District 1 Updates from Commissioner Frethem

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Serving the communities of Arden Hills, Gem Lake, North Oaks, Shoreview, Vadnais Heights, White Bear Township, and parts of Mounds View, Spring Lake Park and Blaine.

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April 7, 2020

Ramsey County


Nicole Frethem
Commissioner, District 1
651-266-8362 or 651-425-9580 

Sheena Denny
Principal Aide                             651-266-8355                            Email

Nancy Larson
Administrative Assistant

Picture of Facebook image announcing to follow Commissioner online

Follow on Facebook

Commissioner Frethem is sharing information and access to resources in real time on Facebook. Follow us there for more COVID-19 and other county content.

Commissioner Frethem sitting at her desk

Virtually meet with Commissioner Frethem at Office Hours in District 1

We will be holding virtual chats and check ins via Zoom on Thursdays at 11:30 a.m.

Learn more at the Facebook Event Invites or join in by clicking the link https://zoom.us/j/4574765166 and entering the Meeting ID: 457 476 5166 at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 9.

MN Department of Employment and Economic Development icon

Unemployment Insurance

Many have found themselves unemployed due to closure of businesses and reduced demand on many industries. Federal and state law changes have expanded eligibility for unemployment insurance to many who were previously ineligible and increased benefits. However, increased applications have reduced response time. Please be patient as additional staff are brought in to address the increase in applications.

DEED is shifting employees to cover their Unemployment Insurance info line. The best place to get info is uimn.org, but if people do have to call, here is a call schedule they are requesting people follow:

  • If you have a question about your account, call Monday-Thursday between 8 am to 2 pm.
  • If you need help applying for unemployment benefits, call Friday between 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.
  • If you need help with your password, call anytime during business hours.

Please know you will experience long wait times on the phone, but the call line is designed to help those struggling to find info online.

If you are a contractor or independent contractor—the guidance from the Federal government is still coming and DEED will reach out to you when it becomes eligible.

Census time

Commissioners zoom meeting in matching census t-shirts

At today's board meeting, all of the Ramsey County Commissioners featured "We Count MN" t-shirts to promote "Census at Work" day.

It's time to check into my2020census.gov and report who is living in your home for the census. The census helps define our representation and funding allocations at the national level so a high response rate is critical. Your information is confidential and cannot be shared for any other purposes.

For more information about the census, check out ramseycounty.us/census.

Millie and I participated in Shoreview's Chalk the Walk promotion with some census-themed sidewalk art! If you're walking along W. Owasso Blvd. in Shoreview, keep checking back for updated "art"!

Census chalk art encouraging residents to visit my2020census.gov and be counted

Final thoughts

If you haven't had a chance to read or watch Governor Walz's State of the State speech, I highly encourage you to check it out. We had a lot of work on our plate before COVID-19 and all of that work still exists. Unfortunately, most of it is on the back burner while we deal with the life or death issues related to a global pandemic and the collateral impacts of this crisis.

It is likely that we will hear from our Governor again in the next week about extensions and modifications for the current stay at home order. It is disheartening living and working in this environment without a clear end date on the calendar. That said, there are benchmarks that we are looking for that will help us safely reopen when ready. AEI provides a thorough roadmap to reopening that highlights 3 factors that we need to see before we can start reopening parts of our country, region by region:

  • Slowed transmission of cases - watch for 14 days of consistent decreases in cases.
  • Increased testing capacity - we need to be able to test everyone, even those with mild symptoms who do not need hospitalizations.
  • Adequate health care capacity - in areas where the health system is overrun, there appear to be significantly higher death rates.

When we see these three factors in place, reducing our strict measures becomes less risky and we can begin the work of rebuilding.

As always, I'm here for you. You can email me at nicole.frethem@co.ramsey.mn.us or call anytime at 651-425-9580.


Ramsey County Board of Commissioners 2020 group portrait

Board of Commissioners Hold First Virtual Board Meeting

Today's board meeting was our first doing a virtual board meeting via Zoom. You can hear our discussion and watch the board meeting on Ramsey County's website. I hope you enjoy myextra special guest, Millie Frethem, around the 54 minute mark.

Volunteer and Donation Information

Donations logo


Ramsey County is soliciting donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Donations will be used by staff in Public Health, Social Services, Correctional Health and other areas that work directly with the public and with vulnerable populations in particular. The donations will supplement the county’s existing supplies which are limited.

The drop-off site is located on the county’s Public Works campus at:

1425 Paul Kirkwold Drive
Arden Hills, MN  55112

NOTE: donations of any homemade face coverings should accord with current guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health.


Volunteers play a critical role in serving our community. Ramsey County remains deeply grateful to the thousands of volunteers that donate their time and energy each year to help us deliver programs and services that enhance our quality of life.

If you are interested in volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic, the following organizations have information on local and remote opportunities.

Additional opportunities to serve through Ramsey County will be posted to our website as they are identified.

Special Thanks

  • Commissioner Frethem would like to thank members of our local Chinese community for reaching out and organizing to donate PPE to local organizations such as Open Cities Health Care.
  • Bent Brewstillery is making hand sanitizer and offering a free 3oz bottle of hand sanitizer with $20 purchase. Bent Brewstillery is also producing larger format containers for First Responders, medical suppliers, and local companies. Contact info@bentbrewstillery.com for more information.
  • Larger organizations can also visit All Hands for hand sanitizer purchases.

Metropolitan Council

Metro Mobility and Transit Link are Providing Grocery Delivery Service

Stay home and stay safe. Certified Metro Mobility customers and existing Transit Link customers can now order groceries and household essentials online from a store that has online shopping and local pick up. They will pick your order up and deliver to your house. The service is free — no fares for deliver. Visit the website for more information.

Stay home

Stay up-to-date on COVID 19

Ramsey County continues to provide information and updates via our website at https://www.ramseycounty.us/coronavirus. The best actions to keep yourself, your family, and your community safe are still:

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Stay home when you are sick

Additional resources and information can be found at:

Other hotlines and help

Ramsey County’s Customer Contact Center is available from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday at 651-266-8500 as a one-stop option for directing and resolving questions.

The Ramsey County Sheriff's office has set up a COVID "Help Team"

Contact 651-448-3874 (voice and text) or HelpTeam@co.ramsey.mn.us.

  • Mon-Fri 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Sat-Sun 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

If you have specific questions, reach out to one of the statewide hotlines set up to respond:

School and child care questions

7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Seven days a week

Health questions

7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Seven days a week

Housing questions

For single-family residences: 
For multi-family residences: 
Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm