November 2016 News and Events from Commissioner Linda Higgins

Commissioner Linda Higgins, Hennepin County, MN




Hennepin County is a great place to work!

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Linda Higgins
Commissioner, District 2

Tina Sanz
Principal Aide

Beverly Hammond
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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It's an honor to serve the people of District 2. I'm ready to work with you, steering the kinds of smart public investments that make us all stronger.

Be sure to check out all the great upcoming events this month, and think about subscribing to other interesting topics offered by Hennepin County.


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Top stories

vote sign

Vote and take part in our democracy

Voting in elections is your opportunity to be heard, hold elected officials accountable, and participate in government to have a say in important issues that affect your community. Prepare to vote so you can take part in our democracy. You can vote early in person now through November 7 at early vote centers or city hall. Voters who live anywhere in Hennepin County also may vote in person on the Hennepin County Government Center skyway level, 300 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis. Election Day is Tuesday, November 8.

Get ready to cast your ballot!  Here are some important links:

Electronic poll books

New electronic poll books in Hennepin County

Hennepin County is about to make voting a lot easier for residents to check in at their voting location. The new electronic (e-poll) book system will be in use on Election Day in all Hennepin County cities except Minneapolis, which will see this change in 2017. Hennepin County is one of two counties in the state to introduce this new technology. The system is also more accurate and offers efficiencies following the election that will save money and time. The e-poll book system does not change the ballot or ballot acceptance system.

See a video of Hennepin County Elections Manager Ginny Gelms as she demonstrates how the new e-poll books will be used here.

2017 budget graphic

Important dates:
2017 Hennepin County budget

The board will decide on the 2017 budget and tax levy at 1:30 pm on December 13. Residents still have several opportunities to offer feedback. Unless otherwise noted, the hearings are held at the Hennepin County Government Center, 300 South Sixth Street, A Tower, 24th floor, Minneapolis. You can find proposed budget information and sign up for updates at

Hearings and other important dates include: 

Capital Budgeting Task Force and fees

Thursday, October 20, 9 am–noon.

Truth-in-Taxation public meeting

Tuesday, November 29, 6 pm. Participants can park for free after 5 pm in the Government Center ramp. Enter on 3rd Avenue.

Administrator amendments

Wednesday, December 7, 1:30 pm during Budget and Capital Investment Committee meeting

Commissioner amendments

Monday, December 12, 9 am–1 pm.

Webber Park Library construction

Calling for artists for Webber Park Library public art

An open call for artists for the Webber Park Library One Percent for Art project will run October 14 through November 4.

Hennepin County recognizes that public art inspires citizens and contributes to civic pride. To further the acquisition of public art in Hennepin County Library, building projects of $1 million or more will have one percent (1%) of the project costs dedicated to the selection, purchase and installation of works of art (policy here).

An informational meeting for interested artists will be held on Wednesday, October 26 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Northeast Library, 2200 Central Ave N.E., Minneapolis. Contact Mary Altman, Minneapolis Public Arts Administrator or visit for more information.

young plant growing from coins

$1 million gift made to Hennepin County Library for kids

In other Library news, Friends of the Hennepin County Library, the Library’s fundraising partner, has received a major investment of $1 million from an individual donor to ensure, enrich, and expand Hennepin County Library’s Homework Help and Summer Learning initiatives over the next decade.

Homework Help is a free drop-in, after-school tutoring program that offers K-12 students safe and welcoming library spaces to work with adult tutors to master academic concepts and complete homework assignments. Summer Learning is a series of popular and innovative library programs that encourage kids and teens to keep reading and learning during the critical summer months.

During the 2015-16 school year, Hennepin County Library held 12,000 Homework Help tutoring sessions with K-12 students at 12 libraries. In 2016, Summer Learning programs served more than 16,700 kids and teens at 41 libraries.

“It has been a pleasure to work in partnership with Friends of the Hennepin County Library and an honor to make this gift. The Library is a great cause,” said the donor, who has asked to remain anonymous.

MNSure logo


MNSure enrollment starts soon

Find help to put money back in your pocket

The state of Minnesota sent a reminder that open enrollment is right around the corner, starting Tuesday, November 1. Make sure you are ready and don’t forget, there is free in-person help from MNSure-certified navigators and brokers to help you enroll.

You Could Qualify for Financial Help

Even if you don’t qualify for health care assistance, you could qualify for tax credits that put money back in your pocket. Didn't qualify for tax credits last year? You might be surprised at the results this year. MNSure encourages people to fill out an application during open enrollment to find out if you are eligible. See the impact of tax credits across the state.

NorthPoint site map

Open house: Estes Funeral Chapel relocation, NorthPoint addition

Join NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center and the Northside Residents Development Council at an open house, where you will learn more about plans to relocate Estes Funeral Chapel to advance NorthPoint's redevelopment project in North Minneapolis. The project will address increased patient load by adding 74,000 square feet to the NorthPoint campus located at Penn and Plymouth Avenues North.

Thursday, November 3, 6-7 pm.

Urban Research and Outreach Center (UROC), Room 105, 2001 Plymouth Ave. N.

Read more about the expansion here.

For more information about the open house, contact Michael Noonan at or 612-348-8537.

metro transit blue line logo

Metro Transit METRO Blue Line (Bottineau) public open houses

The public is invited to review station design concepts for the METRO Blue Line Extension Light Rail Transit (LRT) project and learn about the station design process.

The Blue Line Extension LRT Project Office has developed station design concepts based on community feedback and lessons learned from previous LRT projects in the region. This open house is an opportunity to learn about the station design process, review specific station design concepts, and give feedback to project staff. Other project information will also be available including updates on LRT design issues in each community.

Open House 5pm, Presentation 6-6:30pm, and Open House again 6:30-7:30 pm.

A brief presentation will be given at 6 pm, but feel free to come and go at any time. Staff will be available to answer your questions and receive your comments.

Wednesday, November 9
Harrison Recreation Center, 503 Irving Avenue North, Minneapolis

Golden Valley 
Thursday, November 10
Golden Valley City Hall, 7800 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley

Monday, November 14
Crystal City Hall Community Room (Basement),4141 Douglas Drive North, Crystal

Wednesday, November 16
Robbinsdale City Hall, 4100 Lakeview Avenue North, Robbinsdale

Brooklyn Park 
Thursday, November 17
Brooklyn Park Library, 8500 West Broadway Avenue, Brooklyn Park

To learn more information or to sign up for updates, go to

Anyone who requires assistance to participate in these meetings is invited to contact Blue Line Extension Community Outreach Coordinator David Davies: or 612-373-5336 at least five days before the meeting.  

straw bale community garden sign

Straw bale community gardening

In fall of 2015, a group of Hennepin County departments were brought together to look at possibilities for project collaboration.  One project that became a reality through this effort was the creation of a straw bale garden located on a Hennepin County owned property at 2430 Penn Avenue North.

The idea for a community garden grew (pun intended) from input from teens and adults for the Penn Community Works project who wanted more community spaces. Straw bale gardening is an inexpensive way to make weed free raised beds for growing vegetables anywhere. Straw bale gardening is also good for producing food in minimal space. An additional bonus is that fresh food grown in the garden is distributed through the community food shelf at NorthPoint Health and Wellness.

Learn more about the community straw bale garden (YouTube).

Special Needs2

Public Health Matters for Children, Youth and Families

Hennepin County Infant Team Pilot Briefing

On August 25, Health and Human Services Deputy Administrator Jennifer DeCubellis and her team, which included multidisciplinary early childhood experts, presented a briefing for the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners. It was a first year report of a three year pilot which is referred to as the Infant Team. This project focuses on the importance of maintaining a nourishing attachment relationship for infants and toddlers who are in Out of Home placement. This is a crucial period of development and growth. In families disrupted by abuse, parental separation, neglect, and caregiver inconsistency there can be long term negative effects for the child including learning delays and future mental health issues.

The Infant Team Pilot provides services to infants and toddlers under the age of 30 months.  The intensive intervention begins soon after the infant or toddler is placed and includes the parents and the foster parents.  The goal of the intervention is to provide a secure and nurturing relationship for the child. Hopefully this will remain strong while the child is out of the home and into reunification. The pilot hopes to serve forty families in Year 2 of the pilot.  This is a small number in comparison to the over 400 infants and children (ages 0-3) currently being served under the Children in Need of Protection or Services (CHIPS) petition in Hennepin County. CHIPS cases protect children and deliver services to keep children safe at home or in foster care. The key is early and thorough intervention, assessment and care.

Program Overview

The Infant Team is supported by a team of the Courts, Judges, Child Protection, Infant Mental Health and providers. “Families who participate receive stable, coordinated and evidence-based, trauma-informed interventions focusing on the caregiving relationship.”(Hennepin County Infant Team Pilot Report, Progress Report for HSPHD, August 2016)

Sixteen Infant Team children experienced 25 different placements, averaging slightly more than 1½ placements. The 134 comparison youth experienced 343 placement events, averaging a little more than 2½ placements.

A vital aspect of the overall effectiveness of the program is the ability of parents to be mentally and physically stable enough to participate in the receiving of care, training, and instruction to improve the quality of the attachment relationship. Stable and quality caregiving is an equally important component to the health and well-being of the children and must be monitored during the process.

Many infant team mothers struggle with chemical dependency, mental illness and/or financial instability; caring for their babies and providing a healthy environment for growth and development is almost impossible. Many of these issues also effect the father of the baby. Through the intensive 3 session per week work that these parents do with their infants they are able to improve their parent –child attachment and other relationships.  Many find support for other issues with which they have struggled.

We hope this program will show a substantial increase of the stability in the care of infants who participate in the pilot. The goal is to establish a permanent program that provides services that will enhance the mental, physical and emotional development of children while supporting parents in crisis.

Further information: Kevin McTigue, 612-348-7120 

Plymouth kids playing, Halloween

Photo courtesy of the City of Plymouth

Halloween at the Creek set for
October 28 in Plymouth

The event features carnival games, inflatables, entertainment, prizes, treats and activities geared toward preschool- to early elementary-age children.

The City of Plymouth’s annual Halloween at the Creek event is set for 6 to 8:30 pm Friday, October 28 at the Plymouth Creek Center, 14800 34th Avenue North.

The event features carnival games, inflatables, entertainment, prizes, treats and activities geared toward preschool to early elementary age children. Costumes are encouraged, but no scary costumes please.

Cost is $8 per person in advance, for children and adults, if registered by 4:30 p.m. October 28. Cost is $10 per person at the door. There is no cost for children ages 2 and younger. A pizza slice and beverage are included in the cost of admission.

The event is sponsored by Abbott Northwestern-WestHealth, TCF Bank and Park Dental.

To register in advance, call 763-509-5200 or visit (Course No. 49269, and you must pre-register if online).

fall raking for seniors picture

Senior leaf raking

The Folwell/Webber-Camden neighborhoods sent us information that the Senior leaf rake begins the first weekend in November. Register now: Call 612-521-2100 for this free service. Leaves are raked, bagged and put at your alley line for pickup. This service is provided by the Folwell/Webber-Camden neighborhood organizations for senior residents living in their own homes in Camden Community neighborhoods. Register before October 21.

Seniors in other parts of Hennepin County (and Minnesota) can find free or low cost chore help such as raking with the Senior LinkAge Line services in partnership with the Minnesota Board on Aging. Senior LinkAge connects you with chore help, finding a ride, meals, housing options, legal services, and more. Call 1-800-333-2433 or see

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picture of veteran

Hennepin County Career Connections Veterans Hiring Initiative

Hennepin County is committed to supporting military veterans and their families by offering employment opportunities and support through our partnership with Jewish Family and Children's Services (JFCS). The program helps veterans return to the workforce. The goal is to assist veterans into positions that lead to permanent employment with Hennepin County.

Who qualifies?

  • Active or recently (last five years) honorably/generally discharged members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Spouses, partners and adult children living at home may also be considered.

How the program works

  • Potential candidates will be prescreened by JFCS to ensure they are qualified for the initiative.
  • Qualified candidates will work with a JFCS staff member on resume building, interviewing skills, and other employment readiness training.
  • JFCS will refer candidates to Hennepin County based on qualifications and experience.
  • Candidates selected by Hennepin County will complete a six-month, paid training position with benefits, leading to permanent, full-time employment.
  • Trainees may also access additional services through JFCS such as career counseling, personal development, and financial literacy.

For further information, see

Learn more about the veterans hiring initiative (YouTube).

Board news

October 4

Care program for homeless part of national research

The County Board approved an agreement to work collaboratively with the National Health Care for the Homeless Council. Hennepin County’s program providing medical care to people experiencing homelessness was one of only six chosen to help evaluate the council’s model for providing a set of services for individuals experiencing homelessness who are being discharged from the hospital to shelters. The council provided $174,079 to fund the work. This is the second year Hennepin County has received this funding. The county’s Health Care for the Homeless respite program provides a 24/7 shelter bed and care for people lacking stable housing who have been hospitalized for major health problems. 

Learn more about the agreement with the National Health Care for the Homeless Council.

County Assessor James Atchison appointed for a third term

The board voted to reappoint James Atchison as Hennepin County Assessor, extending his term through December 31, 2020. 

Atchison began his tenure at Hennepin County in 1992 as a commercial appraiser, and was appointed county assessor in 2009. The county assessor’s job is to appraise the value of and classify all of the property in the county to determine if property is taxable or exempt. 

The work done by the Assessor's Office helps to determine the real estate tax to be paid on each parcel in the county. 

Read more about James Atchison’s reappointment as assessor.

Incumbent reappointed to Nine Mile Creek board; volunteers needed

The board voted to reappoint Steve Kloiber to the Nine Mile Creek Board of Managers. There was only one candidate for two openings; additional volunteers are encouraged to come forward. 

Learn more about the Nine Mile Creek Board of Managers.

October 18

Tobacco, and nicotine ordinance

The Board revised Ordinance 21 relating to the sale, possession and use of tobacco, tobacco-related devices, electronic delivery devices, and nicotine and lobelia products in Hennepin County and to reduce the illegal sale, possession, and use of such items to and by minors. The ordinance is applicable in any unorganized territory of Hennepin County and in any town or home rule charter or statutory city in Hennepin County, that does not license and regulate retail tobacco sales.

Learn more about the retail tobacco sales ordinance.

NorthPoint Cleanup Grant application

The Board, acting as the Hennepin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, approved submission of a Contamination Cleanup Grant application to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) for the southeast corner of the NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center at Penn Avenue North and Plymouth Avenue North in the amount of $198,750.

Learn more about the Contamination Cleanup Grant application.

Southwest Light Rail

The Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority approved negotiation of a cooperative funding agreement with the Metropolitan Council for Southwest LRT Project and approved budget authority for fourth quarter 2016 costs.

Support of the Metropolitan Council's 2017 capital grant applications

The Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority voted to support Metropolitan Council's 2017 capital grant applications to Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB) for METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau LRT), METRO Green Line Extension (Southwest LRT), and METRO Orange Line BRT.

Learn more about the Metropolitan Council's 2017 capital grant applications.

Look for more news on the Hennepin County website at

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Northeast Minneapolis

  • Thursday, October 27, 5-7pm
    Northeast Celebration: An Evening of Business and Community Awards. Business and Community awards for those that serve and support the Northeast community. Jax Cafe, 1928 University Ave. N.E.
  • Saturday, November, 4-6pm
    Art Attack 2016. Browse and buy at the private studios of over 250 artists at the Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson St. N.E.
  • Saturday, November 12,
    Holiday Boutique Crawl. Kick-start your holiday season in the N.E. Riverfront District. Visit participating boutiques for a chance to win a $250 gift card (times not available at newsletter publication). 303 East Hennepin. northeastminneapolis
  • Saturday, November 19, 10am-3pm
    Autumn Bazaar, Features local artists and crafters. 700 22nd Ave. N.E. Autumn Festival

North Minneapolis

  • Thursday, October 20, 5:30-7:30pm
    Community Conversations. Part of a series of conversations with political officials regarding housing, concerns and the aspirations in North Minneapolis. Minneapolis Urban League, 2100 Plymouth Ave. N. RSVP at
  • Saturday, October 22, 11am-1pm
    Community harvest at Folwell Neighborhood Garden. Celebrate the straw bale harvest at the Folwell Community Garden. The community is invited to pick and take the vegetables! Penn and 36th Ave. N.
  • Wednesday, October 26, 5-10pm
    Film Screening of North Star: Minnesota’s Black Pioneers. Capri Theatre 2027 West Broadway Ave. N.  
  • Friday, October 28, 7-8:30pm.
    Minneapolis Public Schools and Jazz88 present the second annual Jazz Around Minneapolis Fall Festival, featuring The Adam Meckler Orchestra, an 18-piece big band, and Minneapolis’ most talented high school students. North High School Auditorium, 1500 James Ave. N.
  • Friday, October 21 to Wednesday, November 9, 1-6pm
    The Habit of Voting. Photographers Rosa Maria and Chip Peterson are world travelers. They share photos of people voting around the world. What more appropriate subject for a show in our gallery at this moment in time? 2400 Plymouth Ave. N.
  • Thursdays, November 3-24
    Lego Robotics. The program provides a space for youth to explore the fun and excitement of science and engineering while learning core values and employability skills. Teams consist of 2 to10 kids, ages 9 to 14 working together to design robots to autonomously complete tasks on a thematic game. 1701 Oak Park Ave. N.

North Loop, Minneapolis

  • Saturday, November 12, 6pm
    Firefighters for Healing, Annual Red Tie Gala. Proceeds support recovery of children in the burn unit, each undergoing painful treatments for their injuries. The Muse Event Center, 107 3rd Ave. N.  

Bryn Mawr, Minneapolis

  • Thursday, November 17, 6-8 pm
    Bryn Mawr Harvest Dinner. Bryn Mawr Elementary School, 252 Upton Ave. S., 612-239-1710.

Medicine Lake

  • Thursday, November 10, 6:30pm
    Plymouth Lions Club Dinner Meeting. Medicine Lake City Hall, 10609 S. Shore Dr.
  • Sunday, November 13, 8:30am-12:30pm
    Waffle Breakfast, 8:30-12:30pm. Plymouth Lions Club, Medicine Lake City Hall, 10609 S. Shore Dr.

Golden Valley

  • Tuesday, October 25, 10:15-10:45am through November 22
    Early Learning and Storytimes. For children from birth to 24 months. Talk, sing, read, write and play together in a format designed especially for


  • Saturday, October 29, 8am-12pm
    Free Shred Event. City of Plymouth will hold a free paper shredding. Plymouth City Hall, 3400 Plymouth Blvd.
  • Saturday, November 19, 10am-5pm
    Plymouth Arts Fair. Over 30 artists selling and displaying their work. Art Fair features local musicians. Plymouth Creek Center, 4800 Plymouth Ave. N.

    St. Anthony

    • Saturday, November 26, 10am-3pm
      Shop Small Holiday Market, 45 artisans and small businesses. St. Anthony Community Center, 3301 Silver Lake Road N.E.

    Multiple Communities

    • Saturday, November 12, 1-4pm
      Minneapolis International Festival. Celebrating the different cultures in Minneapolis and surrounding communities with music, dance, cultural exhibits, demonstrations, food and more! Free. Phillips Community Center, 2323 11th Ave. S.
    • November 12-13, 10am-6pm
      The Gathering, Women of Color Expo. A weekend of fun, conversation, celebration, connection, entertainment and shopping. Minneapolis Convention Center, 1301 2nd Ave. South. thegatheringtwincities
    • Thursday, November 24, 8am
      Turkey Day Minneapolis 5k.Since 1989, the Turkey Day Run has brought family and friends together to start the day in a healthy way. Join runners, joggers and walkers for a morning of fun. Target Center.
    • Friday, November 25-27
      Holidazzle. Downtown Minneapolis. Free premier holiday celebration! Family-friendly programming in Loring Park.

    Halloween Activities

    • Saturday, October 29, 6-8pm
      Halloween Party. Bounce house, carnival games, candy and lots of fun. Ages 1-12. North Commons Park, 1801 James Ave. N.
    • Monday, October 31, 5-7pm
      Upper Northeast Parks Halloween Party. Enjoy some food, games, and entertainment. Windom Park, 2251 Hayes St. N.E.
    • Monday, October 31, 11am-1pm
      Tiny Tots Halloween Party. A special trick-or-treat event designed for young children and parents. Free for children under 6 years old. Creekview Park, 5001 Humboldt Ave. N. 
    • Monday, October 31, 6-7:30pm
      Halloween Party at Bottineau Park, 2000 Second St. N.E.

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