August 2017 News and Updates from Commissioner Higgins

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linda higgins

August 2017

Holy cow! Next week is August! I hope your summer so far has been filled with great events with friends and family. One thing I know for sure: there is no lack of events to attend here in the Twin Cities.

 Our gardens are exploding with goodness now too. Tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, peas, dill, basil are all ready for your old favorites or new recipes. Is there anything better than a fresh tomato straight from the garden, still warm from the sun?

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

Get ready for Night to Unite

Night to Unite image

Amid potlucks and food, fire engines bearing excitement for kids, barks from a K9 or laughs from a neighbor – people, first responders and organizations unite together in home towns across Hennepin County for Night to Unite.

Night to Unite, also known as National Night Out in Minneapolis, is Tuesday, August 1 and is an annual event that encourages residents to hold block parties and get to know their neighbors as a way to encourage crime prevention. Each year, the Hennepin County Attorney’s, Sheriff’s Offices and our office visit more than 100 community gatherings. People are available to answer your questions about the justice system and provide crime prevention information regarding how you can protect your family and your property.

Night to Unite is a great opportunity to promote community-police partnerships and enjoy a Minnesota summer evening surrounded by friends and family. You may contact your city for more information. See these links for Golden Valley, Minneapolis, Plymouth, and St. Anthony.

Public hearing on body worn camera system for the Sheriff's office

body camera image

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office will hold a public hearing on the implementation of a portable recording system and draft written policy and procedures.

1:30 pm, Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A-2400 Government Center
300 S. Sixth St.
Minneapolis, MN 55487

The Sheriff’s Office is launching a pilot program to assign body cameras to about 40 deputies in its emergency services unit, a team that responds to incidents such as hostage rescues and high-risk arrest warrants.

Read the draft policy.

Public hearing flyer (PDF).

Read the Star Tribune article here.

Curbside pickup of organics considered by County Board

Organics image

The Hennepin County Board is considering a measure that would require all but the smallest cities in the county to start curbside pickup of food scraps and other organic material by 2022.

In an organics composting program, all food scraps, soiled paper, food-service items and certified compostable plastic foodware are placed in a single container. A hauler picks up the waste and delivers it to a composting facility. After six to nine months, the material has been recycled into compost that is put to good use in landscaping and road construction projects.

Finished compost is an organic-rich soil amendment that is used to improve soils, prevent soil erosion and runoff, and capture carbon dioxide for climate protection.

See the Star Tribune article here.

See more information about organics drop offs, business organics and school organics.

Commissioner Higgins appointed to National Association of Counties committees

Commissioner Linda Higgins just returned from the National Association of Counties annual meeting. She was appointed to chair the Health Steering Committee’s Subcommittee on Medicaid and Indigent Care and is a member of Health Steering Committee. She also returns as a member of the Large Urban County Caucus steering committee. She also was appointed to the Arts and Culture Commission, a new assignment, as well as the Healthy Counties Advisory Board and the Resilient Counties Advisory Board.

The National Association of Counties is the advocacy organization for 3069 counties, boroughs and parishes across the country. Together we employ 3.6 million people and provide service to almost 308 million county residents. We issue birth certificates and marriage licenses; operate 911 call centers; provide libraries and parks; operate jails and detention centers; build and maintain transportation systems; manage elections; and provide health and human services support. And much more! Counties matter!

Glitches with state Motor Vehicle Title and Registration software affect wait times at Hennepin Service centers


The State’s Minnesota Licensing and Registration System (MNLARS), which replaced their legacy eSupport computer system, rolled out on Monday, July 24 for motor vehicle transactions only. It is anticipated the driver’s license and ID portion won’t roll out until 2018.  

Because of numerous glitches in the MNLARS system, Hennepin County service centers are experiencing very long transaction times, exceptionally long wait times (1 to 4 hours in multiple centers) and very often the inability to complete customer transactions. Hennepin County immediately began logging all issues and has been directly in touch with the State. We anticipate a continuation of long transaction times, long wait times and customer frustration with not being able to complete their motor vehicle business. As well we are concerned resolution to the issues may take a significant length of time.

Find your Hennepin Service Center and reduce wait times by setting up an appointment.  

Hennepin Courts calendar online, updated hourly

Did you know? The daily court hearings calendar on our website and is updated hourly. Visit

Hennepin board approves funding for bikeways, sidewalks

bicycle lane

The board awarded a total of $748,000 for bikeway projects and $170,225 for sidewalk projects throughout the county. Projects build on Hennepin County’s efforts to increase safe, comfortable transportation options for residents.

Projects in or near District 2 that were funded include:

  • Plymouth: $100,000 for bike trail construction along Plymouth Road.    
  • Three Rivers Park District: $220,000 for construction of trail crossing improvements at intersections along the Dakota Rail Regional Trail and feasibility studies of bikeways.
  • Minneapolis: $12,500 for a citywide study of pedestrian crossings at county roadways.

Learn more about this round of bikeway funding awards

Learn more about this round of sidewalk funding awards.  

Hennepin receives $550K BLRT grant to support partner cities in community and economic development

Blue Line LRT

The Hennepin County Board accepted a $550,000 grant from the McKnight Foundation at the June 27 board meeting. The funding will go to supporting community and economic development along the METRO Blue Line Extension. It will allow Bottineau LRT Community Works partner cities to:

  • Provide services to support small businesses
  • Engage community members
  • Activate public spaces along the corridor

With this funding, Bottineau Community Works will provide technical assistance and build community capacity around issues of density, transit-oriented development, placemaking and more.

Read more about this funding award.

Grant funding will help statewide multilingual phone line

multicultural award

The board accepted nearly $100,000 of grant funding from the Minnesota Department of Human Services for a multilingual telephone line that connects immigrants and refugees to government services across the state. Our Office of Multicultural Services staff provide phone response services in 12 languages to people with limited English proficiency in all 87 Minnesota counties. Each year, approximately 7,000 households use this language referral line.

Learn more about the Office of Multicultural Services.

Video link here.

In the Spotlight: State career and job information

State of MN jobs

Nurses. Engineers. Park rangers. Communications professionals. If you are looking for a career change, Minnesota offers jobs in a wide array of fields. By joining the team you will not only gain access to great health benefits and professional development, you will be helping to build a better Minnesota. So whether you are a native Minnesotan or new to the land of 10,000 lakes, why not see what great career awaits within Minnesota government?

All interested candidates must officially apply online through the State of Minnesota Careers website at The State will also be conducting a job fair at the State Fair (August 24 through September 4).

Sign up for State of Minnesota job alerts.

Minnesota musicians: Be heard!


Submissions open for MnSpin, Hennepin County Library’s new local music resource

From Bob Dylan to Prince, from Cantus to Jimmy Jam, many great musicians have launched from Minnesota to the world.

Hennepin County Library is in search of Minnesota musicians to feature on MnSpin, a new online music streaming and download resource that will launch at the end of the year. 

Submit a song

Minnesota musicians and bands of all genres are encouraged to submit one song for consideration by August 2. Selected artists (up to 40 for now) will be invited to make one album available through the online platform. Artists will sign a license agreement and receive $200.

Thanks to a grant from the Friends of the Hennepin County Library, music lovers will be able to connect to this new collection through Anyone can stream from the platform, and Hennepin County Library cardholders can download songs free. The library plans to expand this pilot project to offer additional submission opportunities. Note: Hennepin County employees are not eligible to submit.

Summer fun and learning with the Hennepin County Libraries

Hennepin county library

Golden Valley Reads

Read the chosen book, “The Latehomecomer,” by Minnesota author Kao Kalia Yang, and attend a series of community events in August and September. Related events include book discussions, classes on Hmong tradition and U.S.-Hmong history and the “Inspired by Books” tour at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Registration opens August 4. Learn more about Golden Valley Reads.

Light as a feather vacation reads

Hennepin County Library’s eBook offerings liberate your luggage from summer reading. Access more than 311,000 text and audiobook titles for all ages on your phone or tablet. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Look for the eBook icon in catalog listings and download the book to read using the Kindle app.
  • Use your library card to log into the cloudLibrary website, or get the app for your mobile device.
  • Explore local writers and publishers through EBooks Minnesota, on the library website.

Shed light on the eclipse

Several Hennepin County Libraries are hosting educational and social events related to the August 21 solar eclipse. Programs include STEM classes and maker events for kids and teens, and viewing parties for the whole family. Find an eclipse event near you.

Share your summer

Use your library card to access tutorials on for free. Card holders can learn how to use social media to share your experiences and images of your summer with friends and family. Among the thousands of classes available, find videos that will teach you the basics of the social networks Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, as well as more advanced topics.

Log on to

Search for “Learning Instagram.”

Search for “Learning Facebook.”

Search for “Learning Snapchat.”

Learn more at the Plymouth citizens academy

Plymouth citizens academy

The Public Safety Citizens Academy is a free 36-hour, 12-week course geared toward expanding public knowledge of the Plymouth Police and Fire Departments.

The 2017 Citizens Academy meets 6:30 to 9:30 pm Thursdays, beginning September 7.

Each week, a different aspect of policing will be featured through lectures and hands-on demonstrations; one week will be dedicated to Fire Department operations. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older and live, work or own a business in Plymouth.

For more information and to register.

Victory Staycation weekend August 3-6

Victory dog park

Check out what one North Minneapolis neighborhood has created! The Victory neighborhood has put together a whole weekend of events right in the neighborhood for Victory residents looking for a staycation weekend. Visitors welcome! See more at

August 3, 3 to 7 pm      Camden Farmers Market, 4400 Osseo Rd.

August 4, 7 pm             Music in the heart of Victory, 4400 Osseo Rd.

August 5, 10 am-2 pm  Dog day of summer, Victory Prairie Dog Park
August 5, Dusk             Movie in the park, The Secret Life of Pets, 4414 Upton Ave. N.

August 6, 12-4 pm        Victory garden tour, start at 4414 Upton Ave. N.

Northeast Minneapolis volunteers together for accessible and inclusive playground

CDC image child on swing

The Fair Play Project is a community initiative seeking to address a recreational disparity for children with mobility and learning challenges. Much equipment in our public parks is unusable by children with sensory or physical disabilities, effectively excluding them from participation. The Fair Play project playground seeks to remedy this by providing an accessible and inclusive environment for children of all abilities and their families. 

The idea of an inclusive and accessible playground in Northeast Minneapolis was initiated by the Northeast Lions Club, who chose Grace Center as the recipient/partner. Grace Center is located at 1500 6th St. NE. The Lions club has provided the first $60,000.00 as seed money to begin to grow this dream. Hennepin County with the Youth Sports Grants and other funders have helped its growth.

The project is looking for volunteers to help build the playground August 12 and 13. Visit to sign up or become a donor.

Board news

July 18

Construction will improve accessibility along Minneapolis, Wayzata sidewalks

The board awarded a $437,933 contact to Concrete Idea, Inc. for construction of 42 pedestrian ramps, also called curb ramps, and revisions to four traffic control systems in Minneapolis and Wayzata. These improvements, which meet guidelines for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), will make sidewalks more accessible to people with disabilities.

Improvements will be made along the following roadways:

  • County Road 40 (Glenwood Avenue), Minneapolis
  • County Road 66/81 (West Broadway Avenue), Minneapolis
  • County Road 101 (Wayzata Boulevard/Central Avenue North), Wayzata
  • County Road 152 (Webber Parkway), Minneapolis

Learn more about how Hennepin County is working to make sidewalks accessible.

Funding approved for roadway improvements in Rogers

The board approved an agreement with the City of Rogers for improvements to County Road 101 (Brockton Lane North) and County Road 81 (Bottineau Boulevard). Hennepin County will contribute $800,000 of the $2.5 million project funding.

Commissioner Greene appointed to Metro Mobility Task Force

The board appointed Commissioner Marion Greene as the county representative to the Metro Mobility Task Force. This task force will examine the Metro Mobility program to increase program effectiveness and efficiency, minimize program costs and improve service. Metro Mobility is a shared public transportation service for those with disabilities and health conditions.

Read more about this appointment.

Board recognizes pretrial, probation and parole staff

The board joined communities across the U.S. and Canada in declaring July 16-22 Pretrial, Probation and Parole Supervision Appreciation Week. During this year's annual observance, Hennepin County recognizes the employees and volunteers of Hennepin County Adult Field Services and Juvenile Probation, who supervise more than 24,000 clients a year, nearly half of all Minnesotans under supervision. These staff provide connections and resources to clients to reduce the likelihood of recidivism.

Read more about this action.

Look for more news on the Hennepin County website at



  • Thursday, July 27, 6:30-7:30 pm
    Listening Session with Senator Dziedzic and Representative Loeffler. They will answer questions about the past session. Bring your ideas for the next session. Northeast Library, 2200 Central Ave. NE.
  • Friday, July 28, 5-7 pm
    NE Dog Parade. Dogs, please bring your humans and meet across from Wilde Cafe for socializing, tail wagging, and activities. There will be prizes for best trick and a costume contest. 65 Main St. NE.  
  • July 29, 8-10:30 pm
    Movie in the Park, Finding Dory. Fun for all ages. Free. Dickman Park, Second St. NE.  
  • Sunday, July 30, 12-5 pm
    Sociable Summer Market. Incredible arts, crafts and jewelry. Sociable Ciderwerks, 1500 Fillmore St. NE. SociableSummerMarket.  
  • Friday, August 3 through Sunday, August 6
    Nordeast Summer Jam Fest. Live music, kid’s games, inflatables, vendors, food and more. 4030 Jackson St. NE.  
  • Saturday, August 5, 11 am
    Historic Northeast Food Tour. The tour visits 6 local eateries/specialty stores. Architectural history and culture. Adults $48, children $25.  
  • Sunday, August 6, 2-8 pm
    11th Annual Red Stag Block Party: In Cahoots! A Collaboration of Craft. Minnesota breweries form seven teams to create seven new collaboration beers that will debut at the free block party. A portion of the proceeds will be given to the winning team's local charity.  
  • Sunday, August 6, 11 am-5 pm
    Open Streets Northeast. Bike, walk, or roll on streets closed to vehicles! openstreetsnortheast.


  • Thursday, July 27, 6-8 pm
    Minneapolis Urban League Young Professional Open House. Join the Young Professionals Auxiliary. Seeking active leaders and volunteers networking through service. Minneapolis Urban League, 2100 Plymouth Ave. N. YoungProfessionalOpenHouse.
  • Thursday, July 27, 6 pm-10 pm; Friday, July 28, 3-10 pm; Saturday, July 29, 11 am-9 pm
    Flow, the Northside Arts Crawl. A self-guided tour of studios, galleries, theaters, commercial and vacant spaces on the West Broadway corridor. West Broadway Ave. N.
  • July 28 and August 23, 5-7:30 pm
    Community Cooks. Bringing people together to cook, eat, learn and connect. Breaking Bread Café. 1210 West Broadway Ave.
  • August 3, 7 pm
    First Thursdays Films at the Capri. Featuring Hidden Figures. Post film discussions by distinguished leaders. $5. Capri Theater, 2027 West Broadway.
  • August 7, 6-8 pm
    Build Neighborhood Power. Learn about the 11 different neighborhood organizations and get involved. North Commons Park, 180 James Ave. N. BuildNeighborhoodPower.
  • August 26, 9 am-9 pm
    Minneapolis Urban League 28th Annual Family Day. A day-long celebration of family, unity and community. Food, music and activities for the whole family. Lincoln Field, 2131 12th Ave. N. AnnualFamilyDay.

Golden Valley

  • Thursday, August 3 and 17, 8:30-11:30 pm
    Movie in the Park. August 3, Brookview Park. August 17, Medley Hills Park. Bring your blanket, and enjoy a family-friendly movie. For more details, moviesinthepark.  
  • Friday, August 4, 12:30 pm-2 pm
    Penny Carnival. An enjoyable afternoon of games, inflatables, puppet shows and hayrides. Brookview Park, 200 Brookview Pkwy. N.  
  • August 7-11 and August 14-18, 9 am-4 pm
    Camp Valley. An action-packed week full of adventures, including games, swimming, new friends, team challenges, arts and crafts, snacks, and exciting outdoor experiences. Participants should bring a water bottle and bag lunch each day. Brookview Park, 200 Brookview Pkwy. N.  
  • Wednesday, August 23, 1-4 pm
    Community Blood Drive. Save and sustain lives through blood donation. 7800 Golden Valley Rd. Schedule your donation at


  • Wednesdays in August, 2:30-6:30 pm
    Plymouth Farmer’s Market. Parkers Lake Playfield, 15500 County Road 6.  
  • Tuesday, August 1, 2:30-4:30 pm
    Night to Unite open house. Police K9, SWAT team, North Memorial helicopter, fire trucks, a Hennepin County water rescue boat, live safety demonstrations, games and free refreshments. Attendees can also safely discard unused prescription medications. Plymouth Creek Center, 14800 34th Ave. N.
  • Thursday, August 3, 6-9 pm
    Kids Fest. Inflatables, games and prizes, eco-friendly activities, food trucks, entertainment, face painting, animals and more! 3500 Plymouth Blvd.  
  • Thursday, August 3, 7:30 pm
    The Bazillions Kids Fest Performance. Kid-friendly rock and roll. Hilde Amphitheater, 3400 Plymouth Blvd.
  • Thursday, August 10
    Plymouth Lions Dinner Meeting, Social and Dinner. Corn Roast. Parker's Lake, 15505 County Road 6,
  • July 31 through August 11
    Plymouth Swimming Lessons. Plymouth offers swim lessons and lifeguarding classes throughout the summer.Wayzata East Middle School, Ridgemont Ave. See link for schedule and cost. swimminglessons.

St. Anthony

  • Thursdays, July 20, July 27, August 3, August 10, 7-8 pm
    Salo Park Summer Concerts. Free summer concerts featuring swing and brass bands. St. Anthony Community Center, 3301 Silver Lake Rd.  
  • Friday, August 4 through Sunday, August 6, 8 am-9 pm
    St. Anthony Villagefest. Parade, food and family fun. Central School Park, 3301 Silver Lake Rd NE. stanthonyvillagefest.  
  • Saturday, August 12, 12-4 pm
    Fix-It Clinic. Bring your broken household goods and clothing in need of repair. City Hall, 3301 Silver Lake Rd. NE.

Multiple communities

  • Saturday, July 29, 1-5 pm
    Owámni Falling Water Festival. for the Owámni: Falling Water Festival, a celebration of indigenous Minnesota cultures. Owámni is what the Dakota called the area at St. Anthony Falls. . Father Hennepin Bluff Park, 420 SE Main St.  
  • Friday, August 4, 12-8 pm; Saturday, August 5; 10 am-8 pm, Sunday, August 6, 10 am-5pm
    Uptown Art Fair. Art, music, food, family and fun.  


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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