May 2017 News and Updates from Commissioner Higgins

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linda higgins

  May 2017

Thank you for subscribing to my newsletter.

People are doing yard work, the flowering trees are beautiful, and the dreaded “wintry mix” may return later this week. Welcome to spring in Minnesota!

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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Farmers market image

Farmers Market returning May 4 to the Government Center Plaza

The Farmers Market will be returning to the Government Center on Thursdays in 2017 starting May 4. Visit the Hennepin County Government Center South Plaza (between 7th and 6th Streets on 3rd Ave. S.). The Farmers Market will be open from 6 am to 6 pm and will include all the fresh product, flowers and assortments of goods you've come to expect. With the South Plaza easily accessible by walking, biking, light rail and several bus lines, it is easy to stop by throughout the year.

Minneapolis has an online interactive map that makes it easy to find farmers markets all over the city,, with the address, season dates and opening times for each market. Most accept electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards as payment to give residents on federal food assistance easier access to fresh, healthy food and many now accept credit cards for payments to vendors or for market tokens.

See also:
Golden Valley Market in the Valley
Plymouth Farmers Market information
St. Anthony Village Farmers Market

Hennepin County Misdemeanor Warrant Forgiveness Day

image warrant forgiveness day

The Hennepin County courts is holding an event as an opportunity for people with an eligible misdemeanor warrant to clear their warrant without being arrested.

Saturday, May 20, 2017, 10 am to 4 pm
Sabathani Community Center
310 E. 38th St., Minneapolis, MN 

Participants also have the opportunity to resolve their case after meeting with a public defender and a prosecutor. Settlements may include:

  • doing community service work at or near the event,
  • getting time to pay a fine,
  • scheduling a court date in the future to handle or dispute the case.

If you participate in this event, your warrant will be cleared or resolved before you leave.

Read further information and pre-register to save time.

Join us for grand opening May 18 at Webber Park Library

Webber Park Library invitation

The new 8,300 square foot Webber Park Library at 4440 Humboldt Ave. N. in Minneapolis is scheduled to open May 18 at 5 pm.

The $10.5 million building project will be twice the size of the previous Webber Park Library and five times larger than the current temporary library in Camden Center.

This new library has had a significant journey already. After a merger, a recession and a structural failure, I am proud to report that work is done.

The outdoor reading area is pollinator friendly, and children and adults can relax with a book and enjoy the warm weather near Victory Memorial Parkway.

Get rid of your unwanted medicines safely

Medicine drop locations flyer

Two new medicine drop boxes are now available for residents to dispose of unwanted medicines.  The drop boxes are located at the Minneapolis Police Department’s First Precinct at 19 N. 4th St. in Downtown and the Fourth Precinct at 1925 Plymouth Ave. N. There are now 11 locations in Hennepin County to properly dispose of medicines.

Medicines from households are accepted, including prescription medicines, controlled substances, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and supplements and pet medicines.

Properly disposing of unused medicines is important to prevent abuse or poisoning and protect the environment. Storing medicines in the home poses safety and health threats. Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem, especially among teens, and accidental poisonings from medicines are on the rise. Medicines flushed down the drain or disposed of in the trash can contaminate bodies of water, harm wildlife and end up in drinking water supplies.

For more information, visit or call Hennepin County Environment and Energy at 612-348-3777.

Goodbye, Century Plaza!

Century Plaza will close after May 12. Find the services you need at any of our regional human service centers.

Hennepin County Service Center locations.

image of Century Plaza

NorthPoint partnership brings behavioral support to students

NorthPoint image of students

School-based behavioral health services provide a variety of support to school-aged children who have social, emotional, or behavioral needs that affect their ability to succeed in school and can negatively impact the classroom environment. However, decreases in funding have reduced the number of school counselors, social workers, and psychologists who can address the emotional and behavioral needs of children and adolescents.

NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center has partnered with Minneapolis Public Schools to provide behavioral health services at several area schools including Anwatin Middle School, Olson Middle School, Franklin Middle School, North High School, the Riverbend (grades 1-8) and Harrison (grades 9-12) campus, and at the Plymouth Youth Center High School.

Last year, the programs provided more than 170 students with counseling.

Read more about school-based behavioral health services.

Co-parent Court helps unmarried parents achieve joint decision making


The Co-Parent Court program was designed to meet the unique needs of unmarried parents in the Family Court System. Referrals can now be made by the court system as well as community referrals from NorthPoint Clinic and other agencies. Individuals can also self-refer.

As highlighted in a recent StarTribune article, the Co-Parent Court program has parents work through an evidence-based workshop curriculum designed to help them work together for the benefit of their children. Navigators also work individually with parents to connect them with resources and a parenting plan template that guides them through joint decision-making about how they want to raise their children together with a parenting plan including topics such as emergency care and visitation.

Co-Parent Court represents a unique partnership of the family court system, child support enforcement agencies, community organizations, and the University of Minnesota Extension Service. The program is funded through a contract with the Department of Corrections and Hennepin County. For further information, contact Manu Lewis, Co-Parent Court Navigator, 612-767-3124.

See a YouTube video about the Co-Parent Court program.

Read more about the Co-Parent Court program.

Hennepin County Career Connections: Government Procurement Fair April 27

Small and Underutilized Business Fair

Do you want to learn how your small company can do more business with government? The Small and Disadvantaged Business Opportunity Council (SADBOC) will be hosting the 18th Annual SADBOC Government Procurement Fair. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017, 9 am to 3 pm
Earle Brown Heritage Center
6155 Earle Brown Dr.
Brooklyn Center, MN 55430

Along with workshops, representatives of several Hennepin County departments will be participating in a series of matchmaking sessions with business owners to describe the types of goods and services their departments typically purchase.  Representatives of the county's Purchasing department will be on-site to explain how to become a Hennepin County vendor and will assist business owners at computer stations who seek to have their companies certified as a Small Business Enterprise, including as a Small Women-Owned or Minority-Owned Business, through the Central (CERT) Certification Program.  

See further information.

Bassett Creek Watershed public hearing

The Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission is holding a public hearing on a proposed amendment to the capital improvement plan of their watershed management plan. The hearing will be held on Thursday, May 18, 2017, at 8:30 am at Golden Valley City Hall, 7800 Golden Valley Rd.

New and revised projects are in the areas of Medicine Lake, Jevne Park, Westwood Hills Nature Center, and Parkers Lake. The amendment removes a project in the area of Wirth Lake. It is anticipated that the plan amendment will come before the county board for approval this summer.

Board news

March 28

Committee will advise staff, board on child well-being

The board established the Hennepin County Child Well-being Advisory Committee to guide work to protect and care for children.

In October, the Hennepin County Child Protection Oversight Committee laid out six core recommendations to improve the well-being of children in Hennepin County. The newly created advisory committee will continue these efforts.

Commissioner Mike Opat, who chaired the oversight committee, will also chair the advisory committee. Commissioner Debbie Goettel will also participate in the committee, along with up to 18 board-appointed members.

The county is working to:

  • Adopt a new focus on child well-being to prevent maltreatment
  • Recruit and retain the workforce and allow for reasonable caseload distribution 
  • Improve professional supports by co-locating work teams to the same offices
  • Offer early and practical help to families that are at risk for violence or dysfunction
  • Improve data collection, analysis and collaboration
  • Continue monitoring improvement and ensuring accountability

The advisory committee will track the county's progress in adopting the new child well-being focus. Hennepin County staff and partners are using multiple approaches to prioritize children’s physical health, emotional and social health, relational health and development. 

Learn more about the Hennepin County Child Protection Oversight Committee.

Wentland appointed as Human Services director

The board confirmed the appointment of Jodi Wentland as director of Human Services, effective April 3. Wentland has more than 25 years of public human services experience, most recently serving as associate director of Olmstead County Child and Family Services. She has also served as co-chair of the Children's Committee for the Minnesota Association of County Social Services Administrators. Wentland holds an undergraduate degree in social work and a master’s degree in business administration and master's degree in management.

Funding will prevent spread of aquatic invasive species

The board awarded 14 aquatic invasive species prevention grants totaling $320,000. Organizations will use funding for inspections at public lake accesses, outreach and education, research on zebra mussels, boat cleaning facilities and more.

Grant recipients included the University of Minnesota, Three Rivers Park District, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, among others.

Learn more about the grants.

Contract awarded for Edina library remodel

The board awarded a $995,217 contract to Terra General Contractors for remodeling the Hennepin County Library in Edina. The renovation is scheduled to begin in April, and the library will be closed for approximately four months.

2017 spring youth sports grants awarded

The board awarded $250,000 of youth sports grants to several organizations for playground projects and small sports equipment. Since the youth sports program began in 2009, the county has awarded $19.6 million to 122 facility projects, 221 small equipment projects and five playground projects. 

Learn more about the program.

Board lays over resolution on proposed new sales tax

The board concluded its public hearing on a proposed new sales tax of up to one-half cent to fund transportation and transit projects. The new sales tax would have replaced the current one-quarter-cent sales tax imposed by the county for the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB), should CTIB dissolve. Because all five CTIB counties have not agreed to dissolution, with Dakota County opposing, the board laid over a resolution to both terminate the joint powers agreement establishing CTIB and adopt the new sales tax. The resolution may be brought up again in its current form at a later date at the call of the chair for action by the board. View the resolution.

Comment on plan to use housing and community development funds

The board hosted a public hearing to gather comments on its annual action plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on April 18. This action plan will guide the use of approximately $4 million in federal funding for housing and community development activities in suburban Hennepin County.

A draft of the plan is available on the county’s website and at Hennepin County Ridgedale, Southdale and Brookdale libraries.

You may submit written comments until May 1 to Margo Geffen, manager, Housing Development and Finance, Hennepin County Community Works Department, 701 4th Ave. S., Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55415.

Read more about the hearing. 

April 11

Continued funding to provide path out of homelessness 

The board accepted $759,450 in grant funding to help house people with mental illnesses who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. The Minnesota Department of Human Services funding provides outreach, case management and other services focusing on recovery. The program helped 46 clients who had been chronically homeless find housing last year. 

Read more about Hennepin County resources for the homeless

Renewed funding will help keep youth in school

The board approved $2 million of funding to extend contracts for a Hennepin County program to provide early intervention to youth at risk of becoming truant. The be@school program, run by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, is extending contracts with 12 vendors who provide services to youth and their families.

Read more about be@school.

Funding will rehabilitate Lake Street Bridge

The board approved a funding agreement with Ramsey County to maintain the 28-year-old Lake Street Bridge crossing over the Mississippi River. The bridge connects Minneapolis and St. Paul. Hennepin and Ramsey counties will each pay half of the estimated $1.4 million project cost. Maintenance work is slated to begin early this summer.

Public hearing on financing of affordable housing project

The Housing and Redevelopment Authority is hosting a public hearing in May to gather feedback on financing a 169-unit affordable housing project, East Town Apartments, in downtown Minneapolis at 815 6th St. S.

The hearing will be Tuesday, May 2, at 1:30 pm in the Hennepin County Government Center Board Room (A-2400), 300 S. 6th St., Minneapolis.

Read more about the public hearing.

Board declares public safety telecommunicator week

The board declared April 9 through April 15 public safety telecommunicator week, recognizing the work of the 911 dispatch staff.

Telecommunicators at the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office 911 Emergency Communications Facility in Plymouth dispatch for 37 communities, 24 law enforcement agencies, and 22 fire agencies and work with four secondary EMS providers. In a typical year they handle more than 650,000 telephone transactions and 250,000 emergency 911 calls. 

April 25

$1.2 million will aid transit-oriented development along Blue Line Extension

The board accepted $1.2 million of federal and local funding to advance transit-oriented development along the future Metro Blue Line Extension (Bottineau Transitway).

Hennepin County will receive $1.1 million from the Federal Transit Administration with Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Robbinsdale and Golden Valley contributing additional funding.

Using grant funding, Hennepin County Community Works will complete the following activities:

  • Help cities update land use policies and zoning ordinances
  • Improve bicycle and pedestrian connections and wayfinding
  • Analyze housing gaps
  • Engage with the community and small businesses
  • Explore financing strategies

The Metro Blue Line Extension will extend 13 miles from Minneapolis to Brooklyn Park and include 11 stations.

Learn more about the funding.
Learn more about Bottineau LRT Community Works.


Penn Community Works funds for residents

The Center for Energy and Environment was approved to administer the Front Yard Fix Up and Homebuyer Assistance housing programs in the Penn Avenue Community Works project area during the period of May 1, 2017, through December 31, 2019, for contracted funds totaling $205,000.

The Front Yard Fix Up program will help property owners along Penn Avenue North to update the front exterior of their properties by financing up to $5,000 per borrower for curb appeal projects, and the Homebuyer Assistance program will provide homebuyers who purchase properties in the corridor up to $3,000 for down payment and closing cost assistance.  Both programs are no-interest loans that are forgivable if the borrower owner-occupies the property for a period of five years from the loan closing.

More information about the programs.


Funding will continue preparing youth for college and careers in Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center

The board approved $164,000 of funding to expand the reach of a college and career readiness program for local youth experiencing employment barriers. Throughout the next two years, 100 Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center youth will complete $15 an hour internships with public and private employer partners. This summer, Hennepin County will host 10 interns.

Read more about the program.

County promotes using medicine drop boxes this weekend

The board declared Saturday, April 29 as Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in Hennepin County. The board encourages residents to use the 11 medicine drop boxes located throughout the county (see story above).

Board declares Correctional Officers Appreciation Week

During the week of May 6 through 13, Hennepin County will join the nation in recognizing correctional employees. Each day, Hennepin County correctional officers at the County Home School, Juvenile Detention Center, Adult Corrections Facility and Public Safety Facility supervise more than 1,000 clients. The board recognized these dedicated employees that make an important contribution to public safety and the criminal justice system.

Read more about this action.

Library Board members commended for their service

The board commended three retiring Hennepin County Library Board members:

  • Jane Shanard, April 2011 - February 2017
  • Kathleen Lamb, January 2008 - February 2017
  • Jill Joseph, January 2009 - February 2017 

Public hearing on financing capital improvements

The board is hosting a public hearing to gather feedback on the issuance of up to $200 million of financing for 2017 – 2021 capital improvements. 

The hearing will be Tuesday, May 16, 1:30 pm at the Hennepin County Government Center Board Room (A-2400), 300 S. 6th St., Minneapolis.

Look for more news on the Hennepin County website at



  • May 5 and 6, 7:30 pm, May 7, 2 pm
    Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat presented by the Morris Park Players. Based on the Biblical tale of Joseph’s eleven brothers. Advance tickets $15. Edison HS Auditorium, 700 22nd Ave. NE.
  • Saturday May 6, 10 am-2 pm
    Spring Wing Ding: A celebration of nature in the city. A community festival honoring urban ecology. Food, tours, music and plant swap. Audubon Park, 1320 29th Ave. NE. SpringWingDing. 
  • Saturday May 6, 9 am-4 pm
    Transition Day NE. Encouraging neighbors to come together to learn skills that will help make their neighborhoods more resilient and sustainable. East Side Food Co-op. 2551 Central Ave. NE. and Fair State Brewing Co-op, 2506A Central Ave. NE. TransitionDayNE. 
  • Thursday, May 11, 5-8 pm
    ESNS Wine Tasting Fundraiser. Wine, food, silent auction, spectacular views and entertainment. Tickets $45. Nicollet Island Pavilion, 40 Power St.
  • Friday, May 19, 6:30-8:30 pm
    New Hope for Children with Challenges. Bette Lamont shares Neurological Reorganization movement therapy that helps children overcome learning disabilities, behavior disorders and developmental trauma. A Chance to Grow,1800 2nd St. NE. RSVP at New Hope for Children.
  • Friday, May 19, 5-10 pm, Saturday, May 20, 12-8 pm
    22nd Annual Northeast Minneapolis Art A Whirl. Tour private artist studios and galleries, purchase original artwork, and connect with over 700 artists working in more than 20 different mediums. Free event. Art A
  • Saturday, May 20, 12-4 pm
    Minneapolis International Festival. Celebrate the growing cultural diversity of our City through music, dance, cultural exhibits, demonstrations, and food. 724 Sibley St., NE. Minneapolis-International-Festival.
  • Saturday May 20, 12:30-2 pm
    Adult Sci-Fi Book Club. Discussion of new and interesting sci-fi titles. Bring your recommendations. Pierre Bottineau Library. 55 Broadway St. NE. ScifiBookClub.  

North Loop

  • Wednesday, April 26, 4-7 pm
    Open House, North Loop Clinic and Pharmacy. Offering a full range of care for the entire family: pediatric medicine, dermatology, allergy, women’s health, integrative health, and on-site pharmacy. Tractor Works Building, 800 Washington Ave. OpenHouse.
  • Saturday, May 7, 10 am-6 pm
    North Loop Spring Fashion Crawl. Sales, prizes and special events. Visit any participating store to get a map and get it stamped at 7 locations to enter to win prizes. Hosted by the Shops of North Loop. FashionCrawl.


  • Thursday, April 27, 9-10:30 am
    Northside Business Speed Networking Expo. Topics: Business licensing, marketing, social media, web design and more. EMERGE Career and Technology Center, Phillips Conference Room,1834 Emerson Ave. N. Breakfast provided. NetworkingExpo.
  • Thursday, April 27, 6:30-9:30 pm
    Freedom Fires at Freedom Square. Bonfire, poetry, music and YouthFarm. Free food. 2034 West Broadway Ave. FreedomFires.
  • Saturday, April 29, 10 am-2 pm
    Northside Neighborhoods 2020 Conversation. Minneapolis neighborhood organizations are working with The Neighborhood and Community Engagement Commission to host a conversation on the future role of neighborhood organizations in the City of Minneapolis. 3201 Penn Ave. N. Northside 2020 Conversation.
  • Thursday, May 18, 10 am-2 pm
    Minneapolis Police Department 4th Precinct Open House. Come and meet the police officers. Demonstrations and exhibits. 4119 Dupont Ave. N.

Golden Valley

  • Wednesday, May 3, 2017, 6-8 pm
    Annual Bike Rodeo. Bring your bicycle for a free safety check and take a riding skills test. Refreshments and music. Golden Valley City Hall Campus, 7800 Golden Valley Rd. AnnualBikeRodeo.
  • Tuesday, May 23, 8:30-10 am
    Coffee with a Cop. A community outreach program that encourages citizens to become familiar with the officers who serve their community. Ask questions and express concerns. Starbucks, 7800 Olson Memorial Hwy.

Bryn Mawr

  • May 6-7, 9 am-5 pm
    Bryn Mawr Festival of Garage Sales. FestivalofGarageSales
  • Wednesday, May 10, 6:30-8:30 pm
    BMNA Annual Meeting and Potluck Dinner. Bryn Mawr Elementary School, 252 Upton Ave. S.


  • Saturday, April 29, 7:30 am-12:30 pm
    Plymouth Drop-Off Day. Get rid of unwanted items, including appliances, electronics, tires, bicycles, bulky items and more. The event is for Plymouth residents only; proof of residency is required. Plymouth Maintenance Facility, 14900 23rd Ave. N.
  • Sunday, May 7, 8 am-1 pm
    Waffle Breakfast. Enjoy all you can eat waffles at the annual waffle breakfast benefiting the Plymouth Crime and Fire Prevention Fund. Tickets $7 in advance or $8 at the door. Children 10 and younger $4. 3300 Dunkirk Ln. WaffleBreakfast.
  • Sunday May 7, 12-2:30 pm
    Kids Garage Sale. Children’s toys, clothes and games for sale. For more information, call 763-509-5200. Free event. Plymouth Creek Center, 14800 34th Ave. N. Register for a table online.
  • Monday, May 15, 7 pm
    Night to Unite Planning Meeting. Prepare for the annual crime prevention and community building event in August. 3400 Plymouth Blvd. NightToUnite.
  • May 20, 10 am-2 pm
    2nd Annual Bark in the Park. Bring your favorite four-legged friend and visit with companies and nonprofit groups specializing in dogs. Featuring vaccinations, nail trimming, "Ask the Vet" and dog merchandise. Hilde Performance Center 3500 Plymouth Blvd. BarkInThePark.

St. Anthony

  • Saturday, May 6, 9 am-12 pm
    Spring Clean-Up Day. Public Works Garage, 3801 Chandler Dr.  SpringCleanup.
  • Wednesday, May 17, 7:30 am
    SAV Chamber of Commerce Free Networking Event. This informal meeting will give you the ideal opportunity to spread the word about your business and promote it to other local professionals. Bring your business cards! NE Coffee Shop. SAV Networking Event.

Multiple communities

  • Thursday, April 27, 10 am-3 pm
    People of Color Career Fair. A showcase of companies ready to hire you. Minneapolis Convention Center, Room 200.
  • Thursday, April 27 - Saturday, April 29
    2017 Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. The largest film event in the Midwest. Screenings at the St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 Main St. SE in addition to select screenings at the Uptown Theatre and Capri theaters in Minneapolis.
  • Saturday, April 29, 10 am-5 pm, Sunday, April 30, 1-5 pm
    30th Annual Minneapolis and St. Paul Home Tour. From the very old homes to the very new, city dwellers open their doors to share their home improvement experiences. Find map at
  • Saturday, April 29, 9 am-4 pm
    Women’s Club of Minneapolis Annual Estate Sale. Admission $5. 410 Oak Grove St., Minneapolis.
  • Saturday, May 6, 9 am-1 pm
    Mill City Farmers Market, Opening Day. 704 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, near Guthrie Theatre. millcityfarmersmarket.
  • Sunday, May 7, 12-7 pm
    43rd Annual May Day Parade and Festival. A day of celebration and community. Music and dance, theatre, food and fun! MayDayFestival.
  • Sunday, May 14 at 9 am
    Macy’s Mother’s Day Weekend at the Minnesota Zoo. Enter to win a $500 Macy’s gift card. Mothers_Day_at the Zoo.
  • Monday, May 15, 1:30 pm
    Hennepin County Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony. Minneapolis City Hall, Father of Waters Rotunda. RSVP to Deputy Shane Myre at or (612) 543-0694.
  • Saturday, May 20, 9 am-4 pm
    5th Annual Black Women’s Expo and Job Fair. One of the largest events for African American business owners. Concordia University. Gangelhoff Center 235 Hamline Ave., St. Paul. BlackWomensExpo.


Linda Higgins
Commissioner, District 2

Tina Sanz
Principal Aide

Beverly Hammond
Administrative Secretary

You can also send comments via my feedback form.

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