

May 10

Medical examiner reappointed

The board voted to reappoint Dr. Andrew Baker to another four-year term. The Medical Examiner is a licensed physician, trained in the specialty of forensic pathology. Baker leads the Medical Examiner’s office, which investigates unexpected deaths that take place in Hennepin County. The Medical Examiner is an independent entity, and does not work for the County Attorney or any law enforcement agency. The information gathered during these investigations, including autopsies, can be critical in civil or criminal court cases and may help to identify trends in health and illness. Learn more about the medical examiner's reappointment.

Transit-oriented development projects approved

The board for Hennepin County’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority approved $2,325,000 in funding for six transit-oriented development (TOD) projects (see story above).

Pledge reduces stigma during Mental Health Awareness Month

The board took the Make It OK pledge for Mental Health Awareness Month. The board acknowledged the importance of mental well-being for people of all ages, races, social classes and walks of life. The Make It OK pledge is a promise to learn more about mental health, to talk about mental illness to stop the stigma and to encourage others to take the pledge online. You can find more information about the pledge at makeitok.org.

Police week honors those in law enforcement

The board approved a resolution to establish Police Week, May 15-21, 2016, in honor of the 2,200 police and peace officers who serve residents of Hennepin County. Read the Police Week resolution.

May 24

Strategic plan will guide natural resources work

The board adopted the Hennepin County Natural Resources Strategic Plan, which is valid through 2020. The plan will guide the county and its partners in responding to natural resource issues and developing policies and programs that improve, protect and preserve our natural resources. The primary need for the plan is to provide clear direction to guide natural resources work in the county and support applications for natural resources funding. The county has delivered conservation services for more than a decade and is currently the only county in Minnesota with the duties and authorities of a soil and water conservation district. Learn more about the Natural Resources Strategic Plan. 

Renovation makes space for crisis mental and chemical health programs

The Hennepin County Board approved a plan to expand mental and chemical health programming at its facility at 1800 Chicago Avenue (see story above).

State grant will fund adult mental health services

The board accepted an $11.4 million grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services to provide services under the Hennepin County Adult Mental Health Initiative. The 2016 Adult Mental Health Grant includes funding in four categories:

  • $3,633,586 for Community Support Services programs, which provide drop-in case management and related services to help people live on their own in the community.
  • $506,300 for the Project for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness program, which provides support services to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and have a serious mental illness.
  • $6,499,267 for Adult Mental Health Initiative programs – an array of case management, crisis, residential, and non-residential services.
  • $651,000 for the Transition to Community grant, to assist residents of Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center and the Minnesota Security Hospital with the transition to a community setting.

There was an amendment to the agreement, which channels $122,538 in additional funding:

  • $20,000 for the Anti-Stigma and Promotion of Recovery Project
  • $35,000 for a supportive housing coordinator
  • $25,000 for a needs assessment for culturally responsive services for the African population
  • $42,538 to Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota to provide Lao Access to Mental Health Services

Learn more about the grant and the initiatives it will fund.

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St. Anthony

  • Thursdays, June 23 through August 11, 7pm
    Summer Concert Series.
    Salo Park Amphitheater
    39th Avenue NE, between Silver Lake Road and Stinson Boulevard


  • Tuesday, May 31, 9:30am
    Employment Orientation meeting for Seniors. For low-income Hennepin County seniors (55 and older) who are interested in paid on-the-job training in a variety of community based settings. Types of positions include teacher aide/day care assistants, house keeper aide, adult day care worker, meal servers, and office aide workers. For more information, visit esns.org or call Macey at 612-787-4090.
  • Friday, June 3, at dusk and Saturday, June 4, 10am-4pm
    Johnstock. Arts, crafts, music, raffle and magic show. 
    Johnson Street Merchants
    28th Avenue NE and Johnson Street NE, Minneapolis

  • Saturday, June 4, 10am-2pm
    Book sale.
    Pierre Bottineau Library
    55 Broadway Street NE, Minneapolis
  • Saturday, June 11, 9am-5:30pm
    Homebuyer workshop. Participants will receive a homestretch certificate which creates eligibility for numerous down payment and first-time homebuyer assistance funds and programs. $40. Limited scholarships available to those who qualify. For more information or to register, call 612-256-2567, or visit umojacdc.org.
  • June 13 through July 22, noon-4pm.
    Summer sports-arts camp. $200. For students in grades K-5. For more information, contact Andrew at 612-668-2108 or andrew.gramm@mpls.k12.mn.us.
  • Friday, June 17, noon-8pm, Saturday, June 18, 11am-8pm and Sunday, June 19, 11am- 5pm
    Stone Arch Bridge Festival. Free art and music festival, car show, beer sampler and family entertainment. For more information, visit stonearchbridgefestival.com.

    • Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 18, 8am-5pm
      NEighbors garage sale weekend. $10. $8 if an Eastside Food Co-op member. For more information and to register, visit mynortheaster.com.
    • Tuesday, June 21, 6:30-9pm
      87th Annual Celebrate Northeast Parade on Central Avenue between 27th and 18th Avenues NE. For more information, visit minneapolischamber.org.
    • Saturday, June 25, 4-7pm
      Beltrami Art Festival. Free. Ice cream, popcorn, games, art and music. For more information, call 612-229-8480, or visit discoverbeltrami.org.
      Beltrami Park
      1111 Summer Street NE, Minneapolis
    • It's Camp Bovey Registration Time. Registration for the 2016 overnight art camp and other summer camp sessions begins now. To register and for more information, visit esns.org.
    • Summer Day Camps. Low cost, fees based on family size income and the number of children registered. For more information and to register, visit gracenempls.org.
    • For Northeast Minneapolis Farmers Markets dates, times and locations, visit northeastmarket.org.


    • Saturday, June 4, 9am 
      22nd annual Victory Garage Sales. Get map at victoryneighborhood.org.
    • Thursday, June 9, 6-8pm
      Live on the Drive featuring Rio Nido. For more information, visit liveonthedrive.org.
      Victory Memorial Parkway
      34th Avenue N and Victory Memorial Parkway, Minneapolis
    • Wednesday, June 15, 9:30am-8pm
      Hopwell Music celebrates Children's Day at Webber Park. Various performances and activities. For more information, visit hopewellmusic.com.
      Webber Park
      4400 Dupont Avenue N, Minneapolis
    • June 17 through October 7, 3-7pm
      West Broadway Farmers Market
      1000 West Broadway Avenue N, Minneapolis 
    • Wednesday, June 22, 7pm
      Victory Neighborhood Ice Cream Social
      Victory Park
      44th Avenue N at Thomas Avenue N, Minneapolis

    North Loop

    • Thursday, May 26, 5-8pm
      Date Night. Explore North Loop. Enjoy horse and carriage rides to your shopping and dining destinations, along with special events, amusements and discounts. For more information and a list of stores, visit northloop.org.
    • Friday, May 27, 11:30am
      Food Truck Fridays. Join us every Friday this summer for great food and beverages provided by some of the best trucks in the Twin Cities.
      PowerObjects Headquarters
      718 Washington Avenue N, Minneapolis
    • Saturday, June 4, 10-11am
      Washington Avenue Cleaning Party. Meet at Hennepin and Washington to clean down to Plymouth Avenue. Bags, gloves and coffee provided. 
    • Tuesday, June 7, 4-6pm
      Grand Opening. Celebrate the historic Cameron building. Tour and ribbon cutting ceremony starts at 5:30pm.
      Cameron Building
      756 North 4th Street, Minneapolis
    • Wednesday, June 8, 5:30-8pm
      Summer Social with Jacob Frey. Catch up with the Minneapolis Councilmember.
      Mill and Main building community room
      401 SE Main Street, Minneapolis
    • Monday, June 13, 6am
      Explore the North Loop by bike. Board members will guide you through the neighborhood. All are welcome. Meet at Target Field Amphitheater.

      Bryn Mawr

      • Friday, May 27 and Saturday, May 28, 7-9pm
        The Wiz. $5.
        Anwatin Middle School
        256 Upton Avenue S, Minneapolis

      Golden Valley

      • Saturday, June 4, 9am-noon
        Police Bike Along. Officers will guide you through the local trail system with a few detours to show points of interest.
        Golden Valley Police Department
        7800 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley
      • Mondays, June 6 through August 9
        Concert in the Park. Free. For schedule, visit goldenvalleymn.gov.
      • Wednesday, June 15, 6-8pm
        Public Service Open House. Talk with police officers and firemen.
        Public Safety Building and Firehouses
        7700 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley 
      • Saturday, June 18, 5pm-midnight
        Street dance. Celebrate the community with music and entertainment.
        Chester Bird American Legion
        200 N Lilac Drive, Golden Valley
      • Sundays, starting June 19, 9am-1pm
        Farmers' Market.
        Golden Valley Water Tower
        7800 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley
      • Friday, June 24, 12:30-2:30pm
        Water day. Water slides, music and puppet shows. Drinks provided at the park shelter.
        Scheid Park
        1856 Toledo Avenue N, Golden Valley

      Medicine Lake


      • Saturday, June 4, 9am-noon
        Flower Planting day. Volunteer to help add vibrancy and color to Plymouth. No experience necessary; good opportunity for groups. For more information, visit plymouthmn.gov.
      • Monday, June 6, 4:30-6:30pm
        Plant Swap. Free. Bring perennials or gardening wares, such as seeds, pots, tools and books, and swap them out for new plants
        Plymouth Maintenance Facility
        14900 23rd Avenue N, Plymouth 
      • Tuesday, June 7, 11am-noon
        Walk with a Doc. Residents are invited to take a 45-minute walk with a local doctor, who will share information on a health-related topic and answer questions during the event.
        Plymouth Creek Center
        14800 34th Avenue N, Plymouth
      • Monday, June 13, 6:30-8pm
        Home Alone Workshop geared toward children ages 8-10. $5. For more information, contact Sara Cwayna at 763-509-5198. To register, visit plymouthmn.gov.
        Plymouth Public Safety Building
        3400 Plymouth Boulevard, Plymouth
      • Thursday, June 16, 6pm
        Holy Rocka Rollaz. Take a trip back to the 50's with rock 'n roll music, including 50's cars, food trucks and the movie Hoosiers (PG-rated) starting at dusk. 
        Hilde Performance Center
        3500 Plymouth Boulevard, Plymouth
      • June 22 through October 5, 2:30-6:30pm
        Plymouth Farmers Market. For location, visit plymouthmn.gov.
      • Saturday, June 25, 8am
        Music in Plymouth 5K run
        Hilde Center
        3500 Plymouth Boulevard, Plymouth
      • Wednesday, June 29, 5pm
        Music in Plymouth.
        Hilde Center
        3500 Plymouth Boulevard, Plymouth

      Multiple communities

      • 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.

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