December 2017 News and Updates from Commissioner Higgins

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linda higgins

December 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, I want to let you know I am going to retire in January 2019 and not seek reelection in 2018. I am proud to have been elected twice by District 2 residents and am grateful for the ability to serve you well. I am looking forward to making my last year on the County Board a productive one!

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

Have a wonderful season of holidays filled with love, laughter, and good food!

linda higgins signature

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train is coming to District 2 on December 9 and 10

CP Rail holiday train

Each train is a delight for children and adults alike! The train is 1,000 feet long and is decorated with hundreds of thousands of LED lights and holiday designs. The Canadian Pacific (CP) Holiday Train is back for its 19th year in an effort to raise money, food, and awareness for local food banks and food shelves. Country stars Terri Clark, Dallas Smith, and Kelly Prescott will give free performances at each stop, and any food or cash donations will benefit the local community.

The full U.S. schedule is

Hennepin County District 2 stops are:

Dec. 9, 8-8:30 pm Lions Park between 37th Ave and Stinson Blvd, Minneapolis (train arrives at 7:45)

Dec. 10, 5 to 5:30 pm Railway Crossing at Golden Hills Drive, Golden Valley (train arrives at 4:50)

You can also view the CP Rail Holiday Train behind the scenes mini-documentary at To continue to support the Holiday Train and receive updates for this year’s program, visit it Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @CPHolidaytrain #CPHolidayTrain.​ 

North Market Grand Opening December 13

North Market drawing

The much-anticipated North Market located next to the new Webber Park Library at 4414 Humboldt Ave. N. is opening December 13, and North Market wants to celebrate with you! Please join them for a ribbon cutting as doors are opened to this exciting social innovation of a grocery store that also holds other services.

A partnership with North Memorial Health, North Market will be a place to access healthy food, promote wellness, and build community for the neighbors of North Minneapolis. A short program will feature remarks from partners, philanthropic leaders, and elected officials. A light buffet lunch will be served.

The grand opening will be held 11:30 am to 1 pm on Wednesday, December 13. Register at

Become a citizen advisory board member

Use your knowledge and talents to advise commissioners and help set policy. Apply by December 29 to join a citizen advisory board.

See other opportunities to volunteer with Hennepin County

group of people

MNSure open enrollment runs through January 14, 2018

mnsure video link

Minnesotans eligible for MinnesotaCare or Medical Assistance can enroll year-round.

Over the last few years, 96% of Minnesotans protected themselves with health coverage and tens of thousands received tax credits totaling more than $500 million.

MNsure helps Minnesotans get the health coverage they need and deserve, and to access the financial help they're eligible for. That's it.

Check it out today at

Complete a MetroTransit survey to get ready for the “C” Line

Metro Transit wants to know what you think about their bus service on Route 19; both riders and non-riders are encouraged to complete the survey. Results will help inform planning decisions for bus service related to the C Line rapid bus project. Metro Transit will share initial service recommendations at a public open house this winter.

Click here to take the C Line Survey.

Learn more about the Penn C Line and sign up for updates.

metro transit shelter for BRT

Golden Valley Grand Opening of Brookview on December 1

brookview rendering

Join your Golden Valley neighbors on December 1 for the grand opening of the Brookview, 6 to 9 pm with fireworks at 8:45 pm, all at 310 Brookview Pkwy. S. Brookview offers an array of new and exciting features and services, including an indoor playground, a full restaurant, and event rooms.

The new 37,000-square-foot Brookview building will be a year-round community gathering spot offering recreation, relaxation, and celebration opportunities for people of all ages. Brookview will also be headquarters for Golden Valley’s Parks and Recreation operation as well as the home base for Golden Valley Seniors activities.

For more information, see

$1.7 million awarded for development along transit lines

map of Blue Line LRT and proposed drawing for The Capp

Voting as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, the Hennepin County Board awarded $1.7 million to support four transit-oriented development (TOD) projects.

This new investment will help develop 389 housing units, more than 53,000 square feet of commercial space and more than 50 job opportunities, while improving connections to light rail and high frequency bus networks.  

Funding will support the following projects, which will leverage $102 million of private and public funding:

  • 325 Blake, Hopkins, $500,000: Situated near the future Blake Road Station on the planned METRO Green Line Extension, the project will support demolition of an existing commercial building to prepare the site for redevelopment and reconstruction of pedestrian connections. 
  • Green on 4th Apartments, Minneapolis, $600,000: Located near the Prospect Park Station on the METRO Green Line, the project will support development of mixed-income apartments and townhomes. 
  • Robbinsdale station area acquisition, $400,000: The project will acquire property for future redevelopment located near the future Robbinsdale Station on the planned METRO Blue Line Extension.  
  • The Capp, Minneapolis, $200,000: The project will construct a mixed-use development with housing and retail space near the 46th Street Station on the METRO Blue Line.  

Since 2003, the county has awarded approximately $32 million to more than 110 projects through its transit oriented development program.

Read more about these funding awards

Read more about Hennepin County transit oriented development grants.

Hennepin County in the news on MPR: HCMC helps young gun victims find their footing

photo by Evan Frost | MPR News

photo from MPR News of gun shot victim in wheelchair

Hennepin County Medical Center engages gunshot victims with professional counselors in a public health initiative.


News you can use from Hennepin County Libraries

books, book club image

Seniors bond at book clubs

Hennepin County Library is helping to increase social interaction among older adults by helping them develop and maintain social book clubs. Read more about the library’s outreach with older adults in our community. Another type of service for seniors is a Deposit Collection -- where the library delivers books that residents can use. In District 2, the library provides books and other materials and supports an audiobook club with the Golden Valley library. Hennepin County Libraries provide materials at Calvary Center and Covenant Village in Golden Valley, as well as MainStreet Lodge and Rivervillage in Northeast Minneapolis.

Take a trip to paradise: your local Hennepin County library

When cabin fever strikes, take a break at the library. You’ll find books to take you anywhere in space and time, music and movies to bring you together at home. Explore library activities on BiblioEvents, the Hennepin County Library’s interactive event calendar. Browse to and click on the Events tab. In the left-hand column, you can filter by date, library location and event type to find just the event your family will love. 

Be a smart consumer: The library can help

Consumers’ Checkbook is a great resource for reviews of local businesses and service providers. Originally only available in libraries, now you can access Consumers’ Checkbook from your computer or mobile device. Just enter your library card number, whether accessing Consumers’ Checkbook in the library or elsewhere, and set up an account upon entering the first time. With an account, you will be able to write your own reviews, greatly adding value to this local resource.

Learn about other consumer resources available with your library card.

Truth of Fiction Writing

Sunday, December 10, 1 to 2 pm

Plymouth Library, 15700 36th Ave. N.

Where do writers get their ideas? Right in their own backyards! Instructor Andrea Uptmor will explore the process of transforming your own life experiences into imaginative short stories. Tap into your personal histories, memories and experiences to generate a wealth of story ideas through writing exercises and sharing. This workshop is suitable for all levels, from beginners to more advanced writers. 

Holiday on 44th kicks off the winter season in North Minneapolis

Holiday on 44th logo

The 20th annual Holiday on 44th takes place Friday, December 1 along 44th Ave. N. in Minneapolis. Because the weather is expected to be milder than usual, festivities this year will include a giant hot air balloon to be inflated on Loring Field starting at 6:30!

Revelers will walk along the avenue and enjoy fire jugglers, chestnuts roasted by an open fire, free pony rides and horse drawn hay rides, food vendors, a craft fair at Patrick Henry High School, face painters, the Minnesota Zoo’s Zoomobile, and more!

Old Fashioned Christmas set for December 9 in Plymouth

Visit Santa Claus and reindeer, enjoy a hay ride and roast s’mores during the free Old Fashioned Christmas event Saturday, December 9.

kids around a camp fire

The annual Old Fashioned Christmas event is set for 2 to 5 pm Saturday, December 9 at Plymouth Creek Park, 3625 Fernbrook Ln. N.

Participants can visit Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, elves and reindeer; nibble on cookies; listen to Christmas tales; roast s’mores over the bonfire; and enjoy hay rides. Guests can enjoy the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the holidays at the free annual event, sponsored by the City of Plymouth, Plymouth Historical Society, Abbott-Northwestern WestHealth and TCF Bank.

The event will also include a PRISM toy drive, which accepts new, unwrapped toys for children from birth to age 18.

Celebrate the Holidays with Senator Champion at a free night of Christmas music, fellowship and fun!

flyer music for the holidays

The Third Annual Music for the Holidays is back! Join Minnesota Senator Bobby Joe Champion and Thrivent Financial as they bring the community together for a soul-stirring night of music, fellowship and fun on December 19. Tickets are free on a first come, first served basis at 5:30 pm from the Marriott City Center. More information at

A Christmas Carole Petersen at the Ritz

Latte da logo

Theater Latté Da has announced the return of the highly celebrated original work “A Christmas Carole Petersen,” a homegrown holiday comedy, which will run November 29 through Dec. 30, at the Ritz Theater, 345 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis.

Acclaimed storyteller Tod Petersen, along with co-writer and director Peter Rothstein, reflects on the yuletide season with his family in Mankato, Minnesota, and pays particular tribute to the show’s namesake – his mother Carole. The production combines comedic monologues and covers of classic holiday songs. Tickets $29-$49: or 612-339-3003.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Literary contest for Golden Valley kids

Image of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Martin Luther King Literary Contest deadline is Wednesday, December 20. Building on Dr. King’s passion and leadership, the theme is “Making Lives Matter.” Students may enter essays, songs, or poetry of 500 words or less. Creatively express how to realize the dream of making their own lives and others lives matter. Submissions judged on content applicable to theme. Mail entries to Golden Valley Human Rights Commission, 7800 Golden Valley Rd. More details here: MartinLutherKingContest

Board news

November 14

Board meeting date changes

  • The board established a special meeting of the Housing and Redevelopment Authority on Tuesday, November 21, at 1:30 pm
  • Committee and Housing and Redevelopment Authority meetings originally scheduled for Thursday, December 7, will now take place Wednesday, December 6, at 9:30 am

Programs will help adults, youth and dislocated workers gain employment

The board approved an agreement to help job seekers of all ages access employment, education, training and support through 2022. Programs will serve adults who have been unemployed for a substantial period or who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. These services, which align with the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, will also serve economically disadvantaged and disabled youth. The county will receive funding from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for these initiatives. 

Read more about this agreement

Read more about the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

Board recognizes National Adoption Day

The board joined communities across the nation in declaring Saturday, November 18, as National Adoption Day. Hennepin County is also observing National Adoption Month this November, an extra opportunity to recognize adoptive families for their contributions to the community and the lives of young people. By the end of 2017, it is estimated that at least 89 families will adopt 124 teens, children and infants in Hennepin County.

Read more about this observance.

County to develop program evaluation framework

The board directed staff to create a strategy to provide more consistent evaluation of county programs. This strategy will measure program results and continue to ensure effective use of taxpayer dollars. Staff will develop a strategic framework and report back to the board. 

Read more about this action

November 28

Board votes to change name of Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska

The board voted 4 - 3 to change the name of Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska, a Dakota name, which means White Earth Lake.

This action follows a two-year public engagement process and unanimous vote by the Minneapolis Park Board in May to rename the landmark. In order to become official, the name change needs approval from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and then the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

Registered voters in Hennepin County brought forth to the county board three different petitions to rename the lake to Bde Maka Ska, Lake Maka Ska and Lake Wellstone.

The board received extensive public comment on this topic and hosted a public hearing Tuesday, October 17, to discuss and receive testimony on the petitions.

Plan focuses on new partnerships with corrections clients and community

The board approved the Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation's two-year comprehensive plan, which outlines the department’s core services, as well as the way those services are delivered, balancing accountability and treatment. The department’s upcoming work will rely on evidence-based practices and partnerships with the community and elevate a focus on racial disparity. These strategies align with Hennepin County's focus on reducing disparities among all residents. 

Learn more about this action.

Board adopts plan to reach goal of zero waste to landfills

The board adopted the Hennepin County Solid Waste Management Master Plan for 2018 - 2023. State statute requires metro counties to prepare master plans every six years that identify strategies to meet the state’s goal of zero waste landfilled by 2030. The county has made steady progress toward these goals and diverted 82 percent of waste from landfills in 2016, a rate on par with national leaders. A primary focus of the plan is diverting organics from the trash by proposing requirements for cities and certain businesses, increasing local capacity to manage organics and working to prevent food waste.

Read more about this action.

Read more about solid waste planning in Hennepin County.

Funding will continue providing youth water safety lessons

The board voted to continue a partnership with the USA Swimming Foundation to connect underserved youth with water safety lessons. During its first grant cycle in April, the partnership awarded $35,000 to eight swimming lesson providers. These organizations will serve about 1,000 youth through the end of 2017. Tuesday's action will fund an additional $35,000 grant cycle in 2018. Hennepin County's Youth Sports Program, funded with proceeds from the Twins ballpark sales tax, provides financial support for this project. 

Read more about this action.  

Learn more about this partnership.

Learn more about the Youth Sports Program.

Hennepin County Library - Oxboro renovations move forward

The board approved the initial design for major renovations to the Hennepin County Library - Oxboro. Improvements will include more open areas and a modern floor plan offering a variety of reading and meeting spaces. The library will undergo improvements beginning summer 2018 and reopen in winter 2019. 

Federal grant will enhance Sheriff's Office forensic science services

The board accepted a $428,456 U.S. Department of Justice grant to improve workflow at the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Crime Lab. Funding will allow forensic scientists to begin a new method of pre-screening multiple types of evidence at the same time, including DNA, fingerprints and firearms.

Read more about this action.

Board authorizes use of real estate brokers to sell tax-forfeited homes

The board approved an action that will advance a program working to revitalize neighborhoods and support small businesses. While Hennepin County traditionally sells tax-forfeited properties through public auctions, the board authorized the county to sell these properties through a real estate broker or other means. Hennepin County is currently working with local small businesses to renovate nine tax-forfeited homes. This action will allow the county to return the properties to the tax roll by selling them directly to homeowners.

Learn more about this action.

Additional board actions

The board also took the following actions:

  • Approved final levies for Bassett Creek, Shingle Creek, West Mississippi and Elm Creek watershed management commissions
  • Approved the Three Rivers Park District 2018 budget
  • Accepted nominations for the Hennepin Healthcare System Board of Directors
  • Established lighting procedures for the fountain located at the Hennepin County Government Center North Plaza 
  • Authorized various agreements relating to the next stage of reconstruction of Wayzata Boulevard (County Road 112) in Orono and Long Lake
  • Approved an agreement with Springboard for the Arts for placemaking, community engagement and business support in the Bottineau Corridor along the planned METRO Blue Line Extension (LRT)
  • Authorized an agreement with SRF Consulting Group for bike and pedestrian planning and Community Design Group for community engagement in the Bottineau Corridor along the planned METRO Blue Line Extension (LRT)
  • Approved various agreements relating to county participation in Penn Avenue North corridor improvements, in coordination with METRO C-Line (BRT) stations and between West Broadway Avenue and Lowry Avenue North in Minneapolis
  • Voting November 21 as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, authorized negotiation of cooperative and easement agreements with the city of Minneapolis and established a December 6 public hearing relating to the disposition of surplus property along Lake Street West in South Minneapolis

Full board meeting agendas, actions and background material may be found at




  • Friday, December 1, 3pm and Saturday, December 2, 7pm
    The Night Before Christmas and the Sugarplum Tea. Borealis Dance presents the Night before Christmas. Northeast Middle School, 2955 Hayes St. NE.
  • Saturday, December 2, 12pm-5pm
    Holiday Craft Hop. Shop more than 60 local makers of handmade textiles, wood, pottery, jewelry, and more. Grain Belt Brewery Warehouse, 77 13th Ave. NE.
  • Saturday, December 2, 12-6pm
    Holiday Market. Food trucks, music, kids activities and local artisan vendors. Mercy Vineyard Church, 752 Harding St. NE.
  • Saturday, December 2, 10am-2pm
    Friends of the Bottineau Library’s used book sale. Pierre Bottineau Library, 55 Broadway St. NE.
  • Mondays, December 11, 9-11am and December 4 and 18, 2-4 pm
    Job Search Assistance. For those seeking new employment or re-entering the workforce. Stop in for free assistance with a job search representative. Northeast Library, 2200 Central Ave. NE.
  • Sunday, December 17, 10am-2pm
    Northeast Winter Market. Support local food vendors and artisans throughout the winter months. Solar Arts by Chowgirls, 711 15th Ave. NE.   .

St. Anthony

  • Wednesday, December 6, 5:30-8pm
    Government Alliance on Racial Equity (GARE) Speaker Series: “Celebrating Our Success, Facing New Challenges.” Silverwood Park Great Hall, 2500 County Rd. E.


  • Tuesday, December 5, 5:30-7:30pm
    Minneapolis 2040 Planning Session, sponsored by the Northside Neighborhoods Council. Open forum with city planners about the future of Minneapolis. Farview Park, 609 29th Ave. N.
  • Saturday, December 9, 12-3pm
    4th Annual Winter Warmth Give back to the Community. Donated new hats, gloves, scarves and coats will be distributed at Hawthorne Neighborhood Council. 2944 Emerson Ave. N.  
  • Saturday, December 9, 12:30-2pm
    Gingerbread House Making. Decorate your own gingerbread house, premade with homemade frosting and a variety of candy. Preregistration is required! Cost $5. Folwell Recreation Center,1615 Dowling Ave., N.  
  • Monday, December 11, 7 pm
    Paint Night at Black Sheep Pizza. Paint the Peaceful Winter Barn. Cost, $45. 600 Washington Ave. N.  
  • Saturday, December 16, 11am-3pm
    A visit and photos with African-American Santa and receive free books too. Free. Minneapolis Urban League, 2100 Plymouth Ave. N.

North Loop

  • Monday, December 11, 7 pm
    Paint Night at Black Sheep Pizza. Paint the Peaceful Winter Barn. Cost $45. 600 Washington Ave. N.

Golden Valley

  • All Through December, 24 hours
    Annual Toys for Tots collection at the GVPD throughout December. Toys are delivered to the KARE 11 Toys for Tots site in time for the 5 pm news. Golden Valley Police Department, 7800 Golden Valley Rd.  
  • Friday, December 8, 6-7:15pm
    Supper with Santa. Dinner, music, activities and a photo with Santa. Cost $12. Ages 1 and under free. Brookview Park, 310 Brookview Pkwy.  

Bryn Mawr

  • Thursday, December 7, 5:30-8pm
    Anwatin Arts and Crafts Fair. Arts, crafts, food, and music. Anwatin Middle School, 256 Upton Ave. S.

Multiple communities

  • Saturdays, December 2, 9 and 16, 10am-1pm
    Mill City Farmers Winter Market. Shop from over 40 local farmers, food vendors, and local artists. Mill City Museum, 704 Second St. S. MillCity_HolidayMarket.
  • Saturday, December 2, 10am-5pm
    Julmarknad at the American Swedish Institute. 2017 Christmas Market. 2600 Park Ave.  
  • Saturday, December 2, 12-5pm
    A Handmade Holiday Market. Visit with local artists and makers while sipping delicious farm-to-table Belgian-style beers with holiday cheer. Lakes and Legends Brewing Co., 1368 Lasalle Ave.
  • Friday, December 8, 7-10pm
    Prince from Minneapolis. View rarely seen photos of Prince from Minneapolis photographers, Weisman Art Museum, 333 E. River Rd. More information here: Register for the preview party at  
  • Saturday, December 16, 11am-5pm
    Winter Open Streets at Holidazzle. Food, local businesses, and family fun. Loring Park, 1382 Willow St.


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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