October 2017 News and Updates from Commissioner Higgins

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

linda higgins

October 2017

Thank you for subscribing to my newsletter.

This issue is packed with information. Hennepin County continues to do good things for our community!

October is Global Diversity Awareness month. We put an extra focus in this issue on diversity work and disparity reduction work in Hennepin County.

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


linda higgins signature

Public hearing on potential name change of Lake Calhoun

Calhoun hearing

During a public hearing, the board will hear public testimony regarding a petition to change the name of Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska or another petition to change it to Lake Maka Ska. 

Tuesday, October 17, 6 pm

Hennepin County Government Center Board Room, A-24

300 S. 6th St., Minneapolis

Participants can park free after 5 pm in the Government Center ramp. Enter on 3rd Ave. S.

In lieu of public testimony, the board also invites people to submit written comments to board.clerk@hennepin.us before the end of the public hearing.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board in June approved a resolution supporting renaming the lake. The petition also needs the approval of county, state and federal officials.

Reminder: Property taxes are due

taxes due

Second half property taxes are due October 15, 2017.

Visit the Hennepin County website for more information and to sign up for reminders.

Hennepin County works to connect youth with housing and employment

Hennepin youth 100

On any given night in Minnesota, an estimated 6,000 unaccompanied youth are homeless. Hennepin County is in the midst of a 100-day challenge to combat this issue.

Steady progress on challenge goals

The challenge goals are to assist 150 youth between the ages of 16 and 24 to exit homelessness into safe and stable housing, and that 75 percent of this group will secure employment. As of September 18, challenge champions and partners have helped connect 103 youth with housing and 39 youth with employment opportunities.

Challenge hosts resource fair

More than 65 young people connected with employment, housing and other resources at an event hosted by the challenge team September 13. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about employment and job training opportunities in a variety of sectors, from customer service to 911 dispatch. The fair also included housing assessments and culturally specific mental, emotional and physical health resources.

Hennepin County budget proposed for 2018

Dollar portions image

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners voted to approve a $796,975,395 maximum property tax levy, an increase of 4.95 percent compared with last year. Property tax covers 33 percent of the overall county budget. The remainder of the budget is funded through state and federal sources, fees and services, and other revenues.

The notice of proposed taxes on property sent to each taxpayer in November is based on this proposed levy. The board is required by state law to adopt a maximum property tax levy in September. While the final approved budget may be higher than the one proposed, the final tax levy adopted in December cannot exceed the maximum tax levy that is adopted.

Hennepin County Administrator David Hough proposed to the Board of Commissioners a 2018 budget of $2.4 billion. The operating portion of this budget totals $1.9 billion, an increase of $180.9 million from the adjusted 2017 budget. The capital portion totals $433.3 million, an increase of $99 million or 29.6 percent over the adjusted 2017 amount.

See the County Administrator proposed budget.

Facing challenges

A growing population presents a challenge to the county. The regional population is expected to grow by more than 700,000 people by 2040. With population growth, the demands for services grow.

This requires staff to fulfill client responsibilities. The cost of personnel, both salary and benefits, has increased. Personnel to staff county programs comprises nearly 34.5 percent of the operating budget.

The board will vote on a final budget on Tuesday, December 12 (see budget information link below).

More information on the Hennepin County 2018 budget.

Rail Authority approves proposed maximum levy

Acting as the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA), the board approved the maximum property tax levy for year 2018 at $36 million with a proposed budget of $109,136,156.

The proposed 2018 HCRRA budget supports the following activities, in approximate amounts:

  • Southwest Light Rail Transit - $58.1 million.
  • Bottineau Light Rail Transit - $29.5 million.
  • Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit - $4.1 million.
  • Debt service - $8.3 million.
  • Maintenance of 55 miles of corridor, staff support for transitways, and oversight of HCRRA’s infrastructure assets and operational needs - $6.5 million.

Housing and Redevelopment Authority approves proposed maximum levy

Acting as the Hennepin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HCHRA), the board set the maximum property tax levy for year 2018 at $8,455,955 with a proposed budget of $11,238,640.

The proposed 2018 HCHRA budget supports:

  • Affordable housing activities - 52% ($5.8 million), including the Affordable Housing Incentive Fund.
  • Community and economic development activities  32% ($3.6 million), including the Transit Oriented Development Program.
  • Operations and administrative activities 16% ($1.8 million).

Absentee voting for 2017 election open

vote image

All eligible voters in Hennepin County can vote absentee - either in person or by mail. To check if there is an election in their area or to find the appropriate polling place, voters can view a sample ballot from the Secretary of State’s website.

Vote early in person

In-person absentee voting will be available through November 6 at city halls and school district offices across Hennepin County and at the Early Vote Center in downtown Minneapolis at 217 S. 3rd St. Each city location can accommodate voters who live in that particular city. Only Minneapolis residents can vote at the Early Vote Center.

Voters who live anywhere in Hennepin County can pick up an absentee ballot application or a voter registration form at the Hennepin County Government Center – 300 S. 6th St., Minneapolis – skyway level. Hours are 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

Vote early by mail

  • Voters must fill out a paper application to receive a ballot. Paper applications are available in English, Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Vietnamese, Russian, Chinese, Lao, Oromo, Khmer and Amharic.
  • Voters do not need to be registered to vote to apply to vote absentee. To make the process easier, voters may want to register or ensure you are registered before applying for an absentee ballot.
  • Ballots are mailed to voters within one to two days of receiving the application.
  • Completed ballots must be received on or before Election Day, November 7. Voters can return ballots by mail or in person.

Learn more about absentee voting in person or by mail.

Funding will guide job-seekers onto career pathways in public and private sectors

career pathways

Hennepin County Workforce Initiatives match future employees with employers.

The board approved a $587,600 contract with HIRED to administer six Career Pathways training programs. Funding will provide pathways to employment with Hennepin County and other regional partners in the hospitality, public sector, construction and public safety sectors. This program is part of Hennepin Countys broader plan to build a stronger workforce and address persistent economic disparities. Since 2014, these programs have provided training, work experience and professional support to guide job seekers onto career pathways, directly aligning workers skills with employers needs.

Learn more.

HCMC teddy bear clinic

Patch up your favorite tattered teddy or other stuffed animal!

Parents, take the scare out of ER care and ease children’s anxiety related to a medical setting. This event is a great opportunity to help kids become comfortable around medical personnel and the medical equipment they may experience on a visit to the doctor or hospital.

Saturday, September 30, 2017, 8 to 11 am, 730 S. 8th St., Minneapolis.

Activities and stations for the kids will include a teddy check-in, examination, 
X-ray, teddy repair, helping medicine go down, and many other events. See flyer and details.

HCMC is a premier Pediatric Level I Trauma Center.

Estes Funeral Chapel in North Minneapolis holds groundbreaking

Estes groundbreaking

Funding of $2.8 million for construction of the new Estes Funeral Chapel was provided by Hennepin County as part of the NorthPoint Health and Wellness expansion project and will employ ex-offenders in construction. Groundbreaking was September 14.

The NorthPoint expansion project includes a land exchange agreement (A165725) with Estes Funeral Chapel for the acquisition of property and the development of the southwest corner of North Penn and Plymouth avenues and the construction of site development and a shell building.

As a wood framed structure, the Estes Funeral Chapel shell building provides a unique opportunity to include a significant percentage of workers from the Hennepin County Productive Day Enterprise Program in framing the structure. This project advances county policies that promote employment of ex-offenders.

Through a set-aside contract with Noor Construction Group, ex-offenders with a relevant background in the construction industry will be recruited through the Productive Day Enterprise Program and employed as part of the crews that will frame the Estes Funeral Chapel.

Minnesota Statutes Section 471.345, Subdivision 8 allows the Housing and Redevelopment Authority to award construction contracts to a firm certified as a Small Targeted Group Business at a contract price no greater than five percent of the county’s estimated price for procuring the services in the open market and not under the set-aside program.

The Hennepin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority awarded a contract to Noor Construction Group to construct the Estes Funeral Chapel as part of the North Minneapolis Community Wellness Center project (CP 1004688).

Read more about the Estes Funeral Chapel.

Minneapolis Blue Line (Bottineau) LRT update and upcoming construction

metro blue line open house image

Public Open House October 10

The METRO Blue Line Extension Project will host a public open house to provide information about the status of the light rail project and preview early construction activities on October 10. The open house will be held from 5 to 7 pm at the Harrison Recreation Center, 503 Irving Ave. N. Download a printable event flier [PDF] with more information.

Topics to be covered at this open house include:

  • Relocation of the Bassett Creek stormwater tunnel. The 130-year-old stormwater tunnel under Olson Memorial Highway is structurally deficient. It will be rebuilt in a new location to accommodate the Blue Line Extension. This work will require closing a section of Olson Memorial Highway between Van White Memorial Blvd. and W. Lyndale Ave. for approximately two weeks in late October or early November 2017.
  • Design of electrical power supply poles for the Blue Line Extension.
  • Olson Memorial Highway and Plymouth Ave. station design and station area land use planning.

For more information about these topics or the METRO Blue Line Extension project and to sign up for updates, visit www.BlueLineExt.org or contact Blue Line Extension Community Outreach Coordinator Sophia Ginis at 612-373-3895 or Sophia.Ginis@metrotransit.org.

People of color career fair October 10

State of MN POC career fair

Tuesday, October 10, 10 am to 3 pm

Minneapolis Convention Center, second floor, room 200

Recruiters and hiring managers from Hennepin County and more will ready to meet you face-to-face with more than 40 of the area’s top corporations at the Twin Cities’ largest career fair dedicated to professionals of color. FREE and open to the public. Register in advance and get a free headshot! See poccareerfair.com for registration and details.

Humboldt Greenway plaque commemorating African-American history temporarily removed for restoration

Hennepin Community Works Humboldt Greenway plaque

A historic commemorative plaque along the Humboldt Greenway memorializing some of the founding members of the African-American community in the Shingle Creek neighborhood of Minneapolis has been temporarily removed for restoration. The plaque is expected to be replaced by the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board in the coming weeks.

The plaque was originally installed in 2003 as part of the Hennepin Humboldt Greenway Community Works program. It tells of a time near the beginning of the last century when this area of North Minneapolis was still considered “the Country” by some and a small African-American community began to grow and thrive there. Once called the Maple Leaf and Humboldt Heights additions, families from small towns and farm communities in Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, and Texas were drawn to the rural feel just on the edge of the city.

As one of the first programs of its kind at Hennepin County, the Humboldt Community Works program was a partnership between the county, Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, City of Minneapolis and community groups from 1995 to 2004. Major public investments spurred by the program included a community commons, trails, greenways, and parkways.

The Community Works program and partnership laid the foundation for a comprehensive housing and development strategy that has resulted in:

  • Nearly 200 new single-family homes, townhouses, and affordable senior rental apartments that provide life cycle housing for the community
  • Building permit activity worth $65 million within a quarter-mile of the program area from 1999 to 2014
  • A 37% increase in property values within a quarter-mile of the program area, compared to a 29% increase in a nearby comparison area from 2001 to 2013

Learn more about Hennepin Community Works.

Twin Cities Startup Week invites you to How to Create Engaging Social Media Content

social media

The State of Minnesota Office of Management and Budget and The Social Lights invite you to join the Social Lights at their headquarters in Southeast Minneapolis for a night of networking through leadership and problem solving. The event will highlight the agency’s top practices for social media success, hold roundtable discussions to answer questions on key industry topics, and educate attendees on how to leverage Instagram stories to grow their brand.

October 10, 2017, 4 to 6 pm, 610 SE 9th St. #101, Minneapolis. Free. Tickets at eventbrite.com.

Board receives grant to reduce disparities and infant mortality rate in North Minneapolis


The board accepted a $338,588 grant from the Minnesota Department of Health to reduce infant mortality among people of color. In Hennepin County, racial and ethnic disparities mirror those seen nationally, with the highest rates of infant mortality among babies born to US-born African American mothers. Grant funding will allow NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center to expand a program to connect parents with resources including health care, nutrition support, parenting education and help accessing benefits. The strategy includes a care coordinator to scheduling a 6-week post partum office visit with a provider and a care-planning meeting. 

Read more about the grant funding.


Hennepin County celebrates diversity


The Human Resources Diversity and Inclusion Division will be coordinating events throughout October to celebrate our diversity, with presentations on topics from culture, to gender and sexuality, abilities, generations and more. Conversations on race, gender, and equality are scheduled for all employees to participate in healthy discussions. 

Positioning our workforce for the future

As part of the organization’s efforts to enhance recruitment, reduce employment disparities and promote Hennepin County as an employer, HR Workforce Development continues to orchestrate inroads to employment through internships and career pathways programs. Current pathways programs for which Hennepin County is a sole or partner employer include:

  • Building Operations Technician
  • Health Advocate
  • Human Services
  • Office Specialist
  • Public Sector Admin Professional
  • 911 Telecommunications

 Since 2014, 230 people have graduated from the program and found employment. 

Other programs include the Leaders of Color Mentoring Program, which is a mentoring program designed specifically to promote leadership skills and visibility among employees of color by pairing them with Director and Assistant County Administrator-level mentors. 

For more information visit DiversityandInclusion or contact Brent Holt, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator, at (612) 596-1996.

Senior news: How to Find a Better Medicare Prescription Plan

prescription choice

You can change your Part D prescription drug plan during Medicare's open enrollment period, which runs from October 15 through December 7.

Low-Income Assistance

If you find yourself struggling to pay your medication costs, check out Medicare’s “Extra Help” program. See the article at Huffington Post.

Get Energy Assistance to help with high winter utility bills

dollars on heat vent

Community Action Partnership of Hennepin County (CAPHC) is now accepting applications for its Energy Assistance Program (EAP).  EAP is a federally funded program that provides financial assistance to seniors and other low-income households to maintain electric and heat services during the winter. Assistance is available to all eligible Hennepin County residents.

The Energy Assistance Program can help you pay energy costs, such as a heating bill, between October 1 and May 30. If you qualify, you could receive a grant to cover some of your energy expenses. This grant is paid directly to your energy provider to reduce your energy bill.

There are six energy assistance offices where you can get your questions answered.

See link for income qualifications, locations and application or call 952-930-3541 for more information.

County’s Home Accessibility Ramps program helps preserve quality of life for residents with disabilities

accessibility ramp

For Hennepin County residents with physical disabilities, being able to enter and exit their house can be the difference that allows them to participate in the workforce, maintain independence and remain in their home. Hennepin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HCHRA) is helping make that difference for hundreds of residents through the Home Accessibility Ramps Program.

With support from Minnesota Housing, HCHRA partners with Tree Trust to provide low- to no-cost solutions for people who need an easier way to get into their homes. Through the program, Tree Trust has installed more than 336 custom wheelchair and accessibility ramps throughout Hennepin and Ramsey counties. The program prioritizes low-income households, and a free grant program or financial assistance may be available to eligible recipients.

Last month, the board of commissioners, acting as the HRA, voted to extend a $174,600 contract with Minnesota Housing to support this program through August 2018.

Click here to learn more and schedule a free consultation or contact Joe Shade at 612-590-4881, joe.shade@treetrust.org

Minneapolis holding a developer training course for the public

Minneapolis is hosting a Small Developers 101 Training to promote the development of women and minority-owned real estate developers. This introductory course will provide participants with basic tools used to consider a real estate development project. For more details: http://www.minneapolismn.gov/cped/D-TAP

News you can use from Hennepin County Libraries


Engaging young learners

Hennepin County Library has spaces for children and families to play and learn together.

Learn more about Play and Learn areas at our libraries


November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. If you think you have a novel in you, our writing classes in October can get you ready to start writing.

See the catalog of classes related to NaNoWriMo.

See a listing of all of our writing classes.

Learn more about your family history

Saturday, October 28, 9 am to 3 pm, Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall.

The Family History Fair will connect the curious with expert genealogists who will talk about how to use state, local and library resources; to identify clues to family history; find out how to use and evaluate DNA for family connections, and more.

Register and learn more about the Family History Fair.

Give your business a boost at the Entrepreneur Expo

Thursday, October 12, 9:30 am to 3 pm, Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall.

Build your small business skills, and find support and inspiration with expert speakers, panels and workshops, exhibitors and more.

Register and learn more about the Entrepreneur Expo.

Hennepin Libraries in the news

KSTP TV reporter Todd Wilson with a story on the importance of Hennepin County Libraries.

In 2016, Hennepin County Libraries were visited more than 18.2 million times in person and online. In 2016, 13.6 million items were checked out. Library director Lois Langer Thompson notes that people are using libraries for a lot more than checking out books.

See the video at kstp.com/news/hennepin-county-library-system-reinvention/4602383/

Your feedback is needed on the Solid Waste Master Plan

food waste

Provide feedback on the Hennepin Environmental draft Solid Waste Master Plan.

Focusing on organics recycling

A primary focus of the plan is diverting organics from the trash. Organics, which include food, food-soiled paper and compostable products, is the biggest opportunity to reduce waste. Waste sort studies continue to show that organics make up the largest proportion of trash: 25 percent.

The county is proposing four key strategies to increase organics diversion:

  1. Require cities to provide residents the opportunity to recycle organics by 2022, with a possible exemption for cities with 10,000 residents or fewer.
  2. Require businesses that generate large quantities of food waste to implement organics recycling by 2020.
  3. Support the expansion of organics recycling in a cost-effective way by increasing local capacity to process organics. Tactics include expanding the county's transfer station in Brooklyn Park to accept more organics; working with private transfer stations to accept organics; and developing additional processing capacity through methods, such as anaerobic digestion, that can produce renewable energy, compost, and fertilizer from organic materials.
  4. Expand efforts to prevent wasted food by providing assistance to businesses and schools and educating residents.

Developing the strategies

Earlier this year, the county gathered input on the plan from 1,500 participants through public engagement. Overall, the county found that people are willing to do their part to expand organics recycling if it is part of a broader effort to make organics available more widely. Many residents consider organics recycling important, with 62 percent of residents indicating they would be very likely to participate in organics recycling programs.

Survey and plan are available until October 9. Hennepin.us/solidwasteplanning.

Hennepin in the news: With Zero Waste Challenge and expansions in organics recycling, Hennepin County leads in waste reduction

zero waste organic food

Minnpost recently did a story on Hennepin County’s Zero Waste Challenge. Check it out and sign up to be a master recycler/composter, story below.

Become a Master Water Steward

Volunteer to become a community leader in protecting water as a Master Water Steward. The program has openings in watersheds throughout Hennepin County, including Bassett Creek, Elm Creek, Lower Minnesota River, Minnehaha Creek, Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, Nine Mile Creek, Pioneer Sarah Creek, Richfield/Bloomington, Riley Purgatory Bluff Creek, Shingle Creek and West Mississippi River. See the map of watersheds in Hennepin County for watershed locations.

Master Water Stewards is a program that certifies and supports community members to install pollution prevention projects that educate the community, reduce pollutants from stormwater runoff, and allow more water to soak into the ground before running into storm sewer systems. The program is a partnership between the Freshwater Society and participating cities, watershed management organizations and non-profit organization.

Apply now at https://masterwaterstewards.org/application-page.

Master Recyclers/Composters

Join fellow waste reduction enthusiasts and become an advocate for the three Rs in your community as a Hennepin County Master Recycler/Composter, trained volunteers who work to reduce waste generation and increase public awareness of opportunities to recycle and compost.

The fall course will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 9 pm starting October 24 at Colin Powell Center in south Minneapolis. An optional field trip will be held on Friday, November 3. Learn more and apply at www.hennepin.us/masterrecyclers.

Plymouth in the news: Kids help kids with a series of joke books

kids joke book

Kids from the Hennepin County Library in Plymouth shared some of their best humor to create joke books to benefit families whose insurance does not cover all of their child-related medical expenses. Read more at the Chanhassen Villager.

Minneapolis Upper Harbor Terminal Community Input Opportunity

pic upper harbor terminal area facing downtown

A community meeting to seek input on housing development at the Upper Harbor Terminal (UHT) redevelopment site will be held:
Thursday, September 28
6:30 to 8:30 pm
2117 W. River Road N., second floor Board Room
The general goal of this meeting will be to gather community input on potential housing and small business components of the plan. Both portions of the evening are open to the public and will be family-friendly. Refreshments will be provided.

More information about the Upper Harbor Terminal.

Domestic Violence and Sex Trafficking resource fair October 4

trafficking image

The Fourth Judicial District Hennepin County Family Violence Coordinating Council will host a Resource Fair on October 4, 2017, from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm on the skyway level of the Government Center, 300 S. 6th St., Minneapolis. Following the resource fair, there will be a presentation in the A-level auditorium by a panel of professionals knowledgeable about the intersection between domestic violence and  sex trafficking.

Representatives from various organizations in Hennepin County that provide assistance and services to women, children, and men who are impacted by domestic violence will present. Tables will provide information regarding the organizations and services available to the community; and offer professionals the opportunity to meet others who work with victims impacted by domestic violence and sex trafficking.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. Domestic violence and sex trafficking are significant public health concerns. Research by the Minnesota Office of Justice Programs and the Minnesota Statistical Analysis Center states that in 2015 a total of 1,319 people were helped as victims of sex trafficking; 74% were juveniles and 24% were adult women.

The Anti-Sex Trafficking Committee for Super Bowl LII convened in July 2016 and is co-chaired by the Hennepin County No Wrong Door Coordinator and composed of stakeholders from across different business and government sectors. The committee has developed a response plan in partnership with the National Football League and local law enforcement to mitigate sex trafficking during Super Bowl LII in Hennepin County and the metro area.

Board news

September 7

Environmental education grants awarded to 11 organizations

The board accepted funding to help Native Americans with substance abuse disorders exit homelessness. The Minnesota Department of Human Services will provide nearly $300,000 of grant funding each year for room, board and recovery services for people experiencing severe substance abuse disorders. Hennepin County will contract with the American Indian Community Development Corporation to provide these services, which will focus on improving health equity of Native Americans.

Read more about this action.

Read more about American Indian Community Development Corporation

Guidance on safety-net programs will help people transition from correctional facilities to community

The board approved an agreement that will help people being released from Minnesota correctional facilities access basic safety-net programs upon their release. As part of this program, people will receive guidance on applying for benefits, such as food and cash assistance, to aid in their transition back to the community. Hennepin County staff, on an intergovernmental transfer, will assist the Minnesota Department of Human Services in implementing this federally funded program.

Learn more about this action

Funding sets up Fremont Avenue Bridge for replacement in 2019

The board approved funding that slates the Fremont Avenue Bridge over the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis for reconstruction in 2019. Built more than a century ago, the bridge is in a state of extreme deterioration and is currently closed to motor vehicle traffic. Federal funding will cover up to $2.4 million of the $4.6 million project budget. The Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority and City of Minneapolis will cover the remaining costs. 

Sheriff's Office will use grant funding for terrorism prevention efforts

The board accepted a $347,600 grant for terrorism prevention training and engagement. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded this funding to the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office in June. The grant will expand Sheriff's Office community engagement efforts and fund public safety education initiatives and workshops for residents designed to prevent radicalization, violent extremism and terrorism.  

Read more about this action.

Read more about the grant program.

Grant funding will reduce drug supply, prevent drug abuse

The board accepted a $90,000 Office of National Drug Control Policy grant to reduce drug trafficking and production in Hennepin County. In addition to lessening the drug supply throughout the county, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office will coordinate its efforts with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Grant funding also supports drug prevention initiatives, including #NOverdose, a campaign that educates the community about dangers and trends related to the opioid epidemic.

Budget hearings and other dates scheduled

The board scheduled public hearings for adoption of the 2018 budget and levy, and set a schedule for the Budget and Capital Investment Committee to consider the proposed 2018 budget. A full list of dates was in our September newsletter and is available in the board action.

September 26

Minnetonka added to Sheriff's Office dispatch system

The board approved an agreement to add the City of Minnetonka to the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office public safety dispatch system beginning in December. This action will allow the city and county to consolidate services. Currently, Sheriff's Office telecommunicators provide dispatch services for 24 law enforcement agencies, 23 fire departments and four emergency medical service providers. The facility handles more than 600,000 calls each year, answering approximately one emergency call every two minutes.

Thrivent Financial building purchase will consolidate operations

The board voted 5-2 to approve a purchase agreement for the Thrivent Financial building adjacent to the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis.

Hennepin County plans to purchase the 18-story, 525,000-square-foot building for $55 million. The county also plans to acquire 332 parking stalls and skyway connections through a $11.5 agreement with Interstate Parking Company. The future parking lot will be built east of the Thrivent Building.

These actions will allow the county to address long-term space needs, consolidate operations and expand connections to other county buildings. Thrivent Financial's decision to sell the building also aligns with its goal of developing a new corporate center across 5th Avenue from its current location.

Hennepin County expects to close on the building purchase during the first quarter of 2018. The county will then lease the building back to Thrivent for two to three years while the company builds its new corporate center. After this time, Hennepin County staff will begin moving into the building.    

Read more.

Federal Reserve Bank to purchase surplus land for $7.5 million

The Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority approved the negotiation of a purchase agreement to sell approximately three acres of surplus property to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis for $7.5 million.  Located next to the Federal Reserve office building, the property is currently being used as a surface parking lot. The Federal Reserve plans to develop the property to support its current operations.

Read more.

Board appoints members to Nine-Mile Creek Watershed District Board

The board appointed incumbent Jodi Peterson of Bloomington and Erin Hunker of Edina to the Nine-Mile Creek Watershed District Board. The five-member board is responsible for the developing and updating a water management plan.

Read more.

Partnership will help men transition from incarceration to self-sufficiency

The board approved an action that will provide services to 80 men transitioning from the corrections system to the community and workforce. Hennepin County will contract with Network for Better Futures to provide employment, housing, health and life skills services. Participants will also receive specific job skills training in a variety of sectors through a partnership with the Hennepin-Carver Workforce Development Area.

Read more.

Action approves naming rights for spaces in HCMC Clinic and Specialty Center

The board authorized gifts with naming rights for spaces at HCMC Clinic and Specialty Center, scheduled to open in spring 2018:

  • Rockswold Family Traumatic Brain Injury Center, which celebrates Dr. Gaylan Rockswold’s legacy in the field of neurosurgery and research and recognizes a $1.5 million donation.
  • Wanzek Family Breast Care Center, which recognizes a $175,000 donation by a grateful patient family. 

The Clinic and Specialty Center, under construction in the 700 block of Eighth Street in downtown Minneapolis, will feature six floors of clinics and services.

Earlier this month, the Hennepin Health Foundation accepted these two donations, along with five others.

Changes to board meeting calendar

Below are changes to the meeting schedule:

  • October 3 Housing and Redevelopment Authority meeting canceled
  • December 5 board committee meeting rescheduled to December 7

 Look for more news on the Hennepin County website at hennepin.us/news.



  • Wednesday, October 4, 5pm
    Women’s Fall Closet Swap. Find fabulous pieces up to 90% below retail while also selling women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories from your own closet. 1400 12th Ave. NE. collectivemarketsale.com
  • Thursday and Friday, October 5-6, 9-5pm, Saturday, October 7 9-2pm
    Weed It and Reap, Northeast clean up days. Gather your co-workers and neighbors and help clean up Northeast. Vests, gloves, garbage bags and area assignments provided. weeditreap.com
  • Thursday, October 12, 10am-2pm
    Seniors on the Go Fall Expo. Exhibits for seniors’ health, housing, business services, transportation and food delivery. Audubon Park, 1320 29th Ave NE. Info: hollyshaven50@yahoo.com

North Loop

  • Saturday, September 30, 10am-7pm
    North Loop Fashion Crawl. Shop the Loop. 10 shops participating. fashioncrawl.com
  • Saturday, October 7, 2-10 pm
    LoonFest 2017. In support of Save the Boundary Waters, hosted by Modist Brewing Company, Wailing Loons, Sky Water Studios. Modist Brewing. 505 N. 3rd St. modistbrewing.com  


  • Wednesday, September 27, 7-8:30pm
    Meet new Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and new 4th Precinct Inspector Aaron Biard. Hosted by Council President Barb Johnson. Hear plans for the MPD and the 4th Precinct. Webber Park Recreation Center, 4400 Dupont Ave. N. meetthechief.com
  • Sunday, October 1, 2-5pm
    Low Cost Vaccination Clinic. Rabies, PRC, and Canine Distemper, $25. Folwell Park Recreation Center, 1615 Dowling Ave. N. vaccinationclinic.com
  • Saturdays, October 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30, 1-5pm
    Pillsbury United Communities Food Pantry. 125 West Broadway. foodshelf.com
  • Tuesdays, October 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31, 9am-12pm
    HIRE Ground focuses on self-empowerment, career exploration, interview practice and job skills. EMERGE Career and Technology Center, 1834 Emerson Ave. N. hireground.com
  • Thursday, October 5, 3-7pm
    UROC Community Day 2017. Annual celebration of community/university partnerships with tours, displays, food and live music. University of Minnesota, Urban Research and Outreach Engagement, 2001 Plymouth Ave. N. uroccommunityday.com
  • Thursday, October 5, 7pm
    First Thursday Films at the Capri. Tickets $5. 2027 West Broadway. www.thecapritheater.org
  • Saturday, October 28, 6-8pm
    Halloween Party at North Commons Park. Festive, safe, and fun Halloween Party! Bounce house, carnival games, candy and lots of fun for ages 1 to 12 yrs. 1801 James Ave. N. halloweenparty.com
  • Monday, October 30, 11am-1pm
    Tiny Tot Halloween Party. Free event for kids under 6 years old and parents. Wear your costume. Creekview Recreation Center, 5001 Humboldt Ave. N. tinytothalloween.com

Golden Valley

  • Saturday, October 7, 8 am-1pm
    Mighty Tidy Clean-Up Day. Dispose of old items that cannot be donated: mattresses, furniture, bicycles, and appliances. Brookview Park, 200 Brookview Pkwy N. mightytidyday.com
  • October 28, 8am-1pm
    Fall Leaf Drop-off. Dispose of leaves at no charge. Brookview Park, 200 Brookview Pkwy. FallLeafDropoff.com

Bryn Mawr

  • Wednesday, September 27, 7-9pm
    Trivia Mafia at Utepils. Is your mind cluttered with useless facts? Here’s your place to shine! Utepils Brewing, 225 Thomas Ave. N. triviamafia.com
  • Thursday, October 12, 8-10pm
    Sip and Stroll in Downtown Bryn Mawr. sipandstroll.com

St. Anthony

  • Saturday, October 7, 9am-12pm
    The 2017 Great Huskie Bake Off. Calling all bakers to celebrate Huskie homecoming. Central Park Pavillion, 3400 Silver Lake Rd. Huskiebakeoff.com  
  • Saturday, October 7, 1-4pm
    Fire Department Open House. 3505 Silver Lake Rd. openhouse.com


  • Tuesday, October 3, 1-3pm
    20 Minute Resume Assistance. In your 20-minute appointment, a certified professional résumé writer will work with you to improve your resume and give advice on interviewing. Plymouth Library, 15700 36th Ave. N. resumeassistance.com
  • Wednesday, October 4, 2:30-6:30pm
    Plymouth Farmers Market. Parkers Lake Playfield, 15500 County Road 6, plymouthfarmersmarket.com
  • Saturday, October 28, 6-8:30pm
    Halloween at the Creek Festival. For preschool and elementary children, this event offers prizes, treats, inflatables and carnival games. Costumes are encouraged. $8. Plymouth Creek Center, 14800 34th Ave. halloweenatthecreek.com

Multiple communities

  • Saturdays, September 30 through October 28, 8am to 1pm
    Mill City Farmer’s Market, 704 S. Second St. millcityfarmersmarket.org
  • Saturday, September 30, 11-5pm
    Twin Cities Zine Fest, Minnesota Center for Book Arts. A celebration of zines and self-publishing in the Twin Cities and beyond. 1011 Washington Ave. S. minnesotabookarts.com
  • Thursday, October 12, 12 pm through October 15, 3pm
    15th Annual Black Film Festival. Four fabulous days filled with films, fashion and music! Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2400 3rd Ave. S. BlackFilmFestival.com


Linda Higgins
Commissioner, District 2

Tina Sanz
Principal Aide

Beverly Hammond
Administrative Secretary

You can also send comments via my feedback form.



Follow Hennepin County

facebooktwitterinstagramyoutubelinked in
Hennepin County