March 2018 E-Newsletter

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Jan Callison - News from District 6

  March 2018


I hope you are enjoying my electronic newsletters, and find them interesting and informative about county activities. In addition to my monthly newsletter, the county sends various newsletters and notifications available by email or text message. To explore the many opportunities to subscribe or to change your preferences, visit the subscription webpage.

Please feel free to send me your comments through my feedback form on issues that concern you or you would like covered. I value your opinions.

Warm regards,

Jan Callison

In this edition

Board meetings

February 6, 2018

Grants awarded to clean up contaminated sites

The board awarded $1.4 million of Environmental Response Fund grants for 10 projects to assess and clean up contaminated sites where added environmental costs hinder site improvements or redevelopment. District 6 grant funding includes:

  • Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (Hopkins Cold Storage, Hopkins Project) - $25,000 for continued assessment work in preparation for future development and district stormwater management facilities adjacent to Minnehaha Creek.
  • Minnesota Brownfields (countywide) - $200,000 to continue the Brownfields Gap Financing Program, which provides small environmental assessment grants to government entities and non-profit organizations.

Read more about the grant awards.

Read more about Environmental Response Fund grant funding.

Board awards seven natural resources grants


The board awarded $70,865 of Natural Resources Good Steward grants to three landowners and the following organizations to preserve, protect or improve natural resources and water quality:

  • Minneapolis Public Schools – Field Community School to install rain gardens, provide educational signage and enhance curriculum 
  • Metro Blooms/Nokomis East Neighborhood (Minneapolis) to install a variety of stormwater management systems, including rain gardens, native plantings and permeable pavement throughout the neighborhood 
  • Standish-Ericsson Neighborhood Association (Minneapolis) to install up to 20 rain gardens throughout this neighborhood

Hennepin County also awarded a larger $100,000 Natural Resources Opportunity grant to Metro Blooms to implement the first two years of a five-year storm water retrofit plan for an apartment complex in Brooklyn Park.

Learn more about this action.

Learn more about Hennepin County natural resources grant funding.

February 22, 2018

Funding will expand team fighting youth sex trafficking


Four students from The Blake School who initiated Students Against Sex Trafficking

The board accepted a $100,000 grant from the Women's Foundation of Minnesota to dedicate an additional staff member to a team investigating and prosecuting sex trafficking crimes. 

This new position will join six other staff dedicated to the county's work on No Wrong Door and Safe Harbor initiatives. These initiatives focus on the principle that sexually exploited youth should be treated as survivors and victims, rather than criminals.

County staff work year-round to combat this persistent issue. The number of sex trafficking cases submitted to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office increased from 27 in 2015 to 95 in 2017.

Read more about this action.

Learn more about the county's work to help sexually exploited youth

Candidates appointed to citizen advisory boards

The board appointed the following candidates:

Adult Mental Health Local Advisory Council

  • Barbara Kaiser 
  • Suzanne Bachman
  • Kathleen Goldammer-Copeland 
  • Kathryn Walton
  • Esther Muturi
  • Will Hall
  • Sankolo Dolo

Capital Budgeting Task Force

  • Greg Sticha
  • Heidi Hamilton

City Planning Commission (Minneapolis)

  • Amy Sweasy

County Extension Committee (University of Minnesota Extension)

  • Jazmyn Becker

Library Board

  • Adja Kaba Ann
  • Rahfat Hussain
  • Sheila Letscher

Mental Commitment Attorney Panel Advisory Board

  • Kim Lutes

Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act Board

  • Anthony Scallon 
  • Thomas Adams
  • Alexander Hanlon
  • Andrea Ferstan
  • Aaron Hill

Learn about Hennepin County's citizen advisory boards.

Autonomous shuttle demonstration to take place along Midtown Greenway

Autonomous vehicle

The board approved negotiation of an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to lease an autonomous shuttle for a demonstration along the Midtown Greenway.

Hennepin County will test the electric-powered shuttle and offer free public rides along a two- to three-block stretch of the Greenway during Earth Day weekend, April 20 - 22. The shuttle, capable of operating safely in mixed traffic with pedestrians and bicyclists, will travel for limited hours during the demonstration on one lane of the existing bicycle and pedestrian trail. A human operator will be on board the shuttle to take over, if needed. The shuttle will travel no more than 12 miles per hour.

The county is interested in studying how this emerging technology can complement other multimodal forms of transportation and enhance connections to major transitways.

The Greenway was acquired by Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority in the early 1990s for future transit use and connects the Blue Line, Orange Line and planned Green Line Extension.

Learn more about the board action.

View a PowerPoint presentation with more details on the demonstration.

Grant will fund more than 100 home health and safety inspections

Voting February 13 as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, the board approved a $60,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Health to assess as many as 110 homes in Hennepin County for safety and health hazards. Through the Healthy Homes program, residents can receive free help to reduce home health risks, such as asthma triggers and lead paint.

Learn more about this funding.

Learn more about the Healthy Homes program.

Board briefings

In addition to our regularly scheduled board meetings, the board often meets on Thursday mornings to receive board briefings. These are informal opportunities to discuss emerging issues. No decisions are made. Board briefings occur in the board room on the 24th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center and are open to the public.

February 8, 2018

Disparity Study

Staff presented the results of the 2017 Minnesota Joint Disparity Study, which analyzed 3857 contracts awarded from July 2011 - June 2016 in construction, professional services, goods, and other services.  The county's recent developments in procurement were also presented.  Since 2016 the county has participated in the disparity study, created new programs for Emergent Small Business Enterprise (SBE) construction firms, and aligned construction procurements with employment pathways for county-supervised populations. Staff will be coming back to the board in spring 2018 to request board action for SBE program enhancements.

Opioid Strategy

The opioid epidemic has risen in Minnesota and nationwide.  1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids long term for non-cancer pain in primary care settings struggles with addiction.  Hennepin County is taking an across the organization approach to addressing opioids.  Staff has identified three pillars and priorities: primary prevention, response, and treatment and recovery.  To address the crisis in the long term, a centralized staff person will be put in place with the charge of carrying out the county's opioid strategy.  In the short-term, the county will partner with disproportionately impacted communities, define a naloxone response for county facilities, and provide prescriber training on opioid guidelines.

February 22, 2018

Housing strategy

A board briefing on housing strategy was presented to the board in mid-January of this year.  Staff was asked to make some quick turnarounds and come back before the board.  A multi-level prioritization algorithm was presented to the board to address housing needs and gaps with the goal of stabilizing housing.  The first level prioritizes based on 3 factors: safety, disability, and poverty.  The second level prioritizes based on 5 factors: services are attached to housing, treatment/placement disrupts housing, criminal history, age, and housing history. Next steps in the strategy include further developing housing strategies across disciplines, and defining resource needs for a year over year implementation plan. 

County calendar

March 8 2018

Edina Students Art Show Reception


Join the artists and their families for a reception to celebrate the art created by students from six Edina elementary schools.

When: Thursday, March 8, 6 - 8 pm

Where: Edina Library, 5280 Grandview Square

Learn more about this art event.

March 24-25, 2018

Geo-Code 2018


Join us for Geo-Code 2018!  The event will be held at the Hennepin County Library - Minneapolis Central (300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis)

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC- Geo:Code is a code-a-thon where participants pick a project or problem to tackle with a team and a community-generated conference that features educational sessions. To share your project ideas, visit

Join us and bring your ideas, your experiences and your creativity! This event is for people who are passionate about their community. From organizers to developers to artists, educators, programmers, entrepreneurs, and designers the goal of this event is to create a more accessible government and to develop innovate solutions to some of our community’s most pressing challenges.

Past events have featured discussions, sessions, and projects that covered topics such as service design, accessibility, transit and bicycle mapping, prototyping and usability, food access, arts integration, and more.

For additional event details visit

March 2018

Women's History Month


Women's History Month was first designated by Congress in 1987.  Hennepin County Library celebrates Women's History Month with displays, events, digital collections and book lists.

Learn more about Women’s History Month events at our libraries.


What to do about potholes


When potholes form during winter months, our crews do emergency fills with a special cold patch. Later, as winter draws to a close, our crews more thoroughly fill potholes.

If you notice potholes on county roads, please report it at…/transpor…/report-a-roadway-problem.

Eden Prairie Library Renovation

The Eden Prairie library will be undergoing a reconstruction project that will require a full closure for 9 months.  The project is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2018 and reopen in summer 2019.  Due to the extent of the interior and exterior construction (including parking lot resurfacing), the need for a full closure was justified.  The closure period allows for a more condense, cost effective, and safe project delivery rather than trying to do it in multiple phases.

The current library building was a Lund's grocery store that was built in 1986.  Before the County renovated the building, it sat vacant for many years.  Hennepin County opened the library in 2004.  As one of our busiest libraries, there is visible wear and tear on the building and furniture.  Over the past 14 years in operation, there have not been any major remodeling or refurbishments projects completed.

The original budget for the remodel was $12,474,000.  Following a Commissioner Amendment that I brought in that implemented an across the board reduction of 3% in spending on library remodels, the budget was reduced to $12,099,780.  Part of the reason for the large project price tag is the size of the library - 53,600 gross square feet located on a 4.4 acre sit with a surface lot accommodating 185 vehicles.  The project will be remodeling and refurbishing about 41,000 usable square feet of the library. 

The project scope is to:

  • Update the library to better serve the current and future populations
  • Address code and accessibility requirements
  • Correct building and site deficiencies to continue successful service to the community

Building code deficiencies include:

  • Not enough restrooms
  • Size/layout of restrooms does not meet current code
  • Exterior book drop does not meet accessibility code
  • All floor surfaces do not comply with accessibility code

Exterior and interior issues:

  • Aging parking surface that will need to be completely replaced
  • HVAC/Electrical replacement
  • Ice build-up and drainage concerns around the entire building
  • Deteriorating pedestrian stair
  • Slope erosion
  • Cracks in concrete
  • Deteriorating fence
  • Aging IT infrastructure
  • Lighting upgrades needed

Staff efficiencies to be addressed:

  • Poor workflow and staff equipment issues
  • Multiple service desks that do not support our service model

Enhancements for library patrons that support the Library’s mission to nourish minds, transform lives, and build community together:

  • Improved early learning space for children and families
  • Collaborative spaces for learners of all ages
  • Additional study spaces for patrons of all ages
  • Hands on learning including technology
  • Improved parking lot
  • If possible, improved outdoor spaces to enhance the community and extend library space for patron use.

About District 6

District 6 map

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners consists of one commissioner from each of seven districts. I am proud to represent Deephaven, north Eden Prairie, Edina, Excelsior, Greenwood, Hopkins, Long Lake, Minnetonka, Minnetonka Beach, northern Mound, Orono, Shorewood, Spring Park, Tonka Bay, Wayzata and Woodland.

County information

District 6 staff

Jan Callison
6th District

Allyson Sellwood
Policy Aide

Christine Hoyles
Administrative Assistant

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