March 2019 E-Newsletter

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Jan Callison - News from District 6


  March 2019


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 5, 2019

County awards natural resources grants

The board awarded $400,000 of Natural Resources Grants to preserve, protect or improve natural resources and water quality.

Four projects will receive Good Steward grants that are for smaller projects that improve natural resources and promote environmental stewardship to the community.

The following entities were awarded Opportunity grants that support larger projects seeking to leverage multiple funding sources:

  • Bull’s Horn LLC (Minneapolis), $32,500 to install a rain garden and systems to treat parking lot and roof stormwater runoff
  • City of Crystal, $100,000 to install an underground infiltration system in Becker Park
  • City of Medina, $60,000 to construct a new stormwater quality pond and stabilize and reduce runoff
  • Elm Creek Watershed Management Commission (Maple Grove), $20,000 to improve water quality of Fish Lake and Elm Creek
  • Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (Edina), $32,500 to restore 2,150 feet of Minnehaha Creek, treat storm water, improve wetlands and restore woodlands
  • Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (Minneapolis), $100,000 to modify the storm sewer and install regional water filtration and infiltration systems
  • Northgate Academy (Minneapolis), $55,000 to install a series of rain gardens that will reduce runoff water volume, phosphorus and sediments by 96 percent compared to current amounts. The stormwater practices at this site will be used as part of training program for careers in hydrology, civil engineering, soil science, horticulture and related topics

Learn more about this action.

Learn more about Hennepin County natural resources grant funding.

February 21, 2019

Forestry grants will help reduce disparities

Tree canopy

The board awarded 26 grants that will not only invest in the county's tree canopy, but also the health and economic vitality of communities.

Areas with lower tree canopy cover tend to have starker disparities in air quality, health, income and housing.

Without proactive efforts, the emerald ash borer is likely to worsen these inequities. The invasive tree pest is projected to kill all of the 1 million ash trees in Hennepin County, which make up 15 percent of the tree canopy.

How trees can help reduce disparities

Trees provide many benefits to communities, including:

  • Energy savings and cooling: Trees provide shade to cool our streets, sidewalks and buildings, reducing health impacts from heat waves and reducing energy use.
  • Increased air and water quality: Trees clean our air, reducing health issues like asthma and cardiovascular problems. Trees also capture and filter storm water.
  • Improved health: Trees decrease mental stress and encourage walking.

These benefits are not shared equally across neighborhoods, since many lower-income neighborhoods have fewer trees. Reducing these gaps will help reduce disparities.

Grant recipients

The county prioritized areas with lower tree canopy and higher disparities when awarding grants.


The following cities will receive funding to start or complete an inventory of public trees, a step that can help with tree planning, planting, removal and maintenance.

  • Hopkins, $5,000
  • Orono, $5,000
  • Osseo, $4,000
  • St. Bonifacius, $3,750
  • Tonka Bay, $2,000

The following cities with existing tree inventory data will receive funding to improve their tree canopies.

  • Brooklyn Park, $33,462
  • Champlin, $9,996
  • Eden Prairie, $30,517
  • Robbinsdale, $14,000

Affordable housing

Organizations will use funding to plant trees on their property and proactively manage ash trees.

  • City of Edina, $12,400
  • City of Lakes Community Land Trust (Minneapolis), $19,200
  • Newport Midwest - The Mariner (Minnetonka), $20,000
  • RLBC Franklin Station, LLC on behalf of Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians (South Minneapolis), $20,000
  • Twin Cities Housing Development Corporation (South Minneapolis), $20,000

Schools and non-profits

These organizations will engage youth in tree planting events.

  • Lucy Craft Laney School (Minneapolis), $4,994
  • Orono High School, $2,500
  • Prairie Seeds Academy (Brooklyn Park), $2,105
  • Richfield Public School District, $4,766
  • Saint John the Baptist Catholic Montessori School (Excelsior), $1,880
  • School of Engineering and Arts (Golden Valley), $4,510
  • Success Academy (Bloomington), $4,952
  • SPARK-Y (Minneapolis), $1,612
  • Tree Trust/FAIR Pilgrim Lane School (Plymouth), $5,000
  • Weaver Lake Elementary (Maple Grove), $2,599
  • Whittier International Elementary (Minneapolis), $3,900
  • YMCA Camp Christmas Tree (Minnetrista), $5,000

Minnesota Vikings donation benefits youth at county correctional facilities


The board accepted a $40,000 donation from the Minnesota Vikings for youth programs, education materials and recreation equipment at the Juvenile Detention Center and County Home School.

Last fall, 10 Vikings players volunteered with youth residents at the Juvenile Detention Center, sharing stories and providing mentorship. Since then, many players have made follow-up visits, receiving thank you letters from residents in return. This donation stems from that ongoing connection.

Read the full board action.

Project moves forward to create skyway connections at Hennepin County Library - Central

Mpls central library

The board approved an agreement with developers to create skyway connections at Hennepin County Library – Central, providing greater library access and connectivity for people walking in downtown Minneapolis. The library was designed by César Pelli to accommodate future skyways, which will now connect the library to a proposed hotel, office and condo building, United Properties Gateway tower, and a new apartment complex, 365 Nicollet. United Properties will fund this project.

Learn more about this action.

Board appoints citizen advisory board candidates

The board appointed the following candidates to citizen advisory boards:

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 votes are taken. Board briefings occur in the board room on the 24th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center and are open to the public.

February 21, 2019

Anaerobic digestion of organic materials

On an annual basis, Hennepin County produces 1.4 million tons of waste (not including construction debris).  The county is working to reach a goal of 75% recycling and zero waste to landfills.  In order to reach this goal, the county is looking past traditional recycling and focusing on organics.  This past fall, the county board approved changes to the recycling ordinance that require cities (in the future) to provide organics recycling options to residents (requirements vary among cities due to population sizes) and businesses to comply with organics recycling requirements. 

Staff provided the board a briefing on anaerobic digestion and how it helps to expand and diversify organics management infrastructure.  Currently, the county contracts with composting facilities to process the county's organic materials.  Due to the new organic collection requirements, it is projected that by 2030 the volume of organics collected will more than double.  In order to meet this demand, as well as capture the maximum value from recovered materials, the county is exploring taking the lead on improving organics infrastructure; this means an anaerobic digestion facility. Following board approval, staff went out with a Request for Qualifications for anaerobic digestion.  The county received 15 responses.  Staff will be meeting with the county board to determine the level of county involvement in facility development, following up with 6 RFG respondents, visiting reference facilities, and continuing to explore regional partnerships.

County calendar

March 18, 2019

Hennepin Youth Sports Grant 2019 Spring Equipment and Playground Applications due


The 2019 spring equipment and playground applications are now available.  The deadline for application is 4:00 p.m on Monday, March 18, 2019.  Visit the following link for application and deadline details.

March 19, 2019

Public hearing regarding affordable housing project

There will be a public hearing for public comment on the issuance of one or more tax-exempt multifamily housing revenue bonds to finance an affordable housing project at 1000 N 3rd St., Minneapolis.  The project would create 109 new rental housing units affordable for households making less than 60 percent of the area median income.

When: Tuesday, March 19, 2019
           1:30 p.m.

Where: Hennepin County Commissioner Board Room (A-2400)
             300 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis

More information can be found here.


Share your voice with the county

Hennepin County inSight: community conversations


Your voice can help inform county priorities – five, 10 and 20 years from now.

We are embarking on a new level of public engagement with you, our constituents. A series of community conversations, called Hennepin County inSight, will begin this spring.

Ways to participate

  • In-person: Join me for the inSight kickoff event in District 6 this spring. Watch for other ways to participate in upcoming newsletters.
  • Online: Voice your feedback using a digital polling tool.  

We are calling on the voices of this living generation to speak up for the generations to follow. Learn more about this opportunity

Opportunities for preventing opioid deaths


The county is considering new approaches for treating and providing services to people with substance use disorders who are booked into the county jail. A recent study found that people who suffered opioid-related deaths often had been recently released from custody.

Learn how our research findings offer opportunities for earlier intervention that could prevent overdose deaths.

Valentine's Day wedding ceremonies

Valentine's Day

On Valentine's Day, February 14th, Hennepin County Judges united 36 couples in matrimony for free in the Government Center atrium over the noon hour.  It was a love-filled event.  Congratulations to the happy couples and many thanks to the judges for volunteering their time.

Thin ice signs posted around Lake Minnetonka

Thin ice

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office has posted Thin Ice signs in channel areas around Lake Minnetonka after two snowmobiles went through the ice in Seton Channel.

Seton Channel has opened up due to the water current, warm temps and melting snow. HCSO deputies have placed Thin Ice signs on the north and south sides of Seton Channel, Zimmerman’s Pass, and Coffee Channel. HCSO will continue to monitor ice thickness.

Sheriff David Hutchinson wants to remind everyone that ice should never be considered completely safe. Here are some ice safety tips to keep in mind before venturing onto the ice:

  • Always have a safety plan before going onto ice in the winter.
  • Check with local bait shops for ice thicknesses. 
  • Let people know where you are going and when you will be home. 
  • Wear a life jacket even in the winter
  • Carry a set of ice picks in an easy-to-reach location in case you do fall through the ice.

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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


Jan Callison
6th District

Allyson Sellwood
Policy Aide

Bill Fellman
Administrative Assistant

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