July 2018 News and Updates from Commissioner Higgins

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linda higgins

July 2018

Thank you for subscribing to my newsletter.

I hope you have a safe and happy Independence Day! There are many activities coming up, including fireworks at Red, White and Boom, the Twin Cities half marathon, and the Fort Snelling Independence Day celebration. Don’t forget Plymouth’s big music event on July 11 at the Hilde Center (more info at musicinplymouth.org/mip/). Find something fun, or relax at home with friends and relatives! 

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 happy Fourth of July!

linda higgins signatureFlag and fireworks image

Absentee voting starts this Friday, June 29

absentee voting

Absentee balloting starts June 29 for the primary. Voters can choose to submit an absentee ballot in person or by mail. Most cities in Hennepin County offer in-person absentee voting at city hall or other locations (see Minneapolis); call your city clerk’s office for more information. Also, any Hennepin County resident can vote by in-person absentee ballot at the Hennepin County Government Center elections office on the skyway level in downtown Minneapolis from 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

Additional Hennepin County absentee voting hours are posted at hennepin.us/elections. You can request to have your absentee ballot mailed to you at mnvotes.org. For any questions, contact the Hennepin County Elections office at hc.vote@hennepin.us or call (612) 348-5151.

Be part of democracy: Be an election judge

Election judges needed

Hennepin County is looking for residents to work as election judges in local elections this year.

Learn more about election judges.

Read more about the application process

Hennepin County renovates vacant homes using small businesses in pilot program

small business home rehabs fox story

With the help of local small business contractors - including ones owned by people of color and/or women - we’ve transformed former tax-forfeited properties into renovated homes for sale. These homes are available for sale until June 29.

Learn more.

See video and the KMSP story here.

Free summer meals for kids

summer meals logo

Kids 18 years old and under can get free, nutritious meals over the summer at a number of places. Find locations near you: download the “Summer Eats Minnesota” mobile app, text “Summer Meals” to 97779 or visit fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks.

Free summer camps for kids from the Sanneh Foundation and the Minnesota Timberwolves

kids soccer photos

Soccer camp

Don’t miss out on this summer’s free community soccer camps!  The Sanneh Foundation once again has a wide range of options of camp locations throughout Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the metro area.  

Camps are run by trained coaches and designed for kids aged 5 to 12.  Each camper receives a t-shirt, water bottle, cinch bag and a Delta Dental oral care kit.

Registration and further information.

Basketball camp

Timberwolves Fastbreak Foundation’s free community camps provide thousands of kids from the Twin Cities metro area a fun, positive and inclusive camp experience, welcoming youth from all backgrounds.  Participants receive daily basketball instruction, a t-shirt, water bottle, cinch sack and Delta Dental oral hygiene kit.

Thanks to the Timberwolves Fastbreak Foundation, kids grades 2 through 8 will be able to attend for free.

Registration and further information.

“Hennepin History Museum: Celebrating 80 years” on display in Hennepin Gallery June 8 through August 16

artifact from history museum

Public Reception for Exhibit at Hennepin County Government Center

Tuesday, July 17, 4 to 6 pm 

To commemorate its 80th year, we are presenting an exhibit entitled “Eighty Years of Collecting Hennepin County History” at the Hennepin County Government Center. This exhibit includes artifacts and archival items from all Hennepin County districts. The exhibit and reception are in the lower level gallery. Free.

All seven commissioner districts are represented, such as a Robbinsdale mail stamp box, the Aqua Follies (picture above) at Wirth Park, Hopkins Minneapolis Moline booklet, Excelsior Gideon Farm bell, Champlin brochure, Bloomington Mall of America grand opening poster, Northrup King lawn spreader, Foshay Tower sheet music, pharmacy bottles, a coffee roaster, and more.

Keep an eye on other upcoming exhibits on the Hennepin History Museum website.

Teen HOPE program

instructor and student

Supporting pregnant and parenting teens so they can reach their goals

Adrianna Blackmon’s confidence is contagious.

During a tutoring session, Katelyn Williams smiled and sat up a little straighter under Blackmon’s encouragement as the two paged through a study guide for her upcoming biology test.

Both young women participate in a partnership between Hennepin County Health and Human Services and Hennepin Healthcare’s Teen HOPE program.

The Teen Hope initiative embeds public health nurses in schools to create one-stop resource centers to help pregnant and parenting teens manage their county benefits and their own and their children’s health as they work to continue their education.

Right now, Teen Hope operates two reengagement sites called Pathways to Success located at MCTC and Brooklyn Center Early College Academy. To receive their economic benefits through the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), young moms and dads through age 21 without a high school diploma or GED have to work or attend school to maintain their benefits. Many do both. Read more here.

Learn more about resources for youth at hennepin.us/residents/human-services/resources-youth

Enjoy movies, trivia at Target Field Station


Join us in downtown Minneapolis this summer for Go Outside with Hennepin County events, including outdoor movies and trivia nights. There is no charge for these events.

  • Movie showtimes 7 pm select dates June through August
  • Trivia nights 7 to 8 pm June 26, July 17 and July 24
  • Other events happening now on Hennepin County Government Center South Plaza

View full event schedule and more details at mplsdowntown.com/gooutside

Recognition of youth success

graduating youth

At the June 12 County Board meeting, commissioners celebrated graduates honored at the annual Recognition of Success ceremony. This year’s ceremony honored 200 youth who are teen parents, in foster care, or on probation, and have overcome many challenges to graduate.

Watch a video about the program.

Webber Parkway - 44th Avenue North corridor reconstruction

street sign

Hennepin County Road 152 in Minneapolis

Hennepin County, in coordination with City of Minneapolis and Metro Transit, is preparing to reconstruct County Road 152 in North Minneapolis. This will include a segment of 44th Ave. N., Webber Parkway and a segment of Lyndale Ave. N. Sign up for future updates.

Read more information and sign up for updates about this segment of County Road 152.

News and views from the Hennepin County Libraries

Bao Phi book cover image

Be a card carrier

A library card is a ticket to a bigger world. A Hennepin County Library card provides access to not just books, but to an assortment of magazines, CDs and DVDs, as well as an astounding array of online resources.

Learn how to get a Hennepin County Library card.

Books written here, honored here

Find Bao Phi’s “A Different Pond and Andrea Swensson’s “Got to Be Something Here” among this list of 2018 Minnesota Book Award winners.

See the list of Minnesota Book Awards winners.

News for veterans

veterans wakeboarding image

Wakesurf Clinic on Lake Minnetonka

Wake for Warriors is an organization that uses water sports to heal the emotional and psychological wounds of military veterans. They will be in town holding a wakesurfing clinic on Friday, July 20 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm on Lake Minnetonka.

For more information, please visit: wakeforwarriors.org/events-1/wake-for-warriors-veteran-surf-day

To sign up for this event, please email David Deep at: djdeep@wakeforwarriors.org

Troops to Teachers

All members of the U.S. Armed Forces, retirees, and veterans who received an honorable discharge are eligible to apply for Troops to Teachers assistance. For participants that meet application, service and education requirements, financial assistance may be available.

Troops to Teachers services include:

  • Individualized counseling and transition planning
  • Navigating state teacher certification and licensing requirements
  • Up to a 5k stipend or 10k bonus
  • Connecting participants with hiring officials
  • Ongoing support and mentorship

Register today to find out more about your path to a new career in teaching:



Grant will support new NorthPoint dental clinic

The board approved a $600,000 grant from Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation to open the Dr. John Williams dental clinic at NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center’s 800 West Broadway location in Minneapolis. 

The new clinic will meet the high demand of residents seeking affordable dental care, providing an additional 2,300 annual dental visits per year. By providing increased access to primary oral health care, NorthPoint hopes to reduce health disparities among residents in this area. 

Learn more

Medicine drop box now available at NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center

meds drop box

A new medicine drop box opened to the public at NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center in North Minneapolis. Unwanted or unused medicines should be taken to medicine drop boxes for safe and proper disposal.

Minneapolis medicine drop boxes operated in partnership with Hennepin County

  • Hennepin County Public Safety Facility, 401 Fourth Ave. S.
  • Police Department, First Precinct, 19 N. 4th St.
  • Police Department, Fourth Precinct, 1925 Plymouth Ave. N.
  • NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, 1313 Penn Ave. N.

Minneapolis medicine drop boxes operated by independent pharmacies

  • CVS store, 949 Portland Ave.
  • Walgreen’s store,  4547 Hiawatha Ave.

Properly disposing of unwanted medicines is important to prevent abuse or poisoning and protect the environment. Prescription drug abuse and accidental poisonings from medicines are still a problem. Medicines flushed down the drain or disposed of in the trash can contaminate bodies of water, harm wildlife and end up in drinking water supplies.

A complete list of medicine disposal locations within the county can be found at hennepin.us/medicine

Get ready for Night to Unite

Plymouth night out picture

Night to Unite, also known as National Night Out in Minneapolis, is Tuesday, August 7 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. The Hennepin County Attorney’s, Sheriff’s Offices and our office visit more than 100 community gatherings 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.

Hennepin Healthcare update on use of ketamine

Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc., Emergency Medical Services, Dr. William Heegaard, gave an update to the Hennepin County Board regarding use of ketamine. 

View video of board meeting starting at this item

Constituent services

Housing crises, energy assistance, child protection, emergency situations: The District Two office is here to advocate for you when it comes to navigating local and county services, and we want to help. Please call our office at 612-348-7882 with any questions or for assistance.

Board news

May 31

Votes keep Southwest Light Rail project moving

Acting first as the county board and then as the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority board, the commissioners voted 5-2 to increase the county’s funding commitment by $190 million and the railroad authority’s funding commitment by $14 million. That makes for a total of $204 million more in local funding committed by Hennepin County toward a revised total project budget of $2.003 billion. While these actions approve the revised budget, they do not authorize the expenditure of funds.

As a condition of the funding commitments, the county imposed more financial controls on the project. Now an Executive Change Control Board including Hennepin County commissioners must review and approve any significant project changes and use of contingency. Hennepin County staff also will be taking a more active role in the project, helping to ensure timely sharing of information and joint decision-making with the Metropolitan Council.

Read more about these decisions.

Action request to the Hennepin County Board

Action request to the Regional Railroad Authority


June 12

Board reappoints county surveyor

The board reappointed Chris Mavis as county surveyor, a position that oversees a team that gathers and manages information on more than 425,000 parcels throughout the county. The surveying team also reviews subdivision maps to make sure they comply with state law and maintains approximately 2,500 public land survey markers. Mavis is also president of the Minnesota Society of Professional Surveyors.

Firm to hire residents on probation for Penn-Plymouth construction

The board approved a contract with Tri Construction to build out a floor in the Thor building at Penn and Plymouth avenues in North Minneapolis. As part of the contract, the firm will hire 10 or more county residents through the county’s Community Productive Day Program. Tri Construction will also sponsor these individuals into union apprenticeships, where they will begin this new career pathway being paid prevailing wages and receiving full benefits. 

Read more about this action

Read more about contract opportunities with the county.

Read more about Productive Day

Grant will expand home visits to high-risk families

The board accepted a $2.1 million grant from the Minnesota Department of Health to expand home visits and services that keep families safe, healthy and supported. The county will work with community partners to prevent families from needing late-stage services, such as child protection. 

Read more about this action

County to lease space for ticket venue at Target Field Station

The board approved a lease agreement with United Properties for retail space at Target Field Station. The company will use the space as a ticket venue serving the hotel and event center currently under construction nearby. 

Board appoints candidate to Workforce Innovation Opportunity Board

The board appointed Nerita Hughes to the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Board.

June 26

County updates hazard mitigation plan

The board adopted an updated plan to mitigate potential disasters, from severe weather and fires to acts of terrorism and infectious disease outbreaks. 

Hennepin County's primary goal for this planning process is to save lives. These efforts also have financial benefits: for every federal dollar spent on pre-disaster mitigation, six dollars are saved in response and recovery.

State and local governments must update plans every five years to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency mitigation grant funding. Hennepin County coordinated with neighboring governments and businesses to create the plan.

Learn more about this action.

Learn more about Hennepin County Emergency Management.

New structure will meet demand of child protection court cases

The board approved an action to create a public safety division dedicated to representing parents in child protection cases. During the last three years in Hennepin County, court filings to terminate parental rights have increased by nearly 100 percent. The county will recruit and retain experienced attorneys to meet this demand, meaning cases will be resolved in a timelier manner.

Read more about this action.

County to expand early learning spaces in libraries

The board approved a $750,000 contract to create or revise spaces in up to 10 Hennepin County libraries that support kindergarten readiness and school success. The exhibits will engage children and parents in hands-on activities that encourage reading and learning.

Learn more about Hennepin County Library early learning programs.

Board gets update on ketamine use

Hennepin Healthcare System gave an update to the board on use of the sedative ketamine. See link above.

Funding will help county share and manage data

The board accepted a $300,000 grant from the McKnight Foundation to develop methods for sharing and managing predictive analytics across departments. Predictive analytics involves gathering information to determine what trends or issues the county might face in the future. Hennepin County will work with the University of Minnesota to create data systems that county leadership across departments will use to make policy decisions.

Read more about this action.

Grant will help connect people with disabilities to housing

The board accepted $212,842 of state funding to expand community-based housing programs that serve people with disabilities. This grant will also fund a housing resource specialist who will help staff navigate clients to the appropriate services.

Learn more about this funding award.

Schools receive recycling grants

Hennepin County recently awarded eight grants totaling $150,300 to schools and school districts to reduce waste and improve recycling and organics recycling programs. 

The schools and districts receiving grants are: 

  • Calvin Christian School in Edina
  • Hopkins Public Schools
  • Minneapolis Public Schools (11 schools including North High and Northeast Middle schools)
  • Minnetonka Public Schools (Minnetonka Middle School East)
  • Nativity of Mary Catholic School in Bloomington
  • Noble Academy in Brooklyn Park and Nompeng Academy in Brooklyn Center
  • Osseo Area Schools (Fair Oaks Elementary) 
  • Prairie Seeds Academy in Brooklyn Park

Read more about these grant awards.

Read more about school recycling in Hennepin County.

Current and archival board meetings, agendas and minutes are available online. View at hennepin.us/boardmeetings



  • Friday, July 6, and Saturday, July 7, 10:30-11:15am
    Pride Storytime: Celebrate family and self-expression through books, stories, rhymes, music and movement. Pierre Bottineau Library, 55 Broadway St., NE. PrideStorytime
  • Saturday, July 14, 3-10pm
    Third Annual Northeast Food Truck Rally. Hosted by the Minnesota Food Truck Association, the Able Seehouse and Brewery and Meals on Wheels. Able Seedhouse and Brewery, 1121 Quincy St. NE. NEFoodTruckRally
  • Saturday, July 14, 12-5pm
    Sociable Summer: Market Fest. Minneapolis Craft Market returns to Sociable Cider Werks with a series of outdoor summer markets. 1500 Fillmore St. NE. SociableSummerMarket
  • Saturday, July 21, 10:30-11:30am
    Raptors of Minnesota. Meet an owl, hawk, falcon and a very special guest, a bald eagle. Learn about the different types of raptors, their characteristics, identification, diets and habitats. For children entering Pre-K to 6th grade. University of Minnesota’s Gabbert Raptor Center. Pierre Bottineau Library, 55 Broadway St., NE. Raptors of Minnesota

North Loop

  • Thursday, June 28, 6-8pm
    Black Poets: On Creating a Blackmosphere at Central Library. Poetry reading and conversation with Keno Evol and Lisa Marie Brimmer. Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall. BlackPoetsCreating
  • Saturday, June 30, 10am
    Washington Avenue Cleanup. Bags and gloves provided.  Meet at Whole Foods entrance. WashingtonAveCleanup
  • Wednesday, July 18 at 8 pm, through July 21
    Minneapolis Aquatennial. The best days of the summer. The Torchlight Parade is Wednesday evening. For schedule of events and locations, visit. MinneapolisAquatennial
  • Saturday, July 28, 3-10pm
    North Loop Fest 2018. Enjoy live music, food and beverages from North Loop restaurants and breweries. Tickets $25. Cuzzy’s, 507 Washington Ave. N. NorthLoopFest


  • Wednesday, June 27, 7-9pm
    Victory Ice Cream Social. Victory Park, 4414 Upton Ave. N. IceCreamSocial 
  • Saturday, June 30, 12-3pm
    Jordan Week of Kindness. Jordan Area Community Council and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity are hosting the Third Annual Jordan Week of Kindness. Free. Food, entertainment, local vendors and resources, and fun. Irving Ave. N. between 30th Ave. N and Lowry. WeekofKindness 
  • Thursday, July 12, 6-8pm
    Live on the Drive. AstralBlak - formerly known as ZuluZuluu. The performance will be followed by a movie at dusk, Wonder Woman. Victory Memorial Drive at 34th Ave. N. liveonthedrive  
  • Thursday, July 26 through Saturday, July 28. 10am-9pm
    Flow, the Northside Arts Crawl. A three-day celebration of the arts in North Minneapolis with over 300 artists. West Broadway. NorthsideArtsCrawl

Bryn Mawr

  • Thursday, July 5, 10:30-11:30am Garden Explorers. Gardening adventures for elementary school children. $5. Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, 1 Theodore Wirth Pkwy. WetlandExploration
  • Saturday, July 21, 9am-1pm
    Bryn Mawr Garden Tour. Gardens, bees, chickens and backyard fun. See possibilities and be inspired for your own yard design. Start at 400 Penn Ave. S. www.bmna.org

Golden Valley

  • Wednesday, July 4, 7pm
    Golden Valley Orchestra Performance. Bring your blankets and chairs. Brookview Park, 200 Brookview Pkwy. GoldenValleyOrchestra 
  • Monday, July 9, 7pm
    Ice Cream Social. Free. Featuring the First John Philip Sousa Memorial Band and Sebastian Joe’s ice cream. Brookview Park, 200 Brookview Pkwy. IceCreamSocial  
  • Friday, July 20, 10:30am
    Golden Valley Puppet Wagon. Watch your favorite puppets go on adventures and tell tall tales. Golden Valley Parks and Recreation, 200 Brookview Pkwy. PuppetWagon
  • Sunday, July 29, 9am-1pm
    Family Sunday at Market in the Valley. 7800 Golden Valley Rd. (under the water tower). marketinthevalley

St. Anthony

  • Thursday, July 5, 7pm
    Salo Park Concert Series. Free concert with Cornbread Harris and Friends. Enjoy blues and rock and roll music. Salo Park, 3890 Harding St. SaloParkConcert
  • Thursday, July 26, 7pm
    Salo Park Concert Series - Free concert with Ecuador Manta. Salo Park, 3890 Harding St. SaloParkConcert


  • Wednesday, June 27, 10am
    Happy Birthday America Parade. Take bikes, trikes, wagons and friends for a festive kids parade at the Hilde Performance Center, 3500 Plymouth Blvd. HappyBirthdayAmerica
  • Thursday, July 5, 5:30pm
    Music in Plymouth, Independence Celebration. Music, food, fireworks and fun. Hilde Performance Center, 3500 Plymouth Blvd. IndependenceCelebration
  • Wednesday, July 11, 8:30pm
    Symphony for the Cities. Join the Minnesota Orchestra with conductor Akiko Fujimoto and tenor Daniel Montenegro for a Fourth of July repertoire. Free. Hilde Performance Center, 3500 Plymouth Blvd. SymphonyfortheCities
  • Tuesday, July 17, 7-8pm
    Water Ski Show. Presented by Shockwaves Association. Parkers Lake Park, 15205 County Rd. 6. WaterSkiShow
  • Friday, July 20, 7p.m. and Saturday, July 21, 2pm
    Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Free. Hilde Performance Center, 3500 Plymouth Blvd. prairiefiretheatre

Multiple communities

  • Tuesdays, June 26 through September 25, 4-8pm
    Mill City Farmers Market Night. Pick up farm fresh, organic produce and local artisan foods for an easy weeknight meal. Prepared food vendors will be cooking up seasonal recipes all evening, so come hungry, stay, listen to live music and have a picnic supper. The Commons, 425 Portland Ave. S. FarmersMarketNight
  • Saturday, June 30, 1:30-8pm
    Somali Independence Festival.  The festival will be on Lake Street between Blaisdell and Stevens. somaliindependenceday
  • Sunday, July1, 1-2:45pm
    Railroad History Walking Tour. Learn history by taking a guided tour of railroad landmarks, including the Stone Arch Bridge, Milwaukee Road Depot, and the Minneapolis Eastern Railway engine house and trestle. Mill City Museum, 704 S. 2nd St. RailroadHistory
  • Wednesday, July 4, 6-10pm
    Red, White and Boom. Celebrate Independence Day along the downtown Minneapolis riverfront, and features live music, great food and fun. TC Halfmoon Marathon, Relay and 5k at 6:30 am. Father Hennepin Bluff Park, 420 SE Main St., or Mill Ruins Park, 102 Portland Ave. S. RedWhiteandBoom
  • Sunday, July 15, 12-6pm
    Twin Cities World Refugee Day. Explore artistic, culinary, and social experience that expands intercultural understanding by building human connections, and improving knowledge of immigrant and refugee issues. Loring Park, 1382 Willow St. S. tcworldrefugeeday


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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