March Newsletter: Hennepin Commissioner Debbie Goettel

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

debbie goettel

Hennepin Happening

Welcome to the District 5 March newsletter! Scroll down to read more about...

Hennepin supports legal services for domesic abuse victims

TubmanCentral Minnesota Legal Services

It only seems appropriate that on the eve of Women's History Month, my colleagues and I approved a new contract with Central Minnesota Legal Assistance and Tubman providing legal services to victims of domestic abuse at the Family Justice Center. CMLS and Tubman will help recruit, manage, and train volunteer attorneys who will provide free legal representation and advice to qualifying petitioners of Orders for Protection. Priority will be given to petitioners with the most need, typically where children have been abused or where the victim has language or cultural barriers.

I am proud to see this agreement come to fruition after guiding this through the 2018 budget process just a few months ago. I would like to thank the staff at both Central Minnesota Legal Assistance and Tubman for all the work they do supporting women in their time of greatest need.

Read more about this action.

Southwest Light Rail Update

Southwest Light Rail

The public works committee approved an extension of a new grant agreement with the Met Council through May and for the purchase of Light Rail Vehicles. On May 3rd, the project office expects to hear back on bids for construction and at that point the project would be viable for the Full Funding Grant Agreement from the Federal Transportation Authority. This action keeps the project moving on time. And in addition, U.S. District Court Judge John Tunheim ruled in favor of the Met Council in a lawsuit filed in 2014 by the Lakes and Parks Alliance.

Natural Resources Grants

Good Steward Grant

Congratulations to Heidi and Dan Niziolek, who received a $6,500 Good Steward Grant for a project at Winchester Pond in Bloomington at 102nd Street and France Avenue. This will be a neighborhood effort to improve the water quality of the pond. The project will install three rain gardens, restore upland buffer vegetation and install two floating islands. This project will improve water quality in Nine Mile Creek and the Minnesota River.

Natural Resources grants provide financial assistance to landowners and local governments who will implement projects that preserve and restore the county’s natural resources and improve water quality. The Good Steward grant, primarily for smaller projects that will improve water quality, enhances natural areas and promotes environmental stewardship to the community. This program requires a 25 percent funding match from the grant applicant.

Learn more about the grants offered here.

Appointee Spotlight

Steve Devich

I depend on trusted appointees for their time, talent, and good judgement to better serve Hennepin County's residents. I cannot thank them enough for their service, and occasionally we will publish these highlights to recognize the phenomenal work they do.

Richfield City Manager Steve Devich recently served on citizen committee to advise the county during the creation of the 2040 Hennepin County Comprehensive Plan.

1. What are your greatest passions in life?
My greatest passions in life revolve around two distinct themes:  fitness and music.  With respect to fitness, I am still a “gym rat” and strive to get there 4 or 5 days each week.  Of course along with that I am very deliberate in what I eat or drink and am a firm believer in the benefit of vitamins and herbal supplements. The other passion is music.  I enjoy playing the guitar and try to play for several hours each week.

2. What is your service/professional background?
I have a bachelor’s degree from the Univ. of MN in Business Administration & Economics, a Master’s degree in Public Administration from MN State University Mankato, and a CAPA degree from Hamline University (the class credit portion of a DPA) in Public Administration.

I spent over four years as the City Clerk for the City of St Louis Park and have 38 years of experience with the City of Richfield as the Human Resources Manager, Administrative Services Director/Assistant City Manager and City Manager. I've been the City Manager since December 2004.

3. Briefly describe the responsibilities of the position you were appointed to. What kind of impact does it have on Hennepin County?
My appointment to the County comprehensive plan policy advisory committee (PAC) gave me the unique perspective in helping to influence the development of the 2040 Hennepin County Comprehensive Plan.  This plan will provide the foundational framework to address the myriad of trends and forces that will align with the future policies, services and programs needed to serve Hennepin County, its current residents and its residents of the future.

4. What’s your favorite event / thing to do in Hennepin County?
Hennepin County and Richfield offer many opportunities to enjoy living in Minnesota with access to recreation, jobs, and cultural amenities. One of my very favorite things to do in Hennepin County is to bike the trails in the County, especially around the lakes . . . . Lake Nokomis in particular.

Bearing Witness and Seeking Justice: The Judy Meisel Story

Bloomington Human Rights Commission

Wednesday, March 14 | Reception @5:30pm, program 6-8:30pm
Bloomington Civic Plaza | 1800 W Old Shakopee Road, Bloomington
Free admission

Holocaust survivor Meisel and her son Michael Cohen will be hosting a screening of her documentary and a question & answer session. There will also be panel discussion about the current investigation and prosecution of Nazi guards more than 75 years later, including one who was identified by Meisel and later charged by German authorities as an accessory to thousands of murders. The panel will include

  • Professor Cornelius Nestler, a German legal scholar and attorney who is representing Meisel in the German criminal action
  • Jeffrey Van Nest, Acting Chief Counsel for the FBI in Minnesota, who oversees the FBI’s cooperation with German authorities in investigating Nazi war crimes
  • Dr. Ellen Kennedy, Executive Director, World Without Genocide at Mitchell Hamline School of Law

This is certain to be one of the most profound discussions of the year, and I highly encourage everyone to attend.

RSVP:; 952-563-8733, (TTY ONLY 952-563-8740); or

Hosted by the Bloomington Human Rights Commission, the Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association Community Outreach Committee, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.

Debbie around the district

Since our last newsletter in February, here are a few highlights from my work...

American Heart Association

I received an award from the American Heart Association at a joint meeting with the Bloomington Bicycle Alliance and Richfield Bike Advocates. It's easier to support investments in bike and pedestrian infrastructure when you have groups like these educating and organizing for a more active and sustainable Hennepin County. Thank you the Association and all of our bicycle advocates.


Hennepin Legislative Delegation

Met with members of the Hennepin County legislative delegation at Hennepin County Medical Center. We are advocating for bonding for a replacement facility for our antiquated Medical Examiner's Office, reforms to make opioid addiction treatment more accessible, and a multitude of other measures to make our communities stronger.


Oxboro Library

Joined our library staff and neighbors for a meeting at Oxboro Library about the upcoming renovation.

Hennepin County Library Events

Library lecture

What You Always Wanted to Know about Islam and Muslims

March 13, 2018 (6:00 PM – 7:30 PM)
Oxboro Library | 8801 Portland Ave S, Bloomington

Gain a better understanding of what Islam teaches and what Muslims practice. A speaker from the Islamic Resource Group will introduce basic terminology, demographics and differences between religion and culture. Learn about the beliefs and practices of Muslims as well as religious celebrations.

Learn about this cultural event.

Library event

Minnesota Twins Through Memorabilia

March 10, 2018 (1:00 PM – 2:30 PM)
Penn Lake | 8800 Penn Ave S, Bloomington

Clyde Doepner, the official Minnesota Twins curator, will bring alive the history of the Twins through stories and baseball memorabilia.

Learn more about this event.

Road construction

66th Street in Richfield and Bloomington's Normandale Boulevard are in the midst of major construction projects. Skip the traffic jams and sign up for updates on the projects impacting your commute.

You can also visit the Hennepin County website for updates on road maintenance projects and all other road construction.

Constituent services

Housing crises, energy assistance, child protection, emergency situations; we are here to advocate for you when it comes to navigating local and county services, and we want to help. Please call our office at 612-348-7885 with any questions or for assistance.


Commissioner Debbie Goettel
Hennepin County District 5
Bloomington | Eden Prairie | Richfield
612-348-7885 |

Casey Krolczyk
Principal Aide
612-596-7078 |

Michael Ohama
Policy Director
612-348-7885 |

Follow Hennepin County

facebooktwitterinstagramyoutubelinked in
Hennepin County